Two people have been charged after a vehicle stop in Albany led to the  discovery of an alleged drug lab.

On Thursday, police stopped a car on York Street and located items used to  manufacture methamphetamine in the boot.

A WA Police spokeswoman said officers discovered a female passenger in the  car had purchased cold and flu tablets containing pseudoephedrine just prior to  being stopped, with empty packets of the tablets inside the vehicle.

Officers raided a home in McKail and discovered more items used in the  manufacture of methamphetamine, including a possible ammonia generator.

  It is the sixth drug lab uncovered in WA since January 1.

A 25-year-old Katanning man has been charged with one count of attempting to  manufacture a prohibited drug and will appear in Albany Magistrates Court on  Friday.

A 21-year-old McKail woman was released on bail to appear at Albany  Magistrates Court on January 30.




A woman on bail was arrested Tuesday at about 5:30 p.m. in the 700 block of Third Street in Napa during a probation search, according to court records.

Amber Renee Redman, 26, of Napa, allegedly had a drug pipe containing a usable amount of suspected methamphetamine, according to the Napa Special Investigations Bureau. Drug agents also found a scale with a usable of suspected methamphetamine, according to NSIB. She was booked into the Napa County jail.

Redman was charged Thursday in Napa County Superior Court with possession of a controlled substance, possession of an injection device, possession of 28.5 grams or less of marijuana and a special allegation, according to court records.



PHOENIX (CBS5) –  The U.S. government has frozen the assets of a senior lieutenant of the Sinaloa Cartel syndicate suspected of coordinating the purchase and movement of cocaine and methamphetamine into Arizona and California on a monthly basis.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is unsealing an indictment against a high-ranking member of a Mexican drug cartel.

The DEA said Jose Guadalupe Tapia-Quintero, 42, was indicted by a federal grand jury in February on drug possession and money laundering charges.


Jose Guadalupe Tapia Quintero

DEA officials said Tapia-Quintero is from Sinaloa, Mexico, and owned several businesses, including bus and tractor-trailer companies in Mexico. Authorities say he used that business to move meth across the Mexican border into Arizona.

DEA officials have made three arrests in connection to Tapia-Quintero and seized 148 pounds of meth, 30 kilograms of cocaine and more than $770,000.

Jose Guadalupe Tapia Quintero, of Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico, was designated by the U.S. Treasury Department for his role in the drug trafficking activities of Ismael “Mayo” Zambada Garcia and for playing a significant role in international drug trafficking.

Besides freezing assets he may have under U.S. jurisdiction, the Tapia Quintero’s designation generally prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with him.

“Our actions will focus on their financial nerve points as well as the underlying logistics which are essential to their day-to-day operations such as the transportation network that we are taking action against today,” said Treasury’s Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control  Adam Szubin.

Tapia Quintero also transports methamphetamine, using semi-trailers, on behalf of a drug trafficking cell affiliated with Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman Loera from Sinaloa to Tijuana, Baja California.

“We’re relentlessly following the financial trail to deprive these traffickers of their assets, draining the lifeblood from their criminal enterprises,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman.

CBS 5 News is getting reaction from Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu and we’ll have that report Friday during the 10 p.m. news.


A 35-year-old New Orleans man was jailed Thursday (Jan. 16) after New Orleans police discovered a crystal meth den when they served a search warrant on his 7th Ward apartment, police said.


Jonathan Martin Dean was arrested on charges of distributing crystal meth and other drugs from an apartment in the 1400 block of North Miro Street, during an 8th District undercover operation, police said. About $12,000 worth of crystal meth and other drugs were found in the apartment, according to the NOPD.

NOPD detectives recently conducted a controlled crystal meth buy at the corner of Bourbon and Dumaine streets, where they got  information that drugs were being sold from the North Miro Street apartment, police said. Detectives got a  search warrant, and served it on Thursday about 2:15 a.m., police said.

Inside the apartment, detectives said they found 5 ounces of methamphetamine, 1 ounce of hydro marijuana, LSD tablets, Ecstasy pills and GHB, as well as more than $4,600 in cash. There were also many items of drug paraphernalia. The street value of the seized narcotics was more than $12,000, police said.

Dean was booked with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession with the intent to distribute clonazepam, distribution of marijuana, possession with the intent to distribute LSD and possession of drug paraphernalia.






MURRIETA – In January 2014, the California Department of Justice (CA DOJ) Inland Crackdown Allied Task Force (INCA) infiltrated a Mexican drug trafficking organization based in Hemet.

On Jan. 10, suspects Donaciano Ramirez-Guerra, Jovanny Aguirre and Jorge H. Guzman were arrested by members of the Inland Crackdown Allied Task Force (INCA) and the Murrieta Police Department Special Enforcement Team after they delivered 50 pounds of methamphetamine (gross weight) to an undercover task force officer.

The operation took place in the City of Murrieta.

Ramirez-Guerra, Aguirre and Guzman were booked into the Southwest Riverside County Adult Detention Center pending the filing of charges for H&S 11379 – Transportation of Methamphetamine, Possession for Sales of Methamphetamine and PC 182- Conspiracy.

