malcolm french

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Maine: 3 Sentenced In $9M Marijuana-growing Operation

Maine US District Court.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Three men convicted of a marijuana-growing operation that produced one of the biggest marijuana seizures in Maine history were sentenced Thursday.

A judge in the U.S. District Court in Bangor imposed sentences of more than 14 years for Malcolm French, 54, of Enfield, and more than 12 years for Rodney Russell, 52, of South Thomaston for charges including manufacturing drugs and housing workers who were in the country illegally. Kendall Chase, 59, of Bradford, was sentenced to five years in prison for conspiracy.

"This was a truly remarkable operation," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Casey, who described it as the largest marijuana-growing operation to be successfully prosecuted in Maine. The three men were convicted by a federal jury in January 2014.

The marijuana operation was hidden in the woods and bogs in rural Washington County at the nation's eastern tip. Drug agents found nearly 3,000 plants, some as tall as 8 feet, along with 40 pounds of processed marijuana, all valued at $9 million.

Special Agent Jonathan Richards of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency said he'd never seen anything like it in his 37-year career in law enforcement.

Maine: Judge Denies Marijuana Defendant's Request To Visit Dying Dad


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A federal judge on Tuesday denied a request from a man convicted for cultivating marijuana to visit his dying father. Ironically, the denial came 10 days after the father had died.

U.S. District Judge John Woodcock ruled that Malcolm French, 53, was a flight risk because of his estimated worth of $14 million and the long prison sentence (between 20 and 24 years) that he's facing, reports Judy Harrison at the Bangor Daily News.

"The court appreciates Mr. French's desire to physically see and speak with his father and it regrets having to reject Mr. French's request," Judge Woodcock ruled.

French, of Enfield, Maine; Rodney Russell, 51, of South Thomaston; and Kendall Chase, 58, of Bradford were found guilty of a number of charges in the Township 37 marijuana plantation case on January 24, 20-14, after a 10-day jury trial.

All have remained behind bars while awaiting sentencing. Dates for their sentencings have not yet been set. Judge Woodcock said in his most recent ruling that French, who is being held at the Piscataquis County Jail, would most likely be sentenced in late June.

Last month, Judge Woodcock had denied the defendants' joint motion for a new trial, reports Johanna S. Billings at the Bangor Daily News.

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