Charges arose from an investigation into a drug trafficking organization located in the Lewiston-Auburn area that is alleged to have grown and distributed large quantities of marijuana in violation of federal law, and under the cover of, but in violation of, Maine’s Medical Marijuana program.

United States Attorney Halsey B. Frank announced that Richard Daniels, a/k/a “Stitch”, 52, of Lewiston, Maine, was arrested and charged today by criminal complaint in U.S. District Court with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and manufacturing butane hash oil.

The organization cultivated marijuana at numerous warehouses in Androscoggin County and distributed marijuana to people who were not participants in Maine’s Medical Marijuana program, including out-of-state customers.

This organization also grew marijuana as a precursor to the illegal manufacture of marijuana concentrates known as butane hash oil and “shatter,” a product made from butane hash oil.

Today, federal, state and local law enforcement agents executed over 20 search warrants in the Lewiston-Auburn area associated with the organization.

The defendant’s residence and garage were searched and agents seized over 50 kilograms of marijuana, six mason jars partially filled with butane hash oil, and a kilogram of shatter.  The defendant’s garage contained a butane hash oil laboratory.

If convicted, the defendant faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.

The defendant is expected to make an initial appearance in U.S. District Court today at 4:30 p.m. in Portland.

The investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the FBI; the Maine State Police; and the Lewiston, Auburn, Windham, Biddeford and Scarborough Police Departments.

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.