PORTLAND — Two Chinese nationals charged with illegally growing marijuana in a three-bay garage in Mexico were in court Wednesday.

Guo Hong Lei, 55, of Brooklyn, New York, and Mexico and Xiandu Zhang, 69, of North Quincy, Massachusetts and Mexico appeared in U.S. District Court where Magistrate Judge Karen Frink Wolf found probable cause for the arrests of the two men.

The felony charge against each defendant of maintaining a drug-involved premises is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.

Lei and Zhang had been held in federal custody since their June 17 arrests.

On Wednesday, Lei was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond with conditions that included surrendering his passport and having no contact with Zhang or anyone else who may be a victim, witness or codefendant in the case.

Lei will be supervised by the U.S Probation and Pretrial Services Office pending his trial.


Prosecutors and defense asked that Zhang’s detention hearing that was set for Wednesday be postponed to a later date. Until then, he will remain in custody.

If convicted of the felony, each of the men faces possible deportation.

The two men were living in a home at 56 Pine St., Mexico where they were growing hundreds of marijuana plants in an unattached three-bay garage that was once used by Western Maine Transportation, according to an affidavit written by a task force officer at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The garage is across the street from a day care business and less than 1,000 feet from a middle school, according to the DEA officer.

FBI task force officers from Rumford Police Department and Oxford County Sheriff’s Office noted roughly 30 large, industrial garbage bags stacked behind the garage, where the windows had been blackened.

Grass was growing in front of the garage doors, suggesting no vehicles had been entering or leaving, the DEA officer wrote.


A more than sevenfold increase in electrical usage coupled with the installation of a ventilation system on the second floor were signs that the garage had been transformed into a marijuana growing operation, the DEA officer wrote.

The Maine Office of Cannabis Policy had confirmed that no license had been issued for that address.

Drug agents executed a search warrant and discovered nearly 500 marijuana plants on the property, 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, according to the DEA officer.

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, the officer wrote.

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