Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

UNION, SC (FOX Carolina) – Deputies said they discovered a shake and bake style meth lab along with a 7-month-old inside a Union home Friday.

Investigators responded to a Spring Street home after receiving a tip, finding the infant inside along with two plastic containers believed to be used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine, according to Union County deputies.

Deputies said the bottles were in a yard along with a smoking container inside an outbuilding. Everyone was removed and the home was secured.

According to deputies, two pipes, empty Sudafed boxes, lighter fluid, meth oil and other items used to make the drug were found.

Ten adults were arrested and charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, trafficking methamphetamine more than 100 grams and unlawful disposal of methamphetamine waste.



5270374_G       5270371_G


5270372_G 5270370_G



The child’s mother, 25-year-old Heather Browning, was also charged with exposing the child to methamphetamine. Deputies said the child was placed in protective custody.







Outlaw motorcycle gangs are recruiting children to cook crystal meth and targeting young people in country towns, a Four Corners investigation has found.

The investigation uncovered alarming evidence of how the drug is being manufactured and distributed by locally-based biker gangs working with several major international drug cartels.

Four Corners found authorities were unable to deal with the unprecedented ice scourge, with a desperate lack of treatment facilities and resources.

The program spoke to a former child dealer and crystal meth cook who said he was one of many recruited by an outlaw motorcycle gang to deal drugs when he was 11 years old.

A lonely child from a broken home, by 13 he said he was smoking ice and at 15 the gang had taught him how to cook crystal meth, cooking up to an ounce a day with a street value of up to $28,000.

“It was basically only difficult a few times and then after that, just pretty much like cooking a meal,” he said.

“Once you’ve cooked that meal a certain amount of times, you just don’t even think about it. You’re just doing it and just go in your own world.”

He said the labs changed often, to keep ahead of police, and described them as “wannabe science labs”.

They were highly dangerous and toxic; the fumes were overpowering.

“The only things I can think of close to describing it was bleach, several other nasty chemicals, and if you’d lit that on fire or something… you won’t forget the smell. It’s not a smell I’d ever forget,” he said.

“You never get used to it but you learn to tolerate it. The first few times you’d feel lightheaded. You could feel nauseous. It really just depends on how well they did the ventilation.

“They didn’t provide bodysuits or that like you see on TV or whatever. They didn’t have great ventilation or anything.”

For the first three years he said he was given no protective clothing or gloves by the syndicate he was working for.

“It’s no harm to them. They’re still getting their money. They’re spending less on equipment. They don’t have to spend heaps of money to set up the site, cheap disposable site.

“If they need to move and get rid of it because the site’s no good anymore because it’s been found out or something, it’s lack of expense for them. It’s just … well, hiring the cash flow.”

Australia at risk of losing ‘entire generation’

Now 19, cooking meth has left him with a lasting legacy. He has early onset arthritis and his joints have worn down so much, they now regularly dislocate. He has to pop them back in to place.

Cooking ice, he noticed his health began to deteriorate quickly.

“I was throwing up blood for a period of time and this happened over two years or more,” he said.

“I’d come back after a few days’ work and Mum believed that I changed, like, the colours in my skin pigmentation would change. I looked very pale and unhealthy. Your hair goes a lot thinner … the whole throwing up blood thing was a big scare for me.

“I got extreme cramps through the body and muscle aches. Sometimes I’d be on the couch for up to two days not being able to move properly, couldn’t eat. If you cooked for long enough and you didn’t sleep for a fair while afterwards you’d get hallucinations, and you never hallucinate something good.”

Authorities have told Four Corners there has been an explosion in the numbers of local dealers in country towns, and the age of users is plummeting.

As teenagers take up the drug, crime rates are also soaring, with ice-related offences up.

Health professionals have warned that if nothing is done, Australia is at risk of losing an entire generation of rural youth to ice.




ANDERSON — An Anderson County man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for the deaths of two people, but he is refusing to say how the victims were killed.

John Michael Young accepted a plea deal Friday in the deaths of the two people whose bodies were found in barrels in Lake Hartwell in November 2012. One of the victims was dismembered.

“We can’t go back. I’ve accepted your plea. So what happened; how did these people die?” Judge Ned Miller of Greenville asked Young.

But the Anderson Independent-Mail reported that Young refused to answer, saying he only disposed of the bodies. He said there were 10 to 15 people making, selling and using methamphetamine in the drug house where he was living.

“There were so many dangerous people in and out of my house. I don’t know what happened,” Young said.

Investigators went to Lake Hartwell two years ago expecting to find 53-year-old Tony McGinnis’ body in a barrel, but found the remains of 37-year-old Andrea Mitchell instead in a partially submerged container. They found McGinnis’ dismembered body in a barrel 10 feet underwater the next day.

The victims were beaten to death, authorities said. A motive was not given.

McGinnis’ daughter called Young a monster.

“I think if you would have just killed my daddy instead of knocking him in the head, cutting his body up, and putting him in a barrel and sinking him to the bottom of the lake where he’d never be found, I could have dealt with it better,” Tasha McGinnis said. “I hate you John Michael. I pray to God every day that you get tortured and die.”

Young’s lawyer says he had a terrible methamphetamine problem. Young apologized to the families before he was sentenced.

“I didn’t think clearly,” he said. “Drugs just took control of my life. It’s not the person who I am today.”




 LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) – A Laurel County man was arrested for possession of a controlled substance on Sunday morning.

It happened around 4:00 a.m. on Hensley Road in East Bernstadt. RICHARD+EHLERS+MUG+WEB

Richard Ehlers, 39, was arrested after deputies responded to a complaint of a possible active meth lab.

Deputies say they searched Ehler’s home and found a cooler under a baby bed with bags of suspected methamphetamine, three glass pipes containing methamphetamine, two bags of marijuana and seven packs of suboxone.

Officials say Ehlers told them that he hid the cooler under the infant’s baby bed where the child sleeps.

A 15-month-old child and a 9-year-old child in the home at the time of the arrest.

Ehlers was charged with possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine; possession of a controlled substance; possession of drug paraphernalia; wanton endangerment, theft by unlawful taking and possession of marijuana.HENSLEY+ROAD+LAUREL+METH

No word yet on who is taking care of the two children.




MINOT, North Dakota — Crime rates in Minot continue to increase as more residents establish in the area.

The Minot Daily News ( ) reports that in major crimes have almost doubled since 2010. Authorities tallied less than 600 in 2010, but the number reached more than 1,100 last year.

Police Chief Jason Olson says the department’s detective caseloads have doubled even when the number of detectives has gone from seven to 11.

Officials say they’ve noticed a significant increase in methamphetamine-related incidents. Olson says the department used to see one meth arrest for every 10 marijuana arrests. Now, he says, it’s about 50-50.

Olson adds that most of the property crimes such as theft, burglary and breaking and entering are also drug related, as users steal to fund their addiction.




Police in Da Nang on Sunday seized thousands of ecstasy pills and more than two kilograms of meth in what they called the biggest drug haul ever in the central hub.

Lieutenant Colonel Tran Phuoc Huong, spokesman of the Da Nang police force, said they caught Pham Thi Nga, 43, at a bus station in the morning with more than 2,340 ecstasy pills.drug_LQDG

The police then raided Honey hotel that the migrant from the northern mountainous province of Lang Son, which borders China, was running in the city. They found 140 grams of methamphetamine there.

Another more than two kilograms of meth showed up at the Sao Sang kindergarten managed by Nga’s daughter. The meth was hidden in formula cans and estimated to value VND4-5 billion (US$188,480-235,600), according to the police.

The police also found records documenting drug and weapon transactions at the family’s establishment in the city.

Anyone convicted of smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of meth faces the death penalty in Vietnam, which is said to have some of the world’s toughest drug laws.

Firearm trade is also illegal in the country where the military is the only unit entitled to own and maintain arsenals.

The manufacture and transportation of military-grade weapons is punishable by between one year and life in prison.




Methamphetamine use in Vermont is low compared to heroin or cocaine, but it’s that low profile that helps Vermont’s small meth labs to hide in plain sight, according to drug investigators.

While statistics kept by the Vermont Criminal Information Center list more than 2,400 incidents involving marijuana and hashish and 897 incidents involving narcotics such as heroin during 2012 — the most recent reporting year — methamphetamine is part of a broad category of stimulants that police investigated only 82 times that year.

U.S. Department of Justice numbers and drug treatment statistics show similarly low numbers for “meth” with only four clandestine laboratory incidents reported to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration in 2012 and only four people were admitted to drug treatment — one 10th of 1 percent of the treatment of all admissions to state-financed drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers — in 2013.

But the numbers are somewhat misleading and drug investigators who focus on methamphetamine activity in the state say there’s significantly more of it being made and used than the statistics would suggest.

