Sheila Stogsdill

Grove Sun

MIAMI — A Delaware County waitress was quietly escorted out of a restaurant and arrested Monday by a team of Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control agents moments after they finished their meal.

After spending Monday morning in Delaware County serving warrants in "Operation Wardog,” the agents were at lunch at a West Siloam Springs restaurant when one noticed a waitress had a familiar face.

"We verified the waitress was on our list (of warrants),” said Mike Eason, Delaware County district attorney investigator.

"But we did leave her a good tip,” Eason said.

About 100 law enforcement officers and three helicopters fanned out over Delaware and Ottawa counties, starting before dawn Monday, hitting Miami, Grove and Jay and also going into Arkansas and Kansas.

By the end of the day, agents armed with 70 warrants had made 43 arrests, said Mark Woodward, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics spokesman.

Automobiles, weapons and drugs were seized. The warrants served were in connection with the sale and possession of methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine and prescription drugs, Woodward said.

The first raid took place at 6 a.m. in an older Miami neighborhood.

"We will not concede any towns or counties to drug dealers and traffickers in Oklahoma,” said Darrell Weaver, state Bureau of Narcotics director.

Weaver was with agents when they served a warrant shortly before 7 a.m. and arrested Derek McElhany, 18, on a complaint of delivery of a controlled substance, Hydrocodone.

With his wrists cuffed, McElhany brushed tears from his eyes and kissed his 16-year-old girlfriend as his mother shouted to him to keep his head down so the photographers could not capture his face.

McElhany remained in the Ottawa County jail late Monday on $25,000 bail, the sheriff’s office said.

"This is what I am talking about,” Weaver said, pointing to eight students standing at a school bus stop about two blocks away watching the agents swarm the house.

"These kids are trying to make something out of their life,” Weaver said of the students at the bus stop. "Why aren’t these people at work?” he asked about the suspect.

Grove resident William Doublebower, 73, was among those arrested, on a complaint of distribution of morphine. He remained in the Delaware County jail late Monday waiting for his bail to be set.

Before Monday, 40 is the most warrants issued in such an Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Mobile Operations Team sweep, agent J.R. Gibson said.

"We have 62 people who sold dope to an undercover police officer on videotape,” Gibson said.

"We have over half of the suspects in custody,” said Eddie Wyant, district attorney. "It was a very successful round-up.”

Wyant said all suspects were charged Monday.

Weaver said prescription drug abuse and sales is the biggest problem in northeast Oklahoma.

"It’s a silent cancer,” Weaver said.

Monday’s round-up was the first phase of the overall mission in northeast Oklahoma, Weaver said. The second phase includes a town hall meeting where residents are brought together with professionals to discuss drug issues facing the communities. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 7 at the Grove Civic Center, 1720 S Main St