Fisher: Dismissal likely in pot/hemp case

Robert Smith
Pawhuska police investigate the scene where a truck carrying several thousand pounds of suspected marijuana and a vehicle escorting the truck were pulled over on Jan. 9.

Osage County District Attorney Mike Fisher said Thursday morning, Aug. 1, that a dismissal of charges is likely next week in a case that involved Pawhuska police in January stopping a truck bound from Kentucky to Colorado with a load of what authorities believed was at least partly marijuana. One of the key issues in the case was whether the material was properly classified as industrial hemp or marijuana.

Fisher said the likely dismissal is being based in considerable measure on information provided by a defense lawyer, Frank Robison. Fisher said Robison shared information that satisfied his office that the remaining defendants in the case — two men who were acting as security guards for the shipment — likely had been duped by the seller of the shipment.

This means that charges of aggravated trafficking in illegal drugs, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, which had been filed in Osage County District Court against David Melvin Dirksen, 31, of Comstock Park, Michigan, and Andrew Jason Ross, 30, of Aurora, Colorado, will most likely be dropped Aug. 7, which was the date the two were scheduled for preliminary hearing proceedings. Charges had already been dropped against two men who were truck drivers for the shipment.

Fisher clarified that both prosecutors and defense attorneys had come to the conclusion that the tractor trailer that Pawhuska police stopped early on the morning of Jan. 9 was involved in the illegal transport of marijuana. Fisher said the buyer of the material has now filed a federal court lawsuit against the seller.

Fisher praised the work of the Pawhuska Police Department on the case.

“The Pawhuska Police Department did a good job on this case,” Fisher said. “I know they caught a lot of criticism. They stopped a shipment of illegal marijuana.”

In a press release, Fisher’s office described the role that continued investigation played in the resolution of the case.

“During the course of the subsequent investigation (following the Jan. 9 arrests), it became the state’s belief that the drivers of the truck were unaware of the contents of the shipment that they were transporting and the charges against them were dismissed,” the press release said. “Since that time, additional evidence has come to light to indicate that the security guards, as well, were duped by the seller into participating in the illegal shipment of 4,326 pounds of marijuana. As a result, the state will be dismissing the charges against both security guards in the interests of justice.”

In the same press release, Fisher’s office credited the work of defense attorneys for contributing to a clearer understanding of what had happened.

“A thorough investigation by local authorities, including the Pawhuska Police Department, along with a private investigation conducted by Matthew Lyons, Scott B. Goode and Frank Robison, as defense counsel, has led all parties to conclude that the seller of the contents of the truck was involved in the illegal transport of marijuana under the guise of an industrial hemp shipment,” the release said. “As a result of these investigations, a federal lawsuit has been brought by the Colorado buyer against the Kentucky seller.”