Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Marijuana Trial to Begin for Malcolm French, Rodney Russell & Kendall Chase

This week, one of the largest marijuana busts in Maine history will go to trial in Bangor federal court. Malcolm French, Rodney Russell and Kendall Chase, all businessmen in their 50s, are accused in a marijuana trafficking conspiracy involving thousands of marijuana plants worth some $9 million. The indictment alleges that from 2006 to 2009, the men ran an outdoor marijuana grow of at least 1000 plants in rural Washington County Maine. Federal law mandates a minimum prison sentence of 10 years and a maxim sentence of life.

All three defendants remain free on bail since their initial court appearance in September of 2012. French is represented by Walter McKee, Russell by Stephen Peterson and William Maddox, and Kendall Chase is represented by Jeffrey Silverstein. AUSA Joel Casey is the lead prosecutor.

The indictment alleges 11 criminal counts and separate forfeiture allegations naming at least four parcels of land and the entirety of a company known as Haynes Timberland Inc. That company is also named as a defendant and is represented by Thomas Marjerison. Timberland will join the three human defendants at trial. Jury selection is scheduled for January 8, 2014 with opening statements immediately after.

For more details about the case, read the government’s trial brief. It runs about 25 pages and gives an overview of the investigation and trial evidence. You can can also read coverage of the case in the Portland Press Herald. Check back here for updates as the trial unfolds. It will likely continue through the end of the month.

Image by eggrole via flickr