A Columbus woman is in custody after security personnel said they saw her taking items from a store in the 2000 block of Merchants Mile.

Columbus Police Officer Wesley Dodge located Sara K. Forney, 39, 161 Carrie Lane, outside the store at about 6 p.m. Monday, said Sgt. Matt Harris, Columbus Police spokesman.20150729cr_jail_mug_forney__sara_jpg

Officers learned she had items that she had not paid for in a bag and then located methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in her purse, Harris said.

Forney was arrested on preliminary charges of possession of methamphetamine, possession of paraphernalia and theft, police said.

She is being held in the Bartholomew County Jail in lieu of $62,500 bond.


YORK CO. — Defense lawyer Chris Wellborn described the living conditions in Shealee Henigar’s home as “a terrible situation for children.”

Henigar pled guilty Tuesday to multiple charges including manufacturing methamphetamine, and exposing three children to the drug. Their ages at the time were three, two and nine months old.GS_story

“It’s just a sad situation where a drug addiction spiraled out of control,” said Deputy Solicitor Leslie Robinson.

York County drug agents found the “shake and bake” style meth lab at the home in Clover in December 2013.

The drugs, and drug-making chemicals, were found in the same room with Henigar’s children. She and others were cooking the highly dangerous drug only feet from the nine month old’s crib.

In the home, officers found all the ingredients for a meth lab, including pseudoephedrine, camp fuel, denatured alcohol, scales, coffee filters, acetone, sulfuric acid, instant cold packs, funnels, and other materials.

One child even swallowed some of the chemicals at one point after taking a drink from a container that was used to mix them. Another child tested positive for meth following Henigar’s arrest.

On Tuesday she was sentenced to eight years in prison. She had no criminal record before this drug arrest. Robinson said the negotiated sentence sent a message.

“Manufacturing methamphetamine is an extremely dangerous process regardless of whether children are involved, but the children just took it to another level,” she said.

In May, the father of the children, David Lee Ray Jr., also pled guilty, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison in the same case.

Robinson told Channel 9 the couple cooked the drug every day, hoping to stay high all the time.

Henigar, now 25, has since had a fourth child, who was born since she’s been in jail.

That child and the three others are still in Department of Social Services custody.


BELLINGHAM, Washington — The city of Bellingham and the owners of the condemned Aloha Motel have agreed on a price for the property.

The Bellingham Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1ez5pci ) that the City Council approved a settlement Monday in which the city will purchase the property for $1.58 million. The sale is expected to close Sept. 1 after which the motel will be demolished.

The Aloha Motel has a reputation for criminal activity, and the Whatcom County Health Department found methamphetamine contamination in 11 rooms.

After the motel is removed, city officials say they will seek proposals from developers later this year for how to redevelop the property.


The man convicted of killing three people and wounded a fourth in Pelzer in 2014 who died while serving his sentence at the McCormick Correctional Institute was killed by an overdose of methamphetamine, according to McCormick County Coroner Faye Puckett.Jared%20Williams_1415911261234_9581629_ver1_0_640_480

Greenville’s WYFF News 4 has reported that Puckett said that Jared Michael Williams swallowed a plastic baggie that contained drugs.

Efforts by the Independent Mail to reach Puckett on Tuesday were unsuccessful.

The South Carolina Department of Corrections spokeswoman Stephanie Givens would only say that Williams’ death, which happened in March, was under investigation. She refused to confirm any other details.

Williams was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences after pleading guilty to the murders of Wanda Anderson, 40, Victor Vandegrift, 48, and Hank Eaton, 33, at a home in Pelzer in March 2014.


Marijuana has dominated the headlines in Flandreau for various reasons the past several months if not years.

The drug, still considered illegal in every corner of South Dakota other than on the Flandreau Santee Sioux Reservation, is still often used, abused, sold, and distributed throughout our region. It currently accounts for a significant amount of local police calls and activity.

But marijuana isn’t the only drug local police have been concerned about. For the past couple of years, there has been a growing problem with methamphetamine use, not only in Flandreau but throughout South Dakota.

Locally however, area law enforcement has seen a spike in calls and arrests this month.

“We’ve experienced 59 drug offenses as of July 20th, which already exceeds last year’s total with four months in 2015 left to go,” said Flandreau Police Chief Anthony Schrad.

He added, “We are quickly approaching the 69 total (drug related) offenses we experienced in 2013 and the 62 drug offenses 5 years ago in 2010. Our biggest concern with the increase in drug use is the adverse affect it has on the quality of life for our residents. Our youth are exposed to the abuse and become more susceptible to future drug use themselves.”

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, methamphetamine (also called meth, crystal, chalk, and ice, among other terms) is an extremely addictive stimulant drug that is chemically similar to amphetamine. For those unfamiliar with what it looks like, it takes the form of a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder.

So that the community is aware, those who use meth long-term often experience anxiety, confusion, insomnia, and mood disturbances and display violent behavior. They may also show symptoms of psychosis, such as paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and delusions.

It is considered one of the fastest growing drug trends in America, and if you look at other states where use has long been high, the drug leaves a path of absolute destruction for users in its wake.

“We plan to address these drug concerns with proactive policing and community involvement. We are a 7 officer department, which is significant for our population size but we certainly cannot be everywhere at once. We rely on our community to keep us abreast on suspicious activity and criminality,” said Schrad.

You’re asked to contact local law enforcement if you notice any suspicious activity or if you know of someone using and you’d like to get them help.


IRMO, SC (WIS) – Two men and a woman were detained by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department after a search warrant was executed at a home that may have had a meth lab Tuesday.8429915_G

Sgt. Kevin Lawrence with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department said deputies served a search warrant after receiving complaints from residents in the Ivy Green subdivision about activity at a home on Ivy Green Court.

Mobile users, tap here to see photos from the scene.

Deputies discovered a possible meth lab at the home.

No charges for the three detained have been announced.


Australian women are using methamphetamine to keep themselves awake so they can protect themselves and their children from domestic violence.

A special investigation by news.com.au’s Liz Burke found women are turning to the drug to help them stay alert and safe from violent attacks, as well as using it as a way to mentally escape the horrors of their situation.ice-main

Burke interviewed Sydney mum and former ice addict Sam, who detailed her use of the drug to help cope with her abuse.

“I didn’t want to sleep, ever … because of what he might do to me … I thought I wouldn’t wake up one day and I probably would’ve been right,” Sam said.

“I just wanted to block it all out. I’d just wipe myself out because I didn’t want to think. My life was destroyed and I didn’t want to deal with it. I’d just take drugs and everything would disappear and it wouldn’t matter.”

Burke found Sam’s case was far from unique, quoting a Melbourne ice expert who said a “scary” number of female ice addicts cite domestic violence as a reason for their drug use.


WOMEN in violent relationships are turning to the drug ice to cope with or mentally escape the horror of family violence.

Methamphetamine use is a common contributing factor when used by perpetrators of family violence, but news.com.au has uncovered another shocking link between the two biggest social and health issues facing the nation.

Blocking out the pain, a means of mental escape when they’re physically trapped, and even using the drug to stay awake and keep control in a dangerous environment are among the reasons vulnerable Australian women are turning to a dangerous high.

