OKLAHOMA CITY – The fight to demolish organized crime associated with illegal marijuana growing operations just got stronger.

This week Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond announced his office is implementing an Organized Crime Task Force.

“It will be a godsend – I am so grateful,” said District Attorney Doug Pewitt, referring to the newly formed program.

District Attorney Doug Pewitt
District Attorney Doug Pewitt

Pewitt explained some cases cross other county lines, for example, Craig and Ottawa Counties.

“You have two district attorneys trying to coordinate the prosecution,” Pewitt said. “The drug task force will have an easier time coordinating all law enforcement.”

The task force does not replace the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control or other state law enforcement agencies, but rather works together to “disrupt and dismantle organized crime,” related to illegal grow operations, including human trafficking and the distribution of deadly drugs such as fentanyl, said Phil Bacharach, Oklahoma A.G. Director of Communications.

The Drug Task Force will enable prosecutors and investigators to dig deep on certain strands of criminal activity, such as money laundering, that typically require longer investigations and can sometimes fall through jurisdictional cracks, Bacharach said.

“Illegal marijuana grows are responsible for an alarming influx of organized crime into our communities, particularly from Mexican drug cartels and Chinese crime syndicates I have made it a priority to wipe out these illicit operators and this task force is a crucial component to driving out criminals and ensuring public safety.”

Olahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond

Drummond will lead the task force which includes seasoned prosecutors from the Attorney General’s office as well as agents with prior federal, state, and or local experience including with the Drug Enforcement Agency, the U.S. Marshals Service and various military experience.

All Oklahomans are concerned about public safety and the associated crimes – sex trafficking, labor trafficking, fentanyl distribution, etc. – that are often part and parcel with the illegal pot farms, he said.

The Attorney General’s office is authorized to subpoena business documents, conduct unannounced on-site inspections, seize and destroy illegal products and enter into agreements with other state agencies to combat illegal operations.