Suspects say property was illegally seized in Love Co. horse racing bust

By: Teddy Safo Email
By: Teddy Safo Email

LOVE COUNTY, Okla. -- Property seized by authorities in a 2007 summer raid in Love County is the subject of a court hearing involving the state. On Thursday, attorneys for suspects arrested in the bust of an illegal horse racing operation claim that some property was illegally taken by authorities.

Ardmore attorney Darryl Roberts is representing several suspects who were arrested in last summer’s raid. Roberts argues that horses, cash, and other personal items were wrongfully taken by the authorities during that raid, but a state spokesman says the raid was conducted properly

The raid at the Red River Racing Grounds in Love County last summer was dramatic, to say the least, but Ardmore attorney Darryl Roberts says some items taken during the seizure such as horses, vehicles, and money were illegally taken from his clients by the state.

"It was pointed out in court a grandmother with a three-year-old babysitting, she was pulled at gunpoint and searched. They had no probable reason to be doing things like that," Roberts says of authorities.

During the court proceedings, Roberts argued that the items seized were not properly filed. His clients were not notified of their property seized, and the state did not follow proper state statues during the raid.

"We fully believe the raid and all seizures and arrests were conducted with state statue and were going to defend the actions of law enforcement." says Charlie Price at the Oklahoma State Attorney General's Office.

The battle will continue for both sides. The judge said Thursday a trial date for the properties in question will be set in may, giving each side three months to prepare and defend their claims.

"Our discovery will be to require the state of Oklahoma to identify the people who took this property and whom they took it," Roberts says.

"The state does believe and will continue to pursue our forfeiture cases in instances where people were violating the law," Price says of the matter.

Roberts believes ten horses were wrongfully taken. Each side will have until March 10 to file their claims. A trial date will be set on May 14.

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