PARKERSBURG - The arrest of a Parkersburg man Friday by Washington County authorities led to a search warrant being issued for his south Parkersburg residence, where additional drugs were allegedly found.
Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks said an extensive operation between the Wood County ACE (Aggressive Crime Enforcement) unit and the Washington County Major Crimes Task Force resulted in the arrest of Robert "Rob" Oakley III, 34, of Parkersburg and the seizure of approximately 11 pounds of K2, or synthetic marijuana.
Oakley was charged Friday with one count of selling a drug not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, a fifth-degree felony, Mincks said. He was being held in the Washington County Jail this weekend in lieu of bond pending an appearance in Marietta Municipal Court on Monday, he said.
Approximately 120 gram-sized packages of K2, or synthetic marijuana, shown here, were purchased by Ohio authorities Friday in Washington County in a controlled buy that led to the arrest of Robert Oakley III, 34, of Parkersburg. Officials said another 10 pounds of suspected K2 were found in Oakley’s Parkersburg residence following execution of a search warrant Friday. (Photo by Wayne Towner)
Oakley allegedly sold approximately one pound of K2 to undercover agents of the MCTF in the Marietta area. He was later stopped on Ohio 7 between Belpre and Marietta, Mincks said. Information obtained at the scene and other facts led to the execution of the search warrant in south Parkersburg.
Mincks said Oakley admitted to selling K2 and indicated he had made $40,000 in the last six months. A 2013 Chevy Camaro and a 2004 Dodge Ram Truck were seized by law enforcement agents.
The investigation was made possible by the close cooperation of the Wood County ACE Unit and the Major Crimes Task Force, Mincks said. The investigation is continuing and other arrests are possible, Mincks said.
Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin also praised the level of cooperation displayed by all of the agencies involved in Friday's arrest.
Martin said members of the Parkersburg Police Department and Wood County Sheriff's Department executed the warrant at Oakley's residence Friday afternoon at 4114 14th Ave., off Broadway Avenue, in Parkersburg.
"We executed the search warrant here at this location where they recovered several grams and pounds of synthetic K2, synthetic marijuana, and we're in the process now of collecting the evidence at the scene and furthering the investigation here in West Virginia," Martin said.
He expected the investigation at the 14th Avenue home to continue Friday and through the weekend. Martin said some of the ACE unit investigators would be contacting the U.S. Attorney's Office in Charleston to pursue possible federal charges based on the amount of drugs that were recovered.
"We'll confer with Wood County Prosecutor Jason Wharton, but at this point we're pretty confident that the federal prosecutors will want to adopt this case and prosecute it in Charleston," Martin said.
"It's a pretty significant hit as far as synthetic drugs are concerned, so there's still more work to be done," he said.
Martin said Oakley is the only individual under investigation at this time, although that could change based on information developed during the investigation. Investigators will be looking into money laundering and financial aspects of the case with the possibility of recovering funds and seizing assets, he said.
Based on the search conducted Friday at the residence, Martin said it appeared Oakley had purchased the necessary components at local stores and then made the K2 himself at the home. The process to make K2 is less complex and much less dangerous than that involved with making methamphetamines, he said.
"Everything we know at this point is that all of the manufacturing was completed inside this residence here on 14th Avenue," Martin said.
"It's an unusual find for us; we haven't seen much of this at this level locally," he said.