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COSHOCTON — As authorities continue to discuss possible charges in relation to stolen goods at a local scrapyard, the married couple who lived there were in court Monday for arraignment on drug charges.

Howard Berger, 44, and Rhonda St. John-Berger, 33, both of Newcomerstown, pleaded not guilty during separate arraignments in front of Coshocton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Batchelor. Scheduling conferences for trial will be at 2 p.m. May 27 for both.

Rhonda St. John-BergerHoward Berger

Berger recently was indicted by a grand jury on one count of trafficking in drugs, a third-degree felony; one count of trafficking in drugs, a fourth-degree felony; and one count of aggravated trafficking in drugs, a first-degree felony.

St. John-Berger was indicted on one count of aggravated possession of a controlled substance, a second-degree felony.

The couple were arrested and charged with aggravated trafficking in drugs April 3 by the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office. An undercover drug buy led authorities to the scrapyard, where 40 grams of methamphetamine was found.

In addition, firearms, cash and property that had been reported stolen, including vehicles from several counties and other states, were recovered.

More charges are possible in connection with the case, as the sheriff’s office is conducting interviews and working with the Coshocton County Prosecutor’s Office after the recovery of more than $500,000 in stolen property from R&Z Cores scrapyard, 22375 Oxford Township Road 105.

Batchelor quipped St. John-Berger’s file was a little thick, which “is never a good sign.” She played with a necklace she wore as she answered Batchelor’s questions. She left the court before Berger’s hearing.

Berger appeared jovial, laughing as he didn’t understand Judge Batchelor’s order to sit at the defendant’s table and later smiled as Batchelor asked him whether he had any money that would allow him to hire a lawyer.

Berger will be represented by Coshocton County Public Defender Jeff Mullen, and St. John-Berger by Robert Weir, as appointed by the court.

Berger remains incarcerated at the Coshocton County Justice Center on a $100,000 cash or surety bond. St. John-Berger was released April 24 from the jail after paying $500, or 10 percent of a $5,000 bond.

This was the second time her bond was reduced and paid. Previously, St. John-Berger was caught trespassing at the scrapyard and returned to the justice center after she was directly told not to go there by authorities. She was found with a blue duffel bag containing clothes and no contraband, the sheriff’s office said.

According to court documents, she is staying with a relative in Dover. Provisions of her second release included a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, random drug testing and electronic monitoring.



31-year-old Chrystal Gail Stikeleather of Liberty Lane in Taylorsville was arrested by Hickory Police at about 3:30 Saturday afternoon (May 3) for felony possession of methamphetamine and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.


She was arrested when an Officer on routine patrol at the Days Inn on 13th Avenue Drive N.W. saw Stikeleather exit a vehicle and walk quickly behind the building before entering through the front door.

The Officer asked her to come out and observed that she was behaving nervously. Stikeleather was carrying four bags. She gave consent to search, but attempted to remove a small plastic bag from one of the larger bags. In the bag was a clear, crystal, rock-like substance.

As the search continued, Officers found four plastic bags, digital scales, straws, rolling papers, an empty hypodermic needle and another hypodermic needle loaded with an orange substance. In all, 5.6 grams of meth was found.

Stikeleather was taken into custody without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $20,000 secured bond. She will make a first appearance in District Court on May 7 in Newton.




Lake Oswego police arrested a Tualatin woman Sunday, accusing her of possessing methamphetamine.

On Sunday around noon, a Lake Oswego police officer noticed a car driving back and forth between hotels near Bangy and Meadows roads. The police officer then learned the vehicle was associated with 33-year-old Rhiannon Alexandria Miller, who was staying at the Phoenix Inn.


“The investigation ended up at the hotel room,” said Sgt. Tom Hamman, Lake Oswego Police Department spokesman. “She had meth on her and she was on probation.”

Police arrested Miller on suspicion of unlawful possession of methamphetamine and on a warrant for violation of probation.

During their search of the hotel room, police also found evidence of identity theft.

“Inside the room we found some identity theft stuff, like gift cards and people’s personal info,” Hamann said, adding more charges are likely.

“There are several other people that are probably related, but we haven’t arrested them at this point,” Hamann said. “We’re essentially continuing the investigation and sending the evidence to the district attorney’s office.”

