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MADISON, WI—John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Brady Holmes, 48, and Robyn Reed, 50, both of Glendale, Ariz., were sentenced yesterday by Chief U.S. District Judge William Conley for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Holmes was sentenced to 12 years and Reed was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison. Both were sentenced to five years of supervised release to follow their prison sentences. Holmes and Reed pleaded guilty to this charge on September 17, 2014.

Using Facebook, Jill Welsh and Reed arranged a delivery of methamphetamine. On March 6, 2014, agents followed Welsh to Kansas. Once there, they arrested Welsh and Brady Holmes. Holmes’ car was searched and officers located five pounds of methamphetamine in a PVC tube. It was determined that Welsh intended to bring the methamphetamine to the Superior, Wis. area to sell. A package containing two pounds of methamphetamine that was intended for Welsh was also seized in late 2013. The seven pounds of methamphetamine seized from Welsh and Holmes was almost 100% pure.

On November 14, 2014, Welsh was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. The government also forfeited more than $58,000 in drug proceeds found in a safe in Welsh’s home and two properties in Douglas County that Welsh used to facilitate her drug trafficking in Superior.

The charge against Welsh, Reed, and Holmes was the result of an investigation conducted by the Superior Police Department; Douglas County Sheriff’s Office; Duluth Police Department; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Drug Enforcement Administration; U.S. Postal Service; Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation; Mulvane (Kansas) Police Department; and the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Altman.

This content has been reproduced from its original source.






A union official representing Hunter ambulance officers has given an insight into the so called ‘ice’ epidemic, describing violent, deranged users caught in the throes of addiction.

The Bureau of Crime Statistics says last year ice or crystal methamphetamine related crimes increased 18 per cent, prompting fears of a deepening crisis.5896028-3x2-340x227

Regional areas, such as Cessnock, were named as the worst affected.

The President of the Health Services Union in the Hunter Peter Rumball said he is alarmed at ice usage levels and the affects the drug has on users.

“The members have attended people, such as young adults, pulling out their own teeth because it makes them feel happy,” he said.

“Of people wandering the streets with a spoon and digging into abscesses where they believe things like spiders are in under their skin.”

Mr Rumball likens what he calls an ice crisis to the fight against crack cocaine in the United States in the 1980s.

He said many local officers have reported ice related horror stories.

“It is well and truly a crisis at this stage,” he said.

“What we’re experiencing now is very similar to what happened in the US with the introduction of crack cocaine.

“Now, if we continue to let it get to that extent, we are going to have major problems in Australia in relation to mental health issues, issues of crime, and issues with emergency services, such as ambulance and police.”

The Director of the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Don Weatherburn, said ice has a disastrous impact.

“Oh it’s a pitiless drug,” he said.

“I mean, I guess there is nothing to be said for heroin, but one thing about it is that at least while people are under the influence of heroin they’re not inclined to be aggressive.

“Whereas, regular methamphetamine use or amphetamine users are on a steady road to irritation, paranoia, aggressive.

“These sorts of things we can do without.”

Mr Weatherburn says combating ice will not be easy.

“The big problem with amphetamine, compared with other drugs, is that it can be manufactured here, whereas drugs like cocaine or heroin usually are imported and so it is a lot harder to control than heroin used to be or cocaine is.”





Rep. John Huffman, R-The Dalles, is calling for answers about the Oregon Department of Education’s involvement in a youth sexuality conference that has drawn fire for its use – possibly illegal — of graphic materials.

”I doubt any of the parents who signed permission slips for their child to attend this conference really knew what the lesson plans were going to be,” he said. “I think this situation just serves as a reminder for parents to stay vigilant.”

Controversy erupted last week after KOIN 6 aired a report about the Oregon Adolescent Sexuality Conference that was held earlier this year in Seaside.

According to witness statements, one speaker encouraged the use of methamphetamine during sex because it enhanced the experience.

A section of a student handout read: “Meth is widely used for a million reasons to have lots of sex with lots of partners for long periods.”

Students reportedly received an online tutorial in programming a virtual sex partner for gratification.

Pamphlets encouraged students to engage in a variety of intimate activities without intercourse. On the suggestion list was bathing together, shaving each other, wearing each other’s underwear, buying an extra-large pair of pajama bottoms to sleep in together, lap dances, and strip teases. “Students were also given tips on masturbation and urged to try role-playing, such as dressing up as a “nurse, school girl or cops and robbers.”

Bob Dais, director of Human Resources for School District 21, checked in with school principals Dec. 2 to verify that no local educators or students had attended.

“As far as I know, we did not send anyone to the event nor are we planning on sending anybody to future events,” he said.

When told about Huffman’s call for a legislative hearing on the conference, Dais said he was “glad someone’s trying to find out what happened.”

Huffman, who is seated on the House Education Committee, received an email from the department of education Tuesday.

He was informed that Brad Victor, a contract employee and director of the Oregon Teen Pregnancy Task Force, had organized the conference.

The email then said Victor was no longer affiliated with the department as of Monday, Dec. 1, but provided no further details.

“There seems to be a shroud of secrecy about this conference and I find that very interesting,” said Huffman. “We need to know exactly what happened and why.”

When approached by KOIN in November, Victor defended the materials used in the conference and said they were not censored.

“The material passed out at this conference is dedicated to preventing teen pregnancy, preventing STDs and also developing healthy relationships,” he is quoted as saying.

The conference, which is open to all school districts around the state, has been held for the past 20 years.

Church groups and parent organizations have protested the program for the last several years. However, the nature of content taught to students largely stayed off the public radar screen until KOIN investigated complaints.

Huffman said questions were raised about the conference curriculum last year but legislators didn’t delve too deeply into the matter due to a lack of information.

“I am not against sex education that is factual and unslanted,” he said. “What was going on here clearly seems to have crossed that line and now we need to ask why that conference even takes place.”

On Wednesday morning, the Chronicle received an email from the teen pregnancy task force saying the group had been the fiscal sponsor of the conference, and about 25 percent of the participants were youth, who were required to come with an adult chaperone.

“The conference promotes community-side awareness and encourages exchange of ideas across many disciplines,” stated the unsigned email.

The email then outlined that the conference content is aligned with Oregon’s Comprehensive Sexuality Education requirements, which state that abstinence is the best way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

However, the email pointed out that abstinence is not to be stressed to the exclusion of other prevention methods.

The email said there was a keynote speaker and workshop on abstinence at the 2014 conference and many sessions were dedicated to healthy relationship skills. To provide a forum for open and honest dialogue about sexuality, the email states that “sensitive topics such as pornography” were not avoided.

