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BRIMFIELD, Ohio — A man faces several charges after police found what appeared to be a meth lab in the bushes outside of his apartment.

Tallmadge police went to the man’s Brimfield apartment in the 2800 block of Mogadore Road Friday to talk to the suspect. When they arrived, they found items in the bushes that led them to believe it was a meth lab.

They contacted Brimfield police, and they along with members of the drug lab team, recovered a complete meth lab, ingredients for other meth labs and several chemicals.

Police believe the suspect had been cooking in the apartment and then disposing of leftover chemicals and containers by dropping them out his window in to the yard.

The man was arrested on charges of manufacturing meth and chemicals for the manufacture of meth.

Police say a child was living in the apartment next door to the suspect.



Late last night, Fort Walton Beach police rushed to what they say was an active methamphetamine lab.
They found it in an apartment on Gipson Place.

People who live within a one-block radius of the Gipson Inn were forced to leave their homes while hazmat teams removed the dangerous chemicals.
One man has been arrested and his girlfriend was taken to the hospital.

We’ll have more on this story as it becomes available.FWB meth lab bust



The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department said it arrested eight people early Friday as part of ongoing investigations into the manufacture of methamphetamine in the county.

Willie Boyer, 31, of Niota and Jared Schiedel, 27, of Donnellson were taken into custody on federal arrest warrants.  Boyer was arrested at his home while Schiedel was arrested at a home in Fort Madison and brought back to Hancock County.

Each is charged with Conspiracy to Manufacture Methamphetamine.  They were arrested on no bond warrants and are scheduled to appear in court on Monday, April 7.

Another person was arrested after a search warrant was served in Niota. Rodney Monroe, 37, of Niota is charged with Possession of Methamphetamine Manufacturing Material.

Five others were arrested after a search warrant was executed in LaHarpe. Melissa Squire, 37, of LaHarpe; Shane Taft, 28, of LaHarpe; William Carey, 23, of Mount Sterling; Brian Slowick, 42, of Nauvoo; and Tim Fye, 40, of LaHarpe, are each charged with Participation of Methamphetamine Manufacturing.

The sheriff’s department said an active meth lab was found in the house in LaHarpe.

The department said 15 other agencies assisted in the investigation, and it anticipated making more arrests.




A Cloverport woman was arrested on multiple drug charges after a traffic stop at 6:51 p.m. Friday, April 4 in the Duke Community of Hancock County.


According to a Kentucky State Police report, Trooper James Gaither stopped Carrie May, 34, for an improper vehicle equipment violation as she was driving a 2004 Toyota Corolla. An investigation at the scene revealed that May was in possession of methamphetamine, meth precursors, prescription medications and drug paraphernalia.

During the course of the investigation, May admitted to selling her prescription pseudoephedrine pills for profit to a subject, who had intent to unlawfully manufacture methamphetamine. May was arrested at the scene and lodged in the Breckinridge County Detention Center.

She was charged with possession of a controlled substance, first degree, first offense/meth; unlawful distribution of meth precursor, first offense; drug paraphernalia buy/possess; possession of a controlled substance, third degree, drug unspecified; improper equipment; and, failure to produce insurance card.

KSP was assisted at the scene by the Cannelton Police Department’s K-9 Unit.




ALBEMARLE, N.C. — SBI agents spent hours cleaning up a meth lab that exploded at an Albemarle motel, shattering windows and forcing an evacuation.

“Police started knocking on the door and said everybody had to be evacuated,” motel guest CC told Eyewitness News.

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Police said the explosion happened around 3:30 Friday morning at the Lion Inn on Highway 52 and blew a hole in the suspect’s mattress.

Investigators said he suffered minor burns when he tried to extinguish the flames.

“[We found] what appeared to be meth lab materials; cut lithium batteries, acid, Drano,” said Chief William Halliburton.

Guests were kept out of their rooms for hours.

“What we were concerned about was the ventilation system,” Halliburton said.

Detectives spent hours interviewing the suspect, who declined medical treatment, and said he will face multiple charges.





A registered violent offender pleaded guilty in court Friday to charges that he had meth and exposed himself to children and volunteers at a downtown church on Dec. 28.

Ronald Fermin Mascarena, 43, appeared in Yellowstone County District Court before Judge Ingrid Gustafson and pleaded guilty to a felony drug possession charge and misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure and resisting arrest.


Police arrested Mascarena after responding to a disturbance a little after 1 a.m. Dec. 28 at First Congregational Church, 310 N. 27th St.

An officer found a man, later identified as Mascarena, who was attempting to pull up his unzipped and unbuckled pants outside the church, according to charging documents.

The man struggled with officers when they tried to handcuff him, police said.

During the struggle, Mascarena’s knit cap fell off. An officer reported finding in the cap a glass pipe with crystalline residue that later tested positive for methamphetamine.

After the incident, police interviewed several adults who were at the church supervising children during an overnight Bible study. One chaperone told police that the children had seen a man with his pants around his ankles outside the church and that the man was using profanity and talking about using meth.

Mascarena is registered as a violent offender in Yellowstone County for a 1999 felony partner or family member assault.

His sentencing is scheduled for June 6.