“It is a problem here, but there are so few law enforcement officers looking for it and Vermont is such a rural state that people can literally make it in a hunting trailer year round and no one would know about it,” Lt. John Merrigan of the Vermont State Police said this week.

Merrigan, who commands a statewide drug unit that includes a team of meth lab investigators, said there’s no indication that Vermont is poised to see manufacturing and distribution of the highly addictive drug on levels seen in other states — including New York and New Hampshire where meth production is far more prevalent.

But Merrigan and other drug investigators and treatment officials in the state said methamphetamine has been flying quietly under the radar for years due to some characteristics of its production and use in Vermont.

For starters, large-scale manufacture of the drug through red phosphorous reduction — usually referred to as the “red P” method — has never been discovered in Vermont.

“The guys manufacturing here are not Walter White,” state police Sgt. Shawn Loan said, referring to the television show “Breaking Bad,” which deals with a high school chemistry teacher’s descent into meth production and distribution.

While the red phosphorus method resembles work done in chemistry labs, state police Lt. Fred Cornell, commander of the Clandestine Lab Team, said the operations his group has uncovered in Vermont haven’t been run by chemists.

Every meth-making operation state police have uncovered since 2004 — when the first “lab” was discovered in Shrewsbury — has used the so-called “one-pot” method which produces smaller and less potent yields of the drug, Cornell said.

“It’s a simple method that you only need a few ingredients for and you can literally make in a soda bottle,” he said.

While DEA statistics indicate that less than four meth labs have been found in Vermont during each of the last 10 years, Cornell and other drug investigators say that number is incorrect.

“I don’t know why (the DEA) numbers are so low but it may be getting under-reported,” he said.

Cornell and Christopher Herrick, chief of the State Hazmat Response Team, said they estimated that roughly a dozen methamphetamine one-pot labs are found and cleaned up each year in every part of the state and in areas representing every kind of demographic.

“We find them in apartments, in camps, in $400,000 and $500,000 homes,” Cornell said. “They’re all over the place.”

The most recent meth discovery is still under investigation in Proctor where police believe the drug was being produced in an apartment at 9 River St. — a quiet residential side-street.

Drug investigators said the labs are able to remain hidden in most communities because they don’t engender the kind of traffic that bigger operations, like the opiate trade, bring when they move into a community.

Loan said that while most illegal drugs are imported into Vermont by dealers intent on making money, meth users generally make the drug themselves and distribute it mostly only to those who help them make it.

“We’ll find, say, a kid who comes up here from Tennessee who knows how to make meth and he’ll trade the drug for Pseudoephedrine,” he said. “That’s the price a lot of people pay to get their meth.”

Pseudoephedrine, a stimulant found in a number of pharmaceutical drugs including nasal decongestants like Sudafed, is a primary ingredient in the one-pot method and the hardest to come by due to federal and state laws that limit the amount of the drug that can be purchased each day and month.

The implementation last year of an electronic monitoring system that allows Vermont pharmacies to track an individual’s Pseudoephedrine purchases has also made it more difficult for meth makers to simply visit multiple pharmacies to skirt the limit on the amount of the drug they can buy.

To get around the law and the monitoring system, Loan said meth makers engage in a practice known as “smurfing” which involves recruiting many people to buy Pseudoephedrine for them.

The self-contained nature of the meth operations found in Vermont to date have made it hard to uncover them.

But occasionally, as in the Proctor case, an accident or death leads investigators to a meth lab.

Days before the drug investigation in Proctor began, 39-year-old Derek Reed, who shared the apartment with his girlfriend, was found dead in the home.

A state medical examiner’s report released this week indicated that the cause of death was due to “acute and chronic bronchial asthma” caused by the former construction worker’s inhalation of concrete dust. However, a toxicology report also showed the presence of methamphetamine and cocaine in Reed’s system and the medical examiner said substance abuse contributed to Reed’s asthma.

While Reed’s death wasn’t attributed to methamphetamine alone, Herrick said the toxic combination of chemicals used to make the drug can be life-threatening.

“It’s dangerous to breathe, which is why we wear self-contained breathing apparatuses when we clean a site,” he said. “If mixed incorrectly, they can also be flammable and explosive.”

Cornell said a number of fires in Vermont have involved suspected meth labs and one person was maimed by an explosion while making the drug.

“There was a case we had with a Hinesburg kid who was experimenting with making meth in a compressed gas cylinder,” he said. “It didn’t work and it blew up in his face, causing permanent loss of eyesight and serious burns.”




Richland County, SC (WLTX) – Authorities responded to an apartment fire that is believed to have been caused from manufacturing methamphetamine Saturday night.

According to deputies, the Columbia Fire Department responded to apartments on the 7600 block of Hunt Club Road around 6:30 p.m. regarding a suspicious fire.635493170472120024-meht-lab-2

Once the fire department determined a methamphetamine lab was inside the home, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department was called in.

Investigators say the suspects fled the scene when the fire department arrived.

Officials say the fire caused $15,000 worth of damages and only impacted the room and contents of one unit.

No injuries have been reported.

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department and the Richland County Fire Marshall are continuing to investigate this incident,

Anyone with information about the individuals operating the methamphetamine lab is asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC, or e-mail a tip in to You can also text information in by texting “TIPSC” plus your message to CRIMES (274637). Either way you choose, your identity will remain anonymous, and you could be eligible for a cash reward.








Meth lab believed to be cause of fire at northeast Columbia apartment building

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC — A fire that broke out at an apartment building northeast of Columbia Saturday night is believed to have been caused by a methamphetamine lab, officials say.

The Columbia Fire Department responded to the fire in the 7600 block of Hunt Club Road in an area between Two Notch Road and I-77 around 6:30 p.m. Saturday, department spokesman Brick Lewis said.6jt7A_AuSt_74

The fire was contained to one room within a single apartment and damaged only the contents of that room, Lewis said. No one was at the apartment when firefighters arrived on the scene, he said.

After discovering suspicious materials in the room, the fire department notified investigators with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department who then determined that the materials were used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine, Lewis said.

The fire caused about $15,000 worth of damages. No one was injured in the incident.

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department and Richland County Fire Marshal are continuing to investigate.





A couple have been arrested in Chiang Rai after a police search found almost 100,000 speed pills hidden in a cargo of bamboo shoots on their pickup truck.

Rung Yatha, 48, and his wife Thida Thondee, 43, were presented at a police press conference in Chiang Rai province on Monday. Police said they seized 96,000 speed pills from their vehicle.

Their arrest followed a tip-off that a gang planned to transport smuggled drugs from Wiang Kaen border district of Chiang Rai into the heart of the country.

Police manning Ban Huay Ian checkpoint stopped a pickup truck for a search about 8pm on Saturday. The vehicle carried buckets of bamboo shoots on the back. Police became suspicious because two buckets were lighter than the other buckets, and they were firmly sealed. This prompted the police to force open the two buckets and they found the methamphetamine pills hidden inside.

Driver Rung and his wife Thida denied any knowledge of the illicit drugs. They reportedly said they had been hired for 50,000 baht by a man identified as Worawit Khongtharasaichon to deliver bamboo shoots to a customer in Hat Yai district of Songkhla.

Police investigators were not convinced by their explanation and they were detained.

Pol Col Weerawut Niamnoi, acting Chiang Rai police chief, said strict checks at border areas might have forced the drug gang to change their usual route for transporting drugs to Wiang Kaen district, to avoid being caught. Luckily, police on duty became suspicious and arrested the suspects and seized the drugs, he said.




A SUNSHINE Coast drug syndicate kingpin ran his burgeoning million dollar empire peddling “ice’’ during meetings over a cup of tea and a pie with “high level’’ drug dealers, a court has been told.

The Brisbane Supreme Court was told grandfather William Fredricis Barker earned an estimated $1.8 million trafficking methamphetamine to four high level drug trafficking operatives over a two-year period.

Prosecutors said police secretly listened to Barker arrange drug deals over a pie or a “cuppa’’ after taking coded drug orders from operatives using horse racing parlance.

The court was told police found almost $1 million is cash made via illicit drug sales buried or hidden in shopping bags, plastic drums or wrapped in duct tape during a raid on Barker’s Mooloolah Valley home, 90km north of Brisbane.

Barker, 50, pleaded guilty on Monday to a charge of drug trafficking between May 11, 2007, and April 23, 2009.

He also pleaded guilty to possessing property, substances and objects, such as laboratory glassware, used in connection with drug trafficking.

However, the Crown is challenging the time period for the trafficking during a contested sentence hearing.

Prosecutor Sarah Farndon told the court the prosecution allege Barker trafficked the drug between May 11, 2007, and April 2009.

She said Barker became the prime suspect of a covert police drug operation during which he was secretly recorded making drug deals with four regular high level operatives during telephone calls over a two-year period.