“Having discussions about pornography includes sharing information about such material being illegal.

“The conference does not give directives around what youth should or should not do. It provides information for youth to critically decide for themselves,” the email states.

“We hope that youth who attend will leave understanding that they have choices to make — and some of those choices can have negative consequences. We hope that adults who attend will leave with more information about what youth are exposed to in their lives.”

The conference is billed as a networking opportunity for educators, who can learn more about sexuality issues and take that information back to their respective schools.

“OTPTF supports parents’ rights to find out what sexual health education curriculum looks like in their district. There is no mandated state curriculum for sexual health education,” states the email. “Districts select curriculum that aligns with the law and that meets the needs of their students. OTPRG also supports a parent’s right to opt their child out of sexual health education.”

Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin contends that conference organizers could face criminal charges. He is reaching out to sheriffs across the state and asking that the names of students and educators who attended from their areas give him a call about their experiences.

Wasco County Sheriff Rick Eiesland said Dec. 2 that he had not yet heard from Bergin.

He said the potential for criminal penalties exists if “images of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct was possessed, controlled or transmitted.”

“People can’t buy pornographic material until they turn 18,” he said.

“So, if minors were engaged in some kind of sexual activity online then there is going to be a problem.”

The conference planning committee is also made up of representatives from Oregon Health Authority, Planned Parenthood, Cascade AIDS Project and Insights Teen Parent Program.






Kareem WalkerA North Charleston man faces drug and indecent exposure charges after police were drawn to his idling car by curse-filled music pumping out its speakers Monday while a 5-year-old boy sat in the back seat, authorities said.

Officers said Kareem Walker, 32, of Sorentrue Avenue initially told them he was just watching the car for his girlfriend when they approached him in the parking lot of Cheap Way gas on Dorchester Road at 10:30 a.m. After claiming his girlfriend was having a difficult time in the bathroom, Walker eventually acknowledged he had driven the vehicle there, police said.

A search of the car produced a digital scale sprinkled with white powder which Walker insisted was salt, according to an incident report. From there, police said, the episode played out this way:

Walker kept trying to go back into the store, saying he needed to buy juice. When officers refused to let him go, he became irate, insisted he didn’t have anything on him and then dropped his pants to show them, exposing his private parts.

An officer tried to put cuffs on Walker to arrest him for indecent exposure, but he wrestled with police until confronted with a Taser stun gun.

With the aid of store surveillance video, police determined that Walker had discarded 13 bags containing 6.8 grams of methamphetamine inside the business.

In addition to the exposure count, police charged Walker with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, resisting arrest, leaving a vehicle unattended and violating a loud noise ordinance.

The car and the boy were turned over to the child’s grandmother as police took Walker to the Charleston County jail.






A head chef for P&O Ferries died during a sex game after being wrapped in plastic sheeting and clingfilm, a court has heard.

Alun Williams, 47, was unable to regulate his body temperature after being bound and suffered dehydration that triggered a heart attack, the jury at Canterbury crown court was told on Tuesday.Richard Bowler (left) and David Connor arrive

The chef, who lived with his girlfriend, had an interest in bondage and mummification and would meet men online for sex, the trial heard.

Richard Bowler, 35, and David Connor, 23, from Canterbury, have been charged with manslaughter. They also face an alternative charge of manslaughter by gross negligence, which they deny.

Bowler, who has cerebral palsy which affects his coordination and movement, wept loudly as Ian Hope, prosecuting, opened the case.

Hope said Bowler and Connor lived together in a flat in Dover, Kent, with Connor acting as Bowler’s informal career. Shortly after 6 am on 20 August last year, Connor walked into the taxi rank where his mother worked and said: “Mum, Richard’s killed someone,” the court was told.

He mentioned bondage and a muscle relaxant and told his mother the man was dead.

Bowler, after making a phone call to his brother and texting his sister-in-law for help, phoned the police at 5.53 am and told them he had been involved in a “kinky sex session” with a friend who was wrapped up and had stopped breathing, the court heard. He was put through to the ambulance service and told them Williams had taken the drug ketamine.

Hope said Bowler cut open the clingfilm and plastic sheeting to perform CPR and told the emergency services: “I thought he was just sleeping. I am sorry, I should have called before. He takes ketamine and that mongs him out.”

The court heard that Williams was found wrapped tightly from head to toe in the plastic sheeting and clingfilm, with a space left around his nose and mouth so he could breathe. A hood had been placed over his head, allegedly at Williams’s request, and sexual acts involving the three men had taken place, the court was told.

Connor told the police that he left the flat at midnight after Bowler told him he had a man coming round for a sex session, the jury heard. He said he returned at 1 am and Bowler told him that Williams had wanted to be wrapped in clingfilm.

Hope said police found drugs including ketamine, cocaine, methamphetamine and amyl nitrate, otherwise known as poppers, in Williams’s rucksack. They also found a gas mask and ties in his bag. Sex toys, masking tape, duct tape, black plastic sheeting and clingfilm were also found in the flat, the jury heard.

A laptop found in Williams’s car showed he had an interest in bondage and mummification, the court heard.

A postmortem examination on his body confirmed he had died suddenly after body-wrapping while under the influence of ketamine and methamphetamine.

The trial continues.







A woman was arrested Saturday after authorities found an unloaded handgun and a number of baggies containing marijuana and methamphetamine in her pants.

About 4:15 p.m., Deputy Donald Patterson stopped and pulled over a vehicle for driving without a tag on Herring Road, said Lt. Col. Jimmy Yarbrough with the sheriff’s office. Patterson then met with the driver, Terry Ray Smith, 36, and found Smith was driving on a suspended license and had a warrant for a violation of probation, so he was taken into custody.

Patterson then spoke to the passenger, Amber Rae McKinley, 31, and found she was acting suspiciously, her hands were shaking and she kept holding the waistband of her pants, Yarbrough said. Because of this, Patterson asked McKinley to step out of the vehicle, and when she did, he caught a strong odor of marijuana. Patterson also noticed what looked like a plastic bag hanging out of her waistband.

According to Yarbrough, Patterson requested a female officer to assist in searching McKinley, and a female officer with the Newnan Police Department arrived on scene, Yarbrough said. While being searched, though, McKinley continued to resist officers, so they placed her in both handcuffs and legcuffs.

Once they were able to search her, they found a number of plastic baggies containing marijuana, marijuana cigarettes, several grams of methamphetamine and a glass pipe in her pants. They also found an unloaded 25 caliber semi-automatic handgun wrapped in an orange cloth, and ammunition for the gun was found in the vehicle.

Because of the multiple separate baggies, McKinley was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and she was transported to the Coweta County Jail.

