• Megan  Grunwald is facing more than a dozen charges for a fatal car chase last  month
  • Sheriff’s  deputy Cory Wride approached Grunwald and her boyfriend on the side of the road  because he thought they were having car trouble
  • While  sitting in his squad car, 27-year-old boyfriend Jose Angel Garcia-Juaregui  opened up the rear window and shot Wride dead
  • The murder  set off an hours long car chase which ended in officers fatally shooting  Garcia-Juaregui
  • Now  Grunwald is being charged with Wride’s first-degree murder and several other  felonies as an adult


Prosecutors say a 17-year-old girl was  pregnant and high on meth when she and her boyfriend shot and killed a sheriff’s  deputy who was just trying to help them with car trouble on the side of a Utah  road last month.

Pregnant teen Megan Grunwald

Deputy Cory Wride was sitting in his patrol  car when Megan Dakota Grunwald’s 27-year-old boyfriend Jose Angel  Garcia-Juaregui opened the rear window of their truck and shot him dead on  January 30.

That murder set off a hours-long car chase  across Utah that eventually ended in officers shooting Garcia-Juaregui in the  head, and he died the following day.

But Grunwald survived, and now she’s being  tried as an adult for a dozen felonies and two misdemeanors related to Wride’s  death and the ensuing car chase – though she never pulled a trigger.

Documents filed in court shed light on the  dramatic crime spree that ended in death on I-15 roadway last month.

Wride stopped to help Grunwald and her  boyfriend around 1pm because he thought they were having car trouble and wanted  to help.

Grunwald was driving the car with her  boyfriend in the passenger’s seat. She gave Wride her driver’s license but  Garcia-Juearegui gave the officer a false name.

Wride went back and forth between the pick-up  truck registered to Grunwald’s mother and his squad car three times, trying to  figure out Garcia-Juaregui’s actual identity.

article-2562675-1B9FB34C00000578-297_634x788 Unprovoked: Utah County Sheriff’s Deputy Cory Wride was  shot dead by Grunwald’s boyfriend after trying to help the couple he thought was  having car troubles


article-2562675-1B9FB6AD00000578-668_306x423 article-2562675-1B9FB6C000000578-813_306x423

Crime couple: The chase ended when sheriff’s deputies  shot Jose Angel Garcia-Juaregui (left) in the head and his girlfriend Grunwald  (right)  was arrested. Garcia-Juaregui died the following day in the  hospital

article-2562675-1B9FE1F200000578-142_634x551 Mourning: Family, friends and fellow police officers  attend the funeral of Cory Wride in Spanish Ford Cemetery on February 5


article-2562675-1B9FE1F900000578-629_634x422 Tragic loss: Wride’s wife Nanette (right) is comforted  by her son Shea at the funeral



It was while sitting in his squad car that  Garcia-Juaregui opened the rear window of the truck’s cab and started shooting  at the officer and his girlfriend sped off.

Wride died and his body wasn’t found until 45  minutes later when another deputy was sent out to check up on him.

Fellow deputy Greg Sherwood tracked the  couple’s truck down around 3pm and attempted to pull the couple over.

But Grunwald wouldn’t stop, and actually  ‘aggresively applied the brakes’ to shorten the distance between the two  vehicles while her boyfriend started shooting.

Garcia-Juregui hit Sherwood in the head,  critically injuring the officer. Sherwood eventually recovered from the injury  and returned home Tuesday after spending 19 days in the hospital.

article-2562675-1B5F722900000578-204_634x421 Attempted murder: Garcia-Juaregui also shot at Deputy  Greg Sherwood (pictured with wife Gina above), and critically injured the  officer


article-2562675-1B5F703900000578-335_634x423 Recovery: Sherwood spent 19 days in hospital but was  finally allowed to go home on Tuesday


After hitting Sherwood, the couple hit  another roadblock when their truck crashed after hitting spikes laid on the road  near Nephi, Utah.

Instead of surrendering to police, Grunwald  helped flagged down a minivan and her boyfriend carjacked the vehicle from a  woman who was on her way home from a parent-teacher conference.

This is just one of the instances prosecutors  are using to argue that Grunwald was not being forced by her boyfriend to take  part in the crime spree.

After abandoning the truck, prosecutors say  Grunwald ‘on her own accord, follows Mr Garcia-Juaregui after leaving the  vehicle without appearing to be coerced by him’.

The couple didn’t get far with the hijacked  car and crashed again on a second strip of spikes.

After hitting the spikes, police say Grunwald  crossed into traffic and tried to strike another vehicle on purpose.

article-2562675-1B9FBDA400000578-82_634x286 End of the road: The hours-long chase finally came to an  end when the couple’s hijacked car hit a second set of spikes and they  crashed


Juab County sheriff’s deputies were finally  able to stop the couple when they shot Garcia-Juaregui in the head.

article-2562675-1B9FBDA800000578-356_306x448 Justice: Grunwald has her first hearing scheduled for  next Monday. She is being held on $1million


While he was lying on the ground, Grunwald  yelled at officers: ‘You f****** shot him’

The officers kept the couple seperated as  they arrested Grunwald and redied her boyfriend to be taken to the hospital,  which displeased a dying Garcia-Juaregui.

‘You not going to let me kiss my girl with my  last dying breath,’ he asked. He died the following day at the hospital

Grunwald, meanwhile, was booked in jail and  is still being held on $1million bail. Her first court hearing is scheduled for  next Monday.

Friends who knew the couple told  investigators that Grunwald was carrying Garcia-Juaregui’s child and the two  planned to marry in August when she turned 18.

On her Facebook page, Grunwald posted a cover  photo which reads:’ I’m just a girl who is in love with the most  annoying,  cutest, funniest, nicest, and completely perfect guy in the  world’.

After their  marriage, the couple planned to  move to Mexico. They had been living at  Grunwald’s mother’s home in Draper ‘for  several months’.

Grunwald had allegedly been buying meth for  her boyfriend and tested positive  for the drug after her arrest. Prosecutors  have not yet said whether  Garcia-Juaregui had meth in his system during the car  chase but drug paraphernalia was found in the truck.

She faces 12 felony charges which include the  first-degree murder of Wride, attempted aggravated murder for critically  injuring Sherwood and  aggravated robbery for the car jacking.









PHUKET: Italian expat Fabio Milan, 35, was caught with crystal methamphetamine, one methamphetamine pill and marijuana in a hotel room in Patong on Monday (February 17) around 5.30pm.

Fabio Milan1 Fabio Milan2

Milan was staying at a hotel on Pisitkoranee Road, Patong, when around seven Kathu police officers raided the place after a tip off.

Inside the hotel room they found a stunned Milan, who was shocked to see the police but didn’t put up a fight.

Police found eight bags of ya ice (crystal methamphetamine) weighing a total of 8.52 grams, 6.97 grams of marijuana and one ya ba (methamphetamine) pill.

