District Attorney: Government shutdown forces possible marijuana case into limbo


    Four men remain in jail tonight after authorities stopped them in Pawhuska this week for carrying what they claimed to be industrial hemp. (KTUL)

    PAWHUSKA, Okla. (KTUL) -- Four men remain in jail tonight after authorities stopped them in Pawhuska this week for carrying what they claimed to be industrial hemp.

    Some of the contents have since been sent off to be tested for possible marijuana, but due to the government shutdown, it could be days before the results come in.

    It’s a puzzling case never seen in Pawhuska. Police had arrested four men after finding more than 18,000 pounds of possible marijuana inside a truck.

    “Just a lot of unanswered questions in this case," said Osage County District Attorney Mike Fisher, trying to determine what four men were allegedly shipping from Kentucky to Colorado.

    “We’re trying to make sure that if we file these charges that they are the right charges; that they are the correct charges," said Fisher.

    Fisher has been on the job five days, and now, he's having to piece this together.

    “Right now, we don’t know what justice looks like in this case," said Fisher.

    Sixty cases with stickers were labeled with the names of different candies.

    The men claimed they were shipping industrial hemp and were in their legal right to do so.

    “Our investigation has shown so far that they may be something other than hemp in there," said Fisher.

    Police say an officer pulled the truck over after the driver ran a red light.

    The contents were field tested as marijuana and were sent to Dallas and then Washington DC for further testing.

    Fisher says it’s unclear when the four detained could be released because of how the government shutdown is affecting the case.

    Put simply -- the shutdown is pausing any kind of federal tests on the contents seized.

    Matt Lyons represents two of the men arrested. He says they were in a van following the truck for security.

    Based on a bill President Trump passed this year, Lyons says it is legal to transport hemp across states, but he says law enforcement may not know about it.

    As for Fisher, he says he’s working hard to get this investigation finished as quickly as possible.

    Right now, it’s unclear how many days the men could be in jail.

    “We’re going to do the right thing here and that justice is served," said Fisher.

    Fisher tells us the critical issue here is whether or not the possible marijuana has a THC level high enough to be deemed illegal.

    Until they get the tests back, he says they the case is in limbo.

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