Comments Off on SWAT raid on alleged Methamphetamine drug house in Chehalis ends with arrests of Mary K. West, 51, Russell S. Foster, 46, and Seth T. Lloyd, 29

CHEHALIS – A Lewis County SWAT team arrested three people after serving a search warrant in Chehalis on Monday morning.

Chehalis police chief Glenn Schaffer said there had been numerous complaints that the home, near the 100 block of SW 10th St. in Chehalis, was a drug house.rtgaq34gyqaq

“This residence has been an issue for us and neighboring houses,” Schaffer said in a press release. “We want to send a clear message that we will not tolerate drug activity and we will aggressively deal with these issues in the City of Chehalis.”

Russell S. Foster, 46, was charged with three counts of delivery of methamphetamine; Mary K. West, 51, was charged with endangerment with controlled substance and possession of methamphetamine; and Seth T. Lloyd, 29, was arrested on a felony DOC warrant.



Comments Off on Sinaloa Cartel Participants Caught in Lubbock Methamphetamine Drug Ring

LUBBOCK, TX (PRESS RELEASE) – Twelve defendants have been charged in a federal indictment, partially unsealed on Friday, with felony offenses stemming from their role in a methamphetamine distribution conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.

Eleven defendants, all from the Lubbock, Texas, area, were arrested last Thursday in a joint operation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Border Patrol, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office and the Lubbock Police Department. lubbock1Those arrested made their initial appearances Friday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge E. Scott Frost, and most remain in federal custody.  Three defendants are set for detention hearings, and one defendant remains a fugitive.

In connection with the takedown, law enforcement seized approximately one kilogram of methamphetamine, 13 firearms, ammunition and several items of stolen property.

The indictment charges each of the following defendants with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine:

    • Isabel Soto, 28
    • Veronica Sanchez Lopez, 37
    • Monty Fred Humble, 35
    • Martin Leonard Lomas, 34
    • Michael Brent Watson, 33
    • Joe Louis Lara, 29
    • Cruz Lee Betancur, 32
    • Richard Luke Elam, 49
    • Jonathon Christopher Chapa, 33
    • Christopher Ray Lovington, 29
    • Erica Dominguez, 36

In addition, most of the defendants are charged with at least one substantive count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and aiding and abetting. Defendant Joe Louis Lara is also charged with two firearms offenses – one count of possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and aiding and abetting and one count of being a convicted felon in possession of firearms and aiding and abetting.lubbock2

The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired with, among others, three recently-convicted/sentenced defendants who were sent by the Sinaloa Cartel, an international drug trafficking, money laundering, and organized crime syndicate, to Lubbock to facilitate the distribution of methamphetamine in Lubbock for the cartel. Each of these three below-listed defendants pleaded guilty last year to one count of possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and aiding and abetting and was sentenced last month as follows:

    • Juan Carlos Pinales, 23, sentenced to 151 months in federal prison
    • Ramon Osvaldo Escobar-Robles, 25, sentenced to 78 months in federal prison
    • Jesus Mario Moreno-Perez, 24, sentenced to 120 months in federal prison

A federal indictment is an accusation by a grand jury. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty.  If convicted, however, the conspiracy count carries a maximum statutory penalty ranging from 20 years to life in federal prison and a $1 million to $10 million dollar fine.  The other drug counts carry a maximum statutory penalty ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment.  One firearm count carries a statutory penalty of not less than five years or more than life in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.  The other firearm count carries a statutory penalty of not more than 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Haag is in charge of the prosecution.



Comments Off on Woman raped by youth offender, Jaime Tinoco, sues Washington County; On probation for Methamphetamine at time of rape

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) – A woman who was beaten and raped by a teen during a supervised group outing to a University of Oregon football game is suing Washington County.

The woman alleges in her suit filed Monday that officials failed to properly supervise Jaime Tinoco, who was on probation during the visit with the Washington County Juvenile Department in September 2014.tinoco_1454431076940_159995_ver1_0

The then-17-year-old left the group and attacked the woman near Autzen Stadium.  Tinoco was missing for 6 hours before the rape occurred, according to investigators.

The lawsuit alleges that Tinoco shouldn’t have even been allowed to attend the game.

Tinoco is also accused of killing a woman outside a Cedar Mill apartment complex just 3 weeks earlier. But police did not connect him to that case until after he was arrested for the rape.

Investigators told KGW that Tinoco planned to sexually assault Nicole Laube before stabbing her to death, but the sexual assault did not occur.

Prior to both crimes, Tinoco was convicted on charges of burglary, harassment and possession of methamphetamine. He was sentenced in July 2014 to supervised probation following those convictions.

As for the recent lawsuit, a Washington County spokeswoman told The Register-Guard that the county will not comment on pending litigation.

Tinoco was sentenced to 14 years in prison last year for the rape and is still awaiting trial in the August 2014 murder of Laube.



HELENA — Methamphetamine use in Montana not only harms parents who use the drug and their children, it’s also taking a toll on the state’s public defender office.

That’s what the state’s Supreme Court administrator told the Task Force of State Public Defender Operations, which met Monday in Helena.

The 2015 legislative bill that created the task force cited increased caseload, more abuse and neglect cases and 21,000 open cases by the end of fiscal year 2014.

In District Courts across Montana, the number of abuse and neglect cases has doubled from 2009 to 2015, said Beth McLaughlin, Montana Supreme Court administrator.

The number of abuse and neglect cases rose by 700 between 2014 and 2015, McLaughlin said, and hit 2,321 in 2015. She said Billings topped 500 abuse and neglect cases, a level that’s never been seen in a single judicial district in Montana.

“What we’re hearing from judges is most of the growth is related to an increase in methamphetamine and heroin,” McLaughlin said.

Yellowstone County District Court had 512 new and reopened abuse and neglect cases in 2015, the most of any district in the state. The next closest district was Cascade County District Court with 389. Yellowstone County District Court had a total of 9,750 new case filings and reopened cases in 2015, which was an increase of 856 cases from last year.

“Criminal cases are up,” McLaughlin said. “Most of that growth happened in the 13th judicial district in Billings.”

She attributed that increase to population growth and people migrating to the region after not being able to find work in the Bakken oil fields.

Several respondents to a survey sent out to people who work in or are involved with the public defender office cited these sorts of cases as being a drain on the program.

Survey recipients include current and former judges, county and deputy county attorneys, city and deputy city attorneys, sheriffs and deputies, police chiefs and officers, Public Defender Office attorneys and employees and contracted attorneys.

About 100 responses to the anonymous online survey were received between Jan. 21 and 29. Results will be collected through February.

She said these types of cases — mental health cases, guardianship, child abuse and neglect — have always been a part of the public defender office.

“This is not a new assignment for the public defender office,” McLaughlin said. “What’s happened is a growth in cases.”

The task force also raised the issue of who gets public defenders and if the people who are appointed attorneys can afford to pay for representation.