Police took Miller to Clackamas County Jail. Her bail is set at $15,000.





Federal authorities have charged a California man with drug distribution after a state trooper found more than a gallon of liquid of methamphetamine inside the man’s vehicle during a Carson County traffic stop last month.

On April 23, a Department of Public Safety trooper patrolling in Carson County stopped a 1995 Toyota Corolla about 6:30 p.m. on a reported traffic violation of failing to signal a lane change. The trooper interviewed the driver, Leonardo Moreno-Aguilar and noticed
several indicators of possible criminal behavior, according to a federal criminal complaint.


Another Spanish-speaking trooper arrived and quizzed the man. Moreno-Aguilar was issued a warning ticket and one of the troopers asked for consent to search the car. Moreno-Aguilar consented to the search, according to court records.

During the search, troopers found two, one-gallon antifreeze containers and two plastic containers containing liquid methamphetamine. The methamphetamine weighed roughly 20 pounds.

A DEA agent and another DPS officer then came to assist with the investigation, and another officer read Moreno-Aguilar his constitutional rights. The man then agreed to talk to officers and said he was supposed to deliver the drugs to Charleston, S.C., and would be given directions to a commercial business when he arrived in Charleston.

According to the complaint, Moreno-Aguilar told officers he met a man he knew only as “Gringo” at car races in Mexico and that the man asked him to drive a car to make some money. Moreno-Aguilar said he was to be paid $3,000 for the drug delivery but said he did not know how much drugs he was transporting.

Moreno-Aguilar will remain in federal custody pending further hearings in the case.




NEW PHILADELPHIAPolice are commending two city residents for reacting quickly to prevent harm to them and their families after they discovered components of a methamphetamine laboratory in their trash cans Monday evening.

Half of the 400 block of Fair Avenue NW was cordoned off for about two hours after one resident reported at 6:45 p.m. that when he moved his empty trash can, “it started smoking real bad,” said Sgt. Rocky Dusenberry.

New Philadelphia police officers

Dusenberry said that when the resident looked into the can, he saw a two-liter plastic bottle with a hose coming out of the top. The man called police at 6:45 p.m., and officers arrived just minutes later to find the bottle still smoking.

“We obviously figured out it was the remnants of a meth lab,” Dusenberry said, adding that officers cordoned off the area and called for the Holmes County Meth Lab Disposal Unit. The unit arrived about a half-hour later, and officials cleaned up the remnants and collected evidence until about 8:30 p.m.

The resident told The Times-Reporter that when he started dragging the can up beside his garage where it’s kept, “it shook the stuff up that was inside, and it started smoking — I knew something wasn’t right.”

A next-door neighbor reported that he also found items that police consider to be pieces and parts of the meth lab in his empty trash can.

Police have no idea where the items came from, but are “figuring that somebody drove by and dropped them off,” Dusenberry said. He added that the Holmes County unit collected all of the materials, some of which may be tested in a laboratory.

Dusenberry said the two-liter bottle in one trash can contained some of the most dangerous parts of a meth lab. “That’s the actual stuff that’s bad,” he said.

In addition to the caustic fumes it generated, there also was a real possibility of an explosion, he said.

Dusenberry said the residents acted correctly by keeping the fumes away from their houses, and by calling police immediately. “Once you see that smoke, you should be getting completely away from it, because if you inhale that stuff, it can kill you,” he said.






Early last week, Friendswood police making a routine traffic stop ended up finding crystal methamphetamine on three of four passengers in a vehicle. The arrest is just one of many recent meth-related arrests across the area.

On April 29, Friendswood police stopped a vehicle driven by Marianna Marchesini, 34, of La Marque, just after 4:30 p.m. in the 900 block of W. Edgewood Drive for speeding and failing to drive in a single lane, according to the police report.

Jessica Brooke Banks Marianna Marchesini Stephen Roger Edwards Dillion Ray Wimberley

Police said that as Marchesini was pulling over, they noticed that the front passenger attempting to hide something. While the driver and an officer were speaking, that front passenger, Stephen Roger Edwards, 33, of Freeport, appeared to be under the influence of narcotics, police said. He told police that he owned the vehicle but that Marchesini was driving because his license was expired.

