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FAYETTEVILLE, TN (WSMV) – Lincoln County sheriff’s officials said a massive  house fire on Remington Drive in Fayetteville on Friday started because  of a meth lab explosion.

“I smelled smoke, and I thought  something was burning in our house,” said neighbor John Derm. “I looked  outside and saw the smoke. At that time, you couldn’t see across the  street, the smoke was so bad.”


One full day after the fire, smoke  still wafted from piles of brick. Debris covered the steps leading to  where a home once stood. Lincoln County Sheriff Murray Blackwelder said  the fire that destroyed a home less than 4-years-old was all started by a  simple one-pot meth lab.

“It’s a scary thing to know this is right across the street from our house, from our family and our children,” said Derm.

Blackwelder  said homeowner Teresa Baker was using the place as a “party house”  where guests could find meth. He said the sheriff’s department had been  monitoring the home for a while due to suspected drug activity. Baker’s  charges include promoting and manufacturing meth in a drug-free school  zone.

“We’ve got an elementary school right up the street here, less than half a mile up the road,” said Amy Derm.

Blackwelder  also told Channel 4 that Baker has a previous charge for driving into  oncoming traffic in Lincoln County last September. Her vehicle  eventually bumped into a patrol car. Her charges include a DUI, evading  arrest, vandalism and reckless endangerment in that case.



TRIAD — The N.C. Department of Justice says improved technology helped state and local authorities uncover a record number of meth labs in 2013. State Bureau of Investigation agents responded to 561 meth labs in 2013, an increase from 460 labs found in 2012. Of those meth labs, 81 percent used the “one-pot” method, portable labs which make small amounts of meth, according to the SBI. Also known as “shake-and-bake” labs, one pot meth labs use a small amount of pseudoephedrine, an over-the-counter decongestant, to make meth in a plastic soda bottle. The labs are easy to conceal and move, making them more challenging for authorities to find. While there were no labs in Guilford County, the report shows there were three labs in Davidson County and four in Randolph County. State authorities have access to information about pseudoephedrine purchases through the National Precursor Log Exchange, helping them to identify likely meth cooks and find more meth labs.  Pharmacies log all purchases of products containing pseudoephedrine through NPLEx. The system also helps block illegal sales of meth’s key ingredient. The system has worked for Thomasville police, who discovered a meth lab in May 2013. Investigators observed a delivery of pseudoephedrine pills and camp fuel, key ingredients in the manufacturing of methamphetamine, being received by William Jerome Smith, of 325 Taylor St. According to police reports, when they entered the home, they found a working meth lab. “The NPLx is what led to the investigation. It allows on-demand, real-time access to pharmacy (records),” said Detective Brad Saintsing. “It gives law enforcement the availability to monitor suspicious buying patterns and watch specific individuals who exceed the limits by state law.” Smith, 49, was arrested and charged with possession of precursors to manufacture methamphetamine. Saintsing said the department still sees a lot of meth-related arrests. “We are still seeing it out there,” Saintsing said. “Meth is gaining popularity again, and this is an excellent tool to monitor it.”




Adams County Circuit Court Judge Scott Walden couldn’t guess what percentage of his daily court docket is made up of methamphetamine cases, but he admits, “It’s a significant portion of what we’re dealing with today.”

Illinois has severely stiffened its meth laws since Walden joined the bench in 1996. All meth-related charges are felonies. The most serious meth charges are on the same Class X level as violent crimes, meaning that people found guilty of those charges face between six and 30 years in prison.

Illinois lawmakers have tried to make it more difficult for meth users to get the products needed to make the drug. The state passed the Methamphetamine Control and Community Act on Sept. 11, 2005. That act created a new offense called aggravated unlawful meth manufacturing, a Class X felony that calls for mandatory prison time. If meth is manufactured where children live, in a multiunit dwelling like an apartment complex or hotel, or if it is manufactured where the elderly or disabled live, then the offense is classified as aggravated.

The state also adopted stricter purchasing guidelines for pseudoephedrine, one of the main ingredients in meth. A person can’t buy more than 7,500 milligrams in a 30-day period. Authorities say the most common size pill boxes contain 2,880 milligrams.

Have the measures worked?

“If you would look at our numbers, you’d say no,” said Illinois State Police Master Sgt. David Roll, a member of the Meth Response Team based in Quincy.

Meth appears to be used now more than ever before in Adams County, but law enforcement officials have more ways to track who is using the homemade compound.

When anyone buys pseudoephedrine pills, he or she must show ID and sign for the pills. That data is then entered into the National Precursor Log Exchange. The National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators provides the purchase log at no cost to states that legislate pseudoephedrine sales. The recording is done in real time, meaning that seconds after the drug is bought, authorities can see who has bought pills.

“It makes it a little easier for us,” Roll said of the national exchange logs. “Now we have that available at our fingertips instead of having to manually go through a pill log like they had in the past. You can get someone’s history and see who is on the logs, where have they been buying and how much have they been buying. Oftentimes, you can get correlations on who is working together. You can see Subject A buying five minutes before Subject B at the same store. You know they are connected.”

