Friday, September 28, 2018

Wards’ Preliminary Is Dec. 12


The next court appearances for Julie Anne Ward, 58, and her husband, Robert D. “Bob” Ward Sr., 63, of Vian will be at 9 a.m. on Dec. 12 when their preliminary hearing on charges they harbored a fugitive is slated.

Both the Wards were charged July 9 in Sequoyah County District Court, Sallisaw, with harboring a fugitive. The arresting sheriff’s deputy reported finding a fugitive staying in a trailer on the Ward’s property after the Wards were informed the man was a fugitive.

The Wards entered not guilty pleas to the charge and are free on bond. Julie Ward is past CEO of Sequoyah Memorial Hospital in Sallisaw.

The fugitive found sleeping in the Wards’ trailer was identified as Rick Brock, who escaped confinement in Muskogee County.


Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Two Men Jailed after Chase


Two Arkansas men are being held in the Sequoyah County Jail in Sallisaw after a chase Wednesday along Interstate 40 that ended in Muldrow.

Curtis Godwin, 24, of Ozark, Ark., and James Paul Syrock, 20, of Van Buren were arrested after they were spied by a county deputy early Wednesday driving 10 miles over the speed limit in a rural Roland area. 

Godwin was driving an older model BMW and Syrock was a passenger. Godwin led the deputy on a chase going west hitting speeds over 100 miles per hour, it was reported.

Sallisaw Police Chief Terry Franklin said Sallisaw police were alerted to the high-speed chase along State Highway 64, and put stop sticks out near the Sallisaw Sports Complex, east of the city, but Godwin was able to avoid the sticks, then drove onto Interstate 40 and head back east toward Muldrow, where he was eventually stopped.

A Muldrow officer reported he saw something thrown out of the BMW, and a bag of what appeared to be methamphetamine was found later.

Godwin was booked into the county jail on charges of assault and battery with a deadly weapon (for attempting to ram a police car), eluding a police officer, driving with a suspended or revoked license, destroying evidence, running a road block, and possession of a controlled dangerous substance, all after former conviction of three felonies. He is also being held on a warrant out of Franklin County, Ark.

Syrock was booked into the county jail for destroying evidence and possession of a controlled dangerous substance, all after former conviction of four felonies. He is also being held on an Arkansas parole warrant.


Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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McDonald’s to Host ‘Coffee with a Cop’


McDonald’s restaurant in Sallisaw will host “Coffee with a Cop” from 9 to 11 a.m. Oct. 3, in conjunction with the Sallisaw Police Department.

This event brings police officers and the community members they serve together – over coffee – to discuss community issues, learn more about each other and build relationships in an informal, environment. All Coffee with a Cop attendees will receive a free small cup of McCafé® coffee, courtesy of the Sallisaw McDonald’s.

Sallisaw Police Chief Terry Franklin said the department has been hoping to have such an event, and when McDonald’s offered, he accepted.

“This is a good opportunity for the public to meet and socialize with us, and see us outside the car,” Franklin said. “It gives the public the opportunity to come out and meet our new officers.”

Franklin said he will be at the event, and may plan more such events in the future.

David Hadley, restaurant owner and operator, said, “As a McDonald’s Owner/Operator, being involved in the community is the cornerstone of my business, and I look forward to hosting this event in conjunction with our local law enforcement. I hope that community members will attend the Coffee with a Cop event and feel comfortable to ask questions, bring forward concerns, or simply get to know our officers.”

Hadley’s family-owned McDonald’s restaurants will continue to work with local law enforcement officers throughout the year to host additional Coffee with a Cop events to encourage stronger relationships between police officers and community members.


Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Sara Evans to Perform Oct. 19 at Casino

Chart-topper Sara Evans to perform a free show on Oct. 19 at Lee Creek Tavern, 
inside Cherokee Casino and Hotel Roland.


Sara Evans has charted five No. 1 singles, sold millions of records, won the ACM’s Top Female Vocalist Award and claimed a CMA trophy for her signature song, “Born to Fly.”

