Court continues retrial for mom charged in family pot growing schemeCase scheduled to proceed in February 2014
Bangor — The court has agreed to continue the retrial of a Monroe woman accused of helping her husband and two sons in a large-scale marijuana growing and distribution operation between 2006 and 2011.
Court records from United States District Court in Bangor dated Wednesday, Nov. 27, showed Justice John A. Woodcock granted the motion to delay the retrial of 58-year-old Darlene Ford, a request that came to the court from defense attorney, Donald F. Brown. Darlene Ford was initially scheduled to be retried this week.
In his motion, Brown told the court Darlene Ford had requested transcripts from her first federal trail in September and as of Nov. 27, Brown had received eight of the 11 requested documents. In addition, Brown stated his client is seeking transcripts of witness testimony from the trial of her husband, 58-year-old James F. Ford, whose trial concluded last month. At that time a jury found James F. Ford guilty of conspiracy to manufacture 100 or more marijuana plants, manufacturing 100 or more marijuana plants, maintaining a drug-involved place and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The court has yet to schedule a sentencing date for James F. Ford, according to court records, but he was remanded to the custody of United States Marshals following the trial.
Brown also stated he had a preplanned vacation scheduled in January 2014, and between those plans and the need to obtain and review the transcripts, the matter would not be ready for a December trial.
"The defense believes the previously requested transcripts as well as the additional transcripts are necessary in preparing for the retrial of this matter," stated Brown. "Upon information and belief, there is insufficient time for the court to process the transcript orders and for counsel and defendant to review the transcripts in time for the trial of this matter in December."
Justice Woodcock granted the motion and reset the date of Darlene Ford's retrial to Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014.
The court scheduled the new trial for Darlene Ford in September after Justice Woodcock declared a mistrial. Justice Woodcock made that decision when the jury failed to reach a verdict after more than nine hours of deliberation at the conclusion of her first trial.
Darlene Ford pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to manufacture 100 or more marijuana plants, maintaining a drug-involved place, and aiding and abetting a felon in possession of a firearm after agents with Maine Drug Enforcement raided her family's Swan Lake Avenue home.
Police seized about $800,000 worth of marijuana and an additional $80,000 in growing equipment, such as lights and a hydration system.
According to previously published reports, drug agents found the growing operation in the garage section of the home, and seized more than 300 marijuana plants in various stages of growth. The raid also resulted in the discovery of 10 pounds of processed marijuana and two semi-automatic assault weapons.
Darlene Ford and her husband, 58-year-old James F. Ford, were suspected of harvesting about 20 pounds of marijuana every three months and shipping it to Massachusetts, MDEA stated at the time of the arrests.
According to previously published reports, 33-year-old Paul Ford of Swanville pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture 100 or more marijuana plants at his parents' Monroe property and manufacturing 50 or more plants at his home in Swanville. Paul Ford entered his guilty plea in May.
His 36-year-old brother, James T. Ford, of Monroe, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture 100 or more marijuana plants, manufacturing 100 or more marijuana plants and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition in December 2012.