These gnomes have quite the methology.

New Zealand authorities uncovered a stash of over 300 garden ornaments that they believe is connected to the sale of methamphetamine.

While accompanying a utility worker to disconnect power from a house with $10,000 in unpaid bills, Hawke’s Bay police realized that some of the outdoor items such as garden gnomes, fake pink flamingos and other statues had been recently declared missing, reports.

“It was obvious straight away they were stolen. We were aware of the issue. It seems to be the fashion at the moment,” said Sgt. Cam Donnison. “They are taking these items to hock off for methamphetamine — it’s all meth driven.”

Apparently even large potted plant can catch fetch $215 for someone needing to fuel a meth habit.

“This is certainly organized and targeted burglaries to steal items which are worth quite a bit of money,” said Donnison. “The perpetrators are stealing them to get rid of them easily, and quickly satisfy their methamphetamine addictions.”

While it’s not clear yet whether the homeowner had been receiving the diminutive decorations as payment or if they were amassing them for a sale, Donnison noted that the suspect must have been at least partially aware of the illicit nature of the gnomes since some had been painted.

For now, detectives will be working to restore the tiny trinkets to their rightful owners.


A man and woman from Tuscaloosa County have been charged with chemical endangerment of child after meth was found in a mobile home that nearly burned down on Sunday in Coaling.ChemicalCollage

Authorities said arrived at the scene of the fire on Clements Road at 7 p.m. and found half of the residence consumed in flames. Tuscaloosa police said officers found evidence of a meth lab in the portion of the trailer that was not burned while clearing the scene. They also found a small amount of meth, police said. West Alabama Narcotics Task Force collected the evidence at the scene.

Police said two children, ages 5 and 6, were at the scene at the time of the fire. The Department of Human Resources responded and took custody of the children pending further investigation, police said.

Kala Barger and Samuel Barger were arrested on chemical endangerment of a child and unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance charges. They were taken to Tuscaloosa County Jail, where they are being held on a $515,000 bond each.


A 21-year-old Arnold woman recently was arrested for alleged possession of methamphetamine. In addition, a 36-year-old St. Louis man who was with her was arrested on an outstanding warrant, Arnold Police report.

At 1:23 p.m. Feb. 7, Arnold Police got a call about a suspicious vehicle parked outside the Lowe’s store, 920 Arnold Commons, and found the woman and man in the vehicle there. The woman allegedly was found with meth and drug paraphernalia, Detective Lt. James Jones said.

She was booked and released pending application for warrants. Depending on results from the drug analysis, Arnold Police will seek felony drug charges against her through the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Jones said.

The man who was in the vehicle with her was wanted in Shrewsbury for a parole or probation violation. He was booked and held for Shrewsbury Police, Jones said.


What Methamphetamine can do to your sexuality

Posted: 21st February 2017 by Doc in Uncategorized

Blackwood River Clinic is a private clinic for people with anxiety, depression, trauma and drug and alcohol problems.

The facility runs a three month public rehabilitation course for people with drug and alcohol problems specifically for methamphetamine users through the state government’s meth strategy.e45tywerreage

The clinic is run by psychiatrist Dr. Stephen Proud who is an expert in addiction, he said that sexual perversity was a hidden element in the methamphetamine problem.

Dr. Proud said methamphetamine was often fused with violence so users could get violent and very aggressive with sex.

“People might not have a sexual problem before but once they were into methamphetamine you might have a sexual problem,” he said.

“Even people who had a normal sexuality before can develop an addictive sexuality that is warped after meth.

“Methamphetamine commonly causes a lot of aggression and paranoia it could even be psychotic, ugly stuff.”

Dr. Proud said many of his clients would not tell you how methamphetamine use led them to engaging in perverse acts unless you asked their partners.

“The partners will say apart from the violence and everything else it was often the perverse sexuality that caused them to leave,” he said.

Dr. Proud said it usually gripped men more than women because in some ways men had a different sexuality to women.

He said when people got heavily into methamphetamine use it could warp their sexuality so a person would become more involved in pornography and outrageous sexual activity.

“It could cross over to what you might call a normal spectrum into forensic areas so you get what we call paraphilias where someone might fantasise about underage people or things such as exposing them self,” he said.

“The most common thing is that people do not get into a paraphilia but their sexual morals drop so a person might have multiple partners or get obsessed with pornography.”

Dr. Proud said often with men who used the drug would not have a normal sexuality or be able to get aroused unless they were on methamphetamine.

The story What meth can do to your sexuality first appeared on Busselton-Dunsborough Mail.

Montana lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, along with state agency workers and members of the public convened in Helena Saturday with one big problem to discuss.

“Without question, everyone in here, in this room, every citizen in this state, every resident of my community is affected by methamphetamine.”

That’s Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito testifying at the Montana Meth Summit.

Participants said the drug has a stranglehold on state law enforcement, public health, tribal communities, and the court system.

Montana battled meth more than a decade ago with some success, using public awareness campaigns and cracking down on local labs. Since 2010, meth has surged back. Police agencies say it’s now primarily supplied by Mexican cartels. To make matters worse, they say the meth is now stronger and cheaper.

For four hours Saturday, people dealing with Montana’s meth crisis shared experiences and proposed solutions.

Montana Highway Patrol Chief Tom Butler pushed for help on the frontline:

“We could do a significant amount of work on the interstate system with getting this stuff before it gets into the communities. I would much rather be that were stopping 20 lbs of meth on the interstate then dealing with all of the aftereffects and when that gets into Missoula, Billings or Helena.”

At present, Governor Steve Bullock’s budget proposes cutting $7.7 million from the state Highway Patrol over the next two years due to declines in state revenue.

Several panelists said meth offenders are already paralyzing the state criminal justice system, flooding jails and choking the courts.

Bryan Lockerby, with the Division of Criminal Investigation, looked to another approach.

“There are many people involved in this who simply need treatment and want to get off meth, we recognize, from an enforcement standpoint, that issue and we support it,” Lockerby said.

At the heart of Saturday’s discussions was the need to rethink criminalization of drug offenders and focus on helping them manage their addictions.


The second panel on family and community impacts made clear that resources for treatment are lacking.

Dr. Aaron Wernham is with the Montana Healthcare Foundation:

“If you really want to look at what the system needs, we certainly need more providers and more access to providers, we also need care provided in integrated settings, meaning that where you get your primary care, you can also get care for your mental illness and addiction,” Wernham said.

Last week a legislative committee rejected a proposal to spend $400,000 to train more doctors in Montana and to establish a residency program for psychiatrists here.

There are tremendous healthcare costs. Hospitals and emergency rooms in the state have been billing more than $140 million annually in recent years for meth and substance-abuse related patients. Of that total, $28 million was charged to Medicaid.

The Department of Public Health and Human Services also pointed to meth as a major disrupter in the home. Laura Smith is with the Department’s Child and Protective Services division.

“The percentage of cases in child and family services that involve drugs is 65 percent,” Smith says, “and then of those, 65 percent involve methamphetamine.”

The panel painted a grim picture of meth’s assault on families, particularly the drug’s power over addicted parents, who neglect their children for days on end while riding a high.

While meth cases are relatively few among Montana’s youth, Beth McLaughlin who works with the Youth Court, says that’s no reason to fall asleep at the wheel. She emphasized one thing:

“Treatment, treatment, treatment and access to mental health services for kids and adults is crucial to not having this seep down into the kid population,” McLaughlin said.

A third panel on tribal impacts included Bryce Kirk, who runs a peer-mentor program with his wife on the Fort Belknap and Fort Peck reservations. Kirk dealt with meth addiction in his past and said his experiences are valuable in deterring new users. But his frustration comes from poor communication and collaboration between reservations and the state.

“Meth has no boundaries,” Kirk says. “A reservation has boundaries, meth don’t. We have to come together, we have to be unified, we have to be able to put our pride aside to say, hey man we need to get this going; we need to figure this out.”

Kirk said Medicaid certification of his peer-mentoring program would boost funding.

