Two Massachusetts men charged in federal court with possession with intent to distribute marijuana have ties to a Lewiston man arrested in federal raids in the Twin Cities area in February, according to court records.
John Valdes, 52, of Amesbury, Massachusetts, faces two felonies and Steven Gallucci, 22, of Haverhill, Massachusetts, one felony. Each charge carries a sentence of up to five years in prison or a fine of up to $250,000, or both, upon conviction.
Valdes and Gallucci were named in the same indictment as Richard “Stitch” Daniels, 41, of Lewiston, who faces six felony charges, each punishable by up to 20 years in prison or a $1 million fine or both, upon conviction.
In that April indictment, the grand jury in Portland alleges that, on Aug. 24, 2017, and on Sept. 29, 2017, Daniels distributed marijuana and that on that same date, Valdes possessed with intent to distribute marijuana. The indictment charges Daniels with distributing marijuana on Feb. 8, 2018, the same date that Steven Gallucci is accused of possessing with intent to distribute marijuana.
Daniels also was indicted on a charge of distribution of LSD on Oct. 6, 2017.
Daniels was charged in U.S. District Court in Portland in a complaint that alleges a drug trafficking organization grew and distributed large quantities of marijuana under the cover of Maine’s medical marijuana program, but sold marijuana to buyers who were not participants in the program and included out-of-state customers.
The organization also grew marijuana as a precursor to manufacturing marijuana concentrates known as butane hash oil and shatter, a product made from butane hash oil, officials said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that the more than 20 search warrants executed in the Feb. 27 raids included Daniels’ home and garage on Sabattus Street in Lewiston. Agents seized more than 50 kilograms of marijuana, six mason jars filled with butane hash oil and a kilogram of shatter. Daniels’ garage contained a butane hash oil laboratory.
Daniels appeared at U.S. District Court in Portland on Feb. 27 and again on March 2, when he was denied bail by a federal judge who cited Daniels’ extensive criminal history.
He is accused of operating a laboratory out of a garage at 1310 Sabattus St. in Lewiston, which is across the driveway from his home at 1302 Sabattus. He has been charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and manufacturing a controlled substance.
Butane hash oil, known as “shatter” or “dabs,” is a marijuana concentrate, according to drug agents. Daniels made the oil in a garage at 1310 Sabattus St., across a driveway from his home. Agents watched him “regularly” at both buildings, according to a federal affidavit found in court records.
Daniels was supplied marijuana by the Twin Cities growing organization; he sold it in bulk to out-of-state customers and extracted the oil from it, according to the affidavit.
The oil is made through a process where butane, a solvent, is used to extract THC, a hallucinogenic drug found in cannabis from the marijuana plant.
In Daniels’ home, authorities seized roughly 27 sheets weighing more than a kilogram of what they believed to be “shatter,” or hard hash oil. In his garage, agents seized roughly 14 sheets of “shatter” in an oven.
They also seized half a dozen mason jars filled with an oil believed to be hash oil, the affidavit said.
Daniels had been disqualified as a participant in the Maine Medical Marijuana program for a prior drug offense, the affidavit said.
Through his attorney, Vales filed a motion challenging the constitutionality of his questioning by drug agents and the search of his home. He is moving to suppress any statements he made to law enforcement officials as well as any evidence discovered and collected from the search of his home.
Valdes and Gallucci are free on unsecured bail. Both have surrendered their passports and are barred from having guns and narcotics.
Federal drug agents at the home of Richard “Stitch” Daniels on Feb. 27. Daniels was charged with felony marijuana distribution and manufacturing a controlled substance. (Sun Journal file photo)