Bail was set at $1,000,000 for each suspect.

The street value of the 50 pounds of methamphetamine is estimated at $5,000,000. The Inland Crackdown Allied Task Force (INCA) is a multi-agency task force with participation by federal, state and local agencies targeting major Colombian and Mexican drug cartels within the Inland Empire region of the Los Angeles High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

The Murrieta Police Department currently participates on the task force. This seizure represents the significant achievements that can be obtained when local, state and federal law enforcement partners work together to keep communities drug free.

  • Rusty Smith threw rocks at two women and  a man and then attacked the man with a bed frame
  • Cops arrived to see him holding a brick  wrapped in a shirt
  • He admitted to being high on methamphetamine during his frenzied attack

Police say a drug addicted  ex-con with a history of violence attacked three people with rocks and a bed  frame while high on methamphetamine.

Rusty Smith, 37, of Mesa,  Arizona, is sobering up in jail after the bizarre drug-fueled attack Wednesday afternoon that led to his arrest.

Mr Smith was arguing with  two women in a seedy part of town when an unidentified man tried to break up the  fight, according to a police report cited by AZ Central. Things quickly  escalated.

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The disturbed man began throwing rocks at all three of his helpless victims, striking the man across the  bridge of his nose, police said.

Mr Smith then ran to a  nearby dumpster, grabbed a bed frame and wildly swung it at the man, hitting him  in the legs and chest, the report said.

Police may have arrived  just in time to save the at least man’s life, if not the lives of all three of  his victims.

Cops say they observed Mr  Smith holding a brick wrapped in a shirt while shouting at them as they  arrived.

He admitted to being high  on methamphetamine while during his violent outburst and that he was a daily  user, authorities said.

The drug addled ex-con was  booked on three counts of disorderly conduct, a charge of aggravated assault  dangerous incident and violation of a court order, according to AZ  Central.

Mr Smith’s arrest violated  the terms of his probation stemming from a March 2013 release after serving six  years behind bars for auto theft, records showed.

He also has multiple drug  and assault convictions, as well as repeated violations of an order of  protection placed against him.




SALTON CITY– Border Patrol agents seized about 34 pounds of methamphetamine and arrested a suspected narcotics smuggler at the Highway 86 checkpoint on Wednesday.

Around 5:30 a.m., U.S. citizen David Gonzalez, 44, of Mexicali approached the checkpoint driving a gray 1994 Jeep Cherokee, according to the court complaint.

A Border Patrol Canine Detection Team alerted to the vehicle, and it was referred to secondary inspection. During inspection, agents found 32 packages containing a total of about 34 pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $670,080.

After being read his rights, Gonzalez said he was to be paid $3,000 to transport the narcotics from Mexicali to an Indio Greyhound station where he was to leave the keys in the vehicle’s gas cap compartment and return on a bus, according to the court complaint.

Gonzalez was taken into custody and, along with the vehicle and narcotics, was turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation.




TOPEKA — Susan M. Henks, 60, La Crosse, was indicted on drug trafficking charges recently.

Henks is charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

She was one of four people charged, including Jamie L. Herron, 34, Wichita; Cory L. Poulter, 37, Halstead; and Roy L. Scott, 47, Sedgwick.

Herron is charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, eight counts of distributing methamphetamine, and one count of possession of methamphetamine.

Poulter is charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and four counts of distributing methamphetamine.

Scott is charged with six counts of distributing methamphetamine.

Upon conviction, the crimes carry the following penalties:

* Possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine: not less than five years and not more than 40 years in federal prison and a fine up to $2 million.

* Distributing methamphetamine: A maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $1 million.

* Possession of methamphetamine: A maximum penalty of one year and a fine up to $100,000.

The Newton Police Department, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Wichita Police Department investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Treaster is prosecuting.

In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The indictments merely contain allegations of criminal conduct.




EPHRATA – A Moses Lake man reportedly raped a 14-year-old girl while she was waiting for a ride from her father.

Prosecutors charged Richard B. Ruff, a 28-year-old man, in Grant County Superior Court with rape in the second degree and rape in the third degree.

The victim reported her father told her to wait at Ruff’s Canterbury Lane home for a ride on Nov. 10, according to Moses Lake police. When the victim arrived, Ruff allegedly escorted her to his bedroom. When they were in the room, Ruff reportedly smoked some methamphetamine before raping the victim.

After the alleged attack, Ruff received a call, told the victim he needed to leave to help steal some items, and escorted her to the garage. The victim reported she fled the garage, running to a family member’s home.

The victim told her mother about the attack, who later told police.

Ruff reportedly denied the rape, saying they had consensual sex.



Casper Police this week charged five people they tied to thefts of guns and electronics and drug trading last fall.

The police investigation followed a string of burglaries in September and October.

Michael Austin Wood and Kyle Steven Barrus were charged with burglary and James Lynn Johnson was charged with conspiracy to commit burglary stemming from multiple incidents last year, according to police affidavits.