The court was told Barker’s clients would order quantities of methamphetamine by choosing the starting gate of a fictitious horse race to for each ounce of the drug they required. For example Gate 2 would denote two ounces, while Gate 4 would denote four ounces.

Ms Farndon said the deals would be completed during meetings with one client over a “cuppa’’ at the Mad Hatter’s Tea House, at Landsborough, over a pie with another near the Ettamogah Pub, at Palm View.

She said Barker would sell one ounce of methamphetamine to his customers for amounts of between $3000 and $4200 and that one of the dealers settled his account by issuing him a check for $100,000.

The court was told during a raid of Barker’s home they found $995,250 in hidden cash, including $273,880 stuffed into two shopping bags hidden behind a false wall and $485,000 hidden inside a buried plastic drum.

The prosecution claims during the period of Barker’s drug trafficking, his illegal earnings were estimated to be $1.78 million.

Ms Farndon said one of Barker’s co-offenders was sentenced to five years jail for his role in the drug trafficking venture.

The two-day hearing continues.



His name is ‘Jake’. At 15 years old, he was an ice dealer, a user and a crystal meth cook.

‘Jake’ is the new face of crystal meth, or ice, in Australia. It’s the drug that’s ravaged our major cities. But now it’s destroying country towns one by one.

This week on Four Corners, reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna travels through the regions of two states, riding with police and users, to tell the shocking story of towns and people in the grip of ice.r1342835_18754890

She pieces together a disturbing picture: major international drug cartels are working with locally based outlaw motorcycle gangs to push ice out of the cities. It’s a massive illicit corporate enterprise; sophisticated and highly organized.

Their targets? Captive markets of bored teenagers in country towns, where there’s a desperate lack of treatment facilities and under resourced or non-existent police.

Four Corners goes to one community of less than 4,000 people where up to one in ten people are using ice. Meldrum-Hanna meets teenagers who began using in their early teens, sits with them as they smoke ice and with others as they inject, and discovers how bikie gangs use other children to “cook” methamphetamine, destroying their health and leaving them with ruinous addiction.

In short, the program tells the story of a generation that is being condemned to a life of drug abuse, crime and ultimately early death. The most alarming element of this story is the age of the people involved, as one clinical nurse at the coalface in regional Australia explains:

“The demographic for ice is changing all the time. We’re noticing the age actually dropping, there’s been reports of 10 year olds presenting at the Emergency Department here.”

Seventeen-year-old ‘Ethan’ is a prime example of the power and spread of ice, the reality of what’s happening beyond city borders. He was injected by a local drug dealer when he was just a boy. He says it took just one night for him to get hooked. This sent his life into a downward spiral that saw ‘Ethan’ leave school, join a crystal meth pack of fellow young addicts hopping from town to town chasing ice, stealing from people night and day to feed their addiction.

Not even his family was safe.

“Mum locked the door on me and I remember thinking… if I get in there I will hurt her for money. I will get money out of her some, one way or another.”

As each person’s story unfolds it becomes disturbingly clear: there is almost nowhere for young addicts in regional Australia to go to get help. That leaves health workers in despair:

“We’re going to talk about the utter devastation of small rural communities where we’re going to have a lot of mental health issues, criminal activity. It’s going to be a nightmare.”



  • ABC Four Corners reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna travelled to Victoria and Tasmania and met ice addicts whose lives have been destroyed
  • ‘I heard tales of absolute self-destruction,’ she said
  • Ice is a stimulant drug, a type of methamphetamine
  • It is highly addictive and destroys the brain’s pleasure systems
  • Addicts experience psychosis and many use violence to feed their habit
  • Caro met a crystal meth cook without ‘any protection, no suits – this isn’t Breaking Bad… at just 19-years-old his body was falling apart’

An ice epidemic is sweeping through Australia and destroying regional towns as children as young as 11 become hooked on the deadly drug from their first hit.

A Four Corners investigation has revealed there are now almost 350,000 Australians taking cheap, easily accessible and highly addictive crystal methamphetamine, nicknamed ice, which destroys the brain and creates psychotic behavior such as users gauging away at their skin as they imagine feeling insects crawling beneath it.

The ABC’s current affairs show has met with ice users, ice cooks, police and recovering addicts in Victoria and Tasmania, who painted a disturbing picture: international drug cartels are working with local bikie gangs to push ice out of the cities, and police are losing the battle to stop it.

‘These addicts have the battle scars, there was a man who has ripped out all of his teeth with pliers, people pick away at their teeth, gums and skin,’ reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna told Daily Mail Australia.1413765245851_wps_19_ice

The ravaged physical appearance of those consumed by the drug shocked Caro and so did the age of the people she encountered. She said ‘sitting down with a young crystal meth cook’ who tried ice at 13 and was cooking by 15 horrified her the most.

‘He was cooking without any protection, no suits – this isn’t Breaking Bad… at just 19-years-old his body was falling apart already, his joints pop out of place, he is riddled with early onset arthritis, he’s vomiting blood, paralyzed by muscles aches.

‘His brain has suddenly changed, he is very sick and probably won’t live very long,’ Caro explained.

She discovered that ‘young and desperate’ kids from broken homes, often lonely and with great responsibilities to provide for their families, were being targeted by outlaw motorcycle gangs to do their dirty work – dealing and cooking ice for other bored teenagers in country towns.



Caro explained that the people who agreed to open up on camera – such as 17-year-old Ethan who left school after an older man injected him with ice and joined a crystal meth pack of fellow young addicts, stealing from people to feed their addiction – did so because they want to show people the dangers.

They want to show that it’s not just junkies who are involved, it’s young people with promising futures who are ruining their lives with the drug.

‘Park that judgment and put that aside… we are spending time with young people who started using when they were 15 and 13, older men putting needles in their arms… their’s are tales of absolute self-destruction.’

Teenage user Ethan said of his desperation to get more ice: ‘Mum locked the door on me and I remember thinking… if I get in there I will hurt her for money. I will get money out of her one way or another.’



When people take ice the dopamine levels in the brain shoot up from 100 units to over 1000, something that’s about 12 times as much of a release of dopamine as you get from naturally pleasurable activities such as food and sex.

‘Over sustained use your brain stops producing naturally so you really became no longer a human being,’ Caro reasoned.

One disturbing example of an ice addict who lost his human side, was a man Caro met who almost beat an undercover police officer to death.

‘He lost all empathy… while he was beating him he thought it was funny and ironic because the police officer was squealing and he thought it was a pig,’ Caro said.

In 2006, the ABC’s The Ice Age program also showed the the psychosis some users suffer. They showed Lenore, an ice-addicted mother who had become obsessed with rubbish, rummaging through bins and Matty who had just come out of jail.

This time, in the small regional towns that ice has infiltrated Four Corners was confronted by a desperate lack of treatment facilities for those trying to get clean and under resourced or non-existent police.

‘The country needs and deserves better,’ Caro said as she explained the solution to the epidemic is education about the drug and more treatment facilities.

Highlighting the difficulties people currently face when trying to get clean, Caro said: ‘I met a woman named Kim in Tasmania. For her to get into rehab, which is a sixth month program to reboot the brain to start producing dopamine again, she would lose her housing commission house and become homeless.’

In one community of less than 4,000 people Four Corners found up to one in ten people are using ice.

A clinical nurse in regional Australia explained: ‘The demographic for ice is changing all the time. We’re noticing the age actually dropping, there’s been reports of 10 year olds presenting at the Emergency Department here.’

Some of the young people Caro met told her that their friends had died before getting a spot in rehab.

But the stigma around the drug has been diminished.1413768789623_wps_34_FOUR_CORNERS_ICE_RUSH_Mon

‘It’s thought of as common as having a joint and you are the weird kid if you are not on it… we spoke to kids in the very small country towns of a few thousand people who said they could get three difference ounces up the hill on their bikes,’ Caro said.

Unlike other drugs, ice does not have to be imported – it’s being cooked up in homes and even in the back of vans in Australia.

In August, NSW Police Commission Andrew Scipione spoke about a syndicate police had smashed and the ‘very very big issue for Australia in 2014′.

‘It’s tearing apart the fabric of our community, its destroying families, you’ve only got to look at those before and after photographs to release this changes its not like humpty dumpty you can’t put them back together again, they are forever damaged.’


In Victoria last month, where places like Mildura are gripped with ice addiction, the state government announced more than 980 regional sporting clubs will be given financial help to tackle ice through education programs.

‘The expansion of the good Spots program in regional and rural Victoria will enable football and netball clubs to lead the discussion about the dangers of methamphetamine use,’ Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge said.

The Australian Drug Foundation has been given $200,000 to run the program.


