LOGAN – A report of an illegal dump site on Sam’s Creek Road and a receipt for the purchase of pseudoephedrine led to the arrest of a Laurelville man Monday night on drug-related charges.

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Hocking County Sheriff’s Office received a report of the illegal dump site just off state Route 56 and responded to the scene of what they believed to be components of a methamphetamine manufacturing operation.

Members of the Major Crimes Unit and Sheriff’s Interdiction Unit also responded to the scene and confirmed the items to be from a methamphetamine laboratory.

A total of three one-pot methamphetamine manufacturing reaction vessels, nine HCL acid gas generators, and numerous other components were located and neutralized, according to HCSO.

Further investigation and the discovery of a receipt located at the scene led MCU and SIU detectives to a Laurelville residence belonging to Mark E. Shively, who was arrested and transported to Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail.


At the residence, detectives uncovered a very large methamphetamine manufacturing and narcotics distribution operation that was allegedly being operated by Shively.

Over 150 baggies of methamphetamine, most of which were weighed out and packaged for sale, were found during the search, as well as a large amount of liquid methamphetamine and some crack cocaine.

Shively also was allegedly cultivating marijuana inside the residence and detectives located and seized a large amount of marijuana packaged for sale.

Also seized were numerous firearms, including an illegal sawed-off shotgun, and $572 in currency. Detectives also located bank records that indicate that Shively has a large sum of money in his bank accounts. Due to the fact that Shively is receiving disability and has no means for the amount of money in the bank account, detectives placed a hold on all of his accounts for possible forfeiture.

Numerous tips had been received about Mr. Shively selling narcotics, however, we were unaware that he was manufacturing and distributing methamphetamine on a scale this large,” said Hocking County Sheriff Lanny North. “After last night’s operation, we feel that we have shut down one of the areas largest methamphetamine dealers.”

Shively was arraigned Tuesday and remains incarcerated in SEORJ with a split bond of $250,000 recognizance and $250,000 cash or surety.

He is charged with having weapons while under disability, a third-degree felony; illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacturing of methamphetamine, third-degree felony; two counts of possession of drugs, fifth-degree felonies; and illegal manufacture of drugs, second-degree felony.

“We want to thank the public for submitting the tips and information on Mr. Shively,” said Eric Brown, Major Crimes Unit Commander. “We feel that Mr. Shively was an upper level narcotics distributor for the area. The seized methamphetamine alone has an approximate street value of over $5,000.”

Other conditions of the bond include no drugs, alcohol or paraphernalia; must submit to all screenings; and must pay for and wear and GPS monitoring system, if released from jail.

According to HCSO, numerous additional charges are expected to be presented to the Hocking County Grand Jury at a later date.








LUBBOCK, TexasSeven Mexican cartels are operating command and control networks in Texas, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). A recent data release by the DPS reports:methCartel

Mexican cartels are the most significant organized crime threat to Texas, with seven of the eight cartels operating command and control networks in the state, moving drugs and people into the United States, and transporting cash, weapons and stolen vehicles back to Mexico. In short, an unsecure U.S.-Mexico border is a state and national security problem.

Breitbart Texas previously reported on aspects of the DPS report. A long list of crimes against individuals and property, in addition to serious instances of cartel-related public corruption along the Texas-Mexico border were detailed.

Other DPS data reveal the names of the cartels with significant operational networks in the state. The Juarez cartel, La Familia Michoacana, the Gulf cartel, the Sinaloa Federation, the Beltran Leyva organization, the Zetas, and the Knight Templar are all listed.

Texas is currently experiencing a shale oil boom, following a similar boom occurring in the Bakken region in the northern United States. That region began experiencing an increase in methamphetamine usage as oil workers poured in with expendable income. Texas’ Permian Basin Shale oil boom has seen an increase in oil workers and similar patterns in the methamphetamine market emerged. Mexican cartels retain heavy control over methamphetamine in the U.S. and the Texas market has Mexican cartels competing for dominance.








Chances are high that the local crimes you read about in the newspaper — robbery, assault, theft — have a common root in meth use.

That’s because the drug has evolved and is making a resurgence in Billings, local experts said Monday at a forum on methamphetamine held at the Billings Public Library.

“It’s making a huge, huge comeback,” said Rod Ostermiller, chief deputy for the U.S. Marshals Service.

The event, sponsored by the Montana Meth Project and Billings Gazette Communications, featured criminal justice and drug treatment officials as well as first lady Lisa Bullock and a spokesperson from the Montana Petroleum Association.

Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito called meth the top public safety threat in Billings for the way it fuels other, sometimes violent crime, reiterating comments made last month in a Gazette story on the drug.

Authorities have struggled to keep pace with the uptick in meth dealers, while the rise in use puts pressure on the criminal justice system and local drug treatment providers, panelists said.

What’s new this time around, they said, is that the meth found in Montana is being imported from out of state, from places like California and Mexico, and often trafficked into the Bakken oil region.

“It’s not the ‘trunk’ meth, it’s not the home-cooked stuff,” Twito said. “It’s the pure stuff.”

Adults more than teens are turning to the drug, known for its highly addictive properties, they said.

“We need to expand this ‘Not Even Once’ message,” said Montana Meth Project Executive Director Amy Rue, referring to the group campaign targeted at teens. “We need to extend the message to adults.”

Panelists offered a slew of statistics they said demonstrate the magnitude of meth use in Montana and Yellowstone County:

Twito, who recently began tracking crimes that are indirectly related to meth, said the drug plays a role in about half of all cases that pass through his office.

The amount of the drug seized through drug task force investigations doubled last year, Twito said. Law enforcement seized 116 guns, most of them illegal, during drug busts.

Ostermiller said federal officials can attribute more than half of the $8 million in annual detention costs for inmates in federal prison to meth-related crimes. An alarming number of federal inmates incarcerated due to meth are female, he added, saying that hasn’t been the case until the last few years.

The vast majority of individuals prosecuted by the county for meth possession are put on probation, Twito said. Nearly 2,000 individuals currently are on probation in the county, said district judge Mary Jane Knisely, the event’s moderator.

The influx of meth arrests has strained probation staff and the county’s several drug treatment courts.

But numbers alone don’t tell the whole story. Besides leading to other crimes, meth use breaks apart families, leading to a double-digit bump in Yellowstone County children referred to child protective services last year.

Even worse, it puts children of meth users at risk of using the drug themselves.

“This has a cyclical quality to it,” Ostermiller said. “I find that very disturbing.”

Malcolm Horn, clinical director at Rimrock Foundation, said her staff hears stories from patients who grew up around meth and began using at a young age.

“It’s not all that uncommon for a patient to talk about, their first time with meth was with my mom,” she said.

The panelists urged investment in prevention and treatment programs. Knisely said communities “cannot incarcerate ourselves out of the meth problem.”

Bullock, who serves on the Montana Meth Project board, emphasized the power of talking frankly with teens about meth use.

Oil companies operating in the Bakken oil fields also want to help eradicate the drug, said Montana Petroleum Assiociation spokeswoman Jessica Sena.

“This is a concern to us because our folks are employing people who have families who are living there,” she said.

Drug traffickers tend to target oil workers, who work long hours and often earn high wages, Sena said, adding that oil companies have “extremely stringent” hiring policies.

After the panel, Rue said the Montana Meth Project will remain vigilant in its messaging to Montana teens that meth can destroy their lives, families and communities. The organization screened its new commercial, which notes the drop in teen use in recent years, but says the drug has “evolved.”

“No one is above a relationship with someone who is on the drug or has been affected by it,” Rue said. “We all have a responsibility.”











A look at the effects of Methamphetamine use in Billings

Law enforcement officials and treatment providers are seeing an increase in meth use, a specter that fuels other crimes and brings devastation to the lives of addicts and those who fall victim to their sometimes violent and unpredictable behavior.

Methamphetamine is the No. 1 threat to public safety in Billings, according to Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito.

“I remember (meth) being bad in the late ’90s, but not like this,” he said.

This package of four stories looks at the far-reaching effects of methamphetamine use in Billings; how law enforcement officers, prosecutors and treatment providers are engaging the problem; and what life is like for a recovering addict.

