The “one pot” method could produce a batch of meth in about two days. But the process typically caused foul odors and sometimes explosions, leading the cooks to usually conceal their labs in wooded and rural areas.

Then came the fairly new recipe that has been dubbed “shake and bake:” Plop a few handfuls of cold pills and some chemicals into a bottle, preferably two-liter, shake them up and poof – a smaller, cheaper but quicker product of one of the world’s most “highly addictive” drugs in about 45 minutes.


Shake and Bake

Shake and Bake – An undercover drug agent for the Lake County Sheriff’s Office watches a training video at the Lake County Sheriff’s Office in Tavares, Fla. on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013. The video shows a “one pot” or “shake and bake” exploding and catching on fire after being knocked over as the agents were trying to simulate the new method of making crystal meth known as “one pot.” The new method of making meth involves placing the ingredients in a plastic container, such as a 2 litre soda bottle or a Gatorade bottle, shaking it and allowing it to “cook.” Traditional ways of making crystal meth can take up to six hours of cooking, but shake and bake cuts the time significantly down to about 45 minutes. It is also much more dangerous because any shock can make it catch on fire. It is harder to locate people making meth with the new method because the plastic containers can be mobile, whereas a meth lab would involve a lot of equipment which could not be easily moved.

“The shake and bake method is a lot more mobile so it can be even harder to find,” said Cpl. Tom Willis, with the narcotics unit of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.


Mia Ro, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Miami, said in a telephone interview Friday that while the shake and bake, also known as the “one-pot method,” isn’t exactly new, it has started increasing across Florida with more meth busts during the first half of this year than all of 2010.

Willis said the new formula has become popular with users and dealers because it can be produced now in places like hotel rooms or on the go in vehicles. The pills are crushed, combined with some common household chemicals and then just agitated in the soda bottle with no flame required.


But sheriff’s officials add the new method is a lot more dangerous because one wrong move and the bottle can explode into a huge fireball, especially when exposed to oxygen too soon. Willis showed a mug shot on one inmate at the Lake County jail, who has a record of meth charges, with a permanent burn ring on his face after a jar of cooking meth exploded in his face.

“If you unscrew the cap too soon, it will explode, I have seen it,” said Willis, whose narcotics detectives cook meth while wearing goggles and special chemical suits as part of their training.

And, if the old stationary meth labs caught fire, the cookers could just run away. But with the shake and bake method, many times they are actually holding the bottle when it explodes.

“These guys aren’t real chemists,” said Lt. John Herrell, sheriff’s spokesman.


While the shake and bake method is more mobile, signs of the process are not difficult to find in Lake County. Willis said the drug’s users are making meth while driving around in their vehicles and throwing the used plastic bottles, containing a poisonous brown and white sludge, along the road.

He said the bottles also been found strewn in wooded areas by hunters and least one was discovered in a garbage truck after it exploded.

“We suggest that if you find such a bottle don’t touch it but call 911,” Herrell said.


The shake and bake method requires fewer pseudoephedrine pills. This is important because it enables “chemists” to evade laws implemented in several states — and federally in 2005 — that restrict the amount of pills that can be purchased by a single individual. The total number of clandestine meth lab incidents reported to the DEA across the nation fell from almost 17,400 in 2003 to just 7,347 in 2006 because of the new laws, authorities say.

But the number of meth busts have started to climb again and Ro attributes the increase in numbers in Florida to shake-and-bake method. According to Ro, there were 455 meth busts in Florida in 2010; 676 in 2011; 852 in 2012; and already 597 reported during the first half of this year.

Numbers for Lake County were unavailable for this year. But earlier in October, several people were arrested here after being accused of using the new method, including Justin William Fathers, 38, of Ocala, and Robert Daniel Burnette, 44, of Belleview. They are accused of throwing a bottle of the drug from their vehicle while officers were pursuing them in Clermont.

Willis said it is not clear if the shake and bake method has increased the number of meth arrests by his unit because history has shown that meth lab busts go up and down from year to year in Lake County.


Ro said meth cookers also have been able to get around the law by trading the drug to users for pseudoephedrine pills. Because many states have taken steps to close loopholes in laws limiting the sale of meth ingredients, Ro said law enforcement has stepped up its efforts.

“People are always looking to find a more convenient way to make the drug,” Ro said.




BOZEMAN – A man and woman arrested yesterday after a high-speed chase, in a stolen car, that ended in a crash will be in court Friday morning. The pair are facing a number of felonies after law enforcement officials found a functioning meth lab in the crashed car.

Kenneth William Charles Abegg, 40, is charged with theft, criminal possession of dangerous drugs and operation of an unlawful clandestine laboratory.

Deborah J. Hawes, 23, is charged with theft and operation of an unlawful clandestine laboratory.

According to law enforcement, the pair were arrested at approximately 11 a.m. after crashing a stolen car. Abegg had been recognized in Home Depot from footage KBZK broadcast Tuesday and a witness called law enforcement.

Abegg is also a suspect in a residential burglary where credit cards were stolen, then used in Begrade gas stations. Surveillance cameras from the stores captured his picture.

According to court documents, the pair fled from the Home Depot parking lot, with Hawes driving the stolen 1991 Acura TL. She struck two parked cars, driving at a high rate of speed through a red light at the intersection of 19th Ave. and Tschache. The vehicle crashed through a barricade and launched into an undeveloped field before getting stuck in mud.

Abegg and Hawes then fled on foot, trying to hid in bushes where law enforcement found them and placed them into custody.

A search of Abegg found a small Ziploc baggie with methamphetamine in his pocket. A warrant for the stolen car was executed, where officers found a “one pot” clandestine methamphetamine laboratory.  A “one pot” meth lab consists of a small disposable container mixed with a variety of chemicals, solvents and over-the-counter medication to produce meth in small batches.  Multiple empty blister packs of pseudoephedrine were also found in the car.

Abegg has been positively identified as one of the suspects in a residential robbery that occurred in the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 15.

In that incident, a credit card that was stolen in the burglary was later used in Belgrade at two gas stations by a man and woman who were photographed by surveillance cameras.

The pair, who are transients, are currently being held at the Gallatin County Detention Center with no bond.



BRUNSWICK | A Pierce County sheriff’s deputy has been arrested on charges he  acted as the lookout for people he believed were dealing methamphetamine, the  U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

A day after his arrest, Randy Strickland , 55, appeared Friday before U.S.  Magistrate James E. Graham, who ordered him held without bail.

In court documents, Strickland is accused of agreeing to provide security  for people who he believed were dealing methamphetamine, the U.S. attorney  said.

Strickland is accused of carrying out the illegal activity while in uniform  and while driving his patrol vehicle, the U.S. attorney said.

Upon receiving information about Strickland’s actions, Pierce County Sheriff  Ramsey Bennett immediately asked for federal law enforcement assistance.

“Police corruption leaves a permanent stain on the good work of our law  enforcement community,” U.S. Attorney Edward Tarver said in a release.

