By JOSH NEWTON
TDP Staff Writer
Fifteen people were hauled to jail Friday when local and federal officers converged in Cherokee County for a day-long warrant sweep.
At around 6 a.m., law enforcement officers from the District 27 Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, Tahlequah Police Department, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, Cherokee Nation Marshal Service and U.S. Marshal Service began to meet and map out the day’s plan.
Leaders of the effort divided officers into numerous teams, then provided them with stacks of warrants and file folders with information about their targets. After a group prayer for safety, teams scattered into the county.
“I came up with the idea to do a warrant sweep to raise awareness of domestic violence,” said Elizabeth Crockett, a domestic-violence investigator for District Attorney Brian Kuester’s office.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Crockett thought it pertinent to specifically target people who were wanted for related charges.
“There were a mixture of felonies and misdemeanors, a mixture of men and women,” said Crockett. “They were all domestic-violence related.”
The ultimate goal for authorities was simple.
“We want to get violent offenders off the street,” said Crockett.
And that’s what happened when officers visited house after house around the county.
While authorities didn’t find all of their targets, they did track down numerous others who were being sought for warrants, or who were found to be committing an alleged crime.
When an entourage of police pulled into a home in Hulbert looking for a fugitive, 47-year-old Mark Anthony Whitekiller immediately ran around and into the house. Investigators chased and eventually found Whitekiller inside a bathroom. He claimed he was using the toilet.
Police learned Whitekiller allegedly ditched a shake-and-bake bottle of methamphetamine, which was actively producing meth when deputies found it in the home.
“That’s not my meth lab,” Whitekiller first told investigators when a bag of meth-related ingredients was found inside a child’s bedroom.
Deputies learned Whitekiller had three different warrants for his arrest. He also allegedly admitted, during a talk with authorities, that the bag of meth products was his.
Whitekiller was booked into jail for endeavoring to manufacture meth, possession of a controlled dangerous substance, resisting arrest, and two counts of child endangerment.
Kevin Lee Ford, 27, who was also outside the home when police arrived, was arrested for an embezzlement warrant; and a third person, 28-year-old Ashla Dawn McKee, was arrested for endeavoring to manufacture, child endangerment, possession of a controlled dangerous substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Investigators said McKee showed them her box of various drug items that was being kept near a child who was sleeping in a bed when authorities arrived.
Authorities on Jones Road traveled to a trailer home park in search of a fugitive. When they couldn’t find him, they tried to speak with a neighbor who was walk by. The man shunned authorities, entered a trailer and locked them out. When officers learned the owner of the trailer was also a fugitive, they entered the home looking for the man who had ran from them.
Eventually, 24-year-old David Wayne Nixon exited the back of the house covered in spider webs. Investigators said Nixon attempted to hide from them by getting into a small area where a hot water heater was stored.
Nixon allegedly gave authorities one name, then a second name – and after giving them a third name, was arrested and taken to jail for obstruction. At the jail, Nixon allegedly confessed to his true identity and investigators learned he is being sought on warrants out of Adair and Mayes counties.
Teams make several more arrests
• Larry Delane Clayton, 56, was arrested for failing to register as a sex offender. He was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm when police found a rifle.
• Johnnie Wayne Deckard, 44, opened his door and found a group of officers waiting to arrest him west of Hulbert Friday morning. Deckard was wanted on a warrant for domestic abuse-assault and battery.
• Latisha R. Bolin, 23, was arrested for warrants on attempting to elude, driving under the influence, leaving the scene of a crash involving damage, open container beer, and minor drinking beer in a public place.
• Chris L. Brown, 44, was arrested for warrants on obtaining merchandise by bogus check.
• Michael G. Bunch, 24, was arrested for a warrant related to domestic assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
• Caleb Eli Hammer, 28, was arrested for assault and battery and threatening to perform an act of violence.
• Hector Medina, 34, was arrested on a warrant for sexual battery. Medina allegedly called it a “misunderstanding.” He was found standing outside a home wearing clothing that had his name on it, authorities said.
• Anthony Eric Sanders, 51, was booked for failing to pay on a charge of possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, and public intoxication.
• Billy Eugene Spradlin, 50, was arrested for a warrant on driving under suspension.
• Damaion Lamar Sumpter, 30, was tracked down and arrested for warrants related to domestic abuse-assault and battery and failure to register as a sex offender.
• Dwayne Neil Taulbee, 29, was arrested on a felony warrant for first-degree robbery.