On Oct. 19, Evans will play at Lee Creek Tavern inside Cherokee Casino and Hotel Roland. The free show begins at 8 p.m.

Evans first reached the charts with the 1998 release “No Place That Far,” the title track of her second album. The No. 1 single helped the album certify RIAA gold in the United States and propel her career into country music’s mainstream.

The singer-songwriter has since charted more than 30 hit singles, including the No. 1 hits “No Place That Far,” “Born to Fly,” “Suds in the Bucket,” “A Little Bit Stronger” and “A Real Fine Place to Start.” Other fan favorites include “I Could Not Ask For More,” “I Keep Looking,” “Saints and Angels,” “Perfect” and “Slow Me Down.”

With the release of her eighth studio album, “Words,” on her own label, Born to Fly Records, the 2017 album demonstrates that she’s still willing to leap into the unknown. Evans’ voice is warm, familiar and strong, and the songs are authentic and memorable for fans.

For more information on Evans, visit www.saraevans.com

Cherokee Casino and Hotel Roland is located off Highway 64 on Cherokee Boulevard in Roland.

For more information on Cherokee Casino and Hotel Roland, visit www.cherokeecasino.com or call (800) 256-2338. All guests must be at least 21 years of age. 


Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Suspect Allegedly Threw Evidence Out the Window


A drug suspect, who allegedly tried throwing drugs out his vehicle’s window as he drove through Roland, entered a not guilty plea to charges on Sept. 19 in Sequoyah County District Court, Sallisaw.

Christopher Franklin Murray, 31, of Van Buren was released on a $25,000 bond on Sept. 19, according to court records. He was charged in district court on Sept. 18 with a felony count of unlawful possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute and a misdemeanor count of unlawful possession of paraphernalia.

Murray, who is identified as Murphy in the Roland police officer’s report, was arrested at about 2:46 a.m. on Sept. 14 in Roland. The officer reports he attempted to stop Murray, who was driving a white Chevrolet Tahoe west on U.S. Highway 64, for a non-working brake light.

But, according to the report filed with the charges, Murray continued driving slowly west, and would then pull over to the right. The officer reported he saw two objects thrown from the passenger’s front window. Officers later found one of the objects was a plastic bag containing 15.3 grams of a substance that tested positive as methamphetamine. They were unable to find the second object, believed to be another plastic bag.

According to the report, Murray later admitted he threw the objects out of his vehicle, and also tried to throw out a smoking pipe but it bounced back into the vehicle and was found in his pocket.

Murray’s next court appearance is set for Oct. 17 on the felony disposition docket.



Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Health Department Offers Flu Vaccinations



The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) will offer flu vaccine statewide beginning Oct. 1 at all county health department locations. Flu shots will be provided at no out-of-pocket cost to recipients. Those with insurance are asked to provide their card showing coverage.

The Sequoyah County Health Department in Sallisaw confirmed the free flu vaccinations will be offered beginning Monday, but they ask clients to call first to confirm availability. The phone number is 918-775-6201.

A flu vaccination is recommended each year for everyone 6 months of age and older. When more people are vaccinated against the flu, there is less opportunity for flu to spread in families, schools and communities. The flu vaccine is formulated each year to keep up with flu viruses as they change. Also a yearly flu shot is needed because a person’s immune protection from being vaccinated decreases after a year, and yearly vaccination provides the best protection against the flu through the entire flu season.

OSDH Interim Commissioner Tom Bates will help kickoff the effort by getting his immunization at the Rogers County Health Department in Claremore on Oct. 3.

“We are encouraging everyone to get their flu vaccination and we hope this effort to provide the shots at no out-of-pocket cost to recipients will make it more accessible,” said Bates. “The last season was especially devastating and we want to ensure that as many people as possible can receive the added protection that the flu vaccine provides.”

Last flu season there were 291 deaths and 4,819 hospitalizations between September 2017 and May 2018.

