CCSD bust illegal pot grow, joins FBI task force

Robby Short
The Daily Ardmoreite
Marijuana was consolidated in a pile at an undisclosed location before being incinerated.

Earlier this week, the Carter County Sheriff’s Office along with the Dickson Police Department, Chickasaw Lighthorse Police and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics seized and destroyed approximately 1,200 marijuana plants from a suspected illegal grow in Dickson.

Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics agents remove marijuana from a suspected illegal grow operation near Dickson.

Carter County Sheriff Chris Bryant said an investigation into the suspected illegal operation began two months ago  — but ultimately could have been avoided had the operators obtained the proper licensing — and led to the arrest of four men and one woman.

“All they had to do is pay the license fee to the state,” Bryant said.  “We wouldn’t have teamed up with the other agencies, came in and cut their plants down and incinerated them (marijuana plants).”

Bryant said the seized plants were moved off location and incinerated.

The bust was the second for the county since June, both of which included a suspect of Asian descent.

However, Bryant said the Dickson bust was under different circumstances with the suspects being English speaking Nevada residents, with no apparent indications that human trafficking was involved.

“The conditions they were living in were not deplorable, there were only five people living there, so they were not bad, they had running water and air conditioning.” Bryant said.

The bust in June was much larger in scope — 27,000 plants were seized, and 45 workers were found sleeping on makeshift bed frames with plywood matts and little running water.

On Thursday, the CCSO officially joined the FBI’s Safe Trails Task Force.

The move will allow the department to handle major crimes that include, death investigations, physical or sexual abuse toward children, rape and violent felony assaults that occur in Indian Country. Carter County becomes the third area in Oklahoma to join the task force behind Tulsa and Muskogee, according to the FBI.gov Safe Trails website.

Bryant said the agreement is strictly through the FBI adding that the CCSO is still trying to work out a few details before agreeing to cross deputization with the Chickasaw Lighthorse Police.

Bryant said that until an agreement with Lighthorse was in place, the CCSO would continue to assist on those calls but wouldn’t take the lead on investigations.

“We assist them, when a call comes in that the victim or suspect is native, we still respond, but we notify Lighthorse, then secure the scene until they arrive."