Three people were arrested Friday after evidence was discovered of a meth lab operation in the 600 block of Jenkins Road in Shreveport.

Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator and Shreveport Police Chief Willie Shaw said the arrests followed a tip to the Caddo-Shreveport Narcotics Task Force that a suspect was manufacturing methamphetamine at a residence located at 618 Jenkins Road in north Caddo Parish. Agents searched the residence and located two inactive one-pot meth labs. Agents also located chemicals and precursors necessary for the manufacture of methamphetamine.9207599_G

Sharee Booth, 59, who lives at the residence, and Virgil Kreidel, 40, of Shreveport, were arrested at the house and booked into Caddo Correctional Center on two counts each of creation/operation of a clandestine lab. Another resident, Lacie Lynn Booth, 34, was arrested at her place of employment and was booked into CCC for manufacturing schedule II narcotics.

Three agents suffered difficulty breathing after entering the home where the labs were located. They were transported to a local hospital where they were treated and released.

The investigation is continuing, and additional arrests are expected.




CUSHING—One of the inmates killed in a bloody prison fight at the Cimarron Correctional Facility had methamphetamine in his bloodstream and a cell phone in his pocket, according to an autopsy report released Monday.

Christopher Tignor, 29, died of a stab wound to the chest. He was also stabbed in the face and his back was slashed, the state medical examiner said.

A blood test revealed Tignor had been using methamphetamine, according to the report. He had a black Samsung cell phone in his pocket.

Also released Monday was the medical examiner’s report on Michael Mayden, 26, which showed the inmate died from a stab wound to his left shoulder that partially collapsed his lung. Mayden also was stabbed in the left arm.

Mayden’s blood test was negative for drugs and alcohol.

The Sept. 12 disturbance at the private prison left four inmates dead. Homemade knives were discovered at the scene, the medical examiner reported.

Autopsy reports on Anthony Fulwilder and Kyle Tiffee are pending.


SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Two suspected drug dealers were arrested near the U.S.- Mexico line in San Ysidro over the weekend when federal agents found about 45 pounds of methamphetamine hidden in their vehicles, authorities reported Monday.

A U.S. Border Patrol agent responding to a report of a pedestrian running to the north in the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 just north of the international line about 11 a.m. Sunday found a man matching the description of the freeway trespasser standing in a parking lot off Camino de la Plaza, talking to another man, according to USBP public affairs.9211616_G

After a second officer arrived with a service dog, the personnel searched the suspects’ vehicles, a Ford Focus and a Jeep Grand Cherokee, finding 31 bundles of methamphetamine inside them. The narcotic stash would have had a street value of roughly $448,000, officials said.

The agents arrested the suspects — a 22-year-old Mexican national and a 32-year-old U.S citizen — and turned them over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration along with the drug haul. The Border Patrol seized the vehicles.

The arrestees’ names were withheld.




Jakarta. Indonesian authorities have for the umpteenth time caught a convicted drug offender in possession of narcotics while in prison, this time in South Sulawesi.

Amiruddin Rahman, 40, was found to have 76 grams of crystal methamphetamine in his cell at the Gunung Sari Penitentiary in Makassar on Monday.

A court official stands in front of a cell as prisoners wait their for trial at Batam District Court, Indonesia Riau Islands, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Beawiharta

Amir was in August sentenced to death by the Makassar District Court for possession of 1.2 kilograms of meth and more than 4,000 ecstasy pills, with a combined street value of Rp 5 billion ($110,000).

“We have confiscated the evidence and we will conduct a cross examination of him,” Adj. Sr. Comr. Rosnah Rombo, an anti-narcotics officer with the provincial police, told Kompas.

Amir was in January this year sentenced to life in prison in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, after being arrested for drug dealing. But while supposedly locked up, he continued to run an international trafficking ring with the help of his wife, bringing in product from Vietnam.

He later escaped from the prison before being rearrested in Makassar.

Indonesian prisons are notorious for the amount of drug use and even drug manufacturing that goes on inside, typically with the paid assistance of prison officials.




The West Salem duo accused of holding a woman hostage for 44 days and sexually assaulting her have been indicted on dozens more charges by a grand jury.

Ronnie Lee, Jr., 46, was indicted on 28 felony charges and six misdemeanor charges. He was previously arraigned on 17 felony charges.

Irish Boyce, 44, was indicted on 18 felony charges and six misdemeanors. She was previously arraigned on nine felony charges.635817415161908718-SALKidnappers2

District Attorney Aaron Felton said this case has more charges than criminal cases in Polk County typically have, but he believes there’s probable cause and quality evidence to move forward with the charges.

Lee’s charges include 12 counts of first-degree unlawful sexual penetration, six counts of first-degree sodomy, six counts of first-degree rape, six counts of fourth-degree assault, two methamphetamine-related charges, one count of first-degree kidnapping and one count of second-degree assault.

Lee pleaded not guilty to all the charges during an arraignment Thursday afternoon. His defense lawyer, Martin Habekost, objected to the “excessive bail” set at Lee’s original arraignment. Judge Normal Hill included that in the record but kept bail set at $1.15 million.

Boyce’s charges include 12 counts of first-degree unlawful sexual penetration, six counts of fourth-degree assault, three counts of third-degree assault, two methamphetamine-related charges and one count of first-degree kidnapping.

Boyce entered a not guilty plea for all charges during her arraignment Thursday afternoon. Her defense lawyer, Scott Howell, requested bail be reduced to $50,000 because of her local ties and lack of criminal history.

The prosecutor objected to a reduction. Bail was set at $600,000 when she was charged with nine counts of Measure 11 crimes and now she’s charged with 16, he said. The bail amount did not change.

First-degree sodomy, first-degree rape and first-degree unlawful sexual penetration are all Measure 11 crimes that each carry mandatory minimum sentences of eight years and four months. Second-degree assault has a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and 10 months.

Lee’s trial is set for 9:30 a.m. Dec. 15. Boyce’s trial is set to begin 24 hours later.



LAKEWOOD RANCH — A Lakewood Ranch High School teacher arrested Wednesday night on drug charges has been placed on paid administrative leave pending investigation, Manatee County School District officials confirmed Thursday.

Hardee County Sheriff’s Office deputies searched Hollis Morantes’ home and found drugs, synthetic urine and a cleansing agent used for passing drug tests.1106_BRLO_MORANTES1

Morantes, identified as a science teacher at Lakewood Ranch High School, was arrested at a home in Ona and is facing several drug-related charges.

The school district was alerted of the arrest Thursday, staff attorney Mitchell Teitelbaum said.

“Based upon this notification, the school district is following all protocols and procedures that protect the safety of our students,” Teitelbaum said.

Morantes is on paid administrative leave pending a full investigation, Teitelbaum said.

The Hardee County Drug Task Force responded to a house in Ona to help find David Alday, who was wanted after fleeing from the Desoto County Sheriff’s Office in Morantes’ vehicle, according to the Hardee County Sheriff Office’s Facebook page.

Morantes gave detectives permission to search the residence for Alday. The car Alday was driving was at the house, but Alday had left in another vehicle.

While looking for Alday, detectives found drug paraphernalia in plain view, according to the sheriff’s office.

