FARMINGTON — A local man who pleaded guilty last month in federal court to a felony in a wide-ranging conspiracy involving illegal marijuana growth and sales agreed to serve a maximum sentence of just over five years in prison and forfeit nearly $650,000 in illegal drug proceeds.

Randal Cousineau, 69, was the primary financier and half-interest partner with a co-conspirator in an illegal marijuana cultivation and distribution scheme, based in Farmington, according to federal officials. The operation sold marijuana in violation of Maine’s medical marijuana laws, sold bulk marijuana illegally to people who were not registered as caregivers, and distributed outside of the state, federal officials said.

Cousineau reached a plea agreement in April with federal prosecutors, who are recommending a sentence of up to 63 months behind bars on the charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute narcotics, including in excess of 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and in excess of 1,000 marijuana plants, according to court documents.

If a judge were to sentence him to that period of time or less, Cousineau agreed not to appeal his sentence.

Under federal law, the charge to which he pleaded guilty carries a sentence of 10 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $10 million.

Prosecutors agreed to recommend a lower sentence after considering several factors, including Cousineau’s acceptance of responsibility for his criminal conduct and willingness to plead and be sentenced by videoconference, made necessary by the pandemic, according to court documents.

He agreed to forfeit any property and money that was connected to the charge including:

• Property and assets held by Sandy River Properties that includes real estate at 374 High St.

• Property and assets held by Lakemont.

• Property and assets held by Narrow Gauge Distributors Inc.

• A total of $264,220.50 held at Franklin-Somerset Federal Credit Union in the name of Lakemont.

• A total of $15,676.36 held at Franklin-Somerset Federal Credit Union, also in the name of Lakemont.

• A total of $127,633.70 held at Franklin-Somerset Federal Credit Union in the name of Narrow Gauge Distributors Inc.

• A total of $240,000 that represents narcotics proceeds collected by Cousineau from about July 2018 through June 2020.

On July 21, 2020, federal authorities executed a search warrant at Narrow Gauge Distributors at 374 High St., where Cousineau was half-owner and primary financial backer of an illegal marijuana cultivation facility, according to court papers.

Under the warrant, authorities seized 469 kilograms in marijuana products and more than 1,800 marijuana plants.

Cousineau remains free on his own personal recognizance pending sentencing, which has not been scheduled.

A federal grand jury in Maine earlier this week indicted nearly a dozen people in connection with the Franklin County probe, including a former Rangeley selectman, two former Franklin County Sheriff’s deputies, a former Oxford County Sheriff’s deputy and a Wilton Police officer, who was placed on administrative leave.

A Franklin County assistant district attorney named in a criminal complaint involving the other defendants was not indicted. Her case has been continued.

In addition to the charges, the grand jury handed up indictments for forfeiture that included: a total of 12 properties in Farmington, Rangeley, Carrabassett Valley, Avon and Industry; seven vehicles; a boat; a motorcycle; a snowmobile; and a trailer that has a total value of more than $295,000 as well as more than $1.3 million in cash and accounts in banks and credit unions.

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