A judge who has investigated some of Mexico’s biggest drug gangs — including El Chapo’s feared Sinaloa Cartel — was assassinated on Monday.

Judge who handled El Chapo’s cartel case is assassinated

Shocking footage shows Vicente Antonio Bermudez Zacarias being shot in the head while he was out jogging in Metepec, 30 miles west of Mexico City.

The mystery gunman runs behind him before shooting him in the back of the head at point-blank range. Bermudez, 37, lies dying in the street as the gunman flees. According to local reports, he was rushed to a hospital, where he later died.

President Enrique Peña Nieto condemned the murder and ordered the attorney general’s office to take over the investigation.

Bermudez became a district judge in December 2013 and served in the Fifth Tribunal for appeals and civil judgments in the State of Mexico when he was killed.

His cases included one involving the Los Cuinis drug cartel and a tax fraud investigation against powerful businessman Naim Libien Kaui, whose family is accused of links to drug traffickers.

Most recently, he had suspended the extradition of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the US to face drug trafficking charges.

El Chapo’s Sinaloa Cartel is infamous for its willingness to execute or corrupt officials, and the notoriously brutal drug lord has twice escaped top-security prisons.

However, it is not yet known who was responsible for the killing and authorities say a motive has not been determined.

“I have given instruction to the attorney general to take up this case, undertake the corresponding investigations and find those responsible for this terrible event,” Peña Nieto said.

Supreme Court president Luis Maria Aguilar Morales also urged authorities to ensure the safety of judges.

“Federal judges are people who dedicate their lives, their personal, moral and physical integrity to serve federal justice in our country,” Aguilar said.

“They require security and peace conditions that guarantee their independence because in an atmosphere of peace and security, judges can reflect on their decisions.”

Borderland Beat Reporter guest reporter




Guest Reporter Siskiyou_kid for Borderland Beat Material from South China post, EL Universal, Sinembargo

A Chinese-Mexican businessman accused of drug trafficking, whose house infamously contained a mountain of cash weighing 2 tons, was handed over by US authorities to Mexican authorities as he has exhausted his legal options, ending a years-long extradition battle, his lawyer told Reuters.ye_gon_airport_transfer

Zhenli Ye Gon’s July 2007 arrest in the United States and the seizure of USD $205 million in cash at his Mexico City home several months earlier, played a role in high-profile money laundering investigations by US authorities at the British banking giant HSBC and the Las Vegas Sands Corp. casino company. The discovery of the money, almost entirely consisting of US$100 bills, along with a few pesos and Hong Kong dollars, was hailed as the biggest cash seizure in drug enforcement history.

US prosecutors charged Ye Gon, the former owner of the now defunct Mexican ye_gonpharmaceutical wholesaler Unimed Pharm Chem, with importing chemicals that cartels allegedly used to produce the illegal drug methamphetamine. Ye Gon’s attorney, Gregory Smith, says his client was a legitimate businessman.

The case collapsed in 2009 after key witnesses recanted or refused to testify, according to court records. Since then, Ye Gon has been imprisoned in a Virginia jail, held on the basis of an extradition request from Mexico, where he faces charges of drug trafficking and money laundering.

Last month, the U.S. State Department approved a request from Mexico that Ye Gon be sent back to the country to face charges of drug trafficking, money laundering and illegal possession of guns.

Ye Gon’s attorney Gregory Smith, has fought extradition, arguing in court that Ye Gon would likely be tortured or killed if he returns to Mexico.

In asking for a stay, Ye Gon’s attorneys argued that he would be tortured or killed by corrupt prison officials if extradited. As evidence, they pointed to United Nations reports documenting such practices, along with sworn statements from two of Ye Gon’s co-defendants, who said they were beaten, placed handcuffed in dark cells and forced to kneel on broken glass.

“He’s not going to make it there, judge,” attorney Greg Smith of Washington, D.C., told Conrad. “He’s not going to make it if he’s sent back to Mexico.”

Smith has argued that media accounts of Ye Gon cooperating with US authorities, whichye_gon_money_2 his previous attorneys have denied, as well as his claims that the US$205 million found in his house belonged to Mexican politicians, will make him a target of violence in Mexico.

