Former surfing world champion and recovering methamphetamine-addict Tom Carroll has issued a stern warning to casual users that the drug “will be their biggest taker”.

Carroll became addicted to methamphetamine, also known as ice, in the early 2000s – almost a decade after his professional surfing career ended.6446484-3x2-340x227

He said the impact of ice addiction was wide-reaching and extended beyond the user.

“It can tear whole communities apart,” he said.

“It doesn’t just tear the family, but the ripple effect goes right out to the whole community and it just destroys us from the inside out.”

Carroll’s comments come after the Federal Government last month announced plans to form a national taskforce to tackle the growing methamphetamine trade.

“I think [the taskforce] is a great idea to have attention and not to turn away from it,” he said.

Carroll warned users the path to ice addiction was slippery and fraught with danger.

While he initially turned to the drug to help deal with personal and professional challenges, Carroll said his habit quickly spiraled out of control.

“It wasn’t me that started to emerge,” he said.

“It was someone very angry, someone who was toxic, someone who was falling apart emotionally and trying to hold up.

“I was lucky to get help at the right time and be open to it.”

After entering rehab in 2006, Carroll was able to rebuild his life and today helps others deal with the terrible toll of addiction.

He warned users not to treat their drug use lightly.

“Just know that they’re treading on thin ice – literally,” he said.

Police fear warnings go unheeded

NSW Drug Squad Commander Detective Inspector Tony Cooke said police were concerned their messages were not reaching casual or recreational ice users, who researches say account for 70 per cent of methamphetamine users.

He said anyone considering using ice should pay attention to the stories of recovered addicts.

“We need to get the message to them that the results will be the same,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter where you come from, the results will be the same.

“It fries your brain and … it will get you.”

Casual users do not fear addiction

David from inner-city Melbourne used the drug for the first time at a 60th birthday party.

“I smoked it with the birthday boy … out of a wine glass,” he said.

David, who works as a social worker and studies, said he had used ice casually, but has never become addicted.

“In my old work, which was an office job, you’d go out with friends and someone might use it and that was about it,” he said.

“There [are] plenty of people I know who use it who aren’t addicts by any means.”

But Carroll warned that kind of thinking could be dangerous.

“It will be your greatest taker and it will take everything,” he said.

WHEELING – Consider this: over the past 12 months, the illicit drug of choice in the Northern Panhandle has gone from prescription pain pills to heroin and now … to crystal meth.

Meth that’s being manufactured in Mexico is increasingly making its way into the Upper Ohio Valley, U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld said. He attributes the upward trend in crystal meth to a heightened supply and demand environment nurtured by an influx of out-of-state workers.632088_1

“There has been an explosion of crystal meth in Brooke and Hancock counties,” he said. “Generally, there appears to be a demand from people who come to West Virginia to work.”

He said one of the short-term effects of meth is decreased fatigue and increased activity and wakefulness.

“It leads to more physical activity and they are able to work longer hours than workers who are not using it,” he said.

Ihlenfeld said Mexican crystal meth is being mass produced in factory-like settings.

 “In the end, we are seeing fewer people making meth locally and more people are buying it already made,” he said.

A January report published by the El Paso, Texas Intelligence Center of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration shows heroin seizures along the U.S./Mexican border have nearly tripled since 2009, while meth seizures have quintupled. Meth seizures have also far outnumbered those for cocaine and marijuana.

The fact meth is being mass-produced in factory settings makes drug cartels less concerned with shipments being caught, simply because so much is being made available.

Ihlenfeld said the Mexican meth is leading to a drop in local meth manufacturing. Also contributing to that decline are new safeguards concerning the sale of cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine.

“We have done a good job of making it more difficult to manufacture meth,” he said. “A major component of any meth operation is a steady flow of pseudoephedrine, often found in over-the-counter cold medicines. Now, people buying these products must show ID and that information is put into the NPLEx System that tracks purchases.”

The National Precursor Log Exchange, or NPLEx, is a real-time electronic logging system used by pharmacies and law enforcement to track sales of over-the-counter cold and allergy medications containing precursors to the illegal drug, methamphetamine.

“The system will flag customers who make multiple purchases of pseudoephedrine-based products,” he said.

Ihlenfeld said the people who make meth are known as “cooks,” and those who gather ingredients are called “smurfs.” The smurfs typically are paid by getting a share of the manufactured meth.

He said the average street cost of meth in the northern district of West Virginia is $100-$200 for one gram; and there are 453 grams in one pound.

Ihlenfeld said the most meth ever found by his office recently brought a conviction in Federal Court in Elkins.

During a December traffic stop in Wardensville, police found Noel Barrera Silva, a 25-year-old foreign national living in Moorefield, W.Va., with four pounds of crystal meth, which could have a street value of up about $300,000, depending upon supply and demand.

Ihlenfeld said some short-term effects of meth, in addition to the wakefulness, include euphoria and rush, decreased appetite, increased respiration, cardiovascular problems and hyperthermia. Many meth addicts also have what’s known as “meth mouth” – severe tooth decay and loss of teeth, as well as tooth fracture, acid erosion, and other oral problems potentially symptomatic of extended use of the drug.

Crystal meth can be smoked with a glass pipe, swallowed, injected or snorted.—.html

El Centro police, with the aide of their drug-sniffing dog, stopped a vehicle Saturday with more than 18 pounds of methamphetamine hidden in a spare tire, according to authorities.

Although two suspects were initially arrested, officers released one and only booked Gilbert Ochoa, 32, of El Centro into county jail on suspicion of felony possession and transportation of methamphetamine for sale, according to El Centro police Cmdr. Robert Sawyer.5547f40275c04_image

“The El Centro Police K‐9 Unit has proven itself to be very effective in the short time it’s been in service,” Sawyer said in a press release issued Monday.

Police Officer James Thompson was on patrol with his canine partner, Tico, when he pulled over a vehicle traveling west in the 1200 block of Pico Avenue for a vehicle code violation around 5 p.m. Saturday, according to police.

After the driver and passenger appeared nervous, according to the release, consent was given to search the vehicle. Tico alerted to the rear area of the vehicle, where Thompson and officers discovered 20 packages of a substance that later tested positive as methamphetamine. The combined was in excess of 18 pounds.

“This seizure is significant in that it helps stymie the flow of illegal drugs in El Centro and the Imperial County,” Sawyer said. The street value of the methamphetamine was estimated to be $430,900.

“We are proud of the fact that our officers are taking a proactive approach to protect our community by taking drugs off of the streets and out of our neighborhoods,” Sawyer added.

Don’t buy a Methamphetamine house

Posted: 5th May 2015 by Doc in Uncategorized

The big blue two-story sitting on a large lot in rural Morgan County seemed like the home of Chris and Jenny Nugent’s dreams.

It was the place the couple envisioned their young family settling down into an idyllic country life.

But only months after moving into their Dream Home, the Nugents found themselves entangled in a nightmare — a financial and emotional mess that, two years later, continues to haunt them.

Their new home, the couple learned after family members began experiencing a variety of health problems, was contaminated by methamphetamine.

The family’s experience also should serve as a warning to prospective home buyers across Indiana: Home inspectors do not routinely test for meth, even though its presence can lead to nausea, diarrhea, body aches, coughing and breathing issues.

And Hoosiers are most at risk.

Indiana has led the nation in meth lab seizures the last two years, with an average of more than four discovered by state police and local law enforcement officers every day. Many of those are in homes. And experts say that is only the tip of the iceberg — thousands of other homes across the state are likely contaminated by residents making or using the potent and potentially toxic drug.

It is a risk the Nugents, like many Hoosiers looking to buy a home, had never even considered. But as the family learned the hard way, the contamination could have been detected by spending a few hundred dollars for testing.

“We were just shell-shocked when we found out,” Jenny Nugent explained. “What I would tell other people looking for a house is to have it tested.”

Disclosure relies on seller’s honesty

Despite the state’s pervasive meth problem, Indiana property law and public health regulations offer limited protections to consumers.

And some of the rules that do exist depend on the honesty of the seller — the very person who also may have been cooking or using the illicit drug.

The state’s real estate sales disclosure form, for instance, asks sellers specifically about meth contamination under a section that covers hazardous conditions.

“Is there contamination caused by the manufacture of a controlled substance on the property that has not been certified as decontaminated by a licensed inspector?” sellers are asked. “Has there been manufacture of methamphetamine or dumping of waste from the manufacture of methamphetamine in a residential structure on the property?”

That disclosure is supposed to be based on the “current actual knowledge” of the seller, but requires an honest answer.

