Six people face child neglect charges after police say a toddler was beaten and bitten in a Charleston apartment littered with hypodermic needles in April.Arron Hudgins

Tiffany Nicole “Nikki” Taylor, 26, the mother of the 17-month-old child, Karibeth Nicole Drennen, 28, Alex Thaxton, 23, who lived with Taylor, Dustin Lee Halstead, 25, who also lived with Taylor, and Arron “Pokey” Hudgins, 33, of Montgomery, and Jonathan D. Pennington, 29, are charged with neglect and related possession charges.

The child suffered blunt force trauma to its head and face, according to a criminal complaint filed with Kanawha Magistrate Court.

Jonathan D. Pennington, last of the six arrested for the assault that left the toddler with “human bite marks throughout the body” was apprehended Wednesday night.

Hudgins was the most recently arraigned of the suspects.

Magistrate Ward Harshbarger led him through the motions of describing his personal assets to determine his bonds. Hudgins told Harshbarger he receives around $357 in food stamps per month, doesn’t have a car, only works odd jobs and his only bill is the $67 he pays every month for his cellphone.

The prosecution requested his bail be set at $75,000, due to a prior conviction of first-degree sexual abuse, an outstanding possession with intent charge and a malicious wounding charge that was dropped because the witness never showed. Hudgins, his wrists cuffed in front of him, hung his head in his hands at the back of the courtroom as he awaited the completion of his paperwork.

Hudgins was also charged with possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine after the Metro Drug Unit made a controlled purchase of methamphetamine from him April 27, according to a separate criminal complaint.

Police say Hudgins was one of the six people doing methamphetamine in Taylor’s home at 6555 Roosevelt Avenue Apt. 5 on April 5, the complaint read. Investigation into the matter led police to believe the child was asleep on a futon before being assaulted.

The adults were present and getting high on methamphetamine at the time of the attack, according to the complaint; the users were likely injecting drugs in the presence of the child.

Members of the Charleston Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division followed up at the residence the following day, the complaint read. They found hypodermic needles littering the residence alongside assorted drug paraphernalia.

Detectives seized 2.5 grams of methamphetamine from the residence during the search, the complaint read.

All six are held at South Central Regional Jail, Hudgins on $75,000 bail and Taylor, Thaxton, Drennen, Halstead and Pennington on $25,000 bail each.

A Washington state woman has been charged with third-degree assault of a child after her 13-month-old son drank out of a sippy cup that had been converted into a bong for smoking meth. Amber Alline Ingersoll of Tacoma dropped her son at the home of his grandmother on Oct. 17. After the boy drank from the cup, his grandmother noticed he could not stand up and acted sick. The grandmother, a former meth addict, said she recognized the sippy cup was a homemade bong. She took him to St. Clare’s Hospital in Tacoma, where the boy tested positive for methamphetamine. Ingersoll was charged Tuesday.

ELKVIEW, W.Va. — Two people were arrested Wednesday after drugs and two small children were found in a van that was in drive while the two suspects were passed out in the front seats, court records said.

Ayla Ross and Greg Ross are charged with child neglect creating risk of injury, a felony, according to a criminal complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court. Gregory Ross also is charged with possession of a controlled substance.

Deputies said they were called to the scene on Rossville Lane in Elkview after receiving a call that a van was parked in the middle of the road.  Deputies said Gregory Ross was found sleeping in the driver’s seat, and Ayla Ross was found asleep in the passenger’s seat. The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department tweeted out that the van was in drive.  Two small children, ages 2 and 3, were in the back of the van, deputies said. Gregory Ross told deputies he stopped on the side of the road to go to the bathroom and when he got back into the van he had fallen asleep.  Ayla Ross said she was unaware that the two were asleep.

A K-9 search was conducted on the van. Deputies said they found what appeared to be crystal methamphetamine, and a field test for the drug was positive. Several articles of drug paraphernalia also were found in the van.

Both were transported to the South Central Regional Jail, where they are being held on $10,000 bond each.

A Tannersville man has been charged with two counts of animal cruelty, as well as drug charges, after his dog tested positive for meth, according to Pocono Township Police Department.

On Feb. 20, the Monroe County Animal Cruelty officer was contacted by Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital in reference to a Bernese mountain dog owned by Marcus Myers, 41, that was dropped off and was foaming at the mouth, thirsty and smelled like cooked methamphetamine, police said.

The secretary of the office said the dog was agitated and anxious, police say, and Myers told the secretary that the dog had “got into something” in a garage/construction area and possibly got into antifreeze or Percocet.

While in the care of vets, the dog’s urine was tested. The tests came back positive for methamphetamine, police said.

The veterinarian asked Myers if the dog had been exposed to meth in the house or garage area, and Myers responded “it could have been either,” police said.

The vets had called the animal cruelty officer once the dog was picked up by Myers’ girlfriend around 9 p.m., police said. The veterinarian told Myers the dog would have to stay the night, police said, but he didn’t want it to stay overnight.

The next day, police searched his home after receiving a search warrant. During the search, Myers asked to put on a pair of pants, police said, and when asked if there was anything in the pants that would harm the officer, Myers said “there might be.”

Police searched the pants and found 3.6 grams of methamphetamine, and Myers admitted to police that he was a user, but did not want to tell police where he bought it from, police say.

Myers was arrested and arraigned in front of District Judge Thomas Olsen and was released on $50,000 unsecured bail, according to court documents. He was also charged with possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.

His next scheduled court appearance on May 28, according to court papers.

Myers could not be reached by phone because the voicemail was full, and he did not respond to an email for comment.

PORTLAND — A Portland woman has been charged with dealing in methamphetamine.

Cara Lynn Honeycutt, 35, was charged with the Level 4 felony — carrying a maximum 12-year prison term — on May 1. She also faces a charge of possession of meth, a Level 6 felony with a maximum 30-month sentence.

The charges stem from events alleged to have taken place March 11.

Honeycutt was arrested May 5. She was released from the Jay County jail two days later after posting a $20,000 bond.

