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Cristian Rojas, 19, 800 block of Grand Avenue, Aurora, was charged with felony possession of methamphetamine, resisting a peace officer and obstruction of identification at 11:39 a.m. Thursday after he was found sleeping in a vehicle.

Police were called to the 700 block of Oak Avenue for reports of a suspicious person. They said they found Rojas asleep in the passenger side of the vehicle.

Rojas allegedly gave officers a fake name, and attempted to run from police after they located drugs on him during a search.

Police said eight pills, filled with methamphetamine, were found in Rojas’ possession.




Three people have been arrested after police stopped an SUV during a safety checkpoint in Johnson County, Kentucky.

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The driver, Elija Jones, told police that he was on methamphetamines and was driving on a suspended license, according to a release from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

Jones, according to the release, gave deputies permission to search the vehicle and they found syringes and methamphetamine. A search of Jones’ person revealed two bags of methamphetamine and one bag of heroin.

Two passengers in the car were determined to be under the influence. A search of the passengers turned up more syringes.

Both Lindsey McIntire and Nathan Ross will face public intoxication and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Jones is facing charges of driving under the influence, possession of methamphetamine, trafficking methamphetamine and possession of heroin.




A 25-year-old man and his 24-year-old girlfriend could face life in prison if convicted of kidnapping a 2-year-old boy.

Charles Ledbetter and Deana Hebert, both being held at the Richland County Jail, were indicted on multiple charges, including kidnapping. Indictments were released Monday by the county prosecutor’s office.

Julie Starcher, the grandmother of the 2-year-old, told police the boy had been kidnapped and was being held until she provided Ledbetter and Hebert either with cold medicine (an ingredient used in making meth) or cash.

Ledbetter and Hebert were indicted on charges of illegal manufacturing of methamphetamine (two counts), illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of meth (two counts), endangering children and having weapons while under disability.

Ledbetter also was indicted on two counts of failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer.

The charges stem from a June 7 incident in the 300 block of Boston Avenue. Police responded to a reported domestic disturbance. They reported finding chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine inside and evacuated the premises.

“At some point during the interaction, there’s a text message that appears to be a ransom,” Assistant Prosecutor Dan Benoit said.

The mother of the 2-year-old told police Ledbetter and Hebert, who had watched her child previously, had asked to take her son out to breakfast.

Police learned the suspects were at a Koogle Road apartment complex where Hebert lived. When they converged on the area, Ledbetter reportedly left the scene in a red Ford, crashed it near Bowen Road and U.S. 42 and fled into a wooded area.

The toddler was found unharmed in the apartment and returned to his mother.

Benoit said authorities recovered a handgun and a rifle at the Koogle Road address.

Ledbetter was arrested the next day after police responded to a shoplifting call at the Possum Run Wal-Mart. He reportedly led police on a high-speed chase on Ohio 13 and West Cook Road for about 4.5 miles, with speeds reaching 100 mph, before pulling over in the 200 block of West Cook Road.

Starcher, 40, and Ray Coleman, 45, her fiance, were indicted on charges of illegal manufacturing of meth, illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of meth, endangering children and aggravated possession of drugs. Police reported finding activity of a meth lab in their bedroom.




MOULTRIE — Area law enforcement agencies could hardly believe their luck. After busting one meth-cooking operation Thursday night, another was set up on the same property in less than 12 hours.

The second bust netted an additional two arrests, two more meth cooks and suspected finished methamphetamine. Officers were alerted on both occasions by the father of a woman who was away from her residence in the 3500 block of Doerun Norman Park Road.

On Thursday night deputies came upon the alleged drug activity in Amy Giles’ mobile home, and the following morning they found the other two suspects in a recreational vehicle.

Amy Giles’ brother, Parker Gary Giles, was among those arrested on Thursday when officers checked out the property at about 8:45 p.m.

“Deputies went to do a check on the residence that was supposed to be unoccupied,” Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office Inv. Chris Robinson said. “They came up on a subject who was under probation (Parker Giles).”

Giles had been released from jail less than a week ago, Robinson said.

Giles’ father told deputies to clear out the house because no one was supposed to be there, and when they entered they found a suspected methamphetamine cook, Robinson said.

Arrested in that incident and charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute were: Giles, 34, 3555 Doerun-Norman Park Road; Kristin Nicole Tolan, 22, 315 Captain Gay Road; Regina Anne Dallas, 21, and Brenton Michael Miller, 27, both of 422 Thompkins Buckner Road.

Tolan also was charged with giving false information or name to officers and probation violation.





Military police arrested 16 people and confiscated more than 3,000 methamphetamine pills during a coordinated drug bust in Stung Treng City on Sunday and Monday.

The two-day raid in the city’s Stung Treng commune netted 3,450 pills as well as various drug paraphernalia, Stung Treng provincial military police commander Ieng Vandy said Monday.

“We arrested six people [Sunday] and 10 more [Monday], including three women, in separate locations throughout the same commune,” Colonel Vandy said.

Military police spokesman Kheng Tito said the arrested individuals include both methamphetamine traffickers and users, and would be sent to the provincial court for questioning today.

“All of them are involved with the drugs, and it’s up to the court prosecutors to find out who was more or less involved with the drugs,” Brigadier General Tito said, adding that the drugs and other evidence seized would also be handed over to court officials.

Stung Treng province has long been a gateway for smuggling illegal drugs into Cambodia from the Golden Triangle, and lately a conduit for methamphetamine originating in Laos.

On July 29, anti-drug police arrested a 39-year-old Laotian man for smuggling nearly a kilogram of methamphetamine into the province’s Thala Barivat district.

According to a report released in May by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, “transnational and Asian drug trafficking groups continue to target Cambodia as a source, transit and destination country for amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) and other illicit drugs.”

Methamphetamine was the most commonly seized type of drug in both 2012 and 2013, according to the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD). Police confiscated 17.3 kg of methamphetamine pills and 32.4 kg of methamphetamine powder last year, NACD figures show.





A Chinese court in Guangzhou on Tuesday began the trial of a 70-year-old Japanese politician accused of trafficking illegal drugs, which is punishable by death in China. His lawyers argue that the man was unaware of the presence of more than 7 pounds of crystal methamphetamine in his bag.


Takuma Sakuragi, a member of the Inazawa municipal assembly in Aichi prefecture in southern Japan, has pleaded not guilty to charges of trafficking illegal drugs at the Guangzhou City Intermediate People’s Court, the South China Morning Post reported. Sakuragi reportedly flew into Guangzhou from Nagoya, Japan, on Oct. 29 and checked into a hotel in the city’s Sanyuanli suburb with the assistance of an African man identified as Gemadi Hassan.

