BANGOR, Maine – Six men from Maine and a corporation were indicted Monday on charges they ran an illegal marijuana manufacturing operation. The charges follow a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, with assistance from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Malcolm French, 50, of Enfield, Rodney Russell, 48, of South Thomaston, Kendall Chase, 55, of Bradford, Robert Berg, 49, of Dexter and Haynes Timberland, Inc., a Maine corporation, have been charged by indictment with federal drug and other offenses arising out of the September 22, 2009 seizure of 2,943 marijuana plants.
French, Russell and Chase are charged with conspiracy to manufacture over 1,000 marijuana plants. French, Russell, Chase and Berg are charged with manufacturing over 1,000 marijuana plants. French, Russell and Haynes Timberland, Inc. are charged with managing and controlling property used to manufacture marijuana. French, Russell and Berg are charged with harboring illegal aliens. Berg is charged with assisting individuals conspiring to manufacture marijuana evade apprehension.
Individual defendants charged with conspiracy and manufacturing marijuana face from 10 years to life in prison and up to a $10,000,000 fine; those charged with managing and controlling property used to manufacture marijuana face up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine; those charged with harboring illegal aliens face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine; and those charged with assisting individuals evade apprehension face up to 15 years in prison and a $5,000,000 fine. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of Haynes Timberland, Inc. and the property used to manufacture marijuana.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.