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JUNCTION CITY, Ky. (WKYT) - Police found a meth lab in the home of an 81-year-old woman and arrested her grandson who they say was cooking the drug.

A home health worker, worried about the condition of the elderly woman, called adult protective services to do a welfare check. When they arrived Thursday afternoon they brought police with them.


“One they were inside law enforcement personnel noticed what was a meth lab,” said Junction City Police Chief Merl Baldwin.

Baldwin says the woman’s grandson, Jeremy Crowe, was responsible for that lab. Neighbors who know Crowe say at first they had no idea why police were at his home.

“I was in shock, didn’t know what was going on,” said Jessica Hogue. “I thought it was a car wreck.”

Crowe was decontaminated at the scene and taken to jail. His grandmother was taken to the hospital to be checked out.

Police say they found two different labs inside the home.

“It was in the process of cooking at the time,” Baldwin said. “They are what we call one step labs, ingredients inside of a soda bottle.”

Police dismantled the two meth labs and took them as evidence. The home was declared contaminated and uninhabitable. The woman who lived there is now staying at a relative’s home.

Crowe is charged with making and possessing meth. He’s also charged with five counts of wanton endangerment because police say he exposed his grandmother and police officers to dangerous conditions.



 ALBANY, GA (WALB) –   South Georgia drug agents say they’re noticing a big increase in methamphetamine this summer.

Thursday night agents raided a meth lab hidden in the woods in east Albany.


Drug agents say that meth lab, cooking in the woods near a neighborhood, posed a great danger to the community.

Drug agents say meth has suddenly surged into prominence in South Georgia.

Albany Dougherty Drug Unit Commander Major Bill Berry said “We’re seeing a lot more meth.  Last month our meth seizures exceeded all others combined. So it’s growing. It has been.”

Drug agents were tipped that a meth lab was operating in the woods off the 2800 block of Rosebrier Avenue.  When agents raided the area, they caught 44 year old Ben Brooks and found an inactive meth lab.


 Berry said “There were bottles. There were ingredients. So there had been what looked like the remnants of former cooks and reactions from meth.”

Drug agents say that meth lab was small, using the one bottle cook method.  But all the chemicals, just laying out in the woods, could have led to tragedy for any kids or curious person that stumbled upon it.

Berry said “They could open something up and cause a chemical reaction. Or get the vapors off of it and it could make them sick.  So yes, it’s dangerous.”

Drug agents also seized Brooks truck and were waiting today for a search warrant to check it.  Brooks was charged with manufacturing meth, and more charges could be pending on what they find in that truck.

Drug agents urge people who suspect a meth lab could be operating in their neighborhood to call them, saying  they are a real danger.





The first meth stimulant was developed in 1919 by a Japanese pharmacologist. It produced feelings of well-being and alertness and alleviated fatigue. But does meth have any therapeutic medical uses? How does meth use affect the body?  We review here, and invite your questions about meth or how you can help a meth addict at the end.

Meth uses

Today, meth is rarely used in medicine. While methamphetamine salts can be prescribed by a doctor to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other conditions (sleeping disorders, for example), meth has been classified as a Schedule II drug, meaning it has high potential for abuse and is available only through a prescription that cannot be refilled.


Meth uses and side effects

Generally, methamphetamine is taken orally, smoked, snorted, or dissolved in water or alcohol and injected. Because the pleasure fades quickly, users often take repeated doses, in a “binge and crash” pattern.  But this drug creates havoc on the human body, affecting both body and brain. There are many negative side effects to meth use, but we’ll take a look at the most important ones.

First of all, meth rapidly releases dopamine in “reward regions” of the brain, generating the euphoric “rush” or “flash” that many users experience. But every pleasure comes at a price. Long term methamphetamine use has many negative consequences for physical health, including extreme weight loss, severe dental problems (“meth mouth”), and skin sores caused by scratching.  Additionally, long term meth effects on the brainn can include:

  • emotional and cognitive problems
  • impaired verbal learning
  • reduced motor skills

When it comes to the body, meth abuse can be recognized by symptoms which can include:

  • decreased appetite
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased body temperature
  • increased physical activity
  • increased respiration
  • irregular heart beat
  • rapid heart rate

Also, people who use or abuse methamphetamine over the long term may experience anxiety, confusion, insomnia, and mood disturbances and display violent behavior. They may also show symptoms of psychosis, such as paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and delusions (for example, the sensation of insects crawling under the skin). Further, a high tolerance to meth can indicate major problems with meth use and can require longer term treatment.

Illegal meth use

Meth has been used illegally since the 1950’s, when truckers, homemakers, college students and athletes used it to stay awake or keep active. This practice continued in 1960’s in subcultures such as outlaw biker gangs and students, which cooked and used the drug.

The penalties for meth possession, sale, and manufacture vary, depending on where the case was prosecuted (federal charges carry the same penalties, no matter where in the country the prosecution occurs, but each state has its own sentencing provisions). A meth conviction can result in punishments ranging from a fine, a misdemeanor jail term, or a lengthy prison term for a felony conviction. The greater the amount of meth possessed (usually measured in terms of weight), the longer the potential prison sentence tends to be. Even greater penalties apply if a person is convicted not simply of possessing meth, but of possessing it with the intent to sell or traffic it.

Most of the methamphetamine abused in the U.S. comes from foreign or domestic superlabs, although it can also be made in small, illegal laboratories, where its production endangers the people in the labs, neighbors, and the environment. The most common ingredient in meth is pseudoephedrine or ephedrine, commonly found in cold medicine.  Through a cooking process the pseudoephedrine or ephedrine is chemically changed into meth.  The ingredients that are used in the process of making meth can include: ether, paint thinner, Freon®, acetone, anhydrous ammonia, iodine crystals, red phosphorus, drain cleaner, battery acid, and lithium (taken from inside batteries).

Problems with meth

There are many ways of identifying a meth addict. The most common signs are physical symptoms, mentioned earlier: decreased appetite, increased physical activity, anxiety, shaking hands, nervousness, increased body temperature and dilated pupils. These are early signs of meth use, which progress over time.

People successfully recover from crystal meth addictions via both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs. However, as this stimulant is a highly addictive drug, some people need to recover in a stable environment that’s free of opportunities to use. It’s important that you review your options and choose the program that gives you the best chance at success.

Outpatient treatment – There are two types of outpatient treatment programs. A daily check-in program only requires you to meet with a drug abuse counselor once per day, while a day treatment program requires you to stay at the treatment facility for eight hours per day. Since both programs allow little interruption to your normal life, you can continue to work and spend time with your family.

Inpatient treatment - Inpatient treatment programs allow you to recover in an environment that’s free from temptation. The centers have medical staff on hand to help you through the detoxification process. During a stay at the facility, your day revolves around your recovery. A typical day could include group therapy sessions, individual therapy sessions, recreational activities designed to teach you how to have fun without drugs and educational lectures about drug abuse.

Meth use questions

Still have questions about meth and its use or abuse?  If you or someone close to you have meth problems, don’t hesitate to contact me.



UNICOI — Four people were arrested by the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department early Thursday morning for their alleged involvement in the manufacture of methamphetamine at a Unicoi County hotel.

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• Weston George, 24, 147 Old State Route 34, Jonesborough, was charged with maintaining a dwelling for drug use, conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, promoting methamphetamine manufacture and possession of drug paraphernalia.

• Christina Walter, 32, 2520 Cherokee Road, Johnson City, was charged with manufacture of methamphetamine, initiation of the process to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

• Latasha Fridley, 22, 142 Birdy Lane, Hampton, was charged with possession of a schedule VI drug, possession of drug paraphernalia and conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine.

• Ronald Lee Ledford, 39, 617 Mountain View Road, Johnson City, was charged with facilitating a felony, promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine and driving on a suspended license.

Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley said sheriff’s department officials received a call Wednesday afternoon from someone who reported an odd smell” coming from one of the rooms at the Budget Inn hotel in Unicoi. Officers responded and met with the hotel’s manager. After speaking to the manager, officers went to the room in question and talked to one of the occupants, Hensley said.

“At that time, they did not see anything that raised any suspicions,” Hensley said.

After officers left the scene, Walter, who was visiting the room rented by George, was observed carrying a container and running to a dumpster on the property, Hensley said. The sheriff said after Walter disposed of this container and left in a vehicle driven by Ledford, the hotel’s manager lifted the lid of the dumpster and observed a bottle he believed was being used to manufacture meth.

Officers returned to the scene and found the bottle to be an inactive meth lab, Hensley said. According to the affidavit written by UCSD Chief Deputy Frank Rogers, officials made contact in the hotel’s parking lot with George, who was renting the room, and George gave consent to search the room. There, officers found items of drug paraphernalia, including scales, aluminum foil with burn residue and a pipe, according to the report.

“I asked Weston George if he had purchased pseudoephedrine in the recent past, he stated that he had not purchased pseudoephedrine in two months,” Rogers’ report said. “Investigators ran the report maintained by the Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force and discovered that Weston George had purchased pseudoephedrine on the day prior. When confronted, the defendant admitted that he had lied to investigators.”

Fridley, who was present with George, also consented to a search, and officials found scales, a blister pack and a bag containing marijuana, according to Rogers.

“Latasha Fridley stated that Christina Walter had been staying at the room with her and Weston George and that she had received methamphetamine from Christina Walter a couple of days prior,” the report states. “Purchase reports reveal that Latasha Fridley has purchased pseudoephedrine within the last twenty-four hours and twice within the past three months.”

At approximately 1 a.m. Thursday, while officials were still working the scene and dismantling the lab recovered from the dumpster, Walter and Ledford returned to the hotel, undeterred by the officers there, Hensley said. Hensley also said sheriff’s department officials had previously come into contact with Walter on previous visits to the hotel and were aware she was staying there.

“While we were there — we have the ambulance there, we have the fire truck there, we have the Meth Task Force there, several cruisers there — her and this boy came pulling in,” Hensley said. “Lo and behold, she’s carrying an active meth lab on her person with a substantial quantity of methamphetamine.”

Aside from the bottle used to manufacture meth and the drug itself, Walter was found to be in possession of scales, a syringe, a pipe and lithium batteries (used in the production of meth), according to Rogers’ report.

“(A) search of Christina Walter at the jail produced a bag of crushed pseudoephedrine extracted from a commercial product that had been modified for the purpose of methamphetamine production,” Rogers’ report states.

The pickup truck driven by Ledford was seized, and two receipts were found inside that showed Ledford had also purchased pseudoephedrine, according to the arrest report. During transport to the jail, Ledford told deputies that all parties arrested “get together to use methamphetamine,” Rogers’ report said.

Hensley said officials cleared the scene at around 2:30 a.m. Thursday.

All four of those arrested are scheduled to appear in Sessions Court on Aug. 21.




A Ford City woman was arrested on drug trafficking charges after a probation searched led to the discovery of a substantial amount of methamphetamine, some marijuana and drug paraphernalia., the Kern county Sheriff’s Office reported.

methamphetamine and marijuana seized during pr

Deputies conducted the search at the home of Christa Coffee, 50, at 408 Harrison.

Wednesday about 10:20 p.m.

The deputies found 7.8 grams of methamphetamine with a street value of roughly $800, 2.9 grams of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, packaging material, and digital scales, according to a news release.

Coffee was arrested and charged with possession of controlled substances for sale; possession of marijuana; and for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Coffee is being held in the KCSO central receiving facility in Bakersfield on $22,885 bail.



In an effort to to promote awareness of the horrifying effects of methamphetamine abuse, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office of Oregon have released the photos of repeat meth offenders to show the world how quickly the side-effects of meth use destroy the user’s physical appearance. In a partnership with Faces of Meth, Multnomah Sheriffs believe the before and after photos of consistent meth abuse is shocking enough to dissuade people from using.

According to, methamphetamine physically alters one’s facial appearance through the physical and psychological side-effects. The illicit manufacture and use of methamphetamine has been on the rise since 1996, with more than 13 million people over the age of 12 having used methamphetamine in the U.S. 529,000 of those are regular users.


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Even light methamphetamine use can cause widespread acne due to the drug’s effects of dry skin and extreme itchiness. Coupled with the common sensory hallucination factor of ‘bugs crawling beneath the skin,’ this often promotes obsessive scratching, picking, and resulting in many small sores and facial scarring. The pale skin color can be explained by physical stress and frequent illnesses common of a meth addict, which is caused by the drug weakening the immune system. Smoking of any type of drug actually cures the skin, just like leather, causing skin to wrinkle and gain a rough, coriaceous texture.

Facial Musculature
Because methamphetamine, like cigarettes, suppresses appetite, it can lead to undernourishment for long periods of time. Eventually, when weight loss has become dramatic, the body begins to consume muscle tissue and facial fat, giving meth users a gaunt, skeletal appearance.

“Meth Mouth”
Meth addicts will often lose their teeth abnormally quickly, regardless of how they administer the drug, though most severe in those that inject the drug. According to the American Dental Association, meth mouth is probably caused by a combination of the drug’s effects, both physical and psychological. Addicts will often experience xerostomia (dry mouth), extended periods of poor oral hygiene, and bruxism (teeth grinding) which when combined together, can lead to tooth decay.

Advanced Aging
With the combination of skin issues, facial muscle loss, hygiene neglect, and oral decay, a meth addict’s estimated age can appear far more exaggerated. A general theory suggests that because the immune system is in constant battle with drug toxins infiltrating the bodily systems, prolonged use can weaken the immune system to the point of making it very ineffective against illness and injury. When a body system is consistently distressed, and barely able to heal itself, premature aging sets in as the total viable lifetime drops.

Another factor to consider in the degradation of a meth addict’s appearance is the fact that many users also heavily abuse alcohol and tobacco. This further increases the level of toxins and the premature aging side-effects, escalating the aging process even more rapidly.

Meth users should not wait to seek treatment

While many physical symptoms can be reversed with proper treatment, the advanced aging effects and tooth decay are difficult to reverse, and the damage often permanent. Furthermore, methamphetamine use can cause psychosis, or psychotic behavior, in which users lose contact with reality and experience strong delusions, paranoia, hallucinations and obsessive behavior that prevents them from truly realizing the damage they are doing to themselves. It is imperative that the addict reach out and find help immediately, or suffer these physical and psychological effects, and other commons symptoms such as destroyed relationships, financial destitution and criminal charges.




LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – A methamphetamine lab was raided Friday afternoon .

Neighbors said they were shocked to learn of the operation. But the woman who owns the house where the raid took place, Janet Gibson, said she was even more shocked to learn who the suspects were: Her two grandsons.

The Columbiana County Drug Task Force said they found several “one pot” operations in the garage and around the property.

“They just told me it could be very dangerous and it’s very flammable, which is not good,” Gibson said.

She said she was in Lisbon at the time the drug task force was searching her house for methamphetamine, and she was shocked to see officers in front of her house when she got home.

“And it caught me by surprise. I knew nothing about this and I had no idea what they were here for,” Gibson said.

She said her two grandsons are in their late 20s and have a history of drug addiction. She said she has tried to help them get their lives on track, but this latest incident was just too much for her to handle.

“Yeah, it makes me pretty angry, pretty upset. But we just have to deal with it and go on,” Gibson said.

No one was arrested during the raid and charges are pending in the case.

The investigation led to many one-pot labs being found around the property. The one-pot labs are essentially mini labs being made inside of empty plastic bottles.

The Columbiana Drug Task Force also found digital scales and chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine.






