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BANGKOK: — A border patrol police sergeant and eight other civilians were arrested separately in several places after they were responsible for trafficking in 1.2 million methamphetamine pills from across the border to Thailand.

The police officer admitted that he had been involved in narcotics on 3 previous occasions all in order to clear gambling debts that he had incurred.288003-imagejpeg-449560-wpcf_728x413

Police General Somyos Phumphanmuang, the commissioner of the Royal Thai Police, said Pol Sgt Major Jirawat Maklai, the head of the 32nd Border Patrol Squad of the Phaya Mengrai Camp in Chiang Rai province, along with eight associates had been arrested on charges of narcotics trafficking after more than 1,200,000 crazy pills or methamphetamine were seized.

He said the arrest was the result of a tip-off that a van was making a trip to transport drugs from Chiang Rai and was heading to Klong Luang district in Pathumthani province to deliver them.

The police narcotics unit was alerted and the vehicle in question was discovered while in the process of offloading the drugs and was duly arrested.

Seven individuals were arrested and following information given by the suspects police were able to raid a home of another suspect and a further 2 individuals were arrested along with 65 pills.

Related investigation made a connection which led to a raid on yet another drug syndicate based in Rayong province. One suspect was arrested.

After being questioned, Jirawat admitted that this was the third time that he had carried out the narcotics operation and the proceeds were to pay off gambling debts that he had accumulated.

Pol. Gen. Somyos stated that the officer will face charges while his superiors are also liable to face disciplinary action for not taking care of his subordinate who managed to engage in drug trafficking for three separate occasions.

WASHINGTON CITY — A Hurricane City man was arrested Sunday after police found over two pounds of methamphetamine in his storage unit in Washington City.MangumPIC

Washington City Police Officer Matt Page discovered slumped over the steering wheel of his vehicle with the driver’s side door open, Page wrote in a probable cause statement supporting the arrest. After the officer made contact with him, Mangum said he was just leaving his storage unit and must have fallen asleep.

According to the statement, Mangum appeared to be under the influence of a narcotic. Page discovered Mangum had a history of narcotic arrests and also saw there were surveillance cameras on the exterior of the storage unit, so a K-9 unit was called to the scene.

“K-9 ‘Hunter’ responded and conducted an exterior sniff of the vehicle as well as the storage unit,” Page said in the statement, “indicating in both locations of the presence of a narcotic.”

Page then drafted a warrant to search Mangum, his vehicle and the storage unit, the statement said. A judge signed the warrant, and it was executed.

While searching Mangum, the statement said, police discovered a piece of tinfoil containing suspected methamphetamine. Mangum was placed under arrest at that point and transported to the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.

Upon searching the storage unit, the statement said, police discovered a metal safe, which members of the Washington City Fire Department pried open. Inside, police found much more than a piece of tinfoil.

2.5 pounds of methamphetamine was located inside the safe

“ … A suspected 2.5 pounds of methamphetamine was located inside the safe in several sealed packages,” Page said in the statement. “Officers located several suspected methamphetamine pipes as well and digital scales.”

Mangum was charged with one first-degree felony for possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute and one class A misdemeanor for possession of drug paraphernalia. Because his storage unit was located within 1,000 feet of a drug-free zone, all drug charges against him were enhanced.

His bail is set at $25,000 cash-only for the felony charge and $389 cash or bond for the misdemeanor charge.

As of this publication, Mangum is still incarcerated at Purgatory Correctional Facility, according to bookings information.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

The Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah is working with Mexican cartels, said Lieutenant General Kenneth E. Tovo, deputy commander of the U.S. Southern Command before the 114th. Congress Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

During a hearing by the Senate Homeland Security & Government Affairs Committee, Tovo explained that Hezbollah, “which has long viewed the region as a potential attack venue against Israeli or other Western targets, has supporters and sympathizers in Lebanese diaspora communities in Latin America, some of whom are involved in lucrative illicit activities like money laundering and trafficking in counterfeit goods and drugs.”Kenneth Tovo

“I think it is fair to say that there is a good amount of profit that Lebanese Hezbollah makes off of illegal trafficking,” Tovo added.

In the general’s opinion, “the relative ease with which human smugglers moved tens of thousands of people to our nation’s doorstep also serves as another warning sign: these smuggling routes are a potential vulnerability to our homeland. As I stated last year, terrorist organizations could seek to leverage those same smuggling routes to move operatives with intent to cause grave harm to our citizens or even bring weapons of mass destruction into the United States.”

In May 2011 an Iranian-American car seller who lived in Corpus Christi, Texas, identified as Manssor Arbabsiar, met a man that he believed was a member of the Mexican cartel Los Zetas and offered him US $1.5 million to murder the Saudi ambassador to the United States.

Over the next four months in 2011, Arbabsiar, a spy for the Royal Forces, a special operations unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards of Iran, and another person posing as his “cousin” met in Mexico with the man they thought was a member of Los Zetas, who was actually an undercover agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

The DEA agent requested that the money was deposited in a bank controlled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Soon after, in September 2011, Arbabsiar was captured with the help of Mexican authorities, accused of trying to assassinate a diplomat based in Washington, DC.

About the relationship of Hezbollah with drug trafficking, U.S. Marine General John Kelly, commander of the Southern Command, said in a speech delivered to an audience at the National Defense University in Washington in October 2014 that “we know that some of the [cocaine] money that comes out of the United States is laundered into the coffers of Hezbollah.”

Lieutenant General Kenneth E. Tovo, deputy commander of the U.S. Southern Command, said that the extremist group has supporters and sympathizers in Lebanese diaspora communities in Latin America, some of whom are involved in lucrative illicit activities like money laundering and trafficking in counterfeit goods and drugs.

According to Tom Diaz, former senior policy analyst at the Violence Policy Center, Hezbollah is heavily involved with drug trafficking in Mexico, even though he says that their relationship does not involve terrorist activities against the United States “still”.

After the plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States was discovered in 2012, Sue Myrick, a Republican lawmaker from North Carolina, along with U.S. civilian and legislative groups, asked the U.S. government to investigate the presence of Hezbollah members in Mexico and any relation they may have with Mexican drug cartels.

A fact that supports the U.S. military intelligence report is the arrest of Jameel Nasar in July 2010 in Tijuana, Baja California, accused of trying to establish a Hezbollah network in Mexico and South America. The incident was reported by the Tucson Police Department. Also in 2005, a British citizen named Amer Haykel, an alleged member of Al-Qaeda, was arrested in Baja California, Mexico.

A Springfield man is accused of rape after police say he attacked a woman in her home during a Craigslist encounter gone wrong.Charles E. Sh

Charles E. Shull, 43, was charged with first degree rape and felony sodomy Sunday in connection with an incident in December of last year.