Kathu Police Captain Sinchai Thawanpiyayo told The Phuket News, “Ya ice is the type of drug that we find is most common in the Patong area. It’s a big problem here. Other types of drugs are not as popular as ya ice.”

Police charged Milan with possession of crystal methamphetamine and marijuana with intent to sell, and possession of ya ba.







Two Hall County men have been arrested charged with possession with the intent to distribute drugs, authorities said.

Joseph Shawn Ledbetter, 34, and Randall Dean Ledbetter, 61, both of 4457 Benefield Road, were arrested during a drug investigation, said Scott Ware, commander of the Multi Agency Narcotics Squad.

Joseph Ledbetter 0219rdledbetterBW

During a search of the Ledbetters’ home, MANS agents seized five firearms, LSD, methamphetamine, marijuana and carisoprodol. MANS estimated the street value of the drugs at $2,670.

Joseph Ledbetter was charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, possession of LSD with the intent to distribute, five counts of possession of a firearm during commission of a felony and felony possession of marijuana.

Randall Ledbetter was charged with possession of carisoprodol with intent to distribute.

Both were arrested without incident and booked into the Hall County Jail.


Town of Sullivan, NY– Feb. 18, 2014) After a lengthy investigation by the Madison County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit, Sheriff’s Deputies and the Sheriff’s Special Operations (SWAT) Unit conducted a raid on a methamphetamine lab located at 7700 Devaul Road in the Madison County Town of Sullivan Monday evening.


Information obtained during the investigation indicated active manufacturing of methamphetamine at that location. A search warrant was obtained as a result.

Upon entry to the trailer by SWAT members, three individuals were taken into custody, and two subsequently arrested.

Those arrested are identified as: Mark R. Owens, 28, of 7700 Devaul Road, Lot 78, Town of Sullivan; and Ryan E. Carman, 33, same address.


Owens has been charged with one count of third-degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance – narcotics with intent to sell, a class B Felony; two counts of seventh-degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, a Class A Misdemeanor; one count of second-degree Criminal Use of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class A Misdemeanor, and one count of third-degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance – methamphetamine – intent to sell, a Class B Felony. Additional charges are pending.


Carman has been charged with three counts of seventh-degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, a Class A Misdemeanor, two counts of third-degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance  – narcotics with intent to sell, a Class B Felony and one count of Unlawful Possession of Marijuana – a Violation. Additional charges are pending.

When taken into custody, Owens was in possession of a large quantity of heroin and a quantity of finished methamphetamine; Carman was in possession of a large quantity of heroin, various medications not prescribed to him, and a quantity of marijuana.

Owens and Carman were arraigned in the Town of Sullivan Court last night and are being held at the Madison County Correction Facility; both being held on $50,000 cash bail or $100,000 bond. Both are answering charges this afternoon in the Town of Sullivan Court.

Charges are pending against the third person at this time, and until charges are filed, will not be identified.

Due to the nature of the lab, the New York State Police Contaminated Crime Scene

Emergency Response Team (CCSERT), New York State Department of Environmental

Conservation, and the North Chittenango Fire Department responded and assisted with securing the lab’s location.

Madison County Sheriff Allen Riley commented “heroin use has been on the rise across the County and the state. This office will continue to use all resources and available personnel to combat the problem in our County.”

Sheriff’s Deputies remained on the scene overnight to secure the location for the arrival of the State Police CCERT members, who commenced their operations at dawn this morning. Scene clean-up was completed by noon today.








TAMPA (FOX 13) – Convenience stores sell it as a novelty idea, but is that just a smokescreen  for the “I Love You Rose” — a small plastic flower in a tiny glass vase with a  hole on top?

“This is drug paraphernalia,” said Dr. Jason Fields, who works at DACCO, a drug treatment center in Tampa. “No doubt about  it.”


Dr. Fields, an addiction specialist, says the most popular use of the item is  a meth pipe.

“The user would put it in a reservoir down here and heat up with a lighter or  another device to a liquid. That melts the crystallized form of the drug so that  it vaporizes and can be inhaled and they can smoke the meth.”

We found the rose pipe, which is made in China, for sale throughout the Tampa  Bay area, selling for between $4.99 and $6.99.

FOX 13 went undercover and bought pipes at various stores in Hillsborough,  Pinellas, and Pasco counties.  Most of the time, the clerk hid it behind the  counter until we asked for it.

“That’s what really bothered me,” said Ellen Snelling with the nonprofit  group, the Hillsborough County Drug  Alliance. “If you are selling a gift, you would keep it on top of the  counter so people could see it and buy it.”

Snelling was surprised at how easy it was for us to buy it and even more  surprised by her own experience at a convenience store in Pasco County.

“I just said, ‘Do you have any small glass tubes with a flower in it?’ And  she knew exactly what I was talking about,” said Snelling.  “It was kept  underneath the counter and you couldn’t even see it. I just wanted to look at it  and the next thing I know she had charged me for it.”

Is there anything illegal about selling it?  Under Florida’s new drug  paraphernalia law, in most cases it’s legal. According to the state statute, the clerk must know the person buying it  intends to use it as a pipe for it to be illegal.

Every store clerk we bought one from claimed they knew nothing about its use  as a drug pipe.

Dr. Fields isn’t buying that.

Crystal meth is an epidemic, especially in east Hillsborough Country. It’s a  significant number of our residential admissions for men and women.

“It’s a drug pipe.”









A motel room at the Knights Inn on South Church Street was allegedly being used to cook meth last week, according to Murfreesboro Police. Officers made the discovery after locating an unattended backpack found under a stairwell at the facility.

In room 132 police observed evidence that the occupants were using the room to cook meth. A neighboring room had to be evacuated and the Tennessee Meth Task Force responded to properly clear the room.

A juvenile was exposed to meth in the hotel room and that child was evidently 5-years of age. Jeffery St. John, 24, of Mt Juliet was arrested.







The search of a house on Eunice Street just north of downtown Douglasville led to a slew of arrests over the weekend. Officers may have gotten more than they bargained for as no less than seven people were found in the house and arrested after the search allegedly turned up meth, marijuana, pipes, plastic bags and cell phones used for drug sales along with defendants with long criminal records.

Those arrested included Leann Cowins, 42, Makeshia Duncan, 35, Amber Leigh Fowler, 44, Cory Deshun Williams, 40, Norman Louis Cowins, 44, Toreanto Deyawn Finch, 37, and Benjamin Russell Kassars, 28. All are from Douglasville except for Williams, who gave a Marietta address. Leann and Norman Cowins are the only ones listed as living in the home.

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“We received information advising subjects at that address on Eunice Street were selling meth,” said Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Shay Brooks. “In the course of the investigation we recorded sales on six different occasions at the residence. Using various warrants issued on Feb. 15 the DCSO conducted a search warrant and found Cowins and several other subjects at the residence.”

Officers recorded meth sales at the house as far back as November, and continued recording sales until the search date last weekend.