Real estate agents also have a responsibility — under state law covering their duties and obligations — to “disclose to a prospective buyer or tenant adverse material facts or risks actually known by the licensee …”

However, the law notes, “a licensee representing a seller or landlord owes no duty to conduct an independent inspection of the property for the buyer or tenant or to verify the accuracy of any statement, written or oral, made by the seller, the landlord, or an independent inspector.”

In most cases, the fact is, a licensed real estate agent would not know whether or not meth had been made or used in a home.

And testing for meth is not part of a standard pre-sale home inspection in Indiana or any other state.

One potentially helpful tool for home buyers is an Indiana State Police public database launched last year that identifies the locations of meth lab seizures going back to 2007.

But homes and other sites that have been cleaned up to standards set by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management are removed from the list. And it doesn’t take into account the untold others where meth has been made or used without police detection.

The true number of contaminated homes remains unknown to authorities and is difficult to estimate, said First Sgt. Niki Crawford, commander of the ISP meth suppression section. While police in Indiana have been aggressive — intervening at an average of more than 1,260 lab sites a year since 2003 — Crawford said that may only represent 25 to 40 percent of the total.

“What we find,” she explained, “is still a low number.”

Symptoms mimic the flu, but stay

Signs of meth contamination aren’t always obvious, and the hazards can linger for months or longer, said Nick Gromicko of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors.

“It’s a growing concern, and not just for prospective buyers,” he said. “Not long ago we had an inspector in Idaho who was hospitalized” after being exposed to meth residue while going through a home.

“The primary thing that lingers,” said ISP’s Crawford, “is the meth itself.”

The easiest ways to spot contamination, she said, are spills or the haphazard dumping of materials used to make the drug, including acids and solvents.

But the bigger problem — responsible for health hazards that often remain unseen — comes from smoking, or the final stage of the manufacturing process when drug-makers introduce a gas that turns the toxic liquid brew into a solid. Residue from the smoke and gas bubbles permeates rooms and sticks to walls, cabinets and other surfaces.

“Its nothing you are going to be able to look at and see,” Crawford explained. “For the most part, you are not going to know.”

The NACHI websites says “carpeting, wallboard, ceiling tile and fabric may absorb spilled or vaporized chemicals.” The witch’s brew of chemicals used to make the drug includes bleach, drain cleaner, battery acid, lye, insecticide, ammonia and muriatic acid.

Crawford said exposure to those chemicals can lead to severe skin irritation and other health problems. Exposure to the more subtle meth residue, she added, can cause nausea, diarrhea, body aches, coughing and breathing issues. Children, the elderly and those with other health problems are most at risk.

“Symptoms often mimic the flu,” she said, “but they will not go away.”

‘Somebody was constantly sick’

The Nugents’ dog and children were the first to experience the symptoms from meth exposure, the tell-tale signs beginning to show up just months after the couple purchased the home in April 2013.

“We all experienced different problems,” Jenny Nugent explained.

The couple’s infant son, who was less than a year old, began experiencing intestinal problems and became uncharacteristically irritable. She suffered shortness of breath and migraines, a symptom also experienced by her oldest daughter. Her husband found himself struggling with a burning sensation in his eyes.

“Somebody was constantly sick,” Jenny Nugent said. “It felt like we were just passing the flu around.”

A chance conversation with a neighbor about 10 months after the family moved into the home finally revealed the likely cause of those troubling symptoms. They were told the former owner and resident were suspected of making and using meth.

When they had the home tested in February 2014, the Nugents were shocked to learn the meth contamination was 18 times the level deemed safe by IDEM — a standard that applied only if the home had been the site of a law enforcement intervention.

“We couldn’t in good conscience keep our kids there,” Jenny Nugent said.

So the family moved out of its new home and into an apartment. Paying rent and a mortgage, plus utilities and insurance on the vacant house, put a strain on the family’s finances. But they decided they would not go back, even after it was successfully decontaminated.

“We debated about going back and it would make sense financially,” she explained. “It’s been such a nightmare and we don’t want to relive all that.”

The couple filed a lawsuit in April 2014 against the former owner and the real estate agent who handled the sale, and the case is pending in Morgan County Superior Court. They claim both the seller and real estate agent “intentionally withheld” information they knew about meth use and contamination at the house.

In court documents, both the sellers and real estate agent deny the Nugents’ claim.

As the court case works slowly through the legal system, the Nugents are in the process of trying to sell the house — and have disclosed the meth issue, as required by law, even though the home has been decontaminated to a safe standard.

It’s the latest development in a saga they could not have fathomed when they bought what they thought was going to be their Dream Home.

Any home is vulnerable

Jenny Nugent has advice for other home buyers.

“I would not trust people,” she said. “Even though they are required to make disclosure, you could still be relying on a drug addict to be honest.”

Instead, she said, prospective buyers should spend the money to have a home tested for meth before they agree to finalizing a purchase.

While neither Indiana nor any other state currently requires meth testing as part of a pre-sale home inspection, Gromicko of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors said many inspectors do offer such testing for an additional fee.

Donetta Held, who operates Bloomfield-based Crisis Cleaning, is a state-certified meth clean-up expert and has been cleaning homes of the drug’s residue since 2007. She said the business gets calls almost daily about meth-contaminated homes.

Held said consumers can get a do-it-youself test kit for about $50, while professional testing can run from several hundred to more than $1,000 per room.

The testing involves taking swab samples from surfaces throughout a room or house. And, she warned, even a clean test result is no guarantee a house is totally free of meth.

“A negative test result,” she explained, “just means there wasn’t meth in the area you tested.”

Held and other experts suggest prospective buyers do a little detective work before closing on a home purchase.

Talk to neighbors and check the state police database, they say. And look for signs, such as missing smoke detectors, chemical stains on walls or floors, security measures such as cameras or baby monitors outside of buildings, and stained or dead vegetation where chemicals were dumped. Other warning signs include discarded equipment used to cook meth: pressure cookers, jugs, pH test strips, rubber gloves, funnels and coffee filters or strainers.

Buyers may also want to talk to local police, even if there hasn’t been a lab seizure, to see if they’ve had any suspicion or tips about meth use at the home.

And Held has one more piece of important advice: In Indiana, meth contamination can be found almost anywhere.

“When I started doing this, I was under the illusion it was just trashy homes,” she said. “But that’s not the case. We see it everywhere — from trailers to some very high-dollar houses.”

CADILLAC — A 30-year-old Cadillac man is facing life in prison after he was charged in 84th District Court of Wexford County with multiple drug offenses involving methamphetamine, child abuse and a habitual offender fourth offense notice.59720

Timothy Duane Miller Jr. was charged with operating/maintaining a laboratory involving methamphetamine second or subsequent offense; conspiracy to commit operating/maintaining a laboratory involving methamphetamine second or subsequent offense with Sarah Perry and Bradley Little; delivery/manufacture of methamphetamine/ecstasy second or subsequent offense; possession of methamphetamine/ecstasy second or subsequent offense; maintaining a drug house second or subsequent offense; and child abuse third degree for exposing a child to methamphetamine for his alleged connection with an incident occurring on or about April 18 in Cadillac, according to court records.

The penalties for those charges ranged from four to 40 years with fines as high as $70,000 but due to the habitual offender notice he now faces life in prison if convicted, court records indicate. Previous convictions include maintaining a drug house, fleeing and alluding fourth degree in Wexford County as well as a conviction of homicide-manslaughter with a motor vehicle in Missaukee County in December 2006 stemming from a crash on Nov. 11, 2005.

A $250,000 cash or surety bond was issued and a probable cause conference has been scheduled for 1 p.m. on May 5.

On May 2, 2015, at approximately 2:53 a.m., Deputy Duncan from the Sheriff’s Central Station observed a suspicious vehicle in the area of Pumalo Street and Del Rosa Drive in the city of San Bernardino. Deputy Duncan attempted to stop the vehicle for vehicle code violations and to investigate the suspicious activity observed.

The vehicle failed to yield, fleeing onto the I-210 freeway toward Highland. Deputies pursued the vehicle through the streets of Highland until the suspect came to a dead end in the cul-de-sac of Clover Hill Drive in Highland. The driver/suspect, later identified as Andrew Redmond, 21, of San Bernardino, maneuvered around two patrol units and rammed a third patrol unit head on. Redmond and his passenger, Daniele Peake of San Bernardino, were detained without further incident.

Redmond had a felony no bail armed and dangerous parole warrant and admitted to being high on PCP and methamphetamine. He was arrested for Assault with a Deadly Weapon on a Peace Officer, Felony Evading, Bringing Drugs into a Jail and his outstanding warrant.

