Meth and Crime

Posted: 1st July 2011 by Doc in Uncategorized
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Meth and Crime

Persons who violate the law by making, possessing, or distributing meth often break the law in other ways as well – because of or in support of their meth habit. Recent media reports reveal that meth makers and meth addicts are involved in crimes such as:

Murder and other violent acts
Domestic abuse
Illegal possession of guns and other weapons
Driving under the influence of meth
Theft and other property offenses
Identity theft and other fraud

Murder and other violent acts

Meth production and use have been tied to numerous murders and other violent acts. Although the motives vary, the common denominator is meth. Here are some examples:
• Lincoln, Illinois – September 2002. Jason Daniels murdered Brian Bobb while the two were manufacturing methamphetamine in a secluded area of a local park. Although Daniels admitted in a videotaped interview that he slashed Bobb’s throat and pleaded guilty to murder, he sought to withdraw his guilty plea in early March 2004.

• Marion County, Iowa – October 2002. A man shot to death two other men, believing they had “ripped him off” by not giving them the full amount of meth he had purchased.

• St. Paul, Minnesota – January 2004. Two men were murdered in a meth-related dispute, according to local authorities.

• Fort Worth, Texas – January 2004. A man named Kirk Cantrell received life imprisonment after kidnaping and killing a woman he wrongfully believed was going to tell police about his meth dealing operation.

• Tyler, Texas – July 2002. A man named Shawn Willhelm and others working with him bludgeoned, stabbed, and strangled a man named Jeffery Joplin during the course of a robbery for money and methamphetamine.

• Newark, New Jersey – January 2004. A couple kidnapped and tortured an individual who had stolen $125 worth of meth from them. The torture was committed with a hammer, needle-nose pliers, a paint roller extension, and a sword.

• Honolulu, Hawaii – February 2004. A 17-year-old meth user broke into a residence and shot the homeowner in the chest. Miraculously, the homeowner survived the shooting and now intends to testify against the young man.

• Palau – December 2003. Two men high on meth robbed a house occupied by the DePaiva family. In the process they murdered the husband, wife, and son. They also kidnaped and sexually assaulted the ten-year-old daughter – the only member of the family to survive this tragic incident.

• Redding, California – May 2002. A man high on meth kidnaped and raped a woman at gunpoint in May 2002, leaving her two small children home alone. In December 2003, he was convicted of kidnaping, rape, false imprisonment, assault with a firearm, child endangerment, and residential burglary.

• Redding, California – December 2003. A police report filed in the Shasta County Superior Court details that Patrick Larmour was high on meth when he choked Heather Carpenter to death, wrapped her body in a blue tarp, and buried her, according to local authorities.

Domestic abuse

Meth use has been linked not only to murder but also to domestic abuse. A study in Contra Costa County, California (near San Francisco) found that methamphetamine was involved in 89 percent of the domestic violence incidents to which police responded. Authorities in Longmont, California report that methamphetamine is involved in up to half of all child welfare cases. Reports in the media confirm the link between meth and domestic violence:

• Flora, Illinois – March 2004. A story in the Chicago Tribune recounts the nightmarish childhood endured by the four children of a meth addict named Misty Cobb, who frequently beat the children and always ignored their physical and emotional needs.

• Tyler, Texas – February 2004. A 21-year-old man, high on methamphetamine, shook his four-year-old daughter after she woke him up from sleep. The child suffered a broken leg, retinal hemorrhaging, brain swelling, and visual impairments. She currently suffers from Shaken Body Syndrome and will require frequent hospital trips. The father was sentenced to life in prison for first degree felony injury to a child.

• Arizona – February 2004. A man with a history of mental illness, on a drug binge that included methamphetamine and crack cocaine, beat his mother with a shovel and hit his father on the back of the head numerous times, thereby killing him.

• Longmont, California – December 2003. A man believed to be high on meth repeatedly stabbed his girlfriend’s two young sons. Miraculously, both boys survived.

• Oregon – February 2004. Steven Thompson beat up his girlfriend for botching a meth deal. In retribution, a friend of the woman smashed Thompson in the head with a baseball bat, thereby killing him.

• New Zealand – September 2003. In a country with a major methamphetamine problem, a man named Steve Williams reportedly flew into a rage and brutally beat and murdered his six-year-old step-daughter, Coral Burrows. Williams had been up all night smoking methamphetamine. The case made national and international headlines.

For more information on the many ways in which meth endangers children, please visit MethNet’s Protecting Children From Meth section.

Illegal possession of guns and other weapons

Meth makers, dealers, and users are often armed and dangerous. Meth use often makes these individuals paranoid and unpredictable – endangering law enforcement authorities, neighbors, and entire communities. Here are some recent examples:

• Lincoln, Illinois – January 2004. Following up on a tip of a “strong chemical odor,” police found meth making materials in a home, and they found the homeowner sitting outside the home in a parked car. A search of the car turned up a loaded 9mm pistol, a .22 caliber pistol, and a semiautomatic rifle. The homeowner admitted trading anhydrous ammonia and methamphetamine for the weapons.

• San Joaquin County, California – December 2003. San Joaquin County Metropolitan Drug Task Force and police officers seized two pounds of methamphetamine and eleven firearms, among other items.