Task force members cited the case of Chris Christensen, a Ravalli County doctor who was arrested last year for allegedly providing hundreds of illegal prescriptions to patients, including two who died from overdoses.

After his arrest, he was appointed a public defender, but the Office of the State Public Defender rescinded the appointment in November following a review of Christensen’s financial records.

Some task force members asked if it would be possible to investigate the form completed by an applicant before a public defender is assigned.

Applicants must list how much they make, how much their spouse makes, how much they receive in any federal and state benefits and other sources of income. They must also list any real estate or other property such as vehicles they own, and list monthly expenses.

Chief Public Defender Bill Hooks said the office has 11 employees who review applications and a more in-depth investigation wouldn’t be possible because it would take too much time.

Hooks said there’s no data on how many people may have misrepresented their financial situations, but he thinks “by and large a lot of people we represent qualify.”

Task force member Juli Pierce, who is deputy county attorney in Yellowstone County, said she’s had cases where she’s had serious concerns about people who were denied public defenders, including a rape case and a deliberate homicide where the court got involved to appoint attorneys.

Turnover within the office is an ongoing problem, though it’s more related to workload than pay, Harry Freebourn, administrative director for the department, told the task force.

In 2014, the first year of a pay bump for trial-level attorneys after an increased appropriation from the 2013 Legislature, the turnover rate for those attorneys went from 20 percent to 9 percent. Freebourn attributed that to the increase in pay, noting the rate went back up to 19 percent.

“Prior to the wage adjustment, most of our people were leaving because they had too much work and too little pay.” Now, he said, the departures are workload related.

Freebourn said most people leave the office with five years or less of experience. The average turnover for state employees is 9 to 10 percent, Freebourn said. He thinks that’s a good goal for the office.

Entry-level pay in Montana’s public defender office is $26.27 an hour, which is higher than Idaho ($24.04) and lower than Wyoming, ($26.44); North Dakota ($31.86) and South Dakota ($29.32). At the other end of the pay scale, long-term attorneys make $41.87 an hour in Montana. The only state that paid less was Wyoming at $39.39. In Idaho, it’s $65.51, in South Dakota it’s $63.05 and is $45.25 in North Dakota.

Contract attorneys make $62 an hour for non-death penalty cases, which is lower than what’s paid in Idaho ($125), North Dakota ($75) and South Dakota ($92). Wyoming does not use contract attorneys. Montana pays $120 an hour for death penalty cases.



Comments Off on Matthew Joseph Medlin, 32, high on Methamphetamine, climbing on train cars arrested after standoff at Portland rail yard

PORTLAND, Ore. – A man who was high on methamphetamine injected himself with more meth during a 4-hour standoff with officers at a Portland rail yard on Saturday, according to police.

Matthew Joseph Medlin, 32, had been awake for more than 26 hours before he entered the rail yard, located at 3930 Northwest Yeon Street, according to Sgt. Pete Simpson with Portland police.Matthew-Joseph-Medlin_1454364849531_151701_ver1_0

Police were called to the rail yard after Medlin was seen climbing on rail cars Saturday afternoon.

When officers arrived, Medlin jumped from one rail car into the open bed of a “dumpster-style” car and refused to come out, Simpson said.

Medlin was reportedly holding pieces of metal and rocks and threatening to use them as weapons.

Police said they learned Medlin had a felony warrant on a parole violation. They also learned Medlin was high on meth, and he had several uncooperative encounters with officers in the past.

“While officers were attempting to diffuse Medlin’s agitated state, he injected himself with additional methamphetamine and began acting even more erratically,” Simpson said in a news release.

The standoff continued through a thunderstorm and hailstorm Saturday afternoon.

Officers spoke with the police bureau crisis negotiators and the Special Emergency Reaction Team to develop a strategy to safely take Medlin into custody.

“After four hours of communication, officers deployed less-lethal munitions and a Taser during the arrest as Medlin was holding make-shift weapons,” Simpson said.

Medlin dropped what he was holding and was taken into custody. Medics took him to a Portland hospital.

After his release, Medlin was booked into the Multnomah County Jail on charges including criminal mischief, resisting arrest, interfering with a peace officer and disorderly conduct.



Comments Off on DEA busts Hezbollah operation laundering money for Mexican drug cartels

On Monday, the Drug Enforcement Administration claimed to have busted a money laundering, drug-dealing scheme that linked the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah to major drug trafficking operations in Latin America.The scheme “spans the globe and involves numerous international law enforcement agencies in seven countries,” the DEA says in a press release, which adds that the network has been “used to purchase weapons for Hezbollah for its activities in Syria.”According to the DEA, members of a Hezbollah GettyImages-188004024_0branch called the External Security Organization Business Affairs Component (BAC) served as money launderers for at least one Colombian cartel, La Oficina de Envigado.The cartels sent profits from their European sales to Hezbollah. Hezbollah kept a cut and laundered the rest to cartel operatives in Latin America through the hawala system, an informal money distribution system that spans the Muslim world and is typically used for things like remittances.Hezbollah got extra cash, while the cartel got an efficient way to clean its dirty money. The DEA now says that it and its partners in Europe and Colombia rolled up a number of the people involved in the network.

A brief caveat on “narcoterrorism”

What this illustrates is the way terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah can find common cause with drug cartels; two criminal enterprises that share no real ideological mission but found a mutual interest in doing business. It’s a confluence that, especially since 2001, US law enforcement has given the somewhat inflated title of “narcoterrorism.”

But there’s somewhat of a troubled history when it comes to US law enforcement and narcoterrorism.DEA cartel

Journalist Ginger Thompson, in a recent piece in the New Yorker, investigated a number of cases prosecuted under a special Patriot Act amendment, passed in 2006, that turned narcoterrorism (engaging in both the drug trade and global terrorism) into a special crime.

More often than not, she found, undercover DEA agents offered suspects large amounts of money to conduct drug trafficking on behalf of what the suspects were told was a terrorist organization. The DEA would then arrest people with no prior history of terrorist activity, prosecute them, and claim a victory in the war on terror.

When [DEA] cases were prosecuted, the only links between drug trafficking and terrorism entered into evidence were provided by the DEA, using agents or informants who were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to lure the targets into staged narco-terrorism conspiracies…

Russell Hanks, a former senior American diplomat, who got a firsthand look at some of the DEA’s narco-terrorism targets during the time he served in West Africa, told me, “The DEA provided everything these men needed to commit a crime, then said, ‘Wow, look what they did.’ ” He added, “This wasn’t terrorism—this was the manipulation of weak-minded people, in weak countries, in order to pad arrest records.”

This is not to cast aspersions on this DEA investigation into Hezbollah specifically, but rather just to encourage a grain of salt when it comes to allegations of mass-scale collusion between terrorist organizations and drug cartels. But there is also reason to believe this one is real.

Hezbollah’s ties to Latin American drug cartels

Even in her article on exaggerated allegations of narcoterrorism, Thompson notes that “in a number of regions, most notably Colombia and Afghanistan, there is convincing evidence that terrorists have worked with drug traffickers.”

