Local law enforcement officers came away with positive thoughts from Thursday’s Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) organized drug operation that resulted in 20 arrests and charges filed against 29 people.

“This was a very positive thing that took place on Thursday,” said Woodward Police Department Chief Harvey Rutherford. “These arrests will make a positive difference in our city. These people who were arrested will go through the system and the operation that took place on Thursday will take place again.”

Several law enforcement agencies played an active role in the stings on Thursday including the Woodward, Mooreland, Vici, Hardesty, and Seiling Police Departments, Woodward, Harper, Ellis, Dewey, Major, and Beaver County Sheriff’s Offices, District 26 Drug Task Force, and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol along with the OBN.

“One of the great things about Northwest Oklahoma is all of the separate law enforcement agencies work well together,” said Rutherford. “This was the case as well on Thursday. We worked well together and had a smooth operation throughout this process.”

The methamphetamine law that was passed a couple of years ago by the state legislature has also cut down on the production of meth in the Woodward area, according to officers.

The sting Thursday was geared toward the trafficking and distribution of controlled dangerous substances.

“This operation and the people that were arrested Thursday was mainly for the sale and/or delivery of drugs in our area,” said Woodward County Assistant District Attorney Don Work. “I believe this operation was a complete success and was very well executed. This will make an impact on the drug trade here in Woodward and Woodward County.”

The OBN said over 70 agents from various agencies were part of the operation.

The operation has been in the works for the past four months and, said OBN spokesman Mark Woodward, some of the biggest drug dealers in the community were targeted.

“OBN Agents and District 26 Drug Task Force Officers have been making undercover methamphetamine and cocaine buys off of some of the biggest dealers in the community,” said Woodward.

As for where the drugs are coming from and how they make their way into Woodward many possibilities exist.

“We believe a large portion of the drugs we see here in Woodward are coming from Mexico,” said Rutherford. “However, we are seeing signs that the production and use of meth are down which is always good news.

“However, if you decide you want to take part in the drug trade here in Woodward we still have plenty of room in the jail for you and make no mistake we will find you.”

Woodward County Sheriff Les Morton agreed with Rutherford concerning the drug trade in the city and county.

“I hope this operation Thursday will act as a reminder to everyone that we here in Woodward and Woodward County will not tolerate anyone dealing drugs, using drugs, or both,” said Morton. “This operation was a good one that went very smoothly. We have taken these drug dealers and users off the streets and I believe this has been long past due.

“I want to extend our appreciation to the OBN on a job well done. They did a great job getting warrants and making the deals. This was a cooperation effort and this happened because everyone worked together.”

Two more people made their initial court appearance Friday to face drug charges resulting from the operation. Joseph Michael Stotts and Blaine William Hawkins, Jr., brought the total number of arrests to 22 in the case. Several more warrants are outstanding, and additional charges could come from the operation officers say is ongoing. No additional charges were filed in the operation on Friday.

Stotts is charged with unlawful delivery of methamphetamine. Hawkins faces a similar charge, plus a charge of maintaining a dwelling house resorted to users of a controlled dangerous substance.

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