DENVER – A picture a gang member took of his penis with his gun, along with some drugs, helped federal investigators put him in prison for a long time.

Jonathan Thomas Fricks, 34, was sentenced to more than 14 years in federal prison 635812270042005451-fricksafter he pled guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime on June 8, 2015. Fricks was sentenced September 22, 2015.

Fricks has an extensive criminal history, with at least one stint in prison and multiple arrests in different jurisdictions across the Front Range.

According to investigators, in a glove compartment of the car Fricks was riding in, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives found a photograph of a man’s penis with a 9mm pistol, multiple baggies of suspected drugs, a Gucci belt and a gold chain.

9NEWS learned when the defendant was arrested, he was wearing the gold chain, the “distinctive” Gucci belt, both of which were depicted in the photo.635812267061138343-gun-and-drugs

The photo helped investigators link Finks to the gun.

According to information from the U.S. Attorney’s office, the defendant and a woman were observed driving from a Denver motel to a fast food restaurant and then to a grocery store in Edgewater. The defendant was arrested in the grocery store by a community parole officer.

Officers found $3,755 in cash in the defendant’s pants pocket. A full search of the car by ATF agents revealed a 9mm pistol loaded and chambered with seventeen rounds; a second magazine containing five rounds of ammunition; three baggies containing 47 grams of methamphetamine, a small digital scale with meth residue, a large digital scale with meth residue, and an obscene photograph showing the defendant’s private part with the firearm in view.

Investigators said Fricks was a documented member of the Oldies 13 Gang and has “Oldies 13” tattooed on his back.

“Local law enforcement, ATF and federal prosecutors have again teamed up to send gang members with guns and drugs to federal prison,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “By focusing on those who traffic drugs while carrying a firearm with lengthy criminal histories, we are focusing on removing those who cause the most harm from our streets.”

“These sentencings, along with others, demonstrate the commitment of law enforcement in Colorado to investigate and prosecute violent criminals and keep them in prison for as long as possible,” said ATF Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Ken Croke.


FAIRFIELD — A Vacaville man who routinely inflicted horrific violence on his captive live-in girlfriend was slapped with a long prison sentence Friday morning.

Sean T. Needham was escorted into the courtroom from a nearby holding cell, but did not even sit down before he was shouting profanities at the victim, her family and prosecutor Julie Underwood.

Underwood told Solano County Superior Court Judge Wendy Getty that Needham was deliberately trying to get removed from the courtroom so he would not have to listen to the victim’s family talk about the horror the woman experienced between the time she moved into the Marshall Road home of Needham’s parents in 2012 and when she escaped in February 2014.

Getty said Needham was not going to be changed by anything that was going to be said at the sentencing. Then she let him leave the hearing, but not before calling him a pompous jerk.

Needham previously pleaded no contest to nine felony charges. He had previously faced more than 18 felonies and had been facing the possibility of a life sentence for what he did to his girlfriend. Instead, he agreed to a prison sentence of 18 years and four months.

Among the atrocities detailed by the ex-girlfriend during Needham’s probable cause hearing was his jamming a screwdriver into one of her ears, damaging her eardrum; knocking out one of her teeth during a beating; leaving bruises the size of dinner plates on her body; and repeatedly putting out cigarettes on nearly all parts of her body.

Needham also forced the woman to inject methamphetamine, ripped her hair out of her head, repeatedly cut her with a knife and regularly choked her until she would pass out, the victim reported.

Getty focused some of her comments about Needham’s violence on methamphetamine, saying the drug was the most horrible thing to have happened in society.

 “It eats people’s souls,” Getty said of meth.

The victim previously said she was held a virtual prisoner in Needham’s bedroom and could not leave the room without his permission, even to go down the upstairs hallway to the bathroom, where she said she regularly wiped her blood off her body.

Needham’s mother and father, who were living in the house with their son between 2012 and 2014, sat silently in the courtroom while the victim’s mother told Getty she questioned whether Needham’s parents lacked basic human dignity for what took place in their home.



A 23-year-old man was behind bars Friday on charges of statutory rape with a teenage girl the defendant allegedly put a tattoo on, a prosecutor said.

Osbaldo Valadez Espina, who is being held without bail, was arrested at an “encampment” for transients in Laguna Hills, Deputy District Attorney Tina Patel said.

Espina is also accused of giving the girl, who is about 15 to 16 years old, methamphetamine, Patel said.

Espina had some sort of tool he used to apply the tattoo to the victim, Patel said.

Espina is charged with unlawful sexual intercourse, inducing a minor to buy or sell a controlled substance, and inducing a minor four years or younger as agent to a crime, all felonies. He is also charged with tattooing a minor and possession of a controlled substance, both misdemeanors.

Espina, being held without bail, is next due in court Nov. 6 for his arraignment.