Officers then ran warrant checks on the two backseat passengers, Jessica Brooke Banks, 30, of Pearland, and Dillion Ray Wimberley, 19, of Santa Fe. They found that Wimberley had an outstanding warrant in Galveston County connected to a controlled substance possession charge. He was then taken into police custody.

During a search of the car with consent from Marchesini, officers said they found an amount of crystal methamphetamine and a pistol near the where the driver and passenger had been sitting. It is believed by police that Edwards had been attempting to conceal that gun as they were being pulled over. Edwards later told police that Wimberley had stolen the weapon from a drug dealer, according to the police report. Police said a search of the backseat uncovered an amount of crystal methamphetamine in Banks’ purse.

All four were subsequently arrested, with Banks, Edwards, and Marchesini all charged with possession of a controlled substance. Edwards was also charged possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Wimberley was arrested for the outstanding warrant.

According to Galveston County records, Edwards is still in custody on $120,00 bond, while Banks and Marchesini are still being held on $2,000 bond. Wimberley’s current disposition was not immediately known.

Is crystal methamphetamine a problem in the Friendswood area? Friendswood Police Department Chief Robert Wieners said Monday that in his eyes it is a regional issue more than a Friendswood one. The April 29 arrest highlights a problem in the area that Wieners says is quickly becoming a bigger issue for local investigators.

In a prepared statement Monday, Wieners said the amount of methamphetamine that is present in the greater Houston area is a matter of concern for him and all law enforcement in the city.

In March, a Friendswood police investigation into buying and selling crystal methamphetamine, resulted in the arrest of 12 people in the course of one week.

Most of the people Friendswood police have arrested for meth possession, Wieners said, have been traveling along FM 528 and FM 2351. This leads Wieners to believe that it’s been meth that’s coming through their city and not just area users and dealers.

“We’ve had a very small number of Friendswood residents that have been involved with methamphetamine,” Wieners said in the statement.

Friendswood police spokeswoman KC Rodgers said that their investigations have shown there is a distribution network that is operating up and down the I-45 corridor, mostly out of area motels.

“The folks involved in the distribution and use have been longtime substance abusers, ages ranging from 28 to 55 years old. Most of the arrestees have been white and half have been female,” she said.




Methamphetamine, crystal meth, or simply meth is a toxic drug that is becoming quite popular in Acadiana.

In 2011, four grams of meth were seized by the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office Metro Narcotics Force. In the year 2012, 605 grams, 2013, 1,712 grams and so far in 2014, 466.

A recent study shows Louisiana ranks 22nd among the “methiest” states in the country.

A Quad-City landscaping business was a front for drug activity, federal prosecutors say.

At least six co-conspirators are accused of conducting drug activity from a business known as San Jose Landscaping, located in Bettendorf. They are Jose Lopez-Raya, Nicholas Raya, Raul Gutierrez, Ricardo Martinez, Betty Francois and Manuel Almanza.

Almanza pleaded guilty Friday and is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 20 in U.S. District Court, Davenport. Raya, Lopez-Raya and Francois also have pleaded guilty and await sentencing. Gutierrez and Martinez await trial on drug conspiracy charges.

Records released at Almanza’s plea hearing state the defendants stored and distributed cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine at the landscaping business between late 2012 and August 2013.

At the direction of Lopez-Raya, several of the defendants made routine trips to Chicago to drop off drug proceeds and obtain cocaine and methamphetamine, and they brought the drugs back to the Quad-Cities to distribute, records state.

The defendants also stored drugs at Francois’ residence in the 1300 block of 13th Avenue, East Moline, records state.

On Aug. 16, 2013, police searched the landscaping business and found multiple firearms, ammunition, digital scales and cellphones, records state. Police also searched Francois’ residence on that date and found methamphetamine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia and more than $13,000 in currency, records state.



On April 24th, Deputy Mittag conducted a traffic stop in the 37100 block of Azalea Trail. The 38 year old male driver was asked to exit the vehicle, at which time the Deputy could see, in plain view, on the seat next to where the male had been sitting, a baggie of what the Deputy recognized from previous experience to be methamphetamine. A total of three bags and .80 grams of methamphetamine were recovered from the vehicle. The male was taken into custody for felony possession of a controlled substance.



