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State busts medical marijuana operations... Says pot was headed to Black Market rather than patients

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics today led a massive multi-agency operation targeting criminal organizations growing and trafficking marijuana for the black market. OBN Spokesman Mark Woodward says more than 200 state, federal and local law enforcement officers executed Search Warrants and Arrest Warrants early this morning at a dozen locations across the state tied to this on-going investigation.

“For over a year, OBN has been targeting numerous individuals and organizations that have moved to Oklahoma from out-of-state and used fraudulent business structures and ‘ghost owners’ to obtain their Oklahoma Medical Marijuana licenses. 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.” ---Mark Woodward, OBN Spokesman

Woodward says this investigation identified brokers moving millions of dollars in marijuana from multiple Oklahoma farms onto the black markets in states including, but not limited to California, North Carolina, Missouri, Indiana and Texas. Woodward says Search Warrants were served at nine farms and three residential locations connected to these illegal shipments. Woodward says thirteen Arrest Warrants have been issued for people in Oklahoma linked to this investigation, as well as one in California and three in Texas, with more arrests expected as this investigation continues.

Woodward says an estimated 100,000 plants and thousands of pounds of bulk processed marijuana has been seized from these farms during today’s operation. OBN also will be filing asset forfeiture on multiple vehicles, bank accounts, cash, equipment and at least eight of the properties linked to these illegal marijuana shipments and money laundering.

Woodward says those arrested in this operation face a variety of charges including Aggravated Trafficking and Aggravated Manufacturing.

“As these investigations move forward, we plan to file charges on these criminal brokers, business owners, land owners, and entities that helped facilitate the fraudulent documentation allowing these criminal organizations to get an Oklahoma Medical Marijuana license.“ ---Mark Woodward, OBN Spokesman

OBN Director Donnie Anderson says more of these large-scale law enforcement operations are planned as his agency continues to investigate hundreds of suspected illegal marijuana growing operations around the state.

“We are sending a clear and powerful message today that Oklahoma is not a safe haven for criminals who think they can hide behind a Medical Marijuana license. My agency is committed to aggressively targeting and dismantling these marijuana trafficking organizations that threaten the safety and well-being of our citizens and the law-abiding marijuana businesses in our state.” ----OBN Director Donnie Anderson

Agencies assisting in the investigation and today’s operation include OBN, the DEA, Homeland Security Investigators, Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the Missouri Highway Patrol, the District 21 Drug Task Force, Oklahoma National Guard, Iowa National Guard, the Chickasaw Light Horse Police Department, Carter County Sheriff’s Department, Grady County Sheriff’s Department, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department, Love County Sheriff’s Department, Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, Oklahoma City Police Department and the Sulphur Police Department.