Drug Task Force Making Waves

Friday, April 25th 2008, 10:09 pm
By: News On 6

A Tulsa County task force has taken more than a $1.5 million worth of drugs off the streets and they say they're just scratching the surface. News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright reports the task force is made up of Tulsa County deputies and a police officer from Sand Springs and one from Bixby.

The funding comes from a Justice Department grant and taxpayers are certainly getting their money's worth, because this task force is finding drugs all over the place.

The undercover drug officers who confiscated it say it's even more daunting when it is all divided into hundreds of little baggies and sold on street corners, in parking lots and at schools.

That's what would've happened, had they not intercepted the drugs during a raid this week. The same task force has found much more in the past few months.

The task force says the drug dealers are better educated, more organized and trained than ever before.

"We are confronting organized crime in this drug business. It's not just mom and pop out in Sequoyah County growing grass because they're hippies, that's not what's going on," said Tulsa County Sheriff Captain Larry Merchant.

The dangers are increased too.  They say they routinely encounter camera surveillance systems, guard dogs and warning devices, plus, their opponent is well armed.

"If there's a couch, guns are under the pillows. Bed, guns are under the pillows and mattresses. End tables have guns in them. In the bathroom, they're behind the shower curtain. Guns in medicine cabinets. Trash cans, guns either under the can or under the liner," said Merchant.

The task force has far surpassed its original goals. They've made 178 arrests, seized $1.6 million in marijuana, meth, cocaine and heroin, busted 26 meth labs and confiscated $178,000, 46 vehicles and 141 guns.

Officers will tell you drugs are tied to every other crime, auto theft, burglary, robbery, even homicides, which affects the quality of life in every neighborhood.

They say most of the marijuana they're seeing is coming up from Mexico, as is the black tar heroin.

The china white heroin is coming into the U.S. from Asia and Turkey.      

Task force officers say even with all these busts, they're just scratching the surface of the drug situation in Green Country.