SELLERSBURG, IN (WAVE) –Hypodermic needles and methamphetamine were discovered in a vehicle during a traffic stop in Clark County.

According to Indiana State Police, on May 2 troopers pulled over a white Pontiac for turning in front of a semi, almost causing an accident, on Veteran’s Parkway at U.S. 31.


Troopers said the driver of the car, Jamie Gibson, 35, was driving on a suspended license.

Two needles and methamphetamine were found during a search of the vehicle.

Gibson was taken to Clark County Jail. He is charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of a hypodermic needle and driving while suspended.



Police arrested eight suspects yesterday following the termination of a lengthy investigation into the manufacture and supply of methamphetamine in the Auckland region.

The investigation, code named Operation Genoa, has also led to the restraint of over $3 million in assets including a Ferrari, Porsche, Maserati and numerous motor vehicles, a 30 foot launch, five properties, gold bullion, silver ingots and in excess of $2 million in cash.

Detective Inspector Bruce Good from OFCANZ Auckland said 29 search warrants were executed at properties in Auckland, rural South Auckland and Nelson during the day.

“A substantial amount of methamphetamine was recovered at a rural property in Miranda 80 kilometres south-east of Auckland,” Mr Good said.

“During the execution of this warrant one of the suspects escaped. He was apprehended less than two hours later.

“Police dogs were used during this part of the operation and the assailant suffered minor dog bite injuries during his capture.”

Mr Good said the suspect was treated by ambulance staff at the scene and later taken to Auckland Hospital for treatment. He is still in hospital and expected to be released into custody either later today or tomorrow.

The eight suspects arrested will face a range of charges including manufacturing methamphetamine, money laundering, unlawful possession of a restricted weapon, obtaining a false documents and participating in an organised criminal group.

Two of those apprehended are senior patched members of the Head Hunters gang.

Mr Good said the group were running a sophisticated methamphetamine manufacturing operation.

“We believe the suspects, many of whom have family connections, were using several addresses and storage units in Auckland, rural South Island and Nelson to produce, store and distribute methamphetamine and the Class B drug ephedrine,” Mr Good said.

“Our intelligence indicates they were producing in excess of $1million worth of methamphetamine at a time which gives an indication as to the size of the market they were supplying.”

“In total we have recovered approximately half a kilogram of methamphetamine and 6 kilograms of precursor drugs and chemicals during Operation Genoa. This would have a combined street value of in excess of $3.5million.”

Mr Good said the seizure of significant assets such as luxury cars, gold bullion and properties in Auckland, rural South Auckland and Nelson was particularly satisfying.

“Operation Genoa sends another powerful message to the criminal community that Police will use every legal avenue at our disposal to target organised crime in New Zealand.”



Martin Dodge has been charged by federal authorities with making regular deliveries of ice meth to Chattanooga.

Dodge is charged at Chattanooga Federal Court with selling meth and possession of a firearm while doing so.

Drug Task Force Agent Jamie Hixson said he was contacted on May 1 by a confidential source that “TJ” Sims and “Marty” were staying at the Comfort Inn on Williams Street.

The source said “TJ” and “Marty” were in possession of four ounces of “ice” methamphetamine and that the CS believed “Marty” was possibly the source for that methamphetamine. The CS said that “TJ” was driving a red Nissan Sentra and “Marty” was driving a black Dodge Charger.

The agent said he drove to the Comfort Inn on Williams Street and observed a black Dodge Charger parked on the lot. He notified Sgt. Jason Lewis of the Chattanooga Police Department, and he stopped the red Nissan Sentra on Williams Street in Chattanooga. Sgt. Lewis said the driver was identified as Timothy Sims and was found to be driving without a license.

A search of Sims’ vehicle resulted in the seizure of approximately five ounces of ice methamphetamine.

Sims told authorities he had purchased the methamphetamine recovered from his car from Martin Dodge and another individual. He said Dodge had been making trips to Chattanooga delivering six to eight ounces of ice methamphetamine on a daily basis for several months. Sims also confirmed that Dodge was driving the black Dodge Charger rental car parked at the Comfort Inn.