Used needles and methamphetamine discovered in a purse left in a trashcan at the Miller County jail have resulted in several felony charges for a 51-year-old Texarkana woman.

Misti Lynn Cranford, who also uses the name Misty Westmoreland, was arrested Oct. 6 on an outstanding warrant when she showed up for a pretrial hearing in the courtroom at the Miller County jail complex. Cranford was free on a $15,000 bond for delivery of methamphetamine at the time.crawford-696x365

After Cranford was taken into custody for violation of a court order, another woman notified jail staff that Cranford had hidden her purse in a trashcan outside the jail complex before entering and passing through metal detectors in the courtroom where she was set for a pretrial hearing. Detention Center Corporal Tony Hanning checked the trashcan and realized it had been emptied into a dumpster, a probable cause affidavit states.

When the purse was still missing after a search of the jail’s dumpster, Hanning spoke with an inmate on trash duty. The inmate said he’d placed the purse behind the dumpster, thinking someone might come looking for it.

When Hanning picked up the purse, he was scratched by a sharp metal point sticking through the purse. Inside the purse, investigators discovered three used syringes, a knitting needle, a spoon, a pair of scissors, an L & M cigarette package containing a single broken cigarette, a make-up mirror and a silver cylinder. Inside the cylindrical container, investigators found a baggy of meth and a single pill stamped with E 63.

A field kit test was positive for methamphetamine. An internet search for the pill identified it as Clonazepam, a prescription drug in the same family as Valium.

Cranford has been charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and with bringing prohibited items onto the jail complex grounds. Because she has more than four prior felony convictions, Prosecuting Attorney David Cotton included enhancements to the punishments Cranford could receive if convicted of the new charges.

Furnishing prohibited articles into a detention center usually carries the possibility of three to 10 years in prison but because of her criminal history, Cranford faces three to 30 years. Possession of methamphetamine under two grams and possession of drug paraphernalia both are punishable by up to six years in prison but Cranford’s past makes her eligible to receive as many as 15 years for each offense.

The methamphetamine delivery charge that brought Cranford to the jail complex Oct. 6 for a court hearing is punishable by four to 10 years in prison. Cranford is scheduled to return to court next month for a hearing to address all four pending cases before Circuit Judge Carlton Jones.



A semi-trailer truck driver was arrested for driving under the influence of methamphetamine early Friday on Interstate 94 near Eau Claire.

James Lencowski, 53, Hastings, Minn., was taken to the Dunn County jail following his arrest.

Accordign to the Wisconsin State Patrol, Lencowski was westbound on I-94 near mile marker 55 at 5:32 a.m. when he drove into the medium, striking the medium barrier cable.

During the investigation it was determined Lencowski was driving under the influence of methamphetamine. He admitted to smoking meth prior to the crash and that he also had meth in the semi with him. A search of the vehicle reveled 5.3 grams of white rock like material that tested positive for methamphetamine.




MIDDLETOWN, Ohio —Thirteen meth labs, one active and 12 inactive, were found at a Middletown home Thursday, police said.

Officers said they found the labs while serving a warrant in the 2900 block of Locust Street.Middletown-meth-labs-102315

Middletown police said they were attempting to serve a warrant to 48-year-old Steve Sexton when an officer found a meth lab.

Narcotics units were called, who said they found 12 additional inactive meth labs in Sexton’s backyard. Officers said they also found drug paraphernalia and chemicals used to produce methamphetamine at the residence.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office Meth Lab Remediation team was called to disassemble and neutralize the hazardous materials, investigators said.

Sexton was transported to the Middletown city jail. He faces four counts of drug abuse and one count each of obstructing official business, resisting arrest and drug paraphernalia.

Officials said additional charges are expected.



JONESBORO, Georgia — Authorities say police have arrested two people and seized more than 90 pounds of methamphetamine during a search at a home in suburban Atlanta.

Clayton County police spokeswoman Charlene Watson-Fraser told local news media that investigators obtained a search warrant and found 93.26 pounds of meth. Watson-Fraser says the amount of meth seized during the bust Thursday has a street value of $5.3 million.

Police have not released the names of the two people arrested at the home in Clayton County.




The father of former AFL player Ben Cousins has called for more education for parents about the warning signs of methamphetamine use.

Mr Cousins discussed the ice challenge facing WA during an ABC News special on Friday night, along with State Crime Acting Assistant 6881390-3x2-340x227Commissioner Pryce Scanlan, and Angie Paskevicius from Holyoake, an organization which provides drug and alcohol support services.

Mr Cousins, whose son Ben has battled a drug addiction, said ice was the biggest problem facing parents, but many did not know what signs to look for in their child.

“They have to assess a young person growing up, their behavioral issues, and determine whether those behavioral issues are just growing up issues – or alternatively are these indications of drug use?” Mr Cousins said.

“I didn’t know any of the warning signs to be aware that there is the potential for drug use.

