“Blood in, blood out.”

Normally, the Aryan Brotherhood motto means aspiring members must assault someone to get into the gang and can only leave when they die. In between, they sport “SS” Nazi lightning bolt tattoos on both sides of their necks: visible signs of their blood oath, and their belief in white supremacy.

In rare cases, however, brothers who have broken the rules are stripped of their membership — in the most gruesome and literal way possible.

That’s what happened on May 2, 2013, when three men associated with the Universal Aryan Brotherhood (UAB) — Oklahoma’s very own offshoot of the infamous neo-Nazi organization — kidnapped a brother who hadn’t been selling his share of methamphetamine.

Ronnie “Dirty Red” Haskins and Robert Bryan held the brother down. A man nicknamed Buddha produced a burning hot hunting knife. Finally, a handsome drug dealer named Aaron Clay King, just three months out of prison, gripped the glowing blade and pressed it to the brother’s skin, turning the lightning bolts into boils and scars.

The brutal torture episode appears in an indictment filed against 11 alleged UAB members or associates in November. On Thursday, Bryan pleaded guilty to his role in it. On Tuesday, two more men with ties to the Universal Aryan Brotherhood, including a member of its powerful Main Council, pleaded guilty to racketeering and selling meth.

The plea deals were announced in a somber Department of Justice news release. There were no victorious quotes from federal prosecutors; no promise to break the UAB.

Perhaps that’s because the victory seems Pyrrhic. How to defeat a gang that doesn’t just openly recruit and operate inside Oklahoma’s prisons, but practically owns the institutions? What to do when each arrest just adds to the organization’s ranks?

These questions are vexing authorities across America, where ever more crowded prison blocks are increasingly controlled by violent gangs. The Aryan Brotherhood was one of the first such organization, founded in 1964 by Irish American bikers when California prisons were racially integrated, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Similarly, Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, started in Los Angeles prisons and quickly spread to communities across the Americas.

The Oklahoma case shows how gangs like the Universal Aryan Brotherhood are run from inside prisons but exert power far beyond their walls.

The UAB was established in 1993 within the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and modeled after the principles and ideology of the Aryan Brotherhood. “The UAB had a defined militaristic structure,” according to the indictment: it’s overseen and directed by an all-powerful ‘Main Council,’ the 12 members of which are all incarcerated, most of them inside the maximum-security Oklahoma State Penitentiary-McAlester, known as the “Walls.”

Sub-councils sprang up in medium-security prisons across the state. Orders are passed down from the Main Council to the sub-councils, and then onto “yard captains,” also known as “shot callers.” Yard captains “collected intelligence, oversaw security, enforced order and imposed discipline as directed by the Sub-Council,” according to the indictment.

Inside Oklahoma’s prisons, there are UAB “soldiers” and “prospects,” who have yet to earn their “SS” tattoos, or patches. “Members of all ranks were expected to fight and commit acts of violence at the direction of senior leaders,” the indictment says. Leaders issue “D.O.’s,” or direct orders, such as an “S.O.S.” (stab on sight) or “green light” (assassination).

Outside the prisons, however, in what brothers call “the free world,” the UAB still holds considerable power. According to the indictment, the UAB runs a state-wide meth distribution network, enforced with black market guns. The proceeds are allegedly laundered with the help of “associates,” or non-UAB members. Women, referred to as “featherwoods,” also play a key role, “facilitating gang communication among imprisoned members” and transporting both drugs and drug money at the direction of UAB leaders.

The November indictment shows just how the racket works: fueled by meth and enforced with arson, assaults, torture and murder.

The top official named in the indictment is Anthony R. Hall, a 39-year-old skinhead with a long and violent criminal record. He was locked up as a 19-year-old for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon but quickly escaped, records show. Hall was recaptured and would spend the better part of the next two decades behind bars. Prison photos show him bulking up and adding tattoos: skulls, guns, clovers, dragons, swastikas, iron crosses and a giant motorcycle across his chest. Sometime between 2001 and 2003 he earned his first “SS” patch on his neck, signifying full membership in the UAB.

Hall quickly rose to the Main Council. Using cellphones smuggled into prison, he helped orchestrate meth sales in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, according to his guilty plea.

While Hall and other members of the Main Council were running operations from behind bars, their foot soldiers were causing havoc in the “free world.” In 2005, Matthew Brian Wagner carried out orders to stab a rival gang member in retaliation for the murder of an imprisoned UAB member, according to the indictment.

Wagner, another man, Carl Matthew Smith, and others also sold marijuana and meth, the profits of which were laundered onto prepaid debit cards delivered to Hall and other imprisoned UAB leaders.

UAB soldiers and associates on the outside carried out other missions as well, from stealing vehicles from people who owed the gang drug debts to picking up UAB gang members when they escaped from prison. On April 4, 2013, Smith offered to pay a subordinate to beat someone who owed a drug debt, according to the indictment. Smith was also involved in buying weapons for the gang.

If there is one incident, however, that shows the UAB’s power inside and outside prison, it’s the horrific scene that played out on May 2, 2013. That’s when Haskins, King, Bryan, Rodney Lee Broomhall, a.k.a. “Buddha,” and Kristin Bright allegedly kidnapped and tortured a fellow UAB member, according to the indictment.

Using a red-hot knife, King burned the “SS” tattoos off the neck of the man, identified only as FH in the indictment. “I knowingly, willfully, and intentionally participated in, and aided and abetted the maiming of FH for the purpose of maintaining, or increasing my position in the UAB,” Bryan admitted in his June 4 plea deal. “I knowingly, willfully, and intentionally pinned FH’s arm down in order to prevent FH from defending himself while a UAB member held a heated hunting knife on FH’s neck, burning FH’s UAB patch-tattoo off of his skin, and causing permanent scarring.”

On March 24, 2014, Hall ordered his UAB henchmen to burn a vehicle belonging to a drug user who hadn’t paid, according to the indictment.

It’s unclear how the case against the 11 UAB members and associates came together. Arrest warrants remain sealed. King, Smith and Hall are the only defendants to plead guilty so far. They will be sentenced later this year.

The racketeering case is similar to others brought by federal prosecutors against Aryan Brotherhood groups in recent years. But it’s unclear how much of an effect it has to put members of a prison gang back into prison.

“It’s heartening that law enforcement officers and prosecutors who have to do these cases see that there are some good results,” said Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School and a former federal prosecutor who has tried prison murder cases.

“But the truth is, this [gang] is like a hydra: You cut off a limb and it’s going to grow back,” she said. “These guys have been around a long time, and they’re going to get new leaders.”

Levenson was speaking to The Washington Post just after the murder convictions of four top Aryan Brotherhood leaders — back in 2006. Almost a decade later, her skepticism still echoes.

“Do I think this marks the end of prison gangs?” Levenson said in 2006. “No way, nobody thinks that.”


One has to wonder what kind of person would manufacture methamphetamine in an apartment or house where children live.

It’s something in the news far too often, not only in Bowling Green, but across the state as methamphetamine has become an epidemic over the past 10 or so years.

Those manufacturing this poisonous concoction don’t care one iota about the well-being of these kids. All they care about is getting their next fix or making an illegal profit.