A pre-trial hearing in her case is set for July 6 in Jay Circuit Court.

A Kings Mountain man and woman are facing felony drug charges after they allegedly sold more than an ounce of methamphetamine to undercover officers on Friday.Welsh_Strossner_Meth_051315

The drugs had a value of $1,800-$3,000, depending on how they were packaged for sale, deputies said.

Following the purchase, narcotics investigators and Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Steve Grinnell and 1st Sgt. Allen Manns stopped the suspect vehicle on the Highway 321 northbound ramp at Exit 20.

Both suspects were taken into custody without incident. After receiving consent to search the vehicle, officers discovered the precursors needed to make methamphetamine.

Richard Alton Welsh, 32, of 619 Chestnut Ridge Road in Kings Mountain, was charged with one felony count each of trafficking methamphetamine, maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance and conspiracy. He was also charged with one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia. Welsh was placed in the Lincoln County Detention Center under a $120,000 secured bond.

Windy Arlene Stroessner, 40, of 1002 Mary’s Grove Church Road in Kings Mountain, was charged with one felony count each of trafficking methamphetamine, possessing/distributing meth precursors and conspiracy. She was also charged with one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia. Stroessner was jailed under a $100,000 secured bond.

Both suspects had a first appearance in Lincoln County District Court on Monday.

Welsh is currently on parole for a 2004 conviction for felony robbery with a dangerous weapon in Cleveland County, 2003 convictions for felony first degree burglary and breaking and entering vehicles in Cleveland County and felony breaking and entering, two misdemeanor counts of attempted breaking and entering vehicles and larceny in Gaston County. He served more than a decade in prison for those crimes and was released in August 2014, according to North Carolina Department of Public Safety records.

Stroessner has previous convictions for felony burning an unoccupied mobile home in Carteret County in 2002 and felony assault with a deadly weapon in Burke County in 1992. She served more than a year in prison for the 2002 conviction.

Ice, along with speed and base, is a form of the potent stimulant drug methamphetamine.

Also referred to as shabu, crystal, crystal meth or d-meth, ice is the purest and most potent form of methamphetamine. It comes as a powder or crystals that are usually snorted, injected or smoked.

The latest figures from the National Drug Survey suggest 2 per cent of Australians use methamphetamine – a figure that hasn’t really changed much over the last decade, says Nicole Lee an Associate Professor at the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction at Flinders University.

But about half of those who use methamphetamines say they prefer to take ice, and the number of people using ice has doubled since the last survey, says Lee.

The initial high

How quickly you feel the effect of methamphetamine depends on the form, the route of administration and how much of it you use, explains Lee.

Smoking it can make you high within a couple of minutes, whereas it takes about 20 minutes to feel the effects if you inject it through your stomach.

The immediate effects from ice are intense pleasure and clarity. User say they have lots of energy and can think clearly, feel like they can make good decisions, and plan effectively.

This is because methamphetamine dramatically increases the levels of the hormone dopamine – by up to 1,000 times the normal level – much more than any other pleasure seeking activity or drug.

Physical effects can include dilated pupils, an increased heart and breathing rate, a reduced appetite and an increased sex drive.

The effects usually last for between four and 12 hours, although methamphetamine can be detected in blood and urine for up to 72 hours.

Coming down

It might sound obvious, but if you’re coming down from methamphetamine you’re likely to feel the opposite of what you feel when you’re the high. So you’ll have trouble making decisions, poor concentration and difficulty planning.

You may also have headaches, blurred vision and start to feel hungry.

It’s pretty common to feel flat, depressed, jittery and anxious. As well you may feel exhausted and want to sleep for a day or two, although you may have difficulty sleeping, explains Lee.

Some people may also feel very irritable or have mild psychotic symptoms like paranoia and hallucinations.

“The ‘come down’ period is like a hangover, a recovery period after which people may move into withdrawal if they are dependent,” she says.

How addictive?

Methamphetamine can be addictive, but it is not the most addictive drug around, says Lee.

Among all methamphetamine users who use regularly around 15 per cent are dependent compared to 50 per cent of heroin users and 95 per cent of cigarette smokers.

“Compared to some of those drugs, it’s moderately dependent and is probably about the same as cannabis,” she says.

Lee and colleagues have done research in this area and found there was a year between when people first started using ice regularly – weekly or more than weekly – and when they started experiencing problems including dependence.

However, it’s hard to predict who will become dependent and who won’t. And once you are dependent, it is quite hard to get off because of how it affects your brain, says Lee.

Double-whammy harm

Once users start to take ice at higher doses or to use it more frequently, the pleasurable effects tend to give way to less pleasurable ones, says Lee.

Physically this might involve a racing heart and increased breathing rate, a rise in body temperature, a dry mouth and sometimes nausea and vomiting.

At ‘critical toxicity’ or overdose levels, people can also have stroke or heart failure, and occasionally seizures.

Once you start taking higher doses you may also start to feel jumpy or anxious, hostile and aggressive. This can escalate to feelings of intense paranoia or psychotic episodes.

This is caused by methamphetamine’s release of another neurotransmitter (brain chemical) called noradrenaline, which induces a ‘fight or flight’ response.

It’s these users that typically turn up in emergency departments and pose a challenge to medical staff, says David Caldicott an Emergency Consultant at the Calvary Hospital in Canberra.

This is because they are often dealing with methamphetamine’s “double-whammy” of physical as well as psychological effects, he says.

For instance a user could present to emergency with stroke like symptoms but be severely agitated and aggressive.

“It’s kind of a Benjamin Button type drug so… [you could] see a stroke or aortic dissection in someone using ice in their 20s or 30s,” he says.

What is drug dependence?

There’s a whole range of symptoms that indicate you’re dependent on a drug.

These include:

needing more of drug to get the same effect,

having withdrawal symptoms, including irritability, panic attacks, excessive, tiredness, extreme hunger,

spending large amounts of time seeking out the drug, using it or recovering from it.

If it is starting to affect home life, work life, schooling – that’s an indicator that you are dependent.

