ADRIAN — Officers from the Region of Irish Hills Narcotics Office responding to a tip today, July 1, found a two-liter soft drink bottle at Comstock Park in Adrian containing remnants of methamphetamine.e0t8q3t8q39tr

The bottle found at the park, located between West Maumee and West Church streets in Adrian, was properly disposed of by investigators. Officers searched the park for other methamphetamine-related items but found nothing.

The discovery today is the latest in several instances in which “one-pot” meth labs have been found in Lenawee County. Another soda bottle containing meth-creating ingredients was found at Trestle Park. Since April, two bottles with meth residue detonated in bottle return machines at Country Market stores in Adrian and Brooklyn.getg=8iq][t

Soft drink bottles are often used to create portable, meth-creating labs, which are then disposed of. RIHNO reminds the public to not touch any bottles with unknown substances inside. Unknown methamphetamine substances can resemble kitty litter or salt and some bottles may appear to have a white paste with silver metal inside.

Methamphetamine-related items are highly flammable and lethal. Officials say the fumes alone can render an person unconscious or cause immediate death.

Anyone who discovers a suspected “one-pot” bottle is asked to call local law enforcement immediately.



Four persons were arrested Wednesday after law enforcement officers found 30 pounds of suspected methamphetamine at a home on Avenue 80 in Pixley.

According to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, Alfonzo Rios Ayon, 42; Ezekiel Perez Martinez, 31; Daniel Rios, 32; and Marcos Arjoana Hernandez, 30, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and other charges.

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Department’s S.T.E.P. unit and officers from four other agencies served the search warrant at the home at 11:45 a.m.

Three firearms, including one stolen from the Porterville area, and 1,243 marijuana plants were also found, a Sheriff’s Department press release said.



ODESSA, TX (KWES) – The Texas Department of Public Safety announced the arrest of two people in Odessa and the seizure of stolen property and drugs totally up to nearly $120,000.

The DPS executed a search warrant back on Wednesday at 11 Mesa Circle.

Shaun Glaze, 36, was arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute a substance containing methamphetamine and felon in possession of a firearm.

David Hunt, 36, was arrested and charged with theft of more than $2,500 and less than $30,000.

Authorities say the Criminal Investigation Division Special Agents seized about 307 grams of a liquid containing methamphetamine worth about $58,940, a firearm, motor vehicles and electronics.

The stolen property confiscated by DPS was worth about $60,000.

DPS Aircraft, Midland police and Odessa Police Department SWAT all helped in the operation.



LINCOLN, Maine — Nearly a dozen northern Maine Rite Aid pharmacies and several independent drug stores are halting nonprescription sales of certain nasal decongestants that contain pseudoephedrine in an effort to stop the illegal production of the street drug methamphetamine, according to pharmacy officials and the health advocacy group that requested the action.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine -- 06/28/2016 -- Claritin-D, a decongestant medication that includes pseudoephedrine, at a Rite Aid in Presque Isle. Rite Aid and other stores are phasing out non-prescription sales of pseudoephedrine-containing products in select areas, in response to ongoing problems with diversions for meth manufacturing.

Claritin-D, a decongestant medication that includes pseudoephedrine, at a Rite Aid in Presque Isle. Rite Aid and other stores are phasing out non-prescription sales of pseudoephedrine-containing products in select areas, in response to ongoing problems with diversions for meth manufacturing.

“In the coming days, we are proactively removing non-tamper-resistant, single-ingredient pseudoephedrine products from select Rite Aid stores in northern Maine,” spokeswoman Kristin Kellum of the Camp Hill, Pennsylvania-based retailer, said Tuesday.

Tamper-resistant formulations of pseudoephedrine, such as Nexafed, are designed to block pseudoephedrine from being made into meth and will remain on the shelves.

“As a member of the community and a leading drugstore chain in the state, Rite Aid remains committed to taking appropriate action to help address the methamphetamine problem in northern Maine, while ensuring that we continue to serve patients with legitimate medical needs,” Kellum said.

The products are being pulled from 11 Rite Aid stores in northern Maine, Rite Aid spokeswoman Ashley Flowers said Thursday, declining to provide the locations or the product brand names. Rite Aid has around 4,700 locations nationwide and more than 60 stores in Maine.

“No Bangor stores are included,” she said in an email.

While there will be no behind-the-counter pseudoephedrine at the 11 northern Maine locations, if someone has a prescription, the Rite Aid pharmacists will be able to fill it, Flowers said.

“In Maine, a prescription is not needed to purchase a product containing pseudoephedrine; however, if a physician were to write such a prescription, we would fill it as we do today,” she said.

Aroostook County District Attorney Todd Collins said the change should make a difference because “methamphetamine simply cannot be manufactured without pseudoephedrine.”

Collins visited every pharmacy in Aroostook County last week to call attention to the issue of meth making in small clandestine “labs” and their connection to products like Sudafed that contain pseudoephedrine.

Some other allergy medications, including Allegra-D and Claritin-D, are being pulled as part of the change, a pharmacist from northern Maine who asked not to be identified said.

“We feel that this is a huge step forward in our effort to decrease substance abuse misuse [of the products],” River Coalition executive director and Partnership for a Healthy Northern Penobscot member Linda McGee said Tuesday.

The Save A Life Substance Abuse Task Force, facilitated by the Partnership for Healthy Northern Penobscot, was created in December 2014 and is a group of nearly 50 Lincoln community leaders, residents, physicians, pharmacists, people in recovery, educators and business owners who are meeting to address the region’s drug addiction problem, McGee said.

The group asked Rite Aid, Hannaford and Wal-Mart to stop carrying Sudafed, and Rite Aid was the first to respond. Hannaford has said they are unable to comply at this time, and the group is still waiting to hear from Wal-Mart, McGee said.

“There are a lot of people coming from southern Aroostook County to get Sudafed,” McGee said. “They arrive in carloads. They would get everything they could get and then head back.”

Several independent St. John Valley pharmacies also have reported high rates of southern Aroostook County residents visiting their stores and attempting to purchase Sudafed, and have decided to remove the nasal decongestant.

St. John Valley Pharmacy in Fort Kent, Madawaska Pharmacy, Mars Hill Pharmacy Inc. and Presque Isle Pharmacy are no longer carrying Sudafed.

Dwayne Carr, pharmacist at Presque Isle Pharmacy, said that store stopped selling Sudafed last week at the request of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and Aroostook County DA Collins. Carr said people were attempting to purchase the drug “on a daily basis” at Presque Isle Pharmacy.

Maine was one of the first states in the nation to make customers ask for pseudoephedrine, which was moved behind the counter in 2005, produce an identification to purchase it and to restrict how much people could buy to 9 grams per month. In 2013, state legislators strengthened the law by adding an electronic tracking system that prevented people from buying from several locations to get more than their monthly allowance.