According to Yarbrough, once at the jail, deputies further searched McKinley, and found McKinley was hiding another small container, which contained more suspected marijuana and methamphetamine, in her rectum.








A driver who competed in 15 NASCAR Busch Series races in the late 1980s and early 1990s is now facing drug charges in South Carolina.6101953_g

Robert Powell, 49, is charged with possession of and manufacturing of meth, per a report from WCSC TV in Goose Creek, South Carolina.

Per a police report outlined in the WCSC piece, many of the materials were found in a trash can when the trash can was set by the curb for pick-up.

Powell was a journeyman driver who only started more than two Busch races in a single season once, in 1989. That year, he scored a fourth place finish at Lanier Speedway and three other top-10 finishes in seven starts (10th at South Boston, eighth at Myrtle Beach, 10th at Hickory).

He won a NASCAR Weekly Series national championship in 1988.







Three people who were arrested after deputies found methamphetamine in a diaper bag were among numerous individuals indicted on drug charges by the November session of the Brown County Grand Jury.

Grand jurors returned indictments for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver in a drug free zone against Gary Hollis, 23, of Rising Star,  Hilary Lee Millican, 23, of Odessa and Summer Sanders, 20, of May, 35th District Court records state.

Deputies made a traffic stop in the area of Third and Coggin late on the night of July 11, sheriff’s officials said earlier.

Deputies noticed nervous behavior among the vehicle’s occupants, who related what deputies believed was an improbable story. A drug dog alerted on the vehicle, and deputies found 7 grams of methamphetamine in a diaper bag, sheriff’s officials said.

Grand jurors indicted Brownwood residents Barry Money, 44, and Travis Shaw, 29, on charges of possession of a controlled substance and evidence tampering following a July 14 traffic stop near Blanket.

A deputy saw a glass pipe sitting near the car’s stick shift, sheriff’s officials said earlier. One of the car’s occupants told a deputy the pipe was an oil burner, not a pipe, and told the deputy he didn’t need to see it.

One of the occupants had multiple city warrants, and a deputy and DPS trooper searched the vehicle. The officers found a nearly empty bag of methamphetamine and a large amount of crushed methamphetamine, indicating someone had emptied the bag in an attempt to hide the substance, sheriff’s officials said.








A veteran policeman’s relationship with an informant led to his downfall after he began stealing methamphetamine from evidence so his lover could sell it.

Former Northland detective Michael Blowers, 51, was jailed for four years and nine months when he appeared in the High Court at Whangarei, after pleading guilty to stealing and supplying methamphetamine.

Blowers initially denied the charges, but changed his plea to guilty just days into a two-week trial last month.

At sentencing this morning, Blowers’ lawyer Arthur Fairley said his client knows he has betrayed other police from “top to bottom”, as well as his family, and is deeply ashamed of his actions.

Blowers, who joined the police force in 1992, admitted to supplying methamphetamine between June 1, 2011 and June 31, 2012 as well as stealing methamphetamine from the evidence lock-up at Whangarei police station in October 2011, replacing it with lookalike table salt to cover his tracks.

He passed the drugs onto a woman, whose identity has been suppressed.

Justice Geoffrey Venning said Blowers had been warned by his supervisors to stay away from the informant as early as 2002.

“One female informant in particular led to your downfall. Your initial legitimate contact with her developed into an inappropriate and intimate relationship,” said Justice Venning.

Blowers, who has been married for 24 years, continued seeing the informant and later began giving her meth he stole from the evidence locker.

He tried to justify the theft by saying he did it out of fear and to protect his family from threats by gangs.

Justice Venning rejected this explanation, saying a senior police officer like him would have been aware of what the police could do in those circumstances.

“The irresistible inference is that the real reason you took the drugs was because of your relationship with the informant and in order to make money,” he said.

The Crown also had evidence that Blowers pressured the woman to pay him for the drugs he gave her, and at one point she gave him $7000.

Justice Venning said Blowers’ actions had also compromised evidence seized at a raid because he later stole some of the methamphetamine.

“Actions such as yours endanger that reputation and the trust that members of the community properly have in our police force,” he said.

A third charge of supplying cannabis was discharged when Blowers appeared in court last month.

Crown Prosecutor Michael Smith said a significant prosecution failed as a result of Blowers stealing drugs from the lock-up.

Mr Fairley said his client had shown deep remorse for his actions.







A Hamilton woman allegedly used her hatchet to break into a home in the middle of the night and then called authorities to say she’d done so because she was lost.

Merilee Lee Watne, 36, appeared Monday before Ravalli County Justice Jim Bailey on felony counts of burglary and criminal possession of dangerous drugs.

An affidavit filed in the case said sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to 550 Stacey Lane following a report of an alarm at the property.

While en route, the deputies learned that Watne had called to report she had broken into the home because she was “cold and lost.”

During initial questioning, Watne’s speech was slurred.

She denied having any weapons. During a search, the officer located a hard object in her jacket pocket, which Watne told him was “probably a felony.”

The object was determined to be a methamphetamine pipe.

A razor knife was found in her purse. A hatchet was on the kitchen table. Her boots on the floor contained a bag of marijuana and a jar of a white powdery substance.

The stovetop in the kitchen was turned on. A door had a broken window and an open package was discovered on the front porch

After complaining of being hypothermic, Watne was transported to the hospital.

At the hospital, Watne told officers that she left her home on Eggers Lane at about 3 a.m. That address is a little over two miles from where she was found.

Watne allegedly said she was cold and decided to use her hatchet to gain access into the Stacey Lane property. She admitted to opening the package.

Watne allegedly told the officer she had used methamphetamine a couple of days earlier.

At the detention center, officers found prescription medicine on the woman and a snorting straw. The pipe tested positive for methamphetamine.

Watne was also charged with three counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, criminal possession of dangerous drugs, criminal mischief, and theft, all misdemeanors.

Bailey set bail at $25,000.






POWELLSVILLE — A two-vehicle crash that left three people dead Monday night in Scioto County also brought the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force to the scene.

According to the Portsmouth post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the crash took place just before 7 p.m. on Ohio 522 just east of Junior Furnace-Powellsville Road in Scioto County’s Green Township. The patrol reported a 1994 Ford F150 driven by Ruben T. Sprouse Jr., 45 of Ironton, was eastbound on the road when it was struck by a 1997 Chevrolet Cavalier driven westbound by Harold W. Roof, 51 of Pedro, that had drifted left of center.

The impact caused two of the three rear passengers of Roof’s vehicle to be ejected from the vehicle, the patrol reported; Sprouse’s vehicle then overturned onto its right side and Roof’s vehicle continued off the south side of Ohio 522.

