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Drug Busts Get Dealers Off The Streets

More than a dozen street level drug dealers are behind bars thanks to the work of agents with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics. The bureau's mobile operations team went into neighborhoods in Payne County to buy drugs last month, and Tuesday was the round-up. News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright went along on the raid, she reports at least 15 people were arrested in the bust, which involved Payne County deputies, Stillwater Police and state agents.

Agents say getting rid of drugs takes two things, first, dismantling entire drug operations, those investigations can take years of wire-taps and surveillance. Second is disrupting lower level dealers who might be on the fringes. Those investigations take less time and resources, but can still make a statement. Tuesday’s raid was all about disruption.

The drug bust was the work of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics mobile operations team. By using agents rather than confidential informants, there's a higher conviction rate.

After a month of making buys, it's time to round up the suspects. Some big cases start with little fish.

"We have to turn some of these people around,” said Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Director Darrell Weaver. “There are addict based crimes and economic based crimes. If we can arrest someone doing a little, we can turn that person around."

Agents say the one thing they don't want is to give up any ground to drug dealers. Once they take over a street or neighborhood they say it becomes infested with people who run off families and law abiding citizens. They say the average person has no idea how many of these lower level dealers exist.

"I still look back on the first time I did a drug deal in Stephens County, Oklahoma and I said, you mean this really goes on? It goes on in Oklahoma? We can never turn our backs to it, we have to stay aggressive," said Weaver.

The mobile operations team allows for two things, fresh faces in a town where all the dopers recognize the local undercover officers, and added resources for communities where budgets are stretched thin.

The 28 people listed on the warrants on Tuesday are accused of selling everything from crack cocaine and marijuana to prescription drugs to the agents. Agents hope the next time these people decide to sell drugs they'll think twice since they won't know for sure if they're selling to a client or an undercover agent.

Any city or county in the state can request the team of veteran agents to covertly come into town and do hand-to-hand drug buys. The OBN mobile operations team has done round-ups in Woodward and Bartlesville, and they have a list of towns requesting them. They plan to do many of more of these round-ups all over the state, including in Green Country.

Watch the video: Getting Drug Dealers Off The Streets
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