Disbanded drug task force under investigation

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ARDMORE - District Attorney Craig Ladd says it's becoming a trend across the state. He doesn't have the time or resources to supervise a drug task force, and a recent investigation gave him even more reason to reach this decision.

The I-35 corridor has long been a channel of choice for drug lords. In the early 90's, the Carter County District Attorney organized a task force to take these traffickers off the street and put them behind bars.

But now, lack of money and a state investigation has led to the agency’s demise.

"As a sponsor I'm responsible for what happens with these guys, one incident called me to understand my decision.”

So Ladd took it upon himself to call in the State Attorney General’s Office to investigate. The attorney general won't comment on the investigation, but says it's ongoing.

"The primary reason is I don't have resources necessary to supervise this operation. It’s a 24-7 operation. I’m 8 to 5. To supervise operation dealing with a lot of money decisions made late at night, those operations are better left to the police.”

Police say the drug task force office was burglarized on February 21st, around the same time Ladd turned the case over to the state.

The office location is supposed to be confidential. Police are not naming any suspects in its decade long tenure. The force cracked hundreds of cases despite their efforts. Police say drugs are still prevalent.

But Ladd says the area will only lose one agent. The other two officers will resume narcotics duties with the Ardmore Police Department.

"It will slow progress but we have good guys, good rapport with other agencies. They've stepped up their responses."

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics office in Ardmore is at full staff, a first in years, and the sheriff's office has stepped up operations.

"Narcotics are dangerous; we feel lead to other crimes. We feel it's important, and we'll continue to stop drugs use in Ardmore."

Authorities say the Drug Task Force may have come to an end, but that doesn't mean the traffickers catch a break.

They've made it their mission to put an end to the war on drugs and won't stop until they do.

Ladd says there's still federal money available for a drug task force if the sheriff or even the police chief would like to take it on.

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