CHARLESTON, SC – Crews are responding a hazmat situation at 55 George St. in downtown Charleston, after chemicals used to make meth were found on the roof of a College of Charleston residence hall.

Charleston County Dispatch confirms that crews have been on the scene at the George Street Apartments since around 2:20am.


Mike Robertson, Senior Media Relations Director at the College of  Charleston, tells News 2 that two one-liter bottles filled with  suspicious liquids were discovered by public safety officials who then  called police.

Sleeping bags were also found in the area of the chemicals.


Initially, said Robertson, officials were looking for water leaks  after employees of CVS, located below the residence hall, reported water  dripping from their roof.

A hazmat team from Columbia and SLED officials are working to clean  up the area and determine exactly what chemicals were discovered above  the dorms.

Most of the dorm rooms were empty since there are no classes due to  the Thanksgiving holiday. The remaining students hanging around the  residence hall did not face any threat and were not evacuated.

The George Street Apartments, built in 2007, are an on-campus housing facility for upperclassmen at the College of Charleston.

According to Thom Berry, spokesman for the State Law Enforcement  Division, it appears squatters were living on the roof of a College of  Charleston residence hall located on George Street.

According to Robertson, a city parking garage gives anyone, and not  just students, access to the roof top. The school he claims  has repeatedly asked the city to block it off.

At the George Street Apartments each unit (there are three-, four-, and five-bedroom clusters) offers single rooms with full-size beds, fully furnished living rooms, fully equipped kitchens, a washer and dryer and one or two bathrooms.




ELIZABETHTON — The Carter County Sheriff’s Department continued Wednesday to detoxify and clean up the remains of what has been described as the largest clandestine methamphetamine laboratory ever found in Carter County.

The lab was discovered on Tuesday, and trained agents began the clean up process. Sheriff Chris Mathes called a halt to the process as it became dark because of the hazardous working conditions in the home which did not have electricity or water.

One man has been arrested in the raid. Timothy Lee Blackwell, 43, was charged with six counts of initiation of methamphetamine manufacture, promotion of methamphetamine manufacture, possession of felony drug paraphernalia ad aggravated burglary, possession of schedule I drug, violation of probation and attachment for child support.

Blackwell made a brief appearance in Sessions Court on Wednesday. Judge Jonn Walton appointed a public defender for him and set Blackwell’s next appearance for Monday.

Sheriff Mathes said Blackwell is known by his deputies, but said he appeared to be doing better in recent months. Then, the department began receiving reports of alleged drug activity involving Blackwell.

The drug bust came after two weeks of surveillance. The investigation led to a vacant house at 8377 Highway 19E in Roan Mountain. The investigators also knew that Blackwell was already wanted by the sheriff’s department on on charges of possession of schedule I narcotic, a Juvenile Court paper regarding child support and violation of probation.

During the surveillance of the house on Tuesday, officers observed a small maroon vehicle drive up the driveway and then come back down toward the highway. An investigator followed the car to a oarge green metal building and saw a man standing outside.

The investigator discovered the man was Timothy Blackwell’s father, Robert Blackwell. The investigator explained his reason for being there and requested a consent to search the house and building. Robert Blackwell agreed to the search. Sgt. Harmon Duncan was then called to assist in the search.

The father said he did not allow his son to live in the house. He said he had not entered the residence in over a year.

Robert Blackwell told them he had the only keys to the house and the power and water had been disconnected for over a year.

In the outbuilding, the investigators found an old one=pot methamphetamine lab. After that, they went to the house. Robert Blackwell attempted to open the front and  rear doors, but was unable to open them because they had been barricaded from the inside. An open window was then located, which provided access to the house.

Once inside, the officers began clearing the house, observing more than 50 one-pot bottles and gas generator bottles in various parts of the house. Timothy Blackwell was found upstairs. He was taken into custody and escorted outside the house.

Clandestine lab technicians from the Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Fore and the Carter County Sheriff’s Department entered the house in full protective gear and assessed the amount of one-pot cook botles and gas generator bottles there were inside the house. They determined there were more than 100.

The officer in charge of the state task force said his team could not handle the large size of the lab and said a larger outside agency shoud be requested to respond in order to remove all the hazardous material.

At that point, Sheriff Mathes said he requested a hazardous materials team from Knoxville to respond on Wednesday.



Two men found dead in the Delta on a houseboat that authorities said contained a methamphetamine laboratory have been identified by the Solano County Coroner’s Office.

Found on the houseboat, authorities said, were the bodies of Gary Lee Cooper, 72, of Concord and James Eugene McRae, 49, of Martinez.

The boat where two men were found dead on the Delta

They were found Monday  near Spoonbill Creek, just off the deep water channel, about 6 miles south of Rio Vista. The discovery was made by Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputies who had been looking for two men reported overdue from a fishing trip by a family member.

Solano County authorities took over the case because the boat was found in that agency’s jurisdiction.

Investigators boarded the houseboat and found items that indicated methamphetamine was being consumed and perhaps manufactured on board. An odd odor was detected by deputies, causing them to leave the boat for their safety.

The three deputies suffered no signs of illness from exposure to the smell.

Because of the suspected hazard, the boat was tied overnight in a remote area by the Solano County sheriff’s marine patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard. Agents from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration on Tuesday  boarded the boat and confirmed that it housed a lab with chemicals used to make methamphetamine, authorities said.

The DEA secured the lab chemicals so that the boat could be safely towed to the Coast Guard station in Rio Vista, where the lab components and chemicals were removed, a Solano Sheriff’s Office news release states. DEA personnel also removed the bodies of Cooper and McRae before transferring them to the coroner.

Autopsies will determine the causes of death for the two men.

Two more defendants left the 50th Circuit Court with prison  sentences early today as Judge James Lambros continues to send the message that  methamphetamine will not be tolerated in Chippewa County.

Appearing before the court with Public Defender Jennifer France,  Patrick Bailey, 31, apologized to the people of the State of Michigan and  Chippewa County for the actions leading up to his arrest on meth charges.  France, in mounting a defense for a reduced sentence, said her client was merely  dealing the product and not involved in the manufacturing.

“I ask the court to take that into consideration,” she said arguing  for a 51 month sentence.

“Selling is not a whole lot better,” noted Lambros before pointing  to Bailey’s previous encounters with law enforcement resulting in probation,  boot camp and jail time. “The time for leniency is over.

Lambros expressed the belief that the 4 year, 6 month sentencing  guidelines were too low before handing down a 7 year sentence.

“This behavior and conduct will not be tolerated,” said Lambros,  adding that he hoped the defendant would get help for his substance abuse  problem while serving time with the Michigan Department of  Corrections.

The second defendant, 21-year-old Shelby Gauthier, was sentenced  after she was caught up in a Straits Area Narcotics Enforcement (SANE) raid in  Soo Township back in March.

“I’d like to start by taking full responsibility for my actions,”  said Gauthier, who thanked her family for continuing to love and support her,  “when I couldn’t even love myself.”

Gauthier’s attorney, James Bias, asked for leniency noting there was  no evidence of Gauthier being involved in either the using or the cooking of  methamphetamine.

“She fell into the trap of addiction,” he said.

Bias also noted that the 24 month minimum sentence would be adequate  as his client had no prior criminal history whatsoever, and could return to the  community rehabilitated to help others battle addiction.

“I think you are lucky the guidelines are what they are,” said  Lambros, giving every indication that he would have sentenced Gauthier to an  even longer term had the option been available. “I believe you were much more  involved in this than you let on.”

On the two lesser counts, Gauthier was sentenced to 223 days in  jail, while on the most serious charge of being involved in operating a meth lab  she received a sentence of 3-20 years in prison.

Both Gauthier and Bailey will be turned over to the Michigan  Department of Corrections in the near future to begin serving their prison  sentences.


NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — A meth cook was found Tuesday afternoon inside a North Charleston apartment home. Residents were briefly evacuated.

“They [police] were banging on all the doors telling us to get out,” said Sondra Scott, a three-year resident. “I had the baby, I wrapped the baby up in one of my shawls, put a hat on her head and they told us to go to our cars.”Tuesday, November 26, 2013 6:42 PM EST<

According to the North Charleston Police Department, officers responded to Brackenbrook apartment complex off Dorchester Road because someone needed EMS. Once on scene, officers found a person passed out on the floor.

