Men Arrested In Pawhuska Say They Were Not Transporting Marijuana
PAWHUSKA, Oklahoma - Two men charged after police say they busted a semi hauling 18,000 pounds of marijuana have bonded out and are telling News On 6 their side of the story.
Andrew Ross and David Dirksen said they’re still shaken up after spending six nights in the Osage County Jail.
“We're veterans hauling medicine for veterans,” said Dirksen.
The veterans, who work for a security company, said they were escorting the semi that was legally transporting industrial hemp from Kentucky to Colorado. Now, they’re facing 15 years to life in prison and a $500,000 fine.
"It's definitely in the threshold of being industrial hemp. It's definitely not marijuana. Doesn't smell like marijuana, doesn't look like marijuana, “said Dirksen.
They said the difference is the levels of THC.
"What's considered industrial hemp is any product that has less than .3 or in this case .5 percent THC,” said Ross.
Ross and Dirksen said they tried to explain the difference to police last Wednesday after the semi driver was pulled over for running through a flashing red light, but officers didn’t believe them.
"If we were trafficking we would be the absolute worst traffickers ever because, like I said, we sat there and waited along with the semi-truck even though multiple times throughout the morning the two of us were told we were free to leave."
Sixty pallets were pulled out of the semi, and authorities ran tests on the product, but Dirksen said the tests are flawed.
"So, they tested it but they did a 'no THC' or 'THC.' It came back, obviously, industrial hemp has THC in it,” said Dirksen.
Dirksen and Ross said their company does everything it can to ensure what they're securing is legal, but ultimately, it shouldn't matter.
"FedEx drivers find out they have packages of marijuana all the time and FedEx drivers aren't getting arrested for it,” said Ross.
They’re expected back in court in March. Both men are charged with aggravated trafficking possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.