Not everyone faced the same charges. Leanne Cowins, Norman Cowins and Williams were the only ones charged with selling meth. Williams got one count of meth sales, while Leanne Cowins was charged with four counts and Norman Cowins five counts of selling among other charges. Duncan, Fowler and Kassars were charged only with possession of meth and drug related objects. Finch picked up those two charges plus a failure to appear misdemeanor.

Some had a history of meth arrests going back nearly two decades. Williams had 36 prior arrests. Duncan had a meth arrest in 2003 and Fowler had arrests in 1996 and 1997 for meth, but both said they are not regular users.

“I haven’t been in trouble in 15 years,” said Fowler, who also claimed she could pass a drug test. “I was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Kassars also said he was at the wrong place at the wrong time, saying he had left his house to give friends privacy on Valentine’s Day and that he was not involved in the alleged meth business.

Bond amounts varied based on the charges and criminal history of each defendant. Leanne Cowins was denied bond by Magistrate Court Judge Susan Camp. Duncan’s bond was $7,000, Fowler’s bond was $8,000, Williams was denied bond, Norman Cowins was denied bond, Finch’s bond was $11,000 and Kassars had a cash-only bond of $7,000.

Several defendants were also ordered drug therapy.







TIJUANA, Mexico — Cruz Marcelino Velazquez Acevedo almost made it. On Nov. 18, the 16-year-old told his dad he was headed to the gym. Instead, he got in line at the San Ysidro port of entry connecting Tijuana and San Diego. There U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents noticed a discrepancy in his B1/B2 visa, a document that allows him, like many other Mexicans each day, to enter the United States for tourism and pleasure. They pulled Cruz aside.

image_imgPeople crossing from Mexico to the United States at the San Ysidro port of entry in San Diego, November 2013. It is the busiest port of entry in the United States, with some 90,000 people passing daily between Tijuana and San Diego.


An average student who had no disciplinary record, Cruz had an easy smile and a neatly cropped crew cut. He was wearing a white hoodie, light blue jeans and sneakers and was carrying a juice bottle and a 1.5-liter water bottle. Both were filled with an amber-colored liquid.

One of the officers, suspicious of the bottles’ contents, seized one and poured a capful of the contents onto a counter. If it had been liquid methamphetamine, he thought, it would “instantly evaporate and leave behind crystals.”

But the liquid didn’t crystallize, and to the agent it smelled slightly fruity.

He handed the bottles back to Cruz, sending him to secondary inspection. There the teenager was asked again about the liquid.

“It’s apple juice,” he said. Then, to prove his point, he took a swig.

At the same time, a K-9 unit entered the room. The drug-sniffing dog immediately signaled that Cruz possessed an illegal substance. Agents handcuffed the teen, taking him to a security office, where an officer was patting down another suspect when Cruz arrived.

The teen grew agitated and started sweating profusely. He clutched his chest, screaming, “My heart! My heart!” in Spanish. The officer also made out the words “chemicals” and something about the boy’s sister and cousin.

Agents called 911 and handcuffed Cruz to a gurney. An ambulance arrived and paramedics pumped him full of anti-overdose medications and handcuffed his wrists to a stretcher. At the hospital, he tried to say his name and birth date but couldn’t. Thirty minutes later, he was dead.

A few weeks after his death, the San Diego County Medical Examiner ruled that Cruz died from acute methamphetamine intoxication. His “apple juice” was 90 percent meth.

Teens recruited

image_imgrPeople waiting to cross from Mexico into the United States at the San Ysidro port of entry, November 2013, in San Diego

Cruz’s story is increasingly common. From 2008 through 2013, 978 minors were caught by the CBP and charged with drug trafficking in the San Diego sector alone. (Borderwide statistics aren’t readily available.) That figure has leveled out but remains high compared with the rate of juvenile drug trafficking prior to 2008.

The latest statistics related to drugs seizures in San Diego show that marijuana busts dropped from 121 cases in 2010 to just 36 in 2012. But methamphetamine and cocaine seizures have both doubled.

To the east, in the Tucson, Ariz., sector, the number of juvenile apprehensions has also increased. In 2012, 244 minors reportedly faced drug-smuggling charges, double the number from 2011. Smugglers recruit minors because they are more easily swayed by promises of cash, cellphones and clothes. A typical cash payoff is $100 to $200. Minors are also sought out because they are more likely to recruit their friends and peers.

It’s not uncommon for high school students from San Diego County to cross into Mexico to party or visit family, particularly since the legal drinking age south of the border is 18. Agents say that kids are approached at the mall, in their neighborhoods, or at parties. Drug mules as young as 12 have been caught at the border.

An estimated 50,000 vehicles and 25,000 pedestrians flow north from Tijuana each day. The volume of traffic makes catching smugglers difficult, Millie Jones, assistant special agent with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), said, “The system isn’t set up to check every person. The average person wants to believe that kids are innocent and they’re not going to be the ones smuggling narcotics. The cartels see that.”

Often teens are assured that if they are caught smuggling drugs, they won’t face serious consequences because of their age. That is only partly true.

“By and large, there is a huge gap in sentencing for juveniles and adults,” said San Diego criminal defense lawyer Jeremy Warren, who has represented numerous juvenile offenders. “Juvenile sentencing is considered treatment and rehabilitation, and the punishments are generally much shorter, from probation to a few months in jail, at least in California.”

Adults, he said, can face years in prison for the same conduct. “It seems pretty arbitrary, but for the same crime — say, driving across the border in a car with a few pounds of cocaine inside — a 17-year-old might get (a sentence of) time served in juvenile court after a few weeks, while an 18-year-old might get three or four years in federal prison.”

For those 18 and up, punishment ranges from five to 20 years in prison, with fines that can top $5,000. The sentence depends on the type and quantity of drugs involved and whether the accused is tried in state or federal court. Many adult mules get three or four years, Warren said.

Penalties for mules under 18 range from probation to up to 15 months in a juvenile work camp.

Offenders convicted of aggravated felony crimes, like drug trafficking, who are noncitizens — adults and juveniles alike — are automatically deported for life after serving their sentences. According to statistics obtained from Immigration and Customs Enforcement via a Freedom of Information Act request, more than 65,500 immigrants were deported from 2007 to 2009 after aggravated felony convictions.

On one particular day in 2008, five teenagers were arrested in 24 hours, said Jones. She said it was a wake-up call. Some of the kids were apprehended at the same port of entry where Cruz drank liquid meth, others at Calexico to the east. “All of them had hard narcotics, cocaine or meth strapped to their bodies,” she said.

After seeing a 16 percent surge from 2008 to 2009 in the number of minors caught trying to smuggle drugs across the border, the DHS began an outreach program, organizing annual presentations in schools. The program now includes 38 elementary, middle and high schools in southern San Diego and features testimonies from agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, DHS Special Investigations, the U.S. Attorney’s office, the CBP and the San Diego Police Department.

