Investigation Breaks up 4 Massive Drug Trafficking Rings in Oklahoma Prisons
News 9 - February 2, 2023 6:53 am
Four massive drug trafficking rings have been broken up in the past nine months and all of them were being run by gangs inside Oklahoma prisons. This followed several years of investigations.
275 people have now been convicted and agents recovered more than a thousand pounds of drugs, $1 million in cash, and hundreds of guns.
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections said this is something every jail and prison in the state battles every single day, whether it is drugs, tobacco or weapons.
But DOC said the biggest threat to public safety is contraband cell phones because they give prisoners direct access to the outside world.
DOC said they’ve confiscated cell phones inside Oklahoma prisons that are the size of a breath mint.
Prisoners use these phones to not only orchestrate the drug trade, but order others to commit violent crimes out on the streets, DOC said.
“Contraband is a public safety issue. Contraband can be cell phones, drugs, anything that sets up an economic scale within a prison,” said Josh Ward with Oklahoma DOC. “These things can be used to control people.”
After several years of investigations, 275 people have now been convicted that all had ties to Oklahoma prison gangs.
The U.S. Department of Justice said 60 of those convicted were in the Southside Locos gang, including their leader Eduardo Rosales, who has now been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.
69 were in the Universal Aryan Brotherhood, including their leader Chance Wilson, who the DOJ said ran the drug operation from his prison cell.
125 were in the Irish Mob including their leader David Postelle, who was already serving a life sentence for murder.
They said he was responsible for trafficking 270 kilos of meth, from his maximum security prison cell.
“The phones are the most disturbing because of connection it allows an inmate to have with the outside world, whether that is used to harass or to direct other criminal activity,” said Ward.
Agents said all 275 people now convicted either ordered or participated in witness tampering, shootings, kidnappings, and even death threats against prosecutors.
Four were DOC employees convicted of conspiring to distribute drugs inside correctional facilities, sell meth, and launder drug money.
Ward said some prisoners feel they have nothing to lose, but these drug trafficking networks don’t happen without the cooperation from the outside, so law enforcement will go after them and put them in prison too.
“It is a vast organization that puts these things together to sneak these products into prison. They are committing crimes on the outside in doing so.”
DOC said they support any legislation that would jam phone signals around prisons to help stop this problem.