SORRENTO, Maine — A local woman has been indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with a fire that destroyed a home that had been used for a marijuana-growing operation.
Cecelia Nicole Sanborn, 25, faces a charge of damaging more than $1,000 worth of federal property. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison and a possible fine of $250,000.
Federal prosecutors believe that Sanborn “willfully attempted to injure and injured property of the United States, specifically: the residential building at 6 West Side Road,” according to the indictment.
The grand jury indicted Sanborn on Nov. 19
According to Hancock County Sheriff William Clark, Sanborn is the daughter of Roxana Sanborn, 60, also known as Roxana Carter.
Three years ago Roxana Sanborn pleaded guilty to participating in the marijuana-growing operation and agreed to give up her home through forfeiture to the federal government. She was sentenced in federal court on June 6, 2006, to serve 16 months in prison.
Two days later, on June 8, the house was destroyed in an early-morning fire that investigators said was of suspicious origin. The power had been turned off and the home had been vacant since the drug bust, according to police.
Also charged in the marijuana-growing scheme was Craig Folsom, 54, who lived at the home with Roxana Sanborn. Folsom was sentenced in federal court in August 2005 to serve 27 months in prison for his role in producing the drug.
Roxana Sanborn and Folsom were arrested in March 2004 after the Hancock County Drug Task Force, acting on a tip, executed a search warrant at the home. Inside, law enforcement officers found roughly 450 marijuana plants, 10 pounds of processed marijuana, $16,000 in cash, two rifles, a quarter-ounce of cocaine, several ounces of hashish and hallucinogenic mushrooms, police said at the time.
In a prepared statement Tuesday, Clark indicated that because of its role in the drug bust, the county task force received $92,554, or 72 percent of the proceeds, from the eventual sale of the property. At 72 percent, the county’s share would indicate that the 7-acre property with nearly 1,000 feet of shorefront sold for nearly $130,000.
In 2005, before the house burned, the property had an assessed value for tax purposes of $206,000, according to municipal records.
It was not clear Tuesday why Cecelia Sanborn is not facing a federal or state charge of arson in connection with the case. Under Maine law, arson is a Class A crime that is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
Sanborn’s attorney, Terence Harrigan of Bangor, did not return a message left Tuesday at his office.
Assistant U.S. Attorney James McCarthy on Tuesday said he was restricted in what he could say about Sanborn’s case. McCarthy said she is expected to be arraigned in U.S. District Court in Bangor on Dec. 2.
McCarthy said that under federal law, arson is a crime that is punishable by no more than 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He declined to comment on why Sanborn is not facing a federal arson charge.