A new approach, in schools

image_imgtA Customs and Border Patrol agent giving a Department of Homeland Security presentation at San Ysidro High School in San Diego, November 2013

Five days before Cruz died, hundreds of neatly uniformed students at San Ysidro High School filed into their auditorium for a special presentation. Like the district the school is in, the 2,500-member student body is almost entirely Latino. Most come from low-income homes. While only a few of the school’s students have been caught smuggling drugs, the principal, Hector Espinoza, said he welcomed preventive measures by the DHS.

One reason San Ysidro was chosen as the pilot school for the program was its proximity to the busiest land border crossing in the Western Hemisphere, the San Ysidro port of entry. The Mexican border is just two miles south, and Tijuana’s urban sprawl is visible in the distance. Most students have family on both sides.

Outside officials were scattered around the edges of the San Ysidro High auditorium — law enforcement, ICE and CBP agents, even a prosecutor from the U.S attorney’s office. Some wore jeans and sneakers, others full uniform.

Officer Veronica Miranda, a CBP agent, stood off to the side, smiling as students filed in. She struck up a conversation with two freshmen boys in the front row. One asked what it felt like to get shot by a Taser. Like a fishhook getting ripped out of your skin, she said. A boy in red sneakers asked if he could use her pepper spray on his food. Nearby a student asked another official how to become a sniper.

The formal presentation started with a video featuring an 18-year-old speaking from jail. She was unnamed, and her face was blurred out. Her voice had a distinct Southern California lilt, similar to that of many San Ysidro High students.

The young woman recounted her attempt to smuggle three pounds of opium from Mexico into the United States. She thought it would be easy. She wanted to buy clothes, she said, go out, spend money on her friends.

“It’s just a waste of your life being in here,” she warned. “It’s not worth it.”

Not revealed in the video was that the young woman was only incarcerated while her sentencing was pending. Ultimately, she got five years of probation.

The lights came up, and the visiting officials took the stage one at a time. Each spoke for 10 minutes or less. The approaches ranged from tough to friendly to almost confessional.

“One thing I hate is having to arrest a teenager,” said Miranda. “Have I done it? Yes. Once, twice, several times I’ve done it, because I have to do my job … Do I like to? No.”

Two young officials took the stage. One, Shalene Thomas, started by joking with the other, Desiree Aveina, her professional partner, who pointed out that her last name, which is Samoan, was often mistaken for “avena,” Spanish for “oatmeal.”

The audience laughed.

Thomas then shifted to a description of her duties examining the faces of those in the pedestrian lines at the border, searching for signs of anxiety. “A lot of people think for two hours they can just stand in line, just kickin’ it, chillin’, having a good time, but then” — she pauses, her voice conspiratorial —“you got me in the shadows. I’m in the back. I’m behind that pillar, right there! I’m behind this car, duckin’ down, watchin’ every little thing you do.”

The audience was dead silent, students hanging on her every word.

“Any kind of nervous tic you have, I see that. I’m like, ‘Yeahhh, I’m gonna wait till you get to the front.’ They gonna walk up. They’re like, ‘Yeah, I got this … No sir, I’m not bringing anything, nothing to declare, just visiting my family, eating tacos’” — she pauses again — “and YANK! Gotcha!”

image_imghSome posters from the DHS anti-smuggling presentation at San Ysidro High School


The agents showed photos of juvenile smugglers with blurred faces. In some photos, odd bulges showed through clothes. Others showed the minors revealing packages taped to their bodies.

“We see you in that two-hour line,” Aveina said. “You been up all night. You sweatin’ it. You got all this tape around you, all this narcotic. You don’t know what it is. And you’re standing there, and it’s hot, and — whoomp! — here comes the canine.”

Next onstage was Agent Brandon Nordhoff of the DHS’s special investigations team, who warned students that they were about to witness what he called the “violence section.”

“This is not something you guys are prepared for,” he said with a Southern twang. “I’m still not prepared for it, and I was a U.S. Marine in Iraq.”

Urging his listeners to close their eyes if they felt squeamish, Nordhoff then launched into a PowerPoint slideshow showing images of decapitated bodies and the like. Students murmured in disgust. Some gasped. A solitary voice from the back of the room exclaimed, “Cool!”

‘If you don’t wanna die …’

image_imgyAn undocumented immigrant detained by the U.S. Border Patrol near the U.S.-Mexico border in April 2013 near Mission, Texas.
John Moore/Getty Images

After the presentation, 14-year-old freshman Monica Liduvina Sanchez Martinez said that she was unfazed by the pictures. Though she’d never heard of teens from San Ysidro working as mules, she added, the gore wasn’t surprising.

“It was like ‘Call of Duty,’” she said, referring to the hugely popular video game. “That’s why I wasn’t grossed out, because I’m used to seeing that type of stuff.”

Still, she admitted it was a wake-up call. “When I first heard about (smuggling), I didn’t know that it was going on at all. I didn’t think it was a very big problem, I didn’t think people my age would be doing this stuff. Where are these people’s parents? How do they not know?”

Sophomore Keauni Arroyo, 15, agreed. She, too, hadn’t heard of any of her peers smuggling drugs but now had new concerns. “A lot of my friends want money. Money is their life,” she said. “And I think that if they’re offered more than a hundred dollars, that they’d go for it.”

The guest speakers stood along the side as the auditorium emptied out. A few students approached with inquiries. One boy asked who he could talk to if he knew something. Another student asked if canine units could detect drugs that had been doused in perfume.

“Dogs catch everything,” he was told.

Back in their classrooms some teachers had their students break into discussion groups to talk about the presentation. Keauni said classmates expressed concerns about racial profiling by CBP agents, noting that the program would have had more impact if teenage mules of all races had been shown. That way, she said, Mexican-American students wouldn’t feel singled out.

“I know a couple people, when they walked in and saw the ICE agents, they were like, ‘Oh my god! Run away!’” Keauni said. “I was like, ‘Guys, relax. They’re not here to arrest you.’”

The reaction is understandable. A number of troubling, high-profile cases involving allegations of U.S. authorities smuggling drugs and killing unarmed immigrants remain unresolved and haunt tight-knit border communities like San Ysidro.

“There are contradictions that are rarely talked about here,” said Christian Ramirez of Alliance SD, which promotes justice and social change. “The question is, does the (CBP) really have the moral authority to be conducting these sorts of trainings when it’s pretty much public knowledge that agents themselves have also been involved in smuggling operations?”

Nevertheless, San Ysidro High School students paid close attention to the presentation, which many had seen before. Keauni joked that she’d likely have to watch it again next year. She also offered a suggestion for improvement.

“Maybe if they made up a song,” she said. “People pay attention to songs. Especially when they’re funny, because then they’re like, ‘What? Did he seriously just say that?’”

She then recalled an expression heard often around the school after a sex-ed presentation: “No glove, no love.”

“I still say it!” she said, breaking into giggles. “Maybe they could have one like, If you don’t wanna die” — she thought for a moment — “don’t smuggle the high!”








