Mom charged in Monroe pot growing scheme to be retried this week

By Tanya Mitchell | Feb 04, 2014
Source: File image Darlene Ford

Bangor — 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 began Tuesday, Feb. 4, at U.S. District Court in Bangor.

Court records show Justice John A. Woodcock is set to preside over the retrial of Darlene Ford, which is expected to span one or two days. Darlene Ford, through her attorney, Donald F. Brown, plans to present one witness in her defense, but court records do not indicate if she will testify in her own behalf.

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.

 

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