A surveillance team was established on the lot of Comfort Inn on Williams Street. At approximately 6:45 p.m., police saw Dodge leave the hotel in the Dodge Charger along with two passengers. After the vehicle failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of Williams Street and 25th Street, police initiated a traffic stop.

Dodge told officers that there was a gun in the trunk. The vehicle was searched. The officers recovered two guns and approximately one ounce of ice methamphetamine in the trunk. Dodge said the drugs and the guns were his. The defendant later admitted that he possessed the guns because he had recently been shot and robbed during a drug transaction.




Caddo-Shreveport narcotics agents arrested three people on Friday while executing a warrant at 2247 Soda Fountain Place near Blanchard.

Jamie Fields Aaron Farmer

Jeffrey Noble was in possession of methamphetamine, marijuana, and Diazepam when agents found him in the garage of the residence. Agents also recovered marijuana, methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, a handgun, and two shotguns during a search of his residence and the surrounding area.

Noble, 26, was arrested for possession of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and possession of Diazepam with intent to distribute.

Two people inside the residence were also arrested. Jamie Fields, 21, was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and Aaron Farmer, 25, was arrested for possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. They both list 2247 Soda Fountain Place as their address.

One loaded handgun, two shotguns, 5.9 grams of Methamphetamine, 11.8 grams of marijuana and 57 doses of Diazepam were seized. All three were booked into the Caddo Correctional Center.



A Garden City woman was arrested after authorities found 22 grams of suspected methamphetamine in her home.

At 10:58 p.m. Wednesday, the Garden City/Finney County Drug Task Force served a search warrant at the home of Destney Williams, 24, 212 Davis St., Apt. 7. where they found the suspected methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia consistent with the distribution of illegal drugs, according the Garden City Police Department.

Williams was arrested and lodged in the Finney County Jail on allegations of sale of methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a school, possession of 3.5 grams to 100 grams of methamphetamine with intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a school, no Kansas drug-tax stamp, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of proceeds from the sale of controlled substances.

Williams is being held on $80,000 bond.



The remnants of two clandestine Methamphetamine laboratories have been discovered and seized by Patrol Deputies and Narcotics Detectives from the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office. Both Methamphetamine labs were characteristic of the Red Phosphorous method of manufacture, according to the release, which said this method is not as prevalent today due to easier and faster methods of production, such as the “Shake and Bake” method, commonly referred to as the One Pot Method.

One Methamphetamine Lab was located behind the property of 122 South Road, Todd, the lab components found by children who were playing in the area. The Sheriff’s Office was contacted and made aware of the suspected Methamphetamine Lab. Shift Supervisor Lt. Phillips, who is clandestine lab certified, arrived on scene and confirmed that the components were characteristic of a Methamphetamine Lab. Narcotics Detectives were notified of the situation. Once on scene, Detectives seized multiple items used in the manufacturing process. The Methamphetamine precursors appeared to be non-hazardous and were disposed of by Narcotics Detectives.
An additional Red Phosphorous Methamphetamine lab was located and seized near the Stoney Fork Overlook which is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Park Rangers from the US Department of Interior located items consisted with the manufacture of Methamphetamine and contacted the Sheriff’s Office. Narcotics Detectives seized multiple Methamphetamine precursors consistent with the Red Phosphorous Method of Manufacture. The Methamphetamine precursors appeared to be non-hazardous and were disposed of by Narcotics Detectives. Both investigations are ongoing.


Guelph police say that methamphetamine use is increasing in the city, replacing cocaine and crack as the drug of choice.

Det. Sgt. Ben Bair, the head of the Guelph police drug enforcement unit, spoke on The Morning Edition Monday about a joint bust with Waterloo and Woodstock police that saw police arrest nine people last week and seize $100,000 worth of cocaine, $4,000 worth of marijuana, and large amounts of cash.

The seizures are the result of months of an investigation dubbed “Project Vegas.”


“Marijuana’s being used at large rates, but also opiates are being used at large rates, but the most recent trend seems to be crystal meth,” said Bair, commenting on the problem narcotics in Guelph.