Sydney mum Sam, a recovering ice addict, told news.com.au her dependence was at its peak when she was in a violent relationship that saw her hospitalized a number of times, leaving her permanently mentally scarred.

She started using ice at age 21, but it was a few years later when she was in a “horrible” violent relationship that things really escalated.

“I just wanted to block it all out. I’d just wipe myself out because I didn’t want to think,” the 28-year-old says.

“My life was destroyed and I didn’t want to deal with it. I’d just take drugs and everything would disappear and it wouldn’t matter.”

It wasn’t only the escapism that smoking and injecting ice offered — she had a more practical use too.

“I didn’t want to sleep, ever … because of what he might do to me … I thought I wouldn’t wake up one day and I probably would’ve been right.”

Sadly, cases like Sam’s aren’t unique. In his role as assessment and intake manager at Melbourne rehab program Dayhab, Jack Nagle says it’s common for him to see women present with ice addiction after experiencing family violence.148922-77a1e7e6-34e3-11e5-b1c6-fce245fdac3f

“It’s actually quite scary the amount of different reasons that people are giving me for taking the drug,” the former addict turned activist says.

“I would say that a lot of the women that come into the treatment centre have been involved in domestically violent relationships and at some stage their usage, as a result of that, has increased.

“I see women who have had an abusive partner and they’ve used the drug to emotionally cope with the pain.”

Family violence support services, like WRISC in Ballarat, are increasingly encountering drug use in their work with women and children affected by family violence.

“To survive in an abusive relationship, women may turn to substance use,” executive officer Libby Jewson told news.com.au.

“Once the violence has stopped substance use will often reduce.”

Although little research has been done in the area, evidence of a causal link between ice use and violence is emerging.

Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash has been working with the Prime Minister’s National Ice Taskforce told news.com.au the drug was destroying families.

“Ice is a destructive drug which destroys families and cripples communities,” she said.

“People are clearly using ice for many different reasons.”

The National Ice Task Force, chaired by former Victoria Police commissioner Ken Lay, has heard from families who have experienced violence and aggression from a loved one using ice.

Mr Lay is also working closely with Australian of the Year Rosie Batty on the Family Violence Advisory Council to “ensure both issues are given the clear focus and commitment they deserve from the highest levels of government” Ms Nash said.


Mexican soldiers seized 29 Aloe Vera bottles filled with liquid methamphetamine that were being shipped in a passenger bus to a border city.

After the seizure Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (PGR) kicked off an investigation into the origins of the shipment.Screenshot_2015-07-28-14-58-04-e1438113768533-640x512

According to information provided to Breitbart Texas by the PGR, the seizure came as part of a routine inspection of a passenger bus at one of the stops in the rural community of La Coma.

La Coma is a small community located between Ciudad Victoria and the northern cities of Matamoros and Reynosa.

“Upon inspection they found two cardboard boxes filled with 29 plastic bottles with 29 liters  of liquid all dully signed with their transit numbers,” the information in Spanish provided by the PGR revealed.

A close inspection of the bottles revealed that they were not filled with Aloe Vera as advertised but in fact were filled with liquid meth at which point the soldiers seized them and turned them over the PGR for further investigation.


A second, separate incident involved someone being arrested out of an ice cream truck under suspicion of possession of methamphetamine. According to a news release, 43 year-old Christina Celeste Goodwin was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), a warrant on a forgery charge and a warrant on a motion to revoke probation on a forgery charge.

A deputy saw a Frosty Treats ice cream truck at about 7:42 p.m. Sunday in the 6400 block of Golder Avenue, according to the release.

The license plate on the truck was not visible to the deputy, according to the release, and the deputy made a traffic stop on the truck at 69th Street and Russell Avenue.

Deputies found that she was wanted on two warrants, one to revoke her probation and the other on a forgery charge, according to the release. The deputies also found a substance believed to be methamphetamine in an eyeglass case.

Goodwin was being held Monday in the Ector County Detention Center without bond on the motion to revoke probation, on a $7,500 bond on the forgery charge, and bond hadn’t been set on the possession charge. Odessa and Ector County authorities have run into problems with ice cream trucks before.

An ice cream truck driver led Ector County Sheriff’s Office deputies on a chase Sunday night through parking lots and a number of city and county streets before being caught and charged with evading arrest. Jack Dempsey French Jr., 11623 W. Buckeye St., was being held Monday at the Ector County Detention Center on a $7,500 bond.

According to a news release, deputies went to the 6800 block of West 42nd Street and watched as French got into a white ice cream van and left at a high rate of speed eastbound on 42nd Street.

Deputies caught up to the van at Highway 302 and 42nd Street, according to the release, at which point the vehicle did not stop, swerved off the road and made the turn onto Highway 302, going east on Kermit Highway. The vehicle turned north on Pleasant Avenue and then east on 42nd Street, according to the release, at which point the van cut through the parking lot of the Ector County Coliseum to Andrews Highway going south. After that, the vehicle cut through the Odessa College parking lot, through several streets until Loop 338 and West 16th Street, according to the release, where French drove through a fence, got out of the van and ran on foot.

Deputies arrested French and charged him with evading arrest, according to the release.

Ralph David Romo, a 37 year-old man, was arrested in April after a woman saw him taking photographs of girls at Odessa High School and reported it to police. Romo was driving a Frosty Treat ice cream truck.

The woman reported to police that she found Romo listed in a sex offender database, at which point officers discovered that he was working at a different job than what he last reported.

Texas Code of Criminal Procedure requires registered sex offenders to report a change in employment no later than seven days after the person begins working with a new company.

Romo is required to register every 90 days with local law enforcement.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety sex offender database, Romo was sentenced on May 12, 2003, to four years in prison on a charge of criminal sexual conduct with a victim under the age of 13 in Minnesota.

He was also sentenced on Oct. 17, 2003, to five years and eight months in California on charges of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor under 17, sexual battery with a victim under 17, and lewd and lascivious acts involving children/contact with a victim under the age of 14, according to the DPS database.

Romo reportedly did not notify authorities about his job status within the time limit required by state law and was charged with failure to comply with registration requirements, a second-degree felony.

Sheriff Mark Donaldson said it’s important for parents to be watchful of what vehicles their children go up to.

“I think people should make sure any kind of street vendor or something like that — to be aware of something going on,” Donaldson said. Cpl. Steve LeSueur, Odessa Police Department spokesman, said they have heard complaints and rumors in the past of drugs being dealt out of ice cream trucks, but he hasn’t seen any arrests come out of those complaints until now.

“The main thing is it doesn’t matter if it’s an ice cream truck or any other vehicle, if someone suspects suspicious activity taking place … then they should be cautious,” LeSueur said. “Ice cream trucks shouldn’t be singled out. It could really be anyone.”

At the same time, LeSueur said police have been checking ice cream trucks to make sure they’re in compliance with City of Odessa permitting ordinances.


CANADIAN COUNTY, Oklahoma – A man was arrested in western Oklahoma after an Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics K-9 found six pounds of crystal methamphetamine in a vehicle, OBN reported.8414276_G

An OBN K-9 interdiction team pulled a vehicle over on Interstate 40 and found six, one pound bags of crystal methamphetamine in the vehicle, OBN reported.

The driver, Juarez Jeronimo, 47, said he was driving from New Mexico to Missouri, OBN spokesman Mark Woodward said.

