PORTLAND — Federal drug agents arrested two out-of-state men Tuesday and charged them with illegally growing marijuana in a three-bay garage in Mexico formerly used by Western Maine Transportation.

Guo Hong Lei, 55, of Brooklyn, New York, and Xiandu Zhang, 69, of North Quincy, Massachusetts, were each charged with maintaining a drug-involved premises, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000, according to investigators.

The two men lived in a home at 56 Pine St. and grew hundreds of marijuana plants in an unattached three-bay garage that was once used by Western Maine Transportation, according to an affidavit written by Jonathan Richards, a task force officer at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

A three-bay garage at 56 Pine St. in Mexico, the site of an alleged illegal marijuana growing operation, according to federal drug agents. Two men from New York and Massachusetts were charged in the operation Tuesday. Arrows point to blacked-out windows, a pile of industrial garbage bags in the back and grass growing in front of the bay doors. Submitted photo

The garage is across the street from a day care business and less than 1,000 feet from a middle school, Richards wrote.

FBI task force officers from Rumford Police Department and Oxford County Sheriff’s Office noted roughly 30 large, industrial garbage bags stacked behind the building where windows had been blackened. Grass was growing in front of the garage doors, suggesting no vehicles had been entering or leaving, Richards wrote.

A ventilation system was installed in the second story of the building.


“Such characteristics, in my experience investigating marijuana cases, reliably show that a structure is being used to grow marijuana,” Richards wrote.

Agents set up a surveillance camera on the street to watch the building.

The Maine Office of Cannabis Policy confirmed no license had been issued for that building, Richards wrote.

Monthly billing records for the garage that were subpoenaed from Central Maine Power by the DEA showed a dramatic increase in electricity use. Charges soared between October 2022 and November 2023 from $1,841 to $13,498 as kilowatt use climbed, Richards wrote.

“I know, based on my training and experience, that the utilization of such large amounts of electrical power … is needed in support of indoor marijuana cultivation, due to the use of artificial lighting, heat pumps, distribution fans, air conditioners and humidifiers,” Richards wrote.

“The electrical consumption at 56 Pine St. is strongly indicative of a large-scale marijuana operation,” he wrote.


After executing a search warrant, agents counted nearly 500 marijuana plants on the property, Richards wrote, including 302 flowering marijuana plants found in the bottom floor of the garage, comprising 243 standing plants and 59 more plants that had been cut and harvested, Richards wrote.

Zhang told agents he generally produced 20-30 pounds of marijuana each month, which buyers based in New York would come pick up from him, Richards wrote.

Lei and Zhang are scheduled for preliminary hearing and detention hearings in U.S. District Court next week. Both will be detained until then.

No information was available about Lei’s court appearances.

Illegal marijuana growing operations have popped up in recent years in several rural Maine locations.

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