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Dismantling of Significant Drug Trafficking Organization in
Indian Country

MUSKOGEE, OK – The United States Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma announced the dismantling of a significant drug trafficking organization in Indian Country. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) conducted a year-long methamphetamine investigation centered in Adair County and the Cherokee Nation. The primary focus of the investigation has been Patrick Springwater, age 23, of Stilwell, Oklahoma. The Springwater organization was responsible for distributing approximately six (6) pounds of methamphetamine per month to customers in Indian Country.

The following have been arrested:
Patrick Springwater, age 23, of Stilwell, Oklahoma;
Amber Wolfe a/k/a Amber Springwater, age 27, of Stilwell, Oklahoma;
Christopher Sanders, age 26, Stilwell, Oklahoma;
Johnny Grimmett, age 38, of Stilwell, Oklahoma;
Jack Frogg, age 33, of Stilwell, Oklahoma;
Damien Cookson, age 29, of Tahlequah, Oklahoma; and
Carrie Caforia, age 32, of Tahlequah, Oklahoma

Each is charged by way of criminal complaint with a felony violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 846, 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(A), Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances and Possession of Controlled Substances with the Intent to Distribute. If convicted as charged, each of the defendants faces a term of imprisonment of not less than ten (10) years and up to Life, a fine of up to $4,000,000.00, or both, a mandatory term of supervised release of not less than five (5) years and a $100.00 mandatory special assessment.

DEA and BIA were initially made aware of Springwater by the Sallisaw Police Department and the Adair County Sheriff's Office. Using sophisticated law enforcement techniques, including court authorized telephone wire taps, DEA and BIA made it a priority to investigate and dismantle this drug trafficking organization in Indian Country.

Teams served federal search warrants at two locations in Adair County this morning. The search warrants and criminal complaints were issued by United States Magistrate Judge Steven P. Shreder, from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, in Muskogee. Arrest warrants were issued on May 10, 2011.

United States Attorney Mark Green stated, "The belief held by some that the illegal drug trade will go undetected in rural Eastern Oklahoma is simply untrue. Through the cooperative efforts of law enforcement, including local police, tribal law enforcement agencies, and the federal agencies, organizations such as this will be targeted and prosecuted."

"We are relentless in our pursuit of drug trafficking networks who prey on young people and ruin neighborhoods and communities. This organization kept the flow of methamphetamine steady into rural Cherokee tribal areas. The DEA and its partners have long been dedicated to pursuing and weeding out these drug trafficking organizations by applying continuous pressure. We will continue to work with Tribal Governments to improve the safety of their citizens and increase knowledge of the dangers of methamphetamine use,” stated DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Division Jeffery Stamm.

“We appreciate that the U.S. Attorney is diligent in prosecuting crimes throughout Northeastern Oklahoma, including Indian Country. The Cherokee Nation Marshals are proud to be a part of the team that worked cooperatively with federal law enforcement agencies to stop criminal activity in Northeastern Oklahoma. Working together, a cooperative peacekeeping effort that enlists our combined resources will make this part of Oklahoma a better and safer place to live,” stated Chad Smith, Principal Chief, Cherokee Nation.

Additional law enforcement agencies which assisted in the investigation were the Sallisaw Police Department, Adair County Sheriff’s Office, District 27 Drug Task Force, Tahlequah Police Department and the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service.

“The above named individuals have been charged with a federal crime or crimes by the filing of a criminal complaint. A criminal complaint does not constitute evidence of guilt. A criminal complaint is a method of bringing formal charges against the defendant. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and may not be found guilty unless evidence establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. United States Sentencing Guidelines may be considered, upon conviction, by the sentencing court. Federal prison sentences are non-parolable.”

 


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