Regular lows

It takes between 10 to 14 days to physically detox from methamphetamine, almost twice as long as many other drugs. After an acute withdrawal period, there’s a more chronic withdrawal period that may take 12 to 18 months.

“It makes it very difficult for people to get off because having cravings, feeling really flat, jumpy and anxious for over a year and a half is a long time,” says Lee.

One of the reasons it’s so difficult to come off ice and other methamphetamines is that the drugs target the dopamine system. Regular and huge bursts of dopamine can effectively wear the relevant brain regions out, so the brain is no longer able to produce enough dopamine.

“The feeling that you get when you have lots of dopamine in your system is a feeling of incredible pleasure so when the dopamine system wears out, people really feel very flat, and depressed,” says Lee.

In order to feel ‘normal’, users need more methamphetamine on board, which is one of the reasons relapse rates are so high.

But Lee says research shows that changes to the dopamine system are recoverable over time.

Long-term effects:

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Restless sleep
  • Dental problems
  • Increased risk of sickness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Breathlessness
  • Drug dependence
  • A need to use more of the drug to get the same effect
  • Mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and paranoia
  • Heart and kidney problems
  • Relationship, work, and financial problems
  • Snorting the drug can lead to nosebleeds and sinus damage
  • Injecting can put users at risk of blood borne diseases such as hepatitis and HIV

An officer in Alabama held a large shard of ice methamphetamine seized during a drug bust. In Ramsey County, officers seized 128 pounds of the drug last year, compared with only 16 pounds in 2013.

The next methamphetamine surge isn’t looming around the corner — it is here right now. Methamphetamine use in the Twin Cities has reached the same level it was at in 2005, at the peak of our first epidemic.ows_143155851832980

According to the new report, “Drug Abuse Trends in Minneapolis/St. Paul: 2015,” released last week by Drug Abuse Dialogues, 2,593 people entered treatment in the Twin Cities for addiction to methamphetamine in 2014 (about 12 percent of total treatment admissions), compared with 2,465 in 2005.

Law enforcement authorities have had their hands full as well. In Ramsey County, for example, officers seized 128 pounds of methamphetamines in 2014, compared with only 16 pounds a year earlier. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) seized 52.9 kilograms in 2014, compared with 35.4 in 2011.

What is different about the methamphetamine problem today, compared with our first wave a decade ago?

First, there are fewer homegrown, makeshift methamphetamine labs, along with the public safety and environmental hazards they wrought. The restriction on over-the-counter sales of products containing pseudoephedrine was an effective policy intervention. It brought a marked reduction in domestic methamphetamine labs and other indicators of methamphetamine abuse, which continued until 2009.

Today, most methamphetamine comes from Mexico, not from little labs in a trailer down by the river. The amount being seized is significant and rapidly increasing.

What remains the same about methamphetamine today is the lure of this strongly euphoric drug with stimulant-yet-addictive properties. In the context of our fast-paced, multitasking culture that values getting many things done as quickly as possible, the attraction is easy to understand.

The key components of a drug epidemic are supply and demand, so when it comes to methamphetamines, all systems are go. The supply is high, the prices are low and the demand is constant. The same holds true for opioids — heroin and prescription painkillers. The lure of these strong, euphoric narcotics is equally strong and the supply equally adequate to fuel a parallel epidemic.

The days of thinking we are somehow immune to the scourge of these serious drugs are ancient history. Just when we thought we may have “solved” the meth problem, here it is again 10 years later and as big as ever.

We need to confront these drug-abuse problems together and on multiple fronts. Everyone can play a part. Law enforcement authorities need to remain diligent in curtailing the supply. Health care providers need to examine their roles in advancing the supply of prescription painkillers and screening for substance use disorders. Policymakers need to acknowledge this as the far-reaching public health crisis and criminal justice resource issue it is, and act accordingly.

Together we can educate each other, especially young people, about the heightened availability and hazards of these dangerous drugs. Parents, peers and community members all have a role to play in helping our young people realize that their lives matter.

Sarah Pearce and her supporters battled for years to prove her innocence in an infamous 2000 crime, but settled last spring for a resentencing that put her on probation after serving nearly 12 years in prison.

Now 32, she is charged with violating that probation and possessing methamphetamine.1dekH8_AuHeEm_36

She was 19 when she was sent to prison, convicted of being one of four assailants who attacked motorist Linda LeBrane on Interstate 84 west of Caldwell 15 years ago. The group commandeered LeBrane’s car, slit her throat, beat her, robbed her, set her car on fire and left her for dead.

On Sunday, Pearce was arrested at a Caldwell apartment complex after a resident reported that an unfamiliar person was going in and out of a neighbor’s apartment, removing items. Caldwell Police Sgt. Joey Hoadley found Pearce standing outside the apartment, according to a probable cause affidavit.

The affidavit reports that Pearce appeared to be under the influence of a stimulant and granted permission for Hoadley to search her. He found a syringe loaded with what appeared to be methamphetamine in her back left jeans pocket, plus cotton pads and a cotton swab “consistent with paraphernalia used by I.V. drug users,” the affidavit states. She also had what appeared to be numerous injection points on the inside of both arms, Hoadley reported.

Pearce denied knowledge of the syringe and said the jeans she was wearing belonged to someone else, the affidavit states. The person she identified as owning the jeans denied the claim. Pearce reportedly told Hoadley she had used meth about two months ago.

She was booked into the Canyon County Jail on felony charges of drug possession and probation violation, plus a misdemeanor paraphernalia charge. She was arraigned Monday and granted a public defender. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 19.

Her bond was set at $10,000, and she remained in jail Tuesday evening.

In 2003, Pearce was sentenced to 15 years to life for six felonies in the June 2000 attack. LeBrane testified that Pearce was the ringleader, and although her identification of Pearce was challenged by the Idaho Innocence Project and others, she remained certain even after Pearce’s sentence was amended to time served. Pearce was released from prison in 2014.

At the time of Pearce’s release, 3rd District Judge Juneal Kerrick said the 11 years and 215 days Pearce spent in jail and prison added up to substantially more time than the 10 years fixed that prosecutors offered Pearce — and she declined — during her initial trial.