The nasal decongestant is used to make “shake and bake” or “one pot” meth using plastic soda bottles that have been found all over the state, with about half discovered in Aroostook County.

“Many people don’t realize that the manufacturing process uses such caustic materials that the resulting concoctions are actually hazardous waste materials and need to be isolated by specialized teams and then destroyed by [Department of Environmental Protection] protocols,” Collins said. “It is an enormously expensive undertaking in addition to the risk of poisoning and explosion and fire that the meth manufacturing process presents.”

The “shake and bake” meth is made by mixing certain common household chemicals together with Sudafed or other drugs containing pseudoephedrine, which is “cooked” by adding lithium taken from batteries, according to Peter Arno, commander of Maine Drug Enforcement Agency division II, which covers the northern half of the state.

He said meth, an illegal stimulant that has plagued western parts of the U.S. since the 1980s, started to creep into Maine about seven years ago.

There was one meth lab bust in Maine during 2009, and the number has since increased every year, with two found in 2011, eight in 2012, 11 in 2013, 37 in 2014 and a record 56 manufacturing and disposal sites found last year.

With 40 meth labs found so far this year in Aroostook County, the area accounts for nearly half of the 85 meth labs found in the state by MDEA agents, according to the tally of clandestine labs kept by the Maine Department of Public Safety.

When methamphetamine hits the streets and rural roads of Maine, it’s called meth, crystal, crystal meth, chalk or ice, and looks like a clear, white or off-white crystal powder. The stimulant, which can be extremely addictive, can be snorted, smoked, dissolved into a beverage or injected.

“Methamphetamine use and production is a significant problem in our community and it needs a community solution,” Collins said. “The simplest, quickest and most effective community response would be to take pseudoephedrine off of the shelves from Houlton to Madawaska.”



Meth in the News – July 1, 2016

Posted: 1st July 2016 by Doc in Uncategorized

Meth in the News

Professor Nicholas E Goeders

Methamphetamine is a drug used by people all around the world. And while men are two to three times more likely to use most other drugs, women are as likely to use meth as men are.

The reasons for this are not really clear.

Some claim that the energy levels that meth produces allow a woman to juggle family and a career, becoming “supermom.”

Others say that meth is so attractive to women because it helps them reduce unwanted weight. Maybe, but it comes at a stiff price as the drug begins to control more and more of the user’s life.

And then she tries injecting meth for the first time in an attempt to really boost her energy levels. She can handle it, right?

But then everything changes.

More than most other drugs, injected meth is so often associated with sex. Some claim that meth produces sexual desire and/or arousal and reduces inhibitions.

Some even claim than the euphoria associated with an injection of meth, when it is of sufficient purity and dosage, is very similar to sexual pleasure.

Scientists say that meth increases levels of the brain pleasure chemical called dopamine more than any other pleasurable activity. Other drugs also increase dopamine – that’s why people enjoy using them too. But methamphetamine increases dopamine three or four times more than even cocaine or morphine.

That may be because methamphetamine is a chemical not found in nature. Cocaine comes from the coca plant. Morphine comes from the opium poppy. Even marijuana grows like a weed.

Methamphetamine must be synthesized in a lab. It was first synthesized in 1893 by Japanese chemist, Nagayoshi Nagai.

And while the “high” from a related stimulant, cocaine, lasts for half an hour or so, the high from meth can last for 8 to 12 hours, depending on the user’s physiology and biochemistry.

The extended high that meth produces makes it possible for the user to stay awake for long periods of time. This property was exploited by the Japanese and German military during World War II as meth was provided to soldiers from both countries.

But like I said, this is also why many users begin smoking or eating meth. Then someone tells her that if she likes smoking meth, she should try injecting it. Her “friend” may even inject it for her.

And if the dose is right, she will experience an indescribable euphoria that, as I indicated above, is highly sexual in nature as dopamine floods the nervous system.

But it is never quite as good ever again. It can still be quite euphoric – for a while, but just not quite as good. So she continues to use meth, seeking that first high. We’ve all heard of “chasing the high.”

But it’s as though the drug is calling out to her – lying to her. Inside her head a little voice tells her that all she needs to do is to inject just a little bit more meth. Maybe she just needs to make the meth solution in the syringe a little thicker. Maybe if she can just find that dealer that sold her the “really good dope” that time…

But as with most things, too much of a good thing often becomes harmful. I think that God created us this way. Otherwise we would spend all of our time just doing that “good thing” over and over again. Come to think of it, that’s what some people do. But I digress.

The massive amounts of dopamine that meth releases in the brain begin to actually damage the very nerve cells that release the pleasure chemical. So over time, the user realizes that meth doesn’t make her feel as good as it used to. So she uses more and more of the drug, trying to find that euphoria she covets. But it’s to no avail. The more she uses, the more her dopamine cells are damaged.

Eventually she gets to the point that she feels like she has to slam (inject) meth just to feel normal – just to get out of bed.

Many people have told me that meth is evil or of the devil. They get to the point where they will do anything – absolutely anything – for another hit. And they blame it all on the meth.

And since the euphoria is so sexual, women (and men) often resort to sex to get meth.

Maybe that is why I have seen so many cases where men in their thirties, forties or even fifties are caught with underage teenage girls. It literally boggles the mind.

Perhaps some of the allure is due to the sexual effects of meth. But the effects on dopamine, especially in the frontal part (cortex) of the brain, short circuit the ability of the user to make rational decisions, so she does things that she otherwise would never even consider doing.

I am going to just list a few recent cases below to illustrate the points I made in this week’s column. But if you search my website, or the Internet, or the records of any sheriff’s office, you will find many, many more cases just like these.

On June 20, 2016, Kenneth Wayne Jones, 41, from Roundup, Mont., was arraigned in Yellowstone County Justice Court on felony sex crime charges.

Mr. Jones was accused of repeatedly raping a 16-year-old girl over the course of two years, starting when she was only 14.

The girl told authorities that the sexual abuse started when Mr. Jones began using meth. My assumption is that he probably encouraged the teenage girl to use meth too.

On Friday, June 17, Brandon Scott Thomas, a.k.a. “Gambino,” age 25, of Roanoke, Va., pled guilty to one count of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute at least 50 grams of meth, two counts of sex trafficking by fraud, force or coercion, one count of conspiring to commit sex trafficking by fraud, force or coercion, and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.

Mr. Thomas admitted that he ran a prostitution business involving several women out of hotels in Roanoke and Charlottesville.

In a press release, US Attorney John P. Fishwick Jr. said, “These women were trapped by addiction and the violent nature of a man who preyed upon their vulnerabilities.”

“Human trafficking is one of the most heinous crimes we investigate,” said Clark E. Settles, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations’ Washington, D.C. field office. “In this case, Thomas sold women just like he sold drugs.”

Mr. Thomas used the women’s addiction to and desire for meth to force them into sexual slavery for his own profit.

