February 4

Canaan man sentenced for gun possession, pot cultivation

Richard Graf said his growing business would have been for medical marijuana users and he was in the process of getting a license.

By Doug Harlow dharlow@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

A Canaan man was sentenced Monday to two years in prison for possessing an illegal sawed-off shotgun and operating a marijuana cultivation business.

Richard Graf, 56, admitted in U.S. District Court in Bangor to growing marijuana and selling it mostly to registered medical marijuana patients.

His lawyer, Terence Harrigan, of Bangor, said in court documents a the time of his arrest, Graf was in the process of getting a license to provide marijuana legally to patients, but did not yet have one.

Harrigan said Graf lived in a small house where growing marijuana plants and firearms – both loaded and unloaded – were “laid out haphazardly.”

“The guns were entirely separate from his marijuana growing,” Harrigan wrote. He said the illegal shotgun was “tucked away ... forgotten” and was not loaded. He said Graff never fired the gun, because he felt it was unsafe to do so.

“The gun itself, in theory, was near marijuana, but not any more so than any other firearm in the cramped home,” Harrigan wrote.

He said it is not uncommon for people in Maine to have firearms in their houses.

Harrigan contended that the illegal short-barrel shotgun was found unloaded behind some Bibles in a drawer near Graf’s bedroom.

Harrigan said by phone Monday that federal sentencing guidelines called for a prison sentence of 46 to 57 months, but Chief Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. opted for 24 months. Graf also is ordered to serve three years of supervised release, or probation, upon his release.

Graf pleaded guilty to the charges in June. The convictions stem from an April 12, 2011, search warrant carried out at Graf’s home by the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department.

Police found the sawed-off shotgun and 11 other firearms in the residence, according to a release by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Casey.

Police also found more than a pound of processed marijuana and 68 live marijuana plants.

The Somerset County Sheriff’s Department was assisted in the case by agents of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367 dharlow@centralmaine.com Twitter: @Doug_Harlow
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