Recently, we heard about a 10-month-old Barren County baby girl who tested positive for methamphetamine. A Barren County man, Brandon Neal Bradshaw, is in custody for manufacturing methamphetamine, along with a list of other charges, including first-degree wanton endangerment and cultivating marijuana five plants or more. Obviously, Bow is innocent until proven guilty, and no one should rush to judgment on his guilt or innocence.

But a question needs to be asked, and that is, why is a 10 month-old testing positive for methamphetamine?

That’s the real dilemma here.

The kids in houses where methamphetamine is found are victims of circumstances. They have no control over what is happening in their environment. They are too young to know what is going on or what methamphetamine is and the harm it can do. They are too young to get out of households in which they are living.

These are the real victims.

Kentucky had 465 meth lab incidents last year. In Barren County so far this year, there have been 23 meth lab incidents. Barren County Drug Task Force director Ron Lafferty talks about having to remove kids from houses with meth labs and seeing a generation of kids taken care of by grandparents because of parents’ drug use.

This is a sad story – even sadder because the kids don’t want to be away from their mother and father, but must for their own safety. It has to be harder for kids who are at least 5- to 6-years-old, who are more aware of what is going on, to be separated from their parents.

Another sad story Lafferty encountered was several years ago when a 4-week-old infant was sleeping just feet away from an active meth lab. The baby was removed from the home, the parents gave up their parental rights and the baby was adopted. This kid now has a chance of a better life.

Honestly, those who make meth have no business having kids in the first place.

We sadly will continue to hear about babies and children found in meth houses. It’s an unfortunate truth, but those kids can be taken from that environment and adopted by loving parents who care about them and their well-being.

That’s our hope.


‘Someone says the wrong thing and by the time I’ve poured another tequila, they’re dead’: How the murder of a mayor’s entire family by a drug cartel turned peaceful Mexican town into one of the most dangerous on Earth

Paso de Ovejas’ bullet-ridden sign is the first clue that what was once a sleepy farming town is now one of the most violent places on Earth.

It was once a place where a quiet agricultural community lived happily and safely without fear of attacks and reprisals.

But now the town, home to 7,000 people and dropping, is synonymous with lawlessness where murders, kidnappings, drugs feuds and daylight executions in the street are a daily occurrence.

Paso de Ovejas is now one of the most dangerous places on Erath. Since the municipal president’s family were assassinated by a drug cartel, total anarchy has erupted in the town.

The bloodthirsty Zetas, a drug cartel formed by breakaway special forces soldiers, leave bodies of their victims on busy roads to send a message to the public.

Zetas 3.jpg

 ‘There haven’t been any killings for quite a long time now’, shopkeeper Julia Cervantes told MailOnline. Then he gives a shocking pay-off: ‘The last person I saw shot in the head was four days ago’.

Julia runs the corner shop next door to Paso de Ovejas’s only bar.

Covered in bullet holes, the Cantina Cabubis has become notorious for public executions.

‘People get drunk and lose control of their lips’, said Emilia Bustamante, who serves drinks there. ‘Someone in here says the wrong thing and they get dragged outside and murdered in the time it takes me to pour four more tequilas’.

‘The bodies just lie there until the cops come and collect them’, she said.

Veracruz, Veracruz.- Un hombre de 35 años de edad es atendido por elementos de la Cruz Roja Mexicana luego de haber sido atacado por pistoleros que le dispararon en varias ocasiones asestandole un solo tiro a la altura del pecho. Al lugar arribaron elementos de la Policia Naval quienes indican se puede tratar de un robo con violencia, segun las primeras investigaciones.

‘Sometimes that can take a whole day, even though the police station is only one hundred yards away’.

‘My son was murdered last week’, said Juana Perez, her face etched with grief as she lays across a pew in the town church.

Ramon Herrera had been accused of raping a woman. He was captured and tied, in broad daylight, to a tree beside a nearby back road.

A fire was set under him before being hacked to pieces with machetes.

His burned body was found last Thursday. Police here claim they have no leads.

‘The narcos make their own justice’, resident Jose Villareal told MailOnline. ‘The police here either do nothing, or are involved with the crimes’.

The police appear powerless to do anything about the murder rate in Paso do Ovejas, which has seen 58 people murdered already this year – one unlawful death every three days.

Veracruz, Ver.- Los cuerpos de dos hombres fueron encontrados por elementos de la PolicÌa Estatal sobre la banqueta de la avenida Paseo Libertad en la zona centro de Veracruz. Los cad·veres presentaban huellas de tortura.

Veracruz, Ver.- Los cuerpos de dos hombres fueron encontrados por elementos de la PolicÌa Estatal sobre la banqueta de la avenida Paseo Libertad en la zona centro de Veracruz. Los cad·veres presentaban huellas de tortura.

Paso de Ovejas has seen 58 murders already this year – or one every three days. Kidnappings are also rife. Many families refuse to pay enormous ransoms demnaded as so few victims are returned alive to families.

Hundreds of mass graves have been discovered in Paso de Ovejas in recent years. Murders are common in the town. Some people just disappearance with entire families unaware of their loved ones’ fates.

But very little, if anything, is done because the police live in fear of the narco gangs – there are more of them and they are better equipped.

So common are attempts on their lives that, at the beginning of last year, a foot-thick concrete barricade was erected in front of the police station.

Attacks on the building are so regular that they no longer bother to replace the shot-out windows.

In March the town’s police chief David Guerrero’s predecessor was found mutilated in the main square.

Mr Guerrero said it has been a difficult two months since he took charge.

‘There’s not much we can do about the narcos’, he told MailOnline with his heavily-armed entourage alongside. ‘They is more of them and they are better equipped than we are’.

‘People used to sit out in the streets until midnight, just to socialise and be in the fresh air’, Manuel Hernandez told MailOnline, ‘but these days if you go out for stroll after 9pm, you aren’t likely to make it home again’.

Manuel said his house is now cooler during the sweltering evenings thanks to the bullet holes in the brickwork.

“There haven’t been any killings for quite a long time now… The last person I saw shot in the head was four days ago”

All this crime and violence is in stark contrast to the peaceful, law-abiding farming town that Paso de Ovejas once was, which produced large amounts of papaya, corn and tomatoes.

It changed in October 2011 when the then-mayor Adolfo Ramirez, the eldest son of the powerful Ramirez Coria family, reportedly received a declaration of war from the ‘Zetas’ – a new drug cartel formed by ex-paramilitary soldiers.

The Zetas told Adolfo they wanted a share of land in the town, it is alleged, and wanted him to turn a blind eye to their criminal activities in the region.

Veracruz, Veracruz.- Elementos forenses levantan el cadaver de un joven que fue acribillado al interior de un autobus de pasaje urbano en la colonia La Pochota. Los incidentes violentos en el puerto de Veracruz se han incrementado en los últimos días luego de la detención de importantes lideres del Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generación que pelean la plaza con el grupo antagonico de Los Zetas.