Meth cases have helped swell the case files in the Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office. There were 809 felony cases filed in Adams County in 2012, the second year that at least 800 felonies had been charged in the county.

Those totals are a far cry from when Jon Barnard took charge of the State’s Attorney’s Office in 2004, when fewer than 600 felony charges were filed. Because of meth, that load has steadily grown through the years.

“We set a record (for felony cases in 2012),” Barnard said. “In the category of good news, a lot of that is explained by more effective and more aggressive prosecution and law enforcement efforts. The bad news is that meth accounts for somewhere between a third and 40 percent of felony cases we handle. If you take that number away, it tells you how enormous a problem this has become.”

Barnard knows that in spite of any laws or pill logs, the problem is going to persist.

“(The national exchange log) is a very effective tool for law enforcement to help us track these people,” Barnard said. “For me to tell you that it has stopped or significantly retarded the efforts of meth cooks would be a gross overstatement. What we have now seen is this resurgence.”








Angelina County, Texas (KETK) — Deputies with Angelina County Sheriff’s Office made a traffic stop that ended in the arrest of an East Texas woman.

It happened on Friday when deputies stopped Tracy Thomas, 42, and searched her vehicle.


Thomas’ vehicle revealed 117 grams of methamphetamines, 3.2 grams of Heroin, 3.4 grams of marijuana, .5 grams of morphine, $1,530 in cash, and numerous illegal prescription medications including Xanax, Hydrocodone, Carisoprodol, and Clonazepam.


Thomas also possessed hundreds of small zip lock style bags commonly used in the sales of illegal narcotics along with two digital scales.

The total street value of the methamphetamine alone was about $11,700.

Thomas was booked into Angelina County Jail for the manufacture and/or delivery of a controlled substance, possession of morphine, possession of heroin, possession of drug paraphernalia, and failure to maintain financial responsibility.





FORT WAYNE, Ind (21Alive) — A 31-year-old Fort Wayne woman has been arrested for possession of Methamphetamine.

Shortly before 10 a.m., Officers from the Fort Wayne Police Department’s Emergency Service Team and detectives from the Fort Wayne Police Department Vice and Narcotics Division served a search warrant at 712 Putnam Street.


After conducting the search, Michelle Lynn Felts was arrested on charges of possession of Methamphetamine, Maintaining a Nuisance, and Possession of Paraphernalia.


The Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office reported finding 29 one pot meth labs after a house fire at 4905 Birch Street. Officials believe may have been caused by one of the clandestine methamphetamine laboratories exploding.

Investigators noticed the smell of a meth lab upon arriving and upon entering the structure immediately recognized a fuel can, a one pot clandestine methamphetamine laboratory and other items consistent with a meth lab in the kitchen area.

Upon searching the entire residence, investigators located 29 one pot laboratories as well as other items used in the production of methamphetamines. The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office Rapid Response Unit responded and collected and disposed of all hazardous materials.

The investigation continues by the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office.





MANCHESTER — Employees who followed policy are credited with helping police and fire officials contain a suspected methamphetamine lab Friday evening at the La Quinta Inn & Suites on Front Street.

“They did a nice job recognizing there was an issue and calling the authorities,” city police Sgt. Christopher Goodnow said. “They were very helpful and forthcoming with anything we needed there.”

Lt. Todd Boucher said police were obtaining a search warrant for the room.


“We are investigating what we suspect to be a meth lab,” Boucher said.

Goodnow said firefighters were able to remove dangerous materials from the room. Two employees were treated for what Goodnow said were not life-threatening injuries.

David Roedel, co-manager of the hotel’s owner, Roedel Companies, said Friday night that a room had been reserved for two nights and, when the occupants asked for two more nights, employees entered the room to clean it and conduct a security check per the company’s policy. They noticed an unusual odor and “hazardous materials” in the room and the hotel’s general manager called the police and fire departments, he said.

“I give all the credit in the world to our professional staff,” Roedel said. “Without them sticking to policy and procedures, this might have gone unnoticed for the duration of their stay.”

Goodnow said no arrests have been made in connection to the hotel incident. He said two people were arrested on “unrelated” charges, but did not have their names as of Friday night.

Roedel said this is the first time he can remember an incident like Friday’s happening at the hotel. He said the hotel remained open throughout the incident.



MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Authorities say staffers at a Manchester hotel found a meth lab operating in one of the rooms there after a guest called the front desk asking to stay there longer.

WMUR-TV reports ( ) that the staffers at the La Quinta Inn and Suites on Friday noticed hazardous materials and an odor while enforcing a policy that requires them to check on a room when someone asks to extend their stay.

The staffers shut the door and called the police. Police and fire officials evacuated guests in the room next door and three hotel staffers were taken to a hospital for evaluation.

Police said they know who rented the room and were speaking to that person but there were no arrests reported as of early Saturday morning.