Methamphetamine: ‘The No. 1 threat to public safety’: Meth use fuels other kinds of crimes, and meth users can be violent, unpredictable and irrational, posing unique threats to officers and members of the community. According to investigators, methamphetamine appears to be a factor in several recent high-profile criminal cases.

Fighting the business of meth distribution: Meth distribution is a booming business. Law enforcement officials say breaking up dealers’ operations is critical in fighting meth use. Prosecutors and a member of Billings’ drug task force discuss battling meth dealers.

The importance and challenges of treating meth addiction: Treatment providers are seeing an increase in the number of people who need help for methamphetamine addiction — an affliction that is challenging to treat and devastating for families. Many myths persist about meth and the treatment for those addicted to meth.

Beating meth addiction: ‘All it took for me was that first time’: Recovering addict Brittney Boswell, 24, talks about the recovery process and the impact meth has had on her life.










A San Jose man was booked into the Jackson County Jail Saturday after police allegedly found more than four pounds of methamphetamine in his car outside Rogue River.

Francisco Alberto Beiza, 27, was pulled over near milepost 45 for a traffic violation just before noon Saturday, Oct. 4, according to an Oregon State Police news release. He had been heading northbound. The specific violation was not available, but OSP said the trooper searched the vehicle and found 4.5 pounds of methamphetamine concealed inside. The drugs have an estimated value of $60,000.

Beiza was arrested and lodged in the jail on charges of methamphetamine possession and distribution. He is no longer listed in the jail.








1412620627776DELTONA — Three people were arrested after an accidental 911 call over the weekend led Volusia County deputies to an active meth lab in Deltona.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office’s dispatcher who fielded the call at 12:31 a.m. Saturday started the phone call with the standard greeting: “911, where’s your emergency?”

No one on the other end responded, but the dispatcher could hear voices in the background. After some time, she realized she was hearing voices discuss drugs on the other end. The dispatcher left the phone line open for about 28 minutes as she continued to listen in on the conversation and relay what she was hearing to responding deputies.

At one point, the dispatcher noted that she could hear a bubbling sound as if something was cooking, deputies said.

Using cell phone location data, deputies were dispatched to 3281 Roland Drive. Deputies then traced the sound of the voices to a shed in the backyard. They peered through an open window in the shed and saw meth-making materials, deputies said.

Deputies reported they saw smoke billowing out of the shed, which likely indicated an active meth cook.

Deputies secured the three occupants and removed them from the shed for safety reasons while the Sheriff’s Office’s Clandestine Laboratory Response Team was dispatched to the scene to dismantle the meth lab. Narcotics agents also were dispatched to the shed to assist in the investigation.

The search of the shed turned up all of the makings of an active meth lab, including coffee filters, a butane torch, batteries, drain opener, plastic tubing, hypodermic needles, lithium strips, lighter fluid, plastic bags and numerous plastic bottles containing a white substance.

The three people who were arrested included two people who live at the house where the shed was located: Donna Knope, 55, and Jason Knope, 32. Thomas Stallings, 41, who lives elsewhere in Deltona, was also arrested.

All three were charged with manufacture of methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell or deliver. Both are felony offenses.

In addition, Thomas was charged with violating probation in connection to a prior robbery conviction.

All three defendants were transported to the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach.








The principal of the private Branson School in Ross was arrested Friday in a Sacramento-area hotel where Sacramento sheriff’s deputies found drugs and a 21-year-old woman passed out in bed.


Thomas Woodrow “Woody” Price, 54, of Ross, was arrested at the Hyatt Place Hotel in Rancho Cordova on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine for sale and possession of cocaine. He posted bail on Saturday and was released from the Sacramento County Jail, sheriff’s Sgt. Jason Ramos said. He resigned from the prep school following his arrest.

Ramos said the woman, identified as Brittney Hall of Elk Grove, also was arrested on the drug charges.

The sheriff’s office received a call shortly after noon from a man who said he was Hall’s boyfriend, Ramos said. The man asked deputies to check on his girlfriend who was at a hotel with an older man who was giving her drugs, Ramos said.

Price answered the hotel room door and deputies saw a woman unresponsive in bed, Ramos said. Price said the woman was all right but she did not respond until she was physically awakened.

Ramos said the quantity of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and prescription drugs in the room indicated they were being sold.

Price turned 54 the night before, and he told the deputies he and Hall had a “casual relationship,” Ramos said.

“He alluded to her as his girlfriend,” Ramos said.

Hall did not need medical attention and she and Price were booked in the Sacramento County Jail, Ramos said.

Officials at the Branson School in Ross did not return calls for comment late Monday afternoon. The independent, coed, college prep school has 320 students in grades 9-12.








Salton City, California – Saturday, El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents assigned to the Indio Station arrested a pair of suspected drug smugglers at a checkpoint after discovering two packages of methamphetamine hidden in the passengers clothing.

The incident occurred at approximately 6:00 p.m., when Border Patrol agents encountered a 62-year-old male driver, and his 32-year-old female passenger, in a gray 2012 Dodge Caravan at the Highway 86 checkpoint located near Salton City.

Agents referred the driver to the secondary inspection area for further inspection. During the inspection, a canine detection team alerted to the vehicle. The passenger of the vehicle admitted that she was carrying drugs hidden in her clothing. The agents searched the woman and subsequently discovered two packages of methamphetamine.

The methamphetamine had a combined weight of 1.08 pounds with an estimated street value of about $11,500.

The man, a U.S. permanent resident, the woman, a U.S. citizen, were turned over to the custody of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force (HIDTA) for further investigation.

HIDTA seized the vehicle and narcotics.







Methamphetamine may have played a role in the wreck that killed a woman and her 10-year-old son in August, according to an autopsy report released Friday by the El Paso County Coroner’s Office. w300-6477c35311397811e8c63862b017cca6

Kimberly Mears, 50, had 2090 nanograms/milliliter of methamphetamine and 180 ng/ml of amphetamine in her blood at the time of the Aug. 8 crash, according to a toxicology report by the Coroner’s Office.

The level of methamphetamine found in Mears’ blood, said Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Leon Kelly, indicates that she was impaired when she was driving.

“Any amount of methamphetamine, cocaine or heroin in a person’s system is going to be dangerous and will cause impairment,” Kelly told The Gazette on Monday. “The level of methamphetamine found in her system absolutely indicates that she had recently ingested the drug.”

Unlike marijuana and alcohol, Kelly said, there are no presumptive levels for meth, which is metabolized differently by each user.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, amphetamine can be used medically in the treatment of narcolepsy or attention deficit disorder, but Kelly said there is no way to obtain a prescription for methamphetamine.

Meth only exists in illicit form; you can’t get a prescription for it,” he said. “If it’s in your system, you did it illegally, period. Amphetamine can be prescribed for a number of conditions, but meth is an illegal substance that’s dangerous and potentially deadly.”

A small plastic bag containing white powdery residue was found inside Mears’ bra and was retained as evidence, according the report. Colorado Springs police did not provide information on whether the residue was tested and identified.

Mears and her 10-year-old son, Raley Mears, were in a Ford Mustang when it slammed into a Dodge pickup at Marksheffel and Bradley roads.


The Mustang was traveling west on Bradley Road when it ran through the intersection and T-boned the truck, which was southbound on Marksheffel Road. The collision sent the pickup careening into a signal pole.

In the days after the crash, concerns were raised about the traffic lights at the intersection, and city officials have been investigating whether the lights were operating correctly at the time.

The lights were “not operating normally around the time of the accident,” according to a preliminary review of the signal controller’s log, Kathleen Krager, Colorado Springs’ senior traffic engineer, said in August in a statement through a city spokeswoman.

The cause of the malfunction remained under investigation, the statement said, though the city did not clarify whether it happened before or after the crash.

The intersection was annexed to Colorado Springs in 2006, and traffic lights were installed at the intersection to reduce crashes, city officials said.

The traffic lights operate as “rest on red” signals, which means the lights in all four directions remain red until a car approaches the intersection, city officials said.

Despite concerns about the lights, city traffic management officials said in August that the light pattern was the best way to keep drivers safe.

Joan Lucia-Treese, vice chair of the El Paso County Highway Advisory Commission, told The Gazette in August that at least 15 people who live in the area have expressed concerns over timing issues with the intersection’s signals, as well as excessive speeds on Marksheffel Road during the last two years.