Danielle Peake, the passenger, was arrested for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Possession of Burglary Tools (shaved keys) and she admitted to being high on methamphetamine. Peake also stated she was six months pregnant.

Local and state law enforcement agencies retrieved one and a half pounds of methamphetamine and a pound of marijuana buried 6 inches deep in gravel and clay over the weekend in a Vidor home and another half pound of methamphetamine in a car belonging to the home owner, Orange Sheriff’s Office reported Monday.

Investigators searched Ben Doyle Vaughn III’s home in the 100 block of Claire Street in Vidor Saturday about 8:50 p.m. in a joint operation after Orange County District Judge Courtney Arkeen issued an arrest warrant for the residence.

During the search, investigators found the half pound of methamphetamine in Vaughn’s vehicle, the sheriff’s office reported. At that time, deputies requested the assistance of Beaumont police’s K-9 Unit.

The police dogs then helped locate the methamphetamine and marijuana that had been buried in a sealed container, the sheriff’s office reported.

In Vaughn’s home, detectives found two stolen firearms and cash that detectives believe to be proceeds of methamphetamine sales, according to a news release.

Vaughn faces a possession of a controlled substance charge, a first degree felony, and possession of marijuana greater than four ounces and less than five pounds, a state jail felony. Vaughn is also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

His bond was set at $130,200. Vaughn made bail Sunday and was released from the Orange County jail.

The search warrant was the result of a six-month investigation into the illegal distribution of methamphetamine that has been impacting Jefferson and Orange counties, the City of Orange and the Cities of Lake Charles and Sulphur Louisiana.

Police acting on a tip from the public found 44 kilos of methamphetamine and heroin with a street value of more than $1.5 million hidden on a bus headed to Tijuana, a border city in the northwestern Mexican state of Baja California, federal prosecutors said.

Two suspects were arrested for smuggling the drugs, which were hidden in the floorboards of the bus, the federal Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.

Criminal Investigations Agency, or AIC, agents stopped the bus on the Chihuahua City-Nuevo Casas Grandes federal highway near Los Sauces, the AG’s office said.

A drug-sniffing dog detected the drugs hidden under the floorboards, which were removed, revealing a secret compartment that contained several packages of three different illegal substances.

AIC agents discovered 56 packages of methamphetamine weighing 37.2 kilos, 4.4 kilos of white heroin in four packages and 1.4 kilos of black heroin.

The white heroin has an estimated street value in the United States of $150,000 per kilo, while the black heroin is worth $50,000 to $80,000 and the methamphetamine has a street value of about $25,000, putting the total value of the seizure at more than $1.5 million, the AG’s office said.

The suspects, the drugs and the bus were turned over to federal prosecutors, who will conduct the investigation, the AG’s office said.

Vietnamese border guards have commenced criminal proceedings against a Chinese national who was caught illegally bringing about 3kg of synthetic drugs from China into Vietnam last week.

The Border Guard Station at the Mong Cai International Border Gate in Mong Cai City, Quang Ninh Province on Sunday said it has arrested and charged a 38-year-old Chinese man, Liu Yong Xiong, with “illegally transporting narcotics” pursuant to Article 194 of the Penal Code.U5dWPUSm

Border guards apprehended Liu on April 30 after discovering that he was carrying 7,600 synthetic drug tablets and nearly 900 grams of methamphetamine while carrying out procedures to enter Vietnam at the station.

The total weight of the drugs was about 3kg, border guards said, adding that the trafficker came from China’s Guangxi Province.

The arrest was made with the aid of an anti-drug task force of the Quang Ninh Province Border Guards.

Liu told investigators that he had been hired by another Chinese national to bring the drugs from China to Vietnam and deliver them to a person in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi for VND50 million (US$2,315).

Local border guards have handed Liu over to provincial police officers for further investigation.

Two months ago, provincial police also arrested a Chinese national, whose name translates into Vietnamese as Tran Hoat Toan, for illegally transporting 14kg of synthetic drugs into Vietnam in a taxi cab.

Toan, 48, who also hails from Guangxi, was caught hiding a handbag containing the drugs on the car floor, behind the driver’s seat.

Under Article 194 of the Vietnamese Penal Code, twenty years of imprisonment, life imprisonment or capital punishment can be given to those who are convicted of illegally stockpiling, transporting, trading or appropriating heroin or cocaine weighing 100 grams or more.

The same penalties are also given to those who commit the crimes in one of the following circumstances: opium resin, marijuana resin or coca plasma weighing five kilograms or more; marijuana leaves, flowers, fruit or coca leaves weighing 75 kilograms or more; dried poppy fruit weighing 600 kilograms or more; fresh poppy fruit weighing 150 kilograms or more; other narcotic substances in solid form weighing 300 grams or more or in liquid form measuring 750 milliliters or more.

TULSA, Oklahoma – Police say a man deliberately set a fire to property in an apartment then threatened a Tulsa firefighter with a knife. Officers arrested Bobby Williams early Sunday morning as he tried to break into other apartments at the same complex, according to an arrest report.7649234_G

Firefighters say when they first arrived at the apartment unit at 1050 East 61st Street, they found clothing, a mattress and other items burning. They learned Williams had deliberately set the fire, an arrest report states.

Williams approached one of the firefighters, holding a knife at chest level stating, “I will cut you up,” police say. He then ran off.

Police say about 45 minutes later, Williams tried to raise the windows on two apartments in an attempt to enter and avoid officers. Both of the apartments were occupied at the time.

The report says the Tulsa man even scaled the roof of the apartment complex at one point, but police were able to take him into custody. The threatened firefighter positively identified Williams as the man with the knife, police say.

They also reportedly found a small burn mark on one of his wrists.

When they booked the 29-year-old Williams into jail, officers found marijuana and methamphetamine in his pockets, the report states.

He was jailed on felony complaints of arson, assault with a dangerous weapon, two counts of attempted burglary and possession of marijuana and methamphetamine after former conviction of a felony.

The arrest report doesn’t say why Williams set the apartment on fire.

Sheriff Ric Wilson remembers as a child riding his bicycle down a road, seeing a can or a sack on the roadside and trying to see how far he could kick it.

“You better not do that today. You don’t know what’s been inside that can or sack,” Wilson said.5546e428bae87_image

He said trash left from methamphetamine labs are scattered next to roadways in woods and in fields.

“It’s not enough that they are making this stuff, but they really don’t care what happens to the spent labs and the ingredients used in process,” Wilson said. “They’ll pitch it in a creek or throw it in a well.

“They don’t think about who could come alone and pick it up, or what could happen if there is residue left and it gets in a creek or someone’s well water.”

As spring gets into full bloom, more and more people will be outside.

“Years ago, it was nothing to be out walking, see a plastic bag or plastic bottle laying on the road and you would pick it up and throw it away,” said Nathan Neese, an investigator with the Lawrence County, Tennessee, sheriff’s department. “You just never thought about something dangerous inside the plastic bag. It was just trash that needed to be cleaned up.”

Tim Glover, director of the Lauderdale County Drug Task Force, said in today’s society trash is not “normal trash” thanks to the development and popularity of the “one-pot” or “shake-and-bake” meth labs.

He said meth-related trash can contain anything from a plastic bottle filled with leftover meth residue to the lithium strips used to start the “cooking” process to lye containers and other items used in the manufacturing process.

“Plus, we’re seeing a lot more used syringes thrown out on the roadsides with the meth trash,” Glover said.

Colbert County Drug Task Force Director Curtis Burns said two years ago, drug agents driving down a section of road in Littleville found 15 used one-pot meth bottles.

He said some of them were spewing chemicals.

“It was all right there on the side of the road, where anyone — an adult or a child — could have picked it up,” Burns said.

Byron Graves runs a crew that cleans up trash along county road rights of way in Colbert County. He has seen his share of “roadside dumps.”

“We find that shake-and-bake stuff all the time, and we’ll call the drug agents to come and get them,” Graves said. “Our guys take all the precautions they can. But you don’t know when you open up a plastic bag or pick up a plastic bottle what’s going to be inside.”

Graves said his crew wear gloves and use trash grabbers to pick up items found on the roadsides. “But I tell them, if they find a bottle with some kind of residue or something that looks like wet sand in it, don’t touch it. Call the drug guys.”

Another point of concern is with crews cutting grass along county roadways.

Glover said every spring and summer, his office will get calls from the Lauderdale County highway department about a possible meth lab someone has found or has run over with a bush hog.

County officials said crews have reported cutting roadways and seeing some kind of white powder or smoke come up from under the bush hog.

Lawrence County, Alabama, Drug Task Force Director Dennis Sharp said “meth trash” can be volatile.