In addition to getting a flu shot, public health officials recommend the following prevention tips:

*Adopt a healthy lifestyle by eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and getting a full night’s rest.

*Wash hands frequently using soap and water, or alcohol-based products such as hand gels when hands are not visibly soiled.

*Use tissues to cover coughs and sneezes, then dispose of them and wash your hands immediately. When tissues are not readily available, cough into your sleeve, not your hands.

*Stay home from work, school and other public places when feeling ill.

For more information, call the local county health department or visit the OSDH website at www.health.ok.gov to get locations for your local county health department.



Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Spencer Recognized at Chamber Meeting

Buddy Spencer (left) was recognized for his service to the community at Wednesday's chamber meeting. Presenting the award was Jeff Mayo, chamber president.

Buddy Spencer was honored on Wednesday at the monthly Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce meeting as the member of the month. Spencer is an active member of the Sallisaw community and is well known for his love of public service.

Spencer has maintained a long and very successful career in the automobile business spanning fifty plus years starting with his first dealership, Buddy Spencer Ford in Durant. He has owned and operated over ten dealerships in three states before moving to Sallisaw in September 1995. The Spencer family currently owns and operates Blue Ribbon Auto Group in Sallisaw.

With a passion to serve his community Spencer has served as President of the Chambers of Commerce in both Durant and Sallisaw. He was appointed by Governor George Nigh to the Executive Committee to study reform in State Government. Spencer is currently serving as the president of the Sallisaw Improvement Corporation.

Spencer has also lived a life dedicated to his passion for public education. He has served as a school board member and also as president of the Oklahoma State School Board Association. The Oklahoma School Board Association annually presents the Buddy Spencer Leadership Award in Oklahoma City. 

Spencer was selected as the Distinguished Alumnus at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in 1983, a recipient of the Oklahoma Education Association Award for Excellence in Education, and a 2014 honoree of the State Regents of Higher Education Business Partnership Excellence Award.

Spencer currently serves as a Trustee for the CASC Foundation and is Chairman of the Committee for Excellence in Sallisaw where they raise scholarship money for graduating seniors in Sequoyah County. With Spencer's leadership, the committee has raised over $600,000 for the students. He is also a member of the Carl Albert State College "Hall of Fame."


KXMX News Staff

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Sallisaw in Final Three for Veterans Center Relocation


Sallisaw is now one of only three eastern Oklahoma towns being considered for the relocation of a veterans center that was formerly located in Talihina.

In a meeting held in Okahoma City on Tuesday, the Oklahoma Veterans Commission narrowed the list from six to three. The three remaining towns include Sallisaw, Poteau, and Muskogee. Eliminated were Holdenville, Hugo and McAlester.

Keith Skelton, Sallisaw City Manager, along with other representatives from Sallisaw were in Oklahoma City Monday to present their proposal. "In leaving the meeting Monday with my team we felt like we had done well," stated Skelton. "We felt like we were leaving in good shape and we figured we would be in at least the top two."

"I can't say enough about our community partners for helping make our presentation possible," added Skelton. "We're going to work hard to bring it home."

The proposed building site for the veterans center is 90 acres on south Highway 59 that is currently privately owned. "We are working with the owner to secure the property in case we are selected for the site," Skelton said.

The Oklahoma Veterans Commission will now tour the remaining proposed sites and meet again on Oct. 26 to discuss their findings. The City of Sallisaw has not been officially notified regarding when the commission will conduct their visit.


KXMX News Staff

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Officer on Train Aims to Improve Safety


The Kansas City Southern Railway Company (KCSR), Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Sallisaw Police Department held an Officer on a Train event Wednesday to promote public safety at railroad crossings.

The event began Wednesday morning with a safety briefing.

According to a KCSR press release, in an Officer on a Train event, KCSR works with local law enforcement to bring officers into a locomotive cab for a unique, real-time perspective of motorist and pedestrian activity as a train moves through the community. Meanwhile, other law enforcement officers are stationed along the railroad right of way, watching for crossing and trespasser violations and issuing citations.

