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Inhofe Asks For $4M Through DOJ For Oklahoma Narcotics Bureau Unit Focused On Transnational Groups

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The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics could be in line for money to support a unit dedicated to investigating transnational criminal organizations law enforcement officials believe are embedded within the state’s medical marijuana industry.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe has requested $4 million in directed funding for it through the U.S. Department of Justice. OBN Director Donnie Anderson said the investigations are highly complex and need officers’ full attention.

"On face value, a lot of these are just they have their license and they operate. So, you've got to prove that this is black-market marijuana: things that are going out of state, laundering money, human trafficking, sex trafficking, labor trafficking, all the things that go along with that, including weapons trafficking," Anderson said.

State Rep. John Pfeiffer said no one is trying to restrict access to medical marijuana through the proposed OBN unit, but rural lawmakers like him constantly field complaints about illegal growing operations.

"We have a vibrant medical marijuana community here, and all we're trying to do is stop the people who are abusing the situation and get a handle on the illegal side of this business. And it's going to take all of us, from our federal delegation down through the state, with OBN and our county sheriffs working together to finally kind of try to get control of where we got out of hand," Pfeiffer said.

The money Inhofe is requesting must be approved through the congressional appropriations process. It may not be available to OBN until early next year.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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