One of the 13 people charged in a conspiracy to use medical marijuana grow houses in western Maine to illegally sell $13 million of the drug continues to serve as the town manager in the western Maine town of Dixfield.
James McLamb, 29, of Auburn is accused of tipping off two former Franklin County sheriff’s deputies that they were under investigation for their role in the marijuana operation and then destroying evidence.
McLamb was then serving as a deputy with the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office, according to federal court documents. He became town manager of Dixfield in May, the Lewiston Sun-Journal reported at the time. The wrongdoing he is accused of predates his appointment as town manager.
McLamb remains the town’s manager, according to a woman who answered the phone at the town office on Thursday morning. The woman, who declined to provide her name, said the town had no comment on the allegations against McLamb, who she said was not in the office Thursday, the day he was expected to make his first appearance in federal court in Bangor.
Richard Pickett, a member of Dixfield’s board of selectmen, said the board had no comment at this time as members investigate the allegations against McLamb.
McLamb has been charged with conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and tampering with documents. He faces a maximum of up to 20 years in prison for each count if convicted.
He is one of a handful of public employees and officials facing charges in connection with the sprawling marijuana operation run by Lucas Sirois of Farmington, who allegedly gave the two Franklin County deputies ownership interests in his company and brand new “company” cars in exchange for confidential information. He also learned about the federal investigation into his illegal business dealings through the officers’ networks, according to court documents made public Wednesday.
The Franklin County deputies, Bradley Scovil and Derrick Doucette, resigned from the sheriff’s office in the fall of 2019, Sheriff Scott Nichols said Thursday.
Nichols said his department cooperated fully with federal authorities during the investigation after becoming aware of it in the summer of 2020.
“Now this is in the hands of the court to decide guilt or innocence,” he said.
Wilton police officer Kevin Lemay, 33, of Farmington, has also been charged with using law enforcement databases to investigate if cars that were following Scovil and Doucette were law enforcement vehicles. He is now on administrative leave, Chief Heidi Wilcox said Thursday.
After running the plates of a truck, Lemay found that a vehicle following Scovil was listed as “not on file,” indicating it belonged to law enforcement, the court complaint said. He then called a Maine Drug Enforcement Agency officer to ask if the truck in question belonged to a Maine DEA agent, the complaint said.
Scovil and Doucette convinced McLamb to run license plate numbers of vehicles that they believed to be following them, according to the complaint. He provided the pair with information that he learned, including that one of the plates appeared to belong to the Maine Department of Public Safety.
“As an incentive to assist him, Doucette offered to set up McLamb with an illegal marijuana grow,” the complaint said.
Prosecutors said McLamb then destroyed electronic evidence of the wrongdoing to keep it from investigators, with McLamb deleting text messages he had exchanged with Doucette and Scovil.
An employee at the office of the Oxford County Sheriff’s Department declined to comment on the medical marijuana scheme on Thursday. Oxford County Sheriff Chris Wainwright did not respond to a request for comment about the allegations against McLamb.
McLamb took office as town manager in May on a one-year contract. He wanted to serve the community in a role outside of law enforcement after getting his master’s degree in criminal justice in 2018, he told the Sun Journal. He had patrolled Dixfield as a member of the sheriff’s department and had previously lived in the town.
He had told the Sun Journal that he wanted to address Dixfield’s drug problem.
Dixfield is a town of about 2,300 located 10 minutes east of Rumford.