According to the court’s indictment, Sakuragi, who also ran a private trading business and had travelled to China before, was reportedly given a piece of luggage by Hassan containing women’s platform shoes filled with crystal methamphetamine, and was instructed to smuggle it back to Japan and pass it on to a third party.

Sakuragi was stopped by airport security on Oct. 31 at Guangzhou’s Baiyuan International Airport before he could board a flight to Japan via Shanghai. Security seized the shoes and cases inside his luggage that contained 28 bags of methamphetamine, weighing 3,289 grams (7.25 pounds), the SCMP report said, citing the indictment.

Two other persons arrested in the drug trafficking case — Aly Yattabare, 35, from Mali, and Mohamed Soumah, 39, from Guinea — will also stand trial with Sakuragi, the report said.

Chen Weixiong, a Japanese-speaking Guangzhou-based lawyer who is defending Sakuragi reportedly said on Tuesday that fighting the case made him feel like Don Quixote, a legendary character in Spanish folklore.

”[It’s because we are] attempting the impossible,” Chen said. “The biggest challenge now is the fact that he did carry 3,200 grams of [drugs] in his bag.

”We are going to argue he was not aware of the existence of drugs,” he said. “We will try our best. The best outcome would be [an acquittal].”

Requests by many media organizations to cover the scheduled three-day hearing — submitted weeks earlier — were rejected at the last minute.

“Priorities are given to consulate staff, representatives of the People’s Congress, and political advisory bodies and legal staff,” court staff said, SCMP reported.

Sakuragi’s Finnish wife and their son arrived with Chen Tuesday morning to attend the hearing. Sakuragi, who was reportedly dressed in a black suit with no tie and shackles around his ankles, pleaded not guilty just after 10:30 a.m. local time (10:30 p.m. EDT), a Japanese journalist who attended the hearing said.

The two other defendants in the case were arrested in Guangzhou on Nov. 9. On the night of the arrest, Chinese police reportedly seized about 10 grams of methamphetamine in Yattabare’s apartment and also confiscated eight grams of the illegal narcotic, women’s platform shoes and drug-packing material from Soumah’s apartment.

”There is one accomplice believed to be a Nigerian who is still at large at the moment,” Chen told reporters outside the court.

China’s drug law states that people found guilty of possessing more than 50 grams of illegal drugs could face the death penalty. In 2010, four Japanese nationals were executed by China on drug-trafficking charges.





A Wisconsin Dells man faces two felony charges after authorities say they found methamphetamine and synthetic marijuana in an apartment at the Stepping Stone supportive housing complex in Wisconsin Dells.


Joe T. Atkinson, 30, of Wisconsin Dells, is free on a $2,500 signature bond after appearing Aug. 18 in Columbia County Circuit Court.

Atkinson faces two felony charges after Wisconsin Dells police said he offered methamphetamine to another resident of the apartment complex on Aug. 13.

A witness said Atkinson said that the drug was the purist form; the witness also saw Atkinson take the drug by snorting it through a dollar bill, according to a criminal complaint.

Atkinson said he wants to quit using “K2,” a form of synthetic marijuana, and that he purchases it in Madison for $25 per four gram package, the complaint stated.

Police said they found in the apartment a pipe for synthetic marijuana and a pill organizer containing a trace amount of methamphetamine.

Chris Fearing, executive director of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Wisconsin Dells — which owns and administers the complex — said there is a zero tolerance policy for illegal drug use at Stepping Stone.

“This will result in an automatic eviction,” Fearing said.

Atkinson was not listed on the lease. The tenant in that apartment has been evicted, according to Fearing.

The Stepping Stone complex houses 10 apartments, seven of which currently have families, Fearing said. The complex was opened for tenants in June.

The families living in the affordable housing complex on Vine Street in Wisconsin Dells are offered classes, such as budgeting and nutrition.

“That is to help them step up into more mainstream housing, and maybe even home ownership,” Fearing said. “It is a great program for those who choose to help themselves.”

Atkinson is charged with felony possession of methamphetamine and possession of synthetic cannabinoid (marijuana) as a second or subsequent offense, and with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

The felony charges carry a maximum initial penalty each of 18 months in prison.

Atkinson’s case is scheduled for a pretrial conference Sept. 17 and a court hearing Oct. 1.



PoliceOne warns officers that people of middle eastern ethnicity are changing their names or presenting themselves as hispanics in order to disguise their ethnicity and better blend into their communities. While this has been common practice among immigrants in the past, it presents a technique that possible terrorists or members of sleeper cells could use to escape notice.

The Texas Department of Public Safety informed the San Antonio Division Joint Terrorism Task Force that individuals of Middle Eastern descent are obtaining new Texas driver’s licenses with Hispanic surnames.

Approximately 20 individuals of Middle Eastern origin are utilizing the Travis County (Austin, Texas) District Court each week to change their names and driver’s licenses from Middle Eastern to Hispanic surnames.

The process involves submitting a form and fingerprints to the District Court. The Austin JTTF is investigating the applicants and application process with the Texas Department of Safety and investigators from the Travis County District Attorney’s office. At this time it is unknown as to how widespread these driver’s license changers are.

San Antonio has multiple concerns about these driver license changes. Foremost is the change in identity and ability to mingle in the predominantly Hispanic community without arousing suspicion, because of their darker skin tone, resembling local Hispanics.

Second is the lack of security afforded the fingerprint cards, allowing the possibility of substitution by individuals of concern by individuals who would not arouse suspicion. These driver license changes may not be limited to Hispanic surnames but might involve common names or other ethnicities.

Considering the current threat reporting and the frequent presence of President Bush within the State of Texas, San Antonio would like to determine how widespread this practice of driver’s license change is in border states and nationwide.

San Antonio Division will focus on determining the true identity, background and reason for those individuals of Middle Eastern descent who have changed their identity to Hispanic.

If you have any questions regarding the information in this report, please call El Paso I.C.A.T., 915-872-5775.

Source: Tucson Intelligence Unit; Texas Dept. of Public Safety; Austin, Tex. JTTF




Drug agents discovered two methamphetamine labs this weekend and arrested one of the largest crystal meth dealers in York County, according to York County Multijurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit commander Marvin Brown.

At about 11 p.m. Friday, YCMDEU officers arrested Charlie Cutshaw, 37, of Rock Hill after discovering he had 81 grams of crystal methamphetamine, ICE, after leaving his home on Anderson Road, Brown said.


The officers then returned and searched Cutshaw’s residence and recovered another 7 grams of crystal methamphetamine. He also had two sets of digital scales and four cell phones, Brown said. The street value of the ICE is approximately $9,000.

Cutshaw has been the focus of a trafficking ICE investigation for the past several months and believed to be the largest crystal methamphetamine dealer in York County, Brown said. Cutshaw has served state and federal time for methamphetamine.

Cutshaw was charged with trafficking methamphetamine - third offense, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine- third offense.

