Tahlequah Daily Press

January 28, 2013

Meth, explosives lead to fed charges

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Members of the Eastern Oklahoma Violent Crimes Task Force arrested three people last week while serving a federal warrant on drug-, firearm-, and explosives-related charges.

Authorities went to a home on North Vinita in Tahlequah to serve the warrant on Ralph Gene Carloss, 61, who was indicted by a federal grand jury earlier this month in a sealed document. The indictment was unsealed last week, after Carloss’ arrest.

The grand jury also indicted Ernest Dry III, 38, of Tahlequah, who allegedly conspired with Carloss to possess pseudoephedrine from May 2011 until August 2012.

Carloss is also charged with being a felon in possession of a 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun last August; Dry faces additional federal charges of being a drug user in possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, and being a prohibited person in possession of explosives.

The indictments stem from the discovery of shake-and-bake methamphetamine labs, firearms, and explosives last August at a home in Tahlequah. Police found Dry and 29-year-old Katy R. Homberger at the house and arrested both of them. Their cases are still pending in district court.

While serving the warrant on Carloss last week, investigators also arrested Karin M. Jones, 36, and Christopher Murphy, 29. Murphy was arrested for an outstanding warrant, and he also had methamphetamine in his pocket, along with nearly $500 in cash, according to investigators.

Agents said the home smelled of methamphetamine. They later found several smoking devices, digital scales, and other drug paraphernalia, along with methamphetamine, marijuana, marijuana seeds, and five firearms.

Investigators said phones found at the home reveal a number of discussions about drug transactions between Jones and Carloss.

Carloss, Jones and Murphy all appeared before District Judge Darrell Shepherd last week in Cherokee County. Shepherd denied bond for Carloss and Murphy, and asked for prosecutors’ suggested bond amount for Jones.

Carloss told the judge that Jones had no part in what was happening at the home, and was just “at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Prosecutors, who had not seen a completed report on the arrests at the time, suggested Jones be given a $10,000 bond.  Shepherd ultimately denied bond when he learned Jones has two other pending felony charges from 2012 involving endeavoring to manufacture meth.

“I don’t like the fact, at all, that you’ve got these pending cases and you’re back in jail again,” Shepherd told Jones.

Carloss and Dry – who has been in the Cherokee County Detention Center since his arrest last August – were later taken into federal custody, arraigned in federal court, and denied bond.

Members of the Eastern Oklahoma Violent Crimes Task Force involved in the arrests last week include the Tahlequah Police Department, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.