METH: THE NEW MOLD – New Markets in Clandestine Laboratory Clean-up [published in IEC 4/30/04]
Jason K. Dobranic, Ph.D. & Scott VanEtten

Clandestine labs have become prevalent across America. They are used for the illicit production of illegal drugs, mostly methamphetamine, PCP, GHB, or MDA (Ecstasy). Some labs have even been found with the raw materials used to concoct homemade bombs. Law enforcement departments have seen a significant rise in occurrences over the last ten years. The hazardous materials found on these premises have to be properly cleaned up. In a three year span between 2000-2002 there were over 7500 removal jobs totally over 150,000 kg of hazardous materials. These labs have been discovered in such structures as single family dwellings, mobile homes, vehicles, hotels, open air structures; in both urban, suburban and rural areas. A thorough understanding of the many challenges involved in working at these sites and properly abating the hazards
is crucial.

Types of hazards associated with clandestine labs Individuals usually operate these makeshift labs with little to no training in chemistry. They employ crude, homemade equipment to accomplish complex chemical
reactions. Due to the nature of the chemicals involved there is significant risk of explosion, fire and exposure. Clandestine lab operators have also been known to carry firearms and use booby traps; due to the paranoid delusions associated with meth usage.

The chemical agents used in the production of illegal drugs can include common household products such as methanol, ether, benzene, methylene chloride, trichloroethane, toluene, muriatic acid, sodium hydroxide, table salt, and ammonia. Some of the uncommon household items used include anhydrous ammonia, red phosphorus, iodine, and reactive metals. The poor handling, disposal, and mixing of incompatible chemicals leads to significant hazardous conditions. Once these chemicals are mixed and used in the making or “cooking” process, the production of other potentially harmful chemicals ensue.

Oftentimes, abatement workers focus strictly on the chemical hazards. However, there may be drug addicts and other visitors coming to the lab expecting it to still be operational. Wandering meth users tend to be dillusional, paranoid and desperate. Your personal protection can be at stake.

Health effects related to exposure
Working in clandestine drug labs poses significant dangers that one must be aware of or serious health effects could develop including the most extreme case of death. Knowledge of basic toxicology is crucial. The effect of a chemical can differ significantly depending on how it enters the body. Entry routes include inhalation, dermal absorption, and ingestion. Inhalation is the most common route of entry since we are continuously breathing. Noxious chemicals that are breathed in can rapidly enter the circulatory system (blood) and get transported throughout the body. Since we are performing manual labor during abatement of the lab our respiratory rate is higher leading to greater exposure. Inhalation exposure also depends on the size of the inhaled particles and the properties of the exposed chemical. Chemicals with higher solubilities tend to get absorbed into the blood system faster. Toxins can also be absorbed through the skin. Although one may not feel pain or discomfort when the chemical contacts the skin, once it is absorbed it can travel throughout the body in the blood. Ingestion is the least likely exposure method but workers should be wary of eating and drinking within the confines of the lab.

Solvents such as acetone, ether, freon, hexane, methanol, and toluene target the eyes, skin, respiratory system, central nervous system, liver, and kidneys causing such symptoms as irritation to skin, eyes, nose and throat; headache; dizziness; central nervous system depressant/depression; nausea; vomiting; and visual disturbance. Corrosive chemicals such as anhydrous ammonia, hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide (lye),
sodium thiosulfate, sulfuric acid (drain cleaner) target the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract causing symptoms such as irritation to upper respiratory tract; cough; eye and skin irritation, inflammation and burns; gastrointestinal disturbances; thirst; chest tightness; dyspnea; muscle pain; syncope; and convulsions. Metals such as iodine, lithium metal, red phosphorus, yellow phosphorus, sodium metal used in the process can target the eyes, skin, respiratory system, central nervous system, liver, kidneys, blood, cardiovascular
system causing irritation to eyes, skin, nose and respiratory tract; lacrimation; headache; chest tightness; cutaneous hypersensitivity; abdominal pain; and jaundice.

Sampling and laboratory analysis (basic, short and sweet)
Many States have specific guidelines for clearance testing associated with clandestine laboratories. For clandestine methamphetamine operations, the clearance contractor is usually required to wipe surfaces and send the samples to an accredited laboratory. NIOSH and OSHA have not published validated methods for the analysis of methamphetamine in air. OSHA has published a CSI (Chemical Sampling Information) procedure that utilizes gas chromatography with flame ionization detection (GC/FID). However, most states require gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Detection limit requirements are sub microgram methamphetamine per wipe.

Samples can be taken from kitchen areas of the home where cooking activities are intensified. The clearance contractor should take samples from the refrigerator (inside and out), the stove/oven, and the gap between the counter and the stove where those nasty little toast crumbs build up.

Testing should also be performed where a wall or floor meets a cold/warmer exterior. The meth will tend to crystallize out at these temperature transition interfaces. HVAC ductwork should be inspected as well for settled residue. The vehicles used in transportation, if clearance is required, may need wipe testing. Dashboards and seats can be wiped and submitted for testing.

When searching for testing services, it is important to make sure your laboratory is aware of the clearance testing requirements for your State’s program. Also, make sure that the required instrumentation is available for use. Lastly, make sure the detection limits will meet your clearance needs.

Other types of laboratory testing may also be required that are related to the chemicals used in the manufacture of the illegal drug. The alchemist cooker may have used a variety of solvents and reactive metals to produce his/her illicit powders. Be sure to consult RCRA and State regulations regarding the testing and disposal of drummed wastes, building materials, carpet, wallboard, ceiling tiles, furniture, and appliances.
There may be toxic materials buried or dumped in the surrounding grounds. A thorough investigation of the entire property is required.

Abatement & Hazardous Materials Handling Guidelines
Only trained personnel should be handling any chemicals. These individuals must be able to recognize chemical names and understand the effect of chemical combinations. Separating any incompatible chemicals can reduce the risk of explosion. Ventilate all confined spaces thereby limiting the concentration of explosive fumes and turn off any heat sources. Make sure all the lab equipment is turned off and no longer heating the

Household materials, including carpets, sheetrock, ceiling tiles, upholstery, and draperies, may become contaminated with chemicals requiring abatement. During cleanup and removal of contaminated materials, workers should have personal protection equipment. This includes eye, hand, and foot coverings. Disposable gloves and a Tyvek jumpsuit are good precautions for direct contact exposure but if toxic fumes are suspected
then a suitable breathing apparatus is needed. More often then not, abatement includes removal of contaminated materials, and scrubbing and painting solid surfaces. Depending on the site and extent of contamination, soil and groundwater may need extensive cleanup. There are no official regulations that dictate how a former clandestine lab needs to be cleaned up but the general steps involved are:

1) Airing out the Building. This will help dissipate any noxious fumes that have accumulated inside allowing safer conditions for removal crews. Depending on the particular situation this may include several days of airing out before, during, and after the remediation process. Using exhaust fans will help the process.

2) Removal and disposal. Clandestine lab operators are not the cleanest or most meticulous people on the planet. Chemicals will be splashed, dripped, and spilled haphazardly around the lab. Any items that are visibly contaminated should be double-bagged and removed. Many of the chemicals will be designated as hazardous materials, falling under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and need to be disposed of properly. Consult with your state department of environmental protection for more information.

3) Inspect surfaces. Walls, counters, floors and ceilings can retain some of the hazardous chemicals long after the lab is shut down. Any surface that has visible contamination, stains, or gives off odors should be completely removed. Any appliances or household equipment used in the processing of any chemicals should be disposed of and replaced.

4) Inspect plumbing. Most of the waste and chemicals are disposed of crudely down the household plumbing system (sinks, toilets, and drains) by the lab operators. The plumbing system may be collecting some of these chemicals and off gassing. A professional plumbing contractor should be contacted to properly address the problem.

5) Encapsulate surfaces. Painting the surfaces of any area that has been remediated will help seal in any residual chemicals that were missed during the cleanup. This effectively reduces the chance of releasing any chemicals back into the air.

6) Clean HVAC system. Chemicals and residues can collect in the HVAC system so they should be properly cleaned. This would include cleaning the ductwork, vents and air returns, and changing air filters.