OBN agents also found a pipe with meth residue in the vehicle near the driver’s seat, Woodward said.

The street value for the drugs found is about $60,000 to $72,000 for this region, Woodward said.

Jeronimo has been arrested on drug trafficking complaints and was taken to the Canadian County jail, Woodward said.


MUNCIE – Here’s some news that likely comes as little surprise: Delaware County, by an overwhelming margin, led the Hoosier state in the number of meth labs discovered in the first six months of 2015.

While Indiana State Police generally release meth-lab stats every four months — most recently those covering January though April — local law enforcement officials last week received a mid-year update that showed 119 meth labs had been documented in Delaware County as of June 30.635736641138055030-B9318201667Z_1-20150726161440-000-GG1BESFOE_1-0

By comparison, the county with the second highest total in 2015, Noble in northern Indiana, had 35 meth labs through June. Eight other counties, none in East Central Indiana, had as many as 20.

As recently as 2010, ISP stats reflected only seven labs were found in Delaware County. That total increased to 12 in 2011, than ballooned to 62, third highest in the state, in 2012.

In 2013, 109 meth labs were reported in Delaware County, second highest in the state. The county reached the top spot in 2014, with 148 labs, and seems certain to retain that dubious distinction this year.

Local law enforcement members have said the numbers, at least in part, reflect their aggressive pursuit of meth manufacturers.

The situation is such that most local officers, and even many private citizens, have become aware of the warning signs — and odors — associated with meth production, leading to many of the local raids and arrests.

And the state’s top meth fighters, an Indiana State Police team assigned to the Pendleton district, have done much of their work in the Muncie area.

Delaware County Prosecutor Jeffrey Arnold and Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler have testified before Statehouse committees, calling for pseudoephedrine, an over-the-county sinus medication frequently used in meth production, to be made a controlled substance. To date, representatives of pharmaceutical and physician organizations have managed to block such efforts.

Arnold has also frequently expressed concern about the health risks meth “cooking” poses to the children of the drug’s abusers.

In recent weeks, the impact of the local meth plague on the community’s youngsters has been made evident in other ways.

On July 9, Delaware County sheriff’s deputies, guns drawn, approached the van of a Muncie woman who had allegedly just sold meth to an agent.

They made the arrest, but the officers were stunned to find the woman’s 9-year-old daughter, terrified at the sudden appearance of armed men, in the vehicle with her mother.

Four days later, deputies arrested another Muncie woman, accused of selling heroin to an agent outside a westside pharmacy. Investigators said they also found meth in a plastic bag the woman threw from her vehicle as officers approached.

In that case, investigators were aware the suspect’s 4-year-old daughter was in her car, and they tried to make the apprehension in as low key a manner as possible, without weapons displayed.

They weren’t fooling the alleged drug dealer’s little girl, however. She kicked at the deputies and told them to leave her mother alone.

Another reality of the statewide rankings is that they appear to reflect that meth-related enforcement is not a top priority in some of Indiana’s larger cities, including Indianapolis, where police contend with gang-related violence and, in some weeks, more murders than Delaware County sees in a year.


It looked like 10 pounds of candy, but investigators say what they seized earlier this month during a drug sting in Lauderhill was methamphetamine.

The “candies” were individually wrapped in bright packaging labeled with Spanish words, including “Pinata,” and some of it was made to look like lollipops, according to court records.sfl-candy-was-metamphetamine-law-enforcement-says-20150727

Federal authorities say what looked like a bag of candy, from related drug seizures this month in Bradenton and Lauderhill, was actually methamphetamine disguised as hard candy and lollipops.

Investigators from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the Broward Sheriff’s Office and Sunrise police arrested and traced the source of the drugs to a Bradenton home.Maldonado was indicted last week on federal charges of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute the illegal stimulant. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges in federal court in Fort Lauderdale and is locked up in the Broward jail system.

If convicted, Maldonado could face 10 years to life in federal prison.

After his arrest on July 7, Maldonado admitted that he was being paid $2,000 to drive the methamphetamine to what he thought was a Broward drug dealer, according to court records.

His lawyer, Robert Resnick, said he could not comment Monday because he has not yet received the evidence in the case.

Federal authorities arrested a Bradenton man earlier this month in a related case. They said they seized another 19 pounds of meth, also disguised as candy and hidden in plastic tubs in a closet in the man’s home. The man’s wife told investigators he had told her the “candy” was methamphetamine and not to allow their 1- and 6-year-old children to eat it.

Jesus Casteyano, 53, is also fighting charges he possessed and distributed the drug, authorities said.

In a third related case, authorities arrested three men on Thursday in Tamarac and seized more than 8.5 pounds of heroin that was delivered to South Florida from Georgia, authorities said. The men have been identified as Antonio Rivera-Valencia, 55, Miguel Abreu-Pena, 35, and Antonio Rodriguez-Adame, 32.

Law enforcement authorities in South Florida have raised the alarm in recent weeks about various kinds of drugs they say have been manufactured to look like hard candy. They say it is particularly dangerous because children, and adults, could unwittingly take drugs.

Last month, Miami-Dade police seized “candy” that turned out to have a coating of ethylone, a synthetic drug that is similar to the hallucinogen known on the street as “flakka.”


RANGOON — Burmese authorities reportedly seized more than $110 million worth of methamphetamine tablets over the weekend in two separate drug busts near the Thai-Burma border and in the commercial capital Rangoon.

The larger of the two hauls came on Sunday in Rangoon’s Mingaladon Township, where authorities became suspicious of a small abandoned shipping truck and searched the vehicle, finding it packed with nearly 27 million methamphetamine tablets worth an estimated 133 billion kyats (US$110 million).drugs-haul

Deputy police chief Khin Maung Thein from the Myanmar Police Force’s anti-narcotics unit confirmed the massive seizure, but declined to say whether any suspects had been detained in connection with the drug bust.

“It is too early to say who has been detained,” he told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday. “If we make information about this available to the public, all those traffickers [still at large] will escape to the border. We will make information about this [available to the] public later.”

In a separate case in Tachileik, Shan State, Khin Maung Thein also confirmed state media reports that three men had been detained and authorities were continuing to hunt for additional accomplices after police there on Saturday seized a stash of 181,000 methamphetamine tablets and equipment used to produce the drug. The Mirror said the pills had an estimated value of 50 million kyats.

The production and use of methamphetamines has risen sharply in eastern Burma over recent years as anti-narcotics efforts targeting the region’s expansive opiate trade have taken hold.

According to a May 2015 report on synthetic drugs in Southeast Asia by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Burma “is perceived to be the main country of origin for methamphetamine tablets seized throughout the Mekong sub-region and to some other parts of East and Southeast Asia.”

Burma’s illicit drug syndicates are believed to involve an amalgam of ethnic armed groups, state-backed Border Guard Force personnel and an unknown degree of government officials’ complicity.


Phoenix police officers shot a man Saturday morning after receiving a domestic-violence call that involved an armed suspect, officials said.

The shooting, which left the 30-year-old male suspect with non-life-threatening injuries, took place just before 7 a.m. at a house in the 1300 block of North 30th Lane after officers responded to a domestic violence call from the man’s wife. According to police, she reported that her husband used methamphetamine and became agitated and violent toward her at about 2 a.m.