“This is a situation where there are no winners.  This gives the Office  of the Sheriff a black eye and erodes the confidence of the public in law  enforcement,” Bennett said in the release.

Bennett said he would not tolerate the type of conduct contained in the  charges against Strickland.

“I want to reassure the public that we will police ourselves as well as the  general public,” Bennett said.

Should he be convicted, Strickland could be sentenced to up to 40 years in  prison and fined, Tarver’s office said.




MARION, Iowa — Authorities in eastern Iowa responding to a house fire found that and something else — a meth lab.

The Marion Police Department says a fire at the rental house was reported around 5:30 a.m. Friday.

One man, the only person at the house, escaped without injury.

Police say during the course of investigating the fire, items used to make methamphetamine were found in the house, and investigators say the origin of the fire appears to have been related to a meth lab.

Police say charges are pending, and the investigation continues.

The rental property sustained heavy fire and smoke damage.



MANTECA – The Central Valley is known as the meth capital of the United States.

You don’t have to look far to find it. A gated community off of Scott Creek  Drive in an upscale newer part of Stockton, is the spot where Manteca Police  uncovered a meth lab.

The criminal enterprise was up and running for a year, during the bust police  found $1.2 million in drugs.

“I’m shocked this would happen in this type of neighborhood,” said a resident  who knew something wasn’t right.

He was too afraid to show his face on camera.

The home at 5250 Toki Lane is where the meth was being cooked. Neighbors  recognize 42-year-old Rafael Medina as the man who was always here. He was  arrested, but made bail.

“We have security that runs through here twice a day and nothing was ever  reported,” said a neighbor.

What was reported, is two of the weapons seized are stolen. One handgun is  from Covina and another from the Stockton area. A deadly illegal assault rifle  was found on Medina. In all, five homes in San Joaquin County were searched.

The kingpin of this operation is still out there, he lived in Manteca at 1028  Cottage Avenue. His girlfriend, Lorena Farias was caught at the home. Inside a  stash of illegal substances and children playing just feet away.

She’s sitting in jail on half a million dollar bail.

Detectives uncovered $50,000 in cash and another $51,000 in a bank  account.

500 marijuana plants were seized and 300 pounds of it’d easy to be sold.  Manteca detectives zeroed-in on the players of this large scale drug ring. The  kingpin’s brother and his girlfriend were tracked down. Now police are on the  hunt for the mastermind of this illegal operation.

It took a lot of law enforcement agencies to get the job done. Four Manteca  detectives worked on the case for one year. The detectives used additional  resources to complete the sweep: Manteca Gang Suppression Unit, Ripon Police,  Stockton Police Gang Unit, San Joaquin Delta R.A.T, and the San Joaquin  Metropolitan Narcotics Task Force.





A Los Angeles man is behind bars after the Springfield office of the Drug Enforcement Administration says he brought four pounds of methamphetamine through the Springfield-Branson National Airport.

The man, Oscar Orlando Hernandez, 21, is charged with the Class A felony of trafficking in the second degree in Greene County court.

Oscar Orlando Hernandez, 21,

Oscar Orlando Hernandez, 21






The case began, court documents say, when Springfield DEA officers got a tip out of Nashville that Hernandez would be arriving at a local airport with a large quantity of meth.

Officers staked out the terminal at the airport on Tuesday and saw Hernandez arrive. But he left the airport without a bag, court documents say.

An officer talked to an airline employee, who said Hernandez’s bag had not arrived on the correct plane. It was expected on the next American Airlines flight that evening, court documents said.

When Hernandez’s bag did arrive, officers got permission to use a drug dog. According to the probable cause statement in the case, the dog alerted to drugs inside of the bag with Hernandez’s name and phone number on the luggage tag.

Later that evening, Hernandez returned to the airport and retrieved the bag, the probable cause statement said. Officers then stopped him, identifying themselves as police.

“I asked Hernandez (if) the bag he was carrying was his. Hernandez initially said it was not his bag. I asked if his name was Oscar Hernandez and he stated it was. I explained the bag had a name tag with the name Oscar Hernandez written on it. Hernandez then stated the bag belong to him,” the probable cause statement said.

Hernandez eventually told officers, the court documents said, that he knew there was something illegal inside the bag, but not what it was. He told officers he was just handed the bag.

He gave officers permission to search the bag, court documents said. Inside, officers found two heat-sealed bags of meth covered with electrical tape, dryer sheets, grease and coffee grounds, the probable cause statement said.

Prosecutors have asked that Hernandez be held on a $250,000 bond. If he is released, prosecutors have asked a judge to require GPS monitoring, noting that he is a “huge flight risk” due to the severity of the charge and the fact that he has no ties to the area.

Hernandez remains in Greene County Jail.



Lamont, Calif. – Kern County Sheriff’s deputies arrested two people and seized one pound of meth during a routine traffic stop, Thursday.

KCSO Lamont deputies had originally stopped the car, which was driving along Highway 58, for vehicle code violations.

According to deputies, the two women inside the car were identified as, Audra Olivarez,34, and Audrey Martinez,33.

During the stop, deputies learned Olivarez was on probation and had a felony warrant for her arrest.

That’s when deputies searched of the vehicle, which resulted in approximately two ounces of methamphetamine being seized, deputies said.

During a search of Martinez, deputies also found more meth.

The Kern Narcotics Enforcement Team conducted a follow up investigation and completed a probation search at Martinez and Olivarez’ home, which resulted in more meth being found.

During the probation search, deputies located counterfeit money, drug paraphernalia, cocaine, U.S. currency, and other items indicative of the sales of controlled substances.

KNET seized approximately one pound of methamphetamine and currency during the search at the home.

Olivarez and Martinez were both arrested on several charges, including, transportation of a controlled substance, sales of a controlled substance, identity theft, possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a home for the purpose of selling controlled substances.

Both women were booked into the Central Receiving Facility.



PIERCE COUNTY, Ga. — A Pierce County sheriff’s deputy appeared before a federal judge Friday for his alleged role in the trafficking of methamphetamine.

Deputy Randy Strickland, 55, was arrested Thursday on federal charges for drug trafficking.

Strickland allegedly agreed to act as “security” for people he believed were dealing meth by acting as the lookout.

“We’re not above the law,” said Sheriff Ramsey Bennett. “We took an oath to serve and protect and uphold the constitution and that’s what we expect.”

The drug deal allegedly went down in a rural area of Pierce County near Blackshear while Strickland was in uniform and while he was driving his police vehicle.

The talk of the town Friday wasn’t the usual topic of high school football.

“You got a law officer with his uniform on and he’s out there getting involved in drugs, it’s sad,” said one Blackshear resident.

Sheriff Bennett requested federal law enforcement assistance after learning about his deputy’s activities.

“This is a situation where there are no winners,” said Bennett. “This gives the Office of the Sheriff a black eye and erodes the confidence of the public in law enforcement. As sheriff, I will not tolerate this type of conduct. I want to reassure the public that we will police ourselves as well as the general public.”

