BANGOR, Maine — The fourth member of a Monroe family who ran a large indoor marijuana growing operation and cultivated plants at his own home was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court to three years and 10 months in federal prison.
In addition to prison time, Paul Ford, 33, of Dixmont also was sentenced to five years of supervised release. Ford’s parents and brother have either been convicted or admitted guilt in the case.
Ford pleaded guilty in May 2013 to conspiracy to manufacture 100 or more marijuana plants at his parents’ Monroe home and manufacturing 50 or more marijuana plants at a Swanville residence he lived in before moving to Dixmont, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He has drug convictions in state court.
“It seems to me you’re on the cusp, Mr. Ford,” U.S. District Court Judge John Woodcock said in imposing sentence. “Your life could go one way or another way. If the past is a prologue to the future, I’m afraid you’re going to find yourself back before me or another judge.”
Woodcock recommended Ford undergo drug treatment while in prison.
“I think the jury is still out on Paul Ford and you will be the one to deliver the verdict,” the judge said.
He faced up to 40 years in prison. Under the prevailing federal sentencing guideline, the recommended sentence was between the sentence imposed and four years and nine months in prison.
Ford apologized for his crime.
“I’ve let a lot of people down with the decisions I’ve made,” he said. “I want to move on with my life.”
No members of his family attended the sentencing and Woodcock did not refer to any letters of support submitted by family members. Two longtime friends spoke on Ford’s behalf at the sentencing.
His mother, Darlene Ford, 58, of Monroe was convicted by a jury in February on one count each of conspiracy to manufacture 100 or more marijuana plants, maintaining a drug-involved place, and aiding and abetting a felon in possession of a firearm.
Her husband, James F. Ford, 58, of Monroe, was convicted by a jury in November of one count each of conspiracy to manufacture 100 or more marijuana plants, manufacturing 100 or more marijuana plants, maintaining a drug-involved place and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Both are being held without bail while awaiting sentencing. Sentencing dates have not been set.
After Darlene Ford was convicted, Woodcock issued a preliminary order of forfeiture for the Ford’s home at 360 Swan Lake Ave. in Monroe where the marijuana was grown.
The elder son, James T. Ford, 36, of Monroe, pleaded guilty to drug charges in connection with the operation.
Members of the Ford family were arrested in November 2011 when 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.
During the raid, police seized more than 300 marijuana plants in various stages of growth, 10 pounds of processed marijuana and two semiautomatic assault weapons. According to police, the potential street value of the marijuana found in the home was more than $800,000. Jim Pease of the MDEA said in November 2011 that the parents were suspected of harvesting about 20 pounds of marijuana every three months and shipping it to Massachusetts.
Due to his Massachusetts conviction, James F. Ford faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and maximum of life in prison and a fine of up to $8 million on the conspiracy charge. His wife faces up to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $5 million.
James T. Ford is serving a five-year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Allenwood, Pennsylvania. He is expected to be released in October 2016, according the U.S. Bureau of Prison’s Inmate Locator website.