“Some of the lithium strips, dropped in the bottles to start the cook, can be activated by moisture,” Sharp said. “And they can give off a spark or can explode. The last thing we want is for a child, or even an adult, to find a bottle, open it and something happen to them.”

Drug agents said there is also the concern about the odor given off from the cooks left on the roads.

“The odor is strong, very strong,” said Hackleburg Police Chief Kenny Hallmark, a former drug task for member in Marion County. “I’ve seen officers get sick just walking up to a porch of a house where a cook had taken place.”

Wilson urges the public to be aware.

“If someone finds meth trash, leave it alone and call local authorities. Let people who are trained deal with it and dispose of it properly.”

BILLINGS – A Billings woman will face multiple charges for her involvement in a two vehicle crash in the Heights on Sunday around 7:30 p.m., according to Billings Police Department.7652704_G

The collision on Wicks Lane near the intersection of Lake Hills Drive occurred after a Chrysler passenger car, traveling eastbound, entered the westbound lane and struck a Dodge pickup, according to Sgt. Scott Conrad.

That impact crumpled the rear of the pickup on the driver’s side, tearing off a tire.

The front end of the Chrysler ripped off as it looked to have bounced off a nearby wooden fence.

No injuries were reported, but as officers arrived at the scene, the female driver of the Chrysler was seen walking away from the crash.

She ditched a coat and other items, Conrad said.

A search of the area turned up a baggy of methamphetamine and three glass pipes.

Conrad identified the woman as Keeley Christianson, 37, of Billings.

Christianson faces possible charges of Criminal Possession of Dangerous, Criminal Possession of Paraphernalia, as well as other traffic offenses.

Witnesses told police Christianson appeared to be driving as fast as 50 miles per hour and did not brake when she drove toward the pickup.

Meth use is suspected to have led to the crash.

The court was told that the culprit had not slept for three days!

A 25-year-old Australian man, Nathan Thompson — who brutally bludgeoned to death nine puppies in March while high on meth — has been sentenced to 18 months in jail by a court in the eastern state of New South Wales.

Thompson will serve at least a year of his sentence, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports. He is also banned for life from owning animals.

The puppies were in Thompson’s care and he originally planned to sell them but was unable to. He thought about taking the pups to a shelter, but opted not to because he did not have fuel for his car, according to Australian police reports. Instead he drove to bushland and killed them with bricks.

A bystander saw the attack and Thompson fled by vehicle, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

In mitigation, Thompson’s defense team said he was “not in a normal frame of mind” because he was on meth and had not slept for 72 hours.

Two people face multiple federal charges of allegedly manufacturing methamphetamine near Fulton Elementary School and Comiskey Park.

Heather L. Avenarius, 34, and Benjamin L. Heiderscheit, 34, each were indicted on charges of conspiracy to manufacture a controlled substance near a protected location and possession of pseudoephedrine. Heiderscheit also was charged with maintaining a drug-involved premise near a protected location and Avenarius was charged with false declaration before a grand jury.

Avenarius is in custody and has pleaded not guilty to her charges. Federal court documents do not indicate whether Heiderscheit has been arrested.

Investigators allege Avenarius and Heiderscheit knowingly agreed to manufacture meth within 1,000 feet of Fulton Elementary School and Comiskey Park between May and November 2014, according to federal court documents. Authorities also accused Heiderscheit of maintaining a drug operation at 2459 Central Ave. on July 4, according to the documents.

The documents also suggest that Avenarius on Oct. 15 lied to a grand jury about purchasing pseudoephedrine for Heiderscheit.

Three people were arrested, including a Wadena motel manager, early Wednesday, April 22 for selling and distributing methamphetamine out of the motel.Peters

The arrests were made by the Wadena County Sheriff’s Office and agents with the West Central Minnesota Drug and Violent Offenders Task Force.

Motel manager Gregory Duane Hanson, 56, of Wadena, was arrested for probable cause of first-degree sales of a controlled substance. This arrest is based on sales that took place at the motel in Wadena.

was arrested for driving after cancelled-inimical to public safety and conspiracy to commit first-degree sales of a controlled substance.

All individuals were transported to the Wadena County Jail awaiting formal charges by the Wadena County Attorney’s Office.


On Thursday, the Wadena County Sheriff’s Office and an agent with the West Central Minnesota Drug and Violent Offenders Task Force executed a search warrant at the motel. Deputies recovered several items related to methamphetamine sales and distribution.

TOO many in our community have a deep understanding of the letter written by the mother of a young ice user today published in the Bendigo Advertiser.

Few of those familiar with the journey of an ice user can read the following words without feeling her pain:

“I’d hold her hand or watch her sleep for days at a time, feeding her because I knew if I didn’t, she could fade away. Or should I say, I was fading away.”

Ice is dividing and destroying families. Those trying to support loved ones addicted to methamphetamine are torn between love and compassion, hurt and anger.

They have seen the darkest sides of their sons, daughters, parents, siblings and friends. The lies, deceit, violence and desperation. And they have seen their pain.

The road to recovery is long and difficult, for users and those supporting them. It’s difficult to know where to turn for help, and can be isolating.

Ice has gripped our community and the effects are increasingly being felt. It is robbing too many of healthy lives, and too many families of any sense of stability. It is pushing our crime rate up and impacting broadly on our community.

Figures recently released by Victoria’s Crime Statistics Agency revealed Bendigo is well above the state average for drug offences.

A report by the Australian Crime Commission named crystal methylamphetamine as the drug that posed “the highest risk to the Australian community”.

Helen has bravely told her story because she wants others to know they’re not alone. Her daughter’s habit consumed her and she is aware there many, many others in the same position.

We owe it to Helen and the many others affected by this drug to find a way to break the scourge of ice on our towns.

The number of children going to rehab and seeking other treatments for their ice addictions is increasing and has trebled in the last 18 months at Victoria’s largest youth drug and alcohol network.

Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS) research director Andrew Bruun said that ice was a growing problem among “at-risk” or vulnerable children because it was becoming more available. The “episodes of care” for children using crystal methamphetamine or ice as their main drug had grown from 11 to 33 per cent in the past 18 months.”1430632857784

The YSAS supports most of its clients in outreach services like counseling, with a smaller proportion in its detox and residential rehabilitation centers.

“In our services methamphetamine as the primary drug of concern has increased three-fold,” Mr Bruun said, with 5512 “episodes of care” given to 1152 people in that time.

Most children who used ice started when they were between 16 and 18, with very few starting younger than 15, he said.

“We need to be doing a lot of work to prevent kids in that 12 to 15 year-old age group from crossing over from the typical drugs they use – cannabis and alcohol – into methamphetamine,” Mr Bruun said.

Tandana Place manager Mel Thompson said their ice-addicted clients had grown steadily for the last five years, from 10 per cent in 2010/11 to 84 per cent in the last 12 months.

The centre, a four-bed residential rehabilitation house for some of the state’s most vulnerable children, is the only one in the state for children younger than 16.

The average age at which children at Tandana Place started using substances had stayed at 12 and a half for the past five years, while the average age of ice users had fallen from about 17 to 14, she said. One child started using ice as young as 12.

Ice users came to the house with burned holes in their teeth from ice pipes, short-term memory loss and painful stomach ulcers.

While most of their clients had been referred by Corrections Victoria or the Department of Human Services, Ms Thompson has also noticed ice addicts from supportive families being referred to rehab by their own parents in the past 18 months.

 “We’ve had a lot of young people through here (who are) educated, in private schools. They have parents who have good jobs and genuinely care, sitting at this table crying ‘Please help me. I don’t know what to do.'”

Ice was more accessible than other drugs because it was easier to make and source its ingredients: “If you’re growing cannabis you need an enormous space. Now people can set (ice) up in their laundry cupboard and make an absolute fortune.”

It was also easier to ingest than intravenous drugs like heroin. But ice addicts took longer to detoxify their bodies and to recover psychologically from their addictions, with most young people coming to the centre with significant mental health problems.

 “Once upon a time, people with incredible trauma, sexual abuse and awful episodes of violence would be using things to numb them, pain relief (drugs like) heroin,” Ms Thompson said. “When they’ve been using the only thing that has ever made them feel better, and we take it away, psychologically that’s incredibly difficult to deal with.”

Children’s Court Magistrate Jennifer Bowles last month called for child addicts to be required to live in therapeutic rehabilitation centers like Tandana Place, with the current system failing to help many get clean because they were voluntary facilities. Magistrate Bowles is discussing the proposal with a number of state cabinet members.

Ms Thompson supports the proposal, saying that children who achieved the biggest results from rehab had been forced into rehabilitation as a condition of their parole or bail.

