(CNN)—Bandidos, Hells Angels, Mongols. They’re not just motorcycle clubs, but organized criminal enterprises.

Now, after a biker gang shootout left nine people dead in Texas, many are wondering what such gangs really stand for.

Police haven’t identified the five biker gangs involved in Sunday’s deadly melee outside a Twin Peaks restaurant — other than to say they’re notorious.150517170336-waco-shooting-twin-peaks-medium-plus-169

“These are very dangerous, hostile biker gangs we are dealing with,” Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said.

Some men at the scene had the names and patches of motorcycle clubs emblazoned on their vests: Cossacks. Scimitars. Vaqueros.

While it’s not clear who else might be involved, here are some of the gangs federal authorities consider the most dangerous in the country:

Bandidos Motorcycle Club

The Bandidos boast a membership of 2,000 to 2,500 across not just the United States, but also 13 other countries, the Department of Justice says.

“The Bandidos constitute a growing criminal threat to the U.S.,” the agency says. “The Bandidos are involved in transporting and distributing cocaine and marijuana and are involved in the production, transportation and distribution of methamphetamine.”

The group’s website highlights its noncriminal endeavors, such as an Easter party in Germany and a toy drive in France.

Hells Angels Motorcycle Club

With over 230 chapters in the U.S. and 26 other countries, “Hells Angels pose a criminal threat on six continents,” the Department of Justice says.

Officials say the gang is heavily involved in the drug trade — including the production and distribution of methamphetamine and the transportation of cocaine, hashish, heroin, LSD, Ecstasy and PCP.

That’s not all. “The Hells Angels are also involved in other criminal activity including assault, extortion, homicide, money laundering and motorcycle theft,” the DOJ says.

The group, founded in 1948, says its average member rides over 12,000 miles a year.

“Each Charter varies in their requirements, but if you are really interested you should talk to a member in your area,” the Hells Angels website says. “If you have to ask where the nearest Charter is … you are not ready to join our Motorcycle Club,”

As for the name, “we know that there is an apostrophe missing but it is you who miss it. We don’t.”

Mongols Motorcycle Club

The Mongols club is an “extremely violent” outlaw motorcycle gang that poses a serious criminal threat to the Pacific and Southwest regions of the U.S., the Department of Justice says.

In fact, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have called the Mongols the most violent and dangerous motorcycle gang in the country.

“The Mongols are also known to frequently commit violent crime including assault, intimidation and murder in defense of their territory, and to uphold the reputation of the club,” the DOJ said.

The Mongols call themselves the “baddest 1%er Motorcycle Club known worldwide.”

“When we do right nobody remembers,” the group says. “When we do wrong nobody forgets.”

Outlaws Motorcycle Club

Arson, kidnapping, explosives, prostitution, homicide. Those are just some of the crimes the Outlaws have engaged in, the DOJ says.

The Outlaws started in the Chicago area in 1935. Federal authorities say they are now the dominant motorcycle gang in the Great Lakes area.

Their merchandise includes T-shirts with pictures of guns pointed at the viewer.

“Snitches are a dying breed,” one shirt says, with two guns firing.

And there’s a big rivalry between the Outlaws and Hells Angels.

“The Outlaws compete with the Hells Angels for both members and territory,” the DOJ says.

The Department of Justice also lists four other groups whose members “use their motorcycle clubs as conduits for criminal enterprises”: the Black Pistons Motorcycle Club, the Pagans Motorcycle Club, the Sons of Silence and the Vagos Motorcycle Club.


Over the last few years there has been increasing comment about the so-called “ice epidemic”, reaching near hysteria in sections of the media. But all is not what it seems.

Firstly, there has not been an increase in stimulant users. Instead, existing users have switched to a more concentrated new form; ice is around eight times as concentrated as the same amount of old forms of methamphetamine powder.methamphetamine

Surprisingly, there has been no price adjustment in the drug market for this more powerful product. Potent drugs like heroin, cocaine or meth have always been sold in the same units — points (0.1g), half weights (0.5g) or eight-balls (3.5g). Ice is sold in the same units as old meth and generally for the same price. Buyers are getting a bottle of wine when they buy a glass, a 1000cc super-bike instead of a 125cc trail bike.

The national surveys have not actually shown any increase in methamphetamine user numbers — if anything, the number of meth users has actually been falling over recent years. What has happened is the number of presentations with problems from stimulant use has increased: more ambulance call-outs, more hospital presentations and more people with severe psychiatric and medical illness.

The increased visibility of ice has not just fueled a wave of public concern, it has also provoked a political response. What do politicians do when they don’t know what to do? Well, they form a committee. If the problem is to do with drugs, then you give it a military-type name, like a task force. You get to be seen as both doing things and being tough at the same time. But this heavy-handed response may be up against some powerful market forces that are not so concerned with appearances.

The drug market is like any other market, constantly changing as new suppliers compete for consumers. Ice is an innovation for this market, and has changed the game.

Ice is synthetic: you do not need to take over a small country to grow it, like heroin or cocaine. It can be produced just about anywhere, from a personal to industrial scale, using a range of different pathways and readily available precursors, or ingredients. The final process in its production is crystallisation. The ice-like crystals produced always contain an extremely pure form of dextro-methamphetamine, almost regardless of the cook.

Ice is smoked or injected, the two ways of delivering the most rapid dose of a drug to the brain. It provokes a massive response directly to the most significant neurons in the human reward system. The brain’s response makes alcohol, other drugs, sex or even chocolate seem hardly worth the effort.

Users keep taking drugs because they find them rewarding, but even heroin users do not want to overdose. When you overdose on heroin, you stop breathing and die. Overdosing on ice is almost as disastrous.

