Waldo County patriarch pleads not guilty to drug charges

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
Posted Sept. 28, 2012, at 5:44 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The patriarch of a Waldo County family accused of running a sophisticated marijuana-growing operation in a Monroe garage pleaded not guilty Friday in U.S. District Court to drug charges.

Four members of the Ford family were indicted earlier this month by a federal grand jury.

James F. Ford, 57, of Monroe was released on $20,000 unsecured bail after he pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to manufacture 100 or more marijuana plants, manufacturing 100 marijuana plants or more, being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and maintaining a drug-involved place.

Paul Ford, 32, of Swanville; his brother, James T. Ford, 35, of Monroe; and their mother, Darlene Ford, 57, of Monroe denied being involved in the operation at their arraignments on Wednesday.

Darlene Ford was released on $5,000 unsecured bail; James T. Ford was released on personal recognizance bail.

Bail for Paul Ford was set at $5,000 unsecured, but he is being held at the Penobscot County Jail on a warrant from Massachusetts. Information on what Ford was charged with in that state was not available Friday.

James F. Ford, his wife and two sons were arrested in November and charged with state offenses in Waldo County Superior Court after agents with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency raided the family’s Swan Lake Avenue garage, where they allegedly grew hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of marijuana.

The sons and their father were indicted earlier this month by a federal grand jury for conspiracy to manufacture 100 or more marijuana plants and manufacturing 100 marijuana plants or more. The parents were indicted for maintaining a drug-involved place. In addition to being indicted on the drug charges, James F. Ford and James T. Ford were indicted on one count each of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. Darlene Ford was indicted for aiding and abetting her husband in possessing a firearm and ammunition.

The indictment also calls for the parents to forfeit the property where the alleged growing operation was located.

If convicted on the conspiracy and manufacturing charges, James F. Ford and his son James T. Ford face a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in federal prison due to their previous drug convictions and a fine of up to $8 million. Each man faces up to 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000 on the gun charge.

Paul Ford faces a minimum of five years and up to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $5 million on his drug charges. Darlene Ford and her husband face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 on the charge of maintaining a drug-involved place. She also faces up to 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000 on the gun charge.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/09/28/news/midcoast/waldo-county-patriarch-pleads-not-guilty-to-drug-charges/ printed on September 23, 2014