We hope this gives you an appreciation of what is involved in the abatement of clandestine drug labs. This may be an avenue to further expand your companies business. Unfortunately, due the strong demand for these illicit drug there are surely going be a steady stream of labs discovered and shut down.

Christian, Donnell R., 2004, Forensic Investigation of Clandestine Laboratories. CRC Press.

GAINESVILLE – The Gainesville woman driving the SUV in which five people were killed in Hall County on June 30 had drugs in her system at the time of the crash.

A Ford Explorer driven by Amanda Lynn Pardue, 34, of Gainesville crossed the raised median while traveling north on Georgia 11/U.S. 129 (Athens Highway) and collided head-ontrailer truck.


Pardue and three of her passengers died at the scene, while the fourth died later that day.

Results of blood tests performed at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation State Crime Lab were released by Sgt. 1st Class Chad Johnson of the Georgia State Patrol late Wednesday night.


“One of my other supervisors, Cpl. Rhett Parker, spoke with one of the analysts at the crime lab and they gave the verbal results of positive for methamphetamine, positive for amphetamine and some other drugs within her system,” Johnson said.

Johnson said troopers don’t have the quantitative amounts of the other drugs in Pardue’s system yet, but “they did say that the methamphetamine that was in her system was at a very high level.”


In addition to Pardue, the wreck claimed the life of 53-year-old Robbie Hollis of Gainesville, 2-year-old Eli Emfinger, 8-year-old Kayliegh Emfinger, and 13-year-old Dalton Martin.

Eli and Kayliegh Emfinger were Pardue’s children, while Martin was Hollis’s grandson.

The driver of the tractor-trailer suffered only minor injuries.

Johnson said troopers are nearing the finalization of the investigation and their reports since the driver and all other occupants of the vehicle were killed in the crash.

“Anything after this point would be more or less some type of civil litigation,” Johnson said. “We’ll complete our report showing that the driver was impaired with the substances that I mentioned.”





Driver in fatal wreck tested positive for meth

GAINESVILLE — A Gainesville woman behind the wheel in a June wreck that killed five people, including three children, had methamphetamine in her system according to a report released by the Georgia State Patrol.

Amanda Lynn Pardue, 34, died in the June 30 wreck when the Ford Explorer she was driving crossed into the path of a tractor-trailer on Athens Highway at Oak Grove Road.

Results of blood tests by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab showed Pardue tested positive for methamphetamine, amphetamine and other drugs.

“She had a high level of methamphetamines along with other prescription medications,” said Gainesville GSP Post Commander Chad Johnson.

The report by the Georgia State Patrol reads that Pardue tested positive for methamphetamine levels “higher than the highest caliber of 800 micrograms per liter.”

Robbie Adams Hollis, 52, also died in the wreck, along with three children: Dalton Martin, 13, Kaleigh Emfinger, 8, and Eli Emfinger, 2.

“It definitely makes me very sick to my stomach,” said Janice Martin, Dalton’s stepmother, when learning of the GSP report.

Eli and Kaleigh were Pardue’s children. Martin was Hollis’ grandson.

The tractor-trailer driver, Eric Franklin Eberhardt, 34, of Commerce, has been treated for his injuries.





5 killed in Hall County crash

UPDATE: No autopsies were conducted on any of the victims of a head-on collision that killed five people, including three children, Hall County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Nicole Bailes told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“GSP has sent the blood work in to the GBI,” she said in an email to The AJC. “We have requested that it be expedited, however there are no guarantees. It typically takes roughly 8-12 weeks for that report.”

Meanwhile, the fiancé of Amanda Lynn Pardue, the 34-year-old Gainesville woman who was driving a Ford Explorer on Ga. 11 when she crossed the concrete median, drove into oncoming traffic and struck a tractor-trailer, told Channel 2 Action News that he suspects Pardue suffered a seizure just before losing control of the SUV.

“She wasn’t supposed to be driving anyway because of epilepsy,” Craig Emfinger told Channel 2.

Pardue and her 8-year-old daughter, Kayleigh, died at the scene, along with another adult and his grandson, according to police. Pardue’s cousin, Brandy Poole, said Monday night that Robbie Hollis, 53, and his 13-year-old grandson, Dalton Martin, also died at the scene of the wreck.

Pardue’s youngest son, who would’ve turned 3 years old in July, was alive when he was pulled from the wreckage, according to troopers. But Eli Emfinger later died at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite, Poole said.

ORIGINAL STORY: A 6-year-old Hall County boy chose to stay home and play Monday morning instead of riding along on an errand with his mom, two siblings and two longtime family friends.


It saved the boy’s life, but it cost young Ethan Emfinger five loved ones. Two families that had been neighbors and friends for decades struggled to make sense of the devastating tragedy Monday night, finding one bright spot.

“We thought all of them were gone,” family member Brandy Poole told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We have one living child here. It eases the pain some.”

The five died following a horrific, head-on collision that also injured the driver of a tractor-trailer, according to the Georgia State Patrol. Investigators believe Amanda Lynn Pardue, 34, of Gainesville, was driving a Ford Explorer on Ga. 11 when she crossed the concrete median and drove into oncoming traffic, striking a tractor-trailer.


Pardue and her 8-year-old daughter, Kayleigh, died at the scene, along with another adult and his grandson, according to police. Pardue’s cousin, Poole, said Monday night that Robbie Hollis, 53, and his 13-year-old grandson, Dalton Martin, also died at the scene of the wreck.

Pardue’s youngest son, who would’ve turned 3 years old in July, was alive when he was pulled from the wreckage, according to troopers. But Eli Emfinger later died at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite, Poole said. Investigators have told the family that Eli was in a booster seat, but it wasn’t known late Monday if the others were wearing seatbelts.

The truck driver, whose name was not released, was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center and was in stable condition, according to troopers. The truck driver was not at fault in the crash, the GSP said.

Hollis had known the Pardue family for decades, Poole said. Hollis’ children were around the same age as Pardue. And his grandchildren played with Pardue’s children, Poole said. Closer than most neighbors, the two families were almost like family and didn’t mind looking after each other’s children, she said.

No one knows for sure where the group of five was headed Monday, but it was likely an errand. A phone call from her uncle let Poole know about the wreck, and she saw the wreckage as she drove to the family’s home.

“We don’t know yet,” Poole said. “We’re still in shock as far as the why.”

Late Monday, Poole said she and other relatives were beginning to make funeral plans. Poole said she wasn’t sure if Pardue had insurance to cover those costs.

In addition to Ethan, Pardue is survived by an 11-year-old son who lives with an aunt in Alto and numerous other relatives. Hollis also is survived by several relatives, including children and grandchildren.

The crash remains under investigation.






Women and Methamphetamine

Posted: July 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

The crystal meth epidemic that hit rural America years ago has not disappeared. Meth has simply spread out of the country and into the suburbs where more women are getting hooked than ever before. Know the signs of meth use in494765747-300x200 women, understand the motivations and the risks and be aware of how much damage this drug can do to you or someone you love.


What Is Meth?

Meth is short for methamphetamine and also goes by the names crystal meth, ice, speed and crank. Methamphetamine is a controlled substance and not illegal. It can be prescribed by doctors, although it is not used very often, for obesity and narcolepsy. Crystal meth, which is usually made in a home lab, is the crystallized version of methamphetamine and can be abused by smoking or by injection after dissolving it in water.

Why Are Women Using Meth?

A decade ago, the number of people using and getting addicted to meth was skyrocketing. Dealers had figured out how to make it in a fairly simple home lab setting and meth labs proliferated around the country as demand grew. Tight restrictions on the over-the-counter cold medicine needed to make meth, as well as crackdowns on meth labs, helped to slow and even turn around cases of meth addiction. Today, however, women are still using the drug, more so than men.

