April 20, 2019
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Men who grew marijuana for Bangor head shop owner sentenced

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
The Herbal Tea and Tobacco smoke shop in Bangor.

Two men who grew marijuana for the owner of a downtown Bangor head shop were sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

Nicholas Reynolds, 33, of Bangor was sentenced to six months in federal prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. The first six months of his supervised release must be spent in home confinement.

Reynolds was ordered to begin serving his sentence on Oct. 24.

Jeremy Duguay, 35, of Bangor was sentenced to two years of probation for his limited role in the operation, according to information posted on the court system’s website. He worked in the operation for a short time, according to court documents.

Both men pleaded guilty earlier this year to being part of drug conspiracy to grow and distribute marijuana with Christopher Ruhlin, the owner of Herbal Tea & Tobacco at 44 Main St. and Terrence Sawtelle, who distributed the pot through the former Owls Club, Sawtelle’s smoking lounge, adjacent to the head shop.

Reynolds and James Mansfield operated an indoor pot farm in a Frankfort warehouse that produced between 5 and 6 pounds of marijuana per month that was sold through the smoking lounge, U.S. District Judge Jon Levy said in sentencing Reynolds.

Mansfield, 34, of Etna was sentenced in June to a year and a day in prison for his role in conspiracy. He is incarcerated at a federal facility in Devens, Massachusetts, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons inmate locator website.

Reynolds, who now works for a landscaping firm, apologized to the judge, his family and the community.

“I have no one to blame but myself,” he said. “I was naive to think that I understood the laws about growing marijuana. I was naive about what the consequences could be.”

Members of Reynolds’ family and his attorney, Leonard Sharon of Lewiston, urged the judge to allow the defendant to serve his sentence on probation or in home confinement because of how much he helps care for aging family members.

Reynolds’ father, Jay Reynolds, told Levy that his son began working for Ruhlin shortly after Jay Reynolds fell ill in 2010 and had to have heart surgery in 2011.

“I think he was concerned that I could no longer work and he wanted to do all he could to provide for the family,” he said. “Mr. Ruhlin is kind of a pied piper for that lifestyle. He saw that medical marijuana was going to be legal, but he didn’t do it the right way.”

The defendants grew marijuana at a large, sophisticated indoor facility from October 2010 to August 2016 at the Frankfort warehouse, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. In May 2016, law enforcement officers executed a federal search warrant at the facility and recovered about 400 marijuana plants, 295 marijuana root balls, and paraphernalia used to manufacture and process marijuana.

The operation would have been illegal under state laws governing medical marijuana, Levy noted Tuesday.

Sawtelle, 49, of Bangor and Ruhlin, 49, of Holden pleaded guilty earlier this year to the drug conspiracy charge. Ruhlin aldo pleaded guilty to one count of structuring, or trying to hide cash deposits from bank regulators.

Sentencing dates for Sawtelle and Ruhlin have not been set. Both men remain free on bail.

The maximum sentence on the drug conspiracy charge is 20 years and a fine of up to $1 million.

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