Jury selection to begin in trial of mom charged in Monroe pot growing scheme

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

Bangor — Jury selection will begin this week at a Bangor courthouse in preparation for the federal 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 show Justice John A. Woodcock set the date for the retrial of 58-year-old Darlene Ford for Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, and that jury selection for that case, as well as several others, was set to start Wednesday, Jan. 8.

The court scheduled the new trial 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.

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