The parents of a 4-year-old Tauranga girl who has a rare form of leukaemia believe the disease could have been caused by methamphetamine contamination in their rented home.

Alicia Steenson became unwell early last month and underwent a series of blood tests after antibiotics did nothing to improve her condition.

Father Trent Steenson said her gums became jelly-like and “her teeth were floating around in her gums because the bone in her jaw had disintegrated”.

Mr Steenson and his wife Vicky were given the devastating news in mid-January that their little girl had Stage 4 Burkitt Lymphoma.

Alicia was rushed to Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland where she began treatment. She had already undergone three lumbar punctures and was undergoing chemotherapy treatment.


When Alicia was diagnosed, Mr Steenson became suspicious. He looked under their Ohauiti house, in an area near where Alicia often played, and found old, empty containers of paint thinners had been dumped there.

He contacted police who told him the house had been raided in 2011 and the people there charged with methamphetamine offences.

Preliminary testing of the house by Auckland-based company Meth Solutions revealed there was a high level of the drug still present.

A spokeswoman said detailed testing of the property was now being undertaken.

Mr Steenson believed Alicia’s sickness could be related to the chemicals under the house and the contamination.

“It started in her mouth and she’s the only one in the house who’s a thumb sucker,” he said.

“We were definitely all quite lethargic.”

Ms Steenson said he was concerned the landlord did not notify him.

Tauranga medical oncologist Richard North said it was unlikely, but not impossible, Alicia’s cancer had been caused by living in the contaminated home.

Dr North said leukaemia could be caused by prolonged exposure to chemicals, but thought it unlikely that living in a meth home would cause it.

“What is impossible is to prove it,” he said. The Steenson’s property manager, Afra van der Velden, said neither herself nor the owners of the property were aware the house had methamphetamine contamination. She said the owners were never told of any police raid on the property and were talking to police to establish what had happened.

“We are very concerned about this and we are looking into it. We don’t actually know who was renting the house in 2011.”

According to the New Zealand Drug Detection Agency, children are particularly vulnerable to the health risks associated with meth labs because they had immature organ systems, faster metabolic rates, and weaker immune systems.

Nina Harland, a work colleague of Mr Steenson who is fundraising for the family, said the family was concerned they had nowhere to live.

“They had to leave everything in their house  their furniture, everything,” she said.

Mr Steenson said Alicia’s body was “riddled” with cancer by the time they found it and while it was an aggressive type it also responded well to treatment.

Doctors expected she would make a full recovery but would likely be in hospital until August, he said.

Alicia’s blonde hair had now fallen out and the chemotherapy was tiring her out but she was putting on a brave face, Mr Steenson said.

Ms Harland started fundraising at work and soon extended her efforts further afield by setting up a page on givealittle.co.nz

“They are a lovely family. They are very family-oriented. Everything’s for their kids. They don’t have a lot. It’s been a really big hit for them.”







INDIANAPOLISHouses where methamphetamine labs are found would be listed in an online registry under a proposal being considered by Indiana lawmakers.

The state Senate Civil Law Committee discussed the measure Monday. The bill also would transfer control of the reporting website from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute to the state police.

Properties could be taken off the list 90 days after they are cleaned and declared habitable.

The proposal earlier passed the Indiana House unanimously.

State police say about 1,800 meth labs were found across Indiana last year. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management reports contaminated homes pose health hazards, particularly for children.

The Criminal Justice Institute  has the authority to create the online registry but never received funding from the state to follow through with the measure, said Indiana State Police First Sgt. Niki Crawford, commander of the methamphetamine suppression section of the Indiana State Police.

Indiana State Police already has a database of meth lab seizures, Crawford said. Police now plan to begin formatting the information to move online.

“The new disclosure part allows a purchaser to know what they’re getting into,” Crawford said. “It’s simply a public safety tool.”

Current law allows property owners time to decontaminate a residence after a meth lab is found before the property is listed on a registry.

The new legislation would require properties be listed immediately, which raised concerns from members of the Indiana Apartment Association.

“We wanted to keep that in law, because it’s worked well,” association President Lynne Petersen said of current timelines for cleanup.

Sponsor Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport, asked to delay the vote until next week to address those issues.

Approval from the full Senate and governor is needed before it can become law.


Mason City – A raid on a Mason City house Friday where items from a suspected burglary were expected to be found also turned up a methamphetamine manufacturing operation and resulted in the arrest of four people.
B. Taylor D. Taylor Williams 2 Lee
Mason County Sheriff Paul Gann said the department executed a search warrant Friday at 418 S. Keefer St., where items taken in a recent burglary were believed to be held. Gann said he could not reveal many details of the raid yet, because charges have not been filed by the Mason County State’s Attorney, but he said that several stolen items were found in the residence, as were meth manufacturing materials.
Authorities arrested four Mason City residents. Bradin M. Taylor, 19, was arrested on charges of residential burglary, theft of more than $300 worth of property, criminal trespass to residence, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a firearm without a firearm owner’s identification card and possession of cannabis. Brendin L. Williams, 22, Teddy Lee, 25, and 42-year-old Denise A. Taylor were all arrested on charges of theft of more than $300 worth of property, methamphetamine manufacturing, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of cannabis.
According to an email from the Mason County Sheriff’s Office, all four of the arrested people were sharing the residence.
For Williams, this latest arrest likely will not help him out with a sentencing hearing that was scheduled for April 10 after Eighth Circuit Judge Alan D. Tucker revoked his probation Feb. 6.
Williams had been placed on probation in March 2013, almost exactly one year after he fired a gun at an empty vehicle just across the Logan County line and then led police on a high-speed chase through Mason City with a minor in the passenger seat, ditching his gun and drugs all the while. He eventually bailed into a relative’s apartment in the city and prompted several law enforcement agencies, fearful they might have a stand-off situation on their hands, to respond before Williams was retrieved peacefully without further incident.
Williams pleaded guilty to aggravated fleeing and resisting arrest and to several traffic citations in exchange for the dismissal of the charges of child endangerment, possession of a firearm, possession of meth and disposing of meth manufacturing waste. He was sentenced at the time to 180 days in jail and 24 months of probation.
Williams’ probation was revoked due to a September arrest in Lincoln for driving with a revoked license, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving with an open alcohol container, which a Lincoln officer discovered when he performed a traffic stop on Williams, who drove past the Lincoln police station while blasting loud music at about 2:30 a.m.
All four of the suspects were still in custody at the Mason County Jail in Havana as of Monday.
Rogers County teacher is out of jail following her weekend arrest on drug charges in Tulsa County.
According to Deputy Chief Mark Carter of the Sand Springs Police Department, Sharon K. Comer was the passenger in a vehicle pulled over for a traffic stop Sand Springs, when she was found to be in possession of an undisclosed amount of methamphetamine.
Comer is a teacher with the Foyil School District in Rogers County.
According to the arrest report filed with the Sand Springs Police Department, shortly before midnight on Feb. 14, Officer Tyler Detring pulled over a blue Chevy pickup on Highway 97 in Sand Springs for an improper turn.
After gaining permission to search the vehicle, Detring observed Comer — who was a passenger in the vehicle — to be in possession of what appeared to be a “hollow pen tube,” sometimes used as a “snort straw” for the ingestion of narcotics, the report indicated.
When he attempted to place her in custody, Comer resisted and Detring then placed her under arrest, according to the report.
After a search of the vehicle was made, a substance was found, which tested positive as methamphetamine.
Comer was arrested and  booked into Tulsa County Jail early Saturday on charges of possession of a controlled dangerous substance, resisting arrest, and possession of drug paraphernalia. She later bonded out.
The driver of the vehicle — Steve Hooper — was released from custody after being cited for driving under suspension, driving without insurance (verification), and improper turn.
Foyil Superintendent Rod Carter said Comer was not in class, but declined comment about the arrest, noting the school is currently investigating the matter before deciding on what, if any, action to take against Comer.