Photo: Steve Fletcher(Greg Woods/WCIV)


Officers said they found a “20 ounce plastic bottle containing a clear liquid in the kitchen with  a ‘chemical smell’ consistent with meth.”

“It’s a little baffling and makes me very concerned because you don’t want to have the kids in harms way,” said Antonio Thomas, also a resident. “The worst thing is my kids are always out here playing and other little kids are here playing. We don’t want to have an explosion and all these kids end up getting hurt.”

A police spokesman said the “cook” was only in that one  bottle.

The suspect was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

The building was also evacuated as a precaution. Residents were not allowed into their homes and were asked to park at the apartment entrance. As the rain got heavier, residents were told they will have to wait 2-3 hours before the apartment complex is cleared.

“I grabbed a coat with a hood on it, pocket book. I forgot my wallet, they did let me go back in and get my wallet,” said Scott.

They were let back into their homes around 3:15 p.m.

The apartment complex released a letter to residents after the incident saying that while most residents were allowed to move freely to and from their homes, residents in several homes near the apartment where the meth was found would not be let back in until 6:30 p.m. or later.

Tulsa – There have been several high profile murder cases over the past year with reported ties to methamphetamines.
Brothers  James and Cedric Poore were in court Tuesday. Cedric Poore’s attorney  asked the judge to consider a severance motion to hold Cedric and James’  trials separately. The judge did not make a decision. He said he would  “take the severance under advisement,” so he could have time to review  the preliminary hearing information.

Authorities believe meth was a part  of the murders, because the apartment where the four women died  reportedly had ties to drug use in the past. A witness testified during  the preliminary hearing that the Poore brothers returned to an apartment  with drugs in their possession after the murders happened.
Police  are continuing to search for the suspect accused of shooting five  people at a north Tulsa house over the weekend. Four of the people died.  One person was injured. Police said the common denominator between the  group was meth.
The HOW Foundation is a men’s addiction recovery  program in Tulsa. Executive Director Robert Alves said he has noticed an  increase in meth addictions.
“Initially, the vast majority of  the men that came here in the early 80s and 90s were for alcohol abuse.  That has significantly changed. I would say at any one time, out of the  65-70 men that we have here, I would guess that 75 percent are here due  to methamphetamine use or crimes committed involving methamphetamine,”  Alves said.
He said addiction of any substance is a disease that  requires treatment. He said the area could possibly get a better handle  on the problem with early intervention for young people. He said there  should be more funding for psychiatric and social services. Alves also  said he believes cigarettes are a gateway drug.
Charon Powell is  the mother of two of the Fairmont Terrace shooting victims. Powell  believes that whomever killed her twin daughters had a drug problem. She  wants to see better access to treatment and substance free housing for  people struggling with addiction.
“If  you’ve never been an alcoholic or a drug addict, you have no idea where  these people are coming from, because they’re suffering,” Powell said.
She  said she feels empathy for families that have been impacted by  substance abuse. Earlier this month, her boyfriend shot and killed her  son in an argument. She told Channel 8 her boyfriend had reportedly been  drinking before it happened. Police did not arrest him.
Powell  said her church funds substance free housing for former addicts. If you  are interested in donating or learning more, you may contact God’s  Shining Light Church at 918-836-7788



Police stumbled onto a large meth lab at Harbor Isles Condominium in Cocoa Beach this morning – Brevard County Sheriff’s Agents seized about 5.5 kilos of meth oil that could have been further refined into methamphetamine.

It began with a car theft. A Cocoa Beach woman turned a 2008 Chrysler Sebring over to a credit company. Her son, Douglas Herman, took the car back from a lot on Barton Boulevard in Rockledge, according to Rockledge Police Lt. Donna Seyferth.

Douglas Herman, 43, and Paul Dillard, 30, were both charged with trafficking in methamphetamine and resisting an officer without violence.

Douglas Herman, 43, and Paul Dillard, 30, were both charged with trafficking in methamphetamine and resisting an officer without violence

The credit company reported the car stolen. This morning at about 8 a.m., Cocoa Beach police responded to the condominium at the request of Rockledge police in an effort to find the stolen car, according to Cocoa Beach Police Maj. Jay Harmon. Officers found it in the parking lot and approached unit 1126.

Three people saw the police and fled – one was injured after jumping from the unit’s second story window. They were all arrested. Police on scene noticed the characteristic aroma of a meth operation and called Brevard County Sheriff’s Office for assistance, according to Deputy Maria Fernez.

Deputies responded to the condo, which belongs to Herman’s mother, though she hasn’t been there in about a month. A hazmat team responded, evacuating the surrounding apartments. Inside, they found several jugs of meth oil, totaling about 5,500 grams.

“That is quite a bit,” Fernez said. “In fact, 400 grams equals a capital felony.” Harmon identified the three people arrested and their charges as: Douglas Herman, 43, of Merritt Island – trafficking in methamphetamine and resisting an officer without violence.

Paul Dillard, 30, of Cape Canaveral – trafficking in methamphetamine and resisting an officer without violence. Malhon Daughtery, 34, of Merritt Island – resisting an officer without violence.

The latest meth lab bust in central Illinois happened right here, inside this home. Police tell us they worry the drug isn’t the real problem.

“The people that are doing it I believe are drug addicts. They’re addicted. They’re drug addicts,” Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp said .

Here’s how the numbers stack up. Sangamon County’s had four meth-related arrests all year. Morgan County’s had eight. Between January and August of this year Christian County made 12 meth-related arrests. Sheriff Kettelkamp says there have been at least six more since then. Christina Westenhaver lives in Taylorville– one house down from the place where Taylorville Police arrested these three suspects early Monday. Her neighbors 21-year old Aaron Ballion, 19-year old Mary Tucker and 22-year old David Droke are all accused of making meth.

“People– they’re getting desperate now. It’s getting Christmas. They’re getting desperate. They’re out selling what they can sell,” Westenhaver said.

Taylorville Police say Westenhaver’s neighbors chose to make and sell meth, and Sheriff Kettelkamp doesn’t believe money alone is the motivating factor.

“It’s harder for people to get the prescription drugs now so what they are doing is going to another drug,” Kettelkamp.

That other drug he says– is meth. It’s cheap, fast, and easy to make. Penalties for meth-related arrests depend on criminal history. They range from probation to days in jail– to years in prison. Though law enforcement officers work closely with lawmakers. The sheriff fears there is no penalty strong enough to break addiction.


The following is an excerpt from Women on Ice: Methamphetamine Use among Suburban Women by Miriam Boeri (Rutgers University Press, 2013).


Maggie looked like the typical housewife next door in a suburban community. No one but an experienced user might guess she had injected methamphetamine almost every day during the last six months. She looked younger than her forty-seven years, and her easy smile revealed strong white teeth, inconsistent with the pictures of toothless “faces of meth” displayed on highway billboards by anti-meth campaigns. She looked as if she had just stepped out of the beauty salon with her stylish haircut, manicured nails, and just enough makeup to accent her best features. Maggie was very personable, and we quickly developed affinity over common concerns for people with drug problems. Some of the suburban women I met were reluctant to open up about their personal lives because of the social stigma of their drug use, and it took time to develop a trusting relationship with them. I did not have this problem with Maggie. Her frank turns of phrase, amiable demeanor, and candid communication style conveyed a sense of camaraderie that engendered trust. Having already established good rapport with Maggie, I did not think she would be offended when I asked if her beautiful teeth were her own. “Yeah, I got all my own,” she replied, with a smile that reassured me she understood why I had asked. Tooth decay was a common problem among methamphetamine users.

methamphetamine-meth-mom-suburban-housewife-drug-abuse-mommy's-little-helper-truth-frequency-radio-chris-geo-sheree-geo-alternative-media-news-informationMaggie lived most of her life in the same suburban area where she lives today. She was close to her family, especially the grandmother she cared for until her death. She had three children and was extremely bonded to her family and loved ones. Her otherwise conventional suburban life included dealing cocaine and methamphetamine, which supplemented her husband’s income.