‘Many of the cocaine traffickers that we’re hearing about are also now moving crystal meth as well.’- Det. Sgt. Ben Bair, Guelph Police

Crystal meth is being used by many people who were traditionally cocaine and crack cocaine users,” said Bair. “It has seemed to make more inroads into a younger crowd than, say, crack cocaine has in the past.”

Crystal meth, or methamphetamine, is a stimulant that’s easy to produce in home labs – and is easy to sell.

It’s happening everywhere, it’s happening on the streets for sure, certainly with students it would be happening at student parties,” said Bair, when asked about about where meth is being sold in Guelph.

“It would be happening inside what are traditionally known as crack houses, or meth houses in this case, it’s happening all over the city,”

According to Bair, methamphetamine is attractive to drug traffickers because the drug can be made in Canada. That way they can avoid middle men and the hassles of importing drugs like cocaine from South America, he said.

“In most cases it’s availability that starts it. Historically in Guelph there seemed to be a reluctance to move towards crystal meth, but that seems to have changed in the last year and a half or so, and many of the cocaine traffickers that we’re hearing about are also now moving crystal meth as well,” said Bair.

“So I think availability plays a large role in terms of people’s decision price, which is directly proportionate to availability, obviously if there’s a lot available, prices are cheap.”

But the drug is not necessarily being produced in Guelph.

“We’re not hearing about significant quantities of labs in Guelph, much of the crystal meth that’s in Guelph seems to be coming from neighbouring communities,” he said, adding methamphetamine use is a province-wide issue.

“Having said that, crystal meth can be made by an individual, in something as small as a pop bottle. We have discovered a few of those, and that’s certainly concerning as well.”





A fugitive from Etowah County was arrested Thursday in the Bay Springs Community and charged with trafficking in amphetamines. Investigators from the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office apprehended 47 year-old George Franklin O’Leary with a large amount of methamphetamine and other drugs. O’Leary also had a large amount of cash and other items normally used in the selling of illegal drugs.


Earlier in the week, Etowah County authorities notified the Sheriff’s Office that O’Leary may be in Cherokee County. Investigator Matt Sims spotted O’Leary at a Centre restaurant, followed him, and attempted to detain the suspect. O’Leary fled through Centre before being stopped on Bay Springs Road by Sims and Centre Police.

A subsequent search of O’Leary’s camper revealed the large amount of illegal drugs and other paraphernalia. O’Leary was transported to the Cherokee County Detention Center and charged with trafficking amphetamines, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, first degree unlawful possession of marijuana, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, and attempting to elude. O’Leary is expected to be extradited to face additional charges in Etowah County.

Sheriff Jeff Shaver stated he appreciates the hard-work of all law enforcement involved in this case and he’s glad to have this large amount of meth off our streets and out of our community.




ST. CHARLES, MO (KTVI) – A St. Charles man was taken into custody Sunday night after authorities said he threatened to harm himself and police. Authorities say the man called police and said he was armed with a weapon. Neighbors were evacuated as smoke was visible from the man’s apartment in the 300 block of South 4th street.

Desiree Frost captured the scene on video as the man walked out of his own apartment. His face was charred. Police used a device known as a flash bang to safely apprehend the suspect. The device stunned the suspect without using lethal force. He fell to the ground while officers swarmed him and applied handcuffs.

A few hours later, police said they found evidence of a meth lab inside the suspect’s apartments. They had suspicions meth was involved. It was one reason they evacuated homes in the area.

A spokesman for the St. Charles fire department said the suspect was taken to an area hospital in critical condition.

St. Charles inspectors condemned the apartment units because of the fire and evidence of a meth lab. The American Red Cross was assisting residents Sunday night. Police did not know how long it would be before residents could return.




Grand Forks, ND (WDAY TV) – A drug once called “the most significant threat” to North Dakota is back.

Meth labs were nearly wiped out here just a few years ago, but now they’re returning in a new and more dangerous fashion.

Wayne Stenehjem / North Dakota Attorney General: “Meth use and trafficking here in North Dakota is increasing

Lt. Jim Remer / Grand Forks Police Department: “we’re seeing more and more of it again”

Statements that are matched by headlines, both heard and seen… the drug Methamphetamine, is once again making its presence known.