A suspected meth manufacturer is behind bars after returning to his home that caught fire Thursday night.

Ralph “Fast Eddie” Stroud is charged with manufacturing meth, and burning of a home, both felonies.


Multiple fire departments were called to Stroud’s home on Highway 11 near Pink Hill after it caught fire.  They returned Friday morning when that fire flared back up.

Sheriff Chris Hill says he is very confident there was a meth lab in the home, and that meth ingredients exploded, sparking the fire.

Stroud was out on bond for a previous meth arrest when Thursday night’s fire occurred.

He was arrested back in August and released on a $200,000 secured bond.  Now, Stroud is jailed on a $400,000 secured bond.

“This investigation will continue and I expect other charges may be filed against Stroud,” said Sheriff Hill.   “Although he is innocent until proven guilty, he has demonstrated through his actions his disregard for the law and shown that he is a danger to this area and I hope that is taken into account when he sees his day in court.”


Previous Story

Multiple fire departments were called to the scene of a fire that flared up again in the Pink Hill area of Lenoir County just before 5:00 a.m.

As of 7:45 a.m., Highway 11 in both directions was open with no delays.

Officials say ingredients to make meth were discovered inside the home at 5626 Highway 11 in Pink Hill last night.

Lenoir County Sheriff Chris Hill says while last night there were concerns of chemicals dispersing in the air, that is not a concern this morning despite the rekindling.

Sheriff Hill says they can’t say for sure at this point if the meth was the cause of the fire.

Sheriff Hill says they are currently looking for Ralph “Fast Eddie” Stroud, who lives at the home that caught on fire and is out on bond from other meth charges.


Fire crews in Lenoir County say ingredients to make meth have been discovered inside a house that caught on fire.

The fire broke out after 7:00 p.m. at 5626 Highway 11 in Pink Hill.

The Southbound lanes of Highway 11 in that area were closed.

Lenoir County Sheriff Chris Hill says they can’t say for sure at this point if the meth is the cause of the fire.

Sheriff Hill says they are currently looking for Ralph “Fast Eddie” Stroud, who lived at the address and is out on bond from other meth charges.

Stroud and two others were arrested on meth charges back in August by the sheriff’s office after a four-month investigation.

Prior to that arrest, Hill says Stroud  had been to prison twice for manufacturing methamphetamine.



A woman arrested during a Sempronius meth lab bust in November is facing a new set of drug-related charges.

After her case was presented to a Cayuga County grand jury, Theresa M. Estebanez was arrested on a warrant Thursday morning and accused of manufacturing methamphetamine, said an Auburn State Police spokesman.

The 31-year-old Sempronius woman was charged with two counts of third-degree unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine and one count of criminal possession of precursors of methamphetamine, all felonies.

She was also charged with second-degree criminal possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child, all misdemeanors.

The spokesman said Estebanez was remanded into the custody of the Cayuga County Jail pending arraignment.

Estebanez first appeared on troopers’ radar on Nov. 11, 2013 after a caller raised concerns about the welfare of the children living at 2314 Route 41A.

After finding the children safe but unattended, troopers decided to look for Estebanez, the children’s mother, at 2287 Route 41A — the residence next door to her Sempronius home.

That check resulted in four arrests.

After observing lab equipment and chemical reagents used to make meth inside a detached garage off of Richard D. Casterline’s home, troopers interviewed Estebanez, Casterline and two other adults inside the residence.

Speaking after the November arrest, Investigator Greg Scmitter said all four adults eventually made confessions.

“One of them confessed that they were smoking meth together and one individual confessed that they were manufacturing methamphetamine,” he said.

Casterline, 37, was charged with criminal possession of precursors of methamphetamine and third-degree unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine, both felonies, along with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, second-degree criminal use of drug paraphernalia and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, all misdemeanors.

Estebanez and the other two adults present — Shawn P. Ward, 36, and Jane M. Ward, 30, both of Homer — were each charged with second-degree criminal possession of manufacturing material, a misdemeanor.


A Lafayette woman faces methamphetamine possession and dealing charges after a traffic stop on Wednesday.


Prosecutors said the Lafayette Police Department made a routine traffic stop at Greenbush and N. Ninth Streets 6 p.m. on Wednesday. One officer involved noticed the passenger Bonny Ahlrich, 51, of Lafayette reaching into her purse after LPD had told her not to do so.

They asked if Ahlrich had weapons and she allowed officers to search her purse. Upon further investigation of the bag, the officer found several empty stamp-sized baggies, commonly used for packaging controlled substances.

A K-9 officer arrived at the scene and confirmed the presence of narcotics. Authorities said when asked, Ahlrich told officers there was nothing illegal in the vehicle, but officers noted suspicious behavior as something may be concealed on her person.

LPD conducted a further search of Ahlrich and her clothing. At one point during the search, she jumped back from the officer and admitted, when asked, to having “ice” on her. Police found more than five grams of meth that Ahlrich had hidden in the front of her pants.