KCSR is a staunch supporter of Operation Lifesaver Inc., a non-profit organization founded in 1972 and dedicated to rail safety public education. Operation Lifesaver has partnered with federal safety agencies and the nation’s railroads for the See Tracks? Think Train! campaign, which is aimed at raising awareness about risky pedestrian and driver behavior around railroad tracks.

Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., Kansas City Southern (KCS) (NYSE: KSU) is a transportation holding company that has railroad investments in the U.S., Mexico and Panama. Its primary U.S. holding is KCSR, serving the central and south central U.S. Its international holdings include Kansas City Southern de Mexico, S.A. de C.V., serving northeastern and central Mexico and the port cities of Lázaro Cárdenas, Tampico and Veracruz, and a 50 percent interest in Panama Canal Railway Company, providing ocean-to-ocean freight and passenger service along the Panama Canal. KCS’ North American rail holdings and strategic alliances are primary components of a NAFTA Railway system, linking the commercial and industrial centers of the U.S., Mexico and Canada.



Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

GED Graduates Honored

The Cherokee Nation celebrated 109 graduates from the tribe’s adult education program during a ceremony held Sept. 20 at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah.

The Cherokee Nation celebrated 109 graduates from the tribe’s adult education program during a special ceremony held Sept. 20.

Participants who completed the program and passed the GED high school equivalency test were awarded diplomas at a reception held at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah.

“I’m extremely proud of our Cherokee Nation citizens who took it upon themselves to pursue a better, brighter future,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “The road we all take to education may be different, and it’s not always easy, but the results will pay off for years to come. I commend each person who earned this distinction.”

Liza Pinkston of Stilwell is one of the adult education program graduates. She began working part time for Cherokee Nation last January and is now earning an associate’s degree at Carl Albert State College in Sallisaw. After graduating from the adult education program, Pinkston began a full-time clerking position with Cherokee Nation Career Services in Stilwell.

“The Cherokee Nation has helped me tremendously,” said Pinkston, 23. “If it wasn’t for the tribe’s GED and work experience programs, I don’t know what my life would be like. Being able to not only participate but to have a real graduation through the adult education program has been incredible. Having a graduation with the cap and gown ensemble was an experience that I had accepted I would miss out on. Without a doubt, I would recommend the adult education program.”

Tribal Councilor Bryan Warner of Sallisaw served as a guest speaker at the ceremony. Warner commended the graduates on their achievement and thanked the program staff for their efforts in investing in the program participants.

“I could not be more proud of this program and the staff who work under it. Their time and dedication to helping our citizens achieve something they may have considered unattainable is remarkable and to be commended,” Warner said. “I also congratulate the program participants on their momentous achievement and wish them nothing but success in their future endeavors.”

The Cherokee Nation adult education program allows participants to study subjects like math, reading and writing at their own pace until they are ready to take the high school equivalency test. 

The Cherokee Nation adult education program is administered by the tribe’s Career Services department. The tribe provides GED instruction at multiple locations throughout its 14-county jurisdiction with options for morning, afternoon and evening classes. Testing is available at Pryor, Sallisaw, Stilwell and Tahlequah.

The program serves citizens of federally recognized tribes within the 14-county jurisdiction who are 16 years of age or older.

For more information on the adult education program, call the Career Services Learning Center in Tahlequah at 918-458-0577.



Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

OSHSA Fall Yard Sale Is Oct. 6


Great stuff at great prices!

That’s what may be found at the yard sale on Oct. 6 sponsored by the Old Sallisaw High School Association.

Worried about the weather? Don’t worry. The sale will be inside from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 6 at the OSHSA Black Diamond Events Center at 220 E. Creek, on the OSHSA park campus.

OSHSA members said there is limited space in the events center for those who would like to rent a booth to sell items, and there is unlimited space outside the building for those who want to enjoy the fabulous fall weather. Vendors are to bring their own tables.

To donate to the sale or for more information call 918-774-2439, 918-774-3887 or 918-774-0744.