The paraphernalia field-tested positive for methamphetamine. Detectives then spoke with Gabino Morantes, Hollis’ husband, who stated he had smoked methamphetamine that morning. Both homeowners consented to a search of the residence for more narcotics.

More drugs and drug paraphernalia were found under a pillow where the husband, Gabino, was resting his head. Under the pillow was a pouch surrounded by lighters and a pack of gum. Inside the pack of gum was a clear baggie containing 3.8 grams of methamphetamine. The pack of gum was in reach of the couple’s 5-year-old child, according to deputies.

Hollis also admitted she had methamphetamine in her purse, which was in the bedroom and consented to have detectives retrieve it. In her purse, they found a black pouch containing 0.5 grams of methamphetamine.

In their master bedroom detectives located baggies, scales, pipes, synthetic urine and a cleansing agent used for passing drug tests.

A straw that tested positive for methamphetamine was located on the dining room table among the child’s board games. Hollis said she used methamphetamine earlier in the day. The couple admitted to detectives they had been using methamphetamine for approximately a year, according to the sheriff’s office.

The child was picked up by a family member. Department of Children and Families was notified.

Hollis and Gabino Morantes were each charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia and child neglect, according to police.





PRICE, Utah – A Price woman has been arrested after authorities found her selling methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana out of a storage unit, where she was also living.

Price officers said the Carbon Metro Drug Task Force has been investigating 29-year-old Amber Hafer for alleged “drug pushing” activity.Amber Hafer

Officers said they determined Hafer had been living in and selling drugs from a storage shed near 2750 S. and Highway 10 just south of Price.

It is not zoned for residential living and officers got a warrant to search the unit.

Inside officials found 15.8 grams of methamphetamine, 6.1 grams of heroin, 27 grams of marijuana and items of paraphernalia including baggies, syringes, spoons, scales and drug pipes.

Hafer was booked into the Carbon County jail on felony charges of Possession With Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, Heroin, and Marijuana, as well as a misdemeanor charge of Possession of Paraphernalia.

The Carbon County Attorney will determine what formal charges to bring.

Officers said Hafer has 13 prior arrests including assault, paraphernalia, retail theft and drug offenses.



A Forks Township man is accused of injecting a woman with methamphetamine at a local hotel, causing the woman to overdose.

By coincidence, Bethlehem Township police officers were staking out Jason Laduca in connection with possible drug activity, and it was their quick work that got the victim medical help Thursday, police said.19134816-large

Laduca, 26, of the 800 block Reveres Way, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, delivery of a controlled substance and reckless endangerment. Laduca is being held in Northampton County Prison in lieu of $50,000 bail.

The victim, a female whose name wasn’t released by police, is still in intensive care at an undisclosed hospital, authorities said.

Bethlehem Township police working on an investigation were patrolling area hotels Thursday when they said they saw Laduca’s car in the parking lot of The View Inn and Suites Hotel off Route 191.

Township officers learned Laduca checked in Wednesday and was scheduled to check out on Friday.

Police began a stakeout. Officers saw Laduca leave at about 1:42 p.m., return at about 2:31 p.m., and go into his room with two females who arrived at the hotel minutes earlier in a separate car, police said.

Laduca left the hotel about an hour later and, when he came back, he parked in the nearby Perkins parking lot and walked to his hotel room with a grocery bag, police said.

“Minutes later Laduca was seen carrying a limp female out of the room,” Sgt. Richard Blake said in a news release.

Laduca put the passed-out female in the passenger seat of the pair’s car, while the other woman got into the driver’s seat and left, police said.

Police believed the passenger was overdosing, and stopped the Kia the women were traveling in on Route 191, just north of Highfield Drive.

Blake said the passenger was semi-conscious and her eyes were rolled into her head. Blake said he tried to keep her conscious by talking loudly and slapping her hand.

Blake said he repeatedly asked her what happened, and she said “he shot me up.”

“I then asked her who shot her up and she didn’t reply. I then asked her if Jason shot her up and she replied, ‘Yes,'” Blake said in a news release.

Medics arrived and began treating the woman as they took her to the hospital, police said.

The female driver, who police also did not identify, told police Laduca prepared a syringe with a mixture of suspected methamphetamine and water, and injected the victim. A short time later, the victim appeared to start overdosing, police said.

Police searched Laduca’s car in the Perkins parking lot with a drug dog from Easton police, and the dog signaled the presence of narcotics in the front passenger door, police said.

Searches of the two vehicles are pending, police said.

Laduca was arrested in 2013 after threatening that “everybody was going to die” while high on methamphetamine, Palmer Township police said. Laduca had to be hit with a stun gun twice before he could be arrested, police said.

In that case, Laduca pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and possession of drug paraphernalia, and was sentenced to 10 to 20 months in county prison, records show.


A Davenport man was arrested this week after police say he exposed his two young children to methamphetamine.

Elijah Lee Hodges, 35, was booked into the Scott County Jail on Tuesday morning on two counts of child endangerment (meth exposure), a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison.563a913fa9bd0_image

Hodges was arrested at the Scott County Courthouse as he was turning himself in on a warrant for misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, according to court documents.

He was released from the jail the same day after posting $5,000 through a bonding company. He will appear in Scott County District Court for further proceedings on Nov. 11. A preliminary hearing also has been tentatively set for Nov. 20.

According to an arrest affidavit filed Wednesday:

Around 11:07 a.m. Oct. 16, a search warrant was executed at 1003 S. Concord St., where Hodges lived with Tabatha Ann Erwin, the children’s mother, by the Scott County Sheriff’s Office.

Evidence of methamphetamine use was collected from the home. The couple’s two children, ages 1 and 2, were not in the home at the time and were staying with a family member because of drug concerns.

The Department of Human Services was contacted, and the two children were drug tested. Both tested positive for methamphetamine, according to the affidavit.

Erwin, 32, was arrested Friday on felony charges of conspiring to commit a non-forcible felony and hosting a gathering where controlled substances are used, stemming from the Oct. 16 investigation.

She was released from the Scott County Jail after posting $5,000 through a bonding company.

According to court documents, Erwin admitted that she would receive money from Hodges and another man, meet with her meth source, and then use meth with two men at her home. She also admitted to allowing friends to use methamphetamine in her basement, according to court documents.

Court documents show that an arrest warrant has been “requested” for Erwin’s arrest on child endangerment charges. Scott County Sheriff’s Major Thomas Gibbs said Wednesday that the request for a warrant is still under review.



FARGO, N.D. — During a traffic stop, Wanda Helen Thompson admitted to a North Dakota state trooper that she sells meth, claiming that she’s “the nicest drug dealer” in the area, according to documents filed in Cass County District Court.

But as it turns out, even nice drug dealers can’t avoid the law.20151106__WandaThompson-jpg

Thompson, 49, of Moorhead, Minn., was summoned Friday to appear in court on two felony charges: possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia. She also faces a misdemeanor count of driving under suspension.

On Oct. 17, the trooper stopped Thompson while she was driving a car with expired tabs on Interstate 94 in Fargo, court documents stated. After discovering that Thompson’s license was suspended, the trooper searched her and found a meth pipe in her pocket, court documents said.

