For the past 18 months, the District 6 Drug Task Force has been utilizing a community informant to collect information on potential drug dealers in the Stephens County area. This information led to the release of 15 warrants for the arrest of probable drug dealers in Stephens County.
Oklahoma has long ranked as a state with one of the highest methamphetamine rates in the country.
According to the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation’s 2015 report, Stephens County averages over 100 adult arrests per year for illegal drugs. According to a report by The Oklahoman, the number of people in Oklahoma who have died from the use of methamphetamine has increased by over 265 percent from 2010-2016.
In response to the growing drug problem, the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council utilized federal funds received from the Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistant Program to form multi-jurisdictional drug task forces. The task forces integrate several different components in their assigned area with the goal of creating a way for several agencies to share information, coordinate efforts and oversee investigations.
Through this program, Oklahoma has 13 drug tasks forces; Stephens County is a member of the 6th Drug Task Force. Investigators assigned to the drug task force receive specialized training to locate, identify and dismantle methamphetamine labs. The task force employs approximately 60 investigators and other law enforcement offices have specially trained staff who fill in as needed when cases arise.
Multi-jurisdictional drug task forces are defined as “cooperative law enforcement efforts involving two or more criminal justice agencies, with jurisdiction over two or more areas, sharing the common goal of impacting one or more aspects of drug control and violent crime problems” (Bureau of Justice Assistance, 2000).
Drug Task force 6 has been busy since the summer of 2017 utilizing a local informant to purchase drugs from suspected dealers. The result: the issuance of 15 warrants for the arrest of suspected drug dealers. The following is a summary of each investigation.
According to a report by Deputy Jimmy Phillips of the Stephens County Sheriff’s Department, Kory Liller sold $60 of methamphetamine to the informant on April 16. Liller was identified by a previous Stephens County Jail booking photo. According to Phillips, the informant entered Liller’s residence with no question and was able to make a purchase quite easily. Liller was taken into custody on Aug. 31.
Suspects McCartney and Chandler
According to a report by Investigator Rick Lang with the Sixth District Attorney’s Office, the community informant purchased methamphetamine from Charles Chandler and Shawna McCartney. According to Lang, on Jan. 31, the informant met McCartney and Chandler in the parking lot of Family Dollar, 100 E. Main St. in Duncan. The car drove off, and the informant was dropped off at the 200 block of Willow St. According to investigators, the informant told them he purchased $60 of methamphetamine from McCartney. On Feb. 1, the informant was able to identify McCartney from photos on JustWare and Facebook. McCartney was taken into custody on Aug. 31.
The report further states, on Jan. 24, the informant purchased $280 of methamphetamine from Chandler again at his residence of 103 King Pl. According to the report, Chandler was in the home with a female, the informant purchased the methamphetamine from him and turned it over to Investigator Lang.
According to investigators, on July 6, the informant purchased $200 of methamphetamine from Chandler at his residence of 103 King Pl in Duncan. The informant had a lengthy conversation with Chandler about the price of the methamphetamine, but was able to successfully purchase the drug.
Chandler has previously been convicted of two felonies. A warrant was issued for his arrest. As of press time, Chandler remains at large. Authorities say he is suspected to be dangerous.
Deputy Jimmy Phillips, of the Stephens County Sheriff’s office, stated in a report that on March 21 the informant purchased $60 of methamphetamine from Elizabeth Varrientos. According to the report, the informant went to Varrientos’ house, located on Mulberry between 10th and 11th street, where he was admitted by a male, identified as Cory. The recording details the informant being asked by Varrientos what he had, the informant replying “60” and then “thank you.” The informant then handed over the purchased methamphetamine to the Deputy Phillips. Varrientos was taken into custody on Aug. 31.
Suspects Burton and Stapp
Stephens County Deputy Sheriff Jimmy Phillips again collaborated with Investigator Lang and the community informant to gain knowledge of William Billy Bob Burton’s activities. According to the deputy’s report on April 12, the informant utilized Facebook to arrange a meeting with Burton to purchase methamphetamine. The informant and Burton met at the Chisholm Corner convenience store, located at 401 N. 10th St. in Duncan. The informant was given $50 to purchase methamphetamine, the informant met Burton in the parking lot of the convenience store. The informant purchased the methamphetamine which was stored in a cigarette box. The informant also identified Tiffany Stapp in Burton’s car at the time of the purchase.
On April 17, the informant again worked with Investigator Lang to purchase additional methamphetamine from Burton. WIth $60, the informant met Burton on the south side of Duncan Regional Hospital. The informant entered the black, four-door Nissan, where Burton can be heard saying he only has a 30. According to authorities, the informant gave Investigator Lang a clear, plastic bag with a devil’s face on it containing methamphetamine.
On April 23, the informant and Investigator Lang again worked together to purchase methamphetamine from Burton. This time, the informant would purchase $100. The informant met Burton at the Dollar General, located at 109 Village Mall in Comanche, across the street from Comanche Schools. Burton arrived in the black, four-door Nissan, still with paper tags. The informant entered the car and purchased the methamphetamine. Stapp was again with Burton.
On May 1, again purchased methamphetamine from Burton, through Stapp at the Walgreens located on Hwy 81 in Duncan. According to authorities, the informant entered the black, four-door Nissan with paper tags, and this time no hubcaps, purchased the methamphetamine and exited the car. According to investigators, the methamphetamine was purchased from Stapp and Burton was also in the car.
