The Murray County Sheriff Department continues to see drug related crimes in the area
The Murray County Sheriff’s Department has had a busy couple of weeks with a high speed chase, attempted stabbing and seizing more than four times the weight for the threshold of trafficking in methamphetamine in a traffic stop.
Sheriff Darin Rogers and his deputies are ready to see drugs and habitual drug offenders become less prevalent in Murray County. With the addition of the new K-9 officer, Percero, and the hard work of the department, the Murray County Sheriff’s Department hopes to see a decline in drug arrests for the county.
Multi-County High Speed Chase
The Murray County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a vehicle pursuit that started in Pontotoc County and crossed over into Murray County on Jan. 24 around 7 p.m. The vehicle the suspect was driving, a white Buick Encore, was reported stolen.
The pursuit was around the Hickory area and stayed there for some time. Once Murray County lawmen were in close proximity to the pursuit, the driver evaded lawmen. Shortly after, Johnston County deputies noticed the suspect vehicle in their county. Deputies from the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office pursued the vehicle back into Murray County toward Roff.
Lawmen attempted to use stop sticks numerous times, but the vehicle evaded them by leaving the roadway at high and dangerous speeds. Once the vehicle traveled east of Roff on dirt roads the situation became dangerous for the traveling public and law enforcement. The lack of rainfall and no wind made the dirt roads very dangerous due to the large amount of dust covering the roadway.
A Murray County patrol vehicle crashed due to the amount dust covering the roadway. The two deputies in the vehicle were not injured in the crash. The suspect was able to evade law enforcement on the county roads because of the road conditions and dangerous driving behavior. By this time, numerous law enforcement agencies had set up a perimeter from Highway 177 to the Roff area and from Dolberg Road north to Lightning Ridge Road.
The suspect was able to evade law enforcement inside the perimeter but was never able to get through the outer perimeter. It wasn’t long before the vehicle was spotted by lawmen and the pursuit continued. This time the vehicle traveled on a surfaced roadway and lawmen were able stop the very dangerous pursuit.
The pursuit was ended when Johnston County deputies fired on the vehicle striking the driver. The suspect who was identified as Alex Martin Lee was removed from the vehicle and law enforcement immediately rendered first aid. Emergency personnel was able to set a landing zone near the location for the medical helicopter.
According to Sheriff Darin Rogers, this pursuit involved numerous agencies including: Murray County, Pontotoc County, Johnston County, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the Lighthorse Police Department. The citizens of these counties should understand when a major incident occurs and help is needed in a certain county there will be assistance from neighboring agencies.
Sheriff Rogers explained, Deputy Blake Clifton and Deputy Bryson Rogers were the deputies that were involved in the wreck but neither sustained any injury. Sheriff Rogers said “We see what’s happening with the soft on crime stance in the major American cities. It’s time for the justice system to make examples out of the repeat offenders. This is an incident where Mr. Lee should face the full weight of our criminal justice system.”
According to Sheriff Rogers, this is not his first time Lee has been involved in the theft of a motor vehicle. According to the website www.odcr.com, Lee has a felony conviction for larceny of an automobile. Sheriff Rogers said he and the Undersheriff Jay McClure have recovered a lawn mower that Lee had stolen from the Dougherty area in the past.
Also, he and the Undersheriff recovered a stolen side-by-side Lee stole from a local rancher in 2017. According to Sheriff Rogers, Lee was charged for the theft of the ATV in 2017 and has an active warrant involving the incident.
Sheriff Rogers praises Ayliar Brown and Robin Price for their outstanding help during the dangerous pursuit. These two Murray County dispatchers are “second to none” when a major incident occurs in our county. Local law enforcement has a program that will show dispatch and every patrol unit locations in real time.
During the pursuit Brown and Price were able to monitor the system and advise law enforcement of the other agencies locations as well. All law enforcement involved in the pursuit could adjust the program and see every law enforcement officers location from the other counties.