Thompson admitted to possessing and selling meth, but said she was the area’s nicest dealer and that “she believed in a code,” according to court documents, which did not elaborate on that code.

A search of the car revealed nearly 10 grams of meth and $558 in cash, court documents said.

The traffic stop led to Thompson’s arrest.

Reached by phone Friday, Thompson declined to comment. Court records do not list an attorney for her.


PHOENIX — Both heroin and methamphetamine seizures are up nearly 300 percent in Arizona over the past five years, a Drug Enforcement Administration report said.

The report, released Thursday, said methamphetamine seizures have increased 294 percent. After the United States cracked down on chemicals used to make the drugs over the past decade, the DEA said drug cartels in Mexico have become the leading manufacturer and supplier of meth that winds up the United States.heroin-meth

The DEA said the cartels have “super laboratories” capable of producing hundred-pound quantities of the drug. The cartels have an easier time getting their hands on the necessary chemicals because of less-restrictive Mexican laws.

The agency called heroin a “serious and increasing threat” in Arizona. Seizures of the narcotic are up 246 percent in the past five years, the report said.

The report said the rise of heroin usage is directly attributable to the increase of opiate-based prescription drugs. As people use the prescriptions, they become addicted and later turn to heroin to meet their needs.

The DEA called Mexican cartels and the drugs they sell “the greatest criminal drug threat to the United States.” It specifically cited the Sinaloa Cartel, which operates along the Mexico-Arizona border, as one of the worst.



HARDEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Manatee County science teacher faces drug charges after deputies say they found meth and drug paraphernalia at her home.

On Wednesday, Hardee County Sheriff’s Office deputies went to the home of Lakewood Ranch High School teacher Hollis Morantes and her husband Gabino Morantes to look for a suspect who was thought to have been at the couple’s home. Deputies were searching for David Alday on an outstanding felony warrant after he allegedly fled from the Desoto County Sheriff’s Office in a car that belonged to Hollis Morantes.

The Morantes let the deputies inside their home and consented to a search for the suspect. They also told the deputies that their .270 caliber rifle was missing.

While searching the house for Alday, deputies say found drug paraphernalia in plain view. They also saw methamphetamine that was within reach of the couple’s 5-year-old child. Deputies say Hollis Morantes admitted she had meth in her purse and that she had used it earlier that day. Gabino Morantes allegedly told deputies he had smoked meth that morning.

Deputies say drug residue that tested positive for meth was also on a straw among the child’ board games on the dining room table. In the bedroom, detectives found baggies, scales, pipes, synthetic urine, and a cleansing agent used for passing drug tests. Deputies say the couple admitted to using meth for about a year.

Hollis and Gabino Morantes were arrested and taken to the Hardee County Jail. They were charged with possession of drugs, drug paraphernalia and child neglect. Their child was picked up by a relative.

Deputies did not find Alday at the home. They say he had already left the Morantes’ house in one of their other cars.

Hollis Morantes is a science teacher at the Lakewood Ranch High School, according to the school’s website. The county school district officials issued the following statement Thursday afternoon:

“The Florida Department of Law Enforcement alerted the School District today of the arrest of Teacher Hollis Morantes. Based upon this notification, the School District is following all protocols and procedures that protect the safety of our students.  The employee is on paid administrative leave pending a full investigation.  This is our protocol for any employee arrested for a felony of this nature..

Records show that Gabino Morantes has prior arrests in Hardee for aggravated assault with deadly weapon.





An Alabama mother was arrested after her twin infants tested positive for methamphetamine at birth.

Tonya Lynn Henley, 22, of Geneva is charged with two counts of chemical endangerment of a child, court records show.19137894-large

Geneva Police Capt. Ricky Morgan told the Dothan Eagle that the twins, a boy and a girl, were born on Halloween, seven weeks early, and are being treated at a hospital in Pensacola, Fla. The twins are expected to be released from the hospital today and placed in the care of a foster family.

“She has just continued to use while she was pregnant,” Morgan said of Henley. “One of the circumstances that upset us the most was she didn’t go to any prenatal doctor’s visits. We’re going to be the voice for these kids because they don’t have a choice.”

Henley reportedly told police she didn’t know she was having twins until she gave birth.

Henley was charged in 2012 with the chemical endangerment of a child during a previous pregnancy. She reportedly lost custody of that child. The charges are still pending.




PIERRE, SD – Acting on a tip, KELOLAND News emailed the corrections department and they have confirmed that nine female inmates at the women’s prison tested positive for meth.

Secretary of Corrections Denny Kaemignk says prison staff were notified that one of the inmates may have snuck the drug inside prison walls.68394

“It came in after a female prisoner was transported to the women’s prison and the female prisoner had hid the meth in a body cavity,” Kaemignk said.

So Thursday morning, they randomly tested several of the women for drugs in their systems and found nine had taken meth.

“This is quite unusual. Our staff was Johnny on the spot and took care of it very quickly, got the DCI involved in it to investigate, we came back and did another round of UA tests in the middle of the night again and we believe we have all the individuals involved,”  Kaemignk said.

The women have been put into disciplinary segregation while the DCI investigates. Charges are being considered.




WATERTOWN — As the process of manufacturing methamphetamine becomes simpler, cheaper and more portable, local substance-abuse and addiction service providers have grown increasingly concerned.

Chris S. Paige, deputy director of Pivot — formerly the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Council of Jefferson County — said the drug’s ingredients are dangerous for human consumption.

When those ingredients — which include sulfuric acid from liquid drain cleaners, lithium strips from batteries, and diethyl ether from camping fuel — are combined, he said, dangerous effects can be compounded and will affect every user differently.

“You don’t know what kind of health consequences you’re going to have,” Mr. Paige said. “It certainly is something you can become addicted to rapidly, and recovery is definitely going to be a long process.”

Mary A. Hughes-Hoistion, a substance-abuse counselor at Samaritan Medical Center Addiction Services, agreed.

“I think one of the biggest things is that when people start using it, they get hooked on it pretty quickly,” she said. “It is pretty cheap to make, and it’s something fairly easy to get ahold of.”

Not only is addiction to methamphetamine a quick process, but she said physical side effects also can appear within a few months of using the drug.

“Because it is a stimulant, there is weight loss associated with it,” she said. “One of the most severe issues that you would see with a meth addict is what they call ‘meth mouth.’ ”

That condition, she said, is characterized by severe dental problems, such as tooth loss or discoloration and a wearing away of the gums.

Ms. Hughes-Hoistion said meth users also will develop acne and sores on their skin that take longer to heal than they would on a healthy individual. Overall, the skin appears unhealthy and loses its elasticity.

Combined, she said, these symptoms and others will cause meth addicts to appear much older than they really are.

“The physical health is just bad,” she said.


While it is possible to overdose on meth, Ms. Hughes-Hoistion said, there are far fewer overdose deaths caused by that drug than by heroin.

Since 2005, there have been 83 deaths in Jefferson County caused by an overdose from heroin or other opiates, while two people have fatally overdosed on methamphetamine.

Additionally, there has been one case this year in which an individual who died of a drug overdose also had meth in his or her bloodstream.

