Archive for May, 2011

POLICE Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan’s son Russell has made a brief appearance in court on charges of assault and breach of a violence restraining order.
Mr O’Callaghan was alleged to have assaulted a woman in Forrestfield on January 14 and 19.

And, the 29-year-old was alleged to have breached a violence restraining order by sending her a text message on February 4.

His case was adjourned until June 8.

Mr O’Callaghan is also facing separate drug charges after allegedly attempting to manufacture methamphetamine.

He was seriously burnt in a clandestine drug lab explosion at a Homeswest residence in Carlisle on March 19.
Mr O’Callaghan pleaded guilty to the charge and will be sentenced on June 1.

Detectives with the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Special Crimes Section (SCS) arrested two men and three underage teens on drug charges April 21 after serving a search warrant and finding a suspected methamphetamine lab.

Just before 6 p.m., detectives served the search warrant at a home in the 3400 block of Maybe Manana Way in Rimrock. Detectives arrested two men, 63-year-old William Portrey and 18-year-old James Simpson, two teenage girls and a teenage boy on various drug charges after allegedly finding evidence of marijuana use, possession and a meth producing operation in a guest bedroom, said Dwight D’Evelyn, spokesman for the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.

In the guest bedroom, detectives say they found a large clear plastic soda bottle with a plastic hose inserted into the top that contained a white liquid as well as another bottle with a semi-solid white material. Detectives believed the items were part of a meth lab, D’Evelyn said.

Detectives called the Montezuma/Rimrock Fire Department to the scene because they were concerned the hazardous chemicals might catch fire or explode. Detectives determined air quality was all right before detectives from the Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking and a Department of Public Safety Hazmat team arrived to process the room and its contents.

Authorities determined Simpson was responsible for the methamphetamine-producing components found in his room, D’Evelyn said. PANT and SCS detectives learned Simpson had allegedly produced methamphetamine and shared it with at least two of the juveniles living with him.

A deputy booked Simpson into the Yavapai County Jail in Camp Verde on charges including possession, sales, and manufacturing dangerous drugs, possession of chemicals to make dangerous drugs, manufacture of dangerous drugs, possession or use of drug paraphernalia, three counts of involving a minor in drug offense, and possession, use, and sale of marijuana. Simpson remains in custody on a $75,000 bond.

A deputy booked Portrey into the county jail on charges of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Portrey has since been released on bond.

The three juveniles were charged with possession/use of marijuana. The two girls were booked into the Yavapai County Juvenile Detention Center in Prescott, and the boy was released to his parents, D’Evelyn said.

Methamphetamine is the most dangerous, addictive, and destructive drug that I have ever encountered. With over 2,000 meth lab seizures in 2010, Tennessee now has the sad distinction of leading the nation in meth production, overtaking Missouri for that disgraceful title. Last year, 484 minor children in Tennessee were removed and placed in state custody as a result of being exposed to meth. Over one-third of all burn victims admitted to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Burn Unit receive treatment as a result of meth lab explosions and burns, which drives up public health care costs.

Local sheriffs and police departments now have to do more with less to respond to, contain, and clean up the environmental hazard produced by meth labs, now that the federal government has eliminated funding to states due to recent budget cuts. Meth use creates other crimes, such as domestic violence and child abuse, as well as burglary, theft and other property offenses. According to Tennessee Commissioner of Safety Bill Gibbons, the meth epidemic has a total annual cost of over $1.6 billion to the taxpayers of this great state.

Those of us in the criminal justice system have learned that, despite our best efforts, we cannot just arrest, prosecute and incarcerate our way out of this enormous public safety problem that plagues Tennessee. We must be proactive as well as reactive in our approach, and we must do something now to kill the meth monster. We simply do not have the luxury to wait until there are more studies, more resources or more victims.

In 2004, we slowed down meth production in Tennessee by moving certain cold medicines which contain the primary ingredient in meth — pseudoephedrine — behind the counter, and requiring a signature log for all purchases. At the same time, Tennessee’s district attorneys engaged in statewide public education and awareness campaign that warned of the dangers of meth.

But meth has now come back with a vengeance in a new form, produced in smaller “one-pot” batches which are more mobile, supplied by “smurfers” who circumvent the pharmacy log system by hopping from store to store to accumulate cold medicine for meth cooks, like their little blue cartoon namesakes. Senate Bill 1265/House Bill 1051 represents a comprehensive approach by the Haslam administration to enact various provisions to combat meth manufacture, and it has solid bipartisan support as it moves through the General Assembly. Some of the key provisions of the bill include:

•Broadening the criminal offense of aggravated child endangerment to include manufacturing meth in the presence of a minor child;

•Providing for mandatory minimum fines against persons convicted of promoting meth manufacture by “smurfing” pseudoephedrine, with the fines to be used by local law enforcement for meth lab clean up;

•Requiring pharmacists to personally counsel a potential purchaser of pseudoephedrine, and to decline the sale if not for a legitimate medical condition;

•Requiring all Tennessee pharmacies to use the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) computer data system, to provide for real-time electronic tracking of pseudoephedrine purchases, with a stop sale mechanism for persons attempting to purchase more than the allowable daily or monthly limit, and to allow law enforcement access to the data for enhanced criminal investigative and interdiction purposes.

This legislation is a good step forward in the fight against meth in Tennessee, and the Public Safety Coalition hopes to see real and immediate results from its enactment in reducing the number of meth labs across Tennessee. However, if the meth epidemic continues to destroy lives, families, and communities across our state at its current rate, we may have to consider the ultimate proactive measure of making cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine by prescription only. In states such as Oregon and Mississippi where this drastic measure was recently enacted, meth lab numbers have immediately and dramatically decreased.

