OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Officials say 21 people have been convicted following a three-year investigation into an Oklahoma prison-based drug trafficking network.

“Drug trafficking, on our streets and in our prisons, impacts the safety and security of all of our lives,” said Eduardo A. Chavez, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Dallas/Oklahoma.  “These convictions and prison terms should send a strong message to others that drug trafficking and its related violent crimes are not welcome here. DEA and our partners will continue to identify, disrupt, and destroy, these criminal organizations that choose to distribute drugs.”

Over the course of the investigation, federal, state, and local law enforcement identified and targeted a drug trafficking organization run by Todd Matthew Strand.

Strand was an Oklahoma Department of Corrections inmate already serving a 30-year sentence for prior drug trafficking activity.

Officials say Strand, with the help of fellow inmate Hugo Gonzalez, Jr., ran his operation from inside a state prison using contraband cell phones.

The pair then relied on a network of distributors and couriers on the streets to distribute methamphetamine and heroin.

Investigators say Strand and his organization collected firearms with the intent to send some to Mexico. In one instance, a search warrant led to authorities finding 13 assault rifles, shotguns, parts, and ammunition that was meant to be exported to Mexico.

In total, law enforcement seized approximately 46 pounds of methamphetamine and heroin, more than 50 firearms, and $35,000 in drug proceeds.

In all, 21 defendants were convicted on charges including drug distribution, drug conspiracy, money laundering, maintaining drug-involved premises, and illegal firearms possession. Collectively, the 21 defendants received sentences of more than 187 years in federal prison.

Strand was sentenced to serve 32 years in federal prison. Gonzalez, Jr. was sentenced to serve 22 years in federal prison.

“The laundering of illegal drug profits is as important and essential to drug traffickers as the very distribution of their illegal drugs,” said Gerardo Gomez, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Dallas Field Office. “Without these ill-gotten gains, the traffickers could not finance their organizations. The significant sentencings in this investigation should send a clear message to would-be criminals—you will be caught, and you will be punished. We, along with our law enforcement partners, and the United States Attorney’s Office, continue to do our part to put drug traffickers in jail or in this case, keep them in jail.”