Family facing federal charges following $800,000 pot bust
Bangor — Four members of a Monroe family whom police say ran a large-scale marijuana-growing operation in a garage on Swan Lake Avenue from 2006 until the fall of 2011 are now facing charges in federal court.
According to court documents, a federal grand jury indicted the husband-and-wife duo of James F. Ford and Darlene Ford, both 57, of Monroe, and their two sons, 35-year-old James T. Ford of Monroe and Paul Ford of Swanville, on drug and firearms charges at U.S. District Court in Bangor Friday, Sept. 14.
Friday, the elder James Ford and his two sons were indicted for conspiracy to manufacture 100 or more marijuana plants and for manufacturing 100 marijuana plants or more — "manufacturing" is the federal term for cultivation. The parents were indicted for making their Swan Lake Avenue residence available for manufacturing and storing the drug. Court records also state that James F. and James T. Ford were each indicted for possessing firearms as convicted felons and the grand jury also indicted Darlene Ford for aiding and abetting her husband's possession of firearms.
Included in the indictment was a directive that James F. and Darlene Ford forfeit their Monroe home and property to the federal government.
The Ford family first came into contact with Maine law enforcement on the night of Nov. 15, 2011, when Maine Drug Enforcement agents, as well as officers with the Maine State Police and Waldo County Sheriff's Office raided the family residence. The search and seizure effort reportedly yielded 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 reportedly resulted in the discovery of 10 pounds of processed marijuana and two semi-automatic assault weapons.
The elder Fords were suspected of harvesting about 20 pounds of marijuana every three months and shipping it to Massachusetts, MDEA stated at the time of the family's arrest.
Court documents state the elder James Ford was convicted in 2002 for growing marijuana inside his home in Weymouth, Mass., and the house was later seized.