Tennessee’s sheriffs, chiefs of police, and district attorneys are supportive of this proposed legislation, and stand ready to implement its requirements while continuing to develop further ideas and measures to solve this monumental problem. We hope the General Assembly and Gov. Haslam will join us. The time is now.

A Columbus woman arrested on methamphetamine charges last week claimed Saturday she knew nothing about a pistol police found in her hotel room.

Authorities charged Courtney Waters, 34, with two additional counts after finding the handgun in her suitcase at the Hyatt Place on North Lake Parkway.

“It’s taken me completely by surprise,” Waters told a Recorder’s Court judge during a preliminary hearing, asking investigators to check the weapon for fingerprints.

Waters and John Hodge, 30, of Columbus, were jailed Wednesday on charges of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possession of drug-related objects.

Waters pleaded not guilty Saturday to two additional weapons charges stemming from the search of her hotel room.

Sgt. Bill Gasaway of the Columbus Police Department said Waters, a convicted felon, had been wanted for a probation violation.

Authorities searched the vehicle Waters and Hodge were traveling in Wednesday and allegedly found about 9.6 grams of methamphetamine. Officials later found about six more grams in the room registered to Waters.

Hodge posted bonds of about $6,000 and was released from the Muscogee County Jail. Waters was being held Saturday without bond.

MAHOMET — A California truck driver was arrested early Saturday for driving under the influence of methamphetamine after his rig crashed on Interstate 74.

State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said Ronald Reilly, 57, of Fresno, Calif., was driving west on I-74 near Mahomet about 3:30 a.m. Saturday when he lost control of his semitrailer tractor truck and it crashed into the median.

Rietz said Illinois State Police conducted field sobriety tests with Reilly, which he failed. A University of Illinois drug-sniffing dog alerted to something in the cab that prompted police to search.

They found nine-tenths of a gram of methamphetamine and a pipe with methamphetamine residue in it in the cab. Rietz said Reilly admitted he had been smoking the methamphetamine.

Rietz said Reilly’s commercial driving privileges had been suspended by the state of Washington but he had an apparently valid commercial driver’s license from California.

Reilly remained in the Champaign County jail Saturday in lieu of $50,000 bond.

Rietz said he would likely be charged Monday with driving under the influence of drugs and possession of a controlled substance.

(Central Point, Oregon) – An Oregon State Police (OSP) traffic stop on Interstate 5 northbound at mile point 14 Monday morning at approximately 7:30AM led to one Federal Way, Washington resident being charged with Possession/Delivery and Manufacture of a Controlled Substance-Crystal Methamphetamine and the seizure of approximately (2.5) pounds of pure Crystal Methamphetamine on Interstate 5 in the Ashland area.

On May 2, 2011, at approximately 7:30AM, an OSP Trooper stopped a 2005 Nissan Altima, northbound on I-5 near milepost 14 for a traffic violation. The lone occupant identified as; Froylan Garcia, age 41, from Federal Way, Washington was charged with Possession, Delivery and Manufacture of a Controlled Substance-Crystal Methamphetamine. He was later lodged at the Jackson County Jail on the above charges.

Garcia consented to a search of the vehicle, an OSP Drug Detection Canine assisted at the scene and alerted to the vehicle. A subsequent investigation/search of the vehicle, related to the stop, led to the discovery of approximately (2.5) pounds of pure Crystal Methamphetamine, vacuum sealed inside Tupperware containers, concealed within an after market compartment inside the vehicle.

Members from the Oregon State Police Drug Enforcement Section assisted with the investigation.

The seized Methamphetamine has an estimated value of approximately $60,000.00.

HOLYOKE – Another plastic milk container was found containing an unknown liquid Friday, prompting authorities to close part of Lyman Street for 90 minutes.

Fire Department Lt. Thomas G. Paquin said tests so far are inconclusive as to whether the liquid is the same as the chemical that was found in more than a dozen containers around the city last week and prompted responses from hazardous-materials teams.

Authorities believe the liquid in the plastic milk jugs last week could be a byproduct from the illegal production of methamphetamine, a stimulant drug that can lead to addiction and brain damage.

That byproduct can be dangerous if someone touches or smells it, so officials urged people who find unfamiliar containers on their property or on sidewalks to call police at (413) 322-6900.

The container found Friday was outside at 70 Lyman St., and the regional hazardous-materials team and other public safety personnel responded about noon, Paquin said.

The state Department of Environmental Protection took the container and is testing the liquid, he said.

Interim Police Chief Frederick J. Seklecki said the investigation is ongoing into the jugs and whether methamphetamine is being made here or nearby.

“There are some things that we’re looking into,” Seklecki said.

Couple arrested on meth charges

Newel Jerome Turner Jr., 37, and Angelina Denise Turner, 46, from Madison County, were arrested Thursday, according to a news release.
They were charged with promotion of methamphetamine manufacture, felony possession of drug paraphernalia and simple possession of methamphetamine.
Both will be arraigned in Madison County General Sessions Court.
On Thursday, officers went to the Turners’ home at 4569 Steam Mill Ferry Road in southwest Madison County to arrest the Turners on outstanding warrants for manufacturing methamphetamine, a news release said.

When the officers entered the residence, a small amount of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia were seen in plain view. Investigators from the Jackson-Madison County Metro Narcotics Unit were summoned to the scene and permission was obtained from the Turners to search the remainder of the property, the release said. The search revealed chemical reagents and equipment used to manufacture methamphetamine. Since the materials found were not mixed together in a common container, a hazardous materials clean-up was not necessary.
The items were collected as evidence, and the Turners were taken to the Madison County Criminal Justice Complex.

MILLERSBURG, Ohio — More than 150 Amish men and women filled a farm building this spring to learn about the chemical curse that is surrounding them.

Methamphetamine, the drug peddled by outlaw bikers and street-corner dealers for decades, is on the rise in the land of the horse and buggy — though no one caught with the drug in the area has been Amish.