The 31-year-old woman told authorities her husband physically assaulted her and that he retrieved a semi-automatic handgun which he threatened to kill her with if she left the house.

Three children, aged 4 to 10 were also in the house and witnessed much of what occurred, police said. The woman managed to escape the house with her children after several hours and went to a neighbor’s house across the street.

Police responded to the call at 6:10 a.m. and contacted the victim, who informed officers that her husband was armed. One officer stayed with the woman, who said she was afraid of her husband. Another went to the family’s house to confront the suspect, who pointed the handgun at the officer upon arrival, police said.

The officer fired five rounds at the suspect in two separate volleys, hitting him twice, police said.

Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Trent Crump said the man was transported to a nearby hospital with non-life threatening injuries, Crump said. The officer was not injured during the incident.

Police said charges remain pending once the suspect is released from the hospital.


2397338-LPUTNAMVILLE — A pair of women from the Pittsburgh area were arrested in Putnam County Sunday after police found approximately two pounds of crystal methamphetamine in their vehicle.

At 11:32 a.m., Indiana State Police Trooper Yan Dravigne stopped a 2014 Hyundai Accent with Oregon registration for following too close. The stop was made near the Interstate 70 36-mile marker.2397337-L

Based on conversation with the two female occupants, Dravigne suspected possible criminal activity and requested assistance from Putnam County Sheriff’s Deputy Dwight Simmons and K-9 Officer Bo.

After arriving on scene, Bo immediately indicated the scent of narcotics on the vehicle.

Officers located approximately two pounds of crystal methamphetamine in two locations inside the vehicle.

Both the driver, Szophia L. Kress, 22, Heidelberg, Pa., and her passenger, Haley LeBlanc, 23, Pittsburgh, were taken into custody and booked into the Putnam County Jail at 2:30 p.m.

Each woman was initially charged with conspiracy to deal methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine, over 28 grams.2397426-L

Upon review by the Putnam County Prosecutor’s Office, each woman faces three felony charges: Two counts of Level 2 Felony dealing in methamphetamine and one count of Level 3 felony possession of methamphetamine.

No court date had been set as of 1 p.m. Monday.

The street value of the methamphetamine is approximately $30,000.

Dravigne told the Banner Graphic the women were apparently en route from Las Vegas to Pittsburgh.


THE daughter of a Western Australian MP has been fined $1200 for stealing money from her mother during a time she was addicted to ice.

BREE Murray’s 15-year struggle with methamphetamine addiction was made pubic last September when she was arrested on drug charges.

She was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, after being found with three clip seal bags containing 28 MDMA tablets, eight empty bags and scales.

Her father Mick Murray, the Labor member for Collie-Preston, was overwhelmed with messages of support from parents and former addicts when his family’s once-private battle was dragged into the media spotlight.

Murray appeared in the Perth Magistrates Court on Monday where she was fined $1200 for stealing $1705 from her mother during the time she struggled with addiction.

The money was found in her purse when police carried out a search warrant in September at her Bunbury home where she lived with her now ex-partner.

The court heard Murray had triumphed over her addiction thanks to a 16-week residential rehab program, which she had signed up to for another 16-weeks, and was keeping on the straight and narrow.

Mr Murray said last year that when the family learned of Bree’s drug problem, they believed it could be easily fixed.

He said they tried to deal with the issue on their own for too long and urged people to work with the medical profession and friends to address addiction.


“ICE” weighing a total of 23 pounds, or 10,617 grams, with an estimated street value of over $4 million, was seized by the CNMI Division of Customs Services following a routine inspection of a newly arrived container from Guangzhou, China on July 17, 2015. It was the CNMI government’s biggest haul of methamphetamine in recent years.

The “ice” was inside an air compressor which was among the items included in the container shipment. Days later, two men were taken into custody by federal and local law enforcement officers after retrieving the air compressor at the Sunleader company warehouse in As Terlaje. The current street value for a gram of “ice” is $400 with purity levels between 95.9 and 99.1 percent.

On late Friday afternoon, Zhenlin Fang and Yuliu Liu, who are both from Fujian province in China, were escorted by U.S. Marshals for their initial appearance before District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona who informed them of a July 24, 2015 criminal complaint against them involving one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

The judge was told that Fang and Liu are out of immigration status, and that they entered the Northern Marianas separately as tourists. They were remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals after the court hearing.

Fang, born in 1991, resides on Navy Hill, while Liu, born in 1979, lives in Chalan Piao. They were separately arrested in the Lower Base area on July 22, 2015.

The judge scheduled for July 31, 2015 the defendants’ preliminary hearing and allowed for detention of the defendants pending trial which was requested by the federal government.

Court-appointed defense attorneys Steve Pixley and Mark Hanson appeared on behalf of the defendants along with a translator.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Garth Backe represented the federal government. Joining him at the defense table was CNMI Division of Customs Services Officer Raymond M. Renguul, a task force officer with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and special agents from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

According to court records, on July 17, during a routine inspection of a shipping arriving from Guangzhou, a CNMI Customs inspector noticed an air compressor, which was listed to “Han Lu,” and appeared to have been tampered with, specifically it’s post-fabrication welding.

CNMI Division of Customs inspectors used a fiber optic camera to look inside the tank, and saw a package containing a crystal-like substance. A field test kit was used to determine the content and the results returned a presumptive positive for methamphetamine. A drug-detention dog also alerted to the presence of narcotics.

The tank was opened and Customs inspectors recovered a five square-sized plastic packages, weighing approximately 23 pounds, or 10,617 grams.

On July 21, 2015, the air compressor and the tank were resealed and transported along with the rest of the cargo to the Sunleader company warehouse in As Terlaje where special agents from DEA, CNMI Division of Customs, U.S. Homeland Security, the FBI, CNMI Department of Public Safety, and the CNMI Attorney General’s Office Investigation Unit were deployed.

On the same day, Fang arrived and met with a Sunleader company employee inside the warehouse.

Fang left the area after a couple of minutes and, afterward, investigators learned that Fang had asked about the owner of the air compressor and also how to use it.

Federal and local law enforcement officers continued their surveillance. On July 22, at 2 p.m., a Sunleader company staffer received a phone call from an unknown individual who inquired if the air compressor had arrived. The staffer informed the caller that the staffer would check and call back later.

A few minutes later, a woman called the staffer and inquired about the air compressor. The staffer told the female caller that the air compressor was ready to be picked up. The employee received another call from a woman advising the Sunleader company staffer that a man would be coming to pick up the air compressor.

At 4:30 p.m., outside the warehouse, a white Nissan Quest van briefly stopped, and Fang exited from the driver’s door, and walked to a grassy area. The passenger, Liu, then moved into the driver’s seat, and drove the vehicle to the Sunleader company warehouse, where staffers met with Liu. Afterward, they loaded the air compressor along with two additional boxes, into the rear compartment of the van. Liu handed money to a Sunleader company staffer and received paperwork in return.

Liu then drove away from the warehouse but stopped in the grassy area right before As Terlaje Road where Liu was seen exiting the vehicle, walking to and entering the passenger side. At the same time, Fang exited the grassy area and entered the driver’s door of the van then continued driving onto As Terlaje Road.

Law enforcement officers tracking the van observed that the vehicle was moving at inconsistent speeds and proceeded circuitously through numerous residential and business areas which was described by Renguul as driving patterns by drug traffickers as a means of detecting whether they were being followed by law enforcement.

