Marijuana bust in Fort Kent nets 72 plants
(Correction - Police have charged Ketchen with cultivation, a Class D crime, and not a Class C crime as previously reported)
FORT KENT – Police Chief Kenneth Michaud confirmed on Friday that his department, along with assistance from a Border Patrol Agent, arrested a Fort Kent man after searching his home and discovering a large cache of marijuana plants.
Michaud said that he and Police Officer Richard Martin went to 109 Highland Avenue as a result of a tip from someone saying there was marijuana growing in the cellar.
Police arrested Gary Ketchen, 38-years-old of Fort Kent.
Michaud said, “Before we got the warrant, we went over to see them and spoke to Gary. We spoke to him about what he had in the cellar.”
Michaud said his officers had been watching the place for a while.
After talking with Ketchen and showing him a picture of the plants, Michaud said they had his permission to enter the house.
The officers discovered 72 plants in the basement. The officers, with the help of Border Patrol Agent George Ferland, loaded the plants into a pickup and brought the evidence back to the town office.
As Chief Michaud, Town Manager Don Guimond and Water and Wastewater Department Head Mark Soucy emptied the contraband from the back of a police pickup, Ferland counted 72 plants.
The odor of musky marijuana permeated the air around the town office.
The bust occurred just after lunch on Highland Avenue in Fort Kent.
According to Fort Kent Police, cultivation of fewer than 100 marijuana plants is a Class D crime, punishable by up to 364 days incarceration and a $2000 fine.
Michaud said, “He had the lights, he had the watering machine and he had the air filtration system.”
One plant was much larger than the others, resembling a small indoor tree. Michaud said, “He had one big plant that he used for the seeds. That was the mother plant.”
The person or persons growing the plants had spread them between two rooms in the basement.
Ketchen will appear in court on July 20.