Strickland previously served in the Blackshear Police Dept. and within the ranks of the Brantley County Sheriff’s Office.

The charge against Strickland carries a maximum prison sentence of 40 years, and a fine of up to $5 million.

The case was investigated by ATF, HSI, FBI and local law enforcement.



Acting on a tip, Steuben County sheriff’s detectives went to an Orland home on Tuesday and arrested a 26-year-old woman on methamphetamine-related charges.

Detectives went to the home in the 6200 block of north Indiana 327 about 2:45 p.m. and found items commonly known to make meth, the sheriff’s department said.

Jessica L. Marshall was booked into the Steuben County Jail on one count of manufacturing methamphetamine and one count of possession. Her bond was set at $55,000.

The Orland Police Department and the Indiana State Police Meth Suppression Section’s Clandestine Drug Lab Team assisted detectives.



PICAYUNE — While the country was mesmerized by high school chemistry teacher Walter White’s descent into ruin in the TV series “Breaking Bad” the truth is that methamphetamine manufacture is a filthy, dangerous and soul-crushing affair.

Mississippi gets smacked around pretty good when people compare indices of economic progress, education, health outcomes, and income. Our people get pretty tired of hearing the latest measure in which our state ranks 50th.

But there’s a new example in which Mississippi was among national leaders in an initiative to do something proactive to impede the manufacture of methamphetamine in Mississippi — an enterprise that had reached epidemic proportions prior to the courageous 2010 act of the Mississippi Legislature in adopting key legislation to make meth manufacture substantially more difficult in the state. The Legislature passed a law establishing that a prescription is required to buy pseudoephedrine products in Mississippi.

The state became the second to pass such a measure, joining Oregon. By 2010, methamphetamine had become the new moonshine in Mississippi. It’s relatively easy to make, the precursors were cheap and readily available at a lot of locations in even the smallest Mississippi towns and the demand for the drug was high. Just as poor Mississippians got into the whiskey still business during hard times in the state’s past, poor Mississippians were also making meth not simply for consumption themselves but for retail opportunities as well.

So were garden variety drug dealers and other assorted thugs who choose to profit off the misery of others. I well recall accompanying law enforcement officers on a drug raid and seeing an infant in a dirty diaper crawling on the floor amid buckets of caustic chemicals in a “shake and bake” meth lab in a private home. With that in mind, if would have seemed that passing such legislation would have been a political slam dunk. It wasn’t.

Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics Director Marshall Fisher became at once the chief cheerleader of the new law and the chief punching bag for its opponents. Fisher told lawmakers in 2010 that meth was Mississippi’s top drug problem — surpassing even powder and crack cocaine. That’s why the Legislature’s apparent decision to make over the counter cold remedy medications containing pseudoephedrine prescription-only drugs is such a huge victory for drug enforcement in this state.

During the legislative battle, many otherwise solid citizens argued vehemently that they should not be inconvenienced or burdened by the additional expense of the new law by having to get a prescription for medicines they were procuring and using in a legal manner.

They argued that making over-the-counter cold remedy medications containing pseudoephedrine prescription-only drugs punished law-abiding citizens rather than drug dealers and drug users. But lawmakers also heard from child advocates and law enforcement officers who told them that where you find meth manufacture and consumption, you will also find child abuse, child molestation, child neglect, prostitution and a host of other societal evils.

Three years later, MBN says the number of operational meth labs in Mississippi have declined 97 percent. Mississippi is now a leading state in the reduction of meth labs. Mississippi, it seems, is “breaking good” in its approach to making life hard on meth dealers.


For millions of Americans, pseudoephedrine provides relief from the discomfort of congestion when pollen counts soar or the flu virus spreads. But thousands of others prize the drug for its role in the relief of other symptoms — the decongestant is the one ingredient found at virtually all meth labs in the United States. Easy access to pseudeophedrine and refinements in meth production have put the drug’s manufacture in the hands of addicts, and led to a 63 percent increase in the number of meth labs over the past five years.

These highly toxic and volatile labs are turning up everywhere from homes, to motel rooms, to cars and state parks. They have left a trail of destruction in their wake, overwhelming law enforcement agencies that are left with the costly and hazardous cleanup of these labs. In some counties, hospital burn units and jails are filling up with meth cooks, while across the country, thousands of children have been pulled out of homes were meth is made.

For over 25 years, law enforcement and the large pharmaceutical companies that market pseudoephedrine have battled over how to regulate the drug. Narcotics enforcement organizations have fought for greater restrictions on pseudoephedrine, which the pharmaceutical industry has opposed, arguing that this punishes law-abiding consumers while failing to foil meth cooks.

But now, two small Midwestern pharmaceutical companies have come up with a product they say promises to solve this problem.

Westport Pharmaceutical’s Zephrex-D and Acura Pharmaceutical’s Nexafed are both formulated to allow the normal release of pseudoephedrine when the product is used as directed, but make it next to impossible for meth cooks to extract it and turn it into methamphetamine.

The new products were launched last December; Zephrex-D in independent and chain pharmacies in Missouri, while Acura focused its launch in the Midwest and Southeast where meth labs are concentrated.

The genesis of Zephrex-D owes something to the location of Westport’s headquarters in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. Several years ago, the company was working on a formula to prevent prescription painkillers from being crushed and either smoked, snorted or injected to get high. The recreational use of these drugs has become an epidemic according to the Centers for Disease Control, and every year far more Americans die from prescription opioid overdoses than from all illegal drugs combined.

Westport’s Vice President and General Manager, Paul Hemings, says one day, the company’s patent attorney suggested they take the tamper-proof technology they were developing for opioids and apply it to pseudoephedrine. “Where we are is meth central within the United States and Missouri,” says Hemings. Last year, Missouri reported nearly 2000 meth labs and the state consistently ranks first or second for the number of meth labs in the country.

“She said, you know what, you’ve got a technology here that could do a lot of good and take care of a problem right in our backyard,” says Hemings, “and the idea was born out of that.”

Switching to pseudoephedrine also allowed Westport to get its product to market faster because of the longer federal approval process for prescription drugs. Acura, for its part, had already marketed a product to prevent tampering with an immediate release oxycodone product. The prescription painkiller is licensed to Pfizer and marketed as Oxecta.

“That similar technology was applied to pseudoephedrine to try to make it very, very difficult to make into meth,” explains Acura’s Vice President of marketing Brad Rivet, who notes that it took four to five years of research and development.

Few people in America are more knowledgeable about the problem of meth labs  than detective sergeant Jason Grellner. The commander of the Franklin County Narcotics Unit came upon his first lab in 1997, and since then, Grellner, who until last year directed Missouri’s Narcotics Officers’ Association, estimates he’s participated in or supervised the cleanup of over 2,000 meth labs. He was among several senior narcotics enforcement officers that Acura and Westport presented their products to at a meeting in California three years ago.