According to the probable cause statement, a woman responded to a Craigslist ad placed by Shull, in the “casual encounters” section of the website. The woman told police she picked up Shull, who reportedly called himself “Chuck,” at a Springfield gas station, then the two returned to her residence.

When they did, she said she had second thoughts about the encounter after Shull pulled out what she identified as drug paraphernalia. The woman told police that Shull refused to leave and followed her into her house from the garage.

That’s when the woman said Shull grabbed her hair from behind, pulled her over to her couch, and performed a sex act on her, according to the documents.

According to the probable cause statement, when she did not cooperate, the woman said Shull dragged her into her bedroom by her hair while she tried to crawl away. Then she said she lost consciousness after he choked her and told her they were going to “try again.”

She said when she woke up the next morning, she was missing her cell phone, and her car was outside with the key broken in the ignition. Officers said they found a pool of blood on her mattress, and the woman was brought to a local hospital for treatment. Tests reportedly found methamphetamine and marijuana in her system.

According to police, Shull initially denied knowledge of the incident, then said the sex had been consensual and the woman did not have any injuries when they had sex.

Shull has felony convictions for assault, tampering and possession of a controlled substance, and a misdemeanor conviction for domestic assault in the third degree. Shull was out on bond at the time of the alleged rape in a case in which he was charged with second degree domestic assault.

OLMSTED TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Three children were removed from the home of an Olmsted Township couple accused of cooking methamphetamine.Ryan Lacko 39 and Bonnie Skinner 45

Officers raided the Irma Lane home shortly after midnight March 23 and arrested Ryan Lacko, 39, and Bonnie Skinner, 45, both of Olmsted Township, police said.

The couple is charged with endangering children, manufacturing a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance.

Their cases have been bound over to a Cuyahoga County grand jury.

Three girls living in the mobile home — ages 12, 14 and 16 — were turned over to their grandparents, police said.

Officers began investigating the mobile home after receiving an anonymous tip, Olmsted Township Police Lt. Matt Vanyo said.

“Once we found out there were three children in the home, we wasted no time (preparing for the raid)” he said.

Lacko and Skinner were arrested without incident and officers found evidence that they were cooking methamphetamine, Vanyo said.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Ohio Highway Patrol assisted in the raid, Vanyo said.

The ingredients to methamphetamine are potentially explosive and the Highway Patrol has troopers trained to safely raid and break down suspected labs.

The Cedar County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Community Narcotics Enforcement Team, arrested three individuals Thursday, Feb. 19, after receiving information of a residence on Church Street, allegedly selling drugs and making methamphetamine.5515b2dab1eef_image

Sheriff Leon Dwerlkotte, deputies and the CNET officer served a search warrant at the residence of Gary Hamlett, 43, 205 S. Church St. Prior to issuing the warrant, the sheriff’s office and CNET gathered information about an unidentified white male who was making methamphetamine and selling it to various people in the Stockton area, as well as using the drug.

CNET and the sheriff’s office arrested Hamlett for possession of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and maintaining a public nuisance; and Misty Ebert, 41, Fair Play, for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

The alleged unidentified drug maker was using the false name Robin Marks. He later was identified as Ronald Eugene McGwin, 32. McGwin is wanted out of Wisconsin for manufacturing methamphetamine and substances which can be used to make illegal drugs.

McGwin also is a registered sex offender from Wisconsin with outstanding warrants. McGwin was located at 202 S. Vine St., Stockton, and was found hiding in the north bedroom of a trailer rented by Heather Henley.

As of Monday, March 23, no formal charges were filed by the Cedar County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. All three have been released with requests for arrest warrants pending.

rydges-hotel-streetview-1-762x428A man’s methamphetamine addiction led him to violently rape and beat a Dutch tourist he had taken hostage during a six-week ordeal at a Melbourne hotel, a court has been told.

Alfio Granata, 47, has pleaded guilty to 14 charges, including multiple rapes, threats to kill, and intentionally causing serious injury.

The victim was left with 54 separate injuries after she was repeatedly beaten unconscious, violently raped and cut with a knife.

Granata’s lawyer argued the “copious amounts” of methamphetamine he took daily explained his extreme behavior.

However, the judge said there could have been a cocktail of reasons for his brutal behaviour including jealousy, anger, and sadomasochistic tendencies.

In a recorded victim impact statement, the woman said she could not believe she survived and could not grasp the injustice carried out against her.

She told Granata her scars remind her everyday of what a sick person he is.6032146-1x1-340x340

Earlier this year Granata’s accomplice, 34-year-old Jennifer Mary Peaston, pleaded guilty to two counts of intentionally causing injury for her involvement in the ordeal.

But she avoided jail after the judge ruled that she had also been the victim of sustained abuse from Granata.

In sentencing Peaston, Judge Frank Gucciardo described the Dutch woman’s ordeal as “abhorrent and repulsive” and said she was subjected to “repeated and sustained psychological and sexual abuse”.

Granata will be sentenced at a later date.

Granata ‘claimed to be possessed by the devil’

In an earlier hearing, the court was told when the couple first met the tourist they smoked the drug ice and had consensual sex at Rydges Bell City hotel, where Peaston and Granata were living at the time.

Days later Granata became obsessed that the two women were having a secret liaison and started to beat and threaten them.

The victim said she thought she would be killed if she tried to leave the hotel and that Granata had also made threats against her family.

Police said the pair assaulted the woman with a range of items including a meat tenderiser, a rolling pin, a vacuum cleaner and a jet lighter.

Prosecutor Nanette Rogers said Granata claimed he was possessed by the devil and the spirit of his dead grandfather.

Dr Rogers told the court on one occasion Granata put the victim’s nail cuttings, hair and blood in an envelope as part of a supposed ritual to destroy her soul.

The 21-year-old victim had earlier told the court she suffered from depression and anxiety, and still had scars on her body from the attacks.

“I suffer flashbacks. At night I wake up bathed in my own sweat fighting against something that isn’t even there,” she said.

“I don’t feel safe alone, can’t use public transport… [I] can’t go out at night.

“I feel like something terrible will happen again, it just kills my enjoyment of life.”

A Dutch tourist on holiday in Australia was held hostage in a Melbourne hotel room for six weeks, tied up and repeatedly raped.

The 21-year-old backpacker suffered physical assaults, death threats, sexual abuse and mental trauma at the hands of 47-year-old Alfio Anthony Granata.

She was told that if she moved, spoke or complained she would be beaten, Victoria’s state court has heard.

During her ordeal, she was beaten with a meat tenderizer, cut with a knife, kicked in the head and forced to live and sleep undressed for days on end, according to the Herald Sun newspaper.

She was also burnt with a gas torch light and assaulted, ABC reported.

Granata warned the 21-year-old she would be killed if she tried to escape.

He told his victim her parents in the Netherlands would also be killed, telling her he had a network of mafia contacts around the world.