In court papers, Smith also cites two co-defendants of Ye Gon’s who have both said in sworn statements that they were tortured in Mexican custody.

“There is a very serious risk he will be tortured or killed in prison to the point where I’m losing sleep over it,” Smith said in an interview.

Earlier this month, Ye Gon, 53, exhausted his legal options when a federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia rejected a bid to have his extradition reconsidered.

Gold plated military grade weapons were seized from the mansion

The court ruled that it could not interfere with the decision of the US State Department, which decided last year that Ye Gon should be handed over to Mexico.

** FILE ** CAPTION CORRECTION, CORRECTS LOCATION WHERE YE GON WAS ARRESTED **  Chinese-Mexican businessman Zhenli Ye Gon walks outside his lawyer's office in Queens, N.Y.,  after an interview in this Thursday, May 17, 2007 file photo. Mexican federal officials said on Monday, July 23, 2007, that alleged drug trafficker Zhenli Ye Gon, who is tied to the largest seizure of drug cash in world history,was arrested in Wheaton, Maryland Monday July 23, 2007. He is wanted in Mexico on organized crime, drug trafficking and weapons charges and Mexican officials have requested his arrest for extradition. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

In China

John Kirby, a State Department spokesman, declined to comment on the case, but said that before deciding to extradite someone, the US government must be satisfied an individual would not be tortured and would receive a fair trial.

In a last ditch effort, asked the US Supreme Court for an emergency stay of the extradition next week. But the Supreme Court failed to immediately intervene, giving way for the US authorities placing Ye Gon on a plane to Mexico, Smith said.

Ye Gon is a Chinese national born in Shanghai with Mexican citizenship. (his attempt to renounce his Mexican citizenship failed)

Court documents said that in 2004 his company, Unimed Pharm Chem, had become the third largest importer in Mexico of pseudo-ephedrine. The chemical is commonly used as a nasal decongestant and can be used to manufacture methamphetamine. The March 2007 raid of Ye Gon’s mansion led to a money laundering investigation of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. where Ye Gon was a high-stakes baccarat player, according to court papers. The Sands admitted it should have recognized Ye Gon’s suspicious transactions. The casino company paid US$47 million to the government as part of a 2013 settlement with the US Department of Justice.

Below is Ye Gon’s application for asylum, note his undying support for PRI political party


Borderland Beat Reporter guest reporter Posted







LITTLE ROCK—Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas; along with Matthew Barden, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Little Rock District Office; and Jeffrey B. Reed, Resident Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), Little Rock Field Office, announced today the unsealing of a multiple-count indictment charging 13 defendants in northeast Arkansas and southeast Missouri with multiple drug and weapons charges.

An investigation into a large-scale drug trafficking organization based in Blytheville resulted in the early-morning arrests of 11 of the 13 defendants on charges involving conspiracy to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine and weapons possession. Six defendants were arrested in the Blytheville and one in Jonesboro, while two were arrested in Missouri towns (Malden and Steele) near Arkansas. Two others were served arrest warrants while incarcerated in the Dunklin County, Missouri, jail. Two of the indicted individuals, Brad Vernon and Joseph Riley, are still at large.

The defendants arrested today will remain in custody and have initial appearances before United States Magistrate Judge Joe. J. Volpe on Thursday.

“We remain resolute in our continuing effort to help the people of northeast Arkansas, and the Delta in general, combat the plague of methamphetamine and gun violence,” Thyer said. “If the drugs dealers won’t go away, neither will we. While past law enforcement operations have slowed the drug trade in northeast Arkansas, now we have people from neighboring states coming into Blytheville to purchase large quantities of meth. Today’s operation, the culmination of a combined, cooperative effort from multiple federal and state law enforcement agencies, makes clear we will not permit this behavior to go unchecked and unpunished.”

Some of the co-conspirators arrested today have been known to law enforcement for several years, dating back to previous drug investigations in Blytheville. This joint DEA-ATF investigation began in mid-2015, with a series of smaller controlled purchases of methamphetamine from targets in Missouri. Eventually, as law enforcement informants increased the amounts of methamphetamine they purchased, these targets brought the informants to their main meth suppliers in Blytheville to buy larger amounts, up to quarter-pounds at a time.