To describe someone toxic on ice as paranoid is misleading. Ice overdose causes a form of psychosis where the person is irrationally hostile, disorganised and aggressive. With an ice psychosis, the affected user does not typically have complicated delusions about an individual known to them — the user is just threatened by anyone with whom he or she comes into contact. Combine this with severe agitation and boundless energy and you have a serious problem. All of the disastrous medical complications of ice, including strokes, cardiac ischaemia, cardiac arrhythmia and addiction increase rapidly as the dose reaches toxic concentrations.

Maybe we need to help users understand the dosing maths of ice. If it is eight times more concentrated, maybe users need to use one-eighth the amount. If a half weight of ice is the same as an eight-ball of speed, why not use it like it is? Meth users often have great social and psychological disadvantages but surely eight-times tables are not that hard.

We need to start the response to ice by educating existing users. We need to help them understand the much greater risks of overdose and toxicity of this concentrated form of methamphetamine.

Dr Philip Crowley is an addiction medicine specialist who works at two public hospitals in Adelaide and in private practice.

*This article was originally published at InDaily.


A former chemistry professor has been identified by Chinese police as part of a gang which cooked up synthetic drugs for sale nationwide, media reported Tuesday.methcathinone

The 50-year-old former academic surnamed Lu had “a set of recipes for producing methcathinone”, a drug similar to methamphetamine, which he provided to dealers, China Business News (CBN) reported.

Lu “worked as a professor of chemistry at a university” in Xian, the capital of the northern province of Shaanxi, before teaming up with a drug manufacturer surnamed Chen in 2013, CBN cited police as saying.

It was not clear whether Lu had been held but his alleged activities echo those of the fictional former professor Walter White, who sold crystal meth, a form of methamphetamine, in the hit US TV show Breaking Bad.

Police detained Chen and six other people after finding 128kg of methcathinone at a manufacturing facility in Shaanxi, along with 2,000kg of ingredients for the drug last May, the report added.

Chinese state media last week cited the government as saying the country has 14 million drug users, about 1% of the population, and their numbers had increased by an annual average of 36% in recent years.

Use of synthetic drugs, such as crystal meth and methcathinone, which can induce euphoric highs, are reported to be growing in rural areas.

Chinese authorities deployed helicopters, speedboats and paramilitary police to seize three tonnes of methamphetamine last year in a raid on a village in the southern province of Guangdong.

A Chinese police raid on the house of two methcathinone dealers in 2011 uncovered a pile of 80m yuan (about US$13m) in cash, reports said at the time.


A Northern Territory parliamentary committee into meth use has been told young people are using ice to control their weight and enhance sex.

It has also been told a nine-year-old child in the Top End town of Katherine has been found using the drug.

The information comes from the NT Council of Social Service (NTCOSS) submission to the Northern Territory inquiry, obtained exclusively by the ABC.6025226-3x2-340x227

The Government announced the NT Parliamentary Committee To Investigate Ice inquiry in March to investigate how widespread the use of ice – the street name for crystal methamphetamine – is in the Territory.

The inquiry will look at how other jurisdictions are handling the problem, and what the social impacts are in urban, regional and remote areas.

The NTCOSS submission said young people were using ice to heighten sexual experiences and as a way to control their weight.

It also said a nine-year-old child in the Top End town of Katherine had been found using the drug, and that there was a link between ice use and suicide.

Ice the ‘drug of choice’ among young

NTCOSS executive director Wendy Morton said the trends were disturbing.

“Ice is currently the drug of choice for many people in the Northern Territory, and it goes across all ages, working backgrounds, and across the Territory,” she said.

She said there was a lack of services to address substance abuse for young people.

“That is currently a really big gap in the NT, is services for young people who are dealing with alcohol, drugs, and mental health.”

The report also quotes anecdotal evidence that domestic violence and child protection cases were increasing as a result of ice.

It said there had been an increase in women seeking support from domestic violence services, due to their partner’s aggression from using ice and an increase in child protection and family law matters due to parental use of the drug.

“The impact of violence and the type of violence has increased,” Ms Morton said.

Women ‘selling sex for drugs’

A support group for the families of Darwin ice addicts said the findings were in line with what they’ve seen and heard.

The women said they knew of young women selling sex for drugs and said the situation was urgent.

They said in the past two months two young ice users had committed suicide in the Territory.

“I have people knocking on my door at three or four in the morning, who are suicidal, who just want to talk, how can we get off this?” Cynthia said.

The women were shocked there was no specific funding in the NT budget for the spread of the drug.

“I would have thought that the NT Government when handing down their budget they would have put a special announcement to allocate some funds for the ice epidemic here in the Territory,” Ms Hunter said.

Police ‘target cannabis users over ice’

The NTCOSS submission also raises concerns that a supply of ice is reaching remote communities from neighbouring mine sites.

Police say the hotel room was being used to make the drug ice.398320-3x2-340x227

“Several communities in the Top End have raised the increase in the use and availability of methamphetamine,” it said.

“There were reports that the clinic was broken into a few times and insulin needles were taken to administer ice intravenously.

“What locals have suggested is that the mine workers who introduced ice to locals were intravenous users so this was the only form of administration that they were taught [as opposed to smoking].”

The report also said police were targeting cannabis use and not responding to community concerns about ice use.

“What a lot of community members are complaining about is police in remote communities are not responsive to ice use [not believing the communities’ concerns] and focus heavily on cannabis supply,” it said.

“We also had a report from a client who is a cannabis smoker who reported that he went to a local cannabis dealer to purchase cannabis on a community near Darwin and was offered ice and shown how to smoke it.”

‘Stop the kids before they start’

The multi-billion-dollar Inpex gas project, St John Ambulance and the Territory Health Department have also made submissions to the NTCOSS report but they have not been made public.

The NT inquiry will conduct hearings later this year.

“This is about stopping that trajectory and bringing things into line and stomping on this, before we can’t,” said Nathan Barrett, chair of the NT Government’s inquiry.

Ms Hunter said educating children was the key to stopping the spread of the drug.