Missoula Democratic Senator Diane Sands, one of the event’s organizers, said lawmakers are working on it:

“Literally last night, the last committee voted, so Senate Bill 62, it does create a certification for peer-support. We’ve done that part, it’s on the way.”

The final panel of the day dealt with Montana’s judiciary and corrections systems and the caseload bearing down on its workers. Panelists said meth users bog down the system, committing multiple crimes in order to feed their addictions.

Testimony from the Department of Corrections and from the District Court reinforced the need to shift cultural views of criminality.

Montana’s Attorney General Tim Fox said he plans to continue working on issues raised at the summit:

“The Department of Justice is studying these issues, we’re working with the Montana Health Care Foundation and we’ll be doing some town halls and a summit later this year to generate the kind of information that we can then provide to the policymakers, our legislators, the governor’s office, and even the federal level as well, to begin to make better decisions putting resources where they can be most effective.”


SUMMIT TWP., MI – A meth lab gone haywire is believed to be what sparked a fire that destroyed 12 storage units last week, investigators say.

Fire crews and a Michigan State Police arson K9 sifting through the debris discovered a small meth lab that likely started the Feb. 15 blaze at Katchall Self Storage, 5710 S. Meridian Road, said Summit Township Fire Lt. Jim Warner.-8fe5c3690868cb07

Twelve storage units were destroyed in an early-morning blaze in Summit Township Wednesday.

The portable meth lab, hidden in a duffle bag inside one of the storage units, likely ignited the remaining contents of the storage unit and sparked the fire that quickly spread to adjacent units, Warner said.

Upon finding the meth lab, fire crews at the scene notified the Jackson Narcotics Enforcement Team (JNET) to begin clean up procedures and collect evidence for its investigation, Warner said.

Calls made to JNET were not immediately returned.

The 12 storage units, or half of one storage unit block, suffered significant smoke and fire damage in the blaze which started sometime before 5:50 a.m.

There were no injuries reported at the scene.

The Jackson Fire Department, Napoleon Township Fire Department, Liberty Township Fire Department and Columbia Township Fire Department assisted at the scene.


JOHOR BARU: A truck driver was allegedly forced to swallow several bullet-like objects during a torture session by seven men. One of them was his boss.

Kluang OCPD Asst Comm Mohamad Laham said the victim, who stayed with the boss – a chicken supplier – was also tied up, beaten up and tortured with a taser for allegedly stealing some goods on Feb 16.

ACP Mohamad said police were alerted to the situation by a health officer in Hospital Ampang in Selangor, who found the bullet-like objects in the 22-year-old man’s intestine through an X-ray scan.

“Police then arrested the seven men, including the employer, aged from 22 to 42 years, in a series of raids in Johor Baru and Kluang on Saturday,” he said, adding that the men were remanded.

ACP Mohamad said two of the suspects had previous criminal records, had been arrested under the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 and were on the wanted list.

He said checks also showed that all the suspects had tested positive for methamphetamine.

ACP Mohamad said the case was being investigated under Section 324 of the Penal Code for intentionally causing hurt using a dangerous weapon, which carries a jail term of three years and a fine or whipping, or both upon conviction.

He added that the case was also being investigated under Section 342 of the Penal Code for wrongful confinement.

GREENWOOD, Ind. – A Saturday morning traffic stop in Greenwood turned into an arrest for a DUI and meth.

At 5:45 a.m., police noticed a silver sedan crossing the middle lane traveling northbound on 500 W. at 1100 N. and pulled the vehicle over.gwsergXB

After speaking with the driver, Calyssa Jordan-Hope Yelner, 20, the officer noticed she was intoxicated and a K9 indicated a positive presence of drugs.

During a search of the vehicle, police discovered meth in Yelner’s purse and a syringe. According to police, Yelner admitted to using meth prior to getting pulled over.

She was arrested on charges of possession of methamphetamine, possession of a syringe and OWI. Yelner was transported to Johnson County Jail.


GRANGEVILLE, Idaho – An Idaho County woman has been charged receiving methamphetamine through the mail.

Susan Corbin of Kooskia was arrested Friday after a joint sheriff’s and U.S. Postal Inspector investigation.

The Idaho County Sheriff’s office says the postal inspector contacted a detective Tuesday, saying they suspected drugs were being mailed from McCall to Kooskia.

Using a search warrant, officials confirmed that drugs were being mailed to Corbin.

The sheriff’s office arranged for the mail to be delivered to the Kooskia Post Office. Corbin picked it up and was arrested.

She was released from jail after the posting of a $10,000 bond.

After Corbin’s arrest, Valley County officials searched the home of the person they say mailed the meth.

Dan McNeeley was arrested on suspicion of delivery and possession of meth.

Six area women were arrested in a raid Friday aimed at shutting down a methamphetamine distribution ring operated by an Ardmore man serving time in a state prison.

Terra Daniels, 27, Kimberly Ford, 33, Tiffany Laster, 35, Suzanne Mattly, 38, Audria McGee, 36 and Amanda Skinner, 37, were taken into custody without incident by law enforcement teams comprised of Carter County deputies, members of the Ardmore Police Department Narcotics Division, and Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics agents. All six were booked into the Carter County Detention Center on warrants charging them with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

The six are accused of being part of the drug ring being operated by Eric Jackson, 32. Jackson is currently incarcerated in the Dick Conners Correctional Center where he is serving time for multiple Carter County felony convictions. The Ardmore inmate is also charged in the case that netted the local women, as well as eight others arrested in other areas of the state during similar law enforcement raids Friday.

“He (Jackson) is the ring leader,” said Bryant Knox, OBN agent-in-charge, who added there are a total of 24 suspects statewide named in the case.

The local raid was the result of an investigation that began more than a year ago, but was reportedly hampered when former Carter County Sheriff Milton Anthony pulled deputies who were seeking the location of suspects from the operation. The three-prong investigation was reignited in December when Sheriff Chris Bryant assumed control of the CCSD.

“We are all working really well together and repairing relationships,” Carter County Undersheriff Gus Handke said, as he discussed the revitalized collective effort between the CCSD and other law enforcement agencies. “We (CCSD) are back into the effort of cooperation and we are willing to work with other agencies.”

In addition to the three local agencies who conducted investigation, the sheriff commended a number of other agencies that assisted in the probe.

“This has been a massive undertaking. We have received assistance from the Department of Corrections, Lighthorse Police, OHP, OSBI, District 22 Task Force,” Bryant said.

The six women remain detained in the Carter County Detention Center pending initial court appearances in Carter County District Court Monday


Despite several recent arrests involving heroin, use of the drug in the Longview area is not the problem it is in larger cities, but local officials are preparing for the possibility.

“We see a little bit of heroin, but we’re not seeing it like they are in major cities,” Longview police Chief Mike Bishop said. “Of course, a lot of when we look at different drug trends, that’s where we usually see them in the bigger cities, and then they’ll come to the smaller cities as the drug gets transported.”

A National Heroin Threat Assessment released by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in June noted the threat from heroin has been increasing since 2007, with the drug “available in larger quantities, used by a larger number of people and causing an increasing number of overdose deaths.”

The DEA noted heroin is much higher in purity and has a lower cost than in previous years.

Four recent Longview-area arrests show the drug is not uncommon to the area.

Three people were indicted in federal court in connection with a heroin and methamphetamine drug-trafficking organization, with court documents detailing the distribution of heroin and meth in North and East Texas.

Andrew Jonathan Hearnsberger, 28, of Kilgore was charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute heroin and two counts of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin and aiding and abetting.

Johnny Carol Denton III, 27, and Emily Nicole Maples, 24, both of Gilmer, each were charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute heroin; conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; possession with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin and methamphetamine aiding and abetting; and use, carrying and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.

Hearnsberger was arrested in Kilgore, and Denton and Maples were arrested in Gilmer in early January, police said.

In addition to those arrests, a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper arrested a Gladewater man in early February after finding a large amount of heroin and a backpack of money in his car during a traffic stop.

Zane Cooper Selman, 21, was charged with manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance measuring between 4 grams and 200 grams and possession or delivery of drug paraphernalia.