The first burglary occurred on Sept. 25, when Wood, Johnson and a third man, River Dean Walsh broke into a Casper residence and stole several items including two rifles, according to a police affidavit. Walsh was charged with receiving/obtaining stolen property worth more than $1,000 and conspiracy to receive/obtain stolen property.

As Wood and Johnson prepared to enter the residence through a garage door between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Sept. 25, Johnson reportedly told Wood that he had to use the bathroom “really bad” and “took off running,” according to statements the men made to police.

Wood and Walsh then entered the house and observed someone sleeping on a couch in the living room, according to Wood’s account made to police during later questioning.

They proceeded to steal two rifles, a longbow, multiple wallets and a lunch box they believed contained marijuana, though it did not, according to an affidavit. According to Johnson’s account to police, he returned to the group after defecating in a nearby alley, and the group, all of whom are listed as homeless, slept behind the Showboat Motel.

A second burglary detailed in multiple affidavits released Tuesday occurred on Oct. 7. According to police, Walsh, Andre Bryson and a 17-year-old whose name is redacted in the affidavit were at the 17-year-old’s grandfather’s house smoking methamphetamine when the group decided to steal from the house.

The group stole five guns, including a .38-caliber Pink Lady Revolver, an LCD television, various other electronics, multiple pieces of gold jewelry, a collection of 50 state quarters, and a plastic orange juice container holding $150 in change, according to the grandfather.

Bryson was charged with receiving/obtaining stolen property worth more than $1,000 and conspiracy to receive/obtain stolen property.

The group traded the stolen goods from both robberies to Barrus for methamphetamine on several occasions, according to police.

On Oct. 9, after receiving information from the unnamed 17-year-old source, the police executed search warrants on two addresses where the group had allegedly met Barrus to trade the stolen goods for meth. At one of the addresses, Barrus, Walsh and three other people were taken in for questioning and several of the stolen items were recovered.

Later in October, an unnamed source appears to have tipped off police as to who was involved in each burglary, and Walsh, Wood and Bryson were all taken into custody during the following week.

During interviews with police that are outlined in the affidavits, each of the men admitted involvement in the crimes and provided details of them.

Bryson and Wood reportedly also wrote apology letters while in custody, each of which were logged into evidence, according to police.

According to an affidavit, Wood’s letter – addressed to the owner whose house was burglarized in September – read:

“I Michael Wood am really sorry about going in your house like an ideat [sic] and helping someone who sas [sic] there [sic] my friend but could care less about me. I wish I could take it back but I can’t and I am truly sorry I would do anything for you to forgive me for the wrong I have caused and all the hurt to [sic].”



MANSFIELD — Two boys, ages 5 and 8, were in an apartment with a suspected methamphetamine lab Tuesday night, police said.

Nicholas R. McHugh, 34, was charged with illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacturing of drugs, a first-degree felony. The charge was enhanced because of the presence of the children. Richland County Children Services was contacted.

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“The lab wasn’t active when we were there,” METRICH Sgt. Joe Petrycki said. “He had been cooking earlier in the day.

“Had it been an active cook, it would have been highly dangerous. The materials are very combustible. They can explode and catch fire very fast.”

Acting on a tip to Officer Ryan Anschutz, patrol officers and detectives from the METRICH Enforcement Unit went to the second-floor apartment of 87 Lexington Ave.

Consent to search was given and the meth lab was found in the attic. The building was evacuated and sheriff’s Sgt. Jim Nicholson, a member of the Clandestine Lab Response Team, neutralized the chemicals and ingredients.

Petrycki said a trash can was full of materials used to make meth. He said the chemical fumes from a meth lab can be noxious and harmful to anyone exposed to them. Some signs of meth lab chemical exposure include itching or burning of skin and eyes, difficulty breathing or tightness in the chest area.

“Kids get a hold of that, they can inhale the remnants,” he said. “It’s just an overall bad situation, especially with the kids.”

Richland County Children Services spokesman Carl Hunnell said he could not comment on specifics of this case.

“In cases like these, we would have a caseworker respond to check on the health and safety of the child,” Hunnell said. “If needed, we would obtain medical attention for the child. We would then try to locate a safe, alternative and temporary home for the child, perhaps with other family members if possible.”

McHugh had a $100,000 cash bond set Wednesday morning. If he posts bond, he will be on electronic monitoring. McHugh has a preliminary hearing scheduled for 1 p.m. Jan. 23. Attorney Gregory Tarkowsky was appointed to represent him.

“It’s just poor judgment,” Petrycki said.

Residents are encouraged to report suspected drug activity to the METRICH crime tip hotline at 419-52-CRIME (419-522-7463) or 419-755-9728.




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MUNCIE — What started as a typical methamphetamine investigation at one house on Monday ended with police finding two suspects hiding in a “hidden attic access” area at the residence next door.

Arrested Monday evening was Rhea Louise Szarka, 38, 310 N. Elm St., who is preliminarily charged with conspiracy to manufacture meth, possession of meth precursors and maintaining a common nuisance.

