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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

He believes methamphetamine testing should be mandatory for all properties.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It could have been worse, he says.

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

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



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


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


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


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

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

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



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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drug cartels look at Indian operatives for bulk supply

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MONTEREY, Calif.A Monterey man who undercover agents said has ties to a violent Mexican drug cartel was arrested Thursday.

“We believe he was a high level methamphetamine dealer and a big supplier here on Monterey peninsula,” said drug agent Bruno Dias.


Drug agents with the Peninsula Regional Violence and Narcotics Team confiscated more than a pound of high quality methamphetamine, $55,000 and an arsenal of weapons when they raided two homes Cortes rented.

The weapons included six high-powered rifles, four handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammo.

Drug agents said Cortes hauled his meth from across the border and raked in tens of thousands of dollars selling to local dealers. They said Cortes lived the high life and showered his wife with designer clothes and fancy jewelry.

Detectives said Cortes made sure not to leave a money trail.

“We believe he was using auto sales and a fictitious business to launder money,” Dias said.

Authorities were watching Cortes for two months, and agents moved in on Thursday. He was arrested without incident.

Police said they were tipped off to Cortes by concerned neighbors.

“That’s the key point, is the help of the public,” Dias said. “We are trained to see if the suspicion can be validated through investigative means, that’s exactly what we did today in a huge way.”


MUNCIE — What a police officer described as an “unbearable and breathtaking chemical odor” led authorities to a methamphetamine-cooking operation on the city’s northeast side late Wednesday.

Two occupants of the house at 1901 E. Yale Ave., James Harold Hannis III, 48, and Jennifer Lynn Smith, 36, were each arrested on five preliminary charges: dealing in meth, possession of meth, possession of precursors, maintaining a common nuisance and reckless possession of paraphernalia.

house at 1901 E. Yale Ave

They were being held without bond Thursday in the Delaware County jail.

The events leading to the arrests began about 10:45 p.m. Wednesday, when city officers made a traffic stop at Yale and Bellaire Avenue.

While in the area, an officer reported smelling “a very strong chemical odor … associated with the manufacturing of methamphetamine.”

As he and other officers got closer to the house at 1901 E. Yale, the officer wrote, “the chemical odor became stronger and unbearable.”

Hannis — who police said was “speaking in broken sentences and did not make any sense” — was arrested at the home, as was Smith when she emerged from the house a short time later.

An officer who entered the house reported the fumes “caused my eyes to water” before he “began coughing and felt like I was unable to breathe.” An Indiana State Police meth collection team was called to the scene.

Authorities reported finding methamphetamine and materials commonly used in its production and consumption — silver spoons with burn marks, camper fuel, coffee filters, a pill grinder, generator, plastic tubing and drain cleaner. Also recovered from the house was a gas mask.

Hannis was already set to stand trial June 6, in Delaware Circuit Court 4, on two possession-of-meth charges filed in November 2012 and May 2013, respectively. His long criminal record includes convictions for battery resulting in serious bodily injury, dealing in marijuana, possession of cocaine, possession of a controlled substance and resisting law enforcement.

Smith is set to stand trial July 28, in Circuit Court




A kidnapping suspect charged in St. Paul was arrested in Los Angeles on Thursday after police closed off several downtown streets following a car chase that ended with him escaping on foot, KABC-TV reported.

Jesus Ramirez was taken into custody at the Pepper Tree Motel in North Hollywood about 5:30 p.m. PDT, KABC said. He was to be booked into a local jail.

A few hours earlier, FBI and Los Angeles police pursued Ramirez after he was seen running into a building in the 800 block of Broadway after abandoning a Ford Expedition. A perimeter was set up in the area but he remained at large until his arrest.

The case began earlier this week when two people were kidnapped, taken to a house in St. Paul and assaulted while their relatives were told to return 30 pounds of methamphetamine or pay a $300,000 ransom, according to a complaint filed Wednesday in Ramsey County District Court.

The complaint charged Ramirez, 31, with four counts of kidnapping and one count of robbery in an incident that started Monday with the abduction of a person “from an unknown location in the greater Twin Cities (area).”