The signals on Bradley Road appear to often prematurely turn red whenever motorists approach on Marksheffel Road, Lucia-Treese said. As a result, motorists on Bradley Road often risk blowing through a red light.

There was no update available Monday from traffic management officials on the investigation in relation to the crash.









With most methamphetamine supplies entering the United States through California, authorities plan to create a task force aimed at combating the spread of the drug.la-me-ln-meth-seized-san-bernardino-20140602-001

Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris announced plans Monday to form a Los Angeles-based anti-methamphetamine team to investigate illegal activities stemming from the manufacture and distribution of the drug.

Authorities said 70% of methamphetamine enters the U.S. through the San Diego Port of Entry.

“Transnational criminal organizations have made California the largest point of entry for methamphetamine into the United States,” Harris said in a statement.

Funded by a $1-million federal grant, six special agents will work with members of the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force.

The new team is one of at least 18 California Department of Justice task forces focused on investigating major crimes, including drug trafficking.

Meth entering U.S. mainly through California, report saysLocalMeth entering U.S. mainly through California, report says.

In a 98-page report released in March by Harris, authorities found a surge of methamphetamine was being smuggled across the California-Mexico border.

Methamphetamine seizures at San Diego ports had tripled between 2009 and 2013 to more than 13,200 pounds.








A former high school youth worker was sentenced Monday in P.E.I. Supreme Court to serve 5 ½ years in a federal correctional facility for sexual offences involving girls under the age of 18, drug trafficking and breach of an undertaking.

Supreme Court Justice Gordon Campbell sentenced Arthur Francis McGuigan to terms of 1.5 years on each of two charges of sexual exploitation.

Those two sentences will run concurrently.

Campbell sentenced the accused to a further 1.5 years in prison, consecutive to all other sentences, for luring a person under 18.

Trafficking in methamphetamine earned McGuigan a further two years behind bars, again consecutive to all other sentences.

He received an additional six months, again consecutive, for breaching an undertaking by having contact with female persons under the age of 18.

The Crown had asked for a total of seven years.

Defense counsel suggested that sentence was too severe for someone with no prior criminal record.







5031101_GWORTH CO., GA (WALB) – A Worth County man is being treated for serious burns investigators say he suffered while making meth.

One other person was injured in that explosion.

Three people are in jail tonight.

Sheriff Jeff Hobby says meth is a serious problem in Worth County and now some of those contributing to that problem are behind bars.

Worth County authorities say that two people have been burned in what appears to be a Meth-making operation in the county.

Worth County Drug Investigators were called to the house at 131 Oakland Heights Road because of a explosion Friday night around 8:30 p.m.

“The call came in as a propane tank blew up,” said Sheriff Jeff Hobby.

During further investigation, it was determined it was a meth explosion. Six people who were renting the home were inside.


“They went to several drug stores here in the immediate areas, Albany, Sylvester, and Tifton and bought the precursors to make the chemicals to make the meth,”

Stephen Bedford, Terri Young and Mary Lawson were arrested and charged with manufacturing meth.

Neighbor Justin Beasley smelled the chemicals from his house. “My aunt was worried about it cause she didn’t know if they smell was going to hurt the kids’ lungs,” said Beasley.

He says he saw law enforcement shortly after the explosion. “They were lined up to about back there about halfway down the drive way,”

Beasley says he was over at the house but had no knowledge of meth being made inside the home at the time.

“They came over to question me, I guess they say I was over there. When it exploded I left. I didn’t know about it, we were over their playing cards,” said Beasley.

Two others inside the home received burns from the explosion. James Stoyle is being treated at the Augusta Burn Center for 40 percent burns on his body. Joshua Coxwell is recovering at home. Warrants are pending and they will be charged when they are well enough.


“This is a perfect example that people can get themselves hurt very bad without not counting the consequences of using the stuff” said Sheriff Hobby.

Sheriff Hobby says they are looking for one more person in connection to the meth explosion. He says the house will need to be condemned before anyone can go inside.

Lawson, Bedford, and Young traveled to Tifton where they were spotted by Tifton Police and brought back for arrest by Worth County deputies.

The Sheriff says the investigation is ongoing and right now it looks as of they meth was being made for personal use.








CLEARFIELD, CLEARFIELD COUNTY – People in one community were evacuated from their homes after a meth lab was discovered.

Suspected Meth Lab Forces Evacuations

Folks in the Leonard Grade complex at 501 East Market Street in Clearfield were evacuated after a suspected meth lab was discovered in the building.

It started Monday afternoon when parole officers identified what they thought was a meth lab. Now the attorney general’s officer and their clandestine lab are investigating.

The building has six to eight apartments and several businesses. The District Attorney says it is an ongoing investigation so they are not releasing the suspect’s name. But they believe that suspect was making methamphetamine in the building.

D. A. Bill Shaw says methamphetamine operations happen a lot in this part of the state, that’s why its crucial police can identify them and shut them down to keep people safe. He says it’s disappointing that they’re in Clearfield, but he’s glad his officers found it.

People were evacuated from the building while police are investigating. But Shaw doesn’t want to scare people in the area he says it is standard operating procedure to keep people safe.








DESPERATE meth cooks are storing their own urine and failed batches of cooked chemicals as they try to get their next hit.  662074-b71e8bf0-4a87-11e4-930e-e515789c51be

Drug detectives have told The Courier-Mail they are busting a record amount of meth labs in Queensland but rarely find drugs because addicts are getting high within hours of a cook.

The state’s synthetic drug operations team Detective Senior Sergeant Geoff Marsh said police found litres of “reaction waste”, from failed cooks, during busts.

“They don’t throw it out because as their degree of skill increases they’ll revisit that reaction waste and they’ll commence the chemical processes again to try to extract the drug from the waste,” he said.

“I have found criminals who have stored their urine to extract the methamphetamine from their urine. I have seen about a dozen labs like this.

Many times as little as a gram or two would be cooked up with a portion sold.

“A gram of speed gives you 10 hits,” Snr Sgt Marsh said.

“The majority of time we find a lab, we don’t find any drugs.

“These labs we find are addiction based.”

Despite legislative restrictions on buying chemicals and other materials, meth cooks still found ways to produce methamphetamines, with prices and availability virtually unchanged in the past decade.

Drug cooks are using everything from fuel cans, light bulbs, plumbing tape and fertiliser to make their drugs which takes about eight hours.

Snr Sgt Marsh said cooks were trying to make their own hypophosphorous acid for the cook which they could get from fertiliser (phosphate).

“They are adding to it hydrochloric acid and they are making a 30 per cent hypophosphours acid.

“They are becoming more experimental to achieve the result.”

Police busted 340 labs in 2013-14, slightly higher from the previous year. The busts continued to be much higher than other states.

Snr Sgt Marsh said almost all of the methamphetamine produced in labs in Queensland was in a form that was injected.

Crystal methamphetamine or “ice”, oh high purity up to 80 per cent and usually smoked, was seized in Queensland but rarely made here.

It is usually sourced from overseas and sent to Sydney and Melbourne ports.


“Most of our jobs, when we move far enough up the chain it always goes interstate,” he said.

Purities varied but by the time it reached Queensland it may be 19-20 per cent, Snr Sgt Marsh said.

“The purity off the home cook should be anywhere from 61 to 67 per cent to 79 per cent,” he said.

“Sometimes we make purchases that are in the single digits of purity, because people want to make money out of it.

He said some cooks cut and cooked meth with dietary supplement MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) to fool users into believing it was ice, as it still formed crystals when cooked down with acetone.

“It looks like ice and they can sell it as ice.”

He said cooks needed laboratories if they wanted to produce ice.

“You couldn’t achieve that in a garage,” he said.

“We’re talking temperature control, atmospheres, the quality of the precursor needs to be good quality.”

Drug cooks moving between locations for a batch made it harder to bust them, but more than 400 general duty police are now trained in identifying labs as a result.

“They can be put together and dismantled in a period of four to five hours,” he said.

“When I was at Nundah CIB back in the early 90s I walked over a lot of stuff, I walked over labs to get to the bong.”