Also this weekend, Shealee Henigar, 24, of Clover was arrested Friday afternoon when agents went to her home on Deep Hollow Court and found an inactive methamphetamine lab. A Haz-Mat Team responded and disposed of the hazardous chemicals, Brown said.

Henigar was out on bond from a December meth lab in which she was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and three counts of exposing a child to methamphetamine. Henigar also had some pills in her possession, Brown said.

Officials said she had dumped the waste by products into the yard resulting in the methamphetamine waste charge. Additional suspects may be arrested in this case.

Henigar, 24, was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, unlawful disposal of methamphetamine waste, possession of Clonazepam and unlawful possession of prescription drug.

On Sunday, the York County Sheriff’s Office responded to a possible methamphetamine lab on Twin Lakes Road in Rock Hill. Upon arrival, the officers observed an inactive one pot methamphetamine lab along with precursors to cook methamphetamine.

Jason Jordan, 41, of Rock Hill had 524 grams of liquid methamphetamine, Brown said. He is charged with trafficking methamphetamine- second offense, and manufacturing methamphetamine, second offense.

Jordan is currently out on bond on other meth charges. The Haz-Mat team was called out to disposed of the hazardous chemicals.

York County had 10 meth labs in 2011 and 2012, 22 meth labs in 2013 and York County is at 17 for 2014.





Imagine the shock of opening your front door and people in moon suits are standing on your steps. That happened to a LaVista woman after health experts suspected the previous renter operated a meth lab. She’s asking now how warning signs may have been missed months before her family moved in.


When health experts came to Julie Welshinger’s rented town home in June they left nothing to chance. Looking in the window Julie says;” It’s stripped down to nothing.”

Her and two children lived in the townhome four months before health officials suspected that a previous tenant had been using meth making chemicals. Julie Welshinger says, ” I’m shocked I was breathing in all that air. And I’m shocked nobody seemed to have known what was going on.”

Mercy Housing which owns the low income townhome complex says indications of meth contamination came as a surprise. LaVista’s police chief says Mercy Crest View management had been informed of drug arrests there in January. Five people were taken into custody including the tenant living there at the time.

In June health officials treated the townhome as the scene of a meth lab. About five months earlier when LaVista police served a search warrant at the townhome but they didn’t find all the ingredients they felt necessary to report to the state that there might be a meth lab operating inside. That opinion came from a narcotics officer from another agency.

LaVista Police Chief Bob Lausten says:” The investigation at the scene revealed there were precursors on site, but there was no evidence there was a meth lab or anything had been cooked or manufactured there.”

But several months later State Health Officials learned of the raid and sent a decontamination team to the townhome. They took most of Julie’s furniture and kids toys. Mercy Housing moved her family to another unit and offered three thousand dollars for new furnishings. Since fact finders got involved that’s increased to ten thousand dollars. Julie Welshinger says, ” I don’t think its unreasonable considering my family lived in there for 4 months.”

A Mercy Housing spokesman says the organization paid for everything to be cleaned and what couldn’t Julie will be “compensated fairly.” the non- profit will spend one hundred thousand dollars to make the townhome safe. But Julie won’t move back in because her memory of the ordeal can’t be decontaminated.

Mercy housing has three thousand low income rental units in Nebraska and runs background checks. But in this case outsiders turned the townhome into a flop house. The nonprofit will work even closer with law enforcement to make sure this meth incident doesn’t happen again.




KOSCIUSKO COUNTY8:30 a.m. update: According to court documents released this morning by the Kosciusko County Prosecutor’s Office, blood tests showed Darrick Spore and Candy Chamness were under the influence of methamphetamine and marijuana at the time of their child’s death. skyler-spore-jpg

Police were originally called to the home on reports that they were manufacturing meth and had two generators running inside the home, according to the documents. Officers and EMS personnel found the home filled with carbon monoxide and 12-year-old Darrick Spore lying dead on the floor of an upstairs bedroom. The documents indicate he had been lying there for several hours.

The power to the home was disconnected on June 27. Officials say the parents placed generators in the porch area and the basement for electricity.

Original story posted at 6 a.m.: The parents of a 12-year-old Kosciusko County boy who died of carbon monoxide poisoning are now facing charges.

According to Stacey Page Online., police arrested 34-year-old Darrick Spore and 33-year-old Candy Chamness for neglect.

Spore is also charged with reckless homicide.

The couple’s son, Skyler Spore, died at the family’s Syracuse home in late June.

There were two gas generators inside the house.

His parents were both home at the time.




Footage has emerged of the British hip hop artist accused of beheading a US journalist, showing the alleged Islamic State militant rapping about overcoming his meth addiction and cutting throats.

UK authorities have identified 24-year-old former London resident Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary as the man filmed beheading James Foley in Iraq, the Sunday Times reports.

In the videos posted online in 2012, Bary – who performed under the name L Jinny – raps about his drug addiction and inner demons.

“Survival of the fittest in this warzone, I was a poor bloke, now look at me, all grown,” Bary raps.

“You can tell from my voice I’ve been cold, like a sore throat.

“Selling swagger with the dagger, we still saw throats.”

In another part of the same video that makes a number of references to “smoking trees” the alleged terrorist raps “ever since I got off meth I witnessed drastic changes”.

There is no doubt that the American reporter was executed by Islamic militants in Iraq.

British police are expected to conduct raids at a number of homes in the coming days in an effort to track down Abdel Bary.

The Bibb Sheriff’s Department arrested 49 year old Keith Andrew Hopper, and charged him with 1 count of Manufacture or Possession of Chemicals to Manufacture Methamphetamine When a Child is Present.


Bibb County sheriff’s deputies arrested Keith Andrew Hopper, 49, on Monday, charging him with manufacturing/possession of chemicals to manufacture methamphetamine.

Sunday night, just after 11:30 p.m., Bibb County sheriff’s deputies were called out to Bridgeview Inn & Suites, 6000 Harrison Road. They were told someone was running a meth lab in one of the rooms.

When they arrived, they detained three people who were in the room where the meth lab was reported to be, according to a news release.

The motel was evacuated temporarily as investigators assessed the room. Macon-Bibb County firefighters also were called to the scene.

According to Lieutenant Sean DeFoe, the other two suspects originally detained for questioning have been released.

No bond has been set for Hopper.





  • NSW police seized a gold ‘pen gun’ at a vehicle stop in Padstow at 4pm last Friday
  • Also included in the haul: five rounds of ammunition, four grams of crystal meth, four mobile phones, two knifes, quantities of cash
  • Man, 41, was charged with weapons and drugs offences
  • Due to appear in Bankstown Local Court this afternoon

Now that’s quite a haul.