He claimed he had killed 248 people but had not been caught because he was “very clean and precise”.

Police attended Granata’s room at the Rydges Bell City hotel twice during the time she was held but the alarm was not raised.

On the first occasion the terrified victim told officers there had been a fight but that everything had calmed down.

When police attended the room in the smart hotel for a second time, Granata spoke to them in the corridor after she was ordered to stay inside.

On several occasions during the six weeks, Granata used a network of secret cameras to film his victim being allegedly forced to take part in sex acts.

She was finally rescued by paramedics after she managed to stab Granata while he was sleeping and then attempted to kill herself.

The court had earlier heard that the victim met her abuser at a party in St Kilda and, not realizing he was dangerous, willingly went with him and his then girlfriend Jennifer Peaston to the hotel in Preston.

Granata subsequently became obsessed with the idea that Peaston and the victim were having a secret affair and started to beat them both.

Peaston, 34, pleaded guilty earlier this year to two counts of intentionally causing injury because of her role in the victim’s ordeal.

She avoided jail because the judge ruled that she had also been a victim of Granata’s sustained abuse.

Granata was originally charged with more than 100 offences, including 62 counts of rape, but agreed to plead guilty to 14 charges including nine counts of rape, one of intentionally causing serious injury and two of making threats to kill, said the Herald Sun.

The woman said in a pre-recorded impact statement she could not believe she had survived and could not grasp the injustice carried out against her.

Peter Chadwick, counsel for Granata, blamed his client’s “copious” use of the drug methamphetamine (crystal meth) for his offending.

Granata will be sentenced at a later date.

He fell into a toxic downward spiral of drugs, and copped abuse from his alcoholic father, but Dale Thomas Robertson was praised for being the “father figure” of his family.crystal_meth-xguj3n4w0vqsjfgrth2_t620

Robertson, 25, endured a turbulent upbringing that tested his resilience, a Rockhampton court heard.

He pleaded guilty in the Rockhampton District Court to a string of drug charges including unlawfully supplying methamphetamine and possessing a mobile phone to commit a crime.

The court heard Robertson grew up in Townsville until he was 15 years old. Defence barrister Jordan Ahlstrand said Robertson and his older brother were constantly abused by their alcoholic father.

Their mother was a habitual methamphetamine user.

These influences caused Robertson to start dabbling in drugs, mainly cannabis, at the age of 14.

The court heard during Year 10 of school, Robertson dropped out and started working at a fish and chip shop to help his mother pay the bills.

“You, in essence, become the man of the house… that is an admirable feature and tells of your very strong character,” Judge Helen Bowskill told Robertson.

When things got too rough, Robertson’s mother packed up and moved her family to the Sunshine Coast, the court heard.

When he reached the age of 18, Robertson fell into his mother’s habit: taking methamphetamine.

In 2008, Robertson stopped taking methamphetamine because of the birth of his first child to his now ex-partner. The court heard that after four years, Robertson slowly found his way back to methamphetamine use.

In October 2013, Robertson’s partner at the time, and the mother of his two children, told him she was taking the kids to the park.

She did not return. Since then, Robertson hasn’t seen his children.

Robertson moved back in with his mother, who was still heavily using drugs.

The court heard that in April last year, while his mother was sick, a text message came through to Robertson’s mum’s mobile phone asking her for 0.11g of methamphetamine.

Mr Ahlstrand said Robertson’s ill mother instructed her son to “go and do it”.

The court heard Robertson made arrangements to get $200 cash from the customer for the methamphetamine.

Days after the deal, police officers raided Robertson’s mother’s home and found an array of drug items.

Judge Bowskill acknowledged Robertson was “the middle man” for his mother; and acknowledged his efforts to support his family when he was 14.

“You have it in you to overcome this,” Judge Bowskill said.

“These events of your past don’t have to define you… I can tell you have a strong character.”

Robertson planned on living with his aunt in Hervey Bay. He is also determined to be reunited with his children.

He was remanded in custody on April 16 of last year. Judge Bowskill declared the 331 days he was remanded as time served. He was released on parole.

Polk County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday charged a Hardee County man with conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine, trafficking methamphetamine and purchasing methamphetamine after he attempted to buy 2 kilograms of the drug from undercover detectives.

According to an arrest affidavit, Jose Antonio Alfaro, 55, of 1409 Lost Acres Drive, Wauchula, signed over the title for his 2003 Ford F-350 pickup to the detectives as a down payment. The affidavit said he told detectives he was going to take the drugs to Orlando and come back with a $32,000 payment for them.

The Sheriff’s Office said the case began when detectives received a tip that Alfaro was looking to buy large amounts of methamphetamine from a confidential informant.

NEW ORLEANS, L.A. — A man wanted for operating several meth labs around Chautauqua County has been arrested in Louisiana.Swanson

Investigators said Christopher Swanson was caught in New Orleans early Saturday morning and charged with Unlawful Manufacture of Methamphetamine. Swanson was wanted for operating a methamphetamine lab in Westfield.

He was also wanted by the Lakewood-Busti Police Department and the Jamestown Police Department for operating meth labs in both Busti and Jamestown.

He’s expected to be extradited to Chautauqua County soon where he will be arraigned.

Swanson also faces an outstanding arrest warrants in Alaska on similar charges.

COMSTOCK TOWNSHIP, MI — A fire that ripped through a Comstock Township house Friday may have been cause by methamphetamine production, police say.-07326c6618200893

Comstock Township Fire Department responded to the blaze at about 3:30 p.m. Friday in the 600 block of Rex Street. Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene after firefighters found items they believed to be used in producing meth, according to a news release.

Police executed a search warrant at the home and found remnants of suspected meth. More evidence of meth production was found on the property surrounding the house as well.

In order to fight the blaze, firefighters doused the home’s west side with water, knocked out windows to ventilate flames and ran a fire-hose inside the house. Within 30 minutes fire crews had extinguished the blaze.

Police will be seeking charges after the investigation is complete.

  • Robert Chouest, 31, of Cut Off, Louisiana, was charged in the May 22, 2013, killing of Shawn Galjour, 41, of Larose
  • After two-and-a-half hours of deliberation, jurors on Saturday were deadlocked 9-3 in a decision on his fate
  • During his testimony, Chouest said he’d taken about eight Percocet pain pills and smoked about five rocks of crack cocaine
  • Prosecutors accused Chouest of fabricating the story about the alligator

Louisiana man who said he shot a man he mistook for an alligator will get a new trial after a jury couldn’t make a decision in his second-degree murder case.272056CB00000578-0-image-a-76_1427691376674

Robert Chouest, 31, of Cut Off, was charged in the May 22, 2013, killing of Shawn Galjour, 41, of Larose. Galjour was found on his back in a driveway near Chouest’s home.

