Fayette County deputies arrested two Rio Grande Valley men Friday after finding about 20 pounds of methamphetamine hidden in their vehicle during a traffic stop.MEthfound

Deputies stopped a Ford F-150 truck on Interstate 10 at the 659 mile-marker at about 10:12 a.m., according to a news release from the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office.

A deputy observed one fire extinguisher inside of a tool box, and another hidden underneath it.

After opening the extinguishers, a deputy discovered about 20 pounds of methamphetamine wrapped in foil packaging, according to the news release.

Deputies arrested Juan Angel Dimas, 40, of Mercedes and Francisco Lopez Jr., 32, of Edinburg upon finding the narcotics, authorities said.

The bond for each man is set at $200,000.

http://www.valleycentral.com/news/story.aspx?id=1224067#.VZL_62tFCUl

LAPORTE | A husband and wife were charged Monday with dealing methamphetamine allegedly cooked inside a Kingsford Heights home where six children lived.

The six children did not appear harmed by the potentially deadly vapors created by a reaction of the chemicals used in making the narcotic, authorities said.

Ronald Walters, II, and Tammy Walters, both 37, are each charged with dealing in methamphetamine, neglect of a dependent and possession of the materials used to make the drug.

Early Friday, police responded to a home in the 300 block of Evanston Road after an anonymous caller stated ”a batch of methamphetamine is being made in the garage as we speak,” according to court documents.

Sgt. Brett Swanson, while approaching the home, detected a chemical odor strong enough that when he went inside the garage he began coughing and choking on the noxious fumes, court documents revealed.

He also saw what he described as a white chemical haze inside the garage.

Six children and two young adults were sleeping inside the home attached to the garage by a breezeway.

Two of the children belong to the Walters while the remainder of the juveniles were with two other families living in the home, authorities said.

Four other adults, including a pregnant woman, were taken in for questioning. None of them have been charged.

Authorities wearing respirators and other gear as protection against the toxic vapors went inside the garage, finding items such as hydrochloric acid, camping stove fuel and lithium battery strips used in making the highly addictive drug.

Child protective services was brought in due to the presence of children inside the home, which had been the subject of anonymous tips about methamphetamine production numerous times in recent years.

If convicted, the couple each could face anywhere from a 2- to 12-year sentence.

http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/laporte/police-kids-taken-from-home-where-meth-lab-was-found/article_072e9d81-cda3-5e33-9410-4f663144a9b9.html

RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — A Riverside family is suing a nurse and a home-health agency after a young special-needs boy was severely burned while under care.

Adam Bautista, 4, was born with an undeveloped brain, and requires constant medical care as he remains in a largely vegetative state.

In March, Bautista’s parents were told by a nurse that she had accidentally sprayed him with hot water while bathing him. Adam suffered blistered skin, covering his chest, as a result of the burns.

“It was just really stressful seeing him in that condition and knowing that he was hurting, and I couldn’t do anything for him,” Adam’s mother said.

However, it was the results of a forensic analyst test of Adam’s shirt that the boy’s parents say left them absolutely shocked.

The forensic analyst, tasked with investigating the boy’s shirt by attorney Mark Peacock. He says he discovered the presence of vomit on the front of the shirt, and traces of skin on the inside of the shirt, along with evidence of sodium hydroxide.

Peacock says the chemical was a red flag to him, as it is commonly used in making methamphetamine. The nurse, who lives in Yucaipa, had been arrested 20 years ago for manufacturing methamphetamine.

“There’s some evidence that there’s something sinister going on, so we want to find out exactly what that is,” Peacock said.

The nurse, meanwhile, maintains that the burning was an accident, and that she would never have intentionally harmed the child.

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2015/06/29/riverside-family-sues-nurse-after-traces-of-chemical-found-on-burned-child/

FAIRBANKS—The scales weren’t a tip-off, but the 8 pounds of methamphetamine allegedly found in a Fairbanks gold-buying office this month led police to suspect an ex-employee was distributing the drug.

Two Fairbanks men had federal court dates scheduled for this week on drugs charges that stem from the suspicions of a retail gold assessing store owner who reported finding drugs in a company safe earlier this month.

Federal charges accuse Robert Michael Curry and Matthew Paul Lugin of possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute. They’ve both been charged, but neither has been indicted. Lugin is in custody at Fairbanks Correctional Center. Curry has been released to a third-party custodian.

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration began investigating June 6 when the Anchorage owner of Oxford Assaying and Refining reported drugs he found inside two small safes within a larger company safe, according to an affidavit filed in court from DEA Special Agent Daniel Lakin.

One safe contained 8.29 pounds of methamphetamine and $27,150, according to the affidavit. The other had “gold and silver coins, ivory and gemstones, along with a smaller bag containing a substance that tested presumptively positive for the presence of methamphetamine, as well as paperwork bearing the name of Robert Curry.

The owner of the business suspected Curry, who was the lone employee of the Fairbanks office and who the owner had recently fired because he suspected Curry was embezzling from the business.

Eight pounds of methamphetamine is a huge quantity of the drug, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Cooper, who’s prosecuting the case. It’s worth a few hundred thousand dollars, he said.

Federal agents executed a search warrant on Curry’s home in the Riverview neighborhood on June 16. The agents found a small amount of methamphetamine and a loaded pistol in a backpack with an Oxford Assaying and Refining logo. Curry said the backpack was his but that the safe belonged to his co-defendant, according to the affidavit.

“Curry stated he had stored a safe for Lugin on three other occasions and that he was not absolutely sure it contained methamphetamine but guessed it did,” according to Lakin’s affidavit.

Federal agents organized a sting in which Lugin allegedly met with Curry to pick up the safe and drop of 8 grams of meth.

Curry is represented by Fairbanks attorney Bill Satterberg, whose partner Thomas Temple said he had no comment on the case at this stage. Federal public defender MJ Haden is representing Lugin.

http://www.newsminer.com/news/local_news/pounds-of-meth-found-in-safe-two-fairbanks-men-charged/article_998abf60-1ecf-11e5-a214-63c92a13ab60.html

ELKHART — An Elkhart man was arrested Saturday night, June 27, on preliminary charges of meth manufacturing after a traffic stop near Main and Crawford streets.

Officers stopped a moped driver for a traffic violation at 9:57 p.m., according to Sgt. Chris Snyder of the Elkhart Police Department. Officers discovered that the driver, Lee Alan Stewart, 22, had an outstanding warrant for failure to appear at a court hearing and police began arrest procedures.

During a search of Stewart and the moped, Snyder said, officers found meth, heroin, marijuana, drug paraphernalia and a meth lab.

Stewart was booked at Elkhart County Jail on preliminary charges of manufacturing meth, possession of meth, possession of heroin and possession of a hypodermic needle, which are all felonies. Snyder said Stewart also faces preliminary misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia.