Prosecutors said Ahlrich later told to police she was using meth again and selling the drug “because it was easy money.” She admitted that she had sold methamphetamine before that night and that she intended to sell most of the baggie that officers had found.

Ahlrich was charged with two Class A Felonies for possession of methamphetamine and dealing in methamphetamine.

According to prosecutors, Ahlrich was convicted in October 2005 of possession of heroin and possession of cocaine. In September 2004, she was convicted of possession of marijuana.


Bonny Lou Ahlrich, 51, of Lafayette was charged with two Class A felonies Friday after police allegedly found methamphetamine in her possession during a traffic stop Wednesday at Ninth and Greenbush streets.

Each count — dealing methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine — could result in 20 to 50 years in prison.

Ahlrich was a passenger in a PT Cruiser that was stopped by police. Court documents do not indicate why the car was stopped.

Police said Ahlrich acted suspiciously during the stop, once reaching into her purse after police asked her not to, according to court documents.

Police said they found several empty stamp-sized baggies commonly used for packaging controlled substances. A K-9 detected a narcotic odor in the vehicle. While police searched Ahlrich, she admitted to having “ice,” or methamphetamine, down the front of her pants.

A field test proved the substance positive for meth in the amount of 5.3 grams, police said.

The traffic stop occurred within 1,000 feet of Lyn Treece Boys & Girls Club, a youth center.

Ahlrich’s priors include possession of heroin and cocaine in 2005 and possession of marijuana in 2004.



WALLA WALLA — The recent overdose death of a 20-year-old Waitsburg woman was probably related to illegal methamphetamine use, authorities said.

“What we have here is that it does appear … based on other evidence at the scene, that it would be methamphetamine,” Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy John King said this morning.

Mariah Hofer, 20, was found unresponsive Tuesday in the bedroom of her home at 19391 E. Highway 12. Paramedics determined she was dead at the scene.

Also found unresponsive at the home was Richard Perez, 26, of Walla Walla., who was transported to Providence St. Mary Medical Center and is still being treated there, according to officials. Methamphetamine use is suspected in his case, too, King said.

Investigators report there is a criminal element to the two overdose deaths but have no suspects in custody or persons of interest.

An autopsy has been ordered, which will include a toxicology report on Hofer.

So far this year there have been three drug related deaths in Walla Walla County, according to Coroner Richard Greenwood.




REEDSPORT, Ore. – Two people face drug charges after police found 4 pounds of methamphetamine in cooler in their car early Wednesday morning.

The investigation started when a police officer stopped a car on suspicion of DUII.

The officer noticed drug paraphernalia in plain view as he talked to the driver, 18-year-old Sergio Llamas-Fernandez of Vancouver, Wash.

Neither Llamas-Fernandez nor his passenger – 33-year-old Ashley Dawn Gomez of Vancouver, Wash. – had valid driver’s licenses, police said.


During a search of the vehicle, police found 4 pounds of meth in a small cooler.

Police arrested both occupants of the car on charges of Possession/Delivery/Manufacture of Methamphetamine.

Llamas-Fernandez also has an INS detainer due to his immigration status, police said.

They are being held at the Douglas County Jail in Roseburg, Ore.




DeFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla Investigators with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office Vice/Narcotics Unit raided two DeFuniak Springs homes served probable cause search warrants at two neighboring homes.

These search warrants were obtained for 46 Jim Cotton Drive and 108 Jim Cotton Drive, after Investigators were able to determine several subjects at both residences were involved in the use, distribution, and manufacture of methamphetamine.


After a thorough search of 46 Jim Cotton Drive Investigators located red phosphorous, iodine crystals, and hydrogen peroxide which are all chemicals used in the methamphetamine manufacturing process.

Other items that were located include; methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, and marijuana. This was the residence of Teresa Cotton Bishop.

The search conducted at 108 Jim Cotton Drive revealed suspected methamphetamine oil, methamphetamine, multiple utensils that have been used to manufacture methamphetamine, marijuana that was pre-weighed and packaged for sale, and several items of drug paraphernalia. This was the residence of Charles Lewis Alford.

A total of ten people were arrested during the execution of these search warrants, they are as follows; Charles Lewis Alford, 44, of 108 Jim Cotton Drive, Defuniak Springs, was charged with Manufacturing Methamphetamine, Possession of Marijuana with the Intent to Distribute, Possession of a Controlled Substance without a Prescription, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Kaylee Nicole Schipper, 20, of 108 Jim Cotton Drive, Defuniak Springs, was charged with Manufacturing Methamphetamine, Possession of Marijuana with the Intent to Distribute, and Possession of a Controlled Substance without a Prescription.

