$90K drug bust

A Parkersburg man suspected of dealing huge quantities of synthetic marijuana in the area was arrested Friday morning after selling a pound of the drug to an undercover agent with the Major Crimes Task Force in Washington County.

Robert Oakley III, 34, of 4114 14th Ave., was paid $2,200 for the single transaction, and a resulting search warrant executed by the Parkersburg Police Department and Wood County Sheriff’s Department at Oakley’s south Parkersburg home yielded another $90,000 worth of K2, said Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.

“He admitted to us that he made $40,000 in the last six months selling this stuff,” said Mincks.

The 10 pounds of synthetic marijuana found in Oakley’s home is one of the largest quantities ever found locally, said Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin.

“It’s an unusual find for us, we haven’t seen much of this at this level locally,” he added.

Oakley has been the subject of a joint investigation by the task force and Wood County Aggressive Crime Enforcement (ACE) for “some time now,” said Mincks.

Oakley reportedly sold a task force agent 454 one-gram packets of the drug Friday morning in the Marietta area. Shortly after, Oakley was pulled over near Catfish Paradise on Ohio 7 and arrested.

Oakley was charged in Washington County with a single fifth-degree felony count of selling a drug not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but faces more charges-including possible federal charges-for the K2 found at his home, said Martin.

“We’ll confer with Wood County Prosecutor Jason Wharton, but at this point we’re pretty confident that the federal prosecutors will want to adopt this case and prosecute it in Charleston,” he said.

ACE investigators will be contacting the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charleston to pursue possible federal charges, he said.

Based on the search conducted Friday at his residence, Martin said it appeared Oakley had purchased the necessary components at local stores and then made the K2 himself at the home. The process to make K2 is less complex and much less dangerous than that involved with making methamphetamine, he added.

“Everything we know at this point is that all of the manufacturing was completed inside this residence here on 14th Avenue,” Martin said.

The 2004 Dodge Ram truck which Oakley had been driving upon his arrest and a 2013 Chevy Camaro have been seized, said Mincks.

Both Mincks and Martin credited the large bust to the close cooperation between ACE and the task force.

While the investigation is ongoing and other arrests are possible, Oakley is the only individual under investigation at this time, said Martin.

Oakley is being held in the Washington County Jail this weekend in lieu of bond pending an appearance on Marietta Municipal Court on Monday, he said.