The rural hills of Holmes and Wayne counties, about 90 minutes south of Cleveland, is a place where violent crime and major drug trafficking have seldom been a problem. Many associate the region with Ohio’s largest Amish population, quilt shops and large family farms.

But beneath the idyllic setting is an underbelly of criminal cookers who have begun brewing the gritty, illicit stimulant into a growing drug of choice in a region that might be one of the last in the state to face the drug’s scourge.

“It’s a jolt to the stereotype of the quaint, rural community that we have in Amish country,” said Paul Miller, the director of the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center in Berlin, Ohio. “It’s a jolt to our own values. We don’t condone it. We don’t want to see it happen.

“I don’t profess to be totally cognizant of what is going on, but from observation and following the police blotter, you can see that it is here.”

In the past decade, meth has damaged Ohio’s rural communities, much like crack cocaine did to the state’s cities in the 1980s and 1990s. And Wayne and Holmes counties — a combined population of about 150,000 — are beginning to see the first dramatic signs of that damage.

Amish church leaders have become concerned enough about the drug and others to meet with law enforcement. The reason is simple.

“The devil doesn’t care where we live, whether in the city or in the country,” said Ed Miller, an Amish general contractor from Apple Creek. “He seeks out the weakest. . . . There’s a big concern about [methamphetamine.] We don’t want that.”

David Smith heads the Medway Drug Enforcement Agency, an anti-drug group that works mostly in Wayne, Holmes and Medina counties. In 2007, the agency dismantled one lab in the region. Last year, it cleaned up 17.

The region is less than a half hour from the epicenter of Ohio’s meth explosion — in Summit County, where the drug took off in about 2004. That’s when authorities broke up 126 labs, more than any other county in the state. The numbers have dipped since then, but authorities routinely conduct raids there and make major arrests.

Making meth in Millersburg and Wooster is much different from producing it in Akron. That’s because it is so easy to go unnoticed in rural sheds and farm fields, authorities say. It also has been affected by new, quicker cooking methods.

View full sizeKen Marshall, The Plain DealerOne of the telltale signs of cooking meth is a noxious vapor that can sicken anyone in close proximity and tar the insides of homes. In rural Holmes and Wayne counties, the vapor is much harder to detect because the houses are far apart.

“You always see it in the cities, but people will feel more secure in the rural areas because it is so open,” said Gary Aurand, the chief probation officer in Holmes County.


• In March, authorities raided a rural home in Holmes County and charged Dannel Weaver, seizing what officials called in a news release “yet another methamphetamine lab.” Sheriff’s deputies found a number of materials, including anhydrous ammonia, a farm fertilizer.

Anhydrous ammonia added to the cold medicine pseudoephedrine and lithium helps create meth. In the region’s farm fields, anhydrous ammonia is commonplace: It helps corn and other crops grow. Weaver’s arrest came a year after he was sentenced to probation in Wayne County for meth charges.

• A 14-year-old girl tested positive for methamphetamine in the months preceding a raid in July on a Millersburg home where her mother and her mother’s boyfriend lived. Authorities seized cold tablets, batteries and other chemicals used to make meth. The raid came after a police officer pulled the couple’s trash and found chemicals used in making the drug, as well as the drug’s residue. The trash pull followed an informant’s tip, according to court records.

The teenager’s mother, Lisa Wilson, 34, was sentenced to four years in prison on meth and child-endangering charges; the boyfriend, Delane Goodwin, 38, was sentenced to eight years on similar charges. Both pleaded guilty in Holmes County Common Pleas Court.

• Meth has joined marijuana as one of the most common drugs to show up in drug screens of people tested by probation officers in Holmes County, said Aurand, the probation official.

In the past 12 months, drug officials seized eight meth labs in Holmes County. While that might be two weeks’ work for Summit County drug agents, it has stunned many in a county with 42,366 people.

“I’ve seen more meth in the last year than in the past 20 years,” said Holmes County Prosecutor Steve Knowling. “From what I’m seeing, it has become the predominant hard drug of choice.”

•Two Millersburg men were indicted April 28 in U.S. District Court in Williamsport, Pa., with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Gary Stutzman, 41, and Dean Troyer, 44, were accused of delivering more than 100 grams of the drug to undercover officers near State College, Pa., earlier in the month. Investigators estimated the drug shipment was worth $11,000.

The indictment in the case says Stutzman and Troyer were involved in a conspiracy to distribute the drug since June 2010, but it does not indicate whether there were any other sales made to authorities. The men denied the allegations in court.

• Last November, authorities raided a meth lab at the home of Troy Lastohkein, north of Millersburg. The home stands less than 1,000 feet from Holmesville Elementary School. Lastohkein, 44, pleaded guilty in April in Holmes County Common Pleas Court and was sentenced to eight years in prison. Two children were at home at the time of the raid, according to published reports.

“It’s disconcerting,” said Mike Shreffler, the superintendent of Southeast Schools, a rural district that includes the elementary school. “We’re a family-oriented community. It shows that these things can crop up anywhere.”

So how did the drug spread so quickly in the two counties?

Some argue that the drug has been bubbling below the surface in the counties for years, but aggressive police and sheriff’s deputies are finding it more often, thanks to better training and informants. While that may explain the jump in the number of arrests, it doesn’t address how the drug has become a top drug of choice among people arrested.

A gap-toothed, 19-year-old meth user who declined to give his name said cookers have formed cliques, teaching and talking about various methods of making the drug. And soon, they spread out, cooking and feeding their own habits.

“You have one, then five, then 10,” he said. “Pretty soon, you have a lot of people making it.”

But possibly one of the simplest reasons for the drug’s growth in the farm region is because of a relatively new way of making it, what cookers call “the one-pot” or the “shake and bake” methods.