The waiting list for the rehab house is now at its highest, with 50 young people now on it, including a boy in youth detention until a place becomes available for him.

Chief Executive Officer of Tandana Place’s parent group Waverley Emergency Adolescent Care, Maureen Buck, said illicit drug use had “normalized” among children. While in the 90s, some children may have experimented with drugs, “Kids nowadays are saying ‘I have a right to use if I want to.'”

Dr Nicole Lee, an associate professor at the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction at Flinders University, said there had not been an increase in the number of people reportedly using ice, though more people may be getting treated for it due to greater publicity and increased harm.

 “There’s also been an increase in arrests and emergency department and ambulance presentations with ice. So there’s a problem here with people using more ice, having more problems.”

The National Drugs Strategy Household Surveys of 24,000 people showed that the number of 14 to 19 year olds who had recently used methamphetamines remained roughly the same between 2010 and 2013.

The number of people aged 14 to 65 who used methamphetamines and preferred ice, had, however grown slightly from 0.25 per cent in 2010 to 0.5 per cent in 2013.

It was more dangerous for children to use ice than adults, with the drug having an impact on the brain’s frontal lobe, which was responsible for things like setting goals and thinking about future consequences.

Dr Lee said: “When they stop (using ice) we know adults recover those functions but we don’t know whether for kids if it has some impact on their developing brains.”

Ah Chao first came across drugs as a teenager, when his cousin asked him to hold his tourniquet while he shot up heroin.

Now a stocky 32-year-old in jeans and a black nylon jacket, Ah Chao (not his real name) recalls between slurps from a bowl of noodles how frightened he was.

“Heroin did not appeal to me at all,” he says. But the experience did not put him off other drugs.

Instead, a few years later, like a growing number of young Chinese, he turned to bingdu (ice), as methamphetamine is known.

Ah Chao is a witness to the silent spread of crystal meth into China’s vast rural areas, a blight sweeping the countryside – but out of the public eye – in a striking echo of America’s experience. In China today, says Zhang Yongan, a drug policy expert at Shanghai University, “the era of synthetic drug abuse is arriving secretly.”

Nobody can yet put exact numbers on the phenomenon; it has barely been studied. But researchers who have looked say ketamine and amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) such as meth are more and more plentiful, even in out-of-the-way towns and villages.

“I cannot say with certainty the degree of the problem, but I can say with 100 percent certainty that the problem exists and it is substantial,” says Marek Chawarski, an associate professor of psychiatry at Yale University who is pioneering the study of rural drug users in China.

Chinese officials say they believe meth has now overtaken heroin as the most widely used addictive drug in China, and that it poses a greater threat: Meth is easily made, its users seem unaware of the dangers it poses, and there is no equivalent of methadone, a substitute drug that China has used widely to combat heroin addiction.

“In my village, when I was growing up, there were no drugs,” adds Deng Qijian, a doctor working with Professor Chawarski in the central province of Hunan. “In the last few years ice has become very popular. Many, many people use it.”

“Five years ago or so, ATS were mostly used by rich people,” says Lu Lin, a drug abuse expert who now runs Peking University’s No. 6 Hospital, which specializes in mental health. “Now it’s mainly poorer people who are taking them.”


China’s drug problem dates back more than 150 years to the days when the British began forcibly importing huge amounts of opium from India. By the end of the 19th century, historians have estimated that 1 in 5 Chinese men was an opium addict.

That debilitating drug use is intimately bound up with the ruling Communist Party’s narrative of “national humiliation” at the hands of foreigners. Within a few years of the 1949 revolution, China’s new rulers had all but eliminated drugs from national life – a feat that eluded the defeated Nationalist government.

But as China opened to the world in the 1980s, a boom in foreign trade, a steady rise in incomes, and the introduction of Western habits brought drugs back into China.

Until recently the drug of choice was heroin, smuggled into the country from the so-called Golden Triangle where Myanmar (Burma) borders Thailand and Laos or, more recently, from Afghanistan, the world’s biggest opium exporter.

Last year, though, for the first time since the Chinese authorities began keeping records, the number of registered users of ATS – mostly methamphetamine – outstripped the number of those using opiates such as heroin.

A report issued by the National Narcotics Control Commission (NNCC) at the end of March said that 49.4 percent of registered drug users – those known to police – use ATS, while 49.3 percent use opiates. Ten years ago, 86 percent of registered users used opiates.

Officials acknowledge that their figures are sketchy. The new report puts the number of registered drug users at 2.95 million, up nearly threefold in the last decade, but the head of the police’s Narcotics Control Bureau, Liu Yuejin, said last November that “the actual number of drug addicts is estimated at 13 million … and about half are suspected of taking methamphetamine.”

“China is facing a grim task in curbing synthetic drugs including ice, which more and more Chinese drug addicts tend to use,” Mr. Liu warned.

If Liu’s estimate is accurate, it means that China has a much lower overall rate of illegal drug use than the United States. But China’s estimated rate of methamphetamine abuse – 0.5 percent of the population – is more than double that in the US, where 595,000 people – 0.2 percent of the population – are current meth users, according to the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.


Though it is hard to be precise in the absence of widespread studies, Chinese drug experts say that a noticeable drop in the use of heroin has clearly been matched by a rise in the use of ATS such as meth.

Heroin use is down partly because of the success of public health campaigns in schools, says one drug counselor in Beijing, a former heroin addict herself who asked not to be identified.

“After so many years of education people know the harm and the dangers of heroin,” she says.

“Ice today is like heroin in the ’90s,” she adds. “People say it gives them energy, makes them feel good, and they don’t think it’s addictive.”

In an academic survey last year in Changsha, researchers found that 59 percent of meth users believed occasional use posed them no danger, and 57 percent said that even regular use was only moderately risky.

Not long ago, meth was the rich kids’ party drug in China. Today, according to the little research that has been done, it is also popular among truckers, migrant workers, and other laborers who value the energy burst they get from amphetamines, both for work and pleasure.

And away from the bright lights of China’s megacities, meth is spreading into small towns and villages where “there is not much in the way of entertainment,” says Yale’s Chawarski. “Taking meth is like taking a short vacation.”


Ah Chao may have stayed clear of heroin, but when he met some young women in a karaoke bar who told him about ketamine, a hallucinogenic drug that is popular in East Asia, it was not long before he was taking it several times a week. That was his gateway to meth, or ice.

For a couple of years, he says, “Ice is all I’d do, all I thought about. I’d take a room in a hotel with another guy and a couple of girls. We’d smoke the meth, have sex, and then play cards. We’d get high for three or four nights and days in a row, take a break for a day or so to eat and sleep, and then do it again.”

Living in a small town 70 miles southwest of Changsha, a regional capital, Ah Chao makes money as a loan shark, a profitable but illegal business. A meaty young man who says he is glad not to be doing a regular job and not afraid of living in the shadows, he agrees to talk freely about his meth habit over lunch on the condition that he stays anonymous.

Nowadays, he says, he is not making enough money to party 24/7. But every week or so “when friends call and ask me to go do drugs with them I can’t say no. I regret it later, but I still go.”

Meth use, Chawarski says, like drug use elsewhere, is “an infectious disease. The most frequent way of getting into the drug scene is through friends. If you have one drug user in a village, pretty soon you have two, then five, then 20.”

Whether it is closer to one or to 20 is almost impossible to tell in most places in China. “Government narcotic control management in rural areas is still loose,” says Professor Zhang. “Many places are still at the stage of non-management.”

But it is clear that ATS “are very easy to get in the countryside as well as in the cities,” says Li Jianhua, head of the Yunnan Institute for Drug Abuse in the southwestern city of Kunming. “They are easily made, and easily bought.”


That is largely because such drugs are now made in enormous quantities in China, replacing illicit imports from Myanmar and, reportedly, from North Korea. Last year the NNCC warned that “the problem of domestic drug manufacture is increasingly deteriorated.” This year’s report noted that “almost all the crystal methamphetamine and Ketamine in the domestic drug consumption market were locally manufactured.”

There have been some spectacular busts. In February, police seized 2.4 tons of meth from a lab in the southern province of Guangdong. In December 2013 some 3,000 police and paramilitary forces raided the village of Boshe, a notorious center for drug manufacturing in Guangdong, confiscating nearly three tons of meth and arresting 182 people, including the village’s former Communist Party secretary.

But the Boshe raid did nothing to reduce the street price of meth, says a US Drug Enforcement Administration official who follows the drug trade in China, suggesting that many other meth labs picked up the slack.

“China has robust chemical and pharmaceutical industries,” says the DEA agent, who asked not to be identified. “A lot of precursors and reagents are going to these [illegal] labs.”

