By JOSH NEWTON
Two Tahlequah men pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to drug- and firearms-related charges.
Ernest Dry III, 39, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, and being a prohibited person in possession of explosives. Ralph Gene Carloss, 61, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine, a chemical used to manufacture a controlled substance.
The firearms charge against Dry is punishable by five years in prison to be served consecutive to any other punishment, as well as up to a $250,000 fine; the explosives charge is punishable by not more than 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. Carloss could face no more than 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Prosecutors allege Carloss, between May 2011 and August 2012, conspired to possess pseudoephedrine, knowing it would be used to manufacture a controlled substance.
Dry is accused of possessing a Mossberg 500A 12-gauge shotgun while distributing a controlled substance. While using illegal narcotics, he also allegedly possessed two detonators that had been manufactured by Atlas Powder Co.
Charges against Dry and Carloss stemmed from an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Violent Crimes Task Force, which includes the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, District 27 Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, and the Tahlequah and Muskogee police departments.
Investigators said they discovered shake-and-bake methamphetamine labs, firearms, and explosive materials at a home in Tahlequah last August. Dry was arrested at the home, and Carloss was arrested months later at another Tahlequah residence.
Carloss and Dry were indicted by a federal grand jury in January 2013. Both will be in custody of the U.S. Marshal Service pending sentencing.