Both methamphetamine and amphetamine, a similar drug that is often sold as a prescription for ADHD, have the effect of reducing the appetite and speeding up metabolism. These combined factors cause meth abusers to lose weight. This is one of the main motivations for women, especially young women, to abuse the drug. Many also refuse to give up using the drug because of fears of weight gain. Suburban moms are often falling prey to the lure of increased energy that meth gives its users.

What Are the Effects of Using Meth?

The health effects of using meth can be devastating. In the short term, meth causes a euphoric feeling along with increased energy and alertness, but it also causes diarrhea, sweating, insomnia, paranoia, agitation, increased blood pressure and heart rate and tremors. Over the long term, the health effects are even more serious. Users can lose dangerous amounts of weight, experience psychosis, develop sores and scabs because of a crawling sensation on the skin and their teeth can rot. This last symptom is one of the most noticeable and disturbing effects of the drug and treatment for meth mouth can require years of dental work.

Meth is a serious drug that is highly addictive, very dangerous and susceptible to abuse by women in particular. All women should be aware of the consequences of abusing meth to get more energy or to lose weight. Those mild benefits are not worth the extreme risks of using this drug.





Two shooting incidents Tuesday — one in which bullets came within inches of a mother and child on Rimrock Road in Billings, the other a standoff at Pictograph Cave State Park — were perpetrated by the same person, a homeless man who was high on meth, Billings Police Chief Rich St. John said Wednesday in a press conference.

The suspect, 52-year-old Kelly Dee Megard, is scheduled to be charged Thursday afternoon in Yellowstone County Justice Court, St. John said.


Megard is being held without bond at the county jail on possible charges of attempted deliberate homicide, two counts of criminal endangerment and parole violation.

No one was injured in either incident, but the chief said that bullets came within inches of hitting a 32-year-old mother and one of her two children, who are 6 and 7.


It was unclear Wednesday whether Megard was involved in a third incident Tuesday morning on Zoo Drive in which a man was reportedly waving a handgun. Sheriff Mike Linder said his office, which is also investigating the shooting at Pictograph Cave State Park, is investigating that incident.

The case will be prosecuted by the County Attorney’s Office, and prosecutors will decided what charges to file against Megard, St. John said.

In the first incident, the chief said Megard fired a 9mm handgun at a Custer-area woman who was driving on Rimrock Road with her two children at about 12:45 p.m Tuesday.

“And although nobody was hurt, the bullet paths were extremely close to hitting the mother and the children — close by inches or less,” St. John said.

The woman told police she turned west off of Virginia Lane onto Rimrock Road. “After about two blocks, she saw a car ahead of her driving erratically,” St. John said.

The car ahead of her did a U-turn, stopping in the turning lane facing east. “As she neared the vehicle, she saw the driver, later identified as Megard, pointing a gun at her and she heard a shot,” the chief said.


She told investigators that she continued west, and that the shooter again did a U-turn and sped up behind her. The woman said she also sped up to try to get away.

The mother of two turned into a parking lot north of Rocky Mountain College, but found there wasn’t another way out of the lot. She reversed and was trying to escape when Megard rammed the Buick he was driving into the back of her sport utility vehicle, the chief said.

“At this point, more shots were fired,” St. John said. “The victim put her vehicle in drive, she dodged some trees, drove over some grass and ultimately onto 17th Street West.”

From there, the woman turned north and then east on Rimrock Road.

“Once on Rimrock, the victim drove as fast as she could to get away, with Megard in pursuit,” the chief said. “At one point, Megard caught up with her and struck her vehicle from the rear.”

The woman reported that Megard was able to pull next to her and fired more shots.

St. John said the woman’s vehicle was hit by three bullets and rammed three times.

The woman was still driving on Rimrock Road, talking with a 911 operator when Megard turned south on Michigan Street and drove away.

Police received the call at 12:47 p.m. and responded, but were unable to locate a suspect.

About 30 minutes later on Tuesday, law enforcement responded to a shooting incident at Pictograph Cave State Park.

There, Meggard reportedly drove through the parking lot and south into a natural area in the park, according to Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Capt. Bill Michaelis.

When park staff went to investigate, several shots were fired. Witnesses reported that suspect was yelling incoherently and firing shots into some bushes with a handgun.

About 40 people took shelter in the visitor’s center at the park until Sheriff’s deputies and Montana Highway Patrol troopers arrived to investigate, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Megard ultimately surrendered and was taken to the county jail.

St. John said detectives interviewed Megard, who admitted shooting at a woman on Rimrock Road and to using methamphetamine.

“He stated that he thought he was being followed and that he thought people were trying to kill him,” St. John said.

According to the chief, investigators also found spent and live ammunition in the car Megard was driving. He also said that the gun used in the incident was “allegedly purchased on the street.”

“This case underscores what we’re seeing all too frequently here in Billings: Desperate people high on drugs, usually armed, making irrational and dangerous decisions,” St. John said. “And they show little regard for life, and they do this all to support their drug habit.”

The chief said that Megard is homeless and had been living out of his car.

Megard has a laundry list of convictions in Montana and Washington state, according to police, including burglary, possession of stolen property, assault on a peace officer, resisting arrest, carrying a concealed weapon, partner or family member assault, disorderly conduct, misdemeanor assault, eluding a peace officer, misdemeanor theft, DUI and other traffic convictions. He has been convicted of some of those offenses multiple times.

“We’re extremely fortunate in this case that nobody was hurt. This could have been a tragedy,” the chief said. “The police department and all law enforcement in Yellowstone County worked very hard in this area, and we’ve had great successes to this point. Obviously, more work needs to be done, and we will remain vigilant with our efforts.”






SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. —Police said drug deals were being made across the street from two Shepherdsville schools.

Detectives said 46-year-old Susan Johnson was selling methamphetamine from her home.

Shepherdsville Elementary School is across West Blue Lick Road from from Johnson’s home, and next door to that is Bullitt Lick Middle School.

“I have three children that do go to Shepherdsville Elementary and it is very upsetting and scary,” said neighbor Tesa Mudd.

Parents said the neighborhood is a place where kids play and learn, not where they expect drug deals.

Police said early Thursday morning Johnson, a convicted felon, sold meth to Eric Coots and Frankie French. French was wanted for robbery.

“There was a child in the home at the time and Mrs. Johnson was also charged with endangering the welfare of a minor,” said Shepherdsville police Sgt. Michael O’Donnell.

Concerned parents said Johnson’s son and grandchild lived with her.

“It’s ridiculous. When you have an infant child like that you are supposed to protect them, not put them in danger,” said Mudd.

Police said after the drug deal the two men were pulled over for a traffic violation a block from Johnson’s home, where they gave her up.

Hours later, she was arrested.

Police said they found a gun along with a surveillance system, drug paraphernalia and 23 grams of meth in her house.

“I would say this is a significant amount of meth for our area. There are larger busts that happen. It is roughly $1,500 in street value worth of meth taken off the street last night,” said O’Donnell.

“I hope she stays put up, learns her lesson and don’t get out anytime soon,” said concerned parent Jamika Owens.

Johnson is being held in the Bullitt County Jail.

Johnson is facing several charges, including trafficking in a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and endangering the welfare of a child.


(Shoshoni, Wyo.) – Following a serious crash in early May, the Wyoming Highway Patrol discovered more than 20 grams of methamphetamine in one of the vehicles. The driver of a Toyota Rav4 with Idaho plates collided with a semi-truck on May 7 just north of Shoshoni on Highway 20.

Roark Leon Fairchild, 49, has been charged with Felony Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Deliver. If convicted of both charges, Fairchild faces a maximum combined penalty of 27 years in prison and/or up to $40,000 in fines.


According to the affidavit filed in the case, WHP Trooper Henry reportedly observed several items related to controlled substance distribution along with small jewelers baggies with a powdery residue inside while firefighters were extricating Fairchild. That residue tested presumptive positive for methamphetamine.