Charles Levi Alford, 25, of 108 Jim Cotton, Defuniak Springs, was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Theresa Lynn Williams, 53, 304 Reeves Street, Niceville, was charged with Possession of Marijuana less than 20 grams and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Stephanie Anne Johnson, 25, 2570 HWY 183 A, Ponce De Leon, was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Teresa Cotton Bishop, 45, 46 Jim Cotton Drive, Defuniak Springs, was charged with Possession of Listed Chemicals, Possession of less than 20 grams of Marijuana, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Robert Shelton Peters, 47, of 306 Ammons Drive, Defuniak Springs, was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Amanda Frances Drake, 28, of 64 W Clover Lane, Oakwood Hills, FL, was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Jeffery Sanford Clenney, 51, of 105 Swanee, Defuniak Springs, was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Jordan Maxwell Bishop, 25, of 105 Swanee, Defuniak Springs, was arrested on two outstanding warrants for Resisting Arrest without Violence, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of a Controlled Substance without a Prescription, and Violation of Probation.

All of these suspects were arrested and transported to the Walton County Department of Corrections. Investigators anticipate more charges pending further investigation.



PROVIDENCE — Agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration have arrested a Pawtucket man and charged him with trafficking and selling methamphetamine to undercover police officers in Warwick, North Smithfield and Newport.

Sean Costigan, 51, appeared in U.S. District Court on Friday afternoon and charged with four counts of trafficking methamphetamine. On Thursday, federal agents and Warwick police executed a court-authorized warrant and searched a room that Costigan was renting at the Pineapple Inn, at 372 Coddington Highway, in Newport.

Agents assigned to the DEA Clandestine Laboratory Tactical Team found and seized materials used in the manufacture and distribution of the highly-addictive methamphetamine.

Among the materials were bottles of Coleman fuel, batteries stripped of casings to remove lithium, ice packs to expose ammonium nitrate, tubes, salt, fertilizer and bottles. The authorities also seized a supply of manufactured methamphetamine.

Costigan was held overnight at the Warwick Police Department and made an initial appearance in federal court. Magistrate Judge Patricia A. Sullivan ordered him held without bail, pending his next court appearance.

According to an affidavit filed Warwick Detective David Verity, who was assigned to the DEA task force, the investigation into Costigan was launched last spring. On Oct. 25, an undercover police officer allegedly bought methamphetamine from the suspect at the Hilton Garden Inn, 1 Thurber St., in Warwick.

The officer bought $150 worth of the drug — 1.5 grams —  in the parking lot outside the hotel, the affidavit states. The same undercover officer returned to thee same parking lot on Nov. 8 and bought 1.4 grams of the drug for $100.

On Nov. 15, the undercover officer returned to the Hilton Garden Inn and bought a larger amount — 4.6 grams of methamphetamine for $350, according to the affidavit. The next transaction allegedly took place on Dec. 6 when the undercover agent said that he was interested in buying nine grams of the drug.

Costigan, the affidavit states, said that he was busy “cooking’’ the methamphetamine and needed more time to finish making the drug. This time, they met at the Traveler’s Motor Lodge, at 1210 Eddie Dowling Highway, in North Smithfield.

The undercover officer said that he “immediately detected the smell of burning chemicals … and smoke.’’  Two women, he said, were in the room with Costigan. The officer bought four grams of the drug for $400, the affidavit states.

The final buy came on Wednesday when Costigan allegedly contacted the undercover officer and told him that he had six grams of the drug for sale. He went to the Pineapple Inn on Thursday morning and met Costigan in the doorway of Room 132. That’s when a team of federal agents and local police officers arrested him.



JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Juneau police seized almost $2 million in illegal street drugs in 2013 and noted an increase in the amount of Oxycontin and methamphetamine seized, a police official said.

Heroin seized decreased slightly during the same time period, the Juneau Empire ( reported Friday.

Lt. Kris Sell said she believes Oxycontin is making a comeback. Last year, 969 pills were seized, more than the usage in the peak years of 2010 and 2011, when about 927 pills were seized each of those years.

Oxycontin, a prescription painkiller, tapered off in 2012 after peaking in Juneau. The decrease came after manufacturers added chemicals that deactivated the active narcotic when it was crushed, Sell said. That year, only 274 pills were seized.

At the same time, local drug users turned to heroin, Sell said. The police department seized 78 grams of heroin in 2011 and 893 grams in 2012. Last year, the number dropped to 592 grams.

“Heroin use basically exploded between ’11 and ’12, and we were shocked by how popular heroin got,” Sell said. “It’s now moving back to Oxy.”

Oxycontin pills Juneau police are now seizing have modified formulas in which the narcotic ingredients are still active when crushed, Sell said. Those include pills from Canada, she said.

She is surprised to see an increase in seizures of methamphetamine, Sell said. In 2013, police seized 760 grams, compared to almost half that amount the previous year. In 2011, only 39 grams of meth were seized.

In Alaska, police and troopers are required to record their drug-interdiction statistics and provide the information to the state Department of Public Safety, which presents the data to lawmakers.

Sell said Juneau police also worked with federal partners last year to intercept drugs from Washington state en route to Juneau. In those investigations, 177 grams of heroin and 290 grams of methamphetamine were seized before reaching Juneau.