Police from the Middle Eastern Crime Squad seized a gold ‘pen gun’, five rounds of ammunition, four grams of crystal methamphetamine, two knives, four mobile phones and cash when they stopped a Toyota Corolla in Padstow in Sydney’s south-western suburbs on Friday afternoon.

The 41-year-old driver, who police allege was driving on a suspended license, was taken to Bankstown Police Station where he was charged with weapons and drugs offences.

He appeared in Parramatta Local Court on Saturday where he was refused bail.

The man is expected to reappear in Bankstown Local Court on Monday afternoon.




Law enforcement from across the state met last week to honor Tennessean photographer Shelley Mays for her work to expose the scourge of meth in Tennessee.


The Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association met Thursday for its annual conference. During the conference, Mays received the Courage in Journalism award.

The category is a first for the association, according to its executive director, retired Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe. Ashe said Mays’ work helped pave the way for a law passed this spring that set monthly and annual limits on cold and allergy medicines used to make meth.

“She put herself in harm’s way, all of you did, just to tell the story,” Ashe said. “I think because of her efforts we were able to get a meth bill passed.”

Two others were honored at the event: Winchester Police Chief Dennis Young and State Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville. Ashe also credited Young and Hawk with helping to draw attention to the state’s meth problem.




Roseville Police detectives, following up on a Roseville drug case, searched a home in Sacramento and found evidence of methamphetamine sales and identity theft involving scores of victims.  They arrested eight people.  

On August 15, a narcotics detective stopped a car in the 900 block of Parry Street in connection with suspected drug dealing.  They searched the car and the occupants, finding stolen checks and several falsified ID cards using stolen identity information, as well as evidence of methamphetamine sales.   The two occupants of the car were arrested.

Yesterday detectives served a search warrant at the Sacramento home of one of the suspected drug dealers.  They found packaged methamphetamine and other evidence of drug sales, and a large amount of fraudulently obtained personal financial information from victims in Roseville and other areas of the region, including forged ID cards, credit cards, and equipment and materials used to make fraudulent checks and ID cards.  They also found items indicating gang membership.  There were four children in the residence, who were turned over to the care of children’s protective authorities.  Detectives are still combing through the large amount of evidence that was seized, but they estimate they’ve recovered stolen identity information from close to one hundred victims.

The following people were arrested: 

Carlos Aranda, 32 of Sacramento, on suspicion of identity theft, criminal conspiracy, participating in a criminal street gang, and committing a felony while out on bail for another felony.  He’s being held in the Placer County Jail on $75,000 bail.

Victoria Carrasco Lewis, age 49 of Sacramento, on suspicion of identity theft, participating in a criminal street gang, and criminal conspiracy.  She’s being held in the Placer County Jail on $80,000 bail.

Monica Elisa Delacruz, age 33 of Sacramento, on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine for sale, forgery, identity theft, participating in a criminal street gang, and criminal conspiracy.  She’s being held in the Placer County Jail on $50,000 bail.

Sabrina Sosa Padilla-Pimentel, age 30 of Sacramento, on suspicion of identity theft, participating in a criminal street gang, and criminal conspiracy.  She’s being held in the Placer County Jail on $50,000 bail.

Marc Anthony Lucero, age 30 of Plumas Lake, on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine for sale, identity theft, participating in a criminal street gang and criminal conspiracy.  He’s being held in the Placer County Jail on $125,000 bail.

Robert Carrasco, age 51 of Sacramento, on Placer and Sacramento County warrants for possession of methamphetamine and driving on a suspended license.  He’s being held in the Placer County Jail on $2,500 bail.

Ladislao Carrasco, age 44, on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.  He’s being held in the Sacramento County Jail on $605,000 bail.

Victoria Lisa  Lucero, age 52, on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.  She’s being held in the Sacramento County Jail. Her bail isn’t known at ths time.

The Roseville Police Department is committed to combating both drug trafficking and identity theft-crimes that are often connected to each other.  It’s common now for officers to arrest someone for theft or drug possession, and to find them to be in possession not only of drugs but of stolen credit cards and ID.    Thieves will break into cars or steal unattended purses and wallets to support their drug habits, and then collect credit and ID cards from these thefts to use for fraud.    We urge citizens to never leave their purses or wallets in their cars or other unattended places, to closely monitor their bank and credit card activity and call their bank immediately if they notice anything suspicious, to shred financial information before throwing it away, and to review their free credit reports annually.







A Henderson County woman is in custody and her three minor children removed from the home after Kentucky State Police did a welfare check at her residence in the 9000 block of Kentucky 136 East.


According to a KSP report, Trooper Jeven Keding investigated the call and discovered methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. The conditions of the home required the removal of the three children, the report said.

The children were taken to Methodist Hospital for evaluation and placed with a family member. The mother, Lindsey York, 25, was charged with first-degree possession of a controlled substance, first offense/meth, drug paraphernalia buy/possess and endangering the welfare of a minor.

Trooper Keding was assisted by Trooper Shane Settle, the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department, Henderson County EMS and the Cabinet for Community Based Services.






WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) — Police need your help tracking down a man they say used and sold meth. Officers arrested one woman after they say they found her with methamphetamine at the same home. daniela+RIGHT

Waynesboro police arrested an Augusta County woman wanted since mid-June after locating her and a stash of methamphetamine at a city home.

Officers charged 28 year-old Daniela Gertrud Vogel with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. Officers say they found her and nearly $300 worth of meth at a residence in the 900 block of Bridge Avenue on Thursday.

Vogel had been wanted by police after failing to appear in Waynesboro General District Court for a shoplifting charge she received in April. Officers received a tip that Vogel was at the residence where she was hiding out.

After finding and arresting Vogel, officers were allowed to search the rest of the residence. They found the methamphetamine, used syringes and digital scales in a bedroom being used by Vogel and her acquaintance, Brian Keith Moats, 30 years old of Fishersville. Officers said Moats left the residence when they arrived.

Moats is currently wanted on the same charge, possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. Vogel is being held without bond at Middle River Regional Jail on the felony drug charge and Waynesboro general district court capias.


Anyone with information on Moats’ whereabouts is asked to call the Waynesboro Police Department (540) 942-6675 or Central Shenandoah Crime Stoppers at (800) 322-3017.




A traffic stop Saturday morning led to the arrest of a 26-year-old motorist who Murrieta police say was under the influence of methamphetamine – and was carrying meth and a gun.

Raymond Xavier Orozco III was arrested at 8:33 a.m. at Clinton Keith and McElwain Roads, just west of I-215, and booked for investigation of drug possession, possessing meth while armed, driving under the influence of drugs, possession of burglary tools and driving on a suspended license.

Officers found about a half-gram of meth in his pants pocket, police said, adding that the search also turned up a loaded Ruger .22-caliber handgun and a plastic bag of “shaved” keys.