After two-and-a-half hours of deliberation, jurors on Saturday were deadlocked 9-3 in a decision on his fate. In Louisiana, at least 10 of 12 jurors must agree to convict someone of a charge.

Chouest’s defense attorney said his client had been up for three days and shot at a silhouette he mistook for an alligator as he had no reason to believe anyone would be in his driveway at 4 a.m.

During his testimony on Thursday, Chouest said he’d had about six beers and used crystal methamphetamine the afternoon of May 21, 2013.

He also testified that he’d taken about eight Percocet pain pills and, soon before the shooting, smoked about five rocks of crack cocaine.

The jury could have found Chouest guilty of second-degree murder, manslaughter or negligent homicide, or not guilty, reports The Courier.

‘We fully intend to retry Mr. Chouest,’ said Lafourche District Attorney Cam Morvant II.

A coroner’s report showed that Galjour was intoxicated at the time he was shot. Detectives haven’t been able to determine what he was doing near Chouest’s home at 4 a.m.

Lafourche assistant district attorneys Annette Fontana accused Chouest of fabricating the story about the alligator.

She also pointed out that the defendant was able to perform his job the day before the shooting, work on his truck, drive and effectively use a rifle, despite being on drugs.

‘It was a perfect shot to the head, just like he said he was aiming for,’ she said. ‘He shot to kill. He just doesn’t want to take responsibility.’

Attorneys on both sides will have a conference with the judge May 13 to schedule a new trial.

What exactly took place in your hotel room before you arrived? How clean is your bed? And is the guy next door paying less than you? In most cases, the hotel doesn’t want you to know. Yahoo Travel went looking for answers. Here are the nine things hotels do not want you to know about your room and how they operate the business.

People Die

Sudden deaths can happen anywhere. It is so common that a recent article in Lodging Magazine addresses suicide prevention for hotel managers. In most cases hotels follow a “clean up and shut up” approach, making it hard to get statistics about how often room deaths occur.

We turned to hoping to de-bunk the oft-told story about a body found under a hotel mattress, but instead found that they label this story as true. Apparently, it happens frequently. Lift that mattress before you crawl in bed, people!

People Commit Crimes


Hotel room equals meth lab? (Photo: Apolinar B. Fonseca/Moment/Getty Images)

It’s no surprise that drug use and distribution happens in hotel rooms, but according to the DEA, hotel rooms are also becoming a prime place for quickie meth labs. The cookers check in, cook their batch, and leave toxic waste behind without risking damage or detection where they live. The DEA has a fact sheet to help identify the signs of a meth lab, and claims labs turned up in more than 1,300 hotel rooms in 2013. The real question is whether or not a hotel is willing to spend the extra money required to make those rooms safe again.

Don’t Trust That Scent

How many times have you walked into a hotel room and thought it smelled like a department store perfume counter? That’s your clue to ask for another room. A slight scent of cleaning chemicals is normal, but perfume could indicate a cover up — or even a marketing ploy. Hotels use fragrance machines when it comes to both stubborn odors (like bodies under the bed, perhaps?) and creating a fragrance “image” designed to keep you coming back.

Guests Leave Scary Things Behind

Besides toxic meth-cooking chemicals, ordinary guests leave dangerous things behind. Think loaded guns, illegal drugs, and even prescription pills. One would hope that good housekeeping eliminates most of that, but “most” is the key word.

A detective we spoke to said anytime she checks into a hotel room, she lifts the mattress looking for weapons. She also looks inside smoke detectors and tissue dispensers for drug stashes.

There Will be Pests

Bedbugs are the pests most people worry they’ll find in a hotel, but plenty of other yucky pests could be sharing the room, too. Fleas and ticks are a definite possibility in pet-friendly rooms. Roaches seem to be the most mentioned critter on hotel review sites. But even a search for the word “scorpions” on Tripadvisor turned up more than 3,000 reviews mentioning these scary night-crawlers in hotel rooms.

Cleanliness is Not Job One

Reneta McCarthy, Sr. Lecturer, Services Operations Management at Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, told Yahoo Travel that while “cleanliness is critical to a successful hotel,” the very fact that housekeepers are tasked with cleaning 14 to 16 rooms in an eight-hour shift — and at low wages — makes it possible that a room may look clean without actually being sanitary.

“It isn’t a glamorous job,” she says. “If you had a choice of working at a grocery store or at McDonalds versus cleaning hotel rooms, what would you do?” Sheets, towels, and toilets may be the only things in your room truly sanitized. McCarthy specifically mentions the mattress pads and the floor around the toilet as problem areas.

Think Twice About the Pool

In fact, think twice about anything in a hotel that doesn’t actually generate income. Pools and workout rooms are secondary to the primary goal of profit-making, so their maintenance moves down the priority list a bit. A 2012 report in the Iowa City area exposed the fact that hotels accounted for 80 percent of closures forced by health officials. The reasons? Positive bacteria tests and dangerous chemical levels, to name a few. And it isn’t just about the water. A report from the CDC showed that poorly ventilated indoor hotel pools can also pose a risk to your health.

Hotel Taxes Bring More Tourists

Consider this: your hotel may have helped decide how much tax you pay for the privilege of staying there. Organizations at the state and national level employ high-powered lawyers and lobbyists to ensure that as many laws as possible work in their favor — not yours. In the case of taxes, organizations like the American Hotel and Lodging Association are often advocates for taxes where the funds are earmarked for the promotion of tourism.

Nobody Pays the Same Rate

Yahoo Travel’s own research often turns up rooms that rent for $500 a night during a peak season or special event but that can drop as low as $89 for a last minute, off-season stay. Companies like Duetto Research offer services that help hotels manage their rates down to the minute. Rates can be set to adjust to things like an increase in airline ticket sales in the area or even the weather.

That means you could be paying more for a hotel room on a sunny weekend than you would have if the skies were overcast.

CRESTVIEW – A 42-year-old St. Augustine woman is accused of having methamphetamine after being stopped for excessive speed and having an expired tag.catherine-michelle-rittell

Catherine Michelle Rittell was stopped on Interstate 10 on March 14 doing 90 mph, according to the arrest report. Her vehicle’s registration had expired in 2013.

She was not able to locate the registration and “appeared very nervous and fidgety,” the report said. Okaloosa County Sheriff’s deputies had seen her leaving over and hiding something.

Rittell later told deputies she’d hidden some marijuana and a small container on the passenger side of her car, according to the report. Deputies found the container with marijuana, as well as a small bag of methamphetamine and a glass bowl smoking device.

She is charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Her next scheduled court date is April 21.








A WA mother who managed to kick a long-term methamphetamine addiction after the death of her partner says an addiction service opening in WA’s South West is long overdue.

Renee Pitt was an alcoholic living on the streets of Perth at the age of 13.

By 21 she had swapped the bottle for methamphetamine and what was the beginning of an 18-year addiction.