But local officials and agencies said they are not seeing a big increase in heroin use in East Texas.

Amber Shepperd, a regional evaluator at the Prevention Resource Center at the East Texas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, said only about 2 percent of the agency’s clients have reported heroin use.

“On substances mentioned in intake, heroin is consistently at the bottom,” she said. “Our No. 1 continues to be methamphetamine. Methamphetamine is an epidemic. Thirty-four percent of the people coming in, they report methamphetamine use, which is higher than the state of Texas.”

Meth continues to be popular among drug users in Gregg County because it is inexpensive to buy, easy to make and highly addictive, said Gregg County Sheriff Maxey Cerliano.

Shepperd said ETCADA is seeing heroin use among older adults, but not in younger populations. And though the agency doesn’t see a lot of heroin use, it is still a big issue.

“What we do know is, heroin is one of the higher-risk drugs,” she said.

Heroin is more lethal than other drugs, Shepperd said. The use of IVs and needle sharing also increases the possibility that users will contract a disease, Shepperd said.

Shepperd and Cerliano noted drugs first seen in big cities usually come to smaller areas as time goes by — but that’s not yet the case here.

“I think what we know historically about drugs and drug fads is that if it starts in a big city in Texas, it is likely that that could at some point affect a more rural area like East Texas,” Shepperd said. “So we certainly can’t say it’s not going to happen, but the data is not showing a rise in heroin use.”


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – About 100 guests at a Westside motel were forced into the parking lot of a nearby Office Depot parking lot Sunday after a methamphetamine lab was found in the motel, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said.gwrgwsgrsgfxcvgx

Police were called to the Diamond Inn on Ramona Boulevard near the intersection of Interstate 10 and Lane Avenue around 11:30 a.m. after the meth lab was found on the property, officials said.

According to police, a maintenance worker found the lab and notified the front desk staff, who then called the police.

The JSO Clandestine Lab Response Team was called to the scene to ensure everyone’s safety, officials said.

Josh Fountain, who has been staying at the motel, said he and his wife knew something was off. Fountain reported to the front desk that there was a “funky smell” coming in through the air conditioning vents.

“It’s just a scary thing that people are cooking this stuff a few feet from you,” Fountain said.

Police said they evacuated the inn for over four hours while they investigated. Guests were allowed to return to their rooms around 3:30 p.m.

Officers said they haven’t made any arrests and there were no injuries.


Can we stem the Mexican drug tide?

Posted: 20th February 2017 by Doc in Uncategorized

Americans are consuming drugs of all kinds at an alarming rate. Our appetite for heroin, methamphetamine, prescription painkillers and marijuana seems insatiable. The Journal published the first five parts of an investigative report from Feb. 12 through Feb. 16, revealing how the Mexican drug cartels account for 90 percent of the illegal drugs consumed in the U.S. that fuel crime and addiction. Law enforcement constantly busts drug runners and seizes contraband. But the river flows on, and efforts to make real inroads are complicated and multinational and will take years. Today, the Journal concludes the series with a look at those efforts.

Over the Christmas holidays, seven people were charged with transporting more than 52 pounds of methamphetamine in four separate incidents in and around Albuquerque.

There was a time when any one of those arrests would have been big local news here, even though all the drugs were destined for Oklahoma City, Columbia, S.C., and other cities.

But arrests and seizures are so commonplace, and drugs so ubiquitous, they scarcely moved the media interest meter.

It’s not as though the arrests were inconsequential.

Federal agents say that by intercepting drugs carried by “mules” at the Amtrak and Greyhound stations or during traffic stops on I-40, they are having an impact on the country’s drug problem. The 52 pounds of methamphetamine seized on Dec. 28 and 30 represent more than 23,000 grams of meth that would have been sold on the streets of New York for more than $2.3 million.

But did these busts make much of an impact on the supply of methamphetamine wreaking havoc coast to coast? Not even a dent.

Heroin and methamphetamine smuggled from Mexico into the United States by Mexican cartels are more abundant, cheaper and more powerful than ever. And the cartels provide plenty of marijuana as well, although the price is a little higher than it was a few years ago.

In addition, the Mexican cartels have added fentanyl – a cheap synthetic opioid 100 times more powerful than morphine – to the mix of illicit drugs smuggled into the United States.

While Mexico has been a frequent target of President Donald Trump, both governments have a huge challenge in trying to rein in the cartels.

Most drugs enter the United States through the ports of entry, and Trump’s suggestion that a “wall” along the border will curb drug trafficking has been met with some skepticism from within his own political party.

“There are a lot of ways to defeat the wall,” Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., said in an interview last week. “They can fly over it with light aircraft using GPS on bundles of drugs. The cartels have great tunnelers. They’ve had tunnels with traffic in both directions.”

And the cartels have the money to support those efforts.

“Transnational organized crime groups get to a size where they overwhelm the central governments,” said Bruce Ohr, associate deputy attorney general at the U.S. Department of Justice.

“They have more money than their central governments,” Ohr said in an interview. “Those groups are a threat to the United States. It is a global problem, and one we worry about.”

Positive steps

Ohr serves as the director of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement task forces, as well as director of the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Council. Ohr also deals with his counterparts across the globe.

He can sound like a prophet of doom and them pivot to point out progress around the world on combating international drug trafficking.

In a December interview, he pointed out a number of positive developments.

Among them:

  • Despite changes in leadership, Mexico is continuing to overhaul its criminal justice system to make it more effective in combating drug cartels.
  • Mexico has raided an average of 240 methamphetamine laboratories a year and forced the cartels to move some methamphetamine operations into Central America because of police pressure.
  • Mexico has extradited cartel leaders, including Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, the head of the Sinaloa Cartel, to the United States. Guzmán, who was brought to the United States in January, will face trial in New York on charges related to running one of the world’s biggest drug organizations.
  • China has worked with U.S. law enforcement to restrict the production and trade of precursor chemicals used to make methamphetamine and in the production of fentanyl and fentanyl-type drugs.
  • More countries, including China, are working with U.S. law enforcement on organized crime money laundering investigations.

But Ohr said international cooperation isn’t always smooth.

There are a lot of substances that are still legal in China, but that is changing, he said. And “in Mexico, there has been a lot of progress, but corruption is still a concern,” he said.

Agent tortured

Rafael Caro Quintero is a problem in U.S. law enforcement relations with Mexico.

Quintero is supposed to be in a Mexican federal prison.

He’s not.

Quintero, Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo and Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo founded the Guadalajara Cartel in the early 1980s. Gallardo was chairman of the board. Fonseca represented the old guard and Quintero represented the up-and-comers.

He also is believed to be the man behind the murder of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in February 1985.

Camarena, who was assigned to the DEA office in Guadalajara, led the Mexican military to the Rancho El Bufalo in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, where between 5,000 and 10,000 tons of marijuana was destroyed in late 1984.

It was Quintero’s marijuana operation.

A few months later, Camarena was abducted, taken to a cartel ranch and tortured for more than 30 hours.

His abductors included members of the Mexican Federal Security Directorate, a police agency that was eventually broken up because it was so corrupt.

Camarena’s torture and interrogation were recorded on audiotape that was recovered by U.S. law enforcement. His skull, nose, jaw and cheekbones were broken with a tire iron. His torturers broke his ribs. They used a cattle prod on him.

Camarena’s body was discovered in March 1985, a month after his abduction.

When American DEA agents cornered Quintero, Mexican police turned and held the agents at gunpoint while Quintero boarded an airplane and escaped. He was later arrested in Costa Rica by DEA agents, returned to Mexico and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Mexico would not extradite him to stand trial in the U.S. for Camarena’s murder, partly because Quintero faced the death penalty.

He was released, without any announcement, in August 2013 after serving 28 years.

The Mexican government never notified the United States.

The extradition request for Quintero has been ignored.

Quintero has written the Mexican press that he is innocent of the charges of killing Camarena and is not involved in drug trafficking.

The U.S. Treasury Department has publicly linked him to laundering drug money in 2014 and again in 2016.

Quintero is believed to be living in southern Chihuahua, where the Juárez Cartel has expanded poppy production in recent years.

Partial victories

There are no quick answers, but there may be hope.

Associate Deputy Attorney General Ohr points to what can be considered past successes – the destruction of the large Colombian cocaine cartels and the defeat of the Italian Mafia families in New York City.

Neither was a complete victory. There are Colombian cartels dealing cocaine today. And the Italian Mafia still exists in New York.

But they are shadows of the powerful organized crime syndicates they were decades ago.

The Medellin Cartel was a legitimate threat to the Colombian government, killing police, prosecutors, judges and legislators.

The five Mafia families in New York had their hands in almost every aspect of life in the New York area, from drugs to garbage hauling to construction to food distribution.

“It took sustained law enforcement efforts,” Ohr said.

In taking on the Mafia families, the Department of Justice developed the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force system.

It took money from all federal law enforcement agencies – to get them to cooperate – and pooled the money to pay for long-term investigations.

The DOJ used federal racketeering statutes and money laundering laws.

“We were able to knock La Cosa Nostra down to size,” he said.

In Florida, U.S. law enforcement used many of the same tools to help Colombian law enforcement attack the Medellin Cartel and later the Cali Cartel.

“These were huge, intractable problems,” Ohr said. “It was messy at times. It wasn’t easy, but the existing drug networks are nowhere near as powerful as they once were.”

“I think Colombia might be the best example of what we may be able to do in combating the criminal networks in Mexico,” he said.

Whether Mexico would willingly accept the full public participation by American law enforcement is another question.

Demand drives it

In New Mexico, Damon Martinez has been running the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the past four years.

From his perspective, combating drug trafficking organizations is less difficult than fighting the drug abuse problem.

“If the traffickers are on this side of the border, we should be able to tattoo that organization,” Martinez said. “We have the capability to take on any drug trafficking organization.

“We have the tools. We can get their drugs. We can get their assets. We can get their money, which is a crucial component to hurting their ability to operate.”

But he and others in federal law enforcement have made it clear they don’t believe we can arrest our way out of the drug abuse problem.

“We have to attack the traffickers,” he said in an interview. “But we have to suppress the demand side through education and treatment to deprive traffickers of their market.”

In response to New Mexico’s constantly high ranking in drug overdose deaths, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and UNM Health Sciences Center formed the New Mexico Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Initiative.

They were joined by the DEA, the Bernalillo County Opioid Accountability Initiative, Healing Addiction in Our Community, Albuquerque Public Schools and other community groups. The principal goal was the reduction in the number of opioid-related deaths in the state.

“We have a lot of people in prison for drug crimes, and the recidivism statistics are bad for people being released,” Martinez said.

Isleta Pueblo, with the HOPE Initiative’s help, set up a re-entry plan to help former inmates with transportation, education and jobs.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas recently launched initiatives to combat drug abuse at the state level.

The State Pharmacy and Medical boards have toughened regulations on prescribing painkilling drugs.

And other state programs aimed at reducing the harm caused by the drugs, like making heroin overdose antidotes available to police, have helped reduce the state’s rate of overdose deaths.

But as heroin overdose deaths have declined slightly, methamphetamine overdose deaths have increased. Some consider a meth habit harder to break than addiction to heroin.

But they both fuel crime as addicts rob, steal and sell drugs to buy more drugs.

Albuquerque Deputy Police Chief Eric Garcia said drugs are directly related to the overwhelming number of crimes here and that crimes by people high on meth tend to be more violent and horrific than others.

Still, law enforcement has responded.

“We have limited resources; we have to direct our resources where they will make a difference,” Martinez said. “We targeted violent criminals in the community through the worst of the worst. We targeted pharmacy robberies.

“Our law enforcement efforts have to evolve,” he said. “I think we can counter each and every move the cartels and traffickers make.

“We can’t give up on it.”

By the numbers


Police in Thailand seized more than seven million methamphetamine tablets on Saturday following a dramatic car chase, highlighting how drugs continue to pour into the country from the notorious Golden Triangle region.

Investigators said three speeding pick-up trucks failed to stop at a checkpoint in northern Lampang province, close to Thailand’s porous borders with Myanmar and Laos.gfbhdbhhsdh

“Police shot out the tires of the middle car and arrested one Thai national,” Col. Chairoj Uangpayung, commander of Wiang Mok police station, said.

In his truck, they found 3.4 million meth tablets and 20 kilograms of “ice” — a purer form of methamphetamine.

Authorities sped after the other two pick-up drivers who escaped, but not before dropping 20 bags of methamphetamine on the road.

“Police have not counted the second batch yet but altogether I think it’s more than seven million tablets,” Col.Chairoj said.

Investigators estimate the street value of the haul at around USD32 million (THB1,120 million).

Thailand is a major drug market as well as transit route, particularly for “yaba” — meth pills produced in the notorious Golden Triangle region bordering Laos and Myanmar.

The region churns out huge quantities of methamphetamine as well as heroin, opium and cannabis — much of it bound for consumers in Asia and beyond.

While drug seizures and arrests of low-level couriers are common, it is rare for authorities in Laos, Myanmar or Thailand to take down cartel kingpins.

Police data obtained earlier this month showed that Myanmar confiscated a record 98 million meth tablets last year, double the previous year’s haul.

In December, Thai police made a record seizure of pure methamphetamine, seizing half a ton — worth some USD40 million (THB1400 million) — being transported in an 18-wheel truck.

A month later, they also arrested Laotian drug kingpin Xaysana Keopimpha.

Police say Xaysana had links to a number of Thai celebrities and powerful people who are now part of a widening probe.

But experts say most cartel leaders continue to do business with relative impunity and that laboratories in Laos, Myanmar and southern China can easily make up for losses incurred during raids.




Ice, along with speed and base, is a form of the potent stimulant drug methamphetamine.

Also referred to as shabu, crystal, crystal meth or d-meth, ice is the purest and most potent form of methamphetamine. It comes as a powder or crystals that are usually snorted, injected or smoked.

The latest figures from the National Drug Survey suggest 2 per cent of Australians use methamphetamine — a figure that has not really changed much over the past decade, said Dr Nicole Lee, an Adjunct Associate Professor at Curtin University’s National Drug Research Institute.

But about half of those who use methamphetamines say they prefer to take ice, and the number of people using ice has doubled since the last survey, Dr Lee said.

The first hour

How quickly you feel the effect of methamphetamine depends on the form, the route of administration and how much of it you use, Dr Lee said.

“Mostly people will smoke, inject or swallow a pill,” she said. Sometimes people dissolve it into alcohol or water and drink it.

“If you smoke it, it has an immediate high, just in a couple of minutes you’ll get quite a big hit. Whereas if you ingest it through your stomach it’s about 20 minutes before you start to feel the effects.”

The immediate effects from ice are intense pleasure and clarity. Users say they have lots of energy and can think clearly, feel like they can make good decisions, and plan effectively.

This is because methamphetamine dramatically increases the levels of the hormone dopamine – by up to 1,000 times the normal level – much more than any other pleasure seeking activity or drug.

Physical effects can include dilated pupils, an increased heart and breathing rate, a reduced appetite and an increased sex drive.

The next day

The effects usually last for between four and 12 hours, although methamphetamine can be detected in blood and urine for up to 72 hours.

Methamphetamines and psychosis

Almost one quarter of regular methamphetamine users will experience a symptom of psychosis in any given year.

Methamphetamine psychosis typically involves feeling overly suspicious, having strange beliefs about things that are not plausible, or hearing and seeing things that are not there.

These symptoms can vary in intensity and usually last up to two to three hours, but sometimes symptoms can be severe and last for days.

People with schizophrenia are far more likely to experience psychosis after using methamphetamine than other users.

After the effects of the drug wear off, you’ll begin to come down, sometimes up to 24 hours after you used the drug.

If you’re coming down from methamphetamine you’re likely to feel the opposite of what you feel when you’re high. So you’ll have trouble making decisions, poor concentration and difficulty planning.

You may also have headaches, blurred vision and start to feel hungry.

It’s pretty common to feel flat, depressed, jittery and anxious. You may feel exhausted and want to sleep for a day or two, although you may have difficulty sleeping, Dr Lee said.

Some people may also feel very irritable or have mild psychotic symptoms like paranoia and hallucinations.

“The ‘come down’ period is like a hangover, a recovery period after which people may move into withdrawal if they are dependent,” she said..

Using again and again

Once users start to take ice at higher doses or to use it more frequently, the pleasurable effects tend to give way to less pleasurable ones, Dr Lee said.

Physically this might involve a racing heart and increased breathing rate, a rise in body temperature, a dry mouth and sometimes nausea and vomiting.

At critical toxicity or overdose levels, people can also have stroke or heart failure, and occasionally seizures.

Once you start taking higher doses you may also start to feel jumpy or anxious, hostile and aggressive. This can escalate to feelings of intense paranoia or psychotic episodes.

This is caused by methamphetamine’s release of another neurotransmitter (brain chemical) called noradrenaline, which induces a fight or flight response.

It’s these users that typically turn up in emergency departments and pose a challenge to medical staff, said David Caldicott, an Emergency Consultant at the Calvary Hospital in Canberra.

This is because they are often dealing with methamphetamine’s “double-whammy” of physical as well as psychological effects, he said.

For instance a user could present to emergency with stroke-like symptoms but be severely agitated and aggressive.

“It’s kind of a Benjamin Button type drug so… [you could] see a stroke or aortic dissection in someone using ice in their 20s or 30s,” he said.

Chronic withdrawals

It takes between 10 to 14 days to physically detox from methamphetamine, almost twice as long as many other drugs.

After an acute withdrawal period, there’s a more chronic withdrawal period that may take 12 to 18 months.

“It makes it very difficult for people to get off because having cravings, feeling really flat, jumpy and anxious for over a year-and-a-half is a long time,” Dr Lee said.

One of the reasons it’s so difficult to come off ice and other methamphetamines is that the drugs target the dopamine system. Regular and huge bursts of dopamine can effectively wear the relevant brain regions out, so the brain is no longer able to produce enough dopamine.

“The feeling that you get when you have lots of dopamine in your system is a feeling of incredible pleasure so when the dopamine system wears out, people really feel very flat, and depressed,” Dr Lee said.

In order to feel normal, users need more methamphetamine on board, which is one of the reasons relapse rates are so high.

But Dr Lee said research shows that changes to the dopamine system are recoverable over time.

How addictive is ice?

All drugs have the potential for dependence. In 2013-14:

  • 40 per cent of treatment in Australia was for alcohol
  • 24 per cent for cannabis
  • 17 per cent for methamphetamine
  • 7 per cent for heroin

People do become addicted to methamphetamine, but it is not the most addictive drug around, said Dr Lee. Among methamphetamine users who use regularly around 10 to 15 per cent are dependent compared to 50 per cent of heroin users and 95 per cent of cigarette smokers.

“Compared to some other drugs, it has moderate dependence potential. The rate of dependence among users is probably similar to cannabis,” she said.

“However, because of the significant brain changes from methamphetamine, once someone becomes dependent on methamphetamine, they often find it very difficult to get off. And we don’t know who it is that will become dependent and who won’t.”

Dr Lee and colleagues have done research in this area and found there was a year between when people first started using ice regularly — weekly or more than weekly — and when they started experiencing problems including dependence.

However, it’s hard to predict who will become dependent and who won’t. And once you are dependent, it is quite hard to get off because of how it affects your brain, Dr Lee said.

Who’s using and where?

Australia has fairly strong data on the use of illicit drugs, thanks to the National Drug Strategy Household Survey, conducted every three years.

“You see a significantly higher level of use in the rural areas. More people have used over their lifetime, more people have used in the last 12 months — which we consider to be recent use.”

Younger Australians are more likely to use the drug, especially men.

“We see concentrations in young males in their late teens to late 20s. We see high concentrations of use among young males who are working in industry and trade areas. Consumption occurs across the board, but there’s really high concentration there,” Professor Roche said.

And the way in which Australians are using methamphetamine has changed.

“Where people used speed previously, mostly as a tablet, now they smoke it,” she said.

“If you’re smoking, it’s a kind of innocuous activity and what people used to say is they continue to smoke, or do it socially in a group, and that encourages people to consume more.”


A 34-year-old woman remained behind bars this weekend on multiple charges after she was arrested earlier this month at Belk in The Villages.

Martine Sophie Donlan had been spotted Feb. 10 walking barefoot in the Spanish Springs area carrying several large bags. She entered the store, selected items including perfume and when she re-emerged, those items were not visible, according to an arrest report from the Lady Lake Police Department.

A search of her bag turned up methamphetamine, morphine and $260 in counterfeit money.

She was arrested on charges of possession of methamphetamine, possession of morphine and possession of 10 or more forged bills.

Donlan was booked on $6,000 bond at the Lake County Jail.

Drugs come across the U.S.-Mexican border in many ways – from Mexican couriers carrying backpacks across the desert to sophisticated trucking operations designed to thwart U.S. border and customs officials to elaborate tunnels. A lot gets seized, but the amount that gets through generates billions of dollars in profits for the cartels and fuels a host of problems here, from addiction to crimes committed to finance the “habit.”

The pallets marked as frozen sea cucumbers, a delicacy in some Asian restaurants, crossed easily from Mexico into the U.S. by truck at a border crossing between Tijuana and San Diego.

After all, frozen seafood moves relatively quickly through U.S. Customs and Border Protection at ports of entry along the Southwestern border. Each port has a limited budget to pay for “spoilage” during unsuccessful drug searches, so without specific information or indicators of drugs in the load of seafood, the loads get processed rapidly.

Once in San Diego, the seafood was flown to Buffalo, in upstate New York, where the pallets – which were actually loaded with heroin, cocaine and fentanyl – were broken open and distributed to drug dealers in western New York.

The money from the drug sales was then laundered through a series of companies, sent to bank accounts in California and then south of the border.

It was a classic Sinaloa Cartel operation, hiding the drugs in plain sight, pushing them out to consumers willing to pay hard cash, and then using legal fronts and banks to cover the money trail.


It was run by Jose Ruben Gil, known within the organization as the “Mayor of Mexico.”

The operation involved people throughout the drug trafficking organization who were tightly aligned with the Sinaloa Cartel, not only in smuggling the drugs, but also in arranging for the money to get back to Mexico. The volume and value of the drugs involved is considered to be too high to “front” to independent operators.

How lucrative?

Investigators from the Internal Revenue Service and other agencies claim that in one year, Gil’s operation sent $20 million from corporate bank accounts in the Buffalo area to banks in California. The money was then sent into Mexico.

The “Mayor of Mexico” eventually was taken down.

During the Drug Enforcement Administration investigation, agents across the country seized 52 kilograms of cocaine, 17 kilograms of heroin and 8 kilograms of fentanyl – worth millions of dollars on the street – but Gil’s operation continued right up until his arrest in August in Buffalo, N.Y. He and others are now awaiting trial.

Gil ran the type of drug operation that traces back to the highest echelons of the Sinaloa Cartel, according to federal law enforcement officials involved in the case.

His was a sophisticated model from start to finish.

Law enforcement officials in the U.S. say the six major Mexican cartels are reaping billions in profits every year.

Sinaloa Cartel thrives

The arrest of a player like Gil isn’t much more than a hiccup to an operation like the Sinaloa Cartel.

The most recent arrest and extradition to the United States of one of the world’s best-known drug lords, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, was a much bigger threat to the cartel’s drug operations. In fact, there were expectations of a major fight for control of the Sinaloa Cartel.

Although a few members have turned up dead, there hasn’t been a major bloodletting, yet.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration believes the cartel, which actually is a federation of several groups, has always been run by a board of directors with a first among equals or chairman like Guzmán.

The two players with the most influence in the cartel today are Ismael “Mayo” Zambada Garcia, 68, and Dámaso “El Licenciado” López Nuñez, 50.

Zambada has been around since the 1970s, when the Guadalajara Cartel was formed. For a long time, he and his sons ran operations in the Mexican state of Sonora and controlled the “Plaza” in Nogales and other towns south of the border with Arizona. (Note: “Plaza” is a term used to refer to a border drug corridor.)

He became an important figure in a group called The Federation, formed by Amado Carrillo Fuentes in the 1990s, and since 2000 has been a capo in the Sinaloa Cartel.

He has a reputation for being a savvy infighter, not afraid of shedding blood, but someone who picks his fights carefully. Zambada played a significant role in eliminating the Tijuana Cartel as a major player on the border.

López Nuñez came onto the scene in 2001.

He studied law at the Universidad de Occidente and became a police officer at the Sinaloa Attorney General’s Office, according to El Universal newspaper.

López Nuñez eventually got a job at the federal prison in Puente Grande where El Chapo was serving time after his 1993 arrest and allegedly helped him escape in 2001.

He resigned and was not jailed in connection with the escape.

He was indicted in U.S. District Court in Virginia on drug trafficking and money laundering charges with other members of the Sinaloa Cartel but has never been arrested in Mexico.

Reports suggest Zambada is ready to name his sons as his successors.

But the most capable son is in a U.S. federal prison, and the others, according to DEA observers, don’t have the capacity to maintain power the way their father has over the course of decades.

The same assessment is made of Guzmán’s sons. All of them will have some role in the cartel, but how large remains to be seen.

Guzmán is godfather to López’s son, and López is close to another imprisoned Sinaloa capo, Inés Coronel Barreras, who is the father of Guzmán’s third wife.

While those signs point to López taking over a larger role in the cartel, nothing in the Mexican drug world is guaranteed.

Cartels resilient

Even the biggest criminal organization takes some hits – but the cartels have been amazingly resilient.

Longtime Sinaloa Cartel boss Guzmán was arrested in 2014, 13 years after he first escaped from Mexico’s maximum security prison in a laundry cart.

He escaped a second time in July 2015 through a tunnel and was rearrested in January 2016 after months of international publicity that drug organizations usually like to avoid.

Unlike that of some of his competitors who are locked up in Mexico, Guzmán’s extradition to the United States was not derailed and was completed last month.

His longtime No. 2, Ismael Zambada, also took a hit.


In 2015, the guilty plea in a Chicago federal court signed by Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla, now 40, was unsealed. It showed that Zambada Niebla, Zambada’s most competent son, was cooperating with U.S. authorities.

The son had helped run the cartel’s smuggling operations from South America into Mexico and then into the United States. He also was responsible for making payments to Mexican government and police officials.

He was arrested in 2008 by Mexican law enforcement and extradited to the United States in 2009.

His defense team claimed that Zambada Niebla believed he and the rest of the Sinaloa Cartel had a deal with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to provide information about other cartels in exchange for some sort of immunity from prosecution. The government denied the allegations, but apparently Zambada Niebla did meet with U.S. federal agents before he was arrested in Mexico.

He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a minimum of 10 years.

He described in the plea agreement the distribution of multiple tons of cocaine, often involving hundreds of kilograms at a time, on a monthly, if not weekly, basis from 2005 to 2008.

Zambada Niebla admitted that he coordinated the importation of multi-ton quantities of cocaine from Colombia and Panama into the interior of Mexico, where he arranged transportation and storage of the shipments ultimately headed for the United States.

The cartel used various means of transportation, including private aircraft, submarines, and other submersible and semisubmersible vessels, container ships, fast boats, fishing vessels, buses, rail cars, tractor-trailers and automobiles. He coordinated the delivery of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine to wholesale distributors in Mexico, who would then arrange to smuggle the drugs into the United States.

On most occasions, the Sinaloa Cartel supplied the cocaine to these wholesalers on a consignment basis because of the wholesalers’ long-standing relationships with key cartel figures.

Zambada Niebla in his plea deal also agreed not to contest a forfeiture judgment of more than $1.37 billion.



Mexican drug lords corner meth market

Posted: 20th February 2017 by Doc in Uncategorized

Once the drug of choice for outlaw motorcycle gangs, methamphetamine is now a major moneymaker for Mexican drug cartels. At one time, it was mostly “cooked” locally in seedy motel rooms or trailer parks using over-the-counter cold remedies. Now, law enforcement estimates that about 90 percent of the meth consumed in the United States comes across the border. The drug can be smoked, snorted, injected or taken orally. “We’re seeing meth dealers go after kids as young as 13 on social media,” said APD Deputy Chief Eric Garcia. “That’s who they’re marketing to.”


Miguel Rangel-Arce, 36, and brother Luis Rangel-Arce, 44, set up shop west of Farmington on the Navajo reservation in 2015. They were there to make money selling methamphetamine supplied by the Sinaloa Cartel.cartel_day4_rangel_arce1_CMYK.jpg

They rented a house and recruited locals, both Navajo and Anglo, to sell the drug on the reservation and in the neighborhoods of Farmington and Bloomfield. It was a tightly run ring with five retail dealers handling direct sales to users.

But the Rangel brothers, both from Mexico by way of Phoenix, came to the attention of federal investigators because of an increase in crime and use of methamphetamine in the Shiprock area on the Navajo nation.

In 2016, the two men and others were arrested for selling methamphetamine directly to undercover officers. Authorities seized more than 2½ pounds of the drug worth a minimum of $150,000, along with 10 firearms, during the arrests.

“Methamphetamine continues to have a devastating impact on Native American families and communities,” said U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez.

Martinez said the same thing a year earlier when law enforcement in the southern part of the state arrested Carlos Tafoya and 34 others in December 2015 for trafficking methamphetamine on the Mescalero Apache Reservation near Ruidoso.

The Mescalero Apache arrests also followed an increase in violent crime attributed to methamphetamine use on the reservation, including a horrific assault on a young girl by two teenage boys who were high on meth.

Joseph Ray Mendiola, 35, of Roswell, was the focus of another investigation that led to federal and state charges against 41 people. The investigation involved the FBI, DEA, State Police and local law enforcement agencies.

Investigators seized more than 16 pounds of methamphetamine from Mendiola and his associates in Roswell.

It’s the same story over and over. High-quality, inexpensive methamphetamine supplied by Mexican cartels is a problem from the reservations to the oil patch, from cities to rural New Mexico.

Meth is a highly addictive stimulant, and the crime that accompanies it is often violent – from the shooting death of a police officer in Rio Rancho to the brutal assaults on young girls in Albuquerque and the Mescalero Reservation.

Transit point

Call it meth, crystal, ice, speed or crank.

A pound of it can sell for as low as $7,200, but the average price per pound in New Mexico is around $8,000. That translates into big profits as it is broken down for users into envelopes of $25, $50 or $100.

Dealers sell to users, or “tweakers.”cartel_day4_juarez2_CMYK-640x459

Whatever name you want to use for methamphetamine, the statistics point to serious problems. Among them:

• In 2008, there were 23 overdose deaths in New Mexico attributed to methamphetamine. By 2014, there were 111 meth overdose deaths in the state.

• In 2007, a gram of methamphetamine was selling for almost $300 and the purity was about 40 percent. By 2014, the price had dropped, on a national average, to around $70 a gram, and it had an average purity of more than 90 percent.

• In 2010, federal agents seized just over 4,000 kilograms of methamphetamine along the Mexican border in the Southwest. By 2015, the amount seized increased to 16,282 kilograms. Meanwhile, the number of methamphetamine laboratories busted by law enforcement in the United States dropped more than 50 percent from 2010 to 2015, and most of those “laboratories” were capable of producing only 2 ounces or less.

The reason for the shift: About 90 percent of the methamphetamine consumed in the United States is made in Mexico.

“They are controlling more of the distribution line, the entire line from the manufacture … to the actual distribution,” said Will Glaspy, Drug Enforcement Administration special agent in charge, El Paso Division.


According to the DEA, traffickers employ various techniques in smuggling methamphetamine. They include human couriers, commercial flights, parcel services and commercial buses. But traffickers most commonly transport methamphetamine through U.S. border crossings in passenger vehicles with hidden compartments.

Several cartels are shipping methamphetamine in a liquid form to smuggle into the United States in soft drink cans and bottles. Once in the United States, the methamphetamine is transformed into a powder through standard chemical filtration methods.

Like other drugs, much of the meth that arrives in Albuquerque doesn’t stay here. The city is a transit point for drugs going on to Denver, Chicago and elsewhere.

The compartmentalization of the cartel operations and the use of independent contractors make it difficult for law enforcement to track supply lines.

“I don’t see a lot of people on this side of the border that have complete knowledge of the whole distribution chain,” Glaspy said.

One person picks up the methamphetamine in Culiacán, Sinaloa, and takes it to Juárez. Someone else smuggles it through the port of entry into El Paso to a stash house in Albuquerque. It then gets moved by another courier to a stash house in Denver or a city in the Midwest. Then a different person will pick it up and take it to a distributor.

“And that is a lot of what we’re seeing in the United States is that the Mexicans are looking to, well, they’re controlling more of the market,” Glaspy said.

Internal struggles

As with other illegal drugs, the Sinaloa and Juárez cartels are major players in the meth racket.

But competition for control of methamphetamine production in Mexico has always been heated and a new power player – the New Generation Jalisco Cartel – has emerged recently.

The first Mexican trafficking organization to start producing the drug on an industrial scale was based in the Mexican state of Colima and was called the Colima Cartel.

Founded by Jesus Amezcua Contreras in 1988, the Colima Cartel replaced outlaw motorcycle gangs in the United States in producing methamphetamine, then partnered with the biker gangs for distribution.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, the Colima Cartel controlled the importation of chemicals from Europe – later China and India – used to make methamphetamine. The Colima Cartel then sold its “surplus” to the Sinaloa Cartel.

But the rise of the New Generation Jalisco Cartel, in the bordering state of Jalisco, has led to fierce fighting in the state of Colima.

The New Generation Jalisco Cartel is the newest of the six major cartels operating in Mexico.


Nemesio “El Mencho” Oseguera Cervantes, who now heads the New Generation syndicate, was convicted in federal court in San Francisco in 1994 and sentenced to three years in prison for conspiracy to distribute heroin. He was deported to Mexico after his release from prison and worked as a police officer in the state of Jalisco, where the Milenio Cartel was active producing methamphetamine.

The Milenio Cartel and the Colima Cartel were then partners in the Sinaloa Cartel. But in 2010, one of the leaders of the Milenio Cartel died and another was arrested by Mexican federal law enforcement. That led to a fight over control of narcotics trafficking in the states of Jalisco and Michoacan.

“El Mencho” came out on top, heading what is now called the New Generation Jalisco Cartel.

He set about expanding the cartel’s operations and took on rivals like Los Zetas and the Knights Templar.

That expansion was noted for its violence, willingness to kill local and state government officials and taking on federal police in ambushes and gunfights, including shooting down helicopters.

In 2016, the Sinaloa Cartel began sending men and arms to aid the Colima Cartel in its fight with the New Generation Jalisco Cartel, which smuggles drugs into the United States through Tijuana, Juárez and Nuevo Laredo.

It is considered a major player in methamphetamine trafficking but also is involved in heroin, cocaine and marijuana smuggling.

The cartels import chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine from India, China and the Philippines. The chemicals are delivered to Mexico’s western ports including Manzanillo in the state of Colima.

The Colima Cartel and Sinaloa Cartel and the remnants of the Beltran Leyva organization also manufacture and traffic methamphetamine, using ports like Guaymas to bring in the chemicals from overseas. The Juárez Cartel gets it supplies from other cartels, primarily New Generation Jalisco.


Unlike most other illegal drugs, methamphetamine is a synthetic, manufactured in a laboratory.

It does not rely on a plant as its main source of chemicals like heroin and cocaine, and production isn’t affected by drought or floods.

And there are a lot of ways to make meth.

One way involves the use of the common cold remedy pseudoephedrine or ephedrine as a precursor chemical. Making methamphetamine using pseudoephedrine is fairly simple, and the U.S. government in the 1990s passed tough laws and regulations governing its production and distribution.

As a result, production began to head south in the 1990s to Mexico, where pseudoephedrine was easy to get. Around 2005, Mexico imported 80 metric tons of ephedrine from China when the country’s basic need was 4 metric tons.

Mexico, at the urging of the U.S., began restricting imports of pseudoephedrine, and China began restricting exports.

That caused the cartels to move to more complex manufacturing techniques that revolve around the chemical P-2-P, prompting the United States and United Nations to restrict production, exportation and importation of P-2-P around the world.

Unfortunately, there are lots of ways to make P-2-P, and most of those involve very common industrial chemicals and solvents – a lot of them considered poisonous.

It is difficult to control international trade in these chemicals, because they are used to make everything from aspirin to pressure-treated wood.

In 2010, the Mexican government seized 110 methamphetamine laboratories, and most were using some form of the P-2-P method of making methamphetamine.

Since 2010, most of the methamphetamine tested by DEA laboratories has been made using the P-2-P method.


A Sidney man’s alleged sexual acts against a child were tied to his methamphetamine addiction, prosecutors say, and his wife is also accused of participating in abuses that spanned almost two months.

Nearly a week after Justin Crandall, 28, and his wife, Jessica Crandall, 27, were arrested by state police, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Binghamton brought new federal criminal charges Friday against the Sidney couple tied to the alleged abuses against a 17-month-old girl. The Crandalls pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court to felony counts of conspiracy to sexually exploit a child and sexual exploitation of a child.

If convicted, the defendants face up to 30 years in federal prison. Shackled in a courtroom during Friday’s arraignment before Judge David Peebles, the Crandalls’ faces remained expressionless as Assistant U.S. Attorney Miroslav Lovric said both defendants conspired to “sexually torture” the victim.

Court papers unsealed Friday describe the criminal investigation by state police and the FBI, as well as graphic details outlining alleged child sexual abuse that spanned from December to February.

Law enforcement were alerted Feb. 11 after a witness reported receiving an image depicting a female toddler engaged in a sex act, which Justin Crandall had allegedly sent via cellphone, according to court papers. The child was being babysat by Jessica Crandall at the couple’s Sidney residence, officials said.

Justin Crandall was then brought to the state police headquarters in Sidney to be interviewed by investigators.

In court papers, the FBI stated, “(Justin) Crandall admitted he touched the minor female child in a sexual manner while he was under the influence of methamphetamine. Specifically, when asked if he had engaged in ‘sex’ with the minor female child, (Crandall) asked to define term ‘sex.'”

As a result, troopers charged him on Feb. 11 with felony counts of first-degree rape and promoting sexual performance by a child less than 17 years old, along with misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Investigators then learned from the child’s mother that she had been babysat by the Crandalls since after Thanksgiving, court papers said. The mother noticed some changes in her child’s behavior along with unexplained injuries, according to court papers.

On Monday, court papers say, Jessica Crandall was questioned by state police and she admitted she and her husband engaged in “repeated sexual activities” involving the child going back to the previous December.

Two out of 10 pages in federal court records tied to the case contain graphic details of the alleged abuses.

Jessica Crandall was charged by troopers on Monday with a felony count of first-degree criminal sexual act and a misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a child.

The charges unsealed Friday are being prosecuted separately from the state-level crimes by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which says the Crandalls also violated federal criminal laws in committing the alleged abuses.

A grand jury is expected to be convened soon to consider a federal indictment against the defendants, Lovric said Friday.

Justin and Jessica Crandall are being held in the Delaware County jail while awaiting further court proceedings.



Police say a married couple was arrested on several charges after a three-day investigation that was sparked by a child pornography complaint.

On Saturday, New York State Police arrested Justin D. Crandall, 28, of Sidney, for allegedly sending sexually explicit photographs of a young child to another person. Crandall was charged with first-degree rape, promoting sexual performance by a child less than 17 years old, both felonies; endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor.

Crandall was arraigned in the Village of Sidney Court and remanded to the Delaware County Jail.

On Monday, Crandall’s wife, Jessica L. Crandall, 27, of Sidney, was found to have sexually abused a child less than 11 years old, police said. She was charged with first-degree criminal sex act, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.

She was arraigned in the Village of Sidney Court and remanded to the Delaware County jail.


Boise Police say a woman was arrested Friday morning when officers determined her child was in danger because she jumped into traffic, while naked and holding onto the baby.

The incident was reported around 8:02 a.m. on west State Street and north Arthur Street. Dispatch said the woman, who was later identified as Crystal L. Knapek, 40, of Boise, was clogging traffic and drivers had to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting her and the baby.

Officers tried talking with her once they got on scene. BPD says they found the child was in danger, so they contacted Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

Boise Police say the officers had to physically restrain the woman to safely take the baby away from her.

The woman was taken to the hospital for evaluation. BPD says Knapek has been charged with injury to a child, indecent exposure, resisting and obstructing, controlled substance- use or under the influence in a public place.


FERNLEY, Nev. (KOLO) – A science teacher at Silverland Middle School in Fernley was arrested Feb. 14 by the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office on suspicion of using methamphetamine.

Kelly Rumbaugh, 58, posted bond to be released from the Lyon County jail. The investigation into the case is continuing and the sheriff’s office is not releasing other information at this time, sheriff’s spokesman Michael Carlson said.

Lyon County School District Superintendent Wayne Workman said Rumbaugh has been removed from class and no longer has contact with students. Workman could not comment on her current employment status because it is a personnel matter.

A number listed for Rumbaugh had been disconnected. Rumbaugh could not be reached for comment.



HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) — Three people were arrested after shooting up meth in a vehicle with a two year old child inside.

West Virginia State Police say they were called to the parking lot of a church on West Pea Ridge Road in Huntington around 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

Troopers found William Moser, Tamara Weekley and Tammy Fox in a KIA SUV. There was also a two year old boy in the vehicle.

They say they found numerous needles throughout the vehicle, including two within arm’s reach of the child. One of those was uncapped.

William Franklin Moser, 26, Tamera Renee Weekley, 34, both of Proctorville and Tammy Taylor Fox, 29, of Huntington were arrested and charged with child neglect creating risk of serious bodily injury.

Moser was also charged with driving while license is revoked for a DUI and driving under the influence.


UNION, SC (WSPA) – A woman “throat-punched” a Union Co. deputy after she jumped out of his patrol car and led the officer on a foot chase through the woods, according to a report.

Deputies were conducting a safety check point on East Main St. at Maybra Ave. on 2/16.

The driver of a truck, Jonathan Shane Patrick, 30, told deputies that he need to get out to get his ID from the bed of the truck.

The deputy asked two passengers in the truck how they were doing and at first, neither would respond.

The deputy asked them if they had ID and both said they didn’t.

They patted down Patrick, and found a digital scale and baggies with a crystal rock-like substance they believed to be meth, according to the report.

They say they also found more of the substance in baggie near the passengers, Candice Michelle Woodsby, 30, and Joseph Leroy Rice, 38.

Both were placed under arrest.

The deputy says Woodsby jumped out of the patrol car and was running down Peach Orchard Rd. into the woods.

When he caught up and tried to detain her, she turned around and “throat punched” him, according to the report.

The deputy said she fought him and then went unresponsive.

He then called EMS and she was transported to the hospital.

She was treated and transported to the jail.

Woodsby is charged with Possession of Meth, Resisting Arrest with an Assault.

Patrick is charged with Possession with the Intent to Distribute Meth.

Rice is charged with Possession of Meth.


Two women in separate incidents were arrested on drug charges here last Friday.

A Carthage woman was arrested for promotion of methamphetamine manufacture after Cookeville police officers found her with multiple items used to make the drug.

And an Arkansas woman stopped for speeding on her way to Pigeon Forge was reportedly under the influence and had illegal drugs and a weapon.

Vanity Mistich, 25, of Jackson Avenue in Carthage, was arrested in the first incident.

“I followed a vehicle into the parking lot of the Subway on Highway 111 for erratic driving,” said Cookeville Police Officer Brian Haworth.

The woman driving the car went into the bathroom of the business, the officer said.

When the officer determined who she was, he said a record check found she was driving on a revoked license.

Her vehicle was inventoried before it was towed, and that’s when the officer said the items for making methamphetamine were found.

She also had an item of drug paraphernalia with residue on it.

Mistich was booked on a bond of $10,000.

Her initial appearance in Putnam County General Sessions Court is set for March 6, according to her arrest warrant.

Jessica Ann Smith, 29, of Oak Grove, Arkansas, was arrested in the other incident.

It happened in the eastbound lane of Interstate 40 near mile marker 283 when a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper tried to stop her for speeding.

“The subject had extremely constricted pupils, slurred speech and was unsteady,” Trooper Colby Huff said.

She reportedly failed to successfully performed five of six field sobriety tasks the trooper requested.

Smith also reportedly told the trooper she had been arrested for DUI in 2011 as well.

An inventory of her vehicle found a small amount of marijuana, more than five grams of methamphetamine and more than 10 prescription narcotic pills that are commonly abused.

In addition to being charged with DUI and three counts of simple possession, Smith was charged with driving in possession of methamphetamine.

She was also charged with unlawful possession of a weapon after troopers found a firearm in the vehicle.

Smith’s total bond was set at $9,000.

According to her arrest warrants, Smith’s initial appearance in Putnam County General Sessions Court is set for March 10.


Authorities arrested two men outside an East Ridge motel with one having 2,218 grams of meth in a backpack and the other 44.5 grams of meth.

Samuel Swafford was the man with the backpack and William Hayden Masengale had the other large amount of meth.

Swafford and Lacy Norris are charged with being felons in possession of over 50 grams of meth.

On Jan. 12, law enforcement used a confidential source to arrange a purchase of six ounces of meth from Masengale at the Motel 6 on Camp Jordan Parkway.

Swafford and Masengale got out of a BMW and approached room 108. Law enforcement then approached the pair.

Swafford, clutching the backpack, tried to run away, but he fell and was taken into custody.

Officers found a loaded Taurus 9mm handgun near where Swafford had dropped a cell phone during the chase.

Masengale said he had gone to Swafford’s house to get the six ounces of meth for the deal, and Swafford gave him one ounce for brokering the exchange.

Masengale said during the past week he had gotten half-ounce quantities of meth from Swafford on three occasions.

Swafford told agents that he had been getting multi-kilo quantities of meth from dealers in the Atlanta area.

He said on Jan. 11 he and Lacy Norris obtained five kilograms of meth from Ms. Norris’s source of supply. He said he kept four kilograms and gave one to Ms. Norris.

Swafford said he and Ms. Norris had their own meth customers.

He said the Taurus 9mm belonged to Ms. Norris.

He said she was either at the Holiday Inn Express at Ringgold or the Extended Stay America on Airpark Drive in Chattanooga.

Swafford said she was driving a gray BMW with a bandana in the windshield.

Law enforcement officers located Ms. Norris’s BMW at the Extended Stay America. She was staying in room 230.

Officers saw Kathryn Davis and Ryan Frost leave room 230. Ms. Davis pulled an ounce of meth from her bra after Frost said she had some on her. She said she obtained the meth from room 230, and Ms. Norris and another individual were in the room.

No one would come to the door at room 230, but Ms. Norris and Jesse McDaniel were later located in the room. There was a gun on one of the beds and drug paraphernalia was in plain view.

Ms. Norris said meth could be found in a hand-held vacuum cleaner, and it contained 158.6 grams of meth. Another 57.2 grams of meth was found in the room.

There were two firearms in the room, including a loaded .22 caliber Ruger which Ms. Norris said was hers.

Ms. Norris said on various occasions she had obtained large amounts of meth from Atlanta sources.