Alleged Drug Courier Pleads Nolo Contendere, Avoids Jail
BY C.L. HARMON
To look at the top of the page of the Oklahoma On Demand Court Records website, it would appear that Tanda Williams was just driving around and got popped for driving a defective vehicle. But if you read the fine print, it tells a different story altogether. In fact it tells of one that became one of the most interactive stories this paper has published. One that sparked a great deal of controversy among readers as to the content of the allegations and to the character of the accused. In fact, before the story was pulled from a former local rumor page, there had been several thousand readers of the article online alone and several hundred comments from varying degrees. It seemed that most everyone had something to say.
Earlier this month, Williams had something to say as well. She told a Creek County court that she would plead, but did so only to a Nolo Contendere plea, which means a defendant in a criminal prosecution accepts conviction as though a guilty plea had been entered but does not admit guilt.
As for the four counts against Williams, they stem from a traffic stop last summer which culminated in the four counts against her:
Count 1:Unlawful Possession Of Controlled Drug With Intent To Distribute ~ Count 1) 5 Year Deferred, Assessment, $250.00 Victims Comp, Court Costs, All Jail
Count 2:Possession Of Controlled Substance In Presence Of A Minor Or Within 1000 feet School Or Park – Dismissed
Count 3:Unlawful Possession Of Drug Paraphernaila ~ 5 Year Deferred
Count 4:Defective Vehicle – $25.00 Fine And Court Costs.
MPD Officer Dan Caffey initially pulled her over on a traffic stop near Green Valley Park. However, an aroma of marijuana would lead to a search that provided much more than a defective vehicle.
Caffey posed the question if she had been smoking marijuana, to which she acknowledged she had, according to the incident report. At this point, Caffey probably thought her drug use was only recreational. However, consent to search her vehicle, would provide evidence that pointed away from the recreational user conclusion.
That search would first turn up an orange bucket with
miscellaneous items such as bedding and Hot Wheels cars. But as he dug in a little deeper, he discovered the four baggies of weed at the bottom and oddly enough, a cold Gatorade resting on top of them. Then he found a rubber container with THC oil and rolling papers in her purse, according to the incident report.
He would eventually uncover cash in the amount of $9,914 and cell phones. Caffey’s training led him to believe that that much weed is a bit more than what is needed for recreation and that more than one cell phone is indicative of drug trafficking criminals who use them to facilitate drug transactions.
Once under arrest, Williams was questioned by police chief Lucky Miller after she waived her Miranda Rights. She informed Miller that she had no idea that the baggies of marijuana were in her vehicle, but stated that she was aware of the THC oil. She went on by telling Miller that she had been given the oil by a man in Tulsa, the incident report reads.
She also informed him that the cash was taken from a safety deposit box at an American Heritage Bank earlier in the day. Moving on to the orange bucket where the marijuana was found, Williams explained that the bucket had been placed there six days earlier by the same man who had given her the oil. What she could not explain is how the Gatorade had remained cold to the touch after six days in a vehicle with out a functioning air conditioner.
Ending the interview, Miller asked for permission for a forensic data dump on the phones. She consented verbally, but then retracted it after being asked to sign a consent form. She then asked, “If I tell you the truth, am I still going to jail?” Miller responded she was going to jail regardless. She then asked for an attorney and Miller ended the interview.