She spent her days in a haze, hanging around Midland shops, in Perth’s east.

It was during this time in her mid-20s that Ms Pitt met her soul mate Jeremy; a local Noongar with a big heart who shared the same fixation with methamphetamine.

In one way it makes you feel fantastic but then on the other end of the scale, I paid the ultimate price – my partner.

Between them, they had 11 children. Their youngest child is now aged three.

The pair lived a functional life, in a home in Butler, in Perth’s northern suburbs.

Their children went to school, played on scooters and enjoyed family outings to the local park.

Ms Pitt said her children were oblivious to that fact that she daily injected methamphetamine into her veins just to function.

“It’s a stimulant, it makes you feel good, it gives you energy,” she said.6356772-3x2-940x627

“In one way it makes you feel fantastic but then on the other end of the scale, I paid the ultimate price: my partner.

“My partner passed away, me and my kids, we lost Dad.”

Jeremy died in April last year after suffering a heart attack, caused by prolonged use of methamphetamine.

He was aged 40.

“We both had a massive habit, we needed help,” she said.

Cutting off contacts key to breaking habit

Suddenly, Ms Pitt was a solo parent and realized she had to turn her life around to make sure she would be around for her children for a long time to come.

She incrementally reduced the amount of methamphetamine she was taking, moved the family south to Bunbury, cut contact from most people she knew and focused on creating a new support system, with the help of her sister who lived nearby.

“For me to have any positivity in my life off the drugs I had to remove myself totally from Perth,” she said.

“You need to get away from it all; you need to remove yourself from everyone you know and everything you know to start fresh.”

Ms Pitt visited a local doctor for help but said instead of guidance she was made fearful of losing her children.

“That doctor, he made me feel that bad, before I’d even finished explaining what I was there for he was on the DCP [Department for Child Protection] website, right in front of me,” she said.

“He was just so cold.”

Ms Pitt said the experience was traumatic and she left the practice in tears.

Desperate to get clean, she booked into a health retreat in Queensland so she could suffer the painful withdrawals out of sight of her children.

“I’ve not looked back and I haven’t even wanted to look back, I want to look forward,” she said.

Ms Pitt has now been clean for five months.

Fresh Start service expands to South West

She is studying social work at TAFE so she can help others and during her research Ms Pitt met Dr George O’Neill, an addiction medicine specialist who founded the Fresh Start Recovery Program.

The service provides a holistic approach to getting clean, involving medication to help with the detoxification process, a residential rehabilitation facility and coaching how to start a new drug-free life.

Dr O’Neill prescribes a medication called Naltrexone, which is implanted into the patient’s body and mutes the effect of the drug.

It is commonly used for heroin and other opioids, but Dr O’Neill also uses it to treat methamphetamine addiction.

After administering the medication, Fresh Start gives addicts a place in its residential rehabilitation facility in Northam and also has several houses it lets families rent at reduced rates.

It is now working to build a facility in the South West city of Busselton which will offer the last step of rehabilitation, in assisting recovered drug addicts to rekindle relationships with their families.

It will have campsites, chalets, beachfront activities and health professionals on site.

“We have found that it’s a driving force for people to recover to get back to their families,” Fresh Start CEO Jeff Claughton said.

Ms Pitt said drugs had driven many addicts to do the wrong thing by their families.

“They’ve either stolen off them, they’ve lied to them, cheated them in some ways, and their families don’t talk to them,” she said.

“For people to recover and long term recovery… they need support and they need their family.”

Mr Claughton said there was a big demand for treatment across the state with services already at full capacity.

“We know overall that about half of the people who would present with that need can’t be met by the current level of services in WA,” he said.

“We believe that people who present for treatment need treatment when they present.

“If we send them away we know that a significant percentage of people don’t return for treatment.

“But we just don’t have enough places.”

CANTON — An undercover drug bust landed two Canton teens behind bars.

Village police on Wednesday charged Keith B. Christy, 18, of 92 Morrill Road, and Logan K. Sibbitts, 19, of 414 Irish Settlement Road, each with a count of felony fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance.ebhadfaG

Police charge that about 8:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at the SUNY Canton footbridge on Riverside Drive, Mr. Christy and Mr. Sibbitts sold a black powder-like substance, identified as methamphetamine, to an undercover St. Lawrence County Drug Task Force detective for $100.

According to court documents, the two teens set up the drug deal with detectives before the initial sale. Mr. Sibbitts turned himself in Wednesday afternoon to village police and Mr. Christy was arrested in Massena and taken to the village police station that same afternoon.yjrhqya

Both teens were arraigned in Canton Town Court and each was sent to St. Lawrence County jail on $1,000 cash or $2,000 bond. Mr. Sibbitts was bailed out after being processed at the jail and Mr. Christy was released Thursday under probation supervision by order of Town Justice James L. Monroe.

A recently dismantled large-scale drug operation was carried out in small residential neighborhoods across Indianapolis and Greenwood.pike_plaza_drug_bust_1427508560258_15705821_ver1_0_640_480

The drug ring stretched from Arizona to Indiana and the cartel shipped heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine from homes and businesses across the city.

The operation came to an end Tuesday, authorities announced Thursday. During the 15-month investigation, authorities arrested 65 people and seized large quantities of narcotics, illegal guns and $4.5 million in cash.

Many residents were shocked to learn the drug houses existed in their neighborhoods.drug_bust_house_1427507802613_15705816_ver1_0_640_480

“It’s scary because I work with people with special needs. And we’re not here all the time. When we’re not here to protect them, we’re not sure what’s going on. So, it’s scary,” one resident said Friday.

Police say the ring operated out of a Pike Plaza shopping mall — a furniture store that served as both a warehouse and a distribution center for illegal narcotics. It brought the drug trade into direct contact with thousands of unwitting citizens daily.

The cartel’s ringleader was arrested in a home in the 3500 block of Moller Road and police recovered drugs and cash from a home on West 38th Street.

“There are points that strike in a neighborhood, small investigations, that are helping to eliminate some of the violence in some of these areas,” Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Rick Hite said.

Local and federal investigators said the dismantling of the cartel will have some long-term implications for the city’s drug trade.

WISCONSIN RAPIDS –  When authorities recently served a warrant on a residence they say was housing a meth lab, it brought to light a growing problem in some central Wisconsin cities.B9316771649Z_1_20150328171343_000_GD3ABKR0C_1-0

Wisconsin Rapids police area seeing an increase in methamphetamine in the city, Detective Nathan Reblin said.

“We’re seeing it on traffic stops; we’re seeing it at domestics; were seeing it wherever and whenever,” Reblin said.

A few weeks ago, Marshfield officers seized methamphetamine paraphernalia at a shelter, Marshfield Officer Jim Cramm said. An officer found the paraphernalia in a backpack with baby food.