Several years ago, most dealers labored for hours, cooking and stirring the ingredients into a chemical stew. In recent years, however, a new form allows dealers to produce meth in 2-liter bottles, enabling them to make the drug along any road, pitch the debris and drive off with a fresh batch.

View full sizeChuck Crow l The Plain DealerPart of the rural Amish county scene in Holmes County, Ohio, where meth labs are springing up, to the alarm of residents and officials alike.
And that leaves officials concerned. They fear the new method may push the drug even farther into the rural corners of Holmes and Wayne counties.

But officials are quick to stress the region is not a drug hotspot, a place with a reputation like Scioto County for prescription pills or Meigs County for marijuana. Part of the reason is that it’s a tight-knit community and police are quickly adapting their investigative techniques.

That said, residents know that the scourge of meth is still out there and that they must remain on guard to protect their way of life.

That’s why Ed Miller, the Amish contractor in Wayne County’s town of Apple Creek, will keep pushing law enforcement authorities to speak with Amish families about the dangers of the chemical demon.

“We all have souls, and we’re all going through this together,” Miller said. “We believe that if we can help one person, one person, it will be worth it.”

Emporia police made several methamphetamine-related busts recently at different locations after an initial drug arrest early Wednesday, authorities said Thursday.

In all, six more arrests were made after a young man, who was taken into custody in connection with drug possession, provided officers with information on other people involved in the use, distribution and manufacture of methamphetamine.

Police Lt. Edward P. Owens said police arrested a 20-year-old man early Wednesday for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. Narcotics detectives were summoned to the scene and interrogated the man. Owens said the information led to search warrants at four Emporia locations.

Rodney N. Adams, 44, and Heather L. Houston, 29, were arrested at 502 Neosho Street, Apt. 3. They were booked into the Lyon County Jail in connection with possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

Owens said Houston also had an outstanding warrant for her arrest.

Michael Nogueras, 53, of 1321 Twilight Drive, was arrested in connection with possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. Owens said Nogueras also was taken to the Lyon County Jail.

Jennifer K. Branstetter, 33, was arrested at 637 Woodland Street on suspicion of manufacturing methamphetamine. Owens said officers found several inactive meth labs at that location, along with one active meth lab.

James “Donovan” Schnieder, 32, wasn’t present at 637 Woodland Street when the search warrant was executed, Owens said. An affidavit for Schnieder’s arrest was to be presented to the Lyon County Attorney’s Office for his arrest in connection with the manufacturing of methamphetamine.

Owens said more information was ascertained during the aforementioned drug busts, which led narcotics detectives to execute a search warrant at Econo Lodge Motel, 2511 W. 18th Avenue, Room 138.

A packaged meth lab was found, Owens said, in the room being occupied by Gerald “Jerry” Ottenwalder, 41. Ottenwalder was arrested in connection with manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school.

Ottenwalder also had an outstanding warrant for his arrest, Owens said.

The Emporia Police Department narcotics detectives contacted the Lyon County Sheriff’s Department and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to assist in the matter.


Two Reading men are behind bars after police say they started a fire while cooking methamphetamine.

Harry Kavadas, 50, and Todd Johnston, 35, are facing several charges, including two counts of aggravated arson.

According to court documents, Kavadas and Johnston were cooking meth at Kavadas’ home on Reading Road.

The home is a multi-family dwelling, and children were in the building at the time.

They are also accused of trying to remove items of illegal evidence and attempting to hide it prior to the arrival of police and fire personnel.

ELLSINORE, Mo. • Growing up in the rugged foothills of the Ozarks, Tommy Adams always dreamed of carrying a badge. He realized his wish through grim happenstance: The incumbent sheriff, dogged by rumors of corruption, killed himself weeks before votes were cast, and Adams slipped past him by a single vote.

For two years, Adams was sheriff of Carter County, until his arrest last month on charges of distributing methamphetamine, the home-brewed narcotic that has poisoned much of this poor, sparsely populated stretch of timber country. Adams was accused of regularly snorting the drug as well.

But in this community, 130 miles south of St. Louis, Adams’ alleged misdeeds have not provoked outrage. Rather, many residents are accepting it, even sympathetically.

“It shows how entrenched methamphetamine is in our system,” said Rocky Kingree, the county prosecuting attorney. “It’s something that has to be stopped, and it doesn’t seem like there is an end in sight.”

For most of the past decade, Missouri has led the nation in the number of laboratories discovered to be producing methamphetamine, a highly addictive stimulant that can be made with common household products such as nasal decongestants.

In Ellsinore, the problem has strained the bonds of its 446 residents. People recognize the symptoms of use in neighbors but, reflecting a culture of fierce independence, say nothing.

“We all know who does what, how they do it and when they do it,” said David Bowman, a school maintenance worker who is mayor of Ellsinore. “You just turn your head and go on.”

Adams was one of many men who learned to string together a living out of odd jobs, working as a fry cook, an auto mechanic and the town’s one-man, part-time police force.

Three years ago, Adams, now 31, ran for sheriff against two-term incumbent Greg Melton. There were persistent rumors about Melton, including methamphetamine use.

Less than a month before the election, Melton was found in his garage, shot through the head in a suicide.

Adams’ victory put him in charge of three deputies and a 500-square-mile region with 6,265 residents. Keeping a lower profile than his predecessor, he quickly became the subject of rumor himself. He rarely met with community leaders or showed up at the office, where paperwork piled high on his desk. Adams began spending conspicuously, buying cars, building a cabin in the woods and paying for the in vitro fertilization that led to the birth, eight months ago, of his son.

Like many people around here, he had grown up poor. He declared bankruptcy in 2005. And even though his new $37,000 salary, on top of his wife’s job as a nurse, represented good money in an area where the median household income is $27,000, his spending raised eyebrows.

