A four-month long undercover operation has resulted the arrest of 20 people on drug charges in Woodward.

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics operation, “Operation Rebound,” has been under way since January, and over 70 law enforcement officers began making arrests Thursday morning.

“OBN Agents and District 26 Drug Task Force Officers have been making undercover methamphetamine and cocaine buys of some of the biggest dealers in the community,” said Bureau of Narcotics spokesman Mark Woodward. “Since the first of the year, this operation has helped us build solid cases against those bringing drugs into the area and distributing them at the street level.”

Late Wednesday night, the Woodward County District Attorney’s Office filed 28 arrest warrants against 20 defendants. Eleven of those defendants were arrested and made an initial court appearance on Thursday. In addition 13 search warrants were served starting Thursday, resulting in nine more arrests, said Assistant District Attorney A. J. Laubhan.

Most of the charges involved unlawful delivery of methamphetamine. Some of the charges involved marijuana, cocaine or other banned substances, plus some charges included possession of controlled dangerous substances. Other charges included “maintaining a dwelling resorted to by uses of controlled dangerous substance” and “trafficking in controlled dangerous substance - methamphetamine.”

Arrested from the original charges were Rogelio Avila, Marlene Pena, Rex Glenn Allison, Jeffrey Allen Darr, Chelsea Amber Cook, Cory Lynn Stafford, Samuel Wayne Whitson, JA Ashley Brooke Anderson, Ryan Steven Coffelt, Jeanette Marie Westenhaver and Kendra Nicole Russell aka Kendra Nicole Sertuche, said Laubhan.

Court records show arrest warrants have been issued for Sheila Jo Spreier, Laura Nicole Heinz, Dennis Ray Poulson, Ted Allen Higgs, Merlene Whitehorse, Barton Lafe Morris, Blaine William Hawkins Jr., Joseph Michael Stotts and James Michael Owens.

Arrested as a result of the search warrants executed Thursday were April Dawn Redden, Kimberly Jo Thornton, Shannon Jean Evans, Homero Pena, Miguel Angel Pena and Debra Kay Vandenburgh, all charged with felonies. Charged with misdemeanors were Teresa J. Breisch, Johnny Dale Cannon and Megan Horton.

The OBN set up a command post in Woodward Thursday and officers began fanning out to make arrests and serve the warrants.

Woodward said all the arrests went “pretty smoothly and we were very pleased with that.”

Assisting the OBN in the operation were the District 26 Drug Task Force, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, OSBI, FBI, sheriff’s departments in Woodward, Harper, Ellis, Dewey, Major and Beaver counties and police departments from Woodward, Mooreland, Vici, Hardesty and Seiling. Over 70 agents participated in the operation.

Tom Cunningham, state drug task force coordinator, said cooperative law enforcement is critical in reducing the local availability of drugs.

“Operation Rebound demonstrates why District Attorney’s Drug Task Forces are vital to narcotics enforcement in rural Oklahoma,” Cunningham said. “Their ability to help organize local, state and federal resources is what makes a difference in our communities.”

Woodward said the operation and resulting arrests is sending a message to street level dealers.

“It’s a message that whether it’s a small local street dealer or a large Mexican cartel, drug dealers are going to get the attention of Oklahoma police.”

The operation was one of the largest ever in Northwest Oklahoma.

“We hope to do many more in the future all around Northwest Oklahoma,” Woodward said. “No community hasn’t been affected by drugs like methamphetamine.”

The activity on Thursday doesn’t mark the end of the operation, officials said.

“I anticipate there will be more charges in the operation,” Laubhan said.

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