Grellner was highly skeptical. “We have been told by Big Pharma since the late nineties that their scientists had looked at this problem and could find no way to chemically or physically lock the pseudoephedrine in their product so that it would be bioavailable, but not useful in manufacturing methamphetamine,” says Grellner. “So it was hard to believe companies as small as Acura and Westport had come up with a solution.”

Westport’s headquarters in Maryland Heights are adjacent to Franklin County. The company gave Grellner a challenge; try to extract pseudoephedrine from our product and turn it into methamphetamine.

Grellner agreed. To be safe, he went over to the local fire department training grounds, suited up in protective gear, and had firemen on standby. First, Grellner used a regular pseudoephedrine product and was able to make meth easily. Then he tried using Zephrex-D. “Right off the bat, I noticed you can’t grind it,” says Grellner. “It clumps together and holds and the other thing was that it floated in our one-pot bottle. No matter what solvent we used, it wouldn’t mix. It would not do what other pseudoephedrine does.” Westport offers Zephrex-D free of charge to any police department that wants to test its product.

The company says in tests by an independent lab, between 0.5 and less 2 percent of the pseudoephedrine was extracted and converted into meth. At these yields, cooking meth becomes uneconomical, says Grellner. He notes that no boxes of Zephrex-D have been found at meth lab sites in Missouri since the product was launched.

Making these products useless to meth cooks is only half the goal, however. “It’s quite a fine balance that you have to strike,” says Brad Rivet of Acura. “First and foremost we have to make sure we’ve got a product that is absolutely as effective as the consumers expect, and secondarily try to make it as meth-resistant as possible.”

The extent to which the therapeutic ingredients of a drug are released when it is used as directed is called “bioavailability.” A study of Acura’s pseudoephedrine product, Nexafed, published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse found its effectiveness as a decongestant was comparable to Sudafed. Westport’s Paul Hemings says independent bioavailability tests have found that well over 90 percent of the pseudoephedrine contained in Zephrex-D is released when consumed.

As flu season approaches, Westport and Acura are pushing to get their products in as many pharmacies as possible. Zephrex-D and Acura are now both available across the country. As of last month, Zephrex-D was being sold in more than 15,000 pharmacies including Walmart, Nexafed in at least 2,600 pharmacies.

But for customers who hope they can now buy pseudoephedrine products off the shelf and not have to show their ID — as is the case for cold and allergy medicines that don’t contain pseudoephedrine — that day has yet to come. Under the Federal Combat Methamphetamine Act of 2005, all pseudoephedrine has to be kept behind the counter. Purchasers must also show ID and are limited in how much they can buy per month and per year without a prescription.

Westport requested an exemption from this regulation on the grounds that its product’s built-in protections made it unlikely to be diverted, but the DEA denied this request.

In a written response to questions about the regulation of Zephrex-D, the DEA said it “welcomes the efforts of companies to develop products that deter the production of illicit drugs. While this particular company claims that their ‘drug delivery system provides a new and unconventional approach to combat drug misuse,’ this product can still be utilized to manufacture methamphetamine. As such, controls on this product cannot be relaxed as this product does not meet the exemption criteria under the Controlled Substances Act.”

Jason Grellner explains that under federal law if any pseudoephedrine can be extracted from a drug, no matter how little or how or impractical for the manufacture of methamphetamine, it must be regulated like any other pseudoephedrine product.

While Grellner doesn’t expect these new tamper-resistant products to be turning up at meth lab sites, he thinks the DEA’s caution is not a bad idea. Over the years, meth cooks have been nothing if not resourceful. The spread of the now dominant Shake ‘n’ Bake or one-pot method, which requires little pseudoephedrine, was itself an adaption to the sales limits imposed by the Combat Methamphetamine Act.

How the large pharmaceutical companies which dominate the more than half a billion dollar a year pseudoephedrine business will respond to these upstarts is not yet clear. Between them, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck produce 13 of the 15 name-brand pseudoephedrine products sold in the United States.

Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Care said in a written statement, “we are concerned about methamphetamine abuse and continue to work with others in our industry to find ways to help law enforcement control the sale of pseudoephedrine for illicit purposes while also ensuring those who rely on our products can have access to them.”

The company said it has followed research into efforts to prevent the extraction of pseudoephdrine to make methamphetamine but was “aware of no technology that has proven effective in doing so,” noting that the DEA had yet to recognize a sufficiently conversion resistant technology.

The company noted its support for the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) — which alerts retailers and allows them refuse an illegal sale of pseudoephedrine. Pfizer, in a written statement, also emphasized its support for NPLEx as evidence of its commitment to prevent diversion of pseudoephedrine.

But there are signs that makers of regular pseudoephedrine products are concerned that these new tamper-resistant formulations may present a threat to their market share as pressure continues for the greater regulation of pseudoephedrine.

Half the states in the country have considered making pseudoephedrine available only by prescription as a means of preventing the spread of meth labs. In large part, through the lobbying efforts of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), which represents makers of over-the counter medicines, drug companies have been successful at stopping all but two states from passing these laws.

Most states which have had NPLEx in place for over a year, have continued to see rising numbers of meth labs. In light of this fact, and the defeat of pseudoephedrine prescription bills at the state level, cities and counties are passing their own laws. Over 70 cities and counties, mostly in Missouri, have adopted local ordinances making pseudoephedrine a prescription drug in the last four years.

In Franklin and Jefferson Counties in Missouri, the new prescription laws allow for the exemption of tamper-resistant pseudoephedrine products such as Nexafed and Zephrex-D. That has got the Consumer Healthcare Products Association crying foul. Speaking at a hearing on prescription legislation in West Virginia this week, CHPA’s Senior Director of State Governmental Affairs, Carlos Gutierrez argued against any exemptions saying they amounted to a “government-sponsored monopoly.”

Jason Grellner, who has lobbied extensively for pseudoephedrine prescription laws, supports these exemptions and battled with CHPA over this issue at the state level last year. “Why would the Missouri state legislative body not want to end meth labs and allow patient access, especially when the company that has come up with this idea is a Missouri company,” says Grellner.



It’s been just more than half a year since multiple law enforcement agencies arrested dozens of people suspected of participating in a methamphetamine and weapons trafficking ring in Klamath County. More than 300 law enforcement officers, ranging from Homeland Security, ATF, FBI, state, county and local police participated in the overnight raids.       

But for many of the suspects, the knocks at their door May 15 were just the start of a long and complex ordeal.         

      Trojan Horse arraignments    

Trojan Horse arraignments – Other suspects arrested from Operation Trojan Horse wait as Dennis Headley is arraigned on charges of racketeering and unlawful delivery of methamphetamine at the Klamath County Jail




Eleven of the roughly 49 suspects netted in Operation Trojan Horse are still in custody at the Klamath County Jail, waiting for adjudication. Thirteen Trojan Horse cases have been resolved and four suspects are still sought. The remaining suspects awaiting adjudication have been released on their own recognizance and are required to make mandatory court appearances.

Making it to trial

Many of the trials for Operation Trojan Horse suspects were set for Nov. 19. However, court records show that many of the cases are being continued past that date and into January, February and March.