Then there was his choice of friends, including Richard Kearbey, who had been arrested years earlier on charges of trying to buy 50 pounds of methamphetamine.

Though a federal judge in a later case described Kearbey as “the ringleader of a fairly large methamphetamine distribution network,” he served just seven days in jail. Instead he agreed to work as an informer, helping arrest a number of small-time meth cooks, according to the federal court records. After Adams’ house burned down — the man now charged with several arsons told the authorities he had been commissioned by the sheriff himself to set it on fire — he moved next door to Kearbey.

Adams hired Kearbey’s daughter, Steffanie, as a deputy, though she had no experience in law enforcement. She told authorities after her arrest last month in the case against Adams that she had helped him carry out burglaries and sell guns from the evidence room.

Despite the growing concern, few of the two dozen residents who discussed the events in recent days said they ever suspected Adams was using methamphetamine. Even those who noticed that his clothes hung more freely on his already slender frame saw none of the other telltale signs: the rotted teeth, the compulsive movements, the erratic behavior.

A lawyer for Adams did not return a call seeking comment. But his friends and family defended his reputation. His mother said he never would have jeopardized his dream job. His wife offered stacks of unpaid bills to show they were not living extravagantly. His father-in-law called him “one of the good guys.” According to the investigation by state and federal authorities, though, Adams had been using methamphetamine for at least nine months, with a man who became a government informer.

Last month, the unidentified informer, wearing a wire, went to Adams’ cabin to buy some methamphetamine from the sheriff, who used some in his presence, according to a court document. Adams was quickly arrested and is being held in lieu of a $250,000 cash bond.

A Williamson County jury sentenced a Brownsville man Thursday to life in prison in what authorities say was the largest methamphetamine drug bust in the county’s history.

The jury found William Silva, 27, guilty of possession of a controlled substance, a first-degree felony, on Thursday.

Silva was arrested in September after a sheriff’s deputy pulled him over on Interstate 35 near Jarrell, partly for weaving between lanes, according to testimony. The deputy arrested Silva for driving with a suspended license, and a police dog later detected narcotics, according to testimony.

Investigators found 42 pounds of methamphetamine inside a false compartment in the floor of the car, according an arrest affidavit.

That amount of methamphetamine is worth about $1.7 million, the sheriff’s office said.

According to a video of the traffic stop played in court, Silva told the officer he was on his way to Dallas from Brownsville to pick up an 18-wheeler and return home. His attorney, Daniel Gonzalez, said in court that Silva did not know the narcotics were in the vehicle. Silva must serve at least 15 years before he’s eligible for parole.

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the successful conclusion of Operation Red Reach, a coordinated law enforcement sweep that shut down a network of local and transnational gangs that dealt in narcotics and firearms, homicide and fraud in western Contra Costa County and nearby areas.

“We are fighting transnational gangs from one end of California to another,” Attorney General Harris said. “With the cooperation of local and federal law enforcement agencies, we’re going to outmuscle, outsmart and undo them.”

San Pablo Police Chief Walt Schuld added: “Exceptional collaboration among the California Department of Justice, local law enforcement, and the FBI has resulted in the successful dismantling of this violent street gang involved in high-level drug and gun trafficking. Our community is much safer due to the tireless efforts of the agents and officers.”

Operation Red Reach, which concluded today, resulted in 35 arrests and the seizure of more than 135 pounds of methamphetamine, 26 firearms – including two assault rifles – more than $86,500 in currency and six vehicles. Police are looking into two weapons that may be tied to a homicide.

Those arrested include Joseph Abbate, aka Sherman Fisher or Butch, an identified member of the criminal street gang known as the Nortenos, which has ties to the vicious prison gang Nuestra Familia.

The operation is the latest in a series of actions by Attorney General Harris designed to attack gang violence.
In February, agents arrested three associates of a Tijuana drug cartel in a murder-for-hire plot in Southern California. Last month, the Attorney General traveled to California’s border with Mexico with law enforcement leaders to underscore the problem of transnational gangs, and earlier this month, the Attorney General announced the creation of the first multi-agency gang task force in Tulare County.

Four of every 10 homicides that occur in California are gang-related, and more than 80 percent of the California cases in which relocation is required for the protection of witnesses involve gang violence.

Operation Red Reach began in February 2009 primarily to investigate the illegal activities of Abbate. As the probe developed, investigators identified his co-conspirators, who include other members of the Nortenos gang, members of local gangs, and members of a Mexican drug trafficking cartel.

The operation, as well as the arrests and searches over the last several weeks, were conducted, in co-operation with federal agents, by an inter-agency task force known as West-NET (for West Contra Costa County Narcotic Enforcement Team). Besides the Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, other members of West-NET include the Contra Costa County Sheriff; police in San Pablo, Richmond, El Cerrito, and Kensington; and the Contra Costa Probation Office.

Search warrants were served in San Pablo, Richmond, El Sobrante, Pinole, Antioch, Pittsburg, San Rafael, Vallejo, Fairfield and Sacramento. Those arrested were booked into the San Pablo jail.

Prosecutors on Thursday charged four people with kidnapping, maiming and assault in the case where an Oklahoma City man had “RAPEST” forcibly tattooed on his forehead.

The most severe count — assault and battery by means likely to cause death — is punishable by up to life in prison.

Charged are Richard “Buddha” Lynn Dellert, 31, of Irving, Texas; Zachary “Texas” Chase Provence, 21, of Midwest City; Kimberly Sue “Luckie” Kirchler, 25, of Midwest City; and Lorena Amanda Hodges, 33, of Oklahoma City.

All four have been in jail since April 26.

Kirchler also is known by the last name Vergara, according to the criminal charge.

