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Three persons were arrested April 15 after a meth lab was found within the City of Licking, authorities said.

A multi-agency investigation found components of a methamphetamine laboratory. Three persons were arrested at the scene, said Cpl. Patrick Burton of the Licking Police Department.


Arrested were: Heather Lenore Polk, Licking; Diana Wilder, Licking; and Wayne Roam, Fenton. Each was arrested on charges of possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), manufacture a controlled substance (meth) in a residence within 2,000 feet of a school, unlawful use of drug paraphernalia, possession of methamphetamine precursor drug with intent to manufacture meth and unlawful use of meth.

Members of the South Central Drug Task Force, Texas County Sheriff’s Department and Licking Police Department K-9 Unit assisted in the investigation.



DAYTON — A woman cleaning her yard for a backyard Easter Sunday cookout discovered meth-making remains in her fire pit.

Police were called this afternoon to the 100 block of Pleasant Avenue, where they confirmed two mobile methamphetamine operations were found in the yard behind a home.


A police drug unit removed over-the-counter cold medicine and two plastic beverage bottles, including a 2-liter with a tube inside. Also found was a gas generator and other drug paraphernalia, according to police.

Police urge residents to call 911 if they spot a possible meth lab.



A 29-year-old Napa man was a passenger in a vehicle stopped this week along 1600 Silverado Trail for a vehicle code violation, according to police.

A records check of the man, Kurt Johnson, aka Kurt Garrett and Kurt Daniel, showed he was on searchable probation, and during the subsequent search by officers, a clear plastic container containing suspected methamphetamine fell from his pant leg onto the ground, said the Napa Police Department.

Johnson was arrested Tuesday at 8 a.m. for alleged possession of a controlled substance, committing a felony while on bail/probation and a probation violation, police said.



April 14: An hour before she walked into the Walmart store with two men, the woman lit up a hit of methamphetamine.


At the store, she selected underwear, shirts, pants, a pink jacket and a purse, and walked into a fitting room. Two loss prevention officers watched — one from the sales floor, the other via security camera.


The woman left the dressing room, not carrying anything — but the edges of the pink jacket peeked out under her hoodie. She walked to the front doors. Officers stopped her in the parking lot, escorted her back inside and called police.


Two officers drove to the store in the 1900 block of South Union Avenue. The woman was waiting for them. She was 26. She’d been banned from another Walmart, in Marysville, in December 2012.


She admitted stealing the jacket. She said she’d decided not to take the other stuff.


While officers interviewed her, the loss prevention team watched the security cameras. They saw two men working as a team. One walked ahead of the other, picking up items and putting them down. The second man followed, picked up the items and stowed them in his pants: lighters, an ashtray, a propane bottle.


A loss prevention officer remembered that the men came in with the woman earlier. Police officers called for backup and waited. The men walked out of the store, into the arms of waiting police.


One man was 35. The other was 24. He carried a small baggie of meth. He’d been cited for shoplifting three hours earlier at a Home Depot.


“I am sorry,” he said, after the baggie fell out of his pocket.


How long had he been using?


“For a while now,” the man said.


The woman admitted knowing the men but said she’d just met them. She changed her story and said she’d met one of them a few days earlier. She said she’d been off meth for a while and had just started using again.


Officers booked all three into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of third-degree theft, burglary, drug possession and prior arrest warrants.





Customs officials in Ho Chi Minh City seized one kilogram of pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient for producing methamphetamine, on Thursday from a personal package bound for Australia.

The substance was discovered hidden among dried food products and disguised as instant tea powder.
After two powder samples tested positive, the shipment was transferred to the municipal crime lab, which flagged the illicit contents.
The shipment had been sent from a person in the Mekong Delta’s Ca Mau Province.
A police investigation remains underway.
Vietnam has some of the world’s toughest drug laws. Those convicted of possessing/smuggling 100 grams of heroin or cocaine or 300 grams of other drugs face capital punishment.

PATASKALA — A new report ranks Ohio among the top states for seized methamphetamine labs last year.

Ohio ranked fourth in the country in 2013 as authorities uncovered 1,010 labs, chemicals and glassware used in the drug’s cooking process. Indiana topped the national rankings last year, followed by Tennessee and Missouri.

The report was done by the Missouri Highway Patrol, based on numbers from the National Clandestine Laboratory Seizure System, a database run by the U.S. Department of Justice. The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported the results in early April.

Ohio moved up from seventh in the rankings in 2012, when it ranked behind Missouri, Tennessee, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois and Oklahoma. Ohio had 709 reports of labs, materials and chemicals seized in that year.