Veracruz, Veracruz.- Elementos forenses levantan el cadaver de un joven que fue acribillado al interior de un autobus de pasaje urbano en la colonia La Pochota. Los incidentes violentos en el puerto de Veracruz se han incrementado en los últimos días luego de la detención de importantes lideres del Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generación que pelean la plaza con el grupo antagonico de Los Zetas.

But Adolfo wouldn’t negotiate with the Zetas and refused to concede any territory to them, it is said.

In response, Zetas gunmen stormed his family ranch, kidnapped his parents, two brothers, three sisters and one month-old baby, and executed them all outside the town cemetery.

‘They blocked both entrances to the town with buses’, said Cesar Ahumada, the owner of nearby Hotel Jardines, who witnessed the massacre. ‘Then they made them kneel in a line on the road and gunned them all down’.

‘They were crying and begging for mercy but it didn’t matter. The police took over an hour to arrive after the crime and they never caught the people who did it. Paso de Ovejas changed completely after that day’, he added.

It is reported that the slaughter led to a turf war between the Zetas and the Ramirez family, who reportedly have links to the Sinaloa Cartel.

Aldofo’s three cousins Abel, Gregorio and Alejandro Ramirez, moved into the town.

Adolfo installed his wife, Ana Rosa, as mayor, and appointed himself municipal president.

Paso de Ovejas has seen some of the most brutal killings Mexico has ever witnessed. Here a victim, who is still alive, is lifted into an ambulance and taken to hospital

Four years on and the result is total anarchy in Paso de Ovejas.2979DC3200000578-3116786-image-a-1_1433857917761

‘Now most of the bodies are dropped in the same place that the Ramirez family were murdered’, added shopkeeper Ms Cervantes.

Quite why there is such an explosive turf war in Paso de Ovejas is best explained by its location.

Positioned 400km east of Mexico City, midway between state capital Xalapa and the Gulf Coast’s busiest port at Veracruz City, it is the perfect cartel territory.

It’s also close to the country’s largest railway junction at Tierra Blanca – a major hub for Central American migrants to the United States.

Its location means almost unlimited resources for drug and human trafficking, a Mexican cartel’s most profitable rackets.

Combined with ineffective law-enforcement and open ranching land in all directions for hiding narcotics and disposing of kidnap victims, the region is ideal for Mexican cartel activity.

Little agriculture remains as the narcos have taken hold of the local economy and extorted the farmer’s already-lean profits into non-existence.

Now the town is gripped by fear and the older residents who remain are terrified to speak out about the sky high murder rate.

‘This was a lovely place when I was younger’, said 73-year-old Jose Villareal, who said the problems with violence first started 15 years ago.

‘But today we can’t even trust our neighbors. People are so scared of the gangsters that they try to win favour by telling on their own friends’.

‘We just try to remain ignorant’, he said as he rushed the MailOnline’s reporter inside his house to avoid being seen. ‘There are so many murders here that it’s hard to keep track, let alone mourn’.

‘It’s a small town and we all know each other’, added Manuel Hernandez, who has lived in Paso de Ovejas since he was a child. ‘But after dark the only people we see in the street are those we don’t recognize. It’s never the police’.

Locals say that Central American migrants to the United States are a constant presence.

‘We constantly have the undocumented Central Americans walking through town’, said 54-year-old Enrique Lopez who runs one of the town’s many funeral parlors.

She added: ‘They are trafficked through here by the criminals. The women have always been raped and the men have been badly beaten. At first I gave money out of pity, but now I see so many I have to ignore them’.

‘They used to come here just begging for money’, said one woman who asked not to be identified.

‘But now there are so many of them and they’re so desperate that you have to lock your doors. When the cartels have robbed and beaten them, they have less problem with doing the same to you’.

Paso de Ovejas, which means ‘Sheep Crossing’, is in the state of Veracruz – the third most dangerous state in Mexico.

Veracruz accounts for around 20 per cent of murders in Mexico every year.

At least 175 women were murdered in 2012 alone. Of those, only 49 were investigated by police.

In the same year a further 15,000 women were admitted to hospital as a result of violence domestic or otherwise.

Very few murders are ever solved by Mexican law enforcement. Statistics aren’t easily available and victims are often difficult to identify because they have been severely tortured before being killed.

Kidnappings are also a big problem with the number of kidnappings up 80 per cent last year. Of those taken, 85 per cent were murdered, even though in some cases, a ransom was paid.

‘The only people who stay here are the old-timers’, said Enrique Lopez. ‘I told my son to get out as soon as he could. I don’t even allow him to come back and visit me. The narcos don’t take kindly to the people who run away’.


Petoskey — The pop bottle with the tube jutting out of its top, as well as the stuff on the bottom resembling popcorn pieces, were all Dave Schultz needed to see to know that the stretch along the Bear River was dangerous.

Those are the tell-tale signs of methamphetamine manufacturing and use. It’s not the large-scale, laboratory-like production made famous by the early seasons of television’s “Breaking Bad.” This is a smaller-scale version of meth production, called “one-pot,” that has been growing for the last decade.B99273000Z_1_20150609224248_000_G6UH7344_1-0

And hazardous evidence is popping up in the kinds of places in Michigan — remote, rural areas — that rarely are associated with drug problems.

“You know when the stuff we (come across) makes us nervous, it should make the public nervous, too,” said Schultz, a public safety officer for the city of Petoskey in lower northern Michigan.

Michigan’s meth mess is on the rise. Law enforcement agencies have discovered more than 1,500 methamphetamine active labs, abandoned dump sites and caches of ingredients across the state since 2013, according to the Michigan State Police. The number of such annual methamphetamine incidents has more than quadrupled since 2007, according to the state police. Michigan last year had 750 incidents of clandestine labs, dump sites and equipment, putting it among the top five states in incidents. That’s about half the number of neighboring and nation-leading Indiana’s 1,470, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Michigan has been among the top seven states for meth incidents, which range from drug busts to finding dump sites, for the past five years. The state’s national ranking has slowly inched up as the number of incidents across the country has fallen from 15,217 in 2010 to 9,240 in 2014, according to the federal drug enforcement agency.

All that means danger for state residents as they head outdoors this summer — a different kind of meth danger than Michigan faced more than a decade ago.

In 2003, state officials warned of the dangers of methamphetamine “manufactured in a home operation or mobile lab using regular household chemicals purchased from pharmacies.”

Today, one-pot allows cooks to skirt laws designed to limit access to methamphetamine ingredients, such as anhydrous ammonia, pseudoephedrine tablets and lithium. Mixing smaller amounts of those materials in a plastic soda or water bottle allows meth makers to manufacture the drug almost anywhere.

That means the remains of these mini-methlabs can be found all over Michigan, indoors and out.

The dangers of methamphetamine and its manufacture were neatly summed up in one incident from Ishpeming late last year. Officers responding to a tip of a possible cooking operation in an apartment, discovered a man B99273000Z_1_20150609224248_000_GNHH7329_1-0and woman suffering from exposure to the chemicals. In assisting the suspects, both officers became ill from the fumes as well.

All four needed treatment at an area hospital.

“You still have solvent or fertilizer left behind,” said Michigan State Police Lt. Tony Saucedo. “It’s hazardous waste if someone is exposed to it.”

