Federal Judge Denies Man’s Request To Use Medical Cannabis Due To Fact He Is On Bail For Alleged “illicit cannabis growing operation and money laundering scheme”

Yahoo News ..

May 10—FARMINGTON — A federal judge has denied a Rangeley man’s request to use medical marijuana for health reasons while on bail in an alleged illicit marijuana growing operation and money laundering scheme.

Magistrate Judge John Nivison heard Lucas Sirois’ motion April 13 at U.S. District Court in Bangor, which was held via video hearing. It was denied Friday.

A 2021 federal complaint alleges the former Farmington resident was the leader of the operation in the Franklin County area. He and co-conspirators took in more than $13 million over six years through the illicit sale of marijuana, according to the complaint.

20cv256complaint

Sirois pleaded not guilty to a 15-count indictment in November 2021 that included complaints against three businesses he partly owns, including Narrow Gauge in Farmington. Ten others named in the indictment also pleaded not guilty. Two others not named in the indictment pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

Sirois structured his operations to appear as though they complied with Maine’s medical marijuana laws 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, according federal prosecutors.

Marijuana use is illegal by federal law, but it is legal in Maine.

On Oct. 28, 2021, the U.S. District Court in Bangor ordered Sirois to follow certain conditions of release pending conclusion of this case.

“The order requires that defendant not use marijuana and ‘not violate federal, state, or local law,'” according to Nivison’s order. The Maine law that permits the use of medical marijuana “does not override the federal requirements for conditions of pretrial release — where federal law and state law provide contradictory directives, federal law controls,” the order states.

Sirois’ attorney, Timothy Parlatore, had requested release conditions be amended.

Parlatore gave three options: Permit Sirois to continue using his physician-prescribed cannabis medicine; direct that he not be sanctioned for such use as long as it complies with Maine law; or direct that pretrial services not file any violation petition based solely on a urinalysis test indicating positive for THC, given legal hemp derivatives.

U.S. Attorney Darcie McElwee and U.S. Assistant Attorney Noah Falk opposed the motion to modify conditions of his release.

The “court should enforce the existing terms of supervision and the federal law by continuing to prohibit the defendant’s use of medical marijuana,” according to their response. The “Controlled Substances Act contains no exceptions — express or implied — for medically prescribed marijuana,” according to prosecutors.

One of Sirois’ mandatory release conditions is that he not violate federal, state or local law while on release. The conditions include not using or possessing controlled substances unless prescribed by a medical professional. The condition explicitly excludes the use of marijuana “even with a prescription,” according to Nivison’s order.

Source:  https://news.yahoo.com/federal-judge-denies-rangeley-mans-223600820.html

 

Also Read

Judge gives defendants in Farmington marijuana case more time to review evidence

https://www.sunjournal.com/2022/01/14/judge-gives-defendants-in-farmington-marijuana-case-more-time-to-review-evidence/

 

Court documents untangle alleged conspiracy to sell drugs involving law enforcement

https://wgme.com/news/local/court-documents-untangle-alleged-conspiracy-to-sell-drugs-involving-law-enforcement

 

Farmington Man Pleads Guilty to Role in Illegal Marijuana Distribution Conspiracy Involving Money Laundering and Public Corruption

12 additional defendants were charged in a 14-count criminal complaint filed today in federal court, describing the conspiracy’s end-run around Maine’s medical marijuana program
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.

Copies of the criminal and civil complaints are available here: criminal  civil

COUNT

DEFENDANT(S)

MAX TERM OF IMPRISONMENT

 

Count One: Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances (21 U.S.C. § 846)Lucas Sirois

David Burgess

Bradley Scovil

Derrick Doucette

Alisa Sirois

Robert Sirois

Brandon Dagnese

Ryan Nezol

 

Dependent on quantity of marijuana reasonably foreseeable to each individual defendant
Count Two: Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering (18 U.S.C. § 1956(h))Lucas Sirois

David Burgess

Alisa Sirois

 

20 years
Count Three: Conspiracy to Commit Honest Services Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1349)

 

Lucas Sirois

David Burgess

20 years
Count Four: Conspiracy to Commit Honest Services Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1349)Lucas Sirois

Bradley Scovil

Derrick Doucette

James McLamb

 

20 years
Count Five: Bank Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1344)Lucas Sirois

Alisa Sirois

 

30 years
Count Six: Bank Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1344)Lucas Sirois

Bradley Scovil

Derrick Doucette

 

30 years
Count Seven: Bank Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1344)

 

David Burgess30 years
Count Eight: Tampering with Proceedings (18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2))

 

Kayla Alves20 years
Count Nine: Tampering with Documents (18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(1))

 

Kayla Alves20 years
Count Ten: Tampering with Documents (18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(1))

 

Kevin Lemay20 years
Count Eleven: Tampering with Documents (18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(1))

 

James McLamb20 years
Count Twelve: Conspiracy to Defraud the United States and Impede and Impair I.R.S. (18 U.S.C. § 371)

 

Lucas Sirois

David Burgess

Kenneth Allen

 

5 years
Count Thirteen: Tax Evasion (26 U.S.C. § 7201)

 

Lucas Sirois5 years
Count Fourteen: Tax Fraud (26 U.S.C. § 7206(2))

 

Kenneth Allen3 years

New: Free USA Cannabis Case Law Search – New Cases Daily

Top Marijuana Blog