“The labs that they’re seizing (in Ohio) are the mom-and-pop styles,” said Ralph Weisheit, a criminal justice professor at Illinois State University and an expert on methamphetamine. “The typical meth cooker doesn’t learn from the Internet or from a book. He or she learns from friends, from people. That’s why meth spreads like a disease, it goes from person to person.”

Locally, Pataskala Police have not had to deal with any recent meth lab seizures, but Police Chief Bruce Brooks said that does not mean meth — and accompanying labs — are not an issue in Licking County.

“We’re fortunate enough not to deal with it so much here in the city, but as a county we deal with it on a regular basis,” said Brooks, pointing out the Pataskala Police partners with the Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force, which does occasionally handles meth lab seizures.

In January, a meth lab was found at a home in Thornville.

Pataskala Police last dealt with a meth-lab-related issue in 2010.

That incident occurred when a patrolman in a cruiser approached a stopped minivan on Mink Street. Two men in the minivan threw a tank out of the vehicle and fled on foot. The tank, police quickly learned, contained anhydrous ammonia, a nitrogen-based fertilizer drug dealers sometimes use to make meth. Pataskala ultimately had to pay to dispose of the tank and the resulting cleanup.

Pataskala Police may not have seized any meth labs since that incident, but Brooks said his officers periodically discover meth during traffic stops.

“We’ve seen an uptrend here in heroin arrests where people also are in possession of meth,” Brooks said. “They’re using (meth) to level out and go to work, try to function.”

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said methamphetamine has hit epidemic proportions across the state, especially in rural Ohio, where investigators find remnants of labs in fields and highways.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation tracks meth lab seizures by federal fiscal year. The state’s police officers report voluntarily, so there are likely more seizures than the statistics reflect.



COMSTOCK TOWNSHIP, MI – A traffic stop early Saturday led police to a house east of Kalamazoo where they found several suspected methamphetamine labs, investigators said.

Kalamazoo County sheriff’s deputies obtained a search warrant for the house in the 6000 block of Chubb Avenue in Comstock Township at about 5 a.m. following a traffic stop during which suspected meth was found inside a vehicle, according to a sheriff’s office news release.

At the house, investigators said multiple people were found, including a young child.

Deputies also found “suspected methamphetamine, components for manufacturing methamphetamine, and several methamphetamine labs in the home and on the property,” according to the news release.

Investigators said the case will be submitted for review to the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s with requests for charges against “multiple individuals.”

Several people were arrested at the scene on other charges, according to the news release, and Children’s Protective Services was called to the scene because of the child that was found inside the house.

Joplin police seized about a pound of methamphetamine and $2,000 cash in a traffic stop Thursday at 17th Street and Maiden Lane.

Police Lt. Matt Stewart said an officer found the cash on the person of the driver, Marvin S. Sills, 40, of Riverton, Kan., and the methamphetamine in the vehicle during a search with the aid of a drug-sniffing police dog. A pound of the drug costs about $18,000 and is worth about $90,000 when broken up and sold in small amounts at street level, he said.

Both Sills and a passenger were arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to distribute. The Jasper County prosecutor’s office filed the charge on Sills, but the passenger was released without a felony charge.




BOND COUNTY, Ill. (KSDK) – A 30-year-old inmate held on methamphetamine production charges in Bond County allegedly escaped through a vent, officials say.

The Bond County Sheriff’s Department says Andrew Walker escaped through a vent which led to an outer room, broke through a drop ceiling and then left through an egress door.

Authorities say he had been present on his last cell check. Walker was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and white shorts. He is described as 6 feet tall and 170 pounds with short brown hair.

The Greenville Police Department and Illinois State Police are assisting with the search for Walker.




Most of the arrests in Mayes County include methamphetamine, leading to the highest number of incarcerations.

Heart racing, adrenaline pumping, nerves on high alert.

This is how Investigator Jason Treat of the Mayes County Sheriff’s Office responds to every methamphetamine bust.

“If I didn’t fear for my safety, I think it’d be time to find a new profession,” said Treat. “I think a lack of fear allows carelessness to sneak in.”

Treat said it has become common knowledge that Mayes County has a meth problem. As a special agent assigned to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics taskforce, he’s seen his fair share of busts.

It’s a quiet county, with one Walmart and a church on every corner, but…

“What people don’t know is how much evil is around them on a daily basis,” said Treat. “Its like a living nightmare.”

Foul-smelling labs that could explode at any time are worked by people who have no respect for the law. The “cooks,” usually addicts themselves, have burned the skin off their hands, have sunken eyes, hollow cheeks, rotted teeth and head-to-toe meth sores. It does sound like a nightmare, but Treat said it’s an every-day scene.

“Who are the addicts? They’re not always who you think,” Treat said. “It’s your neighbor, your co-worker, the cashier that checks you out at the store, the owner of a Fortune 500 company, it could even be your spouse.”