That’s making a frustrating ordeal even longer for some families.

Patricia Bell, mother of suspect Jeffrey Bell, said her son has only been able to see his attorney twice during his six months of detainment. Since his arrest, she’s been forced to move and hold a family together on her social security income.

While others have been released back into the community, she’s had to handle the chores Jeffrey would otherwise have helped with.

“It’s just crazy,” Patricia said. “I’m disabled, on oxygen 24/7 and I have arthritis.”

“All these people get arrested for methamphetamine, go to jail and get out,” Patricia Bell said of other cases. “It’s just becoming ridiculous that they’re postponing it.”

“These guys can’t even get their bail reduced,” said Linda Barrows, who is dating suspect Rodney Georgia. “They can’t do anything at home for their families.”

She cited bail reductions as one of her frustrations. Many suspects’ initial bail was set at $1 million then reduced to $500,000. Barrows doesn’t see the point in the reduction since she was unable to afford either.

Barrows also points to a report of another man, James Gonzalez, as highlighting the inequities in pre-trial holds. Gonzalez was found to be in possession of 11 pounds of methamphetamine after committing a moving violation on Highway 97 in June.

When Gonzalez was booked into the Klamath County Jail, his bail was initially set at $75,000. He was released on his own recognizance and allowed to travel out of the state Aug. 27.

During the initial service of search warrants in Trojan Horse, four pounds of methamphetamine were seized.

Deputy Attorney General Mary Williams said prosecuting offices can’t comment on open cases but said, generally, bail is agreed upon by individual judges and prosecutors.

“Part of the consideration is resources for the courts and their capacities to move through the cases,” Williams said via telephone.

She said the schedule for the Trojan Horse trials is being solidified. Each trial will likely take a week with a new trial starting every two weeks.

Overview of the larger cases:

Lee Joseph Hartsfield, 20, was the first man convicted for racketeering. Saying he wanted to “climb the ladder” during his plea change hearing in July, the man sought to connect with Jose Bueneventura Vinals, 51, to purchase methamphetamine.

Hartsfield was sentenced to 24 months of prison, 36 months of post-prison supervison, and ordered to pay a $140 fine.

Three others suspects admitted their guilt for racketeering charges. John William Hubkey, 50, Tonya Lynn Hubkey, 23, and Julie Lynn Ficken, 35, have been convicted and sentenced.

Hubkey entered his guilty plea Oct. 15. In exchange, he was dismissed of a second count of racketeering, two counts of delivery of methamphetamine and one count of possession of methamphetamine. His sentence was not yet listed on court records.

Lynn Hubkey entered her guilty plea Oct. 9. She was sentenced to 42 days of jail,

36 months of probation, and ordered to pay a $140 fine.

Ficken was dismissed of one count of racketeering and convicted of a second, receiving

40 days of jail, 60 months of probation and a $140 fine on Oct. 8. Four counts of delivery methamphetamine were dismissed.

Another man arrested after the initial raid in May, Margarito Flores Vasquez, 29, was dismissed of racketeering charges July 29.

Victor Jose Madrigal, 29, entered a no contest plea Sept. 24 to a charge of delivery of methamphetamine and was sentenced to 30 days of jail,

24 months of probation and ordered to pay a $940 fine. Two additional counts of delivery of methamphetamine were dropped.

Three other individuals pleaded guilty to charges of possessing methamphetamine: Sara Beth Dannacker, 33, Richard William Schriber, Jr., 34, and Nicholas Paul Wofford, 21. Dannacker’s sentence was discharged, meaning she received no further punishment for her crime. Schriber received 10 days of jail and 18 months of probation; Wofford received 30 days of prison and 12 months of post-prison supervision.




STERLING — Dave Long, director of the Logan County Human Services Department, wants people to know that there is a meth problem in the Sterling/Logan County area and it’s a community problem.

He spoke about the meth problem and its impact on families during a Rotary Club meeting on Wednesday.

Long explained that he first became aware of what a problem meth is in the community through the child welfare RED (review, evaluate, direct) team he sits on.

“Every day we hear of the different incidents of possible child welfare abuse or neglect that might occur within Logan County and we kind of strategize and do assessments and team work those,” he said. “Through that team we look at what the circumstances are, to make sure we don’t let anything fall through the cracks and not just put all those responsibilities and decision making on one person; it’s a team effort.”

As the team went through incidents every day, Long started noticing a high number of them involved meth. So, he asked the supervisors to look back and find out just how many cases the department handled involving meth.

Dave Long, the director of the Logan County Human Services Department, talks with Kathy Guerin following a Rotary Club meeting on Wednesday. He spoke to the group about the meth problem in Logan County and its impact on families.

In 2006, about 25 percent of their cases directly involved people using meth. This year that number jumped to 60 percent.

“We extrapolated a little bit and dug into the cases a little bit further and related to maybe overuse and abuse of prescription drugs and other drugs. You could round it off, directly or indirectly drugs are responsible for up to 80 to 85 percent of our involvements with families,” Long said.

He pointed out that a lot of people think meth isn’t a problem, because the manufacturing of meth locally has diminished. However, it diminished because Mexico figured out how to make it more potent and sell it for much cheaper, $90 instead of $300, so it’s not worth it for people locally to manufacture it anymore, he said.

“Now it’s more potent and it’s more prevalent than ever,” Long said.

He noted a lot of the reason the drug is so prevalent in this area is because Interstate 76 is “part of the main transportation hub for the distribution into the center part of the United States.”

Long described Logan County as “kind of the canary in the coal mine, because we’re seeing what the results are and it’s devastating to kids and families.”

As a result of being on meth, parents aren’t able to take good care of their children, “because, when they’re on meth, they’re not responsible for anything but what’s going on in their head, because of the drug, they’re neglecting kids and/or abusing (the children).”

He pointed out that over the last 10 years child welfare has worked hard to restore the unity between families, instead of separating them, but that’s hard with meth users, because of what the drug does to the brain.

Meth creates two new proteins in the brain. One immediately wipes out all the pleasure centers that people naturally have that make you want to be a functioning member of society. The other enhances the immediate memory a person has doing meth, which makes them want to do it again.

Long noted it takes two years of not doing the drug for “that protein to devolve itself long enough to where you’re able to create new and healthy pathways again.”

If a parent is already addicted to meth before their child is born, it can lead to babies being born addicted to meth. Long said they’ve had a number of mothers in Sterling who have given birth to three or four babies born addicted to meth.

When a baby is born addicted to meth, the hospital must report that to Human Services and when they have proof that claim is true, Human Services removes the baby from that person’s care, educate the mother and father about the effects of using meth and try to get them off the drug, and then hopefully reunite the child and parents.

Long said they have had some successes. One mother who recently had her second baby born addicted to meth almost died and “that was a revelation to her, so she changed her ways and she’s now improving. She’s doing all the things that she’s been demanded to do through court and with the department helping, she’s working her way back to being with her kids.”

He pointed out the meth problem is a community problem.