  • Ice is a stimulant drug, a type of methamphetamine that speeds up the messages travelling between the brain and the body.
  • It usually looks like small chunky clear crystals, which is why it was given the name ice. It can also come as white or brownish crystal-like powder.
  • Ice is generally smoked or injected and the effects can be felt in 3 to 7 seconds. The effects are slower when swallowed or snorted and can last around 6 hours.
  • Ice causes dopamine levels in the brain to shoot from 100 to around 1,250 units, about 12 times as much of a release of dopamine as you get from food and sex and other pleasurable activities.
  • When the drug wears off, users experience a debilitating depression and urge to get more of the drug.
  • Persistent use can change the brain chemistry, destroying the wiring in the brain’s pleasure centers and making it increasingly impossible to experience any pleasure at all.
  • Long term use can cause severe impairment in memory, judgment and motor coordination, similar to symptoms seen in individuals suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.
  • Changes in brain chemistry can lead to violent behaviour, anxiety and wakefulness because of the adrenaline surge the drug causes.
  • And then there is psychotic behaviour, such as paranoia, hallucinations and delusions. Many users report feeling insects crawling beneath their skin.

In Victoria last month, where places like Mildura are gripped with ice addiction, the state government




Heroin is still the drug of choice for injectors but the use of crystal methamphetamine, also known as ice, is rising rapidly, a snapshot of drug use across Australia has found.

The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre’s annual survey of people who use illicit drugs found 61 per cent of those who inject substances had used ice in the last six months.

The study’s chief investigator, Associate Professor Lucy Burns from the University of New South Wales, said that was an increase of 9 per cent over the past 10 years.


Although the prevalence of methamphetamine use generally has remained fairly stable, we’ve actually found an increase in the use of crystal methamphetamine, otherwise known as ice.

Drug survey chief investigator Associate Professor Lucy Burns


“Although the prevalence of methamphetamine use generally has remained fairly stable, we’ve actually found an increase in the use of crystal methamphetamine, otherwise known as ice,” she said.

“This is a cause for concern as ice is metabolized by the body more quickly than other forms of methamphetamine.

“It is more addictive and its use is associated with drug induced psychosis, violence and erratic behavior.”

Victoria reported biggest increase in ‘ice’ use

The biggest increases were in Victoria, where 75 per cent of drug users reported using ice in the last six months compared with 55 per cent in 2013.

The survey also found that rates of ice use among injectors had increased, from a national median of 12 days within the past six months in 2013 to 20 days of use within the last six months in 2014.

This trend was being reflected in the number of shipments of ice seized at Australian airports and ports; figures from the Australian Customs and Border Protection Services indicate the number of detections of ice rose from 171 in 2012 to 1084 in 2013.

Drug and alcohol epidemiologist Professor Paul Dietze from the Burnet Institute in Melbourne said there had been a dramatic increase in the purity of crystal methamphetamine, especially in Victoria.

“We’re seeing a really marked change in the purity adjusted price,” he said.


We’ve seen a doubling of methamphetamine-related ambulance attendances in Victoria for example and we think that’s underpinned by this change in purity rather than a change in the number of people using methamphetamine.

Drug and Alcohol Epidemiologist Professor Paul Dietze



“When they go to purchase the drug you see people essentially getting much more bang for their buck.

“Victoria has the most sophisticated systems for analyzing the purity of drug seizures, so we don’t really know what the picture is like in the rest of the country, but there’s no reason to believe that things are any different.”

Professor Dietze said there had been a corresponding rise in crystal methamphetamine-related medical visits.

“We’ve seen a doubling of methamphetamine-related ambulance attendances in Victoria for example, and we think that’s underpinned by this change in purity rather than a change in the number of people using methamphetamine,” he said.

“When you go buy something that’s 80 per cent pure and you’re used to 14 per cent, that has a dramatic effect.”

Ice mega-labs have increased drug’s purity: UN

Jeremy Douglass is the South-East Asian and Pacific representative for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

He said the rise in the purity or potency of crystal methamphetamine had been driven, at least in part, to the rise of industrial-scale drug labs in countries such as China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in production in what we would term industrial-scale labs, or ‘mega labs’,” he said.

“The labs in Asia are not like the kind of labs you see here in Australia where you’re cooking it in your garage.

“These are the kind of labs where they’re producing hundreds of kilos in a production cycle, so you’re talking tens of thousands of doses of methamphetamine in a production cycle and it’s high purity.”


An investigator testified Friday that an East Hemet man told him he “had a deal with the devil” and killed his estranged wife and 5-year-old daughter and tried to kill his girlfriend in 2013. Johnny Lopez

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Angel Bermudez ordered Johnny Lopez, 34, to stand trial on two counts of murder, rape by force, burglary and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

The judge set his arraignment on the charges for Oct. 31.

The county District Attorney’s Office has announced it will seek the death penalty.

A jailhouse interview video recorded two days after the Nov. 9, 2013, attacks was shown in court at Lopez’s preliminary hearing Friday. In it, Lopez admitted to killing his wife, Joanna Angel Barrientos Lopez, 36, and her stepdaughter, Mia Lopez, 5, and attempting to strangle and then cutting his girlfriend with a knife and an ax.

During cross-examination after the video was shown, sheriff’s homicide Investigator Robert Stites told defense lawyer Brian Cosgrove that Johnny Lopez told him he (Lopez) was under the influence of alcohol and methamphetamine at the time of the attacks.

“He said he had a deal with the devil,” Stites testified. He added Lopez said he’d been hearing voices.

Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Buelna testified that he was called to the 41000 block of Sunset Lane, an unincorporated Hemet area neighborhood, just after 8 p.m. on Nov. 9, 2013, to answer a report of unknown trouble, looking for a man holding a knife with blood on him.

When he arrived, Buelna said, he spotted a man in front of a home across the street who was dressed in a T-shirt, boxer shorts and socks and who appeared to have blood on his hands.

He said the man, later identified as Lopez, did not respond to questions and resisted and tried to run away when the deputy attempted to handcuff him. Lopez was apprehended after a struggle in which he struck the deputy’s lip, ran away and the deputy fired pepper spray and struck the suspect several times with a baton.

Deputies found a broken window in the front of the house where they had been called and found Lopez’s girlfriend in the garage. An electrical cord had been wrapped around the naked woman’s neck and she had been slashed with a knife and ax.

Buelna said the woman was groaning, but did not appear to be conscious. The woman, now 31, survived her wounds.

At another home on Girard Street, Stites said, investigators found the bodies of Joanna and Mia Lopez. Joanna Lopez had been shot in the forehead and Mia in the left temple.

In the video shown in court, Lopez said he had attacked the two, then drove away, only to return to “finish” them.





A terminally ill Houma man, previously pinched for selling meth out of a trendy hotel in New Orleans’ Central Business District, is again facing a federal drug charge after his California suppliers sent him meth through the mail, according to court documents.

A federal grand jury indicted Shawn Jaccuzzo, 43, on a charge of conspiracy to possess and distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. His alleged suppliers, Angela Weaver, 43, and Chance Weaver, 30, both of Cypress, California, were indicted on the same charge.

The indictment, filed in the Louisiana’s Eastern District, was unsealed Thursday after the arrests of Angela and Chance Weaver.

Jaccuzzo, awaiting sentencing on a meth conviction from earlier this year, was caught after U.S. Postal Service investigators on July 2 alerted the Drug Enforcement Agency to a suspicious package bound for Houma, prosecutors said in court documents. The address matched Jaccuzzo’s, which was on file with federal authorities from his previous conviction.

After a drug-sniffing dog keyed on the package, agents brought the parcel to Jaccuzzo’s house where he admitted it was his and opened it in the presence of investigators, according to the court document. Inside were two ounces of meth.

Court documents do not specify how authorities were able to trace the package back to Angela and Chance Weaver.

After Jaccuzzo was arrested and his pre-trial release revoked, he was admitted to a Houma Hospital under the supervision of U.S. Marshals. He had recently been diagnosed with cancer and another, unspecified, potentially terminal illness, his lawyer said in a motion requesting Jaccuzzo’s mother be allowed to visit him at his bedside. Doctors have given Jaccuzzo a 10-20 percent chance of survival, his lawyer said.

Weaver has previously admitted to selling meth that he received through the mail.

In May 2013, Weaver put the word out to customers that he was “stocked up and ready for business,” which he was conducting out of the Royal St. Charles Hotel in the CBD, according to a criminal complaint filed against him in the case.

After federal agents raided the hotel room, they found 87 grams of meth, which tests later revealed to be 98 percent pure. Agents also found one and a half gallons of 1,4 Butanediol, a drug similar to GHB, an intoxicant used both recreationally and as a “date rape” drug.

Jaccuzzo and a boyfriend, Matthew Bourg, both pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.

Durring the course of the investigation in that case, Jaccuzzo told DEA agents that he received as many as two deliveries of meth from California each week via a parcel service.





A man suspected of reckless driving was found with methamphetamine as he was being booked into jail after a traffic stop Thursday night in Barstow, authorities said.

Ryan Robertson, 23, of Victorville, was riding a motorcycle east on Main Street near H Street about 11 p.m., according to a San Bernardino County sheriff’s news release.