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A day-long meth lab investigation that started with a house fire at 310 N. Elm St. early Monday led to the apprehension of two suspects on meth manufacturing related charges. Brian Lee Graham, 33, and Rhea Szarka, 38, hid from police in the attic area of an adjacent home on Gilbert Street after fleeing the Elm Street home following a small explosion related to the manufacturing of methamphetamine. Graham and Szarka were handcuffed and questioned on the property. Graham was transported to IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital for third degree burns he sustained during the fire. The property owner had cut power to the Elm Street home two weeks before the incident took place. The tenants had been running power into the house using an extension cord connected to an outlet in a neighboring home.

Her roommate, Brian Lee Graham, 33, was taken from the scene to Eskenazi Health hospital in Indianapolis for emergency treatment of burns to his legs. Graham — who was listed in serious condition in the hospital’s burn unit Tuesday afternoon — has yet to be charged, but an Indiana State Police media release indicated “the investigation is ongoing, and further charges could be filed.”

The incident began about 5 a.m. Monday at Szarka and Graham’s house, where a fire broke out in the attic. Rob Mead, chief fire investigator with the Muncie Fire Department, said Graham admitted to officers that he was cooking meth at the time when it “got away from him” before fleeing the scene.

Indiana State Police Trooper Nate Raney said the property’s owner — who is renting out the residence — went to clean up some of the fire damage Monday afternoon when he saw some possible drug-related items that “piqued his interest.” Muncie police were called to the scene and confirmed those items were a meth lab, Raney said.

The ISP Meth Suppression Unit was called to the home about 2:30 p.m. and was waiting to receive a warrant to search the residence when the Muncie Police Department’s Narcotics Unit received information that Szarka and Graham were hiding in an attic area next door at 404 E. Gilbert St.

Upon searching that residence, Raney said they found Szarka and an injured Graham both hiding in a “hidden attic access” area, where more meth materials were found.

“The two had cut a hole in an interior wall to access a space between a ceiling and floor,” according to an ISP release.

Police also found a meth lab behind the residence at 410 E. Gilbert, but Raney said there was no immediate reason to believe that residence was connected to other meth-related activities that day.

“Anybody could’ve thrown it back there,” he told The Star Press Monday evening.

According to court records, Graham has convictions that include illegal consumption of alcohol (twice), possession of marijuana, furnishing alcohol to a minor, failure to stop after an accident, criminal conversion, receiving stolen property, conspiracy to commit robbery and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Local court records reflect no recent charges or convictions for Szarka, who is formerly of Springfield, Ohio.





CARROLLTON, Ky. — Five people were taken into custody shortly after authorities searched a Carrollton home Monday and discovered a meth lab outside.

Troopers carried out a search warrant at a home in the 700 block of 11th Street, Tpr. Brad Arterburn reported. Along with the meth lab, they found several ingredients used to make the drug.

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The five suspects reside in Carrollton, and face different charges in connection with the meth lab find. Three were taken into custody and charged Monday, while two more arrests followed Tuesday.

According to Arterburn, 52-year-old Grant Cobb was charged with three counts of unlawful distribution of meth. Megan O’Connor, 26, faces two separate possession charges and an unlawful distribution charge.

Charged with four counts of unlawful distribution, 45-year-old Elizabeth Puckett was arrested on a warrant for writing cold checks.

The third and fourth arrests took place Tuesday because the two remaining suspects were not at the house when authorities served the warrant.

Jennifer Lainez, 31, was charged with possession. Authorities found 25-year-old Tommy Floyd in Gallatin County (Ky.) and charged him with manufacturing meth and possession of drug paraphernalia. Arterburn said he was making meth at the time of his arrest.

The five suspects were taken to the Carroll County Detention Center. Investigation would be ongoing, with more arrests possible, Arterburn said.




Two men are in custody in connection with a reported mobile methamphetamine lab in Mountain Top next to the Dorrance Township municipal building, police said.
Richard Seiwell, of Dorrance Township, and Joseph Estok, of Wright Township, were taken into custody Tuesday morning and are being questioned by state police at the Hazleton barracks, according to Wright Township Police Chief Royce Engler.
For the last several months, the secretary at the municipal building noticed a black Toyota and a white Mitsubishi pulling next to the building, according to Engler, who is also a Dorrance Township supervisor. The secretary documented the stops and recorded the plates, which she then reported to Engler.

Seiwell police are investigating Two in custody in connection with reported Mountain Top meth lab
The secretary noticed the two cars in the parking lot again Tuesday morning and notified Engler, who contacted police.
State police have searched one of the cars and are getting a warrant to search the other, according to police.

Seiwell is out on bail after being charged with writing threats that led to two evacuations of Crestwood High School. Police allege he wrote that a bomb was in the school on April 18, 2013, and that ricin was in the school on May 9, 2013. He faces 12 charges in that case, including felonies of threatening to place weapons of mass destruction and making terroristic threats.

Cullman husband and wife were arrested after two spent meth labs and several pieces of drug paraphernalia were found in their Valley Grove residence during a welfare check Monday afternoon.

Julia Anna Speegle, 49, and Jonathan Scott Speegle, 42, of Cullman were arrested at their home on County Road 283 around 2 p.m. Monday after Cullman Narcotics Enforcement Agents (CNET) saw a smoking pipe on the kitchen table while checking on a child under 12-years-old, Cullman County Sheriff Mike Rainey said.