Compared to many drug users, Maggie started her drug career relatively late. Believing the anti-drug warnings she had heard in high school, she never used marijuana, which she called pot — the slang term used by her generation. It was not until she graduated from high school that she tried pot at a party, mainly because she did not like to drink alcohol. She discovered that marijuana did not give her the stomach problems she got from drinking, and it made her feel relaxed and more sociable. She also experimented with a trendy drug at the time, Quaaludes (methaqualone), available in pill form, for much the same reason she used marijuana occasionally — they were a depressant but did not give her a hangover.

Buy the book

methamphetamine-meth-mom-suburban-housewife-drug-abuse-mommy's-little-helper-truth-frequency-radio-chris-geo-sheree-geo-alternative-media-news-informationIllegal drugs were used in her social network and offered to her at different points in her life. Typically, drugs held no appeal when she first tried them. For example, Maggie experimented with a homemade type of methamphetamine, known as crank, a few times as a young adult, but she never liked it. The motivational push that led to her continued use of methamphetamine came years later when she was a young mother. Trying to lose weight after having kids, she sought help from a doctor. Like many women who marry, have children, work at home, and live in suburban communities where errands and shopping are done in a car, Maggie had little time or opportunity for physical exercise, and she gained more weight than she wanted. Her plump figure put a damper on what was otherwise the perfect suburban housewife role she adeptly occupied.

In our society, the symbolic wife is expected to keep a clean house, cook delicious and varied meals, help with the children’s schoolwork and extracurricular activities, uphold the family’s social reputation, and contribute to the household income by holding a flexible job with little career opportunity. Beyond this, the postmodern wife is expected to be a ready and prepared sex partner with a model figure at any age. A television show popular early in the twenty-first century, Desperate Housewives, depicts this type of suburban woman with an edgy twist but lacks the “supermom” role most real suburban mothers have to maintain. Maggie’s story was not far removed from the script of this television phenomenon. To help her lose weight, the doctor prescribed diet pills. When she moved and could not find a doctor who would give her a prescription, a friend offered her a drug that was better and cheaper — and that was her first taste of a form of methamphetamine called ice: “At that time a quarter gram was fifty dollars. I was like, wow. And having done crank, I was like, what? Crank was okay, but I didn’t like it. That was really what they call bathtub crank, and I mean it could kill you. It was like lye and acid and all this other stuff. Whereas ice was supposed to be something that you could do one line and be up twelve hours.”

methamphetamine-meth-mom-suburban-housewife-drug-abuse-mommy's-little-helper-truth-frequency-radio-chris-geo-sheree-geo-alternative-media-news-informationMaggie used ice occasionally to lose weight and keep trim. She started regular use of the drug because it helped relieve her depression. Although typically an extrovert, who described herself as a “social person,” she entered an emotional slump and stopped participating in many social activities after her grandmother’s death, which was followed by the death of another close relative. A doctor prescribed Paxil, but Maggie soon discovered that ice made her feel better: “I was the kind of depressed that a hairbrush would be sitting there and it was just like heavy to pick it up. I couldn’t even pick it up. It was like I didn’t even want to go out. I didn’t want to do nothing. And they put me on Paxil, and it just didn’t seem to be getting it … and I did ice and I started getting up, and I started being social again.” It was easy for Maggie to obtain ice in her suburban neighborhood. Methamphetamine was being called an epidemic by the local the newspaper and police in this southeastern region of the United States, where federal funding for anti-meth campaigns and special law enforcement task forces helped to focus attention on this emerging drug problem.

Maggie started using methamphetamine fairly regularly, but in her mind, ice was a functional drug rather than a recreational one. Her husband worked in hard physical labor and he used ice to help him work even harder and longer hours. Together, he and Maggie managed to start two successful businesses: one legitimately and the other covertly.

methamphetamine-meth-mom-suburban-housewife-drug-abuse-mommy's-little-helper-truth-frequency-radio-chris-geo-sheree-geo-alternative-media-news-informationTheir illegitimate business was not part of their original business plan, but it helped them maintain their middle-class status. Maggie learned that her neighbors were selling cocaine from their house. She tried cocaine a few times, but she never used it regularly. When her neighbors discovered she was good with math, they asked her do the accounting for their underground business. She could use the extra money. Eventually, Maggie and her husband started dealing cocaine to supplement the money he made from their legitimate small home business. “It’s unbelievable what you can do. Because I mean I could break it down by how many quarters or how many sixteenths. … We were dealing so much my husband was like, ‘we could quit work.’ And I was like, ‘no, no.’ He called me at lunch and I said I made five hundred dollars already, and he’s like, ‘what?’ And I’d still have dinner cooked and still be at the PTA. I was mother of the year and volunteer of the year at my daughter’s school. … We banked close to fifty thousand dollars in a few months.” Maggie and her husband were low-key. Unlike methamphetamine-meth-mom-suburban-housewife-drug-abuse-mommy's-little-helper-truth-frequency-radio-chris-geo-sheree-geo-alternative-media-news-informationthe stereotypical drug dealer, who is often depicted as indulging in his newfound wealth, splurging on luxuries, and arousing the suspicion of the police [...] Maggie possessed social and cultural capital that not only enabled her to bridge diverse social networks but also provided the skills and understanding needed to maintain her middle-class status. With her strong background in the values, beliefs, and behaviors learned from her middle-class parents and grandparents, she embraced the norms of modern suburban living that developed over the last century throughout the U.S. social landscape. Whereas many of the other drug dealers I had met spent their money on transient pleasures that drained their assets, while simultaneously attracting the attention of drug enforcement officers, Maggie knew better.

methamphetamine-meth-mom-suburban-housewife-drug-abuse-mommy's-little-helper-truth-frequency-radio-chris-geo-sheree-geo-alternative-media-news-informationAvoiding the trappings of the suburban nouveau riche, Maggie used the extra money made from drug dealing to save for unexpected family expenses, such as hospital bills, and started saving for her daughter’s college fund. Maggie and her husband eventually saved enough to buy a house. Their middle-class dealing activities stayed well under law enforcement radar, and since cocaine was not her drug of choice, she never used up their supply or secretly cut their product to cheat customers and keep more for personal use, which was a common practice according to stories I heard from other suburban drug dealers. Maggie also seemed to be able to control her methamphetamine use behaviors. Even though she used almost daily, she never binged. Her husband did not have an addictive personality: “My husband is the type that can do it once a month, maybe two. I mean if it was just left up to him, he’d never do drugs again.”

methamphetamine-meth-mom-suburban-housewife-drug-abuse-mommy's-little-helper-truth-frequency-radio-chris-geo-sheree-geo-alternative-media-news-informationMaggie’s peculiar yet tranquil suburban life was shattered when accumulated family tragedies instigated her deep depression. She tried to commit suicide with prescription pills but woke up in the hospital instead. During her fight for life in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the hospital, she saw her deceased relatives in a vision:

They brought my family in to basically say good-bye and I came to, because my youngest daughter was sitting there saying, “Mom,” and they were taking the tubes out of me at the time, and the nurse was, I remember, the nurse hollering for the doctors … and I remember I had blisters from the tubes in my mouth and pneumonia in both my lungs when I came to from the ventilator, you know, the machine doing all my breathing. I remember cause I’d had a conversation earlier that crossed — that experience, it wasn’t the light and all — but I remember having a conversation with my grandmother right before I came in, and I don’t know if it was a dream. I don’t know if it was the actual vision or whatever, but I do remember her telling me to get out of here, “You’re not welcome here. Go. Go. Go!” And I know they were trying to get rid of — trying to make me come back is what I feel like. And my grandmother wouldn’t look at me. She just kept looking down at the ground, but if she [had] looked at me, I think I wouldn’t have come back because I wouldn’t have wanted to.

methamphetamine-meth-mom-suburban-housewife-drug-abuse-mommy's-little-helper-truth-frequency-radio-chris-geo-sheree-geo-alternative-media-news-informationMaggie revealed that after this vision she realized, “God had a purpose in my life.” But it did not stop her from continuing her use of methamphetamine, which she felt she had under control with her newfound belief in the twelve-step philosophy. The juxtaposition of being an ambassador for twelve-step, an abstinence-only model of drug treatment, while still using methamphetamine was just one of the contradictions she revealed.