As a comparison, Ms. Hughes-Hoistion said meth wears away at a user’s body over time, while heroin has a more immediate effect because of its ability to shut down the respiratory system.

She said a meth overdose would be more likely if an individual were a chronic user of the drug.

“However, somebody could take meth and have some sort of side effect to it that could be life-threatening,” she said.

In Jefferson County, where meth and heroin both are prevalent, addicts sometimes will use one drug to counteract the effects of the other.

Meth is a stimulant that causes the brain to release dopamine and produces feelings of euphoria and pleasure, while heroin is a depressant that ultimately causes some numbness and drowsiness.

“(Some) addicts are trying to offset the feeling of either drug,” Mr. Paige said. “If you get high, you take a downer. If you’re feeling down, you take the upper.”


In 2014, Credo Community Services for the Treatment of Addictions worked with 921 clients at its outpatient substance-abuse clinics in Watertown and Lowville. Forty-six of those patients — or 5 percent — were treated for a meth addiction.

By Nov. 2 of this year, Credo’s staff had seen 686 clients, and 79 of them — or 11.5 percent — were meth users, an increase of 72 percent so far from last year.

Elizabeth W. Stevens, clinical director of Credo’s outpatient substance-abuse services, said she believes the rise reflects how easy the meth-making process has become.

She said many users have turned into their own manufacturer.

“The language was different in the past,” she said. “It was buying or selling, but now it’s different because it’s very easy to make.”

When a meth addict comes to Credo for treatment, Ms. Stevens said, the individual first is screened to determine if he or she is a heavy user or is at risk of harming themselves or others.

She said a heavy user might not be a good fit for outpatient treatment, which typically lasts one hour a day, seven days a week. But if outpatient care is deemed appropriate, Ms. Stevens said, work is done to tailor a treatment plan based on the patient’s specific needs.

“Everyone who comes in, we treat them as an individual,” she said. “If they have physical needs, we refer them to primary care. We try to treat the patient as a whole.”

For outpatient treatment, Ms. Stevens said, patients are charged on a fee-for-service basis, adding that a patient’s medical insurance would pick up most of the cost.

“Cost varies by individual and group therapy,” she said. “If they don’t have insurance, we encourage them to sign up through (health insurance) navigators in the community.”

Ms. Stevens said outpatient treatment is a mixture of individual and group therapy, which helps patients address their chemical dependency and develop coping skills.

However, she said, coping with a meth addiction is never easy and often is made more difficult because many patients have pre-existing mental-health issues.

“Underlying could be depression, anxiety, or a variety of other conditions,” Ms. Stevens said. “If you tease back the layers and went back to when they started using, people will say they were anxious and this made them feel better.”

She said meth’s ability to quickly release dopamine allows users to feel alert and focused, easing their feelings of anxiety, uncertainty or depression.

For this reason, she said, some patients won’t respond to treatment suggestions because they think meth is what is best for their mental-health condition.

“They’re being their own psychiatrist,” Ms. Stevens said. “Once they get into mental health (treatment), they think they know better than the psychiatrist.”

Unfortunately, she said, this prevents many meth addicts from continuing their treatment program, because they don’t believe they can find happiness without the drug.

“Meth’s ability to release dopamine quickly gives you that rush, but after chronic use, your brain is changed,” she said. “Once they are trying to get clean and sober, the dopamine in their brain is so wiped out.”

Although fighting meth addiction is a battle — as any addiction is — Ms. Stevens said she’s optimistic about how the community is coming to understand all addictions.

“We believe in the disease concept of addiction,” she said. “It’s a lifelong disease that you need to treat.”

“Right now, there is a movement of recovery in our community,” Ms. Stevens added. “I think it’s a positive time for people, and it offers them hope.”





Below are a handful of local providers dedicated to treating addictions and helping addicts find the services they need:

  • Credo Community Center for the Treatment of Addictions, 595 W. Main St., Watertown, (888) 585-2228,
  • Samaritan Medical Center Addiction Services, 1575 Washington St., Watertown, (315) 779-5074,
  • Pivot, formerly the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Council of Jefferson County Inc., 167 Polk St., Suite 320, Watertown, (315) 788-4660,
  • Jefferson County 24-Hour Crisis Response Hotline, (315) 782-2327
  • Mountain View Prevention Services, 7714 Number Three Road, Lowville, (315) 376-2321,
  • Seaway Valley Prevention Council, 206 Ford St., Suite 301, Ogdensburg, (315) 713-4861,



An Alexis First Nations man who had been awake and high on methamphetamines for 13 days when he killed his half-brother was sent to prison for 4 1/2 years Friday.

Nakoa Ernest Potts, 28, was previously convicted of manslaughter for stabbing his younger brother Warren Fox Potts over a drug debt in the hamlet of Glenevis.

“I’m sorry for the mistakes I made,” an emotional Nakoa Potts said in the prisoner’s box as his family cried in the court gallery. “When I do get out, my little brother is not going to be there. What I’ve done is something I’m going to have to life with my entire life.”

On the afternoon of July 1, 2014, Nakoa Potts was drinking with two other half-brothers outside his grandmother’s house and asked a passerby if he wanted to sell crack cocaine for them. The witness refused, according to an agreed statement of facts.

Nearby, Warren Potts was cycling around Glenevis and offering to sell pills to strangers, court heard. Warren Potts then met his brothers at a local store and an argument erupted about a drug debt Nakoa Potts owed his siblings.

“You guys gonna jump me?” Nakoa asked before he pulled a knife with a two-inch blade. He lunged forward and stabbed his brother in the chest, close to his heart. His brother collapsed immediately.

Nakoa’s first instinct was to help his brother. He dropped to the ground and briefly attempted to revive him with cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. He fled when he heard sirens, Crown prosecutor Eman Joumaa said.

He later told police he had been drunk and hadn’t slept for 13 days because of his methamphetamine use. He was arrested the next day after RCMP were tipped off that he was driving home from Mayerthorpe after taking his mother to a medical appointment.

Joumaa told court Potts was too intoxicated on drugs and alcohol to form the necessary intent to kill his brother.

Defence lawyer Dale Knisely argued that the stabbing was impulsive because his client felt threatened. In a police interview, Nakoa Potts claimed the killing was self-defence because one of his brothers had a knife. A second knife was never found.



SURRY COUNTY, N.C. — Deputies executed a search warrant at a Surry County home on Tuesday after receiving reports that methamphetamine was being made there.

During the investigation, the Surry County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics team pieced together evidence that three people were operating a meth lab out of the home located at 122 Ayers Circle in Mount Airy.Crystal Sue Hodges, Jason Alton Hodges and Charles Ray Pack

Authorities found evidence that at least 92 “one pot” labs were used to cook meth at the home.

The homeowner, 56-year-old Charles Ray Pack, was arrested at the end of the search. He was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, maintaining a drug dwelling and possession of drug paraphernalia. Pack is being held on a $25,000 secure bond.

Two other suspects who were identified during the investigation were not present during the search.

Later in the day, detectives spotted the pair, 38-year-old Jason Alton Hodges and 34-year-old Crystal Sue Hodges, driving south on Highway 52 near the Holly Springs exit.

