Meth in the News

By Doc

May 27, 2016

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

For the most part, I don’t really care what adults want to put into their bodies. I don’t believe that lengthy prison sentences are appropriate just for the simple possession and use of drugs. The money spent to incarcerate them would be better used for treatment.

But when they harm innocents with these drugs, that’s a different matter altogether. And it doesn’t matter if it is a child or an innocent animal.

Case in point is a story that was picked up by news organizations across the United States after it was reported online last Thursday, May 19, 2016. The incident occurred back on March 22.

Tustin is located in Orange County, Calif., and it considered part of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. There Tustin police officers found a little terrier mix dog named “Bubba” in a motel room at the Key Inn & Suites on El Camino Real around 9 a.m.

Joshua West, 40, who is Bubba’s owner, was in the room with the little dog. Mr. West was on parole at the time, and police officers found methamphetamine, heroin and used hypodermic needles in the room.

The officers noticed that Bubba was acting strangely, so they called Animal Control to investigate. Tests later confirmed that Bubba had meth and heroin in his blood.

“This strikes me as pretty horrible,” Tustin police Lt. Robert Wright told reporters. “This is the first time we’ve ever heard of someone reporting that an animal has been under the influence.”

Mr. West was subsequently arrested for an outstanding warrant, a parole violation, and possession of meth, drug paraphernalia, and heroin. There was no mention of charges for animal cruelty.

At last report, Bubba was detoxing at OC Animal Care. They will put him up for adoption when he recovers.

Thank God!

Sandpoint is located in northern Idaho. On May 20 it was reported that Samantha Lee Caroline Morikawa, 25, was sentenced to 4 years in prison for using methamphetamine while breastfeeding her 5-month-old daughter from August 2015 to January 2016.

Ms. Morikawa had also been charged with aggravated assault because she allegedly attacked the girl’s father while he was taking the child away from her after finding out about her drug use.

Bonner County Deputy Prosecutor Katie Murdock argued that Ms. Morikawa had exhibited an increasing level of violence since 2012, along with sustained drug use.

During sentencing, First District Judge Barbara Buchanan indicated that if Ms. Morikawa successfully completes a prison drug treatment program she may be released early on probation.

Court documents indicate that Ms. Morikawa said that she was unaware that the meth would be passed on to her daughter in her breast milk. Even I know that!

Remarkably, Ms. Morikiawa is currently pregnant with her fourth child. Obviously, she still has a lot to learn!

On May 22, police responded to a house in Winter Haven, Fla., after receiving a tip about possible narcotics use and child neglect there. But nothing could have prepared them for what they would see (and smell).

Inside the home, Winter Haven police officers found Ashley Barnett, 26, along with two children, 2 and 4 years of age, living in what the officers described as “deplorable conditions.”

The house had no running water, and there was an overwhelming odor of feces and rotten food.

Police reported that feces were found smeared on the walls throughout the residence. The toilet was also full of feces, and the bathtub contained about two inches of water with dead and live roaches floating in the water.

Yuck!

Police also said that they could barely find any eatable food in the home.

As they continued to search the house, officers discovered several baggies with a white residue that field tested positive for meth, glass pipes and a small butane torch on a bed. They also located additional drugs and paraphernalia inside the laundry room.

Ms. Barnett and her husband, Richard Barnett, were both arrested and charged with negligent child abuse without bodily harm, possession of meth and possession of drug paraphernalia and were booked into the Polk County Jail.

Also in Florida, at around midnight last Thursday, David Dimarco, who was staying at the America’s Best Inn and Suites in Pensacola, suddenly heard a woman screaming for help.

“There’s no bang, no boom; just a woman next door hollering for help,” Mr. Dimarco told reporters. “When we opened the door, flames and smoke started pouring in our room from next door.”

Faith Cheatham added, “There was this lady that ran out of the room, and there was this huge burst of flames.”

The unidentified woman suffered multiple burns and was transported to a hospital.

Officials with the fire department concluded that the fire was caused by a meth lab in one of the rooms at the motel. The fire produced more than $250,000 in damages.

It concern me that something like that could occur in practically any motel or hotel these days!

Here is something just as frightening.

On Monday, May 16, a Minnesota State Patrol trooper responded to a report of a car stopped in a driving lane of Interstate 94 in Clay County.

There he found the driver, Jeff L. Nygaard, 46, of Fargo, passed out while still sitting behind the wheel of his idling car – in a driving lane, not on the shoulder!

The State Trooper noticed that there were multiple phones in the car. As he tried to speak with Mr. Nygaard to wake him up, the phones began ringing.

The officer also reported that Mr. Nygaard showed signs of methamphetamine intoxication.

A search of the car yielded about 9 ounces of suspected meth as well as items typically associated with selling and using drugs, such as baggies, scales and hypodermic needles, along with a set of brass knuckles.

Mr. Nygaard was arrested and charged with second-degree possession with intent to sell meth. Other charges are pending, including possession of a dangerous weapon and drug paraphernalia.

Just one more.

On May 23, Michael Cunningham, who was under investigation by the Indiana State Police and the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, was sitting in his truck on Main Street in Knightstown. As the authorities approached his vehicle, Mr. Cunningham sped away.

As he was pulled from the truck after a short chase, a one-pot meth lab fell to the ground. Thus, Mr. Cunningham was actually caught red handed cooking meth during a police chase.

Sometimes I wonder how safe it really is out there! What is the driver next to you really doing?

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

May 20, 2016

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

When most people think about where clandestine methamphetamine labs are typically found, they envision run-down homes or cheap motels. That gives many people a false sense of security, and they often think that there is no way that a meth lab could be located next door –especially if they live in a ritzy neighborhood.

Last Thursday, May 12, 2016, Durham Police responded to a tip that a meth lab was potentially located in a home on League Way in Durham, NC.

It was a god tip. A functional meth lab was located inside the home, and Gregory Goldstein and Christie Lee were arrested and charged with manufacturing meth. They are being held under $530,000 bond each.

Neighbors were confused. You see, Durham County property records indicate that the home is valued at $425,657 and is 3,817 square feet with 4 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms.

“Utter shock, really,” Anna Rosati, a neighbor, told reporters. “We always would take the girls to scooter ride right in front of the house. It’s really such a good neighborhood.”

Another neighbor, Carli Reo, said, “I saw the cop cars. I have never seen that many cop cars in this neighborhood. I was just confused at what was happening.”

Like they always say, you can’t judge a book by its cover.

Also last Thursday, agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and detectives with the Scottsdale Police Department Drug Enforcement Unit executed seven search warrants simultaneously across the Phoenix, Ariz., area.

A news release provided by the DEA said that this operation was “part of a long-term joint investigation into a large-scale methamphetamine trafficking organization responsible for the monthly distribution of hundred-pound quantities of meth across the U.S.”

The operation has been ongoing since the summer of 2015. During the past year, the DEA arrested four subjects, seized over 90 pounds of meth, 33 grams of cocaine, $50,000 in cash, two vehicles and nine weapons, including two rifles.

But what was most disturbing about this operation was that one of the homes under surveillance, which was being used as a methamphetamine stash house, was also used as a private day care for small children.

DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman told reporters, “During some of our surveillance we would see six and seven kids dropped off in the morning and picked up in the afternoon.”

Special Agent Coleman added, “It is unfathomable that innocent children would be exposed to the inherent dangers of drug trafficking by those individuals entrusted with their care.”

I could not have said it better! Luckily no children were harmed – as far as I know.

With the recent untimely death of legendary musician Prince and President Obama’s plans to address the epidemic of prescription drug and heroin abuse, increased attention has been drawn to the fatal overdoses often associated with the abuse of these drugs. However, it should come as no shock to most people that overdoses on meth, as well as practically any other drug, also occur. In fact, in a report just issued on Monday, May 16, New Mexico State Epidemiologist Dr. Michael Landen reported that from 2010 through 2014, New Mexico hospitals observed a spike in deaths and emergency room visits caused by meth.

But last Wednesday, May 11, Brandi L. Bailey, 34, of Bremerton, Wash., was charged in Kitsap County with controlled substances homicide, a charge intended for drug dealers who give people a fatal dose of drugs.

Apparently Ms. Bailey sold methamphetamine to Dustin Theodore Frame, 21, last February and then allegedly injected him on the night of February 24 with what he described as “a big fat load” of meth. There were other people present in the house at the time who heard him describe the injection, but none actually saw Ms. Bailey inject Mr. Frame.

Mr. Frame had difficulty breathing and collapsed soon after being injected. An autopsy found that Mr. Frame died from a lack of oxygen, exacerbated by chronic bronchial asthma with a “significant contribution” of acute methamphetamine intoxication.

Court documents report that a deputy coroner ruled that Mr. Frame likely would not have died if not for the meth use.

A witness told the authorities said that Ms. Bailey waited to call “911” for about 5 to 10 minutes after seeing that Mr. Frame was having trouble breathing. Therefore, an aggravator for “deliberate cruelty” was added to the charge by prosecutors.

And from the “I really can’t make this stuff up” files, two police officers employed by the Kansas City Kansas Public Schools were charged in federal court with the possession and distribution of meth.

James Baray, 30, worked with students at Wyandotte High School, while Chad Kleppin, 44, was assigned to Fairfax Learning Center, the district’s alternative school.

The criminal complaint alleges that Mr. Baray supplied six pounds of meth per week to his customers.

One of Mr. Baray’s neighbors, Garland Alders, told reporters that he thought it was odd for his police officer neighbor to have three expensive cars, including a Mercedes, a Volvo and a Cadillac.

You think?

Administrators with the Kansas City Kansas Public School district say that both officers have been suspended while the charges are investigated. The district claims that it doesn’t have any complaints against the officers from students.

Go figure!

Finally, Angela Carr, 44, of Moreno Valley, Calif., a former supervisory drug counselor at the Calipatria State Prison was named in a San Diego federal grand jury indictment last week.

Ms. Carr is accused of smuggling drugs — including methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana — and cell phones into the prison five times. On one of those occasions, an estimated $1.2 million in contraband was brought into Calipatria, according to U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy.

The complicated smuggling scheme that involved inmates and their “girlfriends” was actually discovered back in August of 2015 when Ms. Carr was confronted at the staff entrance of Calipatria prison, reeking of marijuana at the time, according to indictment.

Ms. Carr was allegedly carrying almost a pound of meth, four pounds of marijuana, a quarter-pound of heroin, 409 tablets of Soma, Xanax, Valium and Norco, 212 grams of tobacco, four bottles of cough syrup and 39 cell phones at the time.

Seriously? And this woman was supposed to be running a drug rehabilitation program in the prison??

It’s getting to the point that nothing surprises me anymore! And there is so much more to tell you – but I am already out of room!

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

May 13, 2016

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Some people believe that the penalties for drug smuggling in the United States are too harsh. While I believe that incarceration for simply possessing a drug may not be helpful, if you sell drugs to children, that’s a different matter altogether.

However, the penalties in other countries can be much more draconian.

Take, for instance, Indonesia.

On May 4, 2016, a panel of judges at the Tangerang District Court found Ng Ka Fung, a 22-year-old Chinese national, guilty of smuggling nearly 90 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine into Indonesia. Mr. Ka Fung was arrested in August of last year after authorities discovered 88 kilograms of meth, or “sabu” as it is called in Indonesia, in his suitcase at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

The penalty for violating Indonesia’s 2009 narcotics law is death, and the panel handed down the death sentence when their ruling was read.

Three other Chinese nationals have recently been apprehended in Indonesia for similar offenses and are facing the same fate as Mr. Ka Fung.

Closer to home, on May 6 the FBI and the District 18 Drugs and Violent Crimes Task Force out of Haskell County, Okla., announced that a number of people had recently been arrested as part of a three-month investigation.

Methamphetamine, meth-related materials, and hundreds of dollars in fake bills were all recovered from a residence that was located within 1,000 feet of a school.

Authorities announced that one of the people arrested was Janet Ross, a middle school teacher in Stigler, Okla.

School officials told reporters that Ms. Ross was placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation is ongoing.

Ms. Ross wasn’t the only teacher recently arrested due to her methamphetamine use.

Heather Grace Hughes, 44, was pulled over in Beverly Hills (Texas, not California) at 1 a.m. on April 25 for a defective license plate light. This is something I see all the time – someone is stopped for a minor traffic/equipment violation and gets arrested on more serious charges. If people would just pay attention …

According to the police affidavit, Beverly Hills police officer Steve Cooper reported that he saw a “dark, round-shaped object” fall from the passenger’s door when he stopped the green car driven by Ms. Hughes.

When the object was examined, officers discovered that it was a navy blue zipper case that contained a blue glass pipe, a lighter, a retractable knife and an Altoids box with a white powdery substance inside. The powder weighed 13.73 grams and field tested positive for meth.

Ms. Hughes and her passenger, Mary Ellen Gutierrez, 46, were both arrested, but were soon released from jail after posting $10,000 bail.

Ms. Hughes is an art teacher at Waco High School and has taught in the Waco school system for a total of 15 years.

School administrators placed Ms. Hughes on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of this case.

Whenever I have the opportunity to speak with meth users, they invariably tell me that I would be astounded if I was aware of all the people using meth – from all walks of life. And the more I learn about this insidious drug, the more I realize that they are telling me the truth.

Want more proof? This next case was resolved in 2014, but the full details were just released last Tuesday.

Sonja Farak, 37, was a well-respected chemist, working first at the Hinton Lab in Jamaica Plain, Mass., and then for nine years at the state drug lab in Amherst, Mass. In fact, one senior chemist who worked with Ms. Farak in the Amherst lab testified that she was “meticulous” and “dedicated to her work.”

However, unbeknownst to her colleagues, as well as her supervisors, nearly every day for eight years, Ms. Farak was actually high on methamphetamine and other drugs that she had stolen from the very lab where she was working.

Finally, in 2013, other lab personnel finally discovered the missing drug samples and other irregularities in Ms. Farak’s work. From there things rapidly went downhill for the chemist, and she eventually confessed to everything.

An investigation by the state attorney general found that from 2005 to 2013, Ms. Farak “heavily abused” meth, cocaine, and LSD and even manufactured “crack” cocaine in the lab using lab supplies.

In 2014, Ms. Farak was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Want more? Ok!

On April 29, Florida state bar officials announced that Linda Dawn Hadad, 43, a Florida criminal defense lawyer in Volusia County had been stripped of her license to practice law. As an assistant public defender, Ms. Hadad was also having sex with her clients!

The problem became so severe, and obvious, that the warden at the Volusia County jail restricted her access to the attorney visitation area.

Ms. Hadad also engaged in sexually explicit phone conversations with her clients, with many of the conversations routinely recorded by the jail!

Ms. Hadad confessed to the use of meth, cocaine, crack, ecstasy, marijuana, and acid as well as Xanax, Adderall and oxycodone without prescriptions. She allegedly obtained the drugs from one of her clients.

Judge J. David Walsh ordered Ms. Hadad to undergo a program at Palm Beach Behavioral Health in Palm Beach County for 90 days. I wish her well!

Finally, on May 5, Kentucky State Police Vehicle Enforcement officers stopped a 2001 Freightliner on I-75 at the Northbound Weight Station in Laurel County for a commercial vehicle safety inspection.

The officers said in an affidavit that they noticed a foul odor in the tractor trailer.

When they looked inside they located an adult female passenger and her two young children, who were 7-years-old and 16-months-old, located inside the passenger/sleeper compartment, which was not properly secured.

The officers found that the driver of the 18-wheeler, Williams R. Eichhorn, 36, of Louisville, was operating under the influence of methamphetamine. Upon further investigation, they found that he was also in possession of a concealed firearm and alcohol, and they concluded that he was placing the two juveniles in an unsafe environment.

Mr. Eichhorn was arrested and charged with Federal Motor Carrier Safety violations, Failure to use Child Restraints, Endangering the Welfare of a Minor, Carrying a Concealed Deadly Weapon, DUI and an Outstanding Warrant out of Jefferson County.

It’s frightening to imagine what the person in the vehicle next to you along the Interstate might have been smoking!

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

May 6, 2016

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Last week in this Meth in the News column, I tried an experiment where I highlighted several methamphetamine-related news items that were reported during the preceding week or two without delving into them in any great detail.

A close friend and regular reader of this column wrote this in an e-mail to me when he read the results of my little experiment.

“Amazing the geographic spread of all these stories, showing no one region, culture, or age is immune! The extent and social impact of it all can be overwhelming.”

So I decided that it was worth continuing my experiment. Other readers may also soon understand why I have become so passionate about this topic.

And just like last week, some of these reports will make you angry. Some may make you cry. Some will horrify you. But once again, they are all true.

Misty Marie Cutburth, of Great Falls, Mont., was arrested on April 28, 2016, on suspicion of felony endangerment in the death of her 10-month-old daughter, who was found dead on January 19. A 911 call reported that the baby girl was not breathing.

Responding officers found the baby unresponsive in a cold room where the window was wide open. The outside temperature that night was approximately 32 degrees. Court records report that a medical responder couldn’t even register the girl’s skin temperature on a thermometer.

The baby was taken to Benefis Health System hospital where she was pronounced dead. Her body surface temperature was reportedly 78 degrees at the time!

Although an autopsy could not pinpoint an exact cause of death, Cascade County Attorney John Parker told reporters that toxicology tests determined that the baby girl had been exposed to “chronic methamphetamine use” during the final weeks of her life.

The Montana Division of Child and Family Services had received at least two reports in October 2015 from people concerned about drug use by the baby’s mother, according to court documents.

And people claim that drug use is a victimless crime!

The next case is difficult for me to believe. I cannot understand how it could have ever happened!

A 17-year-old girl, who was extremely high on meth, was being held in the Union Parish Detention Center on April 19. Somehow, Demarcus Shavez Peyton, 28, a convicted serial rapist – who was actually awaiting sentencing at the time for aggravated rape in Claiborne Parish – was put into the same isolation cell as the teenage girl.

Guess what? Mr. Peyton is now facing an additional charge of third-degree rape for raping the girl at least twice while they were in the Union Parish Detention Center.

It boggles the mind that a convicted serial rapist would be put into the same cell as a woman – much less a teenage girl high on meth – while being held in a detention center awaiting sentencing – for rape! Seriously?

I’m just getting started.

In the Express Inn motel in Hartselle, Ala., a Hartselle police officer found at least 4 people trespassing in a room that they had not rented. The Morgan County Drug Task Force was called because the officer also found drugs in the room. Methamphetamine, several syringes, meth pipes and straws were all seized.

However, Task Force agents also found an 8-year-old girl that her mother, Crystal Hubbard Riddle, 33, brought with her to the motel while she used meth. Ms. Riddle was subsequently arrested along with Colton Henderson, 23, Jordan Cole, 21, and Daniel Brown, 31.

The Department of Human Resources was called and placed the child in foster care.

In Glenwood Springs, CO, police received a call on April 23 from a 26-year-old man who was concerned that his 17-year-old cousin had been missing all day. She had posted a photo of herself holding a whisky bottle in a motel room that the man believed to be in the Silver Spruce Motel.

Upon arriving on the scene, a motel employee told Glenwood Springs police officers what room the girl may have been in, saying that numerous people had been coming and going all evening and that motel staff had received several noise complaints regarding the room.

Jose Salvador Medrano, 33, of Carbondale, and Abran Gutierrez, 19, of Rifle, were subsequently arrested for providing methamphetamine, alcohol and cocaine to three underage teen girls who had been in the room with the two men. Mr. Medrano and Mr. Gutierrez were charged with several felony crimes.

In Pamelia, NY, Michael J. Desormeau, 27, was charged with third-degree manufacturing of meth in his Royal Inn motel room on April 26. The New York State Police had been investigating Mr. Desormeau as part of a petit larceny complaint from a Wal-Mart store back in February.

The State Police Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team, the Community Narcotics Enforcement Team and uniform troopers recovered items commonly used to illegally manufacture meth, including an HCL gas generator, lithium batteries, lye, Sudafed packaging and blister packs, ice packs and straws from room 209 at the Royal Inn.

On April 28, Michael Dean Yepma, 58, and Robert Allen Guinn, 49, were arrested after officers with the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office Organized Crime Unit, its Fugitive Apprehension Special Tasks Unit and K9 team served a search warrant at the New Road Inn in Waco, TX.

The authorities seized about 443 grams of methamphetamine from the motel room.

On April 16, an Indiana State Police trooper stopped a maroon vehicle for following too closely to another vehicle. When he noticed that both occupants of the vehicle were acting unusually nervous, he requested a K-9 unit to respond to the scene.

During a search of the vehicle, troopers found six bricks of meth, weighing a total of 6 kilograms, in the trunk. The driver of the vehicle, Lorenzo Eaton, and his passenger, Holly Nivens, both from Michiana, were subsequently arrested on meth-related charges.

Apparently, Ms. Nivens met a fellow inmate, Hilda Lopez, while incarcerated in the St. Joseph County Jail who told her where to find the meth. Ms. Lopez told Ms. Nivens that the meth was buried at a house in Vandalia, Mich.

Ms. Nivens told State Police investigators that after she was released from jail, she, Mr. Eaton and Ms. Lopez’s son, Brandon, went to the home in Vandalia and dug up the meth. She said that their plan was to sell it and split the money.

Like I have said so many times, I could not make this stuff up!

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

April 29, 2016

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

For this Meth in the News column each week, I typically pick two or three news items from the past week or so and devote the entire column to those reports.

I wondered recently, however, if some readers think that I have to search and search for newsworthy items to write about each week. That is hardly the case. I have to literally pick which news reports I will focus on for a particular column.

There are enough reports on meth and the havoc it produces to fill this column even if I wrote it on a daily basis – with enough stories for several more columns if I had the time.

So this week I thought that I would highlight several news items that came out during the past week without delving into them in any great detail. And even so, I could not begin to list them all.

Some of these will make you angry. Some may make you cry. Some will horrify you. But they are all true. I encourage you to look them up on my website – or elsewhere on the Internet – if you want to read more.

On April 19, police from Tulsa, Okla. found 25-year-old Glenda Cole passed out in her car near 101st and Riverside Parkway after concerned citizens called 911. She told the police that her children were with her mother. Ms. Cole was so intoxicated on meth that she had no idea that one of her children was in the car with her.

On April 19, a concerned mother called Moore Township, Pa. police to check on her 27-year-old daughter because she was concerned that the man that her daughter was living with was fueling her drug addiction. When police searched the property owned by 44-year-old Andrew V. Hunger, they found Mr. Hunger and 27-year-old Heather L. Staub (the woman’s daughter) living in a shed behind Mr. Hunger’s home were the pair were also “cooking” meth.

On April 21, employees at the Clear Choice Auto Body Repair in Mankato, Minn. received a special bonus for their work at the shop. Shop owner Jesse Michael Seifert, 40, gave each of his employees a half gram of meth instead of money as a bonus, according to a spokesperson with the Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force.

On April 18, an undercover detective with the Lincoln County Narcotics Unit in Hickory, N.C. received a call from 43-year-old Angela Lingerfelt Juarez, aka ‘Shorty’, of Lincolnton, offering to sell him meth. She obviously thought that she was speaking to someone else. After several subsequent phone conversations, detectives set up a meeting to purchase meth and arrested Ms. Juarez along with 44-year-old Robert Castillo from Vale.

On April 21, agents with the Morgan County Drug Task Force, along with officers from the Hartselle Police Department, searched the residence of Shelly Diana Smith, 32, of Hartselle, Ala. following several weeks of investigation into Ms. Smith’s activities. During the search, investigators found eight one-pot meth labs, lithium batteries, coffee filters, pseudoephedrine, lye and syringes. Apparently, Ms. Smith was allowing people to come into her home to “cook” their meth, and even provided them with some of the necessary ingredients, for money.

On April 18, James Clifford Paul, 22, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in provincial court in Stony Plain, Alberta. Mr. Paul pleaded guilty in November to sexually assaulting a little seven-year-old girl and leaving her naked in the snow on the First Nations Indian Reserves in Alberta.

Mr. Paul admitted to investigators that he lured the girl away from her family, sexually assaulted her, and left her naked in the snow. When she followed him and begged him not to leave her, he beat her with his fists until she was unconscious, and threw her into a bush.

Mr. Paul claimed that he was drunk and high on methamphetamine at the time and told police he wouldn’t have done it if he had been sober.

Only 10 years!

On April 22, a federal investigator testified that Janelle Red Dog, 42, beat a 1-year-old girl to death on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, located in Montana about 20 miles from the U.S.–Canada border. Ms. Dog confessed to punching little Kenzley Olson several times and killing her. She then put the little girl’s lifeless body into a duffel bag and threw it in a dumpster. Ms. Dog initially reported the baby missing before confessing to the crime a day later.

Fort Peck Tribal Chairman Floyd Azure told the court that Kenzley’s death reflected a rising methamphetamine drug epidemic that his Montana reservation has failed to address.

On April 23, a 22-year-old man kicked out a massive window pane next to the front door of a Market street restaurant located in downtown Ballard, Wash. The man, thought to be high on meth, picked up a shard of glass, walked into the dining room and began menacing customers. He injured a man and a woman with the piece of glass before being disarmed. Passersby wrestled the man to the ground and held him until police arrived.

On April 25, deputies from the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call from a woman who said that a man stole her car from a house in Paw Paw Township, Mich. When deputies found the car, they discovered a naked, 41-year-old man behind the wheel and high on meth. A news release from the Sheriff’s Office stated, “The man had left an earlier domestic situation so quickly that he did not put on any clothing before getting into and driving off in the vehicle.”

Sheriff’s Deputies said that they recognized the man because they had dealt with him just the day before when the man overdosed on meth and was treated at a local hospital. They also learned that the man was involved in a crash the next day in a different vehicle and fled the scene.

On April 24, Vera Marie Del Rosario, 53, from Guam, was arrested for actually selling meth out of her Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) workspace. Ms. Del Rosario works for the DPHSS’ Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC program.

However, this is not Ms. Del Rosario’s first run in with the law. She was initially caught with meth back in 2013 and was subsequently put on probation pending trial for more recent infractions. Ms. Del Rosario has violated the terms of her pretrial supervision repeatedly, skipping out on weekly drug tests with her probation officer and failing her drug test at least 12 times, according to court documents. Yet she was still employed with DPHSS at the time of her most recent arrest.

On April 22, Shane Anthony Whitener, a 23-year-old homeless man from Butte, Mont. was charged with custodial interference, endangering the welfare of a child, and misdemeanor criminal possession of drug paraphernalia in Butte-Silver Bow County court. Mr. Whitener was accused of exposing a 14-year-old runaway girl to methamphetamine and harboring her from her parents. This is a story I have heard far too many times regarding meth and teenage girls.

I could go on, but I am running out of room for this week’s column.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

April 22, 2016

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

I have spent the past 30 years or so investigating the neurobiology of drug addiction, and I have maintained my Website on Methamphetamine in the News since March of 2011 with over 14,000 posts. You would think that nothing would surprise me anymore.

Nevertheless, I continue to learn something new about methamphetamine on an almost daily basis.

Case in point. This first report comes from Maricopa County, Arizona. Phoenix is located in Maricopa County, and the Sheriff there is none other than Joe Arpaio.

One of the jails that is run by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is the 4th Avenue Jail, located in downtown Phoenix. As is the case in their other facilities, Sheriff’s detectives monitor conversations between the inmates and visitors using what they call the Sheriff’s video visitation program.

While recently going through the videotapes, detectives were alerted to a particular conversation between an inmate and his visitor, Natasha Geach. This conversation revealed that drugs were coming into the jail and how they were being distributed there.

This led to a search warrant and further investigation.

Anyone who has heard of Sheriff Arpaio knows that he is a “no-nonsense” kind of Sheriff. He forces his inmates to wear pink underwear to prevent theft and has the cheapest meals in the country, costing between 15 and 40 cents. But I digress.

“These inmates better worry too,” Sheriff Arpaio told reporters on April 15, 2016, in response to the discovery of the drug-smuggling scheme. “For using drugs in my system. I don’t like that.”

You have probably heard that meth is often smuggled across the border in a liquid, concentrated form – hidden within practically any type of container you can imagine, including beer and liquor bottles, bottles of horse shampoo or even aloe vera juice bottles. Liquid meth has been found in the gas tanks of cars, and in a case I reported back in February of this year, Australian authorities uncovered $900M worth of liquid meth hidden in gel inserts for women’s bras.

However, the Maricopa County 4th Avenue Jail case added a new twist to meth smuggling that I had never before considered. Once again my naivete shows.

You see, Ms. Geach took liquid meth and sprayed it onto letters to the inmates. Once dry she mailed the letters to at least four inmates in the jail.

Ms. Geach pretended that she was simply an attorney sending “court documents” to the jail. You see, court documents are not routinely checked due to attorney-client privilege.

You can only imagine how Sheriff Arpaio felt when he discovered the subterfuge.

“They’re in jail,” Sheriff Arpaio told reporters. “I took away everything from them, now they’re going to be using drugs? That’s a no, no.”

Jeffrey Scott with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) told reporters that “drug traffickers are really taking advantage of this liquid camouflage.”

“Spraying on paper, mailing it through the U.S. Postal Service and things like that,” said Agent Scott. “Then they can ingest it that way too. You can ingest the paper.”

Of course you can! But I had never considered that possibility. Neither had Sheriff Arpaio.

Now the Sheriff’s Office has to determine if Ms. Geach was just the tip of the iceberg.

“How many was she selling to,” questioned Sheriff Arpaio. “Was there more?”

The Sheriff’s Office plans to conduct drug tests of the inmates in the cells nearby to where the methamphetamine-laced “documents” were found.

The four inmates who received the meth, already in custody, could face additional felony charges of promoting prison contraband, and other felony drug charges as well.

But Maricopa County is not unique for inmates obtaining meth and other drugs while incarcerated.

On April 11, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom announced federal charges in a case involving a prison guard, two inmates and relatives who took part in a scheme to smuggle drugs and other contraband into the federal detention facility in Leavenworth.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The guard, Antonio Aiono, 28, and the inmates were accused of smuggling meth, synthetic marijuana, alcohol and cigarettes into the Corrections Corporation of America Detention Center, where people facing federal crimes are held pending trial.

Inmates in the holding facility allegedly took deliveries of the contraband during an Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program, in the facility’s law library and during church services.

Apparently, the inmates also received money from the outside by asking their accomplices to hide it under letter-size white envelopes taped to the front of larger manila envelopes with the names of law firms on them, once again exploiting attorney-client privilege.

Mr. Grissom told reporters at the press conference, “This wasn’t a few guys working together. This was a system, a scheme that involved a number of individuals that goes beyond those who have been named so far.”

It sounds like they have a significant problem on their hands. The authorities are continuing their investigation.

Perhaps the most common method to smuggle meth into jail is to hide it within a body orifice, although that is a place that most, but not all, jails will check.

Just this year alone, I have reported on several cases in which women pled guilty to attempting to smuggle meth into jail – with the drug hidden inside their vaginas.

Kimberly Doris Ramey was discovered with 70 doses of meth in “her private area” the day after she was booked into the Forsyth County Jail. Jessica Renee Marciniak smuggled a balloon filled with meth into the Crookston jail in Norman County Minn., with the balloon hidden “inside herself.” Kyla A. Powell was caught with meth “in her person” after being booked into the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail.

Finally, 6 inmates from the state Women’s Prison in Pierre, South Dakota, appeared in state court on Friday, March 11, 2016, in their first appearance on charges that in November they ingested meth that was smuggled into the prison by two fellow inmates.  Investigators say at least one of the two smuggled meth into the prison using a “body cavity” and distributed it to the other women.

It is beginning to look as though it is as easy to get meth while incarcerated in jail as it is on the outside.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

April 15, 2016

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

For this week’s Meth in the News, I am going to tell you about a horrific case that was spread all over the Internet after it was first reported on April 1, 2016. This case was truly horrifying.

Vernal, the county seat and largest city in Uintah County, is located in northeastern Utah and boasts a population of just under 10,000 people. This is where this week’s incident occurred.

On March 27, which was also Easter Sunday, a little nine-year-old girl accompanied her mother to the home of Glynda RonDeau, who was reported to be a friend of her mother’s. Apparently the two women met in jail, according to court documents. There was no mention of why either of the two were in jail together when they met.

At some point, the two women decided to go to the garage to smoke methamphetamine. According to investigators with the Uintah County Sheriff’s Office, the little girl was asleep on the couch at the time.

When her mother finished “getting high” and returned to the room where her daughter had been left sleeping, she later told investigators that she noticed that her daughter’s dress “was pulled up past her waist.”

I guess that she was too high at the time to put two and two together, or maybe too high to care. Court documents indicate that she told the investigators that her daughter “appeared to be upset and only indicated she wished to go home.”

An incident report was filed two days later after the woman said that she talked to her daughter again and the little nine-year-old girl told her that she had been raped. The girl spoke with police investigators later that day, March 29.

You see, the mother and Ms. RonDeau were not alone in the house. There were also four men in the home on this Easter Sunday, and the little girl was at the mercy of these men while the two women were allegedly “getting high” on meth in the garage.

The four men were identified as Jerry Flatlip, 26, Randall Flatlip, 29, Larson RonDeau, 20, and Josiah RonDeau, 36. They were arrested between March 29 and April 1 by deputies from the Uintah County Sheriff’s Office.

It was not clear if these men were two sets of brothers or cousins or whether or not some or all of them were also related to Ms. RonDeau. My guess is that there is some relationship among them. Perhaps the family got together to celebrate Easter!

But their intentions were anything but good!

The little girl told investigators that the four men awakened her and took her into a bedroom inside the home where they sexually attacked her, taking turns raping and then sodomizing her. Yes, the men allegedly performed multiple sexual acts on this nine-year-old girl.

The girl also reported that while one of the men was raping her, he told her he would kill her if she ever told anyone about what they were doing to her.

This just breaks my heart!

The little girl was able to identify Larson James RonDeau as one of the four alleged rapists from a photograph that she was shown, and he was taken into custody.

Mr. RonDeau was advised of his Miranda rights and agreed to answer questions without an attorney present. He said that the little girl was in the home during the time when the alleged assaults occurred, but denied any involvement in the incident.

Incredibly, police reports indicate that Mr. RonDeau told investigators that “the other three men could have been involved, or responsible, but not him.”

Investigators executed a search warrant for the home and located evidence relating to the sexual assault, including bloodstained bedding, as well as marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

There was no indication whether or not any of the men had also been using meth.

Mr. RonDeau was booked into the Uintah County Jail on one count of rape of a child and one count of sodomy of a child. Both charges are first-degree felonies.

The other three men were also booked into jail and face one count each of rape of a child and sodomy of a child as first-degree felonies.

The Uintah County Sheriff’s Office told reporters that the little 9-year-old victim had been placed into state custody rather than leaving her in the care of her mother at this time.

Thank God!

This case reminds me of another horrific case that I first reported in 2011.

Jennifer June Chapman, 43, and Leanne Lauck, 31, were taken into custody in Oklahoma City for their involvement in the alleged beating, burning and rape of Ms. Lauck’s own 3-year-old son in June, 2011. Matthew Clay Eckles, 41, was taken into custody soon after.

Ms. Chapman and Ms. Lauck were both admitted meth addicts. Ms. Lauck left her little boy in the care of Ms. Chapman in a room at the La Quinta Inn on South Meridian Avenue in Oklahoma City. Ms. Chapman was known as someone who prostituted herself on South Robinson Ave. from time-to-time, and she may have gone out that night to make some money.

It was reported at the time that the little boy was traded to two unknown men in exchange for meth. The two men allegedly hung the 3-year-old boy from the ceiling and raped him. At some point bleach was also poured over the little boy’s body. You can find more details of this unbelievable and horrific crime on my website and elsewhere on the Internet.

I have always wondered what the final outcome of this case was, and I was able to track it down last week.

On February 21, 2012, the case was closed after all three pled guilty.

Jennifer Chapman pled guilty to child neglect, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of CDS in the presence of a minor, possession of meth with intent to distribute and possession of proceeds derived from the distribution of meth. Ms. Chapman received a sentence of 20 years in prison, a $100 fine and court costs.

The boy’s own mother, Leanne Lauck, pled guilty to child neglect and drug charges and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, a $50 fine and court costs.

Matthew Clay Eckles pled guilty to child endangerment and drug charges and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

For some reason, it just does not feel like the punishment fits the crime in this case. Maybe it was difficult to prove all of the allegations since the little boy’s mother waited so long to report this crime. One can only hope that the Uintah County Sheriff’s Office has been able to collect enough evidence to make all of the charges stick against the four men in this most recent case of child rape.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

 

April 8, 2016

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In this Meth in the News column last week, I talked about the sexual pleasure or euphoria that women often experience when they inject (slam) methamphetamine. It may not happen to everyone and not every time. But if the drug is of sufficient quality (purity) it can happen.

I also told the readers that I am not revealing a secret that will cause meth use to suddenly skyrocket. Like I said last week, women and girls tell other women and girls what meth can do. Why do you think that, in contrast to most other drugs, meth is as likely to be used by a woman as a man?

I also discussed how pedophiles often use injections of meth to lure teenage girls into their sexual traps. They use the pleasure that meth produces to entice the girls to engage in sexual activities with them.

But what I had not considered was the use of methamphetamine in sex trafficking. Sometimes I amaze myself with my own naivety. But once I read about a few cases and thought about it a bit, I was surprised that it had not occurred to me sooner.

Before I get to this week’s cases, I encourage every parent to read the report titled, “Sex, hope and prosecution: Agencies fight sex trafficking in Shawnee County” by The Topeka Capital-Journal published online on April 2, 2016.

Back to Meth in the News. When I wrote last week’s report, I had no idea that several more cases of teenagers injected with meth would be reported within the next few days. In fact, this appears to be more of a problem than I had realized.

The first case involves a woman, Annette Nakatsuka Basa, 41, from the Northern Mariana Islands, who received 17.5 years in prison for child sex trafficking in December, 2014. I found out about this case when on March 31, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the ruling of the District Court and denied Ms. Basa’s appeal.

Ms. Basa had previously pled guilty to one count of sex trafficking in a plea agreement.

The grand jury indictment involved two homeless 15-year-old girls who moved into Ms. Basa’s home in 2013. Ms. Basa gave the girls methamphetamine and then introduced the girls to several adult men and encouraged them to have sex with the men.

In return for these sexual encounters with the teenage girls, the men gave Ms. Basa money or methamphetamine.

In return, the 15-year-old girls were sometimes compensated with food and, at other times, with nothing at all.

In June, 2013, a “concerned citizen” contacted the authorities with video footage of an adult man engaged in sexual intercourse with the two girls. The Federal Bureau of Investigation was then contacted, which led to the arrest of Ms. Basa.

When interviewed, the teenage girls told the investigators that Ms. Basa often demanded that they have sex with adult men, who also gave them meth.

In her appeal, Ms. Basa argued that the law did not apply to her because she did not commit a sex act with either victim. However, the Ninth Circuit court judges upheld the ruling since the offense involved the commission of a sex act with a child and applied whether or not Ms. Basa herself engaged in that act.

The Topeka Capital-Journal report referred to above also discusses how drug addiction is often used by sex traffickers to control their victims, with methamphetamine listed as the drug used. Please be sure to read that report.

But the victims of child rape facilitated by meth are not always girls.

La Center is a town of approximately 2,800 people located in Clark County, Washington.

On March 29, 2016, Jennifer L. Tennant, 39, of La Center, appeared in Clark County Superior Court to face allegations of third-degree child rape and delivering a controlled substance to a minor.

A 15-year-old boy reported the alleged abuse in February of this year.

The teenage boy told detectives that Ms. Tennant “abused” him 20 or 30 times and gave him methamphetamine on at least 3 occasions.

The boy said that he had used meth with Ms. Tennant and had also used “her meth” without her knowledge.

Two witnesses also told detectives that they had observed alleged sexual behavior between Ms. Tennant and the 15-year-old boy on more than one occasion.

I know what some of you are thinking, but it does not matter if the victim is a boy or a girl – a 15-year-old is still a minor, and a 39-year-old should know better and be held accountable.

The final case this week actually surprised and shocked me. I cannot understand why this ever happened.

Maryville is the county seat of Blount County, Tennessee.

On Friday, April 1, 2016, Felicia Faith Hannah, 18, and brothers, Samuel Thomas Hill, 29, and Michael Eugene Hill, 32, all from Maryville, were charged with forcibly injecting a 17-year-old girl with methamphetamine.

The teenage girl reported the incident on Tuesday. She told investigators with the Blount County Sheriff’s office that she was at Samuel Hill’s residence earlier in the day Tuesday when he called her into a bedroom. Ms. Hannah and the Hill brothers then held her down and forcibly injected her with meth.

A representative from the Sheriff’s Office told reporters that the girl had bruising on her arms and tested positive for meth at the hospital.

All three defendants were charged with felony reckless endangerment. The brothers were held on $25,000 bond each, while Ms. Hannah was held on $3,000 bond.

The reason that this incident surprised and shocked me is that the unwanted administration of any drug is not pleasurable. While someone may ask another to inject her if she cannot do it herself, it can still be a very pleasurable experience, as long as she wants it to happen.

But to forcibly inject a drug is anything but pleasurable! The surges of dopamine and norepinephrine (adrenaline) and the accompanying increases in heart rate and feelings of anxiety can be perceived as a frightening loss of control. She may have felt as though she was going to die or was losing her mind!

One can only imagine what the 17-year-old experienced that day! Felony reckless endangerment seems like a relatively minor charge to me. People have actually died after willingly injecting meth on purpose!

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

April 1, 2016

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

When I started writing this Meth in the News column, and started talking to meth users one-on-one, I learned something that really surprised me. Many of the women that I spoke with told me that they first started using methamphetamine with their mothers, another family member, or a close family friend.

Oftentimes, they would start using meth when they were as young as 15, 14 or even 13 years of age. I was shocked when I first learned about this and that it happened to so many girls.

But when you think about it, they grow up around meth and other drugs, and when their mothers, fathers and other visitors to their homes were high on meth, they probably did not use the best judgment. Her mother may have decided that it was finally time for her little girl to come of age, so to speak, once she reached her teen years.

And when the girl became an active participant, they may have decided that they did not have to worry about her telling anyone about what goes on at home.

But who really knows what the true reasons may have been in cases like these?

I was also surprised to learn that oftentimes these young teen girls were injected intravenously with meth as their initiation into drug use.

That’s so unfair – so tragic. Adolescents’ brains have not fully developed yet, especially with respect to reason, judgment and decision making. These girls were basically robbed of their childhood.

You see, when someone injects meth, within seconds they experience a rush of pleasure unlike anything that they have (or likely will) ever experienced. Brain levels of the pleasure chemical dopamine are increased 10 times more than they are when someone eats her favorite food or engages in some other natural pleasurable behavior.

Meth can be more pleasurable than any other drug, and unfortunately, the pleasure is also sexual in nature.

That is probably why I so often read about pedophiles who use injections of meth to lure teenage girls into their sexual traps. They use the pleasure that meth produces to convince the girls to engage in sexual activities with them. Just conduct a quick search on my Website and you’ll see that this happens time and time again.

And I hear some of the readers thinking, “Hey Doc, don’t tell everyone that meth produces so much pleasure! Then everyone will try it.”

But my friends, they already know. Women and girls tell other women and girls what meth can do. Why do you think that, in contrast to most other drugs, meth is as likely to be used by a woman as a man?

However, the problem with this pleasure-producing drug is, at least, twofold. First of all, the pleasure is artificial and typically the first time is the best. As with most other drugs, the user continues to “chase” that first high.

The second problem is the development of tolerance. Long-term meth use results in a depletion of dopamine in the brain, so the user has to use more and more meth to achieve that high. Eventually the user has to inject meth just to feel normal.

And of course, people will do things when high on meth, or to get more meth, that they would never consider doing otherwise.

You can tell I am very passionate about this, and I could go on and on. If you want to hear more, or share your experiences with me, please feel free to contact me. But for now I should get to this week’s report, which as you will soon see, prompted this extended prologue.

This case was reported on Wednesday, March 23, 2016, and occurred in Elsberry, Mo. Elsberry is located in Lincoln County in eastern Missouri and has a population of just under 2,000 people.

A 16-year-old girl from Florida was taken to a home in Wentzville, about 35 miles south of Elsberry, during the third week of March to spend a weekend with Erika Oppeau, 33, who is said to be a family acquaintance.

On March 19, however, the frightened teen called her mother from a gas station in Elsberry where she had been dropped off. She then told her mother about the nightmare that she had just endured.

After arriving in Wentzville, the girl went with Ms. Oppeau and her boyfriend, William A. Hope, 42, to the home of Christopher B. Bove, 29, in Elsberry.

It’s unclear how this “family acquaintance” convinced the girl to go with them.

However, once at his home, Mr. Bove injected the girl with methamphetamine and forced her to engage in unwanted sexual acts with him.

And instead of looking out for the welfare of the frightened teen, and the daughter of a family friend, Ms. Oppeau is alleged to have repeatedly injected the girl with meth so she could perform unwanted oral sex on the teenager. She also forced the girl to perform oral sex on her.

Ms. Oppeau also encouraged the 16-year-old girl to have sex with the men, including her boyfriend.

Mr. Hope also allegedly injected the girl with meth and molested her.

The girl said that she was unable to leave Mr. Bove’s home because she was overcome by all of the meth that they had injected into her.

Lieutenant Andy Binder of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department said, “The victim didn’t have the ability to leave the residence. She’s here from out of town. She doesn’t know where she’s at. She’s in the country somewhere along the river, didn’t have a vehicle and being in a narcotic state she was in, didn’t have the capacity to leave anyways.”

When her mother heard what had happened to her daughter, she drove her to a hospital. A rape kit confirmed that an assault had taken place, and a blood test revealed that meth was also in her system.

Lt. Binder went on, “Sexually assaulted her through various means and various methods over a two day period. It’s horrifying to have to listen to the accounts of what took place and what was actually being done.”

“These are disgusting people,” he said. “They do disgusting acts on children and they need to be held accountable. That’s our job.”

Mr. Bove is charged with three counts of second degree statutory sodomy, statutory rape, and endangering the welfare of a child involving drugs. He was being held in the Lincoln County Jail in lieu of a $100,000 cash-only bail.

Ms. Oppeau is charged with felony statutory sodomy and endangering the welfare of a child involving drugs. She was being held in lieu of a $50,000 cash-only bail.

Mr. Hope is charged with child molestation and endangering the welfare of a child involving drugs. He was being held in lieu of a $25,000 cash-only bail.

They are not allowed to have contact with one another, with the victim, or the victim’s family.

I am sure that God has a special place for people like this, especially the family acquaintance, Erika Oppeau!

Sadly, this isn’t an isolated case. If you search my Website you will find other cases where women were active participants in meth-induced sex crimes against minor girls.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

March 25, 2016

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Any regular reader of this Meth in the News column knows that I maintain my website and write this column because of the children. Although no mother (or father) in her right mind would ever willfully do anything to harm her babies, far too often children become the innocent victims of meth use.

I was reminded of this a couple of weeks ago when I read about the arrest of Jerrica Schreib at the Everett, Wash., Wal-Mart. On Thursday, March 10, 2016, police were called to that Wal-Mart after security officers spotted Ms. Schreib, 19, and Donald Coons, 42, in the sporting goods section of the store.

You see, Ms. Schreib had been banned from entering Wal-Mart – for life! Wow!

She was arrested for trespassing, and when Everett police searched her purse, guess what they found. Methamphetamine.

I thought that her name sounded familiar, and then I remembered why. On January 1, 2016, Ms. Schreib was under investigation for the December 18, 2015, death of her 3-month-old baby daughter, Madilynn.

When the baby girl was examined at the hospital, it was discovered that she had a suspicious, severe spiral fracture to her arm, rib fractures that varied from new to old, a large gaping gash to her chin, a laceration to her liver, pneumonia and meningitis. She also tested positive for meth.

The police investigator said that in his opinion, “This baby was tortured.”

Nevertheless, the case remains under investigation and no charges have been filed.

On March 11, a judge in the Everett District Court released Ms. Schreib again on the most recent trespassing and methamphetamine charges without imposing bail.

It appears that the wheels of justice turn very slowly in Everett.

This case made me recall some of the more egregious cases I have covered since I started my website on March 31, 2011, some 13,821 posts ago.

As most of you know, I have been investigating the neurobiology of cocaine addiction and the role for stress in the relapse to drug use for more than 30 years.

My passion for methamphetamine was kindled in February 2007 when a soon to be close friend from Healing Helpers out of Nash, Texas, invited me to speak at a symposium on meth at the Stephen F Austin University in Nacogdoches.

I had always thought that cocaine and meth were quite similar drugs – they are both classified as Schedule II stimulants after all.

However, after my lecture, people from the DEA, CPS, nurses, sheriff’s deputies and all walks of life came to me to ask why people on meth do the things that they do. Why do so many of their actions involve violence and sex?

I did not have an answer for them. But ever since I have been doing everything I could to try to determine the answers to their questions.

Healing Helpers was founded, at least in part, due to the case of Candice Alexander, a 15-year-old girl from Lufkin, Texas. Candice was sexually abused and ultimately murdered by her meth-using mother and stepfather in 2003. They killed the 90-pound teenager by injecting her with enough meth to “kill four 150-pound men.” You can find more information about this tragic case online. This case has motivated – and haunted – me through the years.

But last week I also remembered the case of Natalie Lynn Webb, 30, of Elk City, Okla. Ms. Webb was charged in 2014 with sexually torturing and exploiting her own children in her home in Fairview Village.

According to the “probable cause” affidavit filed by the police, Ms. Webb repeatedly raped her twin three-year-old baby girls with a vibrator while her friends, both men and women looked on. Her nine-year-old son told investigators that he saw his sisters resist as their own mother dragged them into the bathroom, and then he could hear his sisters screaming “stop Momma, stop, it hurts” and crying.

The little boy said that his mother would usually be naked while committing this abuse.

One of the girls was interviewed by police and corroborated her brother’s story, saying it felt “nasty” when she was abused.

The police investigator told Ms. Webb that her children were too young to make up these allegations and to mimic what happened to them so vividly.

Pornographic videos were found on Ms. Webb’s cell phone, including a video of her engaged in a solitary sexual act in the bathroom, but it was not clear if any videos of the children were ever found.

Although Ms. Webb denied sexually molesting her twin baby daughters, she admitted that she often took methamphetamine and even sold it out of her house. She also said that she would trade her food stamps for meth.

I could not find the court records, but I did discover that Ms. Webb is currently housed in the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center in McLoud, Okla. She either pleaded guilty or was convicted of the charges since she is serving a 20-year sentence for child abuse, with an additional sentence of 10 years of probation. May God have mercy on her soul!

No one ever removed her Facebook page. Pictures of Ms. Webb and her children are still posted online. It will break your heart if you look.

Another case that illustrates the depravity that meth can engender was reported in May, 2013 in Wagarville, Ala. Julie Ann Reed Guy, 21, and her common-law husband, James Ryan Booth, 34, each received life sentences for convictions on a combined 14 charges involving first-degree rape and production of child pornography. Both parents entered blind guilty pleas to all charges.

In particular, Ms. Guy was sentenced on two counts of production of obscene matter, two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree sodomy and one count of permitting or allowing a child to participate in the production of obscene matter.

I still find this difficult to believe, but the children in this case included their own 6-year-old son, a female cousin who was 4 years old, and their 8-month-old daughter. Yes, you read that correctly! And they also videotaped each other sexually torturing their own children!

A meth lab was also found in the home.

I was so shocked that I wrote a letter to District Attorney Spencer Walker, the prosecutor in this case, to try and discover more about the role that meth played in this horrific crime.

He called me personally after he read my letter. He called this couple completely “evil” – totally depraved. I have to agree!

Is every meth user a violent person who sexually and physically tortures her own children? Of course not! But it happens more often with meth than it does with most other drugs. That’s the chance people take when they try meth – will they be next to go off the deep end?

And it just occurred to me. Some of you reading this column may have grown up in a home where meth was used and may, therefore, have suffered some form of abuse that still affects you today.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

March 18, 2016

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Some of the readers of my Meth in the News column may ask why I continue to report how some publications appear to be so insistent on downplaying the serious problems that can be produced by chronic methamphetamine use.

You may say, Carl L Hart, Ph.D. published his paper comparing low, oral doses of d-amphetamine to methamphetamine in 2012. And Jacob Sullum published his little op-ed in Forbes regarding the “truth” about meth all the way back in 2014. Isn’t this ancient history now?

On the contrary, these same “facts” about meth continue to be disseminated. And the more that I investigated this phenomenon, the more convinced I became that all of this misinformation was being produced and “reported” simply to fit some political agenda. But my friends, people’s lives are at stake!

Then I got mad!

Case in point. In February of this year (2016), Dr. Hart published another report, this time on theinfluence.org titled, “A Neuroscientist Explains How He Found Out Meth Is Almost Identical to Adderall.” Of course this article described the same data from the same 13 men studied in the 2012 report.  It’s amazing how much weight those 13 subjects continue to carry.

Then just last week (March 7, 2016) AlterNet posted a report called “America Totally Misunderstands Speed: Here Are 5 Things You Should Know About It.”

The title was followed by a subtitle, “Amphetamines are no more harmful than any other substance taken in proper dosages.” True, but I’ll come back to that in a moment.

I had never heard of AlterNet before. I only stumbled across this website because I try to remain current with the “news” regarding methamphetamine.

AlterNet is labeled (not by me) as a “progressive activist site.” And posts on AlterNet (including the one mentioned above about meth) are picked up and reposted by what I presume are “sister” sites, such as salon.com, fem.news and who knows where else.

And as is clearly stated on the About AlterNet webpage, “AlterNet’s aim is to inspire action and advocacy on the environment, human rights and civil liberties, social justice, media, health care issues, and more.”

That certainly puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?

And guess where else Dr. Hart’s theinfluence.org piece was reposted. You guessed it – on AlterNet on February 10, 2016.

Furthermore, did you know that one of the major “foundations” that supports AlterNet, but does not wish to remain anonymous (I’d love to see that list), is the Drug Policy Alliance? It’s listed right there on the AlterNet Foundation Support webpage.

The front webpage of the Drug Policy Alliance site boldly states, “The war on drugs is a failure and it’s time to bring it to an end. Join the movement today.” And guess who is on the Board of Directors of this “foundation!” None other than Carl Hart, Ph.D.

Clearly anything published on any website supported by the Drug Policy Alliance will be required to downplay the negative consequences of drug use. Why have a war on drugs if they cause no harm, right? It wouldn’t fit their agenda otherwise!

You know, I did not start this week’s column with the intention of getting so caught up in the “weeds” (pardon the pun), but as I have said repeatedly, don’t blindly believe everything that you read on the Internet (or anywhere else). That holds true whether you are looking for a recipe to “cook” meth or trying to justify why using meth is no different than taking any other drug that your doctor prescribes. But the more I uncovered, the angrier I became!

OK, back to the March 7, 2016 AlterNet post “America Totally Misunderstands Speed: Here Are 5 Things You Should Know About It.”

First of all, the authors claim that meth is a prescription drug. Yes, it is – Schedule II. The post claims that makes it different from those bad Schedule I drugs such as heroin. Maybe they don’t realize that heroin is converted to morphine (a Schedule II drug just like meth) once it enters the brain.

They also fail to mention that most people illegally buy bulk quantities of meth (powder or crystal) that is most likely made by the Mexican Drug Cartels or someone else, or they just “cook” their own. I have yet to hear that someone crushed a handful of Desoxyn tablets to inject.

The second claim is that meth is very similar to other amphetamine-like drugs. Also true. But as I pointed out last week, you cannot smoke Adderall. And how easy is it to acquire a sufficient number of Adderall tablets to crush for injection? Finally, Ritalin (another drug used to treat ADHD) does not release dopamine like meth does. That’s an important distinction that I will get to in more detail below.

In addition, most long-term users that I have talked to report that they regularly smoke bowls containing a quarter gram of meth. Others report that they will slam a quarter gram of meth through a needle several times a day if they can get their hands on it. That’s the reality folks – and it is quite different from the controlled laboratory setting described in Dr. Hart’s 2012 paper.

Next the AlterNet report claims that there are only “about half a million regular meth users at any given time.” They base this (as most do) on the surveys conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). I have addressed the problems with these surveys many times before, especially since their survey data go against reports from multiple and diverse agencies, including the DEA, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board.

Sheriff’s offices and police departments across the United States will also refute the SAMHSA survey data.

Why do I think that these SAMHSA survey data are skewed toward the extreme lower end? Have you ever met a meth user who was not paranoid? In addition, what user on a meth binge is going to stop what they are doing to answer a survey?

As I stated above, methamphetamine results in the release of dopamine from brain cells – massive amounts. Not even crack cocaine releases dopamine.

You may not be aware of this, but in addition to producing pleasure, increases in brain levels of dopamine are also associated with the delusions, hallucinations and paranoia associated with some mental illnesses, including schizophrenia. So the same dopamine that produces pleasure when meth is used also produces paranoia. You tell me – what ongoing meth user is going to open their doors to a representative of the government? Get real!

The fourth claim is that meth is a multibillion-dollar-a-year industry. OK. I’m not sure what to say.

Finally, they claim that most of the profits now go to the Mexican cartels. Right you are. Again, I am not sure what to say. Would it presumably be better if Americans were still cooking all of the meth that is now manufactured in Mexico and, thereby, contaminating more homes, apartments, hotel rooms and children than are already being contaminated today? I just don’t understand their logic.

They do claim that meth is no more harmful than any other substance taken in proper dosage. Very true. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more than 14,000 people died from overdosing on prescription opioid drugs alone in 2014, while two million Americans were dependent. On January 19, 2016, the New York Times reported that “Deaths from drug overdoses have jumped in nearly every county across the United States, driven largely by an explosion in addiction to prescription painkillers and heroin.” Everyone agrees – prescription drug addiction is at epidemic levels! So much for prescription drugs.

My friends, it is just criminal to try to convince the American public that meth use is not addicting. Who knows how many people have died as a result of strokes, heart attacks, and related health issues that were actually produced by chronic meth use? How many children were harmed or removed from their families? How many people had their lives changed forever?

It’s time to stop the rhetoric – stop the lies – just to fit a political agenda. Meth use is addicting, and it is affecting the lives of many more Americans than the Drug Policy Alliance and the people that this “foundation” supports want you to know. Every single meth user that I talk to tells me that I would be astonished if I knew of all of the people from so many diverse backgrounds who are also using meth. Are they all lying?

I agree that we cannot incarcerate our way out of this problem, and the authorities will actually agree with me.

But we cannot just turn a blind eye to this problem either. People’s lives are at stake. And we must address rehabilitation as well as treatment. People have to relearn how to live their lives without meth and reconnect with their families and society. Just pretending that the problem does not exist – pronouncing that the war on drugs is a failure – will help no one!

Yes, I am angry, and you should be too. And I dare someone to prove me wrong!

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

March 11, 2016

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Last week in this Meth in the News column, I made a strong case for treating methamphetamine users as patients rather than inmates. It is just incomprehensible to me that you would put someone into jail for the simple possession of a substance, even meth, while portraying alcohol use as glamorous (I’m sure you saw the commercials during the Super Bowl). And until you have watched your mother die slowly over two years due to complications associated with alcoholism, don’t try and tell me that alcohol is harmless. But that’s another matter for another time.

Regular readers of this column are also aware of another pet peeve of mine, which is the U.S. government’s persistence in pretending that methamphetamine use is not a significant problem in this country. And this fallacy is accompanied by left-leaning publications that try to convince the people who read their fiction that meth is not addicting, or at least no worse than drugs available by prescription, such as Adderall.

This just makes no sense to me.

Case in point:

George Soros and his Open Society Foundation published a report in February of 2014 titled, “Methamphetamine: Fact vs. fiction and lessons from the crack hysteria” written by Columbia University’s Carl L. Hart, Ph.D. and two co-authors from the Open Society Foundation.

Dr. Hart bases their explanation for why the concerns about meth are nothing more than just “hysteria” on work he and his colleagues conducted at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. The peer-reviewed manuscript describing this research was published in 2012 in Addiction.

Interestingly, Jacob Sullum, who regularly publishes in Forbes, also wrote his op-ed piece entitled, “Hyperbole Hurts: The Surprising Truth About Methamphetamine” in Forbes in February of 2014. He refers back to Dr. Hart’s Open Society Foundation “report” in his article.

I want to state up front that I am not at all questioning the quality of the science for the study published in Addiction or the reputation of any of the authors. However, I have problems with the way that the data are portrayed by the “left-wing media,” as some pundits would say.

Let’s take a look at the study in question.

Dr. Hart and his associates recruited 13 men, but no women, into the study. The racial makeup of these men, who were all recruited from New York City, was “one Asian, six Black, two Hispanic, four White” as described in the manuscript.

However, is this small sample truly a representative sample?

Data collected by organizations, including the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) indicate that Blacks represented 47% of the 505,223 emergency room cases involving cocaine in 2011. This period represents the time when the subjects were most likely recruited into Dr. Hart’s study.

The DAWN report also reveals that Blacks represented only 8% of the cases involving meth in this same time period.

Therefore, although meth use by Black men in the gay community may be increasing, including six Blacks, representing 46% of the 13 total subjects, may have biased Dr. Hart’s study.

Not including women is also a concern since the DAWN report indicated that women represented 38% of the meth-related cases in 2011.

But let’s assume that the racial makeup of the study is not a concern. What did the study actually involve?

The subjects in this study came into the clinic for 10 sessions. Dr. Hart and his associates allowed the subjects to snort 50 mg of meth on Monday and 12 mg on Thursday of week one followed by 50 mg of d-amphetamine on Monday and 12 mg on Thursday of week two. They were given placebo (sugar) to snort on the Monday of week three.

The dose of the drugs was based on body weight. So someone who weighed 120 pounds would have received 38 and 9 mg of each drug, respectively, while someone who weighed 200 pounds would have received 65 and 16 mg of each drug.

On Tuesdays and Fridays, the subjects were given “tasks” to complete and were then asked if they were willing to “work” for another dose of the drug they had snorted the day before or would they rather receive $5 (for 7 subjects) or $20 (for 6 subjects).

The subjects had to complete 11,550 responses to get the total dose of the drug (12 or 50 mg) or all of the money ($5 or $20).

Not surprisingly, the 13 subjects reported that these low doses of the two drugs were of equal value. And more importantly, they chose the $20 over either drug as often as the placebo.

Dr. Hart and his colleagues therefore concluded that methamphetamine and d-amphetamine (Adderall) have similar abuse potential (“reinforcing effects”) and that “methamphetamine abuse is likely influenced by non-pharmacological factors.”

Astonishingly, people like Sullum and Dr. Hart continue to write op-eds and give interviews admonishing Sheriff’s Departments and the DEA (and related organizations) for blowing the meth “epidemic” out of proportion. “Hyperbole” Sullum calls it.

What’s all the hype about meth, they question. It’s no different than Adderall.

Seriously??

I’d like a show of hands. How many regular meth users would be satisfied with a single intranasal 50 mg hit of meth? Most of the meth users I have talked to use much more than that, with 50 mg on the low end of the scale. Dr. Hart (and Sullum) refers to 50 mg as a “big hit.”

Blood levels increase much faster when someone smokes meth or injects it intravenously. That’s why most people eventually smoke or “slam” meth. You can’t smoke Adderall; the pills are designed so that the amphetamine will not vaporize.

So why is there more concern about methamphetamine compared to Adderall? First of all, practically anyone can “cook” their own meth from pseudoephedrine-containing cold pills and readily-available household items using recipes found on the Internet. And the Mexican Drug Cartels have “superlabs” where pounds of pure methamphetamine are manufactured. Although it is probably relatively easy to find Adderall for sale on the streets, meth that is ready to smoke or inject is much easier to find.

Every meth user I have ever spoken to has told me that I would be amazed if I realized just how many people were actually using meth. They all claim that there is indeed an epidemic. They also tend to call meth “evil”

So if someone knows why George Soros, Jacob Sullum, Dr. Carl Hart, and others want Americans to believe that meth is not a problem, not an epidemic, please let me know.

Maybe I am just confused.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

March 4, 2016

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

This column will be a little different from what I usually write in Meth in the News. But I had a bit of an epiphany recently.  Or maybe this has been something that God has been working on in my heart for a while. But the reader will likely notice a difference this week.

You know, we have the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, which is a wonderful fund raising and awareness event for breast cancer!

There is also an American Diabetes Association’s Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes, a Healthy Heart Run Walk, an ALS Recovery Fund 10K Run & 5K, the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis, the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K race, and even the My Twelve Month 10K Challenge for Crohn’s Disease. You get the idea!

But where is the fundraiser for people suffering from drug and alcohol addiction – or the 5K Run for Meth?

I’m serious!

My point is that people struggling with drugs and alcohol, especially with meth, are often stigmatized by society – perhaps even considered not worthy of a 10K run. But my friends, they are people too – just as deserving of love as is anyone else.

I have talked to a lot of meth users over the past few years – not as their doctor or counselor but just as one human to another. And you know what – they don’t have rotten teeth. They don’t have scars all over their faces either. They look just like the girl next door – someone’s mother, sister, daughter, or the woman working at the store down the street. They are not monsters – they are just like you or me!

Surprisingly – to me anyway – if they had not told me, I would have never guessed that they ever had a problem with meth – or had ever even used the drug!

So when is our society going to treat drug addiction from the point of view of a disease, which it is in many ways? You see – as soon as someone starts using a drug or alcohol to excess, it begins to change them – their bodies, their minds, their attitudes – and they will not recover until they stop using the drug altogether.

Still not buying it?

What if we compare drug addiction to other major diseases in the United States?

The annual cost for heart disease and stroke in the United States is $249.2 billion (taken from the American Heart Association – 2015). The annual cost for cancer treatment is $88.7 billion (as presented by the American Cancer Society – 2011). The total for both is $337.9 billion.

However, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the annual costs for illegal drugs is $193 billion, for alcohol, $224 billion, and for tobacco, $295 billion. The total is $712 billion, more than double the costs for heart disease and cancer combined.

Did you know that the 2016 budget for NIDA is $1.05 billion, with only $640 million allocated for research grants, while the budget for the National Cancer Institute is $5.21 billion and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is $2.99 billion?

Yet the United States spent over $15 billion dollars in 2010 alone for the “War on Drugs.” Our priorities are all wrong.

People should not be put into prison for the simple possession of “illegal” drugs. No one goes to jail for the possession of tobacco or alcohol even though it is well known that those drugs kill more people each year than do all of the “illegal” drugs combined and cost Americans more than 2.5 times as much.

I hear what you are saying – the “drug addicts” chose to use that drug.

Maybe – and I’ll come back to this in a moment. But more often than not, life’s circumstances lead the user to try the drug in the first place. She may have started using drugs to take away something unpleasant – a process called negative reinforcement. She may have started using drugs to deal with stress and anxiety, especially PTSD. Or she may have been suffering from sadness and depression and started using drugs to “forget the troubles of life” for a while.

Drugs are never the answer, of course, but does a “bad” choice make drug users “bad” people? Should we shun them just because they made that wrong choice?

Absolutely not!

Also consider this. Many people start using drugs in their teens, when their brains and a real understanding of the consequences of their “bad” choices have not fully developed. And, tragically, many teens are first introduced to meth and other drugs by a family member or close family friend that they trust.

So they made a bad choice. Should they go to prison for it?

Well, let’s consider some other life choices.

What about the person with lung cancer? Do we arrest her because she made the “bad” choice to smoke cigarettes? Or do we try and find a cure for lung cancer?

What about diabetes? It is well known that obesity and lack of physical activity are two of the most common, preventable causes of Type 2 diabetes. Do we arrest people with Type 2 diabetes because they made the “bad” choice to eat too much sugary foods and not to get enough exercise? No, we try and find a cure for diabetes.

Heart disease can also be caused by correctable problems, such as an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, being overweight and smoking. Do we arrest someone with heart disease because they made the “bad” choice to eat too much of an unhealthy diet and did not exercise enough? No, we try and find a cure for heart disease.

I realize that I am taking this to the extreme, but why should it be any different for people struggling with meth or pain pills or alcohol – people who also made a bad choice long ago?

Should people with Type 2 diabetes be put into prison for eating candy? Should people with hypertension be put into prison for eating fried foods?

Sounds silly doesn’t it?

But our focus should be on treatment, not incarceration. If a fraction of the $15 billion for the “War on Drugs” had been wisely spent on research, we might have an effective treatment for drug addiction by now.

Am I saying that it is OK to use drugs? Of course not. Even alcohol, when not used in moderation, can lead to alcoholism and a host of physical, mental and emotional problems.

What I am saying is that it is time to really acknowledge that drug and alcohol addiction is a disease and to start treating the people suffering from addiction as patients, not inmates!

More next week!

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

 

February 26, 2016

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

One of the biggest stories in the methamphetamine news last week did not happen in the United States – it took place in Australia. But the meth problem in Australia is as great, if not greater than the problem that we have here in America.

The story began back in December, 2015, when the Australian Border Force examined a shipping container that came to Australia from Hong Kong.

Commander Chris Sheehan told reporters, “That shipping container was found to contain gel bra inserts and hidden inside those gel bra inserts was 190 liters of liquid methamphetamine.”

190 liters translates into over 50 gallons of meth!

Ingenious! Someone had the grand idea to try and smuggle meth into Australia by filling bra inserts with meth. These little inserts are used to give the impression of a larger bust, and someone thought that this would be a foolproof place to hide liquid meth.

It might have worked. But the Australian Border Force must have been tipped off. I would have never thought to look there.

Imagine how long it took to individually fill all these little inserts with more than 50 gallons of liquid meth and to then repackage the inserts to look like the real thing!

But that was just the start. The Australian Border Force teamed up with the Australian federal police, the New South Wales police, and the Australian Crime Commission to investigate this case of “organized crime.”

This joint organized crime investigation soon uncovered an additional 530 liters (that’s 140 gallons!) of liquid meth. But this meth was not hidden in bra inserts. Instead, this cache of meth was hidden inside art supplies.

“These drugs were concealed inside art supplies housed in five storage units in Sydney in the suburbs of Miranda, Hurstville, Padstow and Kingsgrove,” said Commander Sheehan.

Last Monday, February 15, 2016, New South Wales Justice Minister Michael Keenan announced to reporters in Sydney, “This has resulted in 3.6 million individual hits of ice being taken off our streets with a street value of $1.26 billion.”

$1.26 billion Australian dollars is just over $900 million in US dollars. That’s a significant amount of money!

“This has been a very good day for Australian law enforcement and a very bad day for the organized criminals that have been targeting the Australian drug market,” Justice Minister Keenan said.

At last report, four individuals had been arrested. A 33-year-old Hong Kong national was charged over the original seizure of bra inserts.

Following his arrest, three additional Hong Kong nationals – a 59-year-old man, a 37-year-old man and a 52-year-old woman – were arrested and charged for the meth hidden in the art supplies located in the five storage units.

In US dollars, Australians pay nearly $500 a gram compared with an average street price in China of $80 a gram. That’s more than a 6-fold markup!

It’s easy to see how this massive profit margin has made Australia an attractive destination for Asian criminal gangs involved in the manufacturing and trafficking of methamphetamine.

Australia has one of the world’s highest rates of meth use. In March, 2015, the Australian Crime Commission reported that as many as 1.3 million Australians had tried meth, with nearly 400,000 using the drug in the past 12 months. The population of Australia is approximately 24 million, meaning that an estimated 1 in 20 people there have tried meth.

Meth is indeed a world-wide problem. But the next report in Meth in the News this week comes from closer to home. And it has to be put in the “you’ve got to be kidding me” category.

Apparently someone decided that a police station parking lot was as good a place as any to “cook up” some meth.

Prestonsburg is the county seat of Floyd County, located in eastern Kentucky. The population of Prestonsburg was approximately 3,255 souls in 2010.

Last Thursday, February 18, 2016, Prestonsburg police officer Ross Shurtleff received a surprising message from their 911 dispatch around 2 a.m. regarding s suspicious-looking vehicle right there in the police department’s own parking lot.

So several officers went over to the car to determine what was going on.

Imagine their surprise when they discovered, right there in plain sight, a meth lab “cooking” in a Aquafina bottle between the feet of Dwight Collins.

When Officer Shurtleff asked Mr. Collins what that was between his feet, he allegedly lied and said that it was just a bottle of water.

But according to Officer Shurtleff, “It’s a bottle of water was the response I got and I know water doesn’t arc.” Ok…

The arrest affidavit claimed that the police reported that the “meth lab” was “omitting a distinct and disturbing odor”.

“I have to admit this took me by a little bit of surprise,” said Officer Shurtleff. He further questioned, “Who would cook meth in a police parking lot?”

Arrested were Mr. Collins, his mother (yes, you read that correctly too) Connie Collins, Britney Owsley and Justin Horner. All four were transported to the Floyd County Detention Center where they faced several drug-related charges.

This group is no stranger to law enforcement in Prestonsburg. Officer Shurtleff told reporters that he had just arrested Mr. Collins the previous night and that Ms. Owsley had an active arrest warrant.

I really can’t make this stuff up!

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

 

February 19, 2016

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In this Meth in the News column last week, I told you about a 15-year-old girl in Fresno, California who lost her eyesight while trying to “cook” methamphetamine using a recipe that she found by searching the Internet. She made a mistake in the manufacturing process and the toxic brew exploded in her face.

While that horrible accident raised a number of concerns regarding young people and meth use as well as the garbage that can be found on the Internet, there was a story last week that spread across the United States and abroad.  This story illustrates the real and present dangers associated with “cooking meth.”  And if this story doesn’t make you mad, you just don’t have a heart!

In the early morning hours on Thursday, February 4, 2016, Erie firefighters responded to a call of an explosion at West Fourth and Poplar streets in Erie, Pennsylvania.

When firefighters arrived at the upstairs apartment in the 600 block of West Fourth Street around 4:52 a.m., the small fire had already been extinguished.

At the scene, firefighters found a little 3-year-old boy who had been burned in the explosion and subsequent fire. Initially, the fire appeared to be accidental.

Chief Fire Inspector Guy Santone told reporters that it looked like the fire started when the little boy’s blanket got too close to a space heater and ignited while he was lying on a couch next to the heater.

The little boy was transported and treated at the University of Pittsburgh Mercy Medical Center in Pittsburgh. He suffered severe burns to his face, hands, feet, legs and stomach in the explosion and fire.

When the boy’s mother learned about the fire, she told investigators with the Pennsylvania State Police that Stephen G. Godfrey, 34, of Erie, was supposed to be watching the boy.

That’s when she also told the authorities that she believed that the fire could have been the result of drugs!

When the police talked to a neighbor, they learned that two men placed several bags of “garbage” into the back of a pickup truck and left before the police arrived at the scene of the fire.

Nothing suspicious about that!

Later that Thursday, another man went to talk to detectives at the Erie Bureau of Police. He told them that Mr. Godfrey came to his home and said that he wanted to leave his truck or at least the bags of garbage on his property . The man said that Mr. Godfrey even admitted that the garbage contained items used in a meth lab.

Obviously the man told Mr. Godfrey to dump his “meth garbage” someplace else.

Then the man left to go and run some errands. Guess what happened?

When he returned home later, he found two trash cans, three bags and a burnt suitcase on his property. So he called and reported it to the Erie Police.

The Erie Police contacted the Pennsylvania State Police Clandestine Laboratory Response Team to check the garbage since there were suspicions that it may contain items associated with a methamphetamine lab.

When members of the Team searched the materials dumped on the man’s property, they indeed found items commonly used to “cook” meth.

What else did they find? You guessed it – items identified as belonging to Mr. Godfrey.

OK, now are you ready to get really angry?

When investigators searched the West Fourth Street apartment where the explosion and fire took place, they found remnants of a “one-pot” meth lab under a crib.

Under a crib????

They also found parts of the “lab” wrapped in a blanket. It appeared that the items had been on fire, thereby accounting for the burned blanket that Inspector Santone initially reported.

Several of the news reports published a picture of Mr. Godfrey. I did not see a single burn or other injury, and there was no indication that he was treated either at the scene or a hospital.

But the innocent 3-year-old boy suffered “severe burns to his face, hands, feet, legs and stomach.” Makes my blood boil!

Mr. Godfrey was supposed to be watching the little boy while his mother was away.

He was arrested on charges that he was making methamphetamine when the explosion and fire occurred and was transported to the Erie County Prison.

Mr. Godfrey was arraigned on Wednesday, February 10th in the Erie 6th Ward District Court by Judge Dominick DiPaolo on charges of manufacture of methamphetamine with a child present; operating a methamphetamine lab; manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver; causing or risking a catastrophe; and endangering the welfare of children.

As of last Thursday, Mr. Godfrey remained in the Erie County Prison on $100,000 bond.

You know, if you are ignorant enough to try and “cook” meth and hurt yourself, hopefully you’ll learn your lesson. And I do feel sorry for the 15-year-old girl who may lose her sight because the “lab” that she tried to create blew up in her face.

But there is no excuse whatsoever for “cooking” meth with children present anywhere in the same home or apartment or wherever you are “cooking” it!

There should be special laws (and punishments) for selfish, inconsiderate people like Stephen Godfrey!

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

February 12, 2016

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Many times in this Meth in the News column, I have warned the readers about attempting to “cook” meth, especially using the “one-pot” or “shake-n-bake” method.  The toxic brew used in the “cooking” process can cause the plastic bottles to explode or burst into flames, resulting in severe burns and/or tissue damage from the explosion.

Unfortunately, a young 15-year-old girl discovered this in a tragic mishap that occurred on Thursday just a week before Christmas last year. The accident cost the girl her sight, perhaps forever,

Kerman is located in Fresno County, California, roughly 15 miles west of Fresno. It’s is a small town of approximately 13,500 people. This “accident” occurred on the outskirts of Kerman.

And as has happened to so many other teenage girls, this 15-year-old was first introduced to methamphetamine by an older family member or friend of the family. In this case it was her aunt’s boyfriend.

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims investigated the case. And she is very familiar with the dangers of meth – and the extremes that people will go to for the drug.

“They live for that high,” Sheriff Mims told reporters, referring to the high produced by methamphetamine.

The accident was pieced together by Sheriff Mims, her deputies and a reporter who also talked with the teenage girl. At one point the girl was going to come forward and give a full account of her story in the hopes that it would serve as a deterrent to others who may consider trying what she did.

She later changed her mind – but she did provide useful information regarding what happened that fateful Thursday night.

She told the deputies investigating the case that she had tried meth before. They didn’t state in the affidavit how many times she had tried meth, but many users will tell you that one time is all it takes to get “hooked.”

And you have all likely seen my warning at the end of every column, “Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!” Please take this warning seriously!

The 15-year-old girl said that she “craved” meth so badly that she did what most teenagers – and many older people too – do these days, she searched the Internet using her cell phone.

She searched for Internet recipes so that she could learn how to “cook” meth all on her own! She craved meth so badly that she was willing to “attempt extreme measures,” according to Sheriff Mims.

A search of her cell phone revealed that she found bits and pieces of meth-making recipes listed on various websites, and she determined what she believed was the best way to make the meth that she craved so desperately.

The girl was at the trailer home of a family member that fateful Thursday night, located on the outskirts of Kerman. There was no indication whether or not that was where her aunt – or aunt’s boyfriend – lived. But you would think that her aunt’s boyfriend would have continued supplying her with meth. Just saying …

Nevertheless, the girl gathered several household items together and mixed them, trying to mimic the recipes that she discovered during her Internet search.

But the formula or the way that she mixed the chemicals together was totally wrong, and the toxic mixture exploded in her face.

“She’s very gravely injured. She got her formula wrong and it blew up,” said Sheriff Mims.

The teenager told the reporter during the telephone interview that she was burned so badly in the explosion that she lost sight in both eyes.

Doctors have performed surgery on her eyes in an attempt to save her sight. She told the reporter that she has blurry vision in one eye. However, despite the surgery the vision in her other eye may never return.

It was reported that the girl simply typed “how to make meth” in her cell phone as she searched for a meth-making recipe. Try typing these same words in an Internet search and several “documentaries” posted to You Tube and other websites may pop up. A review of the search history on the girl’s phone by the deputies revealed several You Tube videos that had been posted online as well as links to other websites. Many of these websites provided step-by-step instructions on how to make meth using the “shake-n-bake” method.

But as I have stressed over and over, the Internet, with its “how to” videos and comprehensive step-by-step recipes can never replace the training received in a state-of-the-art modern chemistry lab that adheres to Good Laboratory Practices.

And you know what? I started my career in science before the Internet – even before cell phones, if you can believe it. When we wanted to learn something we had to actually go to a place called a library. There we would find printed scientific journals containing research reports that had been reviewed and vetted for accuracy by other scientists. My point, my friends, is that you can NOT believe everything that you find on the Internet. Please!

But go ahead and perform another Internet search using the words “meth fires.” Then click on “images.” You’ll quickly become acutely aware of the dangers associated with “cooking” meth. The materials used to manufacture methamphetamine are dangerous even when handled by people who have some knowledge of and basic skills in chemistry.

And yes, many social media websites try to flag videos that violate certain guidelines. For example, dangerous or illegal activities like hard drug use are usually prohibited. But as this case illustrates, they don’t catch everything.

At the end of the day, education is the best tool in preventing such “accidents” like this from happening. As Special Agent Rachel Capello, with the United States Department of Justice states so appropriately, “We do education programs and we do outreach at elementary schools and we have learned that we really need to target younger now.”

Education is necessary, not only on the dangers of methamphetamine itself, but also on the dangers associated with manufacturing meth. Children are never too young to learn, especially since they may come into contact with a “one-pot lab” that has been discarded on the side of the road or in the woods.

Please be sure to share this with your children.

I have said it before, and I’ll say it again! Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

February 5, 2016

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

For this week’s Meth in the News column, I thought I would provide you with a wide variety of reports regarding methamphetamine.  Of course there are many, many more, but I can fit only so many in this space.

In West Virginia, Tracy Lynn Starkey, 21, and Nathaniel R. Spina, 22, were arraigned on Saturday, January 30, in Monongalia County Magistrate Court on charges of operating a clandestine lab and possession of precursor to manufacture meth and conspiracy.

Magistrate Hershel Mullins set Mr. Spina’s bond at $30,000 and Ms. Starkey’s at $20,000.

How were the couple’s meth-making activities discovered?