On May 9, the informant met with Stapp, Burton’s girlfriend, to purchase methamphetamine. The informant met the pair at the Stripes Convenience Store located at 12th St. and Bois d’ Arc Ave. The pair were in a short, wide-bed pickup painted green and gray. Stapp exited the vehicle and entered the store. According to investigators, the informant entered the car and purchased $50 of methamphetamine from Burton, identified by his voice. The informant exited the vehicle as Stapp reentered it. Stapp and Burton were arrested on Aug. 31.
According to the report of Stephens County Sheriff’s Deputy Phillips and Investigator Lang, on April 11, the informant made a purchase of methamphetamine from Nakia Hasting, also known as Nakia Huddleston. With $40, the informant was to meet Hasting at the Love’s Convenience store located on 701 South Broadway in Marlow. At this point, the informant was contacted by Hasting and told to walk to the south side of Gregston’s Nursing home, located on 711 S, Broadway in Marlow. In the shadow of the nursing home, the informant met Hasting and purchased the methamphetamine. At the time of this report, Hasting had not been arrested. Hasting is thought to be dangerous.
Stephens County Deputy Sheriff Jimmy Phillips reported on June 4 that the informant purchased $50 of methamphetamine from Blake Myers. The informant met Myers at his residence, located at 907 N. 11th St in Duncan. At the residence, the informant also identified Mary Jones, who was already in the home, and Corbin, who arrived after the informant. The informant requested “half a G” from Myers. The video recording shows Myers weighing a crystal substance on a scale before giving it to the informant. Jones had a short conversation with Myers about the price before the informant was given the methamphetamine. The informant handed the methamphetamine over to Phillips. A warrant has been issued for Myers who authorities believe to be dangerous. A warrant has not been issued for the arrest of Jones.
On May 1, Investigator Lang and Deputy Sheriff Phillips worked with the informant to purchase $60 of methamphetamine from Casey Howard. The informant met Howard at an apartment complex located between Pine St and Cedar St., and between 7th St. and 8th St. in Duncan. Howard walked eastbound on Pine St. passing the 8th St. intersection. According to investigators, the informant was on the phone with Howard, received the drugs from him, and Howard continued walking. Howard has previously been convicted of two felonies. A warrant was issued for Howard, who remains at large. Authorities believe he is dangerous.
According to a report by Stephen’s County Deputy Sheriff Phillips and Investigator Lang, on June 4, the informant met with Jeffery Johnson, at Johnson’s mother’s residence, located in the 400 block of Cypress in Duncan. The informant met with Johnson, and entered the residence. The transaction passed, and Johnson can be heard saying, “Hey, you know I will treat you right,” to the informant. The informant purchased marijuana.
According to authorities, on June 8, the informant again purchased $25 of marijuana from Johnson at his mother’s residence. Johnson has two previous felonies. A warrant was issued for his arrest, and he has yet to be apprehended.
According to Stephens’s County Deputy Sheriff Jimmy Phillips and Investigator Lang worked with the informant on April 12 to purchase $50 of methamphetamine from Andy Banuelos. The informant met Banuelos at Goodners Grocery Store. Banuelos arrived in a maroon SUV, sitting in the passenger seat. The purchase was successful. A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Banuelos.
On Sept 6, 2017, Investigator Lang collaborated with Chief Investigator Justin Scott and Stephens’s County Deputy Sheriff Jimmy Phillips, to purchase methamphetamine from James Steven Skeen. The informant was given $50 and sent to a residence located at 316 W. Willow. The informant entered the residence and purchased one baggy marked 20 and a second baggy marked 40 of methamphetamine. A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Skeen.
On Jan. 31, Investigator Lang, Deputy Phillips and Agent Rick Strain with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics worked with an informant to purchase $40 of methamphetamine from Tiffany Claires. The informant walked to Building 4, Apartment 6 of Elm Terrace Apartments, located at 206 E. Elm in Duncan. In route, the informant met up with John “John John” Johnson. Together, they entered Claires’ apartment. The informant is heard on a recording stating that he gave the money to “John John” and Claires answered “the dope is on her.” The purchase was completed, the informant gave the methamphetamine to the investigators and identified Claires by her Facebook picture. A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Claires. A warrant has not yet been issued for the arrest of Johnson.
On Nov. 20, 2017, Investigator Lang and Deputy Phillips worked with an informant to purchase $50 of methamphetamine from Onita Thomas at her residence, located at 316 Willow in Duncan, the same residence at which authorities say an informant purchased methamphetamine from Skeen on Sept. 6, 2017. The informant entered the residence and was greeted by a man known as Boon, Thomas and Drew Howard. Thomas left the residence, retrieving the drugs from an unknown location, returning and selling the informant the methamphetamine. A warrant has been issued for Thomas’ arrest. Boon and Howard have not had warrants issued.
According to a report by Investigator Lang and Deputy Phillips, on June 5, the pair worked with an informant to purchase $20 of Lortab from Tammy Autrey. The informant met Autrey at 304 H St in Duncan. The informant entered the residence to purchase the Lortab, and can be heard on recording saying, “Hey dad.” The informant purchased five Lortabs. On June 6, the informant purchased $20 of Lortab from Autrey at the residence located at 304 H St. The informant again purchased five Lortab. On June 8, the informant purchased five more Lortab from Autrey at the 304 H St residence. A warrant was issued for her arrest.
Investigator Lang, working with the Stephens County Sheriff’s office and other law enforcement offices, has successfully identified and built cases against 15 suspected drug dealers in Stephens County. Many of these suspects have not yet been arrested. The Stephens County Sheriff’s Office is urging anyone with information on the suspects to contact the office.