“We need to be aware, as a community, of what can we do together, as a school, as a business, as our faith based organizations, or whatever, to be able to turn this around on a community level and say ‘let’s all take responsibility.’ It isn’t just law enforcement, it isn’t just us, it’s everybody doing what we can,” Long said.

There is an effort to develop “some kind of rehab unit or group that could be funded through state dollars and Centennial Mental Health, to be able to help recover them, find a place for recovering meth users and things like that.”

He urges people to support this work.

Long also talked about some of services Human Services provide, including the Colorado Work program, which is federally funded with TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) dollars.

The department is redoing their Colorado Works program.

As a result of the South Platte River flood and the no flush order that followed a lot of businesses were closed and lot of the department’s potential clients work in those businesses. So, the department is using some of its TANF dollars to help those clients who meet income thresholds and have children in the home.

“They’re eligible to not recoup lost wages, but what we do is calculate what their lost wages would have been and then we could apply that amount to rent or to a mortgage or utility payment or a car payment or something, so they don’t fall through the cracks and then enter our system through other bad ways,” Long said.



LIHUE — With his family saying the defendant’s mental illness was not an issue but that crystal methamphetamine made him violent and out of control, a Lihue man was sentenced to five years prison Thursday in 5th Circuit Court.

Alfred Paul Lopez.jpg

                                  Alfred Paul Lopez



Alfred Paul Lopez Jr., 49, lost his patience while listening to his sister-in-law speak on behalf of the man’s family. She said there was a “lot of love” for him, but that his drug use and acts of violence traumatized his nieces and siblings.

“I believe the open term is appropriate in this case,” said Chief Judge Randal Valenciano.

Lopez has been in custody for four years awaiting various motions regarding his fitness for trial, and for his own unwillingness to meet with attorneys, doctors, and refusing to attend court hearings. He became upset and said he never hurt or intended to hurt his family members. He said they lied about his drug use being a problem.

County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Murphy read information from the police report dated Feb. 21, 2010. Lopez allegedly punched a female victim repeatedly in the face, and then choked and struck her with a pipe. He also threatened to kill a second victim.

After repeated interruptions Chief Judge Randal Valenciano excused Lopez from the courtroom and recalled the case later.

Court-appointed defense attorney Mark Zenger said he spoke with Lopez in the interim and wanted to honor his request that the defendant objected to the prosecution’s description of charges that were dismissed in the case, after he changed his plea to no contest on one count of first-degree terroristic threatening on Oct. 15.

The charge was reduced to a C-felony in the deal. The maximum jail term is five years, as opposed to 10 years in the original B-felony charge.

“Prison is the appropriate sentence to protect the community, and the defendant’s own family, from Mr. Lopez’s violent behavior,” said County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar. “While many drug users can be safely rehabilitated while part of the community, for this defendant, that is not possible.”

The case came to 5th Circuit by way of preliminary hearing in Kauai District Court on March 3, 2010. Proceedings were suspended for two separate examinations to determine mental fitness and Lopez was eventually found fit to proceed to trial.

Lopez had been acquitted for lacking mental capacity for trial in a 2007 case on charges of robbery, property damage, terroristic threatening and assault. He was also committed in April 2012 following an assault and terroristic threat case.

Another reason for the lengthy delay in the 2010 case was to hear motions from court-appointed defense attorney Mark Zenger. He tried to withdraw from the case in part for the defendant’s unwillingness to discuss the case.

The court denied the motions to withdraw.

The court denied a motion to defer acceptance of the no-contest plea. The defendant will also get credit for time served.

Lopez has had 15 court cases since 1991 including harassment, abuse of family or household member, assault and property damage. He served one year in jail for a 2004 theft case, and most recently had a two-year probation for a misdemeanor abuse charge in 2007.



(FOX19) – Following the drug bust of more than a million dollars worth of meth near Sharonville, FOX19 took a closer look at meth usage in the Tri-State.

One former addict has been clean for a year now but he will deal with the consequences of his drug use for the rest of his life.

He says once drugs like this meth arrive in Greater Cincinnati they can destroy countless lives.


Ron, who only wants to be referred to by his first name due to the nature of this story, says he experimented and became addicted to drugs for several years.

“I used initially the marijuana, crack, cocaine, ecstasy, but meth was my drug of choice,” says Ron.

Ron says depressed, he used meth to lift himself up.

“It gives you such energy, and a strong sense of euphoria that you just feel like you can stay up for 72 hours, sometimes an entire week,” explains Ron.

But late one night, high on different drugs, Ron says he stopped and eventually passed out inside a gas station.

“That near death experience really ignited a fire in me to say I really don’t want to die,” says Ron.

Ron’s wife Nicole says she wasn’t even aware of his drug use, mainly because she’d never been around someone addicted to drugs.

“I knew something was going on, but the way I found out about it was the night that he called me and told me he wasn’t going to come home and that he was going to die,” explains Nicole.

This experience prompted Ron to get treatment and today he’s clean.

“A lot of people would tell me there’s no way he’s going to be clean, he’s a meth addict you can’t come off that stuff but he did and I’m very proud of him,” says Nicole.

But there’s something that stays with him every day because of his past habits.

“Since then I have obtained full blown AIDS and Hepatitis C so there’s two types of casualties that can occur. One obviously the death from using and the other is living with a lifelong chronic illness,” Ron.

Ron continues to fight his diseases, but he and his wife Nicole say they’re thrilled that no one in the tri state will be able to get their hands on the $200,000 worth of meth seized earlier today.

“It’s just so challenging and it makes me relieved because more and more younger people are getting involved in drugs,” says Ron.

Ron and his wife are fully involved in a program called celebrate recovery. Ron says he’s telling his story and trying to encourage other people dealing with similar issues that help is out there.

Complaints about methamphetamine use at a home on Gossett Lane led the Rhea County Sheriff’s Department to arrest two persons on multiple charges stemming from the manufacture of methamphetamine and the fact that five children were present at the home could lead to further charges, according to a local police.

The report by RCSD Detective Charlie Jenkins states John Kincannon, 37, and Misty Angel, 35, both listed as living at the Gossett Lane address, have been charged with felony manufacture/distribution or selling of a Schedule II controlled substance, misdemeanor unlawful drug paraphernalia uses and activities, felony initiating the  manufacture of methamphetamine and misdemeanor simple possession.


Last week, an incident took place that once again showed that methamphetamine manufacturing and use has become all too common in the Upper Peninsula. It should also be a wake-up call to the public to take a stand against meth.

On Oct. 9, the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team was contacted by the Marquette County Sheriff’s Department to respond to a methamphetamine dump site in Marquette Township, west of the Target store.

According to UPSET, a teacher from North Star Academy was walking on the trail with seventh- and eighth-grade students when they came upon a smoldering pile of debris on the trail, which turned out to be meth lab components.

The components were cleaned up by UPSET-certified meth responders and placed in approved containers for disposal.

So far, no suspects have been identified and no arrests have been made.