Treat said meth, like its addicts, knows no bounds.

“The dealer is the person who just got out of prison and sees no other way to make a living. It’s the person giving you food at the drive-thru window, or the old lady down the street that everybody loves,” said Treat.

In a county as small as this one, with a problem this huge, the odds are high you’ll run into a meth addict or user anywhere you go.

The casual user may show few symptoms to the untrained eye. But as the effects of the homemade drug are highly addictive, there aren’t many that stay casual users for long.

“The user who has been using more for longer, is more noticeable to the general public. They grind their teeth, they have unexplainable body movements and sores from picking meth bugs,” said Treat, of sores caused by users digging at their skin to remove imaginary bugs.

Cooks, dealers and addicts are all a danger to the community.

“Addicts are a threat because they are driving down our roads with school kids in the crosswalks and our families sharing the road. These are the people so paranoid they shoot out the door of their house at the mailman or trash man because they’re paranoid someone is out to get them and their drugs,” said Treat. “As a parent, I hate to see it but often meth addicts are people more worried about getting high than they are about feeding their toddlers.”

Dealers prey on the volatile addicts, knowing they’ll soon be searching for their next fix.

“They know that the kid starting to get bored with marijuana will soon be talked into trying meth and become another junkie willing to trade a box of pseudoephedrine for a bump of meth.

“It’s a dangerous world,” said Treat, who knows just how seedy the meth world can be. “The methods may have evolved, but it’s all just as dark.”

Treat said it all starts with pseudoephedrine, cold medicine, but rather than curing anything it’s making the problem worse.

He said training is crucial as the other ingredients in meth are commonplace household items.

“These cooks are using common kitchen and household ingredients,” said Treat. “But what they’re cooking up is a felony charge.”

Treat said the county, which used to be the meth capitol of the state, still has a meth epidemic, but also has devoted law enforcement officers willing to face the evil head on.

GULFPORT — Two men with suspected ties to a Mexican drug cartel have pleaded not guilty to charges involving 19.5 pounds of crystal meth allegedly found in a traffic stop on Interstate 10.

Elieser Sandoval, 24, the driver, and Victor Menera-Huato, 26, believed to be a cartel security officer, were arraigned Tuesday in U.S. District Court. Their trial is set for a court calendar that starts June 2.

Drug agents arrested them March 18 after the crystal meth, also known as ice, reportedly was found hidden in car with a North Carolina tag. They were denied bond.

A criminal complaint said Menera-Huato, from Mexico, was in the United States without permission, and Sandoval crossed the border earlier that day in the same car.

A grand jury indicted them April 9 on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, aiding and abetting and interstate travel in aid of racketeering enterprises.

They face charges punishable by 10 years to life in prison.





CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa —A mobile meth lab was found Wednesday in an Iowa hospital parking lot, reported the Cedar Rapids Gazette newspaper.

The lab was found at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids about 8:44 p.m.

The Gazette reported the lab was found as police were investigating a report of two suspicious people.

Rodney Schneider, 31, of Cedar Rapids, was arrested and charged with suspicion of manufacturing a controlled substance, possession of meth precursors and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Officers told the newspaper that meth was being made in the car.

Schneider was taken to the Linn County Jail.

CLINTON — Two Clinton women are currently being held in the Clinton County jail on $50,000 cash-only bonds for methamphetamine charges.

Jessica L. Crabtree, 29, 215 10th Ave. North, and Tera A. Riddle, 27, 611 1/2 S. Seventh St., were arrested last week for conspiracy to manufacture meth. Riddle also is charged with the delivery of a simulated controlled substance.

According to court documents, a cooperating individual told police last Friday that Riddle messaged him about purchasing pseudoephedrine. Police advised the individual to set up a meeting with Riddle for a trade of half-a-gram of meth in exchange for three boxes of the medication, according to the affidavit.

A meeting was set up at Dollar General on 13th Avenue North. Court documents continue that Clinton Police Officer Ron Heeren observed Riddle and a woman, later identified as Crabtree, walking to the area of the Dollar General. The two defendants allegedly met with the cooperating individual, who gave Riddle three boxes of pseudoephedrine, according to the affidavit. Riddle then gave the individual a plastic bundle with purported meth, according to the affidavit.

The bundle tested negative for methamphetamine and amphetamine, according to court documents. The affidavit states that Crabtree told officers that she knew Riddle packaged flour to give to the individual. After the transaction was complete, officers made contact with the defendants while eastbound on 13th Avenue North and found a package of lithium batteries, purchased at Dollar General, in Riddle’s possession, according to court documents.

That same day, police conducted a search warrant at Riddle’s residence and found a hydrochloric gas generator and two empty blister packs of pseudoephedrine, according to the affidavit.

