Oklahoma sheriff arrested after allegations of meth use & strippers at his home

© Jason Reed
A 62-year-old sheriff from Oklahoma has been accused of turning his own home into a drug den where his son dealt methamphetamine, while it is also believed he helped to cover up a missing person’s case in which another family member is the main suspect.

Sheriff Marion ‘Joe’ Russell has been the long arm of the law in Love County in southern Oklahoma on the Texan border since 2000, but this may not be the case for much longer. A grand jury is accusing him of corruption, housing a fugitive and neglect of duty. 

The evidence that has been compiled against Russell does not make for good reading. His own son, George ‘Willie’ Russell, has already admitted to federal charges of methamphetamine distribution and is awaiting sentencing.

“There has been drug use for a number of years in Willie's house that he shares with the sheriff, drug purchases, drug sales ... and that has been going on with no consequences,” FBI Special Agent Steve West said, according to the Oklahoma-based publication NewsOK, while also adding that Willie used his father’s police vehicle to peddle the drug. 

Sheriff Russell is also accused of harboring a fugitive for a number of weeks in 2015. Sara Bamburg, who had four warrants for her arrest, was dating his son Willie at the time and according to the affidavit, “willfully maintained a dwelling where drugs are kept,” the Daily Beast reported. 

Bamburg said she was coerced into having sex with Willie out of fear of being arrested. However, she would later lift the lid on what went on in the Russell household and her allegations against the sheriff were damning. 

Bamburg was arrested a few days after leaving the Russell household, along with her new boyfriend. The arrests were carried out by sheriff Russell.  

“Anytime, she said, that she would try to stop his advances or not want to have sex ... he would remind her, ‘You've got warrants and as long as you are here dating me, you are not going to get arrested,'" West added. 

According to the affidavit, Bamburg told the authorities that Willie stored methamphetamine at the sheriff’s house and they had both talked to him while they were high on the drug. She also alleges that sheriff Russell would give his son the keys to his patrol vehicle in order to help him sell methamphetamine. 

However, drug dealing is not the only alleged crime that occurred in sheriff Russell’s house. Agent West claims that on two occasions Russell arrested women in bikinis who were drunk or high at a near-by location.

Instead of taking them to jail, he allegedly took them back to his house where the party continued. 

Russell would “basically arrest them for public intoxication and then… take them to his house where Willie was and either have—it has been reported to have them dance, strip,” West said, as cited by the Daily Beast. 

“Either Willie would strip them, sometimes Joe would. And these were apparently the kind of girls that once they realized that they weren’t going to go to jail, that they were just at another party, they would then go ahead and partake of the meth that Willie would offer them and stay and party,” he added. 

West says that people have been afraid to talk out about the alleged crimes due to a climate of fear that sheriff Russell has helped to create.

“That has been on overlying theme of all of the interviews we have done,” the FBI agent told the judge. “Everybody is very hesitant to talk. They don't want Joe Russell knowing that they are talking. So, yes, I would say they are all scared.” 

Some hope that the arrest of sheriff Russell could now help to lift the lid on the mysterious disappearance of 17-year-old Molly Miller and 21-year-old Colt Haynes who were last seen alive in 2013. The pair were riding in a car that belonged to James Conn Nipp, who just happens to be Russell’s nephew. 

Miller’s relatives claim that despite the fact that Nipp knew Molly for years, neither he nor his uncle have done anything to try and find the teenager. 

“From the beginning, I’ve known in my heart … we’re not dealing with just a missing persons case,” Molly’s cousin Paula Fielder told the Daily Beast. “Something’s not right about this.” 

“I’m hoping with [Sheriff Russell’s] arrest, it will finally bring us some more answers into what has happened to Molly and Colt,” she added.

Cell phone records revealed that the three people were all traveling together in the same vehicle as their phones all pinged the same cell phone tower, the Oklahoma-based newspaper The Ardmoreite reported. 

Monique Stewart, Haynes’ sister has also spoken out about Russell doing very little to find Colt, despite the pair being well acquainted before he went missing. He has also allegedly avoided all opportunities to meet with Stewart to try and help her find her brother.

“We’re hoping that with [the sheriff] being arrested, the people that were scared to talk will come forward now,” Stewart told The Daily Beast. 

“What’s most important is to find my brother,” the sister added. “I don’t want any family to have to go through this again. What’s done in the dark always comes into the light. And we won’t stand for corruption.”