BANGOR — A Farmington man pleaded guilty Monday in federal court for his role in an alleged illicit medical marijuana operation and money laundering scheme in Franklin County.

Ryan Nezol admitted to a charge of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances before Judge Lance Walker in U.S. District Court in Bangor. He is one of four codefendants to plead guilty since Thursday in a case that has brought 11 indictments.

Prosecutors said Nezol allegedly traded marijuana on the black market for more than 2.2 pounds of cocaine.

According to a plea agreement with U.S. attorneys, Nezol will spend no more than 46 months in prison. If the court sentences him to a longer prison time, he has the right to withdraw his guilty plea. He also agreed to not appeal the sentence if it stays as is.

In at least March of 2019, Nezol worked at multiple industrial marijuana cultivation facilities in Farmington, including the “Shoe Shop” at 374 High St., according to the prosecution’s version of events. The building formerly housed a shoe shop.

Nezol worked in the “lab” at the facility, developing various marijuana cloning methods, as well as methods of extracting marijuana distillate, which could then be manufactured into various finished marijuana products and allegedly sold by Lucas Sirois, who prosecutors say is the ringleader of the operation, and others on his behalf.


During his association with the Shoe Shop, Sirois’s operations were out of compliance with both Maine and federal law, according to the prosecution.

Nezol observed numerous regulatory violations at the Shoe Shop, including for example, Sirois’s father, a convicted felon who was not properly registered as a  Maine Caregiver, handling marijuana and supervising the “cure” room at the Shoe Shop, where cultivated marijuana was prepared for sale.

Sirois’ father, Robert Sirois of Farmington, is a convicted drug trafficker. Robert Sirois pleaded guilty in June 2010 to trafficking and cultivation and was sentenced to five years in prison with all but nine months and a day suspended on both charges, which were served concurrently.

Nezol worked at the Shoe Shop facility handling marijuana during a period of time when his caregiver credentials lapsed and were later renewed.

While Nezol was associated with the Shoe Shop, Sirois sold substantial quantities of bulk marijuana out of the facility for distribution on the black market outside of Maine through a black market courier, who was a convicted felon and not a participant in Maine’s medical marijuana program, selling the operation’s bulk marijuana to drug dealers in Massachusetts and other points south, according to prosecutors.

Meanwhile Nezol cultivated and sold marijuana independently on the black market, including to individuals based in New York who would travel to Maine to conduct drug transactions with Nezol. At least one such individual repeated purchased marijuana from Nezol by trading him cocaine. In total, Nezol obtained in excess of a kilogram, 2.2 pounds, of cocaine through this relationship, according to U.S. Attorneys.


“The prosecution version of his participation shows that Mr. Nezol was a very minor participant in Mr. Sirois’s operation, having only worked at the Shoe Shop briefly,” Nezol’s attorney Leonard Sharon of Lewiston wrote in an email. “If one compares the ‘maximum potential sentences’ for the other participants, they are indicative of the fact that Mr. Nezol was a very minor participant. Ryan was released on bail and intends to continue working at his businesses and follow all requirements placed upon him by his probation officer.”

The 46 months is not the agreed upon sentence, Sharon wrote.

“It is only a maximum sentence and we are hopeful at the sentencing, which will not occur for some time, that the Court, in taking into account all the factors set forth in the guidelines and within its discretion, (will) sentence Ryan to a lesser sentence. We will await the preparation of the presentence report, the first step toward sentencing, and assess the sentencing process upon review. The report is prepared by United States Probation Officers and is an aid to the parties in determining the proper sentence based upon the United States Sentencing Guidelines,” Sharon wrote.

Nezol faced 20 years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine without a plea agreement.

Two former Franklin County Sheriff’s deputies and a former Rangeley selectman pleaded guilty Thursday to charges related to the case in federal court in Bangor.

David Burgess of Rangeley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and conspiracy to defraud the United States and “impede and impair” the Internal Revenue Service in exchange for the dismissal of seven charges. He will spend no longer than nine years in prison under a plea agreement. If a federal judge sentences him to more, he can withdraw his plea.

Former deputies Derrick Doucette of Jay and Bradley Scovil of Rangeley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest and faithful services fraud through bribery. The agreement calls for the men not to spend more than 57 months in prison. A sentencing date has not been set. If the court imposes a longer sentence than 57 months, Doucette and Scovil can withdraw their guilty pleas, according to the agreement.

Kayla Alves, a former Franklin County prosecutor, who was not indicted in the case, pleaded guilty to tampering with documents in March 2022. Alves was sentenced to two years of  probation and a $2,000 fine.

Randal Cousineau of Farmington pleaded guilty in 2021 to conspiring to possess and distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and 1,000 marijuana plants. He faces a sentence of 10 years to life in prison and up to a $10 million fine, according to court records. Cousineau reached a plea agreement in April 2021 with federal prosecutors, who are recommending a sentence of up to 63 months behind bars on the charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute narcotics,

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