After Fairchild was extricated, loose cash and baggies containing a “crystal rock substance” that tested presumptive positive for meth were found. In an additional search of the vehicle, a handgun, digital scale and baggies were located. A total weight of the methamphetamine found in the vehicle was 20.7 grams, according to the affidavit.

Bond information and a photo were not readily available.






 NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – A shipment to a Nashville FedEx store has landed two people in jail.


Police say a package containing 5.5 pounds of crystal methamphetamine was sent from California to the store on West End Avenue.

Officials said the seizure is one of the largest to be intercepted by Nashville police in recent years.

Police received information that the package would be arriving and set up surveillance to catch whoever picked it up.

Jeffrey Grammer, 49, allegedly accepted the package on Wednesday and then got into an SUV with 35-year-old Deanna Conners, who was driving.

Police stopped the vehicle a short time later and said they also found $12,612 in cash and a black bag containing red phosphorous, which is used to make meth. They say small bags containing meth residue were also found inside the vehicle.

Both Grammer and Conners are each charged with possession of meth for resale, conspiracy to distribute meth and promotion of meth manufacture. They are each being held on a $257,000 bond.






FedEx charged with assisting illegal pharmacies

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Federal authorities on Thursday charged FedEx with assisting illegal pharmacies by knowingly delivering painkillers and other dangerous drugs to customers without prescriptions.

The indictment was filed in federal court in San Francisco, and the Department of Justice announced the charges in Washington, D.C. The indictment alleges that FedEx Corp. conspired with two related online pharmacies for 10 years ending in 2010.


The Memphis, Tennessee-based delivery company is accused of shipping powerful sleeping aid Ambien, anti-anxiety medications Valium and Xanax, and other drugs to customers who had no legitimate medical need and lacked valid prescriptions.

FedEx insists it did nothing wrong.

“We will plead not guilty. We will defend against this attack on the integrity and good name of FedEx and its employees,” company spokesman Patrick Fitzgerald said in a written statement.

FedEx first disclosed the federal investigation in a regulatory filing in November 2012. The company said at that time it had done nothing wrong and intended to fight any charges.

Rival shipping company UPS Inc. paid $40 million last year to resolve similar allegations, and the Atlanta-based company said it would “take steps” to block illicit online drug dealers from using its delivery service.

Both companies said in regulatory filings that they were served with grand jury subpoenas between 2007 and 2009

The investigation of the country’s two largest shippers stems from a blitz against online pharmacies that was launched in 2005 in San Francisco. Since then, dozens of arrests have been made, thousands of websites shuttered, and tens of millions of dollars and pills seized worldwide as investigators continue to broaden the probe beyond the operators.

Google Inc. agreed to pay $500 million to settle allegations by the Justice Department that it profited from ads for illegal online pharmacies.

A federal jury in 2012 convicted three men of operating illegal pharmacies that used FedEx and UPS to deliver drugs without proper prescriptions. Seven others were convicted in San Francisco previously.






MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Police have busted an alleged meth lab in a place where it may not be expected – on a quiet street in an upscale Westchester County neighborhood.

Police said there was something cooking at the home at 24 Red Oak Lane in Mount Kisco. They charged homeowner Peter Russell, an accountant, with manufacturing crystal methamphetamine.

peter russell

Even police were surprised.

“It’s very unusual,” said New Castle police Detective Sgt. James Wilson. “It’s not something we’ve seen before.”

“It’s upsetting,” said Alex Bosella, of Golden’s Bridge.

Police have not said what led them to the discovery, but a source told CBS 2 the suspect was having marital problems and may have been turned in by his wife. Wherever the tip came from, officers who served the search warrant Saturday said they knew something was up the moment they hit the door.

“The house has an odor to it,” Wilson said. “It was very dangerous. You’re dealing with chemicals that are very unstable.”

And with the suspect being a 64-year-old husband and father, neighbors wondered if it was a case of life imitating art.

“You know, you have a certain expectancy of someone of that age, that he’s home with, you know, his grandkids or his wife, and the idea that there’s a meth lab in the basement or in his house is just, it’s interesting,” said Grace Molina, of Mount Kisco, adding that it all reminded her of the hit TV series “Breaking Bad.”

Police said there is no evidence that Russell is quite like Bryan Cranston’s Walter White character – also a meth cook – but it did fire the imagination. Some suggested it was not difficult to comprehend such things happening in the neighborhood.

“I think no matter what area you’re in or what demographic, people try to make a quick buck,” said Oren Shapiro of Chappaqua.

Meanwhile, the state will be trying to be making the case without the drug. No product was found – only the fiixngs and the lab equipment.

Russell was free on $5,000 bail, and was set to face a judge Thursday night.




PROVO, Utah — A man accused in what police say was a contract killing in Provo is accepting a plea deal.

The Daily Herald of Provo ( ) reports that 41-year-old Darrell Morris pleaded guilty this week to manslaughter, obstructing justice and possession of a weapon by a prohibited person.

He was sentenced to up to 15 years in jail. Morris’ attorney Neil Skousen says his client took the deal so he can get out of prison before he dies.

Morris and Danny Leroy Logue are accused of killing Andy Purcell in May 2011. Authorities say the two killed Purcell at the order of Yuri Laga, who paid them with methamphetamine.

Lara pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2012. Logue’s trial is set to begin in August.



 little noticed round-up of meth dealers in western Nebraska last year spun into a major on-going investigation resulting in dozens of arrests providing law enforcement with an insider’s view of a significant trafficking organization.

In August 2013 federal law enforcement officials reported the arrest of 17 people linked to a single organization importing and selling meth in western Nebraska and northeast Colorado. Most of the accused lived in or around Ogallala and Big Springs, Nebraska. A dozen more people have been charged with having ties to the same group of dealers, according to officials familiar with the investigation.


Investigators dubbed the investigation “Operation Mexican Seafood.” Court documents reviewed by NET News indicate the boss of the local operation lived on a small ranch five miles outside of Big Springs, Nebraska and had meth supplied by large, illegal manufacturers in Mexico.

“It was a huge deal,” Scotts Bluff County Sheriff Mark Overman said. He says it was not only the size of the operation but the unmatched quality of the methamphetamine being imported. In the past two years informants and undercover officers purchased meth which is up to 95 percent pure, according to investigators.

Sheriff Overman says getting such high-quality drugs from street dealers indicates “the folks who are manufacturing it are really good at manufacturing it.” Since it would be almost impossible for small, local meth lab to deliver such pure meth he believes “you are probably looking at a major meth lab, a super-lab.”


meth seized

Meth seized by a Lancaster County Sheriff Deputy. (Courtesy Photo)

The operation targeted in Operation Mexican Seafood shed some light into how the drug travels from labs in Mexico to dealers in rural Nebraska. The investigation had humble beginnings.

“That all started, believe it or not, with a Colorado marijuana buy,” according to Dana Korell, supervisor of the Scottsbluff-based Western Nebraska Intelligence and Narcotics Group (WING).

The investigators soon learned the drug deals stretched eastward, into the territory of the Central Nebraska Cooperative for Drug Enforcement, a second police task force based in North Platte. Both played a role in investigating the operation.



Implicated in Ogallala, Nebraska meth sales: (L-R) Linda Breese, Beth Donner, Bobby Griffin, Kirsten Griffin, Chris Hackbart, Jacklynn Walker. (Photo courtesy of Keith County Jail)

In 2012 an informant working for the drug investigation task forces bought pot from a pair of suspects. Caught in a police sting, the busted dealers told police “they wanted to go to work” and provide information about other dealers in the area. The case continued to expand as additional deals yielded new intelligence.

“That morphed into this giant methamphetamine case,” Korell said. As the investigation unfolded through 2013, officers marveled at the amounts of the illegal drug available from the dealers. “They were moving pounds. Pounds and pounds of methamphetamine,” he said.

At the height of the investigation 13 different local and federal law enforcement agencies tracked down leads and rounded up suspects.

