Nine people have been arrested in connection with a major drug trafficking operation centered in Rogers County, authorities said late Tuesday.
Seven of the individuals will be prosecuted by the Rogers County District Attorney’s office, which played a key role in the probe, and two will be prosecuted in federal court, said United States Attorney Danny C. Williams, Sr.
Rogers County District Attorney Janice Steidley praised the work of members of the DA’s investigative and prosecutorial staff in working with six other agencies to make the cases, which started with a request that a DA’s investigator assist in dealing with a situation at the Cherokee Hard Rock Casino in Catoosa.
That grew into an effort involving agencies at the federal, tribal, state, county and municipal levels.
“We are very pleased at the end result of this multi-agency operation. This was a very intensive operation which could not have been as successful as it was without the cooperation of all agencies involved.
“This is how it’s supposed to work. All the agencies combined their efforts for the good of the community,” Steidley said.
“We are pleased, as I know all the agencies involved are, about getting over two pounds of crystal methamphetamine off our streets in Rogers County,” she added.
Williams said a a federal Grand Jury for the Northern District of Oklahoma returned indictments against two individuals for conspiracy and possession of more than 500 grams of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.
The indictments named Gonzalo Ponce-Arturez, 35, of Austin, Tex., and Raven Frederick-Holmes, 31, of Tulsa.
Records show Ms. Holmes was in the Rogers County Jail Tuesday in lieu of $150,000 bond. Arturez’s status was not immediately available.
If convicted, each defendant would face a sentence of 10 years to life imprisonment, Williams said. Parole has been abolished in the federal system.
Copies of the indictments and court dates for the accused were not immediately available Tuesday night.
Williams said his office and the Rogers County District Attorney’s Office will coordinate the prosecutions of those individuals arrested.
The prosecutions of Ponce-Arturez and Fredrick-Holmes will proceed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma.
The seven other individuals who were arrested will be charged and prosecuted in Rogers County District Court.
Those individuals were identified by the US Attorney as: John Hunt, 68, ; Gene Miller, 53; Shelley Boothe, 30; Carl Fogleman, age 30; Ayla Jones, 20; Charles Yahola; 24, and John Cooper, 34.
Hunt was released on bond from the Rogers County Jail, where records listed his last name as Hunter and his age as 67. Yahola was listed as a Tulsa resident and Cooper was listed as being from Sapulpa. Both also had been released on bond.
Hometowns and jail booking information were not immediately available Tuesday night for the other four, and there was no record of any formal charges being filed in Rogers County District Court for any of the seven arrestees.
The arrests grew out of a multi-jurisdictional operation conducted by the Cherokee Nation Marshals Service, investigators from the Rogers County District Attorney’s Office, the Catoosa Police Department, the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Williams said.
The nine arrests involved drug trafficking in Rogers County and elsewhere in the Northern District of Oklahoma.
“I really am proud of our drug and violence task force and the endless hours they worked on getting this done,” Steidley concluded.
An indictment or charge is not a finding of guilt, the U.S. Attorney’s Office noted.
An individual charged is presumed innocent unless proved guilty during later criminal proceedings.