Former Rangeley Selectman David Burgess pleaded guilty Thursday to three federal criminal charges, admitting his involvement with a lucrative illegal marijuana and money laundering ring that operated in Franklin County.

As part of a plea deal, he’ll spend no more than nine years in prison.

According to court records, between 2016 and 2020, Burgess and 11 other people were involved in a widespread conspiracy to illegally cultivate and sell marijuana in violation of Maine’s medical marijuana laws, including “selling bulk marijuana illicitly to individuals who were not registered as caregivers,” and for distributing more than $1 million worth of marijuana outside Maine state lines.

Burgess, who had originally pleaded not guilty to 10 federal charges, appeared in U.S. District Court in Bangor on Thursday to change his plea.

In exchange for the dismissal of seven charges, he agreed to plead guilty to a charge of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, which is a charge involving bribery or kickbacks, and conspiracy to defraud the United States and “impede and impair” the Internal Revenue Service, which means Burgess conspired with others to commit tax evasion or refund fraud.

In exchange for these pleas, charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering, bank fraud and other charges will be dismissed when he is sentenced.


The maximum prison term for the first two charges is 20 years; for the last, five years.

Burgess also faces a maximum fine of $250,000 or “twice the amount of loss caused by the offense or twice the gain realized by the defendant as a result of the commission of the crime,” whichever is greater, according to court records.

Under the plea agreement, the court may not impose a sentence of more than nine years and Burgess was required to admit to the crimes and provide details of those crimes to the court. He has also waived the right to appeal his conviction or to appeal the sentence imposed by the court, under the deal.

Additionally, Burgess has agreed to waive any claim to money and property forfeited to the United States when he was indicted in 2021, including $53,841 in cash seized at his home in July of 2020, $17,300 on deposit in a bank account Burgess shared with Lucas Sirois at Skowhegan Savings Bank, $13,535 on deposit at Franklin-Somerset Federal Credit Union in his business account of Rangeley Internet Co., and a $139,638 judgment issued against Burgess as part of the prosecution.

After Burgess serves his prison sentence, he will be under supervised release for at least three years. If he fails to meet any of the conditions of that supervision, he could be returned to prison for another two years.

According to Department of Justice records Burgess accepted tens of thousands of dollars in cash payments from Sirois, including money invested in his internet start-up company, in exchange for “advocating for Sirois’ preferred agenda in town government, including voting to advance a marijuana ordinance that Sirois himself had drafted” for town referendum.


According to Sun Journal records, in June 2019 Rangeley voters rejected an ordinance that would allow marijuana establishments in town. After that measure failed, a second citizen petition quickly moved a revised ordinance forward, but that ordinance also failed at the polls in November that year.

There is currently no ordinance allowing medical or recreational marijuana businesses to operate in Rangeley.

At the same time that Burgess was working with Sirois to get an ordinance passed, prosecutors allege Sirois was paying Burgess thousands of dollars a week to manage his marijuana business, a conflict of interest that Burgess never disclosed to the public.

The DOJ alleges that Sirois — of Farmington — was the leader of the drug ring and that he and his co-conspirators took in more than $13 million over a six-year period in illegal marijuana sales.

Specifically, prosecutors allege Sirois involved friends and family members in the organization, lied to his bank and to his tax preparer, and manipulated local police officers and a prosecutor with the District Attorney’s Office to track unwanted attention by police.

Sirois has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him and not guilty on behalf of three companies that he co-owns.


Former Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Deputies Bradley Scovil and Derrick Doucette pleaded guilty Thursday, each to a single county of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud by depriving residents of Franklin County their honest and sworn services by accepting bribes. While employed as law enforcement officers, the two accepted money and the use of cars in exchange for providing confidential law enforcement information, including checking whether one of their co-conspirators was under police investigation.

These pleas were also part of agreements in which two other federal charges against the men were dismissed; their respective certifications with the Maine Criminal Justice Academy will be revoked.

Kayla Alves, a former Franklin County assistant district attorney who was not included in the original indictments, was later tied to the illegal marijuana operation and sentenced to two years of probation and fined $2,000 in exchange for a guilty plea on a charge of tampering with communications between herself and Scovil.

Randal Cousineau of Farmington, who was the primary financier of the ring’s operation, held a half interest in Narrow Gauge Distributors on High Street, which was the grow operation providing much of the marijuana. In 2021, he pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess and distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and 1,000 marijuana plants.

He has not yet been sentenced, but according to court records he faces a sentence of 10 years to life in prison and up to a $10 million fine.

According to court records, on July 21, 2020, the Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, with local law enforcement partners, executed about 50 search and seizure warrants at a variety of locations in Farmington, Avon, Industry, Rangeley, Kingfield and Windham, along with financial accounts associated with the drug operation. The warrants were the result of an investigation that included work by the FBI to decipher what was believed to have been conversations and messages discussed in drug-related wording among the co-conspirators.

In addition to the charges that some of the defendants have pleaded to, members of the ring have also been charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, bank fraud, tampering with documents, tax evasion and tax fraud.

Other co-defendants in the case are Sirois’ estranged wife, Alisa Sirois of Kingfield; his father, Robert Sirois of Farmington; Brandon Dagnese of Scarborough; and Ryan Nezol of Farmington. All have entered not guilty pleas.

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