“CNET agents assisted DHR [Department of Human Resources] on a drug complaint case and a possible drug manufacturing in the presence of a young child case,” Rainey said. “When the agents and DHR arrived, they identified themselves to Mrs. Speegle, who answered the door. The agents asked if they could enter the residence and look for the child and she invited them in.”

Upon entering, the officers found a glass smoking pipe laying on the living room table and the agents questioned Speegle about it, Rainey said.

“Speegle responded to the officers and said, ‘I didn’t know I couldn’t do that, I thought you were looking for the child, I didn’t know y’all were looking for things like that or I would have hidden it,’” Rainey said. “The agents then asked for consent to search the home and she denied them. They then conducted a sweep of the residence to preserve the evidence and the agents escorted her outside.”

Rainey said CNET obtained a search warrant for the home and located 2.8 grams of methampheamine packaged in six bags lying on an end table in a bedroom. A jar containing precipitant [tested positive for methampheamine] was next to the bathroom sink, two two-liter bottles containing spent meth labs, ephedrine extracted from a coffee grinder, three glass smoking pipes, two cut straws, a .30-06 rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, two spent gas generator bottles, lithium batteries, and plastic tubing were also recovered. The child was not located in the home, but was reportedly staying with relatives at the time.

“It was also discovered that Mr. Speegle had ran out the backdoor through the woods to his grandmother’s house and was hiding in the basement,” Rainey said. “Officers were able to arrest him from that residence without incident. I want to commend the effort of CNET and the deputies that were involved. The safety of our children is a priority for all of us.”

Both Speegles are being held at the Cullman County Detention Center. They are each being held on a $1 million bond. They are both charged with unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia.

A drug suspect allegedly found with methamphetamine in his pants pocket Tuesday night told Spokane County sheriff’s deputies he did not know how the drugs got into his pocket and that, in fact, he had borrowed the pants from a guy named “Mike.”

Jaime P. Medina, 36, was booked into jail on a felony charge of possession of a controlled substance.

Around 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Deputy Mark Brownell saw a man, later identified as Medina, in the area of 8700 E. Harrington Ave. in Spokane Valley. Brownell thought the man was suspicious because he exited a car with a flashlight and there had been multiple vehicle prowlings in the area.

Brownell recognized Medina and said he kept reaching down at his front, right pants pocket. When Brownell told him to stop, Medina refused to cooperate, a news release said. Dispatch informed Brownell that Medina had a warrant out for his arrest. A search revealed a clear plastic baggie that contained a substance which later tested positive for meth, the release said.

When asked about the meth, Medina said he didn’t know where it came from and that he’d borrowed the pants from a guy named “Mike.”



Saturday evening, January 11th, Officers with the Avery County Sheriff’s Office went to Brooks Shell Rd in Elk Park looking for 18 year old Aamon Nathan Webb in reference to an outstanding Felony Probation Violation.

On arrival, the release said Officers located  41 year old Freddie Bare of Brooks Shell Rd. and 19-year old Michael Arnett of Beech Mountain Rd.—and also found items known to be consistent with a methamphetamine lab at the residence.

Webb was later located at that home and was arrested on the outstanding Probation Violation without incident, while Arnett and Bare were both charged with Manufacturing Methamphetamine.

The release said Bare was placed in the Avery County Jail under a $100,000.00 bond,  Arnett jailed under a $101,000.00 bond.  Webb was set a bond of $8,000.  A fourth male found there is still being investigated with charges expected after a complete investigation.



Over 20 pounds of methamphetamine was seized and two men were arrested in Phoenix on Tuesday following an investigation by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, authorities said.

Juan Carlos Soto-Neris, 26, and Jorge Cecilio Bernal-Araujo, 43, were arrested on suspicion of possession of dangerous drugs, possession of dangerous drugs for sale, and transport for sale of a dangerous drug.


Officials said the men were arrested near Encanto Boulevard and and 83rd Avenue after they were caught transporting two large bags filled with a white substance that field-tested positive for methamphetamine.

Sheriff’s detectives said they suspect the drugs were imported from Mexico and the two men had identification documents from Mexico in their possession when they were arrested.