This is the association’s last fundraiser of the year, and is raising money to finish work on the rotunda and other projects.


Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Sallisaw Woman Pleads Not Guilty to Drug Charges


A 32-year-old Sallisaw woman entered a not guilty plea to drug charges on Sept. 19 in Sequoyah County District Court in Sallisaw.

Ann Marie Smith was arrested by Sallisaw police on Sept. 13, after a drug investigation at her home on Jefferson Street. She was charged in district court on Sept. 18 with unlawful possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute, a felony, and two misdemeanor counts of possession of a dangerous substance and paraphernalia.

Smith was released on a $12,000 bond on Sept. 13. Her next court appearance is Nov. 14 on the felony disposition docket.

Sallisaw police reported they served a narcotic search warrant at Smith’s home at about 8:35 p.m. on Sept. 13.

They arrested two other women and a juvenile, who was later released into Smith’s custody. Officers reported finding plastic bags with substances that tested positive as methamphetamine and marijuana. They also reported finding two smoking devices, rolling papers, and $409, all of which were seized as evidence.



Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Monday, September 24, 2018

Sallisaw Man Sentenced for Possession of a Firearm


The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Muskogee announced Thursday that Samuel Jason Nutt, 50, of Sallisaw was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The charge arose from an investigation by the Sallisaw Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The indictment alleged that on Dec. 29 the defendant, having been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, knowingly possessed a Chinese, Model 54-1, 7.62 x 25mm caliber pistol, a firearm which had been shipped and transported in interstate commerce.

U.S. Attorney Brian J. Kuester said, “Working with local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies to combat violent crime is a priority of the Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Offices. One of the federal laws available to us to carry out that priority prohibits convicted felons from possessing firearms. The defendant in this case violated that federal law and is being held accountable accordingly. This joint effort by the Sallisaw Police Department, ATF, and members of this office is an example of interagency team work that occurs on a daily basis in the Eastern District of Oklahoma and across the country. When agencies work together, the public benefits.”

This case was part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative which encourages federal, state, local, and tribal agencies to cooperate in a unified team effort against gun crime, targeting repeat offenders who continually plague their communities, Kuester said.

District Judge Ronald A. White presided over the hearing. Assistant U.S. Attorney Dean Burris represented the United States. The defendant will remain in custody pending transportation to the designated federal facility at which the non-paroleable sentence will be served.


Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Two Injured in One-truck Crash


Two men were hospitalized after a one-truck crash at about 5:34 p.m. last Thursday on a county road three and a half miles south of Sallisaw.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) reported the driver, Ricky Henning, 54, of Sallisaw, was transported to the Sallisaw hospital and admitted with head, arm and back injuries. He was listed in stable condition. A passenger in the 2008 Chevrolet pickup truck, Shadoe Fields, 30, of Sallisaw was Lifeflighted to St. John’s Hospital in Tulsa and admitted with head injuries. He was listed in stable condition.

The OHP reported Henning was driving west on the county road when the truck ran off the road to the right. The pickup then traveled down the ditch, hit a private driveway and went airborne for about 50 feet before rolling one time and ejecting the passenger about 20 feet.


Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Friday, September 21, 2018

Sallisaw Man Sentenced


The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Muskogee announced Thursday that Samuel Jason Nutt, 50, of Sallisaw was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The charge arose from an investigation by the Sallisaw Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The indictment alleged that on Dec. 29 the defendant, having been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, knowingly possessed a Chinese, Model 54-1, 7.62 x 25mm caliber pistol, a firearm which had been shipped and transported in interstate commerce.

U.S. Attorney Brian J. Kuester said, “Working with local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies to combat violent crime is a priority of the Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Offices. One of the federal laws available to us to carry out that priority prohibits convicted felons from possessing firearms. The defendant in this case violated that federal law and is being held accountable accordingly. This joint effort by the Sallisaw Police Department, ATF, and members of this office is an example of interagency team work that occurs on a daily basis in the Eastern District of Oklahoma and across the country. When agencies work together, the public benefits.”