When the van reached an area on Navy Hill, law enforcers observed a burning piece of paper being discarded from the driver’s side window of the van. The piece of paper burnt had markings consistent with a Sunleader company receipt.

“To prevent the additional destruction of evidence, investigators executed a vehicle stop, and Fang and Liu were arrested and taken into custody,” Renguul told the federal court.

Inside the vehicle, a large quantity of clear Ziploc bags of different sizes were discovered in the front passenger’s side glove compartment.

A search of a bag found on Fang’s person revealed a receipt for plastic Ziploc bags which were purchased also on July 22, 2015, at 3:52 p.m.

Renguul told the court that the Ziploc bags were being used to distribute “ice.”

Liu allowed federal and local authorities to search his residence on Chalan Piao where 130 grams of crystalline substance in a Ziploc bag was found along with several pieces of empty Ziploc bags and a digital weighing scale. When tested, the crystalline substance seized from Liu’s residence yielded presumptive positive for methamphetamine.

Federal and local authorities, after securing consent from Fang, discovered another digital weighing scale from Fang’s residence on Navy Hill.

Variety tried but failed to get a comment from Sunleader company.

Acting Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres on early Saturday evening congratulated local and federal law enforcement agencies.

“We do have an [ice] issue on our islands so I would like to congratulate our law enforcement agencies which are in the forefront of this crackdown,” he said, adding that 23 pounds of “ice” have taken “off our streets.”

“This is a strong message to those who are bringing in such illegal drugs — they will not be tolerated by the administration, and we’re doing everything that we can in order to continue the crackdown on ice trafficking.”

Torres said he is asking “everyone in the community to help and participate in addressing this [ice] issue. If you hear or see it, let’s take action as a community against ice.”


A Delphos man who allegedly raped a female convenience store employee in Salina purchased a carton of cigarettes from the store afterward with money she’d paid him not to hurt her, according to an arrest affidavit.

The affidavit written by law enforcement at the time of Jerrid W. Logan’s July 3 arrest said the woman offered Logan money after he threatened to stab her with his pocket knife and locked her in a bathroom with him at about 5 a.m.

When police attempted to interview Logan after his arrest, he said he was under the influence of methamphetamine. He said he injected meth after getting off work shortly after 1 a.m., and he did not remember anything after that, according to the affidavit.

According to the affidavit, Logan took more than $150 from the woman before sexually assaulting her, then allowed her to get dressed and wait on another customer. After the customer left, Logan used $60.15 of the money she’d given him to buy a carton of Marlboro Red cigarettes, the affidavit said.

When he tried to get her into his car, she refused and backed away, writing down his tag number as he left, the affidavit said.

Later that afternoon, when the woman came to the police department to report that she’d been raped, Logan had already been arrested in connection with an incident at Wal-Mart alleged to have occurred about half an hour before he entered the convenience store.

Wal-Mart incident

Police had responded to Wal-Mart at 4:36 a.m. after a man threatened a customer and an employee with a knife. A female customer there said she had been shopping in the electronics section of the store when a man walked up behind her and held a pocket knife to her side.

The man told her not to scream and to “ditch the cart” and come with him, the woman told police in an interview. He began walking her toward the rear of the store.

The woman pulled away from him and screamed, and the man pushed or hit her, causing her to fall to the floor. The man dropped his knife and punched her in the face at least twice as she lay on the floor, according to the affidavit.

A Wal-Mart employee approached, and the man picked up his knife and pointed it at the employee, who allowed him to pass. He told the employee to help the woman because she needed help.

Surveillance video

Police reviewed surveillance video of the incident and saw that the man left the store traveling west on Schilling Road in a white late 1990s Ford Crown Victoria.

An officer paused the video as the man was leaving Wal-Mart and realized the baseball cap he was wearing and his shirt had a restaurant chain’s logo on them. A co-worker shown the footage identified the man as Logan and said he worked as a dishwasher.

An officer found Logan’s car parked along a Salina street. The name of the street was redacted from the affidavit. Officers knocked on several doors in the area of the car. Logan was found in a bedroom of a residence in the vicinity, after a woman allowed police to search.

The affidavit said officers found a new carton of Marlboro Red cigarettes in a dresser drawer, and a receipt time stamped at 6:04 a.m. July 3 for $60.15 was in his property. He had $85 to $90 on his person, as well as a folding knife with a black plastic handle and a 2 1/2  inch blade in his pocket, the affidavit said.


The first time Christina Moore tried meth was also the first time that she could remember not thinking about the physical and sexual abuse she suffered for nine years at the hand of her father.

Moore said she was 17 and had just recently told police that her father, who had been in and out of prison for sexually assaulting other girls, had been doing the same to her.

“I was in an abusive relationship and couldn’t stop thinking about what my father had done to me. My boyfriend did meth and I decided to try it,” Moore said.

“It became my way to cope. It was an incredible feeling of relief.”

Moore, now 33, lives in Ithaca and is currently facing an August sentencing for meth possession charges. Her husband was sentenced to 18 months to ten years prison sentence for possession in the same incident. His criminal history with the drug is long, and he was on parole when they two were arrested at their home in April.

Moore says she’s never been in criminal trouble for meth until this year. That doesn’t mean she hasn’t had problems stemming from her addiction.

“When I was doing meth, I didn’t have dreams about abuse, from my father or ex-boyfriends or ex-husband. I was busy, my brain was busy,” Moore said. “Really I didn’t care about anything.”

Moore said she went through a string of bad relationships — including a failed marriage — and would often fall on meth use to live through the pain. Meth binges, sometimes lasting months or years, would be broken up by long periods of sobriety, specifically when she was pregnant with her four children.

Each time though, she would go back to meth.

“For an addict, it always starts like, ‘it’s just this one time, it isn’t going to kill me,” Moore said. “It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been clean. There are triggers, there’s always the urge.”

Moore says the years before 2012 were some of her darkest, at times smoking four or five times a day to stay high.

Meth has a way of grabbing a hold of someone,” she said.

She’d fall into using, then find a way to be clean, then back into drug use. In 2006 she tried to kill herself.

“I felt unworthy all the time,” she said. “Everything, addiction, the meth; it can sink you.”

It took a new relationship and new lease on life –– and a sudden move several counties away to Gratiot in 2012 –– for Moore to feel more in control of her addiction.

“I thought, if I can get away. I can get away from the people. Everyone I knew in Jackson County did drugs. So I stopped answering my phone, stopped answering the door. I just picked up and moved,” Moore said.

Her husband, in prison at the time, joined Moore and the children in Ithaca eventually and got a job secure enough for Moore to stay home full-time with their growing family.

Moore said the two were sober for almost three years, the longest stretch she can remember in her adult life.

“I saw the signs, and I felt the triggers,” Moore said. “There’s a taste I get in my mouth, almost like a craving. I saw the signs in my husband.”

And over time, little by little, people from her past brought the drug with them when they visited. Moore said at first she and her husband refused the meth offered to them, but then it became too hard to say no.

In the first four months of this year, the Moores dealt with the anniversaries of the deaths of Christina’s mother, her husband’s young child and her grandmother.

She coped the only way she knew; she smoked meth to stop thinking of the past, to block out the pain.

