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Press Release

Holden Man Sentenced to 20 Months for Marijuana Conspiracy and Structuring

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maine

Bangor, Maine:  United States Attorney Halsey B. Frank announced that Christopher Ruhlin, 49, of Holden, Maine, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court by Chief Judge Jon D. Levy to 20 months in prison and three years of supervised release for conspiring to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute marijuana and structuring financial transactions. He was also ordered to forfeit $115,000. He pled guilty to the charges on June 18, 2018.

According to court records, between October 2010 and August 2016, the defendant conspired with others to illegally manufacture and distribute marijuana.  From about December 2010 until November 2013, the defendant leased a facility in Frankfort, Maine at which he and other conspirators grew and distributed marijuana.  In about May of 2014, other conspirators took over growing, processing and packaging marijuana at the Frankfort facility. They sold it to the defendant and he sold it at his business, the Owl’s Club, in downtown Bangor.

  In May 2016, agents searched the Frankfort facility and seized marijuana in various stages of harvest and cultivation, together with paraphernalia and items used to manufacture and process marijuana.  On July 20, 2016, July 28, 2016, and August 10, 2016, respectively, a witness working with law enforcement purchased marijuana at the Owl’s Club.  In August 2016, agents searched property in downtown Bangor, including the Owl’s Club, and seized over three pounds of processed marijuana. 

In imposing sentence, Judge Levy concluded that Ruhlin’s conduct violated both state and federal law. In 2010 Ruhlin had sought, but had been denied, a license to operate a medical marijuana dispensary in the state.  Judge Levy noted that Ruhlin was “operating the Owl’s Club as the dispensary that he was denied a license to operate by the state” and said that “the unregulated sale of marijuana is dangerous.  Simple as that.”

Under federal law, financial institutions that receive more than $10,000 in cash from a customer are required to report the transaction to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  Structuring occurs when a customer breaks up their cash transactions to avoid these cash transaction reporting and record-keeping requirements.  On May 28, 2013, Ruhlin structured $27,000 in cash into two bank accounts by dividing it into three $9,000 deposits in order to evade federal reporting and record keeping requirements.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. 


Joel B. Casey
Assistant United States Attorney
Tel: (207) 945-0373

Updated February 13, 2019

Drug Trafficking