During an interview with police, Crabtree admitted to attempting to purchase pseudoephedrine 32 times since November 2013, according to court documents. She also admitted to observing or assisting Riddle manufacture meth on at least 10 occasions, as well as purchasing liquid fire and stealing lithium batteries, according to the affidavit.

Both defendants are set to appear in court at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.



As good as Canyon County residents can feel about the continued decline in crimes against property and people (as chronicled in Wednesday’s editorial), we should be equally concerned about another kind of crime that doesn’t show up in either of those two categories. That would be drug offenses, which increased by 18 percent in Nampa.


For all the well-publicized arguments about legalization of marijuana and how dangerous it really is, it’s easy to overlook what Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue emphatically believes is the biggest threat to the United Statesmethamphetamine. Despite the fact that its basic ingredients are harder to obtain in significant quantities in this country, the National Drug Intelligence Center reports that meth use has been increasing nationally, largely due to the huge quantities coming here from Mexico. And Interstate 84 is a major pipeline.

There are two main reasons you should be scared to death of meth: 1) it’s relatively cheap, and 2) it’s horribly addictive. A single hit of meth can release up to 10 times the amount of dopamine into the brain that cocaine does, yet it’s much more affordable than the latter drug is.

The real-life stories local law enforcement can tell you about the effect meth has had in the community are heartbreaking — parents giving the drug to their children, then “pimping” them out for more of the drug. Lives that are over before they’ve really even begun. Many of the crimes that do happen here are perpetrated by people desperate for their next fix. And because the drug is so powerful, rehab is all but impossible.

“It’s breaking down the economic hierarchy and social hierarchy of our entire nation,” Donahue said. “It’s so debilitating. It erodes people’s morals, ethics, family values, work ethic.”

The drug industry, like any other, plays by the rules of supply and demand. If there’s no demand, there will be no supply. It isn’t realistic to expect law enforcement to shut down the suppliers — the last time Mexican law enforcement tried that, 50,000 people died in five years, and the drug cartels are as strong now as they’ve ever been.

No, it’s up to us as a nation to end the demand. And we can start by being more vocal and persistent in hammering home the message to our kids that meth will destroy their futures.

Trends in pop culture aren’t encouraging. Drug use in general hasn’t been condemned to the degree it was a few decades ago. It’s going to be an uphill battle, and it has to be waged in each and every household.

Don’t hold any punches — you have to be bold. Bolder than the pushers. Get between your kids and meth in any way you possibly can.




MOSINEE, Wis. (WSAU) – A high speed chase ended in a crash and a drug arrest late Thursday night.

22-year-old Andrew Penrod was driving near Pepper Court without headlights when a Mosinee Police Department officer tried to pull him over. That’s when Penrod accelerated through a stop sign, starting the chase. He was able to get onto northbound I-39 at Maple Ridge Road, where speeds reached 98 miles per hour.


Penrod was apprehended after crashing into a fence and a tree in The Bonney Oak Drive neighborhood southeast of Cedar Creek Mall. He started running from officers after the crash, but eventually stopped evading officers. The complaint says Penrod had taken heroin about an hour before the chase, and had swallowed methamphetamine to keep officers from finding it.

Penrod is charged attempting to flee an officer, possession of methamphetamine, operating while revoked, and operating with a controlled substance. He’s jailed on a $25,000 cash bond awaiting his next court appearance April 23rd.

This is not Penrod’s first run in with the law. He was awaiting court proceedings for theft charges, and has a lengthy history of drug charges, fleeing officers, and driving several times with a revoked license.



SHEFFIELD LAKE — A “thionyl methodmethamphetamine lab — the first of its kind in Ohio — has been discovered in a lavish lakefront home in Sheffield Lake.

Chief Deputy Dennis Cavanaugh with the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office says the Lorain County Drug Task Force arrested Madhu Dutta, 51, this week after executing search warrants at his home, 3675 East Lake Road, Wednesday and Thursday.

Dutta is charged with possession of precursors or chemicals for the manufacture of methamphetamine, manufacture of methamphetamine and permitting drug abuse in real estate.

Cavanaugh said Dutta lives alone and has lived in the home, which is valued at nearly $900,000, for about a year. The lab was not in complete operation, but there were enough chemicals and equipment to warrant the charges, Cavanaugh said.

The thionyl method is unique, Cavanaugh said, because of “the type of system, the chemicals being used, the specific type of equipment, and you have to have some knowledge or ability to be able to do this.”

He said the chemicals being used were commercial grade.

Not only is this the first meth lab of its type in Ohio, “There hasn’t been that many reported in quite a few years across the whole country,” Cavanaugh said. He added that this type of lab is “extremely toxic.”

