Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Aggressively Targeting Criminal Activity Within the State's Medical Marijuana ProgramThu, 13 Oct 2022 14:04:34 CDT
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) is investigating and dismantling criminal organizations operating within the state’s medical marijuana program. Over the past two weeks, OBN has served Search Warrants at nearly a dozen marijuana farms across Oklahoma.
“This is another phase in OBN’s ongoing focus to aggressively target criminals hiding within the state’s medical marijuana program.” Said Agency Spokesman Mark Woodward,
“For over two years, OBN has identified numerous individuals and organizations that have moved to Oklahoma from out of State and used fraudulent business structures and so-called ‘ghost owners’ to obtain their Oklahoma Medical Marijuana licenses,” Woodward said. “These criminals try to blend into our state’s Medical Marijuana program while trafficking marijuana onto the illicit market around the United States, laundering money and moving millions of dollars in illicit drug proceeds overseas.”
A total of 79,157 illegally cultivated plants were seized, along with 3,139 pounds of processed marijuana and 16 firearms. So far, 20 people have been arrested with more arrests expected as these investigations continue.
Woodward said the targets of these investigations face a variety of charges including Drug Trafficking, Aggravated Manufacturing, Unlawful Cultivation, and Acquiring Proceeds from Drug Activity.
“As these investigations continue across Oklahoma, we plan to focus on criminal growers and business owners, as well as the entities that helped facilitate the fraudulent documentation allowing these criminal organizations to get an Oklahoma Medical Marijuana license,” Woodward said.
OBN Director, Donnie Anderson said that more of these large-scale law enforcement operations are planned as his agency continues to investigate criminal cultivators around the state.
“We are making it very clear that Oklahoma is not a safe harbor for criminals who think they can hide behind a Medical Marijuana license,” Anderson said. “My agency is committed to aggressively targeting and dismantling these marijuana trafficking organizations that are attempting to gain a foothold in our state.”
OBN was assisted by numerous Sheriff’s departments, police departments, drug task force officers, county commissioners, and county workers.
Anderson said he is particularly grateful to the Oklahoma National Guard, which provided personnel and heavy equipment to assist with the eradication and disposal of plants during these operations.
“The Oklahoma National Guard’s hard work and support were crucial to the success of this operation,” Anderson said. “Their equipment and personnel save us time and effort that enables OBN to continue investigations that will have a positive impact on Oklahomans.”
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