September 13, 2016
Contact: SA Elaine Cesare
Phone Number: (571) 324-7520
Oklahoma DOC Security Staff, Inspector General Agents Recognized By DEA
TAFT, Okla. - Today, at the Oklahoma Board of Corrections meeting, agents with the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement (DEA) presented letters of recognition to officers with the Oklahoma Department of (DOC) and agents with the Inspector General’s office for assisting in dismantling the McClendon drug trafficking organization.
Presenting the letters of recognition on behalf of the DEA were Resident Agent in Charge Carl Stewart and Special Agent Brian Epps who said without the cross-agency cooperation the investigation would have taken longer and resulted in fewer arrests.
“Without the willingness of the security staff at Oklahoma State Penitentiary and agents from the DOC Inspector General’s office, we wouldn’t have been able to successfully infiltrate the gang and shut its operations down,” Stewart said. “We appreciate the many hours and resources the DOC provided us during this investigation.”
Corrections Director Joe M. Allbaugh called the continued collaboration and teamwork from both the DEA and the DOC a success that has potential to shut down more operations like the McClendon organization.
“When two stellar agencies work together and share information on criminal activity the end result is enhanced public safety,” Allbaugh said. “We will continue our great partnerships with organizations like the DEA to ensure crime is stopped and we are putting criminals who try to taint the streets with poison, like methamphetamine, behind bars.”
Security personnel from Oklahoma State Penitentiary recognized were Security Chief Chad Gilley, Captain Michael Sudduth, Lieutenants Shawn Hovart, Thomas McClellan, Kevin Major, and Sergeants, Daniel Dixon and Bruce Fry.
The agents with the Inspector General’s office recognized were: Johnny Blevins, Kenneth Yott, Tim Coppick and Kendall Ballew.
Corrections Board Chairman Michael Roach, who is a former U.S. Marshal and Oklahoma City police officer, said the ability to work across agency lines and share information is vital to any successful operation.
“The most successful teams I have been a part of through my law enforcement career utilize and depend on other agencies for information,” Roach said. “I am proud to say because of the teamwork and dedication of the officers with the DOC, agents with the DEA and Inspector General’s office, they were able to take down a major societal threat.”
The joint investigation led to the arrest of 23 individuals, which helped dismantle the McClendon Drug Trafficking Organization in March. The operation was being led by Cody McClendon and Michael Lincoln, who were using contraband cellphones while incarcerated at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester to facilitate the sale and distribution of methamphetamine.
Other highlights from the corrections board meeting: -
The corrections board unanimously approved the appointment of Warden Terry Royal as the new warden at Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.
He will start his new role as warden tomorrow.
Director Joe M. Allbaugh said the $10,164,878 due back to the agency by tomorrow will be discussed with board members before a decision is made. A decision could be announced as early as the October board meeting in Oklahoma City.
Allbaugh said with 36 percent of the agency's employees not receiving a raise within the last 10 years, his top priority going into the next legislative session is a 5 percent employee pay raise across the board.
"We must acknowledge the sacrifice and duty of our employees who put their lives on the line every single day," remarked Corrections Director Joe M. Allbaugh.
The North Fork Correctional Center has 1,297 inmates in the facility today.
The facility is currently offering education programming including GED classes, adult basic education and Thinking for a Change.
Within the next three weeks, anger management and faith in character classes will be added.
Within nine to 12 weeks, the facility will add CareerTech courses in construction.
Because of the opening of the North Fork Correctional Center, the agency is better able to manage the inmate population. The move has allowed some temporary beds, previously in programming space, to be removed from Dick Conner Correctional Center in Hominy, James Crabtree Correctional Center in Helena, Mack Alford Correctional Center in Stringtown, Joseph Harp and Lexington Correctional Centers, both in Lexington.
At the Oklahoma State Reformatory Work Center in Granite, the inmates now have access to programs including: welding, anger management, partners in parenting, personal finance and cognitive behavior therapy. Within the next three weeks, transportation and logistics and construction classes will be added through CareerTech.