Stewart’s bond was set at $7,500 for those charges, according to InmateInfo.com.

http://www.elkharttruth.com/news/crime-fire-courts/2015/06/29/Meth-lab-three-kinds-of-drugs-found-on-Elkhart-moped-driver-police-say.html

SOUTHERN INDIANA — A Georgia man said to be a major supplier of methamphetamine and Opana to the Southern Indiana region was arrested Wednesday, according to a news release from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Charles Pruett, 33, was arrested in Bremen, Ga., and found in possession of several illegal drugs, including three-quarters of a pound of methamphetamine, in addition to two handguns and $21,500 in cash.

Pruett is connected with a methamphetamine bust at a Henryville gas station that resulted in four other men being arrested and charged. According to the release, Pruett was charged in Clark County on Friday and will be extradited to Indiana on charges of conspiracy to deal methamphetamine.

Jon Morgan, 28, Scottsburg, and Michael Elkins, 34, Georgia, are accused of transporting nearly four ounces of methamphetamine from Georgia to Indiana on June 16.

During a search, police also found 19 Opana pills — a prescription opioid that is tied to Scott County’s HIV outbreak through intravenous drug abuse — and an AK-47 in Morgan’s truck. Elkins later told police he originally had 60 Opana pills but had sold them. The AK-47, he said, belonged to him and was purchased in exchange for $450 worth of methamphetamine.

Under surveillance, police had Elkins call Pruett, who Elkins named as his methamphetamine source in Georgia, according to the probable cause affidavit. The two men arranged to have eight ounces, or $1,700 worth, of methamphetamine delivered to Indiana by way of a courier.

Police stopped the Chevrolet Tahoe carrying the methamphetamine just south of the Indiana state line. The driver, Tyler Turner, Georgia, and passenger William Thrower, Georgia, were arrested after police found plastic containers containing methamphetamine in the vehicle. More arrests in Indiana and Georgia “are forthcoming,” according to the release.

The DEA said it has teamed up with the Indiana State Police, Scott County Sheriff’s Office and both Clark and Floyd County prosecutors to combat the use of methamphetamine and Opana in the area, adding that the drugs account for “150 infected drug users in Southern Indiana.”

According to Clark County Public Health Officer Dr. Kevin Burke, Clark County’s rate of new HIV cases in 2014 was about 37.5 percent higher than the state average. The rate of new cases of hepatitis C was over 40.5 percent higher than the state average in the same year.

At an initial hearing on Friday, Turner and Thrower both said they were unaware of a regional hepatitis C or HIV outbreak.

All four men from the original bust, including Turner and Thrower, are being held in Clark County Jail on $50,000 cash-only bonds with tentative trial dates set for November.

http://www.newsandtribune.com/news/major-drug-supplier-to-region-arrested/article_43548e2a-1ea5-11e5-a03d-67e085c0fe62.html

The Sinaloa cartel and other Mexican drug organizations are making a new push to build markets for Upper Manhattan stash apartmentmethamphetamine on Long Island and in New York City, placing samples of the powerful drug inside their cocaine and heroin shipments to get customers hooked, law enforcement officials said.

http://www.newsday.com/long-island/marketing-meth-sinaloa-drug-cartel-makes-push-on-long-island-in-nyc-1.10593252

Tunnels used by drug dealers to sneak narcotics and cash from Mexico into the United States could also become an underground route for Islamic State terrorists to enter the country, a former FBI agent is warning.

 “Drug dealers have found a way to move money without it being followed,” the former agent, Tyrone Powers, said, according a story posted by Siouxland News, the website for CBS affiliate KMEG and Fox44 in Sioux City, South Dakota. “They found a way to move people in and out and they found a way to move product.”

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, also a 2016 presidential candidate, agreed that “the stronger they get over there, the more power they have so I can definitely see, in the future, collaboration between terrorist groups and drug dealers to our south.”

Powers said that the individuals that could come “may be, at some point, suicide bombers, which is really scary, and then weapons of mass destruction.”

Terrorism experts believe Mexico’s unstable leadership, along with ruthless drug cartels are creating a vacuum that ISIS could exploit.

 “What’s been going on in Mexico creates an opportunity for any organization to try to take advantage of it, whether it’s ISIS or Al Shabbab,” Brandon Behlendorf, a terrorist targeting strategist,commented.

There are two major drug cartels that could come into play, with the Sinaloa Federation controlling western Mexico’s borders from Texas to California, and Los Zetas, which occupies eastern Mexico, including the southern Texas border. Experts claim Al Qaeda tried to hook up with Mexican drug lords about 15 years ago, the Siouxland News report indicates.

“It makes logical sense for ISIS to do this,” said Powers. “But I do not think they’ll be catching the intelligence agencies off guard, because this has been a persistent problem whether it was Al Qaeda or any other group.”

Earlier this month, ISIS claimed it has plans to buy a nuclear weapon from Pakistan and smuggle it into the U.S., using drug and human smuggling routes already in use by Mexican and South American drug cartels.

In ISIS’s online magazine Dabiq, in an article entitled, “The Perfect Storm,” apparently written and narrated by British captive photojournalist John Cantlie, ISIS says that using “billions of dollars” it has banked, the group could purchase a nuclear device from corrupt Pakistani officials and send it on its way to explode in the U.S., the Daily Mail reports.

Further, in April, Judicial Watch reported that ISIS is operating a camp in northern Mexico just a few miles from El Paso, Texas citing sources that include a Mexican Army field grade officer and a Mexican Federal Police inspector.

Judicial Watch sources said that “coyotes” working for the notorious Juarez Cartel are involved in helping to “move ISIS terrorists through the desert and across the border between Santa Teresa and Sunland Park, New Mexico.”

Moreover, east of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, cartel-backed coyotes are smuggling members of the jihadi terrorist group “through the porous border between Acala and Fort Hancock, Texas,” Judicial Watch reported.

The group says that these locations were targeted for exploitation by ISIS “because of their understaffed municipal and county police forces, and the relative safe-havens the areas provide for the unchecked large-scale drug smuggling that was already ongoing.”

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/isis-us-border-drug/2015/06/27/id/652505/

ST PETERSBURG — An overdose during the weekend and the discovery of a mobile home lab showcase a resurgent crime problem in Pinellas County: Methamphetamine activity, by one measure, has nearly doubled in the past six months.Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office

Deputies discovered the overdose victim in the intersection of Alternate 19 and Klosterman Road and made three arrests in the discovery of the meth lab nearby, operating out of an abandoned trailer at 4720 Roberts Road.

Meth seizures submitted from Pinellas and Pasco counties for analysis by the Pinellas County Forensic Lab total 120 during the first six months of this year compared to 68 during the same period last year.

“We’re definitely tracking to be higher than last year,” said lab director Reta Newman.

