FARMINGTON, Maine — Court documents state Randal Cousineau allegedly participated in a conspiracy with twelve others to illegally cultivate and sell marijuana at narrow gauge distributors from 2016 through July 2020.
On Wednesday, Randal Cousineau pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess and distribute marijuana and plants.
The first six defendants had their initial appearance in court Thursday, and the remaining six had their first appearance on Friday.
The twelve defendants are Lucas Sirois of Farmington, the alleged leader of the criminal operation; David Burgess, a former Rangeley selectman; Bradley Scovil, a former Franklin County Sheriff's Deputy; Derrick Doucette, another former Franklin County Sheriff's Deputy; James McLamb, an Oxford County Sheriff's Deputy and Dixfield Town Manager; Kevin Lemay, a Wilton police officer; Alisa Sirois, the estranged wife of Lucas Sirois; Robert Sirois, Lucas' father; Brandon Dagnese, the alleged dealer who would allegedly sell the marijuana out of state; Ryan Nezol of Farmington; Kenneth Allen, Lucas Sirois' tax preparer; and Kayla Alves, Franklin County Assistant District Attorney.
Timothy Parlatore is the defense attorney for Lucas Sirois. He said the heart of this issue is the difference between state and federal marijuana regulations.
"This case really raises interesting issues of the tension between federal laws and state law. And so a lot of what we're going to be doing here is to test how those two interplay. There are prohibitions in the federal appropriations bill on the DOJ using federal funding to go after operations that are legal under state law. So a lot of this will turn on the applicability of Maine state law," Parlatore said.
Following the hearings, the magistrate set a number of conditions of bail for the defendants. They were all ordered to not have any contact with each other, unless in the presence of their attorneys. The one exception is that Lucas Sirois is allowed to see his father Robert, who is also charged in this case. A number of their bail conditions also included limitations on alcohol and drug use, including marijuana.
According to court documents, Randal Cousineau was the primary financier and 50% partner in an illegal marijuana cultivation facility in Farmington. Cousineau faces up to life in prison and a $10 million fine.
According to the criminal complaint, then-Franklin County Deputy Sheriffs Bradley Scovil of Rangeley and Derick Doucette of Jay used confidential law enforcement information to benefit Lucas Sirois. Scovil and Doucette reportedly received cars and ownership interests for their cooperation. The two former deputy sheriffs are also accused of using their network of active law enforcement officials to gather information about an active federal investigation into Sirois’s illegal operations.
Wilton Police Officer Kevin Lemay of Farmington and then-Oxford County deputy sheriff, now Dixfield town manager, James McLamb, are said to have used government databases to confirm that Scovil and Doucette were under surveillance, and Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Kayla Alves is accused of sharing this information with Scovil. Court documents allege that all three destroyed electronic evidence of their criminal activity in an attempt to hide it from investigators.
Rangeley Selectman David Burgess is accused of taking tens of thousands of dollars in cash in exchange for advocating on Sirois’s behalf in town government meetings. Burgess allegedly voted to advance a marijuana ordinance that Sirois drafted himself to a town referendum. Additionally, court documents claim that Burgess was paid thousands of dollars a week to manage Sirois’s pot business and never publicly disclosed the conflict of interest.
Rangeley Town Manager Joe Roach told NEWS CENTER Maine in an email that Burgess voluntarily stepped down from the Rangeley Board of Selectmen on July 27, 2020.
"The Town of Rangeley has a written Code of Ethics and Conduct for Employees, Elected, and Appointed Officials that the Board of Selectmen periodically review and consistently follow," Roach said. "The Board has a strong commitment to public service and they embrace a culture of openly discussing and disclosing potential conflicts of interest."
In response to the allegations against Scovil and Doucette, Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols told NEWS CENTER Maine in an email, "Both of these individuals (Scovil & Doucette) resigned from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in the fall of 2019. The Sheriff’s Office was made aware of the investigation in the summer of 2020. This office cooperated fully with federal authorities during their investigation. Now, this is in the hands of the court to decide guilt or innocence."
The defendants are then expected to be back in court for preliminary hearings the week of Nov. 15.