Hezbollah is one such terrorist network. Matthew Levitt, the director of the Stein Counterterrorism Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, has spent a lot of time researching Hezbollah’s connections to the drug trade.

According to Levitt’s research, Hezbollah got into the drug and money laundering business not long after the group first formed in the 1980s. At that point, Lebanon was the Middle East’s biggest local drug manufacturer, so it was a natural industry for a nascent Lebanese terrorist group to tap for startup capital.

They started by smuggling drugs across the border into Israel, later expanding into Latin America by tapping members of the Lebanese diaspora in the region.

“Starting in the 1980s,” Levitt writes in a 2012 report, “DEA agents noticed that so-called Lebanese Colombians were increasingly involved in moving drugs and money laundering for drug cartels through the port of Barranquilla near Macao on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.”

Since then, Hezbollah’s involvement in drug sales and money laundering seems to have grown (though Hezbollah officially denies it). Levitt believes that “it has significantly expanded and institutionalized its narcotics logistics and money laundering enterprises, to the point where it could soon raise more money from narcotics than all its other funding streams combined,” a sum total of well over $200 million.

As a result of these longstanding ties to the narcotics trade, Levitt appears to find the DEA’s claim of a major Hezbollah bust plausible. “DEA exposes #Hezbollah‘s Business Affairs Component (BAC), facilitating terror ops & arms procurement [for] Syria,” he tweeted, with a link to the Monday press release.


DEA: Hezbollah drug money scheme disrupted

Washington (CNN)—The Drug Enforcement Administration announced Monday that an international operation had netted a Hezbollah network using millions in drug money to fund terrorist activity in Syria and Lebanon.

The arrests targeted a division of Hezbollah, a Lebanese militant organization, that provides “a revenue and weapons stream … responsible for devastating terror attacks around the world,” DEA Acting Deputy Administrator Jack Riley said in a statement.

Seven countries, including France, Germany, Italy and Belgium, were involved in the operation, which apprehended four individuals. The investigation began last February, with the DEA saying that additional arrests were likely.

The terrorist network was said to be working with South American drug cartels to facilitate the movement of millions of dollars in cocaine to the United States and Europe, according to the DEA statement.

The DEA accused the group of using the proceeds of these drug sales to purchase weapons for Hezbollah for its activities in Syria. Hezbollah has sent thousands of fighters to bolster the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Hezbollah also receives weapons and financial support from Iran, but experts said that a combination of factors had increased the terrorist group’s reliance on revenue from criminal activity.

“Defending the Assad regime in Syria is a drain on personnel, funds, and military resources,” terrorism expert Matt Levitt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy told CNN.

The decline in oil prices has led Iran to cut back support, forcing Hezbollah to reduce salaries, and one of the motivating factors behind Hezbollah’s embrace of criminal activity has been its desire to “reduce its financial reliance on Iran,” Levitt said.

Last week, the Treasury announced a series of sanctions targeting the financial support network for Hezbollah, which the State Department has designated a foreign terrorist organization.

The group has a long history of attacks, including one at the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1983 that killed 241 Americans. Hezbollah has also been linked to terrorist plots against Israelis in Bulgaria in 2012 and Peru in 2014.

DEA spokesman Rusty Payne told CNN that the terrorist network was laundering the drug money through the acquisition and sale of high-end used cars, sometimes hiding the cash inside the vehicles themselves as they were shipped internationally.



Comments Off on Athens Major Crimes Unit busts two more rural Methamphetamine labs; Elizabeth C McPherson, 41, Kyla A. Powell, 33, Ronald D. Powell, 52, and Timothy R. Pastol, 45, arrested

The Athens Major Crimes Unit busted two alleged methamphetamine labs and arrested four people on charges of manufacturing meth in cases in Coolville and Glouster last week. They represent the sixth and seventh meth labs found in Athens County in 2016.

In the first case, on Tuesday, Jan. 26, the AMCU conducted a warranted search of a residence on Rock Run Road in Coolville.56ae5e246c0eb_image

The warrant was reportedly part of an ongoing investigation into the manufacture of methamphetamine by the resident and other suspects.

The resident, Elizabeth C McPherson, 41, was home at the time of the warrant service, a press release from the Athens County Sheriff’s Office said. McPherson was interviewed about her involvement while the residence was being searched. Items of evidence to support charges related to the manufacture of methamphetamine were recovered, the release said.

“The items recovered included but were not limited to cold medicine, flammable liquids and lithium metal,” Athens County Sheriff Rodney Smith said. “Plastic bottles used in the manufacturing process, listed as ‘reactionary vessels,’ were also found.”

The plastic bottles are evidence that the other items that can be commonly found in a household were actually intended for the manufacturing of methamphetamine, Smith explained.

“Evidence was found of attempts made to destroy other such bottles and the chemicals that had been made in the past,” he said. “Along with the items already mentioned, both powdered methamphetamine, cocaine and a firearm were recovered as well.”

McPherson was transported to the Southeast Ohio Regional Jail and booked on charges of first-degree felony manufacturing methamphetamine with a juvenile present; second-degree felony assembling and possessing chemicals to manufacture methamphetamine with a juvenile present; two fifth-degree felony counts of possession of methamphetamine and cocaine; and a fifth-degree felony charge of possession of criminal tools.

Athens County Children Services was notified due to the belief the juvenile had been present during the manufacturing of methamphetamine, the release said.

“Within the first month of 2016, this is the sixth meth lab we have contained,” Smith said. “We are working hard to keep Athens County safe.”

The seventh meth lab of 2016 was then reportedly busted by the AMCU the next day, Wednesday, Jan. 27.

Assisting the Glouster Police Department, the AMCU investigated a meth lab on High Street in Glouster after agents with the Ohio Adult Parole Authority found what they believed to be evidence of a lab during a compliance inspection, the release said.

A warrant was obtained to search the residence, it said, and several more items of evidence were reportedly located, including a reactionary vessel, a hydrogen chloride gas generator and various meth ingredients.

Residents Kyla A. Powell, 33, who had been the subject of the parole agents’ compliance inspection, and Ronald D. Powell, 52, were detained on scene, the release said. Another suspect, Timothy R. Pastol, 45, allegedly had fled the scene but was located in a nearby residence.

All three were taken to the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail in Nelsonville and charged with first-degree felonies for manufacturing methamphetamine in the vicinity of juveniles.

They all also reportedly were charged with assembly and possession of precursor ingredients in the vicinity of juveniles, second-degree felonies. The vicinity charges stem from the fact that the residence is located within 1,000 feet of Trimble High School, the release said.



Comments Off on Tracy Lynn Starkey, 21, and Nathaniel R. Spina, 22, arrested for making Methamphetamine after being turned in by family

Two people were arrested for their role in making methamphetamine after being turned in by relatives.

Nathaniel R. Spina, 22, was charged with two counts of operating a clandestine lab and Tracy Lynn Starkey, 21, was charged with possession of precursor to manufacture methamphetamine and conspiracy by the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department. Starkey and Spina are in a relationship.

