Jury finds Ford matriarch guilty in connection with pot growing scheme

By Tanya Mitchell | Feb 07, 2014
Source: File image Darlene Ford

Bangor — A U.S. District Court jury returned guilty verdicts in the retrial of a Monroe woman accused of helping her husband and two adult sons with a large scale marijuana growing operation at a Swan Lake Avenue residence between 2006 and 2011.

According to court records, jurors in the retrial of 58-year-old Darlene Ford deliberated for 40 minutes before finding Darlene Ford guilty of conspiracy to manufacture 100 or more marijuana plants, maintaining a drug-involved place and aiding and abetting a felon in possession of a firearm. Darlene Ford had previously pleaded not guilty to all of those charges.

In addition to considering the criminal charges, jurors deliberated for another 15 minutes before deciding the the Monroe property of she and her husband, 58-year-old James F. Ford, was used or was intended to be used to facilitate the criminal activity for which she and her family were accused.

Court documents show that following the reading of the verdicts, the court remanded Darlene Ford into the custody of U.S. Marshals.

The retrial began Tuesday, Feb. 4, and wrapped up on the evening of Thursday, Feb. 6.

Last fall Justice John A. Woodcock scheduled the retrial for Darlene Ford when jurors failed to reach a verdict after more than nine hours of deliberation, prompting the judge to declare a mistrial.

When agents with Maine Drug Enforcement raided her family's Swan Lake Avenue home in late 2011, 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.

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