Snr Sgt Marsh said strong acids and bases created fumes which were highly flammable and it was fortunate nobody had been killed in Queensland.

“The environment is saturated with methylated spirits at one time … with acetone at another time. Small spark, bang.”

Meth threat is crystal clear

Queensland meth labs are being busted almost every day, with a new warning from police the drug is a “fast mark” and the greatest threat to the state.

Police uncovered 340 labs in 2013-14 as frontline officers faced violent and erratic behaviour from drug users every day.

Detectives say new methods are being used to make the drugs and meth cooks are moving to houseboats and hinterland properties to hide their game.

“Ice” or crystal methamphetamine — a higher purity form of the drug that is smoked — is becoming a drug of choice despite it being sourced from interstate.

The Crime and Corruption Commission has warned methamphetamines are the drug causing the greatest threat to Queensland due to market size and “entrenched presence” of organized crime.

In one operation, codenamed Lithium, police smashed a Queensland-based syndicate allegedly responsible for distributing ContacNT, which can be used to extract pseudoephedrine, which is used in making methamphetamine.

In a separate case a Gold Coast man living in a seniors’ home, Robert Turnbull, 62, is facing charges relating to precursors and equipment needed to make the drug.

He was kicked out of the home but told police he underwent bowel cancer surgery this year and claimed the boxes belonged to someone else.

Detective Superintendent Jim Keogh said people saw meth as a “fast mark” because of its availability and ease of making.

“It is certainly at this stage the greatest threat we see drug-wise in the community,” he said.

“The threat based on meth is brought about by the capacity of the person to look on the internet and produce it.”

Police say they are amazed no one has died in Queensland trying to cook the drug using volatile chemicals.

In the most dangerous case in the state, a man received 80 per cent burns to his body after a meth lab explosion in a garage in Robina on the Gold Coast in September.

“The explosion blew the door straight off, it’s a wonder he didn’t blow his head off,” Supt Keogh said.

Two patients at a hospital almost died in emergency after taking a bad batch of ice, according to police.

One man was found wandering naked with tubes hanging out of him and nurses and security were unable to detain him.

He was locked in a unit but shouldered the door off a hinge and staff used a battering ram to hold him down.

Police found about 40 per cent of the nation’s labs in Queensland last year.

Drug Squad synthetic operations team Detective Senior Sergeant Geoff Marsh said almost all meth produced in Queensland labs was “addiction-based” and made in a form that was injected.

Crystal methamphetamine or “ice”, a drug of high purity up to 80 per cent and usually smoked, was seized in Queensland but rarely made here.

It is usually sourced from overseas and arrived via Sydney and Melbourne ports.

Snr Sgt Marsh said the dietary supplement MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) was sometimes cut with meth to fool users into believing it was ice.

He said cooks needed laboratories with temperature controls and quality precursors if they wanted to produce ice.

Figures released by the government show drug support services gave help on 64,800 instances — or 175 a day — relating to amphetamine use in Queensland in 2013.

Of the 29,000 who gave a specific type of drug they took, 91 per cent related to meth or crystal meth — the breakdown 50 per cent crystal meth and 41 per cent meth.

The department said an increase in the use of ice was observed in Queensland in 2013.

National trends show ice use more than doubled from 22 per cent in 2010 to 50 per cent in 2013.

Princess Alexandra Hospital emergency physician and clinical toxicologist Dr Colin Page said his unit dealt with people who had overdosed on drugs each week but meth was a lesser problem than alcohol.

“It’s probably true we are seeing a little bit more methamphetamine,” he said.

“Their whole life is often driven by their search to buy or acquire these drugs.

“Criminal activities, prostitution, they steal … to buy these drugs.”

Like dealing with the mentally ill’

Capsicum spray doesn’t work, up to eight officers need to restrain them, mothers with children “dispose” of their needles in their cars.

Frontline police say they are dealing with people high on meth who are violent, erratic and dazed every day.

“It is a drug I believe is out of control,” Rapid Action Patrol Group Constable Sean Swain said.

“I’ve seen ice users go off on it. You can’t reason with them. It’s like dealing with a mentally ill person.”

In one case a man at Broadbeach climbed around the outside of a building, moving from the 15th floor to the 10th floor.

“In his head he believed he was being chased by someone trying to hurt him,” Constable Swain said.

“Unfortunately he plunged to his death. That was witnessed by police.”


In a separate incident two officers tried to restrain a naked man “as strong as 10 men” in Broadbeach who was walking along a street.

Police tasered him and used ­capsicum spray but were unable to restrain him. “Because he was naked and sweating so profusely they couldn’t hold him,” Constable Swain said.

“He was that big we had to use two sets of handcuffs to cuff him.”

Once inside a cell they placed a sheet over him and held him like an animal in a “wildlife video”.

“That’s pretty much what we had to do when we were removing cuffs, we were all racing for the door,” he said.

In a separate case police found 29 used syringes in a mother’s car.

She was throwing those needles around like they were confetti,” Constable Swain said. “There were ­colouring-in books and toys in the car. You just shake your head in disbelief that a child is being driven around in this vehicle with this many needles.”

He said people using the drugs came from “all walks of life”.

“We find ice pipes under their driver’s seat, they come clean and say ‘my family doesn’t even know I’m on it, I was introduced to it by a friend and now I can’t get off it’.

“You just hear this hard luck story of how this person who has a normal job, normal family, nothing out of the ordinary, but somehow has got in contact with this meth and can’t get off it.”









The Washington County Juvenile Department is continuing to sponsor outings for youth offenders, according to officials, nearly three weeks after a 17-year-old boy allegedly raped a woman after slipping away during a department-sponsored trip to a Ducks game at the University of Oregon.

Speaking for the first time since the Sept. 13 incident, Juvenile Department Director Lynne Schroeder described the practice as a vital tool to help disenfranchised children overcome the problems that led them to crime in the first place.

“You have to provide opportunities for kids to gain skills, to make contributions and start being community members,” she said in an interview with The Oregonian. “Some of these kids have never been out of the communities where they live.”

Schroeder was careful not to discuss the Eugene incident specifically, citing state privacy laws and an ongoing criminal investigation. Rather, she offered more detail about the activities and goals of such trips, as well as data showing Washington County’s youth recidivism rate as lower than the statewide average.

Generally, Schroeder said, teens on outings to college campuses will visit the admissions office to learn about the process of getting into college. She wouldn’t confirm whether Jaime Tinoco, the teenager accused of sexually assaulting a 39-year-old woman, had done so the day he slipped away.

“When we do take kids to events and colleges, there’s a number of them that come away and say ‘what does it take to go it college? I want to figure this out,'” Schroeder said. “Many of them don’t have family members that have been to college. So it’s not something that’s been presented to them.”

Other activities have included trips to the coast, playing soccer and working on various community service projects, she said.

“Most juvenile departments in the state have embraced this ethics model of addressing the crime-driving behavior,” Schroeder said. “Most engage in involving kids in pro-social activities and providing other opportunities. That’s not a distinct function.”

County spokeswoman Julie McCloud said an administrative review of the incident will not begin until after court proceedings have concluded, and will evaluate whether supervisors were appropriately supervising Tinoco and other youth on the trip. The outings themselves will continue as planned, she said.

Tinoco, who is being prosecuted as an adult, pleaded not guilty to first-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree sexual abuse and second-degree assault during his arraignment in Lane County Juvenile Court. He is being held in the county’s juvenile detention center, and is next scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 22.

At the time of his arrest, Tinoco had been on supervised probation in Washington County following convictions for burglary, unlawful possession of methamphetamine and harassment.

On Tuesday, Washington County Commissioners are scheduled to approve an intergovernmental agreement with the Oregon Department of Human Services, one of the first steps toward receiving as much as $2.4 million in federal reimbursement dollars to “reduce Juvenile delinquency, increase offender accountability, and rehabilitate juvenile offenders through a comprehensive, coordinated, community-based Juvenile probation system,” according to county administrative documents.

The federal entitlement program, provided under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, is aimed at helping state and local child welfare services to reduce youth incarceration and recidivism rates.

Schroeder said several counties have long been working with the state Department of Human Services to secure the funding, which reimburse county staff for time spent coaching at-risk youth.