On Tuesday, January 26, Mr. Spina’s mother contacted the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department and requested that deputies search the truck that she shared with her son for dangerous chemicals. A deputy found a one-pot meth lab in the truck.

More meth-making ingredients and labs were discovered on property that the couple shared with Mr. Spina’s grandparents. They had also asked the deputies to search their property.

Good for them! Too bad not all parents – and grandparents – are like these.

In Caldwell, Idaho, Andrew Hoving, 27, was arrested after Caldwell patrol officers found meth, marijuana, cash and a handgun in his vehicle after they conducted a routine traffic stop around 11:15 p.m. on Thursday, January 28.

Mr. Hoving was booked into the Canyon County jail on charges of meth possession with intent to deliver, marijuana possession and driving under the influence of a controlled substance.

When police conducted a follow-up investigation at Mr. Hoving’s place of residence, they found his mother, Dina Stidham, 52, who readily admitted that there were drugs inside her home.

Ms. Stidham was subsequently arrested on felony charges of trafficking meth and marijuana.

She obviously did not set a very good example for her son!

You have likely heard, or at least read in this column, that meth use can lead to extreme paranoia. Here are just a couple of examples of such paranoia that were reported last week.

Now I am not trying to pick on Caldwell, but it just so happens that this first report also came out of Caldwell – on January 28.

James F. Baldocci, of Caldwell, had grown weary of being tailed by undercover police, so he called the Canyon County dispatch to tell them that he had had enough.

It just so happened, however, that Caldwell Police did not have any undercover officers in the area, so they conducted a welfare check.

They found Mr. Baldocci at a Chevron gas station and, after speaking with him briefly, determined that he was under the influence. He also admitted to having drugs on his person.

Mr. Baldocci was arrested after Caldwell Police found meth in his shoe.

Another case of paranoia occurred closer to home.

Last Thursday, the Fort Smith Police Department was investigating a complaint from Joseph Thomas, 31, of Little Rock, who claimed that a Fort Smith man tried to kill him.

Mr. Thomas told the police that he was having sex with a woman when a man walked in, interrupted them, and held him at gunpoint. After about 20 minutes, he was able to get away from the man and jumped out of 2-story window to escape.

So that was why he was only wearing his socks and underwear.

The “woman” in the story showed up on the scene a few minutes later and told the police that she and Mr. Thomas were smoking meth together – just prior to having sex.

She went on to tell the police that all of a sudden Mr. Thomas “freaked out,” ran down the hall and jumped through the window.

There was no other man and, obviously, no gun!

As of the last report, there have been no arrests in this case.

The last case comes to us from Indiana, and was also first reported on Thursday.

Troopers with the Indiana State Police received an anonymous tip on January 28 that two men were “cooking” meth along the banks of the Ohio River near a boat ramp parking lot in Troy. The troopers, along with officers from the Perry County Sheriff’s Department and the Tell City Police Department entered the area to search for the meth lab.

The officers first encountered 26-year-old Joshua W. Robbins of Tell City. Mr. Robbins was kneeling down, engaged in some sort of activity with the meth lab. When the officers announced their presence, Mr. Robbins threw the “lab” into the river.

What was he thinking? In addition to the caustic chemicals used to “cook” meth, these one-pot “labs” also contain lithium, which catches on fire when it comes into contact with water.

So when the “meth lab” hit the water, it caught on fire and began emitting strong chemical fumes.

Whoops! I guess that Mr. Robbins forgot what he learned in his high school chemistry class.

Mr. Robbins was subsequently taken into custody without further incident.

On the scene, officers found two hydrogen chloride generators, another “one-pot” meth lab, sulfuric acid, lithium, and salt, all of which are chemicals and precursors used to “cook” meth.

Gordon Poehlein, 45, also from Tell City, was also seen by the officers, but he left the area before he could be taken into custody. He was later found at his Tell City residence where he was arrested.

As part of their investigation, officers learned that Mr. Poehlein had purchased the pseudoephedrine that was used in the meth lab earlier that day.

Mr. Robbins and Mr. Poehlein were each charged with a Level 5 felony count for manufacturing meth and Level 6 felony counts of possession of precursors, maintaining a common nuisance, and obstruction of justice.

Mr. Robbins was also charged with a Level 6 felony count of dumping controlled substance waste.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

January 29, 2016

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

From time to time people ask me about my passion for spreading the word about meth. They ask why I write this column, Meth in the News and maintain my website.

I can assure you that it is not for fame and fortune. I am not paid for writing this column and receive no compensation from my website.

If you want to know the truth, it is for the children. And that is why I focus so much of my efforts on women. You and I both know that, for the most part, women are the primary caregivers for their children. If mom is on a 3-day meth binge, who is taking care of her children?

And people also often do things while on meth that they would never do otherwise.

My passion for meth was initially sparked when a friend told me about the case of Candice Alexander, a 15-year-old girl from Lufkin, Texas. Candice was sexually abused and ultimately murdered by her meth-using mother and stepfather in 2003. They killed the 90-pound teenager by injecting her with enough meth to “kill four 150 pound men.” You can quickly find more information about this tragic case online.

Since that time I have spoken at venues all over the world about the dangers of meth. If you are interested in having me speak to your group, please contact me.

But that is also why I continue to ask for women, especially IV meth users, to contact me. I want to hear your story. The more people who contact me with direct knowledge about the effects of meth, the better able I will be to discover ways to help women who want to stop using meth.

I have learned so much from you over the past few years. Thank you for sharing your stories with me.

And if what I do helps one woman quit using meth and prevents another case like Candice Alexander, then it has all been worth it.

However, something recently sparked a long-lost memory in me that may also fuel my passion for neglected children. This is personal to me!

Most people who know me know that I am adopted. I was never told whether or not my birth parents were involved with drugs. In fact, I never knew my birth parents, although my biological father was stationed at Barksdale in 1954-55. Interestingly, I have always had a love for military jets.

My adoptive parents did not use meth – their demon was alcohol. And while I never suffered anything at all like the children I write about in this column have, I still experienced disappointment and neglect on a much smaller scale, as have thousands and thousands of others.

But this is what I recently remembered. I was probably six or seven years old. My parents left me with my father’s mother, who herself struggled for years with alcoholism and depression, while they went out for a long night of drinking and partying.

I remember being awakened early in the morning around 2 or 3 a.m. to a house filled with smoke. I can only imagine what might have happened if my parents had not returned when they did.

Apparently my grandmother dropped a lit cigarette in between the cushions of a chair without realizing what she had done and fell asleep while the cigarette smoldered there for hours. Things could have turned out much worse, but by the grace of God they did not.

So abandonment and neglect do hold a special place in my heart. I do this for the children.

But tragically, cases involving children – the innocent victims of meth – are reported week after week from all across the United States.

Just last week, on Saturday, January 16, 2016, 23-year-old Anna Marie Hyden, of Tulsa, Okla, left her 6-month-old son, Arrow Hyden, in the care of her “boyfriend,” Kevin Lee Crawford, 52, for a few hours while she went to buy some cigarettes.

As an aside, have you ever noticed how many women are with men who are more than twice their age when meth is involved? Maybe I am just reading too much into this, but …

Apparently Ms. Hyden, her little baby, and Mr. Crawford had moved into a small shed located behind his parent’s house in November of 2015. Tulsa police, firefighters and Emergency Medical Services personnel were called to that shed around 4 p.m. on January 16, responding to a report of an infant suffering from “cardiac arrest”.

There they found little Arrow Hyden alone and lifeless in the cold, damp shed – Mr. Crawford was nowhere to be found.

“The shed was uninsulated, which left the baby very little protection from the elements,” the police report stated.

Tulsa police also told reporters that the shed had no running water and was only powered by an extension cord from the residence. They described the living conditions as “deplorable,” with trash, chemicals and filth littering the shed.

At the hospital, Ms. Hyden told police detectives that her baby had been crying and that Mr. Crawford disciplined him by “taking away all of his freedom, so he’ll submit,” adding, “I’m teaching him a lesson,” according to an affidavit.

The police finally caught up with Mr. Crawford early Monday morning. He had a “baggy of meth” and several needles on him when he was arrested on complaints of felony child neglect, possession of methamphetamine and possession of paraphernalia.

On Friday, January 22, Ms. Hyden and Mr. Crawford were charged with child neglect in the baby’s death.

According to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Mr. Crawford has spent several years in prison for convictions of second-degree burglary and endeavoring to manufacture methamphetamine in Tulsa County.

I will never understand this! How could a 23-year-old mother leave her baby alone with a 52-year-old convicted felon in a shed without adequate heat in the middle of winter?

Who knows what the ultimate outcome will be, but this sounds like a bit more than just child neglect to me.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

January 22, 2016

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

I have said it before in this Meth in the News column, but it bears repeating. Without question, not everyone who uses methamphetamine commits the types of crimes and bizarre acts of behavior that I report here. Some do, but not everyone does.

Alternatively, each week I could fill this column with medical and scientific facts about the consequences of long-term meth use. I could discuss the incidence of rhabdomyolysis, the dyspnea produced when meth deposits in pulmonary tissue via serotonin transporters, and the cases of cerebral infarcts and formication.

But then who would read this column? I certainly would not reach the people that I hope to reach – people who may consider using meth – or even those already using. If just one person reads this column and decides not to use meth – or even better decides to quit using meth, then it has all been worth it!

So I try to make this column more entertaining and sensational in the hopes that more people will read it.

That being said, the first report this week comes from Milton, Wash.

At about 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 9, 2016, Medics with East Pierce Fire & Rescue and Milton Police responded to a call regarding a child left alone inside a car.

When medics arrived on the scene, they found a 15-month-old girl, naked and alone inside a car that had been backed into a driveway. Two windows in the car were rolled down, and the outside temperature was 26!

When police arrived, they found the little girl’s father, Michael A. Dufour, 29, in the doorway naked from the waist down. He had soiled himself, and diarrhea was running down his legs.

He was carrying his baby daughter into the house, wrapping the naked girl in a comforter spattered with diarrhea. The little girl was reported to be “extremely red and lethargic.”

It was not clear how long she had been left alone in the car in subfreezing temperatures. But when the medics took the little girl to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma, she was found to be hypothermic, with minor frostbite to her hands and feet.

When the police questioned Mr. Dufour, he claimed the little girl’s mother was just trying to set him up to gain custody of the child. He also said that someone must have broken into, burglarized and ransacked his home.

Police found garbage, toys and diarrhea strewn all over the floor of the house.

When the police officers placed him under arrest, a container containing 3.2 grams of meth was found in his pocket. Of course, Mr. Dufour claimed that it wasn’t his, according to court documents.

A preliminary investigation found that Mr. Dufour had driven home with his daughter after leaving the home of an “acquaintance” the night before.

The acquaintance told police that Mr. Dufour had been using meth and heroin, and that he was slurring his speech and barely able to walk when he drove home, according to court documents.

My question is why in the world would Mr. Dufour’s “acquaintance” allow him to drive home in that condition – with his baby girl in the car?

On Wednesday, January 13, Mr. Dufour was charged with second-degree criminal mistreatment, abandonment of a dependent person and possession of methamphetamine.

Mr. Dufour pleaded not guilty to the charges and is being held in the Pierce County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail. Perhaps he should have treated his ex-wife like the gentleman in the next report claimed to do.

On Friday, January 15, 2016, Jonesboro, Ark., Police Officer Bryan Bailey conducted an early morning probation search of a “well-known drug house on Vine Street.”

There, according to his incident report, he found a set of digital scales, a box of nylon gloves, match strips, and a used syringe. Officer Bailey also found a syringe containing 0.5 ml of suspected liquid meth.

Lemuel Brent Lewis, 40, of Jonesboro, was in the house and was arrested on suspicion of possession of meth or cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Mr. Lewis “voluntarily stated that the items were all his and that nobody knew he had them,” according to the report.

But he had a good excuse!

After being read his Miranda rights, Mr. Lewis allegedly told Officer Bailey that his “ex-wife was supposed to leave for rehab so he knew she needed money and was going to cook a batch of meth.”

What a man! `I can’t figure out why she ever divorced him.

Mr. Lewis was transported to the Craighead County Detention Center to await a probable cause hearing.

Finally, people are always leaving valuable possessions behind when they check out of hotels. Such was the case at the Winterton Suites hotel in Williston, North Dakota. On Wednesday, January 13, an employee found valuables left behind by Tanya Morgan, 43, and Marina Rodriguez, 41, from Denver.

The employee called the police after finding a pillow stuffed with $50,000 worth of meth in the room vacated by the two women.

According to court records, officers tracked Ms. Morgan and Ms. Rodriguez down at a nearby restaurant, where Ms. Morgan was allegedly found with cocaine and Ms. Rodriguez with meth and a small book containing names and contact information.

Ms. Morgan was arrested for possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, and Ms. Rodriguez was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia.

During the booking process, deputies at the Williams County Correctional Center allegedly found seven grams, or about $1,500 worth of meth stuffed in Ms. Morgan’s groin area and removed a smaller amount of the drug from Ms. Rodriguez’s groin as well.

Both women are facing Class AA felony charges, which carry a possible life sentence. On Friday afternoon, District Judge Kirsten Sjue set Ms. Morgan’s bond at $250,000 and Ms. Rodriguez’s at $100,000.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

January 15, 2016

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

This is a truly horrific case of abuse and neglect that first came to the attention of the authorities just a week before Christmas last year. On December 18, 2015, at 5:46 a.m., Jerrica D. Schreib, 19, called 911 in Everett, Wash., to report that her 3-month-old baby daughter was having a possible allergic reaction to gripe water. I had to look it up, but gripe water is a formulation, containing primarily bicarbonate, that is used to treat colic and other gastrointestinal discomforts in infants.

Everett Fire Department Personnel were dispatched to the scene at the Far West Motel where they found an unresponsive infant. They subsequently requested a police response, and Child Protective Services (CPS) was also notified.

It turns out that a small “family unit” had been living at the motel for the past few days. In addition to Ms. Schreib and her infant daughter was her boyfriend, Donald K. Coons, 42, along with his three young daughters, aged 14, 13 and 11. Before moving into the Far West Motel the “family” lived in a trailer somewhere in unincorporated Snohomish County.

The three girls referred to Ms. Schreib and Mr. Coons as their “parents” when interviewed by police and CPS investigators.

The 3-month-old infant was transported to the Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett. Medical personnel at the hospital informed police that the baby had “multiple broken bones, including varying vintage rib fractures, a healing broken arm, and numerous other unexplained injuries to include a laceration underneath her chin,” according to the police report.

The police investigator met Ms. Schreib at the infant’s bedside, and she told him that her baby had been “completely normal” before the current 911 call and had not suffered any “falls or previous trauma.” She also said that Mr. Coons was the baby’s natural father.

However, when she was questioned about the baby’s broken bones, Ms. Schreib changed her story and told the investigator that the baby fell off the bed while she was changing her diaper. She claimed that her little baby only cried for about 5 minutes. She said that she called a nurse hotline and was told not to worry as long as her baby could move her arm normally and that she did not need to take her baby to a doctor.

The investigator also asked about the baby’s black eye. Ms. Schreib said that the “doctor” said that was normal and likely due to “fluid buildup on her head,” now implying that she had taken her baby to a doctor.

A nurse at the hospital removed a Band-Aid from the infant’s chin that revealed a large gaping gash. Ms. Schreib said that the doctor said that was nothing more than an “infected milk rash.”

Medical personnel at the Providence Regional Medical Center had seen enough and had the baby transported via Airlift Northwest to Children’s Hospital. Unfortunately she was pronounced deceased at Children’s Hospital.

Medical personnel at Children’s Hospital told police that the little baby had a “suspicious, severe spinal fracture that anyone caring for her would have been aware of due to the amount of pain that the infant would have been in.” They said that this break was likely “weeks” old. Imagine the amount of suffering that this baby was forced to endure!

Some of the fractures to the baby’s ribs were described as old and some were new based on the patterns of healing. Her liver was also lacerated and she suffered from pneumonia and meningitis.

Ms. Schreib later revealed to CPS workers that Mr. Coons was not actually the baby’s father, but that he would “never hurt the baby.”

Mr. Coons’ three daughters told CPS that the infant was healthy and happy until what they called “the arm incident” happened a few weeks prior. They claimed that after the “incident” the baby became “more and more fussy.” The infant was “constantly crying” and would “scream out in pain” whenever she was picked up or moved.

The girls said that Mr. Coons and Ms. Schreib tried to treat the baby’s injuries with Tylenol, ice packs and ace bandages. The girls also thought that the baby should go to the doctor, but they were told that she was fine.

They told CPS workers that the crying became so extreme that Ms. Schreib put her infant daughter in her car seat and left her outside their bedroom. When the crying woke Ms. Schreib up, she moved the baby to an empty bedroom, shut the door and told the girls not to enter the room or pick up the baby.

After they moved to the motel, the girls said that the baby’s health quickly declined, and she had difficulty breathing and refused food.

Imagine how these young girls felt as the baby was literally “tortured” (according to an unnamed doctor at Children’s Hospital) and neglected – to the point of death!

In documents prepared for the probable cause for their arrest, the lead investigator wrote, “As the biological parent (Schreib) and adult (Coons) who assumed the responsibility to provide a dependent person the basic necessities of life, they recklessly caused great bodily harm to MMS [the baby] by withholding medical care from her when she was in obvious medical distress and ultimately died from her injuries and/or illness.”

Ms. Schreib and Mr. Coons were arrested on Friday, January 1, 2016, and are being held for investigation of first-degree criminal mistreatment of a child, a felony. Bail was set at $500,000 each and maintained after a brief hearing on Monday, January 3.

So what is this horrific story doing in Meth in the News? Well as you may have guessed, methamphetamine is involved.

On Tuesday, January 4, 2016, Lt. Ryan Dalberg of the Everett Police Department told reporters that the 3-month-old baby girl had tested positive for meth. She was tested at the hospital before she died, but it has not yet been determined how the drug got into her system.

Although Mr. Coon’s daughters did not report meth use to CPS, they did tell investigators that Ms. Schreib was “mostly sleeping” in their “parents’ bedroom” and became more and more “unengaged” with the care of her baby.

Interestingly, Mr. Coons was already awaiting trial on charges of methamphetamine possession that were filed in June, 2015. Police in Mill Creek, Wash., allegedly caught him with some of the drug during a search of his van in November, 2014. Prior to his most recent arrest Mr. Coons had been free on $5,000 bail.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

 

January 8, 2016

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

As I have reported many times here in Meth in the News, reports from Sheriff’s Offices from around the country, as well as from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), have suggested that the Mexican Drug cartels continue to flood the United States with methamphetamine that is 90% pure – or even purer. This meth is manufactured in well-equipped “superlabs” and shipped through known drug smuggling routes throughout the country. In turn, the prices for meth have fallen as the supply increases.

It has also been suggested that the number of domestic clandestine meth labs have declined in recent years. This is likely due to the onslaught of Mexican meth as well as the more stringent controls on the purchase of cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine.

Nevertheless, I read reports on a daily basis of another meth lab being discovered in a home, motel room, or even in a car or a backpack, somewhere in the United States. Sometimes innocent children are present. Sometimes fires or explosions occur when the “cook” makes a simple mistake in the processing of the toxic chemicals. Sometimes a neighbor recognizes a “strange chemical odor” that smells like ammonia or cat urine and informs the authorities.

What happens after the meth “cooks” are arrested?

Many times the “cooks” are released on bail. Often times they plea bargain and receive suspended sentences. There is not sufficient space to incarcerate every meth “cook” anyway, and I am not advocating for that in this column.

But what happens when the meth “cook” moves on and vacates the property? The caustic, toxic chemicals used to “cook” meth have contaminated the floors, walls, carpets, curtains, furniture, air ducts and everything else in the house or motel room. It is no longer safe to live there until the property is professionally decontaminated.

Such a case was reported on wishtv.com out of Shelbyville, Indiana, on December 29, 2015.

Karen Hoyt, her daughter, son and grandchildren moved into a trailer at a mobile home park on Chestnut Street in Shelbyville in September of 2015. They lived there for more than three months but had no idea that their home had been involved in a meth lab bust back in November of 2012.

Luckily for Ms. Hoyt, depending on how you look at it, she became concerned about mold and water leaks that she had observed inside her trailer. When she could not get any response from the property management office at the mobile home park, she decided to contact the local health department to report her concerns.

Imagine her horror when she was warned by the health officials during that call that the home where she and her family were living was considered “uninhabitable.”

Then Ms. Hoyt received an official letter from the Shelby County Health Department on December 15, just ten days before Christmas.

According to wishtv.com, the letter read:

“The Shelby County Health Department recently found out that you are living in a residence that was previously vacant due to the fact it was used to manufacture methamphetamine. The manufacture of meth causes a residue that coats surfaces, absorbing into porous materials, and contaminating the forced air heaters/cooling (HVAC) system. If not decontaminated, the drug lab can leave toxic residue behind indefinitely.”

Ms. Hoyt told reporters, “Words cannot describe the feeling of being told that your home had been used for a methamphetamine lab.”

One can only imagine the fear produced when you realize that your family has been living, breathing, eating and bathing in a property that had been contaminated by the chemicals used to “cook” methamphetamine.

The Indiana State Police reported that corrosive acids and bases, lithium and ammonia were discovered both in and outside of her home during the meth “lab” bust three years earlier. And these contaminates don’t just fade away.

And while heartbreaking, this case highlights a much larger problem. In states where there are laws on the books, the property owners are responsible for all cleanup costs to decontaminate the property, which can cost thousands of dollars.

But who is watching the property owners? If Ms. Hoyt had not contacted the health department to report another issue, she likely would have never known that she and her family were living in a toxic environment.

The DEA website indicates that there were 1,471 meth lab incidents in Indiana in 2014. And those were just the labs that were uncovered – and reported to the authorities. Imagine how many were never found or reported!.

But in Indiana, just as it is in Louisiana, apparently no one enforces the regulations, and the innocent public suffers as a result.

Louisiana has laws on the books. RS 9:3198 states that it is the duty of the property owner to disclose whether or not there was ever a meth lab on the property. The statutes state that the property remains on a list maintained by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) until the DEQ receives notice that the property has been decontaminated, but the laws do not stipulate what happens if the property is not decontaminated.

Furthermore, under Section G of RS 9:3198.1, it states, “Failure to comply with the provisions of this Section shall not create a cause of action against a governmental entity or the property owner, the owner’s agent, the mortgagee, or other person with an interest in the property.”

I am not a lawyer, but it appears that if the property owner fails to properly disclose that a property had been contaminated as a result of a meth lab, there is no recourse for the unsuspecting public.

These statutes were last modified in 2013. Perhaps it is time to revisit them.

Finally, however, according to the DEA, there were only eleven meth lab “incidents” reported in all of Louisiana in 2014 (the latest year when such statistics were listed).

That leads me to ask one final question. Do you feel lucky?

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

January 1, 2016

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

There were a few interesting reports regarding methamphetamine that caught my eye over the Christmas holidays that I decided to share with you in this week’s Meth in the News.

The first story was originally reported on tulsaworld.com online out of Oklahoma on December 23, 2015, and I have noticed that it has since been picked up by many other news organizations around the country.

It started off as a simple traffic violation around 8:45 p.m. on Monday, December 21, 2015, when Rogers County Sheriff’s Deputy Scotty Moree noticed that a white Toyota traveling in front of his patrol car on I-44 near Catoosa changed lanes without signaling properly. Now how often does that happen?

Anyway, Deputy Moree pulled the car over to talk to the driver, Chanele Benita Pauley, 33, of Arizona, and to tell her the reason for the traffic stop. At this point, his intention was just to write her a warning ticket and let her be on her way since it was the holidays after all.

Deputy Moree asked Ms. Pauley to sit in his patrol car while he wrote the warning ticket. Her passenger, Walter Gray Rawls, 43, also of Arizona, remained in the Toyota.

The deputy soon noticed that Ms. Pauley was extremely nervous, so he asked her where she was from and where she was headed. She told him that they were from Arizona on their way to Missouri.

According to Deputy Moree’s incident report, “Chanele was breathing very heavily and I could see the carotid artery in her neck. I observed Chanele to also be shaking.”

Then she did the unthinkable ‒ Ms. Pauley started passing gas uncontrollably right there in the patrol car! Yes, you read correctly. Well, I’ve heard of being nervous before, but this really takes the cake.

“All these signs led me to believe Chanele was extremely nervous,” Deputy Moree wrote in his official report. “These signs are not seen while speaking with the general motoring public.”

You think?

Deputy Moree then questioned Mr. Rawls. Unfortunately, he told the deputy that they were headed to North Carolina instead of Missouri.

It just so happened that Deputy Moree was a K9 Deputy, and since he had now determined that there was something suspicious going on, he let his police dog, Jack, sniff around the outside of the Toyota. Jack alerted to the odor of a controlled substance in the trunk.

Yeah, I know what you were all thinking.

When he searched the trunk, Deputy Moree found Christmas presents. Well, actually he found 4 boxes wrapped in Christmas paper. He also found a trash bag containing the plastic wrapping typically found around Christmas paper, tape, napkins and blue rubber gloves.

When he opened the boxes he realized why Ms. Pauley was acting so nervous. Inside he found several air-tight bags containing a white, crystalline substance that field-tested positive for methamphetamine.

In all, Deputy Moree discovered 8.5 pounds of meth.

Ms. Pauley and Mr. Rawls were subsequently booked into the Rogers County Jail on a complaint of trafficking in illegal drugs.

The next story was first reported online on wfla.com out of Tampa, Florida, on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2015. It happened at the Wal-Mart located in Lecanto, a small community of 5,882 located in Citrus County. This report has also been picked up by news organizations around the country.

It all began when a store loss prevention employee noticed that Josseleen Elida Lopez, 20, was acting “suspiciously” while she drove around the store in a motorized shopping cart on Tuesday, December 22, 2015.

What’s so suspicious about that?

Well, Ms. Lopez was actively eating and drinking while motoring around the Wal-Mart.

According to the employee, there was a half-empty bottle of wine in her cart. He also watched as she took a box of sushi from a shelf and ate a piece. Then she put the box back on the shelf. Yuck!

She did the same with some cinnamon rolls and mini muffins while the employee continued to watch.

Then Ms. Lopez almost ate an entire rotisserie chicken.

Well, enough was enough, so the employee sprung into action and detained Ms. Lopez. He then contacted the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office regarding an “alleged” shoplifter.

It turns out that she had consumed a total of $32.36 worth of food and wine while under the watchful eye of the loss prevention employee.

When Citrus County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Ms. Lopez, they found two empty syringes ‒ one was in her purse and the other was in her backpack. She told the deputies that she had used the syringes to inject methamphetamine earlier in the day.

She also said that she ate the food because she was hungry and that she did not want to take the food out of the store. She admitted that she knew what she did was wrong.

Ms. Lopez was arrested on shoplifting and drug paraphernalia charges.

Finally, in Johnston County, North Carolina, a mother and son were keeping it all in the family when they were arrested on Monday, December 21, 2015.

When Johnston County Sheriff’s narcotics agents assisted North Carolina Probation and Parole officers during a search of a home that had been under surveillance outside of Clayton, they discovered two meth labs. They also found 59 grams of meth and other meth-making items.

Narcotics Captain A. C. Fish told reporters that Brian Anthony Matthews, 25, was the alleged meth cook. And his mother, Bobbie Jean Rojas, 55, was apparently just using the meth that her son so lovingly cooked for her.

Nevertheless, both mother and son are facing charges including trafficking in meth, felony conspiracy, possess-distribute meth precursors, and maintaining a vehicle or dwelling for a controlled substance. Mr. Matthews was also charged with manufacturing methamphetamine.

You realize that I really couldn’t make this stuff up!

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

 

December 25, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In this Meth in the News column each week, I usually describe reports from across the USA focusing on the negative side of methamphetamine. However, since this week’s column is scheduled to fall on Christmas, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ – a time of love and hope – I thought that I would write a kinder, gentler column this week.

When most people are asked about methamphetamine users or “Meth Heads” they often refer to the pictures that they have seen online, such as the “Faces of Meth” mug shots that are so prominent on sites such as the website by the same name hosted by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon. These photos are said to depict the effects of long-term meth use, including scabs and sores on the faces and extremities, oily complexions and hair texture, extreme weight loss and often a far-away look in the eyes of the person in the picture.

And yes, long-term meth use can sometimes lead to effects such as those illustrated by the people that are highlighted on these websites. And like everyone else, I also used to believe that all meth users would look that way – like shells of their former selves.

But also remember this. These photos are the mug shots taken when these people were arrested on methamphetamine-related charges!

Think about some of the celebrity mug shots you have seen, such as Nick Nolte, Mel Gibson, or Lindsey Lohan. They didn’t look like glamorous movie stars when they were arrested – without hours of makeup and their fancy coiffures.

So remember to take that into account when viewing the “Faces of Meth” photos. These are their arrest photos. They may have been afraid, disheveled and possibly under the influence of meth and other drugs.

Actually, there is a very real possibility that you might have passed by a meth user in the grocery store, a restaurant or in the car next to you at a red light and had no idea about their drug use. In fact, if as many people are using methamphetamine as some people have suggested to me, there is a very good chance that you pass by meth users several times a day.

I have talked to many meth users, both recently arrested or in recovery, and if they had not confided in me, I would never have guessed that they had ever used methamphetamine. I guess it is like most things, you cannot judge a book by its cover. While you may be able to identify a meth user when she is severely intoxicated or “tweaking,” chances are that you would not otherwise be able to point her out as a meth user.

With that in mind, I was recently contacted by a young woman in recovery. We have spoken a few times and have become friends. I would never have guessed that she had ever used meth.

She wrote a poem and a short essay describing her feelings about meth and her recovery that she shared with me. I thought you would enjoy reading them as much as I did. They will give you a fresh perspective. She gave me permission to share them with you.

 

I loved you once, twice, three times a lifetime.

Built my world upon you, no matter the crime.

The acceptance I felt was just the beginning.

I had no idea, in the end I’d be sinning.

The joy came and went, costly and fleeting.

What a price I paid to sit in an AA meeting.

The prick from a needle took me by surprise.

Anticipation soon became my demise.

Truth turned confusing, my words were all lies.

I took what I wanted, never batting an eye.

Looking back now, all I see is disgust.

The girl in the mirror I could no longer trust.

My biggest fear now is forgetting that madness.

I will always remember her face with its sadness.

I won’t shut the door, but I must say good-bye.

Good-bye to the past. Good-bye to getting high.

Good-bye lonely nights of crying myself to sleep

Wondering how the hell I got in this so deep.

Good-bye to those friends not worth their keep.

Good-bye to the times I was too numb to weep.

Good-bye to the things that kept me in bondage.

Good-bye to arrests, convictions, and judges.

Good-bye to dark places. At last, there is light.

With God, I surrender. Good-bye to the fight.

 

If only you could walk a day in my shoes, you would not shun me. You wouldn’t shake your head and dismiss me like I’m not a person. Or look at me like I’m less than a person. I’m not any less of a human being than you are. And I’m not more. I’m just a real living being. Barely hanging on some days. I struggle every single day to keep my head up. Above water. The struggle is real. I may wear a smile on my face. And tell you all is well. But, behind the mask…I fight demons on a daily basis. I find comfort in a spiritual walk. Not in the acceptance of what u think about me. I do my best. And sometimes it’s just not enough. I mess up. I make mistakes. I stumble n fall. Then, I get up. I brush myself off. Perhaps, even help someone else get up n watch as they brush themselves off. It matters to me what happens to you. Believe it or not, I do care about my fellows. It may not seem that way or look that way from your perspective… But, I do care. I have a deep love for those in this world. I won’t let your disdain dampen my hope. I won’t let your opinion of me weaken my opinion of you. We are all children of One. Maybe one day, we can come together and share in that One Love.

 

How wonderful! Thank you for that my friend.  And Merry Christmas everyone!

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

 

December 18, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

There was an interesting article that caught my eye last week. It was posted online on medpagetoday.com on December 7, 2015. This article reported on a poster presentation at the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry meeting held in Bonita Springs, FL, last week describing research conducted by Emily Hartwell, a fourth year clinical psychology graduate student at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and her colleagues.

In her presentation, Ms. Hartwell and her colleagues analyzed two groups of methamphetamine users. One group, the “urban” group consisted of 199 participants at UCLA, and the “rural” comparison group included 66 participants from a “rural county” in eastern South Carolina.

The researchers concluded that rural methamphetamine users were far more likely to be younger, female, less educated, and make less than $15,000 per year when compared to the participants in the urban group.

Yet, is this really the case? I tend to disagree. Methamphetamine knows no socioeconomic class and does not discriminate between old and young users. And in both rural and urban areas, women are as likely to use meth as men are. With most addictive drugs, men are two to three times more likely to abuse them compared to women.  No so with meth – meth is an equal opportunity drug.

The UCLA researchers should have observed what has been going on in California recently. Other data collected from southern California suggest that women in “urban” areas are as likely to use methamphetamine as their rural counterparts.

A report by the San Diego Association of Governments published on October 5, 2015, stated that more than half of the women booked into jails in San Diego County (and that’s hardly a rural area) in 2014 had methamphetamine in their system.

According to this report, women were actually more likely than men to test positive. In addition, the 53 percent figure for female inmates who tested positive for meth was a 15-year high. For men, 40 percent had meth in their system, which was also a 15-year high.

Steven Walter, the head of the San Diego District Attorney’s narcotics unit, told reporters, “It’s always something that has been a constant. I don’t know what motivates people to use it (meth). I don’t know if it’s the high, but locally it’s one of the most popular drugs, if not the most popular drugs, aside from marijuana.”

So maybe the UCLA researchers did not dig deeply enough!

Looking further, the latest Methamphetamine Strike Force Report Card, which tracks nine indicators of the meth problem in San Diego County annually, found that the meth epidemic was in full force there, as numbers of meth-related deaths, emergency room visits, arrests and border seizures remain at alarming levels, according to this year’s report published on November 30, 2015.

Emergency-room visits throughout San Diego County have increased by thousands of patients – up 141 percent since 2010. Seizures of methamphetamine at the San Diego-Tijuana border increased by a whopping 129 percent from 2010 to 2014. And as indicated above, forty-five percent of adults arrested in 2014 had meth in their systems, compared to just 27 percent in 2010.

“The trend lines are deeply troubling and show that we must continue to wage war against a drug that is tearing families apart,” county Supervisor Dianne Jacob told reporters. “Make no mistake: meth is death, meth breaks lives, and we need to continue to do all we can to stem the tide of this terrible drug into our communities.”

As I mentioned above, meth does not discriminate by age. The Methamphetamine Strike Force Report Card data showed that in 2014, the youngest methamphetamine-related death reported by San Diego’s Medical Examiner was a 17-year-old female who committed suicide, and the oldest was a 70-year-old woman who died of heart disease associated with methamphetamine toxicity. Dr. Danielle Douglass, an emergency physician at Sharp Grossmont Hospital told reporters that this woman was not an anomaly. She said that they have a “Silver Tsunami” of aging meth users whose bodies are less and less able to handle this powerful drug.

Dr. Douglass went on, “A good percentage of these meth-related deaths are people who die of natural disease, where their meth use contributed to an early death. Half of all meth-detected deaths are persons aged 40 to 60 years old.”

The report went on.

“Meth is a quadruple threat – it’s extremely pure, inexpensive, highly addictive and widely available,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “We are tackling this monster problem by intensifying efforts to dismantle the cartels, and by offering prevention and education programs targeting young people and medical professionals.”

The report further states that meth is now being manufactured in huge quantities in Mexican Super Labs supplied by Asian chemical distributors and staffed by university educated chemists and engineers.

Mr. Walker from the DA’s office agrees. “Mexico is definitely the source of most of the meth that we’re seeing,” Mr. Walter told reporters. “San Diego is pretty much a gateway city to methamphetamine. It comes across the border, goes to LA, it’s not unusual to see it go up the coast to the northwest, to Chicago. We are definitely a source city if you will, of methamphetamine.”

The result: U.S. Markets are being flooded with the highest quality and lowest priced meth to date. What was once 50 percent pure is now 95 percent pure. What was $1,800 a kilogram in 2010 is now as low as $400, according to the Task Force report.

“This is a perfect storm for meth addicts and those just encountering the drug for the first time,” said San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore. “We can’t incarcerate our way out of this problem – it will require education at all levels as to the severe consequences of this drug. This is the essence of public safety – to educate and inform.”

So across the country (and the world), methamphetamine is a problem, for young and old, rich and poor. And compared to most addictive drugs, meth appears to pose a special problem for women. That is why I am trying to talk to as many as I can to learn why meth is so especially attractive to women.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

 

December 11, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In this week’s Meth in the News column, I am going to give the readers a story of hope. This story appeared in the ottawaherald.com online on November 25, 2015. It is a story out of Ottawa, Kansas, about a courageous young woman who at the age of 25 finds herself on the road to recovery from methamphetamine.

Kayla (although she provided her full name in the story, I am only using her first name here) never really had a chance. I have heard similar stories from so many women. You see, Kayla learned all about using drugs from her own mother – as many others did when they were young girls.

“That’s all she did, so that’s what I wanted to do too, I guess,” she told the reporter.

The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress reports that the children of parents struggling with substance abuse are three to four times more likely to develop their own addictions compared to other children, whether they’re living together or not.

Kayla clearly remembers the first time she tried meth. Her mother had just been released from a 9-year prison sentence, and Kayla was desperate to reconnect with her. So she decided that she would no longer be the “good girl” she had been, and she gave in.

She remembers being in a garage in Arkansas with her mother and her mother’s friends when she first smoked meth from a glass pipe as an 18-year-old girl. She could feel the energy flowing through her veins and remembers that she was unable to sleep until she just could not go on any longer and finally crashed.

The next time that she used meth, her mother taught her how to use a syringe to inject meth directly into a vein in her arm. Her mother said that it was “cleaner” that way. Then she was hooked.

Franklin County undersheriff Rick Geist told the reporter that 95 percent of the people who try meth become addicts, while, by comparison, five percent of people who drink alcohol become alcoholics.

“They’ll be the first ones to admit that they can’t get away from it,” Sherriff Geist said. “You have no idea the power this has over you.”

The next seven years of Kayla’s young adult life became an endless, inescapable cycle of “wake up, shoot up, sleep, repeat.”

“Life is so sporadic and crazy,” she said. “It’s like, I can’t even really tell you honestly what I’ve done for the last year and a half.”

Meth quickly became Kayla’s remedy for anything in her life – her relationship with her mother, weight loss, energy, pleasure.

She was unable to hold down a job, but she was always able to get meth since her parents were dealers.

She could remain clean for brief periods of time, but she would give in to temptations, telling herself, “Just one more time.”

But “one is one too many,” she said. “If you entertain that one craving, then it’s going to trigger and it’s hard to bounce back.”

Many addicts fall into this trap, yearning for the intense euphoria that they felt the first time that they tried meth despite the consequences, which often mean losing everything – a job, children, and even a spotless record. They call it “chasing the dragon.”

Kayla eventually went to prison for two years, for drug charges that she says should have been filed against her mother. But her mother begged her to take the blame since she had a cleaner record.

When she was released from prison Kayla had nothing except for a few belongings she carried in a plastic bag. She had no job, no home, and no hope. Many people face this same dilemma after being released from prison.

But Kayla moved to Little Rock and eventually found work. There she met a man who became her husband. She was clean for about a year, then the stress of life’s struggles got to her and she started using meth again.

Kayla and her husband finally moved to Ottawa where they found Celebrate Recovery, a faith-based nationwide program where group leaders share their own stories of alcoholism, domestic abuse and even losing family members to addiction. Kayla and her husband found their support community there.

“We give it all to God,” said Sherry Lewis, one of the group leaders at Celebrate Recovery. “He’s the one who can heal you on the spot.”

Kayla and her mother, who is currently in a rehab center, have been clean and sober for four months now. She convinced her mother to get sober along with her so that they could finally become a family.

It was difficult finding work with her history, but Kayla was persistent and found employment.

“You can’t get a job, so you might as well get high with your buddy,” Kayla’s husband said.

This is the same situation faced by so many drug users. They successfully complete treatment, but then what? What job skills do they have, and who would hire them anyway? As Kayla asked, “But how can people ever change and lead normal lives if they are not provided a chance?”

At the same time, meth is everywhere and is still easy to get. But Kayla is determined to stay strong.

At the age of 25, Kayla is finally learning to lead a stable life. She is working full time, washing dishes, making dinner, sleeping in on weekends and restoring a car with her husband. She also hopes to regain custody of her son, who will turn 3 in January.

“You can change,” she said. “It takes a lot of dedication, devotion and hard work, but it’s so much better being sober and being high on life.”

Kayla says that if Franklin County wants to be successful in its fight against drugs, it will take the whole community – law enforcement, the court system, outreach teams and people who have never touched drugs – treating drug addicts as people who need help.

“You have to start with the people,” she said “You can’t just stop the meth.”

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

December 4, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

At the end of my column every week, I ask for people struggling with methamphetamine, especially women who are using meth IV, to write to me. I answer each and every e-mail I receive, and never judge anyone for what they may share with me. I also never reveal the identity of anyone who contacts me (or even where they live), and I try to answer each e-mail with compassion and with any useful information that I may be able to provide.

However, I received an e-mail this past week that accused me of being part of a vast conspiracy – that I was using this column and my website to “brainwash” people. It was never exactly clear what conspiracy group I belonged to, but the tirade made references to government, law enforcement and finally society in general. Wow!

I answered the e-mail, but I started to think, if this person feels this way, others may feel the same – that this is all “Bill shot” (the author’s words not mine) – some type of brainwashing conspiracy aimed at controlling people.

I’m no sociologist, but Merriam-Webster defines “society” as “people in general thought of as living together in organized communities with shared laws, traditions, and values.” Society comes from the Latin word “societas” which translates to “society (association of people).” So the people in our society today (and around the world for that matter) are brainwashing who? Each other? The people using drugs?

The author of the e-mail also said that people using drugs don’t want to stop; they just want to “get high.” OK, maybe they do want to get high, but once their drug use takes over their lives and they wake up one day and find that their bodies are broken from long-term drug use and that their children are hungry and neglected, they often want help. If they find themselves with nowhere to live, no job and no money, they often do indeed want help. If they have to rob, steal or prostitute themselves for that next fix, they often want help – and so does society.

And who profits from drug use? Not the user! No, it’s the supplier, these days more often than not the head of some drug cartel down in Mexico, and his minions. Do a Google search of “Mexican drug cartel violence” and see what your drug money supports.

Does everyone who uses methamphetamine (or any drug for that matter) go on to become a thief or child abuser or violent rapist? Of course not. But some people who just use methamphetamine to “get high” may eventually decide that they don’t like living in the grips of a drug anymore. Methamphetamine artificially alters brain chemistry, providing drug-induced feelings of euphoria, pleasure and self-confidence. But over time it becomes more difficult to feel life’s pleasures naturally. And the effects of the drug also slowly wane so that more and more has to be used to “get high.” What fun is it to be a slave to a drug?

The author of the e-mail also talked about legalization. I am all for decriminalization – for users only, not for those manufacturing and selling the drug. Treatment rather than long prison sentences is more appropriate for some people simply using meth.

But the author claims that the only reason people seek treatment is because methamphetamine possession is illegal. They try and stay clean because they have to provide clean urine samples or face revocation of probation and prison time or because Child Protective Services will take away their children. That may motivate some people, but to make the claim that that is the only reason is simply “Bill shot,” to use the authors own words.

Are there long waiting lists at treatment centers across the United States simply because methamphetamine is illegal? No! People actually want help. They want to stop. They don’t like being under the control of a drug.

I’ve been in the addiction field for 35 years, trying to better understand how drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine alter brain chemistry and affect the body. A significant part of that time has been spent investigating stress and how stress can trigger cravings that lead to relapse. I also study how other triggers in the environment can activate similar systems in the brain and body.

I truly want to help!

But my experience with addiction began long before my professional career. My parents were alcoholics – addicted to a “legal” substance that is still portrayed in advertisements as something that makes all people young and beautiful and full of energy (a particular pet peeve of mine). At least that is the glamorized image depicted.

Alcoholics can neglect their children – I know. They can get into auto accidents and lose their jobs. But they just want to “get high,” right?

Chronic alcohol use can kill.  I watched it happen! I wish that I could have convinced my parents to stop drinking – or maybe just slow down! So don’t try and tell me that all of our problems with methamphetamine will be solved by legalization! That’s just pure “Bill shot.”

A close high school friend and college roommate of mine suffered a back injury and soon found himself addicted to pain pills (oxycodone).  Another “legal” drug! My friend wanted help, but he overdosed before he could get into treatment.

Outside of the laboratory, I meet with methamphetamine users all the time, and I actually listen to them. I don’t represent authority – I am just a simple scientist. But they tell me that they want to stop using. And those who have been able to break free of the grips of meth tell me how happy they are to finally be truly free.

Through my life’s experiences, my education and my research, I have discovered the true face of addiction. So don’t try and rationalize your drug use to me.

Finally, to the best of my knowledge I have never called a meth user evil. However, some users have done evil things and I often highlight the more sensational activities in this column and on my website. I do that to encourage readership, not to hurt anyone’s feelings. If just one person decides to finally stop using meth – or even better does not start using in the first place – because of something I have written, then it has all been worthwhile.

Still remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth.  Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

November 27, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In Palm Springs, Calif., last Friday, November 20, 2015, just after 3 p.m., the Riverside County Sheriff’s office received a call about a fire at the Ramon Road Bridge, located between Landau Boulevard and Crossley Road.

Palm Springs Police Lieutenant Mike Kovaleff told reporters that a Riverside County Sheriff’s deputy and another person in the area spotted a man fully engulfed in flames under the bridge. Apparently, he accidentally set himself on fire “while trying to make a methamphetamine-type substance.” They tried their best to extinguish the flames until firefighters arrived.

The man was rushed by emergency crews to the Desert Regional Medical Center. Officials on the scene told reporters that the man suffered second and third-degree burns to 70 percent of his body.

A Riverside County Hazardous Materials Team tested the substances found underneath the bridge. A preliminary investigation indicated that the fire was accidental and resulted when a combination of chemicals ignited while the man tried to “cook” methamphetamine.

On Saturday it was reported that the man, still unidentified, died of the injuries he suffered in the fire.

This provides me the opportunity to once again warn the readers about the dangers associated with the “one-pot” or “shake & bake” method of “cooking” methamphetamine. This process still goes on around the country despite the surge of 90% pure meth that the Mexican drug cartels continue to smuggle across our southern border. But with hunting season upon us, it is imperative that the public is made aware of the potential dangers.

Law enforcement officials claim that this method is even more dangerous than the “old” Breaking Bad style meth labs that require hundreds of pseudoephedrine pills, containers heated over open flames and cans of flammable liquids. The “old” cooking process itself creates foul odors, making the labs difficult to conceal.  And of course, these makeshift labs can also spark explosions.

Generally, the “one-pot” process uses a two-liter soda bottle. Only a few cold pills are mixed with common, but noxious, household chemicals to produce enough meth for the user to get a few hits.  Since only a few pseudoephedrine pills are required, the “one-pot” method sometimes circumvents laws passed restricting the sale of large quantities of over-the-counter decongestants, cold and allergy remedies.  In addition, this method requires little room. All of the necessary items can be carried in a backpack, making the process mobile. This has simplified the process so that it seems like anyone could be making their own meth.  It can be your next-door neighbor or even one of your family members.

The “one-pot” method combines the first three steps of a conventional meth lab, so that the “cook” is making anhydrous ammonia at the same time that pseudoephedrine (from cold tablets) is converted to methamphetamine base in the bottle.  The bottle is shaken, which creates a chemical reaction and the production of pressure inside the bottle.  The bottle must be “burped” from time to time to release the pressure or it will explode, spewing caustic chemicals in all directions, which can cause serious chemical burns.  At the same time, the “cook” is producing a chemical ignition, also called fire in the bottle, every time that the “one-pot” method is used.  If the bottle bursts or is opened at the wrong time, it essentially becomes a flamethrower.

Remember that these labs are portable, putting the public at great risk.  The bottle can explode while the “cook” is driving around with the “lab” in the vehicle, putting other drivers in danger.  Such an incident occurred in Bossier City a few years ago, but luckily no one was seriously harmed.

Meth “cooks” often throw the used plastic bottles, containing a poisonous brown and white or pinkish sludge, along the highway.  Law enforcement personnel find discarded “one-pot labs” in ditches, in people’s yards and in dumpsters.  The mixture inside the bottle can burst into flames when exposed to oxygen, making it extremely dangerous for anyone who unscrews the lid of what may look like an ordinary soda bottle.

Therefore, with hunting season rapidly approaching, if you find discarded bottles containing an unknown mixture, especially with a “chemical” odor or with tubes sticking out of the top, do not open them or pick them up. Call the Sherriff’s office at once and let trained personnel investigate to determine if there is any danger.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth.  Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

 

November 20, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Often when someone is arrested for methamphetamine possession and goes before a judge, the defendant is given a suspended sentence and put on probation. There is not sufficient prison space to lock up everyone using meth anyway, and everyone deserves a second chance to turn their lives around. Since the court hopes that the defendant will get the treatment that is needed, the defendant is typically required to follow certain recommendations specified by the court. While laudable, this process does not always work.  Such was the case in Stillwater, OK.

Back on May 11, 2015, Lt. Hunter Edwards, a Security Officer at the Cimarron Casino in Perkins, OK, contacted the Perkins Police after a glass pipe consistent with smoking meth and containing a white chalky residue was found in the casino. Perkins Police Officer David Sloan and Iowa Tribe Police Officer Chris Tillman were dispatched to the casino “to investigate possible drug activity.”

At the casino, Lt. Edwards showed Officers Sloan and Tillman a surveillance video where they observed “a white female later identified as Cindy Parmley dropping an object consistent with the glass pipe that was found,” according to an affidavit filed by Officer Sloan.

The affidavit went on, “The item dropped from Ms. Parmley’s front left pocket while she was retrieving what appeared to be a cell phone.”

Lt. Edwards and Officers Sloan and Tillman searched the casino and found Ms. Parmley, 40, of Stillwater, playing a slot machine located west of the north entrance to the casino.

When they confronted Ms. Parmley about the pipe that was found and the surveillance video footage, she told them that she did not have a meth pipe in her shorts. Well, of course not – it had already fallen out of her pocket.

Then she told the officers that the shorts she was wearing at the time were not even her shorts. Ms. Parmley said that the shorts actually belonged to her roommate.

She finally admitted to Officer Sloan that she was currently on probation. The officer went ahead and released Ms. Parmley from the scene, but he advised her that an incident report would be filed. He also told her that he would request charges for possession of drug paraphernalia against her. She was also banned from returning to the casino.

On November 13, 2015, the Payne County District Attorney’s Office filed an application seeking to revoke Ms. Parmley’s probation from the previous case and ordered her to appear in court on November 19.

Ms. Parmley was originally charged with methamphetamine possession with intent to distribute back in February 2014. She was a passenger in a pickup truck that was stopped for defective tail lights while traveling east on Highway 51, about one-quarter mile of Brush Creek, by Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Coleman Parker.

Trooper Parker filed a report on the incident stating, “While talking to her, I noticed that she had multiple sores on her arms and that she was acting very erratic and was sweating. She was shaking and was unable to perform the task of lighting her cigarette because she couldn’t sit still. She appeared to be under the influence of drugs.”

Since Trooper Parker suspected drug activity, he requested the assistance of Payne County Sheriff’s Deputy Paul Fox and his drug-sniffing canine.  The dog indicated that drugs were in the vehicle.

A search of the vehicle revealed a container with multiple baggies with a white residue inside them and a baggy containing a used syringe. A glass pipe and a syringe were found in a duffle bag located on the passenger floor board, and a digital scale was discovered in the middle seat of the truck.

The deputy also found baggy containing a white crystal substance under Ms. Parmley’s shoe. Ms. Parmley was therefore arrested on the scene and transported to the Payne County jail. There they found another baggy containing a white crystal substance in her wallet.

But there is more.

Ms. Parmley revealed to a female detention officer at the jail that she also had a broken meth pipe hidden inside her vagina. She also said that she was not sure what else might be hidden there.

Seriously? I mean, I can’t really relate, but just what else could she have possibly hidden there – that she would have forgotten about?

Well, according to the affidavit, a female officer “retrieved three baggies with a white residue, two baggies with a white crystal substance, two capped syringes and two uncapped and obviously used syringes,” from Ms. Parmley’s vagina.

That’s right, in addition to the baggies and capped syringes, there were two syringes with exposed needles hidden inside her body. I really can’t make this stuff up! How many time have I said this?

When she went to court, Ms. Parmley received a deferred sentence and was placed on five years’ probation. She was also ordered to serve a 30-day jail sentence, pay $2,000 in fines and assessments, perform 100 hours of community service, have a substance abuse evaluation and follow-up, and undergo random drug tests. However, there was no mention of any type of treatment offered as terms of her probation – not even attending a 12-step meeting. Apparently the fear of jail time alone was deemed sufficient.

Obviously it was not enough.

Ms. Parmley could now receive a maximum of life in prison if convicted on all charges.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth.  Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

November 13, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

I have come to the realization that when it comes to drugs like methamphetamine, there’s not a so-called war on drugs – in actuality the war is on the people of America. Meth is tearing at the fabric of what it means to be an American and will ultimately result in the death of the America I know and love – suffering a death by 1000 cuts.

There were several recent reports by highly-respected organizations (presented in more detail below) that caused me to start thinking along these lines. I struggled for a long while trying to understand what the motives might be for this war against the American public. Then I had an epiphany of sorts. And as is almost always the case – it all comes down to one thing – control.

President Obama and other democrats (as well as some republicans) believe that the incarceration of drug users and drug sellers, even those that sell meth, is not “fair” – that it represents some sort of bias against poor and minority populations. Therefore President Obama has started commuting the sentences of 6,000 convicted drug offenders. I will be the first to admit, and even proclaim from the mountaintop, that effective treatment – not incarceration – is the only true way to ever help people struggling with drug addiction. But distorting the facts and relying on flawed statistics – as many in the left-leaning media do – is nothing but smoke and mirrors. Without providing adequate treatment, this prison release is a meaningless gesture. It is time that we stand up and face the reality that meth poses to the American public.

Just to remind you, I have been investigating the neurobiology of drug addiction, primarily meth and cocaine, as a neuropsychopharmacologist for more than 35 years, most of that time at the LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, but also at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. I have published the results of my research in a wide variety of prestigious, peer-reviewed scientific journals, including Science, the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, and Psychopharmacology, just to name a few. But I was also raised by alcoholic parents, not realizing that I was living in a dysfunctional home until I became an adult and moved away. My best friend and college roommate died from an overdose on painkillers. I have also spent considerable time talking with methamphetamine users one on one. I have not only studied drug addiction – I have lived it.

I’ll put my credentials up against anyone’s!

The media and many others base their “facts” regarding drug addiction on surveys conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). I have written before on how SAMHSA collects the data published in their National Survey on Drug Use and Health. SAMHSA sends “field interviewers” out to the homes of a “representative sample” of the population. The interviewer knocks on the doors of these selected people and asks to speak to an adult resident willing and able to answer the questions on the survey, now conducted on laptop computers. Imagine if this government representative knocks on the door of a home where paranoid people are in the middle of a 3-day meth binge! How likely are they to even answer the door, much less provide accurate answers to the survey? Yet the public is expected to take these data on their face value. No one ever questions these surveys – these data are never challenged!

SAMHSA tells the public that there were only 569,000 methamphetamine users aged 12 years or older in the United States in 2014. They also claim that there were 45,000 new users aged 12 to 17 and that the percentage of these new users has remained the same from 2002 through 2013. How can that be? Adding 540,000 new users over a 12-year period should have increased the total number of users, at least a little, unless an equal number of users die or are “cured” every year. Yet SAMHSA says that the total number of users has remained constant for the past 12 years. Can anyone explain this? The numbers just don’t add up.

Sometimes I feel like I am the only one questioning the SAMHSA data, although others indirectly suggest that there may be some inconsistencies.

The United Nations (UN) is considered by many to lean to the left. In 2014, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released a report called the “Global Synthetic Drugs Assessment – Amphetamine-type stimulants and new psychoactive substances.” In this report, UNODC provides data indicating that seizures of amphetamines (90% being methamphetamine) in North America increased from 12 tons in 2007 to 60 tons in 2012. Meanwhile the U.S. also saw a 400% surge in the number of meth labs dismantled between 2010 and 2012. Yet UNODC still cites the SAMHSA data, suggesting that the annual use of meth has shown a “stable trend,” with the prevalence rate actually decreasing from 0.5% in 2009 to 0.2% in 2012. Folks, the numbers don’t add up. There has been a 500% increase in the seizures of meth and a 400% increase in meth lab discoveries while the total number of users actually decreased during the same period. What is this, Common Core math? And these are UN data my friends!

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) just released their “2015 National Drug Threat Assessment [NDTS] Summary.” Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg states, “Drug overdose deaths have become the leading cause of injury death in the United States, surpassing the number of deaths by motor vehicles and by firearms every year since 2008.” Where is the uproar?

Furthermore, the report states, “Methamphetamine availability continues to increase in the United States. According to the 2015 NDTS, 33 percent of responding agencies reported that methamphetamine was the greatest drug threat in their areas.” And, “While national use survey data appear to be stable, national treatment data as well as localized public health officials, indicate methamphetamine use may be increasing.”

So why do the UN, Jacob Sullum (a ‘contributor’ for Forbes with the clever byline, “I cover the war on drugs from a conscientious objector’s perspective”), and others continue to report the SAMHSA survey data as absolute? Why argue that warnings about the meth epidemic represent nothing more than hyperbole – exaggerated fear mongering designed simply to hurt the poor and disadvantaged? Is it just because no one has come up with a better way to estimate the use of meth in the U.S. today? Why don’t others speak out when the numbers are so far off? Why aren’t people marching in the street? Why is SAMHSA just given the benefit of the doubt?

It’s all about power and control. No one will admit it, but there is no effective treatment for methamphetamine addiction. Even when someone “completes” a treatment program, then what? And who even decides when someone has successfully completed a program? It all comes down to money and bureaucracies – and control.

The numbers of methamphetamine seizures and labs dismantled continue to increase, and the number of people suffering in the grips of this insidious drug continues to rise day after day. They are crying out for our help! But SAMHSA tells us that the numbers are going down. Please don’t look behind the curtain – everything is under control.

It’s all just a cleverly-designed smokescreen. As long as SAMHSA tells us that the numbers of meth users remain constant, no matter what other agencies report, then no one loses his or her job. Things continue just as they have been for the past 12 years. Addicts looking for help are turned away by the droves, and those completing treatment and desperately seeking sober-living environments are put on ridiculously long waiting lists and instructed instead to attend a couple of 12-step programs each week. So the recovering addicts just end up back in the same environment where they came from, usually with no greater life skills than they had when they went into treatment. They are once again exposed to the same people and places and simply go back to doing what they have always known and done – and they start using again. It’s about control!

We’re going to wake up one day to discover that there are far too many people to help and that things are no longer in control – in fact, we may be there already. Someone please tell me, then what do we do?

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

November 6, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In Meth in the News this week, I am going to report on two cases involving the manufacture of methamphetamine that I found to be shocking, to say the least.  Perhaps I am just naive, and I would be interested to hear if these cases also seem as incredulous to you as they did to me.

For the past few years, various government agencies, including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), have reported that upwards of 90% of the methamphetamine sold in the U.S. today is made in “superlabs” located in Mexico and shipped throughout the country by the notorious Mexican Drug cartels. And while most reports suggest that these Mexican cartels acquire the raw materials required to manufacture methamphetamine from chemical companies located in India and China, among other places, wait until you hear about this first case.

First Assistant United States Attorney Louis D. Lappen issued a report on October 27, 2015, from his office in Philadelphia regarding the Allentown-based Taminco chemical company, a subsidiary of Eastman Chemical, based in Kingsport, Tennessee.

According to court documents, Taminco agreed to pay a $1.3 million fine for shipping tons of a methamphetamine-making ingredient called monomethylamine to Mexico without knowing how it would be used or who was receiving it. You read it correctly – I said tons! The fine included a criminal penalty of $860,374 and a civil fine of $475,000.

Apparently, Taminco shipped six loads of about 37,000 pounds each to two different customers for whom the chemical company had not obtained the required identification. That’s 222,000 pounds or 111 tons of monomethylamine. And the company does not know where the meth-making chemical is.

Officials at Taminco first discovered that some shipments of monomethylamine had gone “missing” as far back as 2010. The compound had been produced in its plant in Pace, Florida, before it was packaged in 55-gallon drums for shipment to Laredo, Texas.

DEA agents first found evidence regarding some of these shipments in an abandoned house in San Luis, Arizona, in August of 2011. In December, agents with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol intercepted five drums of monomethylamine made by Taminco in a truck trying to cross the border at Nogales, Arizona. Six more 55-gallon drums of the compound, also produced by Taminco, were discovered at a self-storage unit in Nogales in April of 2012.

Apparently officials at Taminco did not notify the proper authorities about the missing shipments.

U.S. Attorney Lappen said in his report, “(Taminco) violated the law when it chose to ship DEA-regulated precursor chemicals, which it knew could be used to manufacture methamphetamine, without following procedures designed to ensure that these chemicals do not end up in the hands of drug dealers.”

As part of the plea agreement, Taminco agreed to “heightened compliance requirements” regarding the manufacture, sale and shipment of such chemicals. No joke! If it had been left up to me, I would have made sure that Taminco could never again manufacture monomethylamine or any other chemical that could be used in the production of methamphetamine. Company officials basically kept quiet about the missing shipments until the DEA discovered the incriminating paperwork. Imagine how many people may have been harmed, directly or indirectly, by this violation!

This also makes me wonder about just how often such cases of oversight occur right under our very noses. The amount of money available for the drug cartels to use for bribery and to convince people to look the other way literally boggles the imagination.

The other report involves a case of domestic production.

The Sonesta ES Suites Hotel is a luxury hotel located in Burlington, MA, near Boston. I checked their website, and read some of the reviews from people who had stayed there, and they were universally positive.

However, on October 23, 2015, employees at the Sonesta ES Suites Hotel contacted Burlington police about the possibility that methamphetamine was being produced in one of the hotel’s suites. They said that there was a foul odor emanating from the room. They also noticed several people coming and going from the room at all hours.

In addition, they told police that they actually saw one of the three occupants of the room wearing a gas mask and carrying a container of paint thinner.

Talk about being right out of Breaking Bad! Like I have said repeatedly, I can’t make this stuff up.

Police acted on this tip and set up surveillance, according to Burlington Police Chief Michael Kent, and subsequently obtained a warrant to search the room. Chief Kent also said that the other rooms in the hotel were evacuated before the search warrant was executed since the chemicals used to produce meth are explosive and hazardous.

Inside the room, Burlington police, assisted by members of the DEA, the New England Clandestine Lab Team and the Burlington Fire Department, found a large quantity of methamphetamine. Plastic bags were also found to be covering the room’s smoke detectors.

Police arrested Dustin R. Beliveau, 32, of Burlington and Eric M. Sowmick, 24 and Tony Pickard, 23, of Manchester, New Hampshire, and charged all three with possession of methamphetamine. Mr. Pickard was also charged with two counts of disconnecting a sprinkler system. Chief Kent said that Mr. Pickard was also wearing a court-ordered GPS monitoring ankle bracelet when arrested.

“This case came as the result of the high level of cooperation that exists among the Burlington Police Department, hotel management, and hotel employees all over town,” Chief Kent said in a statement released last Sunday. “We proceeded deliberately, with caution, to make sure that no one was hurt during our investigation of this potentially dangerous situation, and I am very pleased with the results.”

This case just goes to illustrate that meth isn’t only cooked in run down motels on the wrong side of town in rural communities – it can occur literally anywhere. Please be cautious whenever you rent a hotel room no matter where it is or how much it costs.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

 

October 30, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Typically when I think of someone sentenced to time in jail or prison, I imagine that they will not have the same access to methamphetamine and other drugs as they normally would have back when they were not incarcerated. But as I reported in Meth in the News last week, Elizabeth Sparkman made a “care package” for her daughter, Brandi Miller, who was housed at the time in the Multnomah County jail in Portland, Oregon. Ms. Sparkman stuffed a gram of meth into a tampon applicator that she hid in the bathroom of a dental office. Her daughter was going to ask to take a bathroom break with the intension of retrieving the tampon applicator, concealing it inside her body, and returning to the jail with the meth. The attempt was not successful.

However, I have seen several other cases recently where people have tried to smuggle drugs into jail, suggesting that this practice is probably quite common. Obviously, that must be why inmates often suffer the humiliation of cavity searches. Surprisingly, I have even seen reports of inmates dying of drug overdoses while in custody, suggesting that at least some of these smuggling attempts have been successful. In August, an autopsy revealed that Sarah Circle Bear, 24, of Claremont, South Dakota, died from acute methamphetamine and amphetamine toxicity while being held in the Brown County jail in July.

So in this week’s Meth in the News, I will describe some interesting smuggling attempts that recently occurred.

On September 11, 2015, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office successfully opened the doors to the new Forsyth County Jail in in downtown Cumming, Georgia. Cumming is the county seat of Forsyth County, and although it is considered part of the Atlanta metropolitan area, the population of Cumming is only around 5,430.

The new jail opened with a lot of fanfare and press. However, on October 15, 2015, with the new jail barely a month old, it was reported that Kimberley Doris Ramey, 24, was arrested for possession of meth and use of drug-related objects after a routine traffic stop on October 1. Her bond was originally set at $11,715.

The day after she was booked into the jail, however, a narcotics detective found 7 grams of methamphetamine hidden in Ms. Ramey’s “private area.” That’s a significant amount of meth! The report did not state how the drug was packaged.

A statement from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office indicated that the “area” in question was “not part of a routine search” and that was why the drug was not found when Ms. Ramey was originally booked.

Ms. Ramey was therefore subsequently charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and her bond was surrendered because she crossed guard lines with a controlled substance.

In the statement from the Sheriff’s Office, officials said that they could not recall a similar incident occurring at either the old detention center or their brand new jail.

However, investigative reporting by the Forsyth County News revealed that Ms. Ramey was not the first inmate to successfully smuggle meth into the new Forsyth County Jail.

Back on September 18, 2015, Mallory Faith Starley, 29, of Gainesville, was also arrested for possession of a controlled substance following a routine traffic stop.

Later that day, but once again after being processed into the jail, Sheriff’s deputies reportedly found a clear, crystal-like rock substance hidden in her “private area.” Sound familiar?

According to a statement from the Sheriff’s Office, Ms. Starley admitted to possessing the meth “with the intent to sell it once back in Gainesville.”

So Ms. Starley was also charged with possession of meth with intent to distribute and possessing an unlawful substance as an inmate. She remained at the jail until October 16 when she was released after posting a $27,500 bond.

Epifanio Rodriguez, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office told reporters that a search of “that area” on a female is never allowed during a traffic stop.

However, if a deputy believes that someone might be concealing illegal items, “he or she can be detained on the suspicion of drugs to be examined at the jail.” Nevertheless, Mr. Rodriguez repeated that “the area is not part of a routine booking search” and was why the meth was not discovered until later.

After the second incident came to light, officials with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office changed their story and said that these are the only two incidents that they could recall at the old detention center or the new jail, adding that there is nothing they can do to prevent such smuggling attempts since a cavity search is not allowed without prior suspicion.  Interesting!

Just imagine how many times insufficient “suspicion” was raised to warrant a cavity search! Perhaps they should think about changing some aspects of their booking process.

Not to pick on the new Forsyth County jail, drug smuggling probably goes on everywhere.

The Cherokee County Detention Center is in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Tahlequah is located at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains and has a population of 15,753.

On Sunday, October 25, 2015, Officer Thomas Donnell initiated a traffic stop on Normal Street in Tahlequah when a vehicle failed to signal before turning. Brittney Vanbuskirk, 26, was a passenger in that vehicle.

Officer Donnell was granted permission to search the vehicle, but the search did not turn up anything illegal. However, Ms. Vanbuskirk was taken into custody due to outstanding warrants from Mayes County.

Once at the Cherokee County Detention Center, a search of Ms. Vanbuskirk yielded a small plastic bag containing methamphetamine. The report did not state where the bag was hidden.

Ms. Vanbuskirk now faces charges of possession of a controlled and dangerous substance, and bringing an illegal substance into a correctional facility.

Don’t these people realize that a cavity search is at least a possibility? Or perhaps the thought of giving up their meth while in jail is just too much to bear!

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

 

October 23, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

If you have been around methamphetamine very much, I don’t think that the reports contained in this week’s Meth in the News will surprise you.  If not, you may very well be surprised.  I told the readers a couple of weeks ago that some teenage girls are introduced to meth and were actually injected with meth for the first time by their mothers, sisters or other family members, or a boyfriend or other acquaintance.  That is because meth, often times, remains all in the family. The three cases provided below will be used to illustrate this contention.

Enochville is a small community of 2,851 or so souls located in Rowan County, North Carolina.

On October 14, 2015, it was reported that the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office sent a Special Response Team to a home on Garden Avenue after receiving numerous complaints that people in the house were using and distributing methamphetamine, heroin, and prescription narcotics.

After detectives searched the house, they arrested two brothers, Billy Joe Barnhardt, Jr., 45, and Larry Scott Barnhardt, 44. They also arrested the father of the two men, Billy Joe Barnhardt, Sr. The senior Barnhardt was, are you ready, 81 years old!  That’s right, eighty-one!

When they searched the younger brother’s bedroom, detectives found a loaded .22 revolver and ammunition along with precursor chemicals for making methamphetamine. Not good since Larry Barnhardt is a convicted felon, convicted in 2014 of trafficking opium or heroin, among a host of other charges.

In his older brother’s bedroom, investigators found 80 hydrocodone tablets, as well as needles, scales and other drug paraphernalia. Oh yeah, Billy Joe, Junior, is also a convicted felon in Rowan County, convicted for possession with intent to distribute heroin, among other charges.

So where did all the hydrocodone tablets come from? Why from dear old dad, of course. You wouldn’t expect a doctor to prescribe that amount of an opioid painkiller to someone convicted of trafficking heroin, would you?

Mr. Barnhardt, Sr., did have a prescription for the hydrocodone. Investigators determined that he had just returned from an appointment with a medical provider in Winston-Salem and had filled a prescription for 180 hydrocodone pills at a pharmacy in Kannapolis. It is unclear what happened to the other 100 tablets, but detectives suspect that Larry Barnhardt may have already “traded” them to an unknown individual prior to the search by the Special Response Team.

All three men were charged with conspiracy to traffic 28 grams or more of opium by possession, trafficking 28 grams of more of opium by possession, and felony maintaining a dwelling for keeping and selling controlled substances. Larry Barnhardt was additionally charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, manufacturing methamphetamine, and possession of precursor materials used to manufacture methamphetamine. The secured bonds for the three men ranged from $200,000 to $300,000.

The next case comes from Gadsden, a small city in and the county seat of Etowah County, Alabama. Gadsden is located on the Coosa River north of Birmingham with a modest population of 35,542.

Gadsden was also the site of “Operation Beamer,” an investigation that resulted in the confiscation of about a pound and a half of high grade Mexican-made methamphetamine worth about $70,000. The investigation began back in June of 2015 when a young patrol officer received a tip during a routine traffic stop.

Etowah County Drug Enforcement Unit Commander Rob Savage told reporters that most of the members of the group were related either by blood or marriage. “This was the same family, working together in concerted effort,” Commander Savage said.

Arrested over 10 days in early October were: Jeffrey Beam, charged with three counts of trafficking; Jamie Beam, charged with two counts of trafficking; Justin Beam, charged with one count of trafficking; Justin Lowe, charged with one count of trafficking and two counts of drug possession; and John Nelson, charged with two counts of trafficking. Thus the name “Operation Beamer” for the investigation.

The authorities were still locking for two additional members of the drug-distribution “family” including, Matthew Beam, who was wanted on one count of trafficking, and Kenneth Humphries, who was wanted on distribution charges.

District Attorney Jody Willoughby told reporters, “We think this will slow the flow into our area.” He went on, “We think this is a knockout, and we will likely see more knockouts in the future.”

However, Commander Savage thinks that the results of this operation highlight a “disturbing trend” in north Alabama involving methamphetamine. He has seen the price for high-grade meth drop recently, suggesting that that a larger supply of meth is making its way back into the region.

Finally, on October 13 it was reported that a mother came to the aid of her daughter after she called for help. The only problem was that Brandi Lynn Miller, 29, was being held in the Multnomah County jail up in Oregon.

Elizabeth Kay Sparkman, 53, made a “care package” of sorts for her daughter and left it hidden in the bathroom of the Gresham dental office where her daughter had received special permission to travel, under escort, for treatment. Deputies discovered the package before the exchange could be made, but did not realize who it belonged to until the mother and daughter planned to make a second attempt at another dental office.

Ms. Sparkman planned to hide the contents of the package inside a tampon applicator and leave it taped to the back of a toilet bowl in a bathroom in the office.  Ms. Miller was then going to ask for a bathroom break, conceal the tampon package inside her body, and return to jail – simple as that.

When confronted by deputies who had been alerted to the conspiracy, Ms. Sparkman immediately confessed. She handed over a tampon applicator that she had packed with 1 gram of methamphetamine, 18 pills of oxycodone, and other prescription drugs.

Deputy District Attorney Glen Banfield told reporters, “I’ve seen boyfriends and girlfriends, and husbands and wives, but even that wasn’t that frequent.” He said that he had never seen a parent try to smuggle drugs to an incarcerated son or daughter.

Ms. Sparkman had actually packed three tampon applicators for her daughter. In addition to the drugs, she had packed make-up, hair bands, tweezers, a partial book of matches, a small pocket knife, and $22 in cash that her daughter could use to buy snacks.

What a mother! Definitely keeping it all in the family!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

 

October 16, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

On a television crime drama series last week there was an episode about a young girl who was kept inside a small cage in her mother’s apartment. Her mother was off on a “drug binge” and had completely neglected her. In this fictional story, the little girl died from malnourishment and dehydration, and the mother as well as the case workers and supervisors at the Child Protective Services agency responsible for the girl were charged with manslaughter.

While this was a fictional story for a television series, it reminded me of a case I saw back in August of 2015. Although I did not report it back in August, this case is definitely worthy of mention in Meth in the News.

Chatsworth is a small town of 4,299 residents located in Murray County, Georgia, about 90 miles northwest of Atlanta.

On the morning August 6, 2015, the Murray County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call reporting that a child had been left alone at a home on Bahamas Drive in Chatsworth. When Sherriff’s deputies arrived, they saw that the house was surrounded by a chain link fence with several no trespassing signs scattered around the perimeter. However, they also saw that there were toys littered throughout the front yard, which made the home easy to blend in with the rest of the neighborhood.

When they knocked on the door, the deputies found Wanda Sue Redfern, 49, at home with an 8-year-old girl, so they cleared the call and left, according to Greg Ramey, special agent in charge with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Later in the afternoon, the same person called 911 again asking for the deputies to return to the house and investigate it further.

This time a deputy found an 11-year-old boy inside a ramshackle cage fashioned out of bed frame parts – literally two twin beds stacked on top of each other.

As the investigation continued, the deputies discovered a second cage where the little girl was also apparently kept.

Agent Ramey described the cages to reporters saying, “Metal hinges and different things were put together to hold them in place. They actually had some wire ties and plastic zip ties that were holding things in place.”

The mother of the two small children, Stephanie Elizabeth Stone, 34, was charged with cruelty to children, false imprisonment and possession of a controlled substance – you guessed it, methamphetamine. At last report, she was being held in the Murray County jail.

The other woman in the home at the time, Ms. Redfern, was also charged with cruelty to children and false imprisonment and was also being held in the Murray County jail.

On August 12, a third woman, Gloria Brown, 64, surrendered to the Murray County Sheriff’s Office and was charged with false imprisonment and cruelty to children in the first degree. It’s hard to believe, but Ms. Brown was the caregiver for the two special-needs children that had been kept inside the cages in the home.

Murray County Sheriff Gary Langford told reporters that it appeared that the two children had been kept in the cages for an extended period of time, possibly since before June.

As in the fictional crime drama, the family in the house on Bahamas Drive had been the subject of an investigation by the Department of Family and Children Service (DFSC). The results of that investigation, which wrapped up in June, had not yet been disclosed, and a spokeswoman for DFCS said the agency would not provide specific information regarding the case.

Nevertheless, the two children were removed from the home and placed in the custody of DFSC.

It was not clear whether or not Ms. Redfern was actually living at the home at the time, but she was apparently about to marry into Ms. Stone’s family, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The children’s father, who was not living at the house, was made aware of the situation. It was not clear if he would eventually gain custody of his children.

Although the extent that meth use played in this horrific case of abuse and neglect was not reported, I am confident that meth use was involved.

In an unrelated case last week, Orange County Sheriff’s deputies were called “to make contact with the occupants” of Room 251 at the Motel 6 on Adanson Street in north Orange County, near Orlando, Florida. Apparently they had received word that methamphetamine was being “cooked” inside the room.

When the deputies arrived, Lindsay Snyder, 36, answered their knock on the door. Imagine the officers’ surprise when Ms. Snyder opened the door standing there completely naked.

Despite the surprised greeting, the first deputy said that she immediately noticed a black backpack sitting on the bed when the door was opened.

Ms. Snyder said that the deputies could come in, but asked if they would allow her to put on some clothes first, so she closed the door. When she reopened the door, this time wearing clothes, the deputy noticed that the backpack had been moved.

Ms. Snyder and the other occupant of the room, identified as Vasily Florianovich, 38, subsequently gave the deputies permission to search the room.

As the deputies searched, they found “tools” typically used in a one-pot meth lab inside the backpack. These “tools” included a funnel, coffee filters, brake fluid and straws, among other ingredients. They then called for a Clandestine Lab Response Team to help dismantle the operation.

Investigators also discovered a bottle full of cloudy liquid – black objects floated at the top, while the white crystals sat in the bottom. They immediately knew that this was the product of the meth lab.

Investigators found a total of about 146 grams of methamphetamine, according to a report from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Ms. Snyder and Mr. Florianovich face charges of trafficking in methamphetamine, manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of listed chemicals, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

At last report, both were being held in the Orange County Jail on $100,350 bail.

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to put a human face to this epidemic and understand the real numbers of people struggling with this drug. I also want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. Please tell me about the help that you need. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it.

Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine in the News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

October 9, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

As I was preparing my column for Meth in the News this week, several items caught my eye. There was the case from Bensalem, Pennsylvania, in which George Shaw was charged in the 1984 rape and murder of 14-year-old Barbara Rowan while she was babysitting his daughter. He was apparently high on methamphetamine at the time. The Brainerd Dispatch, out of Brainerd, Minnesota, ran a story this past weekend about a 15-year-old girl who met a man on Facebook. They met in person and he fed her methamphetamine. Then the next thing that she knew, she had become a victim of sex trafficking. On Tuesday, October 6, 2015, a report released by the San Diego Association of Governments indicated that more than half of the women booked into jails in San Diego County in 2014 had methamphetamine in their system – an alarming statistic.

Then I heard a little voice, and I listened.

If you have ever read one of my columns before, you may have seen that at the end of each week’s column I write that I want to help people struggling with meth. Yet practically all of my columns have focused on crimes and bizarre behaviors committed by people under the influence of meth. This was never done with the intentions of making fun of or belittling anyone. But if someone read my column and decided not to try meth, then it was all worth it.

But the news reports I was researching for this week’s column reminded me of several important facts. Methamphetamine is different from most abused drugs because women are as likely to use meth as men are. With most drugs, men are two to three times more likely to use them compared to women – but not meth. Just look at the report out of San Diego. There is also a growing scientific literature confirming this contention as well.

I was also reminded by those reports that many people, especially young teenage girls, are first introduced to methamphetamine at an early age, typically when they are only 16, 14 or even 13 years of age. You may also have seen in some of my columns here where I reported on men charged with rape and other charges involving meth and young teenaged girls. In fact, some teenaged girls are injected with meth for the first time by their mothers, sisters or other family members, or a boyfriend or other acquaintance.

So how do I know this? Some of it has originated in news reports from across the US. At the same time, however, the scientific literature on women and meth is sorely lacking.

Because of this glaring lack of information, I decided several years ago that the only way I was ever going to really learn about the effects of meth, especially in women, was to go out and find people with experience using meth and to talk with them myself, and to actually listen to what they told me. That is what I have done.

I can now say unequivocally that I have learned more from actually sitting down with and listening to women who have struggled with methamphetamine than from all of the medical and scientific publications I have ever digested. Furthermore, much of what I have learned has allowed me to go back to the published scientific literature and glean things from the data that even the authors themselves often missed.

Perhaps one of the most significant facts that I learned was that smoked meth and meth injected IV are practically like using two different drugs. This is quite different from smoking crack and slamming cocaine, which produce somewhat similar responses. It has to do with pharmacokinetics and tissue absorption and other parameters, and I will be presenting these findings at a meeting in December. I would be happy to write about this in a future column if the readers are interested (just let me know), but I digress.

So why am I discussing all of this in my Meth in the News column this week?

Simply put, it is because I do want to help. But the only way to effectively help is to first understand the problem and what the needs truly are.

Government agencies such as SAMHSA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) attempt to estimate the extent of use of methamphetamine and other drugs using surveys such as the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. SAMHSA claims that there is an “overall decrease in methamphetamine use nationwide” and that according to their 2013 survey, only “595,000 Americans used methamphetamine in the past month.” I’m not kidding – you can look it up yourself!

So how does SAMHSA conduct these surveys? They send “field interviewers” out to the “dwelling unit” (home) of a representative sample of the population, with “probability proportional to population size.” The interviewer then knocks on the doors of selected residences and asks to speak to an “adult resident of the household” who can serve as the “screening respondent.” The interviewer than conducts “in-person interviews with sample persons” (the respondents).

Ok, let’s say, for example, that you are in the middle of a 3-day meth binge and a representative of the government knocks on your door. If you even decide to open the door, how likely would you be to agree to a face-to-face interview with a government agent? That’s what I thought.

So in my limited research in northwest Louisiana, I contend that the government’s estimates of meth use are, at best, underestimated by a factor of 10, if not more.

