By Steve Olafson
OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Police arrested 17 people on Monday and were looking for 21 more in a crackdown on what they described as a major operation smuggling Mexican-made methamphetamine across the border for sale in central Oklahoma.
Mark Woodward, spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, said the drug ring distributed 10 to 12 pounds of methamphetamine valued at up to $200,000 each week in central Oklahoma. The meth was brought across the border by car, he said.
Police arrested 17 people and have arrest warrants for 21 more suspects, said Mark Woodward, spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.
Undercover officers made a series of drug purchases, including one transaction in which a pound of methamphetamine was bought for $16,000, before state and federal officers with Homeland Security began making arrests, he said.
Woodward said police were unsure which Mexican drug cartel manufactured the methamphetamine.
In March, police arrested eight suspects in the drug network, including six who were in the United States illegally. Those arrested on Monday were legal residents, many with long-standing ties to Oklahoma, Woodward said.
"A lot of them are users themselves who do it to pay for their drug habit," Woodward said.
Methamphetamine, a highly addictive central nervous system stimulant, is often called a scourge of rural America because of its widespread production and use in small towns.
(Editing by Greg McCune and David Brunnstrom)