Society

Oklahoma District Used Drug Money to Hire Private Firm to Make Illegal Stops on State Highway?

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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An Oklahoma district is now under investigation, and drug stops on state highways were halted, amid allegations that a private task force was employed to make illegal stops. That task force was allegedly paid a quarter of every dollar seized in drug money.

Law enforcement seized $1.3 million in drug money from highways in District 6, which includes Grady, Caddo, and Stephens counties.

"We are taking drugs away from drug traffickers and we are financing law enforcement," District Attorney Jason Hicks told News 9.

In January, Hicks entered into a contract with Desert Snow, a private company which trains law enforcement in drug interdiction. Desert Snow was presumably used to train the Hicks’ Drug and Violent Crime Task Force.

Soon after, citizens began filing complaints that the Desert Snow owner, Joe David, pulled over a pregnant woman on Interstate 40, according to the Express-Star.

Desert Snow employees are not certified to make any stops.

“For people to pull over people on I-40 without that license is shocking to me,” said a Caddo County judge.

Furthermore the $400 confiscated during that traffic stop has never been recovered.

Hicks asked the force to halt its operations while his office investigates the program and the incident.

“If any modifications need to be made to the program, they will be made," Hicks said. " I fully believe we are in compliance with state law and at the time the program was formed my intent was to see that my investigators received top notch training and to ensure that we could continue the operation of the drug and violent crime task force.”

He said the year-long agreement with Desert Snow has been a success so far.

“I think the bottom line on this program is that it is successful," Hicks said. "We are taking drugs off of our streets and destroying them, and we are seizing money from drug traffickers and putting it into law enforcement.”

It is legal in the state of Oklahoma for authorities to use seized drug money.

Sources: News 9, Express-Star, CopBlock.org