After stopping the vehicle officers learned that Crystal Hodges had an outstanding warrant for arrest for larceny from a business in Mt. Airy and an outstanding order for arrest for a probation violation.evidence that at least

Officials took Crystal Hodges into custody and searched the vehicle for a variety of meth precursors.

After searching the vehicle, Jason Hodges was also taken into custody.

Crystal and Jason Hodges were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of a methamphetamine precursor, maintaining a drug vehicle and felony conspiracy.

Both are being held on a $50,000 secure bond. Crystal Hodges is being held on an additional $1,500 bond for previous crimes.





A man is accused of breaking into a mobile home’s shed and filling a bottle with ingredients to make methamphetamine before the bottle blew up — scorching his hands and forearms with wounds that ushered him to the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill, according to Onslow County Sheriff’s Office.

HUBERT | A man is accused of breaking into a mobile home’s shed and filling a bottle with ingredients to make methamphetamine before the bottle blew up — scorching his hands and forearms with wounds that ushered him to the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill, according to Onslow County Sheriff’s Office.

About 11 p.m. Tuesday, a deputy was near Hubert Volunteer Fire Department when a vehicle sped by and, when approached by the deputy, a man in the car’s passenger seat was moaning in pain with burned hands and forearms, Maj. Chris Thomas said.onslow-meth-lab-110415

That man, William Tracy Allen Jr., 32, lives on Hubert Boulevard; near the site that caught fire after the explosion at 129 Hubert Boulevard.

Deputies received the call of the fire about an hour and a half later, he said.

“It was a vacant mobile home with a vacant storage building on its lot,” Thomas added.

The bust — which involved the sheriff’s office, fire department and State Bureau of Investigation — revealed evidence of a “one-pot” meth lab, Thomas said. Basically, the user places all ingredients into a plastic bottle, Thomas added.

“They shake the bottle and allow it to do what it does,” Thomas said. “It creates a meth product. It’s a liquid.”

The ingredients include lithium, which may spark.

The bust is the county’s ninth in six weeks, he added.

“It takes a lot of man hours to clean up a meth lab,” he added.

Although Allen has not been arrested, charges will be filed, Thomas said.

“The individual had broken into the storage building, trying to use the ‘one-pot’ method of cooking meth and it blew up on him,” Thomas said. “It caused his burns and caused damage to the storage building.”



Drug Enforcement Administration

In 2013, more Americans died of drug-induced causes than were killed by guns or car crashes, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s annual analysis of the drug threats facing the nation.

And that has been the case every year since 2008.2015-drug-threatsjpg-e054507e5f187e35

The DEA’s 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment says heroin poses the highest threat to Americans in 2015, followed by methamphetamine and controlled prescription drugs.

According to the report:

“Drug overdose deaths have become the leading cause of injury death in the United States. Each day in the United States, over 120 people die as a result of a drug overdose. The number of drug poisoning deaths in 2013, the latest year for which data is available, involving opioid analgesics (16,235) is substantial and outpaces the number of deaths for cocaine and heroin combined (13,201). While recent data suggest that abuse of these drugs has lessened in some areas, the number of individuals reporting current abuse of CPDs is more than those reporting use of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, MDMA, and phencyclidine (PCP) combined. With the slightly declining abuse levels of CPDs, data indicate there is a corresponding increase in heroin use. Some opioid CPD abusers begin using heroin as a cheaper alternative to the high price of illicit CPDs or when they are unable to obtain prescription drugs.”

The drug threat assessment also talks about drug trafficking from Mexico and Colombia; the rise of synthetic drugs known as “spice” or “spike,” and a rise in marijuana use that may be due to legalization in some states.




PICKENS — Dozens of alleged meth users and dealers in Pickens County are being rounded up after a months-long undercover operation, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Operation Community Response, led to 79 charges against 56 people, Sheriff Rick Clark said at a news conference Thursday.635823498824661639-Jessica-Louise-Davis

Another 18 suspects remained at large.

“The target of this operation was our low level dealers,” Clark said.

Calling meth a “scourge on our society,” Clark said meth use is what’s fueling 90 percent of the county’s trailer and metal thefts, auto break-ins and burglaries.

“They’re supporting their habit by preying on our citizens,” Clark said.

Since last July, deputies have worked to identify illicit drug users and dealers through the use of undercover agents and surveillance techniques, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The following people have been charged, according to warrants:

Jennifer Dianne Bagwell, 33, of 142 Denise Road, Easley: possession of meth, possession of a controlled substance.

Marcie Etrulia Brooks, 52, of 5648 Moorefield Memorial Highway, Liberty: possession of a controlled substance.635823498826845653-Terri-Ellen-Lawson

Nicole Diane Burrell, 44, of 555 Golden Creek Road, Liberty: distribution of meth, possession of meth — 2nd offense.

Justin Allen Chappell, 28, of 318 E. Beattie St., Liberty: possession of meth.

Kris Clark, 49, of 221 Ridgefield Circle, Easley: distribution of meth.

Jessica L. Davis, 35, of 414 Friendship Road, Seneca: possession of meth, possession of a controlled substance.

Tommy Allen Davis, 44, of 223 Sunny Lane, Pickens: possession of meth — 3rd offense.

Brian Lee Dodgens, 44, of 221 Tommy’s Trail, Pickens: possession of meth — 2nd offense.

Jackie Lamar Dodgins, 48, of 555 Golden Creek Road, Liberty: distribution of meth.

Kieky Dawn Durham-Williams, 42, of 314 Amsterdam Road, Easley: possession of meth.

William Timothy Gantt, 46, of 108B Elm St., Pickens: possession of meth — 2nd offense, three counts.

Summer Leigh Goss, 36, of 102 Garden Drive, Apt. 76, Pickens: possession of meth.

Steven Douglas Graham, 25, of 721 Mountain Estates Road, Pickens: possession of controlled substance.

Roger Brian Hembree, 30, of 194 Barr Road, Easley: possession of meth.

Travis Mitchell Hendricks, 31, of 219 Five Forks Road, Liberty: possession of meth.

Joy Mary Hurley, 41, of 223 Sunny Lane., Pickens: possession of meth — 3rd offense.

Blake Marvin Johnson, 30, of 300 Maw Bridge Road, Central: possession of a controlled substance — 2nd offense.

Terance Gene Johnson, 43, of 323 Meadow Brook Lane, Pickens: possession of meth.

Laura Jean Jones, 36, of 103 Effie Court, Liberty: possession of meth.

Mark Donald Karr, 49, of 141 Brookway Drive, Easley: distribution of meth — 2nd offense.

Ronald Eugene Kelley, 54, of 1106 Gentry Memorial Highway, Easley: possession of meth.

Terri Ellen Lawson, 50, of 218 Georges Creek Drive, Easley: possession of crack cocaine and marijuana.

Carla Shawn Morgan, 31, of 414 Friendship Road, Seneca: possession of meth.

Lindsey Brooke Morgan, 21, of 669 Five Forks Road, Liberty: distribution of meth.

Charles Mosley Jr., 43, of 208 Chesapeake Trail, Pickens: possession of a controlled substance, meth and cocaine — 2nd offenses.

Jennifer Tracy Gillespie Mowen, 39, of 300 Longview Terrace, Easley: distribution of meth.