“What we need to do is get into schools make sure they understand the dangers of starting,” she said.

The national ice taskforce, created under the Prime Minister’s Office, will hold its hearing in Darwin on Wednesday – the second stop on its national tour.

It will speak to community services, and visit Darwin’s rehab centre.


The successful arrests of drug suspects is not necessarily the end of a police investigation, and following the money trail of three seemingly unrelated drug gangs has led police to a surprising outcome — not only are the gangs connected, but all are run by drug lords in Laos.

What police thought were home-grown domestic drug rings instead have turned out to be an international network of drug traffickers generating billions of baht in illicit income for drug bosses abroad.

It began in the first half of this year when police nabbed three major drug syndicates and seized millions of speed pills and crystal methamphetamine.

The officers apprehended suspects in separate operations, but after tracing the money trails, they found the gangs are part of a large network of interrelated sub-rings with links to suspected drug lords living in Laos, who received money transfers totaling some three billion baht from their minions.

“Usually we do not do [financial checks] for ordinary drug cases but these were big busts,” said a high-level policeman at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB). National police chief Somyot Pumpunmuang assigned NSB chief Pol Lt Gen Rewat Klinkeson to continue investigating the cases even though many suspects have already been caught, a source said.c1_564195_150518073646_620x413

Pol Gen Somyot aims for the complete eradication of the gangs so they cannot restart their drug trades in the future, the source said, adding that one way to do so is to investigate the suspects’ financial transactions and seize their assets. The investigation into one of the cases uncovered evidence revealing its link to a transnational drug syndicate masterminded from abroad.

It started with the arrest of three men in Bangkok on Jan 23 – Anuwat Sawisit, 29, Pvt 1st Class Rachan Lita, a 27-year-old former soldier, and Athit Ratinan, 35, when police confiscated 1.7 million methamphetamine pills and 36kg of crystal methamphetamine.

Mr Athit was a drug trafficking suspect wanted by the NSB for his previous alleged involvement in the drug trade.

In 2012, he was nabbed by Nonthaburi police for possession of drugs and fled while on bail, which led to a probe that eventually dismissed the four Nonthaburi Provincial Court judges who had granted him temporary release.

Investigators found Mr Athit continued to traffic drugs from China after his escape. He was finally arrested when he returned this year to a former drugs storehouse in Khlong Chan Villa 2 in Bung Kum district.

Pol Lt Gen Rewat said Mr Athit had “transferred [money] in a very complex way”.

Uncovering the trail exposed its connection to two other drug gangs, with three billion baht overall which was sent to Laos.

In the second case, police found a large cache of 2.9 million speed pills hidden in a six-wheel lorry left unattended at a petrol station in Pathum Thani’s Khlong Luang district on March 24.

Though no suspects were arrested, police identified the truck owner, a Thai national of Hmong descent, in northern Tak province’s Phop Phra district. Drug couriers exploited a flaw in police checkpoints by hiding drugs in piles of farm produce, as officers rarely check produce out of fear of causing damage, said police.

The last case, concerning a large drug gang led by Prachong Phueaknam, involved the arrest of three gang members on April 12 – Mafi Suriwong, 50, Sakkharin Kaeoamphai, 28, Wirat Burot, 31 – while they were allegedly delivering 300,000 speed pills while parked at a car park of the Lotus supermarket at the Liap Ram Intra expressway branch in Bangkok.

Further police work uncovered over two million pills and 14.8kg of crystal methamphetamine. Five more suspects – gang leader Prachong, 53, Phatthana Khemngoen, 39, Thaloengsak Rumchit, 46, and two Myanmar women – were then arrested.

Though the three cases at first appeared to be isolated, the money trail tied them together, the source said. Police are still checking whether the money changed hands again in Laos and has gone to other countries abroad. “From simple homegrown drug gangs we suspect this is an international drug ring,” the source said.


7797901_GIllegal drugs with a street value of more than $65,000 are off the streets, thanks to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office said 25-year-old Johnny Salamanca-Rodriguez of Santa Clara was parked in a red zone near the intersection of Bailard Avenue and Carpinteria, around 3:00 a.m. Sunday.

After an investigation, Salamanca-Rodriguez was arrested on a theft warrant out of Sunnyvale. Deputies said he was in possession of more than 5 pounds of methamphetamines and 1/4 pound of brown powder heroin. 7797904_G

Salamanca-Rodriguez was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail for Possession and Transportation of Heroin for Sales and Possession and Transportation of Methamphetamine for Sales.

His bail was set at $100,000.












The Stephens County Jail housed 186 inmates in April, 56 of which were female.

Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney said the county is seeing an increasing number of women.

“When they originally built the jail, they didn’t anticipate the number of female inmates we’d have,” McKinney said. “More women are committing violent crimes and a lot of females are using methamphetamine.”

McKinney said about 70 percent of the offenders have some sort of mental illness.

“A lot of the illness is self imposed by the use of drugs like methamphetamine,” he said.

He said while offenders may be arrested for other charges as well, a drug charge is often included.

It’s not just Stephens County with a high incarceration rate, particularly of females.

“Historically, Oklahoma has among the highest rates of female incarceration in the country,” Oklahoma Department of Corrections Communications Director Terri Watkins said.

Oklahoma incarcerates 127 women per 100,000 population, compared to the national average of 63, according to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections’ 2013 annual report.

Stephens County has among the higher rates of female incarceration rates in Oklahoma with 69 women per 100,000 female population, according to the DOC’s 2013 annual report.

In fiscal year 2013, 1,152 the Oklahoma Department of Corrections received 1,152 female offenders, 61 percent of which were determined to have a moderate to high need for substance-abuse treatment, according to the report.

The highest largest amount of receptions in 2013 were from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Comanche, Garfield and Stephens Counties, according to the report. Stephens County represented 31 of the 1,152 women incarcerated in 2013, according to a report.