Maggie’s attempted suicide changed her life. She went to a residential treatment home after the pill-taking incident that had left her in the emergency room. It was here that she was introduced to the support group recovery model known as the twelve-step program. Maggie had always been a person who bonded easily with strangers and bridged social gaps that often divide those of different social status, and she bonded just as easily with her recovery sponsor while embracing the twelve-step program. She told me about her first twelve-step meeting at the residential recovery program, where she honestly revealed in her matter-methamphetamine-meth-mom-suburban-housewife-drug-abuse-mommy's-little-helper-truth-frequency-radio-chris-geo-sheree-geo-alternative-media-news-informationof-fact way to all that her entire social network was composed of suburban methamphetamine users:

The first thing that they told me when I walked in was they gave me a sponsor, and she turned around, and I mean I was scared to death. She said, “Tomorrow night I want you to come in here with your phonebook. Bring your phonebook in here.” I was like “okay.” I came in here the next night, she hands me a permanent magic marker and she said, “I want you to take this phone book and I want you to mark everybody in that book that uses.” And I looked at her, and everybody was looking at me, and I threw it on the floor. And she said, “Now we have rules, this is how,” and I said, “Oh no ma’am, I got my sister’s number memorized by heart. Everybody else in the book is all users.” And she said, “You got to be kidding me.” And I said, “No ma’am, everybody else is users.” … And I called every person I know and said, “No, I’m not a narc [undercover drug cop], and no, I didn’t get busted. But I wish you well, and I want you to wish me well. I’m going to try this out [twelve-step]. Remember me telling you I wanted to find out who I am? I’m fixing to try out.” And that’s what I did. And I just — I love it. … Yeah, “My Name is Bill.” Bill’s the one that wrote the book, and actually the whole step. It’s a spiritual program. It’s an awesome program.

methamphetamine-meth-mom-suburban-housewife-drug-abuse-mommy's-little-helper-truth-frequency-radio-chris-geo-sheree-geo-alternative-media-news-informationMaggie became what could be called a twelve-step zealot. She ceased all her drug use and developed a missionary-like calling to help those less fortunate than herself.

Ironically, although her self-proclaimed spiritual experience roused by the twelve-step program led Maggie to acquire the role of a savior for other addicts, she herself began using methamphetamine again — she relapsed with a peculiar twist. As Maggie described her own recovery path and relapse, and how she “saved” others from self-destruction, her religious fervor caused a change in her previously sincere self-reflective and subdued demeanor. She became visibly energized while she unconscientiously preached the twelve-step philosophy like a convert at a revival meeting. She linked every incident of her own personal story to the story of Bill W, the alcoholic who started the twelve-step program known as Alcoholics Anonymous. For example, when I asked about her relapse, her story was interspersed with twelve-step ideology:

Because when they say you can’t get back around anybody, they really mean, I don’t care how strong we are. It’s like Bill said, “Oh I can go into this bar, and I can sit there and say I don’t have to drink.” Bull! You’re there. Maybe the second time, maybe you think, “Well I’ll just take a sip of it and eat my sandwich.” And the next thing you know you’re drunk, and you’re sitting there, and you’re only fooling yourself … and I thought, well, I can’t go to the school today to help my daughter unless I have some ice. And I know better, but that’s the mind thing of me saying — I’m trying to fool myself is what it is.

methamphetamine-meth-mom-suburban-housewife-drug-abuse-mommy's-little-helper-truth-frequency-radio-chris-geo-sheree-geo-alternative-media-news-informationI pressed her to describe what was going on in her mind when she relapsed:

Well, I was on the way over there [the house of a friend who was a user] and I wanted to prove to them that I could be — and my husband said, ‘“Don’t go over there.” And I said, ‘“Oh no, I’ve been clean for a year and a half, I’m never going to do ice again. I’ve got sponsors.” I was sponsoring people and I just, I can do this — I’m thinking now that’s what Bill said when he went into that bar — I can do this and be the only one in the world that can do it.

Maggie said she felt guilty after relapsing. Although she did not see a relationship between her guilt and her new role as a missionary for the twelve-step philosophy, the two appeared connected in her narrative. Every mention of her methamphetamine-meth-mom-suburban-housewife-drug-abuse-mommy's-little-helper-truth-frequency-radio-chris-geo-sheree-geo-alternative-media-news-informationcurrent use was linked to how she was going to quit using by bringing another person into the twelve-step program. For example, Maggie had introduced me to a young woman who was staying at her house. The girl’s tiny body belied her nineteen years, and in contrast to Maggie, she looked eerily like one of the “faces of meth” photos I saw on the highway billboards. Maggie explained her current mission with this young woman:

I mean, see poor old Julia. She’s been through hell, and I gave her an intervention. She actually looks better now. She got raped last week over at a friend’s house. And he left, and she was there by herself. And the guy had a grudge against this other guy and came in and raped her in the process of it … I feel so sorry for her because she is just—she’s alone. Just met her at some friend’s house. I went over there and next thing I know I brought her home … and I kept trying to tell her, “Julia, you are an addict,” and we [twelve-steppers] are not supposed to call each other addicts. And I keep trying to say [to Julia], “I can’t call you an methamphetamine-meth-mom-suburban-housewife-drug-abuse-mommy's-little-helper-truth-frequency-radio-chris-geo-sheree-geo-alternative-media-news-informationaddict but I’m telling you, from experience, that you need to go [to a twelve-step program], and I’ll take you” … I love being clean to be honest with you. I know in my heart I like being clean [drug-free] … I tell Julia all the time. “Shit,” I said, “forget that I’m using.” I tell her all the time, “I’ll go in with you … when you work the program, when you get to step four, all of a sudden you wake up one day and world is just all out there. It’s like God opens miracles for you.” … I keep telling Julia to go clean with me, “Julia, you know, when we get to step four [of the twelve-steps], if you are not seeing miracles happening in your life, I’ll go buy your dope [local slang term for methamphetamine] and we’ll go out and get high again.

Though Maggie’s behavior of using methamphetamine while encouraging others to stop using might seem hypocritical, she was truthful about her use. Some might interpret this behavior as dishonesty or a petty excuse to continue using. Yet the sincerity of her confessional belief in the twelve-step program and her candid portrayal of herself as a recovering “sinner” did not give the impression that she was what some women in twelve-step called a poser. Instead, Maggie appeared to be a woman trying to bridge two worlds that held meaning for her but were, unfortunately, incompatible.

methamphetamine-meth-mom-suburban-housewife-drug-abuse-mommy's-little-helper-truth-frequency-radio-chris-geo-sheree-geo-alternative-media-news-informationTo complicate her recovery further, Maggie bonded easily with members of divergent social networks. Maggie displayed unusual social characteristics that can be both helpful and harmful. She seamlessly wove her intimate primary relationships in suburban middle-class networks with her drug-using relationships that bridge legal and illegal activities. She understood the motivations and needs of disenfranchised drug users while embracing the strictly conventional norms of middle-class society endorsed by the twelve-step practice. Therefore, while Maggie appeared to be firmly grounded in the suburban social landscape, her association with many young methamphetamine users influenced her to engage in behaviors that conflict with middle-class conventions. For example, when revealing that she is a daily injector, she explained that she cannot inject herself and asks someone else to do it. Her reasons for injecting methamphetamine instead of smoking or another route were also unusual:

Because it [methamphetamine] was like dirty and ’cause everything filters through the kidneys and liver and all that. I know all that. And when you get bad dope you get kidney infections, or you get backaches, and that’s your kidney, cause it’s filtering through that. I knew that, and I was like, “There’s got to be another way.” That’s when she [a friend] was like, “Well, let me show you.” And I was okay, and then it was like, wow, I can do it once in the morning and I’m fine all day. A lot of people, they do it all day long. Now I’ll do twenty dollars in the morning and I’ll be good all day. I’ll go to sleep at night, go home and eat dinner.

methamphetamine-meth-mom-suburban-housewife-drug-abuse-mommy's-little-helper-truth-frequency-radio-chris-geo-sheree-geo-alternative-media-news-informationMost of Maggie’s close friends used methamphetamine, and those she came in contact with who were not close (teachers, PTA parents) could not tell that Maggie was on ice. She looked like every other mother, and her behavior did not give her away.