According to the complaint:

The man’s family then received calls from the hostage takers claiming that the victim had stolen 30 pounds of methamphetamine and demanding return of the drugs or payment of $300,000.

Later that night, four men abducted at gunpoint a second victim on the 3200 block of 19th Avenue South in Minneapolis.

Then, about 3 a.m. Tuesday, the second victim’s phone was recovered at James Avenue and Milton Street in St. Paul. About 2 p.m. that day, both victims showed up back at the 3200 block of 19th Avenue South in Minneapolis, bruised and bloody. The second victim almost had his left pinky finger cut off.

A resident at the house was arrested, admitted he participated in the abduction, and identified Ramirez as one of three Mexican men who flew to Minnesota from California to abduct the two victims, the complaint said.

Police obtained information that the kidnappers planned to abduct others who they believed could have been involved with their missing narcotics, the complaint said.






Eleven people, six from the Checotah area, were arraigned this week on federal charges alleging they were involved in a methamphetamine trafficking operation orchestrated from behind prison walls.

The conspiracy charges stem from an 11-month multi-agency investigation that began in August after law enforcers looking for stolen property executed a search warrant at a Checotah-area residence. The search turned up a small amount of methamphetamine and a confidential informant who began working with the Drug Enforcement Administration.


The confidential informant, according to a 53-page affidavit filed by DEA Special Agent Matthew Wyckoff, helped law enforcers piece together evidence of a drug trafficking operation allegedly coordinated by Michael A. Metzker. The 36-year-old Checotah resident, also known as Lurch, is described by law enforcers as “a documented member of the Universal Aryan Brotherhood Criminal Organized Gang” and leader of the Metzker operation.

Wyckoff alleges in court documents released Thursday that Metzker was assisted outside the prison by his father, Michael W. Metzker, 58, also of Checotah. Others Checotah residents charged as a result of what investigators dubbed the Battle of Honey Creek include Lacey Renee Park, 29; Derek Park, 31; Margaret Casey, 45; and former Checotah resident Steven D. Carr, 43.

Other alleged co-conspirators named in the criminal complaint include Shawna Vanzant, 33, of Henryetta; Jackie Dale Brumley, 44, of Noble; Cornell Tyleiz Harvey, 29, of Oklahoma City; Scott Wesley Duncan, 38 of Oklahoma City; and Sunny Ann Martinek, 38, of Norman. All 11 defendants were charged with conspiring to possess methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.

Wyckoff, in his affidavit, alleges the younger Metzker used numerous cell phones smuggled into prison to orchestrate the drug trafficking operation. The confidential informant cultivated by law enforcers after they searched Casey’s home allegedly made numerous calls to Metzker while he was in prison to coordinate drug transactions.

This informant “has provided information about associates of the Metzker DTO and locations from which its members distribute methamphetamine,” Wyckoff states in the affidavit. The informant “conducted several consensually monitored and recorded conversations with members and associates of the Metzker DTO … (and) has conducted controlled purchases of methamphetamine from Michael W. Metzker.”

Once the younger Metzker was released from prison in January, law enforcers were able to secure a court order to intercept calls to a cell phone the first informant identified as one belonging to the so-called leader of the alleged drug trafficking organization. Subsequent conversations monitored by law enforcers, Wyckoff alleges, connected the Metzkers to co-defendants in the Oklahoma City area.

The younger Metzker was arrested in McIntosh County, the affidavit states about a month after he was released from prison. Monitored calls to and from the phone allegedly linked to Metzker and intelligence gathered in October during a traffic stop conducted by tribal police at a Norman casino led law enforcers to the Oklahoma City area, where other arrests were made.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Shannon Henson said the defendants were charged by criminal complaint. Henson said the complaint “does not constitute evidence of guilt,” and all defendants are “presumed innocent.”

If convicted, the defendants could face 10 years to life in a federal penitentiary and fines up to $10 million each. All defendants have been remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service.




The Oklahoma County Sheriff is crediting the work of a K9 unit to detect and find one pound of methamphetamine hidden inside a vehicle occupied by a married couple.

Eugene Robert Snyder, 51, and Kira Leigh Snyder, 32, were arrested Wednesday afternoon by a deputy.


