Feds: Man pleads guilty to oilfield offenses

Robert Smith

An Osage County man pleaded guilty last Wednesday in U.S. District Court to dismantling and stealing oil pumping rig equipment from pumpjacks in Osage County, the office of U.S. Attorney Trent Shores said in a news release.

Lee Charles Smith, 32, pleaded guilty to Destruction of an Energy Facility. In his plea agreement, Smith admitted to dismantling and stealing the oil pumping rig equipment from Sept. 14 through Sept. 17, 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

“The oil and gas industry is the life blood of the Oklahoma economy. Lee Charles Smith dismantled pumpjack rig motors in Osage County to sell for parts. His thievery was an attack on the livelihood of all Oklahomans,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. “I’m proud of the investigative team for bringing Smith to justice. He caused in excess of $30,000 in damages and disrupted valuable production time. This United States Attorney’s office will work with our law enforcement partners to prosecute the destruction and theft of pumping equipment.”

U.S. District Judge Gregory K. Frizzell accepted Smith’s plea and set sentencing for Jan. 16, 2020.

The Osage County Sheriff’s Office, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Proctor is prosecuting the case.

Lee Charles Smith is well-known to law enforcement authorities in Osage County, and has a lengthy criminal history, as evidenced both by Osage County District Court and Oklahoma Department of Corrections records. He is currently the defendant in two Osage County grand larceny cases, one that was filed in October 2018, and another that was filed in April 2019, court records indicate.

A note in the court record for each of the pending grand larceny proseuctions says, in part, that Smith and his attorney failed to show for a Friday, Oct. 18, court date in Pawhuska. A bench warrant was issued Monday, Oct.21.

Robert Smith, of the Journal-Capital, contributed to this report