Finally, in a case out of New Orleans on June 15, Justin Wiley, 28, was booked into the Orleans Parish jail on a charge of first-degree rape.

In a four-month period, two women separately reported to New Orleans police that they were raped by a meth dealer they met at Louis Armstrong Park – a man who they identified as appearing in a Facebook profile under the name “Swinga Justtohard.”

The picture in the Facebook profile was none other than Mr. Wiley.

Once again, the allure of the sexual euphoria produced by meth led to the rape and abuse of multiple women in New Orleans. Who knows how many other women were raped by this man, but were too ashamed to come forward?

Maybe meth really is of the devil.

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 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.

A Sioux City woman is facing multiple drug charges after police found meth and marijuana she tried hiding in her vagina during a traffic stop.

Police pulled over Tony Smith, a known drug dealer in Sioux City, for driving with a 9u-7l9989078-9uiiojbroken windshield on Wednesday, June 29th, around 5 p.m.

During the stop, which happened on the corner of 13th and Douglas Streets, the passenger in Smith’s car started making “large movements.”

When speaking with the driver, Smith told police that his passenger, 46-year-old Kimberly Sweet, had placed drugs in her vagina.

Police found 14 bags of methamphetamine, weighing 6.2 grams, and three rolled marijuana cigarettes. In the car, police also found a digital scale, a knife, and prescription pills, methadone and ibuprofen, that didn’t belong to her.

Sweet was arrested for possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, carrying a weapon, possession of prescription drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia.



A Council Bluffs couple has been charged with child neglect after authorities said their three children tested positive for methamphetamine.

The couple were arrested on Wednesday and charged Thursday with three counts of abandonment of a dependent person.

The children’s mother was also charged with third-degree burglary, as well as one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance and violating her probation on a similar charge.

In May, she pleaded guilty to child endangerment charges and received a deferred judgment and two years of probation.

The woman was arrested in September of 2014 on similar accusations. According to court documents, she admitted to trading peanut butter and jelly for meth and then using the drug around children.

The two remain in custody at Pottawattamie County Jail with bail set for the father at $10,000 and the mother at $15,000.

According to court documents, three children, all under the age of 5, had their hair follicles tested for methamphetamine. The test results came back positive. The parents also tested positive for meth on May 12, 2016.

Assistant Pottawattamie County Attorney Dawn Landon said the children have been removed from the home and are in a safe place.

Court documents say the children’s hair follicles tested positive for meth. Craig and Crystal McConnell also tested positive for the drug on May 12.

Assistant Pottawattamie County Attorney Dawn Landon says the children have been removed from the home and are safe.

The couple remains in the Pottawattamie County Jail. Bail is set at $10,000 for Craig McConnell and $15,000 for Crystal McConnell. They have a court date scheduled for July 8.


GOUVERNEUR – Two Gouverneur men were jailed Thursday for manufacturing methamphetamine at 513 Sleepy Hollow Rd., Apt. D, according to Gouverneur police.

Following an investigation police said they arrested the tenant, Mark W. Tripp, 30, and David B. Morrison, 36, of 41 William St.

A search by members of the Gouverneur Police Department, St. Lawrence County Drug Task Force consisting of members from US Border Patrol, NYSP Narcotic Unit and also with assistance of the New York State Police Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team, resulted in the seizure of methamphetamine along with several components known to be used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine.

Tripp and Morrison were charged with third-degree unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine, felony, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) and unlawful possession of a hypodermic needle, police said.

Morrison is under supervision of probation release for prior arrests in the City of Ogdensburg (April 2016) and Town of Canton (Feb. 2016) for third-degree unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine. Officers said at the time of his arrest Morrison was wanted by the City of Ogdensburg Police Department on a bench warrant issued by the City court alleging he violated the terms of his release

Tripp is also under supervision of probation release for a Jan. 2016 arrest for driving while intoxicated.

Both were arraigned at Town of Fowler Court before Justice Paul Lamson and Morrison was held on no bail and Tripp was held on $5, 000 bail or $10,000 bond.

Both defendants were remanded to the St Lawrence County Correctional Facility to reappear in Fowler court July 6 at 4 p.m.

The Gouverneur Volunteer Fire Department and the Gouverneur Volunteer Rescue Squad also assisted on scene.

Police said their investigation is continuing.



Waco police raided a South Waco home Wednesday morning and found more than 108 grams of methamphetamine and two handguns, leading to the arrest of a Waco man, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said.5775b7d1259ac_image

Waco drug officers and SWAT team members executed a search warrant at 1001 Church St. at about 6 a.m., Swanton said. During the search, officers found 108.06 grams of methamphetamine, two handguns and other evidence of drug distribution, including scales and baggies.

At the home, 57-year-old Joe Raymond Shaw was arrested on a charge of possession of a controlled substance.

Shaw was taken to McLennan County Jail. He remained in custody Thursday evening in lieu of a $10,000 surety bond.



Neighbor complaints about a possible east Medford drug house led to a mid-morning raid today where more than 33 grams of methamphetamine were seized and the house’s resident jailed on drug charges.

Taken into custody during the 10:30 a.m. warrant service on the 1400 block of Crown Avenue was Scott Hosea Hunter, 45.f7y7wyenfh2

Hunter was lodged in the Jackson County Jail on one count each of unlawful possession, distribution and manufacturing of methamphetamine, according to jail records. He was being held on more than $1 million bail.

The search warrant was based on numerous neighbor complaints as well as outside intelligence developed by Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement investigators, according to MADGE.

Along with the drugs, police found scales, packaging materials, a firearm and other undisclosed evidence, according to MADGE.

The house was within 1,000 feet of both Roosevelt Elementary School and Hedrick Middle School, according to MADGE.

Hunter previously had a 2002 marijuana citation and a 2006 misdemeanor theft conviction in Oregon, court records show.



(MTN News-MISSOULA) The number of children entering the foster care system due to parental methamphetamine use continues to spike to numbers that have never been seen before, but there is hope.10888702_G

MTN News spoke with a young mother who is working through an on-going dependent neglect case through the family treatment court in Missoula. She shared with her experience — from using and dealing — to getting her kids back.

The number of kids in foster care due to child abuse and neglect cases involving methamphetamine jumped from 239 in 2011 to 1,089 children in May of this year.

Bella Dally is a recovering meth user who lost custody of her children after one was born drug-affected by the drug. Through intensive treatment with the family drug treatment court, she is now sober and able to parent.

“It was horrible. I didn’t enjoy it at all. It was scary. But then I just decided to do it again. It was convenient, and it was there — and I was hurting. Just being scared as a first time, single mom. Just feeling like I failed and I had a lot of high expectations of myself and that didn’t go as planned,” Bella said.

“During my whole pregnancy with my two-year-old — when he was born he was exposed to methamphetamine and THC. To get him back, I had to do all the CFS and family drug treatment court things. It’s called a treatment plan. I finally completed that in March,” she continued.