“If I could do anything, I wish I would have asked for help. But we were afraid of the consequences. My husband was on parole. He was afraid his parole officer would say he was better off back in prison if he admitted to wanting to do drugs,” Moore said.

Moore can’t talk about the day she was arrested without crying. She and her husband were both home with all four of their children when police knocked on the door.

“I think about how ignorant we both were, my kids saw that, they saw the police come into their home,” she said. “I know that’s something they will always remember.”

Moore said that although Child Protective Services investigated, she never lost custody of her children. If she does get a jail sentence, the children will live with her mother-in-law during that time.

The arrest and the affect on her children pushed Moore to approach this stretch of sobriety in a completely different way. She set out to learn coping skills that didn’t involve getting high.

“That was my rock bottom. I will never do this again. I needed to find help,” She said.

Moore said she struggled to find addiction help, and even when she found it, obtaining the help wasn’t simple.

“The state will arrest you, they’ll take your children away. People will judge you, call you a deadbeat and loser and even worse. But no one has a path to help you,” Moore said.

“We need to get rid of the stigma of addiction. We need to use our voices, our compassion.”

Moore found a way to get counseling for herself. For the first time in her life, she said is dealing with her past instead of numbing the pain.

In addition to counseling, Moore writes about her addiction constantly to sort through her thoughts and feelings. She’s just started on her third 180-page spiral notebook since April.

Moore has also founded a drug addiction support group in Ithaca.

“I wanted a place for people to go, here. Gratiot County has a drug problem. There are people who need help, support,” she said.

Moore’s not wrong about the growing drug problem in the county. The Gratiot County Prosecutors Office saw an increase in charges related to meth, cocaine and heroin of nearly 40 percent from 2012 to 2014.

“Addiction is a disease, it’s as common as cancer or diabetes,” Moore said. “We deserve help, an addict can be anybody. It crosses all lines, and no one wakes up one day and thinks, ‘I want to be addicted to meth.”

For Moore, she says she feels counseling and a support system have made all the difference.

“My kids need me. I am worthy. I see that now,” she said.

Moore, who hopes her support group will grow, said anyone interested in attending a meeting or getting more information can reach her at 989-400-0255 or ammndm2011@gmail.com.


A little sleuthing by Winchester City Police that included some dumpster diving has resulted in a Winchester couple being charged with the illegal possession of a narcotic drug.

On July 1, Winchester residents Nathan Fowler, 38, and Misty Fowler, 34, were both charged with possession of a narcotic drug, a Level 6 Felony that carries a term of up to 30 months in jail upon conviction.

Randolph Superior Court Peter Haviza issued a warrant for the couple’s arrest last week after they failed to appear for an initial hearing set for July 16. The couple was arrested on Friday by Winchester City Police and transported to the Randolph County Jail.

An initial hearing on the charges for both Fowlers was held on Monday, where the judge set a Jan. 6 jury trial date. The couple was released from jail after the hearing and ordered to appear for all hearing dates.

According to an Affidavit for Probable Cause filed July 1, Nathan Fowler has prior arrests for possessing cocaine or a narcotic drug, possessing a syringe and maintaining a common nuisance. Misty Fowler, according to the same affidavit, has a prior arrest for possessing marijuana and maintaining a common nuisance.

Police officers with Winchester and the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department began an investigation into the Fowler’s activities in February after law enforcement became aware of multiple purchases of pseudoephedrine by Nathan Fowler. Pseudoephedrine is a primary ingredient in the manufacturing of methamphetamine.

The probable cause affidavit states that during the early morning hours of Feb. 27, an Winchester police officer was able to collect trash from a trash tote registered to the North Meridian Street home where the Fowlers lived. The trash tote had been placed along a city street for collection by a garbage truck later that morning. The bags of trash were taken to the basement of the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department for an inspection. Officers reportedly found various items that later were tested positive for residue of methamphetamine and heroin.

Officers again collected trash from the trash tote registered to Fowler’s residence during the early morning hours of March 6 and on April 10, which in both cases had been along a city street for trash collection, according to the Affidavit for Probable Cause. Evidence that tested positive for methamphetamine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia was found from inspection of the trash collected both times, according to the report filed with the court.

Also found in the trash on April 10 was a credit card belonging to a woman who had reported her purse stolen from a vehicle in September 2014.

Officers reportedly conducted a search of the North Meridian Street home on April 15 after obtaining a search warrant. Although the Fowlers had recently moved out of the home, officers reported that the house still contained furniture, clothing and other personal effects belonging to the Fowlers. During the search, officers reportedly found pieces of aluminum foil with residue, a plastic bag with powder residue and gel tabs. The gel tab later tested positive for heroin by the Indiana State Police Lab.


Methamphetamine is easier to get in Marlborough than cannabis, a former drug-dealer and user says.

The Blenheim man, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the meth market in Blenheim was booming.

And the drug scene in Marlborough was only getting worse, he said.

Despite being clean for almost four years, he knew about 30 people he could buy meth from in Blenheim.

“At the moment a $100 bag of meth is easier to get than a tinnie.”

He started using as a teenager, and soon learnt how to cook it.

“Once you know what you’re doing it’s like making a scone mixture.”

By the time he was 18-years-old he was a regular user, smoking about 0.25 grams a day.

He did not stop until he was 25.

In Marlborough, 1g of the drug sells for between $900 and $1200 on the street, but his manufacturing operation meant a steady supply at little to no cost.

When he first started, he had a constant elevated heart rate when he was using, and a “bucket-load” of motivation.

“I was 100 per cent aware of what I was doing when I was on it,” he said.

“It’s like having 40 cups of coffee at once, but with a huge release of dopamine in your brain.”

He was also an emotional user, and relied on the drug to pick him up after a fight with his partner or a bad day.

If anything went wrong, he turned straight to meth, he said.

After a five month break from the drug – “because I felt I needed to” – he got back on it, and gradually upped his intake, until he was having between 1g and 2g a day.

“As soon as you stop, you’re drained. You’re tongue’s tingling, your blood pressure is so low, all you do is lay on the couch and sleep for four days.”

When he woke up it felt like he had been beaten with a baseball bat, he said.

“All your joints ache, everything hurts, so you recharge and you’re good to go.

“I was one of the worst addicts you can get. I was flat out addicted.”

Without it in his system, he lacked motivation and energy, so to get up and go to work, he had to have more, he said.

Eventually, the drug lost some of its effect.

He would be awake for two weeks straight, but not have the motivation to do anything.

Besides from breakfast, which he ate before he took the drug, food was never a priority.

He looked sick.

“That’s probably one of the worst things about it, your appearance. You see people you haven’t seen in a while and they ask if you’re dying of cancer.

“You know what you’re doing to yourself is terrible. Your face is white, your eyes are black. You just reek of drug addict.”

The shame and judgment he felt around people who did not use meant he mostly hung out with fellow users.

But then he made the decision to stop, and over the next 12 months, he weaned himself off the drug until he woke up one morning and did not take anything.

When that happened, he slept for six weeks, getting up only to eat and use the bathroom.

Giving up was harder than he thought it would be, and not using was harder still, he said.

He could barely function without it and woke up thinking about meth.

Over the next year he put on more than 30 kilograms, and six months after that he felt as though he had fully recovered physically.