Stenehjem: “Narcotics task forces tell me that this is their most significant drug problem.”

Remer: “almost triple the amount of possession arrests for meth in our region.”

Lt. Rod Hajicek / East Grand Forks Police Department: “about 50% of what the task force is doing right now is meth related.”

First battled at the start of the 2000s, meth lab busts in North Dakota dropped from a high of 297 in 2003 to just 9 in 2011.

Now meth has returned. Dangerous as ever but now with changed methods. No longer being made in labs by middle men. But now directly entering the state from areas such as California, Arizona and the southern border.

Stenehjem: “now we’re seeing the amounts coming in are in the pounds and one of the additional problems that causes us great concern is that just about always when we’re seeing sales of meth the people that are selling it are armed.”

A changed method of import along with new, faster approaches for manufacturing.

Hajicek: “It has changed. Chemistry and chemists have come up with new methods. The one pop, or shake and bake method. Where they put these ingredients in a pop bottle, shake it up and in a short time they have a product.”

Michael:Officials also say that with this most recent return of meth, they’re seeing a wider demographic of those who use meth.

Deb Davis / Licensed Addiction Counselor Northeast Human Service Center: we’re seeing more female clients as a weight loss. In the last few months we’ve seen more meth use in our adolescences.

Michael: So why the return of this dangerous drug? Cold hard cash.

Stenehjem: “the profit motive is there because on the price of the street meth is higher than it is elsewhere in the country.”

High profits leading to increased supply. Keeping law enforcement throughout our region busy fighting the return of meth.

Remer: “our narcotics task force is very busy.”

Hajicek: “they’re making it. People are getting addicted to it and it does make our jobs tougher.”

Stenehjem: “We’re seeing it across the state, Grand Forks, Fargo is increasing. But out in the west where the prices are so high and there seems to be a lot of willing purchasers. That’s becoming a real problem.”

So it appears that along with progress. The state of North Dakota is also paying the price.

Stenehjem: “if we don’t get a handle on it now on the front end of the oil boom. We’re going to have to deal with its consequences as it gets worse later on.”

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated 24.7 million people abuse the drug worldwide





GREENUP — A Greenup man and woman have been indicted for allegedly cooking methamphetamine in the presence of two youngsters.

William M. Neace, 49, and Jonda R. Brown, 33, both of Jeff Valley Road, were named in separate true bills returned last week by a Greenup County grand jury.

Both were charged with manufacturing, trafficking in and possession of meth and two counts of fourth-degree controlled substance endangerment to a child.

The charges carry a combined maximum sentence of 45 years in prison.

The two were arrested April 1 by the Kentucky State Police, according to court records.

In an unrelated case, the grand jury indicted a South Shore man and his adult stepdaughter for allegedly engaging in an unlawful sexual relationship.

Roger D. Howard, 44, and Clara P. Walters, 21, both of Little White Oak Road, both were charged with incest, a Class C felony that carries a five- to 10-year prison sentence.

The indictments, which resulted from a KSP investigation, allege Howard and Walters engaged in “sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse” between April 1 and July 1 of 2012. Under Kentucky law, sex between a stepparent and stepchild is considered incest. The charge A, B or C felon, depending on the age of the victim. whether force was involved and whether the victim suffered serious injury. Howard and Walters were charged with the least-serious variety because both are consenting adults.





HENDERSON COUNTY, Ky. (5/2/14) ― A drug bust has netted two pounds of crystal meth that was headed for distribution in western Kentucky.


According to a Kentucky State Police report, KSP DESI West conducted the buy/bust on Thursday, April 30. A target delivered two pounds of crystal methamphetamine to KSP undercover detectives. Investigators followed leads to Henderson County to serve a federal arrest warrant on Steven Marruquin, .41.

A search warrant was granted with the information from a four-year investigation involving the distribution of large amounts of crystal meth for the residence at 4401 J. Royster Road, Corydon.

The search yielded approximately six pounds of crystal meth, one and a half pounds of high grade marijuana, powder cocaine, black tar heroin, brown heroin, three vehicles, a skid-loader, a John Deere tractor, an equipment trailer and more than $35,000.

