"Operation Surprise" - Drug dealer take-down

On March 21, 2011, the District 1 Task Force (DATF) obtained twelve arrest warrants from the District Court of Texas County, Oklahoma, for persons engaged in the sale and distribution of controlled dangerous substances (CDS), including marijuana, cocaine, and prescription medications. The arrest warrants in Texas County were obtained as the initial phase of wrapping up “Operation Surprise” conducted under the direction of the DATF. This investigation was initiated in mid-November, 2010, with a deputy from Harper County operating undercover buying CDS.All twelve of the arrest warrants obtained were served during the afternoon and evening of Monday, March 21, and the following day on March 22. Additional arrests are anticipated. The individuals arrested were Angel Aguirre, Rebecca Payne, Angela Victoria-Lopez, Cody Schaef, Josh Collins, Nathan Stull, Beau Janzen, Winter Dawn Peterson, Ramiro Casas, Heriberto Ortiz, Jr., Tijah Slaughter, James Walwanis and Robert Diaz. In addition, one juvenile was taken into custody. Most of the individuals arrested on warrants were charged with multiple counts of criminal violations related to the sale and distribution of CDS to the undercover deputy. The investigation is ongoing and additional arrests are expected in Texas, Beaver, and Harper Counties, all in District 1 of Oklahoma.The initial sweep of arrests was conducted by thirty-one law enforcement officers from eleven different law enforcement agencies, including agents from Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms (ATF) out of Oklahoma City. In addition to the ATF agents, the other officers were acting under the direction of the DATF. The departments providing officers in the investigation phase of “Operation Surprise” were the sheriffs’ offices of Texas, Beaver, and Harper Counties and the Guymon and Goodwell police departments. Officers from each of these departments were joined by officers from ATF, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, Cimarron County Sheriff’s office, and the Police departments of Texhoma, Boise City, and Keyes in executing the arrest warrants.The DATF was originally established by the District Attorney, James M. Boring, shortly after he assumed the office of DA in April of 2003. Thereafter, many of the law enforcement agencies in District 1 which is comprised of the Cimarron, Texas, Beaver, and Harper Counties entered into an interlocal cooperative agreement that established the District 1 Multi-jurisdictional Drug Task Force. Under this agreement, officers from the participating agencies in District 1 were commissioned by the District Attorney to work with and assist the District Attorney’s Task Force agents in investigations relating to specific cases involving illegal drugs, gangs, and other major crimes.Beginning in the fall of 2010, Mr. Boring proposed a transition of the DATF from an entity strictly under his control and direction to an agency that would be operated under the joint supervision of a five member board that would be composed of the DA, sheriffs, and/or police chiefs. Since the beginning of 2011 and the implementation of new interlocal agreement, the DATF has been operated under the direction of the new board of control composed of four permanent board members made up of the DA, the sheriffs of Texas and Beaver Counties, the Guymon chief of police, and one rotating board member appointed from the remaining sheriffs and police chiefs in District 1. At this time the rotating board position is held by the chief of police of Goodwell. With the new board in place, participation and involvement in the operations of the DATF from the sheriffs’ offices and police departments has significantly increased. Several agencies have contributed or assigned deputies and officers to work with the DATF agents. From the inception of the DATF, it has been my desire and goal to shift the structure of the DATF to a truly multi-jurisdictional law enforcement operation under the guidance and direction of representatives from law enforcement agencies in District 1. This shift is the first fruits of a greatly enhanced cooperative effort by all District 1 law enforcement agencies to establish and maintain a cohesive and coordinated effort in achieving improved enforcement and prosecution of illegal drug crimes. Chief Eddie Adamson said of Operation Surprise, “We are glad to get these drug dealers off the streets here in Guymon and intend for this operation to be only the first in many joint operations to attack the local trafficking of drugs to our population, especially the students in our city. Removing these drug dealers from the streets will make a dent in drug distribution in our area.”Rick Caddell, Sheriff of Texas County, said, “With the dedication and cooperation of the agencies in our area as well as our neighboring counties we were able to stop some of the flow of illegal narcotics in our area. We will continue to work to protect the citizens of our County.”