“I was pregnant with my third son — I decided to quit using. Today is my ten month sobriety day. Its been a long two years I guess, dealing with addiction and becoming a parent again,” Bella recalled.

“Now that I am sober, and doing well, it’s amazing to realize how many people who were supporting me and wanted me to do well and I just didn’t see it. And I guess it was discouraging that I had to check-in with all these people. Nothing that I expected.”

“The first couple months to feel like an attachment with these people who at first I hated and now I thank them for just giving me my life back — and my kids,” Bella concluded.

Bella is hoping to graduate from the family drug treatment court in September and says she is planning to study social work this fall.


THIBODAUX, LA. – – Thibodaux Police arrested two people for possession of methamphetamine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia after a welfare checkup turned into a five hour stand-off.

A concerned person called police early Wednesday morning, saying Melissa Rodrigue was possibly being held against her will by her ex-boyfriend Jordan Landry%20In%20Custody_1467228686646_3566426_ver1_0Landry. When officers arrived at Rodrigue’s home in the 600 block of Magnolia Street, no one answered, according to police.

After several more attempts to get someone to answer the door, the Lafourche Parish Inter-Agency Crisis Management Unit was activated out of concern for Rodrigue.

Landry and Rodrigue were taken into police custody after more than five hours, and Rodrique said she was not held against her will.

Police followed up with a search warrant and recovered suspected methamphetamine, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia.

Both were taken to Lafourche Parish Detention Center where they await their bond.



DALTON, Ga. — A post on the Facebook page of Precious Possessions Preschool & Daycare in Dalton says a former employee has been arrested and charged with yjryjfghjxdfyjdytjtrjtrying to sell methamphetamine to an undercover officer in the daycare’s parking lot. Whitfield County authorities later confirmed the arrest.

The daycare is located at 2511 Cleveland Highway in Dalton.

The post was written by daycare director Holly Ridley, and says:

“On Wednesday, June 22nd, a former employee, Kristi White, was arrested for the attempted sale of methamphetamine to an undercover agent in the side of our parking lot nearest to the plaza. This employee did not have any direct care responsibilities of the children nor were any children aware of or exposed to any of what transpired in the parking lot during the arrest. Yesterday [Monday], we concluded what was the final stages of the investigation into what occurred when our state licensing office came and interviewed myself and our employees. Until this was concluded, we felt we were unable to adequately speak to the even for fear of impeding the efficient and unfiltered investigation.

We at Precious Possessions are committed to trying our best in making sure your children are safe and happy here. This employee did have a clean Criminal Records Background Check on file and prior to this event, had never before been arrested. Also, we at Precious Possessions were completely unaware the employee was involved in any activity of this nature nor had there ever been any indication of anything of this 13438948_1201009623264130_3030384839878431568_nsort. We are the only facility in our area which provide(s) internet access for our parents to be able to watch their children from anywhere at anytime. We also have a security door which does not allow just anyone to walk in off the street without being buzzed by our staff. Our employees are randomly drug tested. We do take safety and security seriously and do everything within our power to create a safe and secure environment.

Knowing this former employee, we were shocked and dismayed to learn of this. Please join with us in praying for her and her children while they go through this terrible time – they need our prayers now more than ever. Please pray for healing and pray for those in all walks of life which end up in such a terrible and devastating place in their lives. Unfortunately, I feel this is just another example of many of what a scourge drugs are on our country, communities, and families.

Precious Possessions would like to sincerely thank the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Department for the professionalism and expediency with which they handled this situation and keeping us all safe.”



A Sydney student who doubled as a drug dealing sex worker has been warned by a judge that her fate rests on an assessment report that will determine whether or not she goes to jail.Madeline-Christine-Sawyer4

As a biochemistry student at Western Sydney University, Madeline Christine Sawyer’s days were largely spent with her head buried in books.

But, as police were shocked to discover, her time outside class was anything but routine.

Sawyer, 19, had been juggling studies with a secret life of drug-supply and prostitution that unraveled last October after highway police randomly intercepted a car in which she was travelling.

She previously pleaded guilty to six supply and possession charges and a further count of dealing with suspected proceeds of crime.

On Thursday, she appeared at Parramatta District Court where she had expected to learn her fate.1467272200834dw

But Judge John Pickering instead requested a report be compiled to assess her “suitability” for an Intensive Correction Order as an “alternative” to a custodial sentence.

The order would be served in the community under the strict supervision of Corrective Services.

“I know you were anxious to be sentenced today,” Judge Pickering told Sawyer. “However, this is the path I have decided to go down.”

Sawyer’s secret double life of drug dealing and paid sex was exposed only last October due to an erratic piece of driving by a disqualified motorist and fellow Western Sydney University student, Fadhil Al Khafaji.

When officers pulled the vehicle over, they found Al Khafaji behind the wheel, Sawyer in the passenger seat and two capsules of MDMA in the front console which, according to police documents, Al Khafaji said were his.2fbd13ab4fd5828805938b73ff0f6e10

When officers looked at his phone, they discovered a text exchange between Sawyer and himself in which he had ordered additional drugs and she had replied: “No worries, will sort tomorrow.”

These messages led to a raid at Sawyer’s Campbelltown home, where officers found 28 capsules of MDMA powder, 15 re-sealable bags collectively containing 11 grams of cocaine and 11 individual, one-gram bags of methamphetamine, better known as ice.

When police questioned her about the hoard and $3660 found with them, she tried to disguise her dealing by claiming the drugs were all “for personal use”, adding the cash was “proceeds” from her “employment as a prostitute”.

But a search of her phone proved otherwise with a stream of texts demonstrating her involvement in drug supply to both clients and fellow students.1467272200834

Less than 48 hours before her arrest, she had texted a customer who had sampled her cocaine, and asked: “How did the rack go?”

“Yeah, it was good,” he replied, adding: “What are you doing the bags at?”

Sawyer responded: “Generally $300 a bag.”

At a previous sentencing hearing earlier this month, Judge Pickering had voiced concerns that Sawyer might still be involved in the sex industry while the Crown’s lawyer pressed for a sentence involving “immediate custodial time”.

But Judge Pickering said on Thursday that it was “only appropriate” he gave “consideration” to an order that now ultimately rests on whether or not she has genuinely turned a corner since her arrest and eliminated drugs from her life.

He warned her to be “truthful” while participating in interviews to be held over the next six weeks.

“This report is in your interests,” he told Sawyer.

The case returns to Campbelltown District Court on August 18.







Two people were arrested on drug-related charges following a chase Monday that reached speeds of 100 mph, according to a news release from the Etowah County Drug Enforcement Unit.wriogjwe-au8wr

William Pruitt, 25, Gadsden, and Carrie Mitchell, 18, Rainbow City, are charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine, second-degree unlawful possession of marijuana, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and attempting to elude law enforcement officers.