They were arraigned in Mon County Magistrate Court on Saturday, Jan. 30. Spina’s bond was set at $30,000 and Starkey’s at $20,000 by Magistrate Hershel Mullins.

According to their criminal complaint: On Tuesday, Jan. 26, Spina’s mother contacted the department and asked that they search a vehicle that she and Spina shared. She requested the deputies check for dangerous substances.

A deputy found one-pot drug labs in the truck. Spina’s grandparents also asked property they shared with the two suspects be searched. More ingredients and labs were found.

Spina later spoke to the deputy and took responsibility for the ingredients and labs. He also said he cooked the drug more than 20 times in the past month.

Spina also said Starkey and others helped him in cooking the drug. Starkey said she purchased ingredients to help Spina make the drug.

Starkey was also charged for having drugs and the ingredients to make meth in a vehicle she was driving that was pulled over during a December traffic stop on Fairchance Road.




Comments Off on Methamphetamine, not heroin, top illegal drug in Coconino County

Unlike many cities across the nation, Flagstaff does not appear to be seeing a surge in heroin use. Southwest Behavioral and Health Services’ Opioid Treatment Program in Flagstaff currently serves about 150 members, down from about 175 at the same time last year.

“In Coconino County, we haven’t seen a significant spike in our numbers,” said Lauren Lauder, vice president for the agency’s northern Arizona region. “I think one of the biggest trends we’ve seen here in Coconino County is people coming from farther distances (to get treatment).”

As of the end of October, Coconino County’s multi-agency Metro narcotics task force had made 836 drug-related arrests countywide in 2015. Only five involved heroin. Metro’s heroin seizures have declined over the past five years.

Flagstaff Police Department Lt. Scott Mansfield said the most commonly abused drugs in the county are methamphetamine, marijuana and prescription medications, which can include opiates, benzodiazepines and amphetamines. Flagstaff’s location at the intersection of Interstate 17 and Interstate 40 make the city a hotspot for people who want to obtain drugs heading from California or Mexico to other parts of the United States.

“We’re seeing a lot more activity currently with methamphetamine,” said Sgt. Van Ooteghem, who asked that we not use his first name. “It’s also associated with property crimes and that kind of thing. These people are regularly doing other crimes, so it is something that we target.”

A methamphetamine addiction can easily cost a person thousands of dollars a year, but there is another drug trend for which Flagstaff residents, in particular, more frequently pay the ultimate price, according to data collected from the Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office.

“With drug overdoses, it’s usually a mixed-drug intoxication,” Mansfield said. “A lot of the time, the constant is the prescription medication overdoses.”

Dr. Valarie Hannemann, director of the jail-based Exodus drug rehabilitation program, said the most common addictions among Exodus participants are methamphetamine and alcohol, although she has noticed more heroin users entering the program over the past few years – a national trend Sucher and others attribute to a surge in opiate pain pill prescriptions that began 25 years ago. Hannemann also sees a lot of participants who have used marijuana habitually in conjunction with other substances.

The Guidance Center’s inpatient and outpatient programs treated 762 substance abuse diagnoses in 2015, although some patients had more than one diagnosis. Alcohol was the most common addiction with more than 400 diagnoses, but methamphetamine and marijuana were neck-in-neck for second and third place. The Guidance Center treated about 130 amphetamine addictions, about 120 marijuana addictions and about 65 heroin/opiate addictions in 2015.



Comments Off on Secretive operation nets dozens of Sinaloa cartel members

DEA, FBI, BP, ICE were all a part of this, “Operación Mexicana Diablo Exprés”…

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s cartel took another massive hit over the weekend after dozens of its members were arrested in a secretive cross-border operation, officials said. It’s unclear, however, if Guzman’s recent arrest had anything to do with the unusual operation by Mexican and American officials.download_(1)

The highly secretive, daylong law enforcement operation around the Arizona border with Mexico resulted in the arrest of two dozen alleged high-level members of the Sinaloa, according to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman.

The sting known as Mexican Operation Diablo Express took place all of Friday as numerous law enforcement agencies converged on Lukeville, Arizona, which sits on the border with Mexico.

Homeland Security Investigations, a unit of the U.S. Immigration and Customs 1382627Enforcement agency, helped Mexican authorities nab 24 alleged members of the Sinaloa Cartel, one of Mexico’s biggest drug-trafficking organizations, who were operating around Sonoyta, Mexico, and the U.S. border, spokeswoman Gillian M. Christensen said. The DEA, FBI, Customs and Border Protection and Arizona state and local agencies were on hand to assist.

“The targeted Sinaloa cell has been responsible for the importation of millions of pounds of illegal drugs, including marijuana, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, into the United States from Mexico during its existence. The organization is also responsible for the smuggling of millions of dollars in U.S. currency, along with weapons, into Mexico,” Christensen said in a statement.

The operation was conducted “with utmost secrecy” and took all day Friday as numerous law enforcement officers worked in both Lukeville and Sonoyta, bordering cities that are on the route to the Puerto Peñasco, the popular beach destination many Americans know as Rocky Point.

ICE helped Mexican federal police into the U.S. to keep them safe during the operation, Christensen said.694940094001_4713508751001_d70a8040-2e0a-4039-a48a-349bed5044e1

The sting also netted the seizure of several assault-type weapons and hundreds of pounds of drugs.

“ICE applauds the Government of Mexico for their bold action in taking down this criminal organization and for their continued pressure on the Sinaloa Cartel throughout Mexico,” Christensen said.

The arrests are the latest blow to the Sinaloa Cartel after the arrest of drug lord Guzman on Jan. 8, six months after he tunneled out of a top-security Mexican prison for the second time.

The Mexican government says it is cooperating with an extradition request for Guzman from the U.S.

As they await the extradition proceedings, Mexican officials are taking no chances with his detention. Guzman is now being moved around the maximum-security Antiplano prison on a regular basis. According to El Universal, he was in seven different cells over the course of his first five nights back at Antiplano. They make the cell changes at random, meaning he can spend hours or a couple days in any given location.lukevill_az_sonoyta_soora_and_PP

The newspaper says prison staff have deployed sniffer dogs trained specifically to detect Guzman’s distinct odor, installed hundreds of new cameras, and reinforced the concrete floors of at least some cells with steel.

The 24 people arrested on Friday have not been identified. They are in the custody of Mexican authorities, and the U.S. will seek extradition.



Comments Off on Kalee Davis, 27, arrested in Manistee on Methamphetamine charges

WPBN/WGTU — A 27-year-old woman is behind bars on drug related charges in Manistee.

According to State Sheriffs Chiefs Enforcement Narcotics Team (SSCENT), Kalee Davis was arraigned Friday on charges of operating/maintaining a laboratory involving methamphetamine, possession components of manufacture methamphetamine, manufacture methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine as well as felony firearm.f50dbb5b-363f-44bf-a725-6f25ec26d346-large16x9_DavisKalee

These charges stem from an investigation on Tuesday at at home on the 700 blk of Ramsdell. While detectives were searching the home, they found several items used in the production to make meth. Detectives say they also found other controlled substances and a handgun at the home.