Court records examined by NET News indicate informants and electronic surveillance uncovered a methamphetamine sales network stretching from northeast Colorado almost 200 miles east to North Platte, Nebraska. Police tracked money transfers funneling the money back to Mexico delivered by wire and personal couriers.

“I don’t think anybody had any idea the size and the quantity of the methamphetamine that was going through the Ogallala-Big Springs area,” Korell said.

Some of the drugs were allegedly distributed out of a small ranch five miles east of Big Springs. One informant, a street dealer out of Colorado, told State Patrol investigators he sold $3,000 worth of crystal meth picked up at the house. He identified Andres Barraza as “the boss.” Court documents list Barraza’s alias as “Guacho.” Loosely translated from Spanish it means “The Bastard.”

In June, Barraza pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Omaha to federal charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced to ten years in prison.

Nine others in the organization have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from 12 to 60 years in federal prison. Some sported long criminal records. Others were low-level dealers in Ogallala, linked by high school friendships and jobs at local fast food restaurants.

The busts apparently provided area law enforcement with a map of how incredibly pure meth made its way from the Mexican border to western Nebraska.

“Their distribution network is like, you think of it as tentacles of the octopus spreading out across the United States,” said Deb Gilg, the U.S. Attorney serving the State of Nebraska.  “The influence of the Mexican cartels cannot be underestimated in terms of their sophistication, their network in bringing methamphetamine into Nebraska.”

Investigators are not saying if they have traced where specifically the high-grade methamphetamine originated, or which of the cartels might be the manufacturer, other than saying there is evidence it originated in Mexico.

Reports prepared by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in the Rocky Mountain and Midwest territories link the source of huge amounts of the methamphetamine sold in the region back to Mexico’s northwest coast in the Sinaloa province. Sinaloa had been the home base of the drug cartel operated by Joaquin Guzman Loera, known as “El Chapo.” His arrest in Mazatlán earlier this year created international headlines and was considered a major blow to the drug trade in Mexico.

Five years ago, law enforcement saw a significant drop in the number of people in Nebraska attempting to make inexpensive home-brew meth. Pseudoephedrine, a popular ingredient in cold medicines and available at drugstores, was distilled as an element in meth.   A change in state law placed tight restrictions on the key ingredient used in small operations. Almost immediately south-of-the-border drug gangs began expanding sophisticated labs to make meth.

“What’s happened is the distribution network of the cartels have picked up and filled the void with meth coming in,” Gilg said. “It is frustrating to see the amount of drugs that are coming into Nebraska.”

From 2007-2012 statistics compiled by the Nebraska State Crime Commission reveal a significant increase in the number of drug arrests involving methamphetamine while cases involving heroin and cocaine dropped significantly. In 2013 there were 46 federal indictments filed on meth-related charges in the U.S. District Court of Nebraska. These are generally people accused of being part of an organization selling large quantities. Half of those arrests were made by the regional drug task force based out of North Platte. Some were also weapons charges filed against those involved in the drug trade.

Local law enforcement officials regard meth as the biggest crime problem in the area. In a survey conducted by NET News at the end of 2013, a sizable majority of county attorneys and sheriffs surveyed agreed meth was “the greatest threat.”

“It causes the most problems and by far the most violence,” Sheriff Overman said. “There’s a lot of associated crime. Theft, robbery, burglaries, and that creates the money to buy the methamphetamine.”

More meth dealers and suppliers working out of Nebraska and Colorado could be picked up based on intelligence collected during Operation Mexican Seafood. Law enforcement hopes it could also land bigger fish, including those operating one of the super-labs across the border churning out the high-grade meth flooding the market in the Great Plains.




Three people were arrested on drug and gun charges at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel Wednesday night after police found a revolver, more than $15,000 in cash, 94.3 grams of methamphetamine and an assortment of other drugs in a pair of rooms on the second floor.


Nicholas Longstreet, who turned 36 the day of the arrest, Toni Bedwell, 25, and Megan Avans, 30, were each arrested and are scheduled to appear in Hamilton County General Sessions Court Tuesday.

According to an arrest affidavit, police executed a search warrant at room 203 and found the three inside with $15,766 in cash, the methamphetamine, approximately eight grams of marijuana, miscellaneous drug paraphernalia, ammunition, unknown pills, credit cards, gift cards and a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver.

In room 222 officers found a black safe box with approximately 19 unknown pills, marijuana, scales, syringes, baggies, rolling papers and one small glass jar with a liquid that police believed to be morphine, according to the affidavit.

All three are at the Hamilton County Jail. Avans is being held without bond, Longstreet on a $150,000 bond and Bedwell with a $40,000 bond.



Fort Smith man known to some as “Weenie” and his girlfriend remain jailed on drug charges after they were arrested with about seven pounds of methamphetamine and made an initial appearance in federal court.

William Joseph Alexander, 32, also known by the aliases “Weenie,” Sobee” and “Pitbull,” and his girlfriend, Rosa Sharon, 49, are both charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in U.S. District Court in Fort Smith.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and Fort Smith Police began investigating Alexander after a “confidential source” told them Alexander was a methamphetamine supplier in Fort Smith, according to an arrest warrant affidavit, and Sharon was present during most transactions the source made with Alexander.

The confidential source told authorities he or she purchased 1 to 2 ounces of methamphetamine three or four times a week from Alexander from mid-September 2013 until mid-October 2013, when the source started purchasing 4 to 8 ounces once or twice a week for the next month. The most methamphetamine the confidential source ever saw at once in Alexander and Sharon’s home was 2 pounds.

The confidential source told investigators someone named “Oscar” might be the couple’s source for methamphetamine, according to the affidavit.

Oscar Giovanni Mejia-Veliz of Oklahoma City was indicted in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City on multiple drug charges in April, after DEA agents arrested him with more than 30 pounds of methamphetamine. A cell phone recovered from Mejia-Veliz showed he and Alexander communicated 86 times between March 1 and March 28, according to the affidavit.

Mejia-Veliz pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to possess methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine on June 27, and awaits sentencing, according to the court docket.

In November, a “source of information” told investigators they picked up methamphetamine in Oklahoma for Alexander and heard Sharon speaking on the phone with the couple’s supplier. Another source told investigators they witnessed Sharon counting stacks of money at the couple’s residence, according to the affidavit.

After making a controlled buy from the Alexanders, DEA agents followed the couple from a location in Oklahoma to Fort Smith, where a Fort Smith police officer made a traffic stop and the vehicle was searched, yielding about seven pounds of methamphetamine, according to the affidavit. A subsequent search of the home revealed about 5 grams of methamphetamine, packaging material, scales and firearms.

Alexander admitted selling methamphetamine and receiving multiple pounds of the drug, according to the affidavit.

Sharon’s son, Ray Heredia, 20, was sitting in a vehicle outside the home, where he lived with Alexander and Sharon, when the search warrant was executed and was arrested on suspicion of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Heredia subsequently was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and misdemeanor possession of marijuana in Sebastian County Circuit Court and is scheduled for arraignment Wednesday.




WAYCROSS, Georgia — Federal prosecutors say a former deputy sheriff has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison for protecting drug dealers.

Authorities say former Pierce County deputy sheriff Randy Strickland was sentenced to 93 months in prison Wednesday in federal court.

Prosecutors say 55-year-old Strickland agreed to act as a lookout for people he believed were dealing meth. Authorities say this took place while Strickland was armed, in uniform and riding in his sheriff’s department vehicle.

Strickland was caught in a sting involving a confidential informant who was being monitored by federal agents.

Authorities say Strickland asked the informant to pay him $100 for security, and to leave the money in a potato chip bag on the side of the road.









 Glenpool, Okla. — A woman wanted for meth out of Arkansas led officers to a drug home near Glenpool Public Schools on Tuesday.

Police say they tracked down Elizabeth Lee for warrants and she quickly turned on two other people.

Lee told officers she had taken Destiny Samuels and Steven Delcoure to pick up meth the previous day.  She also said both suspects had guns and surveillance equipment inside their home.