Christopher Eugene Nichols, 44, of 209 Welby Way, Liberty: distribution of meth — 2nd offense.

Eddie Coleman Powell, 33, of 210 Avis Lane, Liberty: possession of a controlled substance, possession of meth — 2nd offense.

James Doyce Reeves, 59, of 8809 Moorefield Memorial Highway, Liberty: distribution of meth.

Johnny Clifford Reeves, 56, of 414 Friendship Road, Seneca: possession of meth.

Christopher Robert Robinson, 27, of 103 Penrose Circle, Pickens: distribution of meth, two counts.

Betty Jean Shirley, 54, of 555 Golden Creek Road, Liberty: possession of meth, distribution of meth — 3rd offense.

Jonathan Keith Simmons, 24, of 462 Pearson Road, Easley: distribution of meth, distribution of a controlled substance (2), distribution of a controlled substance near school.

Gregory Paul Simon Jr., 35, of 8809 Moorefield Memorial Highway, Liberty: distribution of meth — 2nd offense.

Jeffrey Lavern Stone, 35, of 3516 Walhalla Highway, Six Mile: possession of meth — 2nd offense, unlawful carrying of pistol.

Alvin Clark Sutton Jr., 29, of 109 Argonne Drive, Easley: possession of marijuana with intent to distribute — 3rd offense (2), possession of a controlled substance — 2nd offense (2).

Toni Leigh Trent, 33, of 101 Mom Lane, Pickens: possession of meth.

Corey Glenn Whiten, 21, of 115 Brookway Drive, Easley: distribution of meth — 2nd offense.



SALEM — Former Journey drummer Deen Castronovo recently sat down for a brutally honest interview, his first after completing court-ordered drug rehabilitation.

Castronovo spoke with The Statesman Journal on Monday at his oldest son’s home in Keizer, Oregon, with no publicist or attorney by his side.-d8b19510124efe7a

“It’s my truth, I have nothing to hide,” he said. “I was a verbally abusive man. I was a physically abusive man.”

He recounted details of what led up to his arrest on domestic-violence charges in June. Domestic-violence counseling is a component of his probation, and it has taught him the 24-day methamphetamine binge leading up to his arrest is not to blame, he said.

“Domestic violence is really a choice, and it is calculated,” he said. “The drugs and the alcohol exacerbated it immensely, but there’s no excuse for what I did. I deal with it every day, and it’s deeper than regret or remorse.”

He apologized, discussed his ongoing domestic-violence and drug-abuse counseling, and then apologized again.

“I want to talk to my community; that’s important,” he said. “I have to live here. I’ve lived here all my life. My children have gone to school here. My children have friends here.

“They deserve to be apologized to. I’ve got to make it right now, no matter what it takes or what it costs.”

Castronovo is serving four years of supervised probation on charges including domestic-violence assault, unlawful use of a weapon and coercion. He says he emotionally, verbally and physically abused his former fiancée and will always be indebted to her for calling the police.

“This is not about clearing my name,” he said. “The only way I’m going to get my family’s trust back is to walk the walk. I’ve let everybody in the community down, everyone who ever put any faith and trust in me.”




Nothing puts the rapid in rapid response like a little meth.

Hillary’s brand new rapid response director Zac Petkanas was arrested for meth possession in Atlanta in 2013, according to the New York Post. Less than a year later, he was hired to be the communications director for failed Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis.proxy

Clinton’s campaign announced the hiring of Petkanas, who previously worked for Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), over the weekend.

  Will Franklin  ‎@WILLisms

It turns out Wendy Davis’ chief propagandist might not have been smoking crack, after all. Turns out, it was meth: …

9:30 AM – 4 Nov 2015

By New York Post @nypost

The new head of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s “rapid response” team has a skeleton in his own closet: a 2013 arrest for drug possession. Zac Petkanas, who was hired just days ago for the senior post

The New York Post reported this morning that Petkanas was arrested for possessing two small bags of meth:

Zac Petkanas, who was hired just days ago for the senior post on the Clinton camp’s communications team, was arrested at an Atlanta hospital at 4:55 a.m. Aug. 17, 2013, and charged with possessing methamphetamines, according to a police report.

 A nurse who searched Petkanas while he was being admitted to the Grady Hospital found two “small baggies of a controlled substance [in] the right back pocket of the accused,” according to the report.

 It isn’t known why Petkanas went to the hospital at the pre-dawn hour.

 No further court documents are available, and it wasn’t clear how the case was resolved.

 He was working for the Nevada Democratic Party at the time of the bust.

After leaving Wendy Davis’s failed campaign, Petkanas was hired to be a vice president for Media Matters, a highly partisan liberal propaganda outfit run by Hillary confidant David Brock. In 2012, Daily Caller reported that Brock’s friends believed he was a regular user of cocaine.

Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon told the New York Post that Petkanas had made a “full recovery” since his 2013 arrest.



As the amount of methamphetamine seized along the 2,000 mile U.S.-Mexico border continues to surge, the amount of cocaine being captured continues to plummet, according to a new Drug Enforcement Administration report.

The trend, noted in the DEA’s 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment released Wednesday speaks in part to how drug fighters have warned in recent years. Mexico-based drug cartels have realized they can make big money pushing meth. They don’t need to depend on crops for producing cocaine and don’t have to be at the mercy of Colombian growers for livelihood.meth-caught-map

Much of the report is classified, but the agency Wednesday released the largest unclassified portion ever in creating a 148-page “summary” for the public. It is all posted below.

There is plenty of information in the report about a range of illegal drug use in the United States and law enforcement’s assessment of what is in store for the coming year.

“The most significant drug trafficking organizations operating in the United States today are the dangerous and highly sophisticated Mexican transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) that continue to be the  principal suppliers of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana,” the DEA’s acting chief Chuck Rosenberg said in a letter published at the front of the report.

“These organizations are responsible for the extreme violence seen in Mexico, as these groups battle for turf and attack public officials and innocent civilians,” he continued. “Domestically, affiliated and violent gangs are increasingly a threat to the safety and security of our communities. They profit primarily by putting drugs on the street and have become crucial to the Mexican cartels.”

As the report notes, methamphetamine is now readily available across the United States, and the supply is increasing, the report notes.

The finding supports a 2014 report the Houston High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, a coalition of local and federal law enforcement agencies, that described methamphetamine as being the “greatest threat” in this region.

“We are finding that with meth use there are increasingly more violent crimes by abusers in the form of home invasion and aggravated robberies,” coalition director Mike McDaniel has said. “The drug is making them more crazy.”

The amount of cocaine caught by law enforcement dropped in nearly every significant smuggling corridor along the entire U.S. Mexico border.

That includes a 20 percent drop in South Texas’s Rio Grande Valley and 12 percent drop in San Diego – two places that have traditionally been the hottest for cocaine trafficking.

Meanwhile, the amount of meth being taken down is skyrocketing, with seizures climbing 90 percent in the Rio Grande Valley and 245 percent in El Paso.


DEA Report




As state laws clamp down, dealers simply import from Mexico.

Meth labs may not be blowing up apartments or setting cars on fire as much as they used to, but methamphetamine continues to be a big problem — and a big business — in Tulsa.