Pinellas sheriff’s deputies confirm a rise in activity involving meth, a relatively easy-to-make narcotic that targets the central nervous system and is extremely difficult to quit, said Capt. Mark Baughman, sheriff’s narcotics nit commander.

“It’s not like cocaine or heroin where you’re dealing with a source country,” Baughman said. “You’re dealing with a group of people who know how to manufacture it and all the ingredients are legal.”

Cooking meth can create fires and explosions so addicts often take over abandoned buildings and homes to cook the product. Baughman said most users aren’t in the business for the money and are often their own best customers.

Pinellas’ dense population makes the meth problem particularity dangerous, distinct from areas elsewhere in Florida where people go into the woods to cook, Baughman said. Pinellas addicts move from hotel rooms and abandoned buildings often because they’re more likely to be seen and caught here.

Cooks are teaching others how to make the drug, which multiplies the problem, Baughman said.

“Once somebody gets good at making it … they’re willing to show other people how to make it,” he said. “Then they start popping up everywhere.”

Meth is a problem in all parts of the county, Baughman said, but more so in Pinellas Park.

In the city of St. Petersburg, meth activity is down significantly over last year, said city police Maj. Antonio Gilliam. In 2015, 24 grams of meth have been seized so far compared to 100.3 grams during the first six months of 2014.

“I don’t know if it’s less meth being produced, but were not seeing as much as other counties or jurisdictions,” Gilliam said.

Still, in a major bust in February that followed a month long investigation, Pinellas deputies raided a meth house and made five arrests at 2500 19th St. N in St. Petersburg. Baughman said the home was abandoned and had no running water.

Baughman said law enforcement relies on tips to tackle the problem and asked that people keep an eye open in their neighborhoods.

“There’s a number of ways to investigate it,” he said, “but I would say a lot of it is investigated based on complaints.”

http://tbo.com/pinellas-county/pinellas-sees-meth-activity-nearly-double-in-2015-20150629/

(Stillwater, Okla.) — A Freightliner semi-truck driver accused of being under the influence of methamphetamine while he was traveling eastbound in the westbound lane of Highway 33 in a no-passing zone has been ordered to stand trial on a first-degree manslaughter charge in a head-on collision that took the life of the driver of a car in Payne County.

The defendant, Daniel Ray Grimm, 48, of Kansas City, Mo., was arrested in Bolivas, Mo., in April — 18 months after the fatal collision in Payne County, court records show.

Grimm remains in the Payne County Jail on $100,000 bail, which Special District Judge Katherine Thomas refused to reduce at the close of a preliminary hearing last week. The judge ordered Grimm to appear for arraignment in trial court on July 17.

The victim, Shala Martin Smalley, who was driving a Chrysler Sebring, died as a result of the head-on collision in Payne County on Highway 33 west of Karsten Creek Road, to which Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Clancy Williams was dispatched at 10:38 am on Oct. 11, 2013, according to his court testimony Friday.

“The truck went left of center in a no-passing zone and went head-on with the vehicle,” that was pushed a couple hundred feet at least, the trooper testified.

“I believe it went under the semi after impact,” the trooper testified.

“It looks like he (the semi driver) just hit the brakes,” and didn’t try to get back into his lane, the trooper testified.

About seven and one-half hours earlier, the semi-truck driver had run off the road at 2:57 a.m. and hit a light pole on I-35 north of 15th Street in Edmond, OHP Trooper Rick Ellis testified in the preliminary hearing.

“He told me he fell asleep and ran off the road. I believe he (then) went to the Freightliner place. His semi-truck was not drivable – it had a busted radiator. A tow truck had to be called,” according to the trooper, who cited Grimm for inattentive driving resulting in a collision in the Edmond incident.

The trooper testified, “I did not look at his log books,” and saw no sign of drug use in Grimm – emphasizing that he is not a drug recognition expert. He said, “that is a very extensive and exhaustive school.”

OHP Trooper Clay Fredrickson, who said he had investigated close to 2,000 accidents, testified that he responded to the fatal collision near Stillwater on Oct. 11, 2013.

“It appeared the semi did go across the center line into oncoming traffic. He was still in the process of trying to stop the vehicle when the collision occurred,” the trooper testified.

“If there is a fatality crash and one of the drivers is being cited with a violation of law, we are required to do a blood draw under state law,” so the trooper told Grimm he was transporting him to the Stillwater hospital for that test, he testified.

“On the way to the hospital, he nodded off two times. He told me just prior to the (fatal) collision, he was looking for a mileage check on his dash,” the trooper testified.

Grimm told the trooper, “The evening prior, he was in Kansas City, got up, went to the yard, drove on I-35, had another collision in Oklahoma City (area) with a light pole, was towed to Freightliner, picked up a lease truck, stopped at Flying J, had a sandwich, slept an hour, got off at State Highway 33 — he remembered going by Langston,” Fredrickson testified.

That trooper testified on cross-examination he is not a drug recognition expert: “Normally when we see someone on meth, they are agitated,” which he did not observe on Grimm.

Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation forensic toxicologist Paul Wallace, who supervises the toxicology lab and is a drug recognition expert instructor, testified that he found methamphetamine in Grimm’s blood.

Wallace said that there are two phases to the effect of the stimulant, methamphetamine, on the body.

“The first phase occurs in recent use – the heart rate is up, the blood pressure is up, the person is restless, agitated, there is high-risk driving.

“In the second phase, occurring after 24 hours or more, there is fatigue – he’s sleepy, drowsy, can’t stay awake,” Wallace testified.

Methamphetamine can be prescribed by a doctor for narcolepsy, ADHD, 50 to 150 nanograms. Anything over 130 nanograms is considered recreational use,” Wallace testified.

In the case of Grimm, whose blood test showed 288 nanograms of methamphetamine, “this defendant could be in either phase,” Wallace testified.

“With just one blood draw, it is difficult to tell if they’re going up or going down,” Wallace testified.

“Either phase can have detriments to the person,” Wallace testified.

Grimm’s court-appointed defense attorney Sarah Kennedy argued to the judge, “The fact that meth was present in the blood doesn’t mean DUI under drugs at the time of this accident.”

Since the prosecution had filed the first-degree manslaughter charge also in an alternative theory, the defense attorney argued, “they allege a series of events – the statute doesn’t say you can go nine hours earlier – there’s no causal connection to what happened at 11 a.m. that morning.”

The defense maintained that the charge should be negligent homicide, which is a misdemeanor, rather than manslaughter, which is a felony.

However, the prosecutor, Kevin Etherington, successfully argued that there are two phases to methamphetamine’s influence and that Grimm was in the second phase in which a user falls asleep.

“If he was reaching for a log book, his entire truck wouldn’t be in the opposite lane.

“I submit at the time of this crash, the defendant was asleep.

“After the accident, on the way to the hospital, he falls asleep a couple of times. He’s still suffering from the effects in phase two.

“This isn’t reaching for something,” the prosecutor argued.