Killed in the crash were Daren H. Woods Jr., 20, of Wilmington; Natasha A. Bare, 23, of Maysville, Kentucky; and Jeremy W. Blanton, 24, of Maysville, Kentucky. Sprouse, Roof and another passenger in Roof’s vehicle, Wesley Bare, of Ripley, were taken to Southern Ohio Medical Center in Portsmouth with injuries that were not considered life-threatening.

When troopers arrived at the scene of the crash, items used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine were located in Roof’s vehicle, the patrol reported. The Southern Ohio Drug Task Force was contacted for assistance in the chemical cleanup.

The crash remains under investigation by personnel from the Portsmouth post of the patrol.

The triple fatal crash comes the day after the conclusion of a five-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend that statewide saw 19 deaths from 17 crashes. According to the patrol, the fatality numbers are up from the 17 deaths over the holiday period in 2013, 12 in 2012 and 17 in 2011.

During the period from 12:01 a.m. Wednesday through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, the patrol also made 444 operating a vehicle impaired arrests and issued 655 aggressive driving citations and 1,316 seat belt citations.

The patrol will be joining forces with other members of the 6-State Trooper Project to bolster impaired driving enforcement from 12:01 a.m. Friday through 11:59 p.m. Sunday. Impaired driving contributed to 330 deaths on Ohio roads in 2013.






In several states across the country, lawmakers are gearing up to debate whether pseudoephedrine (PSE), an ingredient in cold medications like Sudafed, should require a prescription. While PSE has long been an ingredient that consumers have relied on to treat nasal congestion, it is also one of the main ingredients used to make methamphetamine (meth).

According to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, over 100,000 more people used meth in 2013 than in the previous year. Meth is a highly addictive illegal drug that can be produced relatively easily by combining household chemical ingredients with these common over-the-counter cold medicines. The impact of meth use and production extends far beyond those who use and abuse the drug, spurring unintended “collateral damage” for the surrounding communities including fires caused by lab explosions, the cost of foster care for children whose parents are drug users and toxic waste from the chemicals used to make the dangerous drug.

Advocates of the prescription-only legislation believe that it will be more difficult for meth producers to get their hands on PSE products, which would in-turn decrease meth-related crime and lab incidents. However, others argue that requiring a prescription for these cold medications would punish innocent cold and allergy sufferers, who would sacrifice extra time and money for doctors’ visits to acquire the prescription.

There is a trend developing locally that is impacting meth production in a positive way, all without enacting sweeping law changes. Many pharmacies across the country are taking the issue into their own hands by making a change in the type of PSE products they sell. Their relatively simple switch to “meth-resistant” pseudoephedrine products has started to drive down illegitimate PSE sales and reduce meth labs in areas of the country. Over the past two years, nearly 30,000 pharmacies nationwide have started stocking this new type of pseudoephedrine, which includes technology that makes it harder to convert the cold medicine into meth.

Pharmacies in West Virginia – including CVS, Rite Aid and the local Fruth Pharmacy chain – have taken it one step further and have done away entirely with traditional single-ingredient PSE products and replaced them with “meth-resistant” formulations. According to local reports, the state has seen a 30 percent drop in PSE sales since the pharmacies stopped carrying Sudafed and its store-brand generic equivalents. In nearby Tennessee, two counties in a particularly meth-ridden area implemented a similar program and saw a 75 percent drop in PSE sales and more than an 85 percent decrease in meth labs.

Nexafed® has been clinically proven by FDA standards to treat nasal congestion as effectively as standard PSE, while also reducing the amount of pseudoephedrine that can be converted during the meth-making process. Impede®, the unique meth-resistant technology in Nexafed, works by trapping the PSE in a thick gel that forms when the medicine tablet is placed in water or other solvents, which is generally how manufacturers extract PSE from cold medications like Sudafed. The product’s unique meth-deterring technology renders it essentially useless for meth producers who get a significantly lower yield of meth from the product to make it worth their time.

“Ultimately, meth-deterrent PSE formulations give peace of mind to the pharmacists who want to make sure effective PSE is in the hands of the consumers who need it, while making it much harder for meth cooks to get their supply of a key meth making ingredient,” said Bob Jones, president of Acura Pharmaceuticals, the makers of Nexafed. “We are thrilled with the success that’s been achieved in Tennessee and West Virginia, but know that more can and should be done by other states and big pharmacy retailers to reduce meth production and make the switch to meth-resistant PSE products.”

While these cold-medications won’t solve the broader meth addiction and abuse problem, data show they are making a difference in reducing illegitimate PSE sales and domestic meth production. This means fewer fires, less toxic waste, lower costs for cleanup and foster care – all desirable outcomes without requiring legislation. For pharmacies, stocking meth-resistant cold medications is a simple way to provide customers with the medicine they have always relied on without requiring them to visit the doctor every time they have a cold. And this switch keeps meth producers looking elsewhere.


Acura Pharmaceuticals provides an unrestricted educational grant to The Meth Project, a large-scale prevention program aimed at reducing meth use through public service messaging, public policy, and community outreach. Visit for more information and find out how to help Join the Fight Against Meth on Facebook.






OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma City man is behind bars after breaking in an apartment complex on the northwest side of the metro and sexually assaulting a female tenant over the weekend.32-year-old Blake Keahbone

OKC Police arrested 32-year-old Blake Keahbone late Saturday night after receiving a call from someone stating that a naked man had broken into their building and was fighting with residents.

Officers responded to the scene, located in the 800 block of NW 6th St., just after 10 p.m. When they arrived they located Keahbone, completely nude, being held down by three individuals in the grass on the south side of the building. He was taken into custody and police interviewed the residents.

According to the report, Keahbone was high on methamphetamine when he stripped off his clothes and smashed through the glass door at the front of the apartment building. Once inside, Keahbone made his way to a community bathroom where he found the victim.

The victim told police she was using the restroom when Keahbone forced himself in the stall and attacked her. The victim said Keahbone tried to sexually assault her, but the commotion he made breaking into the building alerted other residents who came to her rescue.

Two residents managed to pull Keahbone out of the restroom before he took off for the back door. Those residents and the building’s maintenance man though were able to catch up to Keahbone and tackle him to the ground outside where police made the arrest.

Keahbone was first taken to Baptist Hospital by EMSA to be treated for injuries he sustained during the break-in and his struggle with the apartment residents. While at the hospital Keahbone admitted to police that he had taken the meth and another unknown drug before breaking into the apartment building.