The most common offense the women were arrested for across the state were drug related.

Over 17 percent of the offenses in 2013 were for possession or obtaining a controlled dangerous substance, 18.9 percent were for distributing a controlled dangerous substance and 13.1 percent were for assault, according to the report.

Additionally, 96 percent were unemployed at the time of arrest, and 78.3 percent of the offenders received in fiscal year 2013 had a history of or were being treated for a medical disorder, according to the report.

Education has also been identified as a need for many female offenders, 74.6 percent of the female offenders were identified with a need for basic education, according to the report.

While the number of incarcerated females in 2013 was high compared to the national average, the 1,152 women received that year was a decrease of 45 from 2012, according to the report.

Watkins said the Department of Corrections and lawmakers are increasingly working to use more substance abuse treatment programs and halfway houses to reduce incarceration.

The Department of Corrections’ Mabel Correctional Center offers a substance abuse treatment program and mental health services, and the Helping Women Recover program, which helps with substance abuse and trauma issues at the Eddie Warrior Correctional Center and the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center, according to the report.

The number of female offenders is on the rise across the country.

The female jail population has been the fastest growing correctional population since 2010, increasing by an average of 3.4 percent annually, according to the Bureau of Justice.

Women made up 14 percent of the jail population in 2013, an increase of about 11 percent since 2000, according to the Bureau of Justice.


When former priest David Rapson was ordained in 1982, he received a white cord known as a cincture, which fastens clerical vestments but also signifies chastity and purity in the Roman Catholic Church.

Not one for symbolism, Rapson used his cincture to restrain 16-year-old Ben Monagle, before he viciously raped the vulnerable student in 1990.1431871085548

Last week, the 61-year-old was jailed for at least nine years over the rape and sexual assault of six students, but did not express any remorse to his victims.

Despite a string of sexual assaults dating back to 1976, Rapson became vice-principal of a Catholic boarding school in Melbourne, where boys were routinely and ruthlessly abused by a group of priests and brothers from 1960 to 1990.

For legal reasons, neither the school nor the Catholic order can be named.

But Mr Monagle, 41, is determined to tell his tragic story of clerical abuse, which triggered more than 20 years of mental illness, drug abuse and crime. He is also considering legal action to sue the Catholic order, which until now has only paid for 14 counseling sessions.

“Someone needs to make them accountable. They keep saying they’re sorry, so why do they keep using lawyers to deny us justice and the chance at a fresh start?” Mr Monagle said.

Sadistic rape, corrective surgery

When summoned to Rapson’s office in July 1990, Mr Monagle knew what to expect.

The agricultural student had already been raped three times since starting at the college as a boarder in Year 10.

Rapson usually plied his victims with grog, cigarettes or spiked Milo, but dispensed with the inducements before his fourth and final attack.

“He pushed me over his desk. He then tied my hands up using a robe cord with tassels on the end. It was what the priests would tie around their waists. He tied my hands in front of me as I was lying on his desk. I was crying at the time. He told me to shut up,” Mr Monagle said in a statement to Victoria Police.

The sadistic rape “seemed to last for an hour” and at one point, Rapson twisted the boy’s testicles.

“I was screaming out in pain. That just seemed to make him go harder. I was in such agony and crying out. He then put a hanky in my mouth. All I could think about was Mum and Dad and how I wanted to go home.”

A month after the attack, Monagle required corrective surgery to his testicles that left him with 15 stitches and 8 staples.

Deeply traumatized, Mr Monagle left the Catholic college after Year 10. Within months, he dropped out of a wool-classing course at Essendon Tafe and fled the state in 1991 without a word of explanation to his family.

By the time Mr Monagle turned 17, he had been involved in a string of armed robberies in NSW and Queensland, and tasted methamphetamine for the first time.

Trapped by a fierce addiction for more than two decades, Monagle snorted, smoked and injected methamphetamines as his life lurched out of control.

When Mr Monagle’s son was born in October last year, he missed the birth. He was in the grip of a five day binge fuelled by ice and Valium, and was supposed to be in charge of his three young daughters when his wife went into labor.

Mr Monagle’s marriage broke down in February, his four children are now in the care of the Victorian Child Protection Service and he is undergoing an extensive rehabilitation program in Geelong.

“I’ve lost my wife and kids over this. I’ve been on the run for 20 years. I always felt he was coming for me and I’d self-destruct,” he said.

‘Sad and devastating case’

Geelong priest, Father Kevin Dillon, has provided unwavering support for Mr Monagle and his family, since they relocated to Victoria in 2013.

An outspoken critic of the Catholic Church’s response to clerical abuse, Fr Dillon says Mr Monagle’s case was the most egregious he had witnessed in 46 years as a priest.

“I have never seen such a sad and devastating case as this. And I do not exaggerate. From what I know, the devastation and total breakdown of both his personal life and that of his family is, in no uncertain terms, due to the abuse by David Rapson, a trusted priest and teacher,” Fr Dillon said.

Mr Monagle’s parents, Raymond and Mary, only learned of their son’s abuse in December 2012 – more than 20 years after he left school.

“Things finally made sense to us in that the path Ben’s life has taken was so different to what we had hoped for him. At least we had a reason why.

“Our family has lost count of the number of times we have reconciled with Ben for a new beginning, over the years, followed by his return to addictions,” Mrs Monagle said.

But she continues to grapple with her faith and the church’s treatment of her son.

“There is a complete lack of humanity. Not one person [from the order] ever contacted Ben to ask if he was okay. They are more connected with the law and protecting themselves. They seem to have forgotten the core values that come from the messages of the gospel,” Mrs Monagle said.

For help or information regarding sexual abuse, call the Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service 1800 737 732. Online you can visit www.1800respect.org.au


HENDERSON CO., KY (WFIE) – A Henderson County man was arrested on several felony warrants Friday evening.