For my friends, methamphetamine is a plot device, a prop in a show. For me it has been the very real possibility that my brother would burn our house down while we slept.
Here is my confession: I have only seen one episode of “Breaking Bad.”
I don’t live under a rock, and I do have access to television and Internet. Most of my friends have tried to get me to watch “Breaking Bad,” because for them, methamphetamine is a plot device, a prop in a show. For me it has been the very real possibility that my brother would burn our house down while we slept. Or steal someone’s wallet, or slash my mother’s tires, or kill someone in a bar fight, or hurt himself.
My older brother became a meth addict, and after years of using and attempts at rehab, his addiction claimed his life. I know it’s a coincidence, but as the seasons aired, my brother declined further and further. By season three, he couldn’t keep a job or a roof over his head. By season four, he had stolen a car to feed his habit.
In the month following the series finale, with seemingly everyone freaking out about the conclusion of their favorite show, my brother’s addiction had created such powerful delusions and paranoia that he committed suicide while checked into a mental health hospital.
My first distinct memory of my brother Matt is from kindergarten. I walked home from school because it was only three blocks away, and my brother was supposed to watch me while my Mom was at work.
When I got to our gate, he was sitting on the porch rocking back and forth in a plastic chair. I walked inside the house, and he followed me. He locked the door and the deadbolt at the top, and he turned to me and said “The tree is trying to kill me. Don’t open the door.” ‘
Then he climbed out a window and ran away through the back yard. I was five.
He was a troubled soul. He was in and out of juvenile hall, and later jail. No one else in our family has ever used methamphetamine so we didn’t understand that you can be addicted after one use, that it rewires the processing of dopamine in the brain, and that it can take over a year of sobriety for the brain to function normally again. There is no methadone treatment for meth, nothing to help ease into abstinence.
Not only was he was destroying his own life, and he was tearing our family down as well.
I believe that he made numerous bad decisions, and those decisions contributed to his death. Drug use and suicide are choices that are tragic, but individual. Yet at the same time, he struggled for years to get clean, and could never seem to quite break through it. We believe that he suffered from an undiagnosed mental disorder, but the drugs prevented him from ever seeking lasting treatment. Combined with a strong addiction, it’s a wonder he made it as long as he did. He died a few weeks shy of his 37th birthday.

Matt was born in the Dominican Republic while my mother was a missionary there.

For a long time, he received help, as much as we could provide. My family has always been in the lowest income bracket, so the expensive rehabilitation centers and counselors and therapies were always off limits. He would get clean during stints in jail, or by locking himself in an empty room for several days.
There were times he would get better on his own, and stay clean for months. The most stable time in his life was when his children were born. We thought that maybe he finally found something strong enough to help him stay clean, to function like a normal adult. His life was a roller coaster, and it always seemed to go so much further down than it had ever gone up.
For my family, methamphetamine was why my brother never held down a job for more than a few months, why he would disappear for weeks on end, why he would steal money from friends and relatives, including his own children, why he had been violent and abusive.
Meth is why he stole my Mom’s jewelry and pawned it two blocks away. Meth is why he ate all the sandwiches that were meant for his kid’s lunch when he hadn’t eaten in several days. Meth is why I had to call the police on him before breakfast. Meth is the black hole that swallowed him up before he turned 40.
Yes, “Breaking Bad” is fiction, but what sort of message is it sending when one middle aged guy’s cancer treatments are more important than the devastation of dozens of entire families? Every addict has a family somewhere. Regardless of Walter White’s intentions or motivations, the effects of meth are catastrophic.
By the end of season 5, how many people used Walter White’s signature Blue Sky? Hundreds? Thousands? It’s entertainment for people who will never come close to having to deal with an actual meth addict. I don’t understand how people can find it thought-provoking and edgy to see a character be a part of the problem with no remorse.
Yes, drug use is a choice, but so is becoming a drug lord. Is the preservation of one middle class white family so important that it trumps the safety of entire communities? Maybe if it was Walter Black or Walter Brown instead, the show wouldn’t be worthy of a Netflix binge.
His final relapse got him kicked out of the halfway house he was in. With nowhere to go, and the paranoia starting up, my brother checked into a mental health hospital. They had him on five minute checks, meaning that he was never alone for more than five minutes at a time.
The day before, he called my sister, trying to tell her about the people who were after him. He had had this delusion for years, in different cities, only while under the influence. At one point he was crying as he told her “I wish you believed me that they’re coming to torture me.” He was so convinced that what “they” had planned for him was hell, he took his own life. He asked to take a shower, and in under five minutes had managed to get his T-shirt through a grate. How scared do you have to be to want to die that badly?
When he was discovered, he was rushed to a hospital. The doctors tried everything they could to resuscitate him, and for several days we were in a state of limbo, unsure of whether to plan a memorial, whether to have hope. While we waited, I realized that I wanted it to be the end. I didn’t wish him dead, but I wanted his suffering to be over. I wanted all of our suffering to be over.
Because in 20 years of memories, I didn’t have a single positive one with him in it. When someone dies, you grieve for all the potential that is lost, the person they could have been, all the days and blessings that come with life. He had no future, though, nothing that he could have been while using meth.
In the end his brain had suffered too much damage, and that was it. He was a candidate for organ donation, and it’s been a source of comfort to know that the two people who received his kidneys have a second chance at life.
When I spoke with my mother after he was cremated, she said something that broke my heart.
“This death I can live with,” she said,” This is better than him getting killed in a fight, or freezing to death in a ditch somewhere, or us never knowing what happened at all. He didn’t die alone. This was the best outcome for his life.”
Drugs turned him into a call that we dreaded, a violent surprise that showed up at dinner. His two children will only ever remember him as the erratic, crazy drug addict he became, a man who made grand promises and then would disappear for weeks. Meth consumed everything that he was, everything he might have been. His addiction burned down everything else, relationships, ambitions, possessions, until the last thing to go was his body and his life.
Don’t tell me it’s just a TV show, not when it glorifies a person making millions off of a dangerous and addicting substance, not when real, living people struggle with it everyday. Go ahead and watch it, and throw viewing parties, and enjoy it. But don’t make blue sugar candy “meth” and think it’s clever. Remember that it isn’t just a prop, it’s a problem.

