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Illegal Cannabis Operation Could Net Conspirator Life Sentence

Illustration: Pictrider / Shutterstock

FARMINGTON, Maine — A Maine man faces life in prison and a $10-million fine after pleading guilty to conspiring to cultivate and distribute cannabis illegally.

Randal Cousineau, 69, is one of twelve defendants charged with money laundering, bank fraud, tax evasion, tax fraud, tampering with proceedings and documents, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, in addition to the cannabis charges, as part of a fourteen-count federal indictment.

The complaint alleges the conspirators used an elaborate web of shell companies to launder more than $13 million gained from operating an illegal cannabis cultivation and distribution network for about six years. The group included deputy sheriffs, police officers, an assistant district attorney, an accountant, and an elected official. All used their official capacities in corrupt manners to further the criminal enterprise, according to U.S. Attorney Darcie N. McElwee.

According to the indictment, the operation was structured to appear as though it complied with Maine’s medical marijuana program while it regularly sold bulk cannabis on the illicit market, including more than $1 million worth of marijuana for out-of-state distribution. The primary sales agent was a convicted felon who was ineligible for so much as a caregiver license in the state.

Cousineau was the primary financier and 50-percent partner. He allegedly received “hundreds of thousands of dollars” for his part in the scheme and awaits sentencing at an undetermined date. Trials are pending for the other eleven defendants.

By Sue Dehnam

Originally published at on November 2, 2021.



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mg Magazine

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mg is a monthly business magazine covering the recreational and medical cannabis business, meeting growing demand for business news and information.