Look at the number of people arrested each week for meth just in Caddo and Bossier Parishes as seen here in The Inquisitor. And in Alliance, Ohio, just last Monday, police uncovered 76 one-pot meth “labs” in a single home. Just one seizure last week by the US Customs and Border Protection agency yielded 42 pounds of meth at the Mariposa crossing in Nogales, Arizona. These are just a couple of samples from this week – there are many more reports like this every week. And imagine how much meth gets “cooked” or crosses our southern border undetected each and every day!

Yet the government wants us to believe that the use of meth is in decline. Something just does not add up!

If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I am actually interested in hearing from anyone struggling with meth – there’s just much less known about the effects of this drug in women. I want to be able to put a human face to this epidemic and understand the real numbers of people struggling with this drug. I also want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. Tell me about the help that you need. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it.

Please contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com. You will remain completely anonymous, and I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me. And I will never judge you or anything that you have done. After all, we are all equally worthy of God’s love. “The very hairs of your head are all numbered.”

Through your help, I can learn more about the effects of meth and what your needs really are. With that knowledge, I am hopeful that improved treatments for addiction to crystal meth can be developed.

We have to start somewhere, don’t we?

 

October 2, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

The use of methamphetamine often results in the development of paranoia, and this paranoia can sometimes be accompanied by hallucinations, delusions and other symptoms of psychoses. The combination of hallucinations and paranoia can lead to some extremely bizarre and inexplicable behaviors. I’ll provide a couple of timely examples in this week’s Meth in the News. And these are just a couple that were reported in the past few days – actually this happens all the time. And folks, I can’t make this stuff up.

The first case comes from Wenatchee, WA. Wenatchee is a small city of 31,925 located in north-central Washington State. It is the largest city and the county seat of Chelan County.

Martin Eugene Hoyer, 51, lives in Wenatchee. On September 13, 2015, he was on the second day of a methamphetamine binge, according to police reports. During this binge, Mr. Hoyer began to suffer from methamphetamine-induced hallucinations and delusions, resulting in extreme paranoia.

Mr. Hoyer later said that he saw “Mexicans in the trees” outside his South Cove Avenue apartment and that these “Mexicans” were “getting ready to jump out and attack him.” He said that two more “Mexicans” went to a next-door neighbor’s apartment, urging the female resident there to open Mr. Hoyer’s apartment door so that they could rob him.

Mr. Hoyer told investigators that he heard “a bunch of Mexicans and white guys” plotting with his a next-door neighbor to steal his truck and his money. He said that he heard their voices as they carried through an air vent coming from her apartment into his.

A “bunch of Mexicans” in Wenatchee? Really?

So what did Mr. Hoyer do? The same thing any red blooded, hallucinating man would do. He grabbed his .45-caliber Taurus revolver to take care of the problem himself.

The next-door neighbor later told the police that she saw Mr. Hoyer standing outside her apartment at around 7 p.m. armed with the revolver. She said that Mr. Hoyer aimed the gun at her through the picture window of her apartment. He threatened to shoot her for planning to rob him – presumably along with the “Mexicans.” Then he returned to his apartment.

Then Mr. Hoyer paid his downstairs neighbor a visit. Mr. Hoyer told police that the reason that he went downstairs to her apartment, still armed with his handgun securely tucked in the waistband of his pants, was to “save” her from the “Mexicans.”

Since Mr. Hoyer believed that his downstairs neighbor was in imminent danger, he decided to kick in her door to “rescue” her from his hallucinatory “Mexicans.” What a mistake that was!

You see, as Mr. Hoyer raised his leg to kick in his neighbor’s door, the firearm went off.

The downstairs neighbor later told the police that she heard Mr. Hoyer banging on her door. As she opened her door she heard a loud bang and saw Mr. Hoyer fall to the ground. She said that he said, “Ow.”

Wait for it …

The police were called and when they arrived they found Mr. Hoyer walking from his apartment to his truck. They saw that he had a gunshot wound in his left front hip and sent him by ambulance to Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee. Reportedly Mr. Hoyer remained conscious and communicative throughout treatment.

At the hospital, Mr. Hoyer was x-rayed to determine the extent of his injuries. Subsequent imaging revealed that the bullet had entered his lower abdomen and “skipped off the ball of his hip joint,” plunging directly downward into his scrotum, where it lodged intact. Ouch!

The medical reports indicated that Mr. Hoyer suffered no apparent organ damage. I’m not so sure about that.

Interestingly, this bullet was one of two projectiles found in his body. Mr. Hoyer told the police that the other bullet was from a previous gunshot wound.

Mr. Hoyer admitted to smoking about $50 worth of methamphetamine on the day of the accident and a similar amount on the day before, according to police reports. When the police searched his apartment, they found two .45-caliber revolvers, a rifle, ammunition, and small amounts of methamphetamine.

Mr. Hoyer was charged with first-degree assault, felony harassment and four counts of unlawful possession of a firearm, and was scheduled to be arraigned in Chelan County Superior Court last Monday. He has four prior felony convictions and was being held in custody on $50,000 bail.

The other incident occurred last Thursday, September 24, 2015, down in Thibodaux. Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s deputies were on an unrelated case on Waverly Road when Loralyn Boudreaux, 34, approached their car. She was screaming about a homicide that she said had just occurred at a nearby home. She said that both the victim and the suspect were still inside the home.

So the deputies left their patrol car to investigate the “crime.” As soon as the deputies went inside the home, Ms. Boudreaux jumped into their patrol car and sped away.

Was she hallucinating about the murder? Who knows? Was she delusional? Yes she was if she believed that stealing a deputy’s cruiser was a good idea.

Deputies finally caught up with Ms. Boudreaux about a mile and a half away on Asphondel Drive. She had left the patrol car and was outside engaged in a verbal altercation with a male resident of the house located there.

“While attempting to apprehend Boudreaux, she began resisting, and at one point, she struck a deputy in the face with her fist,” according to a statement released by the Sheriff’s Office.

A search of the home revealed a small bag containing suspected methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and several firearms.

Ms. Boudreaux was booked into the Lafourche Parish Detention Center, charged with several felonies including possession of methamphetamine, illegal carrying of a weapon in the presence of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, felony unauthorized use of a movable, resisting an officer with force or violence, and reckless operation.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of meth. At the same time, however, I also want to let people who find themselves addicted to methamphetamine know that there is always hope, and I want to help you! You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com. I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

September 25, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In Meth in the News this week, I am going to focus on two recent court cases involving methamphetamine and some serious crimes likely influenced by the use of the drug. In one case, the jury has reached a decision. In the second case, the trial is still ongoing. Remember, defendants are innocent until proven guilty.

The first case is from Salt Lake City in Utah where late Friday, September 18, 2015, a Salt Lake County jury found Mr. Komasquin Lopez, 45, guilty of murdering his wife, Shannon Lopez, 32, as he drove his “large” pickup truck down the highway. Mr. Lopez will be sentenced on November 23.

The facts of the case were that on December 27, 2013, the husband and wife were both high on methamphetamine and engaged in a heated argument. Allegedly, Mrs. Lopez threatened to leave her husband, and the couple exchanged a number angry texts back and forth during the day. After Mr. Lopez picked his wife up from work and was driving home, the argument grew more intense. Then as Mr. Lopez made a left hand turn near 7200 South State Street, there was a gunshot. Apparently the gun was placed against Mrs. Lopez’s head, on her left ear, when the trigger was pulled.

The defense argued before the jury that Mrs. Lopez could have pulled the trigger herself.

“Shannon Lopez shot herself. And that’s terrible. And that’s tragic because she was a very well-loved woman. But that’s what happened,” Mr. Lopez’s defense lawyer, Andrea Garland, told the jury. “Mr. Lopez didn’t shoot his wife while making a left-hand turn. Nobody does that.”

However, Salt Lake County Deputy District Attorney Langdon Fisher retorted, “Holding a loaded, ready-to-fire large handgun firmly against someone’s head while driving a large pickup is depraved indifference to human life.”

“This is not someone who is poised to take a loaded firearm, thrust it against her head, forget about her children at home, and blow her head off.” Mr. Fisher continued, “Or stick it against her ear as some type of gesture.”

Methamphetamine use was also brought up to the jury. Ms. Garland told the jury that Mrs. Lopez had taken a large amount of methamphetamine that day, ma mking her actions unpredictable.

“Mrs. Lopez was on an astonishing amount of methamphetamine,” Ms. Garland said. “Nobody knows what she would do with that amount.”

Deputy DA Fisher argued back that Mr. Lopez had also used meth that day, making his actions unpredictable as well. But Mr. Fisher also told the jury, “This is not a case about drug possession. This is a murder case.”

Mr. Fisher is correct. The trial was not about meth use; it was about the murder of Mrs. Lopez. However, if the couple had not been using meth, maybe Mrs. Lopez would not have decided to leave her husband, or maybe their argument would not have escalated into such an angry exchange. And just maybe Mr. Lopez would not have pulled his Glock from its hiding place, placed the barrel against his wife’s head, and pulled the trigger.

The second trial is still underway, and no matter what the jury ultimately decides, it is a sad and bizarre series of events that will affect at least three lives for years to come. The alleged crime occurred in a mobile home in Stewartsville, Indiana. Stewartsville is a small community located in Posey County. The current census of Stewartsville is not available, but only 19,779 citizens live in all of Posey County.

Ricky House Jr., 38, is on trial in Posey Circuit Court on multiple charges of rape, confinement and kidnapping. He is alleged, along with his girlfriend, Kendra Tooley, 45, of holding Joelle Lockwood, 31, of Evansville, against her will at his trailer from July 10 to Sept. 6, 2014.

Ms. Lockwood might still be a captive today. But luckily for her, Ms. Tooley’s ex-husband, Ronald Higgs, visited his ex-wife at the trailer for two days in early September, 2014. Mr. Higgs testified at the trial on Tuesday, September 15, 2015, that he was surprised to see Ms. Lockwood in the trailer. He told the jury that Ms. Lockwood whispered to him to please get her out of there one night after Mr. House and Ms. Tooley fell asleep.

Ms. Lockwood also testified on Tuesday. She told the jury that while being held in the trailer that Mr. House would place a chloroform-soaked rag over her nose and mouth to render her unconscious. She said Mr. House would repeatedly rape and sexually assault her, treating her “like a slave,” often forcing her into a homemade wooden cage in a bedroom closet, wearing nothing but a dog collar. She also said that Ms. Tooley participated in sexually abusing her.

Posey County Sheriff’s Office Detective Jeremy Fortune testified on Wednesday that investigators found a sawed-off shotgun and ammunition at the trailer. Officers also found numerous ropes, ties, straps and restraints throughout the home, as well as drug paraphernalia and a class ring belonging to Ms. Lockwood, which served to corroborate her account of the ordeal.

On Thursday, Ms. Tooley testified, telling the jury that Ms. Lockwood was kept at the trailer during a methamphetamine–fueled drug and sex binge, during which time she said that Mr. House treated both women as slaves.

Ms. Tooley testified that, “We used meth pretty much every day.” She claimed that they would stay awake for days or even a week at a time using meth. Ms. Lockwood, however, admitted to using meth only twice at the trailer.

So how did Ms. Lockwood end up in this house of horrors? Apparently, she had gone to high school with Mr. House, and he offered her a ride to another part of town on that fateful day in July, 2014. He reportedly suggested they spend time at his mobile home so she could meet his girlfriend.

Ms. Tooley said that Ms. Lockwood then used methamphetamine with them and drank vodka before Mr. House used the chloroform on her. Ms. Lockwood testified that when she woke up, she was bound to a bed and blindfolded.

Ms. Tooley told the jury that Ms. Lockwood fought Mr. House and was crying whenever he used the chloroform. She also said that Ms. Lockwood often “seemed unconscious” when Mr. House raped her.

The trial continues, but it seems readily apparent that even though methamphetamine may have played a significant role, Ms. Lockwood, a 31-year-old mother of two, was held against her will and sexually assaulted for two months.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of meth. At the same time, however, I also want to let people who find themselves addicted to methamphetamine know that there is always hope, and I want to help you! You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com. I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

September 18, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In my Meth in the News column each week I always say, “Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!” This week I have a few examples regarding this that I would like to share with the readers.

Galivants Ferry is a small historical town of 5,048 citizens in South Carolina. Just a few short miles down Hwy 501 in Aynor, SC is Aynor High School. In 2012, Robert Dean Johnson, 51, of Galivants Ferry, was named the Horry County Teacher of the Year for his work at Aynor High School. He was obviously well liked and respected by his students, other faculty, the school board administration and the community.

Mr. Johnson began his teaching career as a substitute teacher in Horry County, and was hired by Aynor High School in 2009 as a career and technology teacher. But all of that was put in jeopardy last week.

On Tuesday, September 8, 2015, a suspicious package arrived at the Aynor Post Office, and postal workers contacted Horry County police to investigate. The police called in a canine that alerted to the package, suggesting that drugs were contained within, so a postal inspector obtained a federal search warrant. Inside the package, the officers found a bag of crystal-like substance that tested positive as methamphetamine.

So what does this have to do with the 2012 Horry County Teacher of the Year? It just so happens that the meth-containing package was addressed to none other than Mr. Robert Johnson.

At about 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Mr. Johnson came to the Post office to pick up his package. When confronted by the officers, Mr. Johnson admitted that the package was indeed his and that he knew that drugs were contained inside.

Mr. Johnson was subsequently arrested and charged with “first-offense manufacturing, distribution or possession with intent to distribute crank or crack cocaine” and taken to the J. Reuben Long Detention Center. He was released from jail on Thursday, September 10 after posting $5,000 bail.

Mr. Johnson is currently on administrative leave with pay until an administrative review is complete, according to Horry County Schools spokeswoman Teal Harding.

Also on September 8, Faline Yackel, 31, of Glenwood, Minnesota, met with someone at her home for a meeting that had been set up by her brother Brandon Yackel. The individual came to Ms. Yackel’s home to buy a VHS tape that her brother had recommended.

Glenwood is the county seat of Pope County with a population of 2,564, located on the northeastern shore of Lake Minnewaska.

Ms. Yackel was actually paid a lot money for an old VHS tape; she received $500. That’s because there was a bag of methamphetamine in the tape case and, unfortunately for Ms. Yackel, the purchaser was a confidential police informant. Her brother, who is currently housed in Faribault Prison, had contacted the informant through the mail, describing in a series of letters how to pay his sister. He obviously did not know that he was dealing with a confidential informant.

Ms. Yackel was arrested and charged with first-degree sale and possession of 10 grams of methamphetamine. She freely admitted that she was aware that the VHS tape contained meth when she gave it to the informant.

So what’s the big deal? Well, Ms. Yackel was, in fact, a dispatcher with the Pope County Sheriff’s Office at the time of her arrest last Tuesday. According to the West Central Minnesota Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, Ms. Yackel was a probationary employee who had worked in the 911 dispatch center for less than a year.

Pope County Sheriff Tim Riley issued a statement that read, in part, “Methamphetamine is a significant problem in this country that our office is working diligently to combat.” Sheriff Riley continued, “Drug-related activity within our own ranks cannot, and will not, be tolerated.”

Ms. Yackel was summarily fired on September 14 after her arraignment.

The final example this week comes to us from the other side of the world from Ratchaburi, a town in western Thailand, with a population of around 38,208 inhabitants. Why would I pick a venue so far away from the Ark-La-Tex? You’ll quickly understand why below.

Phra Baideekawisan is a Buddhist abbot who often used his temple to organize “rehabilitation workshops” for drug addicts. However, on Monday, September 7, a team of police and Buddhist officials raided the temple after members of a drug gang they arrested told officials that they sold “ya ba” pills (methamphetamine) to the monks at the temple. Residents had also complained that the monks at the temple were involved with drug use.

Officials searched the living quarters of the 46-year-old abbot and found drug paraphernalia along with numerous empty beer cans. Drug tests were conducted on all of the monks in the temple, and the abbot, along with two other monks, tested positive for methamphetamine and were taken into custody.

The abbot told the authorities that he first tried meth (ya ba) when one of the participants at a rehabilitation workshop offered it to him. He said that he quickly became addicted to it and would purchase the drug from local teen drug dealers.

The other two monks said that they had been addicted to ya ba even before they entered the monkhood three months previously.

Remember, no one, not even Buddhist monks, is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of meth. At the same time, however, I also want to let people who find themselves addicted to methamphetamine know that there is always hope, and I want to help you! You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com. I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

September 11, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Despite the fact that federal regulations limit the amount of cold and hay fever medications containing pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in the manufacture of meth, that you can purchase each month, the authorities continue to discover people “cooking” their own meth. Often they make meth at home, in motel rooms or in their cars, putting themselves and others at risk from the toxic fumes produced in the manufacturing process as well as explosions and fires that often occur when the witches brew of chemicals are mishandled.

In Meth in the News this week, I am going to report on cases where methamphetamine was “cooked” in apartment buildings, putting many families unnecessarily at risk, and in one case almost resulting in tragic consequences.

The first case comes from Williamsburg, Kentucky, a small city of 5,245 people located in Whitley County along the I-75 corridor in the southeast area of the state. Last Friday, September 4, 2015, Williamsburg police received an early morning 911 call about a strong chemical odor coming from an apartment located at 55 Crisp Court. Police K-9 Officer Jason Strunk and Officer Cody Jeffries were dispatched to the scene around 6 a.m.

Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird told reporters that as soon as the officers entered an enclosed breezeway on the property they were overwhelmed by a chemical smell. “The officers knew they would have to get out pretty quickly,” Chief Bird said. “When they knocked on the door of apartment number two they quickly learned that is where it was coming from so they secured everybody. There was an active one-step meth lab in the bathroom.”

Chief Bird was describing a “one-pot” or “shake-n-bake” meth “lab” whereby all of the ingredients necessary to make meth are combined in a single container such as a 2-liter soda bottle.

In addition to the active meth lab, the officers also discovered six grams of finished meth in the apartment. Kentucky State Police Drug Enforcement Special Investigations officers were called to the scene to clean up the meth lab.

Lakin P. Ayers, 23, Darren L. Canada, 26, Krysten M. Stevens, 25, and Steven B. Perkins, 28, were arrested and charged with first-offense manufacture of methamphetamine, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and six counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. At last report, all four were lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center.

You may ask why they were all charged with first-degree wanton endangerment. Well, this was an apartment complex after all, and there were six children present in the same building as the “lab” although they did not live in the same apartment where the meth was cooked.

Chief Bird explained, “A couple of children woke up that morning showing effects from the chemical odor. You have to understand these apartments are two on the bottom and two on the top.”

“The apartment where the meth lab odor was located was on the bottom so that odor was traveling up through the exhaust vents in the apartment and was filling the building. There were some kids directly above it.”

One can only imagine what might have happened if someone had not notified the police! But it gets worse.

“This one was an extreme fire hazard,” Chief Bird added. “These people had acid inside of Ziploc baggies that is definitely not the proper container for it. Had that acid leaked through those bags then you had major potential for a fire.”

Acid in a baggie!!! Seriously!! C’mon, this isn’t rocket science. Who stores acid in a plastic baggie?

All six children in the apartment complex were taken to the hospital to be checked out. Chief Bird told reporters that it appears that all six are OK. Thank God!

Also on Monday, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) served a search warrant at an apartment on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs, Georgia, north of Atlanta. Agents had received an anonymous tip that a “known methamphetamine trafficker” had turned one of the apartments into a “crystal meth lab.”

DEA agent John Murphy told reporters that “It was potentially a very deadly situation.”

“So there’s a pot on the stove at full boil, so there’s meth fumes going everywhere in the apartment and there were lit candles, they definitely were using the candles to try and mask the smell,” Agent Murphy said.

Like I said, a witches brew! Folks, I am literally amazed that people aren’t blowing up everywhere. These people obviously did not study chemistry where I did.

Juan Francisco Martinez-Nunez, Salvador Ivan Alonso-Mendoza, Diego Ivan Parra, and Ismael Martinez-Anallo were arrested at the scene. They were all booked into the Fulton County Jail and charged with reckless endangerment and trafficking in methamphetamine.

Agents seized 67 pounds of methamphetamine and 15 gallons of methamphetamine in solution, which could have produced approximately 59 additional pounds of meth. All of this was in just one apartment, and no one smelled anything??

Although the authorities found several toys and other evidence suggesting that children were living in the apartment, they did not locate any children there during the raid.

Finally across the country in Washington, the city of Bellingham purchased the condemned Aloha Motel and associated property last Wednesday, September 2, 2015, for $1.58 million.

Bellingham is the northernmost city in the contiguous United States with more than 50,000 people. The city took legal possession of the Aloha Motel after the Whatcom County Health Department found methamphetamine contamination in 11 of its rooms. Ironic name, isn’t it?

On Wednesday, Bellingham police officers went through all 28 rooms in the motel to make sure that no one was living there and found two people still in their rooms despite numerous warnings. The city plans to raise the motel, which has a long-standing reputation for criminal activity.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of meth. At the same time, however, I also want to let people who find themselves addicted to methamphetamine know that there is always hope, and I want to help you! You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com. I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

September 4, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

As I have said many times in Meth in the News, methamphetamine use can lead people to engage in some fairly unusual behaviors. Below are a couple of examples that caught my eye this week.

The first case comes from Springfield, Missouri. On August 2, 2015, Ashley Miller was walking outside at her local Wal-Mart store when an old acquaintance drove by. When the driver saw Ms. Miller, she waved at him and asked if he would give her a ride. He agreed; after all, they knew each other. He asked her where she wanted to go, and she began to give him directions.

After a short time, the driver realized that Ms. Miller was giving him directions to a rather remote area located outside of Springfield and became concerned. When he asked her where they were going, Ms. Miller pointed what looked like a gun at him. So fearing for his life, he continued to drive where she told him to go.

Eventually they ended up at a dead end near Fellows Lake, and Ms. Miller told the driver to get out of the car. Then she told him to take off his pants, and he complied.

Ms. Miller took the man’s pants, still containing his wallet, and drove away in his car. The man hiked down the road a bit and found someone at Fellows Lake who called 911 to report the crime.

The car was finally located by Greene County Sheriff’s deputies on August 6 in the possession of Mr. Tony Scott. Mr. Scott told the deputies that he had borrowed the car from Ms. Miller on August 4.

Springfield police finally located and arrested Ms. Miller on August 22.

Ms. Miller had her own story about how she came to be in possession of the car. She told the police that she had indeed asked for a ride. But she said that they drove to an abandoned house, parked the car and went inside together.

Once inside the house, Ms. Miller said that the man suddenly removed his pants and began making sexual advances towards her. So she ran out of the house and drove away in his car. She also said that Mr. Scott took the car away from her without her permission.

Oh I almost forgot to tell you. Ms. Miller was nine months pregnant at the time of the crime.

Upon further questioning by the authorities, Ms. Miller finally told the police that she had been using methamphetamine – while nine months pregnant – and she needed money to buy more meth. That is why she hatched the plan to steal the man’s car and money. But she claimed that she did not have a gun with her.

According to court documents, Ms. Miller already has three cases pending in Missouri and is also on probation in three separate cases. Her bond was set at $5,000.

The next case occurred in Wetumpka, Alabama in the early morning hours of August 27, 2015. At 5:10 a.m., Wetumpka police received a frantic call from a clerk who had recently arrived at the Chevron station at the corner of U.S. Highway 231 and Redland Road to open the store and turn on the gas pumps. She noticed that things just did not look right, but she went ahead and began her morning routine.

Suddenly she noticed that just outside the front door, there was a completely naked man standing on top of the ice machine. She was obviously a bit shook up by this, so she ran to her car and drove to a nearby gas station to call 911.

Wetumpka police officers arrived on scene within minutes, and they found that the window near the ice machine had been shattered. They quickly located the suspected perpetrator, Brian Creamer, 34, of Jemison, behind the counter inside the store, rummaging through things. He was still completely naked, and when he saw the police, he immediately surrendered and threw up his hands.

Officers found Mr. Creamer’s car next door at a vacant gas station, and they found his clothes as well as possible methamphetamine and related drug paraphernalia inside.

Wetumpka Police Detective Clarence Reid told reporters that Mr. Creamer “advised that he was on some ICE [methamphetamine], which is a very potent drug that’s starting to frequent our area.” Detective Reid went on, “You don’t normally catch a lot of naked people breaking into buildings. Because of the way he did it, he broke the glass and crawled through the window so he took the risk of getting cut, but at the time, he was not in his right mind.”

Just imagine the delicate tissue that could have been cut on the broken glass as he crawled through the window!

Before the police arrived, Mr. Creamer caused extensive damage inside and outside the store. Nozzles on the gas pumps were removed from their cradles and placed into trash cans or on the ground, producing a significant gas spill when the clerk turned the pumps on. The Wetumpka Fire Department was called to assist with the fuel spill.

Mr. Creamer also caused thousands of dollars’ worth of damage inside the store as well. Wetumpka Police Lt. Ed Gumpf told reporters that the bathroom was destroyed and sinks were turned on, causing the store to flood. Plugged in electronic devices were placed in the water, and Mr. Creamer also damaged the thermostat, alarm system and security cameras. He sprayed the fire extinguisher everywhere, and drinks were smashed and turned over inside the store. Fluorescent light bulbs were shattered out in the parking lot.

“It looked like a demolition crew came in,” Lt. Gumpf said.

And although Mr. Creamer says that he does not remember what happened, or even where he was, everything was recorded and detectives have the video footage of the crime thanks to CNS Systems, a local company that installed the surveillance cameras at the Food Mart and gas station.

Mr. Creamer was arrested for burglary, criminal mischief, unlawful possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia and at last report was being held in the Elmore County Jail.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of meth. At the same time, however, I also want to let people who find themselves addicted to methamphetamine know that there is always hope, and I want to help you! You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com. I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

August 28, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Any time that I think that I have heard it all regarding methamphetamine, I come across another report in the news that surprises me. This week was no exception.

The first report comes from our neighboring state, Texas, from the fine city of San Antonio. On Tuesday, August 18, 2015, Valentin Renko, 25, and Karen Lee, 31, were arrested in connection with a scheme involving the sex trafficking of a minor child, according to Special Agent in Charge, Christopher Combs, of the FBI’s San Antonio Division. The criminal complaint charges Ms. Lee and Mr. Renko with one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of a minor and one count of production of child pornography.

According to the complaint, the parents of a 12-year-old girl reported her missing from nearby Kirby, TX, a small town of 8,000 located in Bexar County, on June 26, 2015. On or about July 1, Mr. Renko gave methamphetamine to the little girl and Ms. Lee, and the three proceeded to smoke the drug. Mr. Renko and Ms. Lee then allegedly discussed ways by which they could prostitute the 12-year-old by providing her to adult males in exchange for money. Disgusting!

It gets worse. Ms. Lee then took digital photos of Mr. Renko engaged in sexually-explicit activity with the minor girl.

The complaint goes on. Apparently Ms. Lee demanded that the 12-year-old had to make her own money if she wanted to continue living with her at her apartment in Kirby. Ms. Lee encouraged the little girl to make “dates” with men using an unnamed social networking website. It is alleged that the minor girl engaged in sexual activity with several men on these “dates” in exchange for money or narcotics between July 2 and July 6, 2015.

Apparently the little girl’s parents became aware of the website that Mr. Renko used to meet their daughter and convince her to run away from home, and they launched their own investigation. They created a fake online account and used the same website to locate and rescue their daughter.

The arrests of Ms. Lee and Mr. Renko resulted from a subsequent investigation by the South Texas Officers and Prosecutors Human Trafficking Task Force, led by the FBI together with the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Kirby Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Bettina Richardson will prosecute this case.

Ms. Lee and Mr. Renko remain in federal custody. When convicted, they face between ten years and life in federal prison on the sex trafficking of a minor charge and between 15 years and 30 years in federal prison on the production of child pornography charge.

No mention was made of whether or not Ms. Lee and Mr. Renko will also face charges related to their possession and use of methamphetamine or for endangering the welfare of a minor by providing her with meth and allowing (forcing?) her to smoke it.

Finally, I wish that the authorities could identify and locate the men who had the “dates” with the little 12-year-old girl. I am confident that they would receive a warm welcome in any prison!

The next report is from Polk County, Florida, in Lake Wales, a small community of about 10,000. In an ongoing investigation by Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives, Rachel Rodriguez, 32, and Gilberto Hernandez, 27, were arrested on charges of trafficking methamphetamine, manufacturing methamphetamine and negligent child abuse.

As part of the investigation, detectives obtained and served a search warrant on Wednesday, August 19, 2015, at a Lake Wales house. A little 6-year-old boy was in the house when officials from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Organized Crime Unit and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force served the warrant just after noon. He reportedly told the detectives that “Guero [Mr. Hernandez] was cooking something that smelled really bad last night” and had told him “not to come out of his room while he was cooking.”

According to reports from the Sheriff’s Office, detectives located approximately 20 pounds of “freshly cooked” methamphetamine when they searched the house. Mr. Hernandez was actually in the process of converting the meth to its crystal form so that it could be sold when the detectives arrived

Polk County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Donna Wood told reporters that if Mr. Hernandez had been successful in converting all of the meth to crystal, that it would have been worth nearly one million dollars!

Sadly, in addition to the little boy, his 7, 9 and 10-year-old siblings were also at home at the time of the massive meth cook. As I have stressed time and time again, the noxious chemicals used to “cook” meth produce fumes that are extremely toxic, and these innocent little victims were all unnecessarily exposed to this odoriferous concoction.

At last report, both Mr. Hernandez and Ms. Rodriguez were being held in the Polk County Jail without bail.

Finally, on Thursday, August 20, 2015, in Salt Lake City, a car was observed being driven erratically around 4:15 p.m. According to Salt Lake police detective Dennis McGowan, Skye Stricker, 28, was seen swerving across several lanes of 5600 West, going on and off the road before running a red light at California Avenue and crashing into another vehicle.

Ms. Stricker quickly got out of her car, ran to a nearby vehicle, jumped in, and offered the driver methamphetamine to take her away from the scene. The driver had just witnessed the accident and refused Ms. Stricker’s generous offer.

So she jumped out of his car and just took off running. When confronted by a police officer, Ms. Stricker tried to take his Taser from him, but was unsuccessful. When other officers arrived, they were able to subdue her and take her into custody. She was subsequently found to be in possession of “meth in large quantities.”

According to a Salt Lake County Jail report, Ms. Stricker told officers that she was “doing a drug run” and that she was high on meth at the time of the accident.

As a result, Ms. Stricker was charged with receiving or transfer of a stolen vehicle, negligent collision, marijuana possession, driving on a suspended license, disarming a police officer, drug possession, and leaving the scene of an accident.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of meth. At the same time, however, I also want to let people who find themselves addicted to methamphetamine know that there is always hope, and I want to help you! You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com. I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

August 21, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

I have mentioned several times in this Meth in the News column that the long-term use of methamphetamine can often lead people to commit unbelievable, strange and bizarre behaviors, doing things that they would (hopefully) never even consider doing if they had never tried meth. It’s not hard to find example after example in the news, and I will share a few of these with the readers this week.

This first case is truly difficult to believe, and to read (and write), and comes from Spokane County, Washington, in the great northwest. A search warrant was filed on July 15, 2015, after Travis A. Joy, 45, moved out of a house where he had been living in Elk, WA. When he moved, Mr. Joy accidently left behind a video camera that contained recordings that he had made. When his roommate found the camera and viewed the footage on July 10, he turned it over to the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS).

There is no delicate way to state this. The videos on the camera allegedly showed Mr. Joy having sexual contact with three dogs and a horse. When detectives with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office watched the videos, they were able to determine that the incidents occurred in the Hillyard and Elk areas and were able to track down the owners of the animals involved. Detectives were also able to develop probable cause to arrest Mr. Joy when they determined that his arm tattoos matched the tattoos on the individual observed in the videos.

On Wednesday, August 12, the owner of one of the dogs from the videos called the Sheriff’s Office to report that Mr. Joy was on that person’s property in North Spokane County. Mr. Joy was arrested around 8 a.m. that morning. Mr. Joy’s bond was set at $50,000 during a brief court appearance on Thursday where he was charged with animal cruelty.

According to court documents, Mr. Joy admitted to recording himself having sexual contact with the animals so he could view the acts later. Spokane County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Deputy Mark Gregory told reporters that Mr. Joy is now also facing charges of harassment after allegedly threatening to kill the people that he believes turned him in to the authorities.

People in the area who know Mr. Joy told detectives that he is addicted to methamphetamine. They also said that he has been homeless for several years, living in his car or with friends. The animals that Mr. Joy allegedly molested belonged to people who allowed him to live at their homes.

Mr. Joy has been banned from owning animals or being around animals. Thank God!

After that, the other cases of bizarre behavior that I am reporting today are going to seem mild by comparison.

The next case also comes from the great northwest, this time from Meridian, Idaho, and took place on August 3, 2015. A woman was shopping at a convenience store located at Ustick and Ten Mile roads at about 6 a.m. when she needed to use the restroom. As she entered the woman’s restroom, she was suddenly attacked by a naked man, later identified as 23-year-old George Cody Thornock. The woman was able to fight off Mr. Thornock, and her 17 year-old son chased him away.

When Meridian Police arrived, the woman and other witnesses were able to describe the assailant in great detail. Meridian Deputy Police Chief Tracy Basterrechea told reporters that Mr. Thornock was discovered hiding in a nearby neighborhood around 7:20 a.m. after residents reported that a man had entered several homes in the area. Luckily, Mr. Thornock was wearing a T-shirt and shorts when arrested.

The police officers quickly determined that Mr. Thornock was under the influence of methamphetamine and took him to a local hospital for evaluation. After receiving treatment there, he was booked into the Ada County Jail late that Monday afternoon on a charge of battery with intent to commit a serious felony.

The last case this week also comes from far out west, this time from Santa Ana, California. Commander Jeffrey Smith of the Santa Ana Police Department told reporters that they received a 911 call from the Santa Ana Zoo at around 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 4, 2015, reporting a disturbance there.

When officers arrived at the zoo, they found a shirtless man swinging from the trees near the primate facilities. The man was covered in mud and claiming to be Tarzan.

Cmdr. Smith said that “He was trying to get into the monkey enclosures.”

The man, later identified as 37-year-old John William Rodenborn, tried to run away when confronted by the officers, but he was quickly captured.

Mr. Rodenborn was found to be in possession and under the influence of methamphetamine.

The park was open at the time, but park activities and patrons were not disrupted and the monkeys weren’t disturbed either, according to Zoo director Kent Yamaguchi.

Mr. Yamaguchi told reporters, “We do have training for if animals ever come out of their cages, but we haven’t had people trying to go into the cages.”

It is actually very lucky that Mr. Rodenborn was prevented from entering the monkey enclosure. I’m sure many of you are aware that rhesus monkeys, chimpanzees and other primates are much stronger than humans, and Mr. Rodenborn could have been seriously injured or even killed if he had been successful.

Mr. Rodenborn faces charges for possessing and being under the influence of methamphetamine and trespassing. In California, these are misdemeanor counts even though Mr. Rodenborn has previously pleaded guilty to being under the influence of drugs as well as burglary charges.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of meth. At the same time, however, I also want to let people who find themselves addicted to methamphetamine know that there is always hope, and I want to help you! You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com. I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

August 14, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

I realize that I have stated many times in this Meth in the News column that 90 percent or more of the methamphetamine in the United States today comes from Mexico, provided by the Mexican Drug Cartels and their compatriots in this country. However, on a daily basis I still see reports of meth being “cooked” throughout the U.S. The estimates of the amount of meth provided by the cartels are based on arrest records and drug seizures, but these estimates are, at best, still just educated guesses. No one really knows how much methamphetamine is being used in this country and who is producing it. These estimates are like predicting when the next earthquake will hit California, where it will be centered, and how severe it will be.

So despite the federal regulations on the amount of cold and hay fever medications containing pseudoephedrine that you can purchase each month, the authorities continue to discover people “cooking” their own meth. Often they make their meth at home, putting themselves and their children at risk from the toxic fumes produced in the manufacturing process as well as explosions and fires that often occur when the witches brew of chemicals are mishandled. Just last Sunday morning, a 24-year-old woman and 26-year-old man were severely burned at a residence in Ovid Township, Michigan, when a meth lab exploded. They were among four adults sitting in a car in the driveway “cooking” the meth. Perhaps they were in a car because they were concerned about a little 9-year-old boy. Authorities found him sleeping in the house and turned him over to Child Protective Services.

Sometimes the meth “cooks” leave their homes, carrying the “meth lab” in the trunks of their cars (scary isn’t it to imagine a “lab” in that car next to you at a red light) or in backpacks as they nervously “hike” along the roadways. They will also rent motel rooms so that the authorities don’t discover meth cook-related “chemical smells” at their own homes. But this process obviously puts other motel guests at great risk, not only during the manufacturing process itself but long after the “cooks” have left the room. If the room is not properly decontaminated, the next family that rents that room could be exposed to iodine, ammonia and God only knows what other toxic chemicals that may have been left behind. I see several reports of meth lab discoveries in hotel and motel rooms almost every day.

Mobile meth “labs” are also found on bicycles. Just last week in Muncie, Indiana, Kenneth Ray Sheppard II, 32, was observed riding a bicycle with a backpack while pulling another bicycle at 1:30 a.m. The officer thought that Mr. Sheppard was acting “suspiciously” and asked to search the backpack, which was also producing a “chemical” odor. Inside the backpack the officer found two “one-pot” meth generators, empty containers of lighter fluid, an empty bottle of drain cleaner and used coffee filters.

And that was not the only bicycle-powered mobile meth “lab” that I read about last week! In Manchester, Ohio, officers saw Nicholas Walls, 28, on a bicycle near a store and noticed the smell of a “chemical” odor emitting from his direction. Mr. Walls ran when the officers asked him to stop, and they subsequently found a meth “lab” contained in a plastic bag that had been hanging from the bicycle that he had been riding. Mr. Walls was taken into custody with the help of a K-9 officer after a short foot pursuit.

But you never really know where you might find a meth lab. Also last week in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, police were called to the Taco Bell restaurant on Blairs Ferry Road to investigate the report of a suspicious person on the premises. Although the Taco Bell was closed at the time, officers encountered Kent Jerome Duby, 56, and Christopher Adam Matous, 31, outside the restaurant when they arrived. Mr. Matous said that he was an employee there. When the manager was called to open the restaurant for the officers, they found the remnants of a meth “lab” in a utility area inside the Taco Bell. Mr. Matous and Mr. Duby were both arrested on charges of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. The restaurant was closed for decontamination, and the official Taco Bell website reassured the public stating, “The restaurant will reopen after it has been sanitized and inspected by the Health Department.”

But the most unusual location for a meth “lab” I have seen in a while came from a report back in July out of Gaithersburg, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. On July 18, Montgomery County police were called to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to investigate the report of an explosion at the facility. The NIST, formerly the National Bureau of Standards, is the federal agency responsible for setting standards for the precise measurement of just about everything. Upon arriving on the scene, officers found a security guard who had been injured in what turned out to be the explosion of a meth lab. The security guard was treated at a local hospital and resigned the following Sunday. Law enforcement sources told reporters that pseudoephedrine, drain cleaner, and a recipe for making meth were found on the site. Montgomery County police Capt. Paul Starks confirmed that police are looking into “the possibility that this was some sort of chemical reaction due to the manufacturing of drugs.” You think? The Drug Enforcement Administration was called in to help investigate the case.

You never know where you might stumble upon a meth lab. If you smell an unusual chemical odor and don’t know the source of the odor, leave the area right away and call the authorities. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of meth. At the same time, however, I also want to let people who find themselves addicted to methamphetamine know that there is always hope, and I want to help you! You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com. I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

August 7, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

As I reported a few weeks ago in this column, the Justice Department announced earlier this year that, “The Sinaloa Cartel moves drugs by land, air, and sea, including cargo aircraft, private aircraft, submarines and other submersible and semi-submersible vessels, container ships, supply vessels, go-fast boats, fishing vessels, buses, rail cars, tractor trailers, trucks, automobiles, and private and commercial interstate and foreign carriers.” And because of the enormous profits that are made through the illegal trafficking of methamphetamine, if a “drug mule” gets caught now and then, that’s just the cost of doing business.

Nevertheless, individual drug smugglers are historically known for devising ingenious means in an attempt to get illegal drugs into and distributed throughout the United States. Most people have heard of the elaborate tunnels that have been discovered under the border with Mexico. But the lengths that drug traffickers will go to boggle the imagination.

Not long ago in Fort Morgan, Colorado, the police stumbled upon 16 pounds of methamphetamine when one of the smugglers called 911 in his meth-induced confusion. The meth was disguised as “huge foil-wrapped breakfast burritos covered in slime.”

But just last month, Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (yes, you read correctly) conducted a routine inspection on a passenger bus at one of the stops in the rural community of La Coma. La Coma is a small community located between Ciudad Victoria and the northern cities of Matamoros and Reynosa in Mexico. On board the bus, the military inspectors discovered two cardboard boxes filled with 29 plastic Aloe Vera bottles. The transit numbers were all attached and duly signed.

However, a closer inspection of the 29 liters of liquid revealed that the bottles were not filled with Aloe Vera as advertised on the labels but were in fact filled with liquid meth. The shipment was immediately seized and turned over to the Attorney General’s Office for further investigation.

In south Florida, investigators from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and Sunrise police combined forces when they found what appeared to be a 10-pound bag of candy during a drug sting in Lauderhill. Similar bags of candy had recently been recovered in related drug seizures in Bradenton and Lauderhill, Florida. The “candies” were individually wrapped in bright packaging labeled with Spanish words, including “Pinata,” and some of it was made to look like lollipops.

Once again, however, upon closer examination, federal authorities determined that the hard candy and lollipops contained in the bags were actually methamphetamine. The meth “candy” was traced to a home in Bradenton, and Jorge Maldonado, 24, of Okeechobee was subsequently arrested and indicted in mid July in federal court in Fort Lauderdale on charges of conspiring to distribute meth and possession with intent to distribute.

After his arrest on July 7, Mr. Maldonado admitted to what he thought was another drug dealer that he was being paid $2,000 to transport the methamphetamine to Broward County. In court, however, he pleaded not guilty and is currently locked up in the Broward County jail system awaiting his next court date. If convicted, Mr. Maldonado could face 10 years to life in federal prison.

Even more surprising, to me anyway, was that this was not the first case this month when federal authorities arrested someone in Bradenton for trafficking meth candy. In a related case, Jesus Casteyano, 53, was arrested when authorities seized 19 pounds of meth, also disguised to look like candy from Mexico. The methamphetamine candy was hidden in plastic tubs in a closet in Mr. Casteyano’s south Florida home. His wife told the investigators he had informed her that the “candy” was methamphetamine and not to allow their 1- and 6-year-old children to eat it.

Just imagine the consequences if a child had found the meth “candy” and eaten it? I’m sorry, but this is a total disregard for innocent lives. I believe that the sentences should be significantly increased in cases such as these!

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of meth. At the same time, however, I also want to let people who find themselves addicted to methamphetamine know that there is always hope, and I want to help you! You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com. I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

July 31, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

What did I say last week – that methamphetamine can lead people to engage in some fairly unusual behaviors, or at least things that they might not normally do otherwise? Well, for this week’s Meth in the News I found another bizarre case. In this case methamphetamine was at the root of new mother going from being hailed as a survival hero to being called an unfit mother and pariah.

Amber Pangborn, 35, lives in Oroville, Calif., a small town located about 65 miles north of Sacramento. On Wednesday, June 24, 2015, Ms. Pangborn had been visiting gambling casinos near Paradise, close to where her parents live. Of course there is nothing wrong with that.

However, on that fateful night, Ms. Pangborn was traveling between casinos, using a shortcut down an unfamiliar gravel road when the contractions started. That’s right; Ms. Pangborn was also pregnant and about to give birth. She panicked and soon became lost.

Ms. Pangborn continued down French Camp Road in the Plumas National Forest, too far down to turn back, hoping she said, to find someone along the way who could help. “There was no cell phone service. There was no…there was nothing,” she said. “And my car was out of gas.”

There was no one to help her. So at about 5 a.m., “I laid out a sleeping back in the backseat, lied down, gripped the handle above the back window and gave birth to my daughter,” she said.

Ms. Pangborn said that she had to fend off “meat bees”, mosquitoes, hunger, and thirst for three days, surviving only on a small bottle of soda, a small bottle of water and three apples that she said that she had in her car.

Then she decided to light a small signal fire to summon help. Ms. Pangborn took a cigarette lighter and an aerosol can of hair spray and torched some dry brush. “The fire just went ‘woosh,’ and shot straight up the mountainside,” she said.

The quarter-acre signal fire that she started worked! A U.S. Department of Forestry fire detection system was alerted, and CALFIRE dispatched a helicopter to put the fire out. The Department of Forestry subsequently sent out a rescue squad and ambulance, and Ms. Pangborn and her daughter, “Marissa” were rescued and taken to Oroville hospital.

Ms. Pangborn’s mother, Dianna Williams, was also interviewed by reporters. She said that her daughter and granddaughter were doing fine. “I’m elated, and the baby’s beautiful,” said Ms. Williams. She was proud of the actions that her daughter took and said, “I’m glad that she’s a smart kid. She’s always been smart.”

Her father, Allan Williams, also said that he was so proud of his daughter and her courage.

The baby was subsequently transferred to the University of California at Davis (UC Davis) Medical Center for further evaluation due to the nature of the birth of her daughter. You would have to agree that the circumstances were rather unusual!

Then things took a surprising turn for the new mother. Staff at the UC Davis Medical Center notified social workers when the baby tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine. In fact, mother and daughter both tested positive for the drug.

So as quickly as that, Ms. Pangborn went from being considered a hero (by the way, if you look it up, this story was all over the media around the end of June), giving birth to her daughter by herself while lost in the forest for three days, to being called an unfit mother. Social workers with the Butte County Child Protective Services took Ms. Pangborn’s daughter from her and placed the baby in foster care.

Ms. Pangborn finally admitted to using methamphetamine. She told reporters that she took meth to get an “energy boost” after delivering her daughter. She said that she got the drug from a man whom she had given a ride to on the night that she got lost. However, it’s not clear why she was alone later that night when she began having her contractions.

This is not the first time that her children have been removed from her custody. Ms. Pangborn told reporters that she voluntarily gave up parental rights to three older daughters after her husband killed himself. However, officials with Butte County Child Protective Services declined to discuss any details regarding Ms. Pangborn’s case.

Ms. Pangborn is trying to regain custody of her baby daughter. She said that the experience has been both devastating and depressing. That’s an understatement! But she also said that her baby is healthy and thriving, and that she doesn’t pose a danger to her daughter.

“There’s no risk to my daughter or anything,” Ms. Pangborn said.

I am not sure that I would agree with her!

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of meth. At the same time, however, I also want to let people who find themselves addicted to methamphetamine know that there is always hope, and I want to help you! You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com. I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

July 24, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

I have probably said it before here in Meth in the News, but it bears repeating. Due to its effects in the brain, methamphetamine can lead people to engage in some fairly unusual behaviors, or at least things that they would not normally do otherwise. I read three different police reports of such strange behavior that I thought that I would share with the readers this week. These were not all of the strange behaviors that I read about, but these three in particular really caught my eye.

The first was reported by Fort Morgan police out in Colorado. Last Saturday afternoon, on July 11, 2015, the Fort Morgan 911 dispatcher received a fearful call from Jonathan Potzler, 28. He told the dispatcher that he was in the Wal-Mart parking lot and there was a woman that he didn’t know in his car who refused to get out. He also told the Colorado operator that he thought that he was somewhere in Arizona.

Police were called to the scene. There they found Mr. Potzler and a woman in his car, just as he had claimed. However, the woman turned out to be Jazmin Elguezabal, 21, who said that she was actually Mr. Potzler’s own cousin. And they were in Colorado, not Arizona.

It didn’t take long for the police to determine that the pair was high on meth, and the couple soon confessed to transporting drugs in the car.

A search of the car turned up 16 pounds of crystal methamphetamine packaged to resemble “huge foil-wrapped breakfast burritos covered in slime.” Fort Morgan police suggested that the grease and other slimy agents were put on the meth-containing packages in an attempt to throw off drug-sniffing dogs.

Fort Morgan Det. Todd Zwetzig told reporters, “I’ve been with the department 28 years, and this is the biggest bust I’ve been involved in.”

Detective Zwetzig also said that he did not think that Fort Morgan was the final destination for the drug smugglers and that they had probably just stopped off Interstate 76 for unknown reasons. That was just the break that the police needed.

“Because of the interstate, we have mass amounts of drugs that go through all the time that we don’t know about,” Detective Zwetzig went on. “Just because we don’t have the intelligence on them or we don’t have a reason to contact those persons.”

But this time the police got lucky, due to Mr. Potzler’s meth-induced confusion, and 16 pounds of crystal methamphetamine were taken off the streets.

Fort Morgan police are still investigating the case, trying to determine where the drugs originated and where they were being transported.

Mr. Potzler and Ms. Elguezabal were both charged with multiple felonies, including unlawful possession of a controlled substance, and unlawful distribution, manufacture and dispensing or sale of a controlled substance. Both were being held without bond at the Morgan County Detention Center.

The next report comes from Ashtabula, Ohio. Last Wednesday afternoon, on July 15, 2015, a vehicle was pulled over by an Ashtabula County Sheriff’s deputy when the driver ran a stop sign. A passenger in the vehicle, Shane M. Klein, 22, from Ashtabula, was acting suspiciously, according to the deputy. Mr. Klein would not make eye contact with the deputy, was slow to exit the vehicle, and subsequently had to be handcuffed after trying to stop the officer from patting him down for weapons.

Imagine the deputy’s surprise when he discovered that Mr. Klein was attempting to conceal a 2-liter bottle containing a murky white substance down the front of his pants. Seriously – a 2-liter bottle?? The deputy quickly ascertained that this was in fact an active “one-pot” meth lab – in his pants! The deputy also confiscated a syringe and a pill bottle containing sulfuric acid from Mr. Klein.

Imagine if the “meth lab” had exploded while Mr. Klein was trying to conceal it in such a sensitive location on his body!

Mr. Klein was transported to the Ashtabula County Jail and was charged with illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs, a third-degree felony, and possession of drug abuse instruments

The third report came from Santa Monica, California. The Santa Monica police were called to a report of a family disturbance on Saturday, July 4, 2015. A man and woman were involved in a heated argument.

The woman told the officers that the couple had been arguing over methamphetamine. She said that the meth belonged to her boyfriend and he became upset when she threw away his meth.

The boyfriend denied the allegations and told the Santa Monica police that the meth belonged to his girlfriend and that she was mad because he threw away her meth.

Based on the visible evidence at the scene, the officers determined that the boyfriend was the primary aggressor in this case, so they arrested him and charged him with domestic violence.

Unfortunately, no methamphetamine was ever located.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of meth. At the same time, however, I also want to let people who find themselves addicted to methamphetamine know that there is always hope, and I want to help you! You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com. I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

July 17, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

As almost everyone should have heard by now, Mexican drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman escaped from maximum security at the Altiplano Federal Prison in south central Mexico last Saturday night. Apparently he crawled through a hole in the shower area of his cell block to a well lit, ventilated tunnel.   The tunnel was nearly a mile long and ended in a house under construction. The Mexican authorities quickly closed the nearby Toluca International Airport and have been frantically searching for signs of Guzman ever since.

Other sources suggest that this tunnel was just a ruse, a cover up for the fact that Guzman simply bought his way out of prison by bribing and/or threatening the authorities there. This is not the first time that the drug lord got away from the Mexican authorities. He escaped from a high-security prison in 2001 while hidden in a laundry cart and was not apprehended again until last year.

So why is this story such a big deal? And why is it the focus of my column this week? If you ask anyone in law enforcement from anywhere across the United States, they will tell you without equivocation that the majority of the methamphetamine that they see today, upwards of 90% or more, comes from Mexico. And the meth that they see is more than 90% pure. It’s relatively cheap and easy to make in the Mexican Superlabs, and the profits literally boggle the imagination. In fact, Forbes magazine once listed Guzman among the ranks of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in its list of “self-made” billionaires. Guzman’s estimated fortune in 2009 was $1 billion. That is why this is such a BIG DEAL!

Joaquin Guzman is the head of the Sinaloa Drug Cartel. According to the U.S. Justice Department, the Sinaloa Cartel is “one of the world’s most prolific, violent and powerful drug cartels.” And as leader of this most violent Mexican drug cartel, Guzman was “considered the world’s most powerful drug lord” until his arrest at a Mexican beach resort in February 2014.

The violence the Mexican drug cartels commit makes ISIS look tame by comparison. They kill anyone, including journalists, politicians, police officers, and corrections officers. And they don’t just kill that person, but they torture and kill every member of their family – and innocent bystanders as well. The Mexican drug cartels were using videos of horrific violence to intimidate the authorities and warn potential “snitches” and rival cartels since long before ISIS was ever born. I’ve seen some of these videos, and they contain images of torture that I wish I could forget!

Just try to imagine the violence that Guzman is likely to demand in retaliation for his most recent arrest and incarceration!

Earlier this year, the Justice Department announced that, “The Sinaloa Cartel moves drugs by land, air, and sea, including cargo aircraft, private aircraft, submarines and other submersible and semi-submersible vessels, container ships, supply vessels, go-fast boats, fishing vessels, buses, rail cars, tractor trailers, trucks, automobiles, and private and commercial interstate and foreign carriers.” Whew!

These drugs are subsequently smuggled across the porous U.S.-Mexican border into the San Diego area for distribution throughout the United States, and the insane profits made from the sale of these drugs are then laundered through a variety of means. In just one aspect of a much larger investigation, authorities seized more than 1,400 pounds of methamphetamine, almost 3,000 pounds of cocaine, 12.2 tons of marijuana and 5,500 oxycodone pills, along with $14.1 million.

Closer to home, 10 members of an alleged major drug-trafficking network, based just down 1-49 and across I-10 in Baton Rouge, with ties to, you guessed it, the Sinaloa Cartel, were indicted as a result of “Operation Armageddon,” according to a press release from U.S. Attorney Walt Green last month. This network is accused of trafficking a variety of drugs, including high-potency methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and marijuana. The more than 50-page indictment also contains accusations of money laundering, possession and use of firearms, and mail-aided racketeering. Eight of the suspects now under indictment are from Baton Rouge, one is from Breaux Bridge and another is from California.

U.S. Attorney Green also issued the following statement, echoing what many others have cautioned: “As our nation continues to examine ways to tackle the many challenges associated with illegal drugs, we will and must remember this hard reality: Drug traffickers often use brutal violence in our communities to enforce their market share and to ensure their collection efforts.”

So the escape of Guzman is not just a problem for Mexico, or even for San Diego. The tentacles of the Sinaloa Cartel also reach deep into Louisiana as well!

So if you use meth, unless you “cook” your own, the next time you fill your pipe or syringe remember that the money you paid for your pleasure will ultimately end up in the hands of someone like ‘El Chapo’ Guzman.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. Don’t try it – not even once!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of meth. At the same time, however, I also want to let people who find themselves addicted to methamphetamine know that there is always hope, and I want to help you! You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com. I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

July 10, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In this week’s Meth in the News I am going to report on what, surprisingly to me anyway, appears to be a rather common crime.  It’s probably a crime as old as time itself, but the involvement of methamphetamine in the commission of this crime is relatively new.  What is this crime?  It is when older men use meth as a means by which to have sexual relations with young, teenage girls.

The first incident was first reported a couple of weeks ago on June 22, 2015, in Texarkana, Ark.  In this case, a known sex offender, 33-year-old Lonnie Lunsford Jr., was charged with intravenously injecting a 16-year-old girl repeatedly with methamphetamine in his Texarkana home. The young victim told Miller County authorities that she had received these injections from some time back in 2014 until February of this year. It is not yet clear how this crime could have occurred over such a long period.  Mr. Lunsford was being held at the Miller County jail, charged with 40 counts of introduction of a controlled substance into the body of another.  I believe that more charges may be pending.

And as I was preparing this column this morning, another similar case came across my desk.  In this case, James Nuanes, of Edgewood, NM, invited two 14-year-old girls to his home on June 18, 2015, where he indicated that there was a party with alcohol.  Once there, the two girls were “provided” with methamphetamine and alcohol. Later in the evening, Mr. Nuanes approached one of the girls and “grabbed her by the arm and took her into his room,” according to a search warrant affidavit filed last Friday in the First Judicial District Court. The affidavit further alleges that the 31-year-old man engaged in sexual intercourse with the underage girl on two separate occasions.  During their search of the home, Edgewood Police seized several pieces of electronic equipment that they suspect contain video or photographic evidence of sexual activities with minors as well as two bags of suspected methamphetamine.  Mr. Nuanes was being held on a $50,000 cash bond.

As I said above, this is nothing new. On June 14, 2015, William G. Cortez, 50, of Los Angeles was sentenced to 158 years in prison for the rape of a 14-year-old girl.  According to Deputy District Attorney Michael DeRose, Mr. Cortez met the victim and another 14-year-old girl on Oct. 28, 2013, and subsequently enticed them to go with him to a house to smoke meth. One of the girls went home soon thereafter, but the other girl was too intoxicated to leave.  Mr. Cortez injected her with methamphetamine and then raped her, the prosecutor said. Authorities were notified where to find the girl when her mother found out from the 14-year-old girl who left.  Mr. Cortez was convicted last April of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and an adult using a minor.

Unfortunately, the men don’t always commit these crimes by themselves.  On April 22, 2015, a registered sex offender, Keith Eugene Crouch, 42, and his girlfriend, Esther Rose Campbell, 36, were arrested at their camp east of the E Street Bridge in Yuba County, CA.  Mr. Crouch was charged with enticing a minor for prostitution, false imprisonment, rape by force, annoying or molesting a child, assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment, attempted lewd acts with a minor, and furnishing a controlled substance (methamphetamine) to a minor.  Ms. Campbell was booked into the Yuba County Jail on suspicion of forcible acts of sexual penetration and forced oral copulation of a minor.  The victim was a 16-year-old girl from Idaho.

Apparently the young victim arrived in the Marysville area after she fled from a life skills living facility in Denver, CO. She lived with other family members in the area until one evening when she recognized Mr. Crouch and Ms. Campbell at a Marysville McDonald’s restaurant. The girl knew Ms. Campbell as a former friend of her dead father and had actually lived with her before.  According to Marysville police, the girl went with the couple to their camp in the Marysville river bottoms, where they “provided her” with an injection of methamphetamine. Several hours later, Mr. Crouch injected the girl with an opioid pain medication, and when she became sedated, the couple raped her.

Marysville police told reporters that Mr. Crouch allegedly solicited other men for money and drugs in exchange for sex with the underage girl over a period of 4 weeks between January and February, 2015. He provided her with methamphetamine and heroin and threatened her with violence on at least two occasions when she tried to escape from his camp and his car.

On Tuesday, April 22, Marysville police officers were called to the river bottoms to investigate a report of gunshots being heard in the area. There they discovered Ms. Campbell and later found Mr. Crouch hiding in his tent. Both were arrested without incident, and as of the last report I can find on the case, both were being held at the Yuba County Jail.

Finally, I don’t want anyone to tell me that the girls in the above cases were at least partially at fault since they apparently went willingly to the places where they were raped.  These were all minor underage girls who were younger than the age of consent.  These 30- and 40-year old men (and women) need to pick on someone their own ages rather than preying on teenage girls, enticing and/or intoxicating them with methamphetamine and other drugs.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth.  Don’t try it – not even once!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of meth.  At the same time, however, I also want to let people who find themselves addicted to methamphetamine know that there is always hope, and I want to help you!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

July 3, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

I have been maintaining my website, Methamphetamine in the News, since March 31, 2011, and have made 11,294 posts (as of the writing of this article).  I have reported on all types of horrific meth-related crimes, including neglect resulting in the death of children, murders, sexual abuse, rapes – you name it.  But there was a certain specific post I made on February 24, 2012, with a short follow-up post made on April 10, 2012, that really sticks in my mind above all the rest.  In fact, I recently discovered that I had never reported on the resolution of this case.  So I investigated it further and reported the outcome last week on June 25, 2015.

What makes this case so egregious and so different from all the others is that neglect, even resulting in the death of someone’s children is usually a tragic accident.  Most parents would not do anything of that nature on purpose and certainly do not start using methamphetamine with the intention of harming their own children.  But I am going to tell you today about a case from Wagarville, Alabama, that was first reported on February 23, 2012.  This case involves crimes that were intentionally committed over a period of time.  I guarantee that this report will make you angry and break your heart at the same time.

Wagarville is an unincorporated community in Washington County with a population of 3,353 in 2010.  On May 24, 2013, James Ryan Booth, 34, and his common-law wife, Julie Ann Reed Guy, 21, both received life sentences for convictions on a combined 14 charges.  Both entered blind guilty pleas to all charges, meaning that no bargain was on the table in exchange for admitting guilt.  So what did this couple do?

It all started when a young girl who had been babysitting for Ms. Guy asked if she could use Bluetooth to move some songs from Ms. Guy’s cell phone to her own phone.  In the process the babysitter inadvertently transferred a video of child pornography.  To her horror, the children in the video were the couple’s own children – the very children that she was babysitting.  District Attorney Spencer Walker later told the court that “This young lady was brave for a girl that age. She really held it together in a difficult situation. She didn’t let on and she waited until she could tell her parents.”  The girl’s parents reported the horrific sex crimes to the Washington County Department of Human Resources, who subsequently alerted the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Search warrants were issued for the couple’s home, and digital evidence was collected from cell phones, computers and a thumb drive that detailed the acts of sexual abuse. That evidence was sent to the Alabama Computer Forensics Lab in Hoover for analysis.

So who were the innocent victims shown in the videos?  They included Ms. Guy’s 6-year-old son, a female cousin who was 4 years old during the assault, and the couple’s own 8-month-old daughter!  Yes, you read correctly – this was not a misprint.  Their own 8-month-old daughter!

“I have not experienced a case where the child has been so young in this area. I don’t recall there being a case with an infant,” DA Walker told reporters. “I would say it ranks up at the top as far as depravity is concerned.”  I completely agree!

“The thing to remember, this wasn’t just one child. There were three children that we know of, that we have video evidence of them being abused,” DA Walker added. “I think they (Ms. Guy and Mr. Booth) were predatory, and I hope they never have the opportunity to do it again.”

On top of it all, as the DA said, they actually videotaped each other sexually abusing their own children and 4-year-old relative.  According to Washington County Sheriff Richard Stringer, “It’s our opinion they were making the videos possibly for re-sale.”  He went on, “It really does indicate they were making them for a purpose.”  Some of the videos actually showed the mother of two of the children, Ms. Guy, engaged in the sexual acts that she was eventually charged with committing.

So why is this horrific crime being reported in Meth in the News? Chief Deputy Ferrell Grimes said that deputies also found components of a methamphetamine lab in the home during their search of the premises, as well as the drug itself.  But that is no excuse whatsoever for their crimes.

DA Walker agreed, “They both claimed they were under the influence of methamphetamine at the time, and that may have been the case. However, I have prosecuted by now hundreds of people who have been methamphetamine addicts. I’ve even been present when doors were kicked in, and in most of those cases those people still have the instinct to protect their own child. In this case, that didn’t seem to be present.”

Due to the severity of the crimes, Circuit Judge Robert Montgomery sentenced Mr. Booth to seven concurrent life sentences, five without the possibility of parole.  Mr. Booth’s convictions included, one count of production of child pornography, two counts of sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years old, one count of incest, two counts of first-degree rape, three counts of first-degree sodomy, one count of pornography involving a parent and minor, one count for possession of child pornography, and one count of unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance (methamphetamine).

Ms. Guy was sentenced to life in prison on two counts of production of obscene matter, two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree sodomy, and one count of permitting or allowing a child to participate in the production of obscene matter. Ms. Guy also received 20 years each on three counts of sexual abuse of a child under 12, five years for one count of incest, and five years for one count of possession of obscene matter. Current guidelines make Ms. Guy eligible for parole at some point due to her age.  I hope that parole is denied every time that she becomes eligible.

Ultimately, DA Walker was satisfied with the sentences.  “I was pleased with the result,” he said. “Mr. Booth received the maximum sentence of life without parole as far as the Class A felonies are concerned. He will never be able to abuse another child.”

Sheriff Stringer said that he was also satisfied with the outcome of what he called one of the worst cases of child sex abuse he has ever seen.  “I don’t know that we’ve seen anything as severe as this,” Sheriff Stringer said. “As far as a failure of morality, this is probably the worst case I have ever seen, people abusing their own children. Everyone involved in this case suffered.”

What a horrible, tragic series of events these are!  What role did methamphetamine actually play in these crimes?  Only Ms. Guy and Mr. Booth know the answer to that question.  But they are in prison for life!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of meth.  At the same time, however, I also want to let people who find themselves addicted to methamphetamine know that there is always hope, and I want to help you!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

June 26, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

People often ask me why I write this column and maintain my website, Methamphetamine In The News.  In fact, some people become quite indignant about some of the stories that I report. However, as I always say, if what I do here and on my website prevents just one person from ever trying meth in the first place, then it has all been worth it.  But in reality it goes much deeper.  I do this for the children.  No one, in particular no mother, ever starts using meth with the intentions of neglecting, hurting, or, God forbid, causing the death of her own children.  Unfortunately, and sadly however, it does happen.  So if just one mother decides not to use methamphetamine and her children remain safe, then yes indeed it has all been worth it.

However, just two short weeks ago in Meth in the News I told the readers about two-day-old Gracie Mae Fuller, a baby girl born in Greenville County, South Carolina, who died after only two days of life because she was drugged by her own mother with a toxic dose of methamphetamine.  The baby’s mother, Kelli Noelle Smith-Durham, was subsequently arrested and charged with murder by child abuse.

I actually thought that that case was unique and hoped that I would not see another similar case for a long time to come.  I was mistaken.

In Redding, California, Heather Brown, 21, delivered a baby girl in a room at the Hampton Suites on Oct. 30, 2014. She and her boyfriend, Daylon Reed, 21, who is also the baby’s father, later told the authorities that they did not go to a hospital to deliver her baby because she had been using heroin all throughout her pregnancy and she believed that her baby would be born dependent on the opiate drug. Ironically, they said that they feared that the baby would be taken away from them at the hospital if she had been born there dependent on heroin.  They went on to say that the little baby did indeed show signs of opiate withdrawal after she was born, just as they thought.

On November 3, 2014, medical personnel responded to the Hilltop Lodge hotel after someone called to report that a five-day-old infant there was not breathing.  The baby girl was taken by ambulance to Mercy Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.

Redding police subsequently contacted Ms. Brown and Mr. Reed at their room at the Hilltop Lodge and began the investigation into the baby’s death. As they searched the couple’s room, police investigators located heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana, as well as cash and associated drug paraphernalia.  According to the Redding police, the couple was known to them as heroin “addicts and sellers”.

As the investigation continued, police learned that Ms. Brown did not even accompany her baby girl to the hospital so that she “could take more heroin”.  Seriously?  Apparently Ms. Brown had continued to use heroin after her baby girl was born.  But it gets even worse!  The young mother also started using methamphetamine along with heroin while breastfeeding her baby.  Mr. Reed reportedly supplied these drugs to Ms. Brown even though he was aware that she was breastfeeding their baby.  According to the police, the parents ignored advice from both family and friends to take their baby to the hospital for treatment.

Finally after several months of investigation, Redding police located Ms. Brown and Mr. Reed at a residence in Mountain Gate on May 6, 2015. The couple was initially arrested on drug charges.  The following Thursday, the police obtained arrest warrants charging the two parents with the murder of their own baby girl.

The autopsy of the infant revealed that the cause of death was “polypharmacy-heroin and methamphetamine dependence/addiction.” Polypharmacy-heroin refers to a combination of prescription pain relievers (likely other opiates) and heroin.  Other significant conditions of note from the autopsy were “postpartum drug withdrawal symptoms, neonatal jaundice, dehydration and florid diaper rash (due to neglect).” The doctor who performed the autopsy also wrote that the level of methamphetamine in the five-day-old baby would have been toxic, even in an adult.

Last Thursday, Ms. Brown and Mr. Reed appeared in a Shasta County courtroom to hear that the murder charges they are facing for killing their five-day-old baby girl back in November will stand.  The couple will appear in a Shasta County Courtroom again on July 2 for an arraignment on information hearing.  During this appearance, a trial date is expected to be set.

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of meth.  At the same time, however, I also want to let people who find themselves addicted to methamphetamine know that there is always hope, and I want to help you!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

June 19, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

A 14-hour search by Pasco County Sheriff’s deputies in Crystal Springs, Florida, last week, finally ended a crime spree by Kenneth Brown, 30, of Spring Hill.  Mr. Brown is well known in Pasco County; he is a known methamphetamine user with 22 prior arrests and numerous probation violations to his credit.

Mr. Brown’s crime spree actually began last Wednesday when he broke into a house in Zephyrhills, FL, and stole three handguns and a bag of coins, according to Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco. Then over the course of the next two days, Mr. Brown led authorities from multiple agencies on a manhunt through southeast Pasco County.

So how did he elude the authorities for so long?  Apparently Mr. Brown stole a car at gunpoint in Zephyrhills around 1:30 p.m. last Thursday. Shortly after driving off, deputies spotted Mr. Brown driving the stolen vehicle, which he subsequently abandoned.  As he ran away, he allegedly fired a shot at a deputy who was pursuing him. Sgt. Dean Quinlan told reporters that they don’t know how Mr. Brown got from Zephryhills to Crystal Springs, but once there he forced a female acquaintance at gunpoint to drive him to another location in the area.

Luckily, an anonymous tip eventually lead detectives to a remote area of Crystal Springs where Sgt. Chad Tadlock said that “people are known to hide out.” A seven-man search team tracked Mr. Brown along the railroad tracks near the east end of Pattie Road using night-vision goggles and long-range rifles until a K-9 police dog named “Ace” surprised him and bit him on the leg. It could have been worse, as you’ll see below. At that point, officers were able to take Mr. Brown into custody without incident. He was reportedly still armed at the time of his arrest around 1:15 a.m. Friday morning.

“This guy was a time bomb about to explode and in our minds about to take somebody’s life,” said Sheriff Nocco.  “If that K-9 hadn’t taken him down, there could have been gunfire.”

Oh I forgot to tell you – Mr. Brown was completely naked when he was apprehended. Sheriff Nocco released body camera video to the press showing the lethargic and still naked Brown being led away in handcuffs. Sgt. Tadlock told reporters that Mr. Brown had minor injuries to his feet, apparently from running, and was likely still under the influence of methamphetamine. Like I said – it could have been much worse!

Mr. Brown was examined at an area hospital before being transported to the Land O’ Lakes Jail for booking. He is charged with armed burglary, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of armed carjacking, but he could be facing other charges.  Could public nudity be one of them?

The next story, however, is much more tragic.  I have often opined about the dangers of people driving under the influence of methamphetamine.  These dangers became all too real last May for two families in California.

On May 2, around 10:20 p.m. in the evening, Sofia Ramirez, 39, and her two daughters, Alyssa Santiago, 17, and Brenda Santiago, 15, as well as Santiago’s husband, Joaquin Sanchez, were traveling northbound on I-505 in Yolo County, north of Highway 16, in the fast lane of traffic on their way home to Dunnigan.  California Highway Patrol Officer Joel Merrill was also traveling northbound in the slow lane of traffic on I-505, only a few minutes ahead of the vehicle containing the Ramirez and Sanchez families, when he observed 36-year-old Francisco Garcia, of Antioch, traveling southbound in the northbound fast lane of traffic.

After seeing Mr. Garcia traveling the wrong way, Officer Merrill immediately turned his vehicle around and frantically tried to stop Mr. Garcia before anyone was injured.  Unfortunately, Mr. Garcia slammed head-on into the vehicle driven by Ms. Ramirez.  Officer Merrill actually witnessed the crash and tried to aid the injured, but he soon discovered that Ms. Ramirez and her daughters, along with Mr. Garcia, had all died instantly. Mr. Sanchez was the only survivor of the crash, suffering a broken left arm.

“The resulting collision claimed the lives of three innocent victims, a mother and her two daughters, and left the lone survivor to deal with the aftermath of losing his family,” stated Woodland CHP Public Information Officer Pedro Leon last week in a prepared statement.

He also presented the toxicology results for Mr. Garcia that had just been released by the Yolo County Coroner’s Office.  Mr. Garcia was high on methamphetamine and alcohol at the time of the accident.  In fact, Francisco Garcia had a blood-alcohol concentration of .26 percent, more than three times the legal limit of .08 percent.

The alcohol he had consumed was likely enough to account for Mr. Garcia driving the wrong way on I-505.  However, I have had meth users tell me that they can drink “excessive amounts” of alcohol without feeling “drunk.”  Whether or not this played a role in this tragic crash can never be known, but concurrent use of meth with alcohol certainly did not help the situation.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth.  Don’t try it – not even once!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of meth.  At the same time, however, I also want to let people who find themselves addicted to methamphetamine know that there is always hope, and I want to help you!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

June 15, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Last Wednesday, an 18-wheel truck driver was arrested for speeding, on multiple levels, in Richmond, Kentucky.  A Kentucky State Police officer pulled over a semi truck that he clocked traveling at an excessive rate of speed on I-75. The 18-wheeler was also pulled over for the improper use of the left lane. When the officer approached the driver, he noticed his nervous behavior and bloodshot eyes.  This led to a field sobriety test, which he failed.  The officer therefore arrested the driver, Bart A. Bandstra from Chattanooga Tennessee, on charges of driving under the influence, as well as speeding and improper use of the left lane.  A thorough search of the truck resulted in the discovery of two or more grams of methamphetamine, “materials used for the sale” of methamphetamine, and evidence that the driver had also taken methamphetamine.  According to a State Police spokesperson, Mr. Bandstra was taken to Richmond’s Baptist Health for a blood test, and was then booked into the Madison County Detention Center on the charges described above.

Cases like this really scare me!  Imagine how many other 18-wheel truck drivers, as well as drivers of other vehicles, are out on the roads posing a significant danger to our families, our loved ones and ourselves!

The next case is truly enough to break your heart!

On November 17, 2014, Gracie Mae Fuller was born to Kelli Noelle Smith-Durham, 27, and her boyfriend, Shane Ray Fuller, 42, in Greenville County, South Carolina.  Two days later, Sheriff’s deputies were called to an address on Harrison Bridge Road in the Simpsonville area after the two-day-old baby girl suddenly passed away.  Deputies reported that the couple, their infant daughter and three other young children were all living in the house together, which deputies said was in deplorable condition, had no electricity, and was being heated by propane canister heaters.

Greenville County coroner Parks Evans determined that the cause of death of the baby girl was due to drug intoxication after discovering high levels of methamphetamine in the newborn’s system, according to the deputies. The manner of death was therefore ruled as a homicide. The couple was arrested in February and arraigned last week at the Greenville County Courthouse.  Ms. Smith-Durham was charged with murder by child abuse and four counts of unlawful neglect of child.  Mr. Fuller was charged with child neglect.  Officials told reporters that Ms. Smith-Durham drugged her own baby daughter with methamphetamine, thereby killing the infant. Ms. Smith-Durham also tested positive for the drug, deputies said.

The other children living in the home at the time of little Gracie’s murder, ages 2, 3, and 7, were placed in an alternate caregiver’s custody by the Kentucky Department of Social Services.

It is beyond my ability to comprehend how a mother could kill her own newborn daughter with meth.  I will never be able to understand this!

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth.  Don’t try it – not even once!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of meth.  At the same time, however, I also want to let people who find themselves addicted to methamphetamine know that there is always hope, and I want to help you!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

May 29, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Last Friday, an off-duty patrol officer in Montgomery County, Virginia, was returning from a training session at around 9:45 in the morning.  Imagine his surprise when came upon a small child standing by himself in the middle of Den Hill Road. The Deputy estimated that the child was only about 2 years of age. The deputy stopped his vehicle, immediately removed the child from the roadway, and requested assistance from on-duty personnel.  Upon investigating why the child was left alone in the middle of the road, deputies were able to locate the child’s mother, 21-year-old Kristen Winters.  They charged her with felony child endangerment (obviously) and, yes, you guessed it, conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine.  Apparently she was so distracted by the production or the effects of her meth that she did not notice that her toddler had wandered away from home and into the road.  And as I have often seen, an older man, 44-year-old David Wayne Custer was found with Ms. Winters and also arrested. Mr. Custer was charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of Schedule II prescription narcotics, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of a firearm while possessing a Schedule II narcotic. Both Ms. Winters and Mr. Custer were held in jail without bond.

The next story may shock some of you, but I have to admit that this is a story that I hear far too often.  I’m not sure how often this happens with boys, but I have heard time and time again about girls who were as young as 13 years of age when they were first injected with methamphetamine by a member of their own families.  And while you may first assume that this must have been done by a perverted uncle or other male relative, in most cases, women tell me that they were first injected with meth by their own mothers or other female relatives.  Such was the case in St. Croix County, Wisconsin.

Last January, Lisa Burns reported to St. Croix Sheriff’s deputies that her Roberts home had been burglarized.  A safe that contained jewelry, knives, and about $2,900 in cash was missing from her home.  Her pain medication was also missing. Upon investigation, the authorities discovered that Ms. Burns’ daughter, Bridget Nicole Eisele, 33, had been staying at her mother’s home at the time of the burglary, and she was soon developed as a suspect. Ms. Eisele was eventually found in a hotel in River Falls, Wisconsin, on January 20, where she was subsequently arrested after it was discovered that she was in possession of some of the jewelry that had been reported missing from her mother’s safe. When the authorities returned to Ms. Burns’ home in Roberts, they spoke with her 12-year-old daughter, who was, of course, also Ms. Eisele’s sister. When the police talked with the child, she readily admitted that her sister often prepared and used “oxy” or “meth” in front of her and even demonstrated to her how to inject drugs. According to a criminal complaint filed by St. Croix County District Attorney Matthew Hartung, Ms. Eisele helped the little 12-year-old girl actually “shoot up drugs” on at least one occasion.  That is so unfair!  How can a 12-year-old child make a rational decision on whether or not to inject a chemical into her veins?

Last week Ms. Eisele appeared before St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Edward Vlack for a sentencing hearing. DA Hartung told the court that “Facts alleged in the complaint are disturbing, shameful and, frankly, just plain sad.”  I have to agree!  During the hearing, her own mother, Lisa Burns, described the feelings of victimization that she felt and noted that she had changed the locks at her house in response to the burglary committed by her daughter. Ms. Burns also said that she feared that her daughter hadn’t hit “rock bottom” yet, and she asked the judge to issue jail time in the case.  She said that her daughter had not even offered a face-to-face apology.  “I just wish Bridget would get the help that she needs,” she told the court.

At the hearing, Ms. Eisele was allowed to plead guilty to one count of felony meth possession and one count of burglary.  Judge Vlack sentenced her to three years probation, a year in jail and restitution costs. A five-year prison term was stayed. In addition, the judge told Ms. Eisele that he would wait until May 29 to tell her how much time he would also stay from the one-year jail sentence he imposed. Obviously, numerous other charges were dismissed under the plea deal, including delivery of meth, child abuse and intentionally contributing to the delinquency of a child. Additional charges in a Pierce County case alleging meth possession and possession of drug paraphernalia were also dismissed.

I realize that plea deals are quite common, and that drug court is useful in such cases.  But I feel like the lasting effects of exposing a 12-year-old girl to injection drug use are just being ignored.  Will this little girl now grow up to be an injection meth user like her sister?  Who will help her?  Who even cares?  This whole story just makes me feel so sad!

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth.  Don’t try it – not even once!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of meth.  At the same time, however, I also want to let people who find themselves addicted to methamphetamine know that there is always hope, and I want to help you!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

May 22, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Johnston County Sheriff’s deputies received information recently that methamphetamine was being “cooked” at a residence in the 100 block of Big Branch Court located in Zebulon, North Carolina. Then last Friday, deputies obtained a search warrant. The deputies reported that once inside the residence, “equipment used to make methamphetamine was found when officers served a search warrant on the home.”  There they arrested the residents of the home, Lori Riley Whitley, 38, and her husband, Gary Nelson Whitley, 41.

So what’s the big deal, you may ask. People are arrested almost every day somewhere in the United States for making methamphetamine. Well, it just so happens that Ms. Whitley is also a third grade elementary school teacher in nearby Wake County.  Wake County school officials told reporters that Ms. Whitley had been a third-grade teacher at Wendell Elementary School since 2002.  However, she was suspended with pay starting Friday.  It is truly frightening though when you learn that someone trusted with the education, and care, of young elementary school age children is manufacturing and likely using, methamphetamine in her home.

What else makes this a big deal?  Officers said that the couple’s own eight-year-old son was also present in the home where the meth lab was found. Therefore, their young son was also exposed to the fumes and other hazards associated with the manufacture of methamphetamine in the home.  Investigators said that Ms. Whitley and her husband are facing a number of charges including, manufacturing methamphetamine, and maintaining a dwelling for distribution of a controlled substance and child abuse.

Next we go to Kanawha County in West Virginia.  Last Wednesday, Kanawha County Sheriff’s deputies received a call about a van that was apparently parked in the middle of the road on Rossville Lane in Elkview. When deputies approached the vehicle, they discovered Gregory Ross sleeping in the driver’s seat and Ayla Ross asleep in the passenger’s seat.  Seriously??  But that’s not all.  Deputies “tweeted” that the van was actually in drive, NOT in park.  When the deputies finally got the couple to wake up, Mr. Ross told them that he had stopped on the side of the road to go to the bathroom and when he got back into the van he had fallen asleep.  Ms. Ross indicated that she was unaware that the two were asleep.  But they were not on the side of the road; they were found parked in the middle of Rossville Lane.

Due to the circumstances, deputies asked to search the vehicle.  And you guessed it.  A K-9 search was conducted, and investigators indicated that they found what appeared to be crystal methamphetamine in the vehicle. A field test for the drug was positive. Several articles of drug paraphernalia also were found in the van.

But it gets worse.  In addition to the methamphetamine and associated paraphernalia, deputies also discovered that two small children, ages 2 and 3, were in the back of the van!  So you have the apparent mother and father, possibly at the termination of a protected meth binge, passed out in the passenger and drivers’ seats of a van, still in drive in the middle of the road in Elkview, West Virginia, with their two young children in the back.  One can only imagine what could have happened if a concerned citizen had not alerted the authorities.