Reblin said he’s talked to members of the Central Wisconsin Drug Task Force about the increasing problem of methamphetamine. Some municipalities are reporting seeing an increasing amount of the drug and others haven’t seen it.

Fortunately, the city of Stevens Point has not seen an increase in methamphetamine, Stevens Point Police Detective Michael Schultz said.

Drugs sometimes tend to run in trends and right now, methamphetamine is the drug that seems to be growing, Reblin said.

“One person tries meth and gets their friends to do it,” Reblin said.

Officials’ biggest concern is the possibility of clandestine labs, Cramm said. Labs have a higher incident of fires, explosions and chemical burns, Cramm said. The chemicals can contaminate houses. Another concern is children getting into the chemicals.

“Children are so innocent; they pick up any bottle they see and could be ingesting toxic chemicals,” Cramm said. “They see a colorful liquid and think it’s juice.”

Marshfield authorities haven’t found any meth labs in the city and are hearing from sources that, at this point, most of the methamphetamine is coming from outside the area, Cramm said.

Although Wisconsin Rapids authorities did recently find what they say is a methamphetamine lab, most of the meth police are finding is coming from outside the area, Reblin said. Officials think the methamphetamine is coming through drug trafficking routes from Mexico.

Although authorities aren’t finding locally produced methamphetamine, there is an inherent risk when there is a drug that people can produce on their own, Reblin said. People can learn to produce it on the Internet, he said.

“Kids will try to make it, and adults will try to make it,” Reblin said. “They either want the addiction or to try and generate that profit.”

While an increase int he amount of methamphetamine is a concern for authorities, heroin still is a bigger issue, Cramm said. People are dieing of overdoses from heroin, and they’re committing other crimes to get the money to pay to support a heroin addiction.

Heroin shuts the body down, while methamphetamine speeds it up, Reblin said. Officials aren’t seeing the deaths coming from methamphetamine use that they see coming from heroin use, but it still is a concern.

“The bottom line is nothing good comes out of (methamphetamine),” Reblin said. “There’s no positives in cooking, distributing and using it.”

A lot of people think they can use meth for pleasure or recreation and not get addicted, Pramm said.

“They find out when they use it how addictive it is,” Cramm said. “They can’t stop and it fuels the addition.”

The Border Patrol announced Friday that agents seized nearly $1.4 million worth of narcotics at the Interstate 5 checkpoint in San Clemente in the past week.3-27-15-Border-Patrol-Agents-Seize-more-than-1_3M-of-narcotics-on-I-5_photo-5-640x360

On Wednesday afternoon, a suspicious 2008 Toyota Camry was stopped at Crown Valley Parkway. A drug-sniffing dog alerted agents, who found 1.2 pounds of black tar heroin, 17.2 pounds of China White heroin, and 22.4 pounds of crystal methamphetamine. The drugs have an estimated street value of $574,000.

Just hours later, the driver of a 2001 Toyota Solara was stopped at the checkpoint. After a dog alerted agents, they discovered 69 packages of methamphetamine in the rear quarter panels of the vehicle.  The meth weighed 82.4 pounds and has an estimated street value of $824,000.

The two drivers and narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The vehicles were seized by the Border Patrol.

In the fiscal year ended in September, agents in the San Diego Sector seized more than 2,880 ounces of heroin and more than 1,790 pounds of methamphetamine.

“I was on the verge of losing everything — my family, my job, everything that was important to me— all because I made the decision to ‘just try’ smoking meth one time.”

That one decision led Terri down the darkest road she said she has ever traveled — one filled with drugs, deception, depression and despair. The Franklin County resident is being identified only by her first name.551773ffa8512_image

“I fell into a deep depression,” she said. “I wasn’t even the same person anymore. It had messed with my mind and turned me into someone I didn’t recognize. When I wasn’t at work, I was in bed. I withdrew from everything. It was a dark time, but it wasn’t nearly as dark as when I was actually still using. I really was a completely different person then.”

Terri’s story of the severe consequences of meth use is similar to others who are addicted to the drug with seemingly no way out of the downward spiral.

But how did Terri and others like her get to that point? Billboards feature the “faces of meth” depicting the negative physical effects the drug can have. TV ads spout statistics and facts about the dangers of meth. Local law enforcement agencies dispense information about the drug’s addictive nature. Pamphlets run down the list of chemicals involved in the manufacture of meth — the list of negatives stretches a mile long.

With all this information flooding media and awareness programs, why are there still people who choose to use this drug that has quickly become one of the most abused substances, especially in rural areas? There are no obvious answers.

“People usually assume that someone on meth has probably had a drug problem all their life, or they’ve been in a lot of trouble, and sometimes that’s true, but that isn’t always the case,” Terri said. “I had never done anything like that before in my life before my first time. I was a wife, a mother, a grandmother and I had a good job. People would have never thought I’d do something like that.

“But a co-worker asked me one day if I wanted to try it. She said it would make me feel good. I thought it couldn’t hurt to ‘just try it once,’ but I’ll tell you right now, I’ll promise you, I was addicted after that very first time.”

Strict laws having effect on meth labs

Franklin County Community Corrections officer Sheryl Plott said the warning that a first-time use leads to instant addiction is no myth.

“When you take meth, it releases a large amount of dopamine, which makes a person feel great and can have them hooked after the first use,” Plott said. “But methamphetamine attacks your dopamine receptors and can eventually destroy them until they’re almost impossible to repair. This can alter people’s moods and personalities and cause them to be severely depressed, so they keep using the drug to continue to feel good.”

The high the drug gives its users is hard to describe, Terri said.

“It makes you feel good physically and mentally,” she said. “It’s a very intense feeling that I can’t really put into words because I’d never felt anything else like it. You don’t worry about anything or feel like you have any problems. And it feels great at the time. That’s why so many people get on it and stay on it. That’s why so many people do it.”

Once meth use came to Alabama, studies show, it increased at a rapid rate. According to the El Paso Intelligence Center’s National Seizure System, the number of meth lab seizure incidents in Alabama increased from 204 incidents in 2007 to 610 incidents in 2009, which is an increase of 199 percent.

But since the Alabama Legislature passed several laws in 2012 aimed at combating the serious meth-use problem, reports have shown a steady decline in the reported number of meth labs found in Alabama. According to a report by the Alabama Drug Task Force, meth lab seizures in the state dropped from 720 in 2010 to 154 in 2013 — a 78 percent difference.

“The laws that were passed several years ago, like the anti-smurfing and precursor laws, they’ve really helped us be able to crack down not just on the users themselves, but it helps us crack down on the ones who are attempting to manufacture the drug,” Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver said. “The pseudoephedrine laws limiting the amounts you can buy, and recording when people buy this medication, have definitely helped.”

Smurfing is when a meth manufacturer tries to avoid buying large quantities of pseudoephedrine personally by hiring others to each buy smaller amounts.