He was then booked into the Oklahoma County Jail on the charges of First-Degree Burglary, Assault and Battery, Domestic Abuse in the Presence of a Minor, Forcible Oral Sodomy and Indecent Exposure. His bond was set at $115,000.








FRANKLIN COUNTY – On Nov. 28, 2014 at approximately 6:45 p.m., a Franklin County deputy observed a vehicle run a red light traveling east through the City of Union.  Upon stopping the vehicle the deputy observed that a passenger in the vehicle had severe burns to his facial area.

An ambulance was requested and the victim was transported to Mercy Hospital in Washington.  He was later transferred to the Mercy burn unit in St. Louis.

Occupants of the vehicle stated that the subject was burned when a container exploded that he was using to make methamphetamine.  The Franklin County Narcotics Enforcement Unit was contacted and drove to the residence in the 5000 block of Dry Branch Road where the explosion was alleged to have occurred.

Deputies located a meth lab hidden in the woods.  It is believed that the explosion occurred in a shed near the residence.

Further investigation is being conducted.  A 20-year-old male and female from St. Clair were located at the residence along with a one-month-old child.

The victim was an 18-year-old male also from St. Clair.







Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) warned Sunday that the U.S. must be vigilant against possible security threats that could emerge if the Islamic State tries to work with Mexican drug cartels, and said the cartels have shown they are willing to work with anyone to gain more power and money.

Cotton, who won his Senate race against outgoing Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), noted that people who are affiliated with Hezbollah have been indicted in the U.S. before, and said affiliations with the Islamic State could be next.

“Hezbollah has tried to launch terrorist attacks right here in Washington DC,” he said on Meet the Press. “They’re under federal indictment, collaborating with locals in Mexico to cross our border to attack us here.”

Cotton wasn’t specific, but some people affiliated with Hezbollah have been indicted, including a man who was trying to import cocaine into the United States. He added that Mexican drug cartels have indicated a willingness to expand beyond the drug trade and move into kidnapping and other crimes, and said the Islamic State could move them in that direction.

Additionally, a former Bush administration official, Roger Noriega, testified in 2011 that Hezbollah operatives are known to have provided weapons and training to drug traffickers along the border.

“As long as our border is open, and it’s defenseless, then it’s not just an immigration issue, it’s a national security issue,” he said.

“And we know that these drug cartels in Mexico are focused primarily on power and profit,” Cotton added. “They’ll branch out into any activity if it brings them more money and helps them consolidate control.”

Republicans have been critical of the Obama administration’s effort to tighten the border, as well as its effort to fight the Islamic State, and have said the administration’s failure on both issues is leaving Americans exposed to a possible attack.

Many Democrats have responded by saying Republicans are trying to sow discontent with the Obama administration by warning about the possibility of Islamic State attacks from across the border. But when asked if he was “fear mongering,” Cotton said the terrorist group itself has said it wants to attack the United States.

“The Islamic State is cutting the heads off Americans right now, and they’re leader has said they want to strike us here in the United States,” he said. “That’s something that we should be fearful of, and that we should take a strong stance against.”

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) said earlier this year that 10 Islamic State fighters were caught trying to cross the border.

He later clarified his remarks to say terrorist Turks and Syrians were trying to cross over, but said terrorists have still been caught trying to cross, and said that goes against the Obama administration’s claim that no terrorists have been caught.







A possible meth lab was found Sunday night in a second-story garage apartment in Forest Hill, according to police and fire officials

Firefighters were dispatched just before 8 p.m. to a two-story wood building detached from the main home on a property in the 1300 block of Boggs Road, according to a notice of investigation from the Office of the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

When they arrived, firefighters found the lower floor burning, according to Oliver Alkire, senior state deputy fire marshal and spokesman for the agency.

“They had difficulty extinguishing the fire, and they thought that was odd. Typically water should put out fire, but they had extreme difficulty.”- Oliver Alkire, senior state deputy fire marshal.

While a cause of the fire had not been determined by Monday, “we cannot rule out it was a chemical reaction that caused the fire,” Alkire said.

When firefighters couldn’t put out the fire right away, they suspected the building could be a meth lab and called the Harford County Narcotics Task Force.

Task force members found at the apartment what they believe to be precursor items used in meth lab operations, according to Capt. Lee Dunbar, of the task force.

He declined, however, to say what those precursors were because the investigation remains open.

“There was some sort of combustion at the scene as a result of what we believe are precursors,” he said.

Those items were seized and are being analyzed, a process Dunbar said could take weeks, or even months.

No charges have been filed against the apartment’s occupant, but Dunbar called him a person of interest in the case.

About 30 firefighters from Fallston, Bel Air, Jarrettsville and Joppa, as well as the Harford County Hazmat Team, responded to the fire and had it under control in about 45 minutes, according to the notice of investigation.

The fire caused an estimated $5,000 in damages to the building’s contents and $10,000 in damages to the building, according to the fire marshal’s office.








Area law-enforcement officials continue to host presentations about drug trends in the Tuscarawas Valley.

“We’re facing pretty much everything,” Orvis Campbell said recently to a group gathered at the Tuscarawas County Public Library. The various drugs police are encountering include cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.

Campbell, a chief deputy at the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Department, and Detective Chaz Willet of the New Philadelphia Police Department addressed a group of nearly 30 people.

“The drug problem is the crime problem,” said Campbell, adding that 94 percent of crimes in the county are drug-related. He added that, on a national level, $634 is spent per second fighting drugs in America and cocaine is the “drug of choice” of most Americans.

“We’re not going to win this war,” Campbell said. “But it’s a war we’re going to keep fighting.”


An increasing number of meth labs have been discovered in the Tuscarawas Valley, including Tuscarawas, Holmes, Harrison and Carroll counties.

In 2013, there were 161 meth labs discovered throughout those four counties.

In the summer, more than 200 meth labs were found or dismantled.

In November, four meth  labs in Gatorade bottles were discovered at a Midvale residence. Two meth labs were actively cooking when law enforcement officials arrived on the scene. A Newcomers-town man was arrested in mid-November after two nonactive meth labs and drug paraphernalia were seized from his home.

Those labs brought the 2014 total of meth labs discovered to 372, according to Sgt. Joe Mullet of the Holmes County Sheriff’s Department.

Mullet is the leader of the sheriff department’s three-man Meth Containment Team, which includes Sgt. Tim Stryker and Junior Troyer, a firefighter and reserve deputy.

Mullet credits the rise in discovered meth labs to the public’s taking a proactive approach in helping law enforcement target the problem.

“I think word’s getting out there a lot more of what to look for,” he said. “People are becoming more aware of what they see.”