Specially trained technicians were called in to come clean up the site. Members of the Michigan State Police Methamphetamine Enforcement Team also responded to the scene.

Davis is currently in the Manistee County jail on a $250,000 bond.



AUBURNDALE (FOX 13) – The woman who was driving an SUV that hit and nearly killed a 5-year-old girl late last year was high on methamphetamine at the time of the crash, Auburndale police said Friday.Regina%20Shelton_1454101209283_780462_ver1_0_640_360

Deputy Chief Andy Ray said the bloodwork taken from Regina Shelton following the November 4th accident just came back, showing she had an impairing amount of meth in her system, allowing police to make the arrest.

“We want to see justice and so we feel like the injuries to Jasira and the difficulty that she and her family went through deserves some justice,” Ray said.

Investigators said Jasira Santos was riding her bike on Adams Street when Shelton lost control of her SUV, hopped the curb, and ran over the little girl.

Police are stunned Jasira survived; she’s been recovering at home for about a month.

“She came within inches of killing a little girl,” Ray said, adding Jasira suffered several injuries, including a fractured skull. “We were all very concerned about her injuries that day. They were severe.”

Shelton didn’t say much during her first court appearance Friday, as the judge set her bond at $30,000.

Her attorney, Zonald Spinks, said afterward, “what we’re looking to do is really find the truth of the matter at hand,” but declined to elaborate.

Shelton has been arrested a dozen other times for various crimes including drugs, prostitution, and burglary.



Police: Witness stopped suspected impaired driver from leaving crash scene

AUBURNDALE (FOX 13) – People who were first on the scene are still trying to wrap their minds around the stark horror of it: police say a woman driving an SUV ran over a little girl – and tried to leave the scene.Witness_helps_stop_driver_in_crash_that__0_445504_ver1_0_640_360

Five year-old Jasira Santos was riding her bike on Adams Street when she was run over by a suspected impaired driver. Police say after the crash, the driver, Regina Shelton, tried to get away, but Efrain Crespo stopped her. The passenger side door was open, so he jumped in.

“I just went inside, grabbed the key and put it in my pocket until the cops got there,” he told FOX 13 on Thursday, the day after the tragedy

Before police arrived, Crespo saw something that astounded him.

“She just opened the door, popped a beer, and went like this [he gestured as if he was drinking] and drank it,” Crespo said.

When Patrick Flewellen arrived right after that, he says Shelton was motionless.

“She appeared to be passed out, slumped over with her head down, and not really paying attention to, not really aware anybody was around her,” he said.

Shelton has been arrested a dozen times, but never for DUI. Police are waiting for the results of bloodwork before they make a determination in this case.

At last check, Santos was in very critical condition.



WASILLA — A man who showed up to the scene of a fatal Parks Highway car wreck in December and claimed to be a family member of one of the victims was actually using the woman in his prostitution business, authorities allege.

An Anchorage grand jury indicted Terry Keehn II, 42, of Wasilla, on seven counts on Jan. 21 following an investigation involving federal, state, and local authorities. Keehn also faces a separate single federal count in U.S. District Court for possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine, according to federal court documents. Keehn remained in Cook Inlet Pretrial Friday afternoon on a $100,000 cash performance and $100,000 cash appearance bond with a third-party custodian requirement, corrections and courts documents show.

Investigators had suspected Keehn played a role in the Southcentral sex trade as early as October 2015, following a tip from the Federal Bureau of Investigation about a suspected trafficker operating out of Wasilla, according to a bail memorandum filed along with the charging documents. FBI agents furnished a phone number, which Alaska State Troopers with the Special Crimes Investigation Unit of the Alaska Bureau of Investigation were able to link back to Keehn. However, officials were unable to locate Keehn until Dec. 1, when he showed up at the scene of a deadly car wreck, according to the memorandum written by Office of Special Prosecutions attorney Adam Alexander.

The only crash that matches that description was a head-on collision near the intersection of Parks Highway and Rainbow Street that left three people dead and seriously injured another person. In charging documents filed against Keehn, the initials identifying the victim in the collision are “SJ.”

Troopers “learned from SJ’s actual family that Keehn was in fact a drug and sex trafficker who had misidentified himself as her next of kin, and that SJ had been living with and working for him before her death in the vehicle collision,” Alexander wrote.

Investigators retrieved SJ’s phone from the wreckage, and connected her back to Keehn.

Wasilla Police served an eviction notice on Keehn Jan. 2 at a residence on East Kinzi Circle in Wasilla. A woman who lived in the apartment where Keehn was evicted was incarcerated on an unrelated probation matter, and investigators monitored phone conversations between them.

“In those conversations, Keehn discussed the mechanics of his sex trafficking operation in Anchorage and Wasilla,” Alexander wrote.

When the woman, identified only as S.S. in the memorandum, left jail, troopers followed her to an Anchorage apartment she shared with Keehn and other women in the 2100 block of West 80th Avenue.

Troopers and DEA agents obtained a search warrant for the house and a red Ford F-250 pickup on Jan. 13. Later that day, an investigator spotted Keehn driving a pickup to a parking lot on Dimond Boulevard, then back to the apartment. When law enforcement officers stopped Keehn and another resident outside the 80th Avenue house, they discovered 138 grams of meth and 14 grams of heroin, according to the memorandum. Keehn told federal investigators that he had made drug runs three times over the last six weeks to Sterling, according to a federal complaint written by DEA officer Rick Pawlak.

Along with the drugs, troopers seized computers and phones from Keehn, and discovered a video Keehn made of himself attempting to recruit an unidentified young woman for work at an “incall” location, an apartment or house where clients go to have sex in exchange for money, according to the memorandum.

“I have girls,” Keehn allegedly said at one point. “I’m a pimp. Don’t call me a pimp, but I’m a pimp.”

Keehn also allegedly told the girl she could make as much as $500 for sex in the Valley, and $600 in Fairbanks, and gave her meth on the video.

“Evidence subsequently uncovered by SCIU indicates that Keehn was successful in his attempts to recruit and traffic the young woman in the video,” Alexander wrote.

The charges constitute the first felony charge against Keehn in Alaska, though the memorandum includes a list of charges for sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse on a victim between the ages of 13 and 16 in Winnebago County, Illinois in 1998.



Comments Off on Ferndale police: Bryan Domagalski, 43, of Farmington Hills, high on crystal Methamphetamine charged with felony assault in sex beating

A Ferndale man was beaten unconscious and found in a pool of blood after police say his older boyfriend got high on crystal meth and badly beat him for refusing sex.

“According to the victim, he and the suspect started to engage in sexual activity,” said Ferndale Police Lt. William Wilson. “The victim said no and the suspect got angry and then attacked the victim.”