A one-pot bottle in the process of cooking also carries the possibility of an explosion. On Feb. 24, in Walker, an alleged one-pot meth operation resulted in an explosion and fire at a hotel room.

People who come across evidence of methamphetamine cooking operations or discarded materials are advised to steer clear and notify local law enforcement.

You don’t have to look hard to see how often the public is coming into contact with one-pot leftovers, or how geographically widespread the problem is in Michigan.me_methmess_060915

■Last week, detectives in Escanaba discovered meth components in a recycling container left at a local landfill, as well as similar paraphernalia at a home 24 hours later.

■Responding to citizen reports in early April, police in Cadillac and the Charter Township of Haring in Wexford County discovered four meth labs within one week.

■In less than a week in late March and early April, Wexford and Missaukee counties responded to four citizen reports of suspicious bottles left outdoors. Each case proved to be an instance of meth production.

According the Michigan State Police’s Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team, its detectives responded to reports of 55 meth labs in the state’s northernmost region since Jan. 1. That’s an increase of 50 percent from the same period last year.

The increase in meth’s presence outdoors is something Gail Gruenwald takes very seriously. The executive director for Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council is out with volunteers regularly doing work that often puts them in the kinds of areas where meth bottles are left behind.

“We do cleanups throughout the area, and we’ve been alerted that there are meth labs along the river and in the woods,” she said. “People need to be alerted to the fact that if they’re cleaning riverbanks, they have to be aware and careful about the leftovers or even the active processing of methamphetamine.”


ODESSA, TX – Three men are behind bars following a shots fired call.

Brian Ramsey was arrested on Monday night for several charges including two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Odessa police arrested Casey Hooper, 26, and Chad Granbery, 30, for criminal mischief.

Officials responded to reports of shots fired at a home by 50th and Winchester on Monday.

According to the report, Ramsey got into an argument with Hooper and Granbery while trying to purchase methamphetamine from them.

It started with the men throwing a rock at Ramsey’s truck and Ramsey returned with gunfire.

When officers arrived, Ramsey was still holding the handgun.

No injuries have been reported.


After a 10-month-old baby girl tested positive for methamphetamine at T.J. Samson Community Hospital in Glasgow, the infant’s father was jailed late Sunday night.

Brandon Neal Bradshaw, 33, 3423 Austin Tracy Road, Austin, is charged with first-degree wanton endangerment, cultivating marijuana five plants or more, drug paraphernalia-buy/possess and manufacturing methamphetamine.

Barren County Sheriff’s Deputy Adam Bow was called to the hospital after the infant tested positive for methamphetamine, according to Bradshaw’s arrest citation.

The mother told Bow the baby slept fine the night before and a short time after she woke up, she began screaming and was inconsolable, according to the citation. The baby’s grandmother picked up the baby girl and told the parents she was taking her to the hospital. The baby’s mother told the grandmother that Bradshaw lived at the home with her and three other children. Bow obtained a search warrant for the residence and found items used in the manufacturing of meth, along with five marijuana plants and a glass bowl with suspected meth spoons.

The Barren River Drug Task Force responded and seized the plants and suspected meth paraphernalia, according to the citation.

“It’s heartbreaking, it’s traumatic,” Barren County Sheriff Kent Keen said about being called to homes where children are endangered by parental drug use or manufacturing. “It’s rough on (deputies) because you’ve got children here. They (children) can’t have any say so. They are just victims of their circumstances.”

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services was called to the home Sunday, Keen said. He did not have any information regarding the other children’s living circumstances as a result of Bradshaw’s arrest.

In addition to this investigation, Bow also was heavily involved in the investigation of Laynee Wallace, who’s body was found in a well last month in Barren County.

“That deputy has a couple of small children,” Keen said. “All law enforcement kid cases are very intimate to (investigators). Child cases tug at the heart more so.”

In Barren County this year, investigators have been called on 23 meth lab incidents. An incident can be one lab or multiple labs.

“Very rarely do we go to a scene and just get one lab,” Barren River Drug Task Force director Ron Lafferty said.

“We’ve had to do this too many times because the meth problem in Barren County and all surrounding counties is bad,” Lafferty said about having children removed from homes where meth is present. “It’s become a generation where it seems like grandparents are having to take care of kids because of the parents’ drug use.

“We’ve taken so many children out of meth labs, it’s heartbreaking,” he said. “From what I can see kids need to be with their parents but yet parents don’t need to be on drugs. I can’t imagine what (the children) are going through. It’s heartbreaking is all I can tell you. What child wants to be away from Mom and Dad? They don’t want to be.”

During an incident several years ago, a 4-week-old infant was sleeping just feet away from an active lab. The baby was removed from the situation, the parents gave up their parental rights and baby was adopted. The adoptive parents invited Lafferty to the adoption ceremony.

“Even though it got taken away from Momma and Daddy, it got away from that home, and it will never have to grow up being in that scene. This child has a fighting chance now,” Lafferty said. “I’m all for the child going back to the parents … as long as the parents do what they need to do to be off this. Their kids need to be more important than the drug is, and unfortunately a lot of times that doesn’t happen.”

There were 465 meth lab incidents last year in Kentucky, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration web site. There were 9,240 in the United States in 2014.

Lafferty believes the numbers in Kentucky would be lower if pseudoephedrine, the over-the-counter cold medicine and single necessary ingredient to make meth, were a prescription-only drug rather than being sold over the counter. Police and prosecutors have asked the state legislature in past sessions to restrict the drug to prescription only. The legislature has regulated the amount of the the drug that a person can buy in a year, but so far has not followed in the footsteps of other states that require a prescription to buy the drug.

“I think it would help tremendously,” Lafferty said.

Barren County Commonwealth’s Attorney John Gardner declined to comment.


A naked Cottonwood man found early this morning kneeling in the middle of Highway 273 near Arby Way and Factory Outlets Drive told police he was simply out for a walk, police said.Saechao_horizontal_1433804168619_19466982_ver1_0_640_480

But, he also told police he had used methamphetamine earlier in the night and might be “a little high,” officers said.

Chan Saechao, 31, who police said appeared to be attempting a type of meditation walk around 3:45 a.m., was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of methamphetamine and public intoxication.

His clothes were found in a nearby gas station parking lot.


Numerous New Zealand teenagers between the ages of 12 and 16 are being paid for sex by men who go out specifically look for underage sex workers.

The revelation comes in a report from the agency Child Alert, which aims to stop the sexual exploitation of children.prostitution-generic-getty

Their report indicates the practice is relatively widespread, and could just be the tip of the iceberg given the secretive nature of underage sex workers.

Young people interviewed by researcher Natalie Thorburn described what is happening on the streets:

“The girls said to me that they provided a specific client group with services. And that they would have specific parts of the street that were only for the underage people, where the men would target them because they knew that they could perpetrate violent acts that they couldn’t, perhaps, on the older workers.”

Thorburn said all the young people she spoke to told her they had been abused prior to their involvement in sex work, often to the point of physical injury.