“Unfortunately I think in the community, as this issue has developed, there’s a stigma over drug use.

“It creates isolation for not only the person who is using but for families, and it prevents early intervention.

“I think if issues can be addressed in that regard, we can get an improvement.”

There is a lot more understanding out there than I think you believe at the time.

Mr Cousins said he had been contacted by many relatives and friends who found themselves in a similar situation.

“When I explain to them the warning signs, they basically say every single one of those existed, and they just didn’t have the education,” he said.

“Obviously we need to educate young people, but if parents can become just more vigilant in what’s happening out there, they can be of great assistance.”

Parents urged to seek help

Mr Cousins listed secret telephone calls, a change of friends and a difference in sleeping habits as being among the initial warning signs of methamphetamine use, followed by anxiety and changes in appetite.

He said it was important for parents whose children were leaving primary school to be aware of signs or changes, because early intervention gave them a better chance of tackling the problem.

He also urged any parents in similar situations to seek help.

“There is a lot more understanding out there than I think you believe at the time,” Mr Cousins said.

The Federal Government this year launched its Ice Destroys Lives advertising campaign, featuring graphic and confronting televisions advertisements depicting the dangers of methamphetamine use.

But Angie Paskevicius from Holyoake said there needed to be a more realistic and balanced campaign.

“There’s already enough stigma out there in the community around drugs, and it certainly doesn’t encourage people who might be struggling to actually come forward,” she said.

Ms Paskevicius said evidence showed the number of people using the drug was not increasing.

“It’s more of an issue of severity rather than prevalence,” she said.

“We’re finding that there are really two main issues – people who are using meth are using it more often, and people who have been using speed are now moving to the more potent form of crystal meth or ice. And that’s creating some major problems for us.”

The size of WA, the remoteness of some communities, and the fact that Asian crime syndicates have identified WA as a lucrative market for methamphetamines were the biggest challenges facing police, according to Mr Scanlan.

However, he said police were up to the challenge.


You can watch the full ABC News Special, ‘Ice Age’, on iview.



Hidalgo – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized more than $300,000 worth of methamphetamine at the Hidalgo International Bridge Monday, according to a news release.562ab819ac50d_image

Authorities said a 55-year-old unidentified San Antonio man was arrested after officers discovered nearly 17 pounds of meth inside a black 2008 Ford Explorer he was driving.

The suspect has been released to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations for further investigation, the release states.




FRANKLIN, N.H. —Franklin police said a man who was walking his dog stumbled upon something extremely dangerous, resulting in federal investigators being called to the scene.

“An individual walking their dog happened to notice something that looked strange. It was a plastic bottle that was smoking or had some ingredients in it that he didn’t recognize,” said Franklin Police Chief David Goldstein.

After police were called, authorities jumped into action after they recognized the danger of what was essentially meth in a bottle — individual portions known as “one pots,” which are just as explosive as any other meth lab.

“We were able to identify it as possible ‘one pot’ methamphetamine production,” said Goldstein. “It’s much more mobile. People have actually been known to do this in their cars as they’re driving, and it produces the product that they’re looking for.”

Drug enforcement and the fire department sealed off Spring Street.

“We were able to secure the scene, and in fact we were able to seize approximately 15 plastic bottles filled with these chemicals,” said Goldstein.

Franklin police said they do have suspects in mind and they expect to make an arrest in this case soon.

MILTON, Fla. (WEAR) – Santa Rosa County deputies found a meth lab inside a Milton couple’s home.

Deputies say they were investigating suspicious over-the-counter drug purchases when they arrested Alton Simmons and Stephanie Scheel at their home Tuesday.

They say Scheel purchased or attempted to purchase cold medicine 34 times between January and October of this year.

When searching the home, deputies found several key items used to make methamphetamine.

The both are facing possession and meth-production charges.

JACKSON COUNTY, Mississippi — A high speed chase along Interstate 10 early Thursday morning resulted in the arrest of four people on drug and weapon charges.

According to Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell, deputies responded to a call of suspicious activity/vehicle at the Magnuson Hotel on north Washington Avenue in the St. Martin community around 1 a.m. Thursday.

As the deputies arrived on the scene, they spotted a vehicle matching the description of the suspicious vehicle pulling out of the parking lot onto Washington Avenue. Deputy Christian Pitalo followed the vehicle and saw it run a red light as it turned onto the I-10 westbound ramp.

Pitalo activated his blue lights and siren in an attempt to pull the vehicle over, but the vehicle continued westbound on I-10 at a high rate of speed until it “spun out” attempting to exit I-10 at the Lamey Bridge Road off ramp.

Pitalo and Sgt. Greg Evans took the male driver, Shane Weldon Johnson — who was “celebrating” his 29th birthday — into custody on charges of felony evasion, possession of marijuana, possession of methamphetamine, possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of paraphernalia.