Ruling in favor of the prosecution, the judge bound over Grimm for trial on a first-degree manslaughter charge “as engaged in the commission of DUI.”

The judge also bound Grimm over for trial on the alternate theory of first-degree manslaughter that he was driving recklessly in the improper lane of traffic.

If convicted of first-degree manslaughter under either theory, Grimm could be given a sentence of four years to life in prison.

http://1600kush.com/story.php?id=8664&section=1

A Rome woman remained in jail Sunday without bond after being accused of having methamphetamine and other drugs at her home, according to Floyd County Jail reports. 5590e19855ad7_image

According to reports:

Brandy Ray Bradford, 36, of 2531 Shorter Ave., Lot 31, was arrested at her home at 5:10 p.m. Sunday after police found plastic bags of methamphetamine and two different pill bottles without labels containing Trazadone and Seroquel in her bedroom.

She is charged with a felony count of possession of methamphetamine, two misdemeanor counts of possession of a dangerous drug and drugs not in the original container.

http://www.northwestgeorgianews.com/rome/news/police_fire/woman-accused-of-having-methamphetamine-other-drugs-at-rome-home/article_b322137a-1e24-11e5-a7a7-bbdd9cde0ac3.html

GOSHEN — Some Goshen-area homes are standing vacant. On a window or door is taped the reason why. “Unfit for human habitation,” states fluorescent pink health department notices.

The notices are gaudy reminders of how prevalent methamphetamine addiction is in local communities.

Besides the human toll of broken families, incarceration and wrecked lives, the drug has made many houses and mobile homes unsafe to enter.55908373272da_image

“It’s terrible,” said Jeff Roberts, who lives across the street from 405 1/2 E. Jefferson St. in Goshen. “I’m buying this house. I’ve been here almost 10 years and I’m not going to leave. I don’t know if it (the neighboring house) will get fixed up or not.”

Roberts sat under a shade tree in his front yard, where the pink health department warning sign across the street was clearly visible.

“I remember when it happened and saw the men wearing their little white suits when they rolled up to get rid of the meth,” Roberts said. “It’s a terrible drug.”

The numbers

The Jefferson Street structure was condemned Oct. 29, 2014 after the Indiana State Police Clandestine Laboratory made a report of a methamphetamine lab at the residence. The lab was one of 53 labs seized in Elkhart County last year, according to Indiana State Police information. The county had the fifth-most meth lab seizures in the state.

Also at the top of the seizure lists were Kosciusko County with 58 and Noble County with 57. LaGrange County had just nine seizures reported by ISP.

Records found at http://www.in.gov/meth listed the seizure at the Jefferson Street residence as a one-pot lab. The items found inside the house included a chemical stew of hydrochloric acid gas generator, flammable solvents, water reactive metal-lithium, anhydrous ammonia, corrosive acid, corrosive base and ammonium nitrate/sulfate.

The occurrence listings on the locations map on the Indiana State Police’s clandestine lab website date from 2007 when the department first started reporting the numbers, according to Sgt. Katrina Smith, ISP southern supervisor.

According to the clandestine location map, since 2007 there have been 85 occurrence reports listed within the boundaries of the Goshen reporting area, 78 reports in Bristol, Middlebury and Shipshewana, and 68 reports including LaGrange and Howe.

Smith said the popularity of the methamphetamine labs “exploded” around 2004 when the one-pot method or “shake and bake” method came into use.

“People didn’t have to go to drug dealers to get their drugs, they could make their own,” Smith said. “They can put everything in a backpack or a small tote and take it with them with the one-pot method.”

Smith described meth as a central nervous system stimulant.

Meth has been used for some medical purposes, but there are very minute quantities used for such medicinal purposes,” she said. “What we see on the streets is not used for that purpose. The ease for cooking and obtaining chemicals make it readily available. It’s a win-win for the bad guys.”

A second house

Another listing found on the ISP clandestine website includes a residence at 219 N. Second St. in Goshen that was seized Oct. 9, 2014.

Next-door neighbor Tommy Stover, who was home at the time of the raid, said he recalled seeing “cops everywhere” and being “surprised” finding out later there were two meth labs at the residence.

“I never realized they had a lab inside the house and one outside in the shed,” Stover said. “There had been a few disturbances and a lot of comings and goings but they all seemed fairly friendly. I never had a problem. They basically were good neighbors.”

Stover said he’s lived in the 200 block of North Second Street for almost 25 years and had never had any encounters with a meth lab in the neighborhood.

“I can’t be judgmental on who it was. It could have been anybody living there,” he said.

The process

After a house has been identified as having a meth lab by law enforcement, the ISP response team removes bulk chemicals and drug-making paraphernalia and posts a sticker placard indicating the property has been the location for a lab, according to Sgt. Mike Toles, northern supervisor for ISP’s methamphetamine suppression section.

“We notify the county health department, local fire department and make a hotline report to Child Protective Services if children are at the residence,” Toles said. “The county health department issues and posts an ‘unfit for human habitation’ order. Elkhart County has been very proactive in condemning houses long before other counties had protocols and procedures.”

Toles said the ISP clandestine lab team is no longer involved after the ISP cleans up the lab.

“It’s out of our hands then,” Toles said. “Once the residence has been cleaned up, it can be removed from the unfit for human habitation order. I feel strongly about the structures and vehicles that are involved. There can be high costs and costs can be extensive. I’ve been told that insurance will sometimes cover the costs and sometimes it will not cover it.”

Cost and coverage

According to Bill Baxter, environmental scientist for Kosciusko County, the actual cost of a meth lab cleanup varies according to each case.

He said the property owner receives information from the local health department on how to proceed with the cleanup and has to hire a qualified inspector before any work is done.

“The homeowner is responsible for the cleanup. It’s hard to put a finger on the costs,” Baxter said. “It depends on the rooms and the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system in the structure. It depends on the type of surfaces. Soft materials absorb the chemicals and soft surfaces like drywall, Sheetrock and paint, are harder to clean. If it gets in the HVAC system, the duct work has to be torn apart to clean.”

Trailers and mobile homes can be hauled off cheaper than the value of the structure compared to the cost of a cleanup, Baxter added.

“If the structure is demolished, those places have to be tracked where the material is taken to,” he said.

Baxter said he requires a certificate of decontamination by a contractor, who submits the certificate in order to lift the condemnation of the structure.

“Only then do we free up the property,” he said. “I’ve been told insurance can cover a cleanup and if it happens again a second time, it won’t cover it at all. The insurance company doesn’t take a hit a second time.”

Molly Livengood, an insurance agent with American Family Insurance in Goshen, said the determination for claims is handled on an individual basis.

“It depends on what happened and who it was,” Livengood said. “Each case is individual. The claims are turned over to the insurance adjuster.”

After a residence has been removed from the contamination list, the homeowner can put the structure on the housing market, according to Emmon Schmucker, a Realtor and auctioneer.