Investigators believe a 36-year-old Williamsburg man accused of manufacturing meth in a second-floor apartment on Virginia Avenue near the College of William & Mary did so above a residence where two young children live.


Tyson Keala Hanna was arrested Wednesday after officers from the Williamsburg Police Department and Virginia State Police executed a search warrant on his apartment. The Williamsburg Police Department began investigating Hanna after receiving an anonymous tip in mid-March that meth was being cooked in the apartment.

After receiving the tip, investigators checked the National Precursor Log Exchange, a database used by 24 states — including Virginia — to track sales of over-the-counter cold medication commonly used in the manufacturing of meth. That database showed Hanna and his mother had purchased pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in meth, about 20 times since October, according to a criminal complaint filed against Hanna in Williamsburg-James City County District Court.

On March 24, investigators searched trash belonging to Hanna’s apartment. They found a broken glass tube resembling a broken beaker with scorch marks and residue. That information was used to secure a search warrant for the residence, according to the complaint.

During the search of the residence, officers found three clear bottles containing a dried sludge, indicative of one method of manufacturing meth, according to the complaint. They also found empty blister packs that contained 116 tablets of pseudoephedrine, a broken light bulb containing residue, several pieces of aluminum foil with scorch marks on one side and residue on the other, four empty bottles of charcoal fluid, four empty bottles of zippo style liter fluid, and a cut-open cold pack with the contents emptied out.


“Based on the information provided to me by trained and experienced narcotics law enforcement officers these items together are indicative of the manufacturing of methamphetamine, and the use of the narcotic,” according to the complaint.

The apartment where Hanna lives with his mother is located on the 200 block of Virginia Avenue, which runs between Richmond Road and Lafayette Street near William & Mary. The presence of the meth manufacturing did not require the evacuation of any nearby residents. 

Maj. Greg Riley of the Williamsburg Police Department said Friday that Hanna’s mother will not be charged in connection to the alleged manufacturing. Hanna faces one felony count of manufacturing of methamphetamine, which carries a sentence between five and 40 years of prison should he be convicted.

Riley said Wednesday that at this time, there is no indication anyone else will be charged in connection to the alleged manufacturing.

Hanna remains in custody at the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A 26-year-old Ohio woman was arrested in Davidson County Friday, on charges of manufacturing meth.

Officials with the Metro Nashville Police Department said Jessica Nichole Bennett was arrested inside her room at a hotel on Elm Hill Pike in Nashville.

Jessica Nichole

Police said someone visited Bennett’s room earlier in the morning and found signs of drug use. The person immediately notified police.

Bennett was charged with manufacturing meth and possession of drug paraphernalia after investigators said chemicals and syringes were found inside her room.

According to detectives, a mason jar containing an unknown liquid was also found inside the room, along with a guitar case filled with items used to make meth.

She has been held in lieu of $30,000 bond.




EL DORADO — A state agency that investigates child abuse failed to protect an 18-month-old girl who was living in a known south-central Kansas meth house when she suffered fatal injuries, the girl’s father claims in a lawsuit filed against the Department for Children and Families.

Jayla Haag’s injuries included brain swelling, bleeding around her eyes, teeth that had been forcibly removed and damage to her jaw line, The Wichita Eagle ( ) reported. The girl tested positive for methamphetamine and amphetamines at birth and as she lay dying in late March 2012.

“DCF was informed that Jayla was being abused and did nothing to protect her,” the lawsuit says. “The only action it took concerning Jayla was to cash the child support payments” from her father. In effect, the state gave financial and medical help to the girl’s mother, Alyssa Haag, allowing her “to continue her meth habit and the abuse of her daughter. The DCF social worker knew that Jayla was living in a meth house.”

The lawsuit says that calls about Jayla to the DCF hotline “were ignored

DCF spokeswoman Theresa Freed said Thursday that the agency has received a copy of the lawsuit petition and it is being reviewed, but she couldn’t comment on the suit because it is pending litigation.

Wichita lawyer Randy Rathbun, a former U.S. attorney, filed the lawsuit on March 20 in Sedgwick County District Court against DCF, known at the time of Jayla’s death as SRS, on behalf of Jayla’s father, Steven T. Watters.

Rathbun also has a pending federal lawsuit against an SRS social worker over another child abuse death.

The state agency ignored previous warning signs, including Haag “already had one child taken from her for abuse and neglect” before Jayla was born, the lawsuit claims, adding that Haag used drugs while pregnant with the girl.

Jayla was living with her mother and her mother’s boyfriend, Justin Edwards, at a duplex in El Dorado at the time of her death. Both adults “were heavy users of meth,” the lawsuit said.

Haag, 24, was sentenced for involuntary manslaughter-reckless and is serving time in a Topeka prison, with an earliest possible release date in March 2015.

A Butler County judge dismissed a first-degree murder charge against Edwards in September 2012 because Jayla’s autopsy had not been completed. Butler County prosecutor Darrin Devinney said at the time that a murder charge could be refiled after he received a completed autopsy report.

The autopsy found that the cause of the death was complications of blunt-force injuries of the head, and that the manner of death was homicide, but no murder charge has been refiled.