Suspect Bryan Domagalski, 43, of Farmington Hills was arraigned at Beaumont Hospital Thursday night with assault with intent to cause great bodily harm less than murder, and possession of methamphetamine. Ferndale 43rd District Magistrate J. Patrick Brennan set a $50,000 cash bond for the suspect.

Police said they were called to the house where the Ferndale man rents a room by the homeowner about 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The woman who owns the house in the 700 block of Allen told police and she and another woman who lives there became concerned after hearing loud banging and swearing.

One of the women yelled out and asked if everything was OK and someone in the upstairs rented room answered “yes,” police said.

But there was so much continuing noise and violent banging that the homeowner became concerned and went up the stairs.

“She was concerned someone was being hurt,” Wilson said. “When she got upstairs she found the victim lying naked in a pool of blood on the floor and severely injured and unconscious. He was bleeding from the face and head and it looked as though his face was smashed into the floor multiple times.”

The suspect was standing in the room, naked from the waist down, and the homeowner called police, Wilson said.

Police arrived and said it appeared the suspect was high on some type of drug and officers found crystal meth.

“Both the victim and the suspect were transported to the hospital,” Wilson said. “The suspect was overdosing on drugs. He was incoherent and sweating profusely.”

Both men were still in the hospital as of Thursday night, but police said neither of them face life-threatening injuries.

The suspect has been released to the custody of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department and will be transferred to the county jail once he is released from the hospital.

Domagalski is also charged with an alternate count of aggravated assault.

The charges of assault with intent to cause great bodily harm and possessing methamphetamine are each punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The suspect is scheduled for a pre-exam conference hearing in Ferndale District Court at 1 p.m. Feb. 4.



Comments Off on Caldwell mother, Dina Stidham, 52, and son, Andrew Hoving, 27, both arrested on Methamphetamine and marijuana charges

After arresting a 27-year-old man on charges late Thursday night, Caldwell police searched the man’s Caldwell home and ended up arresting his mother, police said.

During a traffic stop about 11:15 p.m., Caldwell patrol officers discovered 4.7 grams of Dina%20Stidhammethamphetamine, 4.7grams of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, more than $1,000 cash and a handgun in a vehicle driven by Andrew Hoving, police said in a news release Friday.

Hoving was booked into the Canyon County jail on charges of meth possession with intent to deliver, marijuana possession and driving under the influence of a controlled substance. Officers conducted a followup investigation at Hoving’s residence in the 5500 block of Silver Place, where his mother, Dina Stidham, admitted there were currently drugs inside the home.

After searching the home, officers found about 4 pounds of marijuana, more than 3 ounces of methamphetamine, 3.2 grams of cocaine, a shotgun and a small drug paraphernalia manufacturing operation, CPD reports.

Stidham, 52, was arrested on felony charges of trafficking meth and marijuana, police said.






Comments Off on Mountainburg Police Say Search In Rape Case of Rex Jones 35, Turns Up Methamphetamine Drugs

A parolee from Mountainburg being investigated in connection with felony rape was arrested Thursday after police say they found drugs during a parole search of his residence.

Rex Jones 35, was arrested about 4 p.m. on a felony parole violation and several counts of possession of controlled substances and possession of drug paraphernalia.web1_mountainburg-drug-bust-22016129185025409

Among the illicit drugs found were 40 grams of marijuana, 20 prescription pills and five grams of methamphetamine, said Mountainburg Police Chief Vincent Clamser.“(He is a) felon, and just got out of prison five months ago,” Clamser said.

Several baggies labeled for sale, along with several miscellaneous drug paraphernalia items were found with the drugs in a hidden room of Jones’ residence in the 2300 block of U.S. 71 Northwest, according to Mountainburg police.“Officer (Bobby) Dean found a hidden room on the back of the house where the drugs and paraphernalia were located,” Clamser said.web1_mountainburg-drug-bust-12016129185024592

Police were initially at Jones’s residence for a follow-up to a rape investigation, according to the Police Department. He is accused of raping a juvenile girl.

Jones was being held Friday night in the Crawford County Detention Center without bond


An anonymous tip received Thursday led troopers to a meth lab and the arrest of two Perry County men.

Troopers with the Indiana State Police received an anonymous tip that two men were manufacturing methamphetamine along the river bank near the boat ramp parking lot in Troy. Troopers and members of the Perry County Sheriff’s Department and the Tell City Police Department entered the wooded area and began to search for the location of the meth lab and suspects.


While searching, officers observed 26-year-old Joshua W. Robbins of Tell City kneeling down and working with something on the ground. As officers announced their presence and identity, Robbins began throwing items into the Ohio River and officers observed him throw the reaction vessel used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine into the water. When the vessel hit the water, it caught on fire and began emitting strong chemical fumes.

Shortly thereafter, Robbins complied with the officers’ instructions and was placed into custody without incident.

Officers found two hydrogen chloride (HCl) generators, a “one-pot” meth lab, sulfuric acid, lithium, and salt at the scene with Robbins, all of which are chemicals and precursors used to manufacture methamphetamine.

The second male, Gordon Poehlein, 45, Tell City, who was seen by officers but had left the area before he could be taken into custody, was later located at his Tell City residence. He was wearing the same clothing at the time of his arrest as when he was visually identified by officers earlier in the evening.user33681-1454087194-media3

Officers later learned that Poehlein had purchased pseudoephedrine earlier in the day to be used in the meth lab. Poehlein was jailed without incident.

Robbins was charged with a Level 5 felony count manufacturing methamphetamine, Level 6 felony counts of dumping controlled substance waste, possession of precursors, maintaining a common nuisance, and obstruction of justice.

Poehlein was charged with Level 5 felony count of manufacturing methamphetamine, Level 6 felony counts of possession of precursors and maintaining a common nuisance.

The Indiana State Police and Perry County law enforcement encourage citizens to continue to be proactive with their assistance against drug activity. Those with information are asked to continue to help their communities by calling the Indiana State Police at 1-812-482-1441 or your local law enforcement agency with tips and information. Callers can remain anonymous.

The Perry County Sheriff’s Department, Tell City Police Department and Perry County Rescue assisted with the investigation.



Comments Off on Two Romans, Robin Delanae Rodriguez, 29, and Johnny Cora Baker, 47, charged with possession of Methamphetamine, drug-related objects

56ada109de48c_imageTwo Romans were arrested around 1 a.m. Saturday after police charged them with methamphetamine possession, reports stated.

According to Floyd County Jail records:

Johnny Cora Baker, 47, of 67 Beard Drive, and Robin Delanae Rodriguez, 29, of 736 Ashland Park Blvd., were additionally charged with misdemeanor possession of drug-related objects when police pulled them over around 203 Burnett Ferry Road.

Rodriguez was also charged with driving on a suspended or revoked license, while Baker received a felony hindering apprehension of a criminal charge.

Baker is accused of letting two suspects involved in a police chase use his Dodge Durango to avoid detection.

Rodriguez was released on a $5,700 bond Saturday, while Baker was still being held on a $5,700 bond Saturday night.