Anyone with additional information related to the case may call Sgt. Dave Baca at 951-461-6308.



U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas believes Mexican drug cartels and members of the Islamic State are “talking to each other.”


“The drug cartels use the same operational plan as terrorist groups do,” Poe, a member of the House Judiciary Committee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, said in an interview Wednesday with Newsmax TV. “They kill their opponents, they behead their opponents, they brag about it, and they have operational control of many portions of the southern border of the United States.”

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a staunch advocate for fortifying America’s borders, said it’s a strong possibility that Islamic State terrorists have already entered the United States with the help of Mexican drug cartels, according to a Yahoo report.

“We have been put on notice lately by a jihadist army that is right now charging across a country we were told was secure and stable,” Perry said in a speech at a Heritage Foundation event.

Mexican drug cartels are as “vicious as some of these other terrorist organizations,” Poe told Newsmax, and communication between cartels and Islamic State could spell disaster at America’s unsecured southern border — despite Harry Reid’s attempt to convince Americans the U.S-Mexico border is “totally secure.”

Poe called on President Obama to be tougher in dealing with the threat.

“Be proactive Mr. President, be very strong,” he told Newsmax, adding that there “has to be consequences for their reckless murder of other people.”

Given an option between doing nothing and eliminating the terrorist group, Poe said, it appears the United States favors the “do-nothing” approach.




Methamphetamine use is climbing as desperate heroin addicts search for a cheaper way to get high and avoid a fatal overdose.

Meth has never gone away,” said Tom Johnson, who heads a regional drug task force. “We just never gave it enough credit.”

Local law enforcement saw meth use rise again in mid-2013 when heroin prices ballooned. Heroin can fetch up to $280 per gram; meth sells for as little as $50 to $100 for the same quantity, said La Crosse police Sgt. Andrew Dittman, who heads the department’s narcotics unit.
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“Since May, the market is almost over saturated,” he said.

La Crosse police in the first half of this year arrested 113 people for possessing, selling or making meth, up from just 41 arrests during the same period in 2013.

Local prosecutions also are up, with 83 meth users and dealers charged through June 30, an increase from 38 cases filed in the first half of last year, according to the La Crosse County District Attorney’s office.

Investigators in La Crosse spend about one-third of their time working meth cases, but investigating dealers can tie up the department’s narcotics unit for a week or more, Dittman said. And an arrest can make room for another large-scale dealer who can make tens of thousands of dollars in days.


The investigator pointed to the case against Taylor Baker, a La Crosse woman arrested in July with 60 grams of meth that could have yielded her $6,000 or more.

La Crosse police attribute the increase in meth cases this year to a nearly fully staffed department with officers better trained to find the drug. The agency added a third narcotics detection dog late last year and four community policing officers dedicated to specific neighborhoods earlier this year.

Johnson believes efforts to raise awareness about the deadly effects of heroin frightened some users not into sobriety but into using meth, which is less likely to lead to a fatal overdose.

“The reality of dying is hitting home,” Johnson said.

Meth didn’t disappear when heroin re-emerged in 2010 and escalated to what authorities described as an epidemic.

County officials considered including but ultimately excluded meth when the Heroin and Illicit Drug Task Force formed in October to study the heroin crisis, said Keith Lease, the committee’s co-chairman.

Recovering addicts visiting AMS of Wisconsin report a rise in meth use, said Pat Ruda, the agency’s executive director. The Onalaska facility specializes in treating opiate and heroin addicts.

“I hear a lot more discussion about meth and access to it and hear it used in combination with heroin, maybe for the incredible high,” she said.

The drugs give users a different kind of high — heroin a euphoric feeling and meth a rush — but both are highly addictive and have the potential to kill.

“They’re both extremely difficult to get clean from because of how powerful they are in your brain,” said Lease, who heads the Coulee Council on Addictions.

Heroin addicts can turn to prescription drugs to alleviate the painful withdrawal symptoms and curb cravings, but meth addicts have to rely on will power and counseling, Lease said.

Heroin users will see their vweins collapse, while meth users will claw at their developing scabs, lose teeth and watch their cheeks and eyes sink.

“Physical appearance-wise, meth is probably one of the worst drugs,” Lease said. “It tears you apart.”

Cyndi, a La Crosse recovering addict who asked to be identified only by her first name, tried meth for the first time at age 24 in 2009.

“I figured I would try it just once and that would be it,” she said.

Within four months, she had quit her nursing job to use and sell meth, making up to $1,000 a day. She lost her home and her daughter.

Cyndi was jailed five times in five months before she entered the county’s Drug Treatment Court in October 2010. She admits using drugs while enrolled until “something switched.”

“I was honest with everyone else and I was honest with myself,” she said.

Cyndi celebrated four years of sobriety on Aug. 13. She rebuilt her relationship with her daughter, plans to wed another drug court grad, landed a full-time job and plans to study social work at Western Technical College this semester.

She hasn’t forgotten the drug world she fell into, and she called meth use among local high school students “devastating.”

Meth will rob a person of who they are,” she said.

Local investigators don’t call local meth use an epidemic, but they believe users right now have access to crystal meth, a more expensive and higher quality form of the drug produced in a Mexican lab and trafficked to La Crosse from the Twin Cities.

When that supply is depleted, investigators expect dealers and users will respond by increasing how often they make their own meth in a plastic bottle with household products and cold tablets, Dittman said.

Investigators saw the “one pot” or “shake and bake” method of manufacturing meth grow in recent years because it reduced how often users had to buy the drug, said Johnson, coordinator of the West Central Metropolitan Enforcement Group.

The multi-jurisdictional task force, known as MEG, allows officers from 17 agencies across La Crosse and its surrounding counties to share intelligence.

The region’s rural areas remain ripe for other methods of meth production, Johnson said. Vernon County authorities raided two rural Hillsboro properties on July 31 and uncovered meth labs that used red phosphorus to create the drug. The phosphorus mixed with iodine can create a dangerous gas and explode.

“It can be fatal if inhaled,” Johnson said.

Investigators urge the public to report suspicious activity to reduce meth production and to call if they see someone purchasing a combination of ingredients used to make the drug, including camping fuel, drain cleaner and ice packs.

Police continue to focus on dealers while educating the community about what it can do to help reduce use.

“We have to focus on prevention,” Lease said. “Otherwise, there will always be a drug of the moment.”





CHINA GROVE — Sharon Deal sits at the kitchen table of her immaculate home in China Grove.

“It’s been a bad year,” she says.

Last summer, her husband, Bill, was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died Dec. 23. Almost exactly six months later, Sharon discovered a meth lab in the small rental house she owns across the street.

PostSharon Deal

“It’s not just losing your spouse of 54 years,” Sharon says, pausing for a moment to collect herself. “It’s settling everything and all the legal stuff.”

Then came the meth lab bust.