Those amounts are separate from the local drugs seized.



BANGKOK (IRIN) – Despite an aggressive crackdown on drugs, Thailand’s fight against methamphetamines is failing, activists say. With supply and demand rising, these highly addictive substances, commonly known as “meth”, are now the drug of choice.

“The punitive measures never work,” Bijay Pandey, chair of the Asian Network of People who Use Drugs, told IRIN. “I really don’t think the strategy addresses anything to promote the health and rights of those who use drugs.”


In fact, the drug in its pill form – locally known as “yaba” which means “crazy medicine” given its ability to keep underpaid workers going for long hours – has grown in popularity.

A 2013 report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says in 2012 more than 80 percent of the drug users who received help in treatment centres named meth as their primary drug.

Thai authorities, under pressure by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – a 10-member economic bloc – to achieve a drug-free region by 2015, stepped up efforts in 2011 to stem the upward trend of usage of meth and other amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS).

Advocates warn that the drug trade has not been deterred by strict tactics that have led to staggering arrest figures, stiffer penalties for drug offences, heightened stigma for drug users, and an upsurge in compulsory drug treatment. The United Natios has criticized this as ineffective, with high relapse rates and a threat to detainee health and human rights.

“The policy has no positive benefits toward drug users, and there’s no benefit to society as well, because it doesn’t actually solve the problem,” said Sakda Puakchai, chair of the Thai Drug Users Network.

In East and Southeast Asia, Thailand ranked first in drug-related arrests, of which more than 90 percent involved meth, the UNODC report says. In 2012 the country was second only to China in seizures of meth pills.

Thailand’s Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) revealed that in 2013 there were almost 50,000 more drug arrests and about 40 million more meth pills seized, compared to 2012.

Meth has become cheaper and easier to obtain because levels of manufacturing and trafficking from Burma continue to increase as a result of opium eradication efforts there, advocates say. A single meth pill costs as little as US$4 on the street in Thailand.

“If it’s about controlling the [illegal drug] market, it has been a complete and utter disaster,” Pascal Tanguay, a programme director with the NGO, Population Services International in Thailand, said of the government’s anti-drug policy.


Rights abused

A 2013 report by the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS found that drug abuse and corruption is also widespread among Thai police, and is affecting the country’s war against drugs.

Many drug users claim they have had drugs planted on them, have been beaten, forced to take an unlawful urine test, or have had to pay a bribe to police officers, who have also been known to sexually assault female drug users, advocates claim.

“There needs to be a policy that makes drug users feel comfortable about accessing health services,” said Tanguay, whose NGO promotes harm reduction services intended to prevent the dangers associated with drug use.

War on drugs in Thailand
Total drug-related arrests* 2011: 224,000 2012: 386,000 2013: 431,000
Total drug treatment admissions* 2011: 203,000 2012: 560,000 2013: 485,000
Methamphetamine seizures 2011: 55 million pills 2012: 83 million pills 2013: 120 million pills
*Although an exact breakdown was not available for each year, Thai officials say that the vast majority of arrests and treatment admissions were for meth and other ATS drugs. Years represent fiscal years from October to September. (Source: Thailand’s Office of the Narcotics Control Board)

Thai drug enforcement officials deny that the policy is heavy-handed, but admit the meth issue is a deepening concern. “Methamphetamines remain a serious problem, but the government has tried its best to control supply and demand reduction,” said Ratchaneekorn Sornsiri, deputy secretary-general of the ONCB. “It’s a long-term process.”

Thailand is a major trafficking destination, as meth and other ATS drugs flood in from neighbouring countries – particularly Burma, with which it shares an 1,800km border – to feed high domestic demand. Sornsiri said she believes regional cooperation is vital in halting the illicit trade.

HIV risk

Although meth is traditionally taken orally, an International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) report published in November 2013 said research in Bangkok showed that one in three injecting drug users were doing so with meth.

Thailand has more than 40,000 injecting users, with an HIV prevalence of 22 percent among them. However, needle and syringe exchange programmes are run by NGOs without any government funding.

The number of government sites providing methadone treatment for addiction almost doubled from 10 locations in 2012 to 19 in 2013, while state-run harm reduction services remain focused on heroin users, which account for less than one percent of drug treatment visits.

“We think they can be treated with ordinary methods,” Sornsiri said of meth users. “We encourage them to go to treatment to change their behaviour.”

Thailand’s Ministry of Justice announced in August that it would consider decriminalizing kratom, a tropical tree in the coffee family that can have stimulant effects at low doses. Kratom could serve as a substitute in drug dependence programmes and help manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

“I think it’s very interesting that Thailand is going in that direction,” Tanguay said. “There’s an opportunity for substitution treatment and also a possible economic market for it [kratom].”




Indiana State Police arrest a Knox County couple after they allegedly find drugs and nearly a dozen meth labs inside their home in Bicknell.