He was weaving in and out of traffic and driving at speeds in excess of 85 miles per hour as he approached the 200 block of West Main Street, the release said.

A deputy stopped Robertson at Main Street and Barstow Road and took him into custody on suspicion of reckless driving, the release said.

As Robertson was being booked into the Barstow jail, the deputy found methamphetamine in Robertson’s pants pocket, authorities said.

He was arrested on suspicion of reckless driving and bringing a controlled substance into a jail facility.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s department at 760-256-4838.




An inmate at Pueblo County jail is facing new charges after reportedly trying to smuggle an undisclosed amount of methamphetamine into jail by carrying it in a Skittle’s package inside a body cavity.

Gretchen Hesselberg, 38, turned herself in at the jail on Oct. 2 to serve four months for a misdemeanor unlawful possession charge.

Deputies obtained information that Hesselberg was possibly bringing drugs into the jail when she turned herself in, according to the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office.

Hesselberg did not agree to be searched so Capt. Dawn Ballas ordered that she be separated from the jail population in a cell where plumbing is controlled by jail staff. Body cavity searches of inmates at the jail require consent.

On Wednesday, Hesselberg agreed to go to Parkview Medical Center to be searched.

She had removed the contraband from her body but was being carefully monitored by two deputies while doing so.

As Hesselberg attempted to hide the drugs in her waistband, deputies were alerted and acted.

Hesselberg was found to be in possession of suspected methamphetamine, according to the sheriff’s office.

She allegedly asked the deputies to dispose of it in exchange for money.

Hesselberg was returned to jail with new felony charges of bribery and introduction of contraband as well as possession of a controlled substances.


A surge in international drug smuggling – mostly originating in China and shipped through Hong Kong – could “destroy” Indonesia’s youth, one of the country’s most senior military officers has warned. 7eedb6220528a708cc82c24c3452a869

indonesia-military-anniversary_jkt1039_46025241_1General Gatot Nurmantyo, chief of staff of the Indonesian army, told university students last week that crime syndicates were using drugs as part of an “international conspiracy” to “destroy the Indonesian younger generation, so that the nation would be deprived of a high-quality generation in the future”.

With porous borders and increasing drug use, the world’s fourth most populous nation has long been an attractive and lucrative market for Hong Kong’s triads and mainland Chinese syndicates.

Much of the methamphetamine found in Indonesia originates in Guangdong, where it is manufactured before being shipped via Hong Kong, according to police and United Nations reports.

In May, Indonesian authorities announced plans to step up monitoring of flights from China, including Hong Kong, in the wake of a “significant” increase in drug-trafficking cases this year.

Hong Kong’s triads have targeted Indonesian migrant workers to smuggle methamphetamine out of the city, the Sunday Morning Post reported earlier this year.

“Through an international conspiracy, Indonesia’s younger generation could be destroyed by using no weapons,” Gatot said last week according to state news agency Antara. “The authorities are still facing difficulties in trying to … fight drug problems.”

There has been a spate of Hongkongers arrested in Indonesia for trafficking methamphetamines in recent months, including a 17-year-old who in June became the youngest person ever caught smuggling drugs through Jakarta’s international airport.

Late last month, police there seized a 71kg consignment of crystal meth from China valued at more than HK$90 million.

Two mainland Chinese, a Hongkonger and an Indonesian were arrested in connection with the seizure following a four-month police operation and could now face the death penalty.

Also known as Ice, methamphetamine has exploded in popularity in recent years, especially in Asia, where the existence of crime syndicates, raw materials and a ready market has created perfect conditions for a rise in use of methamphetamines.

According to Indonesia’s National Anti-Narcotics Agency, the number of illicit drug users in the country is set to reach nearly 3 per cent of the population – or five million people – by next year, up from 1.5 per cent in 2005.

Hong Kong is also facing an unprecedented surge in the drug’s popularity, although authorities continue to maintain that the city is not a hub or a transit point for the drug. In the first seven months of this year, police and customs seized 202kg of methamphetamines - a 104 per cent increase from the same period last year.





BULLHEAD CITY — Felony complaints were filed Friday in Bullhead City Municipal Court against and Tania Grogan, both of whom were arrested Wednesday and are in custody in the Mohave County Jail in Kingman.

The criminal complaint against Grogan alleges she conspired to sell methamphetamine — a Class 2 felony — between Oct. 1 and 15; that she sold methamphetamine from the vicinity of an address on Lakeside Drive on Oct. 13, also a Class 2 felony; and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class 6 felony, on Oct. 15.5443780f1452b_image

The charges against Folster include one count of conspiracy to sell methamphetamine, a Class 2 felony, between Oct. 1 and 15; five Class 2 felony counts of the sale of methamphetamine — three in the vicinity of an unnamed Lakeside Drive address plus one on Highway 95 and another on Hancock Drive — all between Oct. 1 and 15; and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class 6 felony, on Oct. 15, also in the vicinity of an unnamed address on Lakeside Drive.

As of Friday, Folster, 28, was not charged in his alleged attempts to elude capture for about two hours Wednesday evening.

Grogan, 29, is the mother of Isabella “Bella” Grogan-Cannella, who went missing from the family home on Lakeside Drive on Sept. 2 and whose partially clothed body was found the next day a half-mile from there. Folster has been named as the child’s stepfather. Court records indicate Grogan and Folster were married a little more than three months ago.

Justin Rector, a family friend who was temporarily staying at the residence on Lakeside Drive, is being held without bond and faces first-degree murder and kidnapping charges in the 8-year-old’s death. Authorities have said Rector admitted to them that he spent the hours before Grogan-Cannella’s disappearance smoking methamphetamine in an upstairs bedroom.

The Bullhead City Police Department descended upon the home of Grogan and Folster late Wednesday afternoon with warrants in hand. Subsequently, police arrested Niki Fox, 21, Folster’s girlfriend, on charges that she made bogus 911 calls in an attempt to divert police from the duplex on Lakeside Drive to give Folster a chance to escape.

Also arrested was Jaime Medrano, a next door neighbor, who allegedly gave refuge to Folster during Wednesday’s standoff with police.

Freddie Lynn Nicholson, 59, Folster’s mother, was also arrested Wednesday on drug charges, after police said they discovered drug paraphernalia in her room on Sept. 4. She also is facing charges of assisting Grogan in the sale of the drugs.

Folster’s troubles are not restricted to the Arizona side of the river. At the time of his arrest Wednesday evening, he was wanted on an active warrant out of Clark County relating to a grand larceny auto charge.

Grogan was arrested in Clark County in February 2014 on charges of possessing a dangerous drug without a prescription. The charge was amended in the Laughlin Justice Court on June 19 to possession of a drug not to be introduced into interstate commerce. Grogan pleaded guilty and was sentenced to low level drug counseling and 25 hours of community service. A 30-day jail sentence was suspended.

In addition to the drug charges, Grogan is being investigated for leaving her children in a dangerous environment and for supplying methamphetamine to Rector.

Bond has been set at $250,000 each for Grogan and Folster; they’re both due back in Bullhead City Justice Court on Oct. 24.



SOUTHERN UTAH – A traffic stop on I-15 resulted in arrests for a pair of travelers who were allegedly transporting illegal or unlawfully obtained items that included identification documents and credit cards as well as nine pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $200,000.


A Utah Highway Patrol officer observed a vehicle traveling northbound on I-15 near milepost 45 Wednesday with a broken brake light and numerous items hanging from and obstructing the driver’s view of the rearview mirror.

According to a statement of probable cause from the Fifth District Court in Iron County, when the officer pulled over the vehicle and approached, the driver, “was abnormally nervous, and was shaking.” The officer stated the driver would not maintain eye contact and avoided looking at the officer while talking.

The driver, identified as Shauna Ashely Ray, provided an Arizona driver’s license that was suspended. The passenger, identified as Aracelie Ausuzena Quintero-Rienhardt, and the driver gave the officer conflicting information regarding their travel plans and relationship. Both women’s addresses are listed to be in Tuscon, Arizona.

The officer obtained consent to search the vehicle, the document states, and then located numerous checks, credit cards, social security cards and state issued IDs that belonged to people not present in the vehicle. Drug paraphernalia was also found.

The pair were arrested and the vehicle transported to a Utah Highway Patrol station, where police assisted by a K9 unit located about 9 pounds of methamphetamine with an approximate street value of $200,000. Additional paraphernalia and heroin were also found.

The pair were booked on the charges detailed below.

Quintero-Rienhardt faces one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute as second-degree felony, one count of possession of methamphetamine as a third-degree felony, one count of possession of heroin as a third-degree felony, possession of drug paraphernalia as a class B misdemeanor, possession of stolen credit cards as a third-degree felony and five counts of identity fraud as third-degree felonies.