The case was spotlighted in a “Dateline Mystery” segment in 2014.

A South Congaree woman is facing multiple charges including child endangerment after she allegedly exposed her two small children to methamphetamine and other drugs in their mobile home, according to an incident report filed with the South Congaree Police Department.

The report, filed on April 29, said 27-year-old Crystal Gerald was charged with drug equipment violations, disorderly conduct, public nuisance, two counts of unlawful conduct towards a child and two counts of exposing a child to methamphetamine after South Congaree officers responded to her home located in the 100 block of Genesis Circle in West Columbia.Gerald

When officers arrived, they located Gerald standing in the doorway of her mobile home without pants, shoes or socks on “screaming about something that we could not understand,” the report said. When officers approached Gerald, she said that her ex-boyfriend came to her home and trashed it.

Officers described Gerald as being “very hyperactive,” the report said. “Her pupils were dilated, her words were hard to understand, almost gibberish, she was jumping around, her jaw was going back and forth, left to right and she was grinding her teeth, all of which is indicative of someone tweaking off an upper such as crack cocaine or methamphetamine,” the report said.

Neighbors also told the officers that they observed Gerald running around the trailer park without her pants on 30 minutes before the officers arrived. Officers later located Gerald’s two children in her car, and they had “no pants or diapers on and almost no covering. The doors of the vehicle were wide open and the temperature outside was about 55 degrees,” the report said. The officers requested for Emergency Medical Services and the Department of Social Services to respond to the scene to secure the children.

When the officers investigated Gerald’s home they located needles, rolling papers, glass pipes and scales all commonly associated with crack cocaine and methamphetamine use that were within the childrens’ reach. The house was also in disarray with clothes and trash scattered about the floor and bottles that had mold in them, plus old food and other dirty dishes on the counters, the report said. Gerald was arrested, and the children were taken into DSS custody.

After a five panel drug test was conducted on the children, both came back positive for methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana and other drugs.

As of Tuesday, Gerald was being held at the Lexington County Detention Center on bond totaling $30,997 for her various charges, according to Lexington County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Maj. John Allard.

A Wichita Falls woman is behind bars after police say she and her boyfriend were smoking meth in the Rathgeber Hospitality House at United Regional.Laci Chizmadia

22-year old Laci Chizmadia is charged with possession of a controlled substance under one gram.

Hospital security told police the smoke detectors in Chizmadia’s room had been covered and that they told Chizmadia and her boyfriend, Jesse Buckley, to leave the room.

Security officers say while they were helping pack their stuff, they found a glass pipe and two bags of meth. buckleyThen, police say while they were talking Buckley to jail. He passed out several times in the back of the car.

They then took him back to the hospital where police say he admitted to swallowing nine grams of meth while security was knocking on the door.

With less than four weeks before he is to face eight felonies, including kidnapping and four sexual assaults, in a jury trial, a 29-year-old defendant told the judge on Tuesday he wanted to use a defense of mental disease or defect.14381890

Defendant Patrick Leon Bartley, of Topeka, who remains in Shawnee County Jail in lieu of bond, also said he wanted to postpone his June 8 trial date so he could have more time to consult with defense attorney James Chappas.

Bartley is charged with two counts of rape, two counts of aggravated criminal sodomy, and one count each of interference with a law enforcement officer, criminal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, kidnapping, and aggravated robbery, and one misdemeanor count of criminal damage to property.

Following a two-day preliminary hearing in June, one count each of rape, aggravated criminal sodomy, aggravated assault and aggravated battery, all felonies, were dismissed.

Chappas said he intended to assert the defense that Bartley couldn’t form the required criminal intent to commit the crimes, which occurred in April 2014 in Topeka. Bartley had been using methamphetamine for four or five days before the alleged offenses, Chappas said.

A Lawrence psychologist conducted a forensic evaluation of Bartley in March 2015.

Assistant district attorney Dan Dunbar opposed postponing the trial and using the psychological evaluation, which was requested more than six or seven months after the July 2014 deadline for an evaluation.

District Court Judge Nancy Parrish said the crimes occurred April 27, 2014, “and we’re more than a year from that time.”

Parrish pointed out that by Tuesday, she had received neither a written motion to continue the trial nor a notice the defense would seek to use the defense of mental defect.

“I’m frustrated,” Parrish said. “This case needs to move along.”

Since Bartley was charged, he has had six court-appointed attorneys, and there has been at least one trial continuance already.

Parrish took the mental defect motion under advisement and scheduled a follow-up motion hearing at 3 p.m. Friday.

Parrish told Chappas she wanted to see the psychologist’s report “to see if there is a viable issue or not.”

Earlier Tuesday, Dunbar withdrew a prosecution motion to merge the Bartley kidnapping case with a separate case in which Bartley is charged with aggravated battery in the beating of a man who saw Bartley and the victim at a west-central Topeka apartment before Bartley was arrested.

The aggravated battery case will return to the judge to whom that case originally was assigned.

On June 9, 2014, the victim testified during a preliminary hearing she was kidnapped in her vehicle at S.E. 6th and Rice Road on April 27, 2014, sexually assaulted, and ultimately taken to a west Topeka apartment, where Topeka police rescued her.

The alleged crimes spanned the outskirts of East Topeka to S.W. 17th and Gage on the west side of the city.

‘Block of ice’ found in hotel room IS methamphetamine, police say.

Police officers found what looked like a block of ice in a Clearwater man’s hotel room May 6 but was instead a large amount of methamphetamine, according to an arrest report.

John William Kucharchik, 24, faces a charge of trafficking methamphetamine. He had been staying in the hotel room at the Ramada on Ulmerton Road for four days, according to police.

The methamphetamine weighed 3½ ounces, according to the report.

