About $277,000 seized in drug raid at home of 73-year-old woman in Craig County
BY RHETT MORGAN World Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
4/11/12 at 8:38 AM
VINITA - A Craig County drug task force serving a search warrant late Monday seized about $277,000 in cash from the home of a 73-year-old woman, Craig County Sheriff Jimmie Sooter said.
Darlene Mayes was booked into jail early Tuesday on complaints that included possession of marijuana with an intent to distribute, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and maintaining a dwelling where drugs are kept or sold.
Mayes, a retired Department of Human Services worker "didn't say much," Sooter said. "She said the money was hers, that it was for retirement. Of course, once we got into it, it was pretty obvious it wasn't hers."
The task force served the warrant at a residence about six miles east of Vinita on U.S. 60, Sooter said. Recovered were 4 pounds of marijuana, two pistols and $221,550 in cash found in a sack with the drugs, he said. An additional $53,020 was located in the back seat of a vehicle, and Mayes also had a substantial amount of cash on her person, he said.
The task force, made up of members of the Sheriff's Office, the Vinita Police Department and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control, had been gathering information for a search warrant for about five months, Sooter said.
Mayes had no criminal history, he said.
About two years ago, law enforcement agencies in Craig County split more than $1 million in a forfeiture case that emerged from more than three years of litigation.
The money, which included accrued interest from the confiscated amount of roughly $918,000 in cash, was divided among three participating law enforcement agencies. The Sheriff's Office received 40 percent, the Vinita Police Department received 40 percent and and the District Attorney's Office received 20 percent.
That forfeiture involved a December 2006 case in which authorities seized nearly 100 pounds of cash after stopping a cargo van whose driver allegedly made an illegal lane change.
Despite being smeared in toothpaste and hidden in toy helicopters and tractor-trailer rigs, the money, which Sooter said was tainted with narcotics, was discovered by a drug-sniffing dog.
Charges eventually were dismissed against two California men, court records show.
An attorney's filing in the case on behalf of another California man claimed that the money represented legitimate proceeds of a business transaction, said Gene Haynes, who then was the district attorney for Craig, Rogers and Mayes counties.
But the deadline passed for the claimant to appeal a judgment for the county.
Original Print Headline: About $277,000 seized in drug raid at home of 73-year-old
Rhett Morgan 918-581-8395
Darlene Mayes: The former Department of Human Services worker "said the money was hers," according to Craig County Sheriff Jimmie Sooter. "Of course, once we got into it, it was pretty obvious it wasn't hers," he added. Mayes faces drug and firearms complaints.