According to the report from the Oklahoma County Sheriff’S Office, a deputy noticed a vehicle change lanes without signaling near NW 63rd and N. May Ave. around 4:40 PM. The deputy spoke with the two who consented to a search.

The deputy and the K9 Axo walked around the vehicle. That’s when the deputy said the K9 alerted them to the presence of narcotics. The officers searched and reported finding 1 1/2 lbs of methamphetamine in the car.

The Snyders were booked into the Oklahoma County jail on complaints of trafficking illegal drugs, and possession of drug proceeds.





BOISE, Idaho — Police took a 27-year-old Boise man into custody on Wednesday after he was found in possession of methamphetamine.

According to the Boise Police Department, officers were sent to conduct a welfare check on North Liberty Street after an individual called police saying that St. Felix V. La-Combe had made suicidal statements.

During the course of an investigation, police found La-Combe with a pipe that was coated with burnt methamphetamine residue, a hypodermic needle contained an unidentified liquid and a baggie containing a small amount of methamphetamine.

Field tests came back positive for methamphetamine and La-Combe was taken into police custody. He was taken to Ada County Jail and charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.



PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) – The McCracken County Sheriff’s Office says three adults are facing various drug and gun charges.

Dallas Woodford Jr., 27, of Spann Lane was charged with possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, firearm enhanced trafficking in methamphetamine, firearm enhanced trafficking in ecstasy and firearm enhanced possession of drug paraphernalia

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Joseph B. Fletcher, 22, of Spann Lane was charged with promoting contraband, trafficking in methamphetamine and tampering with physical evidence.

Casey L. Fletcher, 24, of Spann Lane was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and wanton endangerment 2nd.

Deputies say the investigation began when they responded to a property dispute involving a gun at on Spann Lane in McCracken County.

A woman claimed that Dallas Woodford had threatened her with a gun over a property dispute.

Deputies learned that Woodford was a convicted felon unable to possess firearms or ammunition. While deputies were speaking to the involved parties at the home, they saw Joseph Fletcher trying to flee out of a window. Fletcher was taken into custody on an outstanding warrant.

He was taken to the McCracken County Regional Jail where he was found to have crystal methamphetamine hidden in his underwear.

Detectives searched the home and seized more than 42 grams of crystal methamphetamine, 38 doses of ecstasy, marijuana, digital scales, smoking pipes, a loaded .380 handgun and $1600 that is believed to be proceeds of illegal drug sales.

Detectives took Dallas Woodford and Casey Fletcher of the home into custody. Casey Fletcher’s 10-month-old child was home at the time deputies arrived and was released to family.

Dallas Woodford has been convicted of a number of felony burglaries in 2009 in McCracken County.

Investigators learned Joseph Fletcher had concealed the handgun in an air vent in the home just prior to officers arriving.

Members of the Graves County Sheriff’s Office assisted the McCracken County Sheriff’s Office during the investigation.

The investigation is continuing.




I want to share with all of you some information on the dangers of Methamphetamine usage and manufacturing. I spent 15 years of my career working Narcotic Investigations. In those years I found methamphetamine usage and sales to be the most prevalent drug of choice and truly the most addictive and damaging drug to society today. Our society of drug users has found the ease of manufacturing this drug because of its low cost, easy-to-find ingredients and relative long-lasting high. What they don’t take in consideration is the toll it takes on the bodies appearance and how severely it effects their lives forever. Unfortunately, I have only seen a small portion of the users who had been able to walk away from it without any long lasting effects on themselves or their families. In light of our recent methamphetamine arrest, I want to make you all aware of some of the trends, effects and chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine so that you may recognize these is you see them on the streets or elsewhere.