Also arrested was a female passenger, Ashleigh Elizabeth Johnson, 29, on a charge of possession of paraphernalia.

A short time later, Lt. Robert Blocker, Deputy David Lawson and Deputy Ian Pehnke arrived at the Magnuson Hotel, where the pursuit had begun, to check the area and they located David Wayne Shaver, 32, and Jamie Raffeo, 35, sitting in their vehicles in the parking lot.

Gautier K-9 officer Ben McQuagge arrived on the scene with his dog, “Ceasar,” who located several grams of methamphetamine, resulting in the arrest of Shaver on a charge of possession of methamphetamine, while Raffeo was arrested for several outstanding warrants through the Gulfport Police Department.

Both Johnsons, who are not related, are from Gulfport, while Shaver and Raffeo are from Vancleave.

All four suspects were booked into the Jackson County Adult Detention Center awaiting their initial appearance in Jackson County Court.

WEBER COUNTY, Utah – Three children have been taken into protective custody, and their parents were arrested for various charges after a teacher found a meth pipe with a book reader turned in by an 8-year-old student.

According to a press release from the Weber County Sheriff’s Office, a school resource officer responded to Roosevelt Elementary School in Washington Terrace Wednesday afternoon, where a teacher presented a meth pipe that she had found in a plastic baggie with a book reader turned in by a third-grade student.

The deputy went to the 8-year-old student’s nearby home and made contact with her family. Police learned all three adults in the home (the children’s parents and their grandmother) were using illegal narcotics, “and some of this drug use was occurring in the presence of three young children.”

The Department of Child and Family Services was contacted to assist, and a search warrant was obtained.

Police found drugs and drug paraphernalia in the home, some of which was located in the same area as children’s toys. An item of drug paraphernalia was found under the pillow on a child’s bed.

The owner of the home, the children’s 59-year-old grandmother, told police she had been using illegal drugs and might have accidentally dropped the meth pipe into the student’s book bag.

Both parents, 46-year-old Bryce Floyd Tyler and 39-year-old Joanne Wiese Tyler, were arrested on multiple charges that include child endangerment as a third-degree felony, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The grandmother was not arrested due to health issues, though the press release notes charges are pending against her. The woman was not identified.

While executing the search warrant for drug related offenses, detectives also learned Bryce Tyler is registered as a sex offender from California, and, after locating “pornography and other disturbing items of a sexual nature”, a second search warrant was drafted.

The release states: “Evidence was seized and is being processed which could result in additional charges if any child pornography is discovered.”

The 8-year-old girl, a 2-year-old boy, and a 20-month-old boy are safe and have been placed in protective custody.

The parents are currently being held in the Weber County Jail.

SAREPTA — Two Sarepta men found themselves under arrest on several charges when Webster Parish sheriff’s deputies received information on some stolen items.

Ronald D. Harris, 45, of the 26000 block of Highway 371, was arrested and charged with possession of Schedule I CDS (marijuana), possession of Schedule II CDS (methamphetamine) with intent to distribute, possession of drug paraphernalia and illegal possession of firearms in the presence of a CDS. Bond was set at $31,700.

Brandon Scott Day, 31, of the 200 block of Church Street, was arrested and charged with possession of Schedule I CDS (marijuana) and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bond was set at $2,000.

Captain Robert Hayden, Major Dustin Reynolds, Sgt. Tommy Kemp, Captain Barry James and detective Gene Hanson went to Harris’ residence and place of business after receiving information that he might have some stolen items, according to the police report.

When they arrived, deputies described the stolen items to Harris and he reportedly gave consent to search the location. Harris reportedly showed officers a room in which they found in plain view, a set of scales, baggies with a white residue and a wooden box which contained suspected marijuana.

Upon questioning and further investigation, Harris reportedly admitted to possession of methamphetamine.

A further search revealed a clear plastic bag containing 2.8 grams of suspected methamphetamine as well as a glass pipe.

Several firearms and one pistol were also in plain view, according to reports.

Reports indicate Day drove to Harris’ residence while officers were still conducting their search. When officers approached the vehicle, Day was reportedly noted to be moving his right arm towards the middle of the vehicle. Upon contact with Day, a strong odor of what appeared to be marijuana emitted from the vehicle.

Day was asked to exit the vehicle and a search revealed what appeared to be two partially smoked marijuana cigarettes, along with a clear plastic container which contained a green, leafy substance suspected to be marijuana and rolling papers.

Day reportedly admitted to possession of the suspected marijuana. He was also placed under arrest on the above charges.

Both suspects were transported to Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center.

Frankly and fearlessly, Savannah Sanders, of Phoenix, told of her time as a victim of human trafficking — and the health and stability she has experienced in the years since.

Sanders, author of the new book “Sex Trafficking Prevention,” was the leadoff speaker Thursday at the 26th annual McGuire Memorial Conference on Family Violence.

