By Russell Hixson
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Approximately 20 Cushing residents are facing drug charges following a two month undercover sting by Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics agents.
Court records show 17 were charged with unlawful delivery of controlled and dangerous drugs for selling marijuana, methamphetamine and prescription drugs to law enforcement.
Bureau spokesman Mark Woodward said agents were in Cushing and Drumright during March and April. Members of the Mobile Operation Team blended in, got to know dealers and purchased drugs, Woodward said.
The stings yielded 26 arrest warrants for residents accused of dealing — the majority of which were in Cushing. Agents also uncovered a meth lab that used the one-pot method in Cushing.
Woodward said obtaining evidence of these hand-to-hand deals is essential in building a criminal case. This is often difficult for small town law enforcement as many of the officers are too well known.
“We bring in unfamiliar faces,” Woodward said.
This was the case in Cushing. Woodward said Cushing police contacted the Bureau of Narcotics asking for assistance in shutting down local dealers.
While many of the individuals targeted are not necessarily drug kingpins, Woodward said the goal is to send a message.
“The message is that this is not going to be tolerated whether it is in big cities like Oklahoma City or small communities like Cushing or Drumright,” he said.
Woodward said street dealers are a big deal as many dealers are also drug users, have guns and cause violence. This frightens those who live around them who see constant strange activity, police visits and are afraid to let their children play outside, Woodward said.
Woodward said the Bureau of Narcotics has the resources to pursue drug activity in big cities and small cities and will continue to do so.
The Mobile Operations Team, he said, has conducted similar stings in Bartlesville, Stillwater, Clinton, Woodward, Claremore, McAlester, Altus, Guymon and Idabel. The team was created in 2006 to identify and target drug suspects within specific communities across the state.
The results are often crippling for drug dealers and customers.
A recent sting in Claremore caused dealers and buyers to be constantly wondering if they were going to run into undercover agents, causing many to travel to big cities to deal and buy, Woodward said.
“We want them to know this isn’t welcome, they may be selling to a cop, and they need to stop doing it,” Woodward said.