Marruquin was lodged in the Daviess County Jail.

Additional arrests are expected from the ongoing federal investigation.

Agencies involved included Kentucky State Police SRT, D-9, Post 16, Post 2, the Owensboro Police Department Street Crimes Unit, the Henderson Police Department Narcotics Unit, the Madisonville Police Department Narcotics Unit, the Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.






Columbus man and Phenix City woman are accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of items from Valley Rescue Mission and Goodwill donation boxes.

Besides theft by taking, both also face drug charges.

Arrested by Columbus police on Saturday were 25-year-old Antonio Carrow and 33-year-old Kelly Jackson.

According to the police report, early on Saturday morning, officers noticed a white Ford U-Haul van with an Arizona tag on Moon Road that they had been informed could be involved in the thefts. It was parked at the entrance of Central Christian Church.

The vehicle began to move and was stopped on Veterans Parkway near Spring Creek Village Apartments.

According to the report, 1.5 grams of methamphetamine and a glass pipe commonly used for smoking methamphetamine were found.

The thefts occurred between Wednesday between 12:01 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. on Saturday.





Three people are behind bars in Lenoir County and awaiting a Monday morning first appearance after deputies said a child welfare check turned into a meth operation bust.

Lenoir County Sheriff Chris Hill said narcotics investigators accompanied the Department of Social Services after DSS had received a complaint that meth was being made at a home with children present on the 500 block of Joe Nunn Road.


Sheriff Hill said investigators smelled a strong odor of chemicals coming from the home Friday morning during the welfare check, and also spotted a generator in a burn pile that’s believed to have been used in the meth operation.

Officials said a warrant was obtained and more items consistent with a meth operation were found.

Hill says that Jennifer Grady, Melissa Rouse and Brandon Bowden were arrested.

We’re told that Grady and Bowden have both been charged with maintaining a location for meth, manufacturing meth, and possessing precursors to meth.

Rouse has been charged with possession of meth, and maintaining a location for meth.

Bowden and Grady are being held on an $80,000 bond, while Rouse was given a $6,500 bond.

Court records show all three are due to go before a judge Monday for their first appearance on the charges.

DSS has stepped in to assist the children involved.







MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. – A man from Mountain Home came in to obey one law, and was arrested for allegedly breaking several others.


The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office reports Mason Grant, 25, dropped by the Sheriff’s Office to register as a sex offender, as required by law. While deputies processed the paperwork, they discovered that Grant had a suspended driver’s license. Deputies asked Grant how he got to the office. They say at first he told them a friend dropped him off. Deputies didn’t take his word for it, and checked surveillance video. They arrested Grant on a charge of driving with a suspended license.

While searching Grant in the course of that arrest, deputies allegedly found a small amount of suspected methamphetamine in his shirt pocket, as well as drug paraphernalia.

Grant is jailed on charges of Felony Possession of Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine), Felony Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Misdemeanor Driving While License Suspended. He’s being held without bond in the Baxter County Jail for an alleged parole violation.




TRAVERSE CITY, MI – Officials in northern Michigan are seeking an individual reportedly burned in the manufacturing of methamphetamine.

The Wexford County Sheriff’s Office responded to a complaint of a suspicious dump site in Haring Township on Saturday, May 3, according to a press release from the Traverse Narcotics Team. The report indicated the presence of a plastic bottle with an “unknown residue” inside.


Upon arrival on the scene, officials notified the Traverse Narcotics Team and Michigan State Police for further investigation, which revealed chemicals, components and apparatus commonly used for the manufacturing of meth.

During the investigation and subsequent cleanup, officials observed burned articles of clothing in close proximity to the scene: black jeans, a black t-shirt and black boxer briefs. According to investigators, the placement of clothes indicated “the individual wearing those articles of clothing would have also been burned as a result” of meth manufacturing.

The Traverse Narcotics team continues to investigate the site and is looking for any information regarding the identity of the suspect in this incident.

Individuals are reminded to be aware of their surroundings when spending time outside, as items such as needles, bottles, tubing and chemicals may become uncovered after being buried by snow. Suspicious items should be reported immediately.