“Tulsa has a culture of being a methamphetamine town,” said Tulsa Police Department Cpl. Mike Griffin. “The demand for meth hasn’t changed.”

A nationally recognized authority on drug crimes, Griffin testified earlier this year before a congressional hearing on heroin and prescription-drug abuse. Those drugs have become a new focus in the media and with some lawmakers, but Griffin said meth, because of cost and availability, “has always been the biggest” of the most dangerous illegal drugs.

Oklahoma and other states countered the rise in local meth production with laws in 2004 and 2012 that made it more difficult to buy large quantities of over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine, a basic ingredient in home-cooked meth.

The number of meth labs found by Tulsa police dropped dramatically, at least in part because of the laws, but meth use did not. Dealers simply began importing it from Mexico.

Griffin and others say the pseudoephedrine laws did what they were intended to do — shut down labs, which tend to explode, catch on fire and leave behind a deadly residue that turns houses, apartments and trailers into hazardous-waste zones.

“I worked the death of a 15-month-old child” killed in a meth fire, Griffin said. “I don’t want to have to ever do that again.”

So the explosions from larger-scale meth labs have been drastically reduced, and so have the smaller fires from the small-batch “shake and bake” method devised after passage of the 2004 pseudoephedrine law.

Putting meth dealers out of business, though, is dependent on something local law enforcement can’t control — border interdiction.

“If we’re ever going to fix it, that’s the issue,” Griffin said. “The Mexican drug cartels have flooded the market with cheap methamphetamine.”

Alex Brill, an expert on drug policy with the American Enterprise Institute, agrees. He released a study last week that says the border is the only place authorities have a chance to control meth.

“Given the way the markets have evolved, this is probably something the states are not best equipped to grapple with,” Brill said. “This may be something for national border control.”

Brill’s study looks primarily at Mississippi and Oregon, the two states that have made pseudoephedrine available by prescription only, something Oklahoma previously considered but is no longer contemplating.

Brill said prescription-only laws don’t seem to have had any more effect than purchase restrictions such as Oklahoma’s, but have increased costs and inconvenience for legitimate users of the drug.

Griffin said meth is relatively inexpensive, in part because it does not have the broad international market of other drugs such as cocaine and opiates.

Cocaine has doubled in price locally, he said, but meth remains plentiful — and deadly.

“Addicts will tell you it’s the death of them,” Griffin said. “I have had people thank me for putting them in prison for multiple decades just to get away from it.”



Elise, 25, is fidgeting in a hardback black plastic chair in a small clinical room at a detox unit in the picturesque regional Australian city of Orange, inland New South Wales. Occasionally touching her face, her eyes are darting around the room. Elise [not her real name] has been heavily addicted to methamphetamine for the past four years, using a gram a day of the drug known as ice up to five days a week, crashing on the weekends.enhanced-buzz-wide-2479-1446686943-12

Speaking with BuzzFeed News, Elise’s emotions oscillate between sadness, regret, hope and anger. At just 25 she’s lost everything: job, car, house, friends and family. Her young son is currently being cared for by her parents.

“I was using speed before, and it made me feel pretty good and kept me awake because I was working pretty long hours. When I first tried ice, I didn’t even know it was ice. I was tricked into using it, I just thought it must have been speed or something, and I thought it was the most amazing thing and I never looked back.”

“A gram [of methamphetamine] costs as much as $300 a day, and it would get really out of hand. I needed to spend that much to get a hit, a proper rush.”

The detoxification unit is Elise’s first step toward residential rehabilitation. It will be her second attempt at kicking the drug. She says the first time didn’t work because she “wasn’t committed”.

Elise wants a drug-free life after sinking to rock bottom. Earlier this year she was arrested for fraud, caught forging cheques and cashing them in to feed her addiction. The ice had also started to poison her physical and mental health.

“My skin was insanely bad. And the weight loss. I had to go to mental health because I started to get a bit of psychosis from the paranoia and stuff and the twitching. I thought, ‘holy crap this is really bad.’”

Julaine Allan, the deputy executive officer of the Lyndon Community centre which is helping Elise get back on her feet, tells BuzzFeed News that the number of Aboriginal people across regional NSW seeking help for methamphetamine has steadily increased in recent years.

“There are more people using methamphetamine in the smaller, poorer communities. I think it’s probably a higher rate in the Aboriginal community than the non-Aboriginal community. About 2% of the [drug using] population, in general, are amphetamine users, it’s more like eight to 10% in Aboriginal communities.

“We’re seeing a lot more Aboriginal people come to our treatment services; probably about 20% of our treatment services were Aboriginal eight years ago and now it’s 50%.”

Between January and July this year Lyndon Community treated 980 people for substance abuse issues, 60 percent of those came from western NSW.

“The problem is for people that want to go to rehab, or get in touch with an alcohol and drug service, is that they really have to try hard to find one that’s close or can take them,” Allan says. “We could double our services if we had enough money to pay the staff to provide the services. And you know what? our counselors would still be busy and our beds would still be full.”

When asked about what the biggest hurdle in her recovery is, Elise says bluntly that it’s her hometown of Dubbo, almost 200km away. Despite having the biggest population in the central west, Dubbo doesn’t have a residential rehabilitation facility. There are only three residential rehab centers beyond Sydney and the coast, waiting lists are long, the demand for a bed is high.

The closest for Dubbo residents is 200km away in Canowindra, just south of Orange. That facility is run by Lyndon Community, a non-government organization providing a range of programs for drug treatment, primarily for people from the central west.

“There is ice everywhere [in Dubbo] and it’s cheap and nasty; it’s awful,” Elise says. “I don’t want to go back home because I know how easy it is. I know I will walk down the street, and I will see someone who will try and give it to me. I am just terrified because I don’t want to use it anymore, but I know how hard it is to say no.”

Waves of dry heat are rolling over the western NSW city of Dubbo; a five-hour drive west of Sydney. Fat thick clouds bloated with grey offer the promise of tantalizing rain, but residents know better than to hold out hopes of water from above.

Dubbo sits on the edge of Australia’s vast interior, a gateway to the outback. Its outskirts are lined with rows of red brick single-story houses, whole blocks encased in a whir of humming air conditioners. The bitumen and concrete gradually unfurl into farmland and dust, hinting at the looming arid landscape a few hundred kilometres west, with its flat ruby red earth and never-ending ocean of blue sky above.

In South Dubbo, Wiradjuri elder Frank Doolan is escaping the heat, sitting inside a small office clutching a white Styrofoam cup of black tea. The first thing you notice about Doolan is his snow-white hair, and then his slim, wiry body.

A print by street artist Banksy is emblazoned across his shirt. The painting, called Rage, Flower Thrower, shows a protester hurling a bouquet of flowers in place of a Molotov cocktail. The image is a fitting summation of Doolan, affectionately known as ‘riverbank Frank’, a man who has dedicated a lifetime to fighting for the rights of his people, using love and respect, not violence.

Although he’s seen the Koori community face many crises, Doolan says his people are now staring down the barrel of an unprecedented danger; the rise of methamphetamine.

