By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
KAW CITY — A multi-law enforcement task force, which included the Kay County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) and Eighth District Attorney Task Force, took down an illegal medical marijuana growth facility in Kaw City Thursday, July 29, resulting in the seizure of several million dollars worth of plants and at least one suspect under arrest.
Also participating were the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Kaw Nation Police, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN), Newkirk Fire and Ambulance Tac Medic and Ponca City Police Task Force.
The investigation began several weeks ago, following tips from local citizens.
“We were contacted by concerned citizens about the possible weed growth, and subjects shooting in the area,” Kay County Sheriff Steve Kelley said. “We contacted OBN, we teamed up with them, and we discovered they did not have an OBN license through the state of Oklahoma.”
A search warrant was executed on the property about 6 a.m. that morning, which contained six large structures and 13 grow houses, according to the KCSO.
Law enforcement officers were able to seize more than 2,700 plants, which were estimated to have a street value of $2.5 million to $3 million.
The office of Kay County Commission District One, Jack Godberson, assisted in destroying the plants.
“The District One Commissioner brought in equipment to haul it offsite, and the plants were destroyed and burned,” Kelley said.
The law enforcement officers are praised for the execution of the search warrant.
“It was a good, clean operation. An arrest was made, but no injuries,” said District Attorney Brian Hermanson.
The KCSO pledges to continue monitoring medical marijuana growth facilities to ensure they follow state law.
“That (Kaw City) is one of at least 124 growth operations we have in Kay County, and we will be strictly enforcing all state laws on those growth operation,” Kelley said.