About 80 service providers attended the conference, “Slavery in Big Sky Country: Breaking the Bonds of Human Trafficking,” sponsored by the Billings Area Family Violence Task Force at Billings Clinic.

Raped by a relative at age 6 and molested by someone else for six years after that, Sanders eventually ran away and began “shooting up meth, eating out of dumpsters and sleeping on park benches,” she said.

One night at age 16, she went out with a friend to a club.

“I was spewing vulnerability,” she said, when a man put a hand on her back and “told me I was going to work for him.” Over the next nine months, she said, the man made $330,000 by forcing her to have sex with paying customers.

One day, while with a friend at a bookstore, she “finally met a man who saw me for what I was worth,” a man she is still married to. The couple now has four children.

“I wish I could say it was all rainbows and sunshine after that, but I had never dealt with the trauma I’d been through,” she said. The road to that recovery — she earned a GED, then a bachelor’s in social work — began when she called a number on a human trafficking website hoping to do some volunteer work. She spoke to a man who told her, “I know none of this was your fault.”

“It changed my life. Up until that moment it had always been me. It was because I was a bad person,” she said. “I thought I deserved what I was experiencing.”

Today, Sanders tells her story at conferences around the nation. Coincidentally, her office is across a parking lot from the spot where she was once trafficked, “and it doesn’t affect me anymore,” she said.

“I don’t believe we can prevent 100 percent of abuse,” she told the crowd, some of whom hugged her after her presentation, “but I do believe it is 100 percent overcome-able.”

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox followed Sanders’ talk and opened with these words: “I’m glad to be in the company of people who care.”

Fox, elected three years ago, called human trafficking “one of the cruelest of crimes, and it must be stopped.” Worldwide, it’s the third-largest criminal industry, behind drug and weapon smuggling. “It is low-risk and high-profit,” Fox said. “It is often a hidden crime.”

Fox said recruits being trained at the state’s law enforcement academy are learning the signs of possible human trafficking.

When they make traffic stops or have other interaction with the public, they’re trained to notice young people who may be inadequately dressed and have no access to identification. They may lack personal possessions, aren’t allowed to socialize and may show signs of abuse, he said.

A new state law takes a victim-centered approach to human trafficking crimes, he said. The law includes provisions for what Fox called “robust forfeiture,” similar to drug laws. It also provides for public education on human trafficking and gives victims the right to sue traffickers for compensation for medical care and other needs.

“Combating human trafficking takes a cooperative effort,” Fox said. “We need your continued help and your vigilance. As attorney general and a father and grandfather of five, we are all in this together for the sake of our children and those children to come.”

Police seized methamphetamine, explosives and guns from a Tacoma home Thursday, and arrested a 53-year-old woman.

According to a release from the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office:

After getting a tip from a Lewis County resident that guns were being stolen and stored at the house, in the 2400 block of 155th Street Court East in Tacoma, detectives bought a stolen handgun in an undercover operation, and got a warrant to search the place.

They found 38 firearms, four improvised explosive devices, methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, and thousands of rounds of ammunition, and took all of it.

Bomb experts took the explosives to get rid of.

The investigation was the work of the Joint Narcotics Task Force. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, State Patrol and Federal Bureau of Investigation were some of the agencies involved.

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say they’ve arrested a woman and seized 38 firearms, improvised explosive devices, methamphetamine and other items at a Tacoma home.

Detectives with the Joint Narcotics Task Force said in a news release Thursday they made the arrest Tuesday afternoon after buying a stolen handgun from someone at the residence in an undercover operation. The task force is made up of authorities from Centralia, Chehalis and Lewis County.

Police say they also found thousands of rounds of ammunition and assorted drug paraphernalia.

Rebecca J. Coleman, 53, was arrested and booked for possession of stolen property and meth. Other charges are pending.

Multiple agencies, including the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and Washington State Patrol, took the explosive devices to be detonated.

The investigation is ongoing.

ROCHESTER, MN (KTTC) – Two people have been arrested in connection with a scheme to get methamphetamine into the Olmsted County Jail last month.

According to the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office, Elizabeth Weaver, 23, was recently arrested while on her paper route, and Jamie Bjerke, 27, was also taken into custody.

In the September 22 incident, Adult Detention Center staff had noticed an increase in watches coming into the jail and a task force discovered four watches with methamphetamine hidden inside had been delivered to the jail.

The sheriff’s office reports Weaver brought 1.3 grams, or four bags, of meth into the detention center for Bjerke, concealed in a watch.

Weaver is facing charges of 3rd degree controlled substance sales, 3rd degree possession, and introducing contraband into a correctional facility.

Last month, Aaron Love, 53, of Rochester was also charged for sending drugs into the jail in watches.

Clayton County police seized more than $5 million worth of methamphetamine Thursday during the search of a home near Morrow.