Ray faces one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute as a second-degree felony, one count of possession of methamphetamine as a third-degree felony, one count of possession of heroin as a third-degree felony, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia as a class B misdemeanor, one count of possession of stolen credit cards as a third-degree felony, five counts of identity fraud as a third-degree felony, driving on a suspended license as a class C misdemeanor and additional charges relating to deficient equipment on the vehicle she was driving.




When Zachary arrived at a hookup’s house he was taken aback by the luxury of it all – complete with a bird sanctuary, koi pond, square pool, hot tub, waterfalls, and a covered porch with couches.

“It reminded me of a resort,” the 20-year-old said. “It was beautiful, very well decorated. These people had a lot of money. The landscaping was immaculate.”

But it was the bird sanctuary that he remembers best. “It was something you’d see at the zoo. It was a big cage, you could fit a car inside of it.

But this was anything but a resort. Or a typical hook up. It was a sex and meth party.

After a guy on Grindr offered Zachary and his friend free drugs, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to attend. Zachary, a recovering drug addict, had recently relapsed on crack and wanted to get high.

But he wasn’t expecting a full-fledged group event when he showed up to the house in downtown West Palm Beach.

“I didn’t know till I showed up. I could tell it was definitely a regular thing like once or twice a month,” he said. “There was like this extravagance to it. It was very classy. They had coolers, drinks and Gatorades, a snack bar. It was a well organized event.”

And of course there was sex, a whole lot of sex – unprotected.

“It was all unsafe sex. I didn’t care because I was high. But I prefer bareback sex anyway,” he said. “In the two days that I was there, 75 or 80 percent of the time we were having sex.”

A few weeks later though Zachary did care when he worried that he might be positive himself. He wasn’t.

Crystal meth usage is back on the rise in the gay community and local efforts like ‘No More Meth’ are coming together to tackle the problem.

The Meth Comeback

Over the past few years, there has been a resurgence of methamphetamine use in the gay community; some have even called it an epidemic.

“The number of arrests involving crystal meth has doubled so far this year over 2013 in Fort Lauderdale,” said Michael Kasten, a committee chairperson on the No More Meth Task Force. “If you look at the actual arrests by sector they are in the gay neighborhoods of Fort Lauderdale.”

That’s why Mark Ketcham, executive director of SunServe in South Florida, was so eager to host and help fund the ‘No More Meth’ program.

“I asked at one of our events for someone to match the $5,000 grant the ‘No More Meth’ program received from another organization,” he said. “We matched it in four minutes. I will do anything I can to alleviate this problem.”

Ketcham though admitted that while meth use is a huge problem, he also understands why there are so few programs targeting the issue.

“It’s such a tough problem. There’s such a high rate of recidivism; you don’t get much success,” Ketcham said. “If you know you’re not going to win, it’s hard to take it on, but we have to start somewhere. We have to start addressing the whys. It’s an uphill battle, this damn thing. It’s just very frustrating.”

David Fawcett is the chairman of ‘No More Meth’ and a psychotherapist with a practice in Wilton Manors. He’s been active in the gay men’s health movement and is currently working on a book on gay men, meth and sexual recovery.

“Two years ago I really saw an uptick in my private practice with gay men struggling with meth addiction,” he said.

Fawcett explained that after the federal government banned pseudoephedrine from store shelves in 2006, there was a drop-off in usage among gay men. Pseudoephedrine is the main ingredient in over the counter cold medicines such as Sudafed. It’s also the main ingredient used to make crystal meth.

“But there were unintended consequences,” Fawcett said. “Since there was a gap in supplies, Mexican drug cartels stepped up their production of industrial strength meth, so really the government regulation only put the mom-and-pop labs out of business.”

For illegal drug suppliers in Mexico meth is a big lure, because unlike cocaine and heroin that depend on the coca and poppy plants, meth can be made anywhere.

“Producing big quantities in America has become harder, as the authorities have cracked down on bulk purchases of the ingredients. So production is shifting to big and highly efficient labs in Mexico,” according to an article from 2012 in the Economist. “The cheap and potent meth they supply now provides some three quarters of the drug consumed in America. Seizures at the border rose from 1.3 tons in 2001 to 4.5 tons by the end of the decade.”

Fawcett said the meth coming out of Mexico is much more dangerous because of its potency.

“According to the Broward County Drug Task Force 22 kilos of crystal meth has been confiscated in 2014,” Kasten said. “Most of which came from Wilton Manors. That’s a street value of $5 million. That’s just this year. We’re in deep shit.”

But why is meth specifically attractive to gay men? Fawcett has a theory.

“There’s something called cognitive escapism; it’s the numbing out of uncomfortable feelings,” Fawcett said. “Meth comes along and neutralizes a lot of feelings and energizes these people. Initially meth makes them feel attractive, makes them not care what other people think.”

Slamming On The Rise

Ryan Pyles will never forget the time he shot up meth and 20 minutes later his face started drooping, he began to slur his speech, and began to experience other classic symptoms of a stroke.

“I just thought I had done too much so I still continued to use afterwards,” the 26-year-old said. “It really was a pretty serious side effect. It was scary.”

But not scary enough to keep him away from meth.

He first tried the drug in college and didn’t like it. Three years later he was re-introduced to meth and within a month he was slamming the drug. Nine months later, he was in rehab.

As a medic Pyles never had a problem with injecting meth. Needles didn’t scare him. In the crystal meth world shooting up is known as ‘slamming.’

“When injecting, it’s much more intense and had a much more sexual charge to it for me,” Pyles said. “I started off by smoking it and then quickly started [shooting up]. The difference in smoking and injecting is almost like two separate drugs for me.”

Fawcett has also seen an uptick in slamming.

“That used to be a last resort,” he said. “Now it’s much more common to start by injecting. It’s really scary, and there is much more risk of an overdose.”

Combine slamming with the new potent meth coming out of Mexico and it’s a far more dangerous situation than years ago, Fawcett warned.

Pyles is currently serving a 42-month sentence in prison for drug conspiracy and possession with the intent to distribute. He hopes that with good behavior he’ll be released early and be in a halfway house by March of 2015, where he will have to spend at least 6 months. SFGN interviewed him via email while he was in prison.

Todd Connaughty, director of clinical services at the Pride Institute in Minnesota, said he’s also seen an increase in the number of gay men slamming.

“After injecting it, there’s like an explosion in your brain,” he said. “The high is more intense. It lasts longer and brain chemistry reacts differently. There’s an even bigger release of dopamine and serotonin using IV.”

Connaughty said the ritual of slamming can also become addictive, “some clients inject each other, so there’s this sense of intimacy injecting someone and a sense of connectedness.”

Pyles can relate to the ritual.

“When I first started using meth IV, I was very into the ritual of preparing and injecting,” he said. “It was more so because I was very obsessed about the cleanliness and sterility of everything.”

The Culture of ‘Party and Play’

What makes crystal meth even more attractive to gay men is that the drug goes hand-in-hand with sex.

“When I was reintroduced to meth I was introduced to the sexual aspect of it as well. I was hooked from that point and began using regularly,” Pyles said. “I have always been a very sexual person and meth, particularly using it IV, made me get into this very animalistic insatiable mode.”

Fawcett agreed.

“It’s a very sexual drug,” he said. “You’ll have men masturbate for 30 hours until their bodies are just exhausted. They can’t satiate their sexual desire.”

Connaughty knows better than most about the difficulty of dealing with both addictions at the same time. Five years ago, he helped implement a sexual health program at the Pride Institute, an LGBT only treatment center in Minnesota.

“It specifically focuses on gay men with crystal meth addiction and sexual compulsory issues,” Connaughty said.

Connaughty said it’s important to address both issues together and agrees that meth usage among gay men is back on the rise.

“The two issues are intertwined and hard to separate,” Connaughty said. “We have to look at the underlying issues. The validation they get. The sense of intimacy. The increased confidence. And then look at how to create that without the use of methamphetamines and sexual activity.”

Local recovering meth addict Kevin Strouf, 52, said he understands all too well how meth is tied to sex. He first started using meth at circuit parties, which later led to sex parties.

“Nowadays people are being introduced to it through sex parties because circuit parties aren’t as popular anymore,” he said.

Once he got clean he made the decision to stay celibate for the first two years of his recovery.

“I got off all of the websites, apps, and stayed away from the Internet,” Strouf said. “I was just as addicted to those websites and hooking up. I had to deal with both [addictions] at the same time.”

Connaughty said that most of addicts that come through Pride these days are addicted to meth.

As a single gay man Michael Kasten can’t stand being constantly hit up online to “party and play.”

“I don’t go to the bars. And online I am besieged with offers of PNP despite my profiles that say no drugs – no PNP,” he said. “I’m disgusted. I see this as an epidemic. It’s destroying the community.”

