In a stern address before the Rogers County Commission on Monday, Donnie Anderson, the Director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN), underscored the pressing threat posed by illegal marijuana cultivation in the state, labeling it a significant national security concern.

Anderson’s visit came as a gesture of gratitude for the collaborative efforts of the local sheriff’s office and county commissioners in the recent confiscation and disposal of over 30,000 pounds of illicit marijuana, alongside 27 plants. The operation was uncovered in a former industrial building near Tiawah, southeast of Claremore, masquerading as a licensed grow facility.

Despite the substantial seizure, District Attorney Matt Ballard confirmed that no arrests have been made yet, but assured that progress is underway.

Anderson emphasized the severity of the consequences for those involved in such operations, highlighting that convictions could lead to hefty fines and lengthy prison sentences, ranging from 20 years to life for aggravated manufacturing and up to 20 years for trafficking.

This incident is not an isolated case. Earlier this year, the OBN Task Force unearthed a staggering 72,000 pounds of marijuana, possibly the largest seizure in state history, in Wagoner County.

Addressing the gravity of the situation, Anderson warned of the financial implications, alleging that illegal proceeds are being funneled to countries like Russia, China, and other potential adversaries, directly from Oklahoma’s marijuana trade. He stressed that this issue transcends mere drug enforcement, branding it as a matter of national security.

Anderson’s concerns were further underscored by his recent visits to Washington, D.C., where he provided security briefings. Expressing dismay at being relied upon for such vital national intelligence, Anderson lamented the scale of the problem, noting that Oklahoma currently hosts around 3,200 grow operations, a drastic reduction from the 10,000 observed four years ago but still far exceeding what he deemed necessary.

In recognition of the collaborative efforts, Anderson presented engraved plaques to Sheriff Scott Walton, District Attorney Investigator Wayne Stinnett, and Commissioner Ron Burrows, lauding them as exemplary figures dedicated to safeguarding their community from this pervasive threat.

Read the whole article here.

Views: 230