Washington County has consistently reported a greater percentage of success with youth than the statewide average since 2002 — that is, fewer being returned for subsequent offenses — which officials cite as evidence of the department’s effectiveness. In 2011, 74 percent of Washington youth who had completed their probation programs were not referred back to the department within the next year. Oregon as a whole had a 71.5 success rate that same year.

A Multnomah County judge assembled a task force to reevaluate the state’s juvenile justice system last month in response to FBI data showing Oregon has the second highest youth drug arrest rate in the nation and 12th highest youth property arrest rate.

“These are disenfranchised kids and they’re going to continue to offend if they stay disenfranchised,” Schroeder said. “It’s the whole picture, and then that we have to keep evaluating how we’re doing.”

But, she added: “Of course we’re not 100 percent successful. There’s things we don’t know until we know them.”







A Rome woman and man were arrested at a convenience store Sunday on drug charges, according to Floyd County Jail records.


According to jail records:

Amanda Lynn Dempsey, 33, and Lawrence Lawson Carroll, 39 — both of 39 Pierce Hill Road — were arrested during a traffic stop at the Kingston Highway Quickmart, 1994 Kingston Highway, by Floyd County police officers.

Police originally stopped Carroll in his vehicle for a busted windshield, but when they searched the vehicle, officers found a bag of suspected methamphetamine.

Officers also found several needles used to administer the drug and empty bags with suspected methamphetamine residue.

Carroll and Dempsey were each charged with felony possession of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and misdemeanor possession of drug-related objects.


Carroll was also charged with a misdemeanor cracked windshield violation.

No bond was set for the duo.







Family became sick months after spending thousands of dollars remodeling home

HOUSTON – Thousands of Americans have unknowingly bought or rented homes contaminated with toxic meth, but there are some simple steps you can take to avoid an expensive and dangerous home-buying mistake.

Jennifer Nugent and her husband spent thousands of dollars remodeling a home before moving in with their three children. A few months later, they began getting sick.

“I feel like I put them in harm’s way more so than I ever could have just staying where we were. I regret moving so bad. It just got to a point where we couldn’t stay well,” Nugent said.

Nugent’s concern turned to panic when her new neighbors shared some disturbing news: The home’s former owner was a meth user.

Nugent immediately had her home tested and results confirmed high levels of contamination.

“That’s when we knew it was bad and I was so grateful we did not return,” she said.

The Nugents moved out and are now working with a certified company on the cleanup.

When making or smoking meth, nothing escapes contamination. A string of toxic chemicals saturates carpets, walls, duct work, ceilings and furniture, forcing cleanup crews to throw away just about everything. Exposure to even small amounts of those poisons can cause serious health issues.

Rick Held, a certified meth inspector, explained how his company is helping.

“If you just think mold’s bad, know meth is worse. We’re trying to put the family back together by putting the house back together,” Held said.

Law enforcement agencies discovered more than 11,000 meth labs across the country last year, but that represents only a fraction of the number of homes where meth is made or used.

Angie Hicks from Angie’s List said this is not just a rural home problem.

“You can find them in suburban lovely homes to million-dollar penthouses. So you want to be aware of the dangers of a home that’s had a meth lab in it and be sure that you’re doing all of your research before buying,” she said.

So what can you do to protect yourself? Hicks recommends you talk to neighbors before you buy.

“Knock on doors. Introduce yourself as looking at the house down the street and find out what you can. You’ll be amazed at the information they may be able to provide you,” Hicks said.

If you’re house-hunting, consider purchasing a meth test kit. It costs about $50. The cost of decontamination is much higher.

Check with the local police department for any arrests at the address and contact the health department to see if the home is listed on any reports with the agency.

The U.S. Justice Department maintains a list of known meth houses. You can search the list when you’re house-hunting. The list is limited and should not be relied on as the only source for information.


You can search the database here. Click here to view the Nationwide Methamphetamine Incidents 2014 report.









KALAMAZOO, MI — A Kalamazoo man, who federal investigators say was the leader in a crystal methamphetamine trafficking operation with ties to Mexican drug cartels, has been found guilty of multiple federal offenses.


On Thursday, a jury found Francis Damien Block, 45, guilty of one count of conspiracy to distribute at least 50 grams of methamphetamine, one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to deliver at least 50 grams of meth and one count of possession with intent to distribute at least 50 grams of meth, according to court documents. Block was also found guilty of conspiracy to tamper with a witness through intimidation or threats and witness tampering through corrupt persuasion.

The trial began Monday at U.S. District Court in Kalamazoo, during which Block’s co-conspirators, Jeffrey Starrett and Michael Head, testified against him.

According to court documents, Kalamazoo Public Safety’s drug unit, Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team (KVET), has been investigating the methamphetamine trafficking operation for several years. In January 2013, KVET officers executed a search warrant at Block’s home in Cooper Township and seized meth lab components, $29,800 in cash and multiple firearms. Later that year, investigators learned from confidential informants that Block had ties with meth suppliers linked to Mexican cartels, according to the prosecution’s trial brief.

KVET officers then began surveillance on Block’s vehicles and saw him making brief trips to and from several venues in and around Kalamazoo, documents show.

“The brevity of the trips and the travels patterns appeared to officers to be indicative of drug trafficking,” wrote U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Miles Jr.

On Oct. 8, 2013, using an informant, officers conducted a controlled buy of 56 grams of crystal meth from Block, documents show. About a week later, a police informant bought another 56 grams from Block. On Oct. 23, 2013, Block was arrested, when he brought 112 grams of crystal meth in a Taco Bell bag to another controlled buy with officers.

Officers used digital audio recording devices to record the drug deals between Block and police to use as evidence against him.

Police then obtained search warrants for a home on North Arlington Street and a Stadium Drive storage unit, leased to one of Block’s co-conspirators. At the home, police found more than a pound of crystal meth, handwritten drug ledgers and about $20,000 in cash, documents show. At the storage unit, officers seized nine pounds of crystal meth and a pill bottle, bearing Block’s name.

According to the prosecution’s trial brief, Block admitted to being a meth dealer in an interview with investigators. On Nov. 7, 2013 a grand jury indicted Block, along with co-defendants Jeffrey Starrett and Michael Head. Head and Starrett both reached plea deals, which required them to testify against Block during his trial.

Court documents allege that in February 2014, officers discovered that Block was calling friends and family telling them to contact witnesses that were expected to testify against Block. Police say Block told friends and family to collect drug debts owed to Block and post bond for Block’s fellow inmate, who had agreed to intimidate and threaten potential witnesses.

These conversations from jail were recorded by police and were used as evidence against Block during trial, court documents show. During the trial, the prosecution also showed the jury more than four kilograms of seized crystal meth.

Crystal methamphetamine or ICE is high quality and extremely pure, according to KVET Captain David Boysen.

One-pot meth labs, in which people use household ingredients to produce the drug, have plagued the Kalamazoo-area for years. But recently there has been a high demand in Southwest Michigan for meth with more purity, like that which is produced in Mexican super labs, Boysen said.

“We took down a large organization that was shipping multiple pounds of ICE from Mexico. The product was moving very well, because it was in high demand,” Boysen said. “This shut down a huge source of meth in this area for years.”

Block is scheduled to be sentenced on January 20, 2015 at U.S. District Court in Kalamazoo. He faces up to life in prison and a $10 million fine.








COMSTOCK TOWNSHIP, MI— Several “one potmethamphetamine labs discovered during the execution of a search warrant have led to the arrest of a Kalamazoo resident.

Several meth labs were discovered, authorities say.

At 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5 sheriff’s deputies and officers from the Portage Department of Public Safety searched a home in the 5600 block of East Michigan Avenue, and found the labs, methamphetamine and components used in its manufacture, according to a news release from the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office.

The person in the home, whose age and gender were not identified, was arrested and faces multiple charges.









PEKIN – Federal charges, and the harsher prison terms they carry, now confront two Tazewell County men who were caught allegedly running a meth-making business out of an East Peoria home in August.James Webb, Jason Begeman, Jacob

One day after James Webb of East Peoria and Jason Begeman of Pekin were charged with conspiracy to manufacture the highly addictive drug, Jacob Reagan of rural Manito pleaded guilty to the charge in a separate case last week.

