Updated

Federal prosecutors to retry Monroe mom charged in pot growing scheme

Judge declares mistrial after jury fails to reach verdict
By Tanya Mitchell | Sep 26, 2013
Source: File image Darlene Ford

Bangor — Days after a federal judge declared a mistrial in the trial 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, the court has scheduled a new trial.

Court records at U.S. District Court in Bangor show a new trial for 58-year-old Darlene Ford of Monroe will begin Tuesday, Dec. 3 in Bangor.

The court scheduled the new trial early this week after Justice John A. Woodcock Jr. declared the mistrial in Darlene Ford's first trial just after noon Thursday, Sept. 26. Woodcock made the declaration because the jury failed to reach a verdict after more than nine hours of deliberation.

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.

James F. Ford pleaded not guilty to 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. Court records show the elder Ford is scheduled to go on trial in early November.

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.

Both Darlene and James F. Ford have remained free on bail while awaiting trial.

The Fords were arraigned after a federal grand jury indicted the family in September 2012. At that time, 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.



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