A new blockbuster report in Argentine news outlet Infobae claims that Hezbollah generates between $60 to $100 million dollars a year in illegal activities in Latin America, particularly in the Tri-Border area uniting Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil. The piece echoes years of reporting warning that the Lebanese Shiite terrorist group has expanded its influence in the region.Hezbollah-marching-afp-640x480

Infobae reports that the astronomical sum was revealed to them by “sources within French intelligence,” who calculated this based on the numerous businesses that Hezbollah members are involved in throughout the region, particularly drug and arms trafficking and money laundering. The report describes the Tri-Border region as Hezbollah’s “capital,” from which $10 million annually flow into Lebanon alone. If the capital had a “municipal building,” it would be the Galeria Page mall, which the outlet claims is “under the control of the Shiite militia” and used to launder illicit money through its sales.

In 2006, the United States Department of Treasury identified the Galeria Page’s owner, Muhammad Yusif Abdallah, as “a senior Hizballah leader in the TBA [Tri-Border Area] and an important contributor of funds to Hizballah, notably hosting a fundraiser for the terrorist group in the TBA in 2004.” The same press release described the mall as “serv[ing] as a source of fundraising for Hizballah in the TBA and is locally considered the central headquarters for Hizballah members in the TBA.”

The Infobae report claims this situation has not changed since 2006 but, rather, expanded. “Mosques, Islamic cultural centers, businesses and other organizations without apparent political ties unite hundreds of members, which in many cases are ‘used’ by the terrorist group” to generate funding, Infobae notes.

Infobae concludes by noting that Hezbollah has ties to drug trafficking groups in Mexico and negotiates with the world’s largest non-jihadist terror group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), using their “comparative advantage” to work and profit together.

While the Infobae report cites only anonymous French intelligence sources, the information presented reads as an update of a number of research reports and remarks by national security officials throughout the years warning of the growing threat of Hezbollah.

As recently as 2006, NBC News reported that Hezbollah had firmly rooted itself in the Tri-Border area. Noting that the Shiite terror group had established itself even in the 1990s, having taken part in the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA), NBC and Telemundo reported that Hezbollah had created “an extensive smuggling network” that “funnels large sums of money to militia leaders in the Middle East” from its base in Latin America.

The NBC report quotes former FBI Director Louis Freeh as describing the Tri-Border Area in 1998 as a “free zone for significant criminal activity, including people who are organized to commit acts of terrorism,” making it long attractive to a group like Hezbollah. “The northern region of Argentina, the eastern region of Paraguay and even Brazil are large terrains, and they have an organized training and recruitment camp for terrorists,” Edward Luttwak, a counterterrorism expert with the Pentagon’s National Security Study Group, told NBC at the time.

The NBC report was met at the time only with major criticism from Al Jazeera, where a columnist called the links between Hezbollah and Latin America “tragicomic” attempts.

The major change that has occurred in the development of Hezbollah’s relations with Latin America between 2006 and now is that it has expanded its sphere of influence, thanks to Iranian diplomacy with Argentina and, especially, Venezuela, where late dictator Hugo Chávez allowed them to establish a second satellite in Latin America. In a statement this March, U.S. Southcom Commander Gen. John Kelly warned that Iran had established “more than 80 cultural centers” in Latin America. “As the foremost state sponsor of terrorism, Iran’s involvement in the region and these cultural centers is a matter for concern, and its diplomatic, economic, and political engagement is closely monitored,” added Gen. Kelly.

Iran hosted only 36 cultural centers in Latin America in 2012, a Breitbart News report found.

Southcom had warned for years that Hezbollah had been “planting agents and recruiting sympathizers among Arab and Muslim immigrants in the TBA,” according to a 2013 article by Matthew Levitt on the terror group’s influence in Latin America in the Journal of International Security Affairs. That report also mentions the Galeria Page mall as “a source of fundraising for Hezbollah in the TBA, the U.S. Treasury Department noted when the center was blacklisted in December 2006.”

The Levitt article also alleges that Hezbollah had worked to procure Latin American passports to travel more easily between nations in the Western Hemisphere. Levitt writes that at least one Hezbollah operative working at the Galeria Page, Assad Barakat, tricked the nation of Belize into issuing him a passport under the name of a Belizean infant who had died before turning a year old.

Hezbollah members operating out of Venezuela did not have to trick official to receive passports. Multiple reports have alleged that the Chávez government worked with Cuba to falsify passports for Hezbollah operatives. At least one report by a defecting high-ranking Venezuelan government official claims current President Nicolás Maduro met with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in 2007 to discuss “drug trafficking, money laundering, the distribution of arms and issuing of passports … to terrorists.”

In March, Deputy Commander of Southcom Lt. Gen. Kenneth Tovo reiterated to Congress that Hezbollah generates “tens of millions” in drug trafficking in Latin America.

LAFAYETTE, Colo. — A Lafayette family has been forced out of their rental unit with little more than the clothes on their back after the Boulder County Health Department determined the apartment was contaminated with methamphetamine residue.

Lenny and Jessica Hill are upset with their former landlord for allowing them to move in. “Should`ve never rented me the unit right from the get go,” said Lenny Hill.

He feels that way because on December 10, 2014, six weeks before the Hill family moved in, Lafayette police arrested a man inside the apartment for meth possession and paraphernalia.

The Hill family lived in their unit from late January to mid-March, when they were given about an hour’s notice to leave, forcing Lenny to leave his work tools behind. “All my operation is in there. I can`t work unless I spend another $1,000 replacing everything,” said Hill.

Health inspectors found the apartment so contaminated that it seeped through the walls next door where neighbor Bernadette Chavez lives.

“I couldn’t figure out why my hair was falling out, what was going on,” said Chavez. It was actually Chavez’s unit that was tested first.

Her landlord is the Boulder County Housing Authority. The agency decided to test her apartment for meth residue based on Chavez’s symptoms and sure enough, it test well above the state standards of .5 micrograms for meth.

It was then that the Boulder County Health Department had Lenny Hill’s unit tested and discovered meth levels that were ten times higher than the levels in Chavez’s apartment.

“I think Tim should be liable for all of us poor people that have lost everything. Our lives, our health, I don`t know if five years down the road my doctor is going to say you could still have problems Bernadette,” said Chavez.