Even though the public is taking action in helping law enforcement locate possible meth labs, Mullet said the problem isn’t going to go away anytime soon.

Meth, I’m afraid, is not going away,” he said. “As long as there is a demand for it, it’s going to be there.”

To minimize the demand for meth, Mullet said, prevention tactics would play a large role, which would include teaching young children about the dangers of drugs.

Besides meth, the biggest drug problem in the area is heroin. Mullet said law enforcement is encountering more heroin overdoses and seeing more of the drug on the street.

Mullet said drug trends usually last about 10 years, with the drug being present in the area and then slowly fading away. However, Mullet believes meth will not be replaced with another drug.

“It seems all the drugs go in a cycle,” said Mullet. “For awhile, we never saw heroin, for years, and now it’s coming back into play again.”

Mullet said reaching out and informing the public is vital to combating drugs.

“The most important thing is if people see something, contact law enforcement,” he said. “I think there’s always going to be a war on drugs. As long as there’s a demand, they’re going to supply it.”






Tim Stryker is a member of the Holmes County Meth Lab ContainmentHOLMESVILLE – Staying focused is critical when attempting to dismantle a cooking methamphetamine lab, says a local law-enforcement officer.

“I’ve had a lot of incidents when the lab caught on fire while being dismantled,” said Sgt. Tim Stryker, a member of the Holmes County Sheriff’s Department’s Meth Lab Containment Team. “You can’t keep that on your mind, or it will slow you down. You have a job to do.

“If you’re scared of the situation, you shouldn’t be doing it.”

One of the ingredients of meth is lithium, which can react to moisture in the air.

“The quicker you can contain the lab, the safer you are,” he said.

Styker, a Millersburg native and a graduate of West Holmes High School, has worked for the Holmes County Sheriff’s Department for 15 years — 13 years as a deputy — and has been a member of the Meth Lab Containment Team for the past three years. The team, commanded by Sgt. Joe Mullet, has cleaned up meth labs in Holmes, Tuscarawas, Harrison and Carroll counties. The members all have received extensive training.

Stryker wears many hats.

In addition to serving on the containment team, he is also Holmes County’s K-9 officer, working for the past several years with King, a Belgian Malinois.

King assists Stryker in searching for other drugs, but not meth. If the dog were to be taken to a location where there was an active cook, King could suffer dangerous health consequences from the fumes.

Stryker is also a captain on the Millersburg Fire Department, serving as both a firefighter and an EMT.

When team members arrive for a containment operation, the first thing they do is size up the situation, he said. They talk to the first responders to get as much information as possible. “You don’t want to walk into an unknown situation unless you have to,” he said.

Then they suit up in special safety apparel.

“We always have two guys on scene,” Stryker said. “One watches out for the things you might forget.”

Not only are active meth labs potentially dangerous, but team members also have to be aware of the fact that each cook has his or her own recipe, which can change the situation.

At one of the team’s most recent calls in November, they had to deal with four one-pot meth labs in Gatorade bottles at a residence in Midvale. Two of the four were actively cooking.

One of the most unnerving situations the team was involved in occurred in Holmes County. Going undercover, Mullet learned that some people were cooking meth at a remote campsite.

A group of five or six officers was assembled to make the wintertime bust. They had to hike about 150 to 200 yards along a trail through a forest to reach the site. Stryker led the way.

“Going in, the element of surprise was limited,” he said.

He could smell lithium in the air, so he knew it was an active cook. “There’s no other smell like that,” he said.

Stryker walked into the camp and started talking to a man who was cooking the meth. It was then that Stryker realized the potentially dangerous meth lab was sitting right at his feet.

Calls about meth labs in the four counties spiked earlier this year as public awareness grew about what to look for. He praised police and firefighters in Tuscarawas County, who have all received training from the Holmes County team. “They’re great to work with,” he said.

Hotel owners in Tuscarawas County have also been tipping off authorities about potential problems. “Their awareness is high,” Stryker said. “They know what to see and smell.”

While there has been a recent lull in activity, Stryker said the problem has not gone away. “It’s still out there.”

The people cooking meth now just haven’t made any mistakes that would tip off law enforcement or the public.

“It’s just a matter of time before the next call comes in,” Stryker said. “It might slow down, but it’s always there.”









An unauthorized nap led to the felony arrests of two people Sunday.

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A person housesitting for a friend found Andrew John Hines, 21, of Winona, asleep on the front porch at 12:50 p.m. Saturday. Hines was known to both the housesitter and the homeowner, and the sitter was aware that Hines was not welcome, nor did he have business on the property. The police were called and Hines was removed.

A bit later it was determined that two packages delivered the previous day and a laptop computer were missing from the Orrin Street residence; however, items of clothing belonging to Hines and a backpack were inside the house — leading police to suspect Hines of the presumed theft. An investigation indicated that entrance to the residence had been gained through a pet door.

Night shift officers were briefed on the crime and Hines’ probable involvement. At 1:30 a.m. Sunday, an officer on patrol spotted Hines getting out of a vehicle at the Kwik Trip at Broadway and South Baker Street. When officers approached Hines, he resisted, and in the ensuing scuffle an officer’s jacket was torn. Hines was placed in the back of a squad car where continued to resist, kicking at the windows.

Officers questioned the driver of the vehicle Hines exited. Sara Rene Edmunds, 23, of Winona, said the television set in the back seat had been put there by Hines. A search of her vehicle and purse yielded several grams of methamphetamine and mephedrone, an illegal synthetic drug, and a small pharmacy of prescription medications. She was placed under arrest.

On Monday, Hines made his first appearance in Winona County District Court to face felony charges of second-degree burglary, fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance, theft, and gross misdemeanor obstructing the legal process — interfering with a peace officer.

Edmunds appeared in court charged with third-degree possession of methamphetamine, fifth-degree possession of mephedrone, fifth-degree possession of Clonazepam — all felonies; as well as misdemeanor charges of possession of a legend drug (hydroxyzine), and possession of a legend drug (buspirone).







Potter County authorities arrested two people on drug charges after vehicle search Sunday uncovered more than 25 pounds of methamphetamine valued at more than $900,000.13933554

About 4 p.m. Sunday, a Potter County deputy stopped a vehicle on a traffic offense on Interstate 40 west of Amarillo. During the traffic stop, deputies identified numerous signs of criminal activity when they talked to the driver, Gerardo Ramirez, 26, of Bellflower, Calif., and asked him for consent to search the vehicle. Ramirez refused to grant his consent and a canine unit was called to the location, according to information from the sheriff’s office. The dog alerted to a “narcotic odor” wafting from the vehicle, which was searched. During the search, deputies found 25.2 pounds of methamphetamine in the spare tire compartment. The methamphetamine was packaged in 20 different bundles and had an estimated street value of $903,168, authorities said.13933565

A passenger in the vehicle, Karla Molinar, 19, of Phoenix, told deputies she was in the U.S. illegally. Both Ramirez and Molinar were arrested. They were booked into Potter County jail on charges of possession of a controlled substance.





