Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

September 21, 2012

‘Baddest of bad’ snared in sweep

TAHLEQUAH — Dozens of local and state law enforcement agents gathered in Tahlequah early Thursday morning before dispersing in teams to search for some of Cherokee County’s most-wanted.

For one group of officers – including Tahlequah Police Department’s SWAT team, a Muskogee K-9 unit, U.S. Marshals, and District 27 Drug Task Force investigators – the day’s activities began at the end of a small road in the Welling area.

Larry Earl Matlock, 54, was wanted on four different warrants, including failure to appear on charges of endeavoring to manufacture methamphetamine. Investigators have arrested Matlock at his trailer numerous times in the past for producing meth, they said. They also expected he would be armed.

At around 6:30 a.m., when officers swarmed Matlock’s small trailer and announced their presence over a speaker, Matlock didn’t exit.

“We have a warrant for your arrest, and we are not going away!” officers said numerous times. “We know you’re in there.”

After about a half hour of trying to convince Matlock to exit on his own, TPD’s SWAT team members stormed the trailer and forced him out.

Officers noticed a clear bottle containing a “two-layer liquid” sitting on the outside of a window air unit of the trailer. They described the liquid as a possible generator used in production of a red-phosphorus methamphetamine lab, which was discovered inside Matlock’s trailer, they said.

Investigators said “Red P” labs are typically more dangerous than other meth labs.

As officers processed the meth lab, a woman pulled up at the trailer with her 2-year-child and later admitted to officers she was there to buy narcotics.

Elsewhere in Cherokee County, a team of Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers captured Mark Murphy, 50. Murphy was charged in 2002 with lewd molestation and sentenced to 20 years with 12 of them suspended, but a bench warrant was issued in late August after his sentence was revoked.

Investigators began the day with approximately 100 warrants and served a number of them by day’s end. Charges among the stack ranged from fraud to theft of prescriptions, and from illegal possession of firearms to narcotics warrants.

Many of the county’s wanted weren’t home when officers showed up at the door; some were tracked down and arrested at their places of employment.

At some locations, family members and friends claimed the people wanted for warrants hadn’t been seen in weeks or months.

Susan R. Horner, 28, was found hiding inside a closet. Horner was charged earlier this year with obtaining or attempting to obtain a controlled substance by forgery or fraud. A warrant was later issued after she failed to appear in court.

Sheriff’s Investigator and Special Deputy U.S. Marshal James Brown and a team of officers visited several homes Thursday in search of Richard James Kessinger Sr., 57.

Kessinger is wanted on warrants for failure to register as a sex offender. He’s also been arrested this year for endeavoring to manufacture methamphetamine.

Brown visited with some of Kessinger’s family members north of Tahlequah and was told he hadn’t been at the home in about a month. Officers later traveled to an Eldon-area home where Kessinger had previously been arrested, but found the place abandoned.

Teams also searched for Arthur J. Adney, 48, a Tahlequah man wanted for manufacturing meth and second-degree arson. Adney allegedly fled from police after a shed behind his Tahlequah home caught on fire. Investigators said Adney was producing methamphetamine in the shed, which caused the structure to catch fire.

Adney allegedly fled the scene in a van and escaped officers when he exited the van and ran on foot. On Thursday, agents were told he might have fled the state.

Investigators said they won’t give up on their search for those listed in the warrants they tried serving Thursday.

“We’re trying to get the [baddest] of the bad off the streets,” said Brown.

The warrant sweep was coordinated by District Attorney Brian Kuester’s office and included numerous agencies – including two SWAT teams – from multiple counties. Similar sweeps have been held recently in neighboring counties under Kuester’s jurisdiction.

When officers gathered for a briefing just after 5 a.m. Thursday morning, Kuester greeted them and told them to keep safety the top priority.

After most of the sweep had ended Thursday, Kuester said he was proud of the team work.

“It was good, old-fashioned team work, and I’m really thrilled to see that,” said Kuester. “If people are wanted, if they’re on probation and haven’t fulfilled their obligations to the court and the DA’s office they need to be held accountable.”

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