Prosecutors allege the four confined Stetson Johnson, 18, at a southeast Oklahoma City house April 17 and there tattooed “RAPEST” on his head and “I like little boys” on his chest. Prosecutors allege they then took him to a Del City lake and repeatedly struck him there with a baseball bat.

He later crawled and walked to a trailer park. Johnson told police he had been “left for dead,” according to a court affidavit.

“The tattoos were fresh and still had blood coming from them,” a police detective reported.

Johnson spent days in intensive care at a hospital after the beating. He said Thursday afternoon he had just completed a CT scan of his head at the hospital. “It’s still got swelling,” he said.

Johnson has covered up “RAPEST,” apparently a misspelling of “rapist,” with a tattoo designed to look like a bar code. His mother said he will have the tattoos on his forehead and chest removed.

The two women admitted to police they used stun guns to shock Johnson’s genitals during the tattooing, police reported. Prosecutors and police said Hodges claimed Johnson tried to have sex with her.

Police said there was no evidence to support her claim. Johnson’s mother, Lucy Ford, said, “He didn’t do anything.”

The unusual case has attracted widespread attention and offers of help have been made from across the nation. Oklahoma County’s first assistant district attorney, Scott Rowland, said he is willing to talk to those who want to help Johnson, beginning Wednesday.

Provence has been arrested before, on Dec. 15. Police reported he admitted stealing from cars. He is charged with burglary and possession of stolen property.

Kirchler was arrested in 2004 after Midwest City police reported finding her in possession of methamphetamine. She received a five-year deferred sentence.

Hodges also got a five-year deferred sentence after pleading guilty to attempting to obtain drugs with a bogus prescription.

ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( — Nine St. Louis are residents face up to 40 years in prison after being charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine.

The charges allege thae activites took place between January of 2006 and December of 2010 in Jefferson and St. Louis County, Missouri.

Curtis Seaman, 27, Adam Artinger, 28, Jamie Evans, 28, and Casey Pingel from House Springs; Daniel Shinault, 27, from St. Louis; Richard Shinault, 29, from Mehlville; Gregory Shuman, 23, from Dittmer; Jessica Mitchell, 24, from Imperial and Donna Bell, 46, from Fenton were all charged by a federal grand jury in April this year on one felony county of Conspiracy to Manufacture Methamphetamine.

Artinger and Evans were also charged with possession of pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine. Daniel and Richard Shinault, Seaman, Shuman, Pingel, Mitchell and Bell were indicted on one additional felony count of possession of pseudoephedrine knowing, and having probable cause to believe, it would be used to manufacture methamphetamine.

If convicted, the first charge carries a penalty of up to 40 years in prison and fines up to 2 million dollars. The remaining charges carry a penalty up to 20 years in prison and fine up to $250,000.

Seventeen people, including an alleged leader of a local Norteños gang, were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that they were part of a major methamphetamine ring operating in Contra Costa County, authorities said today.

The 16 men and one woman were charged Thursday in U.S. District Court in Oakland with methamphetamine dealing and conspiracy. Many have since pleaded not guilty.

All but one of the defendants has been arrested, and an additional 18 suspects are in custody and could face state charges as the result of a two-year, multi-agency investigation, dubbed Operation Red Reach.

If convicted, some defendants face mandatory minimum sentences of five, 10 or 20 years.

Investigators “disrupted an extremely dangerous and ruthless network of individuals,” said Larry Wallace, deputy director of law enforcement for state Attorney General Kamala Harris.Authorities seized more than 135 pounds of methamphetamine worth $7.1 million on the street, as well as 26 guns, six bulletproof vests and more than $86,500 in cash, said Steve Ladeck, special agent in charge of the state Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement in San Francisco.

The case initially began as a “grassroots, local investigation” in San Pablo, said Walt Schuld, that city’s police chief. “However, investigators quickly realized that it was more than a typical drug investigation,” with suspects that traveled across the county and beyond, Schuld said.

The defendants were charged as a result of a monthlong investigation that involved wiretaps and surveillance, according to court affidavits by FBI Special Agent Patrick Ernst. Search warrants were served in San Pablo, Richmond, El Sobrante, Pinole, Antioch, Pittsburg, San Rafael, Vallejo, Fairfield and Sacramento.

The investigation centered on alleged local Norteño gang leader Joseph Abbate, 38, and Ramon Rubio, authorities said.

The other defendants are Sean Wayne Beckett, 35; Mark Joseph Bruno; Reginald Shaun Carter, 46; Tom Lee Cordova Sr., 46; Billie Wayne Dempsey Sr., 61; Edward Santos Espiritu, 36; James Calma Esver, 43; Michael Joseph Lawrence, 46; Honorato Esquivias Padilla, 22; Deonzelle Antonio Pierce; David Leo Reams; Gary Clayton Rondeau, 50; Michael Jacob Sanchez, 35; Magen Marie Schwartz; and Juan Jesus Villalobos Lopez.

Schwartz, the only woman facing charges, has not been arrested and is a fugitive, said U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag.

One man has been charged with the manufacture of Methamphetamine in Cleveland. The Special Investigations Unit and the Cleveland Police Department SWAT Team executed a search warrant at 1427 Lee Street SE on Thursday morning. Teams made entry into the trailer and found an active Methamphetamine lab.

During the search, detectives located syringes, scales and 5 grams of Methamphetamine. Detectives also found a .380 Kel-Tec semi-automatic handgun.

William Wayne Martin was arrested on Manufacturing Meth and other
related charges. Martin is a convicted felon and has a gang affiliation with Arian nation. Charges are pending on other persons in this case.

FEDERAL police have shattered the Australian arm of an international crime network, seizing nearly a quarter of a ton of the drug ice.

In raids carried out by the Australian Federal Police in Sydney and Perth, 239 kilograms of methamphetamine – or ice – worth $50 million was seized in the biggest ice bust the nation has seen.