“I have seen (a residence) on the market at times, but not a lot lately,” Schmucker said.

“Realtors have access to the clandestine website, but I haven’t dealt with it a lot.”

Schmucker said he sees a lot of vacant lots, parking lots and parking spaces that have been reported on the website.

“In the past, there were more cooking meth labs inside homes,” Schmucker said. “It seems to have moved from residential homes and seems to have moved outside. People don’t want the smell and chemicals inside their house and create a hazardous condition.”

Such an outside meth cooking location was discovered by police Feb. 4 near Keystone Drive and Ashburn Road in Goshen, which is the location for several medical facilities, according to an ISP meth lab report. The lab was in a vehicle with flammable solvents found in the trunk and there were no children involved at the location.

The heartache

Sgt. Toles said he has seen plenty of heartache befalling the people involved in meth labs.

“It’s a big mess and hopefully someday before I retire, there will be no more meth labs,” Toles said, shaking his head. “I can only hope.”

http://www.goshennews.com/news/local_news/the-meth-mess-goshen-area-houses-trailers-left-unlivable-after/article_c5c79546-1dec-11e5-8eb7-df702a4791f6.html

Dealers have found an inventive way of dispensing their drug of choice — Tic-Tac containers.

Drug and Organized Crime detectives have charged a 23-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl with drug offences after they busted the pair with 14 g of meth, $5000 cash, digital scales and a small amount of cannabis.832017-c4e0853a-1dfa-11e5-b6f0-2a5d3d9ded3f

Acting Superintendent Clint Sims said police witnessed the pair meeting in a Darwin car park before conducting a search of their car.

The man was charged with four drug offences including supply meth to a child, and possess tainted property.

He will appear in Darwin Magistrates Court today.

The girl will appear in Youth Justice Court today charged with possess and supply methamphetamine.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/tic-tac-containers-the-new-way-meth-dealers-supplying-their-drugs/story-fnk1w5y0-1227419833038

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Complaints of chemical odors led Tulsa police to a motel where five people were arrested in connection to manufacturing methamphetamine.Meth_Bustreere

Police say four men and one woman were trying to dismantle the meth lab at the Super 8 when officers arrived Friday night. The suspects were arrested on suspicion of manufacturing and possessing meth.

http://publicradiotulsa.org/post/police-5-arrested-tulsa-motel-meth-operation

A crackdown on drugs in North Korea is sending many users across the country on long trips in pursuit of their means of pleasure.

“Border control has become a lot tighter, making methamphetamine harder to get”, a source in Ryanggang Province told Daily NK. The blanket crackdowns, aimed at curtailing defections, illegal phone calls and human trafficking as well as drug smuggling, have adversely affected North Korean’s once-buoyant drug production market: domestic production has decreased significantly, as those in the industry look for other ways to make money.Crystal meth, once abundant in North Korea

“Some residents with strong addictions are even traveling to areas where the drugs are produced. In the past, you could get meth in provincial black markets, but these days this has become more challenging, so people are seeking out places where it’s [still] being made.”

The lack of supply is sending addicts – often in groups – to the major crystal meth-producing cities of Hamhung and Sunchŏn, where supply is still reliable.

“Currently, it’s very hard to find anyone in Hyesan [on the Chinese border] who smuggles or sells drugs. Some people who use meth will travel to Hamhung and then climb through the mountains on foot to get back to Hyesan”, she said, describing a 360-mile round journey.

She added, “State Security Department and Ministry of People’s Security officials have figured out that people head to meth-producing cities [to buy drugs] – so officials spend a lot of time on the streets.”

Though the North Korean government has been widely accused of profiting from the production and smuggling of methamphetamine, a tough line is officially taken against drug abuse.

In 2013, state news agency KCNA said unequivocally: “The illegal use, trafficking and production of drugs which reduce human beings into mental cripples do not exist in the DPRK.”

Underneath this stark rhetoric, drug use is widespread – and production lucrative. Both are technically illegal, and for those unfortunate enough to be caught and convicted, punishments range from three to six month stints for minor first-time offences to the ever-present fear of execution in extreme cases.

Many of those incarcerated in long-term reeducation or labor camps for drug crimes still pursue their addiction after release.

The state may persistently crackdown on drug abuse, but narcotics are still serve medical and social purposes. DailyNK reported in 2014 that for those wanting to curry favour with an official, “the drug ‘ice’ is seen as an ideal gift”, and is commonly seen as a panacea, curing everything from strokes to back pain.

Much of this proliferation in drugs is attributed to the failing medical system in the country. Healthcare in North Korea is purportedly free, but has deteriorated at a rapid pace since the mid 1990s. Most are required to pay for medication, and connections generally prove more advantageous than financial means alone.

With trust in the state service low, many self-medicate with crystal meth or opium, and end up addicted. One of the residents told the source what started as a method to cope with an inflammation in the gallbladder has become a full-blown addiction to opium. “In difficult times like this, I can’t seem to get by without my drugs. I can’t live with my head clear,” he told our source.

Government crackdowns and surveillance has led to greater pent-up anxiety, and in many ways encouraged the use of such substances, the source added.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/29/north-korea-crystal-meth-drug-addicts

GUWAHATI: The city continues to receive a steady supply of popular party drug crystal meth, as crystal methamphetamine is popularly called, in spite of repeated attempts by the narcotic control agencies to seize consignments of the drug.

Sources in the state excise department said illegal meth factories dot the India-Myanmar border and the drug makes its way to the city through Barak Valley via Mizoram. In the past one month alone, over 3.93 lakh tablets of crystal meth were seized from various areas of Assam and Mizoram in separate operations. Several persons, including Myanmar nationals, were arrested.

 “The seized tablets are worth Rs 6 crore. Huge money is involved in the deals,” an excise department source said. “Crystal methamphetamine is a white crystalline drug that people snort, smoke or inject. Some even take it orally,” a test revealed.

Usually, its effects last from six to eight hours, but they can also last up to 24 hours. The drug, also called crystal, glass, ice and crypto, is sold in crushed or pill form. Last year, the police commissionerate here issued a lookout notice for at least seven drug peddlers. None has been arrested yet.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/guwahati/City-high-on-party-drug/articleshow/47851516.cms

A drug trafficker who used his cellphone to text photos of a man who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered during a drug deal gone south has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.The office of U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy said Juan Castro-Navarro, 43, of Sinaloa, Mexico, was sentenced in a federal courtroom in San Diego to 182 months behind bars on a charge of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and heroin.

A judge called him a “monster” who brought “poison” into the U.S. in the form of drugs.

According to prosecutors, in January 2014 Castro-Navarro used his cellphone to document the gruesome, violent torture of a man murdered in retaliation for stealing 10 pounds of methamphetamine.

Court documents show that Castro-Navarro – also known as “J” – sent graphic photos of the victim in a series of text messages to fellow drug traffickers.