The “Tim” Bernadette Chavez refers to is Tim McWilliams, the landlord who rented unit 771 to the Hill family six weeks before they were relocated to a hotel because of meth residue.

Numerous neighbors tell FOX31 they complained to Tim McWilliams about his former tenant and her possible drug use.

One neighbor, who didn’t want to be identified said McWilliams “said that he would look into it.”

FOX31 spoke to another neighbor who admitted being a former meth customer at the apartment and told us meth cooking was taking place inside the unit.

When asked if he thought McWilliams should’ve suspected drug activity was taking place inside his rental, he replied, “Oh yeah definitely … he’d have to be completely oblivious beyond belief (not to know), any 3-year-old would know.”

Even neighbor Bernadette Chavez said she complained to McWilliams about suspected drug activity next door. “He said he was going to talk to the tenant, do some investigating on his own and go from there. I never heard from him again,” said Chavez.

Under Colorado law, the landlord has cleanup liability “When an illegal drug laboratory is otherwise discovered and the property owner has received notice.”

Lafayette Police say unconfirmed rumors from neighbors is not official notice and investigators admit they never told McWilliams about the December 10 drug arrest at his unit, so they can’t prove he had prior knowledge before he rented the apartment to the Hill family.

McWilliams declined to speak with FOX31 on camera but by email said neighbors only complained to him about loud noise, “Nothing about drug use, and certainly not meth.” In his email to us, McWilliams added, “There was no indication of a need to test for meth until we received the information from the County.”

McWilliams is now cleaning up unit 771, which the Boulder County Housing Authority estimates could cost $30,000-40,000 and take 4 to 6 weeks to complete.

Homes can be toxic from someone smoking meth just a few times.

The drug residue can cause respiratory problems and other health issues. Meth doesn’t leave a lingering smell so it’s almost impossible to know if the place you’re moving into might be contaminated, unless you’ve been warned by the neighbors.

Both Bernadette Chavez and the Hill family are living in a hotel during the cleanup process. Chavez hopes to move back in May 10. Lenny Hill says he won’t rent from McWilliams again but he’s still struggling to find a new place to rent.

A Williston woman was arrested on drug charges after attempting to steal from Cash Wise foods.

Police say when they arrived at the grocery store 27-year-old Leslie Penass became aggressive and was shouting obscenities.

Eventually police searched her vehicle and found methamphetamine.

Penass is being held at the Williams County Correctional Center and faces charges for possession of a controlled substance.

Bond has not been set.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said it’s seeing a dramatic increase of crystal methamphetamine in the Columbus area.

Major Steve Tucker said members of a federal task force recently made a 20 pound meth bust.methraid

Tucker said investigators believe Mexican drug cartels, which he said already control the heroin market, are now aggressively pushing meth in the United States.

Tucker said it’s believed cartels are manufacturing the drug in super labs across the border and smuggling it into the U.S.

Methamphetamine is a powerful, high addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system.  It takes the form of a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that dissolves in water or alcohol.

Tucker said crystal meth sells for about $70 a gram, compared to about $100 for a gram of heroin and said the meth high lasts much longer, typically 9 to 12 hours.

Sheriff’s investigators say they’re concerned as more meth saturates the Central Ohio market, the price will go down, paving the way for both increased addictions and crimes to fund the habit.

SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County Sheriff’s Office Narcotic Unit removed 12 pounds of methamphetamine from the streets Monday, authorities said.1431544393755

The execution of a search warrant in the 9500 block of Perrin Beitel resulted in an arrest and confiscation of drugs found at the home.

The 12 pounds of methamphetamine discovered has a street value of $500,000, deputies said.

Deputies arrested Melanie Davis, 27. She was charged with possession of a controlled substance and is in federal custody.

Healthcare workers in Hamilton have noticed a disturbing trend, they say there’s an increase in the number of meth addicts seeking help. Crystal meth is one of the most addictive and deadly drugs, which is growing in popularity.

“I lost everything. I lost everything and I’m just trying to get it all back.” Tim is a recovering drug addict. The 38 year old Hamilton father says he had it all, a family, a good job and then he became addicted to crystal meth.

Staff at social service agencies across Hamilton said they have noticed a significant increase in the number of people addicted to crystal meth. At St. Joes Healthcare the number of men who are seeking help for their addiction has tripled in the last 2 years.

“It’s a drug that we don’t know as much about. It’s a drug that is a little more new to the field and we haven’t got it figured out how best to work with men to help them stop using that and women to help them stop using that and what it is that we can do to make it possible for them to not be using that substance any longer.” Says Debbie Bang from St. Joseph’s Healthcare.

FORT THOMPSON, S.D.Meth use is a problem that’s been glamorized in the hit television show, “Breaking Bad.” And it’s an epidemic that may exist right in your own backyard.

Meth is a terrifying thing, but what may be even scarier is what’s left behind after cooking it. The CDC says meth labs can cause serious health issues for anyone exposed, including respiratory and neurological problems.

Who really knows what happens behind closed doors.

“It really can be deceiving and it really could be anywhere where somebody is cooking or making meth,” said Officer Sam Clemens, Sioux Falls Police Dept.

According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, there were 19 methamphetamine lab incidents in South Dakota in 2014.

Officer Sam Clemens says meth use has always be an issue in Sioux Falls. The only thing that’s changed is how the drug is made.

“In the past what we saw was big meth labs and people were producing a big quantity of that doing so using a lot of different chemicals,” said Officer Clemens.

Sioux Falls Police say the new trend is meth in smaller quantities. Meth makers are using pop bottles.

But…what happens after a meth lab is discovered? That’s up to the property owner.

“There are no laws that say that we have to condemn a place or board a place up,” said Officer Clemens. “It’s really just that recommendation and trying to make that house as safe as you can after somebody has been making meth.”

KDLT News traveled 167 miles to Fort Thompson to speak with an expert on cleaning meth houses.

“I think it’s tedious work to go into a unit or any home to clean for meth,” said Ronnette Kirkie, Fort Thompson Resident.

