Senator Susan Collins spoke with the Director of the FBI about who may be behind the glut of illegal marijuana grow houses.

Maine Law Enforcement Has Been Busy Shutting Down Grow Houses in Rural Areas

The covert operations are popping up all over rural Maine, with residential houses being turned into illegal marijuana grow houses. Maine's law enforcement agencies are doing a great job shutting them down but also appear to find it challenging to make arrests because no one is at the location when they arrive.

When they have made arrests, the suspects all have ties to China. Federal agents are now getting involved in these investigations, which prompted an exchange between Maine Senator Susan Collins and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Christopher Wray.

READ MORE: Maine Natural Resource Said to Be Worth Over $14 Billion

Senator Collins Asked Director Wray Why They're in Maine

Her first question went directly to "why Chinese nationals or Chinese transnational criminal organizations" are setting up their grow houses in Maine. Director Wray responded that the FBI had been looking into whether there are any direct ties between these grow houses and the Chinese government.

But we are starting to see, as we unpack this more, more ties between a lot of these growing operations and Chinese organized crime.

He goes on to say that it appears they've chosen marijuana because it's inexpensive to produce, as opposed to other illicit drugs and the legal ramifications of running a grow house operation are not as severe as they might be "in other countries where they might also want to operate."

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Officials Say the Illegal Marijuana Operations May Be Funding a Darker Agenda

One theory, Director Wray says, is these Chinese transnational criminals are using the marijuana trade as a money laundering operation to bring more fentanyl into the country.

In 2023, fentanyl was responsible for 80% of all drug deaths in Maine.

The 10 Most Dangerous Places To Live in Maine Right Now

Based on statistics and patterns involving violent crime and property crime, here are the most dangerous cities in Maine for 2024

Gallery Credit: Joey

Mainers Advised to NOT Travel to These 9 Places

The United States Department of State regularly issues travel advisories for Americans to help keep them safe during their vacations. There are four levels of advisories: exercise normal precautions, exercise increased caution, reconsider travel and do not travel. These are nine of the 19 destinations under a Level 4: DO NOT TRAVEL advisory.

Maine's 20 Largest State Parks by Acreage

Maine's 42 state parks and historical sites saw over 3 million visitors in 2021. These popular spots just continue to remain quite popular. They are also extraordinarily diverse to one another in their own right, including the size.

Here are the 20 largest state parks in Maine based on acreage.

Note: Baxter State Park has been omitted since it's not run by the Maine Bureau of Parks & Public Lands.

Gallery Credit: Chris Sedenka

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