DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Two men reportedly armed with a shotgun and guarding an isolated marijuana crop on Back Abbot Road were arrested Monday and their vehicles seized by police.
Joel Johnson, 52, of Abbot was charged with felony marijuana cultivation and Kurt Johnson, 55, of Madison was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, felony marijuana cultivation and a probation violation, according to Lt. Robert Young of the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department. Johnson was on probation from Somerset County for a previous drug-trafficking charge, he said Tuesday.
The men are expected to make their initial court appearances Oct. 26 in 13th District Court in Dover-Foxcroft.
Based on tips, Young said, a search was executed at Johnson’s home. No one was home when police arrived so they searched the surrounding property where a growing operation was reported.
About a quarter-mile from the rear of the house, officers saw a clearing in the wooded area where two men were sitting in front of a tent with a shotgun propped between them, Young said.
“We had them in sight and actually had guns drawn on them before they knew we were there, so fortunately we saw them before they saw us,” Young said Tuesday. The men were apprehended without incident.
Officers seized 50 “good quality” marijuana plants that were about 5 feet tall, as well as assorted firearms, a Ford Taurus, a GMC pickup and a Chevrolet pickup, all of which Young said had been used as part of the cultivation effort.
As a result of a separate search on Monday, the Sheriff’s Department charged Corey Barker, 31, of Wellington Road with marijuana cultivation and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. He too is expected to make his initial court appearance on Oct. 26 in Dover-Foxcroft.
Young said his department seized 64 marijuana plants that were about 5 feet tall, some processed marijuana, paraphernalia, pot brownies and a rifle.
“We are coming into the peak of the marijuana harvest season, and tips can be called in to the sheriff’s office, even anonymously,” Young said.
“As the Abbot case reveals, these growers are very serious about their crops, and we continue to receive information that crops are being guarded by armed persons,” Young said. “If people encounter a marijuana-growing operation, they should leave the area immediately and contact their local law enforcement agency.”