It was the latest in a huge run for the AFP, which has seized more than 1.8 tonnes of drugs in less than 12 months as Australia has become an increasing target for transnational gangs.

Two Australians, a 38-year-old from east Sydney and a 21-year-old from Bomaderry on the NSW south coast, have been arrested, with a Dutchman, 43, and a Belgian, 41. They have been charged with trafficking and possession.

The AFP’s serious and organised crime national manager, Kevin Zuccato, said the arrests in March of the Belgian and Dutchman, who were highly placed, had dealt a ”significant and savage blow” to the ”sophisticated” international syndicate.

”In Australia, we’ve cut [the network] off at the knees,” Assistant Commissioner Zuccato said.

PARKERSBURG – Two men early Wednesday morning were arrested on methamphetamine charges in what is being called among the largest meth labs busted to date by the Parkersburg Violent Crime and Narcotics Task Force.

Chad Lane Wilson, 33, 639 Riverview Drive, Belmont, and James Andrew Brogle, 20, 1304 Camden Ave., were taken into custody at the Log Cabin Motel on Pike Street in Parkersburg, the task force said.

The arrests were a result of surveillance at local pharmacies and other locations to identify, locate and arrest methamphetamine makers, the task force said. Traffic stops by the Parkersburg Police Department and intelligence gathered by task force agents during the surveillance led to the arrests about 2 a.m. Wednesday, the task force said.

Police and task force agents forcibly entered room 9 where they found two men ingesting suspected bath salts and manufacturing methamphetamine, the task force said. Misleadingly marketed as bath salts, the substances contain an amphetamine.

After minimal resistance, the two men were removed from their contaminated clothing, redressed in Tyvek suits, then taken to the Wood County Holding Center to await an appearance in Wood County Magistrate Court today, the task force said.

A search of the motel room also found items and chemicals used in the production of methamphetamine, the task force said. Agents worked until 6:30 a.m. identifying, collecting and removing items and chemicals found during the processing of the scene, the task force said.

“This was one of the largest alleged methamphetamine laboratories to date, being the sixth methamphetamine laboratory processed by the PNTF since only Feb. 3 of this year,” the task force said.

Wilson and Brogle were charged with one felony each of operating or attempting to operate a clandestine drug laboratory, which carries a penalty of 2-10 years in prison. Charges against other individuals are possible, the task force said.

The task force is made up of investigators from the Vienna and Parkersburg police departments, the Wood County Sheriff’s Department and West Virginia State Police.

The Cloquet woman implicated in a razor attack on a male acquaintance last Friday was described by her attorney as “extremely delusional” at her arraignment in Carlton County Court on Tuesday.

Amber Rae Stonemark, 26, faces felony charges of second-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault as well as a misdemeanor charge of obstructing the legal process in the alleged assault.

Jeremy Downs of the Northeast Minnesota Public Defender’s office represented Stonemark at Tuesday’s hearing, stating that Stonemark has “some very serious mental issues” and explaining that she suffers from schizophrenia and possibly other mental health conditions. He said she was released from treatment just 10 days before the incident occurred. He further added that she has been on the antipsychotic drug Stelazine, used in the treatment of schizophrenia, though he said she has apparently not been on the medication in recent days.

Stonemark allegedly assaulted Chaz Dean Farleigh, 25, with a straight-edge folding razor following a domestic dispute between the two, causing severe injuries to his face, neck, ear and lower right leg and resulting in hospitalization.

Downs argued before Judge Dale Wolf that Stonemark’s condition requires she be placed in a mental health facility rather than in jail so she can get the help she needs.

“That’s what she wants and that’s what her family wants,” said Downs.

Judge Wolf asked if any of Stonemark’s family was present at the arraignment and her mother came forward, stating that Stonemark has had various commitments for mental health issues over the past year. Since Stonemark’s recent release from the AnokaCare program, she said her daughter is currently supposed to be monitored through the Intensive Community Supervision (ICS) program of Carlton County Human Services, inferring that the monitoring has not been taking place.

County Attorney Thom Pertler said that he has spoken with Pam Brumfeld of ICS and she verified that Stonemark has indeed been monitored through the program and that “they have done everything they can for her.”

Though Pertler acknowledged that motions regarding Stonemark’s care may well be part of subsequent legal proceedings, he said the severity of her crime needs to be taken under


He thereby requested that Judge Wolf impose $250,000 bail on Stonemark.

“I’m looking at it from a public safety standpoint,” said Pertler. “We have a victim who could very well have been killed.”

Judge Wolf acknowledged the concerns of both attorneys, applauding the actions of Cloquet police officers for their fast-thinking actions in preventing what could have been a much more serious outcome. He then ordered a no contact order between Stonemark and Farleigh and set bail at $55,000 (or $5,500 cash).

Stonemark, who remains in custody at the Carlton County Jail, is scheduled for her next court appearance at 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 11.

According to the complaint filed in the case, at 11:28 p.m. on Friday, April 29, Cloquet police were dispatched to a home on the 900 block of Carlton Avenue West after reports of a fight on the steps at the back of the residence.

Sgt. Carey Ferrell of the Cloquet Police Department happened to be in the vicinity at the time and responded within a minute’s time. There, he came upon a female covered in blood and wielding an old-style straight-edge folding razor, trying to stab a male individual lying on his back, later identified as Farleigh, on the stairway of the back deck of the home. Ferrell noticed blood on the left side of Farleigh’s face, neck and ear, and he could also see a large cut and blood on the victim’s lower right leg. Stonemark was holding the knife in her right hand and had it raised over her right shoulder as Farleigh pleaded with Ferrell to get Stonemark to drop her blade.