Edwards, 30, is in prison after being convicted of drug crimes from a 2011 case.

The lawsuit seeks “in excess of $75,000 plus his costs” and any other relief the court might think is just.




HORSHAM, Pa. –  There was a shocking discovery Friday inside a Montgomery County hotel.

Police serving a warrant at the Days Inn in Horsham find a possible meth lab.


Police were there looking for 30-year-old Gary Long, who was staying in room 333 at the hotel on the 200 block of Easton Road. When they arrived, they say he jumped out the third-story window and ran off into the woods.

The say he left behind the hazardous materials that could be used to manufacture drugs. He remains on the loose.

Hotel guest Don Kozlowsky described the chaotic scene by saying, “We were trying to pull back into the lot, and they sat us next door and said, ‘Here, go, have a seat and we’ll give you updates.’ Nobody explained to use exactly what happened.”

Guests on all the floors except the third were allowed to return to their rooms Friday evening.

Pennsylvania State Police are handling the investigation.



UpdateHORSHAM, Pa. (AP) — Police are searching for a man who was allegedly operating a makeshift methamphetamine lab in a suburban motel room, forcing the evacuation of some guests.

The Bucks County Courier Times ( ) reports that 30-year-old Gary Long on Friday afternoon jumped from a third-floor Days Inn window in Horsham to escape police. That’s about 20 miles north of Philadelphia.

Authorities say they were seeking to serve Long with criminal warrants at about 1 p.m.

About three dozen guests sheltered in a nearby restaurant as a state police drug-lab team checked the hotel. Most were allowed to return to their rooms a little before 5 p.m.

Hotel manager Joanne Zapata says she’s thankful police stepped in to address the situation.





Police and K-9 units were still searching the area around the Days Inn Hotel in Horsham around 4 p.m. today, April 4, after responding to a report of a meth lab allegedly discovered in a room at the hotel. Horsham police had gone to the hotel to serve a warrant on a man, identified by police as Gary Long, who was staying in the room with the suspected meth lab at the hotel and managed to escape, police said.

The meth lab was allegedly discovered at a Days Inn Hotel in Horsham around 2 p.m. April 4, according to a Breaking News Network alert.


Horsham Lt. Jon Clark said at the scene police were at the hotel at 245 Easton Road to serve a Bucks County warrant he believed was for a theft charge on Long. They thought they would just go in, get him and bring him out, Clark said, but when officers went to serve the warrant, Long, who was staying in room 333 since approximately Monday, slid a window open and jumped from a third-floor window onto a mulch pile as a detective entered the room, he said. The man believed to be Long then ran off and was now the subject of a manhunt, he said.

Shane Heser, 27, a resident of Pine Avenue, which is located behind the hotel, said he had gone outside to have a cigarette when he saw a white man with dark hair who looked disheveled run by him into a landscaped buffer area behind the hotel.

After the detective entered the room, he noticed “something unsafe” was in the room and a hazardous materials crew and a state police meth lab team were sent to the hotel and were inside, Clark said.

The hotel was evacuated until the area was deemed safe, with about 25 guests sent to Otto’s Restaurant next door to the hotel to await being allowed back inside the Days Inn. After about two and a half hours, around 4:45 p.m., guests were allowed back inside, except for the third floor, Clark said.

A 25-year-old woman who was staying at the hotel said housekeeping had knocked on the door and told them to evacuate. The woman said they were scared, as they didn’t know what was going on.

Hazardous materials that appeared to have been the type to manufacture and sell the drug were found inside the room, Clark said.

Police believe a woman was possibly with Long, but she was not at the scene when police arrived.

The state police and Montgomery County District Attorney’s office were involved in the investigation and the Montgomery County Mobile Command Center was at the scene, along with police, fire and ambulance personnel from Horsham and Hatboro.

Police are awaiting a search warrant to go in and retrieve the chemicals.




AYETTEVILLE, OhioPolice said they discovered a meth lab at Lake Lorelei in Fayetteville, Ohio, on Wednesday.

Sheriff Dwayne Wenninger said the Brown County Sheriff’s Office Investigative Unit and Narcotic Unit received a tip of a possible meth lab at Lake Lorelei.

James Reckers

After an intensive investigation a search warrant was obtained, and units responded to the suspected lab at about noon on Wednesday.

Police said they found the chemicals needed to manufacture meth.

James Reckers was arrested and charged with illegal manufacture of drugs with juvenile specifications and illegal assembly of chemicals with juvenile specifications, police said.

Reckers is currently in custody in the Brown County Detention Center awaiting arraignment.





WILLOW WOOD — Two people were arrested Thursday after five active and as many as 40 inactive shake and bake-style meth labs were found at a home in Willow Wood, making it the largest meth lab bust ever in Lawrence County, according to Sheriff Jeff Lawless.

According to a release from the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, tips led an Adult Probation Agency officer to the home at 3996 County Road 64 at about 2:15 p.m. on suspicions that a probationer was manufacturing methamphetamine at his residence.

The probation officer, along with a Lawrence County Sheriff Deputy and a member of the Lawrence County Drug and Major Crime Task Force went to this residence to conduct a home check on the probationer, at which time they allegedly found the meth labs.