The house in the 1800 block of Candlelight Court had “been under investigation for some time,” Clayton County police spokeswoman Charlene Watson-Fraser said.

“The Clayton County Drug Task Force observed that the location was used as a drug stash house,” she said.

Investigators obtained a search warrant Thursday and found 93.26 pounds of meth, which carries a street value of $5.3 million, according to Watson-Fraser.

Police have not released the names of two people arrested at the home during Thursday’s bust.

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has arrested one Ayoola Ayodeji Adebayo, a Pretoria, South Africa-based Nigerian grocer, for being in possession of 3.920kg of substances found to be methamphetamine at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos.

A statement by the NDLEA spokesperson, Mitchel Ofoyeju, said the suspect, who is married with two kids, was arrested during the outward screening of passengers on an Ethiopian airline flight to South Africa.

Speaking on the arrest, the NDLEA commander at the Lagos airport, Ahmadu Garba said:

“A Nigerian living in South Africa by name Ayoola Ayodeji Adebayo was found in possession of 3.920kg of methamphetamine on his way to South Africa. The drug was found in a false bottom of his luggage while he was trying to check-in the luggage. The case is being investigated”.

Ayoola Ayodeji Adebayo-NDLEAAyoola, who holds a Higher National Diploma in Estate Management at Osun State College of Technology in 2006, regretted getting involved in drug trafficking and promised to turn a new leaf if he gets out of his present predicament.

“I am a grocer in Pretoria. I have lived in South Africa for over three years. I am married with two children. My friend in Pretoria asked me to bring two bags to him. He bought my return ticket and gave me one hundred and fifty thousand naira. I thought the drug would not be detected because it was neatly concealed. This is a big mistake on my part because I have sustained my family with the grocery business. It will not happen again if I can get out of this problem”, Ayoola stated.

Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade, said that the agency has taken additional measures to detect hidden drugs at all exit and entry points in the country.

“The Agency has taken additional measures to detect hidden drugs at our exit and entry points in the country. This is in preparation for anticipated increase in drug trafficking at the airports, land borders and seaports towards the end of the year. The arrest of Ayoola whose drug was neatly concealed, is an indication that more drugs shall be detected”, Giade stated.

The suspect will soon be arraigned in court.

A man accused of making and using methamphetamine, as well as putting it into the hands of a 15-year-old girl who suffered a possible overdose, is facing a slew of charges.

Douglas Matthew Thomas, 22, Midland, is charged with two counts of delivery or manufacture of methamphetamine, operating or maintaining a meth lab, possession of meth and two counts purchasing or possessing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine to make meth in two different cases.

Delivery of the drug, as well as operating a lab, are both felonies punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Possession of meth is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and purchasing ephedrine to make meth is punishable by up to five years.

Documents in one case state Douglas is accused of supplying the homemade drug to a 15-year-old girl who wanted to harm herself and might have suffered an overdose after ingesting it on March 17 in Mills Township. She told detectives she received the meth from Douglas.

The other case is filed in connection with a meth lab that was discovered at a South Castor Road address in March. Both cases were investigated by the Midland County Sheriff’s Office and handed over to the Bay Area Narcotics Enforcement Team.

Thomas was arraigned by Midland County District Court Judge Michael D. Carpenter, who set bond in the first case at $50,000 cash or surety, and $150,000 cash or surety in the second. The cases have been bound over to the Midland County Circuit Court.

Douglas is being represented by attorney Lee Burton of Midland, who was appointed to the cases.

Cody Wayne Thomas, 25, of Cowpens, South Carolina, was charged with two counts of trafficking methamphetamine and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon by the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday night.

Sgt. Doug Bryson of the Cleveland County Sherriff’s Office was on patrol at 11:20 p.m. when he noticed Thomas’ burgundy SUV in the parking lot after business hours at Bellwood Grocery, 5737 Fallston Road, Lawndale.

The press release states Thomas was asleep when Bryson approached the vehicle. During questioning at the scene, Bryson noticed two firearms in the vehicle – an assault-style rifle with a magazine inserted and a loaded pistol. When Bryson removed Thomas from the vehicle, he then saw what he believed to be a large quantity of methamphetamine. Bryson detained Thomas, pending further investigation, and contacted Cleveland County EMS to evaluate Thomas to ensure he was not suffering from a medical condition.

Vice/narcotics investigators were also called to the scene and took custody of Thomas, the firearms and the methamphetamine, according to the report.

The sheriff’s office seized seven ounces of methamphetamine, worth $18,000 and ready for delivery and/or sale, according to Sheriff Alan Norman.

“This incident is an example of how our deputies conduct proactive patrols in order to protect the citizens of the county and their property,” Norman said. Norman said the investigation is on-going.

Thomas is being held in the Cleveland County Detention Center on a $250,000 secured bond. At the time of his arrest, Thomas was on probation in South Carolina for first degree burglary.