While Maggie talked, I hardly noticed any behaviors that would indicate methamphetamine use, except for the vast knowledge she recounted of every aspect of a user’s life. She sat calmly in her chair during the two-hour interview, except when recounting her twelve-step stories and advocating its philosophy with slogans and quotes she memorized and repeated with an uncharacteristic display of animation. I attributed this to twelve-step enthusiasm more than the influence of methamphetamine. I had met enough twelvesteppers to recognize that her behavior was learned, but it was her otherwise composed state that was more curious.

methamphetamine-meth-mom-suburban-housewife-drug-abuse-mommy's-little-helper-truth-frequency-radio-chris-geo-sheree-geo-alternative-media-news-informationDaily methamphetamine users were, if not agitated and unable to sit still for long periods of time, often more frenetic in their behavior than Maggie. I had seen this composed nature before among the few women who had been using methamphetamine regularly for years but not in a bingeing pattern of intense use for days. Some women who used in a controlled manner over years even gained weight and said they had little trouble sleeping, which seems contrary to the physical effects common to methamphetamine use. Typically, as tolerance increases, women increased their dose or frequency, but not Maggie. She had learned her lesson. She told me that previously she had been the type of methamphetamine user who did occasionally binge. She lost weight and was always agitated. She recounted the first time she met an old using friend after her recovery: “I went over to a friend’s house I had not seen for a year and a half, and I’m like, you know, I want them to see the new me, because my sponsor had showed me a picture of myself at one of the meetings on the very first time I came and I was like ‘wow.’ I wonder if I would, I wonder if everybody else would see me that different. And I ran into a girlfriend at a flea market and she said, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe that’s you. It was like your complexion, everything about you is different.’” Although her former use had taken a toll on her body, by current appearances her looks had been restored. Moreover, the infamous “meth mouth” that so many women feared had not affected Maggie. Her teeth were all her own and pearly white. Her clear complexion was smoother than was to be expected of a woman nearly fifty years old.

methamphetamine-meth-mom-suburban-housewife-drug-abuse-mommy's-little-helper-truth-frequency-radio-chris-geo-sheree-geo-alternative-media-news-informationAn explanation was needed to understand how Maggie could continue using methamphetamine and still maintain a relatively healthy body and a social life unaffected by the well-documented medical consequences of methamphetamine use and unharmed by the harsh legal repercussions that hurled many of the actively using women I interviewed into eventual abject poverty. One explanation is that she learned how to use drugs in a controlled manner, which is a harm-reduction approach that will be further explored in this book.

Maggie’s drug path is not over, and her goal is obviously complete abstinence, but unlike many women I interviewed, she appeared to be comfortable with the fact that she promoted abstinence while still using. Before Maggie left I asked her how long she thought she would she be using methamphetamine. She answered forthrightly, “Every day I wake up and I’ll say — like what I told Julia, I’ll go with you and start over — I’ll stop because I’ll start back at step one. I mean relapse is a part of recovery. I think I’m ready to recover.”

methamphetamine-meth-mom-suburban-housewife-drug-abuse-mommy's-little-helper-truth-frequency-radio-chris-geo-sheree-geo-alternative-media-news-informationI had heard this from many of the women I interviewed. And knowing the current treatment options and recovery rates for methamphetamine users, I understood why she seemed facetious about relapse. Being a woman on ice was not an easy path to follow, but it was even more difficult to leave. While our knowledge of methamphetamine use and treatment is increasing, little is known regarding its use among residents living in a geographic setting that is traditionally regarded as a haven for law-abiding middle-class families — the U.S. suburb. Yet on closer inspection, the social landscape of the suburbs is a potential breeding ground that fosters attraction to use a drug with the effects provided by methamphetamine — energy, weight loss, and happiness.

Suburban Women

methamphetamine-meth-mom-suburban-housewife-drug-abuse-mommy's-little-helper-truth-frequency-radio-chris-geo-sheree-geo-alternative-media-news-informationFor five years I conducted ethnographic research in the suburbs of a large metropolitan area in the southeastern United States to learn more about suburban use of methamphetamine, a drug also known as ice, speed, crystal, shards, and a variety of other street names. During the last two years of the study, I focused on suburban women exclusively in order to better understand their use of this drug from their own perspectives and changes that occurred in their lives over time. The purpose of this book is to portray the everyday reality of methamphetamine use by suburban women from a diversity of social settings, social classes, race/ethnicities, and age groups. I aim to unravel what being a methamphetamine user, or addict, means to these women by examining the trajectories of their drug use within the context of suburban life.

methamphetamine-meth-mom-suburban-housewife-drug-abuse-mommy's-little-helper-truth-frequency-radio-chris-geo-sheree-geo-alternative-media-news-informationMaggie was one of the women who seemed to navigate the world of drug users and mainstream suburban middle-class more successfully than others. Some of the women decided to leave the drug-using environment either to avoid various consequences such as loss of family or employment, adverse health effects, involvement with the criminal justice system, or as part of what seemed like a process of “maturing out” of drug use (Winick 1962). Others continued in their drug use despite serious consequences that often left them homeless, abandoned by family and friends, and facing repeated or extensive periods of incarceration. Treatment, whether coerced or voluntary, worked for some but not for others. Many women recited the sayings that I had come to recognize as the philosophy of twelve-step: “Once an addict, always an addict” or “You have to hit rock bottom first.” Yet empirical evidence shows that not all drug abusers remain addicts or recovering addicts for life, and some stop having a problem with alcohol or other drugs before they hit rock bottom (Akers 1991; Boshears, Boeri, and Harbry 2011). However, many of the women I interviewed who had relapsed multiple times repeated the twelve-step phrase I often heard — that they needed to hit rock bottom first. Maggie was unusual in that she expressed a strong belief in the twelve-step model but did not embrace the rock-bottom mandate that was part of twelve-step lore.


Reprinted from  Women on Ice: Methamphetamine Use among Suburban Women by Miriam Boeri with permission. Copyright 2013 Rutgers University Press

Miriam Boeri is a professor of sociology. She is the author or coauthor of numerous journal articles and a contributor to i.




BENZIE COUNTY, MI – Several suspects have been identified after methamphetamine lab components were dumped on private property in Benzie County.

The dump site, in Joyfield Township, was located Monday, Nov. 25, by Traverse Narcotics Team investigators. Members from a Michigan State Police methamphetamine response team assisted with cleanup.

Detectives found several components used to manufacture meth.

The investigation is ongoing, according to a news release from the Benzie County Sheriff’s Office.

The Traverse Narcotics Team is a multi-jurisdictional narcotics task force that covers several Northern Michigan counties. The team receives anonymous tips at 1-800-338-0868.



The mother of one of the cousins kidnapped from Evansdale in July 2012 was arrested on felony drug charges Monday.

Misty Cook-Morrissey, 36, was charged with two counts of delivery of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, ongoing criminal conduct and possession of drug paraphernalia. Three of the four charges are felonies. If convicted Cook-Morrissey could face up to 50 years in prison.

Misty Cook Morrissey


Investigators with the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office and the West Union Police Department uncovered an operation of drug possession and sales from the home, authorities said.

Authorities executed a search warrant Monday at a Waterloo home where Cook-Morrissey and Todd Michael Henriksen, 25, were living.

They found drugs, digital scales, packaging, cash and evidence showing the distribution of drugs, officials said.

Henriksen was charged with delivery of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia. If convicted he faces up to 15 years in prison.

Additional charges could be filed later, police said.

Cook-Morrissey is the mother of Lyric Cook, who disappeared with her cousin, Elizabeth Collins, while riding bikes in Evansdale in June 2012. Their bodies were found in a remote wooded area 25 miles away in December. 

Lyric Cook’s father, Daniel Eugene Morrissey, 37, was sentenced to up to 90 years in prison on drug charges in September.



SAN FRANCISCO — Two men found dead on a houseboat in the delta had been making methamphetamine on board, authorities said Tuesday.

Gary Lee Cooper, 72, of Concord and James Eugene McRae, 49, of Martinez were found dead by Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputies about 1:30 p.m. Monday. The case was transferred to the Solano County sheriff’s office after authorities determined that the houseboat was in a creek about 6 miles south of Rio Vista, said Solano County sheriff’s Deputy Daryl Snedeker.

Deputies found items on board that indicated that “methamphetamine was being consumed and perhaps manufactured on the boat,” Snedeker said.

