More than 1,000 plants were seized last month at an illegal marijuana growing operation at 34 Clover Lane in Whitefield, police said. Photo courtesy of Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office

WHITEFIELD — Two people were charged last week by police after they allegedly returned to a Clover Lane home that authorities had searched and uncovered an illegal marijuana growing operation.

In late January, police said they raided seven illegal marijuana growing operations in central Maine, including a Clover Lane home in Whitefield. More than 1,000 marijuana plants were seized by police there.

While several people were arrested in connection with the incidents, one suspect reportedly fled the area, Xiangming Ye, 62, of Whitefield and Brooklyn, New York, who is accused of having 1,014 marijuana plants at the 34 Clover Lane property.

While monitoring that property in the days after the Jan. 10 search, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office deputies located Ye and a woman, Hongxia Kuang, 51, also of Whitefield and Brooklyn, New York, at the home. Ye was arrested Thursday on a warrant and charged with unlawfully cultivating marijuana, a Class B felony.

While Ye was being questioned he allegedly told police Kuang was also involved in the operation. She was issued a summons Friday on a Class B charge of unlawfully cultivating marijuana, according to a news release Tuesday from Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.

Eight other people have been arrested in the past month in connection with illegal grow operations at six homes in Belgrade, China and Cornville, which are located in Kennebec and Somerset counties, respectively.


It is unclear whether any of the operations are related to each other or whether they are linked to reports of hundreds of illegal Chinese marijuana growing operations in Maine taking in billions of dollars in revenue. Reports about an internal memo by the U.S. Border Patrol leaked last year made such a claim, prompting Maine’s congressional delegation to call for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate and help the state crack down on illegal marijuana growing operations in Maine that reportedly benefit Chinese investors.

Lt. Mike Murphy, of Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, said that authorities are unsure how many illegal grow properties are out there. During the seven raids his agency has participated in over the last month, the department has seized 6,066 plants, which equals 107 pounds of processed marijuana, he said.

Of the six people arrested in Lincoln County, five were charged with unlawful trafficking in marijuana, Class B; four were charged with cultivating marijuana, Class B; and one person was charged with criminal conspiracy, Class C. None of the people arrested had marijuana grow licenses.

The largest commercial grow license in Maine allows up to roughly 1,200 mature plants, and the maximum number of mature marijuana plants an adult can have at home for personal use is six.

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