PORTLAND — A Greene man was sentenced Thursday to 41 months in federal prison for his role in an illegal marijuana growing and distribution scheme in Auburn under the guise of Maine’s medical marijuana program.

Tyler Poland in 2018 Androscoggin County Jail photo

In August 2022, Tyler Poland, 36, pleaded guilty to three federal felonies, including possession with intent to distribute MDMA (also known as Ecstasy or Molly), possession with intent to distribute marijuana and removal of property to prevent seizure.

Federal agents fanned out across Androscoggin County on Feb. 27, 2018, executing more than 20 search warrants, including at a warehouse located at 249 Merrow Road in Auburn.

The warehouse was under the control of Poland, prosecutors said.

During their search, agents seized a distributable quantity of what a laboratory tested and determined was MDMA. During this same search, agents also seized more than 50 kilograms of marijuana that Poland intended for distribution, prosecutors said.

Poland bought the warehouse in October or November of 2017.


The previous owner had been granted a permit for wiring for a grow facility at the site. The contractor hired to do the work was TY Construction, owned and operated by Poland.

In September 2017, the city had granted a second permit to fix wiring in upstairs grow rooms that the tenant had installed on his own, according to court papers.

On Feb. 27, 2018, agents seized about 608 marijuana plants, 366 pounds of processed marijuana, hundreds of Ecstasy pills and more than $156,000 in cash at the 249 Merrow Road address.

In the office, agents discovered the pink Ecstasy pills in a small credenza between two bookshelves. Concealed behind another desk in the office, they found two bags: one containing pink pills and another that contained white pills, believed to be alprazolam, a generic prescription tranquilizer. No prescription bottle for the medication was found in the office, according to the agent who wrote the affidavit for the warrant.

Agents found a key in a baseball glove that opened an office safe where $140,000 in cash had been secured. An additional $16,370 in cash was found elsewhere in the office, according to court papers.

On that date, Poland became aware of the search warrant for his property and transferred $220,00 from a bank account on which he was the sole authorized signer to an account at another bank held in the name of a company owned by his father, prosecutors said.


Poland transferred the funds for the purpose of preventing or impairing the government’s lawful authority to take such property into its custody or control, according to prosecutors.

Poland told U.S. District Court Judge George Z. Singal on Thursday that prosecutors had characterized him as a “career criminal” at his initial court appearance. Since then, he has set out to show them “that’s not who I am.”

He said: “I know what I did was wrong, without question.”

His attorney, Thomas Hallett, told the judge his client had recently experienced personal tragedy when his former girlfriend fell or jumped out of his truck one night, struck a guardrail and died.

“That was an absolutely horrifying event,” Hallett said.

Poland, who had been close to her children and parents, was blamed for her death and shunned by her family, Hallett said.


That history helps explain Poland’s state of mind rather than excuse his later criminal conduct, Hallett said.

Poland told the judge that he had intended to embark on a legal business venture producing legal medical marijuana byproducts, but after his funder dropped out, he decided to make money selling marijuana for nonmedical purposes where he could realize a greater profit margin.

“I felt like my back was up against the wall,” he told the judge.

Before imposing his sentence, Singal told Poland that the many letters the court received from friends and family persuaded him that Poland was a good and kind person who was thoughtful and compassionate toward them and their children.

Poland was smart and a good businessman whose work ethic was admirable, except when he applied it to an illegal enterprise, such as his marijuana operation in Auburn, he said.

Singal said Poland “could have made a good living doing honest work” in construction.


But he chose instead to engage in illegal drug distribution.

Poland didn’t do it to support a drug habit like many drug traffickers, Singal said, but solely as a money-making proposition.

In his agreement with prosecutors, Poland would have been allowed to withdraw his guilty pleas and go to trial on the charges if Judge Singal were to impose a prison sentence of more than 51 months.

If Singal were to impose a sentence of less than 31 months, prosecutors could withdraw their plea offer.

Hallett argued Thursday for a 31-month sentence while prosecutors urged the judge to impose a prison term nearer the 51-month cap.

Poland had agreed to forfeit $156,370 in cash, $292,293.39 in bank accounts controlled by him, real estate at 249 Merrow Road, Auburn, and a high-end wristwatch.


He must report to a federal prison in Pensacola, Florida, on March 1 to begin serving his sentence, Singal said Thursday.

Afterward, Poland will be on supervised release for three years, during which time he’ll be barred from having alcohol and illegal drug for which he can be tested.

Prosecutors on Thursday dropped half a dozen related charges against Poland after the sentencing.

More than a dozen people and businesses were charged in connection with the illegal marijuana trafficking organization, federal officials said. Most have been convicted and sentenced.

The case against co-defendant Brian J. Bilodeau of Auburn is pending.

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