The cause of the deaths has not been determined.

The boat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta was secured overnight because of the potential hazards associated with methamphetamine labs, authorities said.

On Tuesday, agents with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration boarded the boat and confirmed that chemicals used to make methamphetamine were on the vessel, Snedeker said.




A Treasure Island man is accused of trying to make methamphetamine at his condominium in the Paradise Island community, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said.

Phillip Blake Pike, 31, 511 Sandy Hook Road, was arrested Tuesday afternoon after an investigation into a meth lab at his home in the Village of Paradise Island complex, deputies said.



Phillip Blake Pike


John Fultz

Logan Jafferis

Pike is charged with attempting to manufacture methamphetamine and conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine.

Today, deputies charged two additional men — 49-year-old John Fultz and 33-year-old Logan Jafferis, both of the same address.

About 8 a.m., the Treasure Island Police Department was conducting a welfare check in the complex, and during this process, they said, Pike fled from them.

He ran into his home, and as officers followed him inside, they saw substances and containers used to manufacture methamphetamine.  Seeing the hazardous items, officers left the home and called for additional resources.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office sent members of its narcotics division, negotiator response team, and the SWAT team.

Detectives and members of the Negotiator Response Team attempted to make contact with Pike for several hours before he surrendered to authorities.

Detectives and Fire Rescue Hazmat teams are investigating the interior of the residence to see the best way to deal with the meth lab.

The investigation is ongoing.




A Sacramento bail bondsman, who is an ex-felon with a drug history, has been criminally charged with a number of weapons violations for taking guns instead of money from arrestees who were looking to get out of jail.

Some of the guns that bondsman Shawn Allen Rapoza accepted in lieu of cash were stolen, according a prosecutor’s declaration supporting the 21-count criminal complaint filed Nov. 19 by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office.

Rapoza, 36, still holds the license he obtained in November 2010 at Ace Deuce Bail Bonds on H Street, although the state Department of Insurance has since taken action to suspend it.

The DA’s Office charged Rapoza with two counts of possession and two more counts of transportation of assault weapos, He is named in six counts of being an ex-felon in possession of firearms. The complaint also accuses him of illegal possession of a stun gun, possession of ammunition, possession of methamphetamine, paying an inmate to solicit bail for him in the jail and failing to properly maintain collateral that was posted as bail.

In his declaration, Deputy District Attorney Sam Alexander said Rapoza admitted to the possession of some of the weapons and also to meth.

“Some of the weapons were stolen, and the defendant accepted those weapons in exchange for providing bail,” Alexander said in the declaration.

Prosecutors declined to comment further on the case.

Sacramento attorney John Virga, whose office is representing Rapoza, said, “At this point, he is presumed innocent.” Virga declined to comment further.

Sacramento Superior Court records show that Rapoza was convicted in 1997 for possession of methamphetamine and for illegally carrying a weapon and was placed on probation. The next year, Rapoza pleaded no contest to possession of methamphetamine for sale and was sentenced to state prison for two years, the records showed.

He could not be reached Tuesday, and a man who answered a telephone at the Ace Deuce office declined to comment.

Rapoza, whose next court date is Dec. 10, is free on a $250,000 bond. His bail had been set as high as $500,000, but it was lowered by Judge Laurel D. White at a Thursday hearing in Sacramento Superior Court.

In a letter to the court for the bail review, Rapoza’s parents said: “In the early years of his life, Shawn was involved in things he should not have. He had to pay a heavy price and suffered the consequences.”

The letter said Rapoza was released from prison in 2000, worked in the construction industry and obtained his bail bonds license when the economy slowed the local construction business.

“Shawn has been the sole bread winner for his family for over a year,” the parents’ letter said. “We are finding it very difficult too and are shocked to hear of these charges brought against him.”

Prosecutors charged Rapoza with illegal possession and transportation of a Stag Arms .223 assault rifle and an Interdynamic 9mm handgun, also classified in the complaint as an assault weapon.

A Nov. 13 search of his home, business and a storage locker also turned up a Winchester pump shotgun, a Taurus .38 revolver, a Daniel Defense .223 rifle, a Survival Arms .223 rifle, a Glock semiautomatic pistol, a Taurus .357 revolver, a Sturm Ruger .357 revolver, a Derringer .38, a Vulcan .223 rifle, a Jennings .22 pistol, a stun gun and some 9mm ammunition.

Investigators also found 1.87 grams of methamphetamine, according to Alexander’s declaration.

According to an affidavit in support of the search warrant, Sacramento police first became interested in Rapoza when a patrol officer listening in on jailhouse phone calls made by a person he had arrested for theft heard the inmate talking on a number of occasions with Rapoza.

In August, the investigation revealed that Rapoza was driving a Chevy TrailBlazer that a woman who made bail in May 2011 had posted as collateral – a violation of the California Code of Regulations governing bail agents, according to the DA’s Office.

The investigators also learned that Rapoza received more than 90 calls from an inmate who has since been convicted on felony charges of receiving stolen property.

During one of his calls, the inmate told Rapoza “that he would be working for him,” according to the affidavit – a violation of a state law that prohibits bail agents from using incarcerated people to solicit business. Rapoza and the inmate spoke “several times a week, sometimes multiple times per day,” the affidavit said.

“(The inmate) would tell Shawn that he found a person who was looking for bail and hand the phone over to another inmate who would then discuss terms of bail, such as collateral and down payments,” the affidavit said.

Jail records showed that in exchange for the business contacts, Rapoza had money put on the inmate’s books, including one instance when the bondsman’s father made the deposit.

Detectives also learned during the course of the investigation that a Yolo County burglary suspect provided Rapoza with stolen goods in exchange for bail, the affidavit said.

Sacramento bounty hunter Leonard Padilla, a longtime figure in the area’s bail industry, said Rapoza came into the local bail scene “brand new a couple years ago” and “overnight, he’s in the top five as far as writing bail.”

“An unknown like him starts shooting up and people are saying, ‘Wait. What’s going on?’”

State regulations that govern bail bondsmen in California do not bar them from getting a license if they have a criminal conviction.

Ketchikan, Alaska – Wednesday, officers of the Ketchikan Police Department, with assistance of the F.B.I. and a local Ketchikan resident, completed an investigation of a group of suspects involved in alleged Methamphetamine importation and distribution from the state of Washington. Multiple search warrants were executed to include a hotel room, a vehicle, and a boat.

According to information provided by Sgt. Andy Berntson of the Ketchikan Police Department, arrested and charged with multiple outstanding extraditable arrest warrants out of the state of Washington for Robbery, and felony Fugitive from Justice, was Cayse R. Sivertsen, a 32 year old man. Sivertsen, a Washington resident with Ketchikan ties, is alleged to have participated in the importation and distribution of Methamphetamine with Kim M. Johnston, a 45 year old woman, a Washington resident.

Sivertsen was also found to be in possession of $506.00 in alleged drug proceeds. Johnston was contacted and arrested on a boat in Bar Harbor and found to be in possession of approximately 5 grams of Methamphetamine, $1186.00, and Clonazepam.  Both Siverten and Johnston were contacted with drug use and distribution paraphernalia.

Alexander B. Karlson, 21 years-of-age, was also contacted during the investigation, arrested and charged with Misconduct Involving A Controlled Substance In The Third Degree, and Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance In The Fourth Degree for possession of Methamphetamine with intent to distribute.  Karlson was also found to be in possession of drug distribution paraphernalia.

All three were initially held without bail.



A 27-year-old Pomona woman faces several drug-related charges after being stopped by Ottawa police early Sunday morning for a traffic infraction.

Natalie Hankins, 27, Pomona, was arrested midnight Sunday in the 1900 block of South Princeton Street on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, according to a police report.




A Marshfield couple is facing four criminal charges, including neglecting a child after they’re accused of leaving needles used to inject methamphetamine near a two-month-old baby.

According to court documents, an investigation began Nov. 3 after a neighbor called police to report a strong odor of marijuana coming from the apartment.

Officers say inside the apartment they found loose marijuana, syringes, and a light bulb used to smoke methamphetamine.


Investigators says the child was lying the couch wearing a shirt but no diaper. When officers arrived the light bulb and syringe were approximately 2′ away from the baby.