They are also going abroad; Mexican police have confiscated shipments of Chinese chemicals destined for meth labs making drugs for sale in the US. And things work the other way, too; two years ago Chinese police arrested a Mexican meth cook who had set up his facility in a remote pig farm in central Hunan Province.


Since 2006, the Chinese authorities have tackled heroin abuse by decriminalizing the drug’s use and opening nearly 900 methadone clinics to wean addicts off it. But no drug like methadone that would help methamphetamine users break their habit has been found, so no such medical approach has been possible.

Some caught using meth are encouraged to attend voluntary detoxification centers; most – especially if they are caught a second time – are sent to compulsory detox facilities in former prisons and held for as long as two years with no judicial or medical intervention.

Ah Chao is not afraid of being caught. Once, somebody in a hotel reported him to the police. He was locked up in a cell for seven days, but then he was released. If he is caught again, he could be sent to a detox camp for two years, “but if you’ve got connections it can be less. I could get out quickly,” he says.

In 2012, the United Nations urged member states to close drug detention camps, a message aimed at China and other countries in East Asia. The UN appeal said there was “no evidence that compulsory drug detention and rehabilitation centers represent an appropriate and effective environment for the treatment of drug dependence.”

Government agencies in China are divided on what to do with ATS users, says Jia Ping, a lawyer seeking reform of the current detox system. He has “not seen any concrete steps or plans” to try an alternative approach.

Meanwhile, even as the police ramp up campaigns against manufacturers, traffickers, and users of methamphetamine, their own statistics suggest that so far they are fighting a losing battle. And as meth abuse becomes more than just an urban phenomenon, the battle will only get harder.

“We have a big population in China,” says Dr. Lu at Peking University’s No. 6 Hospital. “If rural people start using these drugs the police could not control such an epidemic. This is tomorrow’s problem for China.”

SILVER CITY >> It wasn’t just bicyclists flocking to Grant County on Thursday.

Homeland Security officers, along with DEA agents and the FBI, were in Santa Clara on Thursday morning to arrest 12 people on methamphetamine trafficking charges.

Several law enforcement agencies were involved in the action, but not local law enforcement officers, according to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office and the Santa Clara Police Department.20150502__SCS-L-WARRANT-0501~p1_500

The 13-month investigation culminated this morning when all 12 defendants were arrested during an early morning law enforcement operation, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Arrested in connection with the operation were Daniel Lee Jacquez, 33, Silver City; Toby Chapin Padilla, 43, Santa Clara; Judah Grande Mondello, 30, Arenas Valley; Eric James Ruiz, 36, Arenas Valley; Gilbert J. Moreno, 25, Silver City; Anthony R. Davila, 24, Silver City; Gary Lee Romero Jr., 30, Santa Clara; Crystal Medina Gomez, 49, Silver City: Kevin R. Carter, 53, Glenwood: Lynette Medina, 41, Silver City; Freddy J. Lucero, 46, Silver City; and Bernice Holguin Miranda, 49, Silver City.

The charges were announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Will R. Glaspy of the DEA’s El Paso Division, Special Agent in Charge Waldemar Rodriguez of HSI’s El Paso Division, and Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division.

The Grant County Sheriff’s Office responded to reports of explosions and discovered the warrant service operation was going on.

“We knew they were here,” Sheriff Raul Villanueva said. “Homeland Security, the DEA and the State Police were doing a special operation. I don’t have much information other than that.”

Santa Clara Police Chief Lonnie Sandoval said he was busy preparing for the Tour of the Gila Thursday morning when the operation was held.

“They were here this morning early, serving some arrest warrants,” the chief said. “They had a command post set up at the armory.”

The charges against the defendants are the result of an investigation that began in March 2014, and targeted a drug trafficking organization allegedly led by Jacquez that distributed methamphetamine in Grant County.

The investigation was designated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force program, a nationwide Department of Justice program that combines the resources and unique expertise of federal agencies, along with their local counterparts, in a coordinated effort to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations.

“In Silver City, New Mexico, DEA and its law enforcement partners made it abundantly clear that we will use all of our investigative tools and resources to keep our smaller communities safe from drug trafficking organizations that think they can go unnoticed operating in our smaller cities and towns,” said Will R. Glaspy, special agent in charge of the El Paso Division of DEA.

“Today’s enforcement operations mark the culmination of a 13-month investigation that will have an enormous impact on the availability of drugs in the Silver City area and help keep this community safe,” Glaspy said.

The 12 alleged members of the methamphetamine trafficking ring are charged in a 34-count indictment that alleges a drug trafficking conspiracy, a series of substantive drug trafficking offenses, and a firearms offense.

During the law enforcement operation, officers executed federal search warrants at seven residences and one business in Grant County. Together with evidence obtained during the course of the investigation, seizures to date include approximately seven ounces of methamphetamine, several pounds of marijuana, approximately $17,000 in cash, 28 firearms, three vehicles and seven motorcycles, according to the release.

Steven Hurd sat on the motel-room floor, staring into his wife’s eyes, in late December 2013.

He was coming off a four-day “runner” and his world was crumbling. There was meth in the bathroom, the couple’s family of five was crowded into a single room, and they were $225 away from homelessness. Again.554565c02aa58_image

Perhaps it was the thought of his kids living out of a van again that motivated Hurd to embark on a burglary spree. Perhaps he desperately wanted to have some sort of Christmas with his family, or perhaps, as his therapist later suggested, he wanted to get caught.

Regardless, he told his wife not to worry and headed out into the blustery night, stomping through five inches of fresh snow, intent on making enough money “to pay rent and make Christmas.”

“I was back in the military and I was going on a mission,” he explained.

He spent four hours combing through the first storage unit at Clark Fork Mini-Storage, but found nothing he could pawn. So Hurd said he robbed the main office, stealing cash from the register and stashing a few odds and ends in his pack before heading out into the icy night.

It wasn’t until he stole the purple Mercury Cougar that he knew he had gone too far. Still, he didn’t stop. He went into Russ’s Auto Body and broke the lock on another unit, where he found a nicer car – a 1999 Mercury Sable. So he switched the cars. As he was looking through the other storage units, he knew he was in trouble.

“The cops are coming. I did too much. I just knew,” he said.

So with his freshly looted goods, he went back to the motel room to spend time with his family before his impending arrest.

“I was scared not for myself, but for my kids,” he said. “They are the only things in this world I care what happens to. I don’t give a (expletive) about myself or anything else. Just them. They are my babies.”

He spent the day sitting with them – his arms around his babies – while they watched cartoons from one of the queen-sized beds in their single hotel room. He didn’t know that his sweat held meth residue, or that it was oozing into the little ones.

After Hurd and his wife were arrested, the children, who were taken by Children Protective Services, tested positive for methamphetamine.

“We were shooting,” Hurd said, indicating that he mistakenly thought main-lining the drug would keep his kids safe from meth in their system.

“Everything – the whole time, I am poisoning them,” he said. “That really almost killed me. I was so devastated. I would never hurt them. They are the reason I live.”

Sitting in Zootown Brew with a St. Christopher medal hanging around his neck, the tattooed Army veteran explained he spent seven months in the Missoula County jail, reexamining his choices.

Again and again, the same question races through his mind: “What the (expletive) am I doing here?” Especially when he found himself in chapel or in the jail’s outdoor recreation area.

He was a decorated Army veteran, who fought in the Iraq war, and said he was formerly a “rock-solid person,” someone who friends and family always counted on.

Then he started using meth.

“It’s the one thing that can touch anything and ruin it,” he said. “Your family, friends, your job and your health.”

“(He thought) ‘I have complete control, I’m fine,’ ” he added. “The best trick the devil ever had was making you think he didn’t exist.”

In early 2014, when he appeared before Missoula District Judge Karen Townsend and prosecutors accused him of a litany of crimes, including a felony burglary charge, two counts of felony theft, and one misdemeanor possession of burglary tools, it shocked him.

He wanted to lean over the table and explain to them he was a real person who fought for his country, not just a meth addict.

“I didn’t want to be addicted to dope and rob and steal and (expletive),” the 30-year-old explained one April afternoon. “I was something. I was something. They wrote a two-page article about me (in the Great Falls Tribune). I have been in Getty Images. I have made marks in history. I was a great soldier. Do you really think this is what I want?”


Hurd’s struggle with meth addiction coincides with its soaring presence in Missoula.

When he moved to Missoula from Great Falls in 2007, he didn’t notice methamphetamine within his circle of friends or at parties.

According to the Montana Board of Crime Control, law enforcement responded to only 32 meth-related incidents in Missoula County that year. It dipped even lower the following years, with 19 meth-related incidents in 2008 and 16 in 2009.

