PORTLAND — Two of the 14 suspects charged in a Twin Cities-based medical marijuana-growing operation that was busted by federal agents in February entered pleas this week.

Richard “Stitch” Daniels, 52, of Lewiston pleaded not guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to seven charges stemming from his alleged role in the marijuana operation.

Daniels was charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana, three counts of distribution of marijuana, one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, manufacturing a controlled substance and distribution of LSD. Each count carries a maximum of 20 years in prison.

On Wednesday, Steven Gallucci, 22, of Haverhill, Massachusetts, waived his arraignment in U.S. District Court in Portland. 

According to court documents, a court clerk was directed by U.S. Magistrate Judge John Rich III to enter a plea of not guilty to one felony count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana on Gallucci’s behalf.

The charge carries a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Police say Daniels was part of a drug-trafficking organization that grew and distributed large quantities of marijuana under the cover of Maine’s medical marijuana program, but it sold marijuana to buyers who were not participants in the program, including out-of-state customers. 

On Feb. 27,  federal agents carried out a series of raids in the Twin Cities area, serving 20 search warrants. Authorities seized 110 pounds of marijuana, six Mason jars filled with butane hash oil, known as shatter, and another kilogram of shatter.

Shatter is a highly potent form of cannabis concentrate made by using butane to extract chemicals from cannabis plants.

Daniels’ garage contained a butane hash oil laboratory, according to police.

In a Feb. 27 court appearance, Daniels was ordered held without bail.

Court documents show Daniels’ extensive criminal history includes a felony drug-trafficking conviction and an assault.

Federal drug agents at the home of Richard “Stitch” Daniels on Feb. 27, 2018. Daniels was charged with felony marijuana distribution and manufacturing a controlled substance. (Sun Journal file photo)

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