Of the 40 inactive labs, some had already been used to make meth, while others were ready to make the drug, according to the release.

Deputies arrested Jason E. Reed, 34, and Sherry G. White, 34, who both lived at the residence.

“This is the largest single meth lab operation that I have ever seen in Lawrence County,” Lawless said. “Cooking this product is a dangerous and volatile situation that puts everyone’s life in danger. I am thankful that our tipster notified authorities about the situation.”

According to the release, both suspects admitted their involvement in the manufacturing of meth and were charged with illegal manufacture of methamphetamine, a second-degree felony, which carries a maximum sentence of eight years in prison. They will be arraigned in Lawrence County Municipal Court today.

Deputies with the sheriff’s office and drug task force that are trained in meth cleanup searched and cleaned up the residence. The Windsor Township, Aid Township, Upper Township and Coal Grove volunteer fire departments all assisted in the neutralization and cleanup of the meth labs. The Lawrence County EMS was also on the scene to assist.

The agencies were on scene until about 9:30 p.m.



It takes a special kind of person to go undercover to fight the continuing war on illegal drugs — one who is not afraid of mingling among the sketchier members of the criminal element and who can remain cool under pressure.

Even when that pressure is a gun pointed straight at his face.

“It’s happened,” said Task Force Officer Eric, who works with the Combined Ozarks Multi-jurisdictional Enforcement Team, or COMET. “In this job, you have to think, look and act like the people you are dealing with. You have to trust your informant completely on their level, but you take all necessary safety precautions. Sometimes it gets scary.”

TFO Eric is one of six COMET members covering seven counties in southwest Missouri. Those include Taney, Stone, Christian, Webster, Polk, Lawrence and Greene.

Eric works hand in hand with members of the Southwest Missouri Drug Task Force, the Monett Drug Task Force and other county and municipal agencies throughout the seven-county area.

The SWMODTF, headed by John Luckey, has three officers covering Barry and McDonald counties.

“Our funding has been cut to the point we have lost two secretaries and two officers,” Luckey said. “I now have three officers, including myself, to try and combat this issue.”

While Luckey no longer works undercover, he takes point on giving presentations to schools, civic and public events, as well as teaching safety courses to officers who may have dealings with roadside meth trash and other hazardous activities.

George Daoud, a detective with the Monett Police Department, is the only officer with that agency who is certified in meth lab clean-up and disposal.

“I have patrol officers who can make arrests on street-side activity, if they find marijuana or pills, or even finished meth,” Daoud said. “But if there is a lab, they call me out and I have to respond.”

Daoud does all the follow-up investigations on drug-related activity inside the city of Monett.

Drug enforcement agents in southwest Missouri are not as concerned with the shake and bake labs, typically used by addicts to manufacture enough methamphetamine for personal use, as they are the thousands of metric tons of finished “ice” being shipped from Mexico. According to John Luckey, Southwest Missouri Drug Task Force director, this type of meth is stronger and more addictive, and easier to get than product manufactured in a shake and bake lab.

“It’s out there,” Daoud said. “A lot of it.”

With funding cuts impacting manpower across the state, local agencies are working together harder than ever to combat the growing meth problem.

“It’s not the shake and bake labs we’re worried about these days,” Luckey said. “We’re worried about the Mexican ice coming into the area. Several thousand metric tons in recent years.”

And the Mexican meth is so prevalent, there is no reason for most people to even try and make it,” Eric added. “They are finding new ways to get it into the country every day.”

“The shake and bake labs are primarily for an addict’s personal use,” Daoud said. “They don’t make enough to share or sell. But they’re still dangerous.”

Luckey has 40 hours of classroom training and a “lifetime of experience” in cleaning up meth labs.

“Every lab is a new experience,” he said. “Cooks are always changing their recipes, making gadgets that are supposed to eliminate the smell or adding new chemicals to the process. I’ve been doing this for 18 years and I have never seen two of the same recipe.”

The problem with any kind of meth lab is the danger of explosion.

“If something goes wrong, they don’t know how to fix it,” Luckey said.

Investigators are also finding, along with labs, a prevalent abuse of prescription medications among meth addicts.

“In the late [1990s], when we first started getting labs, we saw prescription medications there at the very beginning,” Luckey said. “No one paid attention. Then we realized how serious opiate addiction is and how it goes hand-in-hand with meth addiction.

“The thing about prescription meds is that kids love them too. Prescription drugs are easier to get. It’s easy to walk into grandpa’s house and get into his medicine cabinet.”

“Or grandpa could be selling his own prescriptions to subsidize his living,” Eric said.

“Grandpa may be getting 120 oxycontin a month and only need 20,” Luckey said. “In this economy, what does he do? Sell them off. He may have worked hard all of is life, but is now reduced to selling his medication in order to live.”

“We’re finding, due to the economy, a lot of retired people are selling their prescription medications,” Daoud said. “We’ve arrested several people doing that.”

People selling their own medication is hard to track and harder to prove.

“Grandpa may have gotten his 120 pills refilled yesterday,” Eric said. “If I go in today and only find 20, what am I going to do? He’ll tell me he lost them or flushed what he didn’t need down the toilet. How am I going to prove differently?”