In yet a third meth-related case prosecuted in federal court, Stacy Maneno was ordered Thursday to stand trial Dec. 15, nearly two years after she was charged with taking part in a methamphetamine conspiracy while working as a Pekin city custodian assigned to police headquarters.

Their cases are all the product of Operation Copperhead, now deep into its third year of assault on meth in Tazewell, Mason and Fulton counties through local and state police investigations and federal prosecutions.

While many defendants who supply meth-makers with the prime ingredient for the drug by purchasing cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine (PSE) have been prosecuted in state courts, conspiracy leaders have found themselves in Peoria’s U.S. District Court.

That was the case last Tuesday with Webb, 48, and Begeman, 32, who were arrested with four others in a Copperhead raid Aug. 14 at Webb’s home at 339 Matheny Road in rural East Peoria.

Both face up to life in federal prison if convicted due to their prior drug-related convictions in state courts. Begeman’s total sentences in his state cases since 2000 totaled 22 1/2 years. Webb received 13 years in two cases.

Bryan McCoy, 29, of East Peoria, was sentenced last week to 48 months’ probation after pleading guilty to supplying PSE. State prosecutions continue against the three other people arrested in the raid at Webb’s home, where police allegedly found meth and remnants of the lab used to make it in a burn barrel outside the residence.

Reagan, 33, became the third of six people charged in his meth conspiracy case to plead guilty, joining Aaron Perkins, 26, also of rural Manito, and Kyle Sebree, 23, of Pekin.

He indicated in his court appearance that he hopes to lower the minimum 10-year term he faces when sentenced Jan. 28 by cooperating in the prosecution of the three alleged fellow conspirators in his case still awaiting trial — John Reagan and Timothy Grens, both 40 of Pekin, and Courtney Sykes, 23, of rural Manito.

Maneno, 39, of Pekin, has been permitted to remain free on bond since her federal case began in January 2013. A pretrial court appearance was set last week for Nov. 20.

She is accused of using her custodian position to obtain information within the Pekin Police Department on investigations of other Copperhead meth suspects, including her former husband, while taking part in a separate meth conspiracy.


ABC 6 News) — United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger announced the indictment of 11 individuals charged with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine in Minnesota. The indictment is the result of a two-year investigation, and a collaborative effort among members of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID), the Minnesota Department of Corrections, Office of Special Investigations (DOC-OSI), and several other local law enforcement partners.


According to the indictment, from approximately January 2012 through September 2014, the defendants conspired to possess and distribute methamphetamine. DANIEL SEGURA, JR., and SAGE OLLERMAN are charged with distributing approximately 26 pounds of methamphetamine in Minnesota on one occasion. MARK THOMAS BUSKOVICK, JEREMY JOSEPH HUNT, JAMIE LEE HUNT, JASON ORTEGA, JOSHUA ORTEGA, SALVADOR ORTEGA, and DANIEL SEGURA, JR., are charged with conspiring to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine in Minnesota and elsewhere. Each of the other defendants is charged with conspiring to distribute additional quantities of methamphetamine.

This case is the result of a joint investigation, which is ongoing, including law enforcement efforts from the DEA, ATF, IRS-CID, Minnesota BCA, Minnesota DOC-OSI, the South Central Drug Investigation Unit (SCDIU), the Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force (MRVDTF), the Southeast Minnesota Narcotics and Gang Task Force (SMNGTF), and the Rochester Police Department Narcotics Unit, with additional assistance from the Steele County Attorney’s Office, the Olmsted County Attorney’s Office, the Prairie Island Police Department, the Red Wing Police Department, the Owatonna Police Department, the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office, the Rochester Police Department Street Crimes Unit, and the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen Slaughter.


Defendant Information: 


Owatonna, Minn.


  • Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, 1 count
  • Distribution of Methamphetamine, 2 counts



Fresno, Calif.


  • Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, 1 count
  • Distribution of Methamphetamine, 1 count
  • Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, 1 count



Owatonna, Minn.


  • Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, 1 count
  • Distribution of Methamphetamine, 2 counts



Owatonna, Minn.


  • Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, 1 count
  • Distribution of Methamphetamine, 3 counts



Owatonna, Minn.


  • Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, 1 count
  • Distribution of Methamphetamine, 2 counts



Owatonna, Minn.


  • Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, 1 count
  • Distribution of Methamphetamine, 1 count



Owatonna, Minn.


  • Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, 1 count
  • Distribution of Methamphetamine, 1 count



Owatonna, Minn.


  • Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, 1 count
  • Distribution of Methamphetamine, 5 counts



Owatonna, Minn.


  • Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, 1 count
  • Possession of Methamphetamine and Cocaine, 1 count



Rochester, Minn.


  • Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, 1 count
  • Distribution of Methamphetamine, 2 counts



Owatonna, Minn.


  • Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, 1 count
  • Distribution of Methamphetamine, 1 count






Five people were arrested after the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force raided locations in Fort Collins, Longmont, Lakewood and Arvada.

Investigators seized over 12 pounds of methamphetamine, more than $8,800 in cash, cocaine, prescription pills, and one firearm during the raids, said Lieutenant David Pearson, Commander with the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force.

Five suspects were arrested on various charges, including twin brothers Darrick and Darren Heimann. Dean Duran, Richard Maddox and Gerald Moore were also arrested.

It was part of a long-term investigation into methamphetamine distribution in Larimer County, Pearson said.








In a labyrinthine shantytown in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district, an impoverished community is awash in crystal methamphetamine, or “ice,” a cheap and highly addictive drug being peddled from family homes and used by residents as young as 12.


Police made more than 50 arrests in the area last month, but community members say the kingpin is a high-level official and that local authorities collude in the drug trade.

Just across the road from Preah Kosamak hospital, Trapang Chhouk village in Toek Thla commune is obscured from sight, but each narrow alley off the street is an entry point into a rickety maze of wooden walkways and dead ends connecting some 200 corrugated huts that totter over a rubbish-clogged drainage pond.

It is no secret here that the floating village is a crystal meth den. The wooden planks, littered with empty “baggies” and other evidence of drug use, are patrolled by a gang of gaunt teenagers, who offered to supply reporters with “whatever you want.”

“Be careful. The people in there, they sell drugs like they are selling fish,” said a moto-taxi driver parked nearby, who like all interviewees spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.

Inside the neighborhood, members of two families whose huts stand about a meter apart across the narrow walkway described an open market where ice is sold from most doorways. They said that the ubiquity of the drug’s use foretold a bleak future for their children. They also admitted to selling the drug.

“Drugs are distributed here all the time, every day and night,” said the 45-year-old father of one family. His neighbor, a woman in her forties, estimated that at least 80 percent of all families in the community sell crystal meth to supplement legitimate sources of income.

The woman’s 12-year-old daughter said children as young as her are habitual users and that young people from surrounding neighborhoods were flocking to the area.

“If you want to buy drugs, you just need $5. I can get it for you now,” the girl said.


‘Big Fish’

Police and local authorities say they are doing their best to clean up the village. But carrying out raids in the area is logistically difficult, they explain, as dealers use lookouts to evade arrest, leaving only users and low-level distributors for police to sweep up.

“Police and local authorities know all about the drug distribution,” said another resident and small-time dealer, 46, adding that most people pay officers bribes to avoid arrest.

“The ‘big fish’ is a high-ranking general, and when police come, they do not arrest dealers based here, just users and outsiders,” he said.

Tann Navin, the commune chief since 2009, denied that local authorities were involved in illegal activity. But he admitted that a high-ranking military police official was suspected of backing the supply and distribution of crystal meth in Trapang Chhouk.

“I think it’s true that a high-ranking officer is behind this, which makes it hard to suppress, as dealers are warned ahead of time and we can only arrest users,” he said. “Also, the users often come back a few days later because punishment for using is slight.”

Many of the families who live in the impoverished community lost their original homes in a 2008 fire. When authorities failed to relocate them, they built crude shelters over the wreckage. According to Mr. Navin, the area also houses a number of transient renters, which makes it difficult to estimate how many people actually live there.

“We know there are about 200 houses, but we can’t control the number of people who are moving in and out,” he said, adding that building on the swampy land is illegal as it is privately owned. He said he did not know who the owner was.