Deputies say they found 19-year-old Matthew “Blake” Smithhart hiding at a Reed residence in the 7200 section of Reed-Bluff City Road.7791137_G

Investigators tell us Smithhart was involving in multiple crimes, including having sex with a 14-year-old female and supplying her with methamphetamine over a period of time.

Deputies say he was also involved in the thefts of two handguns and receiving stolen property.

Smithhart was arrested on the following charges:

  • Unlawful Transaction with a Minor 1st (Felony)-5 counts
  • Unlawful Transaction with a Minor 1st (Felony)-3 counts
  • Sexual Misconduct (Misdemeanor)-9 counts
  • Theft by Unlawful Taking (Firearm) (Felony)
  • Receiving Stolen Property Under $500 (Misdemeanor)

Smithhart was lodged in the Henderson County Detention Center under a $28,000 full cash bond.


When officers stopped a van Friday afternoon in Jacksonville, the man and woman inside allegedly were cooking methamphetamine in the vehicle, according to a release by Jacksonville Police Department.

Camille Victor Careme Jr., 48, of no known address was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine by chemical synthesis and maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance.methstop

Cynthia Lowe, 35, also of no known address was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine by chemical synthesis.

At 4:23 p.m. Friday, a Jacksonville patrol officer observed a “traffic violation” and stopped a white Chevy Astro Van in a parking lot on Yopp Road.

After occupants consented for a search of the van, “the officer located what he believed to be an active methamphetamine ‘cook’ in the vehicle,” according to the release.

Detectives from Jacksonville Police Department responded and confirmed the van held an “active meth lab,” according to the release. “Jacksonville Fire and Emergency Services personnel responded to decontaminate the occupants of the vehicle.”

State Bureau of Investigation was contacted and the agency advised officers to secure the van for processing.

Careme’s bond was set at $105,000 secured.

Lowe’s bond also was set at $105,000 secured.


Twenty years ago Sunday, Shawn Nelson stole a tank from a National Guard armory, rumbled across a San Diego neighborhood and into the realm of legend.

A police helicopter and TV news crews captured this 23-minute rampage, from the crushed cars to the shocking conclusion when police lifted the mortally wounded Nelson out of the M-60.tankhijackA012616_t837

Viewers around the world couldn’t believe their eyes. They had just seen — well, what?

This local news story was rapidly transformed into a universal symbol. Nelson’s ill-fated ride became a saga about the middle class under siege; a fable about the emasculation of American men; a warning about what happens when ex-servicemen, lacking foreign enemies and domestic opportunities, bring the war home.

“The most interesting stories in any culture,” said Dean Nelson, director of Point Loma Nazarene University’s journalism program and no relation to Shawn Nelson, “are the ones that also point us to bigger stories.”

Is this a bigger story? And does it have a moral?

Jerry Sanders, who was police chief in 1995, has no opinion on the first question — “I’ll leave that up to the sociologists” — but has considered the second. In his view, the lesson here was meant for the National Guard: “Don’t leave the batteries and keys in the tank.


A neighborhood kid, Shawn grew up in Clairemont and attended Madison High before enlisting in the Army. Trained at Fort Knox, Ky., he served in a tank battalion in West Germany. His two-year hitch included what the military called “multifaceted” disciplinary problems before he was honorably discharged in 1980.

He came home to the American dream.

“We had a pretty good life for six years,” said his former wife, Suzy Hellman. “We owned a home, he was a successful plumber and I was a legal secretary. We had it made.”

Not for long. Nelson’s parents died — his mother, Betty, in 1988; his father, Fred, in 1992. At the same time, Nelson’s behavior became erratic.

“He was spiraling out of control with methamphetamines and alcohol,” Hellman said.

She filed for divorce in 1990. That same year, a motorcycle accident left Nelson with neck and back injuries. While being treated at Sharp Memorial Hospital, Nelson tried to walk out. He later filed a malpractice suit.

By 1995, Nelson’s van and tools had been stolen, his utilities had been turned off, and he had lost his latest girlfriend. He was often drunk or high on methamphetamine. As a bank began foreclosure proceedings, Nelson sank a 17-foot-deep shaft into his backyard, telling friends he had struck gold.

Most just saw a mound of dirt.

On May 17, 1995, Nelson drove through an open gate at the armory on Mesa College Drive and started an M-60. Clanking down neighborhood streets, he left behind a trail of crushed cars, disemboweled RVs, geysering fire hydrants. Heading south on state Route 163, the tank was surrounded by police cruisers who kept pace but could do little else.

Sanders, a SWAT commander during the 1984 McDonald’s massacre in San Ysidro, had never seen anything like this.

“I don’t know that anybody could have predicted that somebody — no matter what his problems — would get in a tank and go rampaging,” he said. “Thank God that Paul Paxton was on duty that day.”tank_rampage_r620x349

A military reservist with tank experience, Officer Paxton was ready when Nelson tried to drive over the highway median. With the M-60 marooned on that barrier, Paxton and others climbed onto the hull. They opened the hatch and called down to Nelson, ordering him out. He looked up, then went back to the tank’s controls.

Officer Rick Piner fired one shot. Paramedics tended Nelson when he was pulled from the tank, but the wound was fatal.

At home and abroad, broadcasters airing this dramatic footage stressed one theme: insanity. (In one segment, a British reporter referred to Nelson as “madman,” “deranged driver,” “enraged outlaw,” “maniac,” “lunatic.”)

Others, though, agreed with Hellman. This was a man undone by addiction.

Amphetamines makes people nuts and aggressive and violent,” said Dr. Mark Kalish, a San Diego psychiatrist. “You could call 100 guys who deal in this field and 99 would tell you — this guy was on amphetamines.”

War at home

Methamphetamine users, Kalish said, are prone to heart attacks, strokes and delusions. Some become convinced that random innocents are evildoers who must die — or that the users themselves must commit suicide.