The two dispatchers could see road intersection and dangerous curves ahead of the officers and warned the officers of the road conditions ahead. With the help of the dispatchers and the computer program, law enforcement were able to set up a large perimeter to contain the suspect. According to Sheriff Rogers, the men and women of our dispatch are vital to get emergency personnel to the correct location. Sometimes the citizens don’t realize just how vital and important these men and women who work in our dispatch are to the community.
The Murray County 911 received a frantic call from an employee of the Dougherty Store on Jan. 25. The caller said a subject had entered the store and was attempting to stab another customer while his young daughter was present. The victim was able to fight off the attack by using chairs located inside the store. The victim left the store and went to his residence, but the suspect followed him and parked near his residence.
National Park Service Rangers David Robinson, Ranger Kane Seitz, and Ranger David Spain were in the area and able to locate and detain the suspect. Deputy Mike Woods arrived and conducted an investigation of the incident. Deputy Woods obtained the surveillance from inside the store and statements from witnesses as well.
After Deputy Woods conducted his investigation, the suspect who was identified as Dustin Weaver was arrested for assault with a dangerous weapon. Also, a substance that fielded tested positive for methamphetamine was found on Weaver.
According to Sheriff’s Rogers, it a miracle nobody was seriously hurt in the assault. The Sheriff said a firearm was present but was not used. According to the Sheriff, this incident had a connection with the use of methamphetamine but, to be clear, the victim had nothing to do with any illegal substance.
80 grams of Methamphetamine Seized
Sheriff Rogers and Undersheriff McClure overheard radio traffic of a prowler in the area of East Tahlequah around 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 27. This area has been an active area for drug activity in the past, as well an area of numerous vehicle burglaries on that side of town.
The reporting party had a camera that fed a live stream of the prowler. The reporting party noticed the prowler walked to a white Suburban and left the area. Sheriff Rogers and Undersheriff McClure were at the intersection of West First and West Oklahoma when they noticed a vehicle matching that description pull into the convenience store at that intersection.
Lawmen noticed the vehicle was operated by a female driver and a male front seat passenger who was laid completely back in the seat. They also noticed a violation of an Oklahoma State statute. This is when Undersheriff McClure then made contact with the suspected prowler.
While talking with the occupants Sheriff Rogers and Undersheriff McClure determined the male passenger was in fact the subject who was accused of prowling. The male passenger stated he was in the alley and was one house off from where he was trying to go.
Sulphur Police Officers Hugh Odom and Ashley Wooten arrived and assisted with the incident. While lawmen checked the occupants for warrants, they learned the male passenger has a warrant out of Hughes County. During this incident, Undersheriff McClure located a black bag on the male subject. Inside the bag was approximately 80 grams of a substance thought to be methamphetamine.
Sulphur Police Officer Wooten field tested the substance and obtained a positive field test for methamphetamine. Undersheriff Jay McClure then arrested the passenger, Heath Pate for trafficking in methamphetamine.
According to Sheriff Rogers, Pate had approximately four times the weight for the threshold of trafficking in methamphetamine. Pate was attempting to make contact with a residence that is known for illegal drug activity.
Pate does not reside in Sulphur, and it is concerning he is coming to our community with a large amount of methamphetamine.
According to Sheriff Rogers, it’s time to make an example out of the subjects who traffic in methamphetamine. If we don’t, we will start seeing more and more criminal activity in our local communities.
MCSO Drug Dog Ready to Work
Sheriff Rogers would like to remind our citizen of our new K-9 that will be actively working in our county. This K-9 will be used for many operation and other details such as keeping narcotics out of our schools.
“Both Sulphur High School principal Clete Cole and Davis High School Principal Trey Owens do a great job of keeping our high school’s drug free,” Rogers said. “Very seldom do we have drug issues in our schools due to the proactive principles and other staff members.”
The Murray County Sheriff’s Office and the local school systems communicate and share any information with each other. This has become an effective way to keep a handle on illegal substances in our schools.
The Murray County Sheriff Department continues to see drug related crimes in the area