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4 Cops, Assistant DA Among Those Charged in $13M Illegal Sales of Medical Marijuana

Four #cops and an assistant district attorney were among those charged regarding the illegal selling of $13 #million in #marijuana grown for #Maine's #medical program. Two sheriff's deputies named in the 14-count criminal complaint are accused of accepting new cars and an ownership stake in the operation, while two other members of law enforcement helped by providing intelligence and tip-offs, according to federal prosecutors.

One of the defendants pleaded guilty #Wednesday, and unsealed federal documents detailed the intricate operation. Those charged allegedly sold marijuana grown for registered caregivers outside the state structure and then laundered the profits in a corporate structure, AP reported.

Augusta Police Chief Jared Mills, president of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, described the operation's alleged connection to officers as "very upsetting." A dozen people were charged, including a Rangeley select board member, the assistant district attorney, two Franklin County sheriff's deputies, an #Oxford County sheriff's deputy and a Wilton police officer. The Franklin County deputies accepted ownership interests and cars in exchange for confidential information, according to the complaint. The prosecutor allegedly tipped off a corrupt police officer about the investigation, and two other officers allegedly warned the Franklin County deputies they were under surveillance, the complaint said.

Randal Cousineau, 69, of #Farmington, pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to illegally #cultivate and sell more than a ton of marijuana and more than 1,000 marijuana plants, according to the documents.

While Cousineau had a 50 percent stake in the #business, the leader of the operation was allegedly Lucas Sirois, 41, of Farmington, prosecutors said.

Sirois, who made his initial court appearance Thursday in Bangor, worked with his tax preparer to file false income tax returns to hide hundreds of thousands of dollars in income, prosecutors said.

Timothy Parlatore, attorney for Sirois, said his client was engaged in a legal marijuana business and "took great steps to ensure that he was acting in accordance with Maine law." The federal charges were based on "the words of a disgruntled former employee," he said.

Parlatore said he'll be seeking to stop the prosecution based on the conflict between state and federal law. Maine has long had a medical marijuana program, and the sale of recreational marijuana began last fall. But marijuana continues to be illegal under federal law.

"What he's doing is legal under state law. This is not something the feds should be involving themselves with," he said.

As part of the scheme, a Rangeley select board member was paid tens of #thousands of #dollars to advance a marijuana ordinance that Sirois himself had drafted to a town referendum, prosecutors said.

Walt McKee, an attorney who represents Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Kayla Alves, said she was innocent and that it was "disappointing to see her dragged into all of this." And an attorney for the accountant denied the allegations, as well.

Attorneys for the other defendants didn't immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Article from Newsweek

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