The tenants, Kristin Leffel, 32, and Stephen Thompson, 48, identified themselves as the child’s parents. They are both charged with possession of THC, possession of meth, possession of drug paraphernalia to store meth, and neglecting a child.

Leffel is behind bars on a $10,000 cash bond. She’s scheduled to a enter on plea to the charges Dec. 9.

Thompson is free on a $3,500 signature bond. Thompson has already pleaded not guilty to the charges. His case his scheduled to head to trial Jan. 22.



Picture a recovering meth addict and a multiple felon, and the appearance of Surinder Dhaliwal would be among the last images the mind would conjure.



On Tuesday afternoon, Dhaliwal wore a button-down, blue-collared shirt tucked into khaki slacks and brown dress shoes. He smiled easily and often. His voice still carried a tinge of his native British accent, lending a distinguished note to his words that belie his journey, his struggle, to get where he is today.

He gives all the credit for his turnaround to the Salvation Army, who helped him stray from a path of addiction and self-destruction.

“When I first went to the Salvation Army, I was destitute,” Dhaliwal said. “I was homeless; meth addiction had completely taken a hold of me.”

It was May 2007. He had just lost his job at 5-Star Limousine after he wrecked one of the cars and then lied about it.

“That was the end of it,” Dhaliwal said. “The problem was larger than I thought, and I needed help.”

Together with his daughter, Cheyanne, then 4 years old, Dhaliwal enrolled in the Salvation Army Depot Crisis Center, a transitional shelter program.

“It was a big challenge at the beginning — just letting go of the guilt and being able to forgive myself,” Dhaliwal said. “I was mad and angry; I was fighting my spiritual awakening and the fact that God was guiding me the whole time.”

Now, Dhaliwal credits his faith and never forgetting who he was as the keys to his recovery.

Years removed from the program, Dhaliwal is still a Salvation Army fixture. He is there three times a week, and he plays drums for the church band.

His appearance has changed so dramatically that when he reaches out to those fighting through addiction, they have trouble believing Dhaliwal ever lived a similar life.

“It’s important to show people that you can make it out and be successful,” Dhaliwal said. “If you are struggling and think things are hopeless, they really aren’t. Once you can forgive yourself and reach out to get help, you can get over addiction.”

CONTACT reporter Andrew Creasey at 749-4780 and on Twitter @AD_Creasey. Salvation Army’s program Surinder Dhaliwal gives all the credit to the Salvation Army Depot Family Crisis Center for helping him recover from a life of meth addiction and prison stints.

The facility has operated with 11 single-family rooms and three dorms. The program has 64 beds and has an average of 58 participants a day.

It’s a six-month program that offers case management, budget counseling, individual, family and group therapy, a state-certified substance abuse program, life skills instruction and an educational and vocational assessment.

There is also six months of aftercare, with once- a-week classes and drug testing.

For Dhaliwal, and many other, it helped turn life around.

“I’m blessed with a great life,” Dhaliwal said. “I’m not perfect, but I try to be kind and do the right thing these days. I just keep being faithful and remind myself that God has a plan.”



CALEXICO – Authorities seized 26 pounds of methamphetamine and arrested a Redlands woman on Friday at the Calexico East Port of Entry.

Around 5:30 p.m., Elva Charline Ruiz, 25, of Redlands approached the Calexico East Port of Entry driving a 2001 Lexus, according to the court complaint.

Customs and Border Protection officer noticed anomalies in the spare tire of the vehicle after it was scanned and a detector dog alerted to the rear cargo area.

Elva Charline Ruiz

Elva Charline Ruiz

Officers found 18 packages of methamphetamine in the spare tire and quarter panels of the vehicle. The narcotics had a total weight of 26 pounds and estimated street value of about $500,000.

Seized meth

Packages of methamphetamine were found inside a vehicle’s tires adn quarter panels Friday at the Calexico East Port of Entry


Ruis was turned over to Homeland Security Investigation agents for further processing and booked into Imperial County jail on suspicion of importation of a controlled substance. CBP seized the vehicle and narcotics.





OKLAHOMA CITY – The same people who leave dead bodies and severed heads littering a busy highway in Mexico are now moving their operations to Oklahoma. Their product: Mexican ice or crystal meth. Cheap, highly addictive and the profits are astronomical.

Police say they’ll do anything to protect their investment.

“They play by different rules than normal people. They’re not negotiating contracts over a steak dinner at the local steakhouse. They’re negotiating if things don’t go their way, with an AK-47 in the parking lot of the steakhouse,” said Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Director, Darrell Weaver.

Unlike the small, home labs we see in Oklahoma, Mexican meth is made in super labs where they don’t produce grams or pounds, but, tons of meth, bound for the US, including Oklahoma.


Unlike the small, home labs we see in Oklahoma, Mexican meth is made in super labs where they don't produce grams or pounds, but, tons of meth, bound for the US, including Oklahoma.

Unlike the small, home labs we see in Oklahoma, Mexican meth is made in super labs where they don’t produce grams or pounds, but, tons of meth, bound for the US, including Oklahoma.


These organizations are tightly run. There are drivers, lookouts, stash house operators, dispatchers and runners. They live in our neighborhoods and blend in to avoid detection.

These organizations are tightly run. There are drivers, lookouts, stash house operators, dispatchers and runners. They live in our neighborhoods and blend in to avoid detection.

Agents say as much as 25 pounds of meth arrive in Oklahoma City from Mexico every week. That's enough for 24,000 hits.A

gents say as much as 25 pounds of meth arrive in Oklahoma City from Mexico every week. That’s enough for 24,000 hits.

The users tell undercover agents the difference between that product and what’s made locally is like night and day and will “knock your socks off.” These organizations are tightly run. There are drivers, lookouts, stash house operators, dispatchers and runners. They live in our neighborhoods and blend in to avoid detection.

“They’re not flashy,” the agent said. “They live in stash houses, apartments or small rental properties with just the bare basics: mattress, food, TV. For the most part, what they’re here to do is sell drugs, 24 hours a day.”

A bust in the metro in early 2013 took local agents eight months to infiltrate. In the end, they arrested 21 connected to the cartel and seized at least 13 pounds of highly potent Mexican meth. Agents say as much as 25 pounds of meth arrive in Oklahoma City from Mexico every week. That’s enough for 24,000 hits.

“It’s something we don’t want to think about being in our backyard,” the agent said. “But the reality is, it’s here and here every day.”

And, that violence we’ve seen in Mexico: 7,000 murders, 500 police killed – some of that bleeds over here too, because drugs, guns and violence often go together.

Police say a man was gunned down at a Tulsa car wash a few years ago because he lost a load of Mexican dope. In another incident, two men were shot to death in a car on a busy street. Police say it was a cartel hit.

“Even though you may not know a cartel member, may not be associated, think you never cross paths with one of these people,” Weaver said, “the collateral damage of cartel members is in Oklahoma.”

Local DA’s and US attorneys have prosecuted several cases in Oklahoma in recent years with cartel connections, including a raid at a horse ranch in Lexington during summer 2012. The FBI says the ranch was a front to launder drug money for a ruthless and violent Mexico drug cartel.

The cartels aren’t just involved in drug trafficking in Oklahoma, but human trafficking as well.

WALHALLA, SC (FOX Carolina) – More than 20 people have been arrested and more are sought in a drug conspiracy in Oconee County that involved the buying of meth making ingredients.

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office said the investigation, dubbed “Operation Smurf,” involved people purchasing pseudoephedrine for the purpose of making meth.

The investigation has led to the arrest of 22 people and nine more are sought.

There have been more than 500 purchases of the over-the-counter decongestant by 31 people this year, according to the sheriff’s office.

They said the people were also denied purchasing the drug 200 times at Oconee County stores this year. To be denied the purchase of pseudoephedrine, a person must purchase more than nine grams in a 30-day period, the sheriff’s office said.

Captain Ken Washington of the Special Operations Division of the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office explained the naming of the operation:

“Smurfing means individuals who get together and go out and shop around from store to store to purchase pseudoephedrine for the purposes of manufacturing methamphetamine.

“These individuals are normally paid in money or drugs that the cook produces.”