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Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug, meaning it gives you a sense of alertness. It also can cause paranoia, insomnia, mood swings, loss of weight, loss of teeth, abscess sores to the skin along with other ill effects. Long-time usage can lead to permanent changes in personality leaving a person with clinical depression issues. Meth in the old days was predominately manufactured by outlaw biker gangs and was a lengthy process. These days most of the major manufactures of methamphetamine are Mexican drug cartel members due to the fact that ephedrine is not controlled in Mexico like it is now in the U.S. The method of cooking (manufacturing) meth has been refined so much these days that it is as simple as using two large plastic soda bottles, some plastic tubing and some locally bought chemicals. Two hours later you have methamphetamine ready to use. Some of the these chemicals used when someone is cooking meth will be Coleman Fuel, large amount of matches, (the strike plates contain red phosphorous), Red Devil lye, Heet fuel treatment, iodine, (from either tincture of iodine or bought locally at a veterinarians office which is used to strengthen horse hooves.), and cold tablets which contain pseudoephedrine. The combination of some of the chemicals can cause explosions and fires. It can also become toxic if inhaled. All these are found at most any of our local stores. If you run across anything that looks similar to this of if you just have concerns please feel free to stop in and see me and I will do my best to help.





BERLIN – More than 1,000 people died in Germany last year from using illegal drugs, a report by the country’s drug watchdog said Thursday.

The number of drug deaths has increased every year since 2009, and was up about 6 per cent since the previous year. Of the 1,002 people who died, 83 per cent were men, the report said. The average age was 38.

In addition, the number of reported first-time users consumers of the highly addictive and dangerous fashion drug crystal meth rose to 2,746 in 2013 — an increase of about 7 percent, and the eighth year in a row the number had increased.

Crystal meth is a form of methamphetamine and is a synthetic drug in crystalline form. It can kill nerve cells and cause psychosis and brain damage, experts warn. Many addicts suffer from paranoia, memory problems and anxiety.

Police in Germany recorded 3,847 cases of crystal meth use last year, almost 10 percent more than in 2012. The number of deaths caused by amphetamines  and methamphetamine was about 65, but none were attributed to crystal meth.

Authorities seized 77 kilos of crystal meth was seized last year in Germany, more than ever before.

The majority of the crystal meth intended for the German market was produced in in the Czech Republic, and is traded illegally in the Germany cities close to the border. German cities in the states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt , Bavaria and Thuringia are more heavily affected.

“We view the increasing consumption of crystal with concern. Using this substance entails major health risks for consumers,” said Jorg Ziercke, chief of the Federal Criminal Police Office. He said that not only law enforcement, but also education and prevention used to stem in the increase in the drug’s use.




A 25-year-old Mt. Sterling woman was arrested  April 9 while in the process of manufacturing methamphetamine at Blackhawk Park.

According to the Vernon County Sheriff’s Office in Viroqua, a deputy was patrolling the park, in Wheatland township, when he spotted a suspicious vehicle.

The deputy discovered Ashlyn Dawn Roney using the “shake and bake” method of manufacturing methamphetamine.


“Shake and bake” involves mixing cold pills with common, though noxious, household chemicals in a two-liter soda bottle.

The method is designed to circumvent laws restricting the sale of ingredients used in making methamphetamine. However, it is extremely dangerous. Authorities say the concoction can explode into a fireball if mishandled.

Roney’s automobile was impounded, and the Vernon County Hazmat team and the Sheriff’s Office neutralized the components being used in manufacturing  the drug.

According to the Vernon County Brodcaster of Viroqua, Roney has three previous misdemeanor convictions listed in her Wisconsin Circuit Court record–two for disorderly conduct and one for obstructing an officer.

Charges had not yet been filed against Roney as of  press time.

Vernon County Sheriff John Spears is asking citizens to stay alert and be aware of suspicious activities in their neighborhoods, rural or otherwise.

Anyone with information about this crime should contact the sheriff or Vernon County Crime Stoppers at 608-637-8477.



When a Canadian woman dropped her purse, she wrote it off as gone for good.

So she was more than a little surprised when she got a call from her bank a few days later to say it had been handed in.

And more surprised still when inside she found an apologetic note from the person who had found it.

was discovered in a lost purs

The heart-warming note, posted on Imgur, explains that the purse was picked up by a crystal meth addict. Although they took the cash inside, after keeping hold of the purse for a couple of days they were so racked by guilt they decided to hand it in.

Returned the credit cards and ID, the note’s writer begged the owner: ‘Please never do meth’.

They rounded off the note with the line, ‘you are very beautiful’, on the back.

