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Pawnee County Sheriff recalls arrest of three teens accused of stealing a van and smuggling marijuana

Pawnee County officials arrest three runaway teenagers from Iowa after they allegedly stole a pickup truck there and ended up in Oklahoma.

Officers said they found over 10 pounds of marijuana in individual bags in the van.

Investigators say the van was reported stolen in Iowa on Thursday morning, and then Pawnee County officials received a call from Sirius Satellite Radio saying the stolen van had shown up in the Hallett area.

Officers came to investigate, and then, they say, the teens left a house to check on their marijuana and confronted officers.

Officers said they found the stolen van in a dead-end street in Hallett.

“When I and the other deputy exited the highway, the vehicle was right out in the open where we could clearly see it,” said Sheriff Darrin Varnell.

Officers said as they looked around the van, two teenagers came out of a house, saw officers and fled.

“The neighbor came over and said two kids jumped over my fence and ran away. The deputy is looking for them while I'm taking care of the van. He comes back, can't find them, and then all of a sudden the neighbor comes over with a male and female juvenile and says he just found them hiding on my property,” said Sheriff Varnell.

Officers searched the van and said they found bags full of marijuana for sale. Several hours later, a third teenager called 911 and turned himself in at a nearby gas station.

Officers said they learned the teens were in the Hallett area because one of them knew someone there from online gaming.

“There was a lot of finger-pointing, but we learned from the one juvenile who originally ran away that he had been there for maybe an hour and had actually gone out to check on his marijuana when he saw us, took off and ran away,” Police Chief Varnell said.

Officials say all three teens were arrested for the stolen car and marijuana. One of the teens has a warrant for arson and assault.