52-year-old Robin Chambers and 61-year-old Howard Chambers are facing several charges tonight including making meth and drug possession. Troopers assisted the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force on serving an arrest warrant on one of their children just after midnight.
Also arrested for allegedly visiting a common nuisance are 19-year-old Samuel Chambers, 43-year-old Ronnie Chambers who’s the man named in the warrant, and 57-year-old Paul McGriffen. We’re told McGriffen is the only one in the investigation who has since been released on bond.

MUNCIE — Another day, another multi-arrest methamphetamine raid in Muncie.

The setting early Thursday was the Best Western Hotel at 3011 W. Bethel Ave.

Police entering a guest’s room there about 1:45 a.m. reported finding meth, numerous materials used in the production and ingestion of the substance — and a sleeping 8-year-old boy.

hotel meth raid in room

Officers said they found Jessica Danielle Reed — the room’s registered guest — and Amanda Nichole Morris, both 31 and of Muncie, in the room, along with Reed’s child.

According to an affidavit, when police knocked on the door, Morris ran to the bathroom and began flushing materials down the toilet.

Arrested outside the motel in a vehicle were two other Muncie residents, Jeremy Douglas Reed, 37, and Brian Michael Dalton, 31.

A plastic bag containing what was determined to be meth was found inside the vehicle, an affidavit said.

Jessica Reed and Morris were preliminarily charged with possession of meth, possession of a controlled substance, neglect of a dependent and possession of paraphernalia.

Jeremy Reed — apparently the father of the boy found in the room — was preliminarily charged with possession of meth and neglect of a dependent. Both Reeds were also charged with maintaining a common nuisance and taking a child to a common nuisance.

Dalton — whose criminal record includes a 2011 conviction for robbery — faces charges of possession of meth, possession of a controlled substance and visiting a common nuisance.

Morris — convicted of possession of paraphernalia in 2012 — was also charged with obstruction of justice.

Child Protective Services workers were called to make custody arrangements for the boy.

Police reports reflect authorities went to the motel in search of another person, reported to be staying in Reed’s room, who was apparently not found.

All four defendants were being held without bond Thursday in the Delaware County jail. Some of the drug-related charges could be enhanced due to the motel’s proximity to Ball State University.



SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) — Santa Clara County is proudly showing off its drug-busting canine.

Zeus is a narcotics dogs assigned to the Santa Clara County Specialized Enforcement Team (SCCSET).


He used his highly-trained nose to locate more than two pounds of methamphetamine in a vehicle last Friday.

The bust resulted in the arrest of seven adults and one juvenile suspect.

Zeus is a Labrador.

Santa Clara County officials say Zeus’ message is, “Stay away from drugs” and “if you hide it, I will find it.”





CROMWELL, Ky. (WBKO)– The Ohio County Sheriff’s Office responded to a disturbance and drug complaint at a home in Cromwell Tuesday night.

Police found two juveniles alone at the residence who said there had been a fight, and everyone involved had left.


While deputies were still on the scene, Lori Miller returned to the residence, told them about the fight, and said there was damage to her front door.  When miller opened the door, deputies detected a very strong chemical order commonly associated with the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Police searched the residence and uncovered what they believe to be the largest meth lab in Ohio County to date. Also found in the residence were marijuana, drug paraphernalia, methamphetamine, and prescription pills.

Miller was booked into  the Ohio County Detention Center on multiple drug-related charges.

A Seymour woman has been arrested on a number of drug charges.

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Carothers says 31-year-old Shannon R. Eisenmenger was arrested Tuesday after a three month investigation led by Detective Ben Rudolph. Eisenmenger was booked in the Jackson County Jail on three felony charges of dealing in methamphetamine. She is being held pending an initial hearing in Jackson Circuit Court.

This marks the second meth dealing arrest in as many days. Carothers praised the Seymour Police Department, as well as Jackson County Prosecutor Amy Marie Travis and her office for their help in obtaining these arrests.



In what is being hailed as one of the biggest drug raids in county history, police on Thursday announced 17 arrests and the seizure of more than $18 million worth of narcotics, weapons and cash from a criminal drug trafficking organization in West Contra Costa County.

The two-year investigation known as Operation Crystal Lens began yielding arrests in November, after a narcotics team known as West-NET was assembled to work with the FBI, San Pablo Police Cmdr. Jeff Palmieri said Thursday.

It resulted in the seizure over the past two months of approximately 475 pounds of methamphetamine, 158 grams of cocaine, several guns with high-capacity magazines, cars and motorcycles used in the operation and more than $950,000 in cash, he said. The methamphetamine alone was worth a street value of approximately $17 million, he said.

“This is big,” Palmieri said. “When you look at the totality of what the units were able to accomplish, it’s one of the biggest seizures of narcotics in West Contra Costa County history.”

Police did not identify the suspects arrested but said they were connected to the Norteno street gang. One suspect, identified as Gabriel Urtiz, remains on the loose, Palmieri said.

The operation revealed that the narcotics were provided by the Mexico-based Sinaloa drug cartel. The cartel also has been called the Federation and Blood Alliance and at various times has been considered the most powerful drug trafficking organization in the world.

