Cherokee County Pot Bust Yields More Than 1,000 Pounds Of Marijuana


Tuesday, September 14th 2010, 3:18 pm
By: News On 6


NewsOn6.com

TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA -- Authorities seized more than one thousand pounds of marijuana in Cherokee County Monday. It's the largest bust there ever.

"It is a rarity, and we hope it stays that way in Cherokee County and the city of Tahlequah," sad Chief Clay Mahaney, Tahlequah Police Department.

Members of the District 27 Drug Task Force got a tip that a large amount of marijuana was being transported through Cherokee County.  

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Agents made a traffic stop of the pickup truck towing an RV fifth wheel. After a drug dog alerted its handlers and agents searched the trailer. They found dozens of bundles of neatly wrapped marijuana. 

In all, 1,069 pounds of marijuana were found in the trailer.  Authorities said the drugs have an estimated street value of $1.6 million.

Jerry Swift Jr., 30, and Jennifer Lynn Wood, 21, both of Tahlequah, were booked into the Cherokee County jail.

Police say each package weighed about 30 pounds and was packed incredibly tight with cellophane and duct tape. Police say it was an effort to avoid detection by drug dogs, but obviously that didn't work.

"We're on top of it completely. If you come here, there will be somebody waiting for you," Jerry Moore, District 27 District Attorney, said.

Investigators have never seized a shipment this large, and Jerry Moore, the District Attorney for Adair, Cherokee, Sequoyah and Wagoner Counties, has never prosecuted a case like this.

He says Swift and Wood will likely face aggravated drug trafficking charges. While the bust is unchartered water for everyone involved, the drug task force says this is a lesson they don't mind learning.

"They work hard, they work well together," Chenault said. "This is what happens when we work well together."

Agents were told the marijuana was from Mexico and it was going to Nashville, Tennessee and North Carolina for distribution.  Authorities say Cherokee and its surrounding counties are not major drug corridors because no interstate highways run through them.

Deputies have been guarding the drugs around the clock since the seizure. They will be handed over to the Oklahoma State Bureau Of Investigation, which will analyze the marijuana, then burn it.