Comments Off on James F. Baldocci, of Caldwell, arrested after calling police on himself

A Caldwell man has been arrested for trafficking of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia after calling police on himself.caldwell_mug_1454100731489_31019343_ver1_0_640_480

On January 28th, 2016 at approximately 9:30 p.m., Canyon County dispatch were contacted by a caller saying that he was being tired of being followed by undercover police.

Caldwell Police Officers were concerned due to the fact they didn’t have any undercover officers in the area and conducted a welfare check.

Officers arrived at a Chevron gas station in the 6100 block of E. Cleveland and found James F. Baldocci.

After speaking with Baldocci, police determined that he was under the influence. Baldocci then told police he had drugs and paraphernalia concealed in his clothing.

Officers found roughly an ounce of methamphetamine inside of his shoe and arrested him.



Comments Off on WANTED: McCracken County deputies search for 25-year-old Kenneth Wayne Corbit II of Jonesboro, Arkansas, after Methamphetamine lab explosion

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY (KFVS) – Deputies in McCracken County need your help finding a man they say was involved in a meth lab explosion that destroyed a mobile home.

According to Sheriff Jon Hayden, deputies were called to the 5500 block of Harris Road near Paducah just before 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27 for a report of a house fire. Callers told 911 operators that a naked man was lying outside the home.9760715_G

When fire fighters arrived, they started rendering first aid to the victim and began working to put the fire out.

According to Sheriff Hayden, the fire had burned the clothes off of the man.

Fire crews soon realized that the fire was possibly connected to a methamphetamine lab, so they notified detectives within the McCracken County Sheriff’s Drug Division.

During the investigation, detectives learned that the victim, 25-year-old Kenneth Wayne Corbit II of Jonesboro, Arkansas, had been making methamphetamine inside the abandoned mobile home with several other suspects.9760722_G

Those suspects reportedly ran away when the explosion happened, leaving Corbit at the home.

The hospital where Corbit was being treated did not notify the sheriff’s department that Corbit was able to leave the hospital and allowed him to leave around 1:00 Friday afternoon.

Corbit is wanted on felony charges of 3rd degree burglary, 1st degree criminal mischief, and manufacturing methamphetamine.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call their local law enforcement agency.



Comments Off on Abriana Anastasia Marie Kukuk, 18, of Hamilton, charged with possession of Methamphetamine, heroin

An 18-year-old Hamilton woman has been charged with possession of heroin and methamphetamine after allegedly being caught up in what’s been called the largest heroin bust in Ravalli County’s history.

Abriana Anastasia Marie Kukuk appeared this week before Ravalli County Justice Jennifer Ray on two felony counts of criminal possession of dangerous drugs.

Kukuk allegedly purchased the drugs from one of three people arrested last Halloween after law enforcement officers found nearly a half pound of heroin and methamphetamine in their vehicle.

Deputy County Attorney Thorin Geist told a judge in November the three appeared to be on a test run to see if they could open up a new market for the drugs.

In that case, Marlen Revelo, 47, and Mason Gregory Skerbeck, 23, both of Washington State, and Crystal Lee Griffin, 21, of Stevensville were arrested on Halloween at gunpoint.

A search of the car they were driving found 257.4 grams of heroin, 231.7 grams of methamphetamine, 16 Hydrocodone pills, 14 films of Suboxone and one Fetanyl patch, according to an affidavit. Officers also found a loaded .380 Ruger pistol, $1,730 in cash and other items.

During a subsequent interview, Revelo said she and Skerbeck had met Griffin in Missoula, where she had brokered a drug deal, charging documents said.

On Nov. 18, Griffin waived her right to remain silent and during an interview said she had sold methamphetamine and heroin to Kukuk and another man.

Ray set bail for Kukuk at $25,000.


Comments Off on Early adversity strongly mediates relationship between prenatal Methamphetamine exposure, behavioral issues

Recent findings published in The Journal of Pediatrics showed that early adversity in life was a previously unaccounted for, but significant confounding variable in the association between prenatal methamphetamine exposure and behavioral problems.

“These findings are consistent with previous work that demonstrated [prenatal methamphetamine exposure (PME)] and early adversity were associated with behavioral and emotional control at age 5 years,” Nwando Eze, MD, MPH, of the department of pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and colleagues wrote. “Early adversity mediated the relationship between PME and neurobehavioral disinhibition.”

The prevalence of methamphetamine abuse during pregnancy in women seeking treatment tripled from 1994 to 2006, rising to 24% of all pregnant women admitted to federally funded treatment centers, according to the researchers. Eze and colleagues defined early adversity as the sum of multiple binary indicators, including self-reported maternal postnatal substance abuse, an annual household income less than $10,000, reported sexual or physical abuse by a caregiver, a maternal score on the Brief Symptom Inventory, maternal depression above average for the Beck Depression Inventory, quality of living environment below average on the HOME Inventory, community violence above average on the Lifestyle Interview, and social position below average for the Index of Social Position.

The researchers began recruiting for the Infant Development, Environment, and Lifestyle (IDEAL) longitudinal study in 2002. They enrolled 412 mother and infant pairs at four sites and identified participants as methamphetamine-exposed (n = 204) by self-reporting as well as gas chromatography and mass spectrometry analysis of newborn meconium. During 7.5 years of follow-up, Eze and colleagues examined 290 infants, adjusting their model for sex, study site, prenatal tobacco and alcohol and marijuana exposures.

The investigators found that PME was associated with an increased early adversity index score (P < .001) and with increased externalizing, rule-breaking behavior, and aggressive behavior (P < .05). Early adversity also was associated with higher externalizing behavior scores and significantly mediated the relationship between PME and behavioral problems.

“Long-term follow-up is needed for a more complete understanding of the developmental, behavioral, and social outcomes of PME infants,” the researchers wrote. – by Will Offit

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.



Comments Off on “I see the effects daily.” Recovering Methamphetamine drug offender, Dave Mankin, speaks out about pseudoephedrine

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – A proposed bill moves further for consideration in the Hoosier state.

Under this measure, drug offenders will not be able to buy cold medicine with pseudoephedrine. If they do, it could put them back in trouble.

An ingredient that’s commonly found in meth, also found on the labels of many cold medicines at your local pharmacy. We’re talking about pseudoephedrine. A drug, that recovering drug offender Dave Mankin says, he wants off the streets.

“At one time, I was Terre Haute’s most wanted for dealing methamphetamine and marijuana. That was my charges, and to be able to be on this side,” said Mankin.

Mankin has been in recovery for almost 9 years. Under this bill, he won’t be able to purchase cold medicine, with the ingredient without a prescription.

But that doesn’t change his view, he says there needs to be a change. Working at Club Soda in Terre Haute, he sees the effects first hand. That’s why Mankin wants his bill to become a law.

“I see the effects daily. I see the destruction from the family,” said Mankin, “I see the destruction of the whole nine yards. They become a dependent of the state.”

