The Osage Nation Police Department was one of four law enforcement agencies that participated in a countywide drug bust Wednesday, arresting 45 individuals related to a marijuana distribution ring.
One of the individual’s arrested was Osage tribal member Michelle Pradmore who was arrested outside her workplace – the Osage Nation Gaming Commission.
“To my knowledge, we only had one that was arrested at a tribal entity. That was not on the main campus, and to my knowledge it was at the gaming commission,” said Chief Deputy Charlie Cartwright for the Osage County Sheriff’s Office. “That’s the one to my understanding. They were asked to step out into the alley, they wanted to take it away from the rest of the employees.”
The drug bust was the culmination of a 10-month investigation into the activities of Jache Willard, 29, who graduated from Pawhuska High School and has lived in Las Vegas and California. Willard is still at large.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Willard possessed 100 pounds of marijuana on at least one occasion during the investigation and regularly mailed marijuana through the U.S. Post Office.
“Jache Willard often times uses Facebook Messenger to communicate with drug dealers selling marijuana for him to facilitate drug transactions,” according to the affidavit. “Jache Willard often times discusses different strains of marijuana for sale, marijuana prices, and shipping details with Facebook Messenger.”
According to the affidavit, Willard mostly communicated with lower level dealers, distributors and users and mailed the marijuana in ounce packages up to multiple pound packages to drug dealers.
Not all individuals arrested were dealers, said Cartwright. Other charges included Conspiracy, Manufacturing, Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substance, and Access Computer System/Network with Unlawful intent.
“Most of these folks are not bad folks, they’re dealing with folks they shouldn’t have been dealing with,” Cartwright said. “We don’t have a huge big group of bad people here, we have some knot heads, but for the most part these are good honest people – they just made a mistake.”
Eight individuals named in the case are from Arkansas, with four from Eureka Springs, Ark. Jache Willard is the son of Cindy Willard who embezzled over $30,000 in grant funds from the Osage Nation Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program and the ON Boys and Girls Club in 2006 to operate Carolyn’s Ozark Swiss Inn (still in operation but under different management). According to Cindy Willard's Facebook account, she lives in Eureka Springs.
According to court documents, Cindy Willard was sentenced in 2008 to three years of supervised probation and ordered to pay $38,973.70 in restitution to the Nation. She served six months in jail and was issued a garnishment order.
Many community members decried the drug bust on Facebook, having the opinion the use of methamphetamine (meth) is a far more serious crime and problem in Osage County than marijuana.
Cartwright said the investigation is ongoing and “with any investigation you cannot tell during the process what the investigation is going to deliver.”
Some community members called marijuana “harmless” and also pointed out the medicinal purposes of the drug. They said the drug bust and investigation was a waste of taxpayer money and Oklahoma should legalize the drug.
According to Terry Stover, senior manager for Community Care, Employee Assistance Program, smoking marijuana can have the following physical and mental effects:
- Psychomotor Retardation
- Substantial increase in heart rate
- Chronic sore throat
- Chronic infections because marijuana weakens the immune system
- Impaired eye hand coordination
- Impaired or reduced short-term memory and comprehension
- Altered sense of time
- Changed sensory perception – sight, smell, hearing and touch
- Reduced ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination, such as driving a car.
Stover was providing a Drug Free Workplace training at the Osage Nation on the day of the arrests.
Bond for the defendants was set at $10,000 by Special Judge Stuart Tate for felony conspiracy and computer charges.
A complete list of defendants is as follows:
Jache Parker Willard, 29, various
Emmitt Charles Bickford, 29, Pawhuska
Danielle Louise Oberly, 28, Pawhuska
Britton Edgar Redeagle, 26, Pawhuska
Matthew Markus Thornton, 27, Pawhuska
Amanda Dawn Bickford, 26, Pawhuska
Sadie Patterson, 23, Pawhuska
Michael Shawn Thomas, 25, Hominy
Samantha Michelle Valek, 22, Pawhuska
Rachel Waite, 22, Eureka Springs, Ark.
John W. Williams Jr., 44, Pawhuska
Benjamin Matthew Windle, 22, Holiday Island, Ark.
Stevey Ray Herren, 22, Pawhuska
John Schubert, 25, Eureka Springs, Ark.
Keith Allen Lambert, 26, Pawhuska
Penelton Spencer Lookout, 20, address not given
Justin Jay Morgan, 24, Eureka Springs, Ark.
Jacob R. Deerinwater, 22, Skiatook
Amber Delancy, 38, Pawhuska
Jason Steelman, 24, Fayetteville, Ark.
Glane Steele Willard, 22, Holiday Island, Ark.
Kendra Davis, 20, Wynona
Brieanna C. Perry, 27, Eureka Springs, Ark.
Michelle Lea Pradmore, 46, Fairfax
Michael Eddings, 31, Western Grove, Ark.
Daniel Jack Renowden, 30, Wagoner
Cody Brant Flud, 36, Wynona
Dusty Lynn Hendren, 29, Pawhuska
Norris Noble Bighorse, 22, Pawhuska
Tykwan Shaquil Flowers, 22, Pawhuska
Deanna Lambert, 25, Pawhuska
Charlene Cosby, 53, Pawhuska
Katelyn Leigh Miller, 21, Pawhuska
Joshua Lee Carman, 22, Pawhuska
Brandon Cory Mitchell, 22, Pawhuska
Melissa Christie Shook-Reeves, 39, Pawhuska
Andrea Dawn Thomas, 42, Pawhuska
Johnny Dewayne Diaz, 20, Pawhuska
Kevin Lawrence Dawson, 31, Fairfax
Layton Urrich Vogeding, 25, Bartlesville
Dominick Joseph Neri, 20, Pawhuska
John David Diaz, 37, Pawhuska
Terri Francis Merrell, 19, Hominy
Stevie Ray Shimonek, 23, Pawhuska
Additional reporting by Osage News reporters Tara Madden and Benny Polacca.
[Editor's Note: This story was updated on March 24 with additional information.]