“We do follow reports of stolen medications closely,” Daoud added. “Doctors are starting to not refill those orders because the situation is so bad. But then, it’s usually not someone’s heart pills that go missing, it’s narcotics.”

The most popular medications being abused at this time are Valium, Xanax, oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, Vicodin and, surprisingly, Ritalin.

“It softens the crash,” Luckey said.

Along with the addiction and physical toll extracted by the use of illegal drugs comes the sociological impact to community and family. Those range from child abuse, child endangerment, spousal abuse and assaults.

“When someone is tweaking, when they’ve been high for a very long period of time, they are extremely paranoid,” Eric said. “They can be very dangerous.”

“They have cameras all over the place,” Luckey said. “They think they’re Superman, but most talk bigger than they can produce.”

“They will also have plenty of knives, guns and other weapons around,” Daoud added.

The investigators said meth encompasses every socio-economic class of person, occupation and age, much like alcohol addiction.

“Some people can quit for a limited term but relapse,” Daoud said.

“I’ve interviewed over 1,000 people who say they can take it or leave it,” Luckey said. “Others said they used it one time and knew right then the Devil had them and that was it. There is a 97 percent recidivism rate among meth users.

“I’ve interviewed users who said the first time they took it was the highest high they ever had. This drug drops huge amounts of dopamine and adrenalin into the pleasure centers of the brain. Long-term use destroys those pleasure centers and they have to use again just to regain those feelings.”

“They’re chasing the high for the rest of their lives,” Daoud said.

“And they never get that high again,” Eric added. “Ever.”

“It’s not that physically addicting,” Luckey said. “It’s psychological.”

When cooks can’t get their hands on pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient for making meth, they turn to other means to feed that addiction.

“If you stop production of Sudafed, they couldn’t make meth,” Luckey said. “They’d just turn to opiates. I don’t see the demand ever going away.”

Like marijuana, which is illegal in Missouri, users turn to synthetics, such as K2.

“There is no regulation on how synthetic cannabinoids are manufactured,” Luckey said.

Cannabinoids is a blanket term covering a family of complex chemicals, both natural and man-made, that lock on to cannabinoid receptors of the brain to simulate a high.

“People are now ordering the chemicals from overseas and spraying them on grass clippings and packaging them from their homes,” Eric said.

“And I’m tired of seeing teenagers throw up in the park at Cassville every night,” Luckey said. “We have actually been seizing these chemicals from people’s homes.”

But those caught in the act of committing these crimes shouldn’t expect many “breaks” for coming clean and turning over other known manufacturers.

“If people want to give us information on other drug dealers and expect any kind of deal in return, it has to be actionable,” Eric said. “We can make recommendations to the prosecuting attorney, but theirs is the final call. And make no mistake, no matter what, he will have something to hold over their heads.”

“When we question an informant, we already know the answers,” Luckey added. “If they lie to us, we know they can’t be trusted and we don’t put our faith in them.”

“If anyone has committed a felony, caused bodily harm, property damage or have to pay restitution, we can’t work with them, either,” Eric said.

These investigators admit they merely serve as a Band-Aid to a problem that is hemorrhaging across the entire state and nation.

“If we take one down, three more take his place,” Daoud said. “But if someone didn’t try and stop it, it would run rampant. I do this for public safety. We try to get the major ones off the street. I have no preconceived notions I’m going to change the world, but for every tweaker we get off the street, that could be one more rape, burglary or assault we have prevented.”

“These people aren’t just injuring themselves,” Eric said. “It’s not a victimless crime. It destroys families and communities. So not only are we helping the community, once in awhile, we come across one or two people where we have actually changed their lives.”

“People will surprise you,” Daoud said. “When they come up to thank you for arresting them the first of second time and tell you that you changed their lives, it catches you off guard. In a good way.”

“We do this to help people who can’t, or won’t, help themselves,” Luckey said.

Investigators urge all people with prescription medications to use extra care unmaking sure they don’t fall into the wrong hands.

For those with outdated or expired medications, a Drug Take Back Day is scheduled for April 26 at Old Town Pharmacy in Monett. Medications will be disposed after collection by officials with the Monett Police Department.



COSHOCTON COUNTY, Ohio – After hours of searching a scrap yard in Coshocton County, detectives located stolen vehicles, and uncovered an alleged illegal drug operation Thursday night.

According to the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office, detectives executed a search warrant at 22357 Township Road 105 at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

During the search, detectives seized cash, firearms, and methamphetamine. While executing the search warrant, ten stolen vehicles were identified and an additional search warrant was obtained.

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The stolen vehicles were linked to surrounding counties, including Guernsey, Noble, and Tuscarawas counties.

Detectives said the methamphetamine seized was made in Mexico, which is stronger than a typical methamphetamine that is made in a home, car, or garage.


Detectives said the operation has been going on for several years at the scrap yard.

Rhonda S. St John, 33, and Howard R. Berger, 44, both of Coshocton, were arrested and charged with aggravated trafficking in drugs.

The case remains under investigation.





BURTON — A 33-year-man from Davison is behind bars at this time after being arrested in Burton on meth-related charges.