Deputy DEU Commander Phil Sims said Sardis Police Officer Keith Beaird attempted to stop a white Jaguar for speeding on U.S. Highway 431 South. The driver, Pruitt, refused to stop and the chase ensued.erher=900ghu8wa9

Pruitt ultimately lost control of the Jaguar and wrecked at the corner of Rockledge Road and U.S. Highway 431. He and Mitchell left the vehicle and ran into the adjacent woods.

Pruitt was caught in the woods, and Boaz police officers caught Mitchell at a house on Rockledge Road.

In the vehicle, officers found about 14 grams of methamphetamine, a small bag containing marijuana, used needles and digital scales. DEU agents were called to the scene.

Pruitt and Mitchell were taken to the Etowah County Detention Center, where they remain under $4,000 bond each.

The FBI North Alabama Safe Streets Task Force also participated in the case.



ROGERSVILLE — Two Hawkins County men who provided meth to three juveniles ages 17, 14 and 14 last year at a vacant house near Surgoinsville were sentenced to eight years each last week on multiple charges.

On Friday, Kyle Thomas Dishner, 21, 140 Beechwood Hills, Lot 19, Surgoinsville, Caldwell-AND-Dishnerwas sentenced to eight years by Judge John Dugger in exchange for guilty pleas to two counts of possession of meth with intent to deliver, three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a child and criminal trespassing.

The charges stemmed from an arrest that occurred Aug. 22, 2015.

Dishner was also ordered to pay $7,851 in fines and fees.

Dishner’s co-defendant in that case, Michael James Caldwell, 25, was sentenced by Dugger to eight years on June 20 in exchange for guilty pleas to two counts of possession of meth with intent to deliver, three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a child and criminal trespassing.

In a separate case stemming from his arrest on Nov. 17, 2015 Caldwell was sentenced to an additional three years in exchange for guilty pleas to initiating the manufacture of meth, possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal trespassing.

As a result, Caldwell’s overall sentence was 11 years.

Caldwell was also ordered to pay a total of $8,531 in fines and fees for both cases.

Dishner and Caldwell were arrested on Aug. 22, 2015, in a vacant residence near Surgoinsville where Caldwell had admittedly been “squatting” and cooking meth for several weeks.

That evening, the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office responded to a trespassing complaint at 282 Richards Road, a residence just outside the Surgoinsville city limits that has been unoccupied for several years.

Caldwell told police he was homeless and had been staying at the unoccupied residence for approximately five weeks without the consent of the owner.

A one-pot meth lab was found lying outside the house.

Caldwell allegedly admitted to having knowledge of the lab and stated it was about 2-3 weeks old.

Dishner was located inside the residence along with a 17-year-old male and two 14-year-old-year females.

Deputies also seized approximately one gram of meth packaged in six individual bags and numerous empty gram-size bags.

Dishner and the three juveniles had come to the residence to visit with Caldwell, and all three juveniles admitted to smoking and/or snorting meth with the adults.

Caldwell was arrested again on Nov. 17 while out on bail from his Aug. 22 arrest after Church Hill police found him and a woman sleeping in the back seat of a car in a field where they had allegedly been cooking meth in a nearby wooded area.

Dishner and Caldwell will each be eligible for early release after serving 30 percent of their sentences.



ROANOKE, Va. – A 26-year-old, Vinton, Virginia, resident, was sentenced Monday to 156 months in federal prison for sex trafficking a minor and persuading a minor to engage in prostitution. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the FBI, the Roanoke City Police Department and the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office.

Terrell Banker, 26, was convicted of federal sex trafficking charges following a jury trial in October 2015.

A co-defendant, Laura Cook, previously pled guilty to conspiracy to engage in the sex trafficking of a minor and was sentenced to 58 months in prison earlier this year.

“Sex trafficking is an international crisis that not only impacts men and women overseas but, tragically, is rooted in cities and towns all across our country,” United States Attorney John P. Fishwick Jr. said today. “This case was particularly tragic because it involved the trafficking of a minor, a girl of just 17 at the time of the incident. It is encouraging, however, that law enforcement helped identify the trafficking behavior and put an early end to what could have been a very long and painful run of abuse by these two defendants.”

“Human trafficking is one of the most heinous crimes we investigate. Victims are often vulnerable, and their traffickers prey on those vulnerabilities, trapping them in a cycle they can’t break free from. No person – especially a minor – should have to endure this treatment,” said Clark E. Settles, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Washington, D.C. “Today’s sentence marks a win for law enforcement. One more trafficker is off the streets and will have to face the consequences of his actions behind bars.”

According to evidence presented at Banker’s trial and Cook’s guilty plea hearing, Victim One was a 17-year-old resident of Salem who began socializing with Cook via the Internet in February 2015. At the insistence of Cook, Victim One stayed at Cook’s home, partied with Cook and took illegal drugs with Cook. At some point in February 2015, Cook introduced Victim One to Banker, who provided various illegal drugs to Cook, and others, including marijuana, methamphetamine and cocaine. Cook asked Banker to provide Victim One with methamphetamine. On at least one occasion, Banker took payment for the drugs he provided in the form of sex with Victim One.

In March 2015, Victim One ran away from home and was harbored by Cook. After discussing Victim One’s situation with Banker, Cook and Banker decided that Victim One would be prostituted as a way to earn money. Near the end of March 2015, Banker arranged a prostitution encounter for Victim One, transported her to take part in the commercial sex act and took payment from the “John.” Victim One was hungry, had no money and no other means to support herself and therefore, reluctantly, engaged in the commercial sex act at the direction of Banker and Cook.



ASHEVILLE – Buncombe County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a Leicester man Wednesday after they say a toddler consumed meth while the 2-year-old was in his custody.

Ramiro Lopez-Gamen, 35, of Green Acres Drive, was charged with one felony count of negligent child abuse while causing serious bodily injury, according to arrest warrants.

On Tuesday, the defendant allegedly “allowed methamphetamine into his home and without due care allowed a 2-year-old victim to ingest methamphetamine causing the child to be hospitalized,” warrants state.

Bond was set at $50,000 secured.




A one-year-old child found in a mobile home in Prairie du Chien was taken to safety early Monday morning as police arrested five adults on drug charges.

The child was placed in temporary custody with the Crawford County Department of Human Services, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The adults were arrested during the investigation at the residence on Norma Avenue within the Homesteader Trailer Court in the town of Prairie du Chien.

Abby Hiles, 33, was tentatively charged with delivery and possession of methamphetamine, maintaining a drug house and recklessly endangering the safety of a child.

Alan Hagensick, 28, was tentatively charged with maintaining a drug house, obstructing and recklessly endangering the safety of a child.

Anthony Hagensick, 34, was tentatively charged with possession with intent to deliver marijuana and possession of psilocybin mushrooms, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana.