“This was largely normalised within girls’ families and immediate networks. Moreover, the practice of trading sex for material goods, money, or safety was regarded among this group as a common practice from the age of 12, indicating an underlying social norm sanctioning the use of girls’ bodies for transactional purposes,” she said.

“Teens’ decisions to sell sex are consequently driven by the complex interplay between their need to procure essentials such as food and clothes, internalized ideas about what it means to be female, and the need to pursue lifestyles that enable them to silence their trauma-related symptoms of distress.”

While some of the girls interviewed stated that their involvement in sex work had been a choice they had made for themselves, they also acknowledged financial deprivation and psychological distress had an influence.

Most described feelings of depression and anxiety, often accompanied by symptoms of post-traumatic stress, something Thorburn said is hardly surprising given the prevalence of physical and sexual abuse most had been subjected to since early childhood. “They associate the feelings and behaviors stemming from this abuse with their need to take drugs, primarily methamphetamine, because it masks feelings of distress and shame and provides alternative social connections.”

Thorburn believes many had actually sought help, and been greeted with disinterest or shaming. “They felt like the people who they were seeing in professional services, whether that was Child, Youth and Family or community agencies, that they didn’t really care about them. And that they didn’t want to hear their stories. And so they shut off and refused to speak about their stories.”

While adult prostitution was decriminalized by the Prostitution Reform Act, payment for sexual services from a child or young person under the age of 18 remains illegal.

Natalie Thorburn says there are many possible levels of prevention and intervention that simply are not happening. “Obviously the most immediate issue would be whether or not police are out there looking and charging the people who are committing the crimes by hiring sexual services from underage girls.

“But more than that we need to look at the overarching factors that enable this to be perpetuated. Things like gender inequality and economic inequality – and also the fact that there is no community awareness, and no real awareness among agencies and professionals either.”

ECPAT is calling for individuals, agencies, and communities to educate themselves about the nature of child abuse and underage sex work, and proactively support vulnerable children and teenagers.


ADA — “It destroys a person,” Pontotoc County Sheriff John Christian said about methamphetamine use. “It destroys their bone structure, their mental health, their teeth. It’s just unbelievable that you’re putting a poison into your body. That’s going to have devastating effects.”

And a poison it is. The ingredients of methamphetamine, also known as speed, crystal meth, meth and crank, include drain cleaner, battery acid, antifreeze and lantern fuel.

It has an overwhelming effect on the body’s central nervous system, decreasing appetite and increasing alertness.

According to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, meth causes agitation, increased body temperature and paranoia, and it may even lead to a condition known as “amphetamine psychosis” and/or death.

The meth scourge is prevalent in Ada and the surrounding area. Of the just over 300 felonies charged in Pontotoc County since the beginning of 2015, at least 67 (about 22 percent) were for possession of methamphetamine. Many other crimes can be linked to its use.

“It’s very bad,” Christian said. “I would say it’s the number one drug used in the county. Prescription drug abuse is pretty close and runs hand in hand with meth use. It is the number one source of probably 90 percent of crimes in Pontotoc County. It’s directly related to the burglaries, the thefts, some of the assaults, but specifically the burglaries, thefts … property crimes.”

Christian said users often steal items to sell or trade for meth. He said through the Drug-Free Coalition, he conducted a survey done of inmates in the county jail, and nearly all admitted that drug use contributed to their predicament.

“Practically every one of them who answered the survey had some drug-related incident where they needed money to buy drugs or were using drugs when they committed their crime,” Christian said.

Christian said if drug abuse were non-existent in Pontotoc County, there would be a drastic reduction in crime.

In 2012, an Oklahoma bill became law that limited the amount of allergy and cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine — meth’s main ingredient — people could buy. This action by state legislators put a severe dent in the number of meth labs around the state, but users have found ways to get meth anyway.

“The drug labs did decrease drastically,” Christian said. “They went to the one-pot method and shake and bake, making small quantities for personal use mainly (shake and bake and the one-pot method is where a meth “cook” uses just a few pseudoephedrine pills and mixes it with noxious household chemicals to make the drug). We saw an increase in that afterwards, but what’s happened is the Mexican market has taken over. The influx of methamphetamine from Mexico is unbelievable.”

Ada Police Assistant Chief Jeff Crosby said much of the meth found during arrests in Ada is from Mexico. He said many dealers in the area get meth from other dealers in Oklahoma City, where it is transported up the I-35 corridor from Mexico.

In fact, Mark Woodward, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics spokesman, confirmed much of the methamphetamine in Oklahoma comes from Mexico, and drug traffickers use Oklahoma’s interstate system to get the drug to dealers.

“Tougher laws on pseudoephedrine purchases have lowered lab seizures from 913 labs in 2011 to approximately 200 in 2014,” Woodward said. “However, use, addiction and meth-related deaths continue to climb as Mexican drug trafficking organizations are flooding the U.S. market with imported crystal meth or ice.”

Christian said the meth coming from Mexico is incredibly pure and strong.

“We see the effects of that,” he said. “We’ve had people having mental issues from using it. It’s so strong, they have hallucinations and mental apparitions that are not normal, and it is caused from the strength of the meth they are using now.”

Christian said he’s seen an increase in the number of people who suffer permanent mental and physical damage from meth use, even after quitting.

“They’re not concerned at all with the consequences to themselves or other people involved,” Christian said. “It doesn’t just affect them, it affects their family. I have seen it devastate families. Whether it’s their children or their parents, it’s horrible to see a mother who doesn’t know where her child is. They know (their children) are on meth. They don’t where they are, they don’t know what is going on in their life, they’re concerned and want to save them, but the drug user doesn’t want to be saved. It’s devastating to me to see what parents have to go through.”

Christian said new users of meth often plan on using in moderation but soon spin out of control, using whenever they can.

“I have been in law enforcement for 28 years,” he said. “When I started, meth was just becoming a big issue. Over those years, I have seen many, I couldn’t even give the numbers I’ve seen who were healthy, vibrant, hard-working people, who held down good jobs and literally destroy their lives and end up dead from their use.”

According to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, Pontotoc County ranked fourth in Oklahoma for residents entering Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse-funded treatment with meth as their primary drug of choice from 2006 to 2008. The county’s rate was 19.7 admitted meth users per 10,000 residents, compared to the state rate of 6.8 users per 10,000.

According to the Oklahoma Prevention Needs Assessment in 2008 — the latest records available — 1.7 percent of Pontotoc County students surveyed said they had used meth at least once and 15.1 percent said meth was easy to obtain, compared to 2 percent and 16.8 percent respectively of those surveyed statewide.

In 2014, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Audrey Estelle Farrington, 29, of Meade caused a horrific crash while she was under the influence of meth and other drugs. Farrington was driving north on state Highway 3 near Asher at a furious rate of speed in a 2003 Chevrolet Suburban when she attempted to pass a vehicle on a bridge and slammed head-on into a vehicle driven by Jodi Lopresto, who was on her way to work in Ada.

Lopresto suffered life-threatening injuries, and her heart stopped twice in the emergency room.

“My femurs were broken, my knees, my right foot (was broken) because I had just slammed on the brake so much that everything (was broken),” Lopresto recently told The Ada News. “I think the top of my foot wound up meeting the top of my shin or something.”