“Give me a heroin user any time over amphetamines,” the psychiatrist said.

Because addictions have plagued humanity for eons, Kalish has little patience for those who see Nelson’s tragedy as a symbol of late 20th century economic woes.

“What the hell,” Kalish asked, “does this have to do with the demise of the middle class?”

The loss of middle-class jobs — including those at San Diego’s defunct General Dynamics plant — is central to “Cul de Sac: A Suburban War Story.” This 2002 documentary from Coronado native Garrett Scott presented North Clairemont as a neighborhood of deteriorating homes and dashed hopes, whose residents deadened their pain with drugs and alcohol.

“Those were some dark times for San Diego,” said Lambert Devoe, who worked on the film with Scott, who died from a heart attack in 2006. “In one year, 40,000 engineers were laid off from General Dynamics.”

Susan Faludi, the feminist writer, struck a similar chord in “Stiffed.” In this 1999 book, Faludi argued that powerful forces had betrayed the American male — so one American male chose to fight back.

“If a man could not get the infrastructure to work for him,” Faludi wrote, “he could at least tear it down. If a nation would not provide an enemy to fight, he could go to war at home. If there was no brotherhood, he would take his stand alone. Shawn Nelson’s sense of desperation, if not his actions, were shared by many men of his generation.”

“I just find that ridiculous,” said Nelson’s ex-wife. “We had it all, early on. He was an intelligent man who had a great way with customers.

“He just abused drugs. That’s it.”


If the war came home, you can’t prove it by Nelson’s old home. On the street where he lived, some houses are fading, while others — including the one where Nelson lived — have been refurbished.

“It’s completely changed,” said Gary Karns, a computer systems sales manager who bought the house on Willamette Street in 1998. “It’s been upgraded quite a bit.”

Karns and his wife renovated a bathroom, moved and expanded the kitchen, installed a cathedral ceiling, planted roses. The mine shaft has been filled in, the ghosts exorcised.

While local crime rates have dropped, Karns said it’s still a neighborhood concern: “It’s Clairemont, it’s not La Jolla.”

That’s true. In the first three months of 2015, North Clairemont reported fewer rapes, armed robberies, residential burglaries and vehicle thefts than La Jolla. North Clairemont had more assaults and thefts.

Perhaps there’s no larger lesson here. “Sometimes terrible things just happen,” said Point Loma Nazarene University’s Nelson. “Rather than trying to put this into a paradigm that proves a point you were trying to make, sometimes you just need to grieve.”

To those who knew him, Shawn Nelson was neither statistic nor symbol. He was a man whose life was not defined by a single baffling episode, or transformed into an object lesson.

“He was a wonderful person,” Hellman said.

“Everybody liked him — he was funny and he was smart,” said Tim Biers, a friend since childhood. “Shawn had some downers in his life, but Shawn was a lucky guy. His luck just ran out.”


ELKO – A local man and woman were arrested Friday on multiple charges after police found about two ounces of meth and credit cards that were recently stolen from a local business.

Bail for Brandon Sparks and Kami Fobes exceeded $300,000 each.54e53684dc534_preview-620

Police were called to a local hotel on a report of two people staying in a room who were not registered as guests.

Fobes answered the door and when officers searched the room they found Sparks hiding on the floor by the bed.

Police had encountered Sparks in February when he fled a traffic stop on Lamoille Highway. A pistol was later found near the scene.

Officers also found a loaded gun Friday at the hotel, near the bed where Sparks was hiding. The gun was later determined to have been stolen.

The room’s registered guest was not present, so officers got a search warrant.

Besides the stolen credit cards, police found about 12.75 grams of meth in a small pouch, a small amount under the bed, and approximately 2 ounces of meth with packaging materials inside the small refrigerator in the room. They also found a small amount of marijuana, a ballistic armor vest, and other items that were believed to have been stolen.

Sparks was arrested on a felony warrant and charges of trafficking a controlled substance, possession of stolen property, possession of meth for sale, ex-felon in possession of a firearm, and conspiracy to violate the uniform controlled substances act. Bail was set at $337,500.

Fobes, also known as Kami Fonnesbeck, was arrested on similar charges, along with four counts of possession of credit card without the owner’s consent. Her bail was set at $330,000.

Police did not indicate whether the room’s registered guest was under investigation.


OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Two men were arrested after a child protective services check brought members of the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department to a residence where deputies say meth was being made.

Deputies were assisting Children’s Protective Services with an investigation in the 8000 block of Beechwood Dr. Friday after receiving information of possible meth production in a residence where a child was present.

Two male individuals and a child were located by deputies inside the residence.  Multiple methamphetamine labs were also allegedly found inside- along with what Deputies are calling “components and suspected finished product.”

One of the men located in the home, a 27-year-old from Kalamazoo, was arrested on outstanding warrants that involved meth.  The other man was a 20-year-old from Kalamazoo.

The child was removed by Children’s Protective Services and authorities say that charges will be sought against multiple subjects when the investigation is concluded.


Gulf, N.C. — Five people were arrested Saturday after authorities said they found two methamphetamine labs in Chatham County.

Deputies said one of the labs was located in a shed behind 20 Alton King Road in Gulf, and the second was found in the trunk of a vehicle at the home.1-512x242

Jordan Olivia Newell, of Goldston, Ronald Dustin Kimrey, of Haw River, and Jason Eugene Sloan, Jody Wayne Sloan, and Marian Sloan, of Gulf, were charged with manufacturing meth, felony possession meth, maintaining a dwelling, possession of precursors with intense to manufacture meth.

The group faces a total of 30 felony charges.

All five suspects are scheduled to appear in court June 8.


Seoul prosecutors indicted three alleged methamphetamine traffickers Sunday, in what a prosecutor described as a “groundbreaking” case.south-korea-jpg20150517132431

The South Korean suspects are accused of smuggling the highly addictive drug from North Korea.