Monica Knockel, 36, was tentatively charged with possession of marijuana and methamphetamine.

Corey Hagensick, 27, was tentatively charged with possession of marijuana and methamphetamine.

The investigation was conducted by the Sheriff’s Office and the Prairie du Chien Police Department.



A Mexican citizen was indicted Wednesday after police found 34 pounds of methamphetamine in his car in Shawnee County, the U.S. Attorney for Kansas’ Office said.

Luis Manuel Mojarro-Lopez, 33, was driving a 2007 Ford Mustang on June 18 when the Kansas Highway Patrol stopped him after he ran a stop sign at the S.W. Wanamaker exit from eastbound Interstate 70.15464148

During a search of the vehicle, 34 pounds of methamphetamine was found hidden inside a false compartment behind the rear seat. During an investigation, police learned Mojarro-Lopez was paid $2,000 to drive the Mustang from Los Angeles to Kansas City, Kan., where he was told to contact someone for further instructions.

Mojarro-Lopez is charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. He faces a penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1 million. The highway patrol and the Drug Enforcement Administration investigated, according to a release from acting U.S. Attorney for Kansas Tom Beall.


A Montreal doctor is calling on the province to help curb what he says is a spike in the use of methamphetamine, or crystal meth – a highly addictive and neurotoxic street drug.

Dr. Réjean Thomas runs Clinique médicale l’Actuel, a clinic in Montreal’s gay village that specializes in caring for people with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Thomas wrote a Facebook post, published Tuesday night, in which he calls the issue an “emergency.”

In the last five years, Thomas says, the percentage of patients he sees at his clinic who are struggling with crystal meth addiction has gone from one to 12 per cent.

“We don’t know what to do. We’re desperate because this drug has very bad consequences for the patients we’re seeing,” he said.

“A few years ago, it was rare that we saw that kind of case. But now every day we have one, two or more patients that are affected by this drug and the consequences of this drug,” Thomas said.

‘We need more help’

Dr. Réjean Thomas says his frontline clinic, Clinique médicale l’Actuel, has seen a rejean-thomasspike in patients using highly addictive methamphetamine, or crystal meth. (Radio-Canada)

He said many believe the drug is just recreational, but it is very addictive and people from all kinds of backgrounds and age groups fall prey to its effects.

Thomas said he believes it’s time for the province to step in and organize a campaign to educate people about the possible dangers associated with the drug.

“Right now it’s only an individual [response] – me, my nurse, some others – but I think we need more help,” he said.

Last month, the Quebec’s public health research institute, the Institut national de santé publique (INSPQ), published a message about crystal meth that said although its use should be monitored, it is not a popular drug among Quebecers.

The facts

Methamphetamine is a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that dissolves easily in water or alcohol and may be snorted, swallowed, smoked or injected.

According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, those who use the drug regularly over a long period of time can develop amphetamine psychosis, which includes hallucinations, delusions, paranoia and bizarre and violent behavior. Other effects include:

  • Severe tooth decay (meth mouth).
  • Meth “bugs,” or the feeling of bugs under the skin, leading to skin-picking and sores.
  • Loss of appetite, weight loss.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Increased risk of Parkinson’s disease.



The February death of Aaron Wimmer, a gay San Francisco man who was well-known as a performer on Bay Area and New York stages, was from an accidental methamphetamine overdose, according to a report released this week.

Wimmer, 37, who’d joined the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus not long before his death, was known by many for his talent, kindness, and good looks.13_16_Wimmer_26_LRG

According to the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office, which made its report available Wednesday, June 29, a bystander saw Wimmer, who was having “seizure-like activity,” collapse on the corner of Second and Howard streets at about 10 a.m. February 2.

The person who witnessed the collapse started CPR, and Wimmer was rushed to the emergency department at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, but he died at about 11.

According to the medical examiner’s report, which cites hospital staff and other sources, a friend had last seen Wimmer alive at about 7 p.m. February 1.

At the time, the report says, Wimmer “did not voice any specific complaints,” but the friend said Wimmer had “recently relapsed on crystal methamphetamine.”

Wimmer had a history of acute renal failure, bipolar disorder, substance abuse, suicidal ideation, and other problems, the medical examiner’s office says. There were “multiple prescriptions” among his belongings when he died, but the agency’s report says, “Based on the prescription dates and pill quantities, abuse of the prescriptions is not likely.”

Tests showed methamphetamine and amphetamine in Wimmer’s blood, according to the toxicology report, but no other drugs were listed.

The cause of death was “acute methamphetamine intoxication,” and findings included heart trouble and other problems.

Wimmer had in 2013 portrayed longtime activist Cleve Jones in a production of the play Dear Harvey. The play involves Jones’ friend Harvey Milk, the gay civil rights icon and city supervisor who was assassinated in San Francisco in 1978.

Jones told the Bay Area Reporter in February that at first he wasn’t sure that Wimmer was the right actor to portray him.

“I thought he was too tall and too handsome,” Jones said. But he admitted that Wimmer’s sensitivity turned out to be exactly right for Dear Harvey.

“I used to see him around the neighborhood,” Jones added. “He was always so sweet, kind, smart, and lovely. I’m terribly sorry for his friends and family.”

Jones made similar comments Wednesday, calling him “very charismatic” and “a delight.”

Referring to the cause of Wimmer’s death, Jones said, “To lose him this way is really kind of maddening, and I hope that some people at last will be motivated to restart our conversation about what meth is doing to us. We had yet another dreadful example of losing one of our best to this drug.”

In a Facebook exchange Wednesday, Oakland resident Jasamyn Wimmer, Wimmer’s younger sister, called him “the most amazing person I have ever known.”

“In receiving the outcome of my brother’s investigation I want to address the fact that Aaron struggled with addiction for a very long time, and despite this outcome it is important to know that he never gave up,” she said. “His death was a tragic accident. I hope that with this news we can focus on Aaron’s love and beautiful spirit as we continue to deal with this great loss.”

In a text message, John Bowman, Wimmer’s partner, said, “Aaron had been sober for many years. We worked hard to get him the right help for certain health issues that he had. I could not be more proud of the dedication he had and the work he did on himself, and the richness that it added to our relationship, to his family, to our life together, and to my own journey. It is heartbreaking that by and large, treatment and care for substance use or mental health hasn’t caught up to current research and modern standards for evidence-based practices. Aaron’s life was, and continues to be, defined by creativity, and an incredibly warm and generous spirit that touched many.”



The map paints a clear picture of the most common drug leading to a conviction in the United States: methamphetamine. Meth topped the list in 27 states, including all of the West, most of the Midwest, and parts of the South. Results from the 2015 800x700xstate-sentencing-final-02_jpg_pagespeed_ic_KrDvGtc2xdNational Drug Threat Survey (NDTS), which is conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), indicate that a meth problem may be on the rise. The report also revealed that meth-related treatment admissions and meth seizures have all increased in recent years, and that abuse and availability rates are markedly higher in the Western United States.

