Eight arrested in drug raid

LAWTON, Okla._Eight suspected cocaine dealers are behind bars following an early morning drug raid in Lawton.

The arrests were the result of a six-month investigation by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, Lawton Police Department and the Comanche County Sheriff's office.

OBN Director Darrell Weaver called the raid a "surgical strike" to get some of Comanche County's most influential cocaine dealers off the streets.

"These folks were bringing pounds a week of cocaine and transforming it into crack cocaine, and distributing it on the streets of Lawton," said Weaver.

However, not every arrest was easy. Officers arrived at the home of Lawrence Washington around 6:00 a.m. An hour later Washington's wife and children exited the home, but Washington was nowhere to be found.

"We believe he hit the canal, we believe he got out somehow and got down in the creek bank and based on some of the markings on his body and he got loose," said Weaver.

Weaver said a tip about Washington's whereabouts led them a few blocks away where Washington was arrested.

"That's what happens when you get into trying to arrest a drug dealers, they don't want to be arrested. We want to arrest them, but they don't want to be arrested. So what happens is sometimes they run," said Weaver.

Another suspect, Mark Ford, eluded police until early Friday afternoon. Ford has been considered by police to be a leader in gang and drug activity in Southwest Oklahoma for years.

He was out on bond awaiting trial on two separate drug-related incidents from 2014. In one of those crimes, Ford led police on a high-speed chase through central Lawton. He was found just after 11:00 a.m.

Officials said while the raid may have been small, it does put a dent in the drug problem in Comanche County.

"These are major players here, these are men who want to destroy our community with their drug trade," said Weaver.

However, Comanche County Sheriff Kenny Stradley said their work to get a handle on drug trafficking is far from over.

"Sort of like cockroaches, you can smash out two or three, and you flip the light back on and you've got ten," said Stradley.

Officials said today's arrests helped keep at least $10,000 worth of cocaine from being pushed each week.

Arrested:

47-year-old Lawrence Washington

35-year-old Ja-Marious Osborne

29-year-old Quriom Edwards

45-year-old Alvin Brown

32-year-old Christopher Staton

33-year-old Ramondo Carr

41-year-old Robert Gaines

Still at large:

41-year-old Mark Ford