He also sent the pictures to his girlfriend, telling her not to worry because he was working. In the texts, he told his girlfriend to look at a photograph and then “erase it.” In more messages, he told her again to “not to forget to erase” the images.

One photo that Castro-Navarro sent to his contacts was accompanied by this text message: “I just want you to know that I love you guys and that I’m only going to kill one more. I have never killed anyone who didn’t deserve it. I’ll see you later.”

Court documents said Castro-Navarro and other traffickers were set on revenge for the drug theft. In some text conversations, they incorporated emoticons.

One trafficker, identified as “Pokemon” texted Castro-Navarro: “Did you beat him or choke him?”

Castro-Navarro replied: “The second.”

Pokemon responded: “Very well.” He also added a semi-colon and a parenthesis to denote a winking emoticon face, the documents said.

Prosecutors said the first photograph sent via Castro-Navarro’s cellphone showed a man tied and taped to a chair with his hands behind his back. The victim had a black eye and was wearing a black sweatshirt and green or gray jeans.

After sending that picture, Castro-Navarro texted this message to a fellow trafficker: “I’m so f***ing pissed and these people are doing as I say.”

In another text, Castro-Navarro told a trafficker he and his crew were “extracting information” from the victim.

In a follow-up message, he texted: “I haven’t killed him because he says he is going to bring me 20 pieces [units of narcotics].”

Castro-Navarro then sent another photo showing a person holding down the victim with one knee on the man’s back, pulling on the end of a baseball bat. The victim’s face was down on a concrete floor with his pants half off. Another person was holding the victim’s head down. A third person holding a baseball bat was also standing nearby.

Half an hour later, prosecutors said Castro-Navarro sent another picture of the victim which showed the man face-down, naked from the waist down. He had a green plastic bag over his head. A person was stepping on the back of his head while another held the victim’s arms behind his back and a third person stepped on his legs. Prosecutors said the victim’s buttocks showed signs of bruising.

Castro-Navarro texted the victim was “gone” and then said he had been choked to death.

The final photo sent by Castro-Navarro to his associates depicted the victim’s lifeless body wrapped in a blanket.

According to a prosecutor, the body of a man brutally beaten to death was found wrapped in a blanket in Tijuana, Mexico, the day after Castro-Navarro sent the graphic text messages. The victim was wearing the same clothing as the man in the cellphone photos. The violent murder was documented in a Tijuana newspaper, the prosecutor said.

Castro pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute more than 40 kilograms of meth and two kilograms of heroin on Jan. 13, 2015. He also admitted he managed other traffickers in the distribution of the drugs within California and from California to Utah, Washington and other parts of the United States.

His charges carried a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years and a $10 million fine and a maximum of life imprisonment.

Duffy’s office said U.S. authorities did not charge Castro with murder because the victim was not a U.S. citizen and the crime occurred in Tijuana, thus the U.S. government lacked jurisdiction on that type of charge.

http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Juan-Castro-Navarro-Drug-Trafficker-Murder-Photos-Sentencing-San-Diego-310168811.html

An Otoe County Sheriff’s Office deputy performing a traffic stop on a vehicle Sunday at 6:36 p.m. for having expired registration tags led to an arrest of a Nehawka woman.

was arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine; possession of drug paraphernalia; and possession of a controlled substance, not in the original container.

The deputy was traveling west on County Road F from 36 Road and noticed expired registration tags from April 2015 in a red Ford Escort that was in front of his patrol vehicle. After turning on the patrol vehicle’s overhead lights, a traffic stop was initiated at 3343 F Rd.

According to an affidavit, Adkins-Hickey told the deputy that “she knew her plates were expired” and had received a ticket from Plattsmouth June 19. While waiting for a license and warrant check information on Adkins-Hickey, the deputy asked her if he could search her vehicle.

“If you want to go ahead,” she said to the deputy, according to the affidavit.

As Adkins-Hickey exited her vehicle, she grabbed her purse. The deputy asked her if she didn’t want her purse checked. She told the deputy he could search her purse and placed it on the seat.

While looking in Adkins-Hickey’s wallet, the deputy found a syringe inside of it. The deputy asked Adkins-Hickey if there was methamphetamine in the syringe and she said, “yes.” Adkins-Hickey was then handcuffed and placed under arrest on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance.

Adkins-Hickey admitted to the deputy that she also had an “eight-ball of meth in her bra.”

According to the affidavit, the deputy un-cuffed her and she took out “one blue bag that contained three separate bags of suspected methamphetamines along with a cellophane baggie of marijuana.” She was handcuffed again and placed in another OCSO deputy’s patrol vehicle.

Two deputies then searched Adkins-Hickey’s vehicle and found a separate cloth bag containing marijuana, a marijuana pipe and a blue glass pipe with white residue inside of it in her purse.

According to the affidavit, Adkins-Hickey was transported to the Otoe County Jail where a deputy found a “light purple pill in a cellophane baggie” that she admitted was Lorazepam and she didn’t have a prescription to use it.

All of the evidence was packaged, sealed and was sent to the Nebraska State Patrol Crime lab for further testing.

http://www.ncnewspress.com/article/20150626/NEWS/150629923

A St. Paul woman and man face felony drug charges after getting caught stealing at Wal-Mart.

Sylvia Pearl Cramer, 29, was charged with fifth-degree possession. She appears in court June 24.

According to the complaint:

Cramer was concealing makeup in her pockets at the business in the 10200 block of Hudson Road. She admitted to theft.

Also in her pocket was a plastic bag of syringe caps containing a white substance that tested positive as methamphetamine. The meth weighed more than 7 grams.

http://www.woodburybulletin.com/news/crime-and-courts/3766577-thiefs-pockets-contained-makeup-and-meth

CEDAR RAPIDS | A man who was found with meth hidden in his prosthetic leg will remain in jail until his trial for federal drug charges.

Jason Gauthier, 40, and six others were charged earlier this month for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in an operation that included Waterloo.558c80b5390ac_image

Authorities allege they intercepted 11 phone calls between Gauthier and the person at the head of the alleged meth ring, 39-year-old Mario Murillo-Mora, discussing repayment of debts. Authorities also claim Gauther had sold about 17 pounds of meth he received from Murillo-Mora, and officers found a pound of meth when they searched his home May 18.

Even after the search, Gauthier was caught with more meth a month later.

“When defendant was arrested on the instant charge on June 17, methamphetamine was found in his artificial leg,” according to court records.

One of Gauthier’s legs was amputated above the knee following a 1994 car accident, court records state.

Others charged in the case include Austin Michael Bertch, of Waterloo; Jessica Acosta; Vania Guadarrama; Rachel Berrones; Gustavo Gonzalez-Torres; and Jeff Richardson.

