Local Law, Feds Crackdown On K-2 With 'Operation Killa Gorilla'
ROGERS COUNTY, Oklahoma - Federal and state officers are cracking down on smoke shots selling synthetic drugs.
This week they raided four places in Green Country as part of something they called “Operation Killa Gorilla.”
They also served warrants at a home and two safe deposit boxes in Texas and several bank accounts in Oklahoma.
For months, a joint task force of feds and locals has been doing undercover buys at places in Green Country, buying synthetic drugs.
The months of undercover work came to a head at Pipe's Smoke Shop in Claremore as search warrants were served.
The investigation involved the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Cherokee Marshals, Bureau of Narcotics, Tulsa, Owasso, and Claremore police and the Rogers County Sheriff's Office.
Raids also happened at the Peace Pipe Smoke Shop in Owasso, Independence Smoke Shop in Tulsa and the home of Darin Bales in Claremore.
They believe the synthetic marijuana was being brought in from overseas, which has the IRS also looking into possible money laundering.
"The selling point is it's synthetic marijuana, but it's not synthetic marijuana, it's poison," one undercover officer said.
Police said they're seeing cases of people “whacked out” after smoking or ingesting K-2 products and it's leading to crimes and emergency room visits, which is a huge drain on police and health budgets.
Chief Stan Brown, with Claremore Police said, "We have a saying in our group at Claremore PD, ‘they're either fighting you or dying.'"
They say it affects kids as young as 13 and is causing irreversible mental destruction.
They found items at the store in Claremore, some smokeable and some liquid form. The agents will have to test them because makers keep changing the chemical make-up.
"They change it to stay ahead of law enforcement and the statute," one officer said.
Police realize they can't ever stop people from trying new drugs to get high, but they say they can cuff off the supply of the drugs at the source, which is what Operation Killa Gorilla was all about.
The DEA says regardless of what people have heard about the drugs being legal to sell or buy, they've always been illegal at the federal level and they're going to remain that way.