Sen Sok district police chief Mak Hong dismissed accusations that officers were colluding with drug dealers as pure rumor and blamed commune authorities for tolerating illegal construction that had created a haphazard warren that is difficult to access and navigate.

“Neither police nor any other authorities are involved with drugs there, so we cannot accept the residents’ accusations blaming us for the problem,” he said, adding that police are continually carrying out raids in an effort to flush out dealers.

“The location of the area is too complex, and some of the houses are built right in the water, so when authorities crack down, dealers can jump into the water, and some hide in the water underneath the floor.”

Mr. Hong suggested greater cooperation between commune and district officials to identify and monitor the neighborhood’s residents.

“Those houses must be shut down or people must be forced to register…because the drugs are being brought into the area from elsewhere and the dealers are unknown,” he said.

“If the houses were not there, there would be no drugs. But it is not the police’s responsibility to close this place.”

Bann Sopheap, chief of the municipal military police’s anti-drug department, whose unit has led most of the recent raids in Trapang Chhouk, said rumors that the community was being lorded over by a high-ranking military official were untrue and that purging the area of dealers was a work in progress.

“We are not stopping our crackdown on either drug users or smugglers there, and our officers are there every day investigating to find the ringleaders,” he said. Three men arrested in the area were sent to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday and charged with using and distributing crystal meth, he added, while 11 more had been placed in pretrial detention.


Tip of the Iceberg

Dave Harding, a technical advisor for drug programs at the NGO Friends International, said the situation in Trapang Chhouk is just the tip of the crystal meth iceberg in the country.

The fact that drug abuse, and associated criminal activity, is flourishing in certain impoverished urban communities—which are not lucrative markets in the global drug trade—suggests that the volume of narcotics available in the country is significantly greater than authorities are willing to admit, he said.

“When a community is this isolated, it can become a no-go area, and often crime operates like a spider web on the ‘bong thom,’ or big brother, network, with a well-connected person at the center and the people on the outer edges get picked up by now and again by police,” he added. “[T]he person at the center won’t be touched.”

National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith and City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche both declined to comment on the situation in Trapang Chhouk.

A European Union security report on Southeast Asia and China released in April found that in Cambodia, corruption within police ranks was impeding proper enforcement of drug laws.

“Law enforcement capacity remains limited in Cambodia. Corruption within a handful of law enforcement officials should be addressed with further efforts to reduce drugs trafficking and abuse,” the report says.

In its annual report released in March, the International Narcotics Control Board found that in 2013, Cambodia had become a regional hub for heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine trafficking, and expressed concern that methamphetamine was also being produced in the country for a domestic market.

The report also criticized the government for failing to pursue major drug traffickers.

“Lower-level drug traffickers and drug abusers continue to be the primary targets of drug control efforts in Cambodia,” it says.

A 54-year-old resident of Trapang Chhouk, whose son is currently serving a prison sentence for using and distributing small amounts of ice, lamented this injustice.

They will never target the big dealers or a three-star general,” he said. “It is easier to arrest people like my son.”







A 35-year-old man was arrested at the Royal Inn in Ocala on Saturday morning and charged with trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia and violation of probation.

According to Marion County Sheriff reports, Deputy Roman Gabriel went to the Royal Inn at 2900 S. Pine Ave. at about 8:20 a.m. Saturday to serve a felony warrant on Randy Dale Solt, who was staying in room 26 at the inn.

Solt opened the door and said he wanted to put on his shoes. Not wanting to lose sight of Solt, Gabriel followed him into the room, which was hazy and had a chemical odor. In addition to seeing a glass pipe, other items used in making methamphetamine were in clear view, and the drug unit was called.

Solt subsequently was arrested on the warrant. He was being held at the Marion County Jail on Sunday on no bond on the violation of probation and a total of $25,500 bond on the other charge.








FORT BERTHOLD INDIAN RESERVATION, N.D. – Tribal police Sgt. Dawn White is racing down a dusty two-lane road — siren blaring, police radio crackling — as she attempts to get to the latest 911 call on a reservation that is a blur of oil rigs and bright-orange gas flares.

Troy Yazzie

“Move! C’mon, get out of the fricking way!” White yells as she hits 102 mph and weaves in and out of a line of slow-moving tractor-trailers that stretches for miles.

In just five years, the Bakken formation in North Dakota has gone from producing about 200,000 barrels to 1.1 million barrels of oil a day, making North Dakota the No. 2 oil-producing state, behind Texas, and luring thousands of workers.

But there is a dark side to the multibillion-dollar boom in the oil fields, which stretch across western North Dakota into Montana and part of Canada. The arrival of highly paid oil workers living in sprawling “man camps” with limited spending opportunities has led to a crime wave – including murders, aggravated assaults, rapes, human trafficking and robberies – fueled by a huge market for illegal drugs, primarily heroin and methamphetamine.

Especially hard-hit are the Indian lands at the heart of the Bakken. Created in 1870 on rolling grasslands along the Missouri River, Fort Berthold was named after a U.S. Army fort and is home to the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation – known as the MHA Nation, or the Three Affiliated Tribes.

‘Like a tidal wave’

“It’s like a tidal wave, it’s unbelievable,” said Diane Johnson, chief judge at the MHA Nation. She said crime has tripled in the past two years and that 90 percent is drug-related. “The drug problem that the oil boom has brought is destroying our reservation.”

Once farmers and traders, the Mandan was the tribe that gave Lewis and Clark safe harbor on their expedition to the Northwest but was decimated in the mid-1830s by smallpox. Over many years, the 12 million acres awarded to the three tribes by treaty in 1851 has been reduced to 1 million.

The U.S. government in 1947 built the Garrison Dam and created Lake Sakakawea, a 479-square-mile body of water that flooded the land of the Three Affiliated Tribes, wiped out much of their farming and ranching economy, and forced most of them to relocate to higher ground on the prairie.

“When the white man said ‘This will be your reservation,’ little did they know those Badlands would now have oil and gas,” MHA Nation Chairman Tex “Red Tipped Arrow” Hall said in an energy company video last year. “Those Badlands were coined because they’re nothing but gully, gumbo and clay. Grass won’t grow, and horses can’t eat and cattle or buffalo can’t hardly eat … but there’s huge oil and gas reserves under those Badlands now.”

The oil boom could potentially bring hundreds of millions of dollars to the tribes, creating the opportunity to build new roads, schools, and badly needed housing and health facilities. But the money is coming with a steep social cost, according to White, her fellow tribal officers and federal officials who are struggling to keep up with the onslaught of drugs and crime.

“We are dealing with stuff we’ve never seen before,” White said after leaving the scene of the latest disturbance fueled by drugs and alcohol. “No one was prepared for this.”

The 20-member tribal police force is short-staffed and losing officers to higher-paying jobs on the oil fields. Sometimes, there are only two tribal officers on duty to cover the whole reservation, including part of the North Dakota Badlands. There is only one substance-abuse treatment center, with room for only nine patients at a time, to help the soaring number of heroin and meth addicts.

Over the summer, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy singled out drug trafficking in the Bakken oil patch as a “burgeoning threat.” Violent crime in North Dakota’s Williston Basin region, which includes the reservation, increased 121 percent from 2005 to 2011. The Bakken is also experiencing a large influx of motorcycle gangs, trying to claim “ownership” of the territory and facilitating prostitution and the drug trade, according to a federal report.

“Up until a few years ago, Fort Berthold was a typical reservation struggling with the typical economic problems that you find in Indian country,” said Timothy Purdon, the U.S. attorney for North Dakota, whose office prosecutes violent crime on the reservation.

“But now, boom – barrels of oil mean barrels of money,” Purdon said. “More money and more people equals more crime. And whether the outsiders came here to work on a rig and decided it would be easier to sell drugs or they came here to sell drugs, it doesn’t make any difference. They’re selling drugs. An unprecedented amount.”

‘Worst tragedy’

Hall, the longtime chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes, called it the “worst tragedy” on the Fort Berthold reservation in his memory.

On a November afternoon two years ago, an intruder burst into a home in New Town, the largest town on the reservation, and shot and killed a grandmother and three of her grandchildren with a hunting rifle. A fourth grandchild, a 12-year-old boy, survived by hiding under his slain brother’s body and pretending he was dead.