Ayla and Greg Ross were each charged with child neglect creating risk of injury, a felony, according to a criminal complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court. Gregory Ross was also charged with possession of a controlled substance.  Both were transported to the South Central Regional Jail, where they were being held on $10,000 bond each.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth.  Don’t try it – not even once!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of meth.  At the same time, however, I also want to let people who find themselves addicted to methamphetamine know that there is always hope, and I want to help you!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

May 15, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Last Wednesday, Oswego County Drug Task Force investigators executed a search warrant on a home in Albion, New York.  The authorities had been alerted to the possible presence of materials and equipment that were being used to manufacture methamphetamine, so they were accompanied by New York State Police Contaminated Crime Scene Crews and firefighters.  Imagine their horror when they discovered that nine children under the age of seventeen were also living at this residence.  As expected, the Crime Scene Crews found evidence that methamphetamine was indeed being “cooked” at this house on Chinook Lane.  Rebecca L. Lance, 32, of that address, and Bradley S. Bristol, 25, of South Albion Road were arrested and charged with felony third-degree unlawful production of methamphetamine and misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child.  They were subsequently arraigned in Richland town court and are currently being held at the Oswego County Correctional Facility on $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond. The two are scheduled to appear in Albion town court on June 1.

Then in Portland, Oregon last Friday, police received a call from a concerned citizen around 3 a.m. claiming that he could hear what sounded like a small child crying in his neighbor’s backyard and that this had been going on for over an hour.  When police arrived, they found a two-year-old toddler alone in a tent in the back yard of the home, shivering and cold to the touch, and sitting in a soiled diaper. The child was wearing only thin pajamas and wasn’t covered by any blankets even though the outdoor temperature at the time was about 45 degrees. When the paramedics arrived, they said that the child’s body temperature and blood sugar were below normal, so they took her to Randall Children’s Hospital for treatment.  Police eventually found the child’s mother, Taylor Marcus, comfortably sleeping (or passed out) in a car parked out on the street in front of the house. She had apparently been smoking methamphetamine while her child was left alone in tent in the backyard since she had a meth pipe in her possession. She told the police that she had last seen her daughter at 10 p.m. the night before, meaning that the child had been cold and alone in the tent for over 5 hours. Then when Ms. Marcus was being booked into jail, the police reportedly found a bag of methamphetamine in her mouth.  Ms. Marcus faces charges of reckless endangering, criminal mistreatment in the first degree, child neglect in the second degree, and possession of methamphetamine.

Finally in West St. Paul, Minnesota, two children, 11 and 13 years of age, had had enough and took matters into their own hands. One of the children spoke to the police last Tuesday to tell them that their mother, 36-year-old Brandi Rose Emmel of West St. Paul, was using drugs with her live-in boyfriend.  The child told police that they were often sent to their room and told to shut the door.  Once inside they were able to hear someone using a “blow torch” that they had seen many times in the apartment where they lived.  You’ll find this hard to believe, but this was not the first time that the children had contacted the authorities.  Back in November of 2014, one of the children told the police that his mother’s boyfriend would make him urinate into a cup about once a month under the pretenses of making sure that “he was not sick”.  Obviously the boyfriend was using urine from the young boy in an attempt to “cheat” on his own required monthly drug tests. Then in January of this year, the child reported once again that he was being forced to urinate in a cup.  He also told police that he believed that there were drugs in the house. Finally in April, the young boy called the police to report that he felt unsafe at home because he could hear the blow torches being used and could smell something that smelled like burning metal and rubber.  Thankfully last week the police executed a search warrant at the apartment where they found drugs and associated drug paraphernalia in a bedroom that was easily accessible to the two children. According to the complaint, the items included scales, pipes, tubing, propane torches, a bag of suspected methamphetamine and a bag of suspected heroin. Ms. Emmel was charged with a fifth-degree controlled substance crime and child endangerment. If convicted, she faces up to five years in prison and $10,000 in fines on the controlled substance charge and up to one year in prison and $3,000 in fines on the child endangerment charge.

It’s really unclear to me why it took six months to obtain and execute a search warrant in this case!

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth.  Don’t try it – not even once!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of meth.  At the same time, however, I also want to let people who find themselves addicted to methamphetamine know that there is always hope, and I want to help you!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

May 8, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Last Saturday, Greene County emergency personnel were dispatched to a house fire in Paragould, a city located in northeastern Arkansas.  The woman living in the home, identified as Alice Mildred Barron, 52, met Greene County Sheriff’s deputies when they arrived on the scene and begged them to “save her babies.”  In his incident report, Deputy Mike Wess wrote, “After getting the female to calm down and tell us where her babies were, she stated that she had three cats in the house inside her bedroom and they were her babies.”  When the fire was extinguished, Deputy Wess and his partner entered the house. Deputy Wess continued, “While inside the bedroom we noticed some drug paraphernalia at the right side of the bed and several items scattered across the bed.” Methamphetamine was also discovered in Ms. Barron’s bedroom, among other things, and she was subsequently booked into the local jail on possession charges.  Apparently she told Deputy Wess that she had been clean from meth for more than 10 years, but had no explanation as to why she started using again.  You’ll be happy to know that Ms. Barron’s cats survived the fire.

Then last Sunday, the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office in California began receiving calls about a woman exhibiting “disruptive behavior,” according to Sheriff’s spokesperson Kelly Hoover. The authorities were also informed that the woman was under the influence of methamphetamine. Apparently Madeline Shaw, 19, of Santa Maria, first began behaving erratically while visiting with her family at a restaurant in Goleta. She left the restaurant and was discovered a short time later on the roof of a house down the street.  The man living in the house heard her and came out to see what was making the racket.  He saw Ms. Shaw holding a pitchfork that she had taken from his yard, waving it in a threatening manner, so he ran back inside and locked his doors.  Ms. Shaw then entered another home and took a cell phone from a woman living there. When the woman tried to take back her phone, Ms. Shaw ran away.  When she saw an elderly woman getting into her car at another residence, Ms. Shaw began to verbally threaten her. Suddenly she stabbed the elderly resident in the stomach and arm with the pitchfork she had taken from the man’s yard minutes earlier. Ms. Shaw then stole a bicycle from the elderly woman’s house and rode it to a nearby 7-11 store. Santa Barbara Sheriff’s deputies finally apprehended Ms. Shaw at the 7-11 and charged her with resisting arrest, burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, and entering a non-commercial dwelling without permission. She was subsequently booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail without bail. Luckily the elderly woman only suffered superficial wounds and did not need to be transported to the hospital.

Finally, on Monday a woman called Hawkins County 911 around 6:15 a.m. to report a double stabbing complaint.  Although the woman said that there were two victims, Hawkins County Central dispatch reported that she was “difficult to understand and could not give them an exact location.” Church Hill Police Department Officer Ethan Mays was able to locate the woman when the dispatcher “pinged” her cell phone.  In his report, Officer Mays wrote, “Upon my arrival a male exited 505 Short Street and advised me that the female was behind his residence.” Officer Mays went on, “I made my way to the back of the house and initially did not see anyone, but a female identified as Heather Nicole Richmond stood up from a prone position in the tall grass of a field. Mrs. Richmond was detained and asked where the stabbing victims were located.” The 34-year-old woman told the officer that the victims could be found in a nearby barn, but a thorough search of the area revealed no one.  Ms. Richmond continued to behave as if she was under the influence, and Officer Mays discovered drugs and drug paraphernalia in her purse, which he found abandoned on the back porch of a nearby residence. She admitted to him that she had used meth a few days prior.  According to Officer Mays, “While en route to the jail, Mrs. Richmond spoke to herself, would not remain still, and stated that she had insects on her, all of which are commonly associated with meth use.” Ms. Richmond was booked into jail on charges of misuse of 911, filing a false report, public intoxication, simple possession of a legend drug and possession of drug paraphernalia.  More charges may be forthcoming.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth.  Don’t try it – not even once!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of meth.  At the same time, however, I also want to let people who find themselves addicted to methamphetamine know that there is always hope, and I want to help you!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

May 1, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Last week I received an e-mail chastising me at length for maintaining my website (and by inference this Meth in the News column) while also claiming that I want to help people who find themselves addicted to methamphetamine. My first inclination was to file the e-mail away as I have done to many other even more threatening e-mails.  But after careful thought I came to the realization that if one person felt this way, there may be others who feel the same way. And since “Anna” (or Mike?) said she/he would not read my response in an e-mail, I thought that it was appropriate to provide my answer in this space.  Maybe she/he will see it here.

I was “informed” that maintaining a website (i.e., Methamphetamine in the News) is akin to maintaining a website poking fun at people suffering from diabetes.  “Anna” went so far as to say that I might as well just be posting pictures of diabetic-induced amputations.  Presumably this is because I have posted mug shots taken from places such as Faces of Meth as published by The Oregonian and other sources.  However, I do not maintain my website or write this column to make fun of or belittle anyone. I maintain my website to educate the public about the dangers of methamphetamine.  I also hope that it will serve as a warning to others – if just one person decides not to try methamphetamine for the first time after viewing something I have written or posted, then it has all been worthwhile.

I do know what I am talking about.  I have been studying drug addiction for more than 30 years, and I lived in a home filled with alcohol addiction for my first 18 years. I published my first research paper on cocaine in the premier scientific journal, Science, in 1983 – on research conducted before the advent of crack cocaine, while Richard Pryor was still freebasing.  In addition to my work in the research laboratory I have talked (and listened!) to people who use methamphetamine.  I have talked to people in recovery.  I have talked to people in prison.  I have talked to law enforcement professionals. I have been trained in the identification and manufacture of methamphetamine and in the safe decontamination of meth labs. And, finally, I don’t make up the stories that I post on my website or write about in this column.  They originate from online news reports from across the United States and throughout the world.

I am not going to spend a lot of space here on diabetes, but it was “Anna” who attempted to use the analogy.  Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease of the pancreas.  And while type 2 diabetes can be related to obesity and a lack of physical activity, genetic and other factors also play a significant role.  So for “Anna” to try to equate the choice of someone who ingests a chemical substance (e.g., methamphetamine) and subsequently acquires a life-changing substance abuse problem with someone who chooses to eat a “donut” and becomes diabetic is a non sequitur.  There is just no logical comparison.

As I said above, I maintain my website (and write this column) to educate the public and to also serve as a warning.  Of course, not everyone who tries methamphetamine neglects their children, but it does happen. People can remain intoxicated (“high”) on the drug for hours after a single use.  What other addictive drug produces such effects? People have been known to stay up for days “binging” on methamphetamine. Obviously this increases the chances that the user’s children could be neglected.  But ask anyone in law enforcement — or anyone with a history of methamphetamine use.  They will affirm that methamphetamine use is associated with crime, violent behaviors and sexual addictions.  Methamphetamine use has a multitude of unintended consequences.

No, not everyone who tries methamphetamine will become hopelessly addicted, but it does happen.  In the same vein, not everyone who smokes cigarettes gets lung cancer, but it does happen, and it is more likely to occur in cigarette smokers than in the non-smoking population. And some people who have never smoked cigarettes get lung cancer – does this mean that the government should stop requiring the tobacco companies to put warning labels on their cigarette packaging?  Of course not!  These warnings are placed on the cigarette packages in order to reduce tobacco use. My goal is to reduce the use of methamphetamine.

Thank you for letting me vent. Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth.  Don’t try it – not even once!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of methamphetamine.  At the same time, however, I also want to let people who are in the grips of addiction to meth know that there is hope, and I want to help!  I welcome your comments and concerns.  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

April 24, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders 

In last week’s Meth in the News report, I told you how the use of methamphetamine can often affect the ability of the user to make rational decisions or to use good judgment.  This week I will share a few more examples with you to further illustrate this effect.

The first case was published online on myfoxatlanta.com and described how a worker at the Burger King in Ellijay, Georgia, made sure that some customers were really able to “have it your way.”  An investigation by the Zell Miller Mountain Drug Task Force last March revealed that 20-year-old Courtney Margalo was using methamphetamine in the parking lot where she worked.  If that were not bad enough, Captain Frank Copeland with the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office told reporters with FOX 5 News that “At certain times I guess when she was at work, she would actually sell the meth through the drive through window.”  So in addition to a Whopper, fries and a Coke, some customers also received methamphetamine with their order. Other narcotics were also discovered in Ms. Margalo’s car when, according to Captain Copeland, “They had a K9 come out and do a sniff of her car that resulted in a search of the vehicle which produced a quantity of meth.”  Ms. Margalo was subsequently transported to the Gilmer County Detention Center and booked on charges of possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.  No kidding!  According to reports, the manager on duty at the Burger King at the time was also fired along with Ms. Margalo, probably since this individual should have realized what was going on at this place of business. Ms. Margalo’s mother, Cindy Slinkard, bailed her daughter out of jail but told reporters that she did not know how all this got started with her daughter. Unfortunately, Ms. Margalo likely faces significant jail time since she was already on probation for a previous arrest for methamphetamine and marijuana possession.

The second incident was reported online on camaspostrecord.com out of Camas-Washougal, Washington.  In this case, Camas Police Department detectives arrested patient Karin Renae Cole, 47, of Washougal, WA, for, believe it or not, selling methamphetamine out of her hospital room at the at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, WA.  Seriously!  I cannot imagine how that might even happen.  Did she call her “clients” to let them know that they should come by and see her in the hospital for their drugs instead of picking them up at her home in Washougal?  What did they tell the hospital staff?  Did they only pick up their meth during visiting hours?  Who knows?  Police told reporters that the hospital staff, while cooperative with the investigation, said that they were unaware that the illegal activity was taking place.  I find that hard to believe.  According to reports, Camas police recovered approximately 6.5 grams of methamphetamine, a digital scale, drug packaging materials, and other drug-related paraphernalia during their search of Ms. Cole’s room.  But none of this raised any suspicions?  Apparently Ms. Cole was not arrested at the time of the search due to medical concerns, although it was reported that she was no longer a patient at that hospital. The Clark County prosecuting attorney’s office has charged Ms. Cole with possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver.  And similar to the case described above, Ms. Cole had been arrested in January of this year on suspicion of dealing methamphetamine out of her home in Washougal, and was awaiting trial on charges of possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver.  I just cannot understand how she thought that she could get away with this crime.  Like I said at the beginning, the use of methamphetamine can definitely affect the ability to use good judgment!

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth.  Don’t try it – not even once!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of methamphetamine.  At the same time, however, I also want to let people who are in the grips of addiction to meth know that there is hope, and I want to help!  I welcome your comments and concerns.  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

April 17, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

The material for this week’s Meth in the News report was published online last week in the NY Daily News and describes a sad story of a 27-year-old mother and her two small children in Irwindale, California, near Los Angeles.  Last Wednesday, Irwindale police discovered a car that had been reported stolen back in February parked in closed Los Angeles County park at 2:30 AM in the morning.  Imagine their surprise when the police found Melba Lois Appleton sitting in the back seat of the stolen car.  But what really shocked the officers was the fact that Ms. Appleton was not alone in the car.  Sitting beside her were her two little daughters, who were only 4 and 6 years of age.  But even more tragic was that the police also found a methamphetamine pipe on the back seat next to the two little girls.

When the authorities checked on the car, they learned that Ms. Appleton had been named as a possible suspect in the theft.  They also quickly determined that the two children were obviously being neglected by their mother and therefore placed them in the care of the Los Angeles County Department of Family and Children Services.  Ms. Appleton was subsequently arrested for suspicion of vehicle theft, child endangerment and possession of drug paraphernalia.  Interestingly, the NY Daily News reported that Ms. Appleton had posted on Facebook back on March 22 that she was heading to New York City.  Apparently several of her friends were surprised by this announcement and expressed concern for her children. It looks like she never made it there. She told the police that she, and her children, were homeless.

I am reporting this particular story in this week’s Meth in the News column, not to belittle or make fun of Ms. Appleton, but to illustrate an important aspect of methamphetamine use, and why I have become so interested in helping people, especially women, who have found themselves entangled in the grips of this insidious drug.  I feel confident when I tell the reader that no parent, and especially no mother ever makes the conscious decision to smoke meth in a parked stolen car at 2:30 in the morning in a closed public park with her two babies in the backseat with her.  However, I hear and read such stories over and over again.  Often times I have heard such stories from women who were in situations similar to what was described above for Ms. Appleton’s little daughters.  Many have told me that when they were girls, not much older than these little girls, they were introduced to methamphetamine by their own mothers or other family members.

We all know that no mother in her right mind would ever provide methamphetamine to her children, especially when she obviously knows all about the myriad of effects that this drug can produce.  But while meth can induce profound feelings of euphoria, energy and self confidence, it can also interfere with the ability of the user to make rational decisions or to use good judgment.  Furthermore, the euphoria is so powerful that the user continues to take the drug despite the effects on her own physical and psychological well being or that of her children, the threat of going to prison, or even worse!

If my efforts prevent just one person from ever trying meth, then it has all been worth it!

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth.  Don’t try it – not even once!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of methamphetamine.  At the same time, however, I also want to let people who are in the grips of addiction to meth know that there is hope, and I want to help!  I welcome your comments and concerns.  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

April 10, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In my column for Meth in the News last week, I discussed how the Mexican Drug Cartels have stepped in to fill the void as the number of clandestine “meth labs” reported by Law Enforcement has apparently declined even though the demand for methamphet­amine rages unabated.  Nevertheless, I continue to see reports from across the United States regarding the discovery of “one-pot” meth labs. So I decided that this was a good time to resurrect a former column that highlighted some of the dangers associated with these homemade “meth labs.” Furthermore, last year I received 40 hours of lecture and hands-on training, provided by MERIT Training Programs, LLC, regarding the various methods of manufacturing meth, including the “one-pot” procedure, as well as the procedures for the decontamination of these labs.  I was fortunate enough to receive this training with Law Enforcement and Emergency Service Personnel from Caddo Parish and throughout Louisiana.  Therefore, I feel well qualified to provide this information to the reader.

It’s springtime in the Ark-La-Tex and the weather is getting warmer. That means that it is time to spend more time outside, camping and hiking, fishing and hunting, and just enjoying the out­doors in the Sportsman’s Paradise. This provides me with the opportunity to once again warn the readers of Meth in the News about the dangers associated with the “one-pot” or “shake-and-bake” procedure for “cooking” methamphetamine. Law Enforcement officials claim that this method is even more dangerous than the “old” makeshift meth labs that required hundreds of pseudoephedrine pills, containers heated over open flames and cans of flammable liquids. The “old” cooking process itself creates foul odors, making the labs difficult to conceal. And of course, these makeshift labs can also spark explosions. Generally, the “one-pot” process uses a two-liter soda bottle. Only a few cold pills are mixed with common, but noxious, household chemicals to produce enough meth for the user to get a few hits. Since only a few pseudoephedrine pills are required, the “one-pot” method may circumvent laws passed in an attempt to restrict the sale of large quantities of over-the-counter decongestants and cold and allergy remedies. In addition, the “one-pot” method requires little room. All of the necessary items can be carried in a backpack, making the process mobile. This has simplified the process so that it seems like everybody is making their own meth. It can be your next-door neighbor or even one of your family members.

The “one-pot” method combines the first three steps of a conventional meth lab, so that the “cook” is making anhydrous ammonia at the same time that pseudoephedrine (obtained from the cold tablets) is converted to methamphetamine base in the bottle. The bottle is shaken, which creates a chemical reaction through the production of gasses and pressure inside the bottle. The bottle must be “burped” from time to time to release the pressure or it will explode, spewing caustic chemicals in all directions, which can cause serious chemical burns. At the same time, the “cook” is producing a chemical ignition, also called “fire in the bottle,” every time that the one-pot method is used. If the bottle bursts or is opened at the wrong time, it essentially becomes a flamethrower. Remember that these labs are portable, putting the public at great risk as well. The bottle can explode while the “cook” is driving around in her car, putting other drivers in danger. Such an incident occurred in Bossier City a few years ago, but luckily no one was harmed. Meth “cooks” often discard the used plastic bottles, containing a poisonous brown and white sludge, along the highway to evade detection. Law Enforcement personnel across the country report finding discarded one-pot bottles in ditches, in people’s yards and in dumpsters. The mixture inside the discarded bottle can still burst into flames when exposed to oxygen, making it extremely dangerous for anyone who unscrews the lid of what may look like an ordinary soda bottle. Therefore, with more people spending time outdoors, please take heed.  If you find discarded bottles containing an unknown mixture, especially with a “chemical” odor, do not open them or even pick them up. Call the Sherriff’s Office and let the trained authorities investigate to see if there is any danger.

Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth.  Don’t try it – not even once!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of methamphetamine.  At the same time, however, I also want to let people who are in the grips of addiction to meth know that there is hope, and I want to help!  I welcome your comments and concerns.  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

April 3, 2015

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

 When I wrote my last columns for Meth in the News last year, my focus was primarily on the highly dangerous “one-pot” or “shake-and-bake” procedures that “meth cooks” use to produce the drug in their bedrooms, in motel rooms, in their cars and elsewhere using the pseudoephedrine obtained from cold and hay fever medications.  And while these clandestine “meth labs” continue to be a problem across the United States, governmental controls on the amount of these pseudoephedrine-containing medicines that people can purchase has reduced the number of these “labs” reported by law enforcement.  Yet the “methamphetamine epidemic” continues to boom unabated as more and more people fall under the spell of this insidious drug.  How can that be, you may ask.  Well the Mexican Drug Cartels have filled the void as the demand for methamphetamine rages.  This creates an entirely new set of concerns.

Although I have not yet seen a similar report from Louisiana, a recent Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) report states that Mexican Drug Cartels are among the “most significant” threats facing Texas today. Texas DPS reports that the spread of Mexican Drug Cartel activity across the state is “one of the top current security threats facing the citizens of Texas.” They attribute this rise to power on “a porous border, as well as the unending demand for drugs, commercial sex and forced labor.” They go on to state, “Mexican cartels constitute the greatest organized crime threat to Texas.  Mexican cartels control virtually all illegal smuggling activities through the U.S.-Mexico border and continue to supply most of the illicit drugs in the U.S. market.”

Texas DPS reports that the Mexican Drug Cartels “have sent assassins as far north as the Dallas-Fort Worth area to commit murders, and the drug trade is thriving. The cartels are also branching into sex trafficking, which can present a lower risk and yield a higher profit than the drug trade.”  Law enforcement officials have uncovered major trafficking rings operating in Texas, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee and several east coast cities, with the Gulf, Zeta, Juarez and Sinaloa cartels producing some of the largest footprints. Law enforcement is also concerned about the growing influence of MS-13, the Salvadoran gang that originated in Los Angeles.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials seized hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine in 2014.  This is in addition to the tons of marijuana that were also seized.  Some estimates suggest that more than $1.8 billion worth of Mexican Drug Cartel-related drugs were discovered at our border with Mexico last year.  Imagine the profits that are being made!  Accordingly, Texas DPS suggests that these cartels have been “effective in corrupting U.S. law enforcement officials at all levels.”  Thus, the amount of meth (as well as other drugs, sex slaves, etc) that actually “slips through” the border is virtually incalculable.

Finally, there appears to be a link between the Mexican Drug Cartels and known terrorist groups.  For instance, at the 114th Congress Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Lieutenant General Kenneth E. Tovo, deputy commander of the U.S. Southern Command, reported that “the group Hezbollah is actively working with the Mexican cartels.” And U.S. Marine General John Kelly, commander of the Southern Command, told an audience at the National Defense University in Washington last year that “we know that some of the money that comes out of the United States is laundered into the coffers of Hezbollah.”  And may I add, we were all appalled at the atrocities committed by ISIS that were recently posted to various Internet sites.  Unfortunately, similar horrific acts are occurring just south of our own southern border.  Simply perform an Internet search and you will find videos of beheadings and dismemberments of entire families, women and children included. I advise you not to watch, however.  Once you have seen what they are capable of doing, you will never be able to erase these barbaric images from your memory.

I realize that this column did not discuss many specifics about methamphetamine.  However, I hope that the readers will remember this column when I refer to the Mexican Drug Cartels in future columns.  And if, by chance, you purchase some “Mexican meth” for your own use, remember where it came from!

No one is immune from the effects of meth.  Don’t try it – not even once!

My goal is to spread the news about the dangers of methamphetamine.  At the same time, however, I also want to let people who are in the grips of addiction to meth know that there is hope, and I want to help!  I welcome your comments and concerns.  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Methamphetamine In The News: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

May 16, 2014

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Well, it appears that Forbes is at it again.  After posting articles online on November 4, 2013 and February 20, 2014, Forbes printed another online article on May 8, 2014 downplaying the dangers associated with methamphetamine and the extent of meth use; this time authored by Jacob Sullum and titled, “Three Bouts Of Meth Hysteria Illustrate The Politics Of Panics And The Need For Speed.” The article is in the format of a book review.  The book in question is Meth Mania, written by Nicholas Parsons, a sociologist at Eastern Connecticut State University.  The purported purpose for this book was to “explain why public alarm about methamphetamine bears little or no relationship to objective measures of use or abuse.”  Sullum reports that Parsons claims that other news organizations, such as Newsweek, resort to “yellow journalism” and “scaremongering” in an attempt to create policies that promote “draconian prison sentences and precursor restrictions that bolstered murderous drug cartels while treating cold and allergy sufferers like criminal suspects.”

Blah blah blah!

I don’t know what the true agenda for Forbes is.  It appears that Forbes is intent on downplaying the true dangers associated with methamphetamine.  I’m sorry, but this attitude makes me madder than hell.

Sullum, Parsons and the like refer to government data to prove their point.  Well, let’s take a look at how these data are collected.  SAMHSA, which stands for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.  You know them, the government entity responsible for implementing the Affordable Care Act.  That’s your first clue.

So, how does SAMHSA collect data on methamphetamine?  They conduct a survey!  This “survey collects data through face-to-face interviews with a representative sample of the population at the respondent’s place of residence.”  Seriously!  In addition, the SAMHSA website reads, “For the 50-State design, 8 States were designated as large sample States (California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas) with target sample sizes of 3,600.” “For the remaining 42 States and the District of Columbia, the target sample size was 900.”

Ok, are you beginning to see the flaws?  First of all, which states have self-reported the greatest number of meth labs seized and people arrested for meth use?  These states include Tennessee, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma and Indiana.  Yet these states are lumped together with the other 37 states (and DC) in the smaller sample.  Yet they claim that this is an adequate sample size with which to extrapolate the extent of meth use in the United States.

Secondly, SAMHSA has this disclaimer on their website, “Because of changes in the questionnaire, estimates for methamphetamine, stimulants, and psychotherapeutics in this report should not be compared with corresponding estimates presented in previous reports for data years prior to 2007.”  The sampling data must first be manipulated using census data and other “corrections” before comparisons can be made.  It’s interesting how these corrections have to be made on the methamphetamine data.  There is no such disclaimer for marijuana, heroin or prescription drugs.  Interesting!  Thus, these data become curiouser and curiouser.

So Sullum, Parsons and other naysayers refer to the SAMHSA data as gospel when it comes to methamphetamine use.  SAMHSA’s 2012 report states, “The number and percentage of persons aged 12 or older who were current users of methamphetamine in 2012 (440,000 or 0.2 percent) were similar to those in 2011 (439,000 or 0.2 percent) and in 2007 to 2010 (ranging from 314,000 to 530,000 and from 0.1 to 0.2 percent). However, the number and percentage in 2012 were lower than in 2006 (731,000 or 0.3 percent).”  Thus, they claim that the reports found throughout the media are simply cases of “hysteria” and “yellow journalism” since SAMHSA reported that meth use actually decreased in 2012 compared to 2006.  Someone just wants to unfairly punish meth users, according to Sullum and Parsons.  They are just plain wrong!  I wonder what their true agenda really is.

The data collected on methamphetamine by SAMHSA has several other flaws.  Let’s consider the data collection process.  The interviewer sends a letter of inquiry to an address selected at random, and this is followed by a face-to-face meeting between the interviewer and resident at the randomly-selected address.  So the interviewer sends a letter and arrives on the doorstep of a house where meth is used (and possibly even manufactured).  What are the chances that the meth user will even open the door?  I have talked to a lot of meth users, and every single one describes the intense paranoia that accompanies her meth use.  Meth produces its intense euphoria, at least in part, by increasing the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain.  And it turns out that paranoia and psychoses are also mediated by an excess of brain dopamine.  So a meth user, already paranoid that someone will find and steal/confiscate her meth will be extremely reluctant to discuss her meth use with a representative of the US government.  No wonder the SAMHSA numbers are so artificially low!

Another difference that separates meth from other drugs such as cocaine, heroin and marijuana is that each of the later drugs must first be grown.  That makes these drugs difficult to hide during the cultivation process, which is also dependent on geography as well as the season. With meth, all the user needs is a couple hundred dollars, a discount store and a couple of hours to make her own meth.  No need to grow anything.  And if the precursor pseudoephedrine is difficult to obtain, the Mexican Drug Cartels quickly fill the void.

Current and former users of the drug also claim that meth is “everywhere.”  Meth users stay in the shadows due to the paranoia associated with their meth use.  They only use with people that they know, and they keep the numbers of people that they use with relatively small.  Meth is not a party drug like ecstasy (MDMA) is.  When someone injects meth, she only has one thing on her mind – sex.  And after the initial wave of euphoria passes, she wants to engage in sex for hours and hours and hours.  Sex is personal, and people are often embarrassed/ashamed to openly discuss their sex lives with strangers (interviewers from the government!), and this reluctance plus the user’s paranoia makes it very unlikely that an interviewer will obtain an accurate representation of meth use.

Finally, is the world also involved in the meth hysteria?  There are reports from Australia, New Zealand, Germany, England, North Korea, Iran, Indonesia, Brazil, Jakarta, and China, to name a few.  In most of these countries, methamphetamine use is only second to marijuana, with meth surpassing the use of heroin in many countries where heroin has been the drug of choice for decades.  And this is also occurring in countries where the penalties for possession of meth include the death penalty, which is a little more ‘draconian” than the punishment in the United States.

I do not know what the agenda for Forbes and authors like Sullum and Parsons really is.  According to Sullum, “Parsons recommends harm reduction, which aims to minimize the damage done by drug policies as well as drugs.”  Instead of putting people in jail or the hospital, they want us to acknowledge that people demand stimulation and it is up to us to provide that to them instead of instituting these hysterical and draconian “drug policies.”  Hogwash (those who know me know I really toned that down!).  When did it become my responsibility or the responsibility of the US Government to provide stimulation to the masses?  Enough already!

If I am wrong, prove me wrong.  I dare you!

I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories.  I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers (and government surveys!) on the subject that I have read over the years.  Please share your stories with me!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

May 9, 2014

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

There were several reports that came out in the last week that I thought would be of interest to readers of Meth in the News.  In the first report out of Santa Clarita, Calif., an unnamed suspect was arrested after his vehicle was stopped for a traffic violation on Interstate 5 in the Santa Clarita Valley Wednesday afternoon and methamphetamine was found inside.  Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Joshua Dubin told reporters that approximately 88 pounds of meth was found.  However, after being placed in the back seat of a sheriff’s squad car, the man kicked out its rear window and sprinted across I-5.  Luckily he was not struck by the heavy traffic on the freeway.  More than two dozen sheriff’s deputies with a K-9 unit and helicopter support were called, and the search included an area in the Angeles National Forest. The suspect was finally discovered Thursday night hiding in an empty water tank located near a mobile home park. He was booked on suspicion of narcotics-related felonies.  Suspicion, huh?  I think that 88 pounds should at least create some suspicion of illegal drug-related activities.

In the next report, managers at the Motel 6 in Twin Falls, Nev. alerted police when they noticed unusual activity at one of the rooms there.  They told police that the occupant “had frequent visitors who only stayed a short time.”  Police went to the room in question last Tuesday, and when the woman staying in the room answered the door, the police thought that she appeared to be under the influence of methamphetamine.  According to the police report, “Jones could not sit still, kept twitching, had sores on her arms and could not maintain a conversation.”  She gave police permission to search her room (I wonder how they could tell that she truly gave consent due to her condition at the time), and inside they found small baggies, each with a small amount of meth, totaling about one-fourth of an ounce, in a denim bag.  Several large bundles of cash were also in the bag, and police said that about $1,100 more was in another bag in the room.  Debra Lynn Jones, 57, was arraigned the following Wednesday on a charge of possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture or deliver. She is currently being held on $20,000 bail, and a preliminary hearing has been set for May 16.

Lenoma Jean Browning, 42, of Athens, Ala. was arrested on April 30 when police found methamphetamine in her car following a traffic stop for a minor traffic violation (this happens quite frequently!). Browning was subsequently released from jail on bond.  However, last Thursday Browning was arrested again when Athens police searched her home on Vine Street after serving her with warrants for meth distribution and found $800 worth of meth in her home.  Browning now faces new charges of meth distribution, meth possession and drug paraphernalia possession.  Didn’t she think that the police might be watching her?  Apparently her judgment was somewhat impaired.  Police also arrested another woman who lived in the home with Browning. Police said Valerie Necole Chatman, 32, had meth and marijuana in her room. She’s charged with possession of meth, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

This next case is truly frightening.  In rural Royalton, near Benton, Il, an unidentified man told Franklin County Sheriff’s deputies that he was jogging about 8 p.m. last Tuesday when he spotted a vehicle on property owned by his family. The jogger called 911 after he approached the vehicle and saw two men with a methamphetamine lab cooking in the back seat of the car.  When they saw him there, the jogger told deputies that the two men in the car attacked him, prompting him to pick up a 2×4 to protect himself. He struck one man on the head and hit the other on the arm.  The man with head injuries, whose name was not released, was taken to Herrin Hospital and subsequently airlifted to a St. Louis hospital for medical treatment. The second suspect, identified as Johnny M. Doerflein, 39, from Du Quoin, ran from the property but was later taken into custody. He was charged with a number of drug-related offenses including possession of methamphetamine, over 400 grams but less than 900, a class X felony.  Doerflein suffered only minor injuries and was taken to Franklin County Jail, and charges are pending against the second suspect who was still hospitalized.  Franklin County Sheriff Don Jones told reporters that “No charges are anticipated against a man who confronted two men accused of making methamphetamine on his property.”  I certainly hope not.  He was only defending himself against two men who may have been suffering from paranoia with violent tendencies.  He was lucky to get away!

In Florida, Broward County assistant state prosecuting attorney Molena Mompoint is facing a methamphetamine charge after she was pulled over for a traffic stop last Monday.  According to Wilton Manors Police, Mompoint was pulled over initially for driving with an expired tag decal, failure to use a turn signal and having a tag that was not registered to the vehicle.  Again, how often are meth users discovered when police stop them for a relatively minor traffic violation?  According to the arrest report, an officer asked Mompoint if there was anything illegal inside the car and she said “she did not know, however she previously had some attorney friends in her car that had ‘smoked weed’ and ‘had Molly.’”  What did she mean by this – that her “attorney friends” are illicit drug users?  Doesn’t that make you feel better?  Wilton Manors Police told reporters that when they searched her car, they found one clear capsule that contained a powdery substance that tested positive for meth and weighed roughly 0.1 grams. Mompoint was interviewed by police after being read her rights, and she again said her “attorney friends left the ‘Molly’ in her car.”  Right!  Mompoint has been suspended without pay, according to Ron Ishoy, spokesperson for the Broward State Attorney’s Office. “We have asked the governor’s office to assign the case to a State Attorney’s Office in another circuit.”

In Alva, Okla., assistant fire chief, Ricky Ryan Rhodes, 39, is accused of possessing methamphetamine after a city employee reported seeing him with a white powdery substance at the fire station.  District Attorney’s Investigator Steve Tanio wrote in an attachment to the arrest affidavit that, “(Deputy Keith) Dale told me his investigation determined on April 20, 2014, Rhodes had been observed by a city employee ingesting or ‘snorting’ a white powdery substance off of his work desk at the Alva Fire Department.”  Dale reportedly said he later observed a police officer and a drug dog search Rhodes’ office and the dog “alert” in the “area of Rhodes’ desk.  Dale was informed the dog’s alert was an indicator of illegal drugs. The contents of a trash can in Rhodes’ office were collected and contained “two corner clear plastic baggie portions, one of which contained a white powdery residue, which Dale field tested positive for methamphetamine,” according to the document.  An Alva police officer accompanied Rhodes to a medical center for drug testing ordered by Alva City Manager Joe Don Dunham.  Following the test, Rhodes reportedly admitted to the officer that he used methamphetamine and stated “dumbest thing I ever did … meet an old friend.”  A warrant for the arrest of Rhodes remained outstanding on Wednesday.  “Right now he’s in treatment, but charges have been filed,” Woods County District Attorney Hollis Thorp told reporters.

No one is immune from the effects of meth.  Don’t try it – not even once!

I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories.  I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  Please share your stories with me!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

May 2, 2014

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

A report came out online on WISTV.com out of Columbia, SC last Thursday regarding meth labs and the costs of cleaning up these contaminated homes, hotel rooms and apartments.  Many of the problems that South Carolina must deal with are shared by Louisiana and many other states, so this appeared to be an ideal report for this week’s Meth in the News.

The reporters at WIS News based much of their report on an interview with a former meth “cook”.  I have also had the opportunity to interview a number of former meth cooks from around the Ark-La-Tex, and much of what this former cook had to say is very similar to what I have heard from other cooks that I have met.

In South Carolina, the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) receives a million dollars a year to decontaminate meth lab sites.  However, there is no required documentation to show exactly which sites have been cleaned and which have been left untouched.  In Louisiana, there are also statutes regarding property contaminated with methamphetamine (Disclosure of methamphetamine contamination RS 9:3198; and Duties of governmental entities; contaminated property RS 9:3198.1).  However, in Louisiana, failure to comply with these statutes “shall not create a cause of action against a governmental entity or the property owner, the owner’s agent, the mortgagee, or other person with an interest in the property.” In other words, there is no penalty for failure to comply with the statutes.  So as in South Carolina, how can one determine if a meth lab on a real property has been accurately disclosed or if it has been appropriately cleaned?  I hope that our Louisiana legislature will one day consider putting teeth into these statutes – for the safety of the innocent.

Todd McGill is the former meth cook interviewed by WIS News.  McGill was a drug user for 12 years. One of his passions was making meth and using the product that he made. “I never really had a full-time job or anything as an adult,” McGill said. “I didn’t come out a lot during the day. I come out a lot at night.”  I have heard similar responses from many cooks.  “Being around it, I started using it and I picked up on it,” McGill said. “I started making it within two weeks of starting to use it.”  Many cooks teach their friends how to make meth themselves.  The more people there are making meth, the more meth that may be available for use – supply and demand, you know.  They also teach others how to make meth “to take the heat off.” If the authorities are chasing someone else, that decreases the chances that they would also be chasing them.  That’s how many see it.

McGill used to cook his meth in the American Inn motel in West Columbia.  That was also where he was arrested in 2013.  “I looked out this window, and the cop was standing outside this window,” McGill said, standing at the motel. “I ran to the bathroom to get rid of what I could, but it was no use.” McGill was convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine and was sentenced to five years’ probation.  Probation seems to be the norm around here too, even for meth cooks.  But McGill told reporters, “I’d been coming here once a week to make meth. It’s $30. You come, you make $300 worth of meth and you leave. You’re leaving the mess in their room, not in your house.” Many meth cooks do the same thing; they rent a motel room to cook meth in the same city where they live. The meth-making materials are not in the cook’s house, so if the police come knocking on her door, they might find meth but not the precursors and meth-making materials.  This would obviously reduce the number of charges — especially charges associated with the possession of precursors or the manufacture of methamphetamine.

McGill told reporters that he estimated that at least one meth lab is operating at the American Inn motel each night.  According to SLED, drug agents have found three labs at the American Inn motel in the past three years, but there’s no documentation from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), SLED, or local law enforcement that any decontamination has taken place.  Jay Patel, manager at American Inn motel, admitted that they haven’t taken any special measures to decontaminate their rooms, except for replacing the carpet a few months ago.  Richland County narcotics investigator Brien Gwyn told reporters that about half of the meth labs busted in the area are in motels.  This is why I have repeatedly warned the readers that if you smell a strong ammonia, cat urine or chemical smell in a room, move to another room or motel immediately!

Similar to Louisiana, landlords and mobile home brokers in South Carolina are not required under law to disclose if a meth lab was once on the property. Under state law, sellers, however, are required to disclose that information, if they’re aware of it.  “I think sometimes there’s pressure put on the seller to not put down things because they think it will impact the property,” said Morris Lyles, vice president at Central Carolina Realtors Association. “They could potentially lie about it.”  Yes they could.  That’s frightening to me!

SLED Lt. Max Dorsey told reporters, “It’s been my experience that those environments are not fully cleaned to something I would want my home to be.”  He went on to say, “There are various reasons – some of these properties are rental properties, some are hotels or motels. I guess there’s some ambiguity as to what is actually clean.”

Jim Beasley is a spokesman for the Department of Health and Environmental Control in South Carolina.  He told reporters that “It should be noted there is no law or regulation that establishes clean-up standards on the federal or state level.  Therefore, there is nothing to be ‘enforced’ by law enforcement or DHEC.”

Don’t you think that it is time that this is addressed at the state and national level?  Someone has to be responsible!

If you suspect that your property was the site of a meth lab, contact the Sheriff’s Office.  If they have no record of a meth lab being found on your property, they can put you in touch with certified environmental specialists who can test and safely decontaminate the site.

Please be careful out there, and by all means keep your eyes open!

I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories.  I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  Please share your stories with me!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

April 25, 2014

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

One aspect of methamphetamine use that has consistently maintained my passion for disseminating information about this insidious drug is that it is as likely to be used by women as it is by men.  And since women are typically the primary caregivers for their children, these innocent children may suffer from neglect and even abuse if their mother (and father) is on a 3-day meth binge.  There were several incidents during the past week involving children and meth use that I am sharing with the readers in this week’s Meth in the News column.

Sylvester is located about 170 miles south of Atlanta, Ga.  Last Thursday, an Amber Alert was issued for 2-year-old Maliah Harris.  Sadly, Maliah’s 7-month-old sister, Alyssa, was found dead early Wednesday in her parent’s home in Mississippi.  A traffic stop was initiated in Sylvester after a car matching the description in the Amber Alert was spotted.  Sylvester Police Chief Robert Jennings told reporters that 34-year-old Donald Boyd Harris and 31-year-old Allison Studdard were arrested on warrants for felony possession of methamphetamine in Mississippi.  Chief Jennings said that “drugs” were also found in the car, so additional charges are likely. So these fine parents left their dead baby in Mississippi while they drove their 2-year-old daughter to Georgia.  Disgusting!  The Coroner, Greg Merchant reported that the initial autopsy did not reveal a preliminary cause of death. However, a toxicology report is currently pending. Sheriff Mike Arledge told reporters that methamphetamine was found at the scene.  How tragic!

But this was not the only case.  In Mansfield, Ohio last week, a frantic mother took her unresponsive baby to the OhioHealth MedCentral, but he was unfortunately pronounced dead on arrival. While police were investigating the home where the child died, they stumbled onto a meth lab located upstairs. The police immediately evacuated the premises, not knowing what volatile chemicals might still be located inside.  “For safety of all those involved we retreated from the residence and detectives from the METRICH drug task force and Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation neutralized the meth lab,” said Sgt. Doug Noblet with the Mansfield Police Department.  Although Mansfield police don’t yet know if the lab contributed to the baby’s death, they did arrest 29-year-old Alexander Dickson for making drugs and possessing the chemicals to make them.  Police told reporters that there may be more arrests coming.  Many neighbors were surprised by the news of the baby’s death!  “I’m surprised. I’m really surprised,” said neighbor Albert Twyman.  Twyman has lived across the street from where the baby died for almost two decades.   He said that he had no idea what was going on inside the home. He said he didn’t notice any unusual activity.  “They pretty much kept to themselves,” said Twyman. “The children played outside, and that was it.” Another next door neighbor — who didn’t want to be identified — feels bad about the family’s loss.  She is also angry that there was a suspected meth lab just feet away from where her children sleep.   “It’s sad. I have kids, and it’s sad that something could take place so close to kids in the neighborhood, and it could blow up anytime. They have kids, newborns around here, and it’s just sad,” she said. The Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy to determine what caused the infant’s death.   There were three other children inside the home, and they are now in foster care.  But it’s too late for the 3-month-old baby boy who died.  Yes, I am angry too!  This should make everyone angry. But there is more.

Knoxville police investigated a unit at the Stonewall Apartments on Sevier Avenue shortly before 8 o’clock last Tuesday after receiving an anonymous tip about possible drug activity.  What they found there was incredulous to me! There police found a meth lab, methamphetamine, and needles located inside a bedroom that Thomas and Melanie Hamby actually shared with their two children, ages 14 and 7. Seriously?!!  Ask any meth user and they will tell you that injected meth equals sex.  Every time!  Needles were found on the scene!  So at the very least these two children were exposed to the marathon sexual activities that likely occurred when their parents injected meth into their bodies. These parents, along with Joshua Lyons, who was also in the apartment, were arrested by Knoxville police.  Police also told reporters that they believe that at one point a fire was also started by a meth lab in the apartment. Officers found scorched areas in the kitchen and freezer where it looked like someone tried to put out the fire with a broom but eventually threw it into the freezer.  Police are continuing to investigate, but three of the four adults found in the apartment (named above) are facing the following charges: manufacturing of methamphetamine, promotion of meth manufacture, and drug paraphernalia. Additional charges are pending. Crews took the children to East Tennessee’s Children Hospital for evaluation. The Department of Children’s Services have since placed the children in a family member’s care. The Knoxville Fire Department was called to decontaminate the scene.

In Roseburg, Ore, last Tuesday night at about 11:30 pm, Douglas County officials told reporters that Michelle Lynn Burke, 40, and James Timothy Pohl, 44, both from the Green District of Roseburg, took their 2-year-old daughter to Mercy Hospital because she was “not acting normally.”  Deputies went to Burke and Pohl’s residence on Rolling Hills Road, where they say they found a glass pipe with methamphetamine residue, syringes and “bindles containing methamphetamine residue.”  The Sheriff’s office related that blood tests showed that the child had methamphetamine in her system. Burke and Pohl were both arrested and charged by deputies with child neglect, endangering the welfare of a minor and unlawful possession of methamphetamine. Both are now lodged in the Douglas County Jail.  The Department of Human Services was contacted by the Sheriff’s office, and authorities told reporters that they are working to ensure the safety of the victim and the other two children in the home, a 10-year-old girl and a 5-month-old girl. So once again you have three young girls sharing a home with parents who were injecting meth.  It’s not clear how the baby came into contact with the methamphetamine, but at least her parents came back to reality long enough to get her to the hospital before more damage could be done.

The reader may sense the harshness in the tone of this week’s Meth in the News.  Any time that an innocent child is put in danger, especially because of her parents’ irresponsible drug use, I get mad as hell.  And believe me dear reader, these were not the only such incidents that were reported last week — there is only so much room in this column for me to report.  And imagine how many cases have not yet been discovered!

There is no good reason to use meth – especially around your children!!

I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories.  I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  Please share your stories with me!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

April 18, 2014

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Our first report in this week’s Meth in the News came about after Muncie police officers made a routine traffic stop at Yale and Bellaire Avenue on the city’s northeast side at about 10:45 p.m. last Wednesday.  While in the area, an officer reported smelling “a very strong chemical odor … associated with the manufacturing of methamphetamine.” As he and other officers got closer to the house at 1901 E. Yale, the officer noted, “the chemical odor became unbearable and breathtaking.” Another officer who entered the house reported that the fumes “caused my eyes to water” before he “began coughing and felt like I was unable to breathe.” An Indiana State Police meth collection team was therefore dispatched to the scene due to the potential hazardous nature of the chemicals producing the “breathtaking” fumes.  Inside the home, authorities reported finding methamphetamine and materials commonly used in the production and consumption of meth including, silver spoons with burn marks, camper fuel, coffee filters, a pill grinder, gas generator, plastic tubing and drain cleaner. Also recovered from the house was a gas mask.  I wonder why that was there!

The two occupants of this Yale Ave meth house were James Harold Hannis III, 48, and Jennifer Lynn Smith, 36.  James Hannis — who police claimed was “speaking in broken sentences and did not make any sense” — was arrested at the home, as was Jennifer Smith when she finally emerged from the house a short time later.  They were each arrested on five preliminary charges: dealing in meth, possession of meth, possession of precursors, maintaining a common nuisance and reckless possession of paraphernalia.

Hannis was already set to stand trial June 6, in Delaware Circuit Court 4, on two prior possession-of-meth charges filed in November 2012 and May 2013, respectively. His long criminal record also includes convictions for battery resulting in serious bodily injury, dealing in marijuana, possession of cocaine, possession of a controlled substance and resisting law enforcement.  I wonder how many times Hannis must be arrested for meth before he is sent away! Three meth-related arrests in less than two years should be a clue that he is up to no good.  Look at his arrest record — he has already caused bodily injury and resisted arrest in the past, indicating a tendency for violence.  And consider this current arrest — the fumes inside the home were described as “unbearable and breathtaking.” These fumes could threaten the health and well being of any innocent neighbor with enhanced medical sensitivities to such chemicals.  Or what if a spark resulted in an explosion?  I can envision something like a small-scale dirty bomb that would have been disastrous to the neighborhood!

Smith and Hannis were being held without bond in the Delaware County jail.  But I wonder how quickly they will be back on the street again, cooking meth!

A somewhat similar case was reported last Monday in Minneapolis. Members of the North Star Fugitive Task Force were serving a search warrant on a man wanted for possession of drugs and theft when they discovered several ingredients used for the production of methamphetamine in the home where he was living in Southwest Minneapolis.  Todd Loining, a commander with the Minneapolis Police Department, told reporters that officers “found what appeared to be a meth lab and there was also a distinct odor of strong irritants in the air that irritated the officers eyes.” Tuesday afternoon, police returned to the home to make sure that it was secure. A sign warning people about potentially hazardous substances on the property greeted people as they drove by.

Neighbors say that they suspected that illegal activity was going on at the home based on the high volume of traffic during the past year. “At night, we just knew that something was not right with all the activity going on in the alley with all of the trucks coming and going,” said one neighbor who did not want to reveal her name. “I am very happy that it is finally all over with.”

Larry Rieger, who lives in the neighboring community of Edina, was among the group of people examining the home. Nestled in between the other “junk” in the yard were old plastic soda bottles, cleaning supplies and a plastic tube. As reported in this column several times, these are some items used in the production of meth. “It was unbelievable! This is southwest Minneapolis, Edina border town,” Rieger said. “Crime doesn’t come here. I don’t even lock my doors. When I go to bed the doors are locked but in the day they are open. They’ve been that way for 22 years.”

Perhaps it might be time to keep your door locked during the day as well!

Finally, as the readers are well aware, new laws limiting the amount of medications containing pseudoephedrine that an individual can purchase each year have decreased the number of homegrown meth “cooks”. And while I have seen this reported for other states, new data now show that Mexican Meth is a also a growing threat for our closest neighbor, Texas.  In fact, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) estimates that 90 percent of the meth sold in Texas is now made in Mexico. The reasons for this proliferation are simple. The Mexican drug cartels can manufacture and sell meth without bringing in Central and South American partners to supply the coca paste or the finished powder cocaine. And unlike coca and marijuana crops, which are subject to plant diseases and bad weather conditions, meth is purely a chemical mix.

National statistics compiled by the DEA suggest that the meth problem is trending up throughout the United States. In calendar-year 2010, the DEA seized 2,187 kilograms of meth; 2,481 kilos in 2011 and 3,898 in 2012. This represents a 78 percent increase during that three-year period alone. Unfortunately, these DEA numbers represent only a fraction of the meth confiscated by other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies with drug enforcement responsibility since each agency keeps its own numbers separately. So, the total amount of meth confiscated during those years is much larger than the DEA numbers indicate.

The Mexican meth epidemic is scary in many ways. The drug cartels, often based in the Mexican states of Guerrero and Michoacán, send their dealers into Texas disguised as typical families: husband, wife, and a couple of kids. They embed themselves in Spanish-speaking enclaves such as the neighborhoods west of Love Field in Dallas. The gang’s smugglers bring the meth across the border in liquid form, hidden in gas tanks and other containers. When it arrives in Texas, they deliver it to the “typical” family, which uses its home as a makeshift laboratory to convert the liquid into solid “shards,” which look like yellowish ice. These families are now popping up throughout rural Texas, but no one knows the exact numbers.

Admittedly, not too many people care whether a meth head’s teeth fall out or her liver and kidneys get damaged. It’s her own fault. But people do care when the addict breaks into their home to steal their property or sticks a gun in their face to rob them of a few dollars. Law enforcement agencies identify meth as the drug most likely to lead abusers to commit both property crimes and violent crimes.  Remember that!

Please be careful out there, and by all means keep your eyes open!

I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories.  I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  Please share your stories with me!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

April 11, 2014

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

The first report in Meth in the News this week is truly frightening. In Williamsburg, Va., Virginia State Police troopers noticed a 2005 Chrysler hatchback that was being driven erratically on I-64 near Lightfoot. Troopers therefore pulled the woman driving the car over on suspicion of driving under the influence. They claimed that the woman, identified as Christie Ann Smith, 39, was speeding up, slowing down and weaving, thereby putting her and others at significant risk. Imagine the officer’s surprise when it was discovered that the vehicle was actually a mobile meth lab and that Ms. Smith was actually cooking the meth in her car as she was driving down the highway. This highly dangerous situation prompted a HazMat investigation by York County Fire and Rescue, which shut down the interstate for several hours that continued into early Tuesday morning. “The biggest concern when we’re talking about mobile meth labs is a flammable or explosive situation because of the nature of the chemicals that are being used,” said Lt. Rich Burgess of York County Fire Rescue and Safety. Definitely! I have been told by former meth cooks that, although not unheard of, even they consider this to be an unreasonable, unsafe, and stupid practice. Luckily, the Virginia State Police pulled her over before she could harm herself or other innocent, unsuspecting drivers on I-64. Christie Smith was charged with driving under the influence of drugs, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, false identity, no valid operator’s license, driving while suspended, and manufacturing methamphetamine. She was taken to the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail where she received no bond. Unbelievable!

There were also several new reports of people cooking meth in hotel and motel rooms this week. Over in Kentucky, the Richmond Bel Air motel in Madison County was evacuated Wednesday morning after a meth lab was discovered in one of the rooms. Officers told reporters that it appears that a group of people rented out one motel room at the motel on Lexington Road to house their meth-making operation. The group also rented out both neighboring rooms in what detectives suspect was an attempt to create a buffer between their operation and any other guests. They were really smart, weren’t they? Not really. Firefighters were still called out to the motel around 1:00 a.m. Wednesday morning on reports of a chemical smell. It’s really difficult to cover up the smells associated with cooking meth. Once they arrived, they found seven people across three motel rooms contaminated by “hazardous materials,” according to the responding firefighters. Officials said there were several “one-step” (one-pot) meth labs in plain view inside one of the rooms. Those people were taken to the hospital to be decontaminated, and then taken to be questioned by authorities. Meanwhile, others in the motel also had to be removed as firefighters began cleaning up the room where the meth lab had been set up. “I don’t think they were actively cooking,” said Richmond Police Assistant Chief Bob Mott. “There were several reaction vessels that had been in there. Looks they had been cooking over a period of days at least, maybe even longer than that.” Five suspects were decontaminated and examined at Baptist Health Richmond prior to being taken to the Madison County Detention Center. Anthony Debord, 44; Carolyn Eckler, 33 and Bobbi L. Evans, 30, were charged with manufacturing meth, while Douglas Pearson, 24, and Amber Dean, 21, were charged with complicity to manufacture meth.

Also on Wednesday in Florida, Escambia County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the American Best Motel at 7200 Plantation Road around 10:30 a.m. in response to an anonymous tip about possible narcotics activities. Once inside the motel room, deputies noticed material used in the manufacture of meth and called for the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit to take over the investigation. The lone occupant of the room, Brett Randall Wilt, 38, was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of methamphetamine, possession of a listed chemical and production of methamphetamine. He remained in the Escambia County Jail Thursday morning with bond set at $46,000.

Also in Florida, Lee County Sheriff’s deputies caught three people manufacturing meth in a Howard Johnson motel in Fort Myers on Tuesday. A patrol deputy was tipped off about what was going on in Room 270 of the motel and headed to the room to talk to the occupants. Along the way, the deputy encountered three men in Room 268, who spoke to the deputy with their door wide open with smoke, which had a cleaning chemical-type odor to it, rolling out the door. The deputy could see a syringe sitting on a refrigerator and a bottle of liquid drain opener. He could also see a clear soda bottle with what appeared to be residue left behind after making meth using the “shake and bake” production method. The deputy asked about the bottle, and the men, two of whom were later identified as 43-year-old Denny Newman and 42-year-old Gordon Newman, who are brothers, said it belonged to the woman staying in Room 270. So the deputy went over to Room 270, knocked on that door, and a man opened it. That room also had a strong chemical smell coming from it. Inside, the deputy spotted a plastic bottle that had been cut in half, the inside of which had a white, chalky residue on it consistent with meth. The deputy asked the man who opened the door, later identified as 31-year-old Jeremy Mayne, and a woman inside the room about the bottle. Both said they knew nothing about it, but it might belong to a woman staying in Room 272. So the deputy went to Room 272 and talked to the two women inside, both of whom said they had no items in Room 270 except for bags of clothing. Confused yet? Narcotics detectives took over the investigation, and the items found in rooms 268 and 270 tested positive for meth. The brothers from Room 268 told the deputies that they had let Mayne use their room while they left to go to a shop down the street and that their mother had rented the room for them. But they subsequently changed their story several times. The sheriff’s office seized 1,473 grams of liquid meth from Room 268, where the brothers were staying, and another 617 grams of liquid meth from Room 270, where they found Mayne. The Newman brothers and Mayne were therefore arrested on charges of production and trafficking of meth. Deputies determined that the women were prostitutes and released them.

The final story this week is as frightening as it is bizarre. At about 6:30 a.m. last Wednesday, officers from the California Multijurisdictional Methamphetamine Enforcement Team, with assistance from the Southern Tri County HIDTA Task Force and the Kern Narcotics Enforcement Team executed a search warrant at a home in Wasco that was also being used as a daycare facility. The search warrant was based on public complaints regarding the sales of narcotics coming from the home. Since the narcotics officers had determined that there was a daycare in the home, they served their warrant prior to any children arriving at the daycare. During the search, officers said they found just under a half of a pound of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of just over $20,000. 24-year-old Wasco resident Angel Soto was arrested at the scene and subsequently was booked into the Kern County Sheriff’s Office Jail on various narcotics related charges, destruction of evidence and participation in a criminal street gang charges. This just frightens me to no end. Not only could the children in the daycare have been hurt if meth was being produced in the home and a fire or explosion ensued, but what if a tweaking meth head came by in an irate, violent mind set determined to get her hands on some meth no matter what the consequences. One can only imagine!

Remember, be careful out there, and keep your eyes open!

I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories. I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years. Please share your stories with me! You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com. I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

April 4, 2014

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

It’s springtime in the Ark-La-Tex and the weather is getting warmer. That means that it is time to spend more time outside, camping and hiking, fishing and hunting, and just enjoying the outdoors in the Sportsman’s Paradise. This provides me the opportunity to once again warn the readers of Meth in the News about the dangers associated with the “one-pot” or “shake & bake” procedure that has been spreading across the country. Law enforcement officials claim that this method is even more dangerous than the “old” makeshift meth labs that require hundreds of pseudoephedrine pills, containers heated over open flames and cans of flammable liquids. The “old” cooking process itself creates foul odors, making the labs difficult to conceal. And of course, these makeshift labs can also spark explosions. Generally, the one-pot process uses a two-liter soda bottle. Only a few cold pills are mixed with common, but noxious, household chemicals to produce enough meth for the user to get a few hits. Since only a few pseudoephedrine pills are required, the one-pot method circumvents laws passed restricting the sale of large quantities of over-the-counter decongestants, cold and allergy remedies. In addition, the new method requires little room. All of the necessary items can be carried in a backpack, making the process mobile. This has simplified the process so that it seems like everybody is making their own meth. It can be your next-door neighbor or even one of your family members.

The one-pot method combines the first three steps of a conventional meth lab, so that the “cook” is making anhydrous ammonia at the same time that pseudoephedrine (from cold tablets) is converted to methamphetamine base in the bottle. The bottle is shaken, which creates a chemical reaction through the production of gasses and pressure inside the bottle. The bottle must be “burped” from time to time to release the pressure or it will explode, spewing caustic chemicals in all directions, which can cause serious chemical burns. At the same time, the “cook” is producing a chemical ignition, also called fire in the bottle, every time that the one-pot method is used. If the bottle bursts or is opened at the wrong time, it essentially becomes a flamethrower. Remember that these labs are portable, putting the public at great risk. The bottle can explode while the “cook” is driving around, putting other drivers in danger. Such an incident occurred in Bossier City a couple of years ago, but luckily no one was harmed. Meth “cooks” often throw the used plastic bottles, containing a poisonous brown and white sludge, along the highway. Law enforcement is finding discarded one-pot bottles in ditches, in people’s yards and in dumpsters. The mixture inside the bottle can burst into flames when exposed to oxygen, making it extremely dangerous for anyone who unscrews the lid of what may look like an ordinary soda bottle. Therefore, with more people spending times outdoors, if you find discarded bottles containing an unknown mixture, especially with a “chemical” odor, do not open them or pick them up. Call the Sherriff’s office and let them investigate to see if there is any danger.

Remember, be careful out there, and keep your eyes open!

I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories. I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years. Please share your stories with me! You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com. I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

March 28, 2014

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

There were several reports that I thought would be interesting to the readers of Meth in the News this week.

In Oshtemo Township, Mich., the Oshtemo Fire Department responded to a fire in a mobile home in the 5500 block of Patriots Lane at the Colonial Estates mobile home park at 7:30 a.m. last Wednesday and discovered a one-pot methamphetamine lab. Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the site to clean up the lab, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Office. Unfortunately, two adults and three children were living in the mobile home. Although the home sustained heavy damage, it wasn’t a total loss, according to Oshtemo Township Fire Chief Mark Barnes. Luckily, no one was injured in the fire, but how many times have I warned the readers about the dangers of cooking meth? The Sheriff’s Office is investigating the meth-related evidence, and charges are pending for operating a methamphetamine lab, according to the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office.

Speaking of dangers associated with cooking meth! Last Thursday in Jamestown, Ohio, several homes had to be evacuated and multiple streets were shut down as Jamestown police investigated a possible meth lab explosion. Hazmat crews were called to secure the site. Police initially became aware of the explosion after Shaun Minney, who lives at the residence in question, was taken to a local hospital. However, the burns to his torso and face were so severe that he had to be airlifted onboard the Careflight helicopter to the Miami Valley Hospital. Police became suspicious due to the nature of his burns and sent crews to his home where they found the aftermath of a possible meth lab explosion. The explosion was so powerful it nearly knocked the windows off the hinges and detached the wall from the roof. When firefighters went inside, they found items typically used to make meth. Jamestown Police Chief Rodger Tyree told reporters, “They discovered there were multiple propane tanks inside the residence, which we want to err on the side of caution. It’s not a normal situation to find 4-5 propane tanks inside someone’s residence.” Definitely not! “This is one of those little towns that you never believe stuff like this goes on but apparently it does,” said a neighbor, Kelly Houser. Police are still investigating but say Minney could face charges if they discover he was making meth. I do believe that they will!

Last Saturday night, DeKalb County Sheriff’s Officers were called to the Twilight Inn in Corunna, Indiana on an anonymous tip about possible drug activity in one of the rooms in the motel. There they made contact with Michael D. Hughes and Sara K. Smith, who are actually both from Corunna, at the inn. There officers discovered two active methamphetamine labs, finished meth product and items used in the manufacture of meth. Hughes and Smith were both arrested and charged with manufacturing meth, possession of meth, possession of precursors, possession of a controlled substance, and maintaining a common nuisance. Hughes was also charged with possession of a synthetic drug and invasion of privacy. Maybe not surprisingly, Hughes was also found in violation of a protective order with Smith as the petitioner, according to the statement. Meth does do strange things to people! The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department was assisted by the Waterloo Marshal’s Office and the Indiana State Police Meth Suppression Team.

Police were called to the Palms Motel in Leesburg, Fla., on Monday after they “gathered intelligence that (people) were either cooking and/or selling methamphetamines,” police Capt. Rob Hicks told reporters. Police observed suspicious activity across the street from the motel in front of the Dollar General store, and a subsequent search of two rooms in the motel turned up the suspected meth. Thomas P. Rutig, 48, was charged with possession of meth with intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a church, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of oxycodone, and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, with no firearm. Dylan East Tolin, 23, was arrested for burglary and grand theft warrants, and was issued a misdemeanor citation for resisting without violence after reportedly running from police officers.

Last Sunday, police were called to the Red Roof Inn on Lafayette Parkway in LaGrange, GA, after receiving an anonymous tip that a male and female were seen through an open window smoking an illegal substance. Police approached the room in question and were let into the room by Timothy Barnes, 33. While inside the room, police found several butane torches with additional butane filler tanks in plain sight. They also found several small bags containing a substantial amount of meth and a set of digital scales. Police searched the other occupant of the room, Kayla Miller, 19, and found more containers of meth on her. Miller and Barnes, both of LaGrange, were arrested and booked into the Troup County Jail on charges of possession of meth with intent to distribute. Barnes also had an active parole violation from an original charge of Methamphetamine possession and burglary. Once again, meth cooks rented a motel room to cook the meth even though they lived in LaGrange, thereby putting unsuspecting travelers at great risk to keep from contaminating their own homes. And there’s more.

On Wednesday, the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office told reporters that they were initially searching for Justin Boles, who had escaped custody during a previous meth bust. Deputies learned through tips from concerned citizens that Boles was staying at the Motel 6 on the beltline in Mobile, Alabama. When officials entered a room, they say they found Terrie Ayala, two meth labs, and finished product. Deputies were then led to Boles who was caught at a west Mobile home with Diana White. Ayala, White, and Boles were subsequently arrested for trafficking meth and possession, among other charges. Deputies told reporters that these arrests “took a high-volume meth cook off the streets.” Boles alone is also facing more than a dozen drug, traffic, and domestic violence charges.

So this week we have several cases of meth lab-related fires and explosions. These go hand-in-hand with cooking meth. In addition, these cases also highlight the practice whereby meth cooks leave their own homes and rent rooms in local motels to cook meth. Please be aware of your surroundings when you travel, and report any suspicious smells to motel management. Demand a different room or move to another motel for your own safety!

I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories. I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years. Please share your stories with me! You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com. I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

March 21, 2014

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In this Meth in the News column, I tell the readers about the dangers associated with the manufacture and use of methamphetamine. And as I have also related, the national limits on the purchase of medications containing pseudoephedrine, a key component in methamphetamine production, have started to reduce the number of “one-pot” or “shake-n-bake” labs discovered by law enforcement. These labs are still around, but the Mexican Drug Cartels have also stepped in to meet the demand for the drug. A recent report from Kamala D. Harris, the California Attorney General, suggests that a significant amount of the meth coming into the United States enters through California.

Arizona is also known for its share of “meth heads” according to a recent review in the Phoenix New Times. This report highlights what they termed “the absolute meth-iest crimes allegedly committed by Arizona meth-heads.” Here are the top 10:

Coming in at number 10 is Juan Jose Peralta. He feels like he gets closer to God whenever he smokes meth. In May 2011, Peralta stripped down to his birthday suit in a field in a Mesa, thereby exposing himself to any children in the area. When police responded to the report of a naked guy “waving his arms wildly in the air,” they found Peralta with his genitals in full view of a man and his 13-year-old son. When police caught up with him and asked him what he was doing, he told them that he just “wanted to feel closer to God and the Earth.” There must be a better way!

Number 9 is a tragic case involving Veronica Marie Linares of Glendale. This “mother-of-the-year” candidate let her 9-month-old child die from a meth overdose, apparently after finding and ingesting meth in her apartment. Police had been looking for Linares ever since she gave birth to the baby in January 2011, when she was born with a high concentration of meth in her system. She was turned over to a foster family until Linares took the child back a week before her death. Linares subsequently gave birth to another baby who also tested positive for meth.

Jacqueline Trousdale is a 30-year-old Phoenix resident and Number 8 on the Phoenix New Times list. Trousdale’s 5-year-old daughter tested positive for meth after she complained about her mother sticking her with needles. There were also allegations of molestation involving the 5-year-old and her 6-year-old sibling, but these were not substantiated. However, the meth injections were real. How cruel!

Number 7 involves 30-year-old Victoria Soliz, from Mesa. She was spotted holding her 3-year-old son facedown in mud puddles back in March 2013. When police arrived, she told them that Jesus told her to drown her own son. Soliz eventually told her doctor that she was taking her schizophrenia medication regularly, which is a problem because she told the doctor that crystal meth was her medication. Luckily the little boy survived the drowning attempt.

Robert Troutt became enraged in January 2010 when he thought that he was watching someone impersonating his own mother. Then the imposter began attacking his mother, which enraged Troutt even further. But Troutt was delusional and hallucinating – he was high on meth at the time. The person that he thought was impersonating his mother was in fact actually his mother. She suffered a savage beating at the hands of her son and died shortly after the beating, which caused bleeding on her brain. Troutt almost tore off one of her ears in the attack.

Number 5 involves Scottsdale resident Shane Christian Chavis. After getting high on meth for four days straight in March 2011, Chavis went into a Phoenix Dollar Store and locked himself in the bathroom. An employee of the Dollar Store eventually opened the bathroom door and found Chavis inside naked, munching on on food that he had just stolen in the store. Chavis finally put his clothes on and left the store, but not before spraying at least 10 cans of Silly String “all over” the store, according to Phoenix police.

Number 4 was a rather high-profile case in the Phoenix area. In this case, dump-truck driver Michael Jakscht ran over eight motorcycle riders in March 2010, killing four of them on the Carefree Highway near 27th Avenue. Jakscht, 46, allegedly drove away from his Scottsdale house while high on meth shortly before the accident. Jakscht was sentenced to 26 years in prison late last year on four counts of manslaughter, five counts of aggravated assault, and seven counts of endangerment.

Meth use can lead to bizarre and unusual sexual activities. That is one way to attempt to explain Number 3. In December 2010, Phoenix police were called to the Super 8 Motel around 4:30 a.m. when the night manager reported a naked guy wandering around a fenced in area behind the motel. Police found Theodore Ruiz, 24, masturbating in the field. When the police asked him to come out of the area, Ruiz gave his infamous response: “You come back here and suck it.” Ruiz repeated his response several times in his brief struggle with police — in which he continued masturbating the entire time, even after being pepper-sprayed.

Coming in at Number 2 is Erik Grumpelt. Grumpelt killed his live-in girlfriend in May 2011 by kneeing her in the abdomen several times in a meth-fueled jealous rage, until she was unresponsive. Then on top of that, he continued to live with her decomposing corpse for more than two months. Grumpelt finally confided in his father about the murder, and attempted suicide. Grumpelt was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2013.

Chance Kracke is “the poster-boy for meth-head crime” according to the Phoenix New Times. In 2011, Kracke went into the kitchen to make a snack while high on meth. He told police that he thought that “the floor was too dirty for a kid” so he put his 7-month-old son in the freezer! Luckily the baby survived, and Kracke eventually put the baby on the floor anyway. Police told reporters that this was one of the most disgusting apartments of all time, with “hundreds” of cockroaches, rusty razor blades, feces and urine everywhere, broken glass, chewing tobacco spit, methamphetamine and meth paraphernalia. Police discovered his other son, almost 2, had also swallowed a screw.

Not everyone who uses meth commits crimes like those described above, but they can happen. Family members are often the victims of abuse and neglect, and meth-induced paranoia can put anyone at risk. As I tell the readers each week, there is no positive side to meth – not even once!

I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories. I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years. Please share your stories with me! You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com. I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

March 14, 2014

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In this Meth in the News column, I often describe various crimes associated with the use of methamphetamine and the dangers that arise from manufacturing and using this highly dangerous drug. In this week’s column, I am going to describe the tragic downward spiral of one man, Peter Atwood, 66, of Port Orange, Florida. In less than 10 years, he went from Citizen of the Year to a motel-dwelling meth head who no longer resembled the man he once was in any way.

People who knew Pete Atwood were confounded when they heard what happened to him. They saw him as an affable and responsible individual who worked tirelessly for his community. And people who have known Atwood for the past 20 years or so described him as a man who cared about his city — Port Orange — and who was involved with almost everything from entertainment to planning and zoning. Those same people are wondering what they could have done, if anything, to help.

“Family Days” is a bi-annual event that has been held in Port Orange for over 15 years that was developed with activities that “strengthen family lives, individual values and potential and community and civic responsibility” to “generate a lasting sense of family for the residents of Port Orange and those who work and visit in the community.”

“Family Days” founder Al Bell told reporters that Atwood was the type of person who would help anyone. Atwood became part of Family Days after he met Bell and he became vice president of the board soon thereafter. In 2007, after being involved with several organizations in Port Orange, Atwood was honored as the Citizen of the Year by the Volusia League of Cities. He was also on the board of the Friends of the Bandshell, and was a planning commissioner for Port Orange in the mid-2000s. Very civic minded!

But then in 2008, Atwood and Bell were investigated by Port Orange police when both were accused of stealing money from Family Days. Bell was never charged, but Port Orange police said Atwood stole $21,395 from Family Days between October 2005 and October 2007. Atwood pleaded no contest to a charge of grand theft in 2009 and he was sentenced to two years probation. Remember, he was just named Citizen of the Year the year before. Atwood repaid more than $8,000 to Family Days.

Some believe that the theft might have been tied to Atwood’s drug addictions. Atwood’s ex-wife Jayne Atwood believes that her former husband’s drug addiction initially developed in 1992 after he was in a car accident. Jayne Atwood said it was then that her husband started taking pain pills. Port Orange Mayor Allen Green, who has known Atwood for about 30 years, said Atwood once told him he had back pain when he worked in food management.

“He said he took pain pills for his back. If that’s what got him in trouble, I don’t know,” Mayor Green said. “His involvement in this community was amazing,” Green said. “I’m saddened by the current results and I don’t know how to help him.”

When she finally filed for divorce in July 2012, Jayne Atwood’s petition for dissolution of their 36-year-long marriage summarized their final days together: “He deserted me with all the overdue bills. He transferred joint funds to an unknown bank account. He left me penniless and failed to pay mortgage, property taxes and income taxes. I have had severe stress and mental abuse.”

She told reporters that Atwood left her penniless to the point that she had to apply for food stamps.

Local arrest records show that in the last five years, Atwood has been arrested six times, half of those for “cooking” meth in roadside motels with people less than half his age.

On Oct. 30, 2012, Atwood told a Daytona Beach Shores law enforcement investigator that he had a “problem with being addicted to methamphetamine,” and that he had “manufactured methamphetamine in the past.” That day, the Daytona Beach Shores Department of Public Safety arrested Atwood and a 32-year-old woman inside Unit 6 at the Famous Shores Motel. Atwood said that he kept the chemicals needed to manufacture meth under the kitchen sink of his motel room. Atwood pleaded no contest to a charge of manufacturing methamphetamine and was given drug offender probation by Circuit Judge Leah Case in May 2013.

He violated his probation in August 2013 when he was caught manufacturing meth again and was re-arrested. His probation was subsequently revoked in October and he served 102 days in the county jail. He was released on February 8th only to be arrested again on February 10 at the Town & Country motel by Port Orange police. Port Orange Police Department Lieutenant John Jakovenko says that they raided Unit #12 at the motel located on South Ridgewood Avenue after receiving a tip that there was narcotic activity taking place. “When officers arrived at the location, they noticed a strong chemical odor associated with a possible meth cook,” Jakovenko told reporters. “The area was evacuated due to the potential hazard.” The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office Methamphetamine Team came out to help the Port Orange Police Department remove the hazardous material found inside the room. 21-year-old Melissa Seay and 39-year-old Jennifer McFarren were arrested along with 66-year-old Peter Atwood, charged with manufacturing and possession of methamphetamine. This time, Atwood invoked his Miranda rights and asked for an attorney. He is still in custody and has repeatedly declined requests to be interviewed.

When you look at his picture from his most current arrest and compare it to a picture taken in 2008, it appears that you are looking at two different men. He has not aged well, and he has lost a significant amount of weight, likely due to the chronic use of meth.

So here you have the tragic story of a man who loved his community and would do anything to help anyone who would ask. It’s not clear if his use of pain medications, most likely opioid pain pills such as Lortab, Dilaudid, or OxyContin, led to his subsequent meth use, and neither law enforcement investigators nor his ex-wife know exactly when Atwood started using and “cooking” meth before he was finally arrested in 2012.

Anecdotally, I have heard from local law enforcement that sometimes younger women look for “older” men in bars (can you say “mark”?) and befriend them. The “older” men clearly appreciate the attention of attractive young women, and are often easily enticed into the world of meth. The men provide money and other resources for the meth and subsequently enjoy the sexual activities that meth and the young female meth users provide. In time, most fall into the same trap as described above for Peter Atwood. He and his wife of 36 years have divorced, leaving her penniless with Mr. Atwood living out of motel rooms when he is not in jail.

There is no good side to meth!

I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories. I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years. Please share your stories with me! You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com. I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

March 7, 2014

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

I started this Meth in the News column in an attempt to provide information to the public about the dangers associated with making and using methamphetamine.  While “superlabs” run by the Mexican Drug Cartels provide significant quantities of relatively pure meth to users throughout the United States, “domestic” meth is made using the “one-pot” or “shake & bake” method (described below).  These “labs” can be a significant risk to the general public.

I have also reported about how cooking and smoking meth can be dangerous to anyone living where meth is being used (and this is especially true for children). But what happens when the meth cooks move away (or are arrested)? And consider this, people also cook and smoke meth in motel rooms, apartments and just about anywhere else you can imagine. What are the chances that the motel room or apartment had been properly and thoroughly cleaned once the meth cooks left?

Finally, I have also reported on the long-term use of methamphetamine and how this can also lead to bizarre psychotic behaviors that can put the user’s families (and other innocent people) at risk for serious harm, or even death.

But I want to take this one step further.  I would like to have a “Meth Awareness” event in the Shreveport/Bossier City area, open to the public, where I can talk directly to people interested in learning about the dangers of meth.  Maybe you know someone who uses meth and want some answers.  Maybe you want to know more about the medical problems that may arise if you live somewhere where meth had been smoked or produced.  Maybe you are a former user and want to learn more about its long-term effects.

So I am asking the readers of Meth in the News for suggestions.  Would you be interested in attending a “Meth Awareness” event?  Do you have any ideas for what you would like to see at this event?  Maybe former users would want to speak about recovery to give people hope.  Maybe former meth “cooks” could talk about their first-hand experiences.  Or I could just answer questions from the audience.  What would you like to see?  Where should it be held?  Please send all of your suggestions to: nickgoeders@gmail.com.

Below is important information on meth labs.

Law enforcement officials claim that the “one-pot” or “shake & bake” meth labs are even more dangerous than the “old” makeshift meth labs that required hundreds of pseudoephedrine pills, containers heated over open flames and cans of flammable liquids. The “old” cooking process itself creates foul odors, making the labs difficult to conceal. And of course, these makeshift labs can also spark explosions. Generally, the “one-pot” process uses a two-liter soda bottle. Only a few cold pills are mixed with common, but noxious, household chemicals to produce enough meth for the user to get a few hits. Since only a few pseudoephedrine pills are required, the “one-pot” method circumvents laws passed restricting the sale of large quantities of over-the-counter decongestants, cold and allergy remedies. In addition, the new method requires little room. All of the necessary items can be carried in a backpack, making the process mobile. This has simplified the process so that it seems like everybody is making their own meth. It can be your next-door neighbor or even one of your family members.

The “one-pot” method combines the first three steps of a conventional meth lab, so that the “cook” is making anhydrous ammonia at the same time that pseudoephedrine (from cold tablets) is converted to methamphetamine base in the bottle. The bottle is shaken, which creates a chemical reaction, producing gas and therefore increasing pressure inside the bottle. The bottle must be “burped” from time to time to release the pressure or it will explode, spewing caustic chemicals in all directions, which can cause serious chemical burns. At the same time, the “cook” is producing a chemical ignition, also called fire in the bottle, every time that the “one-pot” method is used. If the bottle bursts or is opened at the wrong time, it essentially becomes a flamethrower. Remember that these labs are portable, putting the public at great risk. The bottle can explode while the “cook” is driving around, putting other drivers in danger. Such an incident occurred in Bossier City a couple of years ago, but luckily no one was harmed. Meth “cooks” often throw the used plastic bottles, containing a poisonous brown and white sludge, along the highway. Law enforcement has found discarded “one-pot” bottles in ditches, in people’s yards and in dumpsters. The mixture inside the bottle can burst into flames when exposed to oxygen, making it extremely dangerous for anyone who unscrews the lid of what may look like an ordinary soda bottle. Therefore, with spring rapidly approaching, if you find discarded bottles containing an unknown mixture, especially with a “chemical” odor or tubes sticking in them, do not open them or even pick them up. Call the Sherriff’s office and let them investigate to see if there is any danger.

In addition to your suggestions for the “Meth Awareness” event, I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories.  I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  Please share your stories with me!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

February 28, 2014

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

I continue to see reports in the news that indicate that the methamphetamine epidemic is still going strong.  In some communities, authorities are indeed seeing a decrease in the number of the “one-pot” and “shake-and-bake” meth “labs” as tighter restrictions are put on the sale of products containing pseudoephedrine, a necessary precursor for the production of meth.  However, demand for this drug remains high, and reductions in the domestic production of meth are quickly replaced by meth manufactured south of the border by the Mexican Drug Cartels.  There were several reports in the news just last week that confirmed this, indicating once again that the meth epidemic is indeed real.  This cannot just be a nation-wide conspiracy theory.

The CBS affiliate in Rock Island, IL, WHBF, reported last week that methamphetamine is still a major problem in Illinois.  Their online website claims that “Meth is one of the most widespread and dangerous drugs on the streets.”  People wishing to purchase medications containing pseudoephedrine are already required to first show a photo ID.  There is also an effort in Illinois to require a prescription for these same medications, although it is not clear if there is support for the bill, especially among the police.  They can track sales of pseudoephedrine-containing medications now, but if a prescription is required, those “medical records” would be off limits.

