$9M pot harvest still under investigation

By Sharon Kiley Mack, BDN Staff
Posted Nov. 15, 2009, at 8:27 p.m.

TOWNSHIP 37, Maine — The investigation into a marijuana growing operation worth an estimated $9 million that was uncovered in remote Washington County earlier this fall is still active.

“The investigation is progressing well,” Darryl Crandall, northern division commander of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, said this weekend. Although Crandall remained tight-lipped about possible leads, he said that “things are going well.”

Crandall said the investigation is a joint state and federal operation.

In September, more than 60 law enforcement officers spent nearly a week harvesting a high-quality marijuana crop in Township 37, near the town of Wesley, and about 10 miles off Route 9.

The harvested crop was estimated to have a value of $9 million.

The massive pot plantation was found after a tip was left on the Maine State Police Troop J Web site. When police flew a plane over the operation, people on the ground set fire to several buildings being used as dormitories. The people fled and have not been identified.

MDEA officials categorized the size, scope and detail of the operation as quite surprising. They said the plants — many of them 8 feet tall and highly cultivated — were of extremely high quality.

At the time of the confiscation, Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Director Roy McKinney said, “We have never seen this type of operation in Maine before.” He confirmed that it was a plantation or farm, where caretakers of the crop lived 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “These are the types of operations we see on the West Coast. In Maine, when marijuana is grown in remote locations, someone usually hikes in and checks it periodically. These growers were living right here” There were seven buildings in the farm area.

The final tally was 3,000 plants, each with a value of $3,000.

Crandall said the property is owned by a logging company but would not identify the company or confirm whether company officials were aware of the growing operation.

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/11/15/news/9m-pot-harvest-still-under-investigation/ printed on November 28, 2014