Four young men, ranging from 21 to 26 years old, have ingested a batch of drug ice and are now fighting for their lives. Another one is seriously ill but stable. The patients are under intensive care in hospitals in Melbourne and Victoria, according to police reports.

The men were suffering from breathing difficulty, which was likely caused by ice overdose and so they were brought to the hospital. Friends, who knew the victims and who also used the same batch of drugs, experienced persistent cough. Others had headaches, chest pains, fever, and shortness of breath.

According to Clandestine Laboratory Squad investigators, two of the men, who are in their mid-twenties, went to the Monash Medical Centre on Nov. 19 with respiratory problems. They are now in intensive care.

The other two were admitted at the Bairnsdale hospital in Gippsland last week. One of them is now in a stable condition at the Sale Hospital while the other patient, named Mitch, is still in critical condition at The Alfred.

Doctors say that the lung damage caused by smoking lethal batches of drug ice is irreversible. There were also reports that the drug was mixed with Paraquat, an herbicide that can cause death and serious damage to the respiratory system. An anonymous source provided one of the hospitals with a sample of the drug that was used. The substance is being examined by authorities.

Victoria police and health officials are still investigating how this illegal drug trade is taking place in the region. Several youngsters in the area who were experiencing the same symptoms are also suspected to have ingested the same drug. Authorities request the public’s cooperation on the matter to prevent more young people from suffering the same fate.

According to the Australian Drug Foundation, 2.1 percent of Australians aged 14 years and over have used methamphetamine in the previous 12 months. Of these people, 50.4 percent report crystal or ice as main form of the drug used. In Victoria, the daily number of all amphetamine-related ambulance attendances in 2012 to 2013 increased significantly compared with the previous year – 88 percent increase in metropolitan Melbourne and a 198 percent in regional Victoria. This is attributed to an increase in the number of attendances relating to crystal methamphetamine or drug ice.







DEADWOOD — A Spearfish woman was recently indicted on several charges related to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.

Penelope Salway, 41, was indicted Nov. 13 on two charges of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, two charges of possession of methamphetamine, one charge of keeping a place for use or sale of controlled substance, and one charge of unauthorized ingestion of a controlled substance.

Court documents allege officers the Spearfish Police Department found their way to Salway’s house after searching a vehicle during an Aug. 30 traffic stop and discovering approximately seven grams of meth and related paraphernalia. The driver of the car allegedly told the officers the materials were in his car because his passenger, identified only as “a juvenile,” was holding the materials for Salway, who was concerned about a potential police search of her house that day. The driver was arrested for possession of amphetamine.

Local law enforcement obtained a warrant to search Salway’s house based on the aforementioned information and performed a search on Oct. 28, finding an undisclosed amount of meth, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia.

Salway allegedly confessed to officials with the Spearfish Police Department that the meth and paraphernalia discovered in the traffic stop was hers, that she used meth and purchased it in ounce quantities at a time to repackage and sell to customers, and that she’d flushed an 8 ball (3.5 grams) of meth down the toilet before officers searched her residence.

Salway was screened for drugs while in custody and allegedly tested positive for amphetamines, meth, THC, and opiates.

Possession of methamphetamine, unauthorized ingestion of a controlled substance, and keeping a place for use or sale of a controlled substance are Class 5 felonies, each punishable by up to five years imprisonment in the state penitentiary and an additional fine of no more than $10,000. Possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute is a Class 4 felony, punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment in the state penitentiary and an additional fine of no more than $20,000.







BOISE – Sunday kicked off National Meth Awareness Week. Methamphetamine is considered one of the most highly addictive substances known, and according to the Idaho Meth Project, one in three teens see little or no risk in trying it.

The Idaho Meth Project launched a prevention campaign in 2008, and since then has seen a 56 percent drop in teen meth users in Idaho. Many of the commercials are graphic and disturbing, but Idaho Meth Project Executive Director, Adrean Cavener, says the images are true and make an impact.

Methamphetamine is a very addictive synthetic stimulant that affects the pleasure centers of the brain. Boise resident, Jason Zimmerman, says once he started he couldn’t stop. Zimmerman is a recovering addict. He was first around the drug at just 12-years-old. He says that some family friends got hooked and then disappeared.

“Hopefully they found a way out, but a lot of people don’t,” said Zimmerman. “I swore I would never use meth, but when I was 18-years-old someone put it in front of me and I used it.”

The Idaho Meth Project says the average age to first try meth is 14 or 15-years-old, and 90 percent of them become addicted after one time. A major hurdle is meth is inexpensive. Two grams of meth costs about $50 in the Treasure Valley and is enough for 20 hits.

The affects of using meth are devastating. Appearance is drastically altered and there are also severe psychological and social consequences. Many users end up in prison.

“It’s just that powerful of a drug,” said Zimmerman.

Jason served time and ten years later is speaking out about the dangers of meth. He visits prisons, detention centers, colleges and high schools across the state.

“The way I stay sober is by passing it on,” said Zimmerman.

Passing on the facts about meth is what the Idaho Meth Project is all about, but it starts with parents.

“If you’re not talking to your kids about meth someone else is,” said Cavener.

The Idaho Meth Project is a non-profit organization. If you want more information, click here.







A MOTHER had methamphetamine in her system when she crashed into a truck on the South Eastern Freeway, killing her four-year-old daughter. a court has heard.    792027-bf1e5ae2-78f9-11e4-a0f0-f6e11a4d80ae

Today in the District Court, Kylie Anne Hie, 31, pleaded not guilty to causing the death of her daughter, Charlotte, on the South Eastern Freeway, between the Heysen Tunnels and Mount Osmond, on November 20 last year.

Prosecutors will allege Charlotte died when the van being driven by her mother slammed into the back of a B-double truck.

Today, the court heard prosecutors would also allege Hie had methamphetamine in her system when the crash occurred.

Hie — who, before she was charged, told The Advertiser her daughter was “such a beautiful and happy little girl” — has long maintained she would defend the driving charge.

She was remanded on continuing bail to face court again next month.







The millennium was just a few hours away and Ryan Fails, then 18 years old, was gearing up to celebrate the coming of a new year with friends in Cleveland.