Similarly, KPAX.com from Missoula, MT, also reported on the rise in the number of arrests for meth in Missoula, and how violence and property crime have followed this increase.  Missoula Drug Task Detective Eddy McLean told reporters that since 2007, the number of weapons seized that could be tied to meth and drug-related crimes has steadily increased, adding that from 2012 to 2013, arrests for meth went up 120% in Missoula.  Authorities claim that most of the drug is Mexican Drug Cartel meth, while the rest is made in highly explosive clandestine meth labs.

KATV out of Benton, AR reported last week that meth also continues to be large problem for central Arkansas law enforcement.  In Benton Mayor David Mattingly’s State of the City address, he said that nearly half of the $6,000,000 worth of illicit drugs that Benton Police were able to take off the streets in 2013 could be attributed to meth.  “It’s a pretty substantial amount, especially for a community of 30,000 people,” Lt. Kevin Russell from the Benton Police Department told reporters. Lt. Russell also mentioned that the pseudoephedrine law passed several years ago, a measure to prevent meth from being made, worked to some degree.  “That kind of cut down on the numbers briefly, for a couple of years,” said Russell.  “And it has still cut down on the number of home-grown labs, labs that are operating here.”  But he also admits that meth has been on the rise recently – and he is now concerned with “superlabs” producing mass quantities of the drug and shipping it north of the border from Mexico.

So are these all conspiracy theorists, or is the meth epidemic real?

There were also several significant methamphetamine busts during the past week.  These are not all inclusive, but are meant to highlight the ongoing meth trade by the Mexican Drug Cartels.

Two men – a U.S. citizen who was driving a Ford F-150 and a Mexican national who was a passenger in the pickup – were stopped around 6 p.m. last Tuesday at the Interstate 5 checkpoint near San Clemente.  A police canine alerted agents to the presence of drugs, and they found bundles of methamphetamine hidden in various parts of the pickup.  The driver and passenger, who have not been identified, were arrested, and the two men, along with the 12 pounds of meth seized, were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Also last Tuesday, El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents assigned to the Indio Station encountered a 21-year-old woman driving a 2000 Mitsubishi Montero as she approached the Highway 86 checkpoint. A Border Patrol Canine Detection team alerted to the SUV and the woman was referred for further inspection. During the inspection, agents discovered nine individually wrapped packages of methamphetamine hidden inside a false compartment located underneath the floorboard behind the back seat. The methamphetamine had a combined weight of 8.8 pounds with an estimated street value of $57,200. The suspected smuggler, a United States citizen, was taken into custody. The woman, vehicle, and narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation.

Last Wednesday, Tammy Rae Coburn, 47, of Port Angeles turned herself in to federal authorities in Tacoma, a day after the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced the culmination of an investigation into a Western Washington meth distribution ring and the seizure of more than 66 pounds of meth and 2.5 pounds of heroin in a conversion lab in Spanaway. The investigation — which spanned Clallam, Jefferson, Pierce and Kitsap counties — led to the arrest last Sunday of a Sequim businessman, Timothy Patrick Smith, 29, and Kelsey A. Davis, 25, also of Sequim, who was described as his girlfriend.  All three have been charged in federal court with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, four counts of distribution of methamphetamine and maintaining drug involved premises.

In New Mexico last week, Glenn McDonald, 34, of Loving was arrested after agents with the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office and the Pecos Valley Drug Task found 25 pounds of meth and 31 firearms scattered throughout his residence. Eve Flanigan, program manager for the Carlsbad Anti-Drug and Gang Coalition, told reporters, “I can’t say that I’m surprised,” when asked about the size of the bust.  “But I’m just thankful that it’s off the street right now. It’s an example of how pervasive the drug problem is in our part of the state.”

And last, but certainly not least, on Friday Agents with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine stopped a boat during a routine patrol in Oceanside Harbor near San Diego containing 540 pounds of meth. During the inspection, agents found a hidden compartment that ran down the sides of the boat and under the floor. Inside, they found 200 packages of meth worth an estimated street value of about $7 million.  One person on board, a 48-year old male U.S. citizen, was arrested.

So last week, more than 650 pounds of meth were seized.  Who knows how much meth was not discovered.  So are reports of a meth epidemic just “hype?”  I think not!

I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories.  I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  Please share your stories with me!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

February 21, 2014

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

As I have told you in past columns, I search news reports from across the Unites States, and even around the world, for this Meth in the News column.  A “report” came out this week, published by the Open Society Foundation titled, “Methamphetamine: Fact vs. fiction and lessons from the crack hysteria.”  The authors make this concluding claim, “The data show that many of the immediate and long-term harmful effects caused by methamphetamine use have been greatly exaggerated just as the dangers of crack cocaine were overstated nearly three decades ago.”  Normally, I would have dismissed this report for a number of reasons.  Then I saw that it had been picked up by Forbes in an article published online on February 20, 2014, by Jacob Sullum titled, “Hyperbole Hurts: The Surprising Truth About Methamphetamine.”  I am unclear of the motivations behind these misleading reports, but I feel compelled to respond.

First of all, this was not a peer-reviewed scientific report even though it is promoted as such.  “Peer review” simply means that the results from a scientific study are written in the form of a manuscript that is sent to several scientists in the same area of research (i.e., peers) to review to determine if the research was conducted using sound scientific principles and if the manuscript is an accurate representation of the data that the authors collected.  This report was simply published online by the Open Society Foundation, and no date of publication can be found anywhere on the report.  Therefore, this simply represents the opinion of the authors, and, I assume, the Open Society Foundation.

Secondly, only one of the authors is a scientist.  The lead author, Carl Hart, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Psychology.  Co-author Joanne Csete is actually the deputy director of the Open Society Global Drug Policy Program, while co-author Don Habibi, is a Professor of Philosophy and Religion.

So, what are the major claims in this report?  The authors first discuss how the “crack baby” epidemic was overstated, and suggest that this was a plot to artificially increase the penalties for “crack” compared to powder cocaine possession and distribution.  I agree that the penalties should be the same for any form of cocaine, but that is NOT the motivation underlying the warnings associated with methamphetamine use.

The authors then lump in methamphetamine with all other forms of amphetamine (Adderall), and they even include Ritalin in the mix.  But then, surprisingly, they cite statistics collected by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2011, “UNODC’s most recent report concluded that markets for methamphetamine are growing faster than for other ATS [amphetamine-type stimulants], fueled in part by significant increases in East and Southeast Asia, the United States and Mexico in the last five or six years.” In addition, “While production was highest in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and North America (including Mexico), production in Africa, especially South Africa, was increasing.”  Yes, there is a global methamphetamine epidemic as I and others have stated.  Yet Sullum talks of “hyperbole.”  What’s going on here?

The authors then claim that the advertisements and websites presented by groups such as the Montana Meth Project have caused the organization to lose credibility because they exaggerate the harmful effects of meth and are just using scare tactics reminiscent of the cult film “Reefer Madness.”  I have also told the readers that not everyone who uses meth looks like the people represented in some of the mug shots of meth users.  The authors claim that people with prescriptions for Adderall don’t look like that way either.  Obviously not!  As a pharmacologist, I realize that the effects of any drug are dose related.  At low, prescription doses of Adderall, people are not likely to experience many adverse side effects.  But on the other end of the spectrum is the IV meth user who is increasing the dose of meth in an attempt to get that desired effect that she felt the first time that she injected the drug.  She may even inject the drug repeatedly every two or three hours, even though the drug is still active in her body for another 6-12 hours.  This use is not pharmacological and not logical, but it happens over and over again as people chase that high.  Comparing prescription Adderall (or Ritalin) use to a chronic IV meth user is misleading and disingenuous at best.

As far as the effects of methamphetamine on the brain, the authors provide an example from a peer-reviewed manuscript published in a highly reputable neuroscience journal in 2004.  They point out some perceived limitations in this study from 10 years ago and then paint all subsequent brain imaging studies with the same wide brush, stating, “This example is not unique. The brain imaging literature is replete with a general tendency to characterize any brain differences as dysfunction caused by methamphetamine.”  Yet the scientific literature is full of studies from the laboratories of respected scientists demonstrating that methamphetamine does indeed lead to the loss of brain cells.  The mechanism of action for this is known.  What the authors still fail to make clear is that these effects are related to the amount of the drug that is used and how long the individual has been using it.  Furthermore, the authors do not discuss the differences between smoking and injecting meth IV. While the effects of cocaine and nicotine are similar by either route, the effects of IV meth are much more pronounced compared to smoked meth.  If you don’t believe me, then ask someone who has tried both routes of administration.

Finally, the authors question the addictive potential of meth.  They cite studies in which meth users are brought into a laboratory as paid research subjects.  When asked if they would choose a 50 mg hit of meth or $20, the meth users would usually choose the money. The authors claim that this is proof that meth is not all that addictive – at least not addictive the way the media “hypes” it.  But the research subjects are not high at the time and likely did not decide to join the research study to get high.  They do it for the money.  People who are actively using meth are not likely to enter these research studies.  With high-dose meth use, people often experience paranoia and are distrustful of everyone.  Let’s see the data when the study is repeated with someone who is coming off a 3-day meth binge and is actively looking for her next hit of meth.  Then let’s see what she chooses!

I could go on, but you get the idea.  Just today a paper appeared in the peer-reviewed journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence titled, “The global epidemiology and burden of psychostimulant dependence: Findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010.”  The authors of this manuscript conclude, “Dependence upon psychostimulants is a substantial contributor to global disease burden.”  The global methamphetamine epidemic is real, regardless of what George Soros and the Open Society Foundation want us to believe.

I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories.  I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  Please share your stories with me!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

February 14, 2014

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

For this Meth in the News column, I search news reports from across the Unites States, and even around the world.  These news reports are typically accounts of people arrested for using or manufacturing methamphetamine, of accidents, fires and explosions that occur during the meth-making procedure, or the discovery of a clandestine meth lab in a home, apartment or hotel room.  However, I also keep abreast of the medical aspects of methamphetamine through pubmed.gov, the citation service provided by the US National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health.  I search for the medical consequences of methamphetamine on a daily basis.

A medical case report appeared during the second week of February in the journal, Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology, which is published by Springer.  The title of this report was “Accidental death via intravaginal absorption of methamphetamine.”  This caught my eye because I have reported in this Meth in the News column and in my blog about women who have tried to hide their meth, especially before being booked into jail, by concealing it within their “groin area.”  For example, Scotts Bluff County Detention Center jailers discovered seven bags of meth concealed “in the groin area” of a Katrina Ramos, 25, of Scottsbluff after they conducted a strip search when she appeared to be “digging in the rear of her pants” while being booked.  Jailers found four grams of meth inside the woman.  In another example, Teresa Bond was asked to “spread and cough” while being booked into the Jones County Adult Detention Center.  The correctional officer “then observed a clear plastic baggie located in the vaginal area,” that contained a crystal-like substance later identified as meth.  In yet another case, Amanda Fresquez-Hardt told a corrections officer at the Cass County’s jail that she put a plastic bag containing a variety of drugs inside her vagina, then inserted a tampon to hide the drugs. The drugs included an anti-anxiety medication, a sedative, a drug used to treat addiction to opiates and a half a gram of meth.  Finally, Brittany Williams was busted in an undercover meth sting in Trinity County, Texas.  When asked to produce the meth, Ms Williams, with her hands still cuffed behind her back, pulled a three-inch keybox out of her vagina that held three grams of meth.  So these women were hiding gram-sized quantities of meth inside their bodies, potentially putting themselves in grave danger.

This was highlighted in the medical case referred to above.  In that case, a 24-year-old male driver and his 23-year-old female passenger were stopped by a police officer after the officer observed their vehicle crossing the centerline of the road multiple times. A search of the vehicle revealed numerous containers of camp stove fuel, several funnels, and numerous lithium batteries. The couple was placed under arrest for possession of methamphetamine precursors and was transported to a local county jail. During booking it was noted that the female was fidgeting and that her pants were unbuttoned and unzipped. A body search for drugs was scheduled for both subjects per routine booking procedures for drug arrestees. During the body search, the female admitted that she was hiding illegal drugs. When asked to produce the drugs, she removed a clear plastic bag from her vagina but denied being in possession of any additional drugs. Based on the plastic bag that she produced and the subject’s own admission, the body search was not continued. The plastic bag contained a white powdery substance that was determined to be consistent with methamphetamine. The female subject was jailed on suspicion of a felony drug offense. During the morning of the third day following her arrest, the woman was observed face down in her bunk and would not receive her breakfast tray. Later that morning the guards finally entered the cell to check on her and found her unresponsive.  They initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation that continued until the arrival of Emergency Medical Services personnel. She was pronounced dead at the scene, approximately 48 hours after completion of the booking procedure. The woman was last seen alive sometime during the evening of her second day in jail. A forensic autopsy was performed 21 hours after pronouncement of death and revealed a 100 pound, extremely thin woman.

The only external or internal evidence of trauma included a few skin abrasions on the feet/toes, a small abrasion on one hand, and a bruise on her shin. Internal examination showed no evidence of evident natural disease.  However, her upper vagina contained a foreign material. Opening the anterior wall of the vagina revealed a discolored wad of plastic. Upon further inspection of the plastic wad, it was determined that it held 3 smaller clear plastic packages, each of which was wrapped around an off-white pasty substance. One of the plastic packages was loosely tied, while the remaining two were opened but appeared to have been previously tied. Toxicology tests revealed very high serum concentrations of methamphetamine and amphetamine.  The cause of death was attributed to ‘‘toxic effects of methamphetamine,’’ while the manner of death was ruled ‘‘accidental.’’

I am making such a big deal of this since body cavities are a common place for people, especially women, to conceal illegal drugs. This is an extremely dangerous practice!  The human vagina is comprised of a dense network of blood vessels and mucous membranes that can serve as an efficient drug-delivery route. Drugs absorbed by the intravaginal route do not undergo first pass metabolism since they bypass the liver.  Because of this, much higher blood concentrations are possible when drugs are delivered via intravaginal absorption compared to many other routes of administration.  Furthermore, people sometimes actually take meth by injecting it into the rectum, a dangerous practice called a “booty bump.”

Methamphetamine toxicity can be deadly, and the drug can be absorbed through your mucous membranes. Therefore, it is not safe to hide meth, either by swallowing (body stuffing) or by packing a body orifice (i.e., vagina) with drugs contained in balloons, condoms, plastic wrap or other packing material with the intent of transporting the drugs without detection.   If the drugs leak from the “container” as detailed in the case above, the resulting toxicity can be fatal.

Bottom line, just don’t do meth!

I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories.  I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  Please share your stories with me!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

February 7, 2014

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In this Meth in the News column, I often tell the readers about the dangers involved in the production of methamphetamine.  This process involves a number of caustic and volatile compounds that can be found in any store that sells household products.  But with the implementation of the Methamphetamine Production Prevention Act of 2008, it became more difficult for the meth “cooks” to obtain a necessary ingredient, pseudoephedrine.  The meth cooks quickly adapted, and today most meth “labs” are of the “one-pot” or “shake-and-bake”  variety (incidentally, these are the same thing, the process is simply called by two names).  This procedure requires less pseudoephedrine, and for less than $200 the “cook” can make enough meth for personal use, and maybe a little extra to sell on the side.  However, if these “labs” are not carefully watched and handled, the bottle containing the “lab” can explode, incinerating anything in the vicinity.

The meth “cooks” are typically paranoid, and with good reason.  Possessing and making methamphetamine is a crime, so the “cooks” should be concerned about being caught.  In addition, however, the direct effects of meth on the brain can also produce paranoia from the chronic meth-induced increase in dopamine, the same chemical in the brain that is associated with pleasure and euphoria.  This paranoia often leads the meth “cook” to leave her home and go someplace else to make meth.  An obvious simple alternative for the “cook” is to rent a motel room for 2 or 3 nights and “cook” the meth there in the hopes that it would be more difficult to get caught.  And this happens far more often than you might think.  In fact, there were several such cases in the news in the first week of February.

In Fort Wayne, Indiana, police were called to The Travel Inn located at 2712 W. Coliseum Blvd. last Tuesday night.  When they arrived at the motel at 11:47 p.m., police found what they described as an active meth lab inside one of the motel rooms.  Due to the nature of some of the chemicals involved, the Fort Wayne Fire Department was called to assist in case a fire ignited. As a safety precaution, police evacuated several nearby motel rooms, and the occupants were forced to seek shelter in the lobby until the lab was neutralized by the Fort Wayne Police Department (FWPD) Meth Suppression Unit.  Samantha Cole, 23, Brandon A. Gammons, 27, and Stephen R. Knott, 28, all were arrested and charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of two or more precursors of methamphetamine; maintaining a common nuisance; and possession of methamphetamine.  This is already the fifth meth lab that the FWPD Meth Suppression Team has neutralized so far this year.

In Rock Hill, South Carolina, a police officer was conducting a property check at the Executive Inn on North Anderson Road around 10 p.m. last Sunday when he offered to help a woman in the parking lot look for her daughter.  The officer eventually determined that the woman was staying in a room with her boyfriend.   When officers knocked on the door, Christopher Watkins answered and invited them inside where they found the girl lying on a bed.  Police were given permission to search the room, and they found hypodermic needles, 6 ounces of ammonium nitrate, 1 gallon of ethanol, Sudafed, pill crushers, scales, Mason jars, coffee filters, lithium batteries and plastic tubes – all used in making meth. Officers also found more than 1 gram of meth in a baggie stuffed between the couch cushions. Cynthia Snipes Burton, 32, and Robert David Hawkins, 46, both of Rock Hill, and Christopher Michael Watkins, 31, of Fort Mill, were arrested and each was charged with manufacturing meth, manufacturing meth in proximity to a school and possession of heroin.

Lt. Max Dorsey with the State Law Enforcement Division told reporters that finding a meth lab in a motel “sort of speaks to (the labs’) mobility. People aren’t necessarily having to stay at home or stay stationary to cook this meth. Because of this mobility, because it’s so compact (and) these vessels are so small … you can virtually do it anywhere.”

“We’re finding them in hotels, motels, cars, boats, mopeds, ditches, in wooded areas and, of course, homes,” he said. “Hotels and motels get a lot of attention because that’s an area where innocent people are concentrated in one building. The activity by the people in one room is going to negatively affect everybody in that building.”

In Lebanon, Tennessee, police discovered another methamphetamine lab Thursday night at the Knight’s Inn after they were alerted by Smith County authorities.   There officers found a “one-pot” meth lab in room 148, and a more detailed search of the room revealed more lab components as well as finished meth.  Police charged Stephanie Marie Mosley, 31, of Carthage, and Nathan Andrew Busard, 26, of Lebanon, with initiating a process with the intended result to manufacture meth, promotion of meth manufacture, reckless endangerment, possession of schedule II drugs, three counts of simple possession of drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia.  Police remained at the scene until state Meth Crime Unit agents arrived to properly dispose of the items. They quarantined the room and placed a hold on the property, and the hold will only be removed once proof is shown a certified hygienist and contractor properly cleaned the room.  This marks the fifth lab found in Lebanon in the past six months and the second this week.

A meth lab was also found in a room at the Sea Shore Motel at 120 East Fort Macon Road in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina.  Officers were dispatched to the motel concerning possible hazardous materials in a room after motel management discovered the remnants of a meth lab.  When the officers arrived, the room was already vacant, suggesting that the occupants just left the hazardous waste behind after the meth was made.  Police secured the room and contacted the State Bureau of Investigation for assistance with investigation and cleanup.

“Cooking” meth in hotel and motel rooms is much more widespread than most people realize.  How many times have you walked into a motel room and smelled ammonia and thought that they must have just cleaned the room since ammonia is found in so many household cleaning products?  Or maybe you smelled something like an industrial solvent and thought that the hotel was remodeling a nearby room.  But maybe what you had smelled were the remnants of a former meth lab.  The “cooks” may have removed the “one-pot” bottle and other large items, but the fumes produced during the “cook” permeate carpets, curtains, bed spreads, and just about everything else and are slowly released back into the room air.  These chemicals can be harmful to you and your loved ones.  Simple exposure to the ammonia contained in household cleaning products can produce headaches, nausea, dizziness and eye irritation.   So if you smell something strange the next time that you check in to a motel room, ask to be moved to another room.  Or better yet, find another hotel!

I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories.  I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  Please share your stories with me!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

January 31, 2014

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In many past Meth in the News columns, I have emphasized the dangers associated with the manufacture of methamphetamine.  Many of the chemicals used to “cook” meth are explosive, corrosive and caustic, and people often suffer burns and respiratory problems due to exposure to these chemicals.  But the chronic use of methamphetamine is also associated with crime.

In Napa County, California, Napa Police Lt. Gary Pitkin recently told the Napa County Board of Supervisors that there is a direct link between methamphetamine abuse and a variety of other crimes that directly affect the people living there, including theft, burglary, fraud, illegal firearm possession, and armed robbery, to name a few.  In fact, up to 41 percent of all crimes committed in Napa County in 2013 were related to methamphetamine abuse.

“There is an absolute tangible nexus between meth and crime,” Lt. Pitkin told the supervisors. “Meth use and abuse is not a victimless crime.”

Lt. Pitkin heads the Napa Special Investigations Bureau, which devotes about three-quarters of its resources and time to investigating methamphetamine traffickers in Napa County.  In 2013, 68 percent of the Napa Special Investigations Bureau’s arrests were methamphetamine related.  And 70 percent of those arrestees also had histories involving other crimes such as burglary, theft, fraud, and robbery.  But it gets worse.  Methamphetamine abuse also has effects stretching far beyond criminal activity.  Users are prone to greater rates of homelessness or of abandoning their families.  Methamphetamine use is also connected to half of Napa County’s child protective services cases.

And if you ask law enforcement personnel anywhere, including the Ark-La-Tex, they will tell you similar stories regarding the link between meth and crime and how meth users often give up everything else for the sake of their meth.  Finding that next “bump” of meth becomes paramount in their lives, and everything else takes a back seat.

But things can get even worse.

Jack (“Jacky”) Lee Brown is a former meth addict living in Eureka, California.  In several methamphetamine awareness groups, Jack has been relating what that’s like.

“Meth addicts are not in a sound mental state,” he said. “The first day of a fresh hit, you’re awake — you know, busy, busy, busy. You’re cleaning everything; you’re taking care of your house.  You feel alive. Then comes the sleep deprivation.  You stay up three or four days at a time, you start hallucinating. … At one point I thought God was telling me to take care of the evil people.”

Michael D. Fratkin, M.D. of Eureka is also spreading the word about the dangers associated with using meth. “It is so unique in its devastating consequences, in its effects on people’s judgment and, frankly, in the corrosion of their souls,” he said. “Methamphetamine is a perfect hack of the mesolimbic dopamine system in the brain. In other words, you get a huge release of dopamine immediately — which translates into an experience of energy, pleasure, grandiosity and altered judgment. And once you start using the drug regularly, that system down regulates its response. It becomes numb to normal pleasurable experiences that give a person a sense of well-being, confidence, pleasure. It alters the brain’s chemistry. Even after they stop, it is years before recovery of normal response.”

The paranoia, the lack of sleep, the lack of normal pleasures, and the hallucinations can all lead to bizarre behaviors, often of a violent, homicidal nature.  I have highlighted cases where mothers actually tortured and murdered their own children, or allowed harm to come to their children, all for another “bump” of meth or because they were already intoxicated on meth.  Methamphetamine changes people – and these changes are never good.

Bottom line – there is no good side to meth.

I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories.  I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  Please share your stories with me!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

January 24, 2014

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

I have written several times in this Meth in the News column about the volatility of the methamphetamine manufacturing process.  Many of the chemicals, while readily available, are corrosive, flammable and/or explosive, and the methamphetamine “cooks” often have not even had the training that a student worker in a lab might receive.  They either find a “recipe” on the Internet or a friend or associate tells them how to make meth.  Proper precautions are sometimes unknown or forgotten, and this leads to explosions and fires during the procedure.  There were several cases of meth “labs” burning or exploding in the news this past week, and I thought that I would share some of these with you.

The first fire was reported last Tuesday afternoon in New Philadelphia, Ohio.  Emergency crews and investigators had their hands full after an explosion at a home on Independence Circle that was the result of an out of control meth lab.  Captain Shawn Nelson of the New Philadelphia Police Department told reporters that when they arrived at around 2:30 p.m. they witnessed two people running from the home.  Police quickly caught up with them, and investigators were able to link them to a meth lab that was located on the second floor of the home. The Ohio State Fire Marshal’s office investigated the fire and ruled that an accelerant used in the meth cook caused the fire.  The two unnamed individuals are facing multiple charges including aggravated arson and are being held in the Tuscarawas County Jail.

A fire was also reported last Sunday night in a Race Street garage apartment in Parkersburg, West Virginia.  Apparently, a flash fire occurred during production of methamphetamine at around 7:30 p.m.  Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin told reporters that officers located the two people who were in the apartment at the time of the fire, namely Joshua Earl Boston, 35, from Vienna, and Nicole Y. Hesson, 32, who lived in the apartment.  Ms. Hesson told investigators that she was attempting to make meth in her kitchen when the fire broke out.  When she and Mr. Boston could not extinguish the fire, they evacuated the premises.  Ms. Hesson received serious burns on her face and hands and was taken to Camden Clark Medical Center for treatment of her injuries and to be decontaminated.  She was later transferred to another hospital.  Mr. Boston also was taken to Camden Clark for decontamination and then to police headquarters where he was interviewed by police and the Parkersburg Narcotics Task Force.  Mr. Boston was charged with operating a clandestine meth lab, while charges against Hesson are pending following her release from the hospital.  If convicted, both face two to ten years in prison and a fine of from $5,000 to $25,000.

Paducah, Kentucky firefighters were called to a home at 421 Hayes Ave. around 4:20 a.m. Monday morning.  Detective with the Paducah Police Department’s Drug and Vice Enforcement Unit searched the home, and Paducah Fire Marshal Greg Cherry reported finding a meth lab in the kitchen area. Sgt. Steve Smith of the Kentucky State Police told reporters that investigators also found drug paraphernalia including pipes commonly used to smoke meth and syringes and arrested two people in connection with the fire.  Jerri C. Bufford, 46, was arrested on charges of manufacturing meth and possession of drug paraphernalia.  Danny L. Humble, 50, was arrested on charges of possession of a controlled substance (meth), manufacturing meth and possession of drug paraphernalia.  Humble and Bufford were both arrested and taken to the McCracken County Regional Jail.

A massive fire on Remington Drive in Fayetteville, Tennessee also started last Friday because of a meth lab explosion.  Lincoln County Sheriff Murray Blackwelder told reporters that the fire was started by a simple “one-pot” meth lab. The owner of the home, Teresa Baker, was using the place as a “party house” where her “guests” could find meth, according to Sheriff Blackwelder. He said that the Sheriff’s department had been monitoring the home for a while because of suspected drug activity. Ms. Baker’s charges include promoting and manufacturing meth in a drug-free school zone in addition to charges related to the fire. “It’s a scary thing to know this is right across the street from our house, from our family and our children,” said neighbor John Derm.  “We’ve got an elementary school right up the street here, less than half a mile up the road,” said Amy Derm.  Like the Derms, many readers may be surprised about what is going on at their neighbor’s house.

In Escambia County, Florida, the Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office reported finding multiple “one pot” meth labs after a house fire on Birch Street (how appropriate!). Investigators believe that the fire may have been caused by one of the clandestine meth laboratories exploding.  Authorities noticed the smell of a meth lab upon arriving on the scene.  When they went inside the home, they immediately recognized a fuel can, a “one pot” meth laboratory and other items consistent with a meth lab in the kitchen area. Upon searching the entire residence, investigators located 29 “one pot” labs as well as other items used in the production of meth. The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office Rapid Response Unit responded and collected and disposed of all hazardous materials.

These were NOT all of the meth-related fires and explosions that were reported last week. I could go on and on, but I think that you have the idea.  You have to stay aware of your surroundings and what is going on around you.  If you smell something suspicious, report it to the authorities.

Finally, I want to relay a sad, tragic story that was reported last week.  Nikki Cain, 60, was a drug-abuse counselor in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  In 2009, she was injured in a fire at her apartment complex.  The blaze, ironically started by a meth lab mishap, destroyed part of the complex and left two uninvolved people dead.  Ms. Cain, who was not involved with the meth lab or the “cook”, was rescued, but smoke inhalation left her with severe brain damage. She spent the years since the fire moving between hospital and nursing home.  Unfortunately, her fight ended on January 6 when she finally succumbed to her injuries.  Deborah Morris was Cain’s cousin and had been her caregiver.  She told reporters that Ms. Cain had been a counselor at Tulsa Rightway Medical and had worked with recovering addicts.  “They told us that several of the people she had counseled were just devastated by what happened,” Morris said. Mark Roberts, who was cooking meth in a neighboring apartment and who officials believe started the fire, was convicted of manufacturing or attempting to manufacture a controlled dangerous substance — methamphetamine — and is now serving a life prison sentence. He was acquitted of murder and arson.  Go figure!

I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories.  I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  Please share your stories with me!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

January 17, 2014

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In this Meth in the News column from two weeks ago, I told the readers about an almost unbelievable methamphetamine drug distribution ring that had been broken up in China during a massive raid in the Guangdong Province on the Sunday morning before Christmas.  This huge operation focused on the village of Boshe in the notorious drug-producing area centered on the eastern city of Lufeng. Three tons of methamphetamine were seized – all in a single village.  Another 23 tons of raw materials for drug production were also recovered. Now comes news of direct link between two Hong Kong “Triads” and Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel.

“Triads” are family-run organized crime gangs. They are sometimes referred to as the “Chinese Mafia” or, among mainland Chinese as “black societies.” The Triads are active in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Southeast Asia and the “Chinatowns” in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere. Chinese Triad societies control all Chinese organized crime and are some of the world’s largest crime organizations with more than 2 million members worldwide. The Triads are believed to control an empire worth many billions of dollars. The largest and most powerful Triad, Sun Yee On, is believed to contain 140,000 members and is thought to be particularly well connected with Hong Kong tycoons and the Communist party elite. One high-level Communist official even referred to the Sun Yee On Triad as “patriotic.” The second and third largest Triads, respectively, are Who Sing Who and 14K (14 stands for the road number of a former headquarters and K stands for Kowloon).

The two Triads that have most often been linked to one of Latin America’s largest and most notorious drug cartels to supply the rapidly growing global market for methamphetamine just happen to be the 14K and Sun Yee On Triads, two of the three largest.  Members of these Triads are reported to be supplying Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel with the raw materials needed to produce methamphetamine.  The Sinaloa cartel is one of Mexico’s most powerful organized crime groups and has played a deadly role in the country’s drug wars, which have claimed 60,000 lives since 2006.

Details of this Mexico-China connection were uncovered in the wake of the Christmas Day arrest of three known affiliates of the Sinaloa Cartel in a United States intelligence-led raid on a cock fighting farm south of Manila. In this raid, Philippine anti-drug agents also discovered and smashed a meth lab and seized 84 kg of the finished drug.  “The Mexicans are already here,” said Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force Chief Bartolome Tobias, adding that he believed they were getting help from “Chinese drug syndicates” or Triads. Informed sources have identified the 14K and Sun Yee On as being among the Triads known to smuggle the primary raw material used to make meth – ethyl phenylacetate – into the Philippines.

Ties between the Hong Kong Triads and the Sinaloa cartel were also outlined in a report by the Mexican attorney general’s office last year. According to the report, the 14K and Sun Yee On Triads supply the Mexican drug cartels with precursor chemicals such as ethyl phenylacetate and ephedrine for the manufacture of meth earmarked for the “insatiable American market”.  Professor Robert Bunker, of the Strategic Studies Institute at the United States Army War College in Pennsylvania told reporters, “These cartels benefit via linkages with Chinese organized crime by obtaining access to bulk precursor chemicals whose regulation has been severely tightened in Mexico and the United States.”  Professor Bunker went on to say, “The Chinese and HK [Hong Kong] Triads get cash providing the bulk of precursor materials and also infantry small arms and ammunition. They also profit from smuggling Chinese and other Asian nationals via the cartels into the United States.” So when the availability of precursor materials became increasingly uncertain in North America, Chinese organized crime stepped in to fill the void.

China is one of the world’s largest producers of meth and of its precursor chemicals. The relatively lax (practically nonexistent) controls in China’s chemical industry offer gangs easy access to these precursor materials, while regulatory shortcomings encourage smuggling efforts. An eye-opening study recently released by the United Nations reported that Hong Kong did not issue end-user certificates to ensure that the buyers of precursor chemicals were the actual recipients of the materials, demonstrating how easy it would be to “highjack” shipments of these chemicals for illicit uses. While the Hong Kong Triads have long been major players in the regional narcotics trade, recent developments suggest they are seeking to expand the reach of their networks. Accordingly, there have been alarming increases in the numbers of seizures of precursor chemicals by authorities in Latin America in recent years, with most of the shipments originating in China. In a six-week period in 2012 alone, Mexican security forces seized about 900 tons of precursor chemicals. 900 tons!  Months later, authorities in Belize intercepted a single shipment of methamphetamine from China with an estimated worth of $10 billion!  These quantities of methamphetamine are difficult to imagine, yet they highlight the immensity of the global meth problem – and the role for organized crime in the spread of this man-made epidemic!

The Sinaloa drug cartel was named after the state on Mexico’s Pacific coast where it was formed.  This cartel is one of the most powerful drug trafficking organizations in the world. The Sinaloa cartel is led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera, who has been wanted by authorities worldwide since he escaped from a Mexican prison in 2001.  United States authorities currently have a $5 million bounty on his head.  In 2013, the Chicago Crime Commission named Guzman “public enemy number one” due to Sinaloa’s impact on the drug trade in the city. The last person to hold the distinction was Al Capone.  The cartel’s heartland covers a “Golden Triangle” across Mexico’s Sinaloa, Durango and Chihuahua states, although the cartel is said to maintain operations in locations as diverse as Sierra Leone, Russia and Australia and is now considered a transnational organized crime group.  So you have notorious Chinese Triads teaming up with one of the most powerful, and brutal, drug smuggling operations in the world.

So if you use Mexican methamphetamine, this is where your money is going.  That’s one more reason not to ever use meth.

I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories.  I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  Please share your stories with me!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

January 10, 2014

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Whenever I talk to people about methamphetamine and my passion for reporting the horrors of this insidious drug, I tell them that I do so because of the children. That’s also why I take the time to write this Meth in the News column. Children are often something akin to collateral damage when it comes to meth.  The horrific act that truly incited my passion for disseminating information about the dangers of meth was the 2003 murder of Candice Renée Alexander in East Texas by her parents. Her own mother injected her with a fatal dose of meth after learning that her husband had sex with his step daughter when she was away.  Candice was only 15 years old.

Whenever I think that I have heard the worst of the worst when it comes to meth, another truly evil event occurs that shakes me to the core.  It happened again this week.  The following is graphic and sickening, and please do not read if you have a tender heart.  Please!

When I first read this report online, I thought that it had to be a sick joke – perhaps a parody or maybe a morality tale meant to attract attention.  But I found other reports of this same case and also read the police affidavit for the arrest of this woman.  A friend also checked with law enforcement personnel in Oklahoma, and they also verified that the facts of the arrest are true.  At this point, of course, these are only allegations.  No one has been found guilty yet.  However, something evil definitely happened to these innocent little children.

On January 3, 2014, Natalie Lynn Webb, 30, of Elk City, Okla. was arrested by police who accused her of the “sexual abuse and exploration” of her own children in her home in Fairview Village. Authorities in Beckham County were first alerted to the accusations against the mother of four in August 2013 after a Department of Human Services investigator learned from an older child that Webb was ‘selling sex’ with her kids to other adults.  As detailed in the police affidavit – almost completely based on an interview with a 9-year-old boy – the victims were an 8-year-old boy and his two 3-year-old sisters.

According to the affidavit, Webb’s 9-year-old son told investigators that his two little sisters were repeatedly raped by their mother as her friends, both men and women looked on. Apparently, these perverts paid to watch the sexual abuse of these children, and Webb would take them into her bedroom or bathroom and then ‘drag’ in both of her daughters and lock the door. The boy told police that he saw his sisters resist as their mother dragged them into the room, and then he could hear his sisters screaming ‘stop Momma, stop, it hurts’, and crying. Police also wrote that the boy told them he walked in on the abuse on one occasion and described his mother using a foreign object — which turned out to be a vibrator found by police during their search of the home — to rape his sister. The little boy said that his mother would usually be naked while committing the abuse, and he added that his sister would “always” be bleeding afterwards. One of the girls was interviewed by police and corroborated her brother’s story, saying it felt ‘nasty’ when she was abused.

Pornographic videos were found on Webb’s cell phone, including a video of Webb engaged in a solitary sexual act in the bathroom, but it was not clear if any videos of the children were found.

Webb emphatically denied sexually molesting her children in interviews with police.  She demanded to take a polygraph test to prove her innocence and that that she had not sexually molested her children. Although not admissible in court in Oklahoma, Webb failed the test.

Webb did admit to authorities that she often took methamphetamine and even sold it out of her house.  She also said that she sometimes traded her food stamps for meth.  Webb did not bother to hide her meth use from her children, and her 9-year-old son made statements contained in the police affidavit that alluded to intravenous drug use by his mother.  He said that “these things would happen lots of times.”  He also said that when his mother used the needles it would make her “act weird and her breath would smell funny and her arm would have little dots where it was bleeding.”  He told investigators that he often found needles around the house.

In addition to the sexual abuse, the children were often neglected. Sometimes Webb would not feed them, and they would have to scavenge for themselves. The 9-year old said that they “would have to find stuff and cook it in the microwave or pop tarts and stuff.” If they could not find anything to eat, they would check the floor for crumbs or cookies to eat that “were there from a week ago.”  And there is even more.  Several of Webb’s children told investigators that they were often subjected to beatings and were thrown against a wall over and over again.  This story just breaks my heart.

Webb has past felony convictions for child endangerment and possession of a controlled substance, along with misdemeanor convictions of unlawful possession of paraphernalia, bogus checks and unauthorized use of a credit card.  She is being held on a $2 million bond. Her children are in the custody of their grandparents.

While it has not yet been proven that Webb committed the atrocities detailed in the police affidavit, authorities are convinced that these little children did suffer unspeakable abuse.  And while I cannot claim that meth caused this sexual abuse to happen, and of course, while not everyone who uses meth sexually abuses her children, the continued association of meth with such aberrant sexual behaviors makes me suspicious.  And what about the perverts who paid to watch this woman sexually torture her own children?  You may remember the case from 2011, reported in this column, about a 3-year-old boy in Oklahoma City who was traded for meth to two men who sexually raped and tortured the toddler for hours and hours.  Unfortunately, there have been other such cases, and likely many other cases that have not yet been discovered!  Meth is known to lead to increased sexual arousal and pleasure, impaired judgment and memory, paranoia, and violence.  I really don’t care what consenting adults do behind closed doors, but when innocent little children are harmed, it makes my blood boil.

This was difficult to write, and I am sure it was difficult to read (as it was for me).  But if this article prevents just one person from trying meth for the first time, then it was worth it.

I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories.  I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  Please share your stories with me!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

January 3, 2014

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

I often write in these Meth in the News columns about the bizarre behaviors that are often produced by people under the influence of methamphetamine.  These behaviors are often sexual in nature – that just seems to go hand-in-hand with meth.  It just so happens that a bizarre event occurred over the holidays that I thought I should share in Meth in the News.

The actual event occurred in Iggy’s Bar & Grill in Salem, Oregon, on the Sunday before Christmas, but the story began elsewhere.  Marion County Sheriff’s deputies began receiving calls around 1 p.m. complaining about a man acting “bizarrely” in the 9000 block of Brooklake Road Northeast.  Apparently, Andrew Frey, 37, of Beaverton, made a “string of erratic outbursts” after he called a locksmith and then refused to pay the worker for his services.  Frey then wandered over to the Brook’s Market convenience store, causing a disturbance, and refused to leave when asked.  An employee at the market had to eventually escort Frey off of the property, so Frey made his way to Iggy’s Bar & Grill located nearby.  That is where things took a nasty turn.

A bartender at Iggy’s called the Marion County Sheriff’s department to tell the authorities that a man came into the bar, exposed his genitals and began openly pleasuring himself.  By the time a deputy arrived on the scene, Frey had moved from the bar to the bathroom “for privacy”, but reportedly had not stopped pleasuring himself.

A deputy tried to arrest Frey for theft and public indecency, but he resisted, forcing the deputy to use a Taser stun gun to try and subdue the man. The deputy “zapped” Frey multiple times, but the Taser just seemed to enrage Frey, who then began fighting with the deputy. At least 15 police officers from Salem, Keizer and Marion County then rushed to the bar and were eventually able to subdue the suspect and take him into custody.

Frey apparently came to his senses later on and admitted to authorities that he had been using methamphetamine and had no recollection of his crazed behavior.  Go figure!  But now Frey faces charges of resisting arrest along with public indecency and theft.

Such behavior is not that unusual for meth users, but it may not always be reported in the news.  However, a similar case happened in Glendale, California earlier last year.  In this case, 34-year-old Umar Kahn was pulled over by Glendale Police for running a stop sign on Royal Boulevard.  But when the police approached his window, they noticed that the “married computer technician” was sitting in the driver’s seat of his 2004 Honda Accord with no pants or underwear on. Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz told reporters that Kahn said that that driving naked “gave him a sense of freedom.”  But the authorities also found a glass pipe in the vehicle — alongside his pants and underwear, and quickly determined that Kahn had been smoking meth during the joyride. Kahn was arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure, methamphetamine possession and being under the influence of methamphetamine.

During the ensuing investigation, Glendale police learned that Khan would often drive around the city at night or early morning hours – naked from the waist down – looking for a cul-de-sac or home driveway where he could pleasure himself.  It was not clear from the report whether or not Khan would also use meth each time, but he was labeled a “serial neighborhood masturbator” by the Glendale News-Press.  My guess is that meth was always also involved.  What a charming drug!

I did want to share one more news item with you this week.  When I first read this report, I could not believe my eyes, but I have now seen this reported from several reliable sources.  Apparently there was a massive methamphetamine drug raid in the Guangdong Province of China in the predawn hours on the Sunday before Christmas.  The huge operation focused on the village of Boshe in the notorious drug-producing area centered on the eastern city of Lufeng.  More than 3,000 paramilitary personnel, police and border guards from Guangzhou, Shantou, Huizhou, Meizhou and Heyuan seized three tons of methamphetamine and arrested 182 suspects in 109 separate raids – all in a single village.  Yes, you read that right – three tons – that’s 2,721,554 grams or 10,886,216 hits of 250 mg.  Another 23 tons of raw materials for drug production were also recovered in the raid.  The 182 suspects allegedly belonged to 18 production and trafficking rings based in and around Boshe.

Qiu Wei, a senior official of the Guangdong police anti-narcotics bureau told reporters, “Lufeng has long been notorious for drugs. Over the past three years, it has been providing one-third of the crystal meth nationwide.”

More than half of the 500 prisoners currently in the city’s detention center are there for their involvement in drug-related crimes.  Lufeng is an impoverished area where most of the farmland is sandy.  Therefore, growing numbers of villagers have joined the illegal drug rings and turned their homes and farmlands into crystal meth factories – similar to what has been seen across the heartland of America.  The Public Security Ministry’s Narcotics Control Bureau said last year that police solved more than 122,000 drug-related cases in 2012 and arrested 133,000 suspects. Among the 45.1 tons of drugs seized were 16.2 tons of crystal meth.

Clearly, the methamphetamine epidemic is a world-wide phenomenon!

I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories.  I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  Please share your stories with me!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

December 27, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Each week I talk about the dangers involved with the manufacture of methamphetamine.  Many of the chemicals used to make meth are caustic, flammable and explosive, and can be very dangerous to work with, even for people with experience working with such chemicals.  I saw a video recently where a “one-pot lab” was mishandled by the response team.  Luckily they had taken the “lab” outdoors and firefighters were standing by to douse the flames.  Nevertheless, a serious and potentially deadly fire erupted when the “one-pot lab” (a plastic soda bottle) fell on its side, spilling the contents.  Imagine if the “cook” was already high, had not slept for several days, and the fire had started in an enclosed bathroom or bedroom – or a motel room!  This happens more often than you might imagine, and may even go unreported in some cases.  In just the past week, there were at least three cases involving burns in Meth in the News.

In the first case from near Farmington, Missouri, firefighters received a first-alarm dispatch at 4:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve.  The call sent crews to a mobile home located on Mitchell Road, approximately two miles west of Park Hills and Highway 8.  When firefighters arrived on the scene, they found the west side of the building completely engulfed in flames. A second alarm was soon issued after the wind blew the flames toward a neighboring building, putting it in danger as well, and this summoned more firefighters and equipment to the scene.  Unfortunately, the home was a total loss.

Nearby good Samaritans told firefighters that an unnamed burn victim was reportedly crawling out of the door of the home when they noticed him, pulled him out of the burning building and carried him to safety. Medics airlifted him to the St. Louis area burn center at St. John’s Mercy Hospital for treatment of the serious burns that he suffered to his hands and lower body.  He was listed in critical condition.

Bystanders told authorities with the Mineral Area Drug Task Force and the Missouri State Fire Marshal’s Office they heard an explosion just before the fire erupted. Although neither the drug task force nor the fire marshal released an official statement while the case is under investigation, the man’s neighbors also told authorities the man was manufacturing methamphetamine when the explosion occurred.  Go figure!

A similar Christmas Eve case occurred in Geronimo, Okla.  When firefighters arrived on the scene at around 10 p.m., the mobile home was already engulfed in flames, and it took them almost two hours to contain the fire.  There were three men inside the home when the fire broke out, but luckily firefighters found all three men standing outside the burning home when they arrived on the scene.  Unfortunately, all that is left of the mobile home now is a pile of rubble.

Comanche County Sheriff’s deputies were called in after firefighters discovered drug paraphernalia that included methamphetamine and marijuana inside the trailer.  Although all three men were arrested on drug charges, investigators have not yet determined if the drugs contributed to the fire.  Geronimo Mayor Edward Mounts said that he hopes that this fire wasn’t ignited because of drug activity.   However, fires such as this as usually a result of a careless meth-manufacturing operation.

“Meth is a really bad problem,” Mounts said. “No matter how small it is, it’s a problem. I think it has gotten to be a bigger problem over the years, and we are just like any other town, unfortunately.”

The final case this week involved burns, but not a major fire.  In Lancaster, Ohio, a 33-year-old man said that he noticed a strange garbage bag in the garage of a home that he shared with an elderly relative in the 1200 block of Stonehouse Court on Sunday, December 22.  He told authorities that when he opened the bag and reached inside, he received serious burns from some of the chemicals contained within and subsequently drove himself to the hospital.  I wonder why he could not smell the chemicals!

After he went to the hospital, another one of his relatives came by the home and saw the bag sitting outside the garage.  He suspected that a meth lab was contained inside the garbage bag and called police.  I wonder what gave it away!  The Fairfield-Hocking Major Crimes Unit was called to the scene to clean up the chemicals and also went to the hospital to interview the man who received the chemical burns.  It is unclear to whom the meth lab belonged, and the investigation is ongoing.  There are no names in this report, but I am willing to bet that the 33-year old was making meth in his elderly relative’s garage.  I could be wrong, but …

Please remember, meth labs are nothing to take for granted.  Explosions, fires and burns go hand-in-hand with the meth-manufacturing process.  If you see something strange in your garage, along the roadside or in the woods, especially if you smell chemical fumes or see plastic bottles with strange residue inside or tubing sticking out, call the authorities immediately.  Even a discarded meth lab must be handled by appropriately-trained personnel.  I recently received such training, and believe me, the safe disposal of meth lab must be left to trained professionals.

I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories.  I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  Please share your stories with me!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

December 20, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In past Meth in the News columns, I have warned the readers about the contamination that is often left behind following the manufacture of methamphetamine.   Law enforcement personnel are only required to remove the “lab” from the property.  They do not decontaminate the property – that is left up to the property owner.  This puts the public in danger due to the toxic contaminants that permeated the carpets, walls, drains and ventilation during the “cook” and remain long after the “lab” has been removed.  I thought that I would update the readers about some of the regulations on the books regarding methamphetamine labs in Louisiana.

Under “Civil code-ancillaries” (online: http://legis.la.gov/lss/lss.asp?folder=83), there is section RS 9:3198 (duties of the seller, http://legis.la.gov/lss/lss.asp?doc=181357).  Under part A.(2)(b), the statute reads, “Included with the property disclosure documents required by this Section shall be a statement of acknowledgment as to whether or not an illegal laboratory for the production or manufacturing of methamphetamine was in operation on the purchasing property.”  So it is the duty of the property owner to disclose whether or not there was ever a meth lab on the property.

Under RS 9:3198.1 (http://legis.la.gov/lss/lss.asp?doc=507390), the statutes read:

Duties of governmental entities; contaminated property

  1. Whenever a state or local law enforcement agency becomes aware that residential real property has been contaminated by its use as a clandestine methamphetamine drug lab, the agency shall report the contamination to the Department of Environmental Quality, hereinafter referred to as the “department”, and to the local sheriff’s office.
  2. The department shall maintain a listing of residential real property that has been reported as contaminated, and the list shall be made available to the public through a website.
  3. If property that is listed as contaminated on the department’s website is subsequently seized and sold at a sheriff’s sale, the sheriff shall provide notice to all bidders present at the time the sheriff’s sale is conducted.
  4. The department may promulgate rules and regulations in order to adopt standards for remediating properties contaminated by clandestine methamphetamine drug labs.
  5. Upon confirmation by the department that property has been properly remediated to its established standards, the department shall remove the property from the list required in Subsection B of this Section. The department shall provide written notification to the local sheriff and the property owner of record when the documentation shows that the property has been properly remediated.

That all sounds great.  But these statutes have absolutely NO TEETH!  Under this same statute, Section G, it reads, “Failure to comply with the provisions of this Section shall not create a cause of action against a governmental entity or the property owner, the owner’s agent, the mortgagee, or other person with an interest in the property.”  So if a property owner does not disclose that a meth lab had been on the property, it looks like nothing will happen.  I guess this statute just works by the honor system.

This frightens me – not because I am thinking of purchasing property, but because meth labs are also frequently found in motel rooms.  Experts in meth lab responding have told me that they have found evidence of meth labs in motel rooms they were renting.  How many rooms are already contaminated?  Will the next room I rent be the location of a former meth lab that was never reported or cleaned?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has specific recommendations as possible best practices for cleaning up a former meth lab.  In brief, some of these recommendations include: In contaminated areas, walls should be removed, ceiling tiles should be replaced, and ceiling fans should be discarded.  Floors should be removed and discarded. Carpets should be removed and discarded in a way that prevents reuse – don’t clean them. Carpet padding and flooring under carpet are also likely contaminated. Porous floors, such as those made of wood or cork, should be discarded. Consider also removing floors in high-traffic areas.  Porous kitchen counter tops should be discarded. Electrical outlet covers and wall switch plate covers should be replaced. Discard any dishes used in meth making. Discard any plastic bottles, nipples and baby utensils and dishes in a way to prevent reuse. Any baby toys that can fit in the mouth and any contaminated toys should be discarded in a way that prevents reuse. Stuffed animals and other porous toys should be discarded. Discard contaminated clothes. Destroy, and then discard upholstered furniture. Discard contaminated appliances, electronics and tools. Make them unusable so they can’t be salvaged. It may be more cost effective to demolish a mobile home, because they tend to have more porous surfaces.

Thus, the costs for cleaning a property where a meth lab was located can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.  In many states, the numbers of vacant and abandoned homes are growing dramatically due to meth-making contamination.  “It’s an unfunded mandate from the state,” said Mindy Waldron, administrator of the Fort Wayne Allen County Department of Health in Indiana. “And there are really no penalties if no one cleans up a house. It can just sit there and be a blight on the community.”

Obviously the EPA recommendations are not being followed, and it is not clear if there are any repercussions if a property owner does not report or clean a meth-contaminated property.  This has to be corrected now.

There was a time when lead was used in paint and asbestos was considered safe for insulation and other purposes.  When people became sick from lead paint, it was banned for sale in 1978.  Asbestos did not become illegal until 1989.  However, there are now strict nationwide regulations regarding the use of lead paint and asbestos as well as for the handling of renovations or demolitions of properties containing these substances.

It is time that teeth were put into the statutes regarding properties contaminated by meth or the toxic substances used to produce this insidious drug.  These toxins are no joke and are nothing to be taken lightly.  Just as property contaminated with lead paint or asbestos must be properly decontaminated, the same must hold true for meth.

I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories.  I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  Please share your stories with me!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

December 13, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In many of my Meth in the News columns, I have warned the readers about the dangers of living in a home or apartment or renting a room in a motel where methamphetamine had been manufactured (cooked).  Many of the chemicals used to make meth can burn the skin, turn lung tissue to mush, blind or kill.  Other chemicals can explode or catch on fire.  And while the local Methamphetamine Response Team can safely dismantle and clear the lab, any residue from the “cook” is still in the dwelling.  The response team only removes the lab; they are not equipped to make the dwelling safe to inhabit.  That is the responsibility of the property owner.  It is frightening to consider how many motel rooms, apartments and even homes are still contaminated with the chemicals that had been used to make meth in the past.  This became all too real for three unsuspecting college students in November.

Francesca Weikert, Nikki Gemmell, and Paige Stevenson are sophomores at Western Washington University in Bellingham.  They were very happy to find an old, tan, paint-chipped two-story house to rent on East Myrtle Street, but that changed soon after they began living in the home.  They began experiencing health issues such as upper respiratory problems and mental fogginess while in the house, and this caused them to worry.  A friend told them that it was rumored that someone used to smoke meth in the house, but when they contacted the company that rented the home to them, All County Property Management, the company refused to test the home for contamination.  So the women contacted the Whatcom County Health Department to have the home tested for the presence of the drug.  To their dismay, the test revealed that the home’s walls were contaminated with more than 10 times the legal limit for methamphetamine toxicity in a home.  Ms. Weikert told reporters, “They didn’t want to have anything to do with it.” She went on, “They actually called another roommate who used to live there last year to call us and tell us that everything was OK and calm us down.”

“Our management wouldn’t help us out,” said Paige Stevenson. “They denied anything was wrong with the house, and [said] we should go about living in it. They didn’t want to get any tests done.”

The home was relatively easy to test using a swab test. “A piece of paper with a square cut out of the middle is placed on a wall and then swabbed with gauze and a tester fluid to get the sample”, said Jeff Hegedus, a supervisor at the Whatcom County Health Department.  The department then sends the gauze to a lab to be tested for methamphetamine.  A recent update on this story reported that the methamphetamine contamination levels were as high as 4.2 micrograms per 100 square centimeters in the home. The highest reading came from samples taken in a bathroom.

All County Property Management told the women they couldn’t believe the results they got back and told them to leave immediately according to Weikert.  “The day [we got the results] we had to move out,” Weikert said. “The second we found out there was meth, we got kicked out [by the property management], and we’re homeless now.”  The property was subsequently taken from All County Property Management and is still deemed unsuitable for living.  Unfortunately for the three students, their lawyers don’t believe that they have a strong enough case to get more than their rent back and compensation for personal damages, even though most of their symptoms subsided after they left the house.  However, Nikki Gemmell developed asthma while living in the house.

So what will happen?  When the health department’s test shows methamphetamine levels over the legal limit, the next step is a test by a licensed contractor.  Depending on secondary test results from the contractor, the next step is for the property owner to submit a decontamination plan to the health department for approval.  This would likely include washing and decontaminating the house, and in cases such as this one, removing certain parts of the house, including drywall and carpets.  And while there is usually no deadline for a decontamination plan, it is in the property owner’s best interest to act quickly because the house will remain listed unsuitable for occupancy until it retests with levels below the legal limit.

But that is only after the property is tested.  One can only imagine how many homes, apartments and motel rooms where meth was cooked or smoked have never been tested!  Meth cooks often rent a room for 3 or 4 days to use to cook their meth.  If you begin to feel lightheaded or nauseous after renting a room, move to a different room.  In fact I would suggest moving to a different motel.  Until there is a national clearinghouse for properties contaminated with meth you just have to ask yourself, “Do I feel lucky?”

I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories.  I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  Please share your stories with me!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

December 6, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

I often write in this column about the dangers associated with the manufacture and use of methamphetamine.  But Tulsa, Oklahoma has experienced a significant increase in meth-related violence over the past 12 months that really makes one question what could be going on with this insidious drug.  In particular, Tulsa has experienced TWO quadruple murders in 2013 alone.

The murder of four adults in a single incident often reaches the national news.  This has now happened twice in the span of a single year, but the news of these atrocities has not reached far beyond Oklahoma.  And what makes these cases even more disturbing is that all four victims from the murders last January were women, and three of the four victims from the most recent case were also women, ranging in age from 23 to 55 years old.  Who can remember the last time three or more women were murdered in a single crime?  Now at least seven women have been shot and killed in Tulsa in two crimes committed within a single year!  When was the last time that something like this ever happened?

What was the common thread in both crimes (and in several other homicides in Tulsa this past year)?  You guessed it – methamphetamine.   Killed last January were twin sisters Rebeika Powell, and Kayetie Melchor, both 23. The sisters were each shot twice. The other victims were 33-year-old Misty Nunley, and 55-year-old Julie Jackson; each of them was shot once. All four were also found with their hands tied behind their backs using “bedding material”, and in one case a pink scarf, according to the case reports.  A toddler was also found in the home, unharmed. A toxicology report for the four women revealed methamphetamine and amphetamine in each of their systems.  It was believed that the women were also selling methamphetamine out of the apartment.

In the more recent crime, Charlie Dean Dake Jr., 34, Melissa Lynn Dake, 35, Glenda Ellen Harper, 54, and Tammy Brunson, 46, were found fatally shot at a residence in Tulsa last month.  Also inside the home were several young children and one person at least 80 years old.

They were in a different part of the house and were not hurt. Although detectives have not yet identified any suspects in the killings, they “are working on the premise” that meth was involved, Det. Sgt. Dave Walker told reporters. “That’s the only thing we can think of that they were involved in that would lead to this carnage,” he said.  There was a lone survivor in this case, but the unidentified victim has been less than cooperative in helping solve the murders, which has frustrated Tulsa police. “I’m just a little frustrated by the underworld of the methamphetamine dealers, or users, I mean I know they’re liars and cheats and thieves but now we’ve got people dropping and dying,” said Walker.  “Something’s going on. There is an increase in violence at this moment,” he said, adding that violence may be the way meth suppliers are “taking care of” unpaid debts and turf disputes.

In addition to police finding meth addicts living in squalor, users are “willing to be beaten; they’re willing to move from place to place; they’re willing to give up their kids” for the drug, which is creating the next generation of addicts, Cpl. Mike Griffin told reporters.

“I’m not convinced we’re ever going to clean this up,” Walker said, meaning the meth problem.  He may feel this frustration because violence surrounding the manufacture and use of methamphetamine is rising, despite a decline in the number of meth labs found. The number of meth labs recovered by Tulsa police is down more than 65 percent from two years ago. The record number of labs found in Tulsa was 429 in 2011, compared to 295 in 2012 and 143 thus far in 2013. Police credit the decline on legislation passed in July 2012 to restrict access to pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in producing meth.  “The more you control pseudoephedrine, the (fewer) meth labs you’re going to have,” Griffin said. “If you (revert) pseudoephedrine back to a Schedule III drug like it once was, they would go down even further, so it’s really simple.” But Griffin conceded that the decreased number of meth labs does not indicate any reduction in meth use – or meth-related violence, as the more recent case indicates.

What’s the answer?  I don’t know.  But I will continue to spread the word about the dangers of meth.  Perhaps if enough people realize the effects that methamphetamine can produce, its popularity will decline, but I for one am not holding my breath.  I have seen what meth can do, and I just cannot be silent.

I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories.  I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  Please share your stories with me!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

November 29, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

There were several stories about methamphetamine in the last week or so that I thought would be appreciated by the readers of this meth in the news column.  The first story comes to us from Idaho (www.ktvb.com). While meth has been a significant problem in the Pacific Northwest for over 30 years, the sources of meth have evolved over time.  Early on, as meth became more and more popular, the home meth lab also began to appear as people discovered that they could create the drug in their own homes using household chemicals.  This is no longer the case.  Laws were enacted to limit the availability of over-the-counter products containing an irreplaceable precursor for meth, pseudoephedrine.  Now meth has become a major item for the Mexican drug cartels.

Gina Heideman is the Executive Director of the Idaho Meth Project.  She told reporters, “When the Idaho Meth Project first started, one of the biggest issues in Idaho was home meth labs.”  However, the number of meth lab houses has been steadily dropping.  “Meth labs are down tremendously,” said Heideman. “In fact, Idaho had one of the lowest meth lab rates in the country last year, and this year we’re on track to have even less.”  She credits this decrease on the restrictions put on the sale of products containing pseudoephedrine.  “In every single state in the U.S. that has put pseudoephedrine behind the counter, they’ve seen a reduction in home meth labs in their states. I think that was one of the best decisions that we made,” said Heideman.

But while the number of home meth labs has dropped, the popularity of meth has not.  Much of the meth now comes from outside of the Unites States.  Wendy Olson is the U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho.  “A lot of it is increasingly pure and linked to Mexican cartel activity,” she said. “We’re a further link up the chain from the most active groups along the border.” In the past year, law enforcement personnel seized seven pounds of meth in Eagle, 12 pounds in Boise, and 52 pounds near Idaho Falls, just to name a few cases.  Clearly, these violent drug cartels have taken over the supply of meth in Idaho – and not just in Idaho; this is happening throughout the United States today.

But not all of the meth comes from Mexico.  Some meth “cooks” have devised ways to get around these new regulations.  This was recently realized in North Carolina last week when Narcotics Detectives from the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and Boone Police Department initiated one of the largest methamphetamine cleanup responses, if not the largest, in North Carolina history (www.hcpress.com).  Out in a wooded area off a state highway, detectives discovered a small wooden shack that contained multiple “Shake & Bake” meth labs.  After a full day of searching the property, detectives located and seized a total of 181 “Shake & Bake Meth Labs” and 289 packages of pseudoephedrine. Approximately 200 pounds of hazardous waste and contaminants were also taken from the site location. The total amount of pseudoephedrine seized was enough to produce almost one pound of methamphetamine.  The estimated street value of one pound of meth is approximately $50,000. Obviously someone figured out a way to procure a significant supply of precursor product. Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman told reporters, “Methamphetamine is a cancer eating away at our state. Meth impacts families, communities and the environment and it’s crucial we bring this problem under control.”  I could not have said it better.

But not all meth in the United States comes from homegrown “Shake & Bake” meth labs or the Mexican drug cartels.  In a surprising announcement last week, five men were charged by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with conspiracy to smuggle 100 kilograms of North Korean meth into the United States! The men were arrested in a DEA sting in Thailand.  Authorities say that meth production and trafficking by North Korea present “an emerging threat that’s been illuminated by the case in federal court in Manhattan against a tattooed motorcycle gang leader, two British nationals named Stammers and Shackels, and two other expatriates also operating in Southeast Asia.”  The men were captured in a sting operation involving undercover DEA operatives who posed as buyers in a fake plot to distribute meth in New York City. This caught me by surprise as I was, to this point, unaware of a drug trafficking problem from North Korea.  However, experts claim that meth has joined a list of illicit products that feed a shadow economy to support North Korea’s ruling elite. Sung-Yoon Lee, a Professor of Korean studies at Tufts University told reporters, “Because of its extreme poverty and isolation, North Korea has long relied on a shadow economy to support its ruling elite. It makes sense that meth has joined a list of illicit goods that in the past included knock-off major brand cigarettes and counterfeit US currency.” The drug “is easy to produce and has a high profit margin,” he said. “It would be surprising if the state turned away from this opportunity.” Notably, the meth seized in this sting was more than 99 percent pure.

So while meth itself can harm the user as well as anyone located nearby when the drug is “cooked” or smoked, and the user can suffer from paranoia and violent, unpredictable behaviors, please take a look at who profits from the production and sale of meth.  Fortunes go to the Mexican drug cartels, and some sources claim that some of the profits from cartel activity is funneled back to Hezbollah and other potential terroristic organizations.  North Korea is not a friend of the United States either!  So at least a portion of the obscene profits that are made from the production and sale of meth can be traced back to people who may sponsor terroristic acts against our country.  Sometimes I feel as though meth is trafficked by people who do not agree with the American way of life in an attempt to defeat our country by a 1000 cuts – and methamphetamine is the knife.

I continue to welcome the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth as well as your success stories.  I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  Please share your stories with me!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

November 22, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In several of my past Meth in the News columns, I described to the readers how the methamphetamine-cooking process is extremely dangerous.  Many of the chemicals used to make meth are corrosive, volatile and explosive by themselves, and when mixed together they can become even more dangerous.  Accordingly, burn victims are popping up more and more in hospitals across the country as a result of mishaps that occurred when the unlucky cook was attempting to manufacture meth.  These meth-related burns are more difficult to treat than burns resulting from other causes, and this has produced a significant strain on burn units, especially those in states with the most active meth production activities.  This week I am going to describe several individual cases from last week where a methamphetamine “lab” exploded or caught on fire.

In the first case from Saranac, NY, the Saranac Fire Department had to call the New York State Police Troop B Narcotics Enforcement Unit and Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team when they were sent to a Wednesday night fire at a residence on Canning Road.  When they arrived on the scene, investigators discovered materials used in the production of methamphetamine.  Although it was not clear at the time if that contributed to the fire, the man living there, Bradley A. Rascoe, 27, was charged with third-degree unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine, a felony.  In a news release, a state police spokesperson based at the Ray Brook headquarters told reporters, “Although the fire does not appear to have been caused by the manufacturing of methamphetamine, many of the materials used for methamphetamine manufacturing were discovered while authorities responded to the fire.”  Rascoe was arraigned and remanded to the Clinton County Jail in lieu of $2,500 bail or $5,000 bond.  The house, a double-wide mobile home, was completely destroyed in the fire.  Who knows what might have caused this fire?  Fumes from previous meth production attempts could have penetrated walls, accumulating there until sufficient flammable concentrations of the vapors had collected to produce an explosion or fire, destroying evidence associating such fumes with the latest fire.  My guess is that meth production played a major role!

The next case was more frightening to me.  In Grafton, WV, an entire Thayer Street apartment building was destroyed in a fire that authorities allege resulted from an attempt to make meth. Grafton Police Chief Robert Beltner told reporters that four people were arrested on methamphetamine-related charges in connection with the fire, including Amy Poling, Michael Anderson, and Daniel Palmer, of Grafton, and Dana Broyles, Summersville.  Chief Beltner believes that Broyles was “cooking” meth in an apartment occupied by Poling.  There were no reports of any injuries in connection with this fire, but imagine the number of innocent families that were put at risk due to the manufacture of meth!  In fact, in a separate story out of St. Peters, MO, an entire family had to move from their home in a duplex when an active meth lab was discovered by police on the other side of the duplex.  In this case, Gordon Tomlinson and his family had to move when a drug task force found the lab.  Mr. Tomlinson told reporters that this was not covered by his insurance, and he is not sure where his family will live now.  So his family is out of a home and without their possessions – and this lab did not even produce a fire or explosion.  Just the possibility is enough to force people to leave their homes.  I cannot stress how important it is to be aware of what is going on around you. It is especially important to be aware of new or unusual chemical smells.  While the source of the odor could very well be innocent, it is better to be safe than sorry.

There was a fire in another apartment building early this last Wednesday.  In this case, emergency crews were called to an apartment building fire along Patrician Place in Danville, KY.  They were able to put out the fire within 30 minutes, but the damage had already been done.  David Hunter lived in the apartment above the apartment where the fire broke out.  He told reporters that he was watching TV when he noticed an unusual smell, then, chaos. “Next thing I know in five minutes, the whole building went to rocking! Boom! Big bomb, you know,” Hunter said.  “I keep saying I watch the news all the time about people getting burned out of their place. I just never thought it would happen to me…and it happened to me.”  He escaped his apartment building and found two people from the downstairs apartment in need of help. “Skin was falling off and he ran back in there and grabbed the guy that was in the wheelchair, threw him out on the ground. He was smoking. It was a disaster, man,” Hunter said.  The two men, identified as Stephen Shepperson and Cameron Boling, were airlifted to the University of Kentucky Hospital where Shepperson was listed in critical condition. There was no information available for Boling. After investigators made their way inside the downstairs apartment, they found evidence of what may have caused the explosion, including a propane tank and some red dye, items that may have been part of a meth lab. Hunter said that he had been concerned that something like this could happen.  “I hope you all don’t blow us up. They ain’t paid me no mind, but I knew it was going to happen one day,” Hunter said.  Luckily, Hunter was not injured and only lost all of his possessions.  He had a good idea what might be going on downstairs, and it sounds like it was only a matter of time before something like this happened.

Now for something even scarier – at least to me.  Last Thursday, Ed Gashi was sent home early from his job at Pikes Creek Asphalt because it started raining.   As he was driving along Carverton Road in Kingston Township, PA, Mr. Gashi saw a black Chevrolet Equinox located directly in front of him “just burst into flames.”  This Good Samaritan quickly stopped his truck and helped two people out of the fiery wreck.  Jennifer Lynn Arnold was trying to get out of the driver’s side of the flaming sport utility vehicle with her hair and clothing on fire. Mr. Gashi hurried over and helped her extinguish the flames.  The passenger, Lee M. Marshall, was also on fire, and Mr. Gashi pulled him out of the smoke-filled vehicle and rolled him on the ground to extinguish the fire.  “He was burned pretty severely,” Gashi said. Marshall, Arnold and Gashi were all taken to area hospitals for treatment.  Police later determined that Marshall had been mixing Drano and lighter fluid to cook meth when the container blew up.  Imagine the potential carnage that might have happened if they had been driving at speed on a major highway at the time.

The reports in this week’s Meth in the News are not isolated incidents.  Meth-induced fires in moving vehicles as well as in structures are reported almost every day, usually when meth is being produced.  But explosions and fires have also occurred in places where it had been weeks since a meth lab was active.  As I cautioned above, it is very important to be aware of your surroundings.

I have been asking the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth.  I would also welcome success stories – people who have been able to beat meth and no longer have meth controlling their lives.  I have learned more from people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  Please share your stories with me!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

November 15, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

I saw a variety of news reports from across the United States this week that I decided to share with the readers in Meth in the News.  They are all difficult to believe for one reason or another, but almost nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to methamphetamine.

The first report is from Arvada, Colo., near Denver.  In this horrific case, 39-year-old Robert Felix Gonzales used Craigslist to offer sex with an underage girl for cash and methamphetamine.  The girl was an apparent runaway who had a “relationship” with Gonzales from between 2011 and 2013, when she was only 14-16 years old.  Gonzales provided alcohol and drugs to the teenage girl, and they had a physical relationship.  The girl told authorities that she thought that the two were in love, but over time their relationship changed. That’s when “Gonzales began staying in motels and drinking and then Gonzales was having other men join their sexual encounters.” He “advertised” for sex with the minor girl using naked pictures of her, and she felt pressured to do whatever Gonzales told her to do. She told the officers that Gonzales preferred using Motel 6’s but also used hotels called, “No Tell Motel,” “Triangle T,” and a “Howard Johnson.”  She also said that she and Gonzales had sex every time that they went to a motel.  In addition, Gonzales forced her to have sex with over 30 men, most of whom were drug dealers, and Gonzales would barter sex with the girl for methamphetamine and then use the drug.  She said that Gonzales also participated in the sex acts and that he would assault her if she refused to comply to his wishes.  On July 22, 2013, the girl decided that she did not want to live like that anymore and jumped from Gonzales’ moving Mitsubishi in Denver.  Gonzales was subsequently arrested and charged with trafficking in children, pandering of a child, two counts of a pattern of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, soliciting for child prostitution, procurement of a child, keeping a place of child prostitution, pimping of a child, inducement of child prostitution, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, harboring a minor and four counts of committing a violent crime.  I wonder if he will be charged for the meth!

In another tragic case, a 2-year-old girl died from dehydration and malnourishment as she was neglected for several days while her mother was high on methamphetamine. Brandy Lee Rose Devine, of Turlock, Calif, was found guilty earlier this week of second-degree murder in the death of her own daughter, Stephanie Torres, due to neglect.  Devine told authorities that she smoked meth with an unknown man in her home while Stephanie remained alone in her closed room for an entire weekend without giving her food, water or medication. Devine told the detective that she was feeling “too ill” to check on Stephanie and assumed that her little 6-year-old daughter would feed and look in on her younger sister.  Devine said that even though she got up to use the bathroom several times that weekend, she never stopped to check on her daughter.  As Deputy District Attorney John R. Mayne told the jury, “This is a child who starved to death.”  He said that the little girl had been dead a day or two before she was discovered.  “She put that child in the room to die,” Mayne argued. “She just didn’t care, or she executed her child.” Devine was also found guilty of committing willful cruelty to a child with an enhancement of inflicting great bodily injury on the child, along with a misdemeanor charge of using methamphetamine.

The next report comes from Groveton, Texas.  In this case, Terrance Edwards, 33, dunked a little 3-year-old boy into a bathtub full of scalding water for soiling his diaper, causing first- and second-degree burns to his buttocks and genitals.  The boy’s mother, Kendra Murphy, 25, told police that she fell asleep on the couch because she and Edwards had been smoking meth, and the kids were up eating candy Saturday night. She said that Edwards turned on the bath water because the 3-year-old boy had “pooped in his diaper.” She heard a struggle in the bathroom, but she did not get up to investigate.  In fact, Murphy did not report the child’s injuries until a neighbor noticed the child walking strangely and called 911 at approximately 3 p.m. on Sunday.  The boy was taken to the Shriner’s Burn Center in Galveston for treatment of his burns. In addition to the burns from the hot water, the little boy also had a lacerated liver, internal bleeding, and cigarette burns on his body.  Authorities also determined that his 2-year-old sister was involved as well since the little girl had bruises between her legs and all over her body.  The Groveton Police Department arrested Terrance Edwards, 33, for injury to a child, which is a first-degree felony. Kendra Murphy, 25, was charged with failure to report a felony, which is a Class A misdemeanor.  The report said that the matter was still under investigation, and more criminal charges could be pending.  I certainly hope so!

In North Carolina, a Wake County Sheriff’s Deputy stopped Russell Carmona and his passenger, Felipe Gomez, on eastbound U.S. 264 at approximately 5 p.m. on Nov. 4, 2013 for a window tint violation.  The deputy noticed the smell of marijuana from inside Carmona’s 2010 Dodge Charger, and a K-9 team was called to check the car.  The dog alerted to drugs in the car, and Deputies found 47 1-liter plastic soda bottles in the back seat.  The bottles were filled with what tests showed was methamphetamine.  The bottles weighed approximately 81 pounds with an estimated street value of $10 million.  Carmona and Gomez were charged with two counts of trafficking in methamphetamine and with conspiring to traffic in the drug.  Carmona, 20, was charged with maintaining a vehicle for keeping and selling drugs.  Gomez, 33, was also charged with resisting an officer. Gomez attempted to run from the deputies and suffered non-life threatening injuries by the time officials got him into custody.  Gomez was being held for federal immigration authorities after a computer check indicated he twice entered the U.S. illegally. Carmona was being held in lieu of $500,000 bail, and Gomez was being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

I have been asking the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth.  I would also welcome success stories – people who have been able to beat meth and no longer have meth controlling their lives.  My columns are always filled with the horrors of meth.  If that prevents one person from trying meth, then this has been worth it.  But I know that there are people who have stopped using meth – I have met some of them.  So if you have broken free of meth, I would love to hear your story.  I would like to repeat it in this column, but will never identify you unless you gave permission.  I want to give hope to the people who may think that they have no hope, and success stories from real people will do just that. And finally, I have learned more people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  Please share your stories with me!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

November 8, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

I saw a variety of news reports from across the United States this week that I decided to share with the readers in Meth in the News.  They are all difficult to believe for one reason or another, but almost nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to methamphetamine.

The first report is from Arvada, Colo., near Denver.  In this horrific case, 39-year-old Robert Felix Gonzales used Craigslist to offer sex with an underage girl for cash and methamphetamine.  The girl was an apparent runaway who had a “relationship” with Gonzales from between 2011 and 2013, when she was only 14-16 years old.  Gonzales provided alcohol and drugs to the teenage girl, and they had a physical relationship.  The girl told authorities that she thought that the two were in love, but over time their relationship changed. That’s when “Gonzales began staying in motels and drinking and then Gonzales was having other men join their sexual encounters.” He “advertised” for sex with the minor girl using naked pictures of her, and she felt pressured to do whatever Gonzales told her to do. She told the officers that Gonzales preferred using Motel 6’s but also used hotels called, “No Tell Motel,” “Triangle T,” and a “Howard Johnson.”  She also said that she and Gonzales had sex every time that they went to a motel.  In addition, Gonzales forced her to have sex with over 30 men, most of whom were drug dealers, and Gonzales would barter sex with the girl for methamphetamine and then use the drug.  She said that Gonzales also participated in the sex acts and that he would assault her if she refused to comply to his wishes.  On July 22, 2013, the girl decided that she did not want to live like that anymore and jumped from Gonzales’ moving Mitsubishi in Denver.  Gonzales was subsequently arrested and charged with trafficking in children, pandering of a child, two counts of a pattern of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, soliciting for child prostitution, procurement of a child, keeping a place of child prostitution, pimping of a child, inducement of child prostitution, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, harboring a minor and four counts of committing a violent crime.  I wonder if he will be charged for the meth!

In another tragic case, a 2-year-old girl died from dehydration and malnourishment as she was neglected for several days while her mother was high on methamphetamine. Brandy Lee Rose Devine, of Turlock, Calif, was found guilty earlier this week of second-degree murder in the death of her own daughter, Stephanie Torres, due to neglect.  Devine told authorities that she smoked meth with an unknown man in her home while Stephanie remained alone in her closed room for an entire weekend without giving her food, water or medication. Devine told the detective that she was feeling “too ill” to check on Stephanie and assumed that her little 6-year-old daughter would feed and look in on her younger sister.  Devine said that even though she got up to use the bathroom several times that weekend, she never stopped to check on her daughter.  As Deputy District Attorney John R. Mayne told the jury, “This is a child who starved to death.”  He said that the little girl had been dead a day or two before she was discovered.  “She put that child in the room to die,” Mayne argued. “She just didn’t care, or she executed her child.” Devine was also found guilty of committing willful cruelty to a child with an enhancement of inflicting great bodily injury on the child, along with a misdemeanor charge of using methamphetamine.

The next report comes from Groveton, Texas.  In this case, Terrance Edwards, 33, dunked a little 3-year-old boy into a bathtub full of scalding water for soiling his diaper, causing first- and second-degree burns to his buttocks and genitals.  The boy’s mother, Kendra Murphy, 25, told police that she fell asleep on the couch because she and Edwards had been smoking meth, and the kids were up eating candy Saturday night. She said that Edwards turned on the bath water because the 3-year-old boy had “pooped in his diaper.” She heard a struggle in the bathroom, but she did not get up to investigate.  In fact, Murphy did not report the child’s injuries until a neighbor noticed the child walking strangely and called 911 at approximately 3 p.m. on Sunday.  The boy was taken to the Shriner’s Burn Center in Galveston for treatment of his burns. In addition to the burns from the hot water, the little boy also had a lacerated liver, internal bleeding, and cigarette burns on his body.  Authorities also determined that his 2-year-old sister was involved as well since the little girl had bruises between her legs and all over her body.  The Groveton Police Department arrested Terrance Edwards, 33, for injury to a child, which is a first-degree felony. Kendra Murphy, 25, was charged with failure to report a felony, which is a Class A misdemeanor.  The report said that the matter was still under investigation, and more criminal charges could be pending.  I certainly hope so!

In North Carolina, a Wake County Sheriff’s Deputy stopped Russell Carmona and his passenger, Felipe Gomez, on eastbound U.S. 264 at approximately 5 p.m. on Nov. 4, 2013 for a window tint violation.  The deputy noticed the smell of marijuana from inside Carmona’s 2010 Dodge Charger, and a K-9 team was called to check the car.  The dog alerted to drugs in the car, and Deputies found 47 1-liter plastic soda bottles in the back seat.  The bottles were filled with what tests showed was methamphetamine.  The bottles weighed approximately 81 pounds with an estimated street value of $10 million.  Carmona and Gomez were charged with two counts of trafficking in methamphetamine and with conspiring to traffic in the drug.  Carmona, 20, was charged with maintaining a vehicle for keeping and selling drugs.  Gomez, 33, was also charged with resisting an officer. Gomez attempted to run from the deputies and suffered non-life threatening injuries by the time officials got him into custody.  Gomez was being held for federal immigration authorities after a computer check indicated he twice entered the U.S. illegally. Carmona was being held in lieu of $500,000 bail, and Gomez was being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

I have been asking the readers to tell me about your own personal experiences with meth.  I would also welcome success stories – people who have been able to beat meth and no longer have meth controlling their lives.  My columns are always filled with the horrors of meth.  If that prevents one person from trying meth, then this has been worth it.  But I know that there are people who have stopped using meth – I have met some of them.  So if you have broken free of meth, I would love to hear your story.  I would like to repeat it in this column, but will never identify you unless you gave permission.  I want to give hope to the people who may think that they have no hope, and success stories from real people will do just that. And finally, I have learned more people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  Please share your stories with me!  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

November 1, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

The results of a new study conducted by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) were released in late October, 2013 (scoopsandiego.com).  The report suggested a number of trends that may hold true for other parts of the United States, including the Ark-La-Tex, which is why I decided to review this study in this weeks’ Meth in the News column.

SANDAG personnel have been conducting interviews with adult and juvenile arrestees regarding their drug use and other risky behaviors since 1987 as part of the San Diego Substance Abuse Monitoring (SAM) project.  Information from this project “provides useful, objective indicators regarding methamphetamine use trends over time, as well as other information regarding treatment access, distribution, and other risky behaviors of concern.”