A lot of meth addicts combine their meth use with other drugs such as Viagra and ecstasy. Connaughty said recently he’s also been seeing the rise of “speedballs” which were traditionally a mixture of cocaine and heroin, but meth users are mixing meth and heroin to create a new type of “speedball.”

Another common drug that is used in conjunction with meth is GHB.

“GHB is a sedative and goes hand in hand with meth. First you get a blast of high from the meth and then the GHB evens you out,” Connaughty said. “Unfortunately with GHB it’s very easy to pass out and bad things can happen.”

HIV and Meth

As if sex and meth combined weren’t enough, HIV infections are much more common in meth users. Not only does unsafe sex pose a risk, but sharing needles does as well.

“The other thing about meth is that it turns off one’s frontal cortex which creates a lack of impulse control which leads to all kinds of risky sexual behavior, and that’s why there is such a high rate of HIV infection among meth users,” Fawcett said.

The risk of HIV is one of the many reasons Mark Ketcham supports the ‘No More Meth’ program.

Meth use is a huge factor in the transmission of HIV. When you’re high on meth the last thing you’re going to think about is safer sex,” Ketcham said.

A rise in HIV infections among meth users is yet another disturbing trend Connaughty is also seeing.

“Within the gay population of 18 to 24 year olds we are seeing an increase of HIV,” he said. “There’s an increase of sexual activity and it exposes them to unsafe sexual practices.”

Pyles is one of those meth addicts living with HIV.

“I was definitely more promiscuous and having more unprotected sex,” he said. “But it could have also been from an accidental use of a dirty needle.”

For Zachary, the guy from the beginning of the story, HIV was the least of his concerns while he was getting high.

“One uncomfortable moment was when the kid I was with asked if everyone was clean [HV negative]. He even asked to see proof. That was really embarrassing. The owner said he was undetectable since 1995,” he said. “I know that HIV is very prevalent in the meth and group sex community so I had assumed everybody there was HIV positive anyway, so I didn’t need to ask. I was embarrassed because these people were giving us free drugs and he was putting stipulations on it.”

No More Meth

The resurgence of meth, combined with its increased dangers, prompted Fawcett to re-involve himself in combating meth addiction here in South Florida.

The program, ‘No More Meth,’ though isn’t really a new group; it’s a re-imagination of several other groups Fawcett has belonged to over the last the 12 years. First, he was the chair of the ‘South Florida Meth Task Force,’ then he formed ‘Meth and Men’ in 2006. By 2008, as meth-use dropped, the program died. In 2013, he re-launched ‘Meth and Men’ which recently became the ‘No More Meth Task Force.’

“We wanted to freshen it up and bring new people to the table,” he said.

Kasten, a committee chair, got involved because he’s seen the effects of meth first hand.

“I’ve had two friends that I watched from beginning of their use to their demise. These two individuals were from different facets of life – one was an attorney, a millionaire, and he lost everything,” he said. “The other person I dated. I found out he was using meth and I did an intervention. I’ve watched him relapse and go in and out of recovery.”

No More Meth’s first community event is Wednesday, Oct. 22 at the Pride Center in Wilton Manors from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The town hall meeting will feature a former meth user, David Fawcett, Jim Hall an epidemiologist and Howard Finklelstein, the Broward County Public Defender, and a recovering addict himself.

Visit for more information.

Kasten said that local law enforcement officers have also pledged to show up to the event.

“I have spoken directly to officers at the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Fort Lauderdale Police Department and Wilton Manors Police Department,” he said. “All of them are extremely concerned about the crystal meth problem here in South Florida.”

No More Meth also has a weekly group “Let’s Talk Meth” that meets every Wednesday from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Fusion in Wilton Manors.

Getting Help

Kevin Strouf will never forget his last day using. He was in Orlando looking for more drugs when new dealer stole his money and he had to borrow $30 to buy a Greyhound bus ticket back to South Florida.

He was in a rush to get back to South Florida in order to be able to show up for his court appearance the next day to face drug related charges.

“It was the most horrendous trip,” Strouf said. “I just remember thinking, ‘What the fuck has my life come to? I have nothing.’ I started crying.”

Later that morning his attorney explained to him his choices: either go to drug court and adhere to its rules or don’t, and probably get two to four years of probation.

“I call it my one moment of clarity. I was totally desperate,” Strouf said. “I knew I needed help, and I thought that maybe this was God’s way of helping me. And so I chose the drug court program.”

That week he went to his first 12-step meeting at a LGBT recovery clubhouse in Fort Lauderdale. As he was leaving he saw a poster for a Crystal Meth Anonymous meeting.

“I thought, ‘Oh my God. There’s an actual program for this,'” he recalls thinking. It was at that moment that he knew he had found a new home.

There’s been a tremendous growth in Crystal Meth Anonymous over the past five years, especially in South Florida.

“When I first started going to CMA there were maybe 10 to 15 people at a meeting,” he said. “Now there’s up to 100 people a night on the weekends.”

Meanwhile across the country in San Francisco some are pushing harm reduction based therapies as an alternate method of treatment. That’s how, an informational website providing support and resources about crystal meth use, came about.

“This was designed by and for gay men who use meth,” said Mike Discepola, director of the Stonewall Project, which oversees “We want to help people understand how meth impacts brain and body. Help them to choose to reduce the harm of the drug. For instance, reduce their amount of using. Or move from injecting to snorting ,or another less harmful method.”

Discepola said the basic premise behind harm reduction is having participants take any positive step toward reducing harm in their life. He said harm reduction therapy is for the many people not yet ready for abstinence.

“One size does not fit all,” Discepola said, explaining that harm reduction based programs are more individual oriented. “You decide what your goals are. The truth of the matter is not everyone is prepared to stop every substance. We help people at the place where they are. We don’t demonize drugs and alcohol. We encourage people to make positive choices in their life.”

Discepola points to needle distribution programs as good examples of successful harm reduction based programs.

“It reduces the transmission of HIV and other infections,” he said.

Currently there is no medication to treat meth addiction but that may change if the clinical trials of Ibudilast, a drug that is used to treat asthma and post-stroke complications, works on its human patients. The results of that trial are expected to be released in 2015.

Jimmy Palmieri is has made it his personal mission to help meth addicts get clean and into recovery. He launched the Tweakers Project eight years ago, which now includes a movie, “Tweakers,” an anti-meth ad campaign, and a Facebook group that now boasts more than 3,000 members. So far through the project he’s been able to place more than 75 people into rehab for free.

Palmieri once dated a meth addict for eight years and understands the impact addiction can have, not only on the individual, but the loved ones as well.

“This was a very good man doing very bad things to himself,” Palmieri said. “It was so painful to watch. It clicked in my head that maybe I could be somewhat of a voice someone would pay attention to. I am just grateful it has worked out the way that it has.”

Strouf is grateful today as well. Almost five years later he’s still clean, still attends meetings and has never been happier. For him it was the police that gave him the best present ever.

“It was a gift from God for me to get arrested,” he said.

*Zachary did not want his last name revealed.

The History of Meth

From amphetamine to methamphetamine to crystal meth and beyond

Amphetamine was first made in 1887 in Germany and methamphetamine, more potent and easy to make, was developed in Japan in 1919. The crystalline powder was soluble in water, making it a perfect candidate for injection.

Methamphetamine went into wide use during World War II, when both sides used it to keep troops awake. High doses were given to Japanese Kamikaze pilots before their suicide missions. And after the war, methamphetamine abuse by injection reached epidemic proportions when supplies stored for military use became available to the Japanese public.

In the 1950s, methamphetamine was prescribed as a diet aid and to fight depression. Easily available, it was used as a nonmedical stimulant by college students, truck drivers and athletes, and abuse of the drug spread.

This pattern changed markedly in the 1960s with the increased availability of injectable methamphetamine, worsening the abuse.

Then, in 1970, the US government made it illegal for most uses. After that, American motorcycle gangs controlled most of the production and distribution of the drug. Most users at the time lived in rural communities and could not afford the more expensive cocaine.