The Burton police responded to the Goodwill on the 2000 block of South Center Road, after receiving a call about a man slumped over in his vehicle.

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When police arrived, the man was just leaving the Goodwill parking lot in his truck. The driver stopped right in front of the main doors to the nearby Security Credit Union.

Police say that when they approached the truck, they could smell chemicals. They asked the driver if he had a meth lab in the vehicle. Police say that the man said he did.

The driver was arrested and taken to the Genesee County Jail where he awaits arraignment.

A HAZMAT crew and the Flint Area Narcotics Group (FANG) were called out to assist with the crime scene.

The investigation has been handed over to FANG.



CULLMAN — The mother and boyfriend accused of aggravated child abuse in her one-year-old son’s death tested positive for multiple drugs including methamphetamine, according to a Cullman County investigator’s sworn affidavit obtained by The Times via an open records request.

Crystial Vialonda Ballenger, 23, and Jeffrey Hugh Brown, 37, both of Cullman, were charged with aggravated child abuse in connection with the death of Ballenger’s son, Hoss Wayne Benham, who reportedly died after being left in a bathtub on his first birthday, March 11. His death has been ruled a homicide but a specific cause of death has not yet been released.


Ballenger admitted she and Brown used methamphetamine on Sunday and Monday prior to Hoss’s death on Tuesday and again on Wednesday night after his death, court records show.

Ballenger tested positive through a court-ordered drug test for marijuana, methamphetamine, amphetamines, and MDMA, also known as ecstasy. Brown tested positive for benzodiazepines, methamphetamine, amphetamines, and MDMA.


According to the probable cause statement signed by Cullman County investigator Bethhany Shaddrix, Benham had the following injuries: burns to feet, lesions to rectum, bruising to scrotum, and blunt force trauma to head and face area.

The Cullman County Circuit Clerk’s office released new documents on Wednesday after The Times filed a records request with Cullman County Clerk Lisa McSwain. The records were stamped as filed March 17.

The infant’s body was sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences in Huntsville on March 12. It could take up to a year to determine an official cause of death, said Cullman County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Max Bartlett. Shaddrix and Bartlett attended the child’s autopsy, conducted by Dr. Valerie Green, at the Department of Forensic Science in Huntsville.

Green stated the victim had bruising on the back of his head with skull fractures, numerous bruises on his body, both new and old. The victim had injuries on the bottom of his feet consistent with burns, and injuries inside of his mouth consistent with cuts. The report stated the victim had rectal tearing consistent with sexual abuse, but could not confirm until further forensic testing was completed.

“We’re waiting on the pathology report to return with the cause of death and at that point the staff and the district attorney will talk and if it’s appropriate to file additional charges, it will be done at that time,” Bartlett said. “Through that report the determination will be made if it’s a homicide or some other cause of death. We are still gathering evidence regarding the case. The maximum bond for a child abuse charge has been set and it’s been sufficient at this point.”

Brown and Ballenger remain in the Cullman County Detention Center Thursday on $30,000 cash bond each.

The new court records state investigators interviewed Brown’s juvenile daughter in the early morning hours of March 12. The juvenile lived in the home with Ballenger, Brown and Benham. In regards to the apparent burns on the baby’s feet, the juvenile told investigators he may have gotten burned a few weeks prior when walking over heating vents in the floor or stepping on a tack. Ballenger reported her son had just started learning to walk and could only do so by holding onto things.

“Hoss is spoiled and wants to be held all the time,” the minor told investigators, according to the court records.

The juvenile said she would often babysit the child when Ballenger and Brown would walk to Warehouse Discount Grocery and that Ballenger did not have a vehicle and was unemployed. The teen said she didn’t notice any bruises on Benham the day before he died when she was giving him a bath.

She also said Brown would stay in the bathroom with the baby when he was given baths.

“Crystial stated on the night of March 11, Jeff was giving Hoss a bath and she walked into the bathroom and witnessed Jeff holding Hoss under water for 20-25 seconds,” Shaddrix wrote in the affidavit. “Jeff told Crystial he was teaching Hoss how to float and that he could hold his breath. Crystial stated Jeff allegedly tried to perform CPR because she didn’t know how to perform CPR.”

Ballenger also told investigators she witnessed Brown giving her son Tabasco sauce as punishment to make him stop crying, and she would give the baby cough medicine because he was cutting teeth.



A 38-year-old Ketchikan man faces felony drug charges after police and U.S. Postal Inspectors allegedly found 23 grams of methamphetamine in a package mailed to a home on North Tongass Highway.

Christopher J. Kitsmiller was arraigned Thursday on one count of third-degree controlled-substance misconduct. Sgt. Andy Berntson of the Ketchikan Police Department said the package was discovered by Postal Inspectors when it came through Anchorage on its way to Ketchikan.


“A shipment of approximately 23 grams of methamphetamine was intercepted bound for a residence that Mr. Kitsmiller sometimes stays at, which is a primary residence of one of his family members,” Berntson said. “After that was seized, search warrants revealed the methamphetamine was inside.”

Berntson said authorities allowed the package to be delivered, and Kitsmiller allegedly accepted delivery. After that, police served another search warrant at the home and made the arrest.