The young man responsible for the killings slit his own throat hours later in a nearby town. He was high on meth, according to federal officials.

On the same day, in an unrelated incident, Sgt. White stopped a motorist who was wanted on an outstanding warrant. As she grabbed the handle of his car door, the driver, who had drugs in the vehicle, took off, dragging her on the ground for half a block and sending her to the hospital with a concussion.

It seemed as though big-city drug violence had arrived like a sudden storm.

Purdon and the FBI teamed up with White and other tribal officers, focusing on a large-scale drug-trafficking ring led by two brothers from Wasco, Calif. – “Happy” and “Oscar” Lopez. In the summer of 2013, in an investigation dubbed Operation Winter’s End, Purdon indicted 22 people, including the Lopez brothers as well as members of the tribes, for dealing heroin and meth on or around Fort Berthold. The drugs came from Mexico through Southern California, officials said.

Since then, Purdon has indicted more than 40 other people who have all pleaded guilty to felony drug charges in the Winter’s End case, with a large amount of the meth and heroin also coming from gangs in Chicago or dealers in Minneapolis.

Investigating crime on Fort Berthold is more difficult than most places because the reservation sits in six different counties each with its own sheriff – some of whom do not have a good relationship with the tribe, according to tribal members. If the suspect and perpetrator are both Native American, the tribal police or the FBI handle the arrest. But if the suspect is not Native American, in most cases the tribal police can detain the suspect but then have to call the sheriff in the county where the crime occurred. Sometimes they have to wait several hours before a deputy arrives to make the arrest. In a murder case, the state or the FBI might be involved.

In the quadruple murder, for example, all four victims were white. But police didn’t immediately know whether the perpetrator was white or Native American, so there was initial confusion among law enforcement officials about who was in charge of the investigation.

“Can you imagine the idea that we didn’t know the race of the shooter, so we didn’t know at first who had jurisdiction over the homicide?” Purdon asked. “That’s not something your typical county sheriff has to deal with.”

The killer was later identified as a 21-year-old Native American.

In the front seat of her cruiser, White, an Army veteran who grew up in Fort Berthold, carries an eagle feather and a photograph of the rodeo-champion grandfather who raised her.

Volk calls her “the eyes and ears of the reservation,” a cop who is able to find anyone. Her fervor to save her people from the ravages of heroin and meth gives White the fortitude to arrest even tribal members she knows well.

“I put the uniform on,” White said, “I have no family. I have no friends.”

Before she sets out on patrol, she lights the end of braided sweet grass, a tradition of the Plains Indians to drive away bad spirits. White, a mother of three, places it on her dashboard for protection.

White also carries a set of pink handcuffs, a personal signature that she says represents “girl power.”

Housing shortage

Responding to a call, White pulls up to the reservation’s 4 Bears Casino and Lodge to check on a call about a small child who was left inside a car while her mother went inside to gamble.

Lined up outside the casino’s hotel are four other police cars. They are not the cruisers of officers who have come to investigate the child. They belong to several new recruits who have no place to live.

The housing shortage has forced officers to move with their families into casino hotel rooms until homes are built for them.

Three Affiliated Tribes Police Chief Chad Johnson said he needs at least 50 more officers.

“I get a lot of applicants from all over,” Johnson said. “The first thing they ask is if we have housing available. We’ve been putting them up in the casino, but some of them have families and they don’t want their families living in a casino.”

Johnson, the judge, has the same problem recruiting prosecutors. “We can’t get them to come to the MHA Nation because of the lack of housing and the community is becoming so unsafe,” she said. “It is extremely dangerous to live here now.”

While Fort Berthold needs more police officers, housing for recruits, more tribal prosecutors and judges, and additional drug treatment facilities, some residents say their leaders have made questionable purchases, including a yacht. Just behind the casino on the lake sits a gleaming white 96-foot yacht that the tribe purchased last year to be used for a riverboat gambling operation.

While some federal officials have questioned the tribe’s financial priorities, tribe members have called for an investigation into their leader’s business dealings.

Earlier this year, the seven-member tribal business council led by Hall voted to hire a former U.S. attorney to examine Hall’s private oil and gas business dealings on Fort Berthold – including his relationship with James Henrikson, a man who was arrested on felony weapons charges and was indicted recently on 11 counts, including murder-for-hire of an associate.

Hall, who served as chairman for 12 years, lost his re-election bid the same week. In a statement, he has denied “affiliation with any gangs” and said he is cooperating with federal investigators in the Henrikson case. Another member of the tribal council, Barry Benson, was arrested this year on drug charges.

Federal officials have sent more agents and resources to the Bakken, tripling the number of prosecutions in what Purdon calls a “robust response” to the crime wave.

But, he added, “it’s not for me to talk about what the appropriate response is by the state of North Dakota, or these counties and the tribe.”

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., last month created a task force of North Dakotans to focus on the increase in drug-related crime and human trafficking in the Bakken, including Fort Berthold.

The state “could absolutely do more,” Heitkamp said in an interview, pointing to the need for more mental-health services, drug treatment facilities and drug courts. “We are blessed with a growing economy and the country’s lowest unemployment rate, but there was a 20 percent increase in drug crimes in North Dakota last year,” Heitkamp said. “A better-coordinated response from the state would be helpful. The lack of roads, housing and law enforcement has stretched this small rural reservation to the max.”

Earlier this year at a tribal conference in Bismarck, N.D., which Purdon and Attorney General Eric Holder attended, White was presented with an award for her work trying to eradicate drug trafficking at Fort Berthold. She choked back tears as she walked to the podium, where she dedicated her award to her Native American grandparents who raised her.

She spoke about the time she has spent away from her three children because of her job.

“I sacrifice because this is the only place I’m going to be a cop, the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation,” White said, her voice cracking.

“This is the last of what my people have,” White said. “Our people have survived so many things in history. The methamphetamine use, the heroin use, is just another epidemic like smallpox and boarding schools. And the last of the last are going to have to survive. And I want to be in the front lines because that was my vow – to protect my people.”








Back in June, we lamented from this very space, two arrests that had happened in just a matter of days from one another, both having to do with possession and potential sale of methamphetamine here in Steele County or certainly within Minnesota. In one of the cases, a Nebraska couple was stopped on Interstate 35 between Geneva and Ellendale with 20 pounds of the drug — something that would have the street value of about $900,000.

It would have been nice to say that those two arrests would have wiped the scourge of meth from the streets of Steele County.

Unfortunately, we can’t. Indeed, if the events of this week teach us anything they teach us that meth use and abuse is strong here.

On Wednesday, several different law enforcement agencies — local, statewide and federal — began serving warrants, eventually arresting 11 people connected to what is said to be a large drug-trafficking operation based in Owatonna. The operation, which has been present here for what law enforcement says is a “long time,” has been operating in several states in addition to Minnesota.

It doesn’t take much to realize the danger of meth. Just pop on the Internet and look at the physical devastation that meth inflicts on users in a year or so — sometimes just in a matter of months — and you will see how dangerous of a drug it is. Or just read a list of its ingredients — ingredients such as battery acid, antifreeze or drain cleaner.

Clearly, this is a dangerous drug.

In the early to mid-2000s, Minnesota did well in cracking down on meth labs through both its increased enforcement and legislation that made it more difficult to obtain some of the essential ingredients for manufacturing — or “cooking” — the drug. And for a while, it worked.

That’s when the dealers found another way of securing and selling the product — importing it from outside. And no doubt about it, it’s coming back, and if the arrests this week tell us anything, they tell us it’s coming back here.

We’re thankful that the law enforcement agencies worked together over the past year and a half to make the arrests and help crack down on this dangerous drug. But we are not so naïve to think that this means the end to the scourge of methamphetamine in our communities.

In fact, when we asked law enforcement agencies for more details about the arrests, they remained quite tight-lipped. Why? Because, they said, the investigation is ongoing.

In other words, stay tuned. The story isn’t over yet. There may be more warrants, more arrests and more prosecutions in the near future. And that means just one thing — there’s more meth out there.

This should frighten any Minnesotan who knows the effects of methamphetamine and should compel us all to press for even tougher laws and enforcement.