MERCER — Police seized more than 500 marijuana plants and several pounds of harvested marijuana at a local residence Friday in the latest bust of an illegal marijuana growing operation in central Maine.
The Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, with the assistance of several other law enforcement agencies, obtained a drug search warrant for the home on Rome Road in Mercer after “illegal marijuana cultivation activities were suspected” there, Sheriff Dale Lancaster said. He said 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, the people involved 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 Somerset and Kennebec County District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office also participated in the investigation.
Friday’s bust in Mercer joins a growing 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 carried out searches and, in some cases, arrested homes in Belgrade, China, Cornville, Norredwalk and Whitefield.
Police did not say whether the growths were related.
The man accused of killing Waterville is being held without bail and has been assigned an attorney