Zopresto had internal injuries and her jaw was also broken on both sides. Her vertabrae in her lower back were also damaged. She continues to recover and will require surgery to help her in her recovery.

An arrest warrant for “driving under the influence causing great bodily injury” was issued for Farington in January 2015. To this day, she has not been arrested.


14-year-old girl from Mexico was stopped at the border trying to smuggle more than 2 pounds of meth, officials said.557626d5c437c_image

On Sunday, officers at the Dennis De Concini crossing sent the teen for a secondary inspection after a drug dog alerted to her. Officers searched the teen’s clothing and found more than 2 pounds of meth, worth about $6,000, Customs and Border Protection said in a news release.

The drugs were seized and the girl was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.


San Diego Sector Border Patrol agents intercepted a man on Friday who allegedly had bundles of crystal methamphetamine stashed inside the spare tire of his car.

At about 10 p.m., agents spotted a man driving north on Interstate 5 and attempted a vehicle stop at the San Clemente Station checkpoint. The driver of the 2006 Jeep Commander failed to yield and led Border Patrol agents on a chase, an agent reported.20150655764050df0ef

Agents followed the vehicle until it came to a stop at a local restaurant. The man ran off but was caught.

A U.S. Border Patrol dog check the Jeep, which resulted in a positive alert for drugs, Agent Mary Beth Caston said.

Agents searched the vehicle and allegedly found 18 bundles of crystal methamphetamine stuffed inside the spare tire, Caston reported.

The methamphetamine weighed 43.45 pounds with an estimated street value of $434,500, said Caston.

Records checks revealed that the male driver is a Mexican national with an extensive criminal and undocumented immigration history. Agents turned the man and drugs over to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The vehicle was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.

Last fiscal year, San Diego Sector intercepted 1,797 pounds of methamphetamine.

To report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol, contact San Diego Sector at (619) 498-9900.


Narcotics agents rescued two six-month-old children from a meth lab in Cottondale Friday morning, according to a Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s spokesman. 17949688-mmmain

Sgt. Alex Miles said an anonymous caller tipped the sheriff’s office and the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force off to drug activity at a home Canyon Lake Road.

Agents and deputies responded Friday morning, and while they spoke with the residents of the home, they noticed the strong chemical odor typically associated with manufacturing methamphetamine.

On further investigation, agents discovered a meth lab with 116 grams of methamphetamine oil, less than a gram of finished crystal meth and associated paraphernalia.

Miles said agents also found two 6-month-old twins in the residence and turned them over to the custody of the Department of Human Resources.

A man and two women were arrested in the home and charged with endangering the children as well as manufacturing methamphetamine.

47-year-old Jerry Wayne Grimball of Cottondale was charged with trafficking methamphetamine, first-degree manufacturing methamphetamine, two counts of chemical endangerment of a child and possession of drug paraphernalia; his bond was set at $1,035,000.

Sunny Leigh Anne Ward and Terry Lynn Jordan, also of Cottondale, were charged with the same offenses, but their bonds were set at $331,000. Ward is 22, Jordan is 44.


BRISTOL, Va. – Abingdon and Bristol, Virginia police along with the D.E.A. and the Washington County, Virginia Sheriff’s Office arrested two people operating a meth lab at an apartment complex in the 700 block of Oakview Avenue Wednesday night.

In that apartment, police found this child playing in the middle of those dangerous gases and chemicals. Captain Maynard Ratcliff tells us the toddler couldn’t have been more than three years old.

The discovery of meth labs are an all too frequent occurrence in our area. Sometimes there are so many arrests by local law enforcement,  we can’t report them all. Sometimes the manufacture of meth endangers the lives of the innocent, of children like the one found at the scene of a meth arrest in Bristol, Virginia Wednesday night. News 5 dug deeper to show us what happens to children who are exposed to meth and what the future may hold for them.

“Children cannot vocalize some of the symptoms or hazards they’ve been exposed to.”

Bristol, Virginia Officer Patrick Manning says responding to a scene where children have been exposed to methamphetamine is a dangerous and delicate situation. “We do take toys, coloring books, as a tool to present a softer side or more approachable side.”

That’s a side that helped one child feel safe when she was taken from an apartment in Bristol, Virginia Wednesday night. Police and Drug Enforcement Agents found an active meth lab at that home.

“It’s everything included. It’s the people they’ve been around, the places they’ve gone, the love and the care these children are not getting because of the people that are in charge of their day-to-day, their focus is on something other than those children,” Manning said.

Manning is often first on the scene where meth is being manufactured. He said anytime someone is exposed to the drug, it’s dangerous. For children, the health concerns multiply.

“The heavy gases lay low to the ground because they are toxic they will irritate the skin, so when you have an infant who’s crawling, you’ll find the irritation on the palms, knees, sometimes in the belly or chin as they crawl across the rug, they’ll expose themselves to those toxins,” Manning said.

In Virginia, a child is considered to be abused if they are exposed to a home where drugs are being sold or manufactured. That is when the Department of Social Services steps in.

“First line of response you can expect is a change of clothes. Children’s services will respond and provide the child with new clothes to dress into they know are free and clean from any kind of foreign contaminants,” Manning said.

We learned from a DSS spokesperson that the agency cooperates with police in their investigation to determine the safest place to live for a child exposed to meth. Over the next few days, a determination will be made to send this toddler to a foster home, to live with another family member, or even be returned to the original parents or guardians.

In this case, the police charged the man and woman overseeing the child with reckless disregard for human life. Only doctors, law enforcement, and child protective service workers can take those children out of a home on an emergency protective order. From that point on, placement is on a case-by-case basis.


WINCHESTER –  A fire that damaged a Winchester woman’s mobile home also resulted in her arrest on methamphetamine-related charges.B9317536595Z_1_20150529173220_000_GBUAUC009_1-0

Amy L. Herrera, 39, was arrested Wednesday, and was charged Thursday by Randolph County Prosecutor David Daly’s office with dealing in meth, maintaining a common nuisance and possession of precursors.

The investigation leading to her arrest began on the night of May 21, when a fire broke out in her mobile home at 78 S. Amanda Drive.

Authorities that night found a meth lab in the a bedroom in the trailer. An Indiana State Police meth suppression team was called to the scene to remove potentially hazardous materials.

Herrera — who told officers she was at work in Portland when the fire was reported — said she was been aware another person had been “cooking” meth in her mobile home, according to a Winchester Police Department report.

Witnesses reported suspicious activity at the mobile home, including an incident when someone fired gunshots at the trailer.

Authorities said they later found materials commonly used in meth production in her car.

An initial hearing in Randolph Circuit Court is set for Monday morning. Herrera was being held Friday in the Randolph County jail under a $8,000 bond.

Court records reflect no prior charges or convictions for Herrera.


EVANSVILLE – Authorities believe that two out-of-state residents arrested after a traffic stop on U.S. 41 late Thursday night were transporting pseudoephedrine to help supply a local drug operation.methmug_1432929170530_18982497_ver1_0_640_480

Police identified the two people arrested as Shanta L. Morris, 36, and Erie E. Lawrence, 32. According to arrest affidavits, Morris was driving on U.S. 41 when the stop was made about 11 p.m. Vanderburgh County jail records list Morris as a Richmond, Virginia, resident; Lawrence is from Nashville Tennessee. They are preliminarily charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. Both are being held initially without bond, jail records indicate.

