Dozens arrested in Osage County drug sweep

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

PAWHUSKA — Dozens of people were taken into custody Wednesday as part of a wide ranging Osage County drug investigation.

The crackdown came after a district judge issued 52 warrants in connection with a nearly yearlong probe by the Osage County Sheriff’s Office and Pawhuska Police Department, Osage County Chief Deputy Charlie Cartwright said. Osage Nation Police and agents from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation joined in Wednesday’s warrant-serving operation.

Several Pawhuska residences were targets of the sweep, as were other locations in Osage County and surrounding areas. Law enforcement officers expected to execute eight search warrants.

Felony charges of conspiracy to deliver or distribute marijuana are pending against many of the suspects in the case. Reportedly, at least part of the charges are tied to a recent cannabis shipment — possibly involving a West Coast mail operation.

Cartwright said the local investigation is being conducted in cooperation with multiple federal agencies. He said evidence gathered online has played a key role and pointed out that information from social media sites had been used to identify several suspects.

“A lot of this case is based off digital footprints,” said Cartwright. “There’s been corroboration of those digital footprints, and the district court felt like there was sufficient probable cause to issue those warrants.”

According to the investigator, not all of those arrested are suspected of sending drugs through the mail. Some, he said, are just drug users who have been caught up in the delivery process.

Arrest warrants in the case include 25 people with Pawhuska addresses. Two people each from Hominy, Fairfax and Wynona are named arrest warrants. Single warrants list people from Bartlesville, Skiatook and Wagoner. Eight warrants are for suspects with addresses in Arkansas and no address appears on one of the warrants.

A warrant for the person suspected of being the supplier of the marijuana, Jache Parker Willard, lists his address as “various.”