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Farmington man faces life in prison, 12 others accused in marijuana conspiracy

The charges include conspiracy to possess and distribute illegal substances, conspiracy to commit money laundering, tampering with proceedings, bank and tax fraud, and other charges.
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Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 9:50 PM EDT
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FARMINGTON, Maine (WABI) - A Farmington man is facing up to life in prison and a $10 million fine after pleading guilty Wednesday in federal court to conspiring to possess and distribute more than a ton of marijuana and 1,000 marijuana plants.

Court documents say 69-year-old Randal Cousineau took part in the illegal conspiracy from 2016-2020.

He was the primary financier of an operation that violated Maine’s medical marijuana laws.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Cousineau made hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit.

A related criminal complaint involving 12 other people was also filed in court today.

The charges include conspiracy to possess and distribute illegal substances, conspiracy to commit money laundering, tampering with proceedings, bank and tax fraud, and other charges.

That complaint includes members of local law enforcement, a local selectman, and an assistant district attorney.

The accused in that complaint face up to 30 years of prison time.

The full press release from the United States Attorney’s Office District of Maine is copied below:

BANGOR, Maine: A Farmington man pleaded guilty today in federal court to conspiring to possess and distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and 1,000 marijuana plants, U.S. Attorney Darcie N. McElwee announced.

According to court documents, from about 2016 through July 2020, Randal Cousineau, 69, participated in a conspiracy to illegally cultivate and sell marijuana. Cousineau was the primary financier and 50% partner with a co-conspirator in an illegal marijuana cultivation facility in Farmington. He also held an interest in an illegal marijuana distribution company. Members of the conspiracy cultivated and sold marijuana in violation of Maine’s medical marijuana laws, selling bulk marijuana illicitly to individuals who were not registered as caregivers, and for distribution outside of the state of Maine. Cousineau realized hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit from these illegal sales.

Cousineau faces up to life in prison and a $10 million fine. He will be sentenced after the completion of a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

A related 14-count criminal complaint was also filed today in U.S. District Court in Bangor, charging 12 defendants with a variety of offenses, including conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, bank fraud, tampering with proceedings, tampering with documents, conspiracy to defraud the United States and to impede and impair the IRS, tax evasion, and tax fraud.

According to the criminal complaint, Lucas Sirois, 41, of Farmington, was the leader of the criminal organization. He and his coconspirators realized in excess of $13 million over a six-year period through the illicit sale of marijuana. Sirois structured his operations to appear as though they complied with Maine’s medical marijuana regime while he regularly sold bulk marijuana on the illicit market, including more than $1 million worth of marijuana for out-of-state distribution between 2018 and 2019 through codefendant Brandon Dagnese, 27, of Scarborough, a convicted felon who was ineligible to hold a caregiver card in Maine.

Also as alleged in the criminal complaint:

  • In order to conceal his activities and maximize his profits from illegal drug trafficking, in which he engaged with Alisa Sirois, 43, of Kingfield, Robert Sirois, 68, of Farmington, and Ryan Nezol, 38, of Farmington, among others, Sirois laundered drug proceeds through a complex corporate structure. He lied to his financial institution about the nature of his business and the source of funds that flowed through his accounts. Sirois and his tax preparer Kenneth Allen, 48, of Farmington, filed false income tax returns to hide hundreds of thousands of dollars in income, resulting in tax loss to the United States in excess of $400,000.
  • Sirois defrauded the taxpayers of the state of Maine by using his drug money to corrupt members of local law enforcement and town government. Then-Franklin County Deputy Sheriffs Bradley Scovil, 33, of Rangeley, and Derrick Doucette, 29, of Jay, obtained confidential law enforcement information for Sirois that he used to benefit his illegal business; in exchange, Sirois rewarded Scovil and Doucette with ownership interests in his business and brand new “company” cars. Later, Sirois used Scovil and Doucette’s network of active law enforcement officials to obtain information about the ongoing federal investigation into his criminal activity.
  • Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Kayla Alves, 36, of Farmington, tipped off Scovil to the existence of the Sirois probe, after Wilton police officer Kevin Lemay, 33, of Farmington, and then-Oxford County deputy sheriff James McLamb, 29, of Auburn, used government databases to confirm for Scovil and Doucette that they were being surveilled by law enforcement; all three officials later destroyed electronic evidence of their wrongdoing with Scovil and Doucette in order to conceal it from investigators.
  • Rangeley Selectman David Burgess, 53, accepted tens of thousands of dollars in cash payments from Sirois, including investment in his internet start-up company, in exchange for advocating for Sirois’s preferred agenda in town government, including voting to advance a marijuana ordinance that Sirois himself had drafted to a town referendum. All the while, Sirois paid Burgess thousands of dollars a week to manage his marijuana businesses, a conflict Burgess never publicly disclosed.

In addition to the criminal complaint, a civil complaint was unsealed today in federal court, seeking the forfeiture of 12 real properties involved in the facilitation of illegal marijuana trafficking and/or purchased with illegal drug proceeds.

A chart containing the names, charges, and maximum penalties for the defendants charged in the criminal complaint is set forth below. The maximum potential sentences described therein are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for information purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants would be determined by the sentencing judge.

U.S. Attorney McElwee praised the outstanding investigative work of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Division, Portland Resident Office; the FBI’s Boston Division; and the Boston Field Office of IRS Criminal Investigation. Ms. McElwee thanked local and state Maine law enforcement partners for their participation in, and support of, the investigation.

The charges and allegations contained in the criminal complaint are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

Courtesy: U.S. Attorney's Office Press Release
Courtesy: U.S. Attorney's Office Press Release(WABI)

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