During the course of the all-night party, someone offered Fails something he had never seen before. That was the first time Fails tried meth — and it wasn’t the only time he would use it.

The millennium was just a few hours away and Ryan Fails, then 18 years old, was gearing up to celebrate the coming of a new year with friends in Cleveland.

During the course of the all-night party, someone offered Fails something he had never seen before.

Curiosity struck.

“I didn’t really know what it was,” Fails said as he recalled that night, some 14 years ago. “But I just said, ‘OK.’ ”

He was offered to take a “bump,” or snort, of methamphetamine.

That was the first time Fails tried meth — and it wasn’t the only time he would use it.

During the course of the next several weeks, the Claymont High School graduate would go to weekend parties where meth was easily accessible, and he soon found out that the drug would enable him to stay awake during parties that lasted until the next morning.

This triggered the beginning of a seven-year meth addiction for Fails. It was one in which he traded his health for a man-made high.

“It just progressed from there,” said Fails, who is now 33 years old and calls New Philadelphia home. “It worked its way into where it was part of my daily routine, either snorting it, smoking it or injecting it. I did it every day.”


Fails’ meth use became similar to a person smoking multiple cigarettes every day. It was normal for him to use meth — up to 20 times a day. He used it as an incentive for other bad behaviors, and even as a way to grieve after his father’s death in 2004.

In 2005, Fails moved to San Francisco at the request of his worried sister, Shelly Reffett, who knew about his growing drug addiction. While out west, Fails’ meth habit grew and he would do almost anything to get it — hooking up with people or driving drug dealers and other meth addicts around. But Fails said he never stole or manufactured meth — or spent any time in jail. He didn’t have to make it because it was so accessible.

Fails used the Internet as a tool to get meth.

Using dating websites, Fails said he would look for a signal: who could he meet with to get meth? In the profile descriptions of individuals on dating websites, Fails said he knew people had meth because they would use a capital “T”.

“People say ‘ParTy and Play’ and they’ll have a capital T, which means to they have Tina — meth,” Fails said. “If I didn’t have any (meth), I would go find meth. Somehow, someway, I would find meth so that I had it whenever I woke up. It becomes that much a part of your life.”

In San Francisco, Fails found a job writing mortgages and was able to work from his home, which enabled him to keep his meth addiction going strong.

“I would wake up and take a hit off the pipe, then take a shower,” said Fails, describing his regular daily routine. “I could be doing meth while I was working. To me, it was such a normal life.”


In 2006, the housing market took a turn for the worse. Fails lost his job. He was no longer able to live in his house and his BMW became his home.

“I found myself homeless, addicted to meth and living in a car in San Francisco,” Fails said.

He couldn’t sell his car because he would no longer be able to drive around addicts and dealers, who would give him meth in return.

Fails had barely any money and a distant relationship with his family as he devoted his time to seeking out meth.

Fails’ mother, Rosanne Dixon of New Philadelphia, said she knew her son was addicted to meth, but she didn’t know the extent of his addiction.

“I was unaware that Ryan was dealing with meth addiction for seven years,” Dixon said. “I thought it only last for two or three years. During that time, Ryan moved around and never informed me of any problems.”

In 2006, Dixon’s daughter living in Washington, D.C., Heather Reffett, informed her of Fails’ ongoing meth habit. When Dixon saw her son during a holiday trip to California, she witnessed firsthand how bad Fails’ health had deteriorated.

“During my visit to San Francisco for Christmas, I got to see Ryan and was overcome with feelings that I would never see (him) alive again,” she said.

Replacing eating with doing meth, Fails, who stands at 5 feet 11 inches, dropped 25 pounds — weighing in at 115 pounds. His face appeared sunken in and his teeth began to rot and fall out. He became paranoid, thinking people were spying on him. His longtime friends became nonexistent as they were replaced with ones who could help him score meth.


One night while Fails was in his car trying to sleep off a meth high — a normal thing for him — he immediately had an epiphany. It was like he heard the voice of God, he said, telling him that it was time for a change.

Fails thought a new location would help him overcome his addiction and get back to living a sober life. He eventually sold his car to buy a plane ticket home, moving to New Philadelphia to be closer to family and his friends.

But nothing really helped. Fails just used the leftover money from selling his car to buy more drugs.

It wasn’t until he had a second realization that he finally pushed himself to end his addiction and get professional help.

After watching an episode of “Intervention” on A&E, Fails saw his life mirrored right in front of him on television, giving him a different vantage point on his own life — and his addiction.

“I just happened to be flipping through the channels and it was the first time I saw the show,” Fails said. “And I felt like I was watching my life on there.”

Fails researched his options for treatment and rehabilitation both in Ohio and California, and he went back out to San Francisco to take advantage of the state’s free drug rehab and use Medi-Cal, which is free health coverage in California for people who are financially strapped.

In 2007, Fails used meth for the last time and entered the Walden House in San Francisco to begin his treatment to overcome seven years of meth addiction. The injecting, snorting and smoking was gone for good.

“When Ryan entered treatment,” his mother said, “I was relieved that he was getting help and I was hopeful that it would work for him. I was very proud that he was able to stick to it and complete his treatment.”

Fails spent four months at residential treatment and a year-and-a-half in a sober living residential treatment facility. He successfully completed his treatment and rehab and is approaching seven years of being sober.

In 2009, Fails then moved back to New Philadelphia and enrolled at Kent State University at Tuscarawas to major in criminal justice, hoping to become involved in helping others who are addicted to drugs. In May, Fails graduated cum laude with honors and is currently working toward being admitted into law school so he can use his experiences and knowledge of drug addiction to help influence state policies and federal laws.

“From a young age,” Fails said. “I have always wanted to be a voice for those who do not have or cannot express their own. As I become more experienced, my desires have evolved to wanting to work in social justice law, whether it is fighting the injustices in our criminal justice system.


Fails returned to New Philadelphia from Washington, D.C., in late September after taking a nine-week LSAT prep course and eventually took the LSAT. Fails said after doing well on his first attempt at the test, he plans to take it a second time in December with the hopes of scoring high enough to be admitted into a Top 14 Law School, which includes Yale University, Harvard University and Stanford University.

Earlier this month, Fails moved to Keystone, Colorado, where he is working a seasonal job as a vacation coordinator at Keystone Ski Resort.

Fails said that people addicted to drugs can get help and “can have a successful life. To even think that Harvard is in the realm of possibilities for an ex-meth addict are the stories that people need to hear. Around here and in California, there’s such a negative connotation with admitting that I’m addicted to meth and I need help. I think it’s stories of people who have been through it and made it out the other side would maybe encourage people struggling with addiction and struggling with meth to get help.”