The investigation revealed that drugs and weapons were trafficked, and that the proceeds were laundered by the criminal street gangs, Palmieri said.

Police have not revealed the locations where the raids and investigation took place over the past few months, only saying there were multiple sites in West Contra Costa County.

Officers from 10 local agencies made up the West-NET team, which was supervised by a California Department of Justice task force commander working in tandem with the FBI, Palmieri said. The agencies involved included the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office and Probation Department; the Hercules, Kensington, Pinole, Richmond and San Pablo police departments, and the Northern California High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

“Anytime you take that much narcotics from an organized criminal structure, it’s a great thing,” Palmieri said. “It’s not going into our streets, and it curbs violence. This is very significant.”



Recently we learned that efforts to curtail the availability of methamphetamine nationwide have not been particularly successful.

A Drug Enforcement Administration study found while efforts to curb local meth labs have had some success, the supply of meth has increased as Mexican cartels have moved in to fill the void.

As long as there is demand, there will be supply.

Now, a group of researchers at the University of Louisville in Kentucky may have discovered one factor that influences the demand for meth: the availability of alcohol.

Their research, presented this month at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association in Philadelphia, looks only at Kentucky. But Kentucky has local-option laws similar to Alabama’s and those of many other states [including Louisiana].

That means it has “dry” counties [parishes in Louisiana] where alcohol sales are prohibited, “wet” counties where they are not, and “moist” counties, which are dry but contain wet cities.

The researchers found that Kentucky could reduce its number of meth lab seizures by 17 to 30 percent per year if all its counties were wet.

Citing previous studies on the impact of various alcohol and drug prohibitions and regulations, they further suggest that the decreased number of meth lab seizures results from diminished demand.

So, to summarize, wet counties have fewer meth lab seizures than dry counties because they have fewer meth labs. They have fewer meth labs not because of pressure on supply but because of a lower demand for meth. And they have a lower demand for meth because alcohol, a substitute good, is easier and less expensive to obtain.

Of the Alabama counties that border the Tennessee River, only two are wet: Madison and Colbert. But only two counties statewide, Clay and Blount, are completely dry.

Most north Alabama counties are moist, a relatively recent development coming from a slew of recent local-option votes everywhere from Moulton to Cullman to Scottsboro. With the Great Recession lingering like a nasty hangover, the prospects of liquor tax revenue have trumped other concerns.

According to the University of Louisville researchers, moist counties already have fewer meth lab busts than dry counties. But they could have fewer still by going wet.

What is the point of a county remaining dry when it contains wet cities, anyway? It’s mostly just for show, although it does still result in the occasional arrest for “illegal possession of prohibited liquor.”

All the moist counties, including Morgan, Limestone and Lawrence, should go wet. You have nothing to lose but your meth labs.



A police pursuit in Warsaw ended with one person in the hospital and meth-related items littering the course of the chase, Warsaw police said.

About 2 p.m. Wednesday, police said, officers attempted to stop a green Honda near Winona Avenue and Indiana Street when all three passengers bailed out and the car took off.

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According to a statement issued Thursday by police, undercover officers nabbed the passengers while the Honda went down McClellan Street and Country Club Road – the driver tossing evidence out the window – before stopping near Country Club Drive South.

Narcotics officers located the items, which included an active one-pot meth lab contained in a fire extinguisher, police said. More items were found inside the car, police said, including a generator and a spent meth lab.

The driver, Randy R. Woods, 33, of Silver Lake, was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of chemical reagents/precursors with intent to manufacture meth, resisting/fleeing law enforcement and being a habitual traffic violator. He was being held on $5,000 bond.

The investigation led to an apartment in the 300 block of North Lake Street, where officers reported finding finished meth, another generator and other items used to make meth.

One of the passengers, Michael S. Harris, 49, of Warsaw, had an active warrant out of Kosciusko County on a forgery charge. He was booked into jail on the warrant and was also charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of chemical reagents/precursors with intent to manufacture meth, police said. He was also being held on $5,000 bond.

Another passenger was admitted to an area hospital after taking unprescribed narcotics, police said. They said he will also face charges.




Two people have been charged after a vehicle stop in Albany led to the  discovery of an alleged drug lab.

On Thursday, police stopped a car on York Street and located items used to  manufacture methamphetamine in the boot.

A WA Police spokeswoman said officers discovered a female passenger in the  car had purchased cold and flu tablets containing pseudoephedrine just prior to  being stopped, with empty packets of the tablets inside the vehicle.

Officers raided a home in McKail and discovered more items used in the  manufacture of methamphetamine, including a possible ammonia generator.

  It is the sixth drug lab uncovered in WA since January 1.

A 25-year-old Katanning man has been charged with one count of attempting to  manufacture a prohibited drug and will appear in Albany Magistrates Court on  Friday.

A 21-year-old McKail woman was released on bail to appear at Albany  Magistrates Court on January 30.