But by the following year, meth prevalence in Missoula County was slowly increasing and Hurd noticed. He had already started self-medicating his post-traumatic stress disorder with alcohol, but in 2010 he started abusing pills.

“I had two kids by that time, but I was miserable with myself, constantly depressed,” he said. “I couldn’t outrun all the memories from Iraq that I never addressed. I would drink to forget, but I would get drunk and relay stories. It’s such an asinine process.”

By 2013, meth-related crime had reached an all-time high in Missoula County, and Hurd was completely hooked.

Last year, meth use spiked, with 86 meth-related incidents in the county, more than a four-fold increase since 2009. Meth-related arrests were the highest they’d been in 10 years.

And that’s not counting the property crimes that are linked to the drug trade, i.e. burglary and theft.

Missoula police public information officer Travis Welsh said most of the crimes police respond to are related to drug or alcohol abuse, but it’s hard to narrow down exactly how many crimes are related to methamphetamine, outside of the meth possession and or distribution charges.

But he did speak generally to the upswing in meth crimes in more recent years.

When Welsh started as a beat cop in 1991, he said police would rarely arrest a person who was selling or using methamphetamine.

“Now, for whatever reason, it doesn’t seem like it’s so strange to find meth,” he said. “We are not surprised if we find out it is meth, but back in 1991 … that was a big bust. I can’t say we didn’t come across it, it just seems you can find it easier. Is that because we have more of it or people are just more relaxed with it?”

Welsh said it’s hard to say what the reason was.

“It’s such a harsh chemical substance. The first thing that happens is people start to destroy themselves – their own bodies,” Welsh said. “That addiction works to tear them down and everything around them.”

He’s not sure what accounts for the uptick in meth-related crime, but he suggests it could be related to the recent crackdown on other drugs, like the prescription medication Hurd was using.

“Anything is possible,” Welsh said. “It’s pretty well-known that it can be a profitable business, albeit dangerous and illegal. It could be now there are more meth-users out there.”


Hurd still remembers the day in 2014 when he arrived at Fort Harrison for post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse treatment, shackled and with two armed guards behind him.

He was embarrassed, afraid that his health care providers and other patients would see the orange jumpsuit and handcuffs and ostracize him based on his outward appearance.

“He was fearful that people would see the felon before the veteran,” explained his fellow Iraqi veteran and friend, Brandi King. “He struggled with that a lot, with that label being put on him, and that would prevent him from receiving treatment.”

King completed the PTSD and substance abuse programs with Hurd and said they were immediately “kindred spirits.” She said when he walked through the trauma treatment facility that day, she noticed his pain and fear of being judged right away.

“What would you think?” she said. “You are not going to see the decorated veteran, you see the shackles before the medals. It’s difficult.”

VA medical providers are bound by medical privacy laws and couldn’t comment for this story, but Hurd said – and King confirmed – that he was welcomed with open arms.

It was there he addressed his PTSD and his attempts to self-medicate with an array of substances, including methamphetamine.

“Come to find out … (war) actually messes you up pretty bad,” Hurd said. “I was always like, I’m fine, I’m fine.”

He was far from fine.

During the year he was in Iraq, he said he “lived like a gazelle,” constantly under fire and ready to fight or flee. He had about “20 close-calls,” where he almost died from a roadside bomb or a sniper and he watched his friends, including his best friend, die in front of him.

Once, he said, he and his fellow soldiers spent an afternoon picking up body parts from the side of the road after a car bomb exploded and blew people to pieces.

Hurd has a very positive and friendly nature, as his friend King can attest to. So it came as a surprise when halfway through the program, his tears started to flow and he described in detail the horror he had seen fighting.

He described the difficulty adjusting to civilian life upon his return to the United States, and his futile attempts at getting help.

Then he spoke about his slow decline into drugs, his struggle to feed his family, his marital woes, and eventually the battle with methamphetamine addiction.

“That’s what life was,” King said. “It is what it is, and we just kept fighting.”


Since being released back into the community, Hurd is something of a novelty as far as former meth addicts go. As his case continues to be adjudicated, he’s found a job, been promoted to a manager, obtained an apartment at Valor House and continues to make all his District Court and Veterans Court appearances.

Most importantly, he’s making strides to get his children back.

“I want him to know how proud I am of him,” King said. “I know it’s a tough situation for a lot of veterans. Society doesn’t quite understand the decisions we make and the help that we do really need.”

He doesn’t have a car, so he walks or takes the bus to his many court-mandated appointments and he has simple goals: buying a house, being a dad and having a garden.

He also wants to serve as a mentor to other veterans who are struggling, like he did.

“I want to give back,” he said. “I want to be a counselor or someone who helps people who are going down that road.”

His newest battle is to get his life back, substance free. He knows it’s an uphill battle.

“It’s a tough world once you step foot in that realm and then try to get out of it,” Welsh concurred.

“It sounds like he’s got a lot of things going for him, and support,” Welsh said. “I hope they keep telling him to keep the faith, keep going, we want you to succeed. That’s the kind of support someone trying to crawl out of that deep, dark hole really needs.”

LYNCH, Ky. (WYMT) –  Police in Harlan County arrested three people Thursday and accused them of leaving a meth lab next to a baby.

Officers from police departments in Lynch and Benham arrested Brittany Hill, 22, of Lynch, Misty Richardson, 35, of Lynch, and Lawrence Lucas, 32, of Cumberland.

Police went to a home on Church Street in Lynch late Thursday night after receiving a tip, Lynch Police Chief James Fox said.

A woman answered the door and police saw drug paraphernalia in plain view inside the house, Fox said.

“Upon making entry into the home, there was another female and a male subject there,” Fox said. “The male subject was in the bedroom and as soon as the female saw us, she went into the room. They closed the door and emerged seconds later with a small child.”

Officers found a glass crackpipe in the bed where the child was lying and a one-step meth lab in a duffel bag next to the bed, Fox said.

When you run up on something like this, especially when children and minors are involved, that gives us the extra push we need to try even harder,” Fox said.

The child is 11 months old, according to an arrest citation.

Police also said they found a large amount of prescription pills, syringes and items used to manufacture and smoke meth.

Ricky Money, who lives near the house police raided, said he’s happy to see police fighting the area’s drug problem.

“Anytime you can get meth out of the county, it’s better for all involved,” Money said. “We don’t have to worry about the crime as bad and it’s better for our kids growing up in the community.”

Hill, Richardson and Lucas are scheduled to be arraigned Monday, said officials with the Harlan County Detention Center.

As of Friday night, all three were behind bars.

Social services placed the child in the care of a relative, police said.

Hill faces the following charges: Manufacturing Methamphetamine (first offense), Unlawful Possession of Meth Precursor (first offense), Wanton Endangerment First Degree, Drug Paraphernalia Buy/Possess, Possession of a Controlled Substance Third Degree, Possession of a Controlled Substance First Degree.

Richardson faces the following charges: Failure to Appear, Drug Paraphernalia Buy-Possess, Manufacturing Methamphetamine First Offense, Unlawful Possession of Meth Precursor First Offense, Wanton Endangerment First Degree.

Lucas faces the following charges: Manufacturing Methamphetamine First Offense, Unlawful Possession of Meth Precursor First Offense, Wanton Endangerment First Degree, Drug Paraphernalia Buy/Possess, Possession of a Controlled Substance Third Degree, Possession of a Controlled Substance First Degree.

elizabethPolice arrested a Middlesboro married couple last weekend after they allegedly manufactured and sold methamphetamine.

Timothy D. Hendrickson, 31, and Elizabeth Hendrickson, 22, were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine. Timothy was also charged with first-degree trafficking a controlled substance and was served a bench warrant.

Police arrested the couple at their residence on Noetown Road. According to the citation, police found two or more chemicals and items consistent with the manufacturing of meth inside their bedroom. Other items found inside the room include: syringes, spoons, cut straws, pipes burnt in appearance, baggies, iodized salt, tubing, filters, pseudo-ephedrine, fuel, grinders, lighters, shot glasses and containers.

Police say they observed Timothy in the shed behind the residence. He attempted to run after he saw police. He was carrying a back containing a small container with a white substance that field tested positive for meth and several other items used to manufacture the substance. Police also found $397.timothy

The couple was lodged in the Bell County Detention Center. Middlesboro officers Edward Dray, Jeremiah Johnson and Brad Cawood were involved in the arrest.

In addition to their arrests, the couple was recently indicted by the Bell County Grand Jury on charges relating to an incident in February.

Timothy was indicted for manufacturing methamphetamine, first-degree trafficking a controlled substance, fourth-degree controlled substance endangerment to a child and convicted felon in possession of a firearm. Elizabeth was indicted for manufacturing methamphetamine and fourth-degree controlled substance endangerment to a child.