He did not know if Dutta has a scientific background or what sort of work he does but said he owns a business of some sort.

Cavanaugh said his office began receiving complaints about suspicious activity at Dutta’s home in August 2013. He was unsure if Dutta was attempting to manufacture meth for personal use or to sell.

Authorities also took three handguns, 11 “long arms,” which included shotguns and automatic rifles and a large quantity of ammunition from the home.

The Lorain County Drug Task Force was assisted by the Lorain police Narcotics Unit, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations and the Sheffield Lake police and fire departments.

Dutta remained in the Lorain County Jail Friday night.







Possible Methamphetamine lab found in $1M Sheffield Lake home

SHEFFIELD LAKE — The Lorain County Drug Task Force found what police believe to be an under-construction methamphetamine lab in an East Lake Road home that was purchased for $1.125 million last year.

Madhu Sudan Dutta, one of the owners of 3675 E. Lake Road, was arrested Wednesday at the house.

Detective Olen Martin said the Drug Task Force has been investigating suspicious activity at the house since August, but new information came to light this week that led officers to go there.

Martin said Dutta was in the driveway when police arrived and invited them into his house. Once inside, he said, they sat at the kitchen table and Dutta gave them permission to conduct a search.

Officers found chemicals and equipment consistent with building a meth lab and then obtained a search warrant before continuing the search, Martin said. While there was meth in the house, it didn’t necessarily come from the lab, which wasn’t finished yet.

“It was not to the point where I would say it was a fully functioning lab yet,” Martin said.

After investigators, who wore protective gear because of the risk of exposure to hazardous materials, found the items, Dutta was taken into custody on charges of illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs and permitting drug abuse.

Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation investigator Dave Posten said the equipment seized from Dutta’s house was evidence of a sophisticated meth lab that has become increasingly rare in the United States. He said the lab used the “Thionyl/Chloride Method” of cooking meth, the first time such a lab has been found in Ohio.

“This process requires sophisticated equipment, chemicals and the ability to use the lab to manufacture meth,” a news release on the arrest said.

The far more popular method for cooking meth is known as the “one pot” or “shake and bake” method, which relies on plastic beverage bottles and common household items like drain cleaner, lithium batteries and camping fuel. That method is considered easier to cook with, although Martin said the quality of the meth likely wouldn’t have been as good as what the “Thionyl/Chloride Method” would produce.

Police also found three semiautomatic pistols and 11 rifles and shotguns, including a .223-caliber Bushmaster assault rifle with a loaded magazine, during the search of Dutta’s home. A large amount of ammunition also was confiscated.

Martin said although police are checking on the guns, they have no reason to believe that Dutta wouldn’t legally have been allowed to possess the weapons and ammunition.

In addition to the Drug Task Force, specially-trained Lorain police narcotics officers and BCI agents were called in to help clear out the lab. Meth labs are considered extremely dangerous because of chemical fumes and fire danger.

Sheffield Lake police and fire departments assisted during Wednesday’s raid.

This is the second meth lab the Drug Task Force and other law enforcement agencies have found in the county this month. Lorain police found a large meth lab using the “one pot” method on West Seventh Court on April 9. Police said that case remains under investigation.






A man, believed to be high on methamphetamine, was arrested after barging into a local hospital and demanding to see his son — who had been discharged more than a month ago.

Michael Jacob Ebinger, 26, was arrested and treated at South Lake Hospital on Thursday after police said he tried to force his way through security guards into the facility’s emergency room to see his son.


According to an arrest affidavit, police showed up at the emergency room just after 1 p.m. Thursday and found security guards struggling with a man who had injection marks on his arm.

The guards told police that Ebinger had been running around the emergency room lobby screaming that he wanted to see his son. A records check revealed the son was in the hospital more than a month ago and released to his mother, but Ebinger continued trying to force his way into the patient area of the emergency room to see the child.

Security guards were able to convince Ebinger to leave the lobby, but he returned, reportedly pushed a security guard out the way and ran back into the lobby. Police were called and Ebinger was arrested.

Hospital staff examined Ebinger and determined he was intoxicated by methamphetamine. He told officers he had been using the drug every day since he dropped his son off at the hospital.

Ebinger was charged with disorderly intoxication and battery on uniformed security guards. He remained in the Lake County jail Friday in lieu of $2,150 bail.




Devastated homeowners Kevin and Liz Middleton are $25,000 out of pocket after decontaminating their west Auckland home which was once used as a p-lab.

They bought the Titirangi house as a “doer upper”  but their DIY dream quickly turned into a nightmare after the home tested positive for methamphetamine contamination.


They’d been living in it for nine months with their nine-year-old daughter and had to throw out most of their belongings and completely gut the building’s interior.

