Oklahoma authorities have dropped charges against four men who they say were intentionally tricked into hauling illegal marijuana when they thought that they were hauling industrial hemp.
The Osage County District Attorney’s Office has dropped drug trafficking charges against Farah Warsame, Tadesse Deneke, Andrew Ross, and David Dirksen, according to local news station KFOR.
The charges came after a semi truck and a minivan were pulled over by police in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, after they were spotted running a red light on January 9, 2019.
Police said that they smelled a suspicious order during the traffic stop, and, after searching the semi truck, they discovered at least 18,000 pounds of a substance that they said was marijuana.
The semi truck driver and his co-driver, Warsame and Denke, told police that they were hauling industrial hemp from Kentucky to Colorado. They also explained that the men in the minivan, Ross and Dirksen, were employed by Patriot Shield Security and acting as security for the semi truck.
A field test performed on the substance reportedly came back positive for marijuana and all four men were arrested.
All four men later pled not guilty to the trafficking charges.
Prosecutors dropped charges against the truck drivers back in March and now say that they have decided to drop the charges against the security guards even though some of the load turned out to be illegal marijuana because they are convinced that the four men really believed that they were hauling hemp.
“During the course of the subsequent investigation, it became the State’s belief that the drivers of the truck were unaware of the contents of the shipment that they were transporting and the charges against them were dismissed. Since that time, additional evidence has come to light to indicate that the security guards, as well, were duped by the seller into participating in the illegal shipment of 4,326 pounds of marijuana. As a result, the State will be dismissing the charges against both security guards in the interests of justice,” said the Osage County District Attorney’s Office.
The Kentucky company that sold the hemp/marijuana product is now facing a federal lawsuit from the Colorado buyer.