“At first, you’re so mad they’ve destroyed your property,” Sharon says, “and then they walk away with no financial burdens. I think it’s one of the saddest things when you go into a house and see everything that’s been destroyed.”

And destroyed it was. Sharon and her son-in-law walked in the two-bedroom rental home that morning to find clothing strewn everywhere, plates of food left on the counters, debris seemingly on every surface — and as Mitch Rousey quickly determined — evidence of drug manufacturing.

“It’s really a sad thing,” Sharon emphasizes. “Meth is a really bad drug.”

In 2013, there were 561 meth lab busts in North Carolina, the highest number since reporting began in 2003. In Rowan County last year, there were 10 such busts. In the last three years, that number has doubled in Rowan. As in nearly every other of North Carolina’s 100 counties, meth labs are here.

‘Just plain nasty’

The young couple who rented from Sharon and Bill moved in March 1, 2013. Their 9-year-old son, who attended Bostian Elementary School, lived in the house with them.

“They paid the rent,” Sharon notes. “They were a little slow, but never missed a month.”

In January, the man lost his job.

“It seems then that things really started going downhill,” Sharon says. “We know now that they were using what they were making in exchange for raw materials.”

The couple stopped payments in May, and on June 19, Sharon sent a letter for non-payment of rent. On June 26, she and her son-in-law went into the house for a routine inspection.

Sharon’s calendar that week turns out to be a bit unusual: June 24 — pick up twins (her older daughter’s sons); June 25 — 8:30 a.m. Warrior (she’s an avid golfer); June 26 — new dishwasher for second rental house; June 27 — SBI agents clean out meth house.

The week before, Sharon had seen no activity in the 884-square-foot house, no lights on at night. Her daughter, Laura, and son-in-law live next to her with their children, Aaron and Becca. Laura’s family hadn’t seen anything unusual, either.

“That Thursday morning, we saw the renter and his son come in briefly,” Sharon says. “I don’t know how long they were there. We were going to do an inspection because they were moving out on the 30th. I told Mitch, ‘Let’s just do it now.’ I had not been in the house since before Bill died.”

The last time she was in the house — which she thinks may have been late last summer — she went with Bill to repair the toilet.

“The house was just normal,” she says. “It looked lived in, but it wasn’t dirty.”

The next visit produced a completely different scene.

“We pushed that door open,” Sharon says, “and Mitch and I were both flabbergasted. I was getting madder by the minute. It was just plain nasty, that’s all you could call it.”

The fridge and stove — which belonged to Sharon — were still there, but in terrible shape, she says.

“There was stuff piled everywhere,” Sharon says. “Then Mitch went into one of the bedrooms and said, ‘We need to get out of here.’ ”

   in another bedroom. This  meth lab in a bedroom leaving this home operated a meth lab in

Law and eviction

Sharon called 911 to report a non-emergency. While doing a home inspection, she said, she’d found suspicious-looking stuff.

When deputies arrived, Sharon showed them the photographs Mitch took on his cellphone. It was enough for a search warrant. According to the law, the home was still the renters’ property. Late that evening, a superior court judge signed the search warrant. The next morning, the SBI arrived.

A deputy stayed all night at the rental house. Sharon slept fine.

“With the deputy across the road,” she says, “I figured things were in pretty good hands.”

Deputies urged her to start eviction proceedings, so Sharon drove to the Clerk of Court’s office that morning. She learned it would take 10 days for the order to be carried out.

By the time she came home, the road in front of her house was clogged with law enforcement vehicles and personnel, news media and gawkers.

In her research, Sharon found that meth was highly addictive and highly volatile in the cooking stage. The SBI was on her property all day. Mitch stayed with her the whole time.

After law enforcement left, Sharon had a decision to make. If the house was safe to live in after it was cleaned out and tested, would she rent it again?

Kelvin Story with Servprothat was used forout debris left inprotective clothes standing

The cost of repair

Sharon and Bill purchased the house in 1969 and have rented it ever since. It has a tax value of $53,000.

“Anything I do is gonna cost me money,” Sharon notes. “I have to decide how much I want to put into it.”

According to clean-up guidelines, all the carpet had to be removed, as well as blinds and other porous materials.

On Aug. 11, the rental house was finally turned back over to her. Seven days later, under the terms of the eviction notice, workers with Servpro came to clean out the house.

“They started at 7,” Sharon says. “It was just nasty. It didn’t take long. They put on their hazmat suits, and bagged up and removed trash and debris.”

The fridge was black with mold and mildew. Sharon let it go. The drawer on the bottom of the stove was broken. Sharon will buy another second-hand.

Only one room — the room where the meth was made — showed signs of contamination. The walls had to be washed down three times with a household solution. Sharon hopes its levels will be safe when tests results return, and she can paint. Otherwise, she’ll have to replace drywall.

There’s more damage to repair: holes in the wall, ripped vinyl flooring which will have to be replaced. A leak in the bathroom has caused the floor to rot in there. And she’ll have to replace the trap under the kitchen sink — who knows how or why it disappeared?

“If I don’t have to have the drywall ripped out, I’m ready to start repairs,” Sharon says.

So far, Sharon has spent $5,700 for the eviction, court costs, Servpro’s work, and environmental testing. She estimates with more testing and all the repairs, she’ll spend between $10,000 and $12,000 to get the house ready to rent again.

Sharon hopes she can recoup the investment in two years — if the house stays rented.

“It is a good income, once it’s fixed up and rented,” she says of the house.

Along with running a background check on potential renters, Sgt. Lane Kepley of the Sheriff’s Office recommends constant vigilance on rental property. Because she was busy with her husband’s estate, however, Sharon couldn’t check on things until it was too late.

“Word your lease so that you can make multiple visits,” he advises. “There was months’ worth of trash piled up in this residence. As soon as you see signs somebody is trashing your property, you need to nip it in the bud.”

The sergeant recommends checking a potential renter’s criminal history, credit references, and references from family and friends.

“You need to really, really check into people before you rent,” he says. “You can do all the investigation in the world, but sometimes, somebody can slip in and do things. Do what you can to prevent it from happening.”

After two months, Sharon has accepted the situation with this rental house.

“When it gets fixed up, it’s a nice house,” she says. “It’s a shame the shape it’s in. I was so angry at first and it just runs over you. Then it was two months, almost, to get to the point I can even start this process. I’m resigned to the fact that’s the way it is.

“From now on, I will always do a background check. If a job needs to be done, I want to get out there and do it. But at least we’re moving on this.”

There are vinyl letters above the arch between the living room and kitchen. They’re mostly peeled away, but you can still make out what they say: Bless this house, and all who enter.