Five people have been arrested after troopers found a meth lab at a home on 11th Street in Carrollton, Ky., on Monday.

Troopers received information about a meth lab at the residence and were granted a search warrant for the property. During the search, they found the meth lab in an outside building and several ingredients used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine. Grant Cobb, 52, was charged with three counts of unlawful distribution of meth precursors.

Megan O’Connor, 26, was charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and five counts of unlawful distribution of meth precursors.

Elizabeth Puckett, 45, was charged with four counts of unlawful distribution of meth precursors. She also had a warrant for writing cold checks. Two individuals, Jennifer Lainez, 31, and Tommy Floyd, 25, were not at the home at the time the search warrant was served, but were located Tuesday and arrested in connection with the meth lab.

Lainez was charged with possession of meth precursors.

Floyd, who was found in Gallatin County, was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine. He was also charged in Gallatin County with manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia because he was making meth there at the time of his arrest. All five were taken at the Carroll County Detention Center. KSP said more arrests are expected to follow as the investigation continues.



The number of methamphetamine labs found in Washington County last year  doubled from the previous year. That might sound scary for area residents, but  at least one local official believes the statistic doesn’t necessarily mean  there has been an increase in area meth labs.

Instead, he says, the larger number of labs reported equates to better  officer training.

The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office released a report this month indicating  meth production remains high, with Tennessee ranking one of the top states for  the most meth labs discovered.


The highly addictive drug continues to be a problem here even though the  state tracks the sale of pseudoephedrine, a main ingredient in making meth, and  blocks suspicious purchase attempts of the cold medicine.

Only Missouri had more meth labs uncovered by law enforcement in 2013. Not  all of the data for 2013 is available, however, because the report was released  before November and December lab finds were recorded.

Washington County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Doug Gregg documents meth labs found  here and, according to his figures, there was a 100 percent increase in the  number of meth labs found in 2013 from the number found in 2012.

In 2012, there were 21 meth labs found while the number in 2013 jumped to 42,  according to Gregg.

He said officer training to better recognize and look for precursors to meth  production on any call they respond to has resulted in the higher number of  busts.

Tommy Farmer, director of the Tennessee Methamphetamine and Pharmaceutical  Task Force, said there are many factors that affect the seizure numbers. One of  those, like Gregg said, is the amount of training officers receive.

“We are a central repository for (Tennessee) agency reports,” Farmer said. “We train (officers) for free; we issue $2,000 of equipment for free; we  dispatch our response truck to the site for free; we take the waste for free and  we reimburse departments to up to three hours overtime for officers.”

For the comptroller’s study that looked at Tennessee’s meth labs compared to  labs in other states, statistics came from the El Paso Intelligence Center,  which maintains national meth seizure documentation.

Those numbers differ some from the Task Force numbers documenting meth labs  in the state.

Farmer said he can’t exactly explain the difference, but he’s certain the  Task Force numbers are dead-on based on the number of times a task force  clean-up vehicle was sent to a scene.

“(In 2013) we dispatched our trucks to 1,691 meth labs. We have processed  more than 21,000 pounds of waste,” he said. One lab incident can result in  dozens or even hundreds of actual meth labs, or the one-pot production vessels  used to make the drug.

“Many variables affect the seizure numbers,” Farmer said. “When we’re having  a training, we look across the state and see where the affected areas are (and)  where they’re having a significant number of labs.”

Farmer said in 2013, some areas experienced a spike in the number of labs — Washington County is one example — where there have been few in previous  years.

The number of labs has steadily increased in Washington County, from six in  2010 to 40 in 2013.

So despite tracking pseudoephedrine sales through pharmacies, the number of  labs discovered here has increased.

Some locations, Farmer said, have seen a decrease in labs as well as  pseudoephedrine sales after those local governments passed ordinances requiring  a prescription to purchase the decongestant medication.

“We started seeing these city ordinances pop up where there were historically  high lab seizures. Franklin County is an example. They reduced meth labs by 69  percent and eliminated smurfing,” Farmer said.

Smurfing is when a meth maker gets other people to go purchase the  pseudoephedrine so they don’t draw attention to themselves. Usually the “smurf” is paid in meth, Farmer said.

Several Tennessee counties passed local ordinances requiring a prescription  for pseudoephedrine purchases, but in December the attorney general said that  violates state law.

Two states in the country — Oregon and Mississippi — have prescription-only  statutes. According to the comptroller’s study, Oregon continued to have low  levels of meth lab incidents while Mississippi saw a decrease in lab incidents  in 2012.

Gregg said one of the issues of tracking pseudoephedrine sales is that it  isn’t done in real time.