A Mountain House man accused of being the leader of a drug ring operating the  Central Valley entered a not guilty plea during his arraignment in the Robert  Matsui United States Court House in Sacramento on Thursday.

Francisco  Felix, 40, is charged with methamphetamine distribution and  conspiracy.

At the time of his arrest during a drug sweep Jan. 29, Felix  was residing at 541 Kristine Way in Mountain House.

He is accused of running an illegal drug distribution operation out of a horse ranch at 1700-1742 Almond Ave. in Patterson and various other locations throughout the Central Valley, according to federal authorities.

In the criminal complaint filed  by Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Philipp Maurer on Jan. 28,  Felix was referred by members of the drug cartel as “the boss” of the drug  operation.

He and other men arrested in the drug sweep were considered to  be part of an interstate and international methamphetamine and marijuana  trafficking operation, according to the complaint.

Authorities reported,  during their investigation, agents seized more than 85 pounds of methamphetamine  from Felix and his cartel workers through controlled purchases and other  undercover operations.

According to the complaint, authorities began  their investigation on Felix in January 2013.

The complaint states Felix  had been responsible for facilitating the purchase of 1,000 grams of  methamphetamine, delivering approximately 23 pounds of methamphetamine and  delivering approximately 42 pounds of methamphetamine by arranging for the drugs  and setting the price.

In January 2013, authorities reported a  confidential reliable informant provided information to agents of the California  Department of Justice, Mountain and Valley Marijuana Investigation  Team.

The complaint says the informant told agents he personally  delivered methamphetamine to two adjoining horse ranch properties in Patterson,  and that he received information from a friend of Felix’s family that Felix was  manufacturing the drug at the ranch properties.

On Nov. 8, a second  informant wearing an undercover transmitting device for law enforcement met with  Felix at the horse ranch properties. The report states he was there to purchase  three pounds of methamphetamine, but Felix had reportedly asked the informant to  transport a kilogram of cocaine to Minnesota for his brother Miguel  Felix.

On Nov. 26, authorities reported Felix coordinated the delivery of  approximately 23 pounds of methamphetamine and approximately 42 pounds of  methamphetamine on Dec. 9, both for transport to Chicago.

Both transports  were reportedly seized by federal agents.

Other reports in the complaint  show Felix was also allegedly involved in growing of marijuana in both indoor  and outdoor facilities throughout the Central Valley.

Felix is scheduled  to return to court on April 14 go appear before U.S. District Judge William  Shubb in Sacramento federal court for a status conference.

He remains  without bail in Sacramento County Jail.






PUTNAM COUNTY — A Cookeville woman cleaning up trash in her yard on Columbia  Street Friday found the remains of a methamphetamine lab had been dumped near  her fence.

Officer Justin Long responded to the scene where the woman  said she had been picking up the trash in her yard and noticed a plastic bag  next to a fence.

Inside the bag was a container of lighter fluid, drain  cleaner, a small pipe cutter, phosphorous strike strips and an empty plastic  jug.  According to the officer’s report, the items are consistant with the  manufacturing of methamphetamine.

The Tennessee Methamphetamine Task  Force was contacted and a clean up truck was called to the location to dispose  of the items.




Read more:  Herald Citizen – Meth trash found during yard cleanup

JEFFERSON CITY, MOMethamphetamine manufacturing and sales remain a significant crime problem in Missouri, according to a multi-jurisdictional drug task force.

Missouri currently ranks number two in the U.S. for the number of meth lab incidents discovered by law enforcement over the course of a year.
Detective Sergeant Shannon Jeffries of the Central Missouri M.U.S.T.A.N.G. Drug Task Force said although the number of meth lab incidents has decreased, increased methamphetamine trafficking and new manufacturing methods have compounded the difficulties his organization faces.

“I’ve seen a lot of families hurt by methamphetamine,” Jeffries said. “I’ve seen kids hurt by methamphetamine, and it even affects neighborhoods and communities as a whole.”

M.U.S.T.A.N.G. operates across central Missouri. Jeffries said their goal is to protect mid-Missourians and their livelihoods from the effects of the drug trade. In order to do that, he said, their task force of 12 highly trained officers investigates illegal narcotics complaints, drug manufacturing operations, trafficking, distribution and sales.

The 2013 figure for meth lab incidents in Missouri through October is 1,309, down 676 from 2012. Shannon explained that a “meth lab incident” can be anything from law enforcement’s discovery of an active methamphetamine lab to finding a “dump site”, where materials from a meth cook are discarded as waste.

Jeffries said manufacturing methamphetamine has gotten easier for cooks with the advent of the “shake and bake” method. 10 years ago, Jeffries said, the “iodine/red Phosphorous” method was the main way cooks used to manufacture methamphetamine. In that type of set up, electricity and a heating element are required.

In the “shake and bake” method, making methamphetamine is much easier for cooks, who simply mix a few chemicals in a plastic soda bottle in what is known as a “cold cook” method. The widespread availability of the types of chemicals used in the “shake and bake” method has decentralized production and made it easier for cooks to get away with their drug manufacturing before law enforcement can catch up.

“I believe that’s one of the reasons why they’re going to the shake and bake method,” Jeffries said. “It takes a lot less chemicals, it takes a lot less time. This is something that can be done anywhere.”

Many local law enforcement agencies lack the manpower to fight drugs and depend on M.U.S.T.A.N.G. to investigate drug-related crimes.

However, funding for Missouri’s drug task forces is at an all time low.

I would take as many personnel as possible and as much funding as possible,” Jeffries said. Even though our finances are being cut, we aren’t slowing down. We’re still out there, still working. We’re still trying to do what we can with what we’ve got.”

Jeffries said M.U.S.T.A.N.G gets less than half the money it did when he started in 2002. He hopes Congress or the state legislature will make their fight a priority once again.

I do not believe that meth will ever disappear from Missouri,” Jeffries said. “I do believe that one day it will be easier for us to combat meth labs and transportation of meth into Missouri.”