Mentally, he still wasn’t “back to normal”, he said.

“The damage you do to your brain is 100 per cent permanent. I don’t feel the same, and I don’t know if I ever will.”

Marlborough area commander Inspector Simon Feltham said police were aware methamphetamine was available in Marlborough.

The majority of methamphetamine was transported to Marlborough from other regions. Often it was moved on before police got the chance to act on information, he said.

It was difficult to know if the drug was more readily available compared to previous years.

“There’s certainly an ongoing supply in Marlborough and police are making significant seizures as a result of operations targeting drug sales and supply.”


Catherine Silver-Martin watched sternly as officers dressed in hazmat suits carried plastic bottles, aluminum foil, and chemicals from her neighbor’s Varney Street home Friday.

“I suspected it,” the Port Huron woman said as she watched Port Huron police and St. Clair County Drug Task Force across the street. “But I didn’t realize the magnitude of what he was doing.B9318191104Z_1_20150725173123_000_GAHBEITPR_1-0

“I’m glad they’re here. I’m glad they’re taking out these meth labs.”

From January through mid-June, the St. Clair County Drug Task Force made 17 raids involving methamphetamine and seized about 165 grams of the drug.

That’s nearly as many meth raids as the task force totals for each of the last three years.

“That is the popular drug right now and it happens to be the most dangerous,” said St. Clair County Sheriff Lt. Kevin Manns, who leads the task force.

Meth is not only dangerous to the user, but the people around them as well.”

Danger is one thing. Time is another.

The increase in methamphetamine labs, busts and fires has been consuming the time and efforts of the St. Clair County Drug Task Force and other law enforcement officers, Manns said.

Heroin and cocaine continue to be a challenge for law enforcement, Manns said. But meth — a highly addictive stimulant — can create fumes and fires during and after production that threaten more than just the user.

The volatile waste requires special training, careful handling and monitoring until it can be disposed of by the Michigan State Police.

“It’s a waste of a lot of resources,” Manns said. “Not only do you have police departments tied up, you also have fire and rescue. Sometimes they’re there a whole day.”

And St. Clair County isn’t the only area encountering problems. The state as a whole has seen a rise in the drug.

Michigan State Police cataloged 645 meth incidents statewide in 2013, 861 in 2014, and 330 so far in 2015.

An increasing burden

In 2012, the St. Clair County Drug Task Force made seven raids involving methamphetamine. In 2013, 13. In 2014, 24.

With 17 meth busts in the first half of the year, 2015 is on track to beat any prior numbers.

Manns said the drug’s homegrown appeal and easily accessible directions online have increased its popularity.

What once took a chemist to make can now be produced in a 2-liter pop bottle with items bought at Meijer or Wal-Mart. It can be made in a car, in a home, in a shed and it typically doesn’t travel far.

“The stuff that they’re making they’re generally making for themselves or for local sale,” Manns said.

That’s different from other drugs, such as heroin or cocaine, which are usually funneled in from outside the area.

The only meth ingredient semi-controlled through pharmacies is pseudoephedrine tablets. But meth producers have found ways to sidestep restrictions by hiring people to buy the tablets in exchange for some of the finished product — a practice referred to as “smurfing.”

St. Clair County Sheriff Tim Donnellon said further restrictions on pseudoephedrine would allow officers to get a handle on the growing problem.

“You have to have more control over the components of it,” Donnellon said.

“There’s no shortage of people who do this. You have to make it harder for them.”

A drain on resources

The production leaves a trail of dump sites with empty camping fluid canisters, batteries with the lithium strip peeled out, pseudoephedrine blister packs and boxes and 2-liter plastic bottles with a powdery residue inside.

The St. Clair County Special Response Team is trained to contain and raid a meth lab, Manns said. The Drug Task Force then is equipped to bring the evidence out and process it.

But to dispose of the meth lab waste — whether it’s found during a raid or at a dump site — a special team form the Michigan State Police is needed for transport.

He said state police have been so busy with disposal that they now only respond during business hours.

If the Drug Task Force raids a meth lab at the end of the day Friday, deputies would have to wait until Monday morning for the state police to respond.

Both the St. Clair County Sheriff Department and the Port Huron Police Department have plans this year to train some officers and deputies in transport and disposal to speed up the process.

“It’s been a real burden for us financially,” Donnellon said. He added that meth raids, processing and disposal pose added risks to law enforcement.

“Stuff gets dumped, covered with snow and then discovered when the snow melts,” Donnellon said. “We had one that sat under snow all winter and ignited when they tried to move it.”

Homes, cars, hotels and garages also are at risk, not only for fires after or during meth lab production, but also for long-term contamination.

Cleaners specially trained in meth decontamination are forced to dispose of most fabrics and items in the home as the lingering fumes from production can be harmful to people living in the home.

Port Huron Public Safety Director Michael Reaves said a few city fires have been attributed to meth activity in the first half of 2015, including house fires on Court and Wall streets, and a car fire at Harker and Stone streets.

“We’ve had multiple fires related to the cooking and processing of methamphetamine,” Reaves said. “It’s a risk that branches out into other areas and it affects the whole neighborhood.”

Reaves said the city recognizes that the issue is more prevalent in Port Huron, but it’s not unique to the area either.

Of the 17 meth raids the Drug Task Force conducted in the first half of 2015, five were in Port Huron.

The rest were spread out among Fort Gratiot, Port Huron Township, Algonac, Kimball Township, Marysville, Clyde Township and St. Clair Township.

There also were several meth raids and busts initiated by Port Huron police, and not included in the Drug Task Force numbers.

“We’ve stopped people walking with it in a backpack. People on bicycles. People in cars,” Reaves said.

“It’s extremely time consuming. It sucks resources that we candidly don’t have.”

The Varney Street raid Friday by the Port Huron police was the second of two suspected meth labs found in fewer than 24 hours.

The raids were part of the grant-funded Operation Neighborhood Take-Back.

Other influences

While the use and production of meth continues to drain law enforcement resources, authorities also continue to address a growing opiate-based prescription pill and heroin addiction.

And problems with cocaine, once the dominant threat in St. Clair County, have never gone away.

The Drug Task Force has seized 105 grams of heroin and 401 grams of cocaine in the first half of the year.

The unit seized a total of 428 doses of Xanax, Hydrocodone, and Oxycodone, and hundreds of tablets of other prescription pills.

Authorities also seized 3,102 grams of marijuana and 187 plants.

The number of overdose deaths involving heroin rose from 15 in 2011 to 34 in 2014, according to the St. Clair County Medical Examiner’s office. Twenty-one of the deaths in 2014 were due to a heroin-fentanyl mixture.

Donnellon said drug-related overdoses, usage and busts have increased dramatically over the past 10 years.

“We didn’t have a fraction of the issues we have now,” Donnellon said. “It’s a crisis.”

The Drug Task Force has arrested 143 people in the first half of 2015, and filed 173 felony charges and 135 misdemeanor charges.

Fifty-three of those arrested claimed Port Huron residency and 32 of the Drug Task Force’s 61 raids occurred in Port Huron.

Nine of those arrested claimed Detroit residency. Donnellon said it’s likely several of the other 134 people arrested are from Wayne County, but claimed St. Clair County residency after living here for a short time period.

