A large marijuana growing operation is seen in April in a farmhouse on Route 133 in Jay. Franklin County Sheriff’s Office photo

JAY — Massive spikes in electrical use were among the clues that led police to raid a home on Franklin Road in April, according to a police search warrant.

A review of Central Maine Power records revealed electrical power use as high as 20,000 kilowatt hours at the home at 864 Franklin Road, according to the document. The spikes began almost immediately after a man identified as a Chinese national moved into the home in August 2022.

The average household electricity use is around 550 kWh.

According to the search warrant, filed by Franklin County Sheriff’s Detective David Davol on April 16, a second electrical account was added to the home a short time later, possibly to prevent one meter from being overloaded.

Police had been watching the home after learning that it might be the scene of a large marijuana grow operation similar to a grow investigated in New Sharon in March.

In that search, police uncovered about 723 remaining potting planters along with irrigation, ventilation and grow systems. Approximately half of the potting planters had been removed from the residence prior to the search warrant being served, according to the court document.


Investigators reported that at 864 Franklin Road, windows were covered or boarded over, presumably to block light from the grow operation. Two heat pump condensers were spotted attached to the home, according to the court document. In addition, a strong smell of marijuana was noted around the home while records show that nobody at that address was licensed to grow pot.

On April 17, sheriff’s deputies served the search warrant at the farmhouse in conjunction with members of the Jay Police Department, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Border Patrol, Wilton Police and the state Office of Marijuana Policy.

According to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, no one was in the building at the time of the search, which revealed evidence of “a massive marijuana grow” at the home.

Police have offered no other details except to relate that the case is still under investigation. Investigators did not disclose what was recovered during their search or if any arrests were made.

The recent raids in Jay and New Sharon may be part of a larger drug ring — federal authorities said last week that the dozens of illegal marijuana growing operations busted in recent months in central Maine may be tied to organized, transnational crime organizations.

In the past several months, federal, state and local authorities have shut down more than 40 illegal grows in Maine, according to Darcie N. McElwee, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maine.

Investigators believe they have identified about 100 such operations in Maine, with most in rural areas in the central part of the state, McElwee said. That number could fluctuate as busts continue and people involved abandon them to avoid criminal charges, her statement said.

In January, police raided seven illegal weed operations in central Maine, arresting six people and seizing over 6,000 marijuana plants after local authorities said they were tipped off by the U.S. Attorney General’s Office about unlicensed grow operations.

Those arrests were made as the state’s congressional delegation has renewed calls for the Department of Justice to “crack down on illegal Chinese-run marijuana operations in Maine,” which they say are worth about $4.37 billion and could include upward of 270 residences.

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