LAUREL HILL — Scotland County Sheriff’s deputies made an arrest Wednesday after they said they recovered a pound of crystallized methamphetamines mailed to a house in Scotland County. The drugs had a street value of $45,000 to $60,000, deputies said.

Janet Denise Norton, 33, of 21840 Bunch Road in Laurel Hill, was processed and arrested for level III trafficking of methamphetamine on Wednesday. She placed in the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center under a $1.5 million bond.

The arrest was made after the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office Narcotic and Criminal Division was contacted by the Fayetteville Police Department Interdiction Unit. The unit identified a suspicious package that was intended to arrive at Norton’s address on Tuesday, deputies said.

The package was delivered to Norton’s address on Bunch Road on Wednesday and she identified as the recipient of the package, according to deputies.

“The package came from a known narcotic state within the United States, which is one of the things we spoke about during the investigation,” said Sgt. Earl Haywood of the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office. “I developed a lot of intelligence for certain regions and where narcotics are located and the package came for a state that is known for highly addictive narcotics.”

Haywood said it is hard to track a package back to where it came from in cases like this. Most times, packages are sent from a fraudulent address.

“Once they send out narcotics, it’s hard to track them back, unless you go through it federally,” Haywood said.

After specific indicators were identified, lawmen obtained a search warrant for the package and located the methamphetamine inside, according to a report The arrest made as part of joint operation with the Sheriff’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigation.

A Gwinnett County sheriff’s deputy tasked to “develop officers of the highest caliber” was arrested Wednesday after colleagues found methamphetamine inside his home, authorities said.

Gwinnett jail records show Trenell Bullock, a 15-year veteran of the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office, was booked at about 1:20 p.m. on a single count of felony drug possession. Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Deputy Shannon Volkodav said Bullock’s arrest came after fellow deputies went to his Norcross home to serve him with “administrative paperwork.”

They “observed what appeared to be methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in plain view inside the residence,” Volkodav said.

Volkodav did not know how much of the drug was allegedly found. She said she was not at liberty to release information about the paperwork Bullock was being served.

Bullock has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation. As of 6 p.m. Wednesday, he remained in jail in lieu of $5,700 bond.

Volkodav said the deputy was assigned to the support services division. According to the sheriff’s office’s website, that division’s mission is “to develop officers of the highest caliber for the purpose of serving the citizens of Gwinnett County.”

COOKEVILLE — A Cookeville woman who was operating a meth lab in the presence of her 5-year-old child has been charged with aggravated child abuse.

Tara Mullins, 40, of North Dixie Avenue, was arrested yesterday on that charge and for the initiation of methamphetamine manufacture.

The arrest came after Cookeville Police Officers identified the woman and stopped her for outstanding warrants.

According to reports, officers attempting to serve her with those warrants found Mullins in possession of a small container of methamphetamine in her purse.

In her home, they further found “a drinking bottle containing ingredients used to manufacture methamphetamine, liquid acid, pseudoephedrine pills and digital scales,” according to the report, and other items of paraphernalia were also found.

Field tests of the residue from the crystal substance yielded a positive result for ephedrine.

That apartment home is one she shared with her 5-year-old child, and according to Haley’s law, Mullins was charged with aggravated child abuse in the incident as well.

Haley’s law applies to several instances when officers may charge suspects of other crimes with child abuse, and it specifically allows officers to charge suspects with child abuse when they are found to be manufacturing methamphetamine in the direct presence of a child or children.

The child has reportedly been removed from the home and placed in the care of a relative.

Mullins was transported to the Putnam County Jail, where she was booked on a total bond of $20,000.

She was scheduled to make her initial appearance in Putnam County General Sessions Court this morning.

Los Angeles (CNN)—For two years, investigators decoded text messages, conducted surveillance and leaned on informants to unravel a drug trafficking network that allegedly distributed heroin and methamphetamine in a city park and California prisons.

The painstaking work resulted in a sweeping federal indictment of 52 alleged members and associates of a Southern California street gang with ties to the Mexican Mafia. The bust generated press releases and headlines.

Today, however, it’s the government’s case against the gang that’s under threat of unraveling. That’s due to the arrest this summer of an FBI agent who was part of the investigation.

When Scott M. Bowman was charged in June, media accounts focused on his alleged theft of more than $100,000 in drug money and an ensuing spending spree on sports cars, cosmetic surgery for his wife, and a Las Vegas getaway with his girlfriend.

The former agent, a 10-year-veteran of the FBI, has pleaded not guilty. His attorney, Antoine F. “Tony” Raphael, declined comment on the allegations.

Raphael, a former federal prosecutor who once worked alongside Bowman, accused the Justice Department of “going out of its way to include inflammatory allegations in the indictment” in an effort to try the case in the media.

