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Osage County DA: 8 of 11 samples from Pawhuska semi tested as marijuana

Posted at 5:02 PM, Feb 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-07 13:27:29-05

Federal tests show eight of 11 samples of a product being hauled through Pawhuska last month contained illegal amounts of the intoxicant THC, the Osage County district attorney said Wednesday.

DA Mike Fisher released a statement saying only three of the samples could be classified as hemp. The other eight tested as marijuana because they contained more than the .3 percent THC allowed by state and federal law, he said.

Four men were arrested and charged with drug trafficking after authorities say a semi was pulled over on Jan. 8 and inside was 18,000 pounds of marijuana. The men arrested claimed the substance was industrial-grade hemp.

As we reported earlier, court documents filed Jan. 15 say Oklahoma authorities sent samples to a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration lab in Dallas, and those results came back saying the substance is marijuana.

Fisher announced today that additional testing in Washington, D.C. confirmed the same for eight of the 11 samples.

In a written statement, Fisher said:

"Eleven samples were initially taken from the truck for testing by labs in Texas and Washington D.C. Those tests were requested by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Of the eleven original samples, eight tested above the federally and state mandated limit of .3% THC. In other words, eight of the eleven samples tested positive for marijuana because the THC levels in those samples came in above .3% and thus, by law, are not considered hemp."

Charged are Farah Warsame, 33, of Cleveland, Ohio; David Melvin Dirksen, 31, of Comstock Park, Mich.; Tadesse Zdegefu Deneke, 51, of Mobile, Alabama; and Andrew Ross, 29, of Aurora, Colorado. Ross and Dirksen were released on $40,000 bond days after their arrest. Warsame and Deneke remain in the Osage County jail.

The men were transporting the product for Panacea Life Sciences and were on their way from Kentucky to Colorado. The company president said the shipment is worth $500,000 and was not insured.

An attorney for two of the men tells 2 Works For You he disputes the information in Fisher's statement and says laws suggest that anything below 1 percent THC is not criminal but subject to a civil penalty. He also says there is a wide margin of error in determining the amount of THC in the testing process.

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