MADISON — The latest bust of an illegal marijuana growing operation in central Maine turned up thousands of plants and pounds of processed marijuana from a Madison home infested with black mold, authorities said.

Police seized thousands of marijuana plants Tuesday at an illegal marijuana growing operation in Madison. Police say the home was infested with black mold. Photo courtesy of Somerset County Sheriff’s Office

More than a dozen law enforcement officers from several agencies, led by the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, executed a search warrant at a home on Horsetail Hill Road in Madison on Tuesday around 9:30 a.m., according to Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster.

Horsetail Hill Road is a section of Route 43 to the east of U.S. Route 201.

The search turned up 1,854 marijuana plants, 10 pounds of processed marijuana, and other drug-related items and documents, Lancaster said.

No arrests were made Tuesday, as nobody was at the home during the execution of the search warrant, Lancaster said. As the investigation continues, those suspected to be connected with the operation will face charges.

Police also found the home was filled with black mold. Investigators always wear masks and gloves during their searches of illegal growing operations because the humidity is known to cause black mold, Lancaster said.


“In the 14 similar illegal marijuana plant cultivation operations that the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office has interrupted, this residence had the worst case of black mold infestation in the interior of the buildings,” Lancaster said in a statement.

Most of the home was being used for growing, Lancaster said in an interview. One room had a bed in it, but the roof had collapsed on top of it because of the mold and humidity.

Madison’s code enforcement officer was called to the home to inspect several health and safety violations, Lancaster said.

Earlier in April, the Sheriff’s Office also executed a search warrant at another illegal marijuana growing operation on Ellms Road in Ripley. That search yielded 1,106 marijuana plants and 100 pounds of harvested marijuana, Lancaster said.

The Sheriff’s Office, along with its law enforcement partners, has also conducted searches of suspected illegal growing operations in Cornville, Harmony, Madison, Mercer and Norridgewock this year.

Law enforcement agencies in other parts of Maine — including Franklin, Kennebec and Lincoln counties — have also carried out similar raids in recent months.


The crackdown comes as Maine’s congressional delegation urged federal officials in January to investigate illegal growing operations that reportedly benefit Chinese investors.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says it is investigating international criminal organizations that are operating illegal marijuana grows in about 20 states, the Associated Press reported in April.

Earlier in April, a search of a grow in Passadumkeag led authorities to bring federal charges for the first time in such a case in Maine.

As with most of the other searches executed recently, the Sheriff’s Office was assisted Tuesday by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Waterville Police Department, according to Lancaster.

The Maine Office of Cannabis Policy, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the district attorney’s office for Somerset County also assisted in the investigation.

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