Oliver said anti-smurfing laws help authorities “catch the people who are trying to beat the system. … Being able to catch people in the early stages of making meth has helped us tremendously.”

The National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI) reported 44,953 blocked sales of pseudoephedrine in the first seven months of 2014, which equaled 110,896 grams of pseudoephedrine that were blocked from being sold.

According to National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) data, in Franklin County in 2013, 436 boxes of PSE sales were blocked. This kept over 1,300 grams of PSE from potentially being used in meth production in Franklin County.

“The Franklin County Drug Unit has also been a big help since it was established,” Oliver said. “We now have officers who are solely dedicated to investigating drug cases from start to finish. They can follow up on community tips and take the time to investigate these cases fully.”

But though the meth trend seems to be declining, Oliver said the problem is still prevalent, especially in rural places like Franklin County.

“In my opinion, if there’s any meth use going on at all it’s a problem, but meth use is still pretty high around here,” he said. “I would say that arrests related to meth and prescription medication are what we see the most of. And a lot of our burglary, theft and even assault arrests stem from drug issues, too.”

Rural areas hit hard

In a report released by the Council of State Governments, the prevalence of meth use in rural areas was attributed to a tendency to have understaffed law enforcement agencies because of a lack of funding, easy access to ingredients and plenty of open spaces that would make production harder to detect.

“Being a rural county makes it somewhat easier to manufacture meth, and that knowledge will sometimes lead people to think they’re not going to get caught, which leads to even more meth labs and meth use than you would probably find in a more populated area,” Oliver said. “There aren’t as many neighbors close by who could see what’s going on and report it to authorities. Also, the ingredients needed to make meth are fairly cheap, which is appealing to people in a more rural community where average incomes are probably not as high as they would be in a big city. It’s more economical in that respect.”

So how do law enforcement agencies, especially rural agencies, go about combating the meth problem?

“You keep following up on community tips and you keep investigating suspicious behavior and you keep sending the message that drug use won’t be tolerated,” Oliver said. “It may seem like we’re fighting a losing battle at times, but every arrest, every time we get these drugs off the streets, it’s progress.

“I also think education is important — getting the message out there about the dangers, the hazards and the potential that meth has to completely destroy your life and the lives of those you love.”

Terri, who holds a steady job and regularly speaks to AA members about how she overcame her meth addiction and still fights to overcome it every day, said she also believes education about the drug is important to combating it.

“I honestly didn’t know much about meth when I tried it that first time,” she said. “But I’m trying to make sure people know the dangers and know how addicting it is up front because it’s better to not ever start.

“But if someone has already started and is stuck right in the middle of it, I want them to know there is a way out. You just have to make the decision that you’re not going to let it ruin your life and the ones of those you love. And then you have to fight, every single day, to keep that commitment and continue to remain clean.

“The drug is powerful and it will take over your life in a second, but you can get help and come out on the other side, I promise.”–hit-addiction-to-meth-no-myth/article_1be4c0e6-9267-51c8-89ab-ec9927694185.html

There are so many positive things the Bakken oil development has created in western North Dakota.

The Dickinson Press has been filled with stories of people finding a new start in life. Unprecedented wealth has filled the tax coffers of state government. New stores and restaurants once only located in larger cities have been built and are operating in western North Dakota.

Say what you will about the oil play, but for those who are willing to work hard, there have been unheard of opportunities.

That said, the oil development has certainly created challenges, such as a higher cost of living, increased traffic, a lack of affordable housing and employee shortages and empty store shelves. Still, most reasonable folks who live here have to admit things have slowly gotten better.

However, the one byproduct of the oil boom that has not improved is the crime rate, which has increased in recent years.

Human trafficking, assaults, burglaries, domestic violence and even murder paint the pages of The Press. Most of those crimes can be tied to the increase of drug use — meth, in particular — in western North Dakota, and sadly there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight.

Over a two day-period in February, 11 pounds of meth was seized in what law enforcement described as the largest drug bust in North Dakota history. The street value of the drugs was more than a half-million dollars, and an immeasurable amount of misery.

Meth is one of the most dangerous and potent drugs. It’s a poison that first acts as a stimulant but then begins to systematically destroy the body. It is associated with serious health conditions, including memory loss, aggression, psychotic behavior and potential heart and brain damage. Highly addictive, meth burns up the body’s resources, creating a devastating dependence that can only be relieved by taking more of the drug. The first experience might involve some pleasure, but from the start, meth begins to destroy the user’s life.

Meth addicts usually end up dead or jail.

Meth is a nearly impossible addiction to kick, even when treatment is available. Even more troubling is that there are nowhere near enough private or public services in North Dakota for what is needed.

Local law enforcement, courts and social services — despite their best efforts — are too understaffed and underfunded to combat the tenfold increase in meth activity in recent years.

The North Dakota Legislature needs to seriously address the needs of local agencies to combat what can only be described as an epidemic.

The Dickinson Press Editorial Board consists of Publisher Harvey Brock, Managing Editor Dustin Monke and News Editor April Baumgarten.

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – A Lufkin man who allegedly forced two teenage girls, ages 17 and 15, to use methamphetamine before he sexually assaulted them was one of the 66 people recently indicted by an Angelina County grand jury.7268760_G

Brandon Lee Pipkin is still being held in the Angelina County Jail on two first-degree felony sexual assault of a child charges, two second-degree felony delivery of a controlled substance to a minor charges, a third-degree felony possession of a controlled substance charge, and two revocation of probation charges for theft. Collectively, Pipkin’s bail has been set at $525,000.

Pipkin was booked into the Angelina County Jail on Dec. 2, 2014 after he was arrested by Angelina County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

According to the arrest affidavit, members of the ACSO Criminal Investigation Division were notified of a 911 call in which a 17-year-old girl told the dispatcher that she had been drugged and sexually assaulted by Pipkin.

The girl told the dispatcher that Pipkin had forced her to take meth and then sexually assaulted her. When the ACSO investigators spoke to the girl and another 15-year-old girl that had been at the same location said they would either smoke the meth or snort the substance in its powdered form, the affidavit stated.mugshot

Both girls allegedly told the investigators that Pipkin had told them on numerous occasions how sexually aroused he got when he was high on the meth. The 17-year-old girl also told the investigators that on Nov. 30, she and Pipken snorted meth, and she passed out, the affidavit stated.

The 17-year-old victim explained that she was wearing less clothing than she had been when she passed out. She also told the ACSO investigators that even though “everything that had occurred was extremely blurry,” she remembered having sexual intercourse with Pipkin, the affidavit stated.

According to the affidavit, the 15-year-old girl told investigators that sometime during the week of Thanksgiving, she snorted meth with Pipkin, the affidavit stated. She said she was intoxicated enough that her body felt “very heavy and weak.” At that point, the girl laid in the bed with Pipkin, and he allegedly began touching her inappropriately over and under her clothes.

