The Johnston County Sheriffs Department notched a drug bust for the ages, preventing over 1,000 pounds of marijuana from hitting the street this past weekend.
The bust took place in a remote ranch area northeast of Mannsville and was initiated when Game Warden Curtis Latham contacted the sheriffs department at 4:30 p.m. Saturday on a trespassing call, reporting a deer hunter had seen a Hispanic male carrying a bucket of water. Sheriff Dept. Sgt. Chris Smith and deputy Codie Bolin responded to the report and performed a foot search of dense wooded area along the Washita River north of Norton Bridge.
Sgt. Smith was able to locate what turned out to be a full-blown encampment of several large tents and immediately observed a series of drying lines with marijuana hanging from them,Sheriff Jon Smith said.At that point, he alerted Deputy Bolin who was just a short distance away and the two officers approached the campsite where they observed four Hispanic males near the front of the tents. Three of them fled into the wooded area and the officers were able to take one into custody. The officers secured the area to determine if others were present. Agents from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, the Chickasaw Lighthorse Police, Tishomingo Police Department and game wardens assisted in the search of the other suspects, two of which were located Sunday.
A caller reported two Hispanic males were Norton Bridge. Deputy Vernon Williams located the subjects lying in weeds near the intersection of Greasy Bend Road and North Grand, north of Mannsville, placing them under arrest. Those taken into custody were Rigoberto Robles, 50, Alfonso Correa-Carrillo, 50, and Gilberto Campos, 48, all residents of the Dallas area. They are incarcerated in Johnston County Jail with no bond awaiting an initial appearance in district court. Authorities are still seeking the fourth suspect.
At the site, officers worked most of the weekend processing the marijuana, which was described as high quality, and gathering evidence. The scene was described as heavily camouflaged with cut trees and brush to conceal it from view from both the ground and air.
"The entire area which consisted of several tents and temporary working areas fabricated of cut poles and black plastic sheeting was literally covered with marijuana," Smith said. "Numerous large trash bags of processed marijuana was discovered, much of which was in late season bud stage, as well as a tarped pile of cut marijuana approximately seven feet high, eight feet wide and 12 feet long." Cut plant stalks were estimated to number several thousand with an overall estimated 1,000 to 1,500 pounds of marijuana captured.
"Street value of this grade of marijuana is typically $800 to $1,200 per pound," Smith said. "With that price, this operation was looking to generate well over $1 million." The Ravia and Tishomingo Fire Departments burned the marijuana on site Sunday afternoon under the direction of law enforcement officers at the scene.