In 2005, Gauthier was arrested in connection with a federal counterfeiting probe. Marshalltown police found $1,890 in fake money along with two pounds of marijuana while searching another person’s home, and the investigation led them to Gauthier’s home.

There, authorities discovered remnants of a counterfeit bill and computer equipment.

http://wcfcourier.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/man-who-hid-meth-in-fake-leg-to-remain-in/article_0d9036a7-b61e-5208-9361-3efc1e6ed5d2.html

A crash in Porterville led to the arrest of a Visalia man accused of having more than six pounds of crystal methamphetamine.

Porterville police were called to the area of the Porterville Developmental Center at Blue Heron and Worth Drive where a crash occurred. Alejandro Cabrera was transported to Kaweah Delta Medical Center for his injuries and police began investigating the cause of the crash.

During their search of the vehicle, a small amount of drugs was found in the vehicle’s air vents. A search warrant was later served in the 1600 block of West Castle Avenue, where officers found six pounds of methamphetamine. They also found other evidence of drug sales, police said.

Once released from the hospital, Cabrera will be booked into Tulare County jail on suspicion of drug sales and transportation.

His bail has been set at $500,000.

http://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/local/2015/06/27/visalia-man-arrested-pounds-meth-found/29383047/

BEIJING— China has admitted that more than 14 million people or about one percent of the country’s massive population has used drugs. It has also disclosed for the first time that drug use has spread to as much as 90 percent of the country’s cities, districts and counties.C3EFDDD6-0BCF-4B35-B8EC-50C1939D0917_w640_r1_s_cx0_cy5_cw0

Chinese authorities are also finding it increasingly difficult to point fingers at traditional suppliers – such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar – because China itself is a major producer.

Chinese factories are churning out hundreds of thousands tons of synthetic drugs while some of its farmers have even taken to opium production at home, according to a report released by China’s National Narcotics Control Commission earlier this week.

The release of the report came just days before International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which is marked on Friday June 26.

Uphill Struggle

The dire situation is complicated by rising demand for drugs among youth, increasing manufacture of synthetic drugs, changing supply routes and use of Internet for marketing and sales, according to the report.

“The continuous upgrading and change in drug trafficking approaches is making drug prevention and crackdown even more difficult,” said Liu Yuejin, deputy director of the drug commission.

Staggering though it might seem, drug experts suspect China is still underestimating the problem.

“The official figures provided by the Chinese government about drug use, have always been on the low end,” said Martin Jelsma, an expert with the Drugs & Democracy Program of the Amsterdam-based Transnational Institute (TNI). “In the past they were based on amounts of registered drug users, which obviously only represent a small proportion of the total amount of people who use drugs.”

In the report, China said nearly three million people are registered drug users, but estimated that more than 14 million had used drugs.

Intensive Enforcement

China has long taken a tough approach to combating drug use, focusing largely on harsh penalties instead of looking at the underlying social and economic issues driving drug use. Despite new efforts to crack down on the problem, drug use continues to rise, particularly among women and young people.

The number of identified and “registered” drug users rose by nearly 20 percent from 2.47 million in 2013 to 2.95 million last year. Authorities estimated the total number of users, including unregistered ones, at 14 million.

Much of the increase was among users of synthetic drugs who are usually young men and women in their 20s and 30s, observers said.

“In the past, Chinese women had only one role as housewives. Now many of them [are in] a different life as workers and frequent visitors to bars and Karaoke booths. They are also very stressed. Some of them feel drugs can release their stress,” said Keki Liu, an official with a women’s association.

Researchers Sheldon X. Zhang of San Diego State University and Ko-lin Chin of Rutgers University, who examined China’s drug problem, said, “China needs to establish a reliable drug market forecast system, which combines chemical composition analysis, reports and urine tests of arrested drug abusing offenders, and community informants on illicit drug use trends and pricing information.”

They also suggested that China “accelerate its experiment with the decriminalization of substance abuse and apply a public health approach to the treatment of addicts.”

Home-grown

Last year, Chinese authorities destroyed 4.36 million illegal poppy plants after using satellites to survey nearly half a million square kilometers of “potential drug planting areas.” And according to official statistics opium growing has spread across seven provinces and marijuana or cannabis is grown in 25 of the country’s 31 provinces.

This is a new revelation for international drug researchers, who see it as a sign that the Chinese illegal drug industry has found ways to sustain itself even if foreign supplies are cut off.

“The mention of an increase in home-made heroin is new and intriguing: the reality of a shortage of good quality heroin on the Chinese illicit market has often been mentioned, and it has puzzled drug market researchers including TNI why not more of the Afghan over-production found its way to fill the Chinese gap,” said the Transnational Institute’s Jelsma.

China’s Biggest Drug Worry

But traditional drugs such as heroin are not China’s biggest problem. The country’s biggest challenge is the surging growth of synthetic drug use and production. Last year 80 percent of the country’s new registered drug users were those addicted to synthetic substances.

And that is what is worrying officials the most.

“Compared with taking traditional drugs, such as heroin and opium, using methamphetamine can easily bring on mental problems,” Liu said. “The addicts find it difficult to control themselves and are prone to extreme and violent acts, including murder, kidnapping and injuring others.”

Health ministry officials have said that between January and September of last year, more than 100 cases of violent crimes across 14 of China’s provinces, were linked to methamphetamine abuse, exceeding the total number of cases over the previous five years.

Exports Rising

And the problem of synthetic drugs is not just domestic – it reaches far beyond China’s borders. China is a major world producer of synthetic drugs, and is coming under increased pressure from other countries including the U.S. to stop exports of chemicals used to manufacture them.

China has begun to face up to role it plays in the international drug market but in a more subdued manner. In the National Narcotics Control Commission’s report details about precursor chemicals seized by authorities was placed at the end of a section on ‘Sources of drugs’. The report said authorities stopped the export of 32 batches of chemicals totaling nearly 6,000 tons.

It remains unclear why China has not been able to effectively switch off supplies of precursor chemicals that go into the production of synthetic drugs. But there are signs that authorities are changing tactics.

China has begun to discuss the problem in a transparent manner and taking the people into confidence about the enormity of the problem instead of limiting its focus to the so-called “People’s War on Drugs” to officials.

“Under the pressures of rampant drug smuggling and strong domestic market demand, China is facing the grim task of curbing synthetic drugs, which young addicts increasingly use,” Liu said.

http://www.voanews.com/content/china-drug-problem-worsening-as-local-production-rises/2838028.html

A Vanderburgh County woman is in jail after her child’s grandparents turned in videos of her allegedly smoking meth into authorities on Wednesday.

Lisa M. Saubier, 34, is preliminarily charged with child neglect and three drug-related charges. According to the probable cause affidavit against her, the investigation into Saubier started Wednesday after the grandparents of lisasaubier_1435276098208_20331244_ver1_0_640_480at least one of Saubier’s five children reported that they had videos showing the woman smoking meth last week.

