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Charges against two of four people in disputed hemp case have been dropped

Prosecutors in Osage County, Okla. dropped charges against two semi-truck drivers accused of hauling marijuana to Colorado, but charges against the shipment’s security guards still stand.

Prosecutors dropped the charges against two semi-truck drivers accused of hauling marijuana across the country, but charges against the shipment’s security guards, one of whom is from Colorado, still stand.

The Osage County District Attorney’s Office, in Oklahoma, decided to drop the charges against Farah Warsame and Tadesse Deneke in a hearing on Friday. They have been out of jail on bond since last month.

Guards Andrew Ross, from Aurora, and David Dirksen, from Michigan, left jail about a week after their arrest on Jan. 9.

Police in Pawhuska, Okla. pulled over the truck drivers and the guards following behind them for allegedly running a red light. That’s when an officer discovered about 18,000 pounds of an unknown substance in the semi, according to an affidavit. Officers took all four men into custody under the suspicion that the truck was filled with marijuana. The four men insisted the product was hemp, but law enforcement wanted more testing.

By law, hemp can only have 0.3 percent of THC, the component in marijuana that makes users high. Federal law allows for the legal transportation of hemp across state lines. This shipment was headed from Kentucky to a company in Louisville, Colo.

Previous results showed three of 11 samples tested marginally too high to qualify as hemp. An attorney for the truck drivers, Trever Reynolds, said a new round of testing was conducted recently.

Reynolds told Next with Kyle Clark that he doesn’t know where the test was conducted, and he hasn’t had access to the results. He said the district attorney’s office told him, however, that 3,000 pounds of the product tested over the 0.3 percent threshold and 1,000 pounds tested over the 1 percent threshold.

Ross and Dirksen were charged with trafficking more than 1,000 pounds of drugs. They found out Friday that prosecutors are still pursuing charges.

If found guilty, they could serve 15 years to life in prison. Both men also face gun charges, for allegedly possessing a gun during the commission of a felony.

They both work for Patriot Shield, a veteran-owned company that provides security services for people in the cannabis industry.

They’re expected in court again in August.


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