Signs of meth

Signs of a meth house include:

• Powerful odors that may smell like cat urine, ammonia, vinegar or rotten eggs

• Residents who exhibit paranoid behavior

• Residents who usually stay inside, but always smoke outside

• Residents who have frequent visitors at odd hours

• Residents who burn, bury or dump their trash

• Blackened or covered windows

• Open windows on cold days or at other seemingly inappropriate times

• Dead vegetation, burn pits or “dead spots” in yard

• Trash containing the packaging of the ingredients used to make meth

HAYWARD — A five-months pregnant woman suspected of being drugged on methamphetamine and speeding to elude a pursuing sheriff’s deputy early Saturday crashed a stolen pickup into a car and ended up on top of it in a Hayward resident’s front lawn.


Hayward resident Dana Tollett, 28, who officers said has a history of stealing cars, was arrested on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, felony evading of police and possession of a stolen vehicle following the 1:30 a.m. wreck, said Sgt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.

Tollett’s injuries were minor, and her unborn child also was expected to live, Kelly said.

About 1:30 a.m., a deputy sought to stop a white Ford F-250 pickup for reckless driving on C Street near Alice Street in Hayward, Kelly said.

The driver did not stop and a pursuit began hitting speeds in excess of 50 mph, Kelly said.

The deputy chased the truck for almost 3 miles until it plowed through a cinder block wall, struck a parked car and landed on top of it in the front lawn of a nearby home at Sycamore and Thomas streets in Hayward, he said.

No one in the home was injured, but the wreck totaled the car.

Deputies say Tollett was the only person in the truck and that after crash she told deputies she was five months pregnant. She also appeared to be under the influence of methamphetamine, Kelly said.

Deputies learned the car had been stolen in Hayward and that she was wanted for two felony warrants including one for stealing cars and another for burglary, said sheriff’s Sgt. J.D. Nelson.

Tollett had methamphetamine with her, Kelly said. She and her unborn child were treated at a hospital.

She was arrested on suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle, reckless driving, felony evasion of a police officer, possession of methamphetamine and for the outstanding warrants.

She was expected to be released from the hospital Saturday afternoon and taken to the Santa Rita Jail, Kelly said.

Toxicology reports are pending and could take several weeks to complete, Kelly said.




Soaring demand from Hong Kong drug users and rising profits makes methamphetamines a lucrative product for smugglers, says customs.

Hong Kong’s growing appetite for methamphetamine was underlined yesterday as customs chiefs revealed a 300 percent jump in the amount of Ice seized at the Lo Wu border crossing.


Soaring local demand and increased profits for traffickers made the drug – also known as crystal meth - a lucrative product for smugglers, said Wong Jug-tung, deputy head of the customs department’s rail and ferry command.

While the number of drug cases at Lo Wu had dropped year-on-year, the amount of Ice seized in the first eight months of this year – 13.7kg – was 291 per cent more than the 3.5kg seized in the first eight months of last year.

Hong Kong’s growing demand for the drug matches an explosion in its popularity globally, fuelled and met by production and distribution networks in Guangdong. The province is widely accepted to be one of the world’s biggest sources of both the main ingredients for crystal meth and the finished product.

Wong said there had been seven significant drug seizures at the Lo Wu crossing in the past three weeks, all of which involved Hongkongers trying to smuggle crystal meth or ketamine from the mainland into the city.

Most of the 8.2kg of seized drugs were concealed inside packs strapped to the mules’ bodies;. one 35-year-old male was discovered with a mixture of crystal meth and ketamine hidden in his underpants.

“Smugglers think they can wait until a change of shift to take advantage [of a lull in security]. But I can tell you they are wrong,” said So Siu-wah, customs’ divisional commander for Lo Wu.

Although department figures showed at 13.5 per cent year-on-year drop in the number of drug cases at Lo Wu, the quantity of the drugs involved jumped substantially.

Apart from the surge in Ice seizures, the amount of ketamine confiscated in the first eight months of this year increased 76 per cent – from 2.5kg to 4.4kg – on the same period last year.

Wong said that at peak hours, about 30 people were passing through the Lo Wu control point at any given time, so risk profiling and assessment was key.


The easy availability of precursor materials – such as ephedrine and pseudoephedrine – combined with the entrenched organised crime landscape make Guangdong a hotbed for crystal meth manufacturing.

Much of the drugs transit through Hong Kong, where crime gangs take advantage of the city’s transport and logistics infrastructure.

Hongkongers are frequently arrested across the Asia-Pacific region for their involvement in the smuggling or manufacture of the drug. A UN report last year on the drugs trade in Indonesia pinpointed the roles of both the city and Guangdong.

“Most of the crystalline methamphetamine smuggled from China exits from Guangzhou and then transits Hong Kong … or Singapore before entering Indonesia,” read the study from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

Meanwhile, police yesterday arrested 31 people and seized drugs valued at more than HK$640,000 at two unlicensed bars in Tsim Sha Tsui. More than 500g of cocaine, 130 tablets of an unspecified Class A drug and a number of weapons were seized.




Some kid shot up a dose again tonight
Pushed back by his other self
Even if you were to buy your dream
You need self-control
No one talks about hopes and dreams
All that’s there is something better, something new, a better way
The name is “Kicks Street” — the city of desire

— Lyrics from “Kicks Street” (1998), Ryo Aska

Who knows what is going through singer-songwriter Ryo Aska’s mind as he awaits his first appearance in court on drugs charges in Tokyo on Thursday. Does he have any regrets over his alleged possession of illegal substances? If he did use such substances, does he have any desire to quit? Or will his 1998 song prove to be something of a premonition?

The pop star, whose real name is Shigeaki Miyazaki, made headlines in May when he was arrested for the alleged possession and use of illicit substances. Newspapers and TV programs universally decried the horrors associated with stimulants, suggesting such drugs are eating away at the fabric of society.

Every time a celebrity such as Aska is arrested on drug charges, news outlets whip themselves into a frenzy about how dangerous such substances are. Fueled by overwrought media coverage, the public typically gets behind the police in pushing for tougher drug-related legislation.

But little, if any, light is shed on the darker side of drugs — addiction.


“Using drugs is akin to committing suicide little by little every day,” says Yoji Miura, director of Drug Addiction Rehabilitation Center (DARC). “So many people have come and gone in my life that my heart has become numb and my tears have dried up.”

In 2013, 12,951 people were arrested in Japan on drug-related charges. Most were charged with the possession or use of stimulants broadly called methamphetamine. It’s virtually impossible to gauge from this figure how many people in the country are currently struggling with an addiction, but the health ministry says the number of arrests is just the tip of the iceberg.

Miura himself is a recovering addict. Bullied as a child for being overweight, he realized his size enabled him to fight back and he began hanging out with a rough crowd. He started sniffing glue to get high but, eventually, started using marijuana and methamphetamine. He was arrested twice before being sentenced to a year in prison.