“It is the first time North Korean agents were found to have been involved in the production of methamphetamine, although there have been rumors North Korea tried to get foreign currency by selling meth,” the prosecutor was quoted as saying by local news agency Yonhap.

The suspects were allegedly contacted by a North Korean agent in 1996.

They are then suspected of producing 70 kilograms of meth in the North’s Hwanghae Province in 2000 – although there is reportedly no evidence of the drug being sold in the South.

South Koreans are officially barred from travelling to North Korea without permission – the two countries remain technically in a state of conflict, as they never signed a peace treaty after the 1950-53 Korean War.

Despite widespread claims that North Korean meth has made its way into China and the United States, Pyongyang has in the past denied such activities.

“The illegal use, trafficking and production of drugs which reduce human beings into mental cripples do not exist [in North Korea],” the North’s state news agency said in 2013.

Last year, a report published by the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea asserted that Pyongyang has been producing illegal drugs since the 1970s as a form of finance.

One of the three suspects also stands accused of working with Pyongyang in a plot to assassinate former North Korean Workers’ Party secretary Hwang Jang-yop.

Hwang defected to South Korea in 1997, but died of natural causes in 2010.


Lori-Whitley-jpgZEBULON, NC – A Wake County school teacher and her husband were arrested Friday after a methamphetamine lab was found in their Zebulon home  — where their young son was also present, the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office said.

Lori Riley Whitley, 38, and Gary Nelson Whitley, 41, of the 100 block of Big Branch Court, were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, maintaining a dwelling for distribution of a controlled substance and child abuse.

Deputies say the couple’s 8-year-old son was in the home.


Lori Whitley works as third-grade a teacher at Wendell Elementary School, Wake County Schools said. She was suspended with pay starting Friday.7785461_G

Wake County schools officials say Whitley has been a third-grade teacher at Wendell Elementary School since 2002.


Meth lab found in teacher’s home, deputies say

ZEBULON, N.C. —Deputies say they found a meth lab inside the home of a 38-year-old elementary school teacher near Zebulon.

Johnston County deputies said the equipment to make methamphetamine was found Friday morning when officers served a search warrant on the home.

Investigators said Lori Whitley and her husband, Gary, 41, face a number of charges including manufacturing methamphetamine and child abuse.

Deputies say the couple’s 8-year-old son was in the home.

Wake County schools officials said Whitley has been a third-grade teacher at Wendell Elementary School since 2002.


BUSTI, N.Y. (WKBW) – Two people are facing charges after meth was found in two trailers at a Southern Tier mobile home park. Two small children were also living in one of the trailers.IMG_1304_1431715960065_18268909_ver1_0_640_480

Around 9 p.m. on Thursday, members of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force raided two trailers at the Bosco Trailer Park on Busti Sugargrove Road in the Town of Busti. Authorities say both trailers were being used to make, store and sell meth.

Edward Olsen, 23, was arrested as he tried to flee one of the trailers while officers entered through another door. Inside the trailer, officers found a meth lab, 55 ounces of meth oil, five shotguns and rifles, and the items needed to make more meth.

He has been charged with second degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.IMG_1305_1431715960041_18268908_ver1_0_640_480

Officers entered the other trailer, where they found 23-year-old Sarah Deering and two small children. Inside the trailer was evidence of meth, marijuana, along with two more shotguns.

Authorities say the conditions in the trailer were deplorable. Child Protective Services responded and took the children.

Deering and Edward Olsen are charged with two counts each of endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful possession of marijuana.

During the raid, officers located 29-year-old Brian Olsen and took him into custody on an outstanding warrant. He and Edward Olsen were taken to the Chautauqua County Jail. Deering is free pending a court date.

Additional charges are pending against Edward Olsen.

Both trailers have been deemed uninhabitable and were sealed.


TEMPLE (May 15, 2015) Temple police seized more than 46 grams of methamphetamine and arrested two men and a woman in an early-morning raid Thursday at a home in the 900 block of South 23rd St., police said Friday.Janet-Tomme-Temple-Meth-Bust

Devon Juergens, 22, of Temple, was arrested at the scene on outstanding warrants and officers detained Russell Parrish, 53, and Janet Tomme, 43, both of Temple, who were charged Friday with possession of a controlled substance over 4 ounces with intent to distribute.

All three were in the Bell County Jail Friday afternoon.

Juergens’ bond was set at $10,000.


Bonds had not been set for Parrish and Tomme, according to online jail records.


A man and two women were charged Monday after methamphetamine and other drugs were seized at a home in Manchester, the Meriwether County Sheriff said Friday.

The suspects were identified as Joshua Vernon Phillips, 35, Linda Marie Phillips, 49, and Kathryn Nicole Speigal, 26, of Harmony Church Road. Both Phillips are charged with one count each of possession of meth with intent to distribute and possession of Xanax. In addition to meth, Speigal faces one count of possessing hydrocodone, Xanax and methadone.

Sheriff Chuck Smith said the Phillips were out on bond on similar drug charges from a Nebula Road search when the second charges were filed.

“While out on bond, they just moved locations and set up shop using and selling drugs again at this Harmony Church Road location,” the sheriff said in a release. “Linda Phillips has a violation of probation out of Jacksonville, Fla., and Florida has extradited her back down there on their charges. We will get her back once this case has been indicted and ready for prosecution.”

Joshua Phillips is held without bond in the Meriwether County Jail and Speigal is held on $35,000 bond.

The Department of Family and Children Services was contacted after two small children were found in the home.


A Dallas man was arrested Tuesday after police said they found more than two pounds of GHB, a cache of weapons and baggies of methamphetamine in his car and home.