The Drug Task Force is a multi-agency unit made up St. Clair County Sheriff deputies, and members of the Port Huron Police Department, St. Clair County Prosecutor’s Office, U.S. Border Patrol, and U.S. Air and Marine.

It is funded through a .2803-mill tax that is up for renewal in 2016.

Effects of Methamphetamine Usage

  • Methamphetamine is a highly addictive central nervous system stimulant.
  • In small doses, meth creates euphoria, paranoia, hyperthermia, decreased appetite and increased physical activity.
  • In larger doses, meth can lead to an increased heart rate, hypertension, convulsions chest pain, stroke, renal failure, tremors and irreversible damage to the blood vessels in the brain.
  • Long-term usage could lead to paranoia, insomnia, hallucinations, severe dental problems, delusions of parasites or insects on the skin, violent tendencies.

Source: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (formerly Michigan Department of Community Health)


WASHINGTON — A growing number of Texans are seeking treatment for methamphetamine addiction, reversing a downward trend in abuse in the state since a 2006 federal law banned over-the-counter sales of medicine containing the synthetic drug pseudoephedrine.

Last year 6,219 Texans sought substance abuse treatment for methamphetamine and amphetamine addiction, up 590 from the previous year, according to the Treatment Episode Survey data from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

In 2014, 15.8 percent of people seeking addiction help in Texas listed amphetamines as the primary drug of abuse. Both the number of people in treatment and the percent of people seeking help for the drug were higher last year than in 2006, when the law meant to curb methamphetamine abuse was passed.

“We’re in the middle of a methamphetamine epidemic,” said Jane Maxwell, research director at the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Social Work, who released a report last month on methamphetamine use in Texas.

Treatment Episode Survey data for 2013 and 2014 is not yet available for all states, but experts say a national household survey that measures methamphetamine use nationally hasn’t indicated much change in recent years.

“Even though it doesn’t look like a huge problem nationally, it’s a very big problem in some areas,” said Dr. Mary-Lynn Brecht, an adjunct professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, who studies methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine, chemically similar to amphetamine used in attention deficit disorder medication, is a synthetic, highly addictive drug that acts as a stimulant. The drug’s crystal form can be concocted in a lab, while weaker meth recipes can be made in car trunks and one-liter bottles. Methamphetamine users smoke, snort and inject the drug.

Maxwell said the numbers for the drug’s abuse in Texas are higher than ever before. South Texas, an area that was traditionally heroin country, is reporting more methamphetamine use on the streets, she said.

The increase in Texans seeking substance abuse treatment may in part be because more methamphetamine is being imported from Mexico and what’s coming in is more potent, Maxwell said. When the 2006 federal law went into effect, users got off the drug because there was less available. Now, many who liked methamphetamine before are going back to it, she said.

Methamphetamine is also cheap, said Mason Chambers, an admissions specialist at the Council on Recovery, a drug treatment program in Austin. Chambers said he has noticed an upward trend in people coming in for meth treatment, noting that the drug also seems to be in the spotlight, receiving attention on television and in popular culture.

Jack Feinberg, the Texas vice president of the Phoenix House, a substance abuse treatment program that operates centers for youths in Austin, Dallas and Houston, said more children are coming in for methamphetamine treatment in the last month.

“If the kids are getting it, that means it’s available on the streets and it’s not very expensive,” Feinberg said.

There is some evidence that treatment programs are working.

Tyelur Watkins, 18, sought treatment for methamphetamine and heroin addiction last year at the Phoenix House in Austin. Watkins was introduced to methamphetamine through a friend at age 16, he said in a phone interview.

Watkins, who was regularly smoking marijuana at that time, said he wanted to get high one day but his friend only had methamphetamine. He decided to try it and was hooked. Even without a car, Watkins said he and his older friends didn’t have trouble buying the drug.

“It was kind of easy because everyone was so far into it,” Watkins, who has been sober for eight months, said. “They knew a bunch of people — and I started getting to know those people.”

Recovering addict Brandi Townsend, 34, said she started using methamphetamine at age 13 after being introduced to the drug by a close relative. In Austin, Townsend said, the drug was everywhere.

“For a long time the drug worked for me, it gave me confidence and gave me energy, and it was fun,” Townsend said. “Over the years it just stopped working. It caused paranoia and fear and it was debilitating.”

Now Townsend has been off methamphetamine for over 17 months after going through treatment at the Council on Recovery in Austin.

Maxwell said the recent popularity of methamphetamine in Texas has to do with where the drug is coming from. Much of it used to flow into the state from California. Now it’s being brought into the country from Mexico.

The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act, enacted as part of the U.S. Patriot Act in 2006, aimed to interrupt what experts refer to as the cottage industry of methamphetamine production. Cold medicines like Sudafed that contained ingredients used to make meth were moved behind the counter at pharmacies as a result. When pseudoephedrine, a main ingredient in meth, was readily available, people could easily make the drug at home.

“It’s harder to produce in your house because it’s harder to get ephedrine and pseudoephedrine,” said Dr. Paul Gruenewald, scientific director at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in Oakland, California. “But it’s easier to get from the cartels.”

Joseph Moses, a spokesman and special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, said that while there has always been some methamphetamine coming into the country from Mexico, the problem has been growing. Since the pseudoephedrine ban, people could no longer buy out medicine cabinets’ worth of the drug to make it in bulk. But methamphetamine is still around.

“It didn’t end the problem,” Moses said in a phone interview.

Nationally, methamphetamine use hasn’t changed much, according to Dr. Peter Delany, director for the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in Washington. The drug does ebb and flow in different states at times, though, Delany said.

“From a national standpoint methamphetamine remains a drug that is being used at a level that raises public health concerns,” Delany said.

Maxwell said her research in Austin is showing the reach of methamphetamine is growing outside of Texas and moving east of the Mississippi to cities like Atlanta.

Data from the Treatment Episode Survey shows a consistently rising number of people seeking treatment in Georgia for amphetamine and methamphetamine. More than 4,000 Georgians sought treatment for the drug 2014, up 407 from the previous year and 1,143 more than in 2012.


A woman who became stranded and gave birth in a Northern California national forest says she took methamphetamine to get an energy boost after delivering her daughter.

Amber Pangborn, 35,  told the Chico Enterprise-Record that her daughter is healthy, but Butte County Child Protective Services placed the baby in foster care. She says she’s trying to regain custody after both she and her daughter tested positive for meth.879732_800x450

Pangborn said staff at the hospital where she was treated notified social workers because of the nature of the birth. Pangborn delivered in the backseat of her broken-down car in Plumas National Forest in June.

Pangborn said she got lost while travelling back roads between casinos in her native Paradise, a small town about 90 miles north of Sacramento.

She said she fended off insects, hunger and thirst for three days before lighting a brush fire to summon help. The quarter-acre fire worked and she and her baby were rescued.

She told the paper she voluntarily gave up parental rights to three older daughters after her husband killed himself. Butte County Child Protective Services officials declined to discuss Pangborn’s case.

Pangborn said she got the methamphetamine from a man whom she had given a ride the night she got lost. She said she used it to keep up her energy while stranded.

Pangborn said the experience has been devastating and depressing. She said her baby is healthy and thriving and she doesn’t pose a danger to her daughter.

“There’s no risk to my daughter or anything,” Pangborn said.