Heroin was the most common in 10 states, while powder cocaine was the most prevalent drug in five states (Florida, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and D.C.) and tied for most prevalent in two (Louisiana and Delaware). Only four states (South Carolina, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Maine) counted crack cocaine as the top drug for convictions.

Marijuana was the top drug in three of the four states that border Mexico: Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. While large amounts of marijuana are smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico in numerous ways – tunnels, shipping containers, and hidden compartments in vehicles – officials noted that between 2013 and 2014, 24% less marijuana was seized at the southwest border. This may be because Americans are getting marijuana from domestic sources. Currently, 24 states plus D.C. have laws legalizing marijuana in some form, and five of those permit recreational use. Several other states have decriminalized small amounts, which means first-time possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal use does not lead to an arrest, a prison sentence, or a criminal record.


By: Alejandro Páez Varela | Translated by Valor for Borderland Beat


On December 11, 2006, with the country turning the other way— the opponents of the president in a yell— a war was launched without ever having been consulted with by anyone. It’s been a decade, recalls the author of this text, and “on the streets, the Mexican Army continues and there is a widespread feeling that it operates with impunity, a war of extermination.  Crimes continue and armed la-guerra-en-mexico-700-1groups have diversified their income relying on impunity.  There is no effective state policy to compensate for damages to victims or to deter youths from armed groups.  The police have not been cleaned up and narco-politics seems to keep the reserves that it had before the start of the confrontation.  There aren’t major advances in the criminal justice system; torture, the UN says, is widespread; prisons are schools of criminals; money laundering operations continue to develop and now, all this time, a glimmer of light: the possibility that marijuana might at least be decriminalized.”

Mexicans, At The Cry Of War

Suddenly, as never before, the streets of many cities of our country lost a virginity that it had maintained since the 1910 Revolution: Mexican Army units were displaced but not to the barracks, not to any community in a tragedy by a hurricane or an earthquake. They came with their weapons in front to stay there, in the corners, on the sidewalks, where cops were before.

It wasn’t a minor change for a majority who were used to seeing soldiers on television. With them, from the night to the morning, bulletproof vests appeared, machine guns mounted in open vehicles, outlines of federal police.  And what seemed to be a temporary thing kept spreading for months, and then years.  Armored cars became common throughout the country while terms such as “executed”, “sicario”, “kidnapped”, “agitated”, “company”, or “decapitated” became part of the jargon of many in the media, of journalists and of the population in general.

In a few years, we added another term, which nobody knows whether it was coined in the press or in the streets, to that ominous language, but it clearly came from a new reality. “Narcofosas” (Narco-graves), for example, which refers to clandestine cemeteries scattered throughout the territory; “autodefensas”, which refers to the efforts of the citizens to defend themselves against criminals that seized physical territories and of the income of its inhabitants.  Extortion was just a word until now, when it became a reality spreading throughout cities and in huge urban sprawls, such as the State of Mexico surrounding the capital.  And among all the words that became common, a jarring: “kitchen”, and all its derivations: the verb “to cook” or the subject “the cook”.  It refers to the massive disappearance of bodies in acids or burned in 200 liter drums.  Bodies from the war between cartels or simply just victims of violence.

The sun became clouded for cities that were synonymous with relaxation and fun, like Acapulco, Morelia, or Cuernavaca. States with relative tranquility, such as San Luis Potosí or Guanajuato became restless lands.  Life became impossible in societies that were already permeated by the narco, such as Ciudad Juárez, Apatzingán, Tijuana, Chihuahua, Piedras Negras, Nuevo Laredo or Reynosa.

The pus of violence that came with the war spread throughout towns and villages, and at the dawn of this reality, names of new criminal gangs appeared and consolidated their presence at almost the same time that the federal government showed off the arrest of heads of drug trafficking groups.

The decapitated became common, as well as heads in coolers, mayors and journalists assassinated, police officers kidnapped and tortured. Entire towns entered psychoses, from north to south, while the hidden powers were sharpening up their tools they used to control: they dared to dictate, through social networks, “curfews”.

And it all happened in the blink of an eye.

If The Bugle With Its Bellicose Accent

Certainly, the war on drugs is not new and hasn’t lasted for a decade. History attributes it to Richard Nixon, who declared drugs as “public enemy #1” in the United States in 1971.  Mexico, a production and transit territory for a century, joined the late 20th century under pressure from Washington, particularly over allegation of corruption and omission that came from the agencies, in the Executive and Congress.

However, it was Felipe Calderón Hinojosa who first put on a green suit. During the next 10 years, Mexico would see terrible events as a result of the above, and there aren’t any indications that this, at times looking like a civil war, is ever going to end.  Organized crime, which we had become accustomed to operating silently, unleashed a counter-offensive and issued a challenge to the Mexican State.  The spectacular declaration of war of Calderón alerted criminals that operated openly and without great intelligence apparatuses for their company, also known with the authorities.

Perhaps Mexico is going through the longest civil war of the 21st century, sparked by what appears to be a tactical error. The government miscalculated, it seems, the forces that it faces.  It miscalculated the reaction of those who tried to intimidate.  It miscalculated because, many experts say today, it looked for a political benefit in the war and not give an answer to crime.

Historically, the presence of drug trafficking groups generated some tension in states such as Tamaulipas, Chihuahua, Baja California, Sinaloa, Guerrero and Michoacán. But since that December 11, 2006, the phenomenon of violence associated with these criminal gangs was spreading throughout almost the entire country.

10 years after Calderón started this war, violence continues. And while we overcome from a tragedy, another one occurs, and we tremble because in a decade, there are many dead that have not been dug up.  And this is a reality, not a metaphor.  More than three years ago, 27,000 missing acknowledged and the federal government has stopped counting.

Mothers, fathers, entire families walk by foot in the fields in search for their missing; they open up the ground with their teeth, they dig. The State can’t return their children; the justice system, inundated, doesn’t give them any hope.  The police, corrupt, are not encouragement to anyone and so these families look for a bone, a hair, whatever gives them peace.  Whatever tells them that their loved ones are dead and can at least aspire for inner peace.

Ten years have passed and Mexicans can’t explain how we got here. Ten years in which it is impossible to even count how many tragedies.  Migrants shot; students who were swallowed up by the earth; kids assassinated for pyrrhic debts from their la-guerra-en-mexico-700-3parents; youths abducted by criminals who use them as sex slaves and for those that do well, return pregnant; men and women burned alive; a prison in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, with crematoriums to disappear entire families and tens of thousands that have fled their homes to be delivered to the hands of fate by the lack of a government that guarantees their safety.

A Tomb For Them Of Honor

Everything has a story behind it. Such is the case of the war launched by President Calderón.