Deputies, along with a Department of Child Services caseworker, went to Saubier’s residence in the 7100 block of Marx Road. According to the affidavit, Saubier declined to take an official drug test, but reportedly admitted that she had used meth earlier on Tuesday as well as two other times in the past week.

A man who was at Saubier’s home when investigators arrived — identified as Aaron W. Loesch, 40 — was also arrested and preliminarily charged with possession of paraphernalia, a misdemeanor. According to the affidavit, deputies found a glass pipe in his pocket. He was released after posting bond, according to jail records.

During a search of Saubier’s home, authorities found multiple pipes and a box containing different prescription pills. All of Saubier’s children were placed in the custody of a grandparent different from the two who alerted deputies, according to the affidavit.

Saubier bailed out of jail on $1,500 surety on Thursday afternoon, according to jail records.

http://www.courierpress.com/news/local-news/crime/deputies-mom-arrested-after-videos-showing-her-smoking-meth-surface_72361359

MARSHALL COUNTY, OK— Oklahoma narcotics agents say they discovered a lot more than they bargained for when they busted a local woman for meth.

Undercover agents say they were tipped off that a woman living on Soward Road in Marshall County was selling methamphetamine from her home.Pickens+Karen+mug

They posed as customers, but during the exchange they say she asked them to do more than just buy drugs.

“The defendant said she was looking for somebody that she’d like to hire, to kill the ex-husband of her niece,” Mark Woodward, OBN Public Information Officer said.

Agents say she offered the drugs as payment in exchange for their acceptance to be hired hit-men.

“She provided methamphetamine as a down payment for him carrying out this murder for hire,” Woodward said.

59 year-old Karen Pickens was arrested Wednesday.

She’s charged of solicitation to kill in the first degree, as well as distribution of methamphetamine.

Narcotics agents stayed in constant contact with Pickens throughout the whole process as well as notifying and warning, the person she wanted to have killed.8165912_G

Neighbors who know Picken’s say they’re shocked to hear what went on so close to their homes.

“I know the lady and I never would’ve dreamed that she would do anything like that,” Allen Henry said.

Pickens was taken into custody after the second meeting, her bond is set at 1 million dollars.

“Can’t believe she’s been involved in it and now she’s messed up her life,” Henry said.

Pickens is set to be back in Marshall County Court tomorrow morning with a hired attorney.

http://www.kten.com/story/29411986/drug-investigation-leads-to-solicitation-to-kill-discovery

Marshall County woman arrested in murder for hire scheme

MADILL, Okla. — A Marshall County woman is in jail after allegedly hiring an undercover agent to murder her niece’s ex-husband.

Karen Pickens, 59, of Madill offered an Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics officer methamphetamine and cash to kill Darren Bailey two days ago. Her bond is set at $1 million.

She faces two felony counts, distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, and soliciting for first degree murder.

“Our undercover agent met with the defendant again on Wednesday of this week at her home and she provided methamphetamine as a down payment for him carrying out this murder for hire,” OBN spokesperson Mark Woodward said. “After the exchange she was arrested and taken into custody without incident.”

http://www.kxii.com/home/headlines/Marshall-County-woman-arrested-in-murder-for-hire-scheme-310082691.html

Blowing past cocaine to No. 2 in usage across Texas, methamphetamine poses the greatest drug threat to Southeast Texans, say local undercover agents tracking illicit drug trends.

Marijuana remains the most seized drug in the state, according to a recent annual report by UT-Austin.

Meanwhile, the state is reporting record numbers of meth-related deaths and seizures, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Jefferson County’s proximity to Houston, a major distribution hub for drugs coming into the U.S. from Mexico, makes Southeast Texas a permanent target for illegal drug trends across the state.

“We’re getting an awful lot of cases,” said Senior District Judge Larry Gist, who presides over Jefferson County’s Drug Impact Court.

From 1999 to 2006, the drug was linked to about 650 deaths. From 2007 to 2012, the number increased to 985 deaths, according to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

In 2009, the Jefferson County Regional Crime Laboratory detected methamphetamine in 97 samples taken from drug busts in Jefferson County. In 2013, the number jumped to 246, according to previous Enterprise reporting.

The lab also analyzes samples from Orange, Hardin and Chambers counties, though it gets few from Hardin and Chambers.

From 2009 to 2013, the number of samples that contained meth more than doubled, from 162 to 382, across the four counties.

Meth, known for its toll on the bodies and teeth of users, is cheaper and more pure now that the drug is mass-produced in Mexican superlabs rather than bathtubs in rural areas, said Capt. Troy Tucker with Jefferson County’s Narcotics Task Force.

In 2006, the state and federal governments placed strict regulations on the sale of pseudoephedrine, a compound found in cold medicine that is used to manufacture meth, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The crackdown worked, but only for a while.

Jane Maxwell, who authored UT-Austin’s report, said the restrictions had an adverse effect in that the sudden drop of domestic meth production created a demand Mexican cartels were willing to fill.

Maxwell recently testified to the state Legislature that the meth problem is even greater now than when pseudoephedrine was outlawed.

About seven years ago or more, meth labs abounded in rural parts of Jefferson County, Tucker said. But they became rare as manufacturers’ accessibility to the ingredients decreased, he said.

Orange County averages about two home narcotics searches a month, said Chief Deputy Clint Hodgkinson. Traffic stops account for most drug-related arrests in the county.

“It does seem like we’re dealing with a lot more meth than any other drug right now,” Hodgkinson said.

Meth usage is associated with property crimes, including burglaries and copper theft, he said.

Maxwell said methamphetamine affects a wide demographic. She said that men often decide to use meth because it can boost sexual performance and stamina, but it comes with a heavy price tag – an increase in STD and HIV cases among men who have sex with other men and by high-risk heterosexuals, who use mobile apps to meet sexual partners.

Local treatment programs say they’ve seen meth, which is cheaper and now more potent than cocaine, flooding the streets.

Other trends Maxwell noted in her report included an increase in the number of younger heroin users as well as a surge in cocaine’s popularity in Europe at the same time it is dipping in Texas.

Pill mills are trending downward, but they still remain a problem in the state.

Another growing threat is the use of designer and synthetic drugs, which are difficult to identify and which change often.

“It’s hard to warn our kids when parent don’t know what bath salts are or when new types of drugs are made every day,” Maxwell said.

Jefferson County’s Tucker said most overdose deaths in Jefferson County are caused by prescription pills.

Bath salts, a synthetic drug with stimulant and mood-altering properties often found in crystal form, and synthetic marijuana also are trending in Jefferson County, he said.

In early January, Beaumont Emergency Medical Services responded to more than 50 overdoses linked to a batch of synthetic marijuana that police were referring to as “particularly vile.”

“You get rid of one drug, and you get a new one,” Tucker said.

http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/article/This-is-the-greatest-drug-threat-in-SE-Texas-6348818.php