Ronnette Kirkie has been cleaning up meth houses for two years. She works with contracting companies to clean up 12 to 15 units at Crow Creek Housing.

“It basically just started out from a report that some syringes and stuff were found in the unit,” said Kirkie. “And there’s speculation that there might be some meth use.”

It may look like an ordinary home. But step inside and it’s a different story.

“You’d see the bottles, you’d see the light bulbs and syringes,” said Kirkie. “The smell was different.”

Kirkie says the residue from cooking or smoking meth is “basically invisible” in a home. That’s why cleaning companies like Santi-Kleen based in Marion, South Dakota are called into action.

“It was very tedious and they had to wear haze mat suits too,” said Kirkie.

Crews use trash bags, paper towels and chemicals to clean up meth houses.

“Basically it was labor, a lot of labor,” said Kirkie.

Kirkie says it can cost as much as $24,000 to clean up a meth lab. In a worst case scenario, the home could be a total loss.

“You had to have a solid waste truck there to take care of the debris, the garbage and whatever was being taken out that was being thrown away,” said Kirkie. “You couldn’t keep a lot of the stuff.”

Everything that belonged to the family is now ruined…except for the few photographs that will serve as a reminder of life before meth.

In South Dakota, state law requires prior meth-related activity in a property to be disclosed.

Last year, police uncovered more than 9,000 meth labs in the United States. Of the state’s that surround South Dakota, Iowa had the most meth labs by far with 141. Minnesota only had eight.

Kern’s Methamphetamine Epidemic

Posted: 13th May 2015 by Doc in Uncategorized

KERN VALLEY, CA – The Kern Valley Sheriff’s Department Substation covers an area of about 8-hundred square miles. A lot of land for such a small outpost battling a meth problem considered to be one of the worst in Kern County.

Enrique Bravo is the Sergeant for the Kern Valley substation and has seen firsthand how methamphetamine has affected this small community. “This drug is the devil’s drug, I just don’t understand how people can inject this into their bodies but they do,” said Bravo. Sergeant Bravo often talks about the past and his Mayberry version of the Kern Valley. “The unfortunate thing about drugs is it’s changing it for the worst,” said Bravo.

The substation has the task of checking up on parolees, many of them have a history of meth use. One of the regular stops is the home of Theresa Albert. They deputies enter the home and search for anything that violates Albert’s parole. She has a history of drug use. “I got arrested a bunch of times for meth, crystal meth,” said Albert. She said she started at a young age.”I got a hold of it when I was fourteen, it was just around and stuff so I did it,” said Albert.

Don Richey, 57, happened to be at Albert’s home at the time of the probation sweep. He said meth ruined his life. “I guess you always wonder what you would be if you never did dope, you know…but I guess you will never know that,” said Richey. He has lived in the Kern Valley for 24-years. “The original reason I moved up here was to get away from it, boy was that a mistake,” said Richey.

A mistake so many in the Kern Valley area make. According to the Kern Stop Meth Now Coalition, Kern Valley has higher per capita prevalence rates for methamphetamine related offenses than Bakersfield, Sergeant Bravo wants change. “For years I used to feel good about taking these people to jail, but over time my efforts were not making a dent in our community,” said Bravo.

After every probation stop Sergeant Bravo checks on the welfare of the parolee, asking them questions and offering them any help they need. “It’s up to me to try and help these people, the time is now, it’s not tomorrow because the stats are going higher and higher, it’s proven that jail and incarceration doesn’t help there has to be someway else.” said Bravo.

In 2006, Kern Valley Sheriff’s Deputy, William Joe Hudnall was run off of the road by an attorney under the influence of methamphetamine. That attorney’s choice to use meth before getting behind the wheel left Hudnall’s wife a widow, his kids fatherless, and his body 100-feet down a rocky slope.

Hudnall’s partner Daures Stephens has now retired from the Kern County Sheriff’s Department. “I couldn’t be any closer to a patrol partner as I was with Joe,” said Stephens. Since Hudnall’s death Stephens still thinks about all the good times they had together. “I believe when somebody dies in that manner, too early on the job, it needs to have some type of meaning,” said Stephens. He felt like a sign on the side of the freeway didn’t give Hudnall’s legacy the honor it deserves Sergeant Bravo agrees. “Every time I would pass by Joe Hudnall’s picture at the station it’s like he was talking to me, do something about this problem, do something about this problem, and I finally realized, it’s Joe’s house that were going to name it,” said Bravo.

Joe’s House, a place for addicts to go and be set free. Hudnall’s wife Carrie Hudnall says her husband Joe wanted to see an end to the Kern Valley meth epidemic. “When Daures called me and told me, I had no words and I am not usually a speechless person. For one that they wanted to attach my husband’s name to something so amazing as this, to help people get off of drugs without them going to rehab they can’t afford, or go to court, or something they don’t want, this is something if they want to turn their they can,” said Hudnall.

Joe’s House is not a part of the Kern County Sheriff’s Department it is upstairs at Faith Community Church in Wofford Heights. Pastor Neil Preston leads the meetings, working the steps and letting anyone walking in the door share their story. Many who attend say the meetings can get emotional but its all a part of breaking the chains of addiction and mending old relationships. “There are people there that I or Joe and I have arrested. I held there hands to place handcuffs on them and now I hold their hands while they say a prayer before we leave, if that’s not full circle I do not know what is,” said Stephens.

Jeff Plante said before he got clean from meth he was Stephens and Bravo’s worst enemy. “He was a cop and I was the bad guy,” said Plante. Now he can pose in a picture with them, smiling, proud of his new life. “It’s just awesome, I had to get a picture of that, I never thought that I would be sitting in the same room as Stephens and Bravo, you know, and with no drama, it’s just the love of God,” said Plante. His faith, his love for Jesus Christ is what he says keeps him clean. I mean I tried other programs and stuff, it’s Jesus, Jesus works, the blood of Christ can break any addiction and it’s like I said it was like that,” said Plante.