According to earlier reports, Kentucky State Police Post 10 Harlan received an anonymous tip about a meth lab on Swanson Road in Middlesboro in February. Upon arrival, the troopers located a large amount of items used to manufacture methamphetamine inside a bedroom.

Police proceeded to arrest and charge the couple. According to KSP, the 2-year-old child was placed in the care of the grandparents while the Hendricksons were lodged in the Bell County Detention Center.

The investigating officers on that case were Troopers Josh Messer, Joey Brigmon and Sgt. Rob Farley.

MARSHALL COUNTY, KY (KFVS) – An Alabama man and southern Illinois woman are facing charges after leading officers on a high-speed chase.7636595_G

According to the sheriff’s office, on Friday shortly before 3 a.m., Marshall County dispatch that McCracken County dispatch was reporting that they had an officer trying to stop a car on Interstate 24. The car had been clocked at nearly 100 mph and the car was not stopping.

An officer watched the vehicle exit I-24 onto the Purchase Parkway and tried to make a traffic stop when the vehicle accelerated and refused to stop.

The vehicle was finally stopped by officers at exit 27.

There was a woman driving and a man was also in the vehicle.

The sheriff’s office say speeds during the pursuit exceeded 120 mph at times while weaving in and out of lanes around other cars.

The subjects were removed from the vehicle and deputies observed marijuana in the door and a plastic baggy of white crystal substance that tested positive for methamphetamine in the passenger seat.7636606_G

There was also a large sum of money in the car.

The driver Leslie Williams, 18, of Harrisburg, Illinois, was charged with speeding 26 mph or > speed limit, fleeing or evading police 1st degree, wanton endangerment 1st degree, possession controlled substance 1st degree (methamphetamine), possession of marijuana and failure of owner to maintain required insurance.

The passenger, Tony D. Patrick, 30, of Lucedale, Alabama, was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of a controlled substance 1st degree (methamphetamine).

Both Williams and Patrick were taken to the Marshall County Detention Center.

Chattanooga agents have arrested an Atlanta man who admitted to selling at least 3,650 pounds of ice methamphetamine in the past two years.

Also, agents arrested a man identified as a major drug dealer at Cleveland, Tn.

Jose Osorio Garcia and Sergio Pineda appeared in Chattanooga Federal Court as well as Shontavis Morgan, a driver for Garcia.

Agents said on April 8 they found a person in possession of approximately 12 ounces of suspected ice methamphetamine at a Chattanooga motel. That person led them to another local man, who was found to have approximately 873 grams of suspected ice meth.

The two people agreed to work with agents seeking to find their sources of supply.

Agents learned that the first person had made trips to the Atlanta area purchasing large quantities of ice meth from a young Hispanic male known as “Socio” (later identified as Jose Osorio Garcia. He said Osorio has tattoos on both arms. The informant told of purchasing one-half pound to kilogram quantities of ice meth from Osorio and averaged purchasing one to two pounds of ice meth per week for a one-year period from Osorio.

The informant admitted to agents to typically dividing the ice meth purchased from Osorio with the second person.

At the request of law enforcement agents, the first informant contacted Osorio and arranged to meet him at the La Quinta Inn on Shallowford Road in Chattanooga so that Osorio could deliver 17 ounces of ice methamphetamine later that evening. Osorio said that he would be utilizing a driver to drive him from the Atlanta area and would be arriving in Chattanooga.

The informant continued communications with Osorio while he was traveling to Chattanooga. These communications were recorded.

Surveillance was established on the La Quinta Inn by agents awaiting the arrival of Osorio and the unidentified driver (later identified as Shontavis Morgan).

Agents observed Osorio and Morgan riding in a silver sedan leaving a nearby Cracker Barrel traveling toward the La Quinta Inn. The informant then informed Osorio to come to room #126 and requested him to knock on the door.

Surveillance agents observed Osorio exit the passenger side of the silver car with a white back pack in his hands. Agents approached Osorio and he immediately dropped the back pack and walked back toward the vehicle. Agents placed Osorio and Morgan, the driver, into custody.

A search of the back pack dropped by Osorio revealed 18 individually wrapped baggies of suspected ice meth weighing approximately one ounce each.

A search of the vehicle resulted in the location of a loaded 10 mm semi-automatic pistol under the driver’s front seat.

Osorio admitted transporting the seized ice meth from Atlanta to Chattanooga for the purpose of selling it to the informant.

Osorio also “admitted to selling five pounds of ice meth per day including weekends for at least the past two years. Conservatively, Osorio admitted to selling at least 3,650 pounds of ice meth in the past two years. Osorio also admitted that he told Morgan he would pay Morgan $300-$400 to drive him to Chattanooga. Osorio also admitted that he had touched the firearm located under the seat earlier in the day in Atlanta when someone tried to sell it to him for $600. Osorio stated that he declined to purchase the firearm and did not know how it got in the vehicle. Osorio admitted that he has a criminal history out of the state of Georgia for weapons and narcotics-related charges. As of this time, agents have not been able to locate criminal history information for Osorio under the name and identifiers he provided.”

Morgan stated that he was going to be paid $300-$400 by Osorio for driving him to Chattanooga. Morgan said he believed he was driving Osorio to Chattanooga to do something illegal and that he knew Osorio was carrying a backpack when he picked him up in Atlanta. Morgan admitted that he thought Osorio was probably involved in a drug deal.

When they arrived at the La Quinta Inn, Morgan said that Osorio handed Morgan the firearm when Osorio exited the vehicle. Morgan admitted placing the firearm under the front seat of the vehicle while he remained in the driver’s seat. Morgan informed interviewing agents that he is a convicted felon for narcotics-related charges. Morgan has a felony conviction out of Mississippi for narcotics-related offenses.

Authorities were told that an individual known as ”Sergio” (later determined to be Sergio Pineda) who lives in the Cleveland, Tn., area as a large-scale ice meth source of supply.

Agents had previously obtained information about a drug trafficker named Sergio Pineda operating in Cleveland, Tn.

An informant told of purchasing ounce quantities of ice meth from Pineda and working up to purchasing pound quantities of ice meth from Pineda.

Agents used an informant to communicate with Pineda via text messages and arranged a delivery of ice meth for the agents. Pineda agreed to meet at the Wal-Mart in Ooltewah to conduct an ice meth transaction.

Officers of the Bradley County Sheriff’s Department established surveillance on a residence known to be associated with Pineda at 407 Kirby Drive SE in Cleveland and observed a vehicle known to be driven by him (a silver Dodge Ram) leave the location. The vehicle was followed by surveillance agents from the residence to the Wal-Mart in Ooltewah without making any stops.

After the vehicle arrived, agents approached it and took Pineda into custody. In searching the vehicle, agents discovered a plastic storage container which contained suspect ice meth weighing over one kilogram.

Pineda refused to make any statements without a lawyer present.

A state search warrant was obtained for 407 Kirby Drive SE, Cleveland. The search resulted in the seizure of two unloaded pistols, a shotgun, and white powder believed to be cocaine weighing approximately 1.07 grams.

Pineda has a federal conviction by DEA for conspiracy to distribute cocaine in 2002.

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — A woman is being held in Gaston County jail under a $1 million bond after a possible meth lab was busted on Ranlo Avenue.

Lauren Price, 25, was accused of buying pseudoephedrine 25 times from 2013 until April 25 to make meth.Lauren_Elizabeth_Price_mug

Police said they stopped Lauren Price and her boyfriend, Tony Eller, for speeding Tuesday night and found the drugs in her car.

Officials said they obtained a warrant to Price’s house and discovered a meth lab.

Price was arrested and faces 25 drug conspiracy charges.

Price and Eller had a plan to buy pseudoephedrine, an important ingredient for making meth, police said.

 “They would alternate buying pseudoephedrine at different locations,” Ranlo Police Department Chief Tim Anderson said.

They did it without triggering the system designed to catch people stockpiling the drug, according to warrants. image1_5

Price purchased the medication about once every couple of weeks from late 2013 until last week.

The couple made meth in a house in a quiet Ranlo neighborhood up the street from Edwina Capps.

 “I think it’s scary,” Capps said.

Capps has come to terms with the fact that cancer will eventually take her life, but she doesn’t want her last days with her family cut short by the hazardous flammable mixture two doors down.

“The fact that meth lab being down there affect everybody’s breathing,” Capps said.

Eller was arrested as an accomplice, officials said.

Neighbors told reporter Ken Lemon that the couple that live in the house have only lived there a couple of years and kept to themselves.