• Ravalli County, Montana – January 2003. Leo Taylor was arrested and charged with nine federal weapons offenses following a tip that he was cooking methamphetamine at his home. Among other things, Taylor was charged with unlawful possession of a twelve-gauge shotgun, a .45-caliber handgun, a .22-calibur handgun, a silencer, ammunition, a grenade-like device, and dynamite.

• Giles County, Tennessee – December 2003. Narcotics investigators raided a meth lab that they speculated was capable of producing 60 grams of methamphetamine per day. In addition, they discovered an “arsenal of weapons” at the residence.

Driving under the influence of meth

Meth users often experience rapid pulse, agitation, paranoia and violent or aggressive attitudes. While driving, their impaired condition often results in erratic and dangerous behavior, often leading to tragic consequences. Here are some examples:
• West Valley City, Utah – March 2004. A 19-year-old is sentenced for up to 30 years in jail for automobile homicide and driving under the influence of meth. The teen ran over three siblings, killing two and crippling the third. “On legs supported by metal braces, six-year-old crash survivor Christopher Robles walked into court Thursday, intending to ask meth-using motorist Michael Joseph Whitton why he had run over and killed his brother and sister.” “Too Little, Too Late: Driver Gets Maximum Term For Crash That Killed Two Kids,” Salt Lake Tribune, March 12, 2004.

• San Francisco, California – March 2004. A woman allegedly high on meth and driving a stolen car fled police, ran a stop sign, and hit another car, killing the driver.

• Adams County, Illinois – June 2003. A driver believed to be high on meth crashed, killing a 16-year-old passenger.

• California – February 2004. A truck driver under the influence of methamphetamine cashed his truck, killing two other drivers. He was driving more than 90 miles per hour and claimed to be protecting children in his truck from “gargoyles” that were pursuing him.

• San Diego, California – January 2004. A man driving under the influence of methamphetamine slammed into the back of another car, killing two persons and injuring two others.

• San Mateo, California – December 2003. A driver under the influence of methamphetamine, driving up to speeds of 110 miles per hour on the wrong side of a freeway, crashed into a truck, killing a passenger in his car.

• Canton, Pennsylvania – December 2003. A man drove his car on the wrong side of the highway, crashed his car, and fled the scene. His car contained potentially explosive materials used to manufacture methamphetamine. The Pennsylvania Clandestine Drug Lab Team was dispatched to eliminate the threat of explosion.

• Parchman, Mississippi – July 2002. The grandson of Elvis Presley, Patrick Presley, was involved in a car collision that killed a woman named Melissa White. Mr. Presley was under the influence of meth at the time of the collision.

Theft and other property offenses

Meth users who do not have money to maintain their addiction often resort to breaking into vehicles, homes, and businesses to steal and sell valuable items to support their addiction. In Colorado, Jefferson County Sheriff’s office received 364 reported incidents of auto theft, and an investigator stated that “the people we’re catching who are doing auto thefts are mostly methamphetamine users.“ JCSO Cracking Down on Unattended Autos,” Canyon Courier, February 27, 2004.

Here are some other recent examples of meth-related theft and property offenses that have received attention in the media:

• Northern Colorado – March 2004. Law enforcement authorities believe that a wave of automobile thefts is the work of methamphetamine makers and addicts, who not only sell the contents to support their addiction but also use the vehicles themselves to house small mobile meth labs.

• Fort Thomas, Arizona – December 2003. Charges were filed against individuals accused of burglarizing two homes to support their meth habit.

• Edmonton, Canada – December 2003. Police have reported thefts of tools and appliances from homes under construction. They strongly suspect that meth users are responsible for the majority of these thefts.

Identity theft and other fraud

In some areas of the country, “identity theft and forgery have become synonymous with methamphetamine violators.” “As Meth Usage Goes Up, So Does Community Crime,” News-Review, December 16, 2003. According to one Colorado law enforcement officer, “everybody who does mail fraud – I would say 99 percent of them – are meth users, manufacturers or distributors of some sort.” “Thieves Like to Target Cluster Boxes in Neighborhoods, Apartment Complexes,”, February 26, 2004.

Consistent with these reports, a recent story in the New York Times stated that “the meth user tends to be more prone to this type of behavior [identity theft and fraud] than other drug users. To a person on meth, tasks that might otherwise seem boring – like sorting thousands of tax forms or reconstructing shredded patient records – are said to become oddly enthralling. Meth could turn slackers into hyper efficient paper pushers.” “Dumpster-Diving for Your Identity,” New York Times, December 21, 2003.

Here are some further examples:

• Amarillo, Texas – March 2004. Law enforcement authorities believe that a wave of check forgeries is the work of meth users in the area, who forge checks to support their addiction.

• Minidoka County, Idaho – January 2004. A seventh person was charged in the ongoing investigation of a counterfeit money operation. Money was created in denominations of fives, 10s, 20s, 50s and 100s and was used to purchase, among other things, methamphetamine.

• Westminster, Colorado – December 2003. The North Metro Drug Task Force raided a meth house and discovered a garbage bag full of mail. As many as 20 people were involved in running methamphetamine and stealing mail. Personal information compiled from the mail was used in identity theft crimes.

• Honolulu, Hawaii – July 2002. A postal worker under the influence of methamphetamine was arrested for stealing mail that contained credit cards and federal tax refunds.

• Washington State – November 2003. A married couple was arrested for writing more than 100 bad checks totaling more than $12,500 to support their meth habit.

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