“When you are first in prison, you think you’re never going to use drugs again because you never want to go back there,” Miura said. “By the time you are released, however, you tell yourself to make sure you’re never caught again.”

That was when Miura was first introduced to DARC.

Established in Tokyo in 1985, DARC now has 57 branches with 78 facilities all over Japan. Most members live in DARC dormitories and they generally attend two internal meetings and one external Narcotics Anonymous meeting every day. Most employees at each facility are recovering addicts, too.

“DARC is the only place addicts can be honest,” Miura said. “Once you’ve spent time in prison, you have to lie all the time: when you’re looking for a job or a place to live, or meeting new people.”

Stimulants have effectively dominated the domestic drug scene since the end of World War II. Chemist Nagayoshi Nagai first synthesized methamphetamine from ephedrine in 1893, and people would primarily use it to recover from fatigue.

Philopon, produced by Dainippon Pharmaceutical Co. (now Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma), was used as a pick-me-up during World War II for military personnel who needed to stay alert. The name is said to have originated from the Greek word philoponus, which means “he who loves labor.”

Military stocks of the methamphetamine fell into civilian hands in the aftermath of World War II, leading to widespread abuse. At its peak in 1954, police reports estimated there were 550,000 addicts in the country, with around 2 million people having tried the drug at some point in their life.

The Stimulant Control Law was enacted in 1951, banning the production, import, possession or use of methamphetamine across the board. A subsequent police crackdown meant that the number of arrests over the substance fell dramatically from 55,664 in 1954 to 271 in 1958, the lowest number in postwar history. However, stimulants are strongly addictive, and the number of arrests has remained steadily above 10,000 since 1976.

That said, drug use in Japan appears to be significantly lower than the figures reported abroad. According to statistics compiled by the health ministry in February, 0.4 percent of the Japanese population aged between 15 and 64 years old have tried stimulants at least once in their life. In the United States, 5.1 percent of the population over the age of 12 has tried meth at least once. Meanwhile, 41.9 percent of Americans have tried marijuana at least once in their life, compared to 1.2 percent of the Japanese population.

Nobuya Naruse, deputy chief at Saitama Prefectural Psychiatric Hospital, says police in Japan often brag about being extremely vigilant when it comes to drugs but show little interest in treating addicts once they’re caught.

“Japan is very good at regulating drug-related crime — one of the leading nations in the world — and depends on regulation to keep the crime rate down in terms of drug use,” Naruse says. “But that is why it has fallen way behind in terms of the treatment and recovery of addiction.”

More recently, a new problem is changing the outlook on drugs in the country: “loophole drugs.”

In addition to the Stimulant Control Law, other drug-related legislation includes the Cannabis Control Law, the Narcotics and Psychotropics Control Law and the Opium Law. The Metropolitan Police Department is, ineffectively, using the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law to deal with this new variation of drugs.

Loophole drugs typically include a mixture of chemicals that are not regulated by the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law but can have similar effects to illegal drugs such as methamphetamine and marijuana. The possession of these compounds is not strictly illegal, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has declared war on such law-evading drugs after a recent series of car accidents that were allegedly caused by drivers under the influence of such substances.

Naruse expressed concern over such drugs, which he said were extremely dangerous and difficult to treat because of the complex mixture of substances. Alarmingly, the latest statistics show that the number of patients at Saitama Prefectural Psychiatric Hospital who had been committed in 2013 over an addiction to loophole drugs outnumbered those who had been addicted to methamphetamine for the first time in history.

(Loophole drugs) drugs have become the most dangerous drug in Japan,” Naruse says. “They are several times more dangerous than methamphetamine and 10 times more effective than marijuana.”

The health ministry says that more than 1,370 chemicals have now been outlawed — a sharp increase from the 68 that had been banned in 2012. But every time the health ministry bans one compound, a new one finds its way onto the market, turning the whole exercise into an endless game of cat-and-mouse for authorities.

Sakae Komori, a lawyer who specializes in drug cases, says the government should speed up the process of outlawing the substances in the first place. A health ministry official said that it typically takes about three to six months to designate a drug.

Komori, however, says that simply speeding up the designation process won’t solve the problem on its own, and governments in Europe and the U.S. are battling similar difficulties.

“As there is a massive global market supporting these synthetic drugs, authorities must be prepared to engage in a prolonged war,” Komori says. “Any series of measures must first look at strengthening the capacity of analyzing and evaluating the drugs.”

With the rapid spread of synthetic drugs as well as the unchanging number of arrests over methamphetamine, authorities are expected to crack down harder.

Recidivism is also a major headache, with statistics showing that 60 percent of convictions for stimulants are repeat offenders. A 2009 survey compiled by the Justice Ministry shows that 30 percent of suspects convicted for stimulants were jailed again for a related crime.

Naruse, a 20-year veteran on treating drug addicts, says the primary focus needs to shift from penalties to treatment. Naruse says the country’s famous catch phrase, “Dame. Zettai.” (similar to the “Just Say No” campaign in the U.S. in the 1980s) simply doesn’t work anymore.

“Not everyone becomes an addict,” Naruse says. “It is the lonely, people with low self-esteem and have a strong sense of anxiety about being disliked by others who typically become addicted. Publicly attacking people such as Aska is not going to help at all. … These types of people have already lost so much along the way.”

Experts suggest there is already a trend in Western nations to shift away from harsh punishment over “victimless crimes” such as the possession and use of illegal drugs. For example, many drug courts in the U.S. are now part of the diversion program, a type of sentencing that offers offenders a chance to avoid criminal charges.

Komori, who has defended more than 1,000 drug cases, says it probably isn’t realistic to import exactly the same system in the country from the United States. Nevertheless, it’s still an overall objective worth striving for. “Correctional facilities greatly damage the relationship that the offenders have with society and I don’t think it is an appropriate punishment for drug crimes,” Komori says. “I think criminals should be treated within the community.”

In 2013, a revision of the Criminal Law introduced a new option for sentencing narcotics users that offers convicts suspended sentences and probation. Authorities hope the new procedure will allow addicts to be rehabilititated back into society and, ultimately, reduce recidivism.

However, a number of experts say there are not enough private facilities to take care of the former addicts who have spent time behind bars, expressing doubt over whether such a system can be effective in the longer term.

DARC founder Tsuneo Kondo says putting addicts in jail in the first place will not help prevent drug crimes or reduce recidivism.

A recovering addict himself, Kondo expresses frustration that no one seems to understand that addiction is a disease and that Japan’s solution to drug crimes is to put the offenders in prison and then release them, automatically expecting them to stay sober without any additional support.

“Drugs are a sign of pain,” Kondo says. “The pain could come from anywhere — from stress or work or the loss of a loved one — and anyone can become addicted. Once you become an addict, you have to deal with it for the rest of your life.”