  • 1887: Amphetamines are first synthesized.
  • 1919:Meth is developed by a pharmacologist in Japan. The drug alleviates fatigue and produces feelings of alertness and well-being.
  • 1930s: Doctors begin using amphetamines in the U.S. to treat asthma and narcolepsy.
  • 1932:The amphetamine Benzedrine is introduced as an over-the-counter bronchial dilator for the treatment of nasal and bronchial congestion associated with colds.
  • World War II: Meth and amphetamine are given to Allied bomber pilots to sustain them on long flights. The experiment fails though because soldiers become irritable and can’t channel their aggression. Amphetamines were mostly used by soldiers to fight off fatigue and enhance performance.
  • 1945-1950s:Post-war Japan experiences the first meth epidemic. It spreads to Guam, the U.S. Marshall Islands and to the U.S. West Coast.
  • 1950s: Still marketed to treat obesity, narcolepsy and sinus inflammation, “pep pills” or “bennies” are sold for non-medical purposes. Some truckers, homemakers, college students and athletes pop pills to stay awake or keep active.
  • 1960s: Doctors in San Francisco drug clinics prescribe injections of meth to treat heroin addiction.
  • 1970: Meth, or speed, is regulated in the Controlled Substances Act and a public education campaign is mounted.
  • 1980s: Drug treatment counselors see increased abuse among men who have sex with men. Mexican drug manufacturers begin exporting meth to the U.S. Crystal meth, a smokable form of meth, is created and is twice as potent as regular meth.
  • 1990s: New ways to cook meth appear. Some new versions are four to six times stronger. Meth use begins and grows in the rural Midwest. Rural locations become ideal for cooking of meth because of geographic isolation and the available supply of ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and anhydrous ammonia.
  • 1993: Legislation is passed in 1993 that will require ephedrine pill sellers to register with the DEA, keep sales records, and report suspicious customers. The bill does not cover sellers of pseudoephedrine pills.
  • 1996: Congress passes the Comprehensive Methamphetamine Control Act, which regulates mail order and chemical companies selling precursor chemicals. For example, people who buy large quantities of red phosphorous, iodine and hydrochloric gas must show they will use them for legitimate purposes. Law enforcement agents are allowed to track large mail order purchases of pseudoephedrine, another precursor chemical.
  • 2004: Oklahoma becomes the first state to pass a law placing limits on sales of pseudoephedrine to pharmacies and requiring retailers to sell pseudoephedrine products from behind the counter and ask purchasers to show I.D. and sign a register.
  • 2006: The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 is passed. It regulates over-the-counter sales ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, phenylpropanolamine because of their use in the making of meth. Also in 2006 the U.N. World Drug Report calls meth the most abused hard drug on earth, and the world’s 26 million meth addicts equals the combined number for cocaine and heroin users. America has 1.4 million users, while globally the highest concentration of addicts is in East and Southeast Asia.
  • 2009: The Mexican government recognizes there is a huge oversupply of pseudoephedrine coming into the country, and most of it is being diverted to the U.S meth trade. They decide to ban importation all together. With the Mexican cartels unable to get their hands on pseudoephedrine, the potency of the meth being smuggled into the U.S. plunges.
  • 2010: Mississippi becomes the second state after Oregon to make pseudoephedrine products prescription only. Within a few months after enforcing the law, officials see a sharp drop in meth lab seizures and meth-related crime.



The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office reports deputies responded to the 8900 block of Old US 60 East near the boat ramp in Spottsville to a One Step Meth Lab after a property owner spotted a white male subject wearing a sweatshirt, jeans and a ball cap acting suspicious and lying down in a wooded area near the roadway. Police say when the subject was confronted he fled the area.

Detectives found glassware and other items used to manufacture methamphetamine including one container that was in the cooking process. The area was neutralized and the items were packaged for destruction.

Authorities are requesting help from the public if anyone saw a young white male matching that description in the area, you are asked to call the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office.




Hospitals and drug clinics are bracing themselves for more patients presenting with psychosis and cardiovascular problems after a significant increase in use of the drug “ice“.

The number of injecting drug users who used ice in the last six months has increased from 55 per cent to 61 per cent in the last year, according to the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre’s annual survey released on Monday.Article%20Lead%20-%20wide625099851149xpimage_related_articleLeadwide_729x410_117t0h_png1413731507066_jpg-620x349

Overall, methamphetamine use remained stable, but there was a shift from snorting it as “speed” to smoking or injecting in its crystal form, as ice.

Chief investigator Lucy Burns, of the University of NSW, said the figures were concerning because ice was more addictive than other forms of methamphetamine and its use was associated with psychosis and violence.

“Heroin remains the drug of choice for people who inject drugs but ice is pretty up there too,” Dr Burns said. “There’s been a move to the crystal use of methamphetamine and of course that’s the stronger form.”

Injecting the drug also exposed people to a greater risk of blood-borne viruses.

The proportion of injecting drug users who used ice remained stable at 74 per cent in NSW, but it leapt from 55 per cent to 75 per cent in Victoria and also rose to 72 per cent in the ACT.

Use of the drug ice is growing faster among injecting drug users in Victoria than in any other part of Australia.

Dr Burns said the increase was significant.

“Ice is metabolized by the body more quickly than other forms of methamphetamine, is more addictive and its use is associated with drug-induced psychosis, violence and erratic behavior,” she said. “Injecting ice also puts people at a number of other major risks, including acquiring septicemia, Hepatitis C and HIV.”

NSW injectors were using ice more than once a week, while in Victoria they were using it fortnightly and in the ACT they were taking it twice a week.

Among recreational drug users, the use of ice was statistically stable, with about one in five people reporting that they used the drug regularly nationally, although it was as high as one in three in Victoria.

They were more likely to take methamphetamine in powder form.

The clinical director of the drug and alcohol service at St Vincent’s Hospital, Nadine Ezard, said the number of people presenting at Sydney emergency departments for methamphetamine-related problems had more than tripled in the last five years.

“They’re using stronger forms and more often, therefore we’re expecting to see more problems associated with it because the presentations we see tend to be dose related,” Associate Professor Ezard said.

These included psychosis and cardiovascular problems.

Last year, more than 20,000 people around Australia received treatment for drug problems where methamphetamine was the principal drug of concern.

Associate Professor Ezard said the residential withdrawal service at St Vincent’s Hospital was receiving proportionally fewer residents with opioid and alcohol problems and proportionally more people who used stimulants as the primary drug of concern.

The implications were broad, with people intoxicated by crystal methamphetamine more likely to engage in risky behavior such as unprotected sex.

Demand had exploded in the stimulant treatment program at St Vincent’s that was set up NSW Health in response to concerns about ice in 2006.

In January last year, there were 120 people on the program.

There are now 200 on the program and 100 on the waiting list and most of them are employed, unlike the methadone clinic where just three per cent are employed.

“It’s a different cohort to people on the opioid treatment program,” Associate Professor Ezard said. 

“We would like to intervene before people lose their jobs.” 

The National Drug and Alcohol Centre’s survey of ecstasy users had happier news, reporting that the use of synthetic cannabis had halved among this group.

They were also less likely to buy psychoactive substances online.





ENGLEWOOD – Englewood Police were able to get a gun and a “significant” amount of meth off the street after a man ran a red light and crashed into another car Thursday afternoon.

Police say the man was speeding in the 3000 block of South Platte River Drive just before 1 p.m.

The driver a, 26-year-old man, ran a red light at West Dartmouth Avenue and crashed into another car. That other driver, an 80-year-old man, was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Police say the 26-year-old then got out of his car, threw a gun away and tried to run from officers. He was arrested after a struggle with police.

Police say they found meth on the man. He was treated at the hospital for minor injures then booked into Arapahoe County Jail.

Two women who were in the man’s car were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Police say the man had several felony warrants. He now faces numerous additional felonies.




ISHPEMING — The names have been released in a late night bust resulting in the largest amount of meth components found in a residence in Marquette County.

ABC 10 was the only camera crew on the scene as police served John Logan Heribacka of Ishpeming township with a search warrant and raided the house Thursday night. The meth bust happened around 10pm last night at a home on the 200 block of Oak Street in Ishpeming. 40–year–old Heribacka was arrested and is currently in Marquette county jail.meth-labrwerqrq

Police say he was dating 37 year old Jessondra Beth Pennala of Ishpeming. She was arrested yesterday after her home on Marble Street was raided and meth making components were found. Police say the two were apparently staying at both locations with the woman’s children. A tip to police regarding the safety of the children resulted in the initial investigation.

The couple will face 2 charges each, controlled substance and operating/maintaining a meth lab in the presence of a minor which carries a sentence up to 20 years.The Ishpeming Police Department executed search warrants based on an investigation involving the manufacturing of methamphetamine at two separate locations in Ishpeming and Ishpeming Township.

The first search warrant at 260 Marble Street in Ishpeming Township was executed around 4 p.m. in conjunction with the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team after a joint investigation with Child Protective Services that led officers to believe that methamphetamine had been manufactured on the street. That search led to the discovery of evidence indicating meth manufacture. Officers subsequently took a 37-year-old Ishpeming woman into custody on meth related charges.

A second warrant was obtained after further investigation for a house in the 200 block of Oak Street in the City of Ishpeming. Around 10:00 p.m. Thursday, police executed the search warrant and the aforementioned largest amount of meth components were found. A 40-year-old man was taken into custody on meth related charges as a result of that search warrant. UPSET detectives began removing the components after police personnel had cleared the residence.

Police say the pair taken into custody are in a dating relationship and have allegedly been staying in both locations with the woman’s minor children. The children are being cared for by relatives.

The Marquette County Prosecutor’s Office will review the case for official charges. The Ishpeming Police expect more information to be available Friday afternoon.