Investigators wrote that authorities found 49 boxes of pseudoephedrine-based medicine in the vehicle. The total weight of the pseudoephedrine that was seized was almost 100 grams, according to the affidavits.

Police are still searching for two Evansville men they believe are connected to the case.

A felony warrant was issued on Friday for Richard Deontae Dultin, 29. Investigators believe Dulin was a “substantial supplier” of narcotics being brought to the Evansville area, supplying methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, prescription medication and marijuana to both lower level dealers and users, according to a release from the Evansville Police Department. A felony warrant was also issued for Charles Michael Thomas, 24. Both are accused of dealing meth, conspiracy to deal meth and conspiracy to deal cocaine or a narcotic drug.

Agencies involved in the investigation include the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Drug Task Force, Indiana State Police, Evansville Police Department, Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s office, Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s office, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF),and the U.S. Marshalls Service.


Two men who traveled from Tijuana with 7 pounds of methamphetamine learned their Yuba City buyer was an undercover agent when they attempted delivery Thursday night, according to NET-5, the local drug and gang task force. 55696234246b9_image

Jonathan Hernandez Arias, 23, and Eleno Enrique Amparo Maldanodo, 37, were arrested in the 1100 block of Tharp Road in Yuba City when the agent signaled his colleagues after the suspects allegedly produced drugs with a street value of $200,000, said NET-5 Commander Martin Horan.

“It appears to be high-quality meth. Not far from the cook,” Horan said.

The suspects were booked into Sutter County Jail on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance for sale, transport of a controlled substance and conspiracy. Bail for each was set at $500,000.

The Drug Enforcement Agency is reviewing the case for possible federal prosecution.

The buy set-up was the culmination of a weeks-long investigation involving an agent and an intermediary for a drug cartel in Mexico, Horan said. Agents received information about a drug source in Mexico attempting to locate a distributor in Yuba-Sutter.

An agent set up a deal for 10 pounds at $3,700 per pound. In smaller quantities, a local distributor could sell a gram on the street for $60. There are more than 450 grams in a pound.

Horan said he thinks the suspects are associated with a cartel, or Mexican drug trafficking organization.

“They’re getting as much meth and heroin across the border as they can,” Horan said.

Two main active cartels are the Sinaloa and the Jalisco.


O’FALLON, Ill. (KMOV.com) – Four St. Clair County residents are accused of cooking meth in an O’Fallon trailer where three children live.7912064_G2

Zachary Johnson, 36 and Amanda Fears, 34, are charged with aggravated participation in meth manufacturing. Jeremy Jordan, 43, and Linda Sonsoucie, 63, are charged with unlawful procurement of meth precursors.

Authorities allege the four were cooking meth at a trailer at the Castle Acres mobile home park in the 1700 block of West Hwy 50. Police said they searched the trailer and found material and equipment for making meth.

All three children were found playing at the trailer park and were taken to a hospital as a precaution because authorities found volatile chemicals inside the trailer. The children have been placed in state custody.


A Wednesday raid on an Interlachen home netted three arrests in a methamphetamine case and the discovery of three children near where the drug was in use and being made, according to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.met_metharrest_01_1

Jonathan Stephens, Chad Sullivan and Rebecca Mayben were charged with trafficking in methamphetamine in the 5 p.m. raid at the home on Sioux Avenue, the Sheriff’s Office said. Stephens, who is on drug offender probation, also was charged with violation of probation. All three remain in the Putnam County jail with no bail, according to jail records.

The Sheriff’s Office executed a narcotics-related search warrant to search for chemicals and tools used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Arriving detectives found Sullivan in the master bathroom preparing to inject methamphetamine, while more of the drug was being “cooked” nearby, the Sheriff’s Office said. Due to the explosive nature of meth manufacturing and its noxious fumes, the search was stopped until the chemicals could be neutralized.

In addition to the drug being made, detectives found processed methamphetamine, chemicals and items used in the production of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The three children in the home, two of whom lived there, were released to family members as the Florida Department of Children and Family Services investigates.


NORTH SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A tip led detectives to uncover an expansive methamphetamine lab consisting of more than two-dozen pots, the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office said.

About 4:15 p.m. Thursday detectives went to 13 Bellewood Circle in a residential neighborhood to investigate a tip about a possible methamphetamine lab there.

The sheriff’s office said detectives discovered equipment and chemicals throughout the house that are used to make methamphetamine.

Police immediately began evacuating nearby houses.

The North Syracuse Fire Department and the North Area Volunteer Ambulance Corps stood by as a precaution due to the potential for an explosion, the sheriff’s office said.

The state police Hazardous Material Clandestine Lab Team was called in and is currently dismantling and packaging up the material for disposal. Agents assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program were also at the scene assisting.

Detective Jon Seeber, a sheriff’s office spokesman, said no one had been arrested, but that detectives were still investigating.

It’s not uncommon for law enforcement to find methamphetamine labs in residential areas consisting of a few pots, or to seize a small one-pot lab. Mobile one-pot labs have become increasingly common too. But operations with dozens of pots are unusual.


CANNON BEACH — Two women from Cannon Beach were arrested for methamphetamine possession early Thursday morning.

At 12:02 a.m., Cannon Beach Police Officer Josh Gregory pulled over a vehicle at 84806 Junction Road at the U.S. Highway 101 and U.S. Highway 26 junction. The occupants — Wendy G. Phillips, 33, and Kathleen J. Skinner, 47 — were discovered to have methamphetamine in their possession. Both subjects were charged with possession of a controlled substance.

In addition, Phillips was charged with fugitive arrest, and Skinner was charged with distribution of a controlled substance (methamphetamine). They were taken to Clatsop County Jail.

Altogether, 22 grams of methamphetamine were confiscated. Though Gregory found the narcotics himself, K-9 Officer Gunner was deployed at the end of the search.


One more heartbreaking failure from Arizona’s child-welfare agency.

One more child whose short, painful life makes the average person wince and try to wish it away.

Alexandra Velazco-Tercerro, 3 years old, weighed 15 pounds when she died. She’d been beaten, brutalized and sexually abused, according to court records. And on Wednesday, her parents were charged with first-degree murder.

She was a tiny, broken child. The state could have saved her.

She once had a chance. She and her brother were removed from their so-called home in May 2011 because their mother, Rosemary Velazco, tested positive for methamphetamine when Alexandra was born.

The baby was in state protection. She was safe.

Then she and her brother were reunited with their so-called parents in April 2012. The case was closed. Her torture must have begun shortly after that. In addition to extreme malnourishment, she had injuries all over her body “in various stages of healing,” according to the police report.

She would have been 4 this weekend. She was pronounced dead on Saturday.

That’s bad enough.

But this story gets much, much worse.

Last June, Arizona’s child-welfare agency was back in that hellish home. The agency removed an infant.