Paul Roland Schrimsher, 47, will be charged with possession of methamphetamine, unlawfully carrying a weapon and manual delivery of 1,167 grams (more than 2.5 pounds) of GHB. The drug is a depressant: it’s used in raves, to allow steroid-using body builders to get a deep restorative sleep and as a date-rape drug, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.Paul-Schrimsher-241x300

Schrimsher was pulled over in his black 2000 Mercedes S430V coming out of a suspected drug location — his home in the 4800 block of the N. Central Expressway.

Police say his vehicle registration was expired. They asked him for permission to search his car. He said no. They called out a K-9 to give the car a good sniff. The dog pointed officers to a back left passenger door crease.

Stashed in various places, bags and shoes in the car, police said they found: glass methamphetamine and marijuana pipes, digital scales, razors, syringes, a metal grinder, four cellphones, two laptops, an iPad, numerous bottles — including Gatorade and 5-Hour Energy packaging – filled with GHB.

Police also said they found a Colt .45, a Colt .32, a Colt .25, a Kimber .45, a Smith and Wesson .40, a 20-gauge shotgun, four knives and loads of ammo.

In his home, police seized methamphetamine, more ammo, more bottles of GHB, more marijuana, two more laptops, another iPad and two external hard drives.

Schrimsher has been charged with manual delivery of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and unlawful carrying of a weapon. His bail is set at $27,500. He has no listed attorney on record.

Dallas Police Deputy Chief Vernon Hale, who oversees narcotics, said he hasn’t seen any noticeable GHB trends in Dallas.

He said he didn’t know much about the case, but said every drug, no matter how often it appears, has a supplier.

“Hopefully that will put a dent in the market,” Hale said of the arrest.

Schrimsher’s only previous criminal history is a 2004 theft-by-check charge in Collin County. He received probation.


A major drug bust in Rochester has ended in three arrests, criminal charges against two of the suspects, and the seizure of nearly half a million dollars in methamphetamine.

The suspects had apparently been under watch by multiple agencies in a two-state investigation, with authorities finally pouncing on them after a “scheduled drug buy” in a parking lot on Wednesday, the Post Bulletin reports.

The paper says the meth – nearly 20 pounds of it – was found inside a vehicle belonging to one of the suspects, but not without a bit of a fight.

Driver Adan Margritos Flores-Lagonas fled in the vehicle and briefly led police on a high-speed chase before losing control of the car in a field, surrendering himself shortly thereafter, according to ABC 6.

He is currently in custody in Olmsted County, where he’s been charged with attempting to evade officers – and felony possession of a pistol, apparently having had a prior firearm conviction, the county website indicates.

ABC 6 says the value of the seized meth is an estimated $432,000, though the Post Bulletin says it’s worth about $1 million.

Either way, the suspects are potentially facing serious consequences. Under state law, the sale of ten grams of more of “any mixture of substance containing methamphetamine” can carry a penalty of up to 30 years’ in prison, not to mention hefty fines.


A West Monroe woman was booked for numerous drug charges early Friday after Ouachita Parish sheriff’s authorities found her to be in possession of several forms of narcotics inside her residence, some hidden under her 4-year-old son’s bed.B9317363358Z_1_20150515122713_000_GASAQ1GFV_1-0

Deputies conducted an investigation at a residence in the 100 block of Olive Lane and found Felisha Wall to be in possession of approximately two grams of suspected methamphetamine laying under the edge of the bed where her son was laying. Deputies found a subscription bottle in her purse with six suspected Xanax pills and 34 Alprazolan pills. She had numerous outstanding warrants for possession of a controlled dangerous substance.

She was booked on possession of methamphetamine, Xanax, Alprazolan, marijuana and possession of a controlled dangerous substance in the presence of a juvenile. She was also booked on warrants for possession of Clonazepam, methamphetamine, Chlordiazepoxide and Xanax.


A Rohnert Park man has been arrested on suspicion of molesting the 12-year-old daughter of an ex-girlfriend, police said Thursday.

Hector Farias, 45, was booked into Sonoma County Jail on Wednesday morning on child sex and drug charges, Sgt. Jeff Justice said.

Police began looking into the case after Farias dropped off the girl at her mother’s Santa Rosa house Tuesday night after taking her to dinner, Justice said. The two had continued a father-daughter relationship after Farias and her mother separated, he said.

When the girl got home, she told her mother Farias gave her a drink “laced with something” and sexually assaulted her, Justice said.

She also said other girls were being held against their will at a Santa Cruz Way home, he said.

Detectives searched the house as well as Farias’ Enterprise Drive apartment but found no evidence of other victims, he said.

But they found evidence marijuana was being grown and sold at the house, Justice said.

Farias was booked on suspicion of having sexual intercourse with a child under 16, oral copulation with someone under 14, and penetration with a foreign object by force or fear, Justice said.

He also was charged with possession of methamphetamine, he said.

His bail was set at $100,000.












SCOTTS VALLEY (BCN) — A traffic stop in Scotts Valley on Tuesday led to a woman being arrested for drugs twice in two days, according to police.

Officers conducted a false registration traffic stop on a Toyota Celica and found the driver, identified as had an outstanding warrant for felony burglary, police said.

During a search of the vehicle, officers found methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, police said. Perry was arrested on the outstanding warrant and on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia.

Perry was released from the Santa Cruz County Jail on Wednesday, and officers then conducted a probation search of the hotel room where she was staying. During the search, officers found 65.9 grams of methamphetamine and items consistent with drug sales, police said.

Perry was arrested again, this time on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance for sale and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Another woman in the room at the time of the search, identified as Kathleen Feddema, 46, was found in possession of methamphetamine, police said. Feddema was cited for alleged possession of a controlled substance and was released at the scene, according to police.


33efdad8b156b62ce77a940d115006db_S26-year-old Telitha Nicole Shull of U.S. Highway 70 SW in Hickory was arrested today (Thursday, May 14) by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers. She’s charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Following the arrest, Shull was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $7,000 bond, a Superior Court appearance is scheduled for Friday (May 15).