Insurance will cover some contents but not the $25,000 decontamination bill.

It’s a hard lesson for the couple who paid for a building inspection but in hindsight realise they should have tested for methamphetamine too.

“We completely didn’t think about it,” Kevin Middleton says.

“I’m happy to say maybe we should have been smarter.”

Middleton hopes their story will serve as a warning to others.

He believes methamphetamine testing should be mandatory for all properties.

“It doesn’t have to be a rental, there’s been some very nice houses that have had exactly the same issues.”

The test was suggested by a neighbour but Middleton initially disregarded the idea.

Then he read about Tauranga toddler Alicia Steenson whose parents believe their daughter’s leukaemia was the result of living in a contaminated house.

“I started thinking about my daughter,” Middleton says.

There were no obvious signs the property was contaminated but Middleton had a persistent dry cough and the master bedroom had an occasional perfume-like scent.

Tests registered contamination in that room higher than any other bedroom.

Middleton says there’s a lack of information available about the long term health effects but says they’re “getting on with life”.

It could have been worse, he says.

“I would rather have gone through hell for two to three months than live in contamination and get sick.”

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand chief executive Helen O’Sullivan says contamination is hard to spot and the code of conduct doesn’t obligate agents to search out hidden defects.

“You don’t need to run in with your magnifying glass for every property.”

However suspicious testimony from neighbours “should raise the antenna of an experienced agent”, she says.

O’Sullivan says the industry needs some kind of regulation to prevent bogus testing from non-professionals but doesn’t believe testing shouldn’t be compulsory.

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“I don’t think people should all leap to their feet and get their homes tested but at the same time if I was buying a new property I would do my due diligence.”





A major methamphetamine drug trafficking ring was busted in Southern Colorado. The Denver DEA office made the announcement Friday.

Among the drugs that were seized: 66 pounds of meth, 189 grams of heroin, $111,000, 13 firearms and 16 vehicles. The investigation started in April 2013 and included agencies in San Francisco, Alburquerque, Denver and Pueblo. The United States Postal Service was also involved.



Seven people have been arrested so far: Henry Loya, 32, from Palo Alto, CA; Antonio Caro, 35, from Pueblo; Juan Carlos Rayos-Franco, 30, from Pueblo; Cint Nielse, 39, from Pueblo West; Sheriee Torres Maes, 31, from Pueblo; Patricia Maes, 25, from Pueblo; Jonathan Caudill, 36, from Pueblo.


The special agent in charge of the investigation, Barbra Roach of the Denver Division Drug Enforcement Administration, said, “Investigators have uncovered and interrupted an international drug-smuggling ring that trafficked methamphetamine from Mexico to California and Colorado.”


Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor said, “Our focus on illicit drug activity is intense. We are participants in the DEA regional task force, our agency’s narcotics unit is working at full steam, and our community continues to make a difference by reporting suspicious activity. This bust is a combination of that approach and we are thrilled to have been an integral part of the take-down, we will see a difference on the streets because of it.”


The investigation started when a tip about a drug trafficking operation in Pueblo came into the DEA’s Colorado Springs office. Investigators say Henry Loya was one of the heads of the operation and the source of the supply for Pueblo. They say the head of the cell in Pueblo was Anthony Caro. He was arrested while traveling from Las Vegas, Nev. They say they found two pounds of meth inside his car.

We’re told the drugs seized in this investigation are worth about $18 million. The 66 pounds of meth is enough for every person living in Pueblo to have 10 hits.

Pueblo Police Chief Luis Velez said, “None of us individually could have brought this case to its conclusion; however, together we become a formidable force. The amounts of drugs that are being brought into Pueblo are staggering; this particular case highlights the ongoing need to keep these substances off of our streets and in identifying those individuals who continue to take part in and encourage these drug operations.”



Following a lengthy multi-agency investigation led by the Tillamook Narcotics Team (TNT), in conjunction with the DEA – Salem Task Force, detectives arrested two Salem-area residents Friday morning and seized approximately seven pounds of methamphetamine, seven guns (two stolen), ammunition, cash and a clandestine methamphetamine reduction lab. The drug, property and evidence seizures were the result of a traffic stop and subsequent search warrant served at a residence.

During the early morning hours of April 18, a traffic stop was conducted on a 2002 Subaru Impreza driven by LISANDRO SANCHEZ, 23, from Salem. During the stop, a drug detection canine alerted on the vehicle in which a secret compartment was found containing approximately six and one half pounds of packaged methamphetamine. SANCHEZ was taken into custody as the investigation continued.




Methamphetamine use is on the rise in Richmond County, but the variety of meth police are seeing is changing.

