Testing Of Pawhuska Drug Samples On Hold Due To Partial Shutdown
PAWHUSKA, Oklahoma - Two men charged with aggravated trafficking will have to wait even longer to clear their names due to the partial government shutdown.
Pawhuska police believed the men were transporting thousands of pounds of illegal marijuana, but the men say it was hemp. The DEA in Tulsa said samples were collected and sent to the lab that can test THC levels, but that lab is currently closed down.
The men in question, Andrew Ross and David Dirksen, are now out of jail, but their journey through the court system is far from over.
"Got this nice piece of paper today that says we're looking at imprisonment of 15 years to life,” Ross said.
The Osage County DA's office charged them with aggravated trafficking after Pawhuska Police believed the men were transporting 18,000 pounds of marijuana.
"It's definitely within the threshold of being industrial hemp,” Dirksen said. “It's definitely not marijuana. Doesn't smell like marijuana, doesn't look like marijuana."
Hemp attorney Frank Robison said he's worked well with the DA on this case but hasn't heard back from them since Monday.
He said the office told him the product had been analyzed under a microscope and identified as marijuana.
"To be very clear, there is no such test,” he said. "You cannot determine whether or not its hemp or marijuana looking at it under a microscope."
Robison was told the government shutdown put the DEA’s testing on hold, but he said there are other labs that can quickly test the product’s THC level.
"Labs with this technology can turn around results in less than 24 hours," Robison said.
But Robison said the DA's office didn't seem open to discussing other ways to get results, so he can clear his clients' names.
"I countered with, that doesn't make sense,” he said. “There's many ways to test this hemp at accredited facilities. They were not receptive at that time to alternatives."
News On 6 reached out to the Osage County DA’s office but didn’t receive a callback.