Oklahoma agents raid pot farms in multiple counties
CARTER COUNTY, Okla. (KTEN) — Nine marijuana farms in six Oklahoma counties were raided Tuesday morning as part of what law enforcement officials are are calling one of the state's biggest-ever counter-drug operations.
In a statement, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics said more than 300 personnel from OBN, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority targeted a "complex criminal marijuana growing operation spanning much of the State of Oklahoma."
The biggest grow site raided Tuesday was at the Big Buddha farm at 594 Bear Hollow Road in Carter County, about four miles south of Wilson. More than 100,000 marijuana plants and 2,000 pounds of processed marijuana was seized from the 80-acre facility where more than 500 structures had been erected.
"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," OBN spokesperson Mark Woodward said.
OBN director Donnie Anderson told KTEN the operation targets a national drug trafficking organization. The operation spanned Carter, Love, Grady, Marshall and Lincoln counties.
"This is a pretty good sized drug trafficking organization," Anderson said at a news conference in Oklahoma City. "The nine [farms] that we did today are all connected, and it's part of this organization that's responsible for moving tons and tons of marijuana into other states."
Anderson said more than 20 people have been linked to the illegal marijuana operations. As of noon Tuesday, five had been taken into custody on 13 Oklahoma arrest warrants, including Xiumeng Lyu, who was said to be one of the main targets of the probe. Additional arrests are expected in Oklahoma Texas and California. The defendants will face charges that include aggravated trafficking and aggravated manufacturing.
"It is simply people involved in the criminal movement of marijuana on a commercial scale to the illicit market around the United States, and moving money — millions of dollars of money — worldwide," said Woodward, who added that there are a lot of questions left to be answered.
"How did they get licensed? How did they get the land?" he said.
In addition to the Big Buddha marijuana farm in Wilson, search warrants were also executed at the following sites:
- 182681 North 3030 Road, Ratliff City
- 1311 County Road 1380, Chickasha
- 13481 Sartin Road, Madill
- 25720 Batson Road, Burneyville
- 339243 East 890 Road, Chandler
- 339250 East 890 Road, Chandler
- 1699 Highway 81, Amber
- 805 Anshultz, Wilson
"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," Anderson said.