Four months after Bowman’s arrest, the agent’s former colleagues are continuing to assess the impact of his alleged crimes. The prosecution of an FBI agent for on-duty criminal conduct is rare, and the fallout could be significant, with time-consuming, costly, multi-defendant cases at stake.

David Bowdich, who oversees the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, acknowledged that the allegations against the fired agent are serious.

“We see this as a big deal and we are dealing with it as such,” he said. “The public expects more from us.”

Bowdich declined to discuss any details of the pending criminal investigation.

While the indictment against Bowman is limited to alleged crimes that occurred in 2014, a letter sent by prosecutors to defense attorneys representing clients whose cases may be tainted by the agent details potential misconduct dating back to 2009.

One case against members of a Bloods street gang operating east of Los Angeles and involving the seizure of several pounds of methamphetamine and cocaine, along with 11 weapons, has already been dismissed. Money seized during the investigation may have been pocketed by Bowman, prosecutors disclosed in a letter to defense attorneys following the dismissal.

In another case potentially tainted by the agent’s involvement, Bowman is criminally charged with stealing more than $15,000 in drug money that was seized during the investigation.

Also pending is the 52-defendant gang case in which, the defendants allegedly smuggled heroin into various California prisons, dealt the drug in San Bernardino’s La Plaza Park, and funneled some of the proceeds to members of the Mexican Mafia.

Prosecutors have turned over thousands of pages of discovery related both to Bowman’s role in the investigation and his alleged criminal acts. Those documents are subject to a protective order barring participants in the case from sharing them.

Several sources familiar with the case said Bowman played a key role, including conducting surveillance and taking part in the seizure of a large quantity of methamphetamine linked to the primary defendant, Michael Bustamante.

“He was instrumental,” said one source who, like the others, sought anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the ongoing investigation.

Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, addressed the two pending cases in an email, writing: “At this time, the government has not moved to dismiss any portion of either case.” He said prosecutors have sought to comply with rules requiring them to disclose relevant information to the defense “since first learning that former agent Bowman was under investigation.”

DOJ attorneys prosecuting Bowman declined comment.

Bowman was assigned to a task force of local, state and federal agents called the Gang Impact Team. Agencies with officers on the team include the San Bernardino Police Department, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol.

According to the indictment, Bowman stole more than $15,000 in cash seized by investigators on two separate occasions in June 2014 while investigating the methamphetamine distribution case. In August of that year he went into an FBI evidence safe containing hundreds of thousands of dollars in seized drug money and “withdrew a substantial amount.”

He then wrote false reports “to conceal his actions,” the indictment states.

It also accuses Bowman of writing an email to a fellow task force officer, identified in the indictment as “Detective A,” in which he provides the officer with a cover story to tell in case anyone asked about missing money. Bowman had earlier given the same detective $2,000, the indictment alleges. The indictment does not explain the source of the money or why it was given. The detective has not been charged with a crime.

In the letter sent to defense attorneys earlier this year, prosecutors disclosed that Bowman might have made false statements to a telecommunications company in an “exigent circumstances request” in 2009. Such request are made by law enforcement when agents require immediate access to records for reasons including someone’s life being in danger or the monitoring of conspiratorial activity such as organized crime. The letter said Bowman might have submitted the request “for personal reasons and not related to a case.”

That allegation is not contained in the indictment against Bowman, which is limited to conduct occurring in 2014. If true, it could significantly turn back the clock on the period in which defense attorneys seek to question the integrity of his work on cases.

The letter also noted that Bowman might have improperly left seized drugs and guns lying around the task force office as opposed to securing them in an evidence locker.

Bowman’s attorney declined to discuss information contained in the letter.

Lt. Rich Lawhead of the San Bernardino police department, supervised two officers who worked on the task force alongside Bowman.

Lawhead recalled the day he and fellow officers were told of Bowman’s arrest. Before that moment, he said, he thought of the agent as “well respected” and “on the up and up.”

“We were in shock,” Lawhead said. “Nobody knew anything.”

Lawhead said he’s been told that his department has been given “a clean bill of health” and that federal investigators have determined “we had no idea anything was going on.”

He said that applies to “Detective A” in the indictment, who works for the San Bernardino Police Department.

Dave Thomas, an attorney who represents defendants in multiple cases in which Bowman was an investigator, did not have such a fond recollection of the agent.

“He’s very cocky — loose with the facts to say the least,” Thomas said.

The lawyer said he found it hard to believe that his misconduct went unnoticed by everyone around him.

“There’s no way he did it all himself,” Thomas said.

Bowdich, the FBI’s top agent in L.A., said the Bureau took immediate action once learning of Bowman’s alleged misconduct and that he was unaware of any evidence pointing to systemic problems.

“Unfortunately, it did happen. We cannot rewrite history, Bowdich said. “What we’re working on now is: How can we do better to make sure this never happens again.”