275 Convicted in Four Separate Investigations Concluded Within Last Nine Months Of Drug Trafficking Networks Directed from Oklahoma State Prisons Using Contraband Cell Phones
1,061 Pounds of Drugs and 393 Firearms Removed Off Streets and $1.3 Million Taken Away from Drug Traffickers
OKLAHOMA CITY – Over the last nine months, numerous federal, state, and local investigators and prosecutors have concluded their fourth unrelated long-term investigation and prosecution of separate drug trafficking networks being directed from inside Oklahoma state prisons using contraband cell phones, announced United States Attorney Robert J. Troester. Details of the four investigations are described more completely in the following press releases:
- January 25, 2023 – 60 Southside Locos Gang Members and Associates Convicted for Drug Trafficking Operation Directed from Oklahoma State Prisons
- January 9, 2023 - 69 Universal Aryan Brotherhood Gang Members and Associates Convicted During Multi-Year Investigation into Their Drug Trafficking of Methamphetamine
- July 15, 2022 - 21 Defendants Convicted During Three-Year Investigation Into Drug Trafficking and Criminal Activities Led by Inmates Inside State Prison Walls Using Contraband Cell Phones
- April 5, 2022 - 125 Convicted During Five-Year Investigation That Functionally Dismantled the Irish Mob Gang’s Drug Trafficking and Criminal Activities
Together, these four investigations have yielded the following combined results:
- 275 defendants were convicted, including multiple defendants who either ordered or participated in acts of violence, such as witness retaliation, witness tampering, shootings, kidnappings, and death threats against prosecutors, as a part of these conspiracies;
- 30 of the defendants were incarcerated in Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC) facilities while directing these often-violent drug trafficking networks through use of contraband cell phones;
- Four corrections workers at the ODOC and county level were prosecuted for crimes including conspiring to distribute drugs inside correctional facilities, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and conspiring to launder drug money;
- 1,061 pounds of methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine were removed from the streets;
- 393 firearms were seized; and
- $1.335 million in cash was seized by law enforcement.
"Being behind bars did not stop state inmates in four separate criminal organizations from accessing contraband cell phones to continue directing their drug trafficking and violent networks through associates outside prison walls," said United States Attorney Robert J. Troester. "Now, 275 dangerous criminals have been held accountable, more than a half-ton of poisonous drugs and 393 firearms have been removed from the streets, and $1.3 million in cash has been taken away from drug traffickers. I commend the dedicated efforts by law enforcement and the prosecutors who worked these investigations and cases."
"The FBI and our law enforcement partners have worked relentlessly over the last several years to disrupt the violence and drug trafficking activity plaguing our state," said FBI Oklahoma City Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Gray. "We are all committed to eliminating the threat of gang activity, regardless of where it takes place, to make Oklahoma communities safer for our citizens."
"Drug trafficking, directed from inside our prisons systems, impacts the safety and security of all Oklahomans," said Eduardo A. Chávez, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Dallas Field Division, who oversees operations in Oklahoma. "These joint federal investigations should send a strong message that DEA and our federal partners will continue to identify, disrupt and destroy these criminal groups from wherever they operate."
"The collaborative efforts of the law enforcement agencies involved in these investigations are another step in the right direction to eradicate the trafficking of illicit drugs and violent crime involving transnational criminal gangs in Oklahoma," said Robert Melton, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the HSI Dallas - Oklahoma and Texas Panhandle Division. "Our intent is clear; we will aggressively pursue prosecution for anyone who pushes these deadly substances to keep them from poisoning and destroying our communities."
"The financial expertise of IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agents was critical in detecting and tracing money laundering transactions of the various criminal organizations during the four separate investigations," said Christopher J. Altemus Jr., IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Field Office. "The men and women of IRS-CI worked with federal and state agencies to expose the profits of these organizations, helping seize more than $1.3 million. This joint effort demonstrates our resolve to hold criminals accountable for their actions and disrupt their ability to conduct illegal activities."
"ATF is proud to stand next to our partners as we all continue the fight against violent crime across Oklahoma. These cases highlight what can be done when we all work together to go after the worst of the worst. Whether you are playing gangster on the inside or the outside of a jail, you will be caught. Our network is bigger than yours," stated ATF Dallas Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey C. Boshek II.
"The United States Marshals Service is committed to join forces with federal, city, and state law enforcement partners to hold offenders accountable and protect public safety," said Johnny Kuhlman, United States Marshal for the Western District of Oklahoma.
Oklahoma City Police Chief Wade Gourley said, "This case demonstrates that an incarcerated violent offender can still present a threat to public safety. We are honored to be a part of operations such as these, that serve to better protect the citizens of our community."
These investigations were led by the FBI Oklahoma City Field Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Homeland Security Investigations, which received valuable assistance from the Oklahoma City Police Department; the United States Marshals Service; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Oklahoma Department of Corrections Office of Inspector General; the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics; the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office; the Oklahoma Highway Patrol; the District 2 Drug Task Force; the District 6 Drug Task Force; the Sallisaw Police Department; the Moore Police Department; and the Edmond Police Department.
The prosecutions arising out of these four investigations were handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David McCrary, Tom Snyder, Jason Harley, Chelsie Pratt, Nick Coffey, Travis Leverett, Steven Creager, David Petermann, Nick Patterson, and Kerry Blackburn, with assistance from Paralegals Jenifer Rowe and Linda Nixon.
These prosecutions are also part of multiple Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigations. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.