“Finding people in possession of methamphetamine has continued to rise and has yet to plateau,” said Richmond County sheriff’s Sgt. Jason Vinson. “Over the years I’ve noticed that it’s become more and more of a popular drug in Augusta.”

Production of meth, a highly addictive drug made from household cold medicine, batteries, drain cleaner, brake fluid and other harmful chemicals, increased in recent years when the shake-and-bake or one-pot methods became popular. That form of cooking allowed users to make their own drugs with nothing more than the chemical ingredients and a bottle to mix them in.

Columbia County sheriff’s Staff Sgt. Michael Williamson said he’s seen meth made in homes, motels, cars and in the woods.

In recent years the lesser quality homemade brand was more popular in Richmond County, but now investigators are seeing the purer, high quality version of crystal meth, or ice, that comes from Mexico.

“It’s becoming more common that we receive large amounts of ice,” Vinson said. “In the past it would be a rarity to see an ounce of ice. We’re making cases by the pound now.”

In October, 14 local residents were charged with conspiracy to traffic meth from Mexico to Richmond, Columbia and McDuffie counties. If convicted the defendants face a maximum penalty of life in prison and a fine up to $10 million.

According to the Georgia Meth Project, meth in the United States is at the highest level of availability and purity and the lowest cost since 2005, primarily due to trafficking from the Mexican cartels, which are the No. 1 source for all meth sold in the country.

“A lot of our cocaine and marijuana dealers are seeing the amount of money they can make on it so they’re stepping into that world too,” Vison said.

Even if prices are at the lowest in almost 10 years, the purer, imported version can still be more profitable than other drugs.

In Richmond County, methamphetamine is quickly rising to the top in popularity. Columbia and Aiken counties aren’t seeing as much of an increase and said numbers have remained steady. Marijuana and prescription pills are still the most common drugs found in Columbia County.

Williamson said restrictions on ephedrine and pseudoephedrine purchases has helped curb the number of labs they have seen. In Georgia, buyers are required to show identification, are restricted to the number of products and are logged in a system when buying the products frequently used for methamphetamine production.

Although it is more difficult, labs are still showing up across the state.

In February 2012, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation received a grant to help fund lab cleanup. According to a January GBI report, the grant has spent nearly $950,000 on lab cleanup since it started. In January alone, the agency spent $56,000.

A team of Richmond County narcotics investigators have been formed to focus solely on methamphetamine labs. Recently there have been a cluster of labs, including a sizable bust at a home on Heckle Street on April 12. Vinson said investigators found the suspects in the process of cooking the drug and discovered finished product and a large amount of cash.

The user demographics are also changing. In the beginning of its rise, methamphetamine was commonly known as “the white man’s drug,” but now police are seeing it cross into all racial and economic areas.

“We’ve seen young teenagers and middle-schoolers on up to their 60s using it,” Vinson said. “There are no parameters – no age, economic or racial lines any more.”

Although it’s still more common in lower income brackets, Columbia County police are seeing more high income users.




IOWA CITY — Authorities say in a search warrant that an Iowa City couple charged with selling meth disciplined a young child by tying him up.

Court documents show Luis F. Chavez-Preciado, 27, and Nasra L. Fernandez-Kury, 25, were charged with child endangerment after a search warrant was executed on their home last year. The boy was found in a closet during the search, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported and was bound with a cloth belt.

The search warrant was the result of a monthslong investigation. The couple is accused of selling methamphetamine to an undercover agent several times, and the two have pleaded guilty to federal charges on conspiracy to distribute meth. They are scheduled to be sentenced in June.

But the search also led to the discovery of the boy, whom authorities say appeared to be under the age of five.

“The child was face down with his hands tied behind his back with a brown cloth belt,” search warrant documents said. “There were several visible marks and bruising on the child’s arms consistent with being tied up with a belt.”

Fernandez-Kury told authorities she ordered Chavez-Preciado to tie up the boy to discipline him. Police say the boy told an adult that Fernandez-Kury once used a stun gun on him.

The couple is also accused of keeping large quantities of drugs in the presence of Fernandez-Kury’s three children. A search warrant served in September turned up methamphetamine, a shot gun, ammunition and a stun gun.

The couple was arrested Sunday. They are in the Muscatine County Jail. Court records do not list attorneys.




LEE CO., GA (WALB) – Lee County deputies discovered an inactive meth lab, all because of a traffic crash.

27 year old Christopher Riley was arrested for DUI and motor vehicle theft after a wreck on U. S. 19 Monday.

While investigating the stolen car he was driving, they discovered an inactive meth lab at 52 year old Talmadge Beckhum’s home, in the 300 block of Highway 32 West.

“The officers went to the scene, and saw evidence of a meth lab and locked it down.  And called the people out to properly discard of the meth lab stuff,” said Lee Co. Sheriff Reggie Rachals.