Melissa Mechele Sanders, 45; Bethany Mechele Sanders, 20; Timothy Joseph Myers, 32; Teresa Diane Durham, 46; Jennifer Beth Hippensteal, 31; Ernest Wayne Hippensteal, 35; Alley Elizabeth Eades, 22; Greg Daniel Massey, 39, are all still being sought by the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office on warrants for conspiracy to manufacture meth.

They ask anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 864-638-STOP, 1-888-CRIME-SC or text in your tip to 274637.

The sheriff’s office said tips that lead to an arrest could eligible for a  $2,000 reward.




CAMPBELL, Ohio – Three Campbell police officers and a canine officer are back on the job after inhaling chemicals from a mobile meth lab.

During a traffic stop on Saturday, the canine alerted officers of the meth lab in the trunk of the vehicle.


The officer who opened the trunk says he was knocked down physically from chemical pressure.

“I was lucky enough to be able to pull off my vest and try to gasp for air.  It was almost as if I was not drowning, but chocking on normal oxygen.  I just couldn’t keep my breath,” said Campbell Officer Robert Curtis.

Officer Curtis suffered minor burns to his throat. The other two responding officers were also rushed to the hospital as a precautionary measure. The canine officer was examined by a veterinarian.

Officer Ben Espositio, who is also a member of the Mahoning County Hazardous Materials Response Team said mobile meth labs are becoming more common in the area.

“Trumbull County, Northern Ohio has an epidemic at this time of similar instances. Southern Ohio, Columbiana County included,” said Espositio. “We’re kind of caught in the middle so it’s something coming this way in both directions.”

The two suspects arrested Saturday are scheduled to appear in court Tuesday morning.




A Placer County sheriff’s narcotics-certified dog led to the discovery of 2 pounds of concealed methamphetamine Wednesday night.

Donald David Owen, 46, of Oakdale, and Sarah Marie Bastin, 43, of Modesto, were pulled over by a deputy for traffic violations at 10:42 p.m. Wednesday on Auburn Ravine Road. Owen was driving on a suspended license and was on searchable probation, according to sheriff’s spokeswoman Dena Erwin.


Sheriff’s K9 Jet was deployed and alerted the deputy several times, which led to the eventual discovery of a bag filled with 2.29 pounds of methamphetamine concealed in a wrapped birthday gift.

The two were booked at Placer County jail on charges of sales and transportation of a controlled substance and conspiracy. As of Monday night, Owen was being held on $280,000 bail, and Bastin’s bail is set at $250,000.



THE capture of five men in a Drug Enforcement Administration sting operation has given fresh insight into methamphetamine production in North Korea.

BThe men pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges they conspired to smuggle 100 kilograms of North Korean meth into the United States. They had been arrested in September in Thailand.


Five men pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges they conspired to smuggle 100 kilograms of North Korean meth into the United States. They were arrested in Thailand (pictured front row, left to right, Slovak Alexander Lnu, Filipino Allan Kelly Reyes Peralta, Briton Philip Shackels, Taiwanese Ye Tiong Tan Lim, and in second row center left, Briton Scott Stammers)





US authorities say one man was caught on tape bragging the ring had cornered the market on “the NK product”.

Meth cooked in North Korea has been trafficked in the border regions of China. But authorities and experts say the New York case reflects its potential to reach a broader market.

Experts say meth has joined a list of illicit products that feed a shadow economy to support North Korea’s ruling elite.

An international drug trafficker was caught on tape this year boasting about his ability to provide the US market with mass quantities of methamphetamine – not blue, but still potent and from a unique source.

“We have the NK product,” he said, according to court papers. “It’s only us who can get it from NK.”

By “NK,” he meant North Korea, where US authorities say meth production and trafficking present an emerging threat that’s been illuminated by the case in federal court in Manhattan against a tattooed motorcycle gang leader, two British nationals named Stammers and Shackels, and two other expatriates also operating in Southeast Asia.

The five men were snared in a sting operation involving undercover DEA operatives, identified in the papers only as confidential sources, who posed as buyers in a fake plot to distribute the meth in New York City.

In Pyongyang, a spokesman for North Korean’s foreign ministry responded last week with a sharply worded statement saying the country strictly forbids drug manufacturing and drug smuggling. He called the case “another politically motivated puerile charade” spread by “the Western reptile media.”

But experts on North Korea say signs of a steady output of meth there – and the potential for global distribution – is very real.

“It’s entirely plausible, if not probable, that a high quantity of North Korean meth could be smuggled into the United States,” said Sung-Yoon Lee, a professor of Korean studies at Tufts University.

Because of its extreme poverty and isolation, North Korea has long relied on a shadow economy to support its ruling elite. It makes sense that meth has joined a list of illicit goods that in the past included knock-off major brand cigarettes and counterfeit US currency, Lee said.

The drug “is easy to produce and has a high profit margin,” he said. “It would be surprising if the state turned away from this opportunity.”

According to a 2010 Brookings Institution report, most meth cooked in North Korea is smuggled into Northeast China, then to Shandong, Beijing and other interior provinces. Smaller amounts are consumed by North Koreans to numb themselves to hunger and hardships, or it ends up in South Korea and Japan, where it brings a higher return.

Authorities described the five men charged in the US case as members of a loose confederation of outlaws in Asia already well-versed in a black market for military weaponry, technology and other illegal drugs the authorities fear could help fund terrorism.

Among their associates was Joseph “Rambo” Hunter, a former American soldier who pleaded not guilty in September to charges he recruited a group of ex-snipers to be a security team for drug traffickers, authorities said.

The meth case began in 2012 after law enforcement agents seized 30 kilograms obtained in North Korea by two members of a Hong Kong-based criminal organisation, Ye Tiong Tan Lim, of Hong Kong, and Kelly Allan Reyes Peralta, of the Philippines, with the help of British citizens Scott Stammers and Philip Shackels.

In early 2013, Lim and Reyes Peralta, in an unidentified Asian country, agreed to meet with the DEA operatives and were recorded telling them that, in effect, boasting of their access to North Korean meth.

Lim explained that the North Korean government had sought to appease the West by shutting down some labs. He also claimed his operation had cornered what was left of the wholesale supply, in part by stockpiling a ton of it in another country.

“Only our labs are not closed. … Our product is really from NK,” Lim said, according to prosecutors.

Lim claimed he could supply 100 kilograms for $US65,000 ($71,000) per kilo but first sought assurances it would reach the US market in New York City, authorities said.

He also agreed to supply two samples for testing through Stammers, who shipped them to the buyers. They were intercepted, and testing found they were 98 per cent and 96 per cent pure, according to court papers.

In an email, Stammers wrote that he had received feedback that of the samples, the buyers preferred the one that was clear in appearance and had bigger shards. At a later meeting, he introduced the buyers to Adrian Valkovic, the sergeant-at-arms of the Outlaw Motorcycle Club and the point person for securing the shipment destined for what the men referred to as “the Apple,” court papers said.

The men discussed smuggling the shipment into American waters on a yacht and transferring it at sea, authorities said. The plan called for staging a party or a photo shoot on the vessel to provide cover, the papers said.

All five men were arrested and held in Thailand after gathering to receive payments and final instructions for the shipment. It’s unclear whether any drugs were seized.

Peralta’s attorney, Daniel Parker, said his client was relieved he was no longer locked up in a Bangkok jail “under conditions no one would want to be in.”

The lawyers said they knew little about their clients’ backgrounds, but they questioned the strength of the government’s case.

“I’m curious to know more about the evidence,” said Adam Perlmutter, Lim’s lawyer. “The DEA has a knack for elaborate stings where ultimately there are words involved but no drugs.”

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A man, found sleeping in the parking lot of a Walmart store in South Knoxville, was arrested Monday morning after two mobile meth labs were discovered in his vehicle.

Officers say Brandon Price, 27, is charged with initiation of process of manufacturing methamphetamine.


Brandon Price

Police were called to the Walmart on Chapman Highway around 7:19 a.m. on a call of a possible sick person inside a vehicle.

Officers were able to wake up the man inside, and while making sure he was okay, they discovered two one-pot mobile meth labs as well as numerous items used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.


Police were called to the Walmart on Chapman Highway around 7:19 a.m. on a call of a possible sick person inside a vehicle. Instead, two one-pot mobile meth labs were found

Members of the Knoxville Police Department responded to the scene and safely dismantled the meth labs.