That same day, in an unrelated incident, a 29-year-old woman and 20-year-old man were arrested during a traffic stop for possession of methamphetamine components and conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. The man was also arrested on two outstanding warrants out of Delta County.

It is no secret that methamphetamine use and meth labs are entrenched in the U.P. What does seem to be changing, we believe, is how blatantly the material used to manufacture meth is being discarded. In the latest incident, extremely toxic meth materials were stumbled upon by a teacher and his students out on a field trip.

Some of you may remember another incident earlier this year. In that case, components used to manufacture meth were found in a playground in West Iron County. A mother reported it to police after taking her children there to play.

Trails and playgrounds are places that should be safe – not places used by drug dealers to dump toxic waste.

UPSET is doing its part to fight the increasing use and manufacture of meth in the U.P. The public can help by reporting suspicious activity to the police.

When playgrounds and trails become drug dump sites, it’s time to fight back.



Brad Hearon, was burned Jan. 7, 2003, at  the age of 19, while manufacturing methamphetamine, changing his life  dramatically.


He spent Jan. 7 to April 29, 2003, in the Via Christi Burn Unit,  where he was in a drug-induced coma for the first 13 weeks. After the hospital  stay, he experienced 6 weeks of acute physical rehab where he was able to stand  on his feet for the first time in 5 months.

Hearon spoke with Waynesville High School students and Waynesville  Middle School’s Interact students about the consequences of his choices –  including his friends – and how they have affected him for the rest of his life.  He will return to Waynesville to deliver his powerful message to more WMDS  students.








Three people are facing charges following a fire and a shocking discovery made by firefighters.


According to police in Jamestown, New York, firefighters were called to 57 Spruce Street Thursday afternoon. After the fire was put out Police say several items used in the production of methamphetamine’s were found. The combustible material is suspected as the source of the fire.




According to police 38 year old Scott Finch, 37 year old Nina Finch and 27 year old John Dursma were arrested for endangering the welfare of 3 children who live in that home. Investigators say additional charges are expected.

A meth lab was busted in the Sandy Ridge area of Stokes County on Thursday, resulting in the arrest of two individuals, Jerry Michael Smith, age 33, and Jody Dawn Flynn, age 29. The Stokes County Department of Social Services was contacted by the Sheriff’s Department after they learned three children were living in the residence which was being used as a meth lab.

The Narcotics Unit of the Stokes County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at 3064 NC 770 Hwy in Sandy Ridge after a follow-up of a citizen complaint.

Upon arriving at the residence, officers spoke to Doris Flynn, mother of Jody Flynn, who gave permission for officers to search the residence.

After observing suspicious items “indicative of a meth lab,” according to the press release issued this morning, officers applied for and received a search warrant for the house. During the search, officers located “significant items” believed to be used in the production of methamphetamine.

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations was contacted to assist in a clean-up of the meth lab.

During the investigation officers learned three small children were living in the residence along with Smith, Flynn, and Flynn’s mother. The children are two, four, and six years of age. The Stokes County Department of Social Services was notified of the situation and are conducting an investigation into the matter, according to the press release.

Stokes County Sheriff Mike Marshall issued the following statement: “This is one of the many reasons why we are fighting this war on drugs. These labs are dangerous enough with adults around them, but when it comes to children, they have no idea of the level of dangers involved. Meth labs use chemicals that are very combustible and can explode when you least expect it. Besides the danger of Meth itself, the people involved in constructing these type of labs are also producing serious potential harm to anyone who comes near the combination of these chemicals.”

Jerry Michael Smith, of 3064 NC 770 Hwy in Sandy Ridge, age 33, was arrested and charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of precursors, maintaining a drug house, possession of drug paraphernalia, child abuse, and resisting a public officer. He is held under a $105,000 secured bond.

Jody Dawn Flynn, also of 3064 NC 770 Hwy in Sandy Ridge, age 29, was arrested and charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of precursors, maintaining a drug house, possession of drug paraphernalia, and child abuse. She is held under a $75,000 secured bond.



Police arrested two people in Bismarck with approximately 1 pound of methamphetamine.

Jesse Jacob Irvin, 38, and Margaret Michelle Hibdon, 35, were charged Thursday with Class AA felony counts of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. Irvin and Hibdon live in Carson, according to court documents.

Court documents say Irvin was convicted in 2003 in Oregon for a delivery or manufacturing offense, which means that if he is convicted on that charge in this case he would face a minimum prison sentence of five years in prison.

Morton County Sheriff’s Deputy David Bjorndahl, who is a member of the Metro Area Narcotics Task Force, wrote in an affidavit that a “cooperating individual” gave law enforcement information about Irvin and Hibdon selling drugs in North Dakota.

Irvin and Hibdon agreed to trade the cooperating individual 1 pound of low-quality methamphetamine for 2 ounces of higher quality methamphetamine and $2,600, Bjorndahl wrote.

Officers arrested Irvin and Hibdon at a meeting point in Bismarck. Bjorndahl wrote that officers recovered approximately 1 pound of a brown crystalline substance that field tested positive for methamphetamine.

Irvin admitted to trafficking drugs in North Dakota when questioned by investigators, and Hibdon confirmed the two were traveling to a location in Bismarck to deal in methamphetamine, the affidavit said.



AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) — A federal indictment has charged 14 local defendants conspiring to traffic large amounts of methamphetamine from Mexico to the CSRA.

The charges result from a joint investigation by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, the DEA, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, State of Georgia Pardons and Parole Office, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated in a release, “ This Mexico-based criminal enterprise is alleged to have established its methamphetamine distribution base of operations within the Central Savannah River area and, after an intensive investigation culminated in an extensive law enforcement action this week, those operations have come to a sudden end. The FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force (SSTF) operating out of the Augusta area brought in additional resources from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, the DEA, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), as well as officers from the Georgia State Pardons and Parole Office in order to better neutralize this organized and structured international drug distribution enterprise.”

If convicted of the drug trafficking conspiracy charge, each defendant faces a maximum of life in prison and a potential fine of $10,000,000.  United States Attorney Edward Tarver said in a release that the United States is also seeking to forfeit various items of personal property involved in the offenses, including $2 million as the alleged proceeds of the defendants’ drug trafficking.

Of the 14 defendants charged, 11 have been arrested :

  • Florentino Binzha- Elisa, 46, of Warrenville, S.C.
  • Gilberto Fabona Gaona, 38, of Augusta, Ga.
  • Jesus Avala Lombera, 32, of Augusta, Ga.
  • Oscar Piedra, aka Oscar Hernandez, 39, of Augusta, Ga.
  • Fidel Sanchez Garcia, 32, of Augusta, Ga.
  • Henri Vertez Travis, 38, of Hephzibah, Ga.
  • Tyler James Barcenas, 21, of Augusta, Ga.
  • Naun Padilla, 34, of Augusta, Ga.
  • Huber Romero, 37, of Augusta, Ga.
  • Victor Eduardo Ovalle, Jr., 20, of Harlem, Ga.
  • Jose Ines Davila, 34, of North Augusta, S.C.


