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More than 500 marijuana plants and several pounds of harvested marijuana were seized Friday at a home on Rome Road in Mercer, according to officials. No arrests were made because no one was home when the raid was carried out, but officials say charges are expected after the occupants are located. Somerset County Sheriff’s Office photo

MERCER — Police seized more than 500 marijuana plants and several pounds of harvested marijuana Friday at a Mercer home in the latest bust of an illegal marijuana growing operation in central Maine, according to officials.

The Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from multiple law enforcement agencies, obtained a drug search warrant for the home on Rome Road after “it was suspected that illegal marijuana plant cultivation type activities were taking place” there, Sheriff Dale Lancaster wrote in a statement Monday.

No arrests were made because nobody was at the home during the search, but 553 “mostly mature” plants and several pounds of harvested marijuana were seized, Lancaster said. Police also seized other drug-related items and a chemical prohibited in Maine.

Nearly the entire residence was being used for the growing operation, according to Lancaster.

The town of Mercer’s code enforcement officer was notified following the search because of the condition of the property and the presence of the illegal chemical.

When located, those involved in the operation face Class B charges of cultivation of marijuana and trafficking in scheduled drugs, according to Lancaster.

The Waterville Police Department, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Maine Office of Cannabis Policy assisted the Sheriff’s Office in executing the search warrant, according to Lancaster.

The district attorney’s office for Kennebec and Somerset counties and the U.S. Attorney’s Office were also involved in the investigation.

Friday’s bust in Mercer adds to a list of similar investigations across the state as Maine’s congressional delegation has called for federal officials to investigate illegal marijuana growing operations that reportedly benefit Chinese investors.

Police in recent weeks have conducted searches and, in some cases, made arrests at homes in Belgrade, China, Cornville, Norridgewock and Whitefield.

Police have not said whether the growing operations were connected.

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“}]] No arrests were made because no one was at the Rome Road home when the raid was carried out, but officials say charges are expected after the occupants are located.  Read More  

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