Rachals said his drug unit continues to investigate the inactive meth lab, for other people who might be involved in its operation.



The owner of a house in Minneapolis’ Fulton neighborhood where police found a meth lab last week faces cleanup orders and potential fines, but can continue to live in the home, a city spokesman said Thursday.

For now, the city’s regulatory services division will issue a cleanup order for the back yard, which earlier this week was littered with bicycles, an electric scooter, clothes, a broken electric stove, and other odds and ends. Fines will follow in 30 days if the cleanup doesn’t happen, said spokesman Matt Lindstrom.

Owner Sara M. Shenton also must pay for the police-ordered cleanup of the meth lab, which has already taken place.

City records show the house at 5137 Abbott Av. S. still registered to Sylvia Vargovich, an Isanti woman who died more than two years ago at age 79. Neighbors said a relative of hers moved into the house two years ago.

The house is valued at $48,300 and the land at $147,700.

City records show Shenton has paid the tax bills, and a regulatory services official confirmed that she is the owner. Calls to Shenton’s listed phone number on Wednesday were disconnected after one ring.

Shenton, 37, also is listed as owning a property in northeast Minneapolis. She was booked into the Ramsey County jail in 2012 on a felony drug charge. A criminal complaint says she was found sleeping in the back of a blue van parked on Rush Creek Trail in New Brighton with its doors open. When police officers arrived, she told them that she thought she was in Minneapolis. Police found an altered Minnesota license plate inside the van, along with a blue Adderall pill Shenton said was hers despite not having a prescription. She will make her first court appearance on fifth-degree drug possession charges on May 9.

Authorities were led to the house April 11 while searching for Jeremy Daniel Gonser, a 37-year-old Coon Rapids man wanted on warrants for drug possession and theft. He was seen outside the house, and when he went back inside, officers from the U.S. Marshals North Star Fugitive Task Force followed.

The house smelled like chemicals, and officers’ eyes began to itch and burn. Five people, including Gonser and Starlet Mae Johnson, 27, were taken out of the house and handcuffed on the front lawn.

Johnson was initially tied to a Minneapolis address on 4th Avenue S., but relatives said she no longer lives there.

Methamphetamine ranks as one of the most commonly seized illegal drugs in the seven-county metro area, according to drug abuse expert Carol Falkowski.

Drug cartels look at Indian operatives for bulk supply

In January, the Customs Department received a ‘vague information’ that a New Delhi-based racket would use ‘citizens from Africa’ to smuggle narcotics out of the country through the international airport here.

Since then, its Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) doggedly profiled ‘high risk’ passengers and observed them covertly for behavioural clues, including signs of anxiety, which, it hoped, would indicate concealment of contraband.


Enforcers said the accuracy of using remote and hasty analysis of body language to detect drug smugglers in a crowded airport environment was questionable.

But the method bore fruit for Assistant Commissioner Sanjay Bangartale and his team on Wednesday when they intercepted a Zimbabwean student studying Law in New Delhi and seized 30 kg ephedrine hydrochloride, a controlled substance, from her baggage. She was bound to Johannesburg, via Qatar.

On Thursday, the New Delhi Customs arrested an air-passenger, a Nigerian citizen, with 9 kg of ephedrine concealed in his baggage, officials here said.

Investigators said the two back-to-back seizures pointed to the increasing production and rising abuse, at home, of methamphetamine (meth). (Its street names included meth, crystal meth, ice, crack, and speed).

Ephedrine, commonly used in nasal decongestants and cough syrups, is a vital ingredient in the manufacture of methamphetamine, along with red phosphorous and hydriodic acid.

With meth steadily becoming the ‘recreational drug of choice’ in the country, because it was easier, faster, and cheaper to produce than heroin or marijuana, the demand for and availability of its main component, ephedrine, in the black market had increased, investigators said. In March, the Hyderabad police had arrested two Chemistry students on the charge of purifying ephedrine in a makeshift backyard laboratory allegedly to make meth.

The ‘ragingly addictive narcotic’ was also referred to as ‘poor man’s cocaine’ in tourist destinations because its narcotic effects were stated to be similar to that of the premium drug.

Officials said ephedrine had become scarce, and consequently highly priced, in African and Latin American countries where the widespread abuse of meth had caused authorities to reduce the domestic availability of the substance.

They said the drug mafia in these regions were now partnering with their counterparts in India to obtain bulk quantities of ephedrine sourced from rogue chemical companies, which do little legitimate business.

Investigators said ephedrine, which costs an estimated Rs.35,000 a kg here, accrued nearly 10 times its value once it reached foreign destinations, the reason why its smuggling was on the increase. Additional Commissioner Sophia M. Joy supervised the operation.