Police: Meth traffickers worse than cooks

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Updated: 2/20/2013 10:18 am Published: 2/19/2013 8:58 pm

A meth trafficking ring is dismantled in east Tulsa, but there is more arrests that come from the investigation.

On Friday, Tulsa Police with the Special Investigations Division and Agents with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics arrested Maria Martinez, 40, at her home near 31st and Garnett Road.

Two others, Fernando Escobar-Gonzales, 36 and Simonas Salinas, 35 were also arrested.

Police say they found more than three pounds of meth, two pistols, more than $20,000 cash in Martinez’ home. Police say in a traffic stop, Escobar-Gonzalez was the driver and Salinas was the passenger who had a pound of meth under her shirt.

Records show Martinez is a custodian for Tulsa Public Schools.

Martinez’ home is directly behind Disney Elementary school near 25th and Garnett.

When FOX23 News knocked on her door, her son didn’t want to speak. Records show Martinez is still in jail being held on $70,000 bond.

The TPS spokesperson says Martinez has been a night custodian at Springdale Elementary since 2008.

Neighbors say they had their suspicions but never knew drugs of this magnitude were next door.

“I figured that something was going but never would have thought something like that,” said a neighbor.

Police believe Martinez, Escobar-Gonzales and Salinas could be linked to Mexican cartel cell groups operating in Tulsa.

“These are not the only three people in town sitting on four pounds of meth there are probably at least 50 of them or more who knows,” says Corporal Mike Griffin.

He is a narcotics officer for the Tulsa Police Special Investigations Division.

There are multiple crossroads in Oklahoma for Cartels. Several people have been arrested and Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs estimates agents break up a half a dozen cartels cells in the state every year.

"That is the type of drug dealer that most citizens think we spend our time investigating,” said Griffin.

The problem is police say they spend more time cleaning up homegrown meth labs and shake and bake meth labs that are tying up resources.

“If you really want to get dope off the street you have to go who has five, six or 30 pounds not two and half grams,” said Griffin.

"The meth found in the recent bust is worth more than $52,000 sold on the street.

“Do you know how many meth cooks I have to arrest off the street to get four pounds of meth?" Griffin said at least 1,000 meth cooks would equal the amount of meth found the recent meth trafficking bust.

Meth traffickers are posing a greater danger and operating in Tulsa.

"The amount of dope and the lives they affect,” said Griffin. "You're talking violence, person-on-person violence. Murder."

Murders in Tulsa are believed to be connected to trafficking  “Ice”, which is known as meth imported from Mexico.

In 2011, the double homicide at Quik Trip at 71st and Riverside involving suspects Zane Atchison and Joel Pina and January’s quadruple homicide where a witness told police one of the suspect dealt Ice with one of the victims.

A spokesperson for TPS says as of today Maria Martinez has been suspended with pay pending an internal investigation.

Once that investigation is complete the Superintendent will determine the next course of action.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Consense - 2/21/2013 7:59 AM
0 Votes
Thank you law enforcement agencies! Please keep working together and maybe we can reduce this scourge.

BrideyMurphy - 2/20/2013 9:39 PM
0 Votes
This is all part of the immigration amnesty fight, they know this crap anc the people who make and sell it is coming across our borders, they just don't care, as long as illegals are allowed to vote illegally, this will continue. In all my years of working, I never say any employer drug test any foreign worker....I am sure it happens, but I just never saw it myself.

aleman - 2/20/2013 9:40 AM
0 Votes
Y'all are really naive about this stuff,this is a multi billion dollar industry lot of big bucks change hands on both sides of the border,lot of politics involved,lot of big American dollars financing this crap,the stuff is brought in across the border by the semi load unimpeded,back in the 90s when they started cracking down on the big producers they moved across the border and built monster labs and the NAFTA thing fell fortuitously in their laps(odd coincidence)not just a few campaigns have been funded with this money

newsherriff - 2/20/2013 9:08 AM
0 Votes
It has been understood that if you have a family member who is either dealing drugs or using drugs that the Mother's know in most cases first: exception is when Father is user also. So since the Illegal issue has been about non-oklahomian born mexicans, what can we do to check on the legal oklahomian mexicans who seem to think they are above reproach? This woman had a job near your kids daily, weekly, and yearly. I say starting now any Mexican free born or not be looked into cause if they are living off of illegal means then they too should be deported!At work look into your Mexican's actions see if they show signs of dehydration, or have that odor of meth, marijuana, sniffle alot . play with their noses. wide eyed look. Find out the signs of an addict. More employers need to set up Drug screening weekly for Mexicans and whites and blacks and people. This not about discrimination, this is WAR on drugs!

roadhunter - 2/20/2013 6:23 AM
0 Votes
What's up with this first sentence? "A meth trafficking ring is dismantled in East Tulsa but there is more arrests that come from the investigation."? It's like you weren't even trying.

aleman - 2/20/2013 4:09 AM
0 Votes
Tiny little bit,but it's a start like the old lady who peed in the ocean said"every drop counts"...someone told me I was crazy when I said the cartels were operating in force in Tulsa...it's gonna take the army to get rid of them
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