This case was part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative which encourages federal, state, local, and tribal agencies to cooperate in a unified team effort against gun crime, targeting repeat offenders who continually plague their communities, Kuester said.

District Judge Ronald A. White presided over the hearing. Assistant U.S. Attorney Dean Burris represented the United States. The defendant will remain in custody pending transportation to the designated federal facility at which the non-paroleable sentence will be served.


Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Lawsuit Filed Against Other Driver in Fatality Crash


The grandmother of three minor children and the mother of the children’s deceased mother filed a civil lawsuit Sept. 5 in Sequoyah County District Court, Sallisaw, asking for an amount in excess of $75,000.

Rachelle Harrison, the mother of the late Deana Everett and the grandmother to Everett’s three minor children, filed the civil suit against Nina Lashay Cate, 19, of Sallisaw. Harrison claims Cate was at fault in the July 3 crash that took Deana Everett’s life.

According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP), troopers reported 22-year-old Deana Everett of Vian was pronounced dead at the scene on July 3 from trunk, leg and arm injuries.

The OHP reported Everett was a passenger in a 2007 Chevrolet Impala driven by Richard Burleson, 22, of Vian. Cate was driving a 2011 Chevy Impala west on U.S. Highway 64, and went left of center to pass another vehicle just before 1 p.m. July 3 about two miles east of Vian. Burleson was driving east, and Cate’s vehicle struck Burleson’s Chevrolet head-on. Cate’s vehicle ran off the left side of the road coming to rest in a creek. The Burleson vehicle rotated one-half time and came to rest in the roadway.

Burleson was transported to a Fort Smith hospital with internal trunk injuries in stable condition. The three children were all treated and released from a Fort Smith hospital. Cate and a juvenile passenger in her vehicle were both airlifted to a Tulsa hospital.

The lawsuit claims Cate was, at the time of the crash, “using her cell phone for social media purposes.”

The lawsuit goes on to claim that this was the second fatality accident the defendant was involved in “within a one-year time period.”

The court gave Cate 20 days from Sept. 5, when she was summoned, to answer the lawsuit.


Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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Prostitution Charges Filed


The owners and operators of the China Doll Massage Parlor in Roland have been arrested for prostitution.

Jie Zhang, 55, was charged Tuesday in Sequoyah County District Court, Sallisaw, with maintaining a house of prostitution within 1,000 feet of a school or church, and Qing Zhang, 49, was charged Tuesday in district court with pandering and maintaining a house of prostitution within 1,000 feet of a school or church. This is the second time Qing Zhang has been charged for prostitution.

According to the investigator’s report filed with the charges, the sheriff’s department received anonymous tips that the massage parlor was providing sexual acts for money.

An undercover officer was sent in on Sept. 11, according to the report, and paid $40 to Qing Zhang, identified as the owner, for a massage. Jie Zhang gave the massage, and when she gestured toward the officer’s genitals, allegedly offering additional services, other officers were called in to make the arrests.

The report goes on to say that Qing Zhang had left the building at the time, but she was later located by Roland police and arrested.

Qing Zhang was arrested last year, on July 19, 2017, at the massage parlor for the same reason. She is charged with computer pandering and maintaining a premises for prostitution in that case. An arrest warrant was issued for her co-defendant, Shen Luyun, 30, who did not appear for her arraignment. She is charged with violation of an Oklahoma statute via computer and engaging in prostitution.

Qing Zhang entered a not guilty plea at her arraignment on Wednesday. Her next court appearance is set for Dec. 12 on the felony disposition docket. She was released on a $10,000 bond on Wednesday.

A bench warrant was issued for Jie Zhang, who did not appear for her arraignment on Wednesday, and her bond increased from $10,000 to $20,000.

The investigator’s report says none of those arrested have massage licenses from the state of Oklahoma.


Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

For more news stories stay tuned to The MIX 105.1 or visit www.kxmx.com