A lesson for us all.




Starkville police officers arrested a Stewart woman Monday after discovering she had methamphetamine and methamphetamine paraphernalia after a morning incident at Wal-Mart.

Police arrested Melody Rushing Stagg, no age given, of 2480 Tally Road, Stewart, after a 911 call reported suspicious activities at the store about 5:30 a.m.


When officers arrived on the scene, they made contact with Stagg, who according to a release appeared to have slurred speech, constricted pupils and poor motor skills.

Officers observed paraphernalia while speaking with Stagg, according to the release, and discovered methamphetamine in her possession.

Stagg was charged with possession of a controlled substance.

She made an initial appearance in Starkville Municipal Court later that day, where her bond was set at $5,000.




ABINGDON, Va. — Officers from eight law enforcement agencies began a roundup of illegal methamphetamine dealers and producers early Wednesday morning in a two-state sweep called Operation Salt Vegas, Washington County Sheriff Fred Newman said.

A report that originated from the U.S. Attorney’s Office about the sting revealed that two separate meth organizations operating in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia were targeted.

Newman said search warrants were executed at seven unspecified locations and a total of 23 people were arrested and charged. All of those involved were heavily involved in various stages of manufacturing and distribution of meth in the Mountain Empire, authorities said.

“We started just after 6 a.m. and had several in custody by 2 p.m.,” the sheriff said. “I think what we did today after a couple of years of investigating these particular dealers and manufacturers that it will have a major impact on meth in the region.”

Those suspects were booked into the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Abingdon on a variety of charges including conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and other associated illegal activity, the report said.

Those agencies involved in the apprehension of suspects included sheriff’s office personnel from Russell, Smyth and Washington counties in Virginia and Carter and Johnson counties in Tennessee, the Virginia State Police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.






CHESTER – A Hancock County man is in police custody on charges related to the manufacturing of methamphetamines.

According to information provided by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, Eric Jason Ulbrich, 40, of Chester, was arrested Tuesday after members of the Hancock-Brooke-Weirton Drug Task Force, Hancock County Special Response Team and clandestine lab specialists with the West Virginia State Police executed a search warrant issued by the Hancock County Magistrate office.


Also assisting with the scene was New Cumberland Ambulance Service and the New Manchester Volunteer Fire Department, according to the report.

Hancock County Sheriff Ralph Fletcher said the drug task force received a tip that Ulbrich was manufacturing methamphetamines at 300 Arner Road in Chester.

An investigation was conducted based on the information provided which led to the search warrant, he said.

 “Officers conducted the search of the residence and surrounding property and recovered several items indicative of methamphetamine production and the operation of a clandestine drug laboratory,” said Fletcher.

According to drug task force officials, the items were photographed and samples were submitted to the West Virginia State Police Crime Lab for testing.

Official reports stated Ulbrich admitted to manufacturing methamphetamines to officers during the interview.

He is being charged with operating/attempting to operate a clandestine drug laboratory.

Ulbrich, who has prior criminal history with illegal methamphetamine production in Georgia, is being held on a $50,000 bond at the Northern Regional Jail to await arraignment.



Housing New Zealand has tested 19 of its houses in Wanganui for the presence of methamphetamine after traces of the drug were found in three properties.

The houses, in various parts of the city, were among those the corporation was offering for sale under its FirstHome programme, aimed at making it easier for people to get into their first home.

The Chronicle has learned that a Wanganui woman and her partner were looking at buying a house in Wembley Place but were suspicious because some of the carpet had been removed and the interior newly-painted.


In an email to a number of MPs, including Labour housing spokesman Phil Twyford, the woman said she spent $250 on tests to see if the property had been used as a meth lab. Those tests were positive and showed slight to moderate levels of methamphetamine.

She was not prepared to spend another $4000 to have more extensive testing done and, although she had entered into a sale agreement with the corporation, said she was working with her lawyer to have that revoked.

“We then requested pre-emptive testing which confirmed the presence of methamphetamine in two locations in the house,” Mr Bosch said.