Since mid-2006, Mexico was in a political shock. The country was basically divided into two: the supporters of Andrés Manuel López Obrador and those of Felipe Calderón Hinojosa.  Obrador, from the left, argued that there was fraud in the presidential elections and had taken the symbolic Paseo de la Reforma, in the heart of the Mexican capital itself.  Calderón, from the right, defended a victory that, according to official figures, was achieved with a difference of only .58% of votes.

That year was a tough and exhausting campaign. President Vicente Fox Quesada stuck his hands in the election to support his party and Calderón, he would later accept something expressly prohibited by election laws.  López Obrador accused robbery and was ready to fight.  Calderón responded pragmatically to those who question his legitimacy, “haiga sido como haiga sido” (regardless of how it may have been), he said.  The phrase would make history.

In this environment, faced with the country, Calderón entered the Chamber of Deputies through a back door taken by the opposition and among shoving and shouts of “fraud”, he put on the presidential sash. It was December 1, 2006.

In this atmosphere of political confrontation, his legitimacy questioned, 10 days after the embarrassing inauguration, Calderón Hinojosa announced, out of nowhere, the launching of the War on Drugs.

There is no public record that this war was planned well in advance. It was not in campaign speeches.  There wasn’t any consultations with scholars of the phenomenon of drug trafficking or organized crime.  There isn’t information confirming intelligence meetings with the various parties involved in an action of this magnitude, such as the United Nations, the U.S. government and its intelligence agencies such as the DEA.  There isn’t any record that Calderón consulted with his counterparts in other countries in the region.

On December 11, 2006, Calderón announced an operation in Michoacán. Federal police agents were taken to “contain” the bloodshed in the state, which suffered an outbreak of violence.  But members of the Mexican Army and the Mexican Navy also appeared, which until then, had not been specifically designed to take on tasks which had been constitutionally been responsible for the police.

From that day, President Calderón would make several appearances dressed in military uniform. He would boost the career of its main operator, Genaro García Luna, and his project of a super federal police.    He would also increase the budget for the armed forces, which involved one of the most questionable events in the recent history of the country, and with greater economic, political, and social cost.

The war would take its course even though after the first several thousand dead, dozens of opinion leaders from all sectors would ask the then president to review his strategy.

“President Calderón doesn’t listen,” many said, even within his party.

His apparent deafness of the problem, however, had a very high cost for Mexicans, who to this day, continue to pay, even with their own blood.

At The Resounding Roar Of The Cannon

Almost 10 years later, it isn’t difficult to summarize the War on Drugs in Mexico as a failure. Insecurity has spread throughout the country, according to official figures.  Consumption not only rose when Calderón was in power, but also with Enrique Peña Nieto.  The figures of kidnappings, homicide, and extortion increased.  The number of grieving families and the so-called “collateral victims”, a term used for civilians killed in armed actions, grew.  The areas for growing poppy increased, and in the United States, the main consumer of drugs produced or passed through Mexico, deaths from heroin became an epidemic in this decade.

When you get to the first decade of the conflict, with nearly 200,000 dead, tens of thousands missing and hundreds of thousands of displaced persons, human rights violations have put Mexico in the eyes of the world. The armed forces are accused of summary executions and forced disappearances; local police, are accused of being on the payroll of criminal groups.  In almost any great tragedy, in the great massacres of Veracruz to Sinaloa and from Chihuahua to Guerrero, there is at least one security force involved.  In other words: the justification for launching this war, which was to submit criminals and give strength to the State, has collapsed.

On the streets, the army remains, ten years later, and there is widespread feeling that it operates with impunity, a war of extermination. Crimes continue and armed groups have diversified their income relying on impunity.  There is no effective state policy to compensate for damages to victims or to deter youths from armed groups.  The police have not been cleaned up and narco-politics seems to keep the reserves that it had before the start of the confrontation.  There aren’t major advances in the criminal justice system; torture, the UN says, is widespread; prisons are schools of criminals; money laundering operations continue to develop and now, all this time, a glimmer of light: the possibility that marijuana might at least be decriminalized.  A decade later, Mexico is worse than before and the authors of this error called the War on Drugs have not been held accountable.

This December 11, 2016, on the date marked by history as the first decade of war in Mexico, there is much to regret and nothing to celebrate. Drug trafficking groups adjust themselves—comfortably– to their new reality, while citizens, as usual, pay the piper.




Source: Sin Embargo

Borderland Beat Reporter Valor Posted at 6:00 AM



Accused of rape, a 20-year-old Iron Range man was decapitated with a machete by the woman’s boyfriend, according to authorities.

David A. Haiman, of Hibbing, was killed last week in an ambush attack along a northern Minnesota road, his body left in one spot in the woods and his head dumped in another location, according to the criminal complaint filed Tuesday in Itasca County District Court.

Joseph C. Thoresen, 35, of Grand Rapids, Minn., is charged with second-degree 2HEAD063016murder. Before his arrest, Thoresen said he hadn’t been in touch with Haiman for the past two to three weeks, but the defendant’s cellphone revealed texts shortly before Haiman’s death.

According to the criminal complaint:

Thoresen’s girlfriend told authorities that Thoresen was upset when she revealed to him that Haiman had raped her in the couple’s apartment.

Haiman arrived at the apartment on June 21 or 22, and she confronted him in front of Thoresen, punching and kicking him. Thoresen also punched Haiman and said he should not have raped “my girl.”

The three left in Haiman’s vehicle and smoked marijuana in Deer River with other people and then smoked methamphetamine with a friend.

From there, they “drove around in the woods” near Ball Club and later stopped. Thoresen and Haiman were standing in front of the vehicle, when Thoresen hit Haiman with a baseball bat, and stabbed him in the back and abdomen.

Thoresen then took the machete, decapitated Haiman and threw the head in the woods.

Authorities located Haiman’s torso Sunday morning and his head about an hour later, both not far from where the decapitation occurred.

Haiman’s Facebook page listed him as an employee at an education and haimanDavid-1employment center in Hibbing and as having attended Cherry School and Northern Lights Community School. He also listed Thoresen on his Facebook page among his friends.

Haiman first came to the attention of authorities early last week when he failed to show up for work and was reporting missing, as was his vehicle.

After Haiman’s death, the vehicle was spotted late Friday night in Deer River, with an obstructed license plate and Thoresen in the passenger seat without a seat belt on, the complaint against Thoresen read.

Just as the Deer River officer was about to pull over the vehicle, the driver took off but was caught several miles later. Thoresen was briefly detained at the scene.

The driver, identified only by initials in the complaint, told the officer that Thoresen was threatening him with a knife during the pursuit and ordered him not to stop. The driver also revealed that Thoresen confessed to decapitating Haiman and stealing the dead man’s vehicle, according to the charging document.

Thoresen’s criminal history in Minnesota includes only minor offenses, including two misdemeanor convictions for disorderly conduct.