The first thing that caught my eye about this study was the finding that more than half (53 percent of adult male and a whopping 60 percent of adult female) of the people arrested in San Diego County in 2012 reported ever having tried meth.  More empirical urinalysis results showed that 47 percent of adult female and 31 percent of adult male arrestees actually tested positive for meth when they were arrested in 2012, which compared to 39 percent and 26 percent, respectively, in 2011.  These data indicate that meth use by arrestees is on the upswing, with meth use among at-risk groups rising back to levels not seen since 2006. And interestingly, meth has consistently ranked as the second most commonly used illicit drug among arrestees, after marijuana, for several years now in San Diego County.  I wonder how these data compare to arrestees in the Ark-La-Tex.   My first guess is that we are also seeing an increase in meth use in our community.

Dr. Cynthia Burke, SANDAG Director of Criminal Justice Research said “Despite exemplary, collaborative efforts such as the Methamphetamine Strike Force, meth use remains a chronic problem in our region. While some progress has been made, law enforcement agencies, emergency rooms, and public drug treatment programs continue to have to pour valuable resources into tackling the problem.”  This is seen time and time again across the United States as the meth epidemic continues to grip America.  Dr. Burke went on, “Meth use is often an underlying factor in family violence, child abuse and neglect, work problems, and high-risk behaviors, such as driving under the influence.”  I have also reported about these problems many times in this column in the past.

The results of the SANDAG study reflect other trends in San Diego County.  According to the county Medical Examiner’s Office, the number of unintentional deaths associated with meth use also jumped 16 percent between 2011 and 2012 (from 122 to 142), and meth-related emergency room admissions went up by nearly 13 percent between 2010 and 2011 (from 3,412 to 3,846). Overall, 32 percent of local substance abuse treatment admissions in 2012 reported meth as the primary drug of choice.

The typical meth-using arrestee has been using the drug for about 13 years on average – usually smoking it, but sometimes snorting or injecting it about three times a day, five days in a row.

About one-third (34 percent) of the arrestees reported that they were also involved in the distribution of meth in the past year, meaning that they had either sold meth or acted as a middleman.  Of those, 60 percent reported that they were still involved in the distribution of meth, and that they had been for an average of 4.5 years.  They said they had sold to an average of 5 people in the past week and that they had made $200 in the past 30 days. When asked if they thought that the demand for the drug had increased, 58 percent said that they believed that it had, which was an increase from 52 percent in 2011.

As I have repeatedly reported in this column in the past, meth can have a number of significant negative side effects for those who use it. In the SANDAG study, the four most common complaints included sleeplessness (81 percent), weight loss (65 percent), legal problems (63 percent), and family problems (61 percent).  As an aside, since these were arrestees, it was curious to me why legal problems were not reported as a problem for everyone.  At least a third of the responders also reported financial problems, dental problems, work problems, and hallucinations.  Interestingly, male arrestees were significantly more likely to report weight loss, sleeplessness, and paranoia than female arrestees.  On the other hand, females reported having skin problems more often than males.  These are all symptoms commonly reported by meth users.

The arrestees were also asked if they had engaged in any sexual practices while using meth that might increase their risk for contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Overall, 83 percent of the arrestees who had sex in the last six months reported they had engaged in sex while high at least once during that time. In addition, about one in five said they engaged in sexual practices while high on meth that they would not normally do, and 21 percent said they had been somewhat worried that their behavior may be putting them at risk for getting HIV or a STD.  These numbers are not especially surprising since meth use is almost always associated with sex.

The SANDAG report also compared meth users to people who did not use any illegal drugs or who used different drugs.  Specifically, meth users were more likely than users of other drugs to: 1) be female, White, currently unemployed, and homeless at some point in their life; 2) have tried other illicit drugs in the past; have prior justice system contact and to be arrested for a drug offense; and 3) have gone to work while under the influence, and have driven under the influence.

The bottom line from the SANDAG report is that meth use continues to increase.  Furthermore, as I have repeatedly reported, meth appears to be a significant problem for women, more so than for most other drugs.

I am still very interested to hear about your own personal experiences with meth.  I have learned more from talking to people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

For more examples of Meth in the News, go to Fav Meth Heads of the Day: http://fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com/

October 25, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

I have discussed the problems associated with cooking meth in this Meth in the News column in the past.  However, KTVB in Boise, Idaho ran an online article this week on www.ktvb.com regarding methamphetamine-contaminated homes in Boise and surrounding areas.  The story highlighted the fact that despite “The Clandestine Drug Laboratory Cleanup Act” that was passed in Idaho in 2005, property owners and renters are not being notified in a timely manner according to the law.  So I saw this as an ideal opportunity to revisit this problem.

The “one-pot” or “shake & bake” procedures for cooking meth use a variety of caustic, explosive and dangerous chemicals to convert pseudoephedrine into methamphetamine.  Some of the chemicals often found in meth labs include: Drano, Comet, paint thinner, iodine, matches, pseudoephedrine, antifreeze, lighter fluid and acid.  Most of these ingredients have hazardous warning labels on their own, and when mixed together can be much more dangerous and volatile.  That is why the crews called in to clean these labs have to wear extensive hazmat suits and breathing masks.  That is why Walter White always wore a hazmat suit to cook meth in a more traditional meth lab in Breaking Bad.  These chemicals can be deadly!

Officials with the Idaho State Police told reporters that the cost of removing the bulk of these chemicals can run from $800-$8,000 per property, depending on the extent of the exposure.  Typically, when these labs are “cleaned” the officers basically just remove the chemicals from the house.  They do not clean the property after the chemicals are removed.  However, if the property is left as is, hazardous chemicals will remain long after the officers have left.  The police are not responsible for cleaning the property; that responsibility rests on the homeowner.  But the chemicals get into the air when meth is cooked and when it is smoked.  These chemicals can get into carpets and curtains and permeate into walls and insulation.

To properly decontaminate a property, the owner must remove all but trace amounts of meth-making chemicals. Things that soak in chemicals, like carpet, have to be thrown out. The average cost of cleanup is estimated to be around $5,000, and the cost of testing by a qualified industrial hygienist is around $4,000.  It depends on the extent of the exposure.  Sometimes property owners have to rip up the carpets. Sometimes they have to take the drywall out. Sometimes they have to take all of the appliances out. It varies from lab to lab.  Once cleaned according to state standards, an industrial hygienist will come in and collect wipe samples to send to a certified lab.

Sometimes a home is not cleaned, either because the police did not find the lab, or there was meth use, but no lab.  In this case, how is a potential property owner or renter to know whether or not there are dangerous chemicals lurking on the floor and in the walls of a property?

Exposure to the chemicals found in homes where meth was cooked or smoked can produce a variety of symptoms. In addition, the elderly, very young, and those with pre-existing conditions can have worse reactions.  Many of these volatile chemicals can produce significant problems when exposed to the skin or inhaled.  Hydrochloric acid and anhydrous ammonia, chemicals used to cook meth, can produce significant burns and irritation on the skin, and if they are inhaled they can significantly damage the lungs. Sometimes the emergence of allergies or disease symptoms can lead back to meth as described below.

Helen Leeper moved into a duplex in Boise in 2012.  Ms. Leeper was already dealing with the auto-immune disease lupus, and her health took a turn for the worse once she moved into the home.  “When I got in there, after the second week, I had hives,” said Helen Leeper. “My labs started getting weird, and I had shortness of breath, and I was dizzy.” Even her doctor could not determine why she was getting worse. Finally she received a clue from one of her neighbors.  “I had no idea what was going on. One day I was talking to the neighbors and they said, you know the people that lived in there used to do meth? And the bells went off,” Leeper said.

Leeper ordered a $50 kit to test her duplex for meth.  She used the kit to wipe down some of the walls in her apartment, then she put the wipes back in an envelope and sent them back to the lab.  She obtained an entire analysis for meth, and her results confirmed that there was meth where she lived.  Her lab results showed that her contamination was at a level 11 times higher than Idaho law would certify as “cleaned.”  Leeper told her landlord about the results she got, and about a month later, found a new place to live. She says her symptoms slowly decreased, thus confirming the link to meth.

However, the investigation conducted by KTVB revealed that even when a contaminated meth lab is found on a property, it often takes dozens or even hundreds of days to be placed on the contaminated homes list.  And since the new law went into full effect in 2005, police in Idaho busted meth labs on 58 properties that went on the list.  Only 14 property owners have gone through Idaho’s cleaning procedure. That means 44 are still sitting on the list and legally should be unoccupied.

KTVB checked out nine homes on the list.  Doors opened at four homes, proving that people were definitely living inside. Three properties had signs that people could be there, and one apartment still had the police hazardous material sticker on the door from the previous summer, but a neighbor still saw people living there.  Only two of the nine properties were clearly vacant.  Property owners say that the high costs associated with testing and cleaning the properties often prevent them from properly cleaning their property.

And remember, people have been caught cooking meth in motel rooms as well as in homes.  So the public should be aware of their surroundings.  Some people say that the odors associated with meth cooking are like a chemical smell, sometimes described as a cat urine smell type thing. If you smell a chemical smell or feel lightheaded and get headaches, it might be time to move to a different room or motel.

I don’t know what the answer to this problem will be.  Meth is being used and cooked in homes, apartments and hotel rooms all across the Ark-La-Tex.  They will have to be cleaned to be made safe, but the costs will be significant.  At this time, be aware and be safe out there!!

I am very interested to hear about your own personal experiences with meth.  I have learned more from talking to people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

October 18, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

The October 18th edition of San Angelo LIVE! (sanangelolive.com) contained an interesting report on the resurgence of the methamphetamine problem in San Angelo, Texas.  A number of important points were made, and while I have written about many of these before, they bear repeating in Meth in the News.

Authorities in San Angelo are seeing a significant rise in meth use after a slow but steady decline over the past several years, and they are asking the same questions that people in the Ark-La-Tex and elsewhere across the United States have been asking recently.  In particular, why is the use of methamphetamine increasing again?  Who is using meth?  Where is it coming from?

Lieutenant Fincher is the Division Commander of the San Angelo Police Department’s Intelligence Division and a narcotics detective.  He told reporters that San Angelo was in the grips of a serious meth epidemic in the mid 2000s that peaked in 2005.  Lt. Fincher said that the 350 meth-related arrests in 2005 were an all-time high in his 11 years on the job.  Over the next two years, the numbers of meth arrests began to diminish, falling to as few as 70-80 in the years from 2009-2011.  “The past two years it’s picked back up,” according to Lt. Fincher. “In 2012, we jumped up to 151 arrests. In 2013 year-to-date we’re at 162…I don’t know how the rest of the year is going to pan out. It’s going to be more than last year.”

Most people attribute the decline in meth use in the late 2000s to the government’s crackdown on over-the-counter medications containing pseudoephedrine, the major precursor used for manufacturing meth.  This made it more difficult to obtain enough precursor material for large scale “cooks” in the typical clandestine lab that would occupy an entire basement, shop or bedroom.  The Mexican “superlabs” picked up a lot of the slack.  As I reported last week, Homeland Security suggests that 80 percent of the meth seized in the United States comes from these superlabs.  The rest is made in much smaller “laboratories” – the “one-pot” or “shake & bake” labs contained in a plastic, two-liter soda bottle.  These “one-pot” labs require much less precursor material and can cheaply produce enough meth for personal use, with perhaps a little extra to sell, in a couple of hours.

Another change reported in San Angelo is that people who are using meth today come from all walks of life.  Years ago, meth was mainly a problem for the west coast and was used primarily by specific groups of people.  Today, everyone seems to be using it, and they are using it everywhere.  “It has no demographics, it has no financial restrictions on it, it has no racial restrictions, no male/female restrictions, it affects all walks of life,” said Lt. Fincher.  I have heard similar things in discussions I have had with people who use meth here in the Shreveport-Bossier City area.  People tell me that they had no idea that so many people were using meth until they started using it too.  Then they discovered that many people that they had known for years were also using meth, and for whatever reason they did not realize it until they started using meth too.  And as I have said repeatedly, I believe that the “official” estimates of meth use are significantly underreported.  Time will tell whether or not I am right.

But treatment centers are also reporting an increase in admission rates for meth-related addictions.  In San Angelo, Jerry Wheetley is a Counselor at the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council for the Concho Valley (ADACCV).  He told reporters, “For about the past three years, meth has been on the rise, at least here in our facility. On average, the ADACCV handles 36 patients at a time. Of those 36, 75 percent are meth addicts.”

Yet it is almost paradoxical that anyone would try meth these days with the amount of media attention that the drug has received over the past several years.  Almost everyone has heard of and seen “Faces of Meth” online, where the deterioration and aging of many meth users over a span of time has been documented, showing slack skin, gaunt figures and extreme tooth decay known as “meth mouth.”  But meth continues to increase in popularity due to the extreme euphoria and pleasure it can produce, which makes this insidious drug so addictive.  Lt. Fincher told reporters, “I know they know what it’ll do. To my knowledge, [there’s no casual user]. I’ve interviewed so many people involved in meth that say once you try it, you can become addicted from the first time.”

A final consideration associated with the meth epidemic is the link between meth users and other criminal activity.  “I can’t give you a percentage…I can tell you that it is directly related to the drug use market…we have a bad problem with drug addicts stealing stuff,” said Lt. Fincher.  Meth users are often behind home and auto burglaries, theft and shoplifting.  Meth users need money to support their addiction, and even though the cost of meth is relatively cheap compared to many other drugs, theft is a common means for addicts to support their habits. There are also reports of increased rates of sexually transmitted diseases in meth users, likely the result of needle-sharing and trading sex for drugs.

Will the use of meth continue to increase, and if so, how far?  At this point, I do not believe that anyone has the answer or a quick fix.  Awareness and education represent a good start, but I am afraid that we will have to deal with this epidemic for quite a while, and I am not sure how this “beast” might evolve next.

I am very interested to hear about your own personal experiences with meth.  I have learned more from talking to people who use or have used meth than I have from all the medical books and papers on the subject that I have read over the years.  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

And as always, be safe out there!

October 11, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In past Meth in the News columns, I have repeatedly reminded the readers about the relationship between the Mexican Drug Cartels and the methamphetamine epidemic that the United States is currently experiencing.  And while many meth users “cook” their own meth using the “one-pot” or “shake & bake” methods, Joe Garcia, Deputy Special Agent in Charge for ICE Homeland Security Investigations in San Diego recently told reporters that “(today) more than 80 percent of the meth seized in the U.S. is made in Mexico. And that’s despite Mexico’s own attempts to curb its production.”  During the week of October 7, there were several reports that further documented the major influence that the Mexican Drug cartels exert on the meth trade in the United States today.

In a story out of San Diego, kuow.org reported that methamphetamine seizures at San Diego’s ports of entry have risen by more than 300 percent since 2008, more so than any other drug.  Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents at the San Ysidro Port of Entry suggest that more than 70 percent of methamphetamine illegally trafficked into the U.S. passes through U.S.-Mexico border crossings in the San Diego area.  In the past, biker gangs controlled the production and distribution of meth while Mexico simply provided the precursors.  In fact, San Diego became known as the meth capital of the country in the 1990s. This rampant meth use led to several high profile crimes, including the man who hijacked a tank and drove it down the highway and the couple who scalded their four-year-old niece to death in a bathtub.  Such meth-induced damage resulted in a crackdown on domestic meth production.  However, with continued demand organized crime realized a tremendous opportunity.  Mexican Drug cartels, especially the Sinaloa cartel, soon determined that it was more profitable to control both the production and distribution of this lucrative but insidious drug than to be the middleman simply supplying the precursors while others made all the profits.

In Fort Meade, Florida, a methamphetamine distribution ring was recently broken up after detectives with the Central Florida High Intensity Drug Area (HIDTA) task force received a hot tip. According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, detectives made several undercover purchases of the drug before intercepting a package intended for Gabriel Zamarripa, 47, that contained more than 4 pounds of meth. On September 30, the task force seized about 15 pounds of the drug and more than $5,500 in cash from Zamarripa’s house.  Detectives soon learned that the Zamarripa drug trafficking organization had ties to the Gulf cartel, one of the more violent drug cartels in North America and Mexico.  Six individuals were arrested on a variety of charges including the possession and trafficking of methamphetamine.

In Utah, the Davis Metro Narcotics Unit recently received a tip regarding a drug cell working out of Park City.  This led to a three-month undercover investigation involving the DEA Metro Narcotics Task Force, Davis Metro Narcotics Strike Force, Summit County Sheriff’s Office and Park City Police Department.  As part of this investigation, 17 pounds of meth were discovered with a street value of approximately $170,000.  $17,000 cash and an SUV were also seized.  Summit County Sheriff David Edmunds told reporters that this bust was directly tied to the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico since three individual members of this cartel were arrested as part of the investigation.  The two men and one woman arrested were distributors and transporters for the drug, and their ring branched in northern Utah, Colorado and finally Mexico. “The arrest of these individuals sends a strong message to the drug traffickers in Park City and Summit County,” Sheriff Edmunds said. “You are not welcome here, and we will use the full force of the law to bring you to justice.”

An undercover investigation into a suspected drug trafficking organization operating in southern California known as Inland Crackdown and allied with the California Attorney General’s Office led to the arrest of four suspected members of the La Familia Michoacana Mexican Cartel in Bloomington, Fontana, and Riverside last week.  Authorities say the four suspects were arrested after they arrived in a Dodge Caravan and Honda Pilot at a predetermined meeting place in Bloomington where undercover agents conducted a “buy bust” sting, purchasing 10 pounds of meth before arresting the suspects.  The task force subsequently served a search warrant at a home in Fontana where agents discovered 107 pounds of methamphetamine, five kilos of cocaine and a half pound of heroin.  Special agent Steve Utter said that “The total street value of the narcotics seized is over $5,916,800.00.”  U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, Andre Birotte, said that this was the single largest crackdown since the 1990s.  Authorities vowed to continue cracking down on the cartels to try and stop meth from being made and distributed throughout the United States.  “These drugs are poison,” said one undercover agent following a news conference. “We’re the poison control, and we aim to stop this disease before it gets any worse.”  Amen to that!

These were just the most recent examples linking major methamphetamine distribution rings to the Mexican Drug Cartels.  Not only do these organized crime families supply thousands of pounds of pure methamphetamine to eager users in the United States, they are also well known for the extreme violence that they inflict upon anyone who gets in their way.  Another website I maintain, http://arklatex912project.wordpress.com/, documents the atrocities committed by these cartels.  View with caution – some images are extremely graphic and difficult to forget once you see them.  But this type of violence goes hand-in-hand with the obscene profits that the cartel leaders make.  Expect to see more and more of this as the cartels continue to fan out across the United States.

And remember, I am very interested to hear about your own personal experiences with meth.  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.

And as always, be safe out there!

October 4, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In our first report this week, a woman from Auburn, WA, AND her mother found themselves behind bars after the woman’s 22-month-old daughter showed up at an Auburn hospital exhibiting signs of methamphetamine poisoning.  Patrice J. Tannehill, 23, and her mother, Michelle Orndorff, 45, were both smoking meth on a daily basis when Tannehill’s daughter managed to ingest some of the drug, according to King County prosecutors.  What made a horrible event even more egregious was the contention that the two women waited hours before taking the girl to a hospital.  Senior Deputy Prosecutor Cecelia Gregson charged, “Despite (the girl’s) suffering obvious physical manifestations from a highly dangerous drug, neither (her) mother nor (her) grandmother bothered to seek emergent medical care for this drug afflicted baby, who according to the defendants stopped breathing several times throughout the night.”

Tannehill told Auburn police that her daughter was “licking the air” the night before she was hospitalized. According to police reports, Tannehill said she “felt right off the bat that she had been drugged.”  You think??  But rather than getting help for her daughter, Tannehill contacted some of her friends and asked them to come to the home to check on her daughter.  Tannehill told police that she didn’t want to go to the hospital because she had outstanding warrants.

The baby’s grandmother initially claimed that no one used drugs at her home, but police later found a baggie of meth in the woman’s pants pocket.  Orndorff went on to claim that her daughter sometimes brought her “drug friends” to her home and suggested that her daughter and her friends may have been making meth in her home’s garage.  Thus, the little girl’s mother and grandmother, rather than caring for the health and well being of their own flesh and blood, were more interested in placing the blame on each other.  Is there no honor among thieves?

The little girl was finally taken to the hospital on September 26 after she “had been breathing rapidly since the night before.”  Detectives told the court that “The hyperactive girl was running and pacing, and bobbing her head oddly.”  She was clearly under the influence.  Hospital staff also noted that the girl’s palm had been burned with a cigarette.  A second, two-inch-long burn was visible on her wrist, as well as a bruise on her back and a cut on her foot.  The hospital also conducted a drug test that showed that the toddler had ingested amphetamines.  Authorities allege that Orndorff tried to leave the hospital with the little girl when she learned of the drug test.

According to detectives, “Orndorff’s neighbor and several of Tannehill’s friends saw the child on (Sept. 25) and all told Tannehill and Orndorff that the child should be taken to the hospital. Even after realizing that (the girl) was probably exposed to methamphetamine from their reckless lifestyle … Tannehill and Orndorff waited over eight hours to provide medical assistance to the child.”

Auburn police found pill containers, glass meth pipes, scales and methamphetamine strewn about the home.  The detective noted that at least one pipe with meth residue was left on the floor, easily accessible to the girl.  Both women were booked into the King County Jail and charged with first-degree criminal mistreatment, a felony. Each remains jailed on $250,000, and has been barred from having any contact with the child.  Good!  My guess is that methamphetamine-related charges will soon follow.

On a lighter note, Oleg Orestorich Lakotiy, 19, was spotted running naked down the street in downtown Portland around 3:30 AM last Thursday after dispatchers received several 911 calls.  When police caught up with Lakotiy, a foot chase ensued, and the man made a 15-foot jump down onto I-405 westbound. He ran through oncoming traffic, with cars swerving around him, and police had to taze him in order to take him into custody. There were no crashes or injuries.  Lakotiy was cited for second-degree disorderly conduct and reckless endangerment and was taken to a Portland hospital for treatment for a meth overdose.  Police could not charge him for possession of meth; he was naked!

Finally in a story out of West Virginia, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputies told reporters that they made the biggest methamphetamine bust in department history when someone made a call to their anonymous Tip Line.  Deputies claim that this “monster meth bust” involved the entire Gores Trailer Park, located in West Hamlin, where a hazardous dump of drug waste was discovered.  Deputies said that they found two active meth labs, a trail of needles, and seven used shake-and-bake pots. “Empty bottles, tubes, coffee filters…we found meth-making materials completely as far as you could see.” Chief Deputy J.J. Napier said.  Although Alan Strother was arrested in connection with the bust, the amount of drug waste suggests that he did not act alone.  Deputies told reporters that all it takes is just one tip for them to step in.  “We’re doing the best we can with what we’ve got,” Napier said. “We need people to speak up.”  I agree.

And remember, I am very interested to hear about your own personal experiences with meth.  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.  And as always, be safe out there!

September 27, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In September, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) provided statistics to the Associated Press that showed that 12,694 meth lab incidents were reported in the United States last year, down 5.5 percent from the 13,390 reported in 2011.  And this represented the second straight year that the number of incidents declined, as the nation recorded 15,196 meth lab incidents in 2010.  So how does this reconcile with the fact that week after week there are reports of more people arrested for the possession, manufacture and trafficking of methamphetamine?  Well, there are several factors to consider.

It is true that the number of the larger “traditional” meth labs seized by authorities has been in decline around the United States since increased restrictions were placed on the availability of cold medications containing pseudoephedrine.  The old favorites, like the Red Phosphorous or P2P method and the Anhydrous Ammonia or Nazi method are not used as often these days.  Both of these procedures extract methamphetamine from ephedrine (or pseudoephedrine), and the aforementioned restrictions have significantly reduced the ability of meth “cooks” to be able to obtain enough precursor materials to make these traditional methods viable.

That is why more and more meth “cooks” are turning to more low-tech methods of “cooking” the drug, such as the so-called “one-pot” or “shake & bake” technique that allows them to make meth in a 2-liter soda bottle. As dangerous as the traditional meth labs are to the occupants of the houses where they are located, particularly to children and neighbors, the portable meth labs have the potential to spread contamination, fire, explosions and injury almost anywhere.

These new “low-tech” procedures are also more difficult for authorities to detect.  Anyone who has watched an episode of Breaking Bad has seen the hazmat-style clothing that Walter White insisted on wearing when “cooking” his blue meth using the more traditional manufacturing process.  The noxious fumes can be detected over great distances and can be harmful even in well-ventilated areas.  But a “one-pot” or “shake & bake” lab can be easily carried in the backseat of a car or in a backpack, and detectable odors are minimized except when the soda bottle is “burped” to reduce pressure.  And these “labs” are easily disposable when compared to the more traditional labs, although they can pose a significant danger to the public if not properly disposed.  If the “one-pot” lab was in a vehicle, the “cook” could just throw it out of the window after the meth had been obtained.  That is why I have warned the readers repeatedly about how to spot a discarded meth lab and to call the authorities if they discover something unusual.

But if you talk with “long-term” meth users, those who have been using meth on and off since the 1980s or 1990s, they will readily tell you that the meth produced using the “one-pot” or “shake & bake” labs is not of the same quality as it was “years ago” when the P2P or Nazi method was dominant.  It is not clear if this is because the final product contains impurities, if the final product is somehow modified when different manufacturing processes are used or for some other reason.  In general, people who began using meth more recently are generally satisfied with the “one-pot” or “shake & bake” style meth.

In addition to the proliferation of the “low-tech” meth labs, remember that significant quantities of relatively pure methamphetamine are produced in “superlabs” in Mexico, run by the Mexican Drug Cartels.  Each year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents literally seize thousands upon thousands of pounds of meth at crossings along our southern border.  Imagine how much meth gets across the border unnoticed!  Every report I have seen highlights the surge in meth crossing our southern border and in the increased numbers of “one-pot” or “shake & bake” meth labs uncovered.

A final reason why the DEA statistics showed a 5.5 percent drop in meth lab incidents in 2012 has to do with reporting.  It is not clear that every agency is reporting every meth-related incident to the DEA.  And a 2-liter coke bottle found on the side of the highway might not be recognized as a discarded “shake & bake” meth lab.  So until more uniform and accurate reporting policies are established, such statistics must be taken with a liberal grain of salt.

While there may be a decline in the number of the larger, more traditional meth labs reported as seized in 2012, this does not mean that meth use is also on the decline.  In fact, every source that I have read has indicated just the opposite.  And in the same DEA report, they also indicate that some states are already reporting increases in meth lab seizures and arrests so far in 2013.  City after city, county after county, and state after state is reporting increases in meth use, and this epidemic has all the makings of a world-wide phenomenon, stretching from the Americas to New Zealand, Australia, North Korea, China, Indonesia and elsewhere.  Don’t let the DEA’s numbers fool you – meth is not going away any time soon.

I am very interested to hear about your own personal experiences with meth.  You can safely contact me at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I will never betray your confidence.  And as always, be safe out there!

September 20, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In this week’s meth in the news, I am going to present several different news stories reported over the last week or two that highlight the increased involvement of women in the manufacturing, possession and distribution of methamphetamine.  This is not to say that women are not involved in the possession and trafficking of other illegal narcotics, it is just that you seem to find the association between women and methamphetamine much more often than with other drugs.

Our first report this week comes from Rifle, Colorado, located near Glenwood Springs.  The Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team (TRIDENT) was investigating suspicious drug activity in Rifle last spring when they uncovered a methamphetamine distribution ring.  While such a discovery is not that unusual, it turns out that two pairs of mothers and sons were involved.   According to Rifle police and TRIDENT agents, Debra Black, 52, and her son, Gilbert Cuevas, 36, as well as Karma Montgomery, 40, and her son, Brett Montgomery, 18, were involved in selling meth to undercover agents starting in May at several locations in Rifle.  An arrest warrant affidavit for Cuevas revealed that he allegedly was using the names “Gil” and “Gilby” while meeting with his meth customers, meetings that often took place at a Rifle home that Cuevas shared with his mother.  At one such meeting, the TRIDENT agent entered the home to find Cuevas, his mother and a “Karma Zarlingo,” whom he also identified as Karma Montgomery.  During different encounters with the agents, all of the suspects sold meth in packages of different weights.  Talk about keeping it all in the family!  Not only did these “mothers of the year” expose their sons to meth, they encouraged them to traffic the drug as well.  There was no mention of whether the meth was homemade or was manufactured elsewhere.

Such arrangements don’t only happen between mothers and their sons – meth-using mothers also get their daughters into the act as well.  In Gatlinburg, Tennessee last week, a mother, Shannon Garner and her daughter, Shelby, were arrested after police were called regarding suspicious activity in a townhouse.  Shannon Garner is the property manager at the Faronia Square Town Homes in Whitehaven. When police arrived on the scene, they found two men cooking meth,
but the men were able to escape police.  Upon further investigation, police learned that Shannon had given the two men the key to the townhouse a few hours before police showed up.  When they checked the database, police also discovered that Shelby had made excessive purchases of the meth precursor, pseudoephedrine.  Shelby Garner admitted trading pseudoephedrine for meth. The two men suspected of actually cooking the meth have not been named or charged.  Both women were charged with the promotion of methamphetamine manufacturing.

And still keeping it in the family, twin sisters, Kerri L. Graham, 40, and Kristi M. Graham, 40, of Bushkill Township, Pennsylvania, were arrested and $2,000 worth of meth seized in a raid on a meth lab at their home.  The raid was conducted by the Northampton County Drug Task Force, which consists of police from Easton, Bushkill Township and Plainfield Township.  State police also assisted with a Special Emergency Response Team and a Clandestine Laboratory Response Team.  Three young boys, 4, 11 and 12 years old, were living at the home at the time of the raid and were turned to the custody of Northampton County Children, Youth and Families.  Both Kerri and Kristi Graham were charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia.  Kerri Graham also was charged with manufacturing a controlled substance, operating a meth lab, illegal dumping of meth waste and manufacturing meth in a home where minor children live

The next story will send shivers down the spine of every parent reading this column.  Last week in St. Charles, Missouri, Brooke Mitchell, 29, was arrested and charged with intent to distribute a controlled substance, possessing a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia.  Ok, no big surprise here.  However, Ms. Mitchell also ran a daycare out of her home where she cared for her two children and the children of other local families.  A St. Charles County Sheriff’s deputy responded to a disturbance call at Mitchell’s home last week.  When Mitchell gave the deputy permission to search the home, he found meth as well as the associated paraphernalia and “it was obvious the methamphetamine had just been smoked” according to St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar.  Although Mitchell initially agreed to cooperate with authorities in a narcotics investigation, she later refused.  When the Sheriff’s department went back to the house, five pre-school aged children were escorted outside before deputies found more illegal drugs.  “These parents have every right to be outraged,” said Lohmar. “You’d certainly never expect that somebody that you’re going to entrust your kids every day while you’re at work is going to be doing these sorts of things while you’re not there. This is a very disturbing situation and I feel very sorry for these parents.”  I could not have said it better.

The Monona County Auditor was arrested in Onawa, Iowa last week.  Brooke Kuhlmann, 27, was charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia after she allegedly bought meth from an undercover state trooper.  The Iowa Department of Public Safety said in a press release that law enforcement officials watched as Kuhlmann picked up the meth after she unknowingly scheduled a purchase and pickup with the trooper who had seized a dealer’s phone the day prior.  Ms. Kuhlmann pleaded not guilty to the charges.  A Democrat, Kuhlmann was elected to the auditor position in 2008 and was re-elected in 2012.

And briefly, Josie Lee McCormick, 33, of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, pleaded not guilty last week during her arraignment in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, according to the county District Attorney’s Office, to operating a meth lab that exploded in her home.  However, Waynesboro Police Chief James Sourbier told reporters, “A search of the residence resulted in the discovery of chemicals and precursors used in the illicit manufacture of methamphetamines.”   And police found a bag of meth hidden in a body cavity of Justine Jackson, 27, of Lewiston, Idaho, when she was being booked into jail after authorities found meth in her car.  When will they ever learn that smuggling meth this way does not work very well?  Finally, as I read about almost every day, children living in homes where meth was used have tested positive for meth.  Maggie Burchett, 29, of Abilene was arrested by Taylor County Sheriff’s Office narcotics agents after her eight-month-old boy tested positive for meth.  It is believed that the child tested positive for methamphetamine because of inhaling “second hand” smoke from the drug.  And Marci Nicole Berry, 21, of Lufkin, who is now pregnant with another child, was ordered by Angelina County district judge Paul White to attend substance abuse treatment at a facility in Longview for probation violations related to exposing her 1-year-old son to meth.  It always makes me sad when innocent babies are put at risk just because their mothers want to use meth.

And yes, men are as guilty as women when it comes to meth.  My main point here is to illustrate that meth affects women to a greater extent than any other abused substance.  I am interested in your experiences with meth.  You can contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com.

As always, be safe out there!

September 13, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In this week’s meth in the news, I am going to discuss the use of methamphetamine by women.  This column has been focused on the harm that meth can produce, both during the manufacturing process and during the use of the drug.  I am focusing on women in this column to illustrate some of the unique features of methamphetamine.  I am also writing this column since realistically, women are the primary caregivers for their children.  If mom is on a 3-day meth binge, it is safe to assume that her children might be neglected during this time.

So, what is known about women and methamphetamine in the scientific medical research literature?  Records generated by the US Department of Health and Human Services indicate that between 1996 and 2006, admission rates for the treatment of methamphetamine/amphetamine addiction increased by 156% in the US, while at the same time cocaine admission rates decreased by 16%.  Women are seeking treatment for meth more than they are for any other substance (46% vs. 31%), and are presenting for treatment in larger numbers than men.  Records also indicate that women are using meth in almost equal rates to men.  This is in contrast to heroin or cocaine, where the use of these substances by men is two- to three-fold greater than by women.

Women tend to initiate meth use at an earlier age than men, are more susceptible to dependency on meth, and are more likely to seek treatment.  Women appear to maintain a preference for meth over time while men are more likely to use other substances as well.  Thus, women are more committed to meth than men are, and the time from the initiation of meth use to regular use (addiction) is shorter for women compared to men.  And while men usually begin using meth with a friend, women are typically introduced to meth by an intimate partner, and such relationships for these women are often characterized by violence, risky sexual behaviors and trauma related to the meth use by both partners.

Until recently, the profile of a female meth user has typically been a White woman in her thirties.  Lately, there has been a shift as meth addiction has been increasing at the fastest rates for Latina and Asian women ages 18–25 years. There has also been an increase among young Native American and African American women.  A recent study also found more adolescent girls reporting meth as their primary drug of choice (63.7%) compared to their male counterparts (15%) who reported marijuana or alcohol as their drugs of choice, indicating that adolescent females are significantly more likely to use meth than males of the same age. Thus, the effects of meth appear to be particularly appealing to females of varying age, race, and ethnicity.

Meth has distinct physical properties that make the risk and harm associated with its use more detrimental than those associated with most other abused substances.  Perhaps the most appealing property of meth is that it activates the brain’s pleasure or reward pathways more than any other substance of abuse or pleasure-generating activity.  Meth produces an extreme surge in the concentrations of the chemical dopamine in the brain.  Dopamine is the primary “neurotransmitter” involved in feelings of pleasure and euphoria resulting from all enjoyable activities, including eating a good meal, chocolate, exercise, sex and all abused drugs.  Meth is often compared to cocaine since they are both stimulant drugs. However, meth produces a surge in dopamine that is almost 3.5 times the amount produced by cocaine and 12 times more than that produced by sex.  The meth-induced surge in dopamine and related neurotransmitters results in brain levels of dopamine that are about 1200% more than the baseline levels found in a normal brain not exposed to meth.  Furthermore, meth remains in the body approximately 12 times longer than cocaine (12 hours vs. 1 hour, respectively) resulting in a longer, more sustained “high”.

Although there is the belief that many women are initially attracted to meth because of its positive effects on weight loss, energy and mood, a more in-depth look reveals that women are also using meth for reasons that are similar to what men report.  One such reason is an enhanced sexual experience associated with meth intoxication and with this, women end up suffering the same consequences of use as men, including being at an increased risk for contracting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Female meth users are often in abusive relationships, engage in antisocial behaviors including drug production and trafficking, and report difficulty controlling violent and aggressive behaviors

Compared to cocaine, opiates, and alcohol, more meth users report that their drug use made them obsessed with sex and were more likely, along with cocaine users, to engage in sex acts that were out of the norm for them while under the influence. Alcohol and opiate users were the least likely to become obsessed with sex or to engage in unusual sexual practices while using their drugs.  Although men were more likely than women to report a strong association among cocaine use, sexual thoughts and behaviors, females reported as powerful an association between meth use and sexual behaviors as men, and this relationship between meth use and sex appears to depend on meth’s combined intense aphrodisiac effects and loss of inhibitions.  However, chronic users of meth often describe the need to participate in novel or taboo sexual activities in order to be able to reach orgasm.  Thus, not only is sex enhanced for women and a major appeal of the drug, but women are also engaging in sexual risk-taking behaviors at rates that have sometimes been found to surpass those reported by men.

So meth is unique among drugs of abuse in its appeal to women.  This, in turn, can lead to the neglect of their dependent children, and I read news reports every day that tell such sad stories of children being removed from their homes due to their mother’s meth use.  This is what has sparked my interest in meth use among women.  I have been talking with former and current meth users about their drug use, and I have learned volumes of information from them.  My hopes are that this knowledge may lead to the development of tailored treatments especially for the female meth user who wants to stop using the drug.  If you are a meth users, current or former, or know a meth user and want to tell me your story, I would be very interested to talk to you.  You can contact me in complete confidence at nickgoeders@gmail.com.  I am confident that I can learn from you too.

As always, be safe out there!

September 6, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In Meth in the News each week, I try to inform the readers about the dangers associated with methamphetamine.  And while I may repeat some things in this column, many do bear repeating.  Not everyone sees my column each week, and sometimes it may take several readings before this important information is remembered.  And my interest in methamphetamine grew out of the serious harm that often befalls the innocent victims of meth manufacture and use — the children who live where meth is being manufactured and/or used.  I am going to review these dangers once again in this week’s column.  Be sure to read to the end; you may be able to help me.

The number of meth labs – the “one pot” or shake-and-bake” labs – continues to grow throughout the United States.  Authorities in state after state report significant increases, often more than doubling the number of labs seized in the previous year.  As the larger labs continue to dwindle and the smaller labs continue to proliferate, more and more children are going to be exposed and harmed.  The U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Victims of Crime reported (www.ojp.usdoj.gov) that “a child living at a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory is exposed to immediate dangers and to the ongoing effects of chemical contamination.”  Reports of neglect, burns, and poisoning have become almost routine for children of meth-addicted parents and caretakers.

The chemicals used to “cook” meth and the hazardous byproducts resulting from its manufacture produce toxic fumes, vapors, and spills.  A child living in a home containing a meth lab may inhale or swallow toxic substances or inhale secondhand smoke from adults who are using meth in the home.  The child can receive an injection or an accidental skin prick from discarded needles or other drug paraphernalia.  Meth and other toxic substances can be absorbed through the skin following contact with contaminated surfaces, clothing, or food.  And a child may become ill after directly ingesting chemicals or an intermediate product during the “cook”.  Exposure to even low levels of some meth ingredients may produce headaches, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. Exposure to higher levels can produce shortness of breath, coughing, chest pain, dizziness, lack of coordination, eye and tissue irritation, chemical burns to the skin, eyes, mouth, and nose, and even death.

Reports suggest that about 15% of meth labs are discovered as a result of a fire or explosion.  The chemicals use to make meth are extremely dangerous.  I cannot state that emphatically enough!  The careless handling of these highly volatile hazardous chemicals and waste products and unsafe manufacturing methods can cause solvents and other materials to burst into flames or even explode.  Since meth cooks have not typically been trained in proper laboratory procedures, improperly labeled and incompatible chemicals are often stored together, compounding the likelihood of fire and explosion.  Highly combustible materials left on stovetops, near ignition sources, or on surfaces accessible to children can be easily ignited by a single spark or cigarette ember.  Hydrogenerators used for the production of meth constitute “bombs” waiting to be ignited by a careless act if they are uncapped or punctured at the wrong time.  And of course, the proper safety equipment is typically nonexistent or inadequate to protect a child in the case of an accident.

Children living in homes containing meth labs are at increased risk for severe neglect and are more likely to be physically and sexually abused in their own homes by members of their own family and known individuals.  Parents and caregivers who are meth dependent typically become careless, irritable, and violent, often losing their capacity to nurture their children.  Sometimes older siblings in these homes have to try to assume the role of caretaker.  Some meth-addicted parents sleep for several days after a long binge and cannot be awakened, further increasing the likelihood that their children will be exposed to toxic chemicals or to abusive acts committed by the other drug-using individuals who are still in the home.

Corrosive substances can cause injury to children (and adults) through inhalation or contact with the skin. Solvents can irritate the skin, mucous membranes, and respiratory tract and affect the central nervous system. Chronic exposure to the chemicals used to “cook” meth may cause cancer; damage the brain, liver, kidney, spleen, and immunologic system; and result in birth defects.  This creates a clear and present danger – not just to the people living in the home with a meth lab, but to the unknowing and innocent people who may purchase or rent a home that had been used to “cook” meth.  Why is that?  Normal cleaning will not remove methamphetamine and many of the chemicals used in the “cooking” process.  These substances can remain on eating and cooking utensils, floors, countertops, and absorbent materials. There have been many reports in the news about people becoming strangely ill for no apparent reason.  Upon further investigation, many of the symptoms were traced back to the home containing a meth lab that was insufficiently cleaned.  Accordingly, many states have passed stricter laws regarding the cleanup of homes where methamphetamine was manufactured.

This is where I could use the help of an attorney! I checked the Louisiana “Civil code-ancillaries” and found under RS 9:3198 and RS 9:3198.1 that a “property disclosure document” must include a “statement of acknowledgment as to whether or not an illegal laboratory for the production or manufacturing of methamphetamine was in operation on the purchasing property.”  This is to be reported to the Department of Environmental Quality and placed on a list of contaminated property.  This property can only be removed from this list “upon confirmation by the department that property has been properly remediated to its established standards.” If these codes are laws, it is unclear if they are being followed.  I fear that children and adults are being put at risk if they unknowingly move into a home that formerly contained a meth lab.  If these codes do not have enough teeth to force enforcement, then perhaps legislative action is necessary.  As reported above, many states have enacted tougher laws in this area.  I would love to hear from an attorney familiar with these Legislative codes.  You can contact me through The Inquisitor or at LSU Health.

As always, be safe out there!

August 30, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In last week’s Meth in the News, I reported on how methamphetamine has become a world-wide epidemic.  Not just a problem in the western hemisphere, methamphetamine has become a significant problem, not only in Australia or New Zealand, but in countries such as China, North Korea and Singapore, where personal freedoms are severely restricted.  And while I sometimes see claims that meth use in the United States has not reached epidemic proportions, I read report after report that the number of meth labs discovered is reaching record levels.  Since the number of meth labs seized may be a rough indicator of the number of meth users, this indicates that meth use is also on the rise.  When one factors in the huge seizures of meth along the southern border with Mexico, the premise that meth use is on the rise is no stretch of the imagination.

In Indiana, authorities have seen a 16% increase in the number of meth labs busted compared to last year, which was a 31% increase over 2011.  And according to Sgt. Niki Crawford, Meth Suppression Section Commander with the Indiana State Police, “Since 2006, we have more than doubled the number of labs we have seized.” This year, the Indiana legislature passed and the governor signed into law a measure placing an annual limit on how much of the drug’s main ingredient, pseudoephedrine, can be legally purchased.  However, so far this year, 1,093 meth labs have been seized, suggesting that efforts to restrict are not helping. Sgt. Crawford told reporters that the meth makers are getting around the law by simply using more people to “smurf”, or buy the drug for them.  And he also said that most meth cooks (89%) are also using the “one-pot” method for making meth. “It’s much quicker, it’s much easier. But unfortunately for the public, for the meth cookers themselves and for our folks who are certified on the State Police to work these meth labs, it’s much more volatile,” said Sgt. Crawford.  This, in turn, means that more people are at risk for serious injury or even death, either while “cooking” the drug or while police are busting the operation.

Sgt. Crawford also said that police are finding more children inside the homes where meth is being made, and that can lead to more jail time for meth makers. “Many times, there will be a neglect of dependent charge filed on that defendant as well as the manufacturing or possession or whatever state law they are violating,” said Sgt. Crawford. Indiana State Police have found 306 children in or near meth labs so far this year, which is roughly a 50% increase over the same time period in each of the last two years.  Indiana State Police Meth Suppression Coordinator Brock Russell told reporters that “Generally speaking, the odors [from “one-pot” labs] aren’t as strong as the birch reduction method. It’s probably a little easier to conceal and harder to find or locate.”  Sgt. Russell said some meth labs are discovered through pseudoephedrine sales checks, which can now be done online in Indiana. Other labs are discovered through meth users who have been arrested and often give up locations and other users.  But he said that most of the labs are discovered through tips from the general public.  In fact, The Inquisitor reported in the August 24, 2013 issue that a meth lab was discovered by a homeowner based on what he read in this column.

A similar problem is occurring across the United States.  In Montana, “[People] are turning to shake-and-bake because it’s easier and it’s mobile,” according to Charmel Owens, director of the Ravalli County Drug Free Communities Task Force. “Once they’re done they can discard the containers wherever. The potential danger to the environment is really high.”  Law enforcement officials believe that the days of “large-scale” meth labs in America (as depicted on Breaking Bad) are over, and most meth production has switched to these smaller operations.  In 2010, the DEA reported that up to 80% of the labs shut down throughout the United States were using the “one pot” or “shake-and-bake” method.  The older methods required up to six hours and large volumes of chemicals to produce relatively low-quality meth in a relatively large (lab) space. The “shake-and-bake” method uses fewer amounts of the same chemicals and requires only a two-liter bottle and a few hoses to produce a small amount of purer product in less than an hour.  I have been told that I could take $200 to Wal-Mart just before lunch, purchase everything that I need, and be high by 1 PM.  This frustrates authorities since a “shake-and-bake” operation can spring up basically anywhere. In fact, a woman was arrested in a Tulsa, Okla., Wal-Mart in 2011 for trying to actually make meth inside the store with materials she had just shoplifted.  A couple months earlier, a man was arrested in the same Wal-Mart store for carrying an active “shake-and-bake” lab in his backpack.

Even though it is cheaper and faster than the traditional methods, “cooking” meth in a “shake-and-bake” lab is really analogous to making a bomb.   The chemical reactions involved in the production of meth create excessive heat and, under intense pressure, can easily explode if mishandled, uncapped too soon, or punctured.  As I wrote in an earlier column, hospitals in states reporting the highest meth use also have significant increases in the number of patients in burn units due to injuries suffered while attempting to “cook” meth.

Another major risk associated with these “one-pot” labs is that the “cooks” often carelessly dispose of the potentially dangerous waste materials left over after the procedure is finished.  The seemingly harmless plastic bottles often contain a toxic brew that has the potential to explode, ignite or emit poison gas when opened or, importantly, when combined with water.  Lithium should never be exposed to water.  Law enforcement officers must wear full face protection and flame retardant suits and gloves when dealing with “one-pot” waste.

And while I have reported this week about the increases in meth lab seizures in Indiana and Montana, those states are not alone.  In the last two weeks, I have seen very similar reports from Ohio (authorities report a 467% increase over 5 years ago), Wisconsin (reporting an 86% increase over last year), and West Virginia, where meth lab seizures have doubled compared to last year.  Clearly, the meth epidemic is not going away any time soon.

As always, be safe out there!

August 23, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In Meth in the News each week, I have told you about the significant and growing problem with the manufacture and use of methamphetamine in the United States.  Many of the traditional labs are things of the past due to the increased government monitoring of the sale of cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine, but the Mexican Drug Cartels have more than taken up the slack.  Hundreds and hundreds of pounds of remarkably pure methamphetamine flow across our southern border with Mexico each year.  I have reported many times about the seizures made on an almost daily basis, but it is difficult to actually calculate how much meth gets through undetected.  If one takes into account the number of – whatever they are called now – undocumented workers, estimated at around 11 million, it quickly becomes apparent that significant quantities of Mexican meth must have also been smuggled across the border.  And as I have also reported, the number of “one pot” or “shake & bake” meth “labs” seized in large cities and small towns throughout America are increasing at an alarming rate.  If you talk to former or current meth users, they will readily tell you that practically everyone that they know is using and possibly also cooking meth.  Although it is doubtful that everyone is using meth, I firmly believe that the number of meth users is dramatically underestimated.  And if it is not already there, I fear that the use of methamphetamine will reach epidemic proportions very soon, and the meth problem will become even more severe.  However, the non-medical use of methamphetamine is not just an American problem.  Methamphetamine is a world-wide phenomenon!

Would you believe that methamphetamine is quickly becoming the “drug of choice” in China?  It’s true, according to recent publications on www.healthintelasia.com and  www.abc.net.au.  They reported that officials for the Chinese Ministry of Health said that while the abuse of more traditional drugs has declined, the abuse of “synthetic” drugs is on the rise.  And guess what the Ministry of Health claims is of special concern?  You guessed it – they are concerned with what they call “new ice,” which is actually crystal meth.  Bao Yanping, from the Peking University Institute of Drug Dependence claims that crystal meth is preferred above all other synthetic drugs.  And data collected in 2012 show that China has more than 20 provinces where the amount of crystal meth seized was more than the amount of heroin seized.  At the same time, however, the use of multiple drugs has also increased, and data from China’s drug abuse monitoring centers indicate that 30% of the heroin users also use synthetic drugs.  Another concern is that sex workers comprise a very high percentage of crystal meth users, and this increases the risk of HIV sexual transmission.  In addition, China is concerned that young people under age 35 are most likely to use new synthetic drugs such as “new ice.” They often use the drug recreationally and in groups, and engage in what is termed “mass promiscuous sexual behavior or group behavior,” which can also lead to increased HIV infection.  And where does this meth come from?  China shares a 2,500 mile border with Myanmar that is extremely remote and porous.  Poor Burmese farmers sneak into China along this border, many looking for work, but others are drug couriers who are paid a couple hundred dollars to smuggle drugs.  Wu Jiang, a former policeman who is a leading authority on drug crime in China told reporters that Yunnan police seized 9 tons of “ice” (meth) coming out of Myanmar in 2012, which was a 26% increase over the year before.  So China may also be in the grips of a growing methamphetamine epidemic.

Would you believe that North Korea is also experiencing a methamphetamine problem?  Well, according to a study published in the journal North Korea Review titled, “A New Face of North Korean Drug Use: Upsurge in Methamphetamine Abuse Across the Northern Areas of North Korea,” the production of methamphetamine has gone from government-owned factories to privately run underground laboratories and “home kitchens.”  In the 1990’s, opium was the drug of choice for both the cash-strapped Kim Jong Il regime and the populace.  But by the mid 2000’s, the poppy fields began to dry up while meth – called “bingdu” or “ice” – became more widespread.  A co-author on this study, Kim Seok-hyang, told reporters, “Almost every adult in that area (of North Korea) has experienced using ice and not just once.  I estimate that at least 40% to 50% are seriously addicted to the drug.  Everyone from middle school students to government officials use it,” he said.  Some claim that North Koreans are using meth as a cheap alternative for hard to find medicines, but they are seriously mistaken.  It is not clear how this epidemic in North Korea will turn out, but if it is like China or the United States, there is no end in sight.

Here are a few other fun facts about this growing world-wide epidemic.  In Singapore, the Central Narcotics Bureau said that the number of drug abusers arrested increased 3% in the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year, and heroin and methamphetamine continue to be the most commonly abused drugs.  In fact, 92% of all drug abusers arrested were heroin or methamphetamine users. The estimated street value of drug seizures in the first half of 2013 amounted to about $9.4 million.  Surprisingly, cannabis was the third most commonly abused drug.  In New Zealand, 66 kilograms of meth and 3.3 tons of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine have been intercepted through international mail, sea cargo and air cargo shipments, and from individuals entering the country, according to Customs Minister Maurice Williamson.  The value of the meth and its precursor drugs seized since 2009 is worth up to $1 billion.  Again, I wonder how much was actually smuggled into the county.  In Australia, meth has overtaken heroin and even cannabis as the drug of choice among regular injecting drug users.  The South Australian Drug Trends 2012 survey reported, “Methamphetamine was the most commonly used illicit drug among injecting drug users, as well as the drug injected most often in the past month, overtaking cannabis and heroin respectively.” In Bangkok, Thai authorities recently seized over 980,000 illegal methamphetamine pills, known as “yaba”, worth almost $6 million that were stashed in a truck thought to be heading to the capital from northern Thailand.  It is estimated that at least 1.4 billion yaba tablets — with an estimated street value of $8.5 billion — are being produced each year in the region, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Methamphetamine is clearly becoming a world-wide epidemic.  It will be interesting, and possibly quite frightening to see what the future holds.  Be safe out there!

August 16, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

For my meth in the news column this week, I am going to illustrate the problems that methamphetamine is causing throughout the United States by focusing on Central Valley, California.  As reported online at www.modbee.com, the scourge of meth shows little signs of abating, even after 20 years!  This continuing problem can be determined in a variety of different ways.

First of all, one can take a look at the number of people who enter a licensed and certified treatment program.  Of the 2,034 people who entered treatment in Stanislaus County in the year ending in June, 2013, 35 percent said that meth was their primary drug of choice.  An official with the Stanislaus County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services told reporters that meth has held the distinction as the No. 1 drug of choice in the county for many years.  Thus, there is no indication that the use of meth is declining.

Modesto, California, is at the top of a nation-wide list for automobile theft.  Many officials point to the continuing meth problem as playing a major role.  According to the Modesto Police Department, there were 1,618 meth-related arrests over the last two years.  That is an average of more than 2 meth-related arrests each and every day!  Frank Scafidi, of the National Insurance Crime Bureau said to reporters, “There’s a notorious methamphetamine problem in this state. Where you have a lot of drug problems, police will tell you, you have a lot of property crimes. It’s like peanut butter and jelly.”  So there appears to be a link between the extent of meth use and auto theft in Modesto, which is likely repeated time and time again all over the country.

Last year, the Stanislaus County district attorney’s office filed charges in about 6,700 cases, and 27 percent of these were drug related, primarily involving methamphetamine.  Even so, it is difficult to estimate the number of cases that involved meth by looking at the number of drug cases prosecuted.  District Attorney Birgit Fladager and Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson agree that a meth addiction might be what motivates a person to steal a car or commit a burglary, but if that person does not possess meth when arrested, it won’t show up as a drug case, even though it might actually be the underlying cause for the burglary.  Sheriff Christianson said, “It’s safe to assume there’s an element of meth in many of the crimes we investigate, primarily property crimes.”

Authorities have indicated that they are seeing a reduction in the typical meth lab, due in part to new state laws that made the precursor drugs, most notably pseudoephedrine, more difficult to purchase — a change that also has made it less convenient for the average consumer to buy cold and allergy medicines.  But while there are fewer labs producing meth, it is still readily available, with most brought in from Mexico where is is made in elaborate superlabs run by the Mexican Drug Cartels.  The demand has also remained high since meth is relatively cheap, especially compared with a drug such as cocaine.  Street dealers, many gang-related, often sell meth for only $20 to $30 for a “teener” (one-sixteenth of a gram).

I have mentioned the extreme and bizarre behaviors that often accompany long-term meth use many times in the past in this column, and these behaviors have also been observed in Stanislaus County.  Examples include a woman driving under the influence of meth that ran over and killed a 6-year-old boy and injured his 8-year-old brother while they were walking to school.  In May, a 31-year-old Oakdale mother was sentenced to nine years in prison for using methamphetamine while she was breast-feeding, resulting in the death of her infant daughter.  This “collateral damage” resulting from meth use is routinely seen by social workers from Child Protective Services. A Stanislaus Behavioral Health official says meth use has become so commonplace that officials don’t even talk about its prevalence anymore.

The methamphetamine epidemic shows no signs of ending.  And I truly believe that nationwide surveys have significantly underestimated the extent of meth use in the United States.  But if one looks at the seizures of meth (1,000’s of pounds are seized yearly along the Mexican border), the increases in the number of “one-pot” or “shake-and-bake” labs uncovered, the numbers of arrests of people for the manufacture, possession and distribution of the drug, and the often horrific crimes committed by people under the influence of meth, a different picture begins to emerge.

Like it or not, meth is all around us.  You cannot identify a meth user by her looks.  While some do begin to resemble the pictures posted on the Montana Meth and other related sites, many look no different than the girl next door.  And if you ask around, people will tell you that it is all around – and that everyone is cooking meth now.  Experts who deal with the effects of meth agree that a three-pronged approach is needed that includes prevention, treatment and disrupting the market by going after the manufacturers and distributors.  And the best way to prevent meth use is education.  That is what I am trying to do with this column; make the reader aware of the dangers associated with meth.  If just one person reads this column and does not use meth because of what she read, then this has all been worth it!

August 8, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

For my meth in the news column this week, I am going to discuss several different but interesting cases involving methamphetamine.  The first case involves a woman who was recently found naked in a SoMA (South of Market) neighborhood alley located near the AT&T Park in San Francisco, according to sfist.com.  When 26-year old Drusilla Holmgren was found by San Francisco Police Department officers in the alley near Stanford and Townsend Streets around 7 AM, she was said to be “struggling” to put on a nightgown, but was otherwise completely naked.  She told the officers that she had been up all night smoking meth.  It was not at all clear what else she had been doing all night and why she was naked, but it obviously had something to do with the meth she had been using.  She also informed the police that she was, in fact, Jesus Christ.  A serious side effect associated with long-term meth use is the development of psychoses and delusions, and Ms. Holmgren was definitely delusional.  Emergency medical technicians were called to take the woman to the hospital due to her condition (naked on the streets and delusional at 7 in the morning).  When they placed her on the gurney for the trip to the hospital, officers noticed that she had the numbers “666” (the “mark of the beast”) tattooed on her wrist.  Unfortunately for the woman, her troubles were just beginning.  One of the officers noticed that a similar tattoo was seen on a suspect involved in the attempted robbery of a nearby branch of Wells Fargo just the week before.  That bank robbery was a failure as the bank teller did not respond when Ms. Holmgren passed a note to her claiming that she had a gun.  Video surveillance footage and eyewitnesses verified that Ms. Holmgren was indeed the same woman who tried to rob the Wells Fargo bank.  It turns out that she was also a convicted felon out on probation when she was arrested.  She was booked into the County Jail on suspicion of attempted bank robbery.  She is scheduled to appear in court in October.

The next case comes from walb.com in Brooks County, Georgia and involves the arrest of a notorious methamphetamine “King Pin” and one of the largest drug busts in over 30 years.   In fact, this was one of the biggest meth busts that Brooks County investigators ever remember seeing.  Clarence Edmondson was arrested on suspicion of cooking meth on his property, which was located on Moultrie Highway, just outside the Quitman city limits, after authorities received a detailed tip and were able to obtain a search warrant.  The Brooks County Sheriff’s Department found so much meth-making material there that they had to enlist the services of multiple enforcement agencies, and it still took agents two days to pack up the elaborate meth operation that was housed in old hog barns found on Edmondson’s property.  DEA agents and a clandestine lab task force out of Atlanta removed multiple 500 gallon tanks of meth-making chemicals and many other materials used to cook meth.   Brooks County Sheriff Mike Dewey called this “One of the largest that I’ve ever even heard of.”  He went on to say that Edmondson is the “meth king pin” of Brooks County and that his arrest will choke off the supply to smaller drug dealers in the area.  “It spreads out to who they’re distributing to and it branches out from there. But when you cut off the main supply, you cut off all these other little branches also,” said Sheriff Dewey.  Edmondson also has a prior felony conviction for trafficking marijuana several years ago.  Oh, I forgot to mention one important fact. Clarence Edmondson is 70 years old and a well known land owner in the area.  I would have never guessed that the Brooks County, Georgia Meth King Pin was a 70-year-old man, but here he is.  Edmondson’s neighbors were as surprised as I was.  Neighbor Daphney Walker told reporters that he was her landlord. “I was shocked, very shocked, surprised.  And then to find out actually who was involved, the rent man, that’s just really scary right now.”  Edmondson was charged with conspiracy to manufacture meth, possession of meth, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and is being held without bond.  As I say time and time again, no one is immune to the effects of meth – or the profits that can be made if one chooses to ignore the associated dangers.

Our last case comes from Jefferson County, Nebraska (beatricedailysun.com) in regards to the discovery of the largest methamphetamine lab operation in the Fairbury area in more than a decade.  It seems like the “largest meth bust” is occurring over and over again across the United States.  In this case, Fairbury Police Department officers found meth as well as several components used in the production of meth, including anhydrous ammonia and pseudoephedrine tablets, when they searched the home of David G. Stenson, 43, located at 1528 Garber Heights in Fairbury.  A 12-gauge shotgun was also found.  Approximately 70 “gas generators” — common plastic coke or soda bottles — used to cook meth were found on the property, with one bottle used for each batch of meth made.  Fairbury Police Chief Chad Sprunk told reporters, “We found receipts in the shed that showed components of a meth lab being purchased as early as 2008.  We’re not sure exactly how long it was active, but going off the components that were located, it was a large number of times meth was produced at the residence.”  Neighbors were surprised to see several police cars, a fire truck and an ambulance in front of Stenson’s home.  They described him as a “friendly” man, and some thought that the allegations against him were “shocking.”  Nevertheless, Stenson was charged with a total of seven felonies, including manufacturing a controlled substance and delivery of a controlled substance, possession of methamphetamine, possession of a firearm during a drug crime, possession of anhydrous ammonia with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, and failure to pay drug tax stamp, all felonies.  Stenson was arrested and taken to the Jefferson County Jail where he was being held without bond.

None of these cases ended well, although no one was seriously injured.  But while the lure of meth — the euphoric effects it produces and the profits that can be made — can be quite powerful, the dangers — the potential brain damage and other medical complications, the constant paranoia, the risk for fires and explosions, and getting caught — should be reason enough to stay away from Meth!

August 1, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

For my meth in the news column this week, I am going to talk about the innocent victims of the methamphetamine epidemic that is sweeping the nation.  These victims are the little children who are forced to live in homes, apartments, trailers and other places where meth is manufactured and used.  And as the number of “one pot” or “shake and bake” labs continues to skyrocket, police and child protection services are going to discover more and more children suffering from abuse and neglect.  Some estimate that in up to 90% of home meth lab busts, neglected, abused and sick children are taken away from their meth-using parents.  This is the very reason I began to focus attention on methamphetamine.  These children have done nothing wrong and are powerless to stop their parents from using this insidious drug, and they only find relief when they are removed from their parents and placed with relatives or foster parents.

I have shared many stories about these children in my weekly columns.  I have shared with the readers how children’s sippy cups and pacifiers are often found sitting alongside dangerous chemicals and substances such as liquid drain cleaner and lithium batteries as a record-setting number of meth “cooks” are using the “shake and bake” or “one pot” method.  Diapers, baby bottles and crayon drawings have also been seen sitting next to blister packs, “shake and bake” bottles and countless dangerous and volatile chemicals.  A report earlier this year by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) indicated that the number of clandestine meth incidents more than doubled in 2010 to 15,000.  Estimates are that this year, the number of incidents will be even greater.  The GAO also tracked the effects of these meth labs on children over a ten-year period beginning in 2002.  The GAO found that more than 21,000 children had been impacted during that time.  And the numbers continue to grow.

There have been many examples in the news of children who faced significant injury and even death after exposure to meth-making chemicals, and some of these have been reported in this column.  For instance, just last month, two-year-old Frankee Arroyo was rushed to the hospital after swallowing drain cleaner that was contained in a glass in her mother’s boyfriend’s car.  The sulphuric acid in the drain cleaner burned through her throat and into her stomach. The acid was so strong that it even ate through the leather upholstery in the boyfriend’s Cadillac Escalade.  Little Frankie was in a medically-induced coma for a month due to the extent of her injuries.  In a similar sad case last February, Jonathan Wayne Glass and Victoria Lauren Cain were arrested in Florida after their three-year-old drank drain cleaner from a sippy cup left in the bathroom of their home.  And a 20-month-old boy died in Kentucky’s Wayne County after drinking from a cup left on a bedroom table that was filled with Liquid Fire.

In an even more chilling case, Patrick Nicholas Lerch was just 17-months-old when he was found unresponsive in his crib at a house in Ohio where methamphetamine was being cooked.  The little boy subsequently died in the hospital.  An autopsy determined that he suffered from meth intoxication due to the inhalation of chemicals associated with cooking meth.  And 6-week-old Michael Acosta died last year after drinking breast milk that was laced with meth; his mother pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter.  Just last week, 36-year-old grandmother Marsha Stevens was arrested in Arkansas after her 10-month-old granddaughter was rushed to the hospital and meth was found in her system.  Courtney Stevens told the police that her mother handed her a plastic bag of meth that was “wet and appeared to have been chewed on” when the ambulance arrived at their home.

Missouri has the country’s second-highest number of meth lab incidents – 2,114 in 2011 – the Department of Social Services reported that it has spent $3.4 million since 2005 on custodial care alone.  Monroe County Juvenile Court Judge Reed Dixon told reporters that, “I’d estimate about 75 per cent of the kids I see taken into (state) custody are due to meth in the home.  We’ve had parents who have gone through the process and got the child back. That’s a pretty long path to follow. It can take as long as six months to a year.”  The Judge went on, “We had one case where the parent was on meth and kept doing, doing and doing. When the kids came into court, they asked to eat. They described the method for making (meth) and talked about watching their mother suck it up with a straw.”

I did hear about a case in southern Louisiana recently that sent chills up my spine.  I was told that when police raided a suspected meth house, they saw a chain kennel similar to those that normally house guard dogs.  When no dogs were found on the premises, the homeowner told authorities that the kennel was used to house the children when they were cooking meth.

Carol Cha, the GAO’s acting director of Homeland Security and Justice, recently told the New York Daily News, “Children are dragged into this unwillingly.  Law enforcement sees the lab problem as having the greatest impact on children.”

Of that there can be no doubt.  If for no other reason, please stay away from meth for the sake of your children.

July 24, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

For my meth in the news column this week, I am going to discuss a few interesting stories and then something more personal in nature at the end.  In the first news item, cleveland.com reports that a 27-year-old man was seen by Portage County Sheriff’s deputies walking down Waterloo Road in Atwater, Ohio.  What caught the deputy’s attention was that there was smoke emanating from a backpack that the man was carrying.  Can you imagine how this might have looked?  Here deputies see a man walking down the road with a smoking backpack.  I wonder if he even noticed!  Fearing for the man’s safety, and that of others, the deputies stopped the man and searched his smoking backpack.  There they discovered smoking chemicals used to make methamphetamine, other meth manufacturing equipment and a stolen gun.  Furthermore, information that the deputies subsequently obtained led to the discovery of four more meth labs in the area.  This information took agents from the Portage County Drug Task Force to a home located further down Waterloo Road.  There agents arrested a man and woman on suspicion of operating a meth lab after they found numerous chemicals and components used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine.  The woman’s two children, ages 6 and 16, were living in the house where the meth lab was located, so the man and woman were also charged with making meth in the presence of children.  In the next nearby bust, agents arrested a 20-year-old man from Ravenna and an 18-year-old woman from Rootstown on suspicion of manufacturing meth.  The final lab was also found in Ravenna Township where agents arrested a man who police said was making meth at his grandfather’s garage.  The Portage County Drug Task Force has members from the Portage County Sheriff’s Office, Portage County Prosecutor’s Office, Aurora, Kent, Ravenna and Streetsboro, Garrettsville, Hiram and Windham, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The next story comes from Trinity County, Texas as reported on fox19.com.  I was almost shocked when I first read this story, but these days, nothing surprises me about meth anymore.  But who ever heard of an 88-year-old lookout?  Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace told reporters about a house in The Landing subdivision that he and his deputies had been watching for a long time.  “We’d see known drug users go into the house, all hours of the night. They would go in, come back out within two or three minutes – it’s a good indication they’re trafficking drugs out of there. So like I said it was well known. They were doing major quantities out of this house.”  Authorities were called to the house on July 11 for a suspected drug overdose, and one man was arrested on outstanding warrants.  Even after the Sheriff indicated to the other people in the house that they were watching them, the Sheriff sent an undercover officer to the home on July 13.  Sheriff Wallace told reporters that while they were conducting the undercover buys, they would notice an elderly woman who was watching out the window as the drug transactions were taking place inside the home, indicating that she was acting as a lookout.  When the house was raided by the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office and the deputies “busted in” the door, the woman, who turned out to be an incredible 88 years old, began “screaming and hollering,” according to the Sheriff.  When she realized that they were the police, she started crying.  But Sheriff Wallace said that the 88-year-old woman was “ready to fight when we first showed up.” Apparently people of all ages have become involved in the methamphetamine trade.

You may have already heard about the third case.  As reported recently on nbcnews.com, the brother of ailing country superstar Randy Travis was arrested and charged with trafficking methamphetamine.  Investigators told reporters that “a working meth lab” had allegedly been found inside the home of David Brownlow Traywick, 50, of Marshville, North Carolina.  Traywick’s wife Jessica and two other women were also arrested.  No one is immune to the dangers of meth!

On a personal note, I write this column and maintain my online blog on meth in an attempt to increase awareness and knowledge about the dangers associated with the manufacture, distribution and use of meth.  I also point out the dangers to the general public from exposure to meth-making materials.  My blog is what is referred to as OSINT, or Open-source intelligence, which means that I collect the news for my blog from online news reports; I don’t make up these stories.  And I am not paid for my blog or this column.  I do this basically as a public service as indicated above.  I do not do this to make fun of or denigrate anyone; they have done this to themselves by getting caught.  Nevertheless, some people take exception when I include a news story about their involvement with drugs on my blog; some have sent messages cursing me for re-reporting a news item that can also be easily found elsewhere.  That is no big deal.  But recently I received an email to my private email address from a former sheriff (or perhaps from a relative of his) in Indiana.  Several news outlets reported that this former sheriff, along with 14 others was arrested in a major undercover operation in southern Indiana.  The former sheriff was outraged that I included his name on my blog.  What was the reason for this outrage?  You should have seen the language he used!  He was so angry because he was not charged with selling methamphetamine.  Instead he WAS charged with four felony counts of dealing a Schedule III substance (likely hydrocodone, although there is a push by Congress and the FDA to reclassify this drug as Schedule II, just like meth), not methamphetamine.  That was the basis for the outrage even though my report was that the former sheriff and 14 others were arrested on methamphetamine and drug charges, which would include hydrocodone.  Several news outlets, including one that contained a video can be easily found reporting this same story.  I mention this here due to the last email I received from this fine person.  The last line of this email read, “I hope a tweaker finds u n ur wife n Louisiana n fills u both full of meth till your heart’s explode.”  My skin is becoming quite thick, but when someone mentions where I live AND my wife, I take notice.  Don’t worry; I don’t intend to stop reporting OSINT news on meth.  But if something happens, you all know where to look.

Meth is a messy business.  Be safe out there!

July 17, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

For my meth in the news column this week, I am going to talk about some of the extreme measures that people will go to for their methamphetamine.  The first case was reported earlier this month on phoenixnewtimes.com.  In this case, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents noticed that a 31-year-old woman was acting very nervous at the port of entry in San Luis.  She was exhibiting signs often observed by people attempting to smuggle drugs and other contraband into the United States from Mexico.  Claudia Ibarra crossed the border alone and on foot, and is a U.S. citizen from Yuma.  When the CBP officer looked more closely, the agent noticed what appeared to be part of a broken condom hanging out of the woman’s pants.  Ms. Ibarra was subsequently transferred to a secure area for further examination.  CBP spokesperson Teresa Small told reporters, “When they were patting her down, they realized there was something down there.”  Since the condom had already been noticed, officers asked Ibarra to remove her pants and panties.  When she complied, one of the officers was able to see “a piece of plastic protruding from her groin area,” according to the complaint.  At that time, Ms. Ibarra admitted to concealing a package of methamphetamine inside her vagina.  Officials said it is not unusual for drug smugglers to hide drugs inside human bodies, either by swallowing the package or inserting them by other means.  Ms. Ibarra was taken to a hospital in Yuma so that a medical official could carefully remove the package since exposure to the amount of meth that was hidden inside her vagina would have killed Ms. Ibarra if the condom had broken.  The drug could have been easily absorbed through the mucus membranes inside the woman’s body.  The package weighed exactly one pound, which is a relatively large bundle to insert, and contained meth wrapped in black tape and a condom before being inserted.  Ms. Ibarra was subsequently turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations where she faces two federal drug charges.

Actually, it is not all that unusual for the police to find methamphetamine or drug paraphernalia hidden inside a woman’s body.  In Louisville, KY, officers arrested Alisha Brewer on an outstanding warrant, according to whas11.com.  When she was searched, authorities discovered a small bag of white powder in her jacket pocket.  The powder tested positive for meth.  At Metro Corrections in Louisville, a full-body scan indicated that some type of object was lodged inside Ms. Brewer’s vagina.  A subsequent strip search revealed that the object was indeed a meth pipe.  Therefore, in addition to the original charges, Alisha Brewer was also charged with possession of a controlled substance and promoting contraband in a correctional facility.  Whenever I hear about a case like this, it makes me wonder.  Did she really think that they were not going to check her for contraband?  Perhaps some people are able to slip through, but the meth in her pocket was a dead giveaway.

And yes, sometimes things do slip through the cracks.  Last year, a woman was pulled over for erratic driving in Centennial Lakes, MN after she was seen straddling the median.  Nicole Lynn Denzer, 23, was taken to jail, booked and placed into her cell, according to KSTP.com.  During a routine cell inspection that occurred after Ms. Denzer had already been processed, a canine detection unit alerted to the woman as the dog began sniffing at her crotch.  At this time, Ms. Denzer admitted to having drugs hidden inside her vagina.  After a strip search, authorities found “a clear plastic bag with 17 grams of meth and a clear pipe,” according to the complaint.  Ms. Denzer was charged with second-degree controlled substance possession and an additional charge of introducing drug contraband into jail.  She faces up to 25 years and a $500,000 fine.

In an earlier column, I told you about Christie Dawn Harris, 28, of Ada, OK.  When Ms. Harris was arrested and taken to jail, she continually complained about needing to go to the bathroom.  She also told police that she could not wear “prison clothes” since she was “on her period.”  I never knew that was an excuse for not wearing prison uniforms.  Once she was strip searched, authorities found several bags of crystal meth hidden in the crack of her buttocks and a loaded pistol hidden in her vagina.  Just last week, Ms. Harris entered no contest pleas to three felony counts of possession of meth with intent to distribute, gun possession, and bringing contraband into jail.  Judge Steven Kessinger sentenced her to 25 years for each count, with the three prison terms to run concurrently.  She also has to pay $1,363 in court costs and fees.

Finally, men are no smarter than women when it come to drugs.  Last week, Eric Joseph was arrested in Cobb County, GA after Smyrna police found a clear plastic bag containing nearly 42 grams of marijuana hidden under his genitals.  Police also found 16 individually packaged capsules containing 2.8 grams of a clear, crystal-like substance that tested positive for crystal meth, according to smyrna.patch.com.  The report did not indicate how the drugs were hidden under his genitals, so the reader can only imagine how Mr. Joseph hid his drugs.  The charges he faces include possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and marijuana possession. He remains in the Adult Detention Center without bond.

It is known that methamphetamine can affect a person’s judgment, and these cases clearly indicate poor judgment.  One more reason to stay away from meth!  Be safe out there.

July 10, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

For my meth in the news column this week, I am going to discuss some of the consequences that arise when a methamphetamine lab explodes and/or catches on fire during the cooking process.  This was also reported in great detail last week in a feature story about trauma surgeon Paul Blostein of Kalamazoo, MI (www.necn.com/).  The Associated Press has also featured several articles on the influx of methamphetamine-related burns in hospitals across the United States.  According to the AP, many hospitals have been filled with uninsured burn patients who literally require millions of dollars of advanced treatment.  In severe instances, the high cost of the treatment required for these injuries has even forced the closing of some burn units.

As I have reported here several times, methamphetamine-induced explosions and fires are occurring with increasing frequency.  The larger meth labs have been exploding and catching on fire for years and years.  These labs were usually located in basements, backyard sheds or other private locations.  While many people were hurt when these labs caught on fire, they could usually escape the flames by running from the lab.  This has changed considerably with the introduction of the “one-pot” or “shake-and-bake” cooking procedure.

The one-pot approach has taken off across the country; it requires much less pseudoephedrine, a common component of many cold and allergy medications.  The meth cooks are also able to produce their meth in a matter of minutes instead of hours, and it’s easier and cheaper to make.  Pat Johnakin, a DEA agent specializing in meth said that by 2010, about 80% of the meth labs busted by the DEA were using one-pot recipes.  The word on the street is that “everybody is cooking their own meth now.”

The one-pot labs consist of 2-liter plastic soda bottles where the “cook” combines raw, unstable ingredients into a noxious brew, eventually producing enough meth for the cook’s personal use.  Their small size makes these labs portable, and they have been found in backpacks, cars, public restrooms and along the side of the road.  If everything is done carefully and the cook is lucky, she may be able to produce her meth without being harmed.  However, if the cap is removed from the bottle prematurely or the plastic bottle is accidently perforated, the concoction can explode, searing flesh and causing permanent disfigurement, blindness or even death.  “You’re holding a flame-thrower in your hands,” reported Jason Grellner of the Franklin County, MO Sheriff’s Department.  The bottles spray flaming chemicals that splash and burn “sort of like napalm,” said Dr. Blostein.

“From what we see on the medical side, that’s the primary reason the numbers seem to be going up: greater numbers of producers making smaller batches,” said Dr. Michael Smock, director of the burn unit at Mercy Hospital St. Louis.  However, it is impossible to precisely determine how many people are burned while “cooking” meth.  Many people will avoid treatment as long as they can since they are paranoid about getting caught.  Those who do come in for treatment often make up very strange stories to describe their injuries.  “They’ll say they were working on the carburetor at 2 or 3 in the morning and things blew up,” said Dr. David Greenhalgh, past president of the American Burn Association and director of the burn center at the University of California, Davis.  Vanderbilt’s Dr. Jeffrey Guy recalled the case of a woman who arrived with facial burns that she said were caused by a toaster.   As a result, she didn’t tell the doctors that her meth-making chemicals also got into her eyes, thereby delaying treatment.  “Now she’s probably going to be blind because she wasn’t honest about it,” said Dr. Guy.

Dr. Blostein and his staff have studied the effects of meth-related burns — wounds that are slower to heal, lungs that take longer to regain function, pain that is more difficult to manage, and patients who require much more care.  And unfortunately, while the meth “cooks” are those who are the most frequently burned, bystanders are often also burned, too.  Dr. Blostein has treated patients as young as age 2 and as old as 60 for meth-related burns.  This 2-year-old was obviously an innocent victim!

Researchers at the University of Iowa have discovered that people burned while making meth typically have longer hospital stays and more expensive hospital bills than other burn patients.  Unfortunately, these bills are frequently absorbed by the hospital since a vast majority of the meth “cooks” lack insurance.  Doctors at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, MI also found that meth burn victims were more likely to suffer damage to the lungs and windpipe, spent more time on ventilators and needed surgery more often.  Doctors must be extra alert to signs of infection, extra vigilant about monitoring ventilators and fluids, and should not be surprised if recovery seems slower than normal with meth-burn patients, said Dr. Blostein.

Finally, it is often more difficult to control the methamphetamine burn patient’s pain and anxiety with medication since they often have other substance abuse problems in addition to meth.  If they are addicted to a narcotic such as Demerol, it may be difficult to get their pain under control.  If they also use Xanax, any associated anxiety will be difficult to treat.   And due to their meth use, these burn patients may become agitated, pulling out IVs and feeding tubes, or may even try to get out of bed.

Methamphetamine is without a doubt a dangerous and insidious drug.  Cooking meth is also extremely dangerous.  One simple mistake can injure and even kill the cook and anyone nearby.  Your best bet – don’t do meth!

July 3, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

For my meth in the news column this week, I am going focus on the import of methamphetamine across the southern border of the United States with Mexico.  In particular I am going to discuss the San Ysidro port of entry at San Diego.  The AP recently ran a feature story on this problem (www.courierpostonline.com), and it was followed up by a related story in the local newspaper in Cartersville (www.daily-tribune.com), which verified the AP story.  Reports from this region emphasize that most of the meth in the U.S. isn’t being cooked in kitchens, garages, basements or seedy motel rooms.  Instead, it “is increasingly coming from our neighbors to the south.”

The smuggling of meth across border crossings has increased significantly in recent years.  This has been especially evident at San Diego’s San Ysidro port of entry, which accounted for more than 40% of the methamphetamine seizures made in fiscal year 2012.  This represents more than 3 times the amount of meth seized at the port with the second highest percentage, which is located a mere 5 miles east of San Ysidro, and more than 5 times the third highest, which is the port located in Nogales, Ariz.  I previously thought that the Nogales port had the highest percentage of meth seizures, but San Ysidro clearly surpasses Nogales.

In the 2012 fiscal year alone, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspectors seized 5,566 pounds of meth at the San Ysidro port of entry. It is difficult to imagine that almost 3 tons of meth were seized; this would amount to over 10 million 250 mg hits of meth!  And that was the amount of meth that was discovered; imagine how much made it through!  Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations unit estimates that this was double the amount seized in 2011, and more keeps coming through.  Along the entire border with Mexico, CBP inspectors seized 13,195 pounds in 2012, also more than double that found in 2011.

What makes San Ysidro so attractive?  Gary Hill, assistant special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in San Diego said, “This is the gem for traffickers.  It’s the greatest place for these guys to cross because there are so many opportunities.”  Unlike many other border crossings, San Ysidro opens up into a heavily populated area where over 18 million people live, which includes Los Angeles, one of the nation’s top distribution hubs.  On the other hand, the El Paso crossing in Texas is more than 600 miles from the closest distribution center in Dallas, and there are many Border Patrol checkpoints along the lonely roads.

During rush hour, thousands of motorists fill the streets of Tijuana en route to the 24 inspection lanes on their way to school or work in the U.S. Vendors weave their way between cars, selling their wares and adding to the confusion.  It is estimated that an average of 40,000 cars and 25,000 pedestrians cross the San Ysidro port of entry every day.  Imagine how difficult it must be to check every person and vehicle!  And the meth smugglers are becoming increasingly inventive at devising ways to try and defeat the efforts of CBP inspectors.

One method that truly makes my blood boil is the use of children as meth mules.  Joe Garcia, assistant special agent in charge of ICE investigations in San Diego said that they have seen an “alarming increase” in the number of children who are caught each week with meth strapped to their little bodies.  They usually carry about 3 pounds of meth and are paid from $50 to $200 for each trip across the border.

Smugglers also hide meth in automobile and truck bumpers, batteries, radiators and almost any other place you can imagine.  And the packaging is often smothered with mustard, baby powder and laundry detergent in an attempt to get past the drug-sniffing dogs.  Drivers are paid about $2,000 for each trip across the border.  Smugglers are also dissolving crystal meth in water in an effort to circumvent the giant X-ray scanners that inspectors order some motorists to drive through.  The water is later boiled and often mixed with acetone, a combustible fluid that yields clear shards of meth that are favored by users.  The meth typically remains in a liquid form until it reaches its final distribution hub to aid concealment.

All of this is taking place as the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives struggle with comprehensive immigration reform.  Capt. Mark Mayton is the Commander of the Bartow-Cartersville Drug Task Force, located on ground zero of the meth smuggling efforts.  According to Capt. Mayton, “The true solution is to shut down our borders … With the immigration issues that are coming up, we’ve got to secure that southern border.”  Capt. Mayton went on to say, “They’re still going to get it in here, but we will see a significant reduction in the amount of drugs that are coming across if we shut the border down.  Now, is that unrealistic and Utopian in nature?  Probably so!  But I think we could do a better job than we are doing securing our borders.”

I could not have said it better.  Although anyone can find a recipe for meth on the Internet these days, the purest, most sought-after meth comes from the superlabs in Mexico.  The Mexican Drug Cartels keep the prices cheap and have distribution networks crisscrossing the entire U.S.  This is where the true battle lives!

Be safe!

June 26, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

For my meth in the news column this week, I am going to share with you the case that initially ignited my passion for spreading the word about the dangers of methamphetamine.  This was the case of Candice Renée Alexander, who was only 15 years old when she was murdered by her parents on May 9, 2003.  Her death was obviously preventable; school officials and social workers knew that she was in danger at home.  Other drug addicts were actually in the home when she was being beaten to death.  Some testified at trial of the immense guilt they felt for doing nothing for fear of angering their drug connection.  It continues to haunts them!

I first heard of Candice’s story when I was contacted by Mr. Tom Owens in late 2006.  Tom and his wife, Dru Driver, are the Executive Director and President, respectively, of Healing Helpers (http://healinghelpers.org) an organization located in Nash, TX that was established “To see that every child in the extended family circle in the United States has the right to grow, be happy and healthy, in a drug/substance/violence free environment.”  Tom told me the story about the death of Candice Alexander; I even saw a PowerPoint presentation containing her shocking autopsy photos.  It hurt me to see a beautiful, young girl, filthy and beaten, lying lifeless on a morgue table.  I could tell that she had fought back, but I could also see that she had suffered a great deal.  This case really opened my eyes to the horrors of methamphetamine, and I have remained passionate about learning more about this insidious drug so that I could pass on this knowledge to others.  This passion also led to my idea of this meth in the news column as well as my website and blog.  If one child is saved, then this has all been worth it!

This is the story of the short life and tragic death of Candice Renée Alexander.

Candice Alexander was first given methamphetamine when she was just twelve years old. That’s also probably when the sexual abuse began. Candice reported the abuse to her school, but instead of calling social services, they called her mother, Rebecca Lee, who in turn removed her from school.

Candice was not the first child to be abused by her mother. Her older brother, Cody, was taken from his mother as an infant by child protective services in 1986. A bone scan at a local hospital revealed fractures to the right ulna and radius, the tibia and femur of both legs, and multiple rib fractures in varying stages of healing. He was also blind. Nearly six months old, Cody weighed only nine pounds.

While Cody was in foster care, his mother gave birth to two more children, Amanda and Candice. Amanda was the first of the two to be molested by her stepfather. When Rebecca caught the couple in a sex act when Amanda was fourteen, the girl was kicked out of the house and forced to live with older meth addicts. The parents then moved on to Candice.

Rebecca knew her husband was sexually attracted to her daughter, but didn’t mind if he molested Candice as long as she was also present. But one day, Johnny took Candice fishing without inviting her mother. When Rebecca found out they’d had sex on the trip, she went berserk.

For the next ten days, Candice was violently beaten by her mother with a horse bridle. Then on May 9, 2003, the 5-foot-3, 90-pound teenager was forcibly injected with enough meth to kill four 150-pound men. She had a wound on her arm where the drugs were injected and finger-shaped marks near the injection site that were consistent with her arm being forcibly held. Her mother and stepfather also injected her with saline to try to revive her, but it was too late. Candice, at the young age of fifteen, was dead.

The murderers waited more than three hours to contact law enforcement. By the time they arrived, the meth lab had been disassembled and the bathroom scrubbed with a water hose that had been brought in from outside. The crime scene had also been cleaned.

In the autopsy, Candice’s battered body revealed what had occurred during her nightmare. She had fingernail marks on her face from being held down. There were marks extending the length of her right arm from being struck multiple times with a hard, round, elongated object. There was a large abrasion on her nose and blood in her right nostril indicative of being struck in the face.

Candice’s hands and chest were covered with motor oil and dirt that had come from the transmission of a truck; at some point during the savage beating she had run out of the house and sought refuge under the vehicle. There were bright red abrasions on her hips that had occurred when she was pulled away from the car by the back of her leather belt, which was now stretched out. There was also a prominent linear bruise on the midline of her abdomen, an imprint of the zipper of her pants, and fingernail marks and grass in her pubic area.

In 2005, Rebecca and Johnny Lee were found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Candice’s younger sister, who was thirteen at the time of her death, spent time in a psychiatric hospital while her mother was on trial. She had witnessed part of her sister’s murder and was also forced to participate in the cleanup.

Tragically, the cycle of abuse did not end with the conviction of the Lees. On September 5, 2008, Benjamin Terrance Rawls, the biological son of Rebecca Lee, was indicted for abandoning and endangering his ten-week-old son after he allegedly shook the infant. He was also accused of endangering his eighteen-month-old son by leaving him alone in the house with drugs, weapons, and a pit bull.

June 19, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

For my meth in the news column this week, I am going to talk about a growing problem associated with methamphetamine, especially while cooking meth.  That problem is fire.  The manufacturing process requires a wide variety of volatile and highly explosive chemicals.  Lithium batteries are used, especially in the ‘shake & bake” or “one pot” method, and they will catch on fire if they are exposed to water.  But many of the other ingredients are also extremely dangerous.  These ingredients may include, acetone (explosive), starter fluid (flammable), gas additives, paint thinner, rubbing alcohol, and many other noxious, corrosive, and explosive chemicals.  This has led to fires in cars (due to those “mobile meth labs”) as well as in homes.  Although there are many examples of this problem, I am going to focus on two cases for this week’s column.

Our first case comes to us from www.connecttristates.com and describes a house fire in Bardolph, a village of about 250 people located in McDonough County, Illinois.  On June 16, authorities received a rather strange call.  A witness called 911 to report a fire on South Broadway at around 6 PM.  The caller went on to describe what appeared to lead up to the fire.  McDonough County Sheriff Rick Van Brooker told reporters that the caller told deputies that a resident of the house, later identified as Michael W. Mason, 31, was involved in some type of fight at his house.  In a rage, Mason got into his car and was then seen crashing his car into a parked car.  He then ran back into his house, came back out a short time later and drove away.  By this time, his house was also on fire.  The caller said that Mason was acting delusional.  I wonder what gave it away!  Police searched for Mason until shortly after midnight, when they finally captured him after a short foot pursuit through Bardolph.   Mason was subsequently charged with arson, procurement of meth precursors, endangering the life/health of a child, criminal damage over $300.00 and resisting arrest.   During their investigation, deputies learned that Mason shared the burned house with Holly J. Mason, 30, who was also arrested on charges of methamphetamine possession and possession in the presence of a 3-year-old child.   The couple is in the McDonough County Jail awaiting a court appearance, and the child was checked by medical responders and placed in protective custody.  Although this incident was quite tragic for the small child, luckily no one suffered serious injury or death in the Bardolph fire.  The same cannot be said for our next case.

Just before midnight on Mother’s Day in Pottsville, PA, a “horrific tragedy” occurred in the 300 block of Pierce Street, according to Pottsville Police Capt. Richard Wojciechowsky (republicanherald.com).  On this fateful night in May, Eric Brown, 31, died in a horrible house fire along with his children, Joy Brown, 8, Jeremiah Brown, 7, Elijah Brown, 2, and Emily Brown, 3, and his sister-in-law Kristina Thomas, 23.  Pottsville fire Chief Todd March said that there were “raging flames at the rear of the three-story building” by the time they arrived on the scene and that it took about two hours before the fire was under control.  Unfortunately, firefighters were unable to save the occupants.  Kelly Brown, 28, Eric’s wife and Thomas’ sister, was not home at the time of the fire.  County Coroner Dr. David Moylan said that Brown, all four of his children and his sister-in-law died of carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation due to the fire.  Capt. Wojciechowsky, in a statement made late last week, said, “To this point, there’s no evidence to indicate it’s the result of any direct criminal act.”  The cause of the fire is under a joint investigation by Pottsville Police, Illinois State Police Arson Investigators and the Pottsville Fire Department.

A bombshell of sorts was dropped last Wednesday, June 12.  Coroner Moylan told reporters, “We checked the adults to see if there were any substances in their blood.” Although Kristina Thomas’ results came back negative, Eric Brown tested positive for amphetamine, methamphetamine and THC, a substance found in marijuana.  Although the Coroner said that the amount of methamphetamine in his system was not enough to kill him, he might have been delusional, paranoid or not in his right mind, depending on the extent of his prior meth use.  In addition, the Coroner said that “It looks like he could have been smoking marijuana the day of (the fire),” because of the concentrations in his system.  But neither the Coroner nor Capt. Wojciechowsky was willing to say whether or not Brown’s drug use contributed to the fire or the tragic consequences it produced.  The home did not have smoke detectors.  Mark Atkinson, city public safety director and a firefighter said that the property can’t be demolished until the investigation is complete.  Once police give the OK, a private contractor would most likely be hired to demolish the building. The building had no insurance.

Six people die in a horrific fire on Mother’s Day.  While we cannot say that meth was absolutely the cause of this tragedy, it is very likely to have played a role.  Additionally, it was curious that the children’s mother was not at home on Mother’s Day.  But fires like this are becoming more and more commonplace, not only in homes and hotel rooms, but also in cars, trucks and even in the woods.  Burn units across the country are seeing a huge influx of patients suffering from meth-related fires and explosions.  Cooking meth is nothing to take lightly.  My advice; stay away!

June 12, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

For my meth in the news column this week, I am going to once again illustrate how methamphetamine harms the most innocent people of all, the small children who live in the homes where meth is cooked and/or used.  Obviously, there is a clear and present danger for everyone who lives in a house where meth is cooked.  But innocent children can also be injured just by living in a home where meth is used.

In the first case reported on tristatehomepage.com, a two-year-old child was taken to the Owensboro Hospital in Owensboro, KY on Sunday, June 9 for chemical burns to her mouth.  The little girl was taken to the hospital by her mother, 23-year-old Racheal Arroyo and her boyfriend, Jared McStoots, 20.  Medical officials determined that the infant needed to be transferred to Kosair Hospital in Louisville for specialized treatment due to the severity of her injuries, where she was listed as being in critical condition.  The Ohio County Sheriff’s Office was notified, and deputies questioned the couple about the burns that the little girl suffered.  The couple finally admitted that the child ingested sulfuric acid, an ingredient used to make meth.   They claimed that Arroyo’s two-year-old little girl swallowed the sulfuric acid in a vehicle located outside Loie McStoots’ home.  Loie McStoots is Jared McStoots’ mother.  Arroyo and Jared McStoots were arrested and initially charged with possession of a controlled substance, endangerment to a child and wanton endangerment.  After contacting McStoots’ mother, Jared McStoots was also charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, unlawful possession of meth, possession of a controlled substance, and drug paraphernalia.  Arroyo was also charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, and McStoots’ mother was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, unlawful possession of meth, possession of a controlled substance, and drug paraphernalia.  The news report did not say whether or not the little girl would be scarred for life, but this was a sad and definitely avoidable injury.

A mother from Abilene was indicted Thursday, June 6 by a Taylor County Grand Jury for endangering a child, according to www.ktxs.com.  Lacey Spykes, 22, told authorities that she was “doing meth” with her boyfriend in January when her 13-month-old son somehow ingested the drug.  There was no information regarding how the drug was being used at the time (injected, smoked, or ingested), and it was not clear how the small infant could have obtained the drug.   My guess is that the couple was smoking the drug and the child inhaled the vapors.  The couple eventually noticed that the infant was experiencing seizures and had somehow hit his head, producing noticeable head trauma.  The baby tested positive for meth at a local hospital and was ultimately taken to Cook Children’s Health Care System in Fort Worth for treatment.  This was not Spykes’ first incident involving meth.  She was spotted pulling into a hotel on Pine Street in Abilene in May of last year and, when she was searched, an officer found meth on her person.  Spykes was also charged with possession of meth.

Finally, Amanda Mae Harris, 34, of Lufkin was arrested by Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Brandon Boulware on a Diboll Police Department warrant on Friday, June 7.  Harris is being held in the Angelina County jail on state-jail felony charges of abandoning or endangering a child and possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) less than one gram according to us.topnewstoday.org.  The mother of three admitted to using meth in the presence of her children, and Department of Family Protective Services personnel subsequently requested that a drug test be conducted on Harris and her children.  One of her children tested positive for meth, and the child that tested positive was under the age of 15.

So here are three cases where young, innocent children were harmed because their mothers used meth.  These are just some recent cases that made the news.  I am sure that, unfortunately, this happens all the time.

There are so many ways that children can suffer if they live where meth is used and/or cooked.  By now everyone knows that children can ingest meth or get caught up in an explosion or fire that leads to serious injury or death.  But the ingredients used to make meth are just as harmful as the drug itself, if not more so.  Some of these chemicals can include ammonia, methanol, ether, benzene, methylene chloride, trichloroethane, toluene, anhydrous ammonia, red phosphorous, and iodine.  Common household items such as carpeting and draperies, as well as items like baby bottles and nipples, and clothing, can absorb the vapors from these chemicals and retain them for months.  So the children are forced to endure long-lasting and lingering effects from exposure to these chemicals.  Children living in “meth homes” are also at risk of abuse and neglect due to parents who use the drug, a drug that often makes its users extremely violent—irritable and careless at the lower end of the spectrum.  Parents who are meth users often fall asleep for many hours or days after binging on meth, leaving small children to care for themselves.  And at some in-home meth labs, the “cook” often dumps the toxic byproducts into the plumbing drains, contaminating the entire waste system, including sinks and toilets.  Small children have been found with meth powder on their clothing and bare feet.  Meth homes/labs are also notoriously filthy.

I think that you get the idea.  And remember, these children also often suffer from emotional effects due to neglect, abuse and physical injury.  And finally, meth users often become involved in criminal activities, and may even sell the drug on the side, which also put their children at great risk.

So if you really love your children, DON’T DO METH!  There is no way that you can protect them from the harm that this insidious drug produces.

June 5, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

For my meth in the news column this week, I am going to discuss some cases where the methamphetamine users’ paranoia got out of control and resulted in their subsequent arrests.  In the first case from lilburn.patch.com, a 40-year-old woman from Lilburn, GA was staying at the Marriott Hotel in Duluth one Saturday in May.  She was alone and getting high on meth.  While sitting in her hotel room, the unidentified woman started to experience meth-induced paranoia.  She became convinced that someone had put a “hit” on her, so around 5:55 PM she dialed 911.  The Gwinnett County Police report stated that she thought that there were men chasing her because of the “hit” that had been placed on her.  She asked the officer that she spoke with on the phone if he would drive her to the Extended Stay America down the road so that the “men” could not find her.  Of course the officer said that they could not come out and drive her to another hotel. Nevertheless, the woman dialed 911 three more times, asking for the same officer each time.  She alleged that she was still being followed by the hit men, but every time that the police came to check, they could not find anyone who might have been chasing or following the woman.  At 7:57 PM, the woman called 911 once again, this time to tell the officer that she was having a nervous breakdown and was going to hurt herself.  She also said that the “hit men” were still after her, following her.  This time, however, she also admitted to the officer that she had been smoking methamphetamine since noon, but denied that her meth use was the reason why the men were following her.  She said that she did not feel safe at the Marriott any longer and that she wanted to go to her aunt’s house where she would be safe.  The officer suggested that she take a taxi to her aunt’s house.  The officer also told her that she better not call 911 again or else she would be arrested.  Wouldn’t you know it?  At 8:47 PM she called 911 for the sixth time that day.  Apparently, three men in the hotel lobby stood up when she sat down, and even though the men did not pay any attention to the woman, she became terrified that they were going to grab her.  When the woman became irate because the officer did not believe her, she was arrested and charged with the possession of meth, among other things.  So her meth-induced paranoia resulted in getting arrested on meth-related charges.

There have been several other reports about people calling 911 in fear due to meth-induced paranoia.  In Boise, ID, police responded to the home of Anthony A. Naclerio, 54, after he called 911 but hung up before talking to officers.  When officers went to check on his welfare, they found several bags of meth, but no one else was there, and Naclerio was arrested for possession of meth.  In Lincoln, NE, Patrick Benn Schulte, 36, drew more than a dozen police officers to the D’Leon’s Restaurant when he called 911 to report that a sniper was on the roof of the restaurant and that the “gunman” had threatened people at the restaurant.  Police arrested Schulte for meth possession when no sniper was found.  And I reported in this column recently about “death metal” guitarist Allen West who called 911 to report that two male intruders had “forcibly entered his house by kicking in the front door.” The guitarist allegedly ran out of his back door and into nearby woods for safety.  Police did not find any intruders, but they did find the makings of a meth lab and arrested West.  I could go on and on, but I think that you get my point.

Paranoia is almost always associated with long-term methamphetamine use.  Ask any meth user and they will tell you about their paranoia.  They will tell you about the voices they hear, the attempts the police and FBI have made to discover their meth use to arrest them, or about the intruders who are out to get them, their money or most importantly, their meth.  They become suspicious of friends and family, thinking that everyone is out to get them, to steal their meth supply or their money, and to put them in prison.  And if they are lucky enough to get into treatment, they will tell you that what they believed was actually true – even after they stop using meth and even though they logically know that what they believed cannot possibly be true.  This paranoia arises from the same biological actions that make meth such a powerfully addicting drug.

Most people are aware that the cells in the brain use chemicals to communicate with each other.  Dopamine is one of these chemicals.  While dopamine is related to many different biological functions, perhaps it is best known to the lay public as the “pleasure” chemical.  When we eat something we like, such as chocolate, dopamine is released in the pleasure centers of the brain.  When we have sex, watch an exciting movie, or do anything that we really enjoy, dopamine is released.  Methamphetamine also works through dopamine.  But unlike “normal” pleasures or rewards that increase dopamine approximately 2-fold, meth produces increases in brain dopamine that are more than 10-20 times more than that produced by food, sex, or any other natural reward.  That is why meth users often refer to meth as producing feelings more pleasurable than anything that they have ever felt before.  But upon subsequent use, it is almost never as good as that first time, so the addict will use more and more meth in an attempt to produce that initial, wonderful high.  And this is where the problems arise.  It just so happens that schizophrenia, especially paranoid schizophrenia, is also associated with increased activity in dopamine-containing brain cells.  Thus, the paranoia and hallucinations that often accompany methamphetamine use arise from the same chemical messenger in the brain, dopamine, that produces feelings of pleasure but is also overly active in cases of paranoid schizophrenia.  So while a little dopamine may be (feel) good, too much can lead to paranoia, fear and distrust.   There is no getting around it; paranoia is a resulting hazard of methamphetamine use due to the very same biological effects that make the drug so pleasurable and addictive in the first place.

What does this tell the reader?  The same thing that I tell you every week – stay away from meth!

May 29, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

For my meth in the news column this week, I am going to use several different reports to illustrate a few points about methamphetamine that the reader may find as interesting as I do.  First of all, no one is immune to the ability of meth to take total control of their life.  In the first report from www.tulsaworld.com, a 46-year-old former Ottawa County Sheriff’s detective from Miami, OK, was found guilty of selling methamphetamine near a school.  Troy Leroy Wilmoth pleaded no contest on May 17, 2013 in Ottawa County District Court to two counts of delivery of a controlled dangerous substance within 2,000 feet of a school.  He was accused of selling 0.5 gram of meth for $40 to an undercover narcotics agent.  Five hours later, the undercover agent bought another gram of meth from Wilmoth for $120.  During a subsequent search of Wilmoth’s house, narcotics agents found a working meth lab, an unloaded 9 mm semi-automatic pistol, marijuana and associated drug paraphernalia.  Therefore, Wilmoth also pleaded guilty to manufacturing meth within 2,000 feet of a school, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, possession of meth and marijuana, and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.  It was not stated in the news reports whether or not Wilmoth had been part of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s narcotics team, but he still should have known better.

The next report comes from the other side of the world in Kalasin, Thailand.  In this case,   Athikanprayong Papassaro, the abbot of a temple in tambon Kut Khao of Kuchinarai district, was arrested while using methamphetamine, or yaba as it is called in Thailand, in his living quarters.  The 41-year-old abbot, who had been in the monkhood for 13 years, confessed to police that he took a few yaba (meth) pills daily to lose weight after his weight ballooned to 90 kg (198 pounds).  The former monk’s height was not given.  Police said they seized seven meth pills, drug equipment and several pornographic CDs depicting gay sex from his living quarters.  The abbot was asked to leave the monkhood and was taken into custody, charged with using an illegal drug.  So a Buddhist monk in Thailand falls prey to meth, just as happened to the former Roman Catholic priest, Kevin Wallin, from Connecticut.  Wallin recently admitted to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 25 to 11 to 14 years in prison.

The next case illustrates the lengths that meth addicts will go to for their drug of choice.  In this case, reported on www.kait8.com from Mountain Home, AR, Bethany Nicole Williams, 24, a former inmate at the Baxter County Jail called the Detention Center several hours after she was released on May 19.  She said that she had left a small container in her jail uniform and wanted to retrieve it.  What was she thinking?  Didn’t she suspect that the authorities might look to see what was in this container that was so important to her?  They did of course and found 8 white pills identified as Trazadone and one clear rock substance that tested positive for meth inside the container.  When Williams, of Flippin, AR, returned to the Detention Center on May 20 to collect her possessions, she identified the container as hers.  Baxter County deputies subsequently arrested Williams on 2 charges, Possession of Controlled Substances and Furnishing Prohibited Articles, both felonies and on a parole violation for testing positive for meth.  So we know that Williams had access to meth while in jail, and if she had only remembered that rock in her pocket before she was released, she might still be free today.

The final 2 cases this week describe some of the unbelievable, horrific behaviors that meth addicts sometimes commit while using the drug.  The first case is from Lucedale, MS, and was reported on www.fox10tv.com.  This report is unbelievably sad, sickening and disgusting.  The George County Sheriff’s office was called at 7:30 PM on May 21 through an anonymous 911 line about a man who set his little dog on fire.  Deputies reported that the caller said that a man was “going psycho while crazy on meth” at a residence on Greenwood Road in Lucedale.  The suspect was identified as Brandon Pierce, 20, who lived with his family at the residence.  He told the deputies that he “wanted to help the dog go to heaven.”  How sick!  Thankfully the George County Animal Clinic was willing to see the small breed dog that appeared to have been doused with a flammable substance and set on fire.  The little poor dog initially survived the fire, but according to a clinic representative, the dog was “critical, may lose a front left leg, may lose eyesight due to the burns on the face, and the tip of its nose is burned off.”  The little dog eventually succumbed to its injuries.  Pierce was charged with cruelty to an animal in addition to drug-related charges due to his meth use.  It is just inexcusable to hurt a poor defenseless animal this way!  No punishment is too severe.  But it gets worse.

The last case this week involves 10 men, 1 woman and a 16-year-old girl.  According to www.chron.com, the 11 adults gave the teenage girl methamphetamine sometime in March and then took her to a Madisonville trailer home in Southeast Texas where she was sexually assaulted in an apparent drug-fueled attack that continued over several hours.  The trailer used in the attack was one that was often used by drug abusers, according to authorities.  Two people were recently arrested, including a woman, Sondress Lotts, 35, and Earl James Tyler, 33.  Both suspects were charged with child trafficking and sexual assault of a child.  The crime was reported as a drug-fueled attack, suggesting that the assaulters were meth users and that they also used meth to control the young girl.   Madisonville Police Chief Chuck May said that as of May 28, all but 1 of the 11 suspects had been arrested.  He also stated that this was a “hideous crime.”  Indeed!  “Any abuse of a juvenile is a hideous case, but then to have one of this magnitude … Luckily, my men are well-trained to know how to handle these cases,” May said.  This crime would be considered sick and depraved if the 10 men and 1 woman had committed these crimes on an adult, but to gang rape a child in this way is beyond my comprehension.  And how could a woman be part of this depravity?  Oh the things that meth makes people do!

All of these reports are telling you the same thing – stay away from meth!

May 22, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

For my meth in the news column this week, I am going to focus on a case that has evolved over the past 10 days or so that once again illustrates the violence that is often associated with methamphetamine.  On May 12, 2013, www.usatoday reported that four people were found murdered in a home in Waynesville, Indiana.  When I initially read this article, I immediately thought that meth must be involved.  I have reported here in the past about other horrific murders:  the two sisters bludgeoned to death while they slept in Edgerton, MO by a man high on meth who was looking for sex; the parents shot and killed by their meth-using son in Boley, OK because he thought that they were intruders who were trying to attack him; and the four women who were shot to death in an apartment in Tulsa, OK by two brothers who wanted to steal the meth that they thought would be there.  This case in Waynesville, 50 miles south of Indianapolis in rural Indiana appeared to follow the same pattern – four people found murdered in the same home.  The victims were identified as Katheryn Burton, 53, and Thomas W. Smith, 39, who lived in the home, and Aaron Cross, 41, and Shawn Burton, 41, from Columbus, IN.

I was so convinced that this case was related to methamphetamine that I even posted it on my blog (fav-meth-head-of-the-day.com) on May 13 with the heading, “Who could have murdered these 4 people in Waynesville, Indiana – was it related to Methamphetamine?”  There were a few clues that led to my suspicions.  Neighbors claimed that they smelled strange scents near the home and saw random cars occasionally driving through the streets of the neighborhood.  Shawn Burton’s half brother, who lives next door to the crime scene, told reporters that he suspected that drugs might have played a role.  Stevie Furkin, 55, said that he had smelled anhydrous ammonia coming from the house in the past. Remember that anhydrous ammonia is often used in the meth “cooking” process.  I thought that it was curious that he was so aware of the smells associated with methamphetamine production.  He also claimed that his half brother had struggled with addiction to meth and was also known as “the little cook” for cooking meth.  I wonder if Stevie also had problems with meth!  The layout of the neighborhood itself was another clue.  On one end of the street, one finds nice, well kept, one-story homes, but these quickly give way to dilapidated houses with pit bulls chained outside; a clear indication that something suspicious was happening there.  No Trespassing signs, oddly parked cars in the yard and piles of trash were also suggestive of potential criminal activity.

The nature of the murders was also disturbing.  The bodies were discovered late Saturday night (May 11) by Katheryn Burton’s son, Daniel Burton, 27.  He called 911 to report that his mother’s house had been ransacked, items had been stolen and that there were two bodies on the floor.  According to the transcripts of the 911 call, Daniel Burton told the dispatcher, “I just walked in and I had two bodies here. I think they’ve both been shot — there’s blood everywhere.”  He was unable to get into his mother’s bedroom because the door was locked.  That was probably a good thing because her body was found by police inside her bedroom in her bed.  Bartholomew County Coroner Larry Fisher said that Katheryn Burton had been shot and stabbed multiple times.  He declined to disclose how many times she was stabbed, but when asked by reporters if her body had been mutilated, Fisher said, “That’s kind of hard to define … It was very vicious.”  A fourth victim was found in another room, and all of the victims suffered from multiple gunshot wounds.  Truly a vicious, bloody crime scene!

On May 14, Bartholomew County Sheriff Mark Gorbett told reporters that police had found methamphetamine at the brick house where the murders took place, which is what I had suspected from the beginning.  Police also found spent shell casings and a knife possibly used in the slaying of Katheryn Burton.  A rifle also was recovered, but police said they didn’t know whether or not it was used in the killings.  Sheriff Gorbett said that investigators believed that the murders were drug-related, but he didn’t elaborate.  You think??  Methamphetamine was found in the home, neighbors reported smelling scents indicative of methamphetamine production, and all four people found in the home were savagely murdered.  That smells like a meth-related crime to me.  The Sheriff also said that police had interviewed two people of interest and that Daniel Burton was not considered a suspect.  There have still been no arrests in this horrific crime, which has rattled the neighborhood as you might have guessed.

Involvement with the production and sale of meth, while seemingly lucrative, almost never ends peacefully.  Someone under the influence of meth, experiencing paranoia and hallucinations, lacking reasonable judgment and impulse control, or just looking for money and/or more meth will do almost anything to get the drug, including murder, as we have seen time and time again.  But remember, the Mexican drug cartels have been infiltrating throughout the United States to cut out the middleman and increase their profits.  The savagery of the murders in Waynesville may be a signal that a new player is in town.  Only time will tell.  Be safe!

May 15, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In our first case in meth in the news this week, news.radio.com reported that a former guitarist for “Death Metal” bands Six Feet Under and Obituary found himself in jail in Bushnell, FL after Sumter County deputies responded to a 911 call from his Lake Panasoffkee home.  Apparently Allen West thought that there were two male intruders who “forcibly entered his house by kicking in the front door.” The guitarist then ran out of his back door and into the nearby woods for safety.  When the deputies arrived at West’s home, they did not find any evidence of intruders or a break in at the residence.  However, they did notice a “strong acidic odor from the bedroom.”  Further investigation revealed plastic bottles, tubing and other materials consistent with those used to produce methamphetamine hidden inside a cooler.  Ammonium nitrate, sodium hydroxide and lithium strips were also recovered.  West initially claimed that these meth-making materials were not his and that “they were cooking it,” but he could not tell the authorities who “they” might be.  After further questioning, the guitarist finally confessed to producing and smoking meth in the home as recently as the past two weeks.  West was arrested for production and possession of a controlled substance, specifically methamphetamine, and was being held at the Sumter County Jail on a $40,000 bond.  A quick online search revealed that West has not been a guitarist for Six Feet Under since 1998 and Obituary since 2006.  Good thing; it appears that his meth use is already producing significant paranoia and psychoses, and this could affect his ability to perform, among other things.

Our next case comes from Henryetta, OK on www.fox23.com.  On May 10, the Henryetta police department received a call around 7 AM about a man trespassing at a trailer park.  When they arrived on the scene, officers found William Brooks, who appeared “disheveled-looking” and possibly under the influence of methamphetamine.  Henryetta Police Chief Steve Norman told reporters that Brooks was subsequently arrested for public intoxication.  The patrol car was a K-9 unit, and Endy, Henryetta police department’s only K-9 officer was in the back seat in his dog cage, so the officer handcuffed Brooks and placed him in the front seat.  The next thing the officer knew, the suspect had moved his hands from the back to the front by slipping his legs between his arms and had taken off in the police car, with Endy “barking like crazy” in the back seat. The dog couldn’t get to Brooks because of the barrier dividing the front from the back.  Chief Norman said that “It’s a very desperate measure for somebody. However he appeared to be high on methamphetamine and those people do desperate things.” That is definitely an understatement!  Imagine driving away in a police car with a police dog in the car and possibly a frantic police officer in hot foot pursuit.  The Oklahoma Highway Patrol was called, and they quickly discovered Brooks hiding in a nearby field using their tracking dogs.  He had abandoned the police car with Endy still safely in his cage in the back seat.  “He’s an officer and we see him as an officer and a partner, and I can tell you that we are so very fortunate that nothing happened to Endy,” said Chief Norman.  Brooks was charged with motor vehicle theft, drug possession, and a host of other charges.  Once again methamphetamine use leads to extreme behavior!

The final case this week occurred early in the morning on Friday, May 10 in Auburn, IN as reported on www.wane.com.  At about 2:30 AM, Auburn police officers said they found a car, with its engine running, parked near the gas pumps at a service station in the 1900 block of Wayne Street.  When officers approached the vehicle, they discovered a woman slumped over the steering wheel, apparently passed out.  The officers also saw a variety of items commonly associated with drug use inside of the car next to the woman.  She was later identified as

Holly A. Slone, 23, of Auburn.  A K-9 officer was called and alerted officers to the presence of illegal drugs.  Upon further investigation, officers found an active meth lab along with several methamphetamine precursors inside the vehicle.  The Indiana State Police Methamphetamine Lab Team was called to the scene to process the active meth lab with the assistance of the Auburn Fire Department.  Slone was subsequently arrested and booked into the DeKalb County Jail on charges of manufacturing methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a park, possession of methamphetamine, possession of precursors, possession of paraphernalia and criminal recklessness.  Auburn police told reporters that this situation could have turned into a serious disaster if the meth lab had exploded inside of the running car next to a fuel pump.  I join police in urging the public to call the authorities whenever they observe situations that appear suspicious or out of the ordinary.  You never know when methamphetamine might be involved.

May 8, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

For our first case in meth in the news this week, ajc.com reports that Snellville Police in Georgia received a tip from a concerned citizen that drugs were being stored at a home located at 858 James Road in unincorporated Lawrenceville.  On May 1, 2013, Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Deputies and Homeland Security Investigations agents were dispatched to the residence, along with the Gwinnett Metro Task Force (GMTF), which is composed of Deputies from the Sheriff’s Office along with Officers from the Lilburn, Lawrenceville, Snellville, Duluth, and Suwanee Police Departments.  Once inside the home, officers discovered two containers filled with what appeared to be methamphetamine, according to Gwinnett County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Deputy Shannon Volkodav.  GMTF officers also found methamphetamine in liquid form at the site.  Once the officers inventoried all of the meth they found at the home, they realized that they had uncovered 131.2 pounds (that’s about 2100 ounces or 59,511 grams!) of meth!  None of the reports on this evolving situation mention that that there was any evidence that the residence was also used as a meth lab; there were no reports of dangerous chemicals (other than meth) or that hazmat crews were called to clean up any toxic residue.  This suggests that the James Road house was being used to store the meth until it could be distributed and sold.  Authorities estimated that the street value for this amount of methamphetamine would be $2,099,200.  I am not sure how they estimated the value so precisely (it looks like the estimate was $16,000 per pound, just under $1,000 per ounce or about $35 per gram – which seems a bit low to me).  If they had estimated this meth conservatively at $100 per gram, then the street value could be as high as $5.95 million.  But no matter how you look at it, this is a lot of meth worth a heck of a lot of money.  And while there are likely superlabs within the United States that could produce 100+ pounds of methamphetamine, it is more likely that this much meth was produced in a Mexican superlab and transported across the border by the members of the Sinaloa, Los Zetas, La Familia or Knights Templar cartel.  My guess is that these days this probably represents the work of the Sinaloa cartel led by Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán, thought by many to account for up to 80% of the meth smuggled into the United States.  Jesus Eduardo Cansino-Gonzalez was listed as living at the James Road house, and he was arrested on site by Snellville Police.  Gonzalez was charged with trafficking in methamphetamine and is being held for immigration.  He is going to have a lot of explaining to do if he is returned to Mexico.  Cartel justice can be excessively brutal, and the loss of $2-5 million worth of methamphetamine is no trivial matter.  Another suspect, Nahum Enoe Rodriguez of Norcross, was also identified and captured the next day.  So far, Rodriguez has only been charged with conspiracy to commit a crime.  There have been reports that the Mexican Drug cartels have dispatched their members throughout the United States to cut out the middlemen and increase their profits, and this might represent the disruption of one of these distribution networks.

As I was preparing my column this week, I saw a news article on tbo.com reporting that $2 million worth of meth was discovered at a home.  At first I thought that this was another news report concerning the same house from my first case reported above.  However, when I read more closely, I saw that this was a separate case from Tampa, FL.  The discovery of another 110 pounds of meth was the result of a traffic stop conducted on May 2 by Polk County Sheriff’s Deputies on a Jeep Cherokee on Highway 98 West near southbound Highway 27 in Frostproof.  Scott Eargood, 21, was driving the Jeep, and Santos Zamora-Escobar, 27, was his passenger.  When Deputies searched the Jeep, they found $3,494 and 229 grams of meth.  Authorities learned that Eargood had just rented a home in Poinciana 4 months prior at the suggestion of Zamora-Escobar, and this led to a search of the Platte Lane home.  There officers found more than 110 pounds of meth, which was valued at $2.2 million (at $20,000 per pound).   If we use the $100 per gram estimate, then the meth could have been worth as much as $5 million!  United States Attorney Robert E. O’Neill alleged that Zamora-Escobar, Eargood and others stored large quantities of meth in the house for sale throughout Polk County, suggesting that this might have represented another Mexican Drug cartel distribution network within the United States.   Then on May 3, agents and detectives executed a search warrant in Highlands County at a mobile home on East Oak Island Road in Avon Park.  There they seized another four ounces of meth, a long rifle, an AK-47-type rifle, and three handguns. Investigators also executed a search warrant at an apartment on 3rd Street Southeast in Winter Haven.  Numerous wire transfer documents were seized from that location, further indicating that a major drug distribution ring had been disrupted.  Eargood and Zamora-Escobar were indicted on multiple drug-related charges, including felony possession of and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.  The penalty for each count is a mandatory minimum of 10 years, up to life in federal prison.  This case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office as part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation.

In the last case this week, abclocal.go.com out of Modesto, CA reported that drug enforcement agents with the Stanislaus Drug Enforcement Agency (SDEA), Modesto Narcotics Enforcement Team (MNET) and Homeland Security Investigations made one of the largest meth busts in recent memory in the area.  Acting on an anonymous tip, agents served a search warrant at 2112 Hardy Ct in Ceres.  There they found approximately 290 pounds of meth concealed in several storage containers and $66,000 in cash.  This much meth would have a street value, depending on how it is calculated, from $4.6 to $13.1 million.  Luis Bartolo Madriz Sandavol, 32, from Everett, WA and Victor Ramiro Torres, 23, from Ceres, were arrested near the home and were booked into Stanislaus County jail for felony possession of meth for sale and transportation of meth.  In what can only be considered as an understatement, law enforcement officials suggested to reporters that this methamphetamine seizure will create “a noticeable disruption to the availability of this dangerous drug in our community”.

So in the first week of May, 2013, there were at least 3 major methamphetamine busts with more than 531 pounds of meth removed from the streets.  The street-value for this much meth would be in the tens of millions of dollars.  And if you consider that the “average” hit of meth is about 250 mg, then this would represent about 963,793 “hits” of meth.  Imagine how many people that much meth might have harmed.  And remember, this just represents some of the meth that was discovered by authorities; I wonder how much was successfully smuggled into the United States and sold.  And also remember, many meth users also make their own meth using the “one-pot” or “shake & bake” method in their bathrooms, cars, backpacks and motel rooms.  It is my opinion that there is a lot more methamphetamine being used out there than the surveys, authorities and experts have estimated.  I fear that there is a tidal wave of meth that is gradually covering every part of the United States.  I only hope that we are prepared.

May 01, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In this week’s meth in the news column, I am going to once again focus on the domestic production of methamphetamine.  Many meth users “cook” their own meth using “one-pot” or “shake & bake” labs.  And while they are called meth labs, they are unlike any lab I have ever worked in, from my high school chemistry class to the state-of-the art labs where my research is conducted today.  In reality, these “meth labs” are nothing more than 2-liter plastic coke or Gatorade bottles in which the toxic ingredients are mixed, yielding 2 to 6 grams of meth in a couple of hours, which is just enough for the user’s personal use.  There are many meth-cooking recipes that can be found on the Internet, and these recipes often include pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant found in certain cold medicines such as Sudafed®, along with various household items, including water, first-aid cold packs, Coleman fuel and lithium batteries.  But who knows who actually posted the recipes on the Internet or how much formal training in chemistry and pharmacology the “cook” or recipe writer ever received.  And another point to consider is the mindset of the cook.  Is she in a rush to make her meth, is she already high or tweaking, or is she substituting a more toxic substance for something that her recipe called for but that she did not have on hand?  My guess is that very few if any of the one-pot meth “cooks” have had any training in proper laboratory techniques.  Taken together, the lack of formal training, the toxicity of the ingredients used to make meth and the effects of meth on the judgment and impulsivity of the user makes these one-pot labs a disaster waiting to happen.  As I have warned repeatedly, one-pot labs are extremely combustible and can explode or catch on fire.  The ingredients themselves can also generate toxic fumes or may contain caustic materials that can burn the skin.  And since meth users tend to experience varying degrees of paranoia, they become extremely fearful that they will be caught.  For this reason, the “cook” often disposes of the waste, including the “lab” itself, by tossing it along the highway or in the woods once the methamphetamine has been obtained.  They often are unaware or don’t care about the proper disposal of the waste materials, and they fear that if they put the waste in with their regular trash, the authorities will trace it back to them.

Sometimes the meth “cooks” make more methamphetamine than they “need” at the time so they can sell it to other users.  They may be “Breaking Bad” wannabes or they may need the money to purchase more raw materials for future one-pot labs or to splurge for pure Mexican crystal meth.  In doing so, these “cooks” amplify the dangers.  In an incident from Rockvale, TN reported online at murfreesboropost.com, Rutherford County Sheriff’s narcotics detectives discovered eighty-two one-pot methamphetamine “labs” (2-liter bottles) at a single residence.  This broke a record for the most one-pot bottles ever seized in Tennessee.  Director Tommy Farmer of the Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force said he didn’t know of a larger “shake and bake” seizure in Tennessee than the 82 bottles that were confiscated on April 8.  Can you imagine what would have happened if just one of these 82 bottles exploded?  That might have led to a series of explosions that could have affected not only the residence where the bottles were discovered but could have produced serious damage to nearby homes, putting countless innocent families at risk.  Incidentally, Tennessee has ranked among the top three states in illegal methamphetamine production in the United States for the past seven years.

But an even more dangerous practice is also ongoing with these one-pot labs.  Many one-pot meth “cooks” have taken to the road, cooking methamphetamine inside their car or other vehicle.  When they cook meth at home, they might be discovered by a friend or family member who might “rat” them out to the authorities.  But when they are in their car driving around town or out in the country, no one knows where they are.  Authorities claim that it can often be difficult to detect a car doubling as a meth lab.  Sgt. Niki Crawford, head of the Indiana State Police’s meth suppression unit told reporters, “You might get a smell of ammonia or another strong chemical smell, but that doesn’t necessarily hang around.  You’d have to catch someone as they’re cooking it.”  The types of vehicles that are used vary from cars to pickup trucks to tractor-trailer rigs.  RVs, such as the one used by high school chemistry teacher Walter White of “Breaking Bad” fame are also popular according to Sgt. Crawford.

On April 18, deputies with the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina made a very fortuitous find according to wbtv.com.  When deputies pulled over Ian Corneck, 26, of Boone, NC, for a routine traffic stop, they soon found what appeared to be a meth lab in his car.  When the State Bureau of Investigation’s Clandestine Laboratory Response Team was called to further examine the evidence, they discovered 3 one-pot (Shake & Bake) meth labs, along with an active HCL gas generator containing an unknown liquid, which officials say was producing a white cloud of smoke from the bottle.  The Clan Lab Response Team processed the multiple labs and neutralized the hazardous chemicals.  Cornick faces multiple meth-related charges and is being held in the Watauga County Detention Facility in lieu of a $105,000 secured bond.  There have been countless cases of cars and other vehicles that caught on fire and some that have even exploded when the meth-making ingredients were not handled properly.   Imagine if Cornick had been in an accident while his labs were actively percolating!  Please be safe out there!

April 24, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In this week’s meth in the news column, I am going to once again describe some of the strange and awful behaviors that methamphetamine use often produces.  As you may have read before in this column and elsewhere, methamphetamine can lead to aberrant sexual activities, and people high on meth often engage in behaviors that they would not as readily commit when sober.

The first case comes from kpho.com in Scottsdale, AZ where an unnamed 25-year-old woman was spotted running down the road in traffic wearing only a shirt.  She was discovered around 9:30 PM on Sunday, April 28 near the intersection of Scottsdale and McDowell roads with her 3-year-old son in tow.  David Pubins of the Scottsdale Police Department said that when police caught up with the woman, she was speaking incoherently about being in a fight and that she also had blood on her body, which caught the attention of the officers.  Officer Pubins went on to say that the woman’s son was wearing only his pajama bottoms with a “pretty bad cut” on his leg.  This was truly a bizarre sight, and officers were concerned about the welfare of mother and child.  Upon further investigation, police officers were able to trace the blood to a chain-link fence located near the intersection where the woman was found.  There they also found the boy’s pajama top caught on the fence, suggesting that the woman tried to climb over the fence with her son.  It was subsequently determined that the woman was high on methamphetamine, which likely contributed to why she was half naked in the middle of the road.  It was unclear what she was doing before she headed outdoors, but her attire indicated that something of a sexual nature was likely involved.  She was very lucky that neither she nor her son were injured or killed as they ran in traffic after dark.  Paramedics took the woman to the Scottsdale Healthcare-Osborn Hospital for treatment of her cuts and meth intoxication, while the child was taken to Maricopa Medical Center.  The child will be turned over to Child Protective Services and the woman will be charged when they are released from the hospital.

The next case could easily be titled, “Every father’s nightmare” and was reported on whas11.com from Louisville, KY.  In this case, an unidentified 16-year-old girl was reported missing by her mother last week but was found the following day by Louisville Metro Police in a closet located in a south Louisville home.  The only problem was that the girl was high on meth, allegedly provided to her by 46-year-old Gary Iburg.  And it gets worse.  Iburg is a convicted sex offender, convicted of a sex crime in Arkansas involving a 13-year-old!  But it gets even worse.  The police said that the place where the girl was found was a “home full of pornography.”  The girl’s mother told reporters that “There was porn all over the basement and there were toys, sex toys and stuff like that.”  She went on to claim that Iburg and his fiancée Mahala Meyer tried to perform sex acts on her daughter after getting her high on meth.  But Meyer disputed all of the allegations.  “That they would confiscate my sex toys and try to say they would be used on anyone but myself is ridiculous,” Meyer exclaimed. “Yes there’s pornos, but that’s for us.”

Nevertheless, Iburg was arrested and held under a $25,000 bond, and Meyer was arrested for possession of meth.  The girl was taken to Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville where she remained for several days.  Court records indicated that the sex crimes unit was also investigating this case and that other charges were possible.

The final case this week is another truly tragic crime reported on kansascity.com that took place on July 13 last year in Edgerton, MO.  Just before sunrise on that fateful day, 32-year-old Clifford D. Miller from Northland went to the home of sisters Ashley Key, 22, and Britny Haarup, 19 with the intention of having sex with Haarup even though the two had never had a sexual relationship.  You see, Miller admitted that he was high on meth when he entered the home.  There Miller found Key, who was sleeping on the living room couch.  When Key confronted Miller, he punched her, grabbed an object from a table and struck her in the head, and smothered her until she stopped moving.  Haarup was asleep on her side facing away from Miller when he entered her bedroom still intending to have sex with her, forcibly if necessary.  Haarup sat up in her bed and screamed as Miller repeatedly struck her in the head with a stick until he finally suffocated her with a pillow.  Haarup’s 18-month-old daughter was in the same bedroom, but Miller moved her to a crib in another bedroom where Haarup’s 5-month-old daughter was sleeping.  He then tried, but failed, to have sex with the lifeless 19-year-old woman.  He remained in the home for about an hour, smoking meth.  He then wrapped the women’s bodies in bed sheets, placed them in the back of Haarup’s pickup truck, grabbed the truck keys from Haarup’s purse, and dumped the bodies next to a soybean field near County Line Road.  Sadly, no one even knew that the sisters were missing until Haarup’s fiancé, Matt Meyers, came home and found Haarup’s two daughters alone in a crib.  Miller was captured soon thereafter; he was spotted driving Haarup’s truck and he tried to sell several rifles and shotguns that he had stolen from Haarup’s home.  Miller pled guilty to the murders and was sentenced on April 23 to two life terms without the benefit of parole by Platte County Circuit Judge Owens Lee Hull Jr., who further stated that Miller must serve those life sentences back-to-back.  Two beautiful young women, both mothers of young children, were brutally murdered and these babies have lost their mothers, all due to one person’s meth use.  The more I learn about methamphetamine and the harm it causes to innocent people, which is in addition to the toxic effects that it produces in the people who choose to use it, the more I am convinced that there is no valid reason for anyone to ever try meth!

April 17, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Most of my columns in meth in the news have focused on the hazards associated with the manufacture and use of methamphetamine.  I have described the risks associated with “cooking” meth, including the risks of explosions, fires and chemical burns.  I have also warned the readers about the dangers the public faces if they come across discarded chemicals and other materials used in the “shake and bake” or “one-pot” methamphetamine “cooking” processes.  Finally, I have discussed how children and adults can be harmed if they live where meth is “cooked” or smoked, even if this had occurred in the past.  This week I am going to discuss the involvement of the Mexican Drug Cartels in the distribution of pure crystal meth throughout the United States.

During the past two weeks or so, several different news outlets have highlighted the extent of the infiltration of these Mexican Drug Cartel into the United States.  On April 2, ABC news (abcnews.go.com) reported on a study named, “Methamphetamine Traffic: Asia-Mexico-United States” that was conducted by a Mexican think tank organization.  According to this study, the Sinaloa Cartel, headed by the Mexican “kingpin” Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, accounts for 80% of the meth trade in the United States.  But the influence of the Sinaloa Cartel reaches far beyond the United States, with lucrative markets for meth found in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.  The RAND Corporation estimates that the Sinaloa Cartel makes about $3 billion each year from drug trafficking activities.  In fact, “El Chapo” has made the Forbes’ list of the world’s billionaires for the past four years in a row.

Beginning in the 1990’s, Guzman and his lieutenant, Ignacio “Nacho” Coronel, focused their efforts on the importation of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, precursors necessary for the production of crystal meth, from China, Thailand and India, into ports at Lázaro Cárdenas and Manzanillo in Mexico, or at Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala.  In December, Mexican authorities seized 675 tons (you read that right, tons!) of methylamine, another key precursor for meth.  534 tons of the precursors phenylacetate and monomethylamine were seized in Lázaro Cárdenas in less than a month in January.  And these are just the chemicals that were discovered; how much was never found or was allowed to enter the country due to corruption, bribery and fear?  The precursors are then moved to superlabs in the states of Michoacán, Jalisco, Sonora and Sinaloa, where they are processed into pure crystal meth.  Coronel, who has been called the “King of meth” used the cartels’ already established drug-smuggling networks to distribute pure but inexpensive meth throughout the United States, thereby claiming a market that has led to the gradual decline of meth production in this country.  This lucrative market has made Guzmán and other cartel leaders billions upon billions of dollars.  It is difficult to imagine the amount of crystal meth this represents, but it is staggering!

I have reported time and time again in this meth in the news column about pounds and pounds of pure crystal meth that have been seized at the border and throughout the United States.  Imagine how much is really out there!  On April 7, WFAA out of Dallas (www.wfaa.com) reported that more meth is being smuggled into the United States than ever before.  Unfortunately, much of this meth is coming across the Texas-Mexico border.   Customs and Border Enforcement spokesman Phil Barrera told reporters that “A good 80 percent of the seizures involving narcotics here in the passenger environment, passenger vehicles, deal mostly with methamphetamine.”  Agents seized a record 2,200 pounds of meth last year along the stretch of this Texas-Mexico border from the Rio Grande Valley to Del Rio alone, which was a 100% increase over the seizures made in 2011.

On April 17, www.rockmartjrl.com out of Chicago reported that the Mexican Drug Cartels have sent agents from their inner circles into the United States to run their drug-distribution networks in at least nine non-border states.  The leaders of these cartels reasoned that if they cut out the middlemen and assumed more direct control, pushing aside the American traffickers, then they could keep more of the obscene profits for themselves.  According to Jack Riley, the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago office, “People think, ‘The border’s 1,700 miles away. This isn’t our problem.’ Well, it is. These days, we operate as if Chicago is on the border.”  Cases involving drug cartel members have emerged in the suburbs of Chicago and Atlanta, as well as Columbus, OH, Louisville, KY, and rural North Carolina.  Suspects have also surfaced in Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.  Richard Pearson, a lieutenant with the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department, said “This is the first time we’ve been seeing it — cartels who have their operatives actually sent here.”  The Louisville Metropolitan Police Department arrested four operatives from the Los Zetas Cartel last November in the Louisville suburb of Okolona.

Danny Porter, chief prosecutor in Gwinnett County, GA said that he has tried to entice dozens of suspected cartel members to cooperate with American authorities.  Nearly all declined, and some actually laughed in his face.  According to Porter, “They say, ‘We are more scared of them (the cartels) than we are of you. We talk and they’ll boil our family in acid.’”  In Mexico, the cartels are known for a staggering number of killings; more than 50,000 people have been murdered.  I have been following this violence for several months through a companion website linked in my website found below at the end of this column.  Beheadings are often a signature of drug cartel violence, and the drug cartels often publish videos of these murders online.  The last video I saw included the beheading, dismemberment and acid boiling of 3 young men and 2 naked young women captured from a rival cartel.  There are some things that I wish that I had never seen; I just cannot un-ring that bell.  Nevertheless, these Mexican Drug Cartels are here, the profits are astronomical, and the violence is worse than anything that the reader can ever imagine.  And the allure of that intense, powerful high that the drug produces and the incredible profits that can be made from selling methamphetamine portend that things are going to get a lot worse before they get any better.  Be safe out there!

April 10, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In this week’s meth in the news column I am going to focus on the awful violence that often accompanies methamphetamine.  The first report this week comes from Boley, OK via newsok.com and illustrates how methamphetamine not only hurts those who manufacture and use the drug, but it can cause collateral damage to innocent friends, family members and even strangers.  In this case, Denver and Martha Holloway were shot to death on March 8, 2013 in their home near Boley, OK by their own son.  Ross Alan Holloway confessed that he shot his parents after smoking meth and becoming disoriented.  Holloway told an agent with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation that on the night of March 8, he drank three beers and smoked meth.  He claimed that after smoking meth, he fell asleep on his bed with a Ruger .22 caliber magnum revolver in his lap.  Seriously!  He smoked meth and went to sleep!  I find that terribly hard to believe.  But according to his confession, Holloway was awakened by loud voices that he thought he heard yelling at him, so he “unloaded” the Ruger on the people that he saw in his bedroom doorway.  He went on to claim that he then realized that he had just murdered his parents, so he jumped into his Jeep and drove away.  Isn’t that what most sons do upon finding their parents shot to death?  At about 4:15 AM, Holloway was pulled over by a Le Flore County sheriff’s deputy in Panama for suspicion of driving under the influence.  The deputy found drug paraphernalia in the vehicle, and officers also found meth in Holloway’s bedroom at his parents’ home. Holloway ultimately hung himself in his Okfuskee County jail cell on March 29, shortly after being charged with the murders of his parents, according to a spokesman with the Oklahoma state medical examiner’s office.  Friends described Ross Holloway, 32, as “a good kid who got hooked on meth and let it ruin his life.”  But now three lives have been lost due to his meth use!  People who knew Denver and Martha Holloway described them as being very nice, down to earth people, the salt of the earth.  Tragically, they never even had to smoke methamphetamine to become casualties of the meth epidemic.

In the next case, the victims were not as innocent as the Holloways, but they did nothing to deserve the fate that they experienced.  In Tulsa, OK, four women were found shot to death at the Fairmont Terrace apartment complex on January 7, 2013.  The murdered women included two 23-year-old sisters, Rebeika Powell, and Kayetie Melchor, who were each shot twice. The other victims were Misty Nunley, 33, and Julie Jackson, 55, who were each shot one time.  Allegedly, the women were selling methamphetamine out of one of the apartments.  Tulsa Police arrested Cedric and Dwayne Poore and charged them with the murders.  Apparently, the two brothers went to the apartment to steal the meth that they expected to find there, and that led to the ensuing violence.  Autopsy reports showed that each woman had varying amounts of meth in her system, and all women died after being shot in the head.  This case clearly illustrates the extreme dangers associated with dealing meth.  Meth is known to increase aggression and violent behaviors, and such violence is often an unwanted but unavoidable consequence associated with meth use.  None of these women did anything at all to justify the horrible deaths that they experienced.  Hopefully someone will read this and realize that this is just one more reason to stay away from meth!

In the last case this week, I decided to add a little levity due to the extreme sobering nature of the first two cases reported above.  In a case reported on kcra.com last week, Homero Santamaria, 30, was stopped by TSA agents at the Modesto, CA airport because of a “suspicious bulge in his clothing.”  Modesto police were called after the initial pat down by TSA agents and found that Santamaria was carrying approximately 40 ounces (that’s 2.5 pounds!) of methamphetamine and 3 ounces of cocaine in his tight-fitting shorts. I wonder if the TSA agents thought, “Is that meth in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?”  That much meth must have produced quite a bulge!  Sgt. Steven Stanfield of the Modesto Police Department said, “That’s more methamphetamine than probably one person can consume in one day’s trip to Hawaii.”  Santamaria had booked a round-trip ticket to Hawaii and planned to return 24 hours later, but instead he was arrested and booked into the Stanislaus County Jail.   According to Sgt. Stanfield, “This morning there probably wasn’t that many passengers.  They have time to do a more thorough search and these TSA agents were on the ball.”  Authorities theorized that Santamaria thought that he could get through security easier at a small facility like the Modesto airport, where only a handful of TSA agents are on duty at a given time.  However, the size of the smaller airport actually helps security screen passengers better.  In fact, this is the second time recently that someone was caught with drugs trying to board a plane from the Modesto airport.  TSA agents could not comment on the incident.

April 3, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

With springtime finally here, people are starting to spend more time outdoors.  And while I have warned the readers about the dangers of the “one pot” or “shake & bake” labs and the toxicity associated with the materials used to manufacture methamphetamine in the past, I thought that this was an appropriate time to remind the reader about these dangers in this week’s meth in the news column.   Similar reports were recently published online in Michigan (thetimesherald.com) and Vermont (rutlandherald.com).

The “one-pot” or “shake & bake” methamphetamine manufacturing method is a relatively cheap, simple and quick way for meth users to produce the highly addictive stimulant at nearly any location, including inside a vehicle, then disposing of the waste along the roadside or wherever.  And while we don’t have problems with large windblown snowdrifts as they do in Michigan and Vermont, this is the time of year when the snow begins to melt up there, revealing all types of “stuff” that had been buried.  I was driving around northern Caddo Parish over the Easter holiday, and I was appalled at the amount of litter that people have thrown on our highways.  I wonder how much of that trash included materials used to make meth; it was hard to tell.  However, across the United States, various civic groups participate in “Adopt a Highway” projects to clear this garbage that has been thrown along the road.  Michigan State Police Trooper Derek Hoffmann claims that there have already been instances when materials from a meth lab have been found along the highways in St. Clair County, MI.  Therefore, it is very important that people participating in an “Adopt a Highway” program or who cheerfully pick up trash for the Sheriff’s Office are made well aware of the potential dangers out there.

Lt. Reg Trayah, a member of the Vermont State Police Clandestine Lab Team told first responders in Clarendon, VT that people using the “one-pot” or “shake & bake” method actually “cook” or shake the ingredients in a single container to generate heat and produce the drug in a matter of hours.  These ingredients are commonly found in kitchen and bathroom cabinets and in garages.  Lt. Trayah also said that a bottle of the cold medicine Sudafed may not be a big deal on its own, but several bottles with the bottoms removed would be suspicious since the “cooks” prefer to cut off the bottoms to get to the Sudafed faster.  And while lithium batteries are common in homes, spotting those same batteries stripped apart should raise concerns because the “cooks” use lithium to produce heat.  Cans of brake fluid, carburetor cleaner, or camp fuel are often found in garages, but they are also used in the “one-pot” labs.  So if you see such cans with small holes punctured in the bottoms, call the authorities immediately.

Trooper Hoffman said that people should look out for two-liter Coke bottles, or large Gatorade bottles, especially if they contain an off-white or yellow sludge.  Other objects to be aware of include tubing, Coleman camping fuel, disassembled lithium batteries, plastic bottles of lye or drain cleaner, blister packs of nasal decongestant, propane tanks with blue discoloration at the valves, coffee filters with a reddish tint or reddish granule substance, and glass cookware such as mason jars.  Detective Brian Kerrigan, of the Port Huron Police Department, said “Just one of those bottles wouldn’t necessarily be an indicator of meth, but different things all grouped together at a site could be a sign of a meth lab.”  These items might be packed inside a duffel bag or cooler and left on the side of the highway, or they might be scattered about separately.

Bottom line, please remember that leftover meth-making materials pose a serious threat to people and should never be picked up.  If an accelerant was left in the bottom of a canister, it could become a major fire hazard.   Other leftover substances could release dangerous gases.  Just picking up what appears to be an innocuous soda bottle might restart the chemical reaction, giving off noxious fumes such as deadly ammonia gas.  So if you come across any suspected meth-related materials, you should immediately contact law enforcement and stay away from these items.  In fact, it might even be advantageous to move upwind and a safe distance away before contacting authorities.  Be safe out there!

March 27, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

An interesting report posted on ctpost.com out of Bridgeport, CT on March 25 really caught my eye while I was preparing for my meth in the news column this week.  This article was titled “Meth Scourge Is Growing in the Northeast” and described how methamphetamine trafficking, manufacture and abuse has finally found its way to the northeast corridor of the United States.  I have been in the addiction field for over thirty years, and I have several colleagues in New York City, New Haven, CT and other cities in the northeast who treat people addicted to drugs and alcohol.  And while I have watched this so-called “methamphetamine scourge” sweep from the western United States across the heartland of America to also include the Ark-La-Tex, my colleagues in the northeast have continued to tell me that crack cocaine is the psychomotor stimulant that they see producing the most significant problems.  For years and years they have told me that they almost never see anyone seeking help for methamphetamine abuse.  However, this new report from Connecticut suggests that this trend is changing.

This report also reaffirms a fear that has been slowly growing inside me for several years, which is why I started this column and my methamphetamine-related website in the first place.  My fear is that the methamphetamine problem is much larger than anyone, including the experts, realizes and that this problem is also growing at an alarming rate.  What might cause meth use to be underreported?  First of all, as I have reported in this column and elsewhere, authorities have literally seized hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine at our southern border with Mexico and throughout the United States.  Imagine how many pounds were successfully smuggled and never recovered!  Secondly, there are also almost daily reports of the discovery of domestic meth labs, usually of the “one pot” or “shake and bake” variety, at locations all across this country, in large cities and small communities.  So the Mexican Drug Cartels are making obscene profits by trafficking almost pure crystal meth manufactured in their “superlabs” to our citizens.  At the same time, the average meth user can make her own supply of meth in her bathroom or bedroom at a remarkably small expense by following a “recipe” readily found on the Internet.  Thus, I think that we can all agree that there is a lot of meth out there; someone must be using it.  Finally, what would you expect a meth head to say if she is asked to complete a questionnaire or answer questions about her meth use?  Meth users are often paranoid, an inevitable hazard of continued meth use, so if she even bothers to respond at all, she is very likely to deny using the drug.  But if you look at arrest records reported here in The Inquisitor or in almost any community in the United States today, you will soon learn as I have that meth-related arrests are on the increase everywhere, suggesting that more people are cooking and using the drug.

So what happened in the northeast to suggest that meth has finally arrived?  Capt. Dale Hourigan, Head of the Connecticut State Police Statewide Narcotics Task Force reported that since July, 2012, they have seized 6,391 grams of meth, or about 14 pounds, which represents a more than 40-fold increase from the 154 grams that the task force seized the previous fiscal year.  Last December, the DEA and Massachusetts State Police seized 30 pounds of meth worth about $4.2 million from a car in Massachusetts.  And a 2011 study on meth use in New York City estimated that there were about 63,000 meth users spending roughly $640 million on the drug; these numbers have likely grown since then.  In a statement that I could have easily made myself, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas P. Smith recently called the growing problem with methamphetamine in the northeast a “dirty bomb unleashed like plutonium on an unaware society.”  But even this is an understatement according to Dr. Gary Blick, an HIV/AIDS specialist and internist in Norwalk, CT.  Dr. Blick says that “It’s already here in full force and not going away.”  And Capt. Hourigan said that he has been advised by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that crystal meth is also being manufactured in pill form and marketed in the United States as Ecstasy, a popular club drug.  Therefore all signs point to a large customer base for meth in Connecticut.  And it is becoming easier and easier to find there.  A meth addict in recovery from Bridgeport claims, “When I was addicted, five or six years ago, I had to search far and wide.  Now it’s within 10-minutes access.”  Yes, meth has indeed finally made its way to the northeast corridor of the United States.

So the scourge of methamphetamine has now spread from California, Oregon, Montana and other western states through the heartland of America, including Indiana, Tennessee and the Ark-La-Tex to Georgia and the southern east coast to now finally arrive full force along the northeast corridor, thus completing a full sweep across the United States.  In so doing, more and more people are now in danger of falling prey to this insidious drug.  Perhaps our best weapon to fight this scourge is education.  So I will continue to write this column and maintain my website, not to make fun of or to denigrate anyone or to take this problem lightly, but to try and make people more aware of the many dangers associated with the manufacture and use of methamphetamine.  If I can prevent just one person from ever trying meth, then this has all been worthwhile.

March 20, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In meth in the news this week, the first case is about a huge seizure of methamphetamine and cocaine discovered in a U-Haul truck on U.S. Highway 20 near Idaho Falls, ID on March 9.  Idaho State Police initiated a traffic stop at 2:07 AM on the truck for failure to “maintain the lane of travel” according to idahostatejournal.com.  I see this over and over again; a major drug bust is made after a vehicle is pulled over for a relatively minor traffic violation.  One would think that the driver would be more careful, but obeying traffic laws does not appear to be very important anymore for many people.  In this case, in fact, authorities actually found 52 pounds of methamphetamine and 27 pounds of cocaine hidden in the truck.  That’s right – pounds of cocaine and meth with an estimated street value of $1 million to $1.2 million.  Can you imagine how many people would have been harmed by this quantity of these highly-addictive drugs?  The driver of the truck was identified as Sergio Javier Varela-Vallecillo, 29, from Honduras, and the passenger was Felicia Inez Varela, 28.  Both were transported to the Bonneville County Jail where they were charged with felony trafficking of meth and cocaine.  Varela-Vallecillo was also charged with failure to purchase a driver’s license.  Varela had a valid Texas driver’s license, but State Police reported that they found another 5 grams of meth when she was searched at the County Jail, so she was subsequently also charged with introducing meth into a correctional facility.

The second case is from LaGrange County in northern Indiana where a woman unnecessarily put her four children in serious danger on March 15, as reported on theindychannel.com.  At about 11 PM, Indiana State Police Senior Trooper Deven Hostetler attempted to pull over a car for a traffic violation on County Road 650 North near County Road 1100 East.  However, the driver did not stop and instead led police on a short pursuit.  During the chase, “the passenger of the vehicle was said to have been throwing items out of his window,” Indiana State Police Sgt. Ron Galaviz said in a news release.  The driver of the vehicle, Jilyan Janelle Snyder, 29, of Hudson, IN finally stopped her car a short time later.  However, in addition to the driver and her passenger, police also found four children, ages 6 to 13, in the vehicle.  Not only were these children in danger from the effects of meth if Snyder had recently used the drug, but also from the possibility of a traffic accident that might have resulted during the flight from police.  The children were left in the custody of a family member, and Snyder was charged with four counts of neglect of a dependent.  In addition, Galaviz said, “An unknown amount of methamphetamine was located inside of Snyder’s purse at the time of her arrest.”  Therefore, Snyder was taken to the LaGrange County Jail where she was charged with resisting law enforcement and possession of meth.  So once again a minor traffic stop leads to a major methamphetamine bust.  Snyder had also been issued warrants in Noble County on charges of possession of meth and visiting a common nuisance.  The 25-year-old passenger was not charged.  I wonder why not – he could have at least been charged with littering!

Finally in Iron Mountain, MI, ironmountaindailynews.com reported that Kingsford Public Safety Department officers received a tip that individuals in a home located at 501 Sterling Street in Kingsford were making meth.  Kingsford Public Safety Department officers and the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team, assisted by officers from the Iron Mountain Police Department, arrived at the house at approximately 7:30 AM on Tuesday, March 12 and received permission from the homeowner to enter the dwelling.  Once inside, officers reported smelling a strong odor that they suspected was due to vapors or fumes associated with cooking meth, and they soon discovered a working meth lab inside the rental house.  Three women were found in the home during the raid and were charged with operating/maintaining a laboratory involving meth.  These three Dickinson County women were Samantha Marie Matson, 21, of Vulcan, Nicole Janae Strutz, 30, of Iron Mountain and Jennifer Lee LaCosse, 26, of Norway. LaCosse and Matson also faced charges of manufacturing meth, and LaCosse and Strutz were also charged with conspiracy to manufacture meth.  Strutz was also charged as a habitual offender, fourth offense.  All of the charges are felony offenses punishable by up to 20 years in prison.  The three women remain jailed at the Dickinson County Correctional Center. The Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team (UPSET) assisted in the investigation and will conduct the clean up.  Hopefully the rental property will be properly cleaned of all hazardous meth-related toxic substances before the house is rented again!

March 13, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In meth in the news this week, I will share several cases that recently caught my eye.  In the first case reported on wuft.org in Gainesville, FL, investigators with the Levy County Sheriff’s Office Drug Task Force received a tip that methamphetamine was being cooked at the Bronson Motel located at 315 N Hathaway Ave.  When deputies served a search warrant for rooms 20 and 21 at the motel at 9:15 PM on March 6, 2013, they found 27-year-old Russell Girdler, 26-year-old Sean Franzius, and 24-year-old Judith Gazdun in the Levy County motel rooms according to Lt. Scott Tummond.  Unfortunately, deputies also discovered that Girdler’s 5-month-old baby was in the motel room where the two men were manufacturing meth.  Girdler and Franzius were subsequently arrested and charged with the manufacture of methamphetamine in the presence of a child.  Franzius was also charged with “keeping a drug dwelling”.  Gazdun was found in the other motel room and was arrested and charged with child abuse, possession of narcotics and possession of drug paraphernalia.  Bonds range from $100,000 to $200,000 for the trio.  No trial date has been set.  Lt. Tummond said the Department of Children and Family Services has taken custody of the baby.  “Unfortunately we find that innocent children are frequently subjected to situations like this based on the bad decisions of the parent or guardian,” Tummond said.  How many times have I said the same thing?  Methamphetamine obviously affects a person’s judgment and common sense.  Why would any sane person subject their own baby to the toxic and deadly fumes associated with the manufacture of methamphetamine?  Nevertheless, this happens time and time again!

With the next two cases, things really begin to turn bizarre.  The first case comes to us from Ada, OK and was reported on kfor.com and picked up nationally by foxnews.com.  Early on Monday morning, police found two Oklahoma women sitting in a parked Toyota Yaris outside the Dairy Lou Drive Inn in Ada.  Christie Dawn Harris, 28, and her friend Jennifer Delancy were just hanging out in the car with their seats fully reclined around 3:45 AM on March 4, which drew the suspicions of Ada police.  When police asked the women if there were any drugs or weapons in the vehicle, Harris responded that she did not think so.  A narcotics canine team was called, and the dog alerted to the car.  Police subsequently found methamphetamine and related drug paraphernalia inside the parked car and arrested both women on drug charges.  But the story does not end there.  On the way to the police station, Delancy told officers that she had a hypodermic needle hidden in her shoe, and it was removed.  However, Pontotoc County District Attorney Chris Ross reported that Harris told officers repeatedly that she had to go to the bathroom.  Officers soon discovered why she needed to go so badly.  During processing at the station, a female officer noticed “something strange” during the routine search of Harris.  “The officer observed the handle of a revolver sticking out from inside her body,” Ross said.  According to court records, the “wooden and metal item,” which was in fact a .22 caliber Freedom Arms revolver, was “sticking out from her vagina area.”  “It was a five shot,” Ross said. “It was loaded and as she turned around, she noticed more plastic baggies, larger plastic baggies wedged in the crack of her buttocks.”  Those baggies contained meth and were removed along with the gun.  “It would seem to be a very dangerous place to carry a loaded firearm,” Ross said.  Now that’s an understatement!  I wonder if she had a conceal and carry permit for her gun.  Both women have long criminal records already, and this time around they will be charged with possession of meth.  No mention was made of any additional weapons charges.

Finally, a 29-year-old man faced multiple charges after a crystal meth-filled afternoon at his Council Bluffs, IA apartment as reported on newsflavor.com.  Apparently Gerardo Martinez was high on meth and entertaining himself with a pornographic DVD when he found that his solitary activities no longer satisfied his urges.  Then in an act of pure human depravity, Martinez picked up his grey cat and had sex with it.  Yes, you read that correctly – a CAT!  My first question is how?  More importantly, have you ever tried to force a cat to do something that it does not want to do, such as giving it a bath?  If so, you likely ended up with a handful of teeth and sharp claws.  Nevertheless, after Martinez finished, he threw both the cat and the DVD he had been watching out of his 7th story window.  The cat was discovered on the sidewalk, bleeding heavily and unable to move.  Police were called and were able to quickly track the cat back to Martinez.  When police knocked on his apartment door, Martinez answered the door with his pants still around his ankles.  Martinez was charged with animal torture, bestiality, and indecent exposure and will spend time in prison for his actions.  As I have told you before, not everyone who uses meth is a sexual pervert, but some are.  Sadly, the cat died as a result of its injuries.

March 6, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In meth in the news this week, I am going to focus on the potential threat to children that methamphetamine cooking and methamphetamine use can be.  These first three cases again illustrate that children should never be around when meth is being made due to the extremely toxic nature of the chemicals used.  But meth itself is also a toxic substance, so children should also never be around when meth is being smoked.  The toxic vapors stick to everything; small children often explore the world around them by tasting, and they touch everything and stick their fingers into their mouths.  Such was probably the case when a frantic mother brought her 9-month-old son to the emergency room in Great Falls, MT on April 6, 2012 because he was “acting strangely”.  According to therepublic.com, the hospital checked the child and discovered that he had ingested meth.  On February 20, 2013, the boy’s mother, 26-year-old Brandi Rae Bargas pleaded guilty in District Court to endangering the welfare of her child. Sentencing is set for April 3.  A more serious case was reported by therepublic.com on February 21.  In this case, a 2-month-old Alexander City, AL infant died after inhaling methamphetamine fumes.  24-year-old Lindsay Nelson has been arrested for child endangerment, but more charges may be forthcoming.  Although police report that Nelson’s son died in May, a recent autopsy revealed that the baby died from inhaling meth fumes.  Police have not yet determined who, if anyone was smoking or cooking meth in Nelson’s Alexander City home.  It’s a great mystery I assume!  Nelson faces a minimum of 20 years in prison if she is convicted on the child endangerment charges.  Finally, a 3-year-old boy in Milton, FL was hospitalized in critical condition after drinking Drano out of a child’s “sippy cup”.  Apparently the boy’s father, 36-year-old Jonathan Wayne Glass, was storing the cleaning liquid in the cup and left it in the bathroom unattended.  The child was able to reach the cup and drink the Drano, experiencing an “immediate reaction,” the Pensacola News Journal reported.  Police reported that there were several people making meth that night in the apartment where the little boy lived.  Drano is one component used in meth production.  The boy’s father was arrested and charged with one count of child abuse, along with a number of charges related to methamphetamine production and possession.  The boy’s mother, Victoria Lauren Cain, has also been charged with child neglect and will likely be facing drug charges as well.  Bottom line – if you MUST use meth, don’t smoke it where your children live or play!

Methamphetamine has long been associated with risky, unusual and often aberrant sexual practices, but usually these activities occur between consenting adults.  This becomes a much more serious problem when one of the participants is a child.  Although this first case involves a 14-year-old girl, there have been cases where even younger children have been abused by adults using meth.  According to mywesttexas.com, James Duke Creel III, 30, of Midland, TX was being held on a second-degree felony charge for the sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl.  A member of this girl’s family went to the Midland County Sheriff’s Office on February 4 and told a sergeant there that James Creel gave meth to the girl and sexually assaulted her.  When investigators talked with the girl, she told them that Creel invited her to his home sometime after Thanksgiving “to do meth”.  She said that when she and Creel got high on meth they engaged in sexual intercourse.  If convicted, Creel could face up to 20 years in prison.  The second case had a happy ending only because the meth addict thought that he was communicating with a like-minded man in what was referred to as an “incest chat room”.  I did not even realize that such places existed, but nothing really surprises me anymore.  Luckily, Scott Allen Schaffer, 57, of Windsor, CA was instead chatting with an undercover police officer posing as a father who claimed that he was actively molesting his children (thus the incest chat room).  Schaffer made arrangements to meet him, and the “father” promised to bring his 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter to the Vagabond Inn in South San Francisco.  Schaffer arrived at the hotel on February 26 bearing sex toys, meth, and children’s toys (you read that right), intending to have sex with two young children.  However, Shaffer became hysterical and quite apologetic when a police officer opened the door rather than the incest-loving pal he expected to find there.  Schaffer was charged with two counts of attempting a lewd act on a child, communicating for the purposes of arranging a lewd act and two counts of attempting a sexual act with a child under 10.  Strangely, although he was also charged with a misdemeanor count of possessing a syringe, there was no indication of any methamphetamine-related charges.  Bail was set at $750,000 according to smdailyjournal.com.  Now I am not saying that all meth users are sexual perverts, but some are.  Do you know someone who changed dramatically after they started using meth?  I’d like to know.

February 27, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In meth in the news this week, I am going to focus once again on the efforts of the Mexican Drug Cartels to smuggle methamphetamine into the United States as well as the distribution schemes used to get the drug to their customers.  Interdiction efforts in the past week succeeded in removing over 100 pounds of meth from the street.  In the first incident reported on February 20 by ksat.com in San Antonio, TX, a 1998 Ford F-150 pickup truck was referred for a secondary inspection at the Laredo Port of Entry at the Gateway to the Americas Bridge along the border with Mexico on Saturday, February 16.  A search of the vehicle by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers resulted in the discovery of 23 individual bundles of meth hidden in her truck, containing a total of over 26 pounds of methamphetamine.  CBP officials seized the meth, valued at more than $400,000 on the street and arrested the driver, a 51-year-old woman from Mississippi. That is one shipment that will not make it to our neighbor state.

Early Sunday morning on February 17, a canine team alerted to a 1999 Volkswagen Golf driven by a 26-year-old Mexican citizen and lawfully-admitted permanent resident at the El Centro Sector Border Patrol checkpoint located between Westmorland and Salton City in California.  According to ivpressonline.com, CBP agents found 29 packages of methamphetamine hidden in the car at the Highway 86 checkpoint.  The packages weighed about 30 pounds and are estimated to be worth more than $980,000.  The driver was arrested and was turned over along with the vehicle and drugs to the Drug Enforcement Administration.  It is unclear why the methamphetamine seized at this checkpoint was worth more than $32,000 per pound while that discovered in the truck in Laredo was only valued at $15,000 per pound, but it may be related to the purity of the meth or the methods used to estimate the street value of the drug.  Nevertheless, this represents another successful effort by CBP.

A fortuitous traffic stop on State Road 60 in Bartow, FL for a broken taillight on a Ford Expedition resulted in an investigation that netted 50 pounds of methamphetamine and likely disrupted a major meth distribution network that authorities claim was a $1 million operation.   According to theledger.com, when detectives with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office asked to search the Expedition on February 19, the driver Lydia Santiago, 38, said, “Sure, go ahead. I have nothing.”  However, detectives found about 2 pounds of meth and $8,000 in cash in her purse.  Santiago led detectives to her home at 1820 Kissengen Ave in Bartow where the mother of four children had been discreetly selling the meth that she bought by the pound.  Detectives used Santiago to trace the meth back to her dealers by arranging for her to buy 2 pounds of the drug.  When Arturo Sanchez, 22, and Angel Castro, 24, arrived with the meth, detectives arrested them and Santiago’s son, Jorge Morales-Vallejo, 23.  This subsequently led the detectives to a house at 540 Ave L SE in Winter Haven where Castro and Sanchez kept their drug supply. There detectives seized 46 pounds of meth and two guns and more than $13,000 in cash.  Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said that the two suspects accused of keeping the stash house are cooperating with investigators.  “We’ve got your dope, we’ve got two of your boys,” Judd said. “So get ready.”  Detectives are trying to trace the meth to the suspects who produced and brought it into the county, he said.

Texastribune.org reports that seizures of meth in the Laredo customs district, the country’s busiest land port, climbed significantly for the second consecutive year, an indication that the Mexican Drug Cartels continue to bank on sales of the drug in the U.S. despite vigilant enforcement efforts on both sides of the Texas-Mexico border.  CBP agents working the Laredo district, which extends from Del Rio to Brownsville, seized more than a ton of meth in fiscal year 2012 alone. The amount represents a 116 percent increase over fiscal year 2011, which was a 34 percent jump over 2010.  Investigator Joe Baeza, a spokesman with the Laredo Police Department said that meth can be produced year-round and does not depend on rainfall or growing seasons like marijuana or opium harvesting do. The ability to produce meth all year and the fact that the Mexican superlabs are very efficient at producing it with domestic chemicals suggest that meth will likely continue to have a significant presence in Texas and the rest of the nation.

February 20, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Our first case in meth in the news this week comes from carolinaline.com in South Carolina and should go into the “slow learner” files.  But at the same time, many drug offenders are given the opportunity to get clean through the “drug court” system.  With drug court, the offender must receive counseling, attend AA and related meetings and remain drug free during a probationary period set by the court.  Failure to abide by these conditions means that the offender has violated probation and must go directly to jail.  In this case, Joe Eddins, 43, and Cheryl Melton, 47, both of Hartsville, SC were arrested on January 30, 2013 following an undercover operation by the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office Drug Enforcement Unit that led to the discovery of a clandestine methamphetamine lab.  The lab was subsequently dismantled, and Eddins and Melton were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and manufacturing methamphetamine within proximity of a school.  They were both booked into the Darlington County Detention Center.  The couple was arrested almost exactly one year ago in February 2012 for manufacturing methamphetamine at a different location in Hartsville.  That was why I called them slow learners!  If they are found guilty this time, it is likely that they will serve significant time in prison.

Our next story this week is all about keeping it in the family and comes from albanytribune.com in Albany, OR.  In this case, a mother and her daughter were arrested on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 on methamphetamine-related charges.  Dianna Denise Sutherland, age 47 and her 23-year-old daughter, Kattie Irene Sutherland were booked into the Lincoln County Jail after the Lincoln Interagency Narcotics Team (LINT), assisted by the Newport Police Department, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police and the Department of Human Service (DHS) served a search warrant at their residence in the 200 block of NW 8th Street.  The report noted that this was in a residential area adjacent to a baseball sports complex in Newport.  Detectives seized small amounts of methamphetamine, packaging materials, and other evidence.  Four children, ages 8 years, 5 years, 3 years, and 10 months were also present in the house and were taken into protective custody by DHS.  Kattie Sutherland is the mother of three of the children and related to the fourth child.  It is truly a shame that neither woman cared enough about the safety of these children, three of whom actually belonged to this mother and grandmother, to refrain from using meth with such young children at home.  The report did not state if the children were tested or whether or not they tested positive for methamphetamine poisoning, but at least they have a fighting chance now.

I think that fans of the series “Breaking Bad” will appreciate this next story that comes from Purcell, OK as reported on nydailynews.com.  In this case, golf course employees were surprised to find out that meth cooks had used one of their Porta Potties to create a makeshift meth lab.  The authorities were alerted to the scene and found some of the chemicals used to make meth inside some strangely colored sports drink bottles found in the portable outhouse.  Purcell Police soon realized that the meth cooks were using the “shake and bake” method to manufacture the substance and that this led to two of the three sports drink bottles exploding.  Police sealed off the portable toilet with tape and reported that they already have a lead on one suspect since fingerprints were recovered from the scene.  Purcell Police Department’s spokesman Scott Stevens said: “If someone had been in the Porta Potty when (the bottles exploded), they might have gotten hurt by the flying plastic and the chemicals.”  This could have injured the meth cooks themselves or an unsuspecting golfer needing the facilities if the “meth lab” bottles had been left unattended in the outhouse while they were actively cooking.  And as I have told you repeatedly, if someone had opened one of the bottles at the wrong time, they could have found themselves with a flame thrower in their hand.  Imagine the injuries that could have ensued if that had happened inside the confines of a Porta Potty!  What will they think of next?

February 13, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Our first case in meth in the news this week comes from magicvalley.com in Twin Falls, ID.  Last month, a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old girl turned in their own father for using methamphetamine.  One can only imagine how serious this problem must have become for these young girls to resort to such drastic actions.  According to the police report, both girls were previously in the custody of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare because of their mother’s meth use, so they were well aware of what would happen to them if their father was arrested.  However, the girls were also familiar with the signs of drug use because of their mother’s addition to meth.  So when they became suspicious because of unusual activity in their father’s shop located in the garage, the two girls conducted their own investigation in December 2012, complete with pictures.  The girls searched through the shop and found a wooden carved truck. They opened the top of the truck and discovered that the truck was being used to store drug-related items, so they took pictures of what they found inside the truck.  The pictures showed a glass pipe caked with white residue. In the same picture was a small plastic bag containing supposed methamphetamine. Another photo also showed the pipes along with a bag containing what appeared to be marijuana.  Then on Sunday, January 13, at about 3:30 PM, Twin Falls police received a phone call from the12-year-old girl who told them that she found meth pipes and other drugs in her 50-year-old father’s shop.  After receiving this call, officers soon arrived at the house on Sixth Avenue East.  The police report stated that “Both girls were very upset and said that they saw the illegal narcotics in their dad’s shop.”  The authorities spoke with the father, who denied consent to search his shop. However, while talking to the father, police saw the wooden truck on a shelf in the shop, and he was arrested for two misdemeanor counts of injury to a child.  There was no further information as to the nature of these charges.  Police returned to the house at about 7:30 PM with a search warrant for the garage and shop. According to the report, police found a small baggie containing meth, two glass pipes, a glass test tube commonly used as a meth pipe and a plastic baggie containing marijuana. The father was then further charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance, one a felony and one a misdemeanor.  One can only imagine what the girls suffered through in their home to turn in their own father to the authorities, especially since they had been in the custody of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare because of their mother’s meth use and knew what to expect.  From Jan. 17, 2012 to Jan. 17, 2013, Twin Falls city spokesman Joshua Palmer said that Twin Falls police have received 421 calls for service about someone using or selling drugs. While it’s not uncommon for family members to call about each other, Palmer said typically the caller is a concerned parent.  “It’s less common for a child to call on parents. However, it does happen,” he said.

Our other case this week comes from www.mlive.com out of Kalamazoo, MI and once again illustrates the dangers associated with cooking meth.  On January 28 at 12:02 AM, police and fire units were dispatched to a Wendy’s restaurant located on the corner of South Westnedge and West Van Hoesen Boulevard in Portage, responding to a report that a man had walked up to the restaurant with severe burns on his hands.  A few minutes later, a neighbor in the 500 block of West Van Hoesen Boulevard called 911 to report an explosion. The front porch wall of a home at 514 West Van Hoesen had been blown off and the windows blown out at the location of the explosion.  No one was at the home when police arrived, but witnesses told police that they saw several people leaving the home on foot after the explosion.  I’m sure that they were beating a hasty retreat.  The man with the burned hands at Wendy’s admitted to cooking meth at the time of the explosion. He was taken by ambulance to a local hospital and a search warrant was served on the residence.  Meth-making components were located inside the home.  The man will likely be charged with manufacturing and possession of methamphetamine.

February 6, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

I have reported several times in this meth in the news column about the dangers of living in a place where methamphetamine was cooked or used.  Meth labs have been found in homes, apartments, hotel rooms, in the woods and even in cars.  And as I have told you before, even when a meth lab or a place where meth was used has been discovered, some experts estimate that a meth lab operating in a house for only a few weeks could introduce enough methamphetamine and related vapors into the insulation to sustain unsafe levels in the home for months, or even years, after.  But at this time is it not known what levels might be toxic, or if people become sick due to metal exposure, solvent exposure, meth exposure, by-product exposure or some combination of all of these.  And this problem is not going away anytime soon.  As reported last week on wave3.com from Louisville, KY, your family could be suffering from the after effects of methamphetamine use and not even know it.

Some states, such as Kentucky and Colorado, have passed laws requiring that a property where meth was cooked or smoked must remain quarantined until it is properly decontaminated and tested by certified professionals.  Unfortunately, not all states have these laws on the books.  In Louisiana, a 2008 law was passed by the legislature requiring sellers to disclose whether their house had been exposed to meth.  In addition, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) was tasked with maintaining a listing of residential real estate property that has been reported as contaminated.  However, I checked the DEQ website on February 5, and only 7 properties total throughout the state of Louisiana have been listed since April of 2012.  I know that there have been more than 7 meth labs uncovered in Louisiana in the past 10 months, so the site may be a little out of date.  It’s a start, but obviously more must be done.

Surprisingly, even when a property has been identified as contaminated by meth, many people continue to live there because they have nowhere else to go.  In the report from Louisville, an 80-year-old woman was still living in a home on South Shelby Street five days after police arrested a man for cooking meth there.  The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness placed a bright orange sign on the door warning that “hazardous chemicals and residual contamination may pose a serious health threat to those that enter.”  Nevertheless, the elderly woman living in this house told reporters that she believed that it was safe for her to continue living there despite the safety warning.  In Jefferson County alone, there are still at least 72 houses where meth contamination has not been properly cleaned up, and many still have people living inside.  Exposure to meth residue or to the many toxic chemicals used to make meth can poison adults.  Imagine how much harm these chemicals can cause to children who also live there!

Only a third of all meth-contaminated properties in Kentucky are properly cleaned up and returned to safe habitable conditions.  Unfortunately, there are no laws that force the property owner to decontaminate a home where someone has been cooking meth.  However, there are laws that require that methamphetamine contamination notices, like the sign posted at the home on South Shelby Street above, remain posted until the property is decontaminated.  Without such a notice, it is a felony to sell or rent the property without disclosing the risk.  But these notices are often ripped down despite the fact that those homes had not been properly decontaminated.   And even where the warning signs remained, such as the case above, the people inside were often unconvinced of the threat.

I still do not know what can be done about this continuing and growing problem.  It is likely cost prohibitive to decontaminate every house, every apartment, and every hotel and motel room before a new tenant arrives.  Some estimate that it costs between $3,000 and $5,000 to hire a certified contractor to decontaminate a meth house, and many property owners simply can’t afford to pay that much.  So the properties remain contaminated, putting people, especially children and the elderly at significant risk for toxicity and even death.

January 30, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

I have reported several times in this meth in the news column about the dangers of cooking and using methamphetamine, especially with young children around.  A couple of weeks ago, I told you about a young boy who died in a fire that started when his mother was careless in the meth-making process and started a major fire.  The reader must understand that a large percentage of the people making and using meth are women of child-bearing age.  This means that the chances of a child coming into contact with meth or the chemicals used to make meth are significant.  In this week’s meth in the news, I will tell you about several recent cases where children were harmed or even died from exposure to methamphetamine.

On January 16th in San Bernardino, CA, cbsnews.com reported that a 7-year-old girl from Joshua Tree was taken to the emergency room of the High Desert Medical Center on Friday night, January 11.  Authorities say that the little girl presented with seizures, a severe fever and an elevated heart rate.  Medical personnel were so concerned about the severity of her condition that the girl was flown to Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital.  Doctors there ordered a urine drug screen that showed that the little girl tested positive for methamphetamine.  Luckily the girl was taken to the hospital in time, and although she remained hospitalized at press time, her condition was improving.  According to a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s statement, 32-year-old Johnnie Glenn Koranda and 30-year-old Michelle Lee Beamer were being held on $100,000 bail.  The San Bernardino Sun reported that Koranda and Beamer pleaded not guilty Tuesday to child abuse charges.  The couple have three other children, and they are now in protective custody.  The little girl’s parents told authorities that she became ill after eating some meth that she had mistaken for candy.  Seriously?  Methamphetamine is active by the oral route, but I am skeptical that it would taste like candy.  To the methamphetamine users out there, would you say that meth tastes like candy?

The second case was reported by kplctv.com in Vernon Parish, LA on January 29, 2013.  Vernon Parish Sheriff Sam Craft reported in a news release that Vernon Parish Narcotics Task Force investigators were contacted on January 17th by Beauregard Memorial Hospital staff when a 10-month-old child tested positive for meth.  Heather Jenkins, 22, and Michael Moore, 55, of Rosepine are facing numerous charges in this case.  Jenkins, the baby’s mother admitted to using methamphetamine at the residence in the past and that her child “may have inadvertently” been exposed to meth as a result.  Moore, who was located at a home on J.P. Calcote Road in the Rosepine area, also told detectives that the child was in the same room while he and others smoked meth.  Jenkins was arrested and booked with possession of meth and cruelty to a juvenile, and her bond was set at $35,000.  Moore was charged with possession of meth with the intent to distribute, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, illegal possession of a firearm while in possession of controlled dangerous substances, distribution of meth and possession of schedule IV with the intent to distribute.  Sheriff Craft said Moore was out on bond for prior methamphetamine charges at the time of the incident.  Bond for Moore was set at $42,000.   Hopefully this child will recover from these repeated exposures to meth.  However, the child in the next case was not so lucky.

The last case this week did not have such a happy ending, if you can say that the cases above had happy endings.  The blog.thenewstribune.com reported on January 30th that 2-year-old Nathan Iverson was taken to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Spanaway, WA on December 6, 2012.  The child’s symptoms when he arrived at the emergency room were not reported, but unfortunately the little boy died later that day.  The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office said that the toddler had fatal amounts of methamphetamine in his system and died of acute methamphetamine toxicity. The hospital called law enforcement after the child was examined.   Deputies and emergency crews were sent to what Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said is a house well-known to deputies in the 16900 block of Sixth Avenue East in Spanaway.  Residents of the house admitted to authorities that they used drugs, Troyer said. However, he said there were no signs of drugs or drug use when deputies arrived on the scene.  Troyer went on to say that deputies believe that people were involved with drug use at the house in the past as well.  “We’ve got a mess to sort out,” Troyer said. “The bottom line is, one way or another, this kid ingested enough meth to kill him.”  As of press time, no one was in custody in this case.  This is just so sad and so tragic.  How could a 2-year-old ingest enough meth to die from toxicity to methamphetamine?

So I implore you, if you must use meth, don’t use it in your home where your children live.  In no way can this be made safe for them. Cases like those described above happen every day, and nothing is worth an innocent child’s life!

January 22, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

This week’s meth in the news report focuses on a truly bizarre case that kept getting stranger and stranger ever since the story first broke on foxnews.com on January 17.  It was initially reported that a 61-year-old former Roman Catholic priest was among five people who were indicted in an alleged drug operation involving shipments of methamphetamine from California to Bridgeport, CT.  Prosecutors say that Kevin Wallin, the former pastor at St. Augustine’s parish in Bridgeport received shipments of methamphetamine and repeatedly sold them to an undercover officer from the Statewide Narcotics Task Force over the past four months.  The undercover officer once saw a gallon-size plastic bag filled with crystal meth inside Wallin’s Waterbury apartment.  Kenneth Devries of Waterbury, CT, Michael Nelson of Manchester, CT, Chad McCluskey of San Clemente, CA, and Kristen Laschober of Laguna Niguel, CA were also charged.  The Diocese of Bridgeport said that Wallin resigned as pastor of St. Augustine’s in June 2011, citing health and personal issues.  I would say that meth use would qualify as a major health issue.  However, one would hope that the Catholic Church has programs for substance abuse among the clergy.  So maybe there was more to this case than initially reported.

Accordingly, on January 18 this case took a more bizarre turn.  The ctpost.com online presented an expose on the former priest that shed more light on why he resigned as pastor.  Methamphetamine has been reported to produce strange and often aberrant sexual behaviors with chronic use.  Well, it may have had such an effect on Wallin as ctpost.com reported that he was actually suspended by the church after officials discovered he was a cross-dresser who was having sex in the rectory at St. Augustine Cathedral.  Monsignor Wallin was relieved of his duties in May, but the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport continued to pay him a stipend until his January 3 arrest.  Interestingly, Wallin was planning to fly to London on vacation on that very day.  Diocese officials say that they first became concerned in the spring of 2011 when they began receiving complaints from parishioners regarding Wallin’s appearance and erratic behavior.  Sources came forward at that time alleging that Wallin would often disappear for days at a time.  Rectory personnel became concerned when Wallin, sometimes dressed as a woman, would entertain “odd-looking men”; some who were also dressed in women’s clothing and engaging in sex acts in the rectory of the church.  So what was their first clue that something was out of the ordinary?

Now dubbed “Msgr. Meth” by some, Wallin appears to have been living a double life.  At one point, Wallin was selling upwards of $9,000 of meth a week.  However, Diocese officials stressed that they were unaware that Wallin was selling drugs when he was pastor of St. Augustine’s Cathedral or when he previously served as pastor of St. Peter Parish.  “We had no indication he had a drug problem and never had complaints regarding him and drugs,” said Diocese Spokesman Brian Wallace.  However, they did know that Wallin was engaging in sexual behaviors that were definitely not appropriate for a priest!  Diocese officials actually found bizarre sex toys in Wallin’s residence.  Since being defrocked as a priest, Wallin allegedly bought an adult specialty and video store in North Haven called “Land of Oz” that sells sex toys and X-rated DVDs. Investigators believe that he laundered thousands of dollars in weekly profits through the store.

Understandably, Wallin’s arrest sent shock waves through the Bridgeport and Danbury communities where he was known as a charismatic speaker who was involved in many charitable activities and who enjoyed Broadway musicals and show tunes. He often attended musicals with his mentor, former N.Y. Cardinal Edward Egan and other parishioners.  “There is an evil invading our world and it has come to our church,” said Maria Spencer-Fonseca, a long-time parishioner at St. Augustine.

Wallin, who is represented by a federal public defender, is charged with possession with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine. He has been detained without bond pending arraignment.  According to the affidavit, Wallin kept three cell phones, rented two Waterbury apartments and delivered meth in magazines. The crystal meth came in shipments from McCluskey and his girlfriend, Laschober, who live in California.  Both also have been indicted.  Wallin subsequently pled not guilty on January 22.

It is not clear if Wallin’s “unusual” sexual behaviors started before or after he began using and selling meth, but this case goes to show that no one, not even a priest, is immune to the effects of meth!

January 16, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Here are more interesting reports in this week’s meth in the news.

The first case is a truly sad one from Indianapolis, IN that was reported online last week at fox59.com.  Investigators have charged Jessica Rogers with murder, arson and neglect of a dependent for causing a deadly fire in an Indianapolis apartment that killed her 7-year-old son during an attempt to manufacture methamphetamine.  Rogers’ son, Dreydon Webb didn’t live in the apartment near Elder and West Washington Street, but was just visiting his mother when the fire broke out.  Several people jumped out of windows in the apartment building to escape the December 8 fire, including Rogers, but she was apparently unable to hold onto her son due to the intense heat and smoke. When police asked Rogers why she left her son in the fire, she said that “the fire was too hot” and “I couldn’t stand the heat, it felt like acid was burning me.” When questioned why she lost her grip on her son “twice”, she said that he got loose because he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt.  However, the little boy was actually only wearing blue jeans when investigators found him in the burned out apartment.  Rogers’ boyfriend told authorities that he heard Dreydon cry out, “Help me, Mommy” four or five times during the fire and thought that Rogers had her son. Rogers’ boyfriend jumped out of a bedroom window, and Rogers jumped out shortly after that.  Several neighbors told police that they smelled a chemical or “Tiki-Torch” smell during the fire.  Investigators subsequently ruled out any known accidental or natural causes, and said the characteristics of the fire—and Rogers’ injuries—seemed to be consistent with a fire caused by the manufacture of methamphetamine, namely the “shake and bake” method.  Rogers suffered first- and second-degree burns to her hands and first- and second-degree “splash burns” to her chin and neck. Investigators didn’t observe any burns on her eyelashes, eyebrows, or hair. According to the probable cause, the injuries were “indicative of a rapid high heat thermal event” that occurs “in front of a person possibly holding an object with splashing from some type of liquid or from direct contact.”  Investigators found “suspicious burn patterns indicating a liquid accelerant” in the building. Investigators determined that Jessica Rogers tried to cook meth using the “shake and bake” method—an attempt that resulted in the fire that spread through the building and killed her son.  A search of Rogers’ apartment revealed “five used needle syringes, three new needle syringes, one narcotics pipe, one syringe plunger, one plastic funnel and one rubber IV tourniquet band.”  A toxicology screening of Rogers showed that she tested positive for several drugs, including amphetamines, methamphetamines, benzodiazepines, marijuana, cocaine and opiates.  So the desire for meth results in a fire that killed Jessica Rogers’ son and endangered more than 15 people.  And the little 7-year-old boy, Dreydon Webb becomes just another senseless, methamphetamine-related tragedy.

Generally, when I think about people cooking meth in a hotel or motel room, I think about some fleabag hotel on the wrong side of town.  Well, it looks like I need to reevaluate that thought.  According to staugustine.com, two people were arrested for cooking methamphetamine in a room on the sixth floor of the Marriott at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach near Jacksonville, FL.  Hotel security initially went to the room because a stolen credit card was used to book the room.  When the officer saw what looked like precursors for methamphetamine inside the room, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office was called to the scene.  Deputies arrived around 2 AM and found an active meth lab cooking inside the room as well as drug paraphernalia.  Corey McGann Smith, 34, of Panama Beach, and Amanda N. Underwood, 29, of Nashville, Tenn., were arrested on charges of producing meth, trafficking meth and possession of drug paraphernalia.  They were taken to the St. Johns County Jail on bonds totaling $46,000 each. Four adjacent rooms were evacuated as a precaution, and a hazmat team was called to the Sawgrass Golf Resort and Spa.  So this goes to prove that you never know where a meth lab may pop up.  If you smell a chemical smell, report it!

This week’s Meth in the News graphically illustrates how deadly methamphetamine cooking can be.  An innocent 7-year-old boy lost his life, and another 15 people were put in danger.  It was lucky that no one else was killed.  Imagine if a similar accident happened at the Sawgrass Resort!  How many people would have been put at risk?  So once again, if you smell a strong chemical odor, stay away and report it to the authorities.  As I have told you repeatedly, these one-pot labs can explode and catch fire unpredictably, causing serious injury or even death, as in the case of little Dreydon Webb.

January 9, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In this week’s report, I am going to talk about several more instances regarding meth in the news to illustrate how this insidious drug is literally all around us.  The first case highlights the caution I have suggested that you take if you come upon a suspected “one-pot” meth lab along the highway or while hunting.

In Spartanburg, South Carolina, two middle school students were lucky to escape serious injury when they stumbled upon the remnants of a meth lab in Union County, according to WSPA.com online.   The two children found a bag of items laying in a front yard on Williford Road near the Carlisle community.  Union County Sheriff David Taylor said that when the children threw the plastic bag down into a mud puddle, the contents caught on fire.  The fire was extinguished and deputies were called to clean up the toxic byproducts.   The deputies found a plastic bottle, cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine, lithium batteries and other ingredients used to make meth inside the plastic bag.  Apparently, whoever tossed the bag was likely making “shake-and-bake” or “one-pot” meth, an increasingly preferred way to produce the drug where users mix the ingredients in a plastic bottle, obtain their meth, and then toss the bottle.  Sheriff Taylor said that his deputies have been finding more of the bottles along the sides of roads and that it’s a growing problem.  Lt. Ashley Harris with the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office agreed and added that several brush fires in the county have been tied to discarded shake-and-bake meth labs.  The chemicals inside of these bottles are highly flammable and can explode if they come in contact with even the tiniest amounts of water.  As I have told you repeatedly, stay away from any bottle you may find on the side of the road or in your yard — especially if it has residue in the bottom or you smell a strong chemical odor. You should immediately call 911 if you suspect that you have found a meth lab.

The next case comes from Quincy, Illinois, according to therepublic.com.  I found this incident difficult to believe, but it is true.  Authorities in western Illinois say a drug bust at a Quincy home turned up more than 500 containers used to make methamphetamine.  500 containers in one place!  Imagine how bad the fire and/or explosion would have been if there had been an accident!  Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Patrick Frazier told The Quincy Herald-Whig that it’s the biggest bust he’s seen involving such “one-pot” shake-and-bake labs. Officers also found more than 180 cans of starter fluid, cans of drain cleaner and used boxes of pills that contain pseudoephedrine, a key meth-making ingredient.  A special truck had to be called to handle the toxic waste products, and the building where the meth labs were found was quarantined.  The two people who lived in the home were charged with participation in methamphetamine manufacturing. That’s a Class 1 felony punishable by between four and 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000 in Illinois.

In Valley Township, Michigan, mlive.com reports that Allegan County Sheriff’s deputies were led on a New Year’s Day car chase.  At around 12:20 AM on Tuesday, January 1, a Sheriff’s deputy saw a vehicle go through an intersection without stopping at the stop sign. You know, I see that happening here all the time, and it seems to be increasing in frequency.  The deputy attempted to pull over the vehicle’s driver, but he drove away and continued through a stop sign at another intersection.  He eventually drove through a wooded area before he was forced to stop due to trees and accumulating snow.  Police said that the suspect fled on foot, but the passenger who was in the car remained inside.  Footprints in the snow allowed the deputies to track the suspect to a local shooting range. He was found on the top of the skeet range house, police said in a news release.  Investigators said the suspect told them he had been awake for several days using meth and that he had just shot up before being pulled over.  How dangerous is that – driving while high on meth?  I wonder how many of the people who ignore stop signs in the Ark-La-Tex are high on meth or other drugs.  Be careful out there!

Once again, this week’s Meth in the News illustrates that a meth lab can be found almost anywhere; in your neighbor’s home, in the car next to you at the red light (if the driver bothers to stop), or out in the forest near your favorite hunting or fishing spot.  So if you smell a strong chemical odor, stay away.  As I have told you repeatedly, these one-pot labs can explode and catch fire unpredictably, causing serious injury or even death.  And I realize that I keep repeating myself, but the reader must understand how dangerous methamphetamine cooking and methamphetamine use can be!

January 2, 2013

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In this week’s report, I am going to talk about several cases where methamphetamine was found to illustrate how this insidious drug is literally all around us.  These cases come from around the country, but they could just as well be happening next door or at your local Wal-Mart.

The first incident was reported in the December 21, 2012 issue of newsandtribune.com.  In this case, Crystal N. Bowman, 28, of 4194 Scottsville Road in Floyds Knobs, IN was taken to the emergency room at a local hospital after overdosing on methamphetamine.  Indiana State Police Master Trooper Wilbur Turner said that Floyd County Child Protective Services (CPS) was notified after the nursing staff at the hospital interviewed Bowman, who said that she had a child at home.  Trooper Turner accompanied CPS when they visited the home on December 19.  Crystal Bowman, her husband Eric L. Bowman, 40, and their 4-year-old child were all present during the visit.  As Trooper Turner and the CPS officer conducted the walk through of the Bowman’s home, they found two baggies containing a white powdery substance sitting on top of a laptop computer lying on top of the bed.  It was later determined that each baggie contained approximately one gram of meth.  Turner initially charged the Bowmans with possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia and neglect of a dependent, but the Office of the Floyd County Prosecutor has only issued each with the possession charge.  Since her arrest, Crystal Bowman posted bond and was released from the Floyd County Jail, according to court documents.  Eric Bowman, who was given a $10,000 court-cash bond, is scheduled to appear for a pretrial conference on January 17.

The next incident was reported online in the December 29 issue of johnsoncitypress.com.  A black Chevrolet Impala was stopped for a window tint violation on 2606 N. Roan St in Erwin, TN.  This was quite a fortuitous traffic stop since police officers also found an active methamphetamine lab inside the vehicle.  The Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force Officer, Meth Lab Task Force and three Methamphetamine Technicians from the Erwin Police Department were subsequently called to secure the scene.  Amber Winterroth, 144 Rolling Acres Drive in Gray, Lance Nidifer, 131 Gateway Drive in Elizabethton and Jeremy Irvin and Latosha Ashby of Erwin were all arrested and charged with conspiracy to manufacture/deliver/resale methamphetamine, promotion of methamphetamine manufacture, initiation of process intended to result in manufacture of methamphetamine and felony drug paraphernalia.  Winterroth was additionally charged with identity theft and possession of unlawful drug paraphernalia.  Irvin was also charged for criminal impersonation, resisting arrest and possession of unlawful drug paraphernalia.  Nidifer was additionally charged with simple possession of schedule IV narcotic and Ashby was also charged for driving on a suspended license fifth offense and tint law violation, the reason that the Impala was stopped in the first place.  All four were taken to the Washington County Detention Center, where Winterroth was being held on a $36,000 bond, Irvin was being held on a $28,000 bond and both Nidifer and Ashby were being held on a $26,000 bond.

The final incident this week was reported in the December 27, 2012 issue of thestate.com.  In South Carolina, Lexington County Sheriff’s deputies smelled a strong chemical odor emanating from a garage when they were called to the 100 block of Lantern Hill Circle at 3:43 AM on Sunday, December 23.  The deputies eventually found William David Langley, 42, in the garage with an active meth lab containing a mixture of chemicals inside a vessel of some type.  It sounds like this was a one-pot lab.  The deputies immediately called the Lexington County Multi-Agency Narcotics Enforcement Team for backup.  Langley also allegedly had a Hi-Point .45-caliber pistol and marijuana in two plastic bags in his possession.  The meth lab was dismantled, and Langley was arrested without incident and charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, possessing a firearm during the commission of a violent crime and possessing 28 grams or less of marijuana.  He was being held Thursday at the Lexington County Detention Center on a $25,620 bond.

What I hope the readers take from this week’s Meth in the News is that a meth lab can be found almost anywhere; in your neighbor’s home, in the car next to you at the red light, in a parking lot or out in the forest near your favorite hunting or fishing spot.  So if you smell a strong chemical odor, stay away.  As I have told you repeatedly, these one-pot labs can explode and catch fire unpredictably, causing serious injury or even death.

December 26, 2012

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Last week I told you about several large seizures of methamphetamine made by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) along the western coast of the United States, primarily in the San Diego, CA area.  However, the smuggling of methamphetamine and other drugs is not limited to the California area.  As I have told you several times, the distribution of this dangerous drug has literally spread throughout the country. This week I plan to share some interesting news documenting the spread of meth along the east coast and into the heartland of America.

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Group Two out of Atlanta, GA conducted three investigations into a Mexican drug cartel called the Los Moscas starting in March, 2010.  Members of this drug cartel, also known by the DEA as a Drug Trafficking Organization or DTO, used a college town apartment in Athens, GA as a “stash house” to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and marijuana throughout the Athens and Atlanta metropolitan areas.  “Since the initiation of this investigation, agents have seized more than 217 kilograms of cocaine, 74 kilograms of heroin, more than 52 kilograms (over 114 pounds) of methamphetamine, 5,000 pounds of marijuana and more than $7.9 million in U.S. currency,” according to the warrant.  “Each of these enforcement activities have resulted in the disruption of drug distribution cells operating in the United States.”  The search warrant was filed last week in Clarke County Superior Court by a Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office investigator and member of a DEA task force.

Last month investigators identified Arturo Rodriguez-Colin as head of one of the Mexican drug trafficking organization’s cells inside the United States.  On Dec. 17, agents learned that Rodriguez-Colin and another man, Humberto Mondragon-Ruiz, planned to transport a large amount of meth from Mexico to Athens.  That same day, agents took up surveillance on U.S. Interstate 20 at the Alabama state line and spotted a van occupied by the two men as it entered Georgia.  Within half an hour, officers with the Douglasville Police Department conducted a traffic stop on the van.  There they found 15 one-pound packages of meth that were concealed in the radiator of the van.  Authorities subsequently arrested Rodriguez-Colin and Mondragon-Ruiz, a.k.a. Beto, on drug trafficking charges. The two men are being held without bail at the Douglas County Jail.  Authorities believed that Arturo and Beto were transporting the meth from Mexico to the Kathwood Drive apartment to process the meth and distribute it to their customers.  Therefore, on Dec. 18, DEA agents went to Rodriguez-Colin’s apartment in Athens with a drug-sniffing dog from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office. The dog also gave positive indications for drugs in both Rodriguez-Colin’s vehicles parked outside. The warrant, signed by a Clarke County Superior Court judge, sought permission to search the apartment for additional evidence, including drugs, documentation of drug transactions, cell phones, packaging material and firearms.

Drug trafficking organizations, or DTOs, are defined by the U.S. Department of Justice as, “complex organizations with highly defined command-and-control structures that produce, transport, and/or distribute large quantities of one or more illicit drugs.”  DTOs use a variety of methods to conceal and move drug proceeds. Among them is the wiring and constant movement of funds from different accounts to make it more difficult for authorities to follow the money trail.  Large portions of the illegal drugs entering the country each year belong to these DTOs.  “Law enforcement reporting indicates that Mexican DTOs maintain drug distribution networks, or supply drugs to distributors, in at least 230 U.S. cities,” according to the National Drug Intelligence Center.  Thus, one can plainly see how the distribution networks for meth (and other illegal drugs) is a nation-wide problem, with the profits from the sale of these drugs flowing to Mexico and other countries to support these illegal activities and enrich the lives and pocketbooks of the drug traffickers.

In a much smaller incident, Felix Ferrer Jr., 39, of 1039 Penn St., Apt. 3R, Reading, PA, was sleeping in his Ford Windstar van in the parking lot of a Walmart store in Saint Clair around 5 AM last Sunday morning.  Much to his dismay, his van was struck by a hit and run driver.  When Saint Clair Patrolman Chad Seitzinger arrived to investigate the crash, he discovered an active meth lab operating inside Ferrer’s van.  Talk about bad luck!  “We had the evidence, you could see the items and smell the product,” according to Saint Clair Police Chief Michael Carey.  After being read his Miranda Rights, the chief said Ferrer admitted to having the lab and making the illegal drugs.  “The items were in plain view and from our training we knew they can be hazardous,” Carey said.  Since the materials were already mixed and cooking – and posed a real danger – authorities decided to call the state police Clandestine Laboratory Response Team based in Bethlehem to properly clean up the lab.  Carey said Ferrer was committed to Schuylkill County Prison on a detainer for multiple bench warrants from Berks County on drug related charges.  Ferrer will now face felony drug charges by Saint Clair Police as well as the Schuylkill County Drug Task Force.  As it was only two days until Christmas, it was business as usual at the Walmart store with customers just being kept a safe distance from the van as they walked to and from their vehicles.

December 19, 2012

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

This week I plan to share more interesting news stories involving methamphetamine.  The first incident is another of those that is difficult to believe, involving an announcement from the San Diego County District Attorney’s office of an emerging Mexican drug cartel’s efforts to smuggle massive amounts of methamphetamine into California.  More than two dozen people were indicted on December 14th as part of a 21-month long investigation targeting the Knights Templar cartel.  The Knights Templar organization is a Mexican drug cartel that is known to be a major trafficker of methamphetamine. Based in central Mexico’s Michoacan state, the Knights Templar was formed approximately two years ago as a splinter group of La Familia Michoacana when that cartel’s leadership was eliminated by the Mexican government.  Authorities seized more than 1,000 pounds of methamphetamine, 200 pounds of cocaine, 28 pounds of heroin, 320 pounds of marijuana and $200,000 cash.  It’s hard to imagine finding that much methamphetamine.  If an average dose of meth is, for example, 100 mg, then 1,000 pounds would supply 4,535,920 doses of meth.  That would definitely affect a significant number of people.  District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said that “Drugs and money were found hidden in cars, taped to people’s bodies, stashed in people’s homes and buried in people’s backyards.”  The the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) assistant special agent in charge in San Diego, Stephen Tomaski added that “These guys [the Knights Templar] are turning into the largest distributors of methamphetamine [in the US].”  The Knights Templar and Sinaloa are the two main Mexican drug cartels operating in the smuggling corridor of Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego, according to Tomaski.  U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reports that methamphetamine seizures have risen steadily over the past several years at California border crossings with Mexico.  In fiscal year 2011, 7,340 pounds of methamphetamine were seized, up from 2,286 pounds in 2007.  In the first nine months of the 2012 fiscal year, California border inspectors have seized more than 7,600 pounds of meth, up 51 percent from the same period a year ago.  Thus, one can plainly see that the methamphetamine problem is only growing larger along our southern border.

There were also several smaller methamphetamine seizures reported last week along our Mexican border.  On December 18, CBP reported that a woman from Mexico was arrested for attempting to smuggle nearly 32 pounds of methamphetamine into the US through the San Luis, AZ port of entry.  Amy Jean Diaz, 38, of San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora Mexico, was referred to a secondary inspection area for an additional inspection of her Ford van.  After a CBP narcotics detection canine alerted to the presence of drugs, a further search of her van led to the discovery of 30 packages of meth hidden throughout the vehicle.  The drugs and vehicle were processed for seizure, and Diaz was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.  Also on December 18, CBP agents intercepted a smuggling attempt on State Route 94, resulting in the seizure of nearly 26 pounds of methamphetamine.  At approximately 2:45 PM, CBP agents encountered a 49-year-old male United States citizen driving a 2000 BMW at the SR 94 checkpoint near Jamul, in San Diego County, CA.  Agents became suspicious of the man’s nervous demeanor and referred him for a secondary inspection.  A CBP narcotics detection canine team performed a cursory inspection of the vehicle, resulting in an alert.  CBP agents searched the vehicle and discovered 16 bundles of meth hidden behind the rocker panels of the vehicle.  The methamphetamine weighed 25.83 pounds and had an estimated street value of $516,600.  The suspected smuggler and narcotics were turned over to the DEA for further investigation. The vehicle was seized by CBP.  Finally, CBP agents arrested a man as he tried to smuggle almost 7 pounds of meth through the border checkpoint south of San Clemente, CA.  Once again, a CBP narcotics detection canine team indicated that drugs were in the car.  A search of the vehicle revealed 2.98 pounds of meth hidden inside of a fire extinguisher located on the rear seat.  An additional 3.97 pounds were located inside of a modified battery casing, which contained a motorcycle battery as well as space for the narcotics.  The 6.95 pounds of meth had an estimated street value of $139,000.  CBP seized the Jeep and turned the drugs over to the DEA.

December 12, 2012

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

This week I plan to share more interesting news stories involving methamphetamine.  The first incident is what is being called the largest methamphetamine seizure in United States history.  Federal prosecutors in San Francisco announced that 11 people were indicted on December 3rd on suspicion of possessing and distributing large quantities of narcotics.  Police seized more than 570 pounds, yes 570 pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of more than $6 million. In addition, authorities found more than $160,000 in U.S. currency, 10 firearms, and seven automobiles, all of which were seized on November 30.  The federal grand jury indicted the group on drug-related charges that include conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more (I would say that 570 pounds meets this criterion) of methamphetamine, distribution of meth, and conspiracy to commit international money laundering, according to Melinda Haag, U.S. Attorney for Northern California.  The indictment indicated that the suspects “engaged in a narcotics conspiracy to distribute large amounts of methamphetamine throughout California.” The suspects were allegedly planning to expand their illegal drug business internationally.  Six of the 11 suspects were charged by the state of California for possession of methamphetamine, possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, and possession of a stolen firearm. The remaining five suspects face federal charges.

The next item comes to us from Austin, TX.  In this case, Scott MacFarland, 41, is facing felony charges for possession of methamphetamines, driving while intoxicated and evading arrest.  According to arrest records, police received a tip on December 5 about a nude man sitting in a Jeep outside of the Value Place Hotel near the intersection of U.S. 183 and Texas 45.  A second tip indicated that the man was either intoxicated or high on drugs and that he had a history of violence.  Sounds like a methamphetamine case to me.  When police arrived on the scene around 7 PM, they were told that MacFarland had taken the Jeep and was headed onto Hymeadow Drive.   Once MacFarland spotted the authorities, he attempted to evade arrest as he reached speeds as high as 80 mph and ran a red light during the lengthy chase.  He initially avoided the Stop Sticks deployed by the police, but Stop Sticks at Amherst Drive eventually punctured the tires on MacFarland’s Jeep, which subsequently rolled off the road into a ditch.  MacFarland opened his door but refused officers’ orders to get out of the Jeep.  Police pulled MacFarland out of the vehicle, but had a difficult time because he was naked and “covered in a greasy substance and it was very hard to get ahold of him,” according to the officers’ reports.  One can only imagine what the greasy substance might have been as the substance was not identified in the arrest report.  Once handcuffed, MacFarland appeared to be confused and could not answer simple questions, such as telling police his name, and police believed that MacFarland was under the influence since “he was acting in such an odd manner.”  MacFarland was initially taken to a hospital on the recommendation of emergency medical services personnel.  While searching the Jeep, police found a large bag of syringes in the cup holder and a small bag of meth.  MacFarland was later transferred to the Williamson County Jail.

The final case this week is difficult for me to comprehend.  In this case, a man from Bremerton, WA is accused of secretly slipping methamphetamine into his wife’s cigarette in a plan to make her join him in his meth addiction.  According to police reports, the woman called police to her East Bremerton home on Sunday, December 2nd. She said that Saturday, while they were at their home with their two children, her husband had offered her a cigarette. She said that when she started “freaking out,” her husband told her that he had put meth in the cigarette.  Can you imagine being given meth without your knowledge and against your will?  Apparently, the man wanted his wife to experience a meth high so she would understand why he likes it so much.  He had reportedly told his friends that he had a 15-point plan to get his wife addicted to meth.  That did not work out well for either the man or his wife.  The woman, who told police she had never knowingly used meth, was taken to an area hospital for treatment.  A family friend took their children.  The 20-year-old man was arrested and charged with second-degree assault.  He is being held without bail.  I don’t know what the punishment is for this crime, but in my opinion, it is not going to be enough!

December 5, 2012

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

This week I will continue my series of interesting news stories involving methamphetamine.  The first incident comes to us from down under in Australia.  Two weeks ago, Australian police seized 237 million Australian dollars ($246 million in United States currency) worth of cocaine and methamphetamine found inside a steamroller shipped from China.  I have mentioned previously that huge shipments of the precursors necessary to manufacture methamphetamine have been seized off the coast of Mexico, likely headed to the Mexican superlabs.  In this case, the drugs were shipped to Australia readymade.  Australian Federal Police said that they arrested a Canadian man and a man from the United States after finding 350 kilograms (770 pounds) of cocaine and meth hidden in a steamroller in Sydney. The men were charged with importing drugs and face a maximum of life in prison if convicted.  It was the police agency’s second major drug bust in a week. On Friday, police said officials had tracked down a boat carrying 200 kilograms (440 pounds) of cocaine to Australia after it ran aground in the small island nation of Tonga.  It looks like methamphetamine and cocaine are as big a problem for the Aussies as they are for Americans.

In another event from back in the states, a man from Quincy, OH faces multiple charges after being arrested while driving a backhoe while intoxicated on meth.  William Patrick Minor, 49, of 1300 State, was arrested on multiple charges at 2:10 AM last Sunday when he was spotted driving on North Fourth Street.  He was arrested on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, resisting and obstructing a peace officer, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving (a backhoe!) under the influence, no valid driver’s license, failure to signal (a dead giveaway), and failure to have a slow moving vehicle emblem. He was taken to the Adams County Jail.  Police first discovered the northbound 2000 Case backhoe and made a traffic stop at Ninth and College where it was determined that Mr. Minor did not have a valid driver’s license.  He resisted when officers attempted to arrest him.  Once in custody, police said that Mr. Minor was found to be in possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. A search was made of the backhoe, and police said officers found items used to manufacture meth in the vehicle.  The citizens of Quincy were lucky that Mr. Minor was out so early in the morning when there was not much traffic.  Imagine a backhoe driven by a meth head during rush hour!

In another “mother-of-the-year” story, a woman in Phoenix, AZ forced her 16-year-old daughter to hold an ounce of methamphetamine during a police traffic stop in the Valley last Wednesday, officers said.  Nereyda Campana, 33, was pulled over for a traffic violation in the 13,000 block of Interstate 17.  Ms. Campana stated that she told her teenage daughter to hold the meth for her during the stop. She admitted to buying the methamphetamine on Tuesday “for personal use”, law enforcement officials said.  Officers said that they also found $1,114 in cash in the vehicle. The daughter told the officers that she had often been in the vehicle in the past when her mom delivered drugs.  Campana was found to be driving on a suspended license.  She was subsequently booked into jail on one count of a dangerous drug for sale, one count of transporting drugs and one count of child abuse. What a mother she is!

The final story this week comes to us from Guam.  In this case, Monica Leasiolagi was one of three defendants charged with attempting to smuggle methamphetamine through the mail, hidden in a box of teddy bears.  Just last week, Leasiolagi offered to plead guilty to conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine, according to District Court of Guam documents.  Her co-defendants, Martha Burgos and John Michael Pangelinan, have refused to sign any plea agreements and are still facing trial.  In the plea agreement, Leasiolagi admitted that she was one of the conspirators who hatched a plan to smuggle meth to Guam. The conspiracy began in August, and lasted less than two months before a mail parcel was intercepted by federal authorities.  Authorities found the drugs concealed in a parcel with three stuffed bears, and the plea agreement notes that Burgos had previously alerted Leasiolagi that she was having some “teddy bears” sent to Guam.  After the package was intercepted, federal authorities replaced the meth with fake drugs and tracked the parcel to Leasiolagi, which led to the arrest of the alleged conspirators.  I am amazed at how many people actually try to ship illegal drugs via the mail!  I see at least one case like this every week

November 28, 2012

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In this weeks’ column, I am going to share with you several interesting reports regarding methamphetamine in the news.  Earlier last week in Everett, WA, a man was arrested for possessing nearly an ounce of methamphetamine, among other things, after he drove his car into an Everett Police patrol car.  The unidentified 21-year-old man, who has an extensive criminal history, had been under surveillance early Saturday morning according to a probable cause affidavit. The man had five active warrants and had previously been convicted of driving without a license at least 11 times, in addition to having three felony convictions as a juvenile.  About 4:30 AM, the man reportedly got into the driver’s seat of a green Mercury Marquis and began to leave an apartment complex on West Casino Road in Everett. When police on scene tried to pull him over, he stopped the car and put the car into reverse. He then drove in reverse around the apartment complex parking lot, striking two empty parked cars before hitting the patrol car.  The officer in the car was not injured.  After the patrol car was hit, the man jumped out of the Mercury Marquis and tried to run away. However, officers caught the man and took him into custody, finding “a very large chunk” of meth in his left jacket pocket.  He was subsequently taken to a local hospital before being booked into the Snohomish County Jail at about 8:30 AM for investigation of hit-and-run, possessing methamphetamine and driving without a license, in addition to his warrants.  It’s never a good idea to crash into a police car while holding meth!

This next story highlights the dangers that law enforcement personnel face when dealing with active methamphetamine labs and the people “cooking” the drug.  Early Sunday morning, two Greenup County Sheriff’s deputies were overcome by fumes from a clandestine meth lab at a home at 2943 Culp Creek Road, in rural Greenup County, KY.  Deputies Rick Craft and Cody Fuller attempted to serve a warrant on Hubert A. Dehart, age 42, at 12:02 AM.  When the officers entered the residence, Dehart barricaded himself in a bathroom where an active clandestine meth lab was cooking. Deputies said Dehart attempted to dispose of the toxic product as deputies gained entry into the bathroom.  Dehart was taken into custody by the deputies.  Shortly thereafter, the deputies became overwhelmed by the fumes released by the hazardous materials and were transported to the Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital emergency room.  Deputy Fuller was admitted into the intensive care unit, and Deputy Craft was treated and released.  The Russell Volunteer Fire Department set up a decontamination station at the entrance of the hospital emergency room where all affected persons involved were decontaminated.  Hubert A. Dehart of 2943 Culp Creek Road, Greenup, and Pamela S. Dehart, 42, of 3131 Winchester Ave., Apartment 703, Ashland, KY, were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, first degree wanton endangerment of a police officer, and unlawful possession of meth precursor. Hubert Dehart also faces two counts of failure to appear for a misdemeanor citation. The investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Finally, a major drug bust on Monday uncovered hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of methamphetamine being smuggled down Interstate 5 in Fresno, CA, disguised as bottles of tequila.  The bust happened during a routine traffic stop after a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer noticed that the two men in the car appeared quite nervous. A drug sniffing dog subsequently picked up on the scent of methamphetamine.  Investigators say that 20-year-old Rene Diaz and 38-year-old Veronica Carrasco were working together to transport 56 pounds of liquid methamphetamine hidden in tequila bottles. The value of the seized methamphetamine is estimated at more than half a million dollars. Investigators believe the two had plans to travel from Southern California to Oregon.  Highway patrol says the transport of meth in liquid form is a new trend. “At this level of amount, it is going to be distributed all over the place. Once it gets to the final form, the powdered form, it’s going to be disseminated throughout the country, “said CHP’s Matt Radke.  Members of the Fresno Meth Task force say the drugs are often made by Mexican cartels, which I have told you about several times in this column.  Both suspects will now face federal drug charges for trafficking across state lines.

November 21, 2012

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In my column a few weeks ago, I told you about the Mexican drug cartel superlabs, thought to be responsible for as much as 80 percent of the methamphetamine sold in the United States.  These superlabs produce an alarmingly pure but inexpensive form of meth that is moving through the same pipelines that the cartels developed for other illegal drugs.  Three weeks ago, I wrote a column about the growing presence of Hezbollah in Mexico, with this Lebanese terror group becoming increasingly involved and even joining forces with the Mexican drug cartels.

Last week, a majority report was released by the United States House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management.  Their report is titled, “A Line in the Sand: Countering Crime, Violence and Terror at the Southwest Border.”  The first “edition” of this report was released in 2006.  The updated 2012 report can be found online in its entirety here: http://homeland.house.gov/sites/homeland.house.gov/files/11-15-12-Line-in-the-Sand.pdf.

In the 2012 edition of this report, this House Subcommittee concluded that “the horrific violence perpetrated by Mexican drug cartels continues to grow and, in many cases documented in this report, spills into the United States. The cartels now have a presence in more than 1,000 U.S. cities and dominate the wholesale illicit drug trade by controlling the movement of most of the foreign-produced drug supply across the Southwest border.”  The report goes on to document “the increased operational control of the cartels inside the United States, their strategy to move illegal drugs, and the bloody turf wars that have taken place between rival cartels, as they struggle to control valuable trafficking corridors.”  These Mexican drug cartels have a firm grip over drug and human smuggling routes across the U.S. – Mexican border, “creating safe entry for anyone willing to pay the price. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in its most recent assessment, asserts it can control only 44 percent of our border with Mexico.”  That is a best case scenario, and even so, more than half of our southern border remains unprotected and uncontrolled.

While it is alarming that the Mexican drug cartels continue to smuggle 100’s of pounds of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and marijuana, as well as 100’s of young girls and women forced into sexual slavery via human trafficking, across our southern border with Mexico each year, this House Subcommittee also raises the issue of the potential for violent jihadist terrorism.  While homegrown terrorism remains a clear and present danger, this Subcommittee is increasingly concerned about a potentially “more violent threat to American citizens” through “the enhanced ability of Middle East terrorist organizations, aided by their relationships and growing presence in the Western Hemisphere” with the Mexican drug cartels, “to exploit the Southwest border to enter the United States undetected.”

In May of this year following the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, intelligence indicated that “the world’s most wanted terrorist sought to use operatives with valid Mexican passports who could illegally cross into the United States to conduct terror operations.”  Of equal concern to this Subcommittee was the possibility that these operatives could also “smuggle materials across the border, including uranium,” which could be more “safely assembled on U.S. soil into a weapon of mass destruction.”

This House Subcommittee is also concerned about the standoff with Iran over its nuclear program, and the uncertainty of whether Israel might attack Iran, thereby drawing the United States into a confrontation.  These concerns were brought to the forefront this week with the battles between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.  This Subcommittee is worried that Iran or its agents (e.g., Hamas, Hezbollah) might attempt to exploit our porous Southwest border for retaliation.

In the Executive Summary of this report, this House Subcommittee concluded that “the U.S.-Mexico border is an obvious weak link in the chain. Criminal elements could migrate down this path of least resistance, and with them the terrorists who continue to seek our destruction. The federal government must meet the challenge to secure America’s unlocked back door from the dual threat of drug cartels and terrorist organizations who are lined up, and working together, to enter.”

This is not about undocumented workers; this is about the national security of the United States and the safety of all Americans. I use all of you to remain vigilant.  I also urge you to contact your elected representatives and demand that everything humanly possible is done to finally secure our southern border.

November 14, 2012

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

This week I want to tell you about a couple of tragic, heinous crimes that appear to involve methamphetamine use.  You may remember this summer when 10-year old Lyric Cook-Morrissey and 8-year old Elizabeth Collins went missing on Friday, July 13, 2012.  The cousins were last seen riding their bikes near Meyers Lake in Evansdale, Iowa. Their bikes, a bag and a cell phone were found on a path near the lake.  Law enforcement officials soon reclassified the disappearance of the two girls as an abduction.  Neither girl has been heard from or seen since.  For some reason, I feared a connection to meth as soon as I heard about this case.  Typically children are abducted one at a time, not in pairs or groups.  Then less than 2 weeks after their daughter disappeared into thin air, the parents of Lyric Cook-Morrissey consulted with an attorney who advised them to stop talking to investigators.   Family members told the Des Moines Register that police suspected that Lyric’s father, Daniel Morrissey may have been behind the disappearance of both girls, a claim that he denied.  The family was upset that they were being treated as suspects.

The two little girls have not been found to date, and no one has been charged in their disappearance.  While I cannot prove that this has anything to do with the abduction of these girls, The Online.com reported on November13, 2012 that the Lyric’s mother, Misty Morrissey was ordered to appear in a Cedar Rapids courtroom on charges that she violated the terms of her supervised release regarding a methamphetamine case from 10 years ago.  The details of this violation were not released, but Morrissey pled guilty in 2003 to conspiracy to manufacture and distribute meth.  Morrissey’s now estranged husband, Daniel, is awaiting trial on charges of domestic abuse (assault of Misty Morrissey), possession of methamphetamine, manufacturing methamphetamine and other drug charges. He has pled not guilty.  While the Morrisseys have not been charged in the disappearance of the two little girls, their involvement with meth and the charges of domestic violence make me wonder if meth might be involved in the disappearance of these innocent children.

An even more heinous crime occurred in back 2007.  On July 23, a mother and her two daughters were murdered during a home invasion in Cheshire, Connecticut.  In 2010, Steven Hayes was convicted of the murders and sentenced to death, while his accomplice, Joshua Komisarjevsky, was found guilty and sentenced to death in 2012.  According to court records, when Komisarjevsky and Hayes entered the Petit home that fateful day, they found William Petit sleeping on a couch.  Komisarjevsky bludgeoned William Petit with a bat and then restrained him in the basement at gun point. The children and their mother, Jennifer Petit were each bound and locked in their respective rooms.  Hayes convinced Jennifer Petit to withdraw $15,000 from her line of credit and purchased $10 worth of gasoline in two cans he had taken from the Petit home.  After returning to the house, Hayes and Komisarjevsky escalated the aggravated nature of their crimes. Komisarjevsky sexually assaulted the 11-year-old daughter, Michaela.  Komisarjevsky, who had photographed the sexual assault of the youth on his cell phone, then provoked Hayes to rape Jennifer Petit on the floor of her living room ‘to square things up’ between them.  While Hayes was raping Petit, Komisarjevsky entered the room announcing that William Petit had escaped. Hayes then strangled Jennifer Petit and doused her lifeless body and parts of the house including the daughters’ rooms with gasoline. The daughters, while tied to their beds, had both been doused with gasoline and each had her head covered with a pillowcase.  A fire was then ignited, and Hayes and Komisarjevsky fled the scene. 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela both died from smoke inhalation.  Hayes and Komisarjevsky fled the scene using the Petit family car. They were immediately spotted by police surveillance, pursued by police, apprehended, and arrested only one block away from the Petit home.  The whole invasion lasted seven hours.

During Komisarjevsky’s trial, Dr. Leo Shea testified that Komisarjevsky told him that he was sexually abused from ages 4 to 6 and was burned and tortured.  Dr. Shea testified that medical records showed that Komisarjevsky suffered five concussions as a child.  Komisarjevsky also said he extensively abused drugs, especially crystal methamphetamine.  A psychological evaluation suggested that Komisarjevsky suffers from problems with the prefrontal cortex of his brain.  Damage to the prefrontal cortex can lead to diminished judgment, cognitive deficits, diminished social insight and emotional liability.  Chronic users of meth are also more likely to commit acts of violence and to engage in bizarre and aberrant sexual activity.  The Petit tragedy is a textbook case illustrating the extremes that meth-induced damage to the prefrontal cortex can produce.  Who knows how many other crimes, especially those of a heinous violent or sexual nature, can be traced back to chronic meth use?

If you have stories about how meth has changed someone, that they do things while on meth that they would never have done otherwise, I would be very happy to hear from you.

November 7, 2012

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In this week’s column, I will share some recent cases where authorities found methamphetamine in some unusual places.  The first case involves the seizure of 14 pounds of liquid crystal meth in Laredo, TX on October 31.  This seizure occurred at the Lincoln-Juarez Bridge (also known as Bridge Two) after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers thought that something seemed suspicious about a commercial taxi transporting a 34-year old U.S. citizen from Arcadia, FL.  When the CBP officers referred the taxi for a secondary inspection, they conducted a thorough examination of the luggage compartment and the luggage contained within.  There they found 14 pounds of liquid crystal meth hidden in bottles of personal hygiene products such as body lotion and shampoo.  The female passenger was arrested and turned over to Homeland Security Investigations special agents for further investigation.  There was no mention of whether or not the taxi driver was also arrested.  This discovery illustrates the lengths that methamphetamine smugglers will take to try and move large quantities of Mexican meth into the United States.  Interestingly, this was the second time that CBP officers found liquid meth hidden in bottles of personal hygiene products.  The next case illustrates another interesting attempt.

Again on Halloween (I wonder if there is a trend here), a Ford pickup truck was stopped for speeding and other traffic violations on eastbound Interstate 10 in Fayette County, TX.  When K-9 unit Deputy Randy Thumann approached the vehicle, the driver and passenger gave conflicting statements about why they were en route to Houston from Mexico and what their business in Houston was.  The driver gave the deputy consent to search the vehicle, and the pickup was subsequently moved to the Weimar Police Department so it could be put up on a lift and examined in more detail.  This investigation determined that the fluid in one of the diesel fuel tanks appeared suspicious, but it could not be identified at the time, so officials released the vehicle and driver, who got back on the road.  Later, Deputy Thumann realized that some of the suspicious fluid spilled on his pants leg and that it had begun to crystallize.  This substance field tested positive for methamphetamine, suggesting that the suspicious substance in the fuel tank was meth oil.  Meth oil is the second-to-last process in the making of crystal methamphetamine; after it evaporates, crystal meth is the drug product that remains.  The Texas Department of Public Safety located and stopped the pickup with the two men inside.  Law enforcement officers arrested and charged Madrigal of McAllen, 33, and Jazmin Trujillo, 23, of Hidalgo, with possession of a controlled substance.

Finally, on Tuesday (Halloween eve), a postal inspector in Sycamore, IL found a suspicious package addressed to Joseph P. Hosey Jr., 35, of the 400 block of South Fifth Street in DeKalb, IL that had been shipped from Arizona.  According to DeKalb police Lt. Jason Leverton, postal inspectors look at the way a package is sealed and use drug-sniffing dogs to determine whether a parcel might contain drugs, and something about this package drew their attention.  The following Wednesday, DeKalb police searched Hosey’s home, where they found the package, containing more than 400 grams (0.9 pound) of meth with an estimated street value of $16,000 to $20,000.  Hosey told investigators that Daniel N. Stroz, 36, of the 2100 block of North Point Street in Chicago would ship packages to him from Arizona and then return to Illinois where Hosey would give the package back to Stroz exchange for a portion of the meth and some money.

At the direction of police, Hosey told Stroz that he had received the package and that he could come to DeKalb to pick it up. When Stroz arrived at the meeting spot late Wednesday, police arrested him.  Stroz admitted that he shipped the methamphetamine to Hosey, and that he intended to deliver the meth to others.  Police also found a glass pipe with a residual amount of meth on Donielle C. Parquette, 29, of the 2900 block of Lawndale Avenue in Chicago, who was a passenger in Stroz’s car.  All three were charged with possession of meth, and Hosey and Stroz were also charged with intent to deliver.  Lt. Leverton said that federal investigators will likely look into the source of the methamphetamine.

From large operations to small ones, I am amazed at the lengths that people will go to for methamphetamine. More to come in upcoming columns.

October 31, 2012

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

In my column last week, I told you about the Mexican drug cartel superlabs, thought to be responsible for as much as 80 percent of the methamphetamine sold in the United States.  These Mexican superlabs are sophisticated, high-tech operations that are developing an alarmingly pure but inexpensive form of meth that is moving through the same pipelines that the cartels have already developed for other illegal drugs.

At the time when these Mexican methamphetamine superlabs have appeared, there has been increasing alarm that there is also a growing presence of Hezbollah in Mexico, with this Lebanese terror group becoming increasingly involved and even joining forces with the Mexican drug cartels (Fox News online, October 29, 2012).  According to DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart, “The dangerous connection between drug trafficking and terrorism cannot be overstated,” and the DEA has assisted in “identifying potentially deadly networks that wish to harm innocent Americans and our allies worldwide.”

Unfortunately, Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) fears that the growing evidence of a Hezbollah presence in Mexico is being ignored by the Department of Homeland Security.  “I don’t have a lot of faith in the Department of Homeland Security,” said Rep. Myrick. “They should be looking at these groups in Mexico much more closely.”  She joins a growing number of concerned Americans who are worried about the nation’s southern border.  She and others caution that the issues with our southern border aren’t just about immigrants seeking a better life, but about the relative easy access that terrorists have to America.

In June, 2010, Rep. Myrick sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano requesting the establishment of a task force to “engage US and Mexican law enforcement and border patrol officials about Hezbollah’s presence, activities and connection to gangs and drug cartels.”  In response, Secretary Napolitano said that there was no need for a task force, as current intelligence resources were adequate. Secretary Napolitano also claimed in 2011 that, “The border is better than now than it has ever been.”  But my column last week and a host of other sources suggest that this is not the case.

Matthew Benson, Director of Communications for Arizona Governor Jan Brewer also expressed concern, “The Arizona Department of Homeland Security has indicated there are elements of Middle Eastern Islamic extremist groups operating in Mexico.  From the governor’s standpoint, it is critical to have a secure border for criminal elements who would take advantage of a porous border, especially like the one we have in Arizona.”  Texas Governor Rick Perry, whose state has the largest segment of the nation’s southern border, mentioned in last year’s presidential debate that, “We’re seeing countries start to come in and infiltrate. We know that Hamas and Hezbollah are working in Mexico as well as Iran with their ploy to come into the United States,”

The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research released a report in October, 2011 concluding that Hezbollah “is using the Western Hemisphere as a staging ground, fundraising center, and operation base to wage asymmetric warfare against the United States.”  The report went on to state that “evidence indicates Hezbollah is sharing its terrorist experiences and techniques with Mexican drug cartels along the US border.”  The full text of the report can be found here: http://www.aei.org/files/2011/10/06/Updated-No3LatinAmerican%202011g.pdf

Evidence of a terrorist presence in Mexico can also be found in the growing intensity and brutality of the violence occurring in Mexico, especially that associated with the drug cartels.  There have been written eyewitness reports, pictures and even videos depicting violence that was almost unheard of in North America only a few years ago, including beheadings, dismemberments, torture and mass graves.  Examples of this violence are reported in my daily blog (which can be found here: http://arklatex912project.wordpress.com/), but they are much too graphic to describe here.  Such violence is reminiscent of that committed by Islamic extremist terrorist organizations in the Middle East.  But this violence is now in Mexico, and there have been reports that it has started to infiltrate into the United States.

Thus, while methamphetamine continues to destroy families and lives in the United States, we must also be cognizant of the association of the Mexican drug cartels with Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations.  In my own opinion, enemies of the United States are using methamphetamine and other illegal drugs (cocaine, marijuana, and heroin) to attack our country from within, causing death from 1000 cuts.  So if you use meth, the next time that you buy crystal meth, remember that chances are that you are not only supporting the Mexican drug cartels, but you are also likely funding Hezbollah and other such terrorist organizations.

October 24, 2012

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Over the past few weeks, I have told you about clandestine methamphetamine labs operating in the United States.  These labs range from the one-pot labs making meth for personal use to the larger labs that subsequently contaminate homes, apartments and motel rooms.  However, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently reported that the Mexican drug cartels now account for as much as 80 percent of the meth sold in the US (AP, Oct. 12, 2012).   These cartels are expanding into the US meth market just as they have with cocaine, heroin and marijuana.  These are sophisticated, high-tech operations that are developing an alarmingly pure but inexpensive form of meth that is moving through the same pipelines that the cartels already developed for other illegal drugs.

Although Mexico has tightened laws and regulations on pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient used in the manufacture of meth, many Mexican superlabs are still obtaining large amount of this and other precursors from China and India.  This is evidenced by the enormous seizures that have occurred in Mexico over the past year.  Mexican drug enforcement made two major busts in the central state of Queretaro, seizing nearly 500 tons of precursor chemicals and more than 3 tons of pure meth with a street value of more than $100 million. In Sinaloa, investigators found a sophisticated underground superlab equipped with an elevator and ventilation systems as well as cooking and sleeping facilities.  In February, soldiers in western Mexico made a historic seizure: 15 tons of pure methamphetamine, which would have supplied 13 million doses of meth worth more than $4 billion.  Imagine, 13,000,000 doses of meth; how many people would have been harmed if that much meth reached the streets?  And remember, this is the amount of meth that was found; one can only imagine how much gets across the Mexican border.  Compare to the number of undocumented immigrants who have made their way into the US and you can begin to imagine the amount of meth, cocaine, marijuana and other illegal drugs that also cross our southern border every day.

Also remember, the Mexican drug cartels are known for horrific violence, often associated with turf battles.  The meth seizure reported above was worth $4 billion!  Obviously, the drug trade is highly profitable, and these high profits lead to violence as cartels jockey for more “business” and to increase their influence in the US.  I may go into more detail in a future column, but the illegal drug-associated violence includes kidnappings, mass graves, beheadings and other violence that is often associated with the Middle East.  In fact, there have recently been reports of an affiliation between Hezbollah, the Mexican drug cartels and illegal drugs crossing our southern border.

Accordingly, seizures of meth along our southern border have more than quadrupled during the past several years.   The amount of seized meth increased from slightly more than 4,000 pounds in 2007 to more than 16,000 pounds in 2011.  That’s 8 tons!  At the same time, the purity of Mexican meth shot up too, from 39 percent in 2007 to 88 percent by 2011, while the price fell 69 percent, from $290 per gram to less than $90.  This is marketing at its best; by simultaneously increasing the purity and cutting the price, the cartels get people hooked and create a new customer base.

Meth made in the Mexican superlabs has a clearer, glassier appearance than more crudely produced one-pot batches and often resembles ice fragments (thus the street name “ice”), usually with a clear or bluish-white color. It often has a smell people compare to ammonia, cat urine or even burning plastic.  Delicious!

But at the same time, the American labs have not disappeared.  Although increased regulations have made it more difficult to prepare large batches of meth, many meth users have turned to the simpler one-pot method that I described in a previous column.  The one-pot method uses a 2-liter soda bottle filled with just enough ingredients to produce a small amount of the drug for personal use.  And while these clandestine labs generally supply rural areas, Mexican meth is mostly targeted to urban and suburban users. Increasingly large quantities are turning up in dozens of American cities, including Dallas, Phoenix, Denver, Chicago, St. Louis and Salt Lake City.  Therefore, increasing the security of our southern border is necessary not only due to illegal immigration, but also due to the almost unbelievable influx of illegal drugs.  It is as though the United States is under attack, with death due to 1000 cuts as more and more Americans become addicted to this insidious drug – meth!

October 17, 2012

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

For the past few weeks, I have been discussing the harmful effects of cooking or manufacturing methamphetamine.  The hazardous materials used to make the drug are often discarded along highways, in rivers and lakes, and in our forests.  Children and others living in homes where meth is cooked or smoked are exposed to methamphetamine as the aerosol vapors stick to floors, walls, and furniture, penetrate walls and accumulate in insulation and other building materials.  But long-term use of methamphetamine can also lead to bizarre psychotic behaviors that put their families at risk for serious harm, or even death.

A woman in Fresno, California fatally shot her 3-year-old son, her 17-month old daughter and her boyfriend’s cousin late last year before turning the gun on herself.  Authorities initially suspected that methamphetamine might be involved in this tragic crime, and it turned out that 23-year-old Aide Mendez actually videotaped herself smoking meth just hours before the shootings.  Subsequent toxicology analyses indicated that she had 10 times more meth in her system than is necessary to produce bizarre behaviors.  But this is not an isolated case.

A mother in Bakersfield, California, went to prison for stabbing her newborn while in a meth-fueled rage.  Danielle Mailloux received a nine- month sentence for stabbing her 6-week-old infant in the back and cutting her along her abdomen, jaw and neck during a binge. The baby survived.  In Oklahoma, authorities charged Lyndsey Fiddler with second-degree manslaughter last year after an aunt found her infant daughter in a washing machine thudding off balance in the spin cycle. The aunt told authorities that Fiddler had been up for three days straight using meth.  A woman who beat her two-year-old daughter to death was sentenced to eight years and six months in jail.  Norefjell Davis, 36, was found guilty of manslaughter and willful ill-treatment of a child.  She reportedly treated two-year-old Jacqui Davis “like a soccer ball” as her mother kicked her repeatedly, sometimes so hard the little girl was lifted into the air.  And finally, a three-year-old boy in Oklahoma City was left fighting for his life after being “sold” by his babysitter to two men who raped and tortured the toddler.  To say the men savagely raped him is an understatement since the little boy ended up with a torn rectum.  And in a move that one can only assume was to get rid of any DNA evidence, the men forced the boy to drink bleach, and then splashed it about his face.  Police said the boy had part of his skull torn off during the horrific assault, and he had been hung from a ceiling with a dog collar.  Investigators said Jennifer Chapman, who was looking after the boy, allegedly offered him to two men for sex in exchange for meth.  The two men allegedly raped and tortured the boy for several hours before returning him to 43-year-old Chapman at the Oklahoma motel where she was staying with the boy’s mother Leana Lauck.  According to police, when Lauck, 31, saw the injuries to her son she decided against taking him to hospital for urgent treatment and instead began using meth with her friend.

Obviously, methamphetamine can produce very extreme changes in normal brain function.  Once someone becomes triggered to meth-fueled violence, there aren’t any limits or boundaries anymore.  Someone who may have been a loving, caring mother can become little more than a monster since the long-term, chronic use of meth can lead to psychosis, which includes hearing voices and experiencing hallucinations.  And the stimulant effect of meth is up to 50 times longer than cocaine, so users often stay awake for days on end, further impairing cognitive function and contributing to extreme paranoia.  Experts agree that women often believe that their children and their spouses are their worst enemies, and they truly believe their own families are out to get them.

The examples of methamphetamine-fueled mother-on-child violence provided above are only a few that have been reported on online news sources.  My guess is that there may be many more incidents like this that either do not make it online or are just not reported.  At the same time, not all mothers who use meth kill their children, but their children are often neglected and left to take care of themselves, which is bad enough.  And I am not trying to point a finger or accuse anyone, but if someone reads this and decides not to use methamphetamine, then this has been a success.

October 10, 2012

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

On October 2nd of this year, KOBI-TV in Portland, Oregon reported that the Hankins family in Klamath Falls became sick soon after buying a home that had previously housed a meth lab.   Breathing problems began for Beth within days of moving in.  Jonathan Hankins began suffering from nosebleeds and migraine headaches, and the couple’s 2-year-old son, Ezra, developed mouth sores. The Hankins said a test showed methamphetamine contamination was at 80 times the state’s designated safe limit.  The Hankins warn other potential home buyers to have their homes thoroughly inspected and tested before purchasing them.  No one warned the Hankins that their home had been used as a meth lab, and they claim that the realtor denied any knowledge of illegal activity at the home.  Jonathan Hankins subsequently started a petition at Change.org demanding that lender Freddie Mac test houses for methamphetamine contamination.  To date, more than 200,000 people have signed the petition.

Over the past two weeks, I have discussed how one-pot meth labs can poison the environment and pose a severe danger to anyone who unwittingly stumbles upon such a lab.  I also reported how cooking and smoking meth can be dangerous to anyone living where meth is being used, and this is especially true for children.  But what happens when the meth cooks move away (or are arrested)?  And consider this, people also cook and smoke meth in motel rooms, apartments and just about anywhere else you can imagine.  What are the chances that the motel room or apartment had been properly and thoroughly cleaned once the meth cooks left?

In fact, it is not known precisely how methamphetamine can accumulate in building materials.  What happens when a meth lab is busted?  If the hazmat crew takes out everything from the building and washes it and airs it out for a week or so, that’s probably sufficient to remove solvents and other things that end up in the dust.   But this does not get at those potentially dangerous chemicals — methamphetamines and similar compounds — that have penetrated through the drywall and into the building structure.  Some experts estimate that a meth lab operating in a house for a few weeks could introduce enough methamphetamine vapors into the insulation to sustain unsafe levels in the home for months, or even years, after.  But at this time is it not known what levels might be toxic, or if people become sick due to metal exposure, solvent exposure, methamphetamine exposure, by-product exposure or some combination of all of these.  Frightening indeed!

Some states, such as Colorado, have very strict laws requiring that a property where meth was cooked (or even smoked) must remain quarantined until it is properly decontaminated and tested by certified professionals.  In Louisiana, a 2008 law was passed by the legislature requiring sellers to disclose whether their house had been exposed to meth.  In addition, the Department of Environmental Quality was tasked with maintaining a listing of residential real estate property that has been reported as contaminated.

But what is frightening is that many states, including neighboring Texas, have no laws regulating the cleaning of meth labs.  Some experts estimate that there are thousands of motel rooms in Texas and many more in other states that have been contaminated with methamphetamine and the chemicals used to make the drug.  And what happens when a meth user or cook moves to a new residence or motel room here in Louisiana?  This “honor system” – while a very positive first step – relies in part on the honesty of the meth user.  If the meth user does not report that the house is contaminated with meth, and once the house has been aired of the chemical smell, who will know whether or not the house was ever contaminated?

At this point in time, I do not know what can be done about this growing problem.  It is likely cost prohibitive to test every house, every apartment, and every hotel and motel room before a new tenant arrives.  But on the other hand, people and their pets can be poisoned if a former meth house was not properly cleaned.  In extreme cases, meth vapors that have penetrated into the walls can lead to explosions.  Just ask Hank and Katherine Doughty who bought a wood-framed house several years ago in Holden, LA.  One night after lighting a fire in the fireplace, the “doors blew out at 2 AM.”  After a little research, the Doughty’s discovered that the previous homeowner had operated a meth lab in the house.

October 2, 2012

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Angelina County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a disturbance call on Johnny Grimes Road in Lufkin, TX on September 1 of this year where they found Amber Cherie Whitworth (23) with her infant child in her arms.  She stated that she and her boyfriend, Rickey Shane Boykin (41), also of Lufkin, got into an argument that became physical.  According to the arrest affidavit, Whitworth “appeared to be intoxicated and upset.”  Deputies could smell a strong “chemical odor” in the residence and on Whitworth and her child.  According to Whitworth, Boykin allegedly threw a chemical substance on her during the argument.

A Child Protective Services (CPS) case worker ordered a hair drug test for Whitworth and her two 9-month old infants.  All three tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine.  CPS took the infants from their mother, provided medical treatment, and placed them in the care of a grandparent.

Both Whitworth and Boykin were charged with felony child endangerment; the affidavit read that they “intentionally, knowingly, and recklessly placed two 9-month old children in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment.”  Boykin was also charged with felony possession/transport of a chemical with the intent to manufacture.  This incident was reported online by KTRE TV Channel 9 on September 25, 2012.

I see heartbreaking stories such as this almost on a daily basis.  Methamphetamine is used by men and by women of childbearing age, and women are typically the primary caregivers for their children.  Studies show that women are as likely as men to use meth, a fact that is not shared with most addictive drugs.  It is always so tragic for the children; after all, they are the innocent ones.  Law enforcement personnel often have to step over toys on their way to serving a warrant, and diapers and crayons can be found in trash dump sites mixed with shake & bake bottles and Sudafed blister packs.  In some areas, CPS estimates that up to 75% of the children taken into state custody are due to meth in the home.  It is far too dangerous to allow the children to remain.

Children living in homes with meth have to learn how to take care of themselves.  While they are using meth, their parents forget to buy groceries, cook supper, do the laundry or make sure that the children have taken their baths.  In fact, their parents even forget to take care of themselves.  When on a meth binge, meth is their only concern.  Furthermore, since methamphetamine can produce paranoia, hallucinations, aggressive behavior, a heightened sex drive and days without sleep, these children are at risk for abuse that is not always seen with other addictions.  I plan to highlight this abuse in future columns.

Children from meth homes can show up to school in winter wearing only a tank top and shorts.  They may also show signs of agitation, lack of sleep and unexplained sores and burns.  Particles in the air can irritate delicate skin, and these sores look a lot like bug bites.  Studies have demonstrated that every time someone “cooks” meth in the house, or even just smokes meth, this reaction creates an aerosol cloud that coats every surface, including furniture, floors, toys, curtains, counter tops, dishes, etc.  And young children put everything in their mouths, especially their fingers that have undoubtedly touched meth-covered surfaces.  Any toddlers walking or crawling in a home where meth is used will pick up meth from the floors and walls and will get meth in their systems.  So at the very least, these children are receiving low doses of meth that may produce as yet unknown effects.

No one, especially a mother, begins using methamphetamine thinking that their drug addiction could poison their children.  No mother plans on exposing her children to abuse and neglect.  But in the case of methamphetamine, that can happen even if meth is only used when the children are not at home.  The aerosolized meth vapors stick to everything and remain there so that when the children return home, they can still become exposed to this toxic substance.  That is why CPS removes the children from homes where meth is used.  It simply is not safe to allow the children to remain there.

September 26, 2012

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

A One-Pot (Shake & Bake) methamphetamine-making session “went bad” earlier this year at a home on Paddle Wheel Drive in Harris County, Texas.  Three people were in the home on May 24, 2012 when Jason White (32) attempted to “cook’ meth in an upstairs bathroom using a Gatorade bottle containing a mixture of volatile chemicals.  The bottle exploded during the process, and White was burned on his face, arm and hands.  White’s shirt caught on fire in the explosion, and this in turn caused a bathroom counter top and a wall to also ignite.   White was treated and released from a Houston-area hospital, and the Harris County Hazmat Response Team was called in to secure the scene.  Deputy Thomas Gilliland from the Sheriff’s office reported that the smell inside the home “was unbelievable.”  Evidence of a working meth lab was found when investigators from the Harris County Fire Marshall’s office examined the scene, finding Sudafed blister packs, red phosphorus, broken C and D batteries, drain cleaner, coffee filters, broken cold packs, and hydrochloric acid.  Following a thorough investigation, White, of Plantersville along with Lindsey Grice, 25, and Thurman Hall, 37, of the Spring area, were charged in federal court this week with arson-manufacture of a controlled substance and manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance.  This incident was reported in the September 25 online edition of the Houston Chronicle.

This provides me the opportunity to warn the readers about the dangers associated with this one-pot or shake & bake procedure that appears to be spreading across the country.  Law enforcement officials claim that this method is even more dangerous than the “old” makeshift meth labs that require hundreds of pseudoephedrine pills, containers heated over open flames and cans of flammable liquids. The “old” cooking process itself creates foul odors, making the labs difficult to conceal.  And of course, these makeshift labs can also spark explosions.  Generally, the one-pot process uses a two-liter soda bottle. Only a few cold pills are mixed with common, but noxious, household chemicals to produce enough meth for the user to get a few hits.  Since only a few pseudoephedrine pills are required, the one-pot method circumvents laws passed restricting the sale of large quantities of over-the-counter decongestants, cold and allergy remedies.  In addition, the new method requires little room. All of the necessary items can be carried in a backpack, making the process mobile. This has simplified the process so that it seems like everybody is making their own meth.  It can be your next-door neighbor or even one of your family members.

The one-pot method combines the first three steps of a conventional meth lab, so that the “cook” is making anhydrous ammonia at the same time that pseudoephedrine (from cold tablets) is converted to methamphetamine base in the bottle.  The bottle is shaken, which creates a chemical reaction through the production of heat and pressure inside the bottle.  The bottle must be “burped” from time to time to release the pressure or it will explode, spewing caustic chemicals in all directions, which can cause serious chemical burns.  At the same time, the “cook” is producing a chemical ignition, also called fire in the bottle, every time that the one-pot method is used.  If the bottle bursts or is opened at the wrong time, it essentially becomes a flamethrower.  Remember that these labs are portable, putting the public at great risk.  The bottle can explode while the “cook” is driving around, putting other drivers in danger.  Such an incident occurred in Bossier City a couple of years ago, but luckily no one was harmed.  Meth “cooks” often throw the used plastic bottles, containing a poisonous brown and white sludge, along the highway.  Law enforcement is finding discarded one-pot bottles in ditches, in people’s yards and in dumpsters.  The mixture inside the bottle can burst into flames when exposed to oxygen, making it extremely dangerous for anyone who unscrews the lid of what may look like an ordinary soda bottle.  Therefore, with hunting season rapidly approaching, if you find discarded bottles containing an unknown mixture, especially with a “chemical” odor, do not open them or pick them up. Call the Sherriff’s office and let them investigate to see if there is any danger.

  1. KC says:

    Thank you for bringing attention to the impact that these home-based meth labs bring to innocent neighbors. I have been displaced several times from apartments because of meth-producing neighbors. The first time it happened, I lost all of my belongings and my car because of chemical transfer, and my lung capacity has never been quite the same. There was no legal recourse outside of simply getting out of my leases in all three cases, and I have gone through most of my savings trying to dodge this stuff in a city exploding with meth use. You go to the grocery store, it’s there; you go to a restaurant, it’s there; you go home, it’s there. You go to work, it’s there. You drive on the road with your windows rolled down, it’s there. If you get displaced from it, you end up in hotels and if you lose your car from it, you end up in car rentals–both of which are affected by meth so heavily that you can smell it when you first walk in to a hotel room or get into a rental car. It’s gross and toxic, and I never asked for it. I’m so tired of it. I pray to God every day that meth becomes a legal, regulated pill with 100% purity that is priced lower than the cartels and even Asia can compete with and that labs become a thing of the past (because it will cost way more to make it yourself than to go get some, and at a better quality, from a store). While I wish they wouldn’t,if addicts want to ruin their lives with meth, fine, but don’t take my life from me, too. It’s not cool.

  2. Jake Kelton says:

    Nick, This is the first time I saw your postings and let me tell you I am very impressed. You are doing a great job and I think you will be a great addition to the conference in October!

  3. Dear Professor: I want to say thanks for your research and publication. I am an Investigative Journalist specializing in Organized Crime, police and judicial corruption. Meth addiction is at epidemic levels in the World and like you stated Mexico is the manufacturing powerhouse where it must be stopped.

    Mexican drug cartels like MS-13 operating in American cities have become energized by ISIS as to their embracement of violence and beheadings. In November 2015 at Loundon County, VA a middle schooler from Central America was assassinated by MS-13 members.

    The battle to control Meth use and addiction must be waged anew to keep our country safe. This will require new methods and a fresh look as the War on Drugs has been a dismal failure due to entrenched corruption by U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials.

    Since 1960 those agencies (adopted the French idea) of ridding streets of the scum of France (drug users). Government officials put up a front but Intelligence agencies are the one’s benefitting from importation of narcotics resulting in drug pandamonium. Your work and stories give insight otherwise unavailable on the internet – keep up your good work.

    John Burt Caylor