3 arrested in death of man found in Oklahoma cemetery

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) — Authorities say three men have been arrested in connection with the death of a man whose body was found in a southeast Oklahoma cemetery.

Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris said Wednesday that 21-year-old Tyler Morgan of Haileyville, 46-year-old Jimmy Nace of Haileyville and 40-year-old Matt Vermillion of Krebs were arrested in connection with the death of 49-year-old Bob Dalpoas of Haileyville.

Dalpoas' body was found July 4 in Red Oak Cemetery in Bache, near McAlester and about 130 miles (209 kilometers) southeast of Oklahoma City.

Court records don't show charges have been filed against any of the three in custody.

Nace and Vermillion are being held in the Pittsburg County Jail. Morris says Morgan, U.S. Army soldier, is in the custody of the Army at a base near Tacoma, Washington.

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Inmate escapes from northeastern Oklahoma prison

VINITA, Okla. (AP) — Authorities in northeastern Oklahoma are searching for an inmate who has walked away from a minimum-security prison.

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections says 52-year-old Ricky Bauders disappeared Tuesday from the Northeast Oklahoma Correctional Center in Vinita, about 57 miles (92 kilometers) northeast of Tulsa.

Officials say Bauders was last seen running away from the prison about 6 p.m. He was serving a four-year sentence out of Tulsa County for second-degree burglary.

Prison officials say correctional officers believe Bauders is still in the area.

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Prosecutors: National investigation nets child traffickers

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Federal prosecutors said Wednesday that 19 people have been charged in northern Oklahoma state and federal courts following a nationwide investigation into child sex trafficking.

U.S. Attorney Trent Shores said that nine defendants have been indicted in Tulsa on a variety of federal charges, including possession of child pornography, sexual exploitation of a child and attempted coercion and enticement of a minor.

Shores said another 10 defendants face similar state charges in Tulsa County following the monthlong investigation of child sex predators.

In addition, Shores said federal, state and local law enforcement agencies recovered four female victims of alleged sex trafficking in northern Oklahoma, including three teens and one victim who is 12 or under. Shores said some of the victims had physical contact with one or more of the defendants.

Defendants charged in the case used social media and the internet to reach out to the victims and engage with them, Shores said.

"I have zero tolerance for child predators and will use every tool available to identify and prosecute them," Shores said. "Child victims will be given a voice."

The FBI, which led the investigation, said 103 underage victims were identified or recovered nationwide, 67 suspected traffickers were arrested and officials opened 60 new federal investigations.

Dubbed "Operation Independence Day," the effort involved the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. More than 400 law enforcement agencies worked with FBI Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Forces in each of the bureau's 56 field offices nationwide.

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Oklahoma tribe gets US disaster designation following storms

OKMULGEE, Okla. (AP) — The Oklahoma-based Muscogee (Creek) Nation has received a federal disaster designation to help it recover from damage caused by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding in May and June.

The declaration was announced by The White House Wednesday and makes federal funding available to the tribe and various nonprofit organizations to recover from damage caused by severe weather between May 7 and June 9.

Funds will be available on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged during the storms. The tribe is also eligible for federal funds for hazard mitigation measures.

Federal officials say additional designations may be made later if they are sought by the tribe and warranted by further damage assessments.

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Oklahoma prosecutor dismisses marijuana-trafficking charges

PAWHUSKA, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma prosecutor has dropped marijuana trafficking charges against two men who were arrested transporting a large shipment of industrial hemp that authorities say also included marijuana.

Osage County court records indicate charges were dismissed Tuesday against 30-year-old Andrew Ross and 31-year-old David Dirksen.

The security guards were arrested in January on a truck that was carrying legal hemp in Pawhuska , about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northwest of Tulsa. Police thought marijuana was inside despite paperwork saying the truck was carrying industrial hemp.

Tests later determine that about 4,000 pounds of the 18,000-pound load was marijuana, but prosecutors say they believe the security guards were "duped" into transporting it.

A medical-grade hemp company in Colorado had ordered the hemp from Kentucky and it was being shipped to Colorado via Oklahoma.