Republican U.S. Senator from Maine Susan Collins has sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maine Darcie McElwee regarding a vast network of illegal Chinese-owned marijuana growing operations in the state.
In her Nov. 30 letter, Sen. Collins references the Maine Wire’s in-depth reporting on the identification of more than 100 properties in rural Maine that have been transformed into illicit marijuana grow operations.
The Maine Wire’s investigation came after an unclassified memo from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revealed the presence of 270 suspected illegal Chinese grow operations in Maine worth an estimated $4.37 billion.
That DHS memo also stated that the grows are operated by Asian Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs).
“I have heard from numerous constituents who are concerned about how these illicit operations are adversely impacting the safety and security of their communities,” Collins wrote to U.S. Attorney McElwee.
A separate memo from DHS called on local police departments to supply them with any information they might have concerning illegal Chinese-owned grows.
Just last week a major industrial-scale marijuana grow operation — previously visited by the Maine Wire mid-November — was raided by law enforcement in Wilton, ME, resulting in the seizure of an estimated $1,000,000 in marijuana and marijuana product from the location.
Collins, alongside the other members of Maine’s congressional delegation, sent a letter in August of this year to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland asking what the Department of Justice is doing to address the illegal marijuana grows, and urging them to “take all appropriate steps to shut down these illicit operations.”
Collins told McElwee in her Nov. 30 letter that the delegation has yet to receive a response to that letter.
Maine’s senior senator also informed McElwee of her recent meeting with Anne Milgram, Administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, in which they discussed the illegal grow operations and “the potential harm they pose to our public health and national security.”
“While any illicit drug operation is alarming, this situation is particularly noteworthy given the potential involvement of Chinese transnational criminal organizations engaged in human trafficking, money laundering, and other serious crimes,” Collins wrote.
“This occurs in the context of serious concerns being raised regarding large Chinese land purchases in the United States,” she added. “The potential national security risks are readily apparent.”
Sen. Collins closed her letter by urging the Justice Department and McElwee’s office “to take all appropriate actions to ensure these criminals can no longer operate in Maine.”
- How Chinese Marijuana Grows Took Over Rural Maine
- State Law Enforcement, Feds Struggle to Clamp Down on Illegal Chinese Drug Operations in Maine
- Maine Legislature Will Consider Proposal to Fight Chinese-owned Marijuana Operations
- Collins, Golden Renew Call for DOJ Action Against Illicit Chinese Marijuana Grows Following Maine Wire Report
Read Sen. Collins’ full letter to U.S. Attorney for the District of Maine Darcie McElwee below: