A 53 year-old Sturgis man remains in the intensive care unit at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo after being seriously burned late Monday in a methamphetamine lab explosion.
Sturgis police and fire personnel were called to a home in the 200 block of North Centerville Road around 8 p.m. Monday to find the man in a shower with second- and third-degree burns over a large portion of his body.
Police said a one-pot meth lab the man was holding exploded in the basement of a home, causing him to catch fire. He was taken to Sturgis Hospital, then airlifted to the Kalamazoo facility.A second person at the home fled prior to the arrival of emergency personnel, police said.
The case is being reviewed by the St. Joseph County prosecutor.

Harriett and Palmo Simmons have lived on Jadwin Street in Springfield Township for almost three years, and the neighborhood has always been pretty quiet.

Until Wednesday night, that is.


A methamphetamine lab exploded on the 8300 block of Jadwin Wednesday night, sparking a blaze that caused significant damage to the home, just four or five houses down from the Simmons.

“This is unbelievable,” Palmo Simmons said. “I never thought nothing like this (would ever happen.)”

Asst. chief of Springfield Township police Rob Browder said that when crews arrived on scene at about 6:30 p.m., one man came running out of the house. According to emergency dispatchers, he was covered in chemicals.

The man then told officers of the meth lab inside.

The man was transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. The extent of his injuries are unknown.

“No one else was in the home,” Browder said. “The home was searched by fire personnel.”

Almost three hours later, smoke was still coming from the house. The fire was extinguished, but several crews remained on scene at 8:30 p.m.

“At this point we do have a cleanup team that specializes in this type of incident on the scene here to begin their work,” Browder said.

Officers had to shut down several road surrounding the scene to protect passers by from the chemicals. Browder said Compton Road and Galbraith Road will both remained closed to traffic beginning at Vine Street for two to four more hours.

Initial visual inspections indicated that no surrounding homes were damaged in the blast. Residents who live nearby will be allowed back in their homes, despite the streets being blocked.

Four police officers, two fire officers and one paramedic were also transported to area hospitals to be examined and decontaminated.

“This is just a precautionary measure to make sure they weren’t exposed to any of the chemicals used to make the methamphetamine,” Browder said.

It is too early in the investigation to discuss charges for the man involved, he said.

Harriett Simmons was in her basement and didn’t hear the explosion, but came up when she saw all the emergency crew’s lights.

“I could see the flames from my porch, and all I could say was, ‘Please Lord, no bodies,'” she said. “It sends chills, it really does.”

Both floors of the house where the explosion occurred sustained significant damage, Browder said, although an exact cost estimate is not yet known.


MURFREESBORO — The Murfreesboro Police Department confirmed as methamphetamine lab was found Wednesday morning behind a fast food restaurant on Old Fort Parkway.

An employee at the Zaxby’s on Old Fort discovered the mobile meth lab inside a backpack.

“MPD Meth Task Force officers rendered the mobile lab safe and disposed of the lab with the assistance of the Tennessee Meth Task Force,” Public Information Officer Kyle Evans said.

Evans said investigators suspect the backpack and its contents were abandoned in the restaurant’s parking lot after the drugs were made.

There are no suspects at this time.







BERTRAM, Texas (KXAN) – Federal, state and local authorities on Wednesday arrested 15 people and seized 70 firearms in raid on a methamphetamine operation based in Burnet County.


The raid was carried out on two properties with agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the Texas Department of Public Safety and several local outlets. More than 8,000 rounds of ammunition and $10,000 in cash were seized along with two ounces of methamphetamine officials said.

“The searched properties were the residences of Jimmy Don Hardin and Glen Alexander, who were among those arrested,” DPS said in a news release. “During the past six months, (investigators) identified Hardin and associates as suspects in the alleged distribution of methamphetamine in Williamson, Burnet, Llano, Travis, Bell, Blanco, Lampasas, and Bastrop counties.

Agents also identified nearly 70 individuals either directly selling or using methamphetamine allegedly purchased from Hardin and associates, DPS added. Those arrested were charged with engaging in organized criminal activity.

The Burnet County Sheriff’s office told KXAN early Wednesday that an active investigation was under way on Farm to Market 243 North in Bertram.

Participating agencies in the operation included the Burnet County District Attorney’s Office, Burnet County Sheriff’s Office, Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office, Austin Police Department, Cedar Park Police Department, Bertram Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Neighbors told KXAN they heard what sounded like explosions around 6 a.m. that woke them from sleep and that they saw cars and officers from several law enforcement agencies near East Moeller Street and North Grange Street. The scene is about two blocks away from Bertram Elementary School.

In late November, DPS agents working with the Burnet County District Attorney’s Office prepared two search warrants for methamphetamine and 24 arrest warrants for engaging in organized criminal activity, the state agency said.

Those arrested in the raids were:

Jimmy Don Hardin, 42, of Bertram
Amy Jo Borseth, 40, of Bertram
Timothy Steven Blackard, 44, of Bertram
Glen Winston Alexander, 70, Bertram
Abel Cardoso, 52, of Dallas
Guillermo Reyna, 55, of Bastrop
Kimberly Ann Weston, 38, of Burnet
Elizabeth Hope Burch, 48, of Llano
Gary Randall Holland, 36, of Bertram
Nichole Alexander Hernandez, 32, of Liberty Hill
Edward Dwaine Holder, 50, of Liberty Hill
Christopher Castillo, 41, of Burnet
Cheyloh Jesse James Mather, 33, of Liberty Hill
Bonnie Hardin Raines, 64, of Llano
Joy Ashley Perez, 28, of Liberty Hill


Two people were arrested Tuesday after an alleged attempt to manufacture methamphetamine in May went up in flames.

Forty-two-year-old Dawn M. Royea, of Auburn, and 44-year-old Daniel M. Van Luven, of Moravia, were picked up on indictment warrants Tuesday on charges related to the manufacture of methamphetamine.


Each was charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, two counts of second-degree criminal manufacturing of methamphetamine and criminal possession of precursors to methamphetamine, all felonies.

The two were also charged with first-degree criminal possession of methamphetamine manufacturing materials and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child, all misdemeanors.

The indictment warrants were issued by the Cayuga County Court earlier this week following a positive test for methamphetamine from evidence found from a prior incident in May, according to the Auburn Police Department.

Police said it was around 4:55 a.m. on May 9 when the Auburn Fire Department responded to a reported grease fire at the Brogan Manor Apartments on Olympia Avenue in Auburn. Firefighters discovered Royea and Van Luven with severe burns in Royea’s apartment, A16 Brogan Manor Apts.

Police said children were present in the apartment where the incident occurred, but they were unharmed.

The two claimed they had sustained the burns from a grease fire started from cooking chicken wings, police said. Responders grew suspicious of the claims partly due to the lack of physical evidence of a fire at the scene.

“The male subject said ‘Oh, I took the pan and threw it off into the woods,'” said Capt. David Delfavero of the APD.

The two were transported to Upstate University Hospital to treat their injuries. On the heels of the suspicious reports, the fire department called in police investigators to inspect if there was any evidence of criminal activity.

Officers canvassed the apartment complex and questioned witnesses. Police said one witness heard a man screaming “it’s on fire” in the housing complex’s courtyard.

Another witness reported to seeing Royea on fire, rolling around on the ground and screaming. Police said the witness reportedly helped Royea and the two managed to put the fire out on her clothes.

After further investigation, police found two 2-liter bottles in a wooded area near the complex with evidence of methamphetamine.

“Looked like the bottles were being used for the one-pot method of cooking methamphetamine,” Delfavero said.

The narcotics unit of APD worked in a joint investigation with the Cayuga County Sheriff’s office and the state Department of Environmental Conservation during the case.

The bottles were sent to a state facility to test for the illegal substance, police said, and results were positive. With the test results in hand, the matter was put before a grand jury and the indictment warrants were subsequently issued.

Van Luven was arrested at his Moravia apartment, 6247 Lacey Rd. Apt. 5, late Tuesday night. He was remanded to Cayuga County Jail pending arraignment.

Royea is an inmate at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women. She was sentenced on Oct. 22 in Cayuga County Court to 1 to 3 years in prison for drunk driving.

The Auburn woman was arraigned at Cayuga County Court Tuesday morning and remanded back to the custody of the correctional facility.







FARGO – A Horace woman is charged with felony drug possession after an officer responding to a car crash discovered the woman bleeding from her vagina, a result of what turned out to be a broken methamphetamine pipe.


Jeana Marie Smart, 26, was charged Monday in Cass County District Court with one count of Class C felony possession of drug paraphernalia.

Court documents filed with the case state that Officer Michael Benton was called Sunday to a rear-end crash in the 3500 block of Main Avenue.

Smart had allegedly hit another car that had slowed down for westbound traffic.

Smart also had an unrelated warrant out on drug and drug paraphernalia charges, and Benton arrested her.

As the pair left the squad car, the police report states Benton noticed blood where Smart sat. Smart said she was menstruating.

The report states blood continued dripping down her legs and onto the jail floor inside the booking area.

A search allegedly revealed a broken glass meth or crack pipe and a capped syringe within Smart’s vagina.

She was taken to Essentia Health’s emergency room, where medical staff removed additional broken glass.

Her bail was set at $2,000.









Police found a man eating rocks and talking about methamphetamine while he was with two children in a park near a Des Moines school, officials said.

Lincoln High School students saw Michael David Sutton, 35, of Des Moines, in MacRae Park around 1:30 p.m. Monday, police reports show. They told a school resource officer that Sutton, who was with two children, was eating rocks and talking about meth.

Officers reportedly found Sutton standing in the road, eating something off the ground.

The officer pulled up next to Sutton and asked what he was eating, authorities said.

“Rocks,” Sutton reportedly responded.

The officer asked Sutton if he thought it was odd to be eating rocks, police reports show.

Well, they are small rocks,” Sutton said, according to police reports.

Sutton said he was leaving, got into a car with the two boys, ages 4 and 5, and began to drive away, authorities said. The car didn’t have working brake lights, and officers pulled Sutton over.

They found a meth pipe in his pocket, and Sutton admitted to using meth the night before. He said he could still feel the effects.

Sutton was arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, two counts of child endangerment, two counts of failing to secure a child, failure to have a valid license or insurance, operating a non-registered vehicle and having an improper rear lamp.

He remained jailed Tuesday night.

The boys were taken to their mother.


A CRYSTAL meth or ice epidemic is building on Australia’s doorstep and experts are warning it could bring with it a surge in drug availability here and a rise in HIV cases.

More than 4,400 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and 94 million pills were seized in South East Asia in recent years, while the number of ecstasy pills captured tripled to 5.5 million.

A report by the Australian National Council on Drugs has found a significant ice and methamphetamine manufacturing and distribution hub emerge in South East Asia.

“Myanmar remains noted as the major manufacturer of Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS) in the Southeast Asia region and the testing of ATS pills seized in Thailand suggests that up to 12 large-scale manufacturing operations are located in the Golden Triangle area, where Myanmar, Lao PDR and Thailand meet,” the report says.

In 1999 there were approximately 300 clandestine laboratories in Southeast Asia, however, by 2009 this number had risen to almost 700.

A new trend that sees Asian users of drugs like ice and other methamphetamines switch from smoking them to injecting them is causing concern it will result in burgeoning HIV cases in the region.

“This poses a risk for Australia and we’re worried about ice being bought in from these countries,” says Professor Robert Ali the chair of the Asia-Pacific Drugs and Development Issues Committee (APDDIC).

“There is now a significant manufacturing and distribution hub in the Asian region and concerns of the risk of a blowout in HIV among drug users,” he says.

Risk to Australia ... An illegal methamphetamine laboratory. Picture: Supplied

Risk to Australia … An illegal methamphetamine laboratory


National surveillance indicates in China 11 per cent of all ATS users inject the drug, in Cambodia, 12 per cent inject, in Thailand, 9 per cent are injectors and in Bangkok almost half of lifetime injectors report injecting methamphetamines.

The highest use of the drugs occurs in the Philippines where 10 per cent of the population has used them.

In Australia amphetamine type stimulants are used by 3.4 per cent of the population and around 18 per cent of users inject them.

Globally the use of methamphetamines now exceeds heroin and cocaine combined and it is the second most used drug in the world after cannabis.

The ballooning availability of these drugs in our neighbourhood presents a serious HIV risk for Australians travelling overseas who use sex workers in these countries.

Many of the female sex workers in this region report injecting behaviour which is associated with HIV transmission, the report finds.

A key problem in controlling the growing use of the substances is that most of the drug treatment and needle exchange programs in South East Asia are focused on heroin use.

The legality of the distribution of needles and syringes is unclear and criminal penalties discourage users from seeking support and health services.

Developing a rapid response to the use of these drugs is important to restrict their social and health harms says Australian National Council on Drugs chairman Dr John Herron.








WATSONVILLE — A 32-year-old Watsonville man was arrested Sunday after he led the California Highway Patrol and Gilroy police on separate motorcycle chases.

Aldo Ponce Gonzalez was riding a 2011 Suzuki motorcycle south on Highway 1 near Mar Monte Avenue about 4:30 p.m. when a CHP motorcycle officer spotted him speeding, said CHP officer Brad Sadek.

Gonzalez’s speed topped 100 mph and the officer followed him to the Airport Boulevard off-ramp, Sadek said. Gonzalez allegedly threw a loaded revolver onto the road, ran from the motorcycle and scaled a chain-link fence to escape. The gun was recovered and the motorcycle was impounded, Sadek said.

The next night about 10:30 p.m., a Gilroy police officer tried to stop Gonzalez on another motorcycle near Santa Teresa Boulevard and Longmeadow Drive, said Gilroy police Sgt. Pedro Espinoza.

Gonzalez eventually crashed. He was arrested on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine for sale, transportation of methamphetamine, felony evading, possession of drug paraphernalia, being under the influence of drugs, resisting arrest and a parole violation, said Espinoza.

Gonzalez in being held in the Santa Clara County Jail without bail on Tuesday, according to jail records.







Jamie Wolfe is a recovering meth addict. “You want to talk about identity theft? Meth steals your identity. It turns you into someone you don’t know,” said Jamie.

She started using drugs like marijuana and alcohol in middle school, then moved on to cocaine, and then meth.

“My husband was a cook. So, um, bought pills. Just whatever I had to do. It cost me a job that I loved, my family. My husband is in prison. My son is in prison. I’m on probation,” she told me.

Jamie is going on a year of drug recovery at the Home of Grace – which is a rehabilitation facility for women. Stacy King has been in rehab for 10 weeks.

“Depending on what method you use, in some ways it’s just as easy as baking a cake,” Stacy described, about making meth.

She started using meth at 13. Now she’s 25. “I had an older boyfriend. Buying pills. We would steal and take things to the scrap metal yard or stuff like that to get the ingredients to get more,” Stacy said.

Both women were eventually arrested, but after being released, found it hard to stay clean. So their next step was the Home of Grace. About 70 women are currently seeking help at the facility. This year celebrates its 40th anniversary, helping over 25 thousand women get rehabilitated from drugs. The executive director says the average age of women seeking treatment is getting younger. The majority are in their 20’s when it used to be an average age of 50, and more women than ever before are being treated for meth.

“I really thought crack was the worst thing I’d ever dealt with, but crystal meth has out done it,” said Doris Littleton.

“It (Meth), along with crack cocaine, and pharmaceuticals are our main challenges right now,” said Mobile Sheriff Sam Cochran.

Sheriff Cochran says one reason meth is so prevalent is because of how easy it is to manufacture it, and that’s why stricter laws on purchasing pseudoephedrine are so important.

“Convicted drug dealers and drug users are not able to purchase Pseudoephedrine.  Everyone is limited to just two purchases per month,” the sheriff said.

“That’s for one person. Imagine the cooks having 10 to 15 people going to buy Pseudoephed. It’s just too simple,” said Stacy.

Both women say they are grateful to be on the road to recovery, and are looking to a higher power to see them through.

“I couldn’t do it on my own and I don’t think no one can. You have to give it to God. It’s in his strength. That’s the only way I could beat this,” said Jamie.

Sheriff Cochran says since the restriction on pseudoephedrine has been in place, overall sales have been down. Meantime, the Home of Grace thrives on donations from the community. A 12 week program cost on average 42 hundred dollars, but only 1 out of 20 women who come to the facility can actually pay. No one is turned away – which truly makes it a labor of love.







COOKEVILLE — A woman being arrested on an active capias Monday was found to have  methamphetamine concealed in her bra, according to a report by Officer Michael  Herrick.

Officer Herrick went to a home on South Walnut to locate Donna  Lea Harris on an active capias.

Deputies noticed that the laundry room “had a strong odor … described as ammonia,” the report states. “Ms. Harris  said that it was left over from the last time someone cook(ed) methamphetamine,  prior to her last arrest.”

Harris was placed under arrest and placed in  the patrol car where she allegedly admitted to having “about a half gram of  methamphetamine concealed in her bra,” according to the report.

A white  container containing an off-white crystal substance was removed from Harris’ bra  once she arrived at the jail. She was booked in on the active capias and was  issued a citation in lieu of continued custody for simple possession.







RACINE — Two people were arrested on Tuesday after a methamphetamine lab was located at a residence in Racine.

Sheriff Keith O. Wood reports deputies located a methamphetamine lab at the residence of Russell Reiber, age 32, and Jaclyn Caldwell, age 23, of Fifth Street Racine.

Russell ReiberJaclyn Caldwell

Deputies responded with the Department of Jobs and Family Services on a complaint of drug activity at the residence and discovered two one-pot reactionary vessels after a consent search was obtained by deputies.

Several precursors which are used for the manufacturing of methamphetamine were located within the residence along with drug paraphernalia.

It was reported a three year old female child was present and resides in the residence.

Both Reiber and Caldwell are charged with manufacturing methamphetamine a felony of the first degree.

Reiber is being held at the Meigs County Jail and Caldwell is incarcerated at the Middleport Jail, both are awaiting arraignments in Meigs County Court.

Other agencies assisting were the Athens County Sheriff’s and the Middleport Police Department, for neutralization of the methamphetamine lab, and the Racine Fire Department.








(SEATTLE, WA)  —  Seattle Police say a Mercedes driving methamphetamine dealer was arrested Sunday night after he rammed a police car with that Mercedes.

A police spokesman said the 41-year-old suspect was taken into custody after officers from the East Precinct Anti-Crime Team (ACT) conducted a narcotics operation Sunday night.

ACT officers, posing as potential drug customers, contacted the suspect via telephone and “ordered” an ounce of methamphetamine for $1,100 dollars. 

A location and time near the Northgate Mall was suggested as a meeting place. The suspect stated that he would be driving a 2003 Mercedes.

“As soon as the suspect pulled into the parking lot, arrest team officers pulled in attempting to make a stop and arrest the suspect. The suspect saw the patrol cars come in and attempted to get away by ramming one of the patrol cars. The suspect rammed his Mercedes into the patrol car twice, but was pinned by other cars,” said Detective Mark Jamieson.

The suspect was taken into custody without further incident. One officer sustained a minor injury when the suspect rammed the car.

The man was later booked into the King County Jail for drugs, eluding, and vehicular assault.  A search warrant was obtained for the Mercedes and police say methamphetamine and over $500 cash was recovered from the car and seized as part of the investigation.









BLUEFIELD — We had been warned for years that methamphetamine laboratories were an emerging threat for the region. Those warnings were accurate. The meth threat has arrived in southern West Virginia and neighboring Southwest Virginia, and the threat appears to now be more widespread than initially thought.

In a span of less than one month, troopers with the West Virginia State Police have uncovered nine active methamphetamine laboratories and three “meth dumps” in southern West Virginia. A total of 32 arrests were made during the time period on methamphetamine-related charges.

First Sgt. Michael Baylous, of the Charleston detachment of the West Virginia State Police, says the raids were part of a state police effort that began Oct. 26 to discover how pervasive the methamphetamine problem is in the southern part of the Mountain State.

“We wanted to know how bad the problem was outside of the Kanawha Valley,” Baylous told the Register-Herald in Beckley. “What we found was there were quite a few in the month period of time. It’s more widespread than we thought.”

The news shouldn’t come as a surprise. A number of methamphetamine laboratories have already been discovered in our region in recent months, including recent investigations in both McDowell and Buchanan counties.

Troopers are finding that more of the methamphetamine labs are mobile labs that suspects can take from location to location, also called “one pot” or “shake-and-bake” labs, according to Baylous.

One of the by-products of a “one pot” lab is a “meth dump,” or a remnant of the lab that is left in the woods, in a home or at other locations, according to investigators.

The recent state police crackdown has netted methamphetamine laboratories, and the so-called meth dumps, also in Raleigh, Fayette and Greenbrier counties. That would suggest the problem has become more widespread and rampant across southern West Virginia, Baylous adds.

And he correctly points out that methamphetamine doesn’t just hurt addicts.

“Contamination comes from the meth labs and the people around them that take the chemicals out into the general public,” Baylous said. “Sometimes their kids are exposed to it, they take it to school, and other kids are exposed to it.

The fumes from meth labs are highly toxic, according to Baylous. He notes that explosions are also a possibility when meth is being made — adding to the overall highly dangerous situation.

Baylous says troopers are focusing more efforts on educating the public about safety issues related to methamphetamine. He says that abuse of the drug is not just a law enforcement problem, but a moral and social problem as well. He encourages community members to help by reporting suspected meth labs to police.

We agree. The meth problem is here. And it’s a significant threat to our region. All efforts must be made to combat and ultimately eradicate this now widespread threat.









EAST COUNTY — A driver and her passenger were arrested early Sunday when they attempted to smuggle methamphetamine hidden under drywall plaster in a bucket through a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Pine Valley, officials said Tuesday.

About 2.7 ounces of methamphetamine, valued at $3,300, were found buried underneath drywall plaster. A female driver and a male passenger attempting to smuggle the drug were arrested.

Border Patrol agents stopped the 56-year-old female motorist and her 42-year-old male passenger in a 2002 Volkwagen Passat about 1 a.m. Agents took a closer look at the car after a drug-sniffing dog alerted to it, agency spokeswoman Mary Beth Caston said.

            A Rugers .357 handgun was found hidden in the trunk of the 2002 Volkswagen Passat.

A search of the car turned up a trace of marijuana in the front console, a handgun in the trunk and about 2.7 ounces of meth buried in the bucket, Caston said. The meth was valued at $3,300, she said.

The driver and passenger, who are U.S. citizens, each had a record of prior drug arrests and felony charges, Caston said.







More than 330 kilograms of the Class B drug ContacNT has been seized in the biggest haul of the drug in New Zealand history.

ContacNT is manufactured legally in China but is used in New Zealand to produce methamphetamine.


The ContacNT seized during an operation by police and the Organised and Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand (OFCANZ) is enough to produce up to 100 kilograms of methamphetamine which has a corresponding street value of $100 million.

This morning 330 officers from police, OFCANZ and Customs executed 40 search warrants at residential and business premises across Auckland and Waikato, at the conclusion of an 18 month investigation dubbed Operation Ghost.

Twenty four people were arrested and up to $20 million of assets were seized including property, cars and cash.

Police say today’s raids followed the seizure of 267 kilograms of ContacNT at three Auckland addresses as part of the investigation in October. Four people were arrested at that time. An additional 64 kilograms of ContacNT was discovered this morning.

Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess said police expect the impact on the drug market to be significant.

“Police and OFCANZ have eliminated a criminal network responsible for importing and distributing Class B drugs which are used to produce methamphetamine,” he said.

“The people that we have targeted today are essentially the suppliers of the ContacNT, the Class B drug, which is being produced into methamphetamine by others. We’re hoping that the size of the seizure is going to make a dent in that market.

“Operation Ghost sends a powerful message to the criminal community that we will use every legal avenue at our disposal to target organised crime in New Zealand.”

Police believe the material was brought into New Zealand through a container shipment and was offloaded in this country, Mr Burgess said.

$1.5m cash seized

During the “termination phase”, 15 ounces of methamphetamine was also discovered, along with a clandestine lab and approximately $1.5 million of cash was seized.

Today’s raids were the conclusion of an extensive 18 month multi-agency investigation, including liaison with overseas law enforcement agencies.

“Operation Ghost is an example of national and international law enforcement agencies working together to target international organised crime groups,” Mr Burgess said.

“The investigation has seen excellent cooperation with other Government agencies, particularly the Ministry for Primary Industries, the New Zealand Customs Service, IRD, MBIE and the Department of Internal Affairs.

“We would also like to acknowledge the National Narcotics Control Commission from the Peoples Republic of China and the Hong Kong Narcotics Bureau for their help during Operation Ghost.”

The 24 individuals arrested this morning are all New Zealand citizens or permanent residents. The average age of those arrested is 40. Police said in total 30 suspects have been arrested during Operation Ghost and further arrests are likely.

Benton County — The Benton County Sheriff’s Office is looking for 56-year-old man who is accused of manufacturing methamphetamine.

James David Woods has eight warrants out for his arrest from the sheriff’s office, according to Crime Stoppers.


Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward for information leading to Woods’ arrest. The warrants include methamphetamine charges, escape and civil contempt.

Woods is 5-foot-8, 260 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. He has tattoos on his arms, chest and back.

Anyone with information on Woods’ whereabouts can contact Crime Stoppers confidentially at 509-586-8477, 1-800-222-8477 or http://www.tricitiescrimestoppers.org.

The Dalton Police Department detectives led a meth bust on Sunday night that resulted in two arrests and the seizure of approximately $190,000 worth of crystal methamphetamine.

Evidence in the case also led investigators in Cherokee County to more drugs. The bust came after more than a month of investigation initiated by the Dalton Police Department’s Drug Unit and in cooperation with a investigators with the Murray County Sheriff’s Office, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security and Georgia State Patrol.


After more than a month of tracking methamphetamine trafficking in the Dalton and Murray County area, Dalton investigators received information that Angela Elezan Lovain, 36, of Chatsworth was planning to travel from Cherokee County to Dalton with methamphetamine.

After conducting surveillance on the trip, Dalton investigators requested that a Georgia State Patrol trooper pull over Ms. Lovain’s vehicle near the intersection of Walnut Avenue and Dug Gap Road.  Dalton investigators received consent from Ms. Lovain to search the vehicle, and also had a K9 drug dog alert on the vehicle.

After searching the car, investigators found approximately 4.3 pounds of crystal meth hidden in an appliance box.  The street value of the drugs is estimated by investigators to be $190,000.

Dalton investigators arrested Ms. Lovain and passenger, Richard Lee Long, 51, of Chatsworth. Ms. Lovain was charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, trafficking in methamphetamine, and possession of methamphetamine.  Long was charged with possession of methamphetamine and trafficking in methamphetamine.

Information developed in this investigation also led investigators with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office to execute a search warrant Monday that led to the seizure to more than two pounds of meth and approximately $30,000 in cash.  This investigation is continuing.







CHARLESTON — Ten people were recently arrested and charged in state court with allegedly providing methamphetamine ingredients to a Loxa-based drug operation that resulted in federal charges against the main suspects.

It’s also likely there will be more arrests of people who are suspected of having smaller roles in the operation, according to the chief of a local police drug enforcement unit.

Federal authorities declined to prosecute the newly charged suspects because of their lesser involvement, according to Tom Houser, commander of the Mattoon-based East Central Illinois Task Force.

Houser confirmed that the new cases resulted from the same investigation that led to the arrest and federal cases against a Loxa woman, Tena Logan, and five others for allegedly working together to produce methamphetamine at her home.

Federal authorities have indicated that they believe 40 or more people were actually involved in the operation, supplying drug ingredients in exchange for some of the finished methamphetamine. Houser said the exact number of people who might have taken part hasn’t been determined.

The newly arrested suspects have all been charged with possession of methamphetamine precursor, a felony offense. They’re all accused of obtaining medicine with pseudoephedrine, a key methamphetamine ingredient, to use to make the drug at various times during 2012.

The newly charged suspects are:

Kathryn J. Cross, 51, for whom court records list addresses on Illinois Avenue and Rudy Avenue in Mattoon.

Richard A. Cross, 54, whose address on record is on Rudy Avenue, Mattoon.

Kelly W. Davis, 46, for whom records list addresses in Arthur and on Dakota Avenue in Mattoon.

William W. Easter, 44, for whom records list addresses on Shelby Avenue in Mattoon and in Janesville.

Christopher D. Leonard, 52, whose address on record is on Palm Avenue, Mattoon.

Andrea L. Medina, 32, for whom records list addresses on Edgar Avenue and Richmond Avenue in Mattoon and in rural Greenup.

Cynthia K. Morgan, 51, whose address on record is in the mobile home court at 504 N. Division St., Charleston.

- Joshua C. Rardin, 32, whose address on record is on Edgar Avenue, Mattoon.

Patricia L. Robinson, 48, for whom records list a rural Neoga address.

Julia A. White, 58, for whom records list addresses on Mitchell Avenue in Mattoon and in rural Greenup.

Most of the suspects have court dates scheduled but none has entered a plea yet.

In addition, Houser said a woman who recently pleaded guilty to a methamphetamine precursor charge is also connected to the Loxa operation. Billie R. Carter, 53, whose address on record is on North 11th St., Mattoon, was placed on probation with the agreement reached in her case last month.

In the federal cases, Logan and the other suspects were accused of conducting the methamphetamine operation at her residence at 6790 Stockton Road in Loxa from at least 2007 until their arrests last year. Authorities described Logan as the ringleader, something to which she admitted in court, saying she had others obtain the pseudoephedrine so she wouldn’t have to do it herself.

All but one of the federal suspects has pleaded guilty and Logan was sentenced in June to 15 years in prison. Another suspect, Robert Jeffrey Leonard of Mattoon, received an 11-year prison sentence in October.

The other suspects who pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing are Paul D. “Bear” Logan, who is Tena Logan’s husband, and Fred A. Leonard and Tammy E. Britt, both of Mattoon. The remaining federal suspect whose case is pending is Floyd W. Curtner Jr. of Mattoon.







BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER)– Maine has hit an all time high of meth labs popping up across the state. This year the number stands at eighteen beating last year’s record of thirteen. The frequency of these busts has Maine drug agents fearing we could see more before the year’s end.

Commander Peter Arno with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency said, “I had about ten years in drug enforcement back in the 90’s during those 10 years I went to one methamphetamine lab during those 10 years. During the time that I’ve been back the past six months or so I’ve been to seven or eight meth labs.”


According to Arno, most labs are discovered when law enforcement is called to a location for another issue.

The busts are expensive as well. Each costs between $5,000 to $10,000. Agents need specialized training, hazmat suits to enter and handle the lab material, containers to store both the product and ingredients as well as help from other agencies such as the Department of Environmental Protection to collect the evidence for prosecution.

The MDEA stresses these labs pose a threat to the neighborhoods that they are in. Dangers which include explosions, burns, and environmental harm.

The people behind most meth labs, says Arno, average people who are users themselves.

“These people behind meth labs or at least the ones that we have seen are not sophisticated drug trafficking organizations. They are typically people who are themselves addicted to meth who are producing enough for themselves and perhaps selling a little bit. So they could get enough to go out and buy more,” explains Arno.

Meth lab busts also tie up resources and personnel. One concern, the increased man hours shutting down and cleaning up the meth labs keeps agents from other drug issues facing the state such as drugs coming in from other states and internationally.







GORDON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Ocmulgee Drug Task force busted up a drug ring and found thousand of dollars worth of methamphetamine.

Six people were arrested during the Thanksgiving drug raid, and now they are facing felony drug charges.

Ocmulgee Drug Task Force, Wilkerson Sheriff’s Office, along with Gordon, McIntyre, and Ivey police departments raided an apartment, located at 201 Gray Highway in Gordon, around 2 a.m., Thursday.

Task force agent Kelvin Hollingsworth said they found, more than $5,000 worth of methamphetamine, two sandwich bags filled with marijuana, three meth pipes, two digital scales, a .22 caliber hand gun, a seven millimeter rifle and two hundred dollars.

Agent Hollingsworth said Gordon Police Sgt. Andy Hester received an anonymous tip about the “meth house” around 11: 30 p.m., on Wednesday.

Police arrested Timothy Ratcliff Sr., 52, and his son, Timothy Ratcliff Jr., 30, along with Ratcliff Jr.’s wife Joanie Ratcliff, 30. The couple was living in the “meth house” at the time of the drug raid.

Tamatha Pack, 40, Sonia English, 48, and Richard Crisp, 41, were also arrested.

Police contacted the Department of Family and Children Services for a 10-year-old child at the apartment.

Timothy Ratcliff Jr., and his wife Joanie are charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of drug related objects, and a disorderly house.

Richard Crisp and Tamatha Pack are charged with charged with, possession of a firearm during certain crimes, possession of meth with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and possession of drug related objects.

Crisp has an additional charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Sonia English is charged with possession of methamphetamine.

Timothy Ratcliff Sr., is charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and possession of drug related objects.







A Minot woman was arrested on several drug-related charges Friday evening.

The Minot Police Department states Lacey Semler, 25, was stopped for disregarding a traffic control signal shortly after 7 p.m. A search of the vehicle she was driving revealed methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and evidence of drug trafficking. Semler was charged with driving under suspension, a Class B misdemeanor, possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class C felony, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, a Class A felony, and three outstanding warrants.







LINCOLN COUNTY, NC (WBTV) – Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Investigators, operating on a tip, located the 21st meth lab in the county this year, and arrested the man they say is responsible.

The lab, which officials say was a “One Pot Methodmethamphetamine lab, was found at a home on the 7100 block of Doyle Beam Memorial Road in Vale just before 5:30 p.m. Monday.

Carl Ray Davenport, 39, was arrested and charged with one felony count each of manufacturing a controlled substance schedule II and possess/distribute meth precursor. He is being held without bond pending a first appearance hearing in Lincoln County District Court on Tuesday.


Investigators seized lithium batteries, an Equate Cold Pack, and Draino Crystals (Lye), which they said are chemicals being used for the manufacture of the drug.

Officials say that a crew from the State Lab will visit the site on Tuesday to clean up the methamphetamine precursors. A Sheriff’s deputy will be posted at the home until the cleanup crew arrives.








Dec. 2, 2013. Narcotics detectives of the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office arrested three females following a traffic stop in reference to manufacturing methamphetamine.  Detectives conducted a surveillance operation which ultimately led to a traffic stop of a vehicle suspected of purchasing methamphetamine precursors.

meth 2

During the traffic stop, detectives located and seized 4 boxes of pseudoephedrine, as well as a variety of precursor chemicals, and hardware used in the manufacturing process.  According to detectives, inside the vehicle was everything one would need for a “Shake and Bake” meth cook.

Elaynia Victoria Huffman, 30, of 626 Locust Street, Foscoe, NC, was charged with Conspiracy to Manufacture Methamphetamine, Possession of Methamphetamine Precursors, and Maintaining a Vehicle/Dwelling/Place CS (F).  Huffman was taken to the Watauga County Detention Facility in lieu of a $25,000 secured bond and is scheduled to appear in District Court on December 30, 2013.





Trina Rene Hinson, 47, of 626 Locust Street, Foscoe, NC, was charged with Conspiracy to Manufacture Methamphetamine and Possession of Methamphetamine Precursors.  Huffman was taken to the Watauga County Detention Facility in lieu of a $25,000 secured bond and is scheduled to appear in District Court on December 30, 2013.

Jessica Lynn Henderson, 26, of 626 Locust Street, Foscoe, NC, was charged with Conspiracy to Manufacture Methamphetamine and Possession of Methamphetamine Precursors.  Huffman was taken to the Watauga County Detention Facility in lieu of a $25,000 secured bond and is scheduled to appear in District Court on December 30, 2013.







Tina, ice, crystal, glass, P-N-P, blowing clouds, Get to the Point, T  — are all common codes that can be found on any gay hook up site,  suggesting, in “tweaker” language,  a night of using meth and most likely having sex.  The sex is almost always unprotected because most don’t have thoughts about tomorrow when they are using tonight.

“I thought it was cocaine.” “It was just a little bump.” “He was so hot, and he said sex would be so much better.” “I wanted to fit in.” Those are some  of the many  reasons members of our community give as to why they tried meth in the first place.

Meth has grabbed the gay male community in a disproportionately and epidemic stranglehold, causing HIV, Hep C, and other STD’S and STI’S  to run rampant.  Slamming, which is slang for injecting meth into the vein, not only spreads disease but causes major scarring, infections and skin erosion. Smoking, or blowing clouds, can cause lung impairment, secondary burns and mouth infections.

Tweakers Project Poster

Tweakers Project Poster

Meth has the distinct ability to make a person feel so “amazing” because of the overpowering release of the “feel good” neurotransmitter dopamine that it is said to have no equal. It also tends to make users so libidinous that one or two sexual partners many times cannot fill the urge, and users are always chasing the almost unattainable orgasm they are searching for.  The ironic part of this is that many cannot achieve an erection or ejaculate while using. So it, of course, becomes a vicious cycle.

Very few users can claim occasional use.  Many people like to claim this, but in approximately 85 percent of meth users, it becomes chronic, and the mess gets messy fast.  The weekend warrior using only on a Friday or Saturday can quickly find himself extending his weekend through Monday, into Tuesday and Wednesday, ultimately requiring the drug more often and in larger amounts, to reach the magnitude of the first high, which is not possible.

In West Hollywood and many other gay enclaves, the rehab centers are filled mostly with meth users, with many secondary addictions to alcohol or heroine or opiates.  This poly-addiction occurs because users try to find a way to relax, using a sedative-type drug, to counteract the manic high from using meth.

The consequences of meth use are far and wide. Many crimes of opportunity are caused by the need for money to purchase more meth.  Jobs are lost, families are separated or destroyed because of the shrapnel from a user’s life.  The partners of meth users usually endure an unfathomable hell on earth, because what they will witness a partner do on meth is almost unthinkable.


Jimmy Palmieri is the founder of The Tweakers Project. He currently serves as a human services commissioner for the City of West Hollywood and sits on the community advisory board for the West Hollywood Project, funded by Los Angeles County.