The number of meth lab incidents is on a decrease in Missouri. So, that’s probably one of the biggest things I’ve noticed,” Jeffries said.

Hopefully one day we’ll have a handle on this. Hopefully.”







Pharr, Texas — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility seized narcotics valued at $21,137,000 in two separate, unrelated incidents this weekend in commercial shipments of fresh limes.

“These two outstanding interceptions of marijuana and hard narcotics were accomplished due to excellent targeting techniques along with the use of all available tools and resources, including our commercial vehicle non-intrusive imaging system,” said Efrain Solis Jr., Port Director, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas.

The first seizure occurred after a green 1995 Freightliner tractor pulling a white Utility trailer arrived at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge cargo facility with a commercial shipment of fresh limes. A CBP officer referred the conveyance to the non-intrusive imaging system and then it was referred to secondary for a more intensive examination. During the course of the examination, officers discovered packages of suspected narcotics comingled within the boxes of limes. CBP extracted 539 packages of alleged marijuana weighing approximately 5,370 pounds with an estimated street value of $5,370,000.

The second seizure occurred after a blue 1987 Kenworth tractor and white 1998 Great Dane trailer arrived at the same cargo facility with also, a manifested commercial shipment of fresh limes. This shipment was referred for secondary examination as well and during the process of inspecting the conveyance and shipment, CBP officers discovered packages of alleged cocaine and methamphetamine hidden within the boxes of limes. CBP-OFO removed 107 packages of alleged methamphetamine weighing approximately 255 pounds with an estimated street value of $7,584,000. Another 98 packages of alleged cocaine weighing approximately 237 pounds with an estimated street value of $8,183,000 were seized.

CBP seized both tractor/trailers in each incident along with the commodity.







Otay Mesa, Calif., — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Otay Mesa port of entry Saturday arrested a man after discovering more than $1.5 million worth of liquid methamphetamine stored in the gas tank of the pickup he was driving.

Shortly before 9 a.m. on February 8, a CBP officer encountered the 34-year-old after he entered the port of entry driving a 1986 Ford F-250 pickup. The officer referred the driver and vehicle for a more in-depth investigation.

A CBP canine team screened the truck and the detector dog alerted to the undercarriage. Officers conducted an intensive search and ultimately discovered 132 pounds of liquid methamphetamine concealed in the pickup’s gas tank.

The driver, a Mexican citizen and resident of Tijuana, Baja California, was arrested and turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations agents for further processing.

The subject was transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center to await arraignment.

CBP seized the vehicle and narcotics.








Border Patrol agents stopped this van which carried more than $1.6 million in marijuana near San Clemente Saturday. Photo courtesy of the Border Patrol.

Over the weekend, U.S. Border Patrol agents from the San Clemente Border Patrol check point on Interstate 5 arrested two men suspected of smuggling narcotics valued at $1.9 million.

On Friday, Feb. 7, at approximately 2 p.m., a 36-year-old Mexican national was stopped by agents who were patrolling I-5. A K-9 alerted to the man’s GMC Yukon and a search was conducted.


Agents discovered three cooler chests located inside the vehicle, two in the rear, one behind the driver. Inside the coolers, agents found 15 bundles of narcotics hidden behind the lining of all three coolers. The bundles included 7.61 pounds of methamphetamine, 10.36 pounds of cocaine, and 5.62 pounds of heroin. Agents also located two plastic bags of meth and a glass pipe under the back seat. The drugs had an estimated street value of $285,565. The man was arrested and turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for prosecution. The vehicle was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.

In a separate incident Saturday morning, a 38-year-old U.S. citizen arrived at the I-5 checkpoint in a 2012 Nissan cargo van.

A K-9 alerted to the man’s vehicle, which was sent to secondary inspection. A search of the van revealed 113 bundles of marijuana inside the cargo area. The drugs weighed 2,750 pounds and had an estimated street value of $1.6 million. The man, narcotics and vehicle were turned over to a DEA task force.








Pueblo police executed a search warrant at a home on Friday that yielded close to 108 grams of methamphetamine.

According to a police report, the search warrant was executed at a home on the 2800 block of Atlanta Avenue.

During the search detectives with the Pueblo Police Department found numerous small plastic baggies containing nearly 108 grams of meth all together. The street value of the drugs is close to $10,800.

Detectives also found about $1,800 in cash inside the home.

Police took Paula Turner, 49, into custody and interviewed her.

Turner admitted to police that she had been selling meth since she was released on parole in October of last year because she needed money and couldn’t get a job, according to the police report.

Turner was arrested on suspicion of possession of a schedule II controlled substance with intent to distribute.

She was being held at Pueblo County jail without bail pending a court appearance.









The Washington Parish Drug Task Force shut down a Bogalusa meth lab Wednesday night, according to the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Acting on tips from concerned citizens, officers went to a residence on Avenue J and discovered an active meth lab being operated by James Kirt Perry, 50.


Drug Task Force detectives regularly monitor the purchase of pseudoephedrine at area drug stores and noticed that Perry was purchasing as much pseudoephedrine as was allowed. A follow-up investigation provided information that Perry might be manufacturing meth at various locations in Bogalusa, including the residence on Avenue J.

It was determined that Perry was at the Avenue J location, so detectives went there and observed him through the window holding a plastic jug with a tube inserted into the top.

According to the Sheriff’s Office report, the jug contained a milky liquid which identified it as a methamphetamine manufacturing device. Detectives entered the residence and found many ingredients commonly used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Perry was arrested and transported to the Washington Parish Jail, where he is being held on a $50,550 bond.

A professional methamphetamine cleanup crew from Ascension Parish was brought in to clean up the lab.

“A meth lab is so toxic and dangerous,” Sheriff Randy Seal said. “It is disturbing that the lab was operating in a residential area, posing a threat not only to the persons operating the lab but also to nearby residents. I congratulate our Drug Task Force officers for a job well done.”







A man faces for charges for allegedly trying to traffic more than 3 kilos of methamphetamine from California to Texas after he was arrested in Albuquerque Friday, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court.

A Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office deputy pulled over a green Camry around 6 a.m. Friday because the license plate was illegible, according to the complaint. The deputy noticed a “strong odor of masking agents” inside the car, according to the complaint, and noticed driver Rosalino Dominguez, 61, was acting nervous.

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Dominguez allowed the deputy to search the car, in which three packages of meth, each weighing 1.15 kilos, were found according to the complaint.

Both Dominguez and his wife admitted to transporting the drug, and said they were driving from California to Denver City, TX, for a $2,000 profit, according to the complaint.

Both Dominguez and his wife Fermina Dominguez were charged with trafficking a controlled substance and conspiracy and held on $20,000 bail.







PERU — After four years of declining methamphetamine lab arrests, Miami County saw a surge in meth lab seizures in 2013, landing it in eighth place for most seizures in Indiana.