Officers obtained a search warrant and went to the house near East 141st and South Elwood.

Once inside, Samuels told officers they weren’t going to find any drugs inside the home.  It turned out, she wasn’t completely lying.


Instead, officers did recover guns, paraphernalia, and surveillance equipment.  No meth was found inside the house.

Both suspects were then taken into custody on paraphernalia counts.

After booking both suspects, officers did find meth.  Samuels was hiding four grams of meth inside her bra.



TAHLEQUAH — Investigators say the two men who led police on two high-speed pursuits and crashed into a truck Monday started making a small methamphetamine lab inside Wal-Mart before one of them allegedly robbed the retailer with stolen knives.

The two men are identified as 25-year-old Jack L. Weems, who was released from state prison last week; and 29-year-old Justin L. Ramsey.

Authorities said Weems was driving a car that fled from Wal-Mart and led Tahlequah police on one short pursuit, before county and state officers spotted the car and initiated a second pursuit.

Weems crashed into a truck and trailer on U.S. Highway 62 south and tried to flee from officers, as did Ramsey, a passenger, police said. Both were apprehended, and Weems was taken to a local hospital to be treated for injuries sustained in the crash before he was booked into the Cherokee County Detention Center.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is investigating the collision, and had not released a report on the incident as of press time Tuesday. Names of those who were in the truck have not been released, though police confirmed one man was taken from the scene by ambulance.

Investigators removed an active meth lab from the trunk of the car Weems was driving Monday.

According to authorities, Weems and Ramsey entered Wal-Mart along with three other people. They took with them a soda bottle, and according to one of the suspects, filled it with Coleman fuel inside the store. A woman in the group bought pseudoephedrine from the pharmacy.

Police said Weems later took knives from Wal-Mart and used them to rob the store of cold packs, which had been placed behind a counter that Weems jumped over. Investigators said cold packs are an ingredient used in the manufacture of meth.

When employees confronted Weems, he allegedly brandished a knife toward a manager before he and Ramsey fled in the car, leaving behind the other three from the group.

As authorities investigated at the scene of the crash Monday afternoon, a woman who had entered Wal-Mart with Weems and Ramsey reported her car stolen.

Weems is being held on accusations of causing an injury collision while attempting to elude, robbery by force and fear, felony eluding, failure to stop at a stop light and stop sign, no driver’s license, driving under the influence, and failure to stop at a felony roadblock.

Ramsey is held on charges of larceny of merchandise from a retailer, public intoxication and endeavoring to manufacture methamphetamine.

Authorities said the two men could face additional charges as three agencies – the Tahlequah Police Department, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, and OHP – continue the investigation.

Bonds had not been set for the men as of Tuesday, booking records show.




BAYOU LA BATRE, Ala. (WALA) – A homeowner told FOX10 News he was doing a man a favor, but ended up having his home destroyed, because the man allegedly had multiple meth labs in his home.

FOX10 News caught up exclusively with the landlord of the home where officers found multiple meth labs.

While 30-year-old David Spain was allegedly cooking meth, he was sitting on his phone and pocket-dialed 911, according to police.

Police said Monday, July 14, they got a 911 call, but no one was speaking on the other line. So, as per protocol, police traced the call and responded to a quiet neighborhood off of Highway 188.

When police got on scene, they said Spain was outside the home, and quickly ran inside. It then took Spain several minutes to answer the door. Police said once Spain opened the door, there was a strong chemical smell coming from inside the house.

Police said they also noticed dark soot covering all of the walls of the house, and that’s what alerted them to something suspicious. That’s when police searched the home and said they found five “shake and bake” meth labs inside.

To protect his identity, we are referring to the homeowner only as Rick. Rick told FOX10 he was appalled to find out what happened.

“Just devastated, shocked, I’d never seen such a mess,” he recalled.

The homeowner knew Spain for some 20 years, and he allowed Spain to live at his home rent-free as a favor.

“I let this young man, come in rent free, he didn’t have (to pay) rent, because he didn’t have a place to stay,” Rick explained, “And if I had any idea that he would have been doing this kind of stuff in here, he wouldn’t have been here.”

The homeowner said he believes Spain accidentally started a fire there, fueled by the dangerous chemicals used to make the meth. Now Rick’s home is covered in soot and fire damage, leaving his sentimental vacation home with costly repairs.

“My dad and I bought it together, and he’s deceased now, but I just keep it for my sister and my kids to come down once a year, but I don’t rent it out to people,” he said, “It’s upsetting you know, trying to help somebody, and this is what you get, you know.”

Police said they do not suspect Spain was dealing meth, but rather cooking it for his personal use.

He’s charged with manufacturing meth, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia.




Because several drugstore chains in West Virginia have stopped stocking specific cold medications that fuel methamphetamine labs, meth cooks are now buying related medicines that haven’t been restricted, a Kanawha County drug task force heard Wednesday.

Nearly 75 percent of people recently arrested on meth lab charges purchased cold medicines, such as Claritin-D and Advil-D, that combine a key meth-making ingredient called pseudoephedrine with other allergy-fighting or headache-relief ingredients, according to a preliminary analysis by the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy.

Over the past year, Fruth Pharmacy, Rite Aid, Walgreens and CVS have stopped selling cold medicines, such as Sudafed 12 Hour, that contain pseudoephedrine as their only active ingredient. But the pharmacies still sell multi-symptom versions of the cold pills.

“Perhaps what you’re starting to see is the effect of eliminating the single-ingredient product and now those purchasers are having to fall back to a secondary choice, which is not their optimal choice,” said Fruth Pharmacy President Lynn Fruth, who sits on the Kanawha County Commission Substance Abuse Task Force. “If the product is not available, the sales are going to go somewhere.”

Carlos Gutierrez, a lobbyist for drug makers, said taking away single-ingredient pseudoephedrine products wouldn’t stop meth cooks. Instead, Gutierrez suggested the state set up a meth-offender registry that would block people convicted of meth-related crimes from buying pseudoephedrine in all forms.

“The [U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration] has said from the very beginning that if you take away single-ingredient, it can and will and is proven that they’ll use other products whether it’s harder [to make meth] or not,” said Gutierrez, a task force member.

Fruth recommended that the state pharmacy board investigate what pseudoephedrine brands meth cooks were buying before the drugstore chains stopped carrying cold medications that have pseudoephedrine as their sole ingredient.

Overall pseudoephedrine sales in West Virginia have dropped about 30 percent since the pharmacies stopped carrying Sudafed and its store-brand generic equivalents.

Meth lab seizures also have dropped. Police have busted 207 meth labs so far this year in West Virginia. In 2013, officers seized 530 labs, a record number.

re making some headway.”

Dr. Dan Foster, who heads the task force, said meth cooks seek out the cheapest pseudoephedrine products. Single-ingredient brands are typically less expensive.

“Their first choice is the single-ingredient, but they will go with whatever they can make the most meth from at the cheapest price,” he said.

Several task force members said meth labs would disappear in West Virginia and other states if major drug manufacturers sold only “tamper-resistant” pseudoephedrine products that couldn’t be converted to meth.

Drugstores now sell two such medications, Zephrex-D and Nexafed, which have pseudoephedrine as their only active ingredient. Both products are manufactured by small firms with limited advertising budgets.

The major drug makers have balked at selling cold pills that can’t be made into meth.

“If we force the industry to make these products tamper resistant, we won’t have to worry about meth labs,” said Lt. Chad Napier, a Charleston police officer who serves on the task force. “The technology is there, but they’re not going to do it. It’s about greed, money.”

Gutierrez, a lobbyist for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, said the drug companies he represents have “tried for years” to develop pseudoephedrine pills that can’t be converted to meth.

“I can’t speak for each individual company, but I know they have spent millions of dollars trying to do it in the past, and it’s just never worked,” Gutierrez said. “They could be trying to do it as we speak. I just don’t know that.”