Joe’s House gives addicts a sense of accountability and with the faith base it has an extra element former addicts say is the only thing that works. Christy Leuton is an adviser for Joe’s House. She said she has stayed clean from meth because of her faith based recovery. “I believe God supernaturally delivered me from the addiction, because I don’t think about, I don’t want to use I don’t have feelings of wanting to relapse, it’s gone,” said Leuton. “It’s the only way they are going to beat this addiction is through Jesus Christ and Joe’s House,” said Bravo.

Now with over 30 members, Joe’s House is changing Kern Valley, one soul at a time. “I am hoping people take advantage to get clean and turn their lives around, and in a round about way my husband will be apart of that with out physically being here,” said Hudnall.

Although Deputy Hudnall is not alive his legacy, lives. “I see that being around a long time, unless somebody has an answer that get methamphetamine to go away tomorrow,” said Stephens. If you would like to contact, donate, or get involved with Joe’s House visit this website:!jeff/c1f1r For information on the Kern County Sheriff’s Department, Kern Valley Substation visit this website: For information on combating the meth epidemic visit the Kern Stop Meth Now Coalition Website: For more information on statistics from “The Impact of Methamphetamine in Kern County”:

ALBION, N.Y. — An Albion man and woman were each charged with making methamphetamine in a home where nine children lived, police said.

Oswego County Drug Task Force investigators Wednesday executed a search warrant on an Albion home, with help from state police contaminated crime scene crews and firefighters.albion-meth-arrestspng-30ba8ce56e780deb

Investigators seized materials and equipment used for making meth from 2 Chinook Lane in Albion, police said.

Police charged Rebecca L. Lance, 32, of that address, and Bradley S. Bristol, 25, of 508 South Albion Road. Police said they intended to produce meth with the materials. Meanwhile, they had nine children under the age of 17 in the home, police said.

They were each charged with felony third-degree unlawful production of methamphetamine and misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child, then arraigned in Richland town court.

Lance and Bristol are both being held at the Oswego County Correctional Facility on $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond. They are scheduled to appear in Albion town court on June 1 at 6 p.m.

Two suspects face drug charges after deputies found about $1,000 worth of methamphetamine, digital scales and a syringe that was loaded with suspected drugs hidden inside a stuffed animal at a residence in the Springhill community, the Grant Parish Sheriff’s Office reported.635669762016506432-Brina-Ortego

Shane Crain, 39, of 6995 Esler Field Road, Pineville, was charged with possession of CDS II (methamphetamine), possession of drug paraphernalia and a contempt of court warrant, police said.635669761434618972-Shane-Crain

Brina Ortego, 19, of 127 Ashley Drive, Pollock, was charged with possession of CDS II (methamphetamine) with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies went to the residence in Springhill after receiving information that two people wanted for outstanding warrants were there.

West St. Paul police say two children in two separate families reported their mothers’ alleged drug use to them, leading to charges of drug possession and child endangerment.

In April, one child told West St. Paul police that his mom was an opiate addict and that he found a clear pipe with burnt residue on their coffee table. Officers spoke to the child’s mother, who said the pipe belonged to 36-year-old Brandi Rose Emmel of West St. Paul. The child said he believed his mom did drugs with Emmel and her live-in boyfriend.

Police say Emmel lives in an apartment in West. St. Paul with her live-in boyfriend and her two kids, ages 11 and 13.

According to a criminal complaint, an officer spoke with one of Emmel’s children, who said they are often sent to their rooms and told to shut the door. The child said they can hear a blow torch and have seen it in the apartment, according to the complaint.

Officers did some digging and say they found three prior reports regarding Emmel. Back in November 2014, one child reported that his mom and her boyfriend made him urinate in a cup about once a month “to make sure he is not sick,” according to the criminal complaint. Officers say Emmel’s boyfriend was placed on probation with conditions that he can’t use drugs or alcohol.

In January 2015, the child again told police that he is ordered to urinate in a cup and that he believed there were drugs in the house because he would hear a blow torch one to three times a week and once saw a bong in the garage, according to the complaint.

On April 7, the child said he felt unsafe at home because he could hear the torches and could smell burning metal and rubber.

A warrant was executed at Emmel’s home May 5, and officers say they found a suspected meth pipe in her purse. She admitted to using meth one to three times a week, according to the complaint.

Police say they found drugs and drug paraphernalia in the bedroom, which was easily accessible to a child. According to the complaint, the items included scales, pipes, tubing, propane torches, a bag of suspected meth and a bag of suspected heroin.

Emmel has been charged with a fifth-degree controlled substance crime and child endangerment. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison and $10,000 in fines on the controlled substance charge and up to one year in prison and $3,000 in fines on the child endangerment charge.

Rachel D. Burlson, 37, of 600 Choctaw Drive, was charged Wednesday afternoon with drug-related offenses, Greeneville police Officer Larry Gilbert said in a report.

Burlson was charged with simple possession of a Schedule II, III and VI drugs, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Police were called to Lee’s Food Mart on West Summer Street on a report of a woman kicking the door of a car “that looked like it had been in an accident,” the report said.

The car had been at the gas pumps and was pulling out of the parking lot when police arrived.

A man identified as Cory R. Mathes, 22, of 1520 Nolichuckey Road, was driving.

A records check showed that Mathes’ driver’s license was suspended for failure to pay a citation, another report by Gilbert said.

Mathes was charged with driving on a suspended license.

He gave officers permission to search the vehicle and the passenger, Burlson, was asked to step out of the car, the report said.

Officers noticed Burlson “was trying to hold something in the crotch area of her shorts,” the report said.

Burlson told officers “it was just a pipe,” the report said.

Burlson was asked to remove the pipe from her shorts. When she did, a “small zipped up bag” fell to the ground, the report said.

Methamphetamine, Suboxone and marijuana was found inside the bag, the report said.

During the car search, a bag of unused syringes was found, the report added.

Bond for Burlson was set at $4,000, with a first General Sessions court appearance scheduled for Friday.

Bond for Mathes was set at $1,000. His first court appearance was also scheduled for Friday.