“I would describe ice in this community as a train crash. I would describe ice in Aboriginal communities across western NSW as a train crash. People in those communities are completely stumped by this one,” Doolan tells BuzzFeed News. “It’s very scary. It’s a heightening of the levels of trauma and the drama that Aboriginal people live with. It’s a pretty bad thing. People react on ice in a way that no other drug has done to them in the past. There is no handbook for it and a lot of it is guesswork.”

Doolan works with young Aboriginal people at Apollo House, the only community centre in the notorious Apollo Estate. A place that, up until a few years ago, Domino’s Pizza refused to deliver to. Nicknamed ‘The Bronx’ it comprises several streets running parallel to each other, made up predominately of public housing. Poverty is rife, crime and drug abuse is a part of everyday life. But strip away the ghetto hyperbole and the poverty porn headlines and you’ll find a proud community struggling to survive, and a vulnerable community being savagely preyed upon by drug dealers and manufacturers.

Doolan lifts an arm that has seen many outback summers and takes a sip of tea, looking out the window past the torn grey mesh of the fly screen, his eyes fall on the empty Collins Avenue, one of the main thoroughfares in the Apollo Estate.

“If alcohol and drug abuse affected Aboriginal families badly in the past, well, magnify that 100 times more. Ice’s unpredictable nature makes it the worst thing to have to deal with in community because you just don’t know on any given day what may occur. And no one knows that better than emergency ward staff. But before people get to hospital, locals out in the Aboriginal community are seeing the effects. Especially children.”

As he speaks Doolan’s voice becomes garbled. Bowing his head, tears begin to roll down his weathered, distraught face. He recalls the first time he was offered ice by kids, a jarring realization of how the drug had seeped into all parts of the estate.

“It is an issue when ice in a regional community can be more easily obtained than marijuana. It’s a worry too in a regional city such as Dubbo. When I’m on my way to work in the morning walking through the estate and 14-year-old kids are trying to sell me the ‘cool stuff’.”

“It raises the question in my mind, who the hell is giving these kids ice to go out and peddle on the streets of Apollo Estate? The young people are just trying to keep their heads above water or make their check go a little bit further, so they’re quite possibly unaware of the enormous and devastating impact ice will have on us as a community both now and into the future. They’re just seeing it as another way to rise above the poverty level,” says Doolan.

Ice is a synthetic man-made drug that has crept its way into Australian communities over the past decade. Country towns and remote Aboriginal communities, where there is a lack of health services and youth programs, are in the crosshairs of methamphetamine manufacturers who see these communities as an untapped marketplace to make easy cash.

Under the midday sun the rigid long grass cracks underfoot on Apollo Estate as opened syringe packets flap and twist on the breeze, pinned to rusted wire fences. Apollo Estate resident Leanne O’Connor is sitting on her veranda balancing a tray on her lap while filling out some forms ‘for someone who needs help with their paperwork’.

O’Connor has lived at Apollo Estate for the past ten years and has become known as the community social worker. Always helping others, whether it’s court papers, Centrelink forms or recommendations, O’Connor is dedicated to her community. She says the ice problem is an unfolding daily nightmare played out on the streets in front of her house.

“I can sit back here [on the verandah] and tell if a bad batch [of ice] has come in because everyone goes psychotic and starts carrying weapons around and wants to fight each other. They carry knives around, and you can tell when [the bad batch of ice] is gone because everyone calms down. You see all of that living here.”

O’Connor’s brow furrows when she speaks and the gold cross on her necklace glints in the sunlight, she’s blunt about the toll ice is taking.

“These older ones get these young little ones addicted to it and then they want to make them have sex with them just so they can get their hit. It’s wrong, it’s abuse,” O’Connor tells BuzzFeed News.

“These men are dirty dogs and I see it a lot. Getting the young ones addicted to ice and then these older ones, and when I say old I mean in their thirties, and then want to make them [the young people] have sex with them to get more ice.”

“Sometimes kids will go up to these men with money to buy ice and the guy will say, ‘suck me off or something and you don’t have to pay’. It’s sick.”

O’Connor also says she’s seen a rise in parents voluntarily placing their children into government care, unable to see a way out of their addiction.

“I see a lot of women giving up their children for ice and in my heart I don’t judge them in any way because I think they are good people for giving up their kids rather than leaving them stuck in a life they shouldn’t be in.”

“There’s a lot of bad situations here; you just have to find the best in every situation up here, because these people need a lot of help.”

Two major roads slice through Dubbo, the Mitchell Highway connecting the east to the west and the Newell Highway linking north to south. These arterial roads cut the city into four and make Dubbo an easy place to transport drugs into. Every month hundreds of rumbling dusty road trains and Mac Trucks, carrying everything from livestock to food supplies, sail through the city.enhanced-buzz-wide-11866-1446089410-7

Orana Local Area Command (LAC) Detective Chief Inspector Brett Smith tells Buzzfeed News that the majority of methamphetamine is coming through on these trucks.

“We have seized large quantities of amphetamine, not only ice, but also cannabis and a myriad of prescription drugs.”

Smith says the overwhelming majority of local drug-related crime are connected with ice.

“You’re looking at over 50% of people that do get charged with possession or supplies are generally the methamphetamine-related drugs.”

“Because it is a drug that’s easily produced, there is a lot of it. And unfortunately what it comes down to is a town the size of Dubbo, which is 45 to 50,000 people, there is always going to be those people in the community with that as a drug of choice. And whilst there is a demand there is always going to be people happy to supply it,” said Smith.

The city also has a large Indigenous population. According to the Bureau of Statistics almost 13% of the community identify as Aboriginal. Smith says they’ve been particularly hard hit by the spread of ice.

“Dubbo has a large Indigenous community and ice is a big problem, and it’s unfortunate. We are working with Indigenous leaders to quell that problem.”

Smith says punitive action alone will not solve the problem and says a stronger unified working relationship between government agencies is the key.

“Basically it comes down to a situation where we [the police] don’t believe we could possibly arrest [our way] out of the situation in relation to ice and the prevalence of it in Australia and regional NSW.”

“Unfortunately when a crime is committed the community expects us to do our job, and that is we arrest and we charge and we place them before the court, and the NSW courts system deals with those people how they see fit. Nine times out of 10 the only way for those people to get help is for people to go through that process so that if they are incarcerated, they receive help while they are in corrective services custody. If they’re not incarcerated they are on the street and they generally continue with what they do and that is take drugs”

A National Ice Taskforce was set up in April by the then-Prime Minister Tony Abbott to develop a strategy in overcoming the ice epidemic sweeping Australia. The task force travelled around the country, consulting with communities and taking submissions from organisations dealing with the drug. Australia uses ice at higher rates than other nations.

The final report was handed to the Prime Minister in early October. Its findings and recommendations haven’t been made public yet, but elders like Frank Doolan [pictured above] are hoping for substantive grassroots investment.

“Kids are caught up in this insidious business with ice, there are really no second chances. Go visit a ward where they’re rehabilitated and you’ll find they sit around in a zombie like state. My people are the dreamtime people and I just think, ‘well wow what impact is this going to have on us as a people?’”, says Doolan.

“In reality we are kangaroos caught in the headlights of an oncoming truck and the only certainty is the impending impact.”



Allan Clarke is an Indigenous Affairs Reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

Contact Allan Clarke at