Berntson said Kitsmiller had been on the police department’s radar, partly because of prior federal drug offenses, and partly due to more recent information that police had gathered.

Berntson added that Kitsmiller took responsibility following his arrest.

“He’s admitting that it was bound for him,” Berntson said. “That it was his shipment. Sometimes that happens, sometimes it doesn’t.”

Berntson said drug-related paraphernalia also was found and seized during the search. Kitsmiller remains in custody on $50,000 bail. His next hearing is set for April 11in Ketchikan District Court.



The Madisonville Police Department received a complaint of a white female possibly intoxicated at 2115 South Main Street around 10:15 a.m. April 3.

According to a MPD report, officers made contact with Tammy J. Suttle, 43, struggling next to the vehicle that was described by dispatch. The officer asked for identification and she retrieved her purse from the vehicle. When Suttle opened her purse, the officer could see a hypodermic needle and Suttle said she didn’t know why it was in her purse.

Tammy J. Suttle

After Suttle gave officers permission to search her purse, they found a small clear bag containing a clear crystal substance believed to be methamphetamine. Also in the clear bag were crushed pills, one being a Dilaudid. Suttle told officers that she did not have a prescription. The clear crystal tested positive for methamphetamine in a field test kit, according to the report.

Suttle was charged with possession of a controlled substance, first degree, first offense (meth), possession of a controlled substance, first offense (drug unspecified), drug paraphernalia-buy/possess and public intoxication.


A Phoenix man was arrested Thursday after the stolen truck he was driving collided with another car, killing an unborn baby, according to a police report.

Michael Angelo Delacruz, 31, admitted to police that he had been using methamphetamine “all day” before the crash, according to court records.

According to court documents, Delacruz was driving a black 2002 Dodge pickup eastbound on McDowell Road near Ninth Street just after midnight on Thursday morning.

Michael Angelo Delacruz

Delacruz’s truck crossed the center line and crashed head-on into another vehicle, according to court records. The front passenger of the other vehicle was 27 weeks pregnant and required emergency surgery, according to court documents, but the unborn child died as a result of the crash.

Delacruz and his passenger fled the scene on foot to a nearby house, where they attempted to steal the homeowner’s BMW, police said. The passenger was taken into custody at the house, but Delacruz fled on foot, police said.

Delacruz was arrested in the 500 block of West Lynwood Street, police said. He was taken to the hospital because he appeared to be under the influence of drugs, police said.

After being discharged from the hospital, Delacruz attempted to escape from the officers and had to be taken back into custody, police said.

Delacruz admitted to being involved in the accident, fleeing on foot, and trying to escape police custody, according to court records. Delacruz also told investigators that he had borrowed the truck.

Delacruz was on parole and had an outstanding felony warrant, police said.

He was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder, fleeing the scene of an accident, aggravated assault, aggravated DUI and attempt to escape from felony custody, according to court records.



Two people were arrested after officers from several law enforcement agencies searched a Roodhouse residence suspected of being used for methamphetamine production.

Greene County sheriff’s deputies and officers from the Roodhouse and White Hall police departments searched the house in the 200 block of Simmons Street about 11 p.m. Monday after obtaining a search warrant.

Christine R. Taylor, 20, of Roodhouse and Corey W. Murphy, 35, of Jacksonville, along with a child belonging to Murphy were found in the residence, according to authorities.

Taylor and Murphy were taken into custody without incident. The child was taken into protective custody and later placed into protective care by the Department of Children and Family Services.

The search revealed what officers believed to be an active meth lab in the house. The Roodhouse Fire Department was called to stand by and the Illinois State Police Methamphetamine Response Team was called.

Both Taylor and Murphy were booked into the Greene County Jail and held on preliminary charges of aggravated manufacturing of methamphetamine, manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine precursors, unlawful disposal of methamphetamine waste and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and hypodermic needles.

Both were being held without bail Wednesday in the Greene County Jail, awaiting the filing of formal charges by the states attorney’s office and a bail hearing in circuit court.



Police charged two people with manufacturing methamphetamine after deputies found drugs and paraphernalia in their motel room Friday.

and Heather Studer, 24, have been charged with felony counts of manufacturing methamphetamine, trafficking methamphetamine and possession of cocaine, according to a statement from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

Heather StuderJackie Ray Beasley

About 7:30 a.m., deputies were called to the Economy Inn at 3061 Deans Bridge Road, where they found what appeared to be narcotics paraphernalia.

Narcotics investigators were called in and found “six precursors for successfully manufacturing methamphetamines,” according to the release.

Investigators seized 1.2 grams of methamphetamine and 2.1 grams of cocaine at the scene.

Two people, including a man with alleged ties to Mexican drug cartels, were arrested March 27 after detectives seized 37 pounds of methamphetamine from their vehicle, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.

Juan Manuel Ponce-Chavez, 22, and Normal Yolanda Juarez, 28, were arrested in San Jose on suspicion of drug trafficking by sheriff’s detectives and booked into the county jail, sheriff’s Sgt. Andrea Urena reported.

including a man with alleged ties to Mexican drug cartels,

Ponce-Chavez is being held on $1 million bail and Juarez on $500,000 bail, according to Urena.

