Marijuana Grow House Busted in Rural Maine, Foreign Involvement Suspected

Law authorities discovered an illegal grow operation in rural Maine due to a home’s excessive power use, its cardboard-covered windows, and the smell of marijuana.

Authorities say that foreign nationals have been taking advantage of state laws that legalize cannabis for recreational or medical use to produce weed for the black market in America.

An extensive operation with nearly three thousand plants and 100 lbs of bagged marijuana was discovered in a raid in Machias, a remote area on the coast, last December after a six-week investigation by Maine law enforcement.

Recently, there was a confiscation of almost forty lbs of marijuana during a raid of a home with a hidden grow operation.

In response to a question posed by Maine Republican Susan Collins, Attorney General Merrick Garland told the Senate Appropriations Committee last week that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was conducting investigations into international criminal organizations that are running illicit marijuana farms in approximately 20 states.

In February, fifty congressmen wrote to Garland, demanding answers about China’s involvement in illicit marijuana activities in this country.

Forty warrants have been executed since last June, and federal law enforcement authorities estimate that there are around one hundred illegal grow operations in Maine at the moment, including the one in Passadumkeag.

Newly disclosed court records accuse Xisen Guo of turning a Passadumkeag home into a sophisticated, illegal grow business. Guo is a naturalized American citizen originally from China.  He was ordered detained without bail with a detention hearing on April 22nd.

According to Raymond Donovan, a former DEA head of operations, an abnormally high power bill is one of the most obvious signs of an illicit grow operation.

After reviewing the power bills for the Passadumkeag residence, investigators narrowed the focus of the investigation. As shown in court records, power use increased from $300 per month to over $9,000 after the residence was bought for $125,000 in cash.

The majority of Americans currently reside in states where marijuana is legal, although it is still illegal under federal law. State laws do indeed permit the selling of marijuana, but the demand far exceeds the supply, creating an opportunity for underground producers.

Donovan is concerned that decreased enforcement may allow criminal organizations involved in marijuana trafficking to penetrate states with low population densities.