“If I went out to four different pharmacies and bought my limit, the system  wouldn’t flag me between the time I go to the first pharmacy and the second  pharmacy,” Gregg said.

“They’ve found a way around it and they’re exploiting it to no end,” he said,  referring to meth cooks.

The reason the system doesn’t track sales in real time? Money.

“To get it to real time was going to cost an exponential amount of money,” he  said.

Of course, the more meth cooks can circumvent the tracking system, the more  meth they can cook and that results in a continuation of meth waste being dumped  alongside roads.

Gregg said it’s a continuing concern for him, not only as a law enforcement  officer but also as a father.

“The labs are always going to be the biggest concern for us, I think, because  of the danger to people who aren’t using and aren’t cooking it. It scares me to  death thinking a kid walking down the road to a neighbor’s where he plays and  kicking a bottle and the bottle explodes,” he said. “I think right now  prescription pills are our number one problem. Meth and meth labs are a close  number two.”

For more information about the comptroller’s meth study, go to and click on the link to the report.




A jury consisting of five men and seven women deliberated for a total of 19 minutes in a Mena, Ark. courthouse before recommending that a drug-addicted mother be given the statutory maximum sentence of 20 years for introducing her newborn son to methamphetamine, The Polk County Pulse reported on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014.

Authorities were first contacted back in 2012 when medical staff discovered a pipe in the hospital room of Melissa Arms after she delivered her son. Employees confirmed that Arms and her husband had been acting erratically both before and after the birth.


After obtaining a search warrant, blood and urine samples were taken from both Arms and her newborn son, Joseph. The tests revealed that both the mother and her baby had high levels of methamphetamine in their systems.

The baby had numerous health problems, including symptoms of drug withdrawals, and after further probing by authorities, as well as the results of the blood and urine tests, Arms admitted to using meth both during and after the pregnancy.

One nurse testified that, while watching her newborn go through withdrawals, Arms tearfully admitted, “I did this to my child.”

But the jury was not impressed by her remorse.

“This case was about bringing attention to Joseph Arms and other babies who are being born addicted to controlled substances, and it was an important one” said Prosecuting Attorney, Andy Riner. “It seems that nothing is being done by the legislature to address this problem, and having begun to poke around the edges of the problem we have realized that it is much more common than we suspected.”



El Centro, Calif. – On Monday, El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents assigned to the El Centro station apprehended a suspected narcotics smuggler at the Greyhound bus station and seized more than two pounds of methamphetamine.

The incident occurred at approximately 7:15 a.m., when Border Patrol agents began questioning a suspicious occupant of an out-going bus, during a transportation check. During questioning, a 25-year-old female, United States citizen, became nervous and unable to answer the agent’s questions. The woman gave permission to search her luggage located in the overhead bin area and the search of her luggage revealed six plastic wrapped baton like objects. The items contained a substance later testing positive for methamphetamine. The woman was placed under arrest and transported to the El Centro station for processing.

The methamphetamine had an estimated street value of more than $67,000. The woman and narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation.

The El Centro Sector’s Community Awareness Campaign is a simple and effective program to raise public awareness on the indicators of crime and other threats. We encourage public and private sector employees to remain vigilant and play a key role in keeping our country safe. Please report any suspicious activity to the Border Community Threat Hotline (800) 901-2003.


SOMERVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Morgan County Sheriff’s deputies arrested four people Tuesday night in a meth bust that looks like it was taken from the scripts of the popular TV show “Breaking Bad.”

Deputies say the suspects were making meth in a recreational vehicle similar to how it’s done on the TV show.

Deputies were called to 813 Cotaco-Florette Road on Tuesday evening.  They say they arrived to find a small RV and smelled meth-making materials inside.  Agents with the Morgan County Drug Task Force say they recovered a one-pot meth lab, as well as chemicals used to make meth. They also found more than five ounces of meth in the RV.


Deputies arrested Randy and Ricky Teague, who are brothers.  Both are charged with unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of a felony drug and trafficking.  Each man’s bond is set at $802,500.

Stacy Rhodes and Christina Teague were also arrested.  Both are charged with loitering and have $300 bonds.

All four suspects were taken to the Morgan County Jail.

The Somerville Volunteer Fire Department was called in to decontaminate the suspects.



Some of D.C.’s top-dollar neighborhoods have become crime scenes in recent years, but not violent crimes.

D.C. Police say they have investigated “urban meth labs” throughout the city, notably in affluent areas like Dupont Circle (in 2012) and Columbia Heights, just last week.

“Everything is so small in the city. I know it’s a problem in the country… I didn’t think it was such an issue in the city,” one resident said.

Officers held a Meth Awareness Program Tuesday to alert residents –especially those in apartment buildings —  what kind of behavior their neighbors may exhibit if they’re cooking methamphetamine.

“We need to do something to educate the public on what’s going on around them,” Lt. Chris Avery said.

The following are considered “red flags:”

  • Dozens of decongestant pills
  • Large amounts of ripped apart lithium batteries
  • Multiple bottles of solvents like drain cleaner, nail polish remover or paint thinner
  • Bags of garden fertilizer
  • Smell of nail polish remover and cat urine