By David Amoruso for Gangsters Inc.
Gangsters tend to view going to prison as going to college. Behind prison walls they connect with like-minded criminals and learn how the game is played. But why not view being incarcerated as business as usual, some enterprising inmates in Oklahoma thought, as they ran a large-scale drug and gun trafficking ring from their cells.
Todd Mathew Strand was an Oklahoma Department of Corrections inmate serving a 30-year state sentence for drug trafficking. He had nothing but time on his hands. Instead of getting a bunch of degrees or joining some programs until his release from prison, he decided he wasn’t done with dealing narcotics.
Phoning it in
Together with fellow inmate Hugo Gonzalez, Jr. he got his hands on some contraband cell phones and went to work. Using their cell phones they were able to direct people on the streets to handle all aspects of their criminal organization.
If they didn’t? Well, Strand knew some people who could hurt some of those disloyal people if he told them so.
Distributors and couriers sold meth and heroin and collected the proceeds from these sales, as ordered by Strand. He then told his people to gather guns, some of which were intended to be exported to Mexico.
Again, they did as they were told. In one instance, a search of a storage facility controlled by one of Strand’s associates resulted in the seizure of 13 assorted assault rifles, shotguns, parts, and ammunition.
DEA gets involved
Authorities were on to him, though. It is difficult to avoid the eyes and ears of the law while locked up in a penitentiary. Still, he made them work for their tax dollars. Last week, the 3-year investigation by the DEA and other law enforcement agencies resulted in the conviction of Strand, Gonzalez Jr., and 19 others.
Strand was sentenced to 32 years in federal prison. Gonzalez Jr. got a prison term of 22 years in federal prison.
Around 46 pounds of methamphetamine and heroin, over 50 firearms, and $35,000 in drug proceeds were seized during this case.
“This case demonstrates just how dangerous and determined some criminals can be,” Wade Gourley, Chief of the Oklahoma City Police Department, said in a statement.
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