OBN Public Information Officer, Mark Woodward told KFOR officials pulled over a vehicle for a simple traffic stop last week.
“The individuals involved admitted they made multiple trips up to a particular home in northwest Oklahoma City to get anywhere from 50 to 100 pounds at a time and take it back to down into Texas for distribution,” stated Woodward.
Through a search warrant of the northwest Oklahoma City home, OBN agents found 1,200 pounds of marijuana bagged and ready to be sold.
“We’ve seen this quite frequently over the last three or four years. We have hit a number of houses and warehouses where the farms are growing and then trucks come out. They pick up their portion, take it to homes or warehouses where it is repackaged and put in semi-trucks to passenger cars and shipped from New York City to Texas to California. We are, if not the number one supplier, certainly one of the number one suppliers of black market marijuana throughout the U.S.,” explained Woodward.
In the last three years, Woodward told KFOR the state agency has shut down 800 farms, arrested more than 200 people, and are actively investigating 3,000 grow licenses for fraud.
“In Oklahoma, we’ve got some of the loosest regulations. We’ve got some of the cheapest land and the cheapest licenses in the country. You can save hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions moving your operation from places like New Mexico or Colorado, California, Nevada,” added Woodward.
He said OBN has been able to trace illegal grow operations back to Bulgaria, Russia, China, and Armenia.
“When Oklahoma legalized it, they started to see that maximum profit margin in our state,” said Woodward. “Many of their workers are undocumented, so they get cheap labor so they can literally save hundreds of dollars and grow for as little as $100 a pound, whereas a legitimate grower, it might be $700 to $900 a pound and they can barely sell it for that. But on the black market, that hundred dollars a pound grown by the criminals is going for $4,000 in New York City. It will garner $28M.”
OBN is still in the early stages of investigation with the Northwest Oklahoma City case.
“There will be several arrests made in addition to ones that may have already taken place linked to this over the last few weeks. It’s still very much ongoing. In fact, we want to see this as maybe just the start, because ultimately we want to be able to identify every single farm that is supplying black market marijuana to this house,” said Woodward.