He is nervous for folks who accidently purchase medicine with the ingredient. Mankin told News 10 about a time he went to a local pharmacy with his friend, who needed some cold medicine. She had to sign for some cough syrup, which she did. At the time, they thought she was signing for an insurance purpose. However, Mankin says pseudoephedrine was in the medicine, and that’s what she was signing for. Now, they’re worried her name is on a list some place, that she made the purchase.

That’s just the one concern, Mankin has.

This measure would also require Indiana State Police to add drug offenders to an online database. The system would alert the pharmacy, to stop a sale immediately.

32 states including Indiana are currently using the database to track sales. Mankin says, if it means taking the drugs off the streets, he wants to see changes.

“That is the main thing is to get the drug off the street. Methamphetamine has been horrible for 15 years.”

As the bill moves on in legislation, Mankin hopes law makers keep in mind, “It’s an epidemic, it is an epidemic.”

A similar bill was proposed last year, but failed in the house. This year’s bill is now heading to the full senate for discussion.



Comments Off on Methamphetamine crime increase in Missoula means booming business for some

MISSOULA, Mont. – Meth-related crime in Missoula saw a sharp increase in 2015. Drug-related crimes now account for 20 percent of all crimes prosecuted in Missoula County this past year.

Officer Eric McClean of the Missoula Police Department’s drug task force enforcement team calls the rise an “epidemic.”

NBC Montana spoke with a man who makes a living on cleaning up the mess.

Lee Yelin works for Water Rights Incorporated by day, but spends half his time cleaning houses after they have been contaminated by methamphetamine or meth labs.

He said, in his experience, he has found meth, needles, chemistry books and equipment. He added that an employee found a bunch of needles in a light fixture.

With Missoula County methamphetamine-related cases on the rise, Yelin has been busy.

“We used to do one to two a year. I had one employee that took care of them; now it’s 40 percent of my business, and I have four certified cleanup contractors,” Yelin said.

When Yelin and his team clean a contaminated house, they gut everything — doors, windows, light fixtures, appliances and anything made of wood.

Yelin said such a deep clean is necessary because “meth residue, either from smoking or from a lab is very strong. It’s like tobacco and it just sits there like an oil base.”

They spent numerous hours in the crawl space of one house. When they’re exposed to such dangerous chemicals, it’s important for the team to wear protective gear including coveralls, protective eye gear, heavy-duty gloves and respirators.

Yelin said the worst part is most property owners don’t even know methamphetamine traces could be in their household.

“Every property that I’ve gone into in this past year except for one came up positive for meth,” Yelin said about his inspections last year.

So what should you do if you fear your property is at risk?

“What I recommend to any real estate agent, to any prospective buyer or seller, is to test your house before it goes on the market if you’re the seller. If you’re the buyer, test a property, especially if it’s ever been used as a rental, because we are finding almost every property I go into is contaminated with meth,” said Yelin.

While meth contamination testing is cheap — about $50 — meth remediation is not.

“It’s all the duct work, furnaces come out, purchasing new appliances, that’s thousands of dollars,” he said.

Yelin’s current house repair cost the homeowner over $20,000. It’s also a lengthy process.

“Once a property is contaminated we need to contact DEQ for approval to sample, approval to clean, and then third-party clearance, which is a neutral party to come in and sample to make sure it’s clean. Then DEQ will give them a certificate of fitness and remove the property from the contaminated list.”

Yelin said once he and his crew come through, the property is as good as new. The trouble is, with the increase in meth cases, he may be hard pressed to keep up with the demand.

Even those who do get their properties cleaned still run a risk. Yelin said when meth users leave one contaminated property, they bring all of their contaminated belongings to the next place infecting that one. He is advocating the city to put known meth users on a national database list to prevent them from renting low-income housing in the future.



Comments Off on San Diego: 22 indicted in ‘O-Dog’ racketeering & Methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy

Last September, Owen Michael Hanson, former USC player, known apparently in certain circles as ‘O-Dog’, was detained by FBI agents leaving a Carlsbad area Hyatt golf course.  Hanson, who enjoyed a privileged upbringing in Redondo Beach, Los Angeles, was arrested and indicted for drug conspiracy charges, including the delivery of 5 kilo grams of cocaine and 5 kilograms of methamphetamine.  Also charged the same day was Rufus Leon Rhone, in Los Angeles.imgresfhxh

At the same time, a half dozen men were arrested in Australia, including music promoter magnate Andrew McManus, in a money laundering, drug trafficking, and gambling case.  All the men were alleged to be involved in a wide ranging, global conspiracy to traffic drugs from Mexico into Australia and launder the proceeds, both down under, and in Las Vegas casinos.

At a bail hearing, AUSA’s detailed Hanson’s tactics, including sending DVD’s of beheadings (which may have been previously filmed, and not performed by the defendants) to insolvent customers, and directing debtors to be beaten and threatened.  They also detailed the illegal gambling business, based out of Costa Rica that Hanson ran and profited from.  Hanson was held without bail.

6 months later, the other shoe drops, as it often does in federal cases, and Hanson ‘O-Dog’ was named the lead defendant in a RICO conspiracy, including drug trafficking, money laundering, and illegal gambling.  No surprise, they came under the radar of San Diego FBI agents, after the arrest and likely cooperation of the Portecarrero brothers, Jan and Erick, who were indicted in San Diego, June 2013 on a gambling indictment, ran from Peru.

Pleading guilty and scheduled for a quick sentence in upcoming weeks is Leon Rhone, who has likely cooperated against Hanson.   Other lead defendants include Luke Fairfeld a San Diego based CPA, who allegedly laundered drug and gambling proceeds for the organization.  Kenny Hellenski, a fugitive is an expatriate living in Peru, who ran the gambling operations for Hanson.  A Los Angeles private investigator coordinated debt collection, and Derek Loville, a former Broncos, NFL player, 47, distributed drugs in Arizona on behalf of the crew.

The ODOG organization trafficked in cocaine, meth, heroin, and ecstasy, and sold drugs in retail and wholesale quantities, nationally and internationally.  The gambling is textbook, bookies, sub bookies, and runners took bets, in person, phone, and online and collected and laundered the proceeds to the company, based in Peru, or Costa Rica.  Many of the indicted are runners or bookies.

The charges are more serious than in the previous San Diego gambling based indictments, as drug trafficking charges and charges of organized crime are more serious than the ones faced by the Portecarrero brothers.  Another recently unsealed indictment is similar in scope, yet lacks the drug charges to up the minimum sentencing.

Nothing on the charges links the group to a Mexican trafficking organization in name, but it is likely they will attempt to indict another group, based on the cooperation of those arrested today, and previously.  And on it goes.  Assumedly up to the large scale traffickers, like Vicente Zambada Niebla, who may receive a sentence as low as 10 years, or Francisco Javier Arellano Felix, who….may be out in 10 years….justice and reason can be hard to find in the murky federal system….


Full indictment:

Sources: NBC San Diego, CBS8