He said there were two phases of testing for methamphetamine. The first is a pre-emptive test that determines whether it is present or not; the second is a comprehensive test (including air and surface testing) that determines the level of contamination and results in recommendations for repairing the property.

Mr Bosch said readings of less than 0.5 micrograms per 100sq cm were deemed safe.

“Readings of 0.5 micrograms per 100sq cm or greater indicate steps must be taken to make the property safe for habitation, if that’s possible.”

Remedial measures can range from specialised cleaning through to re-fitting a property or even demolition.

On April 8 the corporation requested comprehensive testing of the property and preliminary results indicated the presence of meth at a negligible level of less than 0.02 micrograms per 100sq cm. The air test results are pending.

Mr Bosch said on the same day the prospective purchaser was offered the opportunity to exit the sale and purchase contract they had signed.

“As this is the third instance of methamphetamine being identified in a Wanganui house we have on the market, we have been trialling a pilot programme in Wanganui that will test homes for methamphetamine to determine whether they are fit for sale on the open market,” he said.

“The 19 Wanganui properties already listed with real estate agents will have been tested by April 17. No sale and purchase agreements will be entered into until the properties have received a clear (negative) test reading.

“To date we’ve tested seven vacant properties in Wanganui with three positive readings for the presence of methamphetamine. We’re still awaiting results for one property.”

Mr Bosch said Housing NZ placed great importance on the safety of its properties and tenants and would not knowingly place a methamphetamine-affected property on the market.



WAUSAU (WAOW) – The Oneida County Sheriff’s Department says two suspected labs for making methamphetamine were discovered in the search of a rural Rhinelander home.

Four people were arrested following an undercover operation, Lt. Dan Hess said Wednesday.

Hess said those arrested on suspicion of various drug charges included the home’s owner, Scott Dumpprope, 40, and three people who were there “making the stuff” – Gerry Frederick, 38; Thomas Franz, 55; and Carrie Steinmetz, 46.

No charges had been filed Wednesday.

Hess said a “small amount of methamphetamine” was seized at the home. during Tuesday’s search.

No other details were immediately released.



Three people are facing charges after being accused of running a meth lab in Indian River County.

Jerry Shelly, Stefani Buzzell and Mark Bohannon were taken into custody at a methamphetamine lab Tuesday as the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office continues its efforts against the spread of the illegal drug.

VERO BEACH, Fla. — Three people were taken into custody at a methamphetamine lab Tuesday as the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office continues its efforts against the spread of the illegal drug.


“It’s a steady problem for the county,” Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Eric Flowers said. “It’s not growing or shrinking, but we’re focused on it because it’s the most dangerous problem we have right now.”

The dismantled lab in the 400 block of Seventh Place, Vero Beach, was the second one investigators tackled this year in Indian River County. Sheriff’s personnel, working with municipal and federal authorities through the Multi-Agency Crime Enforcement unit, took down three in 2013.

Investigators went to the home — owned by a woman who was convicted less than a year ago of manufacturing methamphetamine — about 7 p.m. Tuesday with a search warrant based on evidence of drug activity there. They knocked, but no one answered, the affidavits state.

After several knocks, the team forced its way in through the front door and found two men in the kitchen, along with supplies for cooking meth, investigators said.

Those supplies, which include household cleaning chemicals, acids and medications, can make for a highly combustible combination. When a lab is found, a specialized team from the Drug Enforcement Administration enters to carefully collect the evidence, officials said.

The public can help in the ongoing battle by keeping an eye out in their neighborhoods or the checkout counter, Flowers said.

“We encourage people to call us if they notice unusual activity or traffic near their homes,” he said. “Businesses can help us if they observe someone purchasing odd amounts of chemicals.”

Jerry Shelley, 32, Mark Bohannon, 39, and Stefani Buzzell, 35, were taken into custody as part of Tuesday’s bust and charged with manufacturing methamphetamine. Buzzell was charged in May with the same crime. She plead no contest and spent six months at the Indian River County Jail.

Authorities also discovered a meth lab in the 1400 block of 39th Avenue in mid-February and made one arrest.

Meth-making doesn’t always happen in the confines of a home.

In November, deputies discovered a backpack containing a portable cooking device for meth outside Indian River County Charter High School.