Police found 49 meth labs in the county last year, up from 23 the previous year, according to new data released last month by the state.

From 2009 to 2011, the county averaged 13 seizures a year.

“Miami County has a bad problem,” said Indiana State Trooper Wendell Beachy, who works in the meth suppression unit at the Peru post. “The county has a lot of meth.”

In 2012, Howard County tied for seventh place with Noble and Kosciusko counties with 47 lab seizures, but the county dropped out of the top 10 last year with 23.

The number of meth labs increased statewide to just over 1,800 in 2013, up from 1,726 in 2012.

“It’s an epidemic that’s sweeping through communities,” Beachy said. “Once it starts growing, it just gets worse and worse.”

But Beachy said the numbers don’t tell the whole story. He said the amount of meth lab seizures don’t really indicate how bad the meth problem is in a county, only how hard law enforcement officials go after meth activity in their communities.

Peru Police Chief Jonie Kennedy said that’s why she believes the number of lab seizures more than doubled in Miami County last year.

“Some people may look at the numbers and see it as a bad thing, but the numbers just prove that we’re out finding these labs,” she said. “We’re using our drug dog, and our guys are adamant about finding these things.”

The statewide numbers really tell the story, and it isn’t promising, Beachy said.

The number of discovered meth labs has steadily increased in the state for the last seven years, and in 2012, Indiana ranked third in the nation for meth activity.

“If you go by the numbers, we’re fighting a losing battle,” Beachy said. “With the way they’re manufacturing meth now, it’s hard to control.”

Nearly all the meth in the state is now cooked in what’s become known as “one-pot” labs, which use 2-liter bottles to manufacture the drug.

And Beachy said easy access to pseudoephedrine — the main ingredient used to cook meth that’s found in over-the-counter cold medicines — makes it even harder to control.

Indiana law currently limits the amount of pseudoephedrine people can buy in a 30-day period, but he said meth cooks could easily make 5 grams of meth a month with the legal amount of pseudoephedrine they could buy.

“The problem statistically and historically is not going away until the availability of pseudoephedrine goes away,” Beachy said.

The Indiana Senate is currently backing a bill that would further tighten restrictions on how much cold medicine people can buy in a year.

In the end, Beachy said counties shouldn’t pat themselves on the back if they didn’t make the top 10 list for meth manufacturing, because the fact of the matter is this: “If you have more than 20 labs in your county, you have a bad problem. If you have that much there, it’s only going to get worse,” he said.







Nineteen people were arrested by the Federal Police at two labs used to produce synthetic drugs in Mexico state, which surrounds the Federal District and forms part of the Mexico City metropolitan area, officials said.

“In a simultaneous operation in the city of Xalostoc, federal officers located two properties in the Esfuerzo Nacional neighborhood, where 19 people allegedly linked to the manufacturing of said drugs were arrested,” the National Security Council and the Government Secretariat said in a joint statement.

Officials did not say which criminal organization employed the suspects.

The group’s suspected leader, identified as 44-year-old David Gonzalez Mendoza, “financed the clandestine laboratories,” the agencies said.

Officers “seized 19 containers with synthetic drugs, apparently crystal,” and “20 containers of synthetic drugs, apparently methamphetamine,” the law enforcement agencies said.

Investigators found “a metal pot with a chemical substance that appears to be methamphetamine, with a weight of 84 kilos, 130 capsules with a white powder that appears to be cocaine,” firearms, vehicles and cell phones at the labs, officials said. EFE







MONTGOMERY COUNTY – Meth is a growing problem throughout Southwest Virginia and it’s costing taxpayers in Montgomery County.

We pulled the numbers from the county, finding that the sheriff’s office spent more than $36,000 last year cleaning up meth labs.

It’s more than five times what the department spent on clean up in all of 2012.

The good news is the Virginia State Police and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) just started a new program to offset the financial cost for local communities.

It went into effect earlier this month.

“The only thing it’s going to reduce for me is the cost,” said Montgomery Co. Sheriff Tommy Whitt. “It’s not going to reduce the manpower I have to spend every day, every evening.”







HAMILTON — The growing use of methamphetamine is becoming not just a problem for affected families and friends, but social service providers making home visits.

In response to the growing trend in Butler County, the Butler County Educational Service Center is hosting a training session in early March for anyone making home visits — from social workers and tutors, to probation officers and responding police and fire — to learn more about the addictive drug and how to identify the signs of a meth lab.

The training program, “Families Who Use: How to be Safe and Recognize the Signs of Drug Abuse on Home Visits,” was spurred by continued reports from ESC staff members encountering drug use and drug paraphernalia while on home visits to help families, said Cari Wynne, Success program supervisor at the ESC.

“We heard loud and clear, a need for something to guide us with safety issues,” Wynne said. “My staff are witnessing, observing, experiencing more things related to drug use out in the field that’s of concern.”

Wynne said her 16 staff members within the Success program — striving to reduce non-cognitive barriers to learning for children in grades K-12 — most commonly report observing drug deals in the neighborhood; seeing parents under the influence of a substance; drug paraphernalia in the home and the smell of drugs.

“We don’t expect our staff to go into a home unsafe,” Wynne said.

According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 1.2 million people reported using methamphetamine in the past year, and 440,000 reported using it in the past month.

In Ohio, more than 880 meth labs were busted in 2013, as reported to the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation. That’s a 98 percent jump from the 440 meth lab busts in 2005.

Butler County’s reported meth lab busts has also risen, from two in 2005 to 13 in 2012, according to BCI reports. The trend in Warren County has been inverse — with more than 20 busts in 2005, down to three in 2012.

The training session on meth use will be led by Dennis Lowe, senior special agent at BCI, on March 6 at the ESC office on Erie Boulevard in Hamilton.

Sgt. Mike Hackney, supervisor of Butler County’s regional narcotics unit, said the timing for this training in Butler County makes sense, as his office has made several meth busts and related arrests in recent weeks. He said depending on the quality of “the cook,” meth is commonly referred to as crank, ice or glass.

Hackney said it was Lowe who originally trained him on identifying and dismantling meth labs. The dangers of meth can take on many forms, including exposure to chemicals, sleep deprivation and paranoia from the abuse of meth, and other related crimes such as thefts and assaults, Hackney said.

“Its (use) is widespread … early on when meth first started popping up in Butler County it was rural settings and in the north, northwest portions of the county,” Hackney said. “It has moved to more labs in the city. It’s not just your backwoods, clandestine lab anymore.”

Hackney said heroin and meth are the most prominent and addictive drugs moving around Butler County.

“Heroin and meth seem to be the drugs that get a hold of you and people have a hard time breaking free from,” Hackney said.

Wynne said staff at Butler County ESC will often refer families in crisis to Sojourner Recovery Services in Hamilton, Community Behavioral Health in Hamilton and Middletown, and Access Counseling Services in Middletown.

“It’s absolutely a hope to try and break that cycle,” Wynne said.