The 3 remaining at large defendants:

  • Eduardo Juarez Gallegos, 44, of Ridgeland, S.C.
  • Jorge Perez Rodriguez, 31, of Harlem, Ga.
  • Maximo Moreno, aka Maximo Castillo, 70, Harlem, Ga.


Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of these 3 defendants are asked to call the FBI at (706) 722-3702.




Sheriff’s deputies found four young children had been exposed to meth and other chemical drugs at a northwest Tallahassee apartment Thursday, an event which led to the arrest of two people.

VICE detectives with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that methamphetamine was being made at the residence in the 2400 block of Talco Hills off of Hartsfield Road just south of I-10, according to Lt. Tony Drzewiecki, spokesman for LCSO.

Jeremy Clemmons and Laura Day.

Jeremy Clemmons and Laura Day



Jeremy Clemmons, 30, and Laura Day, 27, were arrested and now face charges of production and possession of methamphetamine, child neglect and marijuana possession. Court records show that Day and Clemmons lived at the apartment.

Detectives found marijuana, chemicals and other drug paraphernalia during the investigation as well, Drzewiecki said.

Violent Crimes detectives and investigators with the Florida Department of Children and Families removed the children from the residence.

Math labs present risk of adverse health effects for occupants, neighbors and responding law enforcement personnel, according to Drzewiecki. Fires and explosions cause a public safety risk while the cooking of methamphetamine produces toxic gases.




PAJARO — A 45-year-old Watsonville man was arrested Thursday afternoon after authorities found $50,000 worth of methamphetamine in a van he was driving, said officials with the Santa Cruz County Anti-Crime Team.

Jorge Gonzalez was driving a white cargo van on the first block of Porter Street in Pajaro when he was stopped by a California Highway Patrol officer, said Mario Sulay, commander for the Anti-Crime Team.

After Gonzalez allowed the officer to search the van, 5 pounds of methamphetamine were found. Because of the drug amount, the Anti-Crime Team Narcotics Task Force was called to continue the investigation. Task force investigators also found $1,300 in the vehicle.

Investigators searched Gonzalez’s Watsonville home but did not find other drugs or contraband.

Gonzalez, who investigators said was an undocumented immigrant, was arrested on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine for sale and booked into Monterey County Jail.



Hocking County Sheriff Lanny North believes one of the largest methamphetamine manufacturers and distributors in Hocking County was arrested Wednesday after the man reportedly solicited people walking inside CVS in Logan to purchase pseudoephedrine.

Criminal informants working with the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office have reportedly said the man had the most potent type of meth in a three-county area, and did business in Athens, Hocking and Meigs counties.

About 1,300 grams of liquid methamphetamine was seized, and two people were taken to Southeastern Ohio Regional in Nelsonville facing multiple felony charges.

When deputies of the Hocking County Sheriff’s Interdiction Unit arrested Brandon N. Smith, 31, of Logan, in the parking lot of the pharmacy, a few bystanders standing near their vehicles cheered on members of the SIU.

One of the bystanders was Julie Heminger, who said she’s happy to see that drugs are being taken off the streets.

“Too many young kids are getting ahold of them,” she told The Logan Daily News. “Way to go Hocking County. Thank you for removing two more drug dealers off our streets.”

After SIU received information that Smith was allegedly soliciting people to purchase pseudoephedrine inside the store, deputies responded and reportedly observed him talking to several people. When they questioned Smith and another occupant inside their Ford Explorer, deputies were told that Smith had an active methamphetamine laboratory at Smith’s residence on state Route 93 South.

Smith was charged with a third-degree felony of tampering with evidence after he allegedly opened a bag of drugs inside his truck and emptied it onto the floor of the truck.

He also was charged with a second-degree felony of manufacturing drugs, a third-degree felony of illegal assembly of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs, first-degree felony of possession of methamphetamine, a fifth-degree felony of possession of heroin, and a fifth-degree felony of possession of 12 Kolonopins. He also had two felony warrants out of Athens County for failure to appear on a possession of drugs charge and a child endangering charge, as well as a bench warrant out of Gallia County for failure to appear in court.

When SIU went to Smith’s home, they allegedly received a consent to search the home from Smith’s roommate, Jason D. McBride, 26, of Logan.

Two one-pot methamphetamine bottles were allegedly in active production and making the drug during the search, while another inactive plastic bottle was found. A total of four acid gas generators — used to extract the meth from the plastic bottle — also were seized.

Detectives from the Fairfield-Hocking Major Crimes Unit responded to neutralize the lab and seized multiple bottles of Liquid Fire liquid drain cleaner, Draino, Coleman fuel, propane tanks, butane tanks, cold packs, lithium batteries, coffee grinders, Gatorade bottles, plastic tubing, Mason jars, meth smoking pipes, table salt, pipe cutters, and one container of liquid that field tested for meth. The container weighed 1,300 grams.

HCSO Detective Caleb Moritz — who is assigned to the major crimes unit — was neutralizing one of the bottles of meth when it exploded. He was not injured, thanks to the protective gear he was wearing.

“It shows how dangerous these chemicals are,” North said. “He is trained to neutralize the vessels, and luckily he wasn’t hurt.”

For Moritz, the experience was just another day on the job. He said he didn’t feel the heat through his protective clothing.

“Based on information that we received in recent weeks, we believe Smith to be one of the largest methamphetamine manufacturers and distributors in Hocking County,” North said. “We have information that he is supplying methamphetamine to other surrounding counties as well. Based on the amount of methamphetamine that SIU units located at the residence, this would lead us to believe that all of the information we had on Smith was accurate.”

McBride was charged with a second-degree felony of illegal manufacturing of drugs, illegal assembly of chemicals for the manufacturing of drugs and possession of methamphetamine.

Earlier this year in June, Smith was allegedly found with 836 grams of methamphetamine, a first-degree felony, after being pulled over for failure to use a turn signal and not having a working license plate light.

Though he was charged with illegal manufacturing of drugs, illegal assembly of chemicals, trafficking in drugs, possession of drugs, identity fraud and was issued a citation for the traffic violations, the charges were never presented to a grand jury in Hocking County Common Pleas Court.

Hocking County Assistant Prosecutor Bill Archer said on Thursday that additional evidence from the HCSO was needed before charges could be presented.

According to Moritz, who helped handle the case against Smith in June, additional evidence was forwarded to the prosecutor’s office as soon as it was received on July 28.

When contacted Thursday afternoon, Hocking County Prosecutor Laina Fetherolf said that to avoid conflicts in the future, she was implementing a sign-in system for cases presented to her office.

“In the future to resolve the issue we’re starting a sign-in system so we know what we do and do not have, so there isn’t a question,” Fetherolf said. “Sometimes there’s situations where they think they give us everything we need, but we need (something else) because the defense attorney brought it up or there is a hole somewhere we feel we need to fill.”

The new system should prevent any communication problems in the future, she noted.