When Velazco and Carlos Cruz said Alexandra and her brother were out of the country with relatives, caseworkers took them at their word. Nothing was done to find the children. According to Department of Child Safety Director Greg McKay, child-welfare workers had no idea that Alexandra or her 6-year-old brother was in the home.

It’s jaw-dropping malfeasance.

Closing a case does not mean children disappear. There should be follow-up when children are returned to a home where the mother, according to DCS, has used methamphetamine.

If the state subsequently returns to a home with known abuse issues on behalf of another child, it should be of paramount importance to find out whether all the kids are safe. This is so basic it shouldn’t have to be said.

There were other opportunities to save Alexandra. As part of DCS “protocol,” spokesman Doug Nick says, a family aide tried to make contact with the parents after the infant was removed. After several attempts, “it appeared as though the family was doing their best to avoid” contact.

This did not trigger another investigative visit. Why? Because the case involving Alexandra and her brother had been closed, and the infant involved in the new, open case was in custody. Talk about going by the book and throwing away the child.

Where was the common sense?

DCS is “only empowered to look at allegations of open cases,” Nick says. So DCS took the word of a meth-abusing mom and never looked for a little girl who was being abused to death in the next room.

Heartbreaking. You bet. But just try to lay blame.

Addressing the roots of this egregious screw up gets caught in a labyrinth of bureaucracy.

The infant was taken from the home in which Alexandra was being brutalized in June, one month after DCS was created to replace an underfunded agency known for fatal mistakes.

The public was told to be patient. Real changes would take time, we were told.

Adding another layer of complication is the shakeup at the agency that Gov. Doug Ducey orchestrated in February when he fired the director and gave the job to McKay, whose lack of managerial experience has been a source of concern.

Once again, there was a call for patience. Give the new guy a chance to make changes, we were told.

Meanwhile, a little girl was suffering. She’s probably not the only one. After Alexandra’s death, her brother was put in state custody.

This story leaves Arizonans with an ache in their hearts. So many people would have held that little girl and tried to make her feel better. So many would have dried her tears and tried to make her laugh.

But the agency whose job it is to protect little ones didn’t even know she was there.


According to Sheriff Mike Couvillon, the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit made the following arrests for narcotics related offenses within the parish.

On 05/23/15 agents with the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division were contacted by the Abbeville Police Department Patrol Division in reference to information they received about possible methamphetamine use within the city. Upon further investigation patrol officers located several subjects at a local motel, and further located suspected illicit narcotics on scene. Upon agents arriving, each subject was interviewed as to their part in the said investigation. After all interviews were conducted agents made the following arrests.

  • Kandas Bertrand (dob 12/28/87) of Gueydan, arrested and charged with possession of Methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a controlled dangerous substance in the presence of a juvenile.
  • Charles Boles (5/19/78) of Kaplan, arrested and charged with possession of Methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a controlled dangerous substance in the presence of a juvenile.
  • Bryant Benoit (dob 2/9/79) of Gueydan, arrested and charged with possession of Methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a controlled dangerous substance in the presence of a juvenile, and possession of steroids.


RICHMOND, Ky (WTVQ) — KSP Officer arrested a Semi truck driver on I-75 on Wednesday, after excessive speed and later sobriety tests.FeatureImage

Chattanooga Tennessee’s Bart A. Bandstra is being charged with trafficking in a controlled substance (Methamphetamines) and driving while under the influence, KSP reports, as well as speeding and improper use of the left lane.

KSP officer reported they had noticed the driver’s unusual speed, and later his nervous behavior and bloodshot eyes before administering field sobriety tests and arresting the man.

Later investigation resulted in the discovery of two or more grams of Methamphetamines, materials used for the sales, and evidence that the driver had also taken methamphetamines, KSP says.

The State Police says Bandstra was taken to Richmond’s Baptist Health for a blood test, and then lodged in Madison County Detention Center for his numerous charges.


TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) – A search of a SUV pulled over while on Interstate 10 in the Tucson area resulted in the seizure of 34.3 pounds of methamphetamine.

The state Department of Public Safety said the methamphetamine seized following a search Friday had a street value of nearly $206,000.


A South Carolina couple faces charges in connection with the death of a 2-day-old little girl and the newborn’s mother faces a murder charge. Officials say the mother drugged her infant with meth, killing her.7881774_G

Kelli Noelle Smith-Durham, 27, charged with with murder by child abuse and four counts of unlawful neglect of child and her boyfriend Shane Ray Fuller, 42, is charged with child neglect. The couple’s daughter Gracie Mae Fuller was born November 17 and died just two days later.

The county coroner determined cause of death to be drug intoxication after discovering high levels of methamphetamine in newborn’s system. They were arrested in February and investigators said the 2-day-old baby died at a home in the Simpsonville area, which Fuller and Smith-Durham shared with three other children, ages 2, 3 and 7.

Deputies said the death happened at a home on Harrison Bridge Road in the Simpsonville area.

Fuller and Smith-Durham and three other young children lived in the home, which deputies said was deplorable and had no electricity.

The three other children, ages 2, 3 and 7, were placed in DSS custody.


GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) – A Greenville County mother and a man who were charged in connection with a 2-day-old baby’s death are expected to appear in court on Tuesday.

According to court dockets, Shane Ray Fuller and Kelli Noelle Smith-Durham are expected to have a preliminary hearing Tuesday morning at the Greenville County Courthouse.

Smith-Durham was charged with murder/ homicide by child abuse and four counts of unlawful neglect of child.

Fuller was also charged with four counts of unlawful neglect of child.

Greenville County deputies filed the charges following the investigation into 2-day-old Gracie May Fuller’s Nov. 19, 2014 death.

Coroner Parks Evans determined the cause of death to be drug intoxication.

Deputies said the baby had high levels of methamphetamine in her system.

Deputies said the death happened at a home on Harrison Bridge Road in the Simpsonville area.

Fuller and Smith-Durham and three other young children lived in the home, which deputies said was deplorable and had no electricity.

The three other children, ages 2, 3 and 7, were placed in DSS custody.

GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) – Greenville County deputies said a mother and her boyfriend have been charged in a 2-day-old baby’s death, which occurred in Nov. 2014.

Deputies said they were called to an address on Harrison Bridge Road in the Simpsonville area on Nov. 19 after the baby girl passed away.

Subsequent tests showed the baby had high levels of methamphetamine in her system, deputies said.

Greenville County coroner Parks Evans identified the baby as Gracie May Fuller. Evans determined the cause of death to be drug intoxication. The manner of death was ruled as homicide.

The mother, Kelli Noelle Smith-Durham, also tested positive for the drug, deputies said.

Deputies said the boyfriend, and Shane Ray Fuller, and three young children were all living in the house, which deputies said was deplorable, had no power and was being heated by propane canister heaters.

The children, ages 2,3, and 7, were placed in an alternate caregiver’s custody by DSS.

After a full investigation, deputies said Smith-Durham was charged with murder by child abuse and four counts of unlawful conduct toward a child.

Fuller was also charged with four counts of unlawful conduct toward a child.

Both are being held in the Greenville County Detention Center on a $40,000 bond.