MERCER — Police seized more than 500 marijuana plants and several pounds of harvested marijuana Friday at a Mercer home in the latest bust of an illegal marijuana grow operation in central Maine, officials said.
The Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, with the assistance of several law enforcement agencies, obtained a drug search warrant for the home on Rome Road after “illegal marijuana plant cultivation activities were suspected to be occurring” there, Sheriff Dale Lancaster wrote in a statement. Monday.
No arrests were made because no one was home during the search, but 553 “mostly mature” plants and several pounds of harvested marijuana were seized, Lancaster said. Police also seized other drug-related items and chemicals banned in Maine.
Almost the entire residence was used for growth, according to Lancaster.
A Mercer Township Code Enforcement Officer was notified following the inspection due to the condition of the property and the presence of the illegal chemical.
When located, participants in the operation face Class B charges of marijuana cultivation and scheduled drug trafficking, according to Lancaster.
The Waterville Police Department, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Maine Office of Cannabis Policy assisted the Sheriff’s Office in executing the search warrant, according to Lancaster.
The Kennebec and Somerset District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office also participated in the investigation.
Friday’s bust in Mercer adds to a list of similar investigations across the state as Maine’s congressional delegation called on federal officials to investigate illegal marijuana grow operations that Chinese investors are reportedly profiting from.
In recent weeks police have conducted searches and, in some cases, arrests at homes in Belgrade, China, Cornville, Norredwalk and Whitefield.
The police did not say whether the increased operations were related or not.
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