A SANE exam conducted on the 17-year-old victim revealed that she had injuries consistent with recent sexual intercourse, the affidavit stated. In addition, a toxicology test taken on the day she made the 911 call revealed that she had methamphetamine in her system, according to the affidavit.







GEORGETOWN, SC – Three children — including 2 infants — were found in a meth lab house with 2 guns and teen girls were among those arrested on Friday, Georgetown County Deputies say.7271214_G

Agents with the 15th Circuit Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) assisted by the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office, the 15th Circuit Tactical Meth Enforcement Team and the North Myrtle Beach Police Department executed a Search warrant on a Methamphetamine Lab, and served several drug related arrest warrants Friday in the 700 block Garrison Road in Georgetown County.

Agents arrested the four residents: Shawn Wayne Cooper, 40 years of age, Hunter Brandy Haselden, 19 years of age, Kayla Paige Cooper, 19 years of age and Billy Newman Perritt III, 23 years of age, officials say.

The four were charged on Methamphetamine production Conspiracy arrest warrants before transporting them to the Georgetown County Detention Center.7271212_G

When Agents entered the home early Friday morning they found three minor children (ages 15 years, 24 months and 5 months) along with evidence of Methamphetamine manufacturing, according to a press release from deputies

Several dozen “One Pot” meth cooks were found along with other paraphernalia linked to methamphetamine manufacturing, deputies said.

“Agents discovered evidence indicating the residents attempted to burn the remnants from the Methamphetamine production as well,”officials said in a press release.

In addition to the Methamphetamine production materials Agents recovered approximately 7.6 grams of Methamphetamine in addition to over 12.2 grams of marijuana, scales and packaging materials indicating sales of both marijuana and methamphetamine.

Agents also found a loaded 9mm Beretta pistol and a 9mm Hi-Point rifle “that had been illegally cut down and painted white,” officials said.

All four  residents were charged with Manufacturing Methamphetamine, Manufacturing Methamphetamine in the presence of a minor Child, Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana and Unlawful disposal of Methamphetamine waste.


Shawn Cooper was additionally charged with Possession of a sawed off-rifle.

The two infants were transported to the Georgetown Hospital for evaluation before being turned over to DSS. The 15 year old was turned over to the Juvenile authorities.

This is believed to be the first investigation, resulting in the dismantling of a meth lab, in Georgetown County and was the result of a two-month investigation by DEU Agents assigned to the Georgetown office.

The arrestees were transported to the Georgetown County Detention Center and are awaiting formal charges.








Five persons were  busted in Rhinelander Wednesday on drug charges. Arrested are 40 year old Michael Stienmetz, Jr., 38 year old Jamie Rickert, 35 year old Jesus Fernandez, 47 year old Carrie Stienmetz and 36 year old Crystal Schirmacher. All five were arrested for alleged use, manufacture, and delivery of methamphetamine.

Last fall, Stienmetz was sentenced as part of a high-profile human trafficking case. HumanTrafficking charges were dismissed against her , but one sex charge was deferred, and  she was sentenced on two other lesser sex charges.  After a jail sentence, she is on state supervision. The new charges include bail jumping from previous court actions.

The Oneida County Sheriff’s Department, Rhinelander Police, North Central Drug Enforcement group and the state Department of Justice were involved in the bust.









BILLINGS — Three arrests have been made in connection with the murder of Juan Antonio Guerra-Torres. Murder charges were filed March 26th in Park County, Wyoming.

Guerra-Torres’s headless body was found on January 9, 2014, by duck hunters. The body was in a creek drainage along the north side of Little Sand Coulee Road east of Clark, Wyoming.

Authorities said Guerra-Torres was decapitated and he was also missing his left arm form the should and his right hand.

The Park County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that 27-year-old Sandra Garcia of Powell has been charged with the murder. She is said to be the girlfriend of Guerra-Torres at the time of his murder, and the mother of his children.

The second suspect is 28-year-old Pedro Garcia Jr., who is the brother of Sandra. Also taken into custody was 51-year-old John Louis Marquez.

Sandra Garcia and Pedro Garcia are charged with conspiracy to commit murder and aiding murder.

Marquez faces charges of conspiracy to commit murder, and first degree murder.

According to court documents, while being interviewed Pedro Garcia Jr. told authorities that in December of 2013 Sandra Garcia approached him looking for help with her “situation.”

She explained that Guerra-Torres owed people in Mexico between $30,000 and $40,000. Sandra Garcia asked Pedro to “help take care of him.” Pedro Garcia said he declined.

In January of 2014, Sandra Garcia reportedly approached Pedro Garcia a second time asking him to help kill Guerra-Torres.

Sandra Garcia allegedly said people from Mexico were going to kill her and the family because of his debt.

She later described Guerra-Torres as “very deep into the drug world,” and said that he owned money to a man in California known as “Don Cheto.”

She also described taking Guerra-Torres to meet a man known as “Crocodile” near Cody, and she believed Crocodile worked for Don Cheto.

Sandra Garcia described Guerra-Torres as being “mentally, emotionally and physically abusive,” court records state.

Pedro Garcia said he became worried about the family and agreed to help his sister. He said he would find someone to assist with the murder.

Pedro Garcia explained that he called Sandra Garcia to set up a meeting between them and John Marquez in Powell. The meeting was set up so Sandra Garcia could tell Marquez how she needed proof that Guerra-Torres was dead to show the people in Mexico.

After Marquez agreed to murder Guerra-Torres, court documents state Marquez and Pedro Garcia smoked methamphetamine together and planned Guerra-Torres’ murder.

Sandra Garcia and Guerra-Torres made plans to meet John Marquez and Pedro Garcia on a dirt pullout near the Badger Basin Highway.

Sandra Garcia had lied, telling Guerra-Torres that a narcotics deal would take place.

When they arrived, Pedro Garcia said Marquez shot Guerra-Torres several times when he got out of the vehicle.

Sandra Garcia then left the scene. Pedro Garcia and Marquez proceeded to load Guerra-Torres’s body into the back of Marquez’s pickup truck.

The two men drove to Little Sand Coulee Road where they planned to dispose of the body. That’s where Pedro Garcia said he saw Marquez removing body parts with an axe.

Marquez reportedly placed the body parts into a black plastic bag and left the scene.

Pedro Garcia said he later paid Marquez $700 and three grams of methamphetamine taken from Guerra-Torres’ body the day he was killed.

Pedro Garcia later sent Marquez more payments through three wire transfers totaling $400.

Sandra Garcia was taken into custody in Effingham County, Georgia. Marquez was arrested in Bonham, Texas. Pedro Garcia has reportedly waived extradition back to Wyoming due to unrelated charges. Marquez is being held in Texas.

The investigation included several law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.