When Ferrell ordered the suspect to drop the knife as he approached, she refused and stated, “I’m Jesus Christ, I’m going to kill him and send him for eternity to the devil.” She then started to motion with her arm and body towards the victim, at which point Ferrell tased her in the chest from a distance of about six feet.

Other officers then arrived at the scene to assist with the arrest, and when they asked Stonemark to identify herself, she stated, “You do not recognize me. I am Jesus Christ your Savior.” The knife was then seized from her and she was taken into custody and transported to the Carlton County Law Enforcement Center, where she reportedly remained in a state of rage. At one point during the booking process she reportedly became physically combative and had to be subdued and placed in an isolation cell in order to prevent her from harming anyone.

According to Cloquet Police Department Detective Darrin Berg, authorities were unable to interview Stonemark at that time due to her state of mind.

“She was very agitated,” said Berg. “There was, no doubt, something going on in regard to her mental state. Whether it was due to drugs or some sort of medication, we do not know at that time.”

The victim was transported by ambulance to Community Memorial Hospital, where he was treated for his injuries and released on Sunday, May 1. He was interviewed by Ferrell at the Cloquet Police Department at 7:15 p.m. that same day.

“He said he was very scared [at the time of the incident] and that he thought he was going to die when Stonemark freaked out on him,” reported Berg. “He said he had to fight for his life.”

Police learned that Stonemark was renting an apartment on nearby Laurel Street in Cloquet’s west end. Farleigh told police that he had gone to the residence just prior to the assault and noticed that Stonemark was in possession of methamphetamine and hypodermic needles and syringes in her apartment. He claimed he flushed the controlled substance down the sink and destroyed the needles, at which time he said Stonemark became irate and attacked him with the razor.

Farleigh said Stonemark succeeded in slicing him with the straight-edge razor before he escaped from the apartment and began running.

The fleeing victim ultimately ended up on the deck of the home at Carlton Avenue West, where the homeowners were just putting their small child to bed.

“The male resident reported he heard screaming,” said Berg, “and when he looked through the kitchen window, he saw a woman straddling a guy on the deck with a razor in her hand. The neighbors had heard it, too, and they came over and tried to stop her while one of the residents called 911.”

Berg said the homeowners stated they had never seen either of the two before.

Neither Stonemark nor Farleigh are strangers to law enforcement. Both have numerous charges on their records and both were implicated in a late-night incident on March 14, 2007, resulting in the alleged assault and robbery of a 65-year-old Cloquet man.

Two New Tazewell Officers stumbled upon a meth lab while dealing with two thieves in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

Two men exited the store causing the EAS Alarm system to be triggered. The police department was called and officers were able to locate Justin Roy Davis, 28, of Middlesboro and Derrick Allen Jennings, 21, of Middlesboro who both appeared to have something in their jeans.

Upon approaching the two men, Patrolmen Billy Davidson and Harrison Cornett discovered that each of them had an AM/FM CD car stereo down inside their pants.

The officers took the two men into custody and separated them for questioning.

After advising them of their Miranda Rights, they asked if they were in possession of any other stolen merchandise.

Jennings stated that there was a meth lab inside the vehicle. Officer Davidson obtained consent to search the vehicle.

Upon opening the door to the vehicle, the officer detected a strong chemical odor coming from inside. Further investigation revealed all the components necessary to initiate the manufacture of methamphetamine along with other items considered as drug paraphernalia.

Davis stated to officers that he had previously been arrested in February of this year for shoplifting at the Oak Ridge Wal-Mart and was issued a no trespass order.

They also seized the 1999 Dodge Durango the two men were in.

Both men were placed under arrest and transported to the Claiborne County Jail where they were charged with theft of property under $500, criminal trespassing, promotion of manufacture of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. In addition to these charges, Jennings was charged with two outstanding warrants for FTA assault and domestic violence.

The two men will appear in court later this month.

A man who had been living with his mother in Santa Rosa while he battled methamphetamine addiction has been sentenced to life in prison for stabbing her to death, prosecutors said Monday.

Christopher Anthony Lavis, 43, pleaded guilty in October to first-degree murder and two weapon enhancements in the Sept. 27, 2008, slaying of his mother, Constance Elizabeth LaSalle.

Lavis must serve at least 26 years behind bars before he is eligible for parole, Sonoma County prosecutors said.

LaSalle, 63, was found dead in her apartment on the 300 block of Stony Point Road. She had been stabbed 45 times in her head, neck, chest, back and arms with two knives, authorities said.

Lavis was originally charged with the special circumstance of torture, which carries a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. But prosecutors agreed to drop the torture accusation as part of a plea deal with Lavis, who agreed to give up all his rights to appeal.

Southern Lehigh School District teacher Garrett C. Dudeck was formally charged today with dealing methamphetamine.

Charges were filed against the 43-year-old Bethlehem man in federal court.

Dudeck, of the 1700 block of Watkins Street, sold 5.5 grams of the drug on Jan. 31 and Feb. 10 in his home, records say. He worked in the district for 21 years as a technology teacher in the middle and intermediate schools, records say.

Dudeck faces a maximum of 40 years in prison.

His attorney, Patrick Reilly, previously said Dudeck will never teach again.

A criminal complaint was filed against Dudeck in March, and he was put on house arrest. Federal officials have now formally charged him with the drug offense, a U.S. attorney’s office spokeswoman said.

OTTAWA — Gatineau police arrested a man after finding 1,500 methamphetamine pills in a vehicle during a routine traffic stop last week, they said Wednesday.

Gatineau police spokesman Pierre Lanthier said officers stopped the man’s vehicle on Napoléon-Groulx Road at 11:20 p.m. lat Thursday.

After police found the drugs, the man admitted to selling them in night clubs in the Gatineau region, Lanthier said.

Police seized the vehicle, along with a cellular phone and items used to traffic drugs.

The 22-year-old Gatineau man was released on a promise to appear in court.