The arrests concluded an investigation over the past several months by Special Operations detectives into Ponce-Chavez, regarded as a significant San Jose-based drug trafficker, according to Urena.

Ponce-Chavez and Juarez, both of San Jose, were stopped in their vehicle where they were found to have concealed the 37-pound quantity of methamphetamine, according to deputies.


The drugs seized had a wholesale value of more than $200,000 but would be worth much more after being cut and sold at the street level, deputies said.

Ponce-Chavez has been tied to the Mexican state of Michoacan that is “currently occupied and heavily influenced by the remnants of the La Familia Michoacan Cartel, the Los Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templar) Cartel, and the El Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (New Generation Cartel of Jalisco),” Urena said in a statement.



SALT LAKE CITY – Authorities arrested 13 people Wednesday as part of operations targeting the distribution of methamphetamine and heroin in Utah by alleged gang members.

The arrests were part of a federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force targeting the La Raza gang and their associates.

targeting the La Raza gang

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, officials conducting searches seized about 10 pounds of methamphetamine and heroin, seven firearms, eight vehicles and about $175,000 in cash.

The individuals are charged in two indictments unsealed this week, and the charges include distribution of methamphetamine and heroin, conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and heroin, possession of methamphetamine and heroin with the intent to distribute and money laundering.

The first indictment names 30-year-old Juan Lazareno of Santa Clara and an individual identified as “FNU-LNU (first name unknown – last name unknown)”. The two are charged with distribution of methamphetamine. Lazareno appeared before a judge Wednesday and is being detained.

The second indictment names thirteen individuals. According to the release: “They are Wayne LeRoy Burr aka Miclo, age 30, of Draper; Samuel Covarrubias-Velazquez aka Pollo, age 36, of West Valley City; Javier Corrales, age 34, of Provo; Juan Reveles, age 35, of Richfield; David Miramontes, age 28, of West Valley City; Anthony Pedroza, age 26, of West Valley City; Carlos Tenengueno, age 24, of Sandy; Jose Munoz, age 26, of Salt Lake City; Beatriz Miramontes, age 56, of Richfield; Elisa Gallardo, age 27, of Draper; Guillermo Miramontes, age 22, of Salt Lake City; and William Reveles, age 34, of West Valley City. Alejandro Arciniega-Zetin, age 24, of Salt Lake City has not been arrested.”

The charges in the indictment include 25 drug trafficking counts and six money laundering counts. The individuals charged in this second indictment had initial court appearances Thursday in Salt Lake City. Elisa Gallardo was released following her initial appearance. Detention hearings for the others were underway Friday.

Officials stated in the release that indictments are not findings of guilt, and individuals charged are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in a court.

According to the press release: “Several local and state agencies contributed to the joint operation including the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, IRS Criminal Investigation, Salt Lake City, West Valley, Sandy, and West Jordan police departments, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Unified Police Department, the Metro Gang Unit, and the Utah Department of Public Safety. Several other agencies assisted in executing arrest and search warrants Wednesday in the Salt Lake metro area, Richfield, and St. George, including the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, the Utah County Major Crimes Task Force, Utah and Sevier County Sheriffs’ Offices, St. George, Spanish Fork and Richfield police departments, the Utah Highway Patrol, the Washington County Drug Task Force, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.”




HOULTON, MaineDebris found in a garage fire late Thursday on Johnson Street led firefighters to call police and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, who later charged a local man who lives in the home next to the garage with selling methamphetamine.

Thomas Lowery, 36, was arrested after investigators found items “involving the suspected manufacturing of methamphetamine,” MDEA commander Peter Arno said in a Friday press release posted on the department’s Facebook page.

Thomas Lowery

Lowery was charged with Class B trafficking in Schedule W drugs, which could send him to prison for up to 10 years and result in a $20,000 fine.

Firefighters who fought the blaze at 5 Johnson St. in Houlton called the Houlton Police Department, who asked the MDEA to assist at about 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

“Based upon evidence gathered during the investigation, agents had probable cause to believe that methamphetamine was being manufactured on the property,” Arno said.

Lowery was taken to the Aroostook County Jail and bail was set at $5,000 cash, the MDEA director said.

“The origin and cause of the fire in the garage remains under investigation,” Arno said.

The suspected meth lab is the eighth responded to by MDEA agents in Maine this year, and the third in Aroostook County.

A 20 year-old man has been charged with importing 4.6 kilograms of methamphetamines hidden inside dozens of shampoo bottles.

Hong Kong national Chi Chang faced the Magistrates Court on Saturday morning, charged with the import and attempt to posses the street drugs.

The case was adjourned for Tuesday. No application for bail was made and Mr Chang will remain in custody at least until the file hearing.

His solicitor said her client spoke very little English and that his language barrier needed to be addressed while he remanded in custody.

Australian Federal Police arrested Mr Chang in Melbourne CBD on April 3 after he allegedly imported the drugs.

An AFP federal agent said the arrest was part of a larger operation, adding that the quantity of drugs seized was “significant”.

The street value is not yet known but the agent said the cost of manufacturing the methamphetamines would have cost about $190,000.

The charges carry a total maximum penalty of up to 25 years in prison.