All told, law enforcement directly purchased more than one kilogram (1000 grams) of methamphetamine from the Arther James and Robert Brown drug-trafficking organization (DTO) in 17 controlled purchases. The entire conspiracy involves multiple kilograms of methamphetamine. In addition, agents seized nine firearms from James, Brown, and Antonio McNichols, all of whom are convicted felons. Five of the firearms were seized during the Tuesday morning arrests, while four others were seized during search warrants conducted during the investigation.

“Today’s arrests demonstrate DEA’s relentless effort to reduce violent crime and rid our streets of criminal drug trafficking organizations,” Barden said. “In conjunction with our federal, state and local partners, we continue to work together to end the scourge of drugs and violence that erode the quality of life in our neighborhoods. These arrests send a clear message that our community will not tolerate the heinous activity perpetrated by drug traffickers and shows our commitment to work together to dismantle violent street gangs.”

The indictment was handed down by a federal grand jury on October 6, 2016. The indictment charges 13 defendants in 28 separate counts. The counts include conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine, felon in possession of firearms, and the use of a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking crime. If convicted of conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine, defendants will face a sentence of not less than 10 years to life imprisonment.

“The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms& Explosives Little Rock Field Office, Cape Girardeau Field Office and the DEA Little Rock Field Office worked jointly with the Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office and the Second Judicial District Drug Task Force in an extensive investigation to thwart a drug-trafficking organization in the Mississippi County area of Arkansas,” Reed said. “This joint investigation led to the arrest of several offenders to create a safer environment for the communities of northeast Arkansas.”

The investigation was jointly led by the DEA and ATF, with cooperation and additional assistance from the Second Judicial District Drug Task Force, the Blytheville Police Department, the Mississippi County Sheriff’s Department, the Osceola Police

Department, and the Arkansas Highway Police. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Chris Givens.

An indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


  • Arther Lionel JAMES, 38, Blytheville (arrested in Blytheville)
  • Brad VERNON, 34, Gosnell (fugitive)
  • Adam BAILEY, 35, Kennett, MO (incarcerated in Dunklin, Co., MO, Jail)
  • Angeleke BLANKENSHIP, 43, Kennett, MO (arrested in Malden, MO)
  • Antonio BRODIE, Blytheville (arrested in Jonesboro)
  • Justin BUYS, 31, Blytheville (incarcerated in Dunklin, Co., MO, Jail)
  • Heath FOWLER, 40, Blytheville (arrested in Blytheville)
  • Keith KEYS, 49, Blytheville (arrested in Blytheville)
  • Antonio McNICHOLS, 46, Blytheville (arrested in Blytheville)
  • Lewis MILES, 45, Blytheville (arrested in Blytheville)
  • Joseph RILEY, 30, Blytheville (fugitive)
  • Robert Lamont BROWN, 39, Blytheville (arrested in Blytheville)
  • Steven THOMAS, 31, Steele, MO (arrested in Steele, MO)


Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine is punishable by not less than 10 years, not more than life, incarceration in the Bureau of Prisons with a possible fine of up to $10,000,000, and not less than 5 years supervised release.

Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute more than 50 grams but less than 500 grams of methamphetamine is punishable by not less than 5 years, not more than 40 years’ incarceration in the Bureau of Prisons with a possible fine of up to $5,000,000, and not less than 4 years supervised release.

Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute less than 50 grams of methamphetamine is punishable by not more than 20 years’ incarceration in the Bureau of Prisons with a possible fine of up to $1,000,000, and not less than 3 years supervised release.

Distribution of 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine is punishable by not less than 10 years, not more than life, incarceration in the Bureau of Prisons with a possible fine of up to $10,000,000, and not less than 5 years supervised release.

Distribution of 5 grams or more of actual methamphetamine is punishable by not less than 5 years, not more than 40 years’ incarceration in the Bureau of Prisons with a possible fine of up to $5,000,000, and not less than 4 years supervised release.

Distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine mixture is punishable by not less than 5 years, not more than 40 years’ incarceration in the Bureau of Prisons with a possible fine of up to $5,000,000, and not less than 4 years supervised release.

Distribution of a mixture containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine is punishable by not more than 20 years’ incarceration in the Bureau of Prisons with a possible fine of up to $1,000,000, and not less than 3 years supervised release.

Possession of a firearm by a felon is punishable by not more than 10 years’ incarceration in the Bureau of Prisons with a possible fine of up to $250,000, and not more than 3 years supervised release.

Use of a communication facility to facilitate a drug trafficking crime is punishable by not more than 4 years’ incarceration in the Bureau of Prisons with a possible fine of up to $250,000, and not more than 1 year supervised release.






Translated by Chuck B Almada for Borderland Beat from an El Pais article October 10, 2016 Written by Pablo De Llano (El Pais)

Within the records of extreme violence in Mexico, the name of Los Zetas stands out. The cartel created during the [late 90s] by deserted Mexican soldiers, incorporated the tactic of civil terror to organized crime. The more savage, the more fear they caused among society and the more that the authorities became submissive, also causing the silence on behalf of the media while they enjoyed an uncontested control of territory. The machine of death of Los Zetas reached its climax during two tragic episodes, which an academic report is currently trying to clarify: the murder of 72 migrants in Tamaulipas in 2010 and the disappearance of an uncertain number of people (estimated at 300) in 2011 in Coahuila.

Under the direction of Political expert, Sergio Aguayo and the sponsorship of the Comisión Ejecutiva de Atención a Víctimas, the Centro de Estudios Internacionales del Colegio de México, an investigation was carried out; that report was named “Abandonment (en el Desamparo).” This report analyzed these two terrible cases and highlighted the lack of attention received on the victims and with the conclusion that didn’t surprise anyone: “The state has not done its homework.”


San Fernando Municipality, Tamaulipas-August 2010, witness statement of one of the survivors: “They tied our hands, they covered our eyes, and then they made us form a “U,” first the women and among them was a pregnant one. They told us to shut up, to not scream because they would kill us.” At that time, according to the report, San Fernando was an “extermination camp.” These 72 migrants that passed by San Fernando en-route to the American dream actually experienced their worst nightmare. Los Zetas and Gulf Cartel were at an open war with each other for the control of Tamaulipas and the Zeta strategy was to annihilate everything that smelled like the enemy.  Amid rumors that the Gulf Cartel was recruiting migrants to fight against them, Los Zetas, a group so violent that the citizens wouldn’t dare to even mention their name, intercepted these 72 migrants, took them to a ranch, and offered them to join their organization. Three said yes according to the survivor (the report couldn’t determine of these three survived and became sicarios for Los Zetas or if they were part of the 72 murdered). Then, the carnage began. “El Alacran, El Chamaco, and El Sanidad killed them all with 9 millimeter coup de grace.” This according to a confession made by cartel member. “ When it was over, we slept normally.”

Allende Municipality, Coahuila– March 2011. What happened in Allende? Did it last days, weeks, or months? How many died? Allende is the darkest mystery during the Zetas reign of terror. Witness statements that have never been confirmed have talked about 300 disappearances. The report believes that the official number is of 42 disappearances in a 14 month period, 26 of them from a single weekend in March 2011. During this weekend, a group of Los Zetas on behalf of the Treviño brothers, summoned the 26 victims (all 26 were relatives, friends, and associates of three Zeta members that were on the hit list) to Allende so that they could kill them in retaliation for the three Zeta members that cooperated with the DEA and also for stealing between 5 and 10 million dollars. As it was tradition, they killed people, burned their bodies with gasoline, destroyed their homes. Meanwhile, the municipal police in Allende, at the service of the Treviños, simply looked the other way and did nothing.

The three Zetas that collaborated with the DEA are currently living in the U.S. and at least two of them are under the federal protected witness program. The report has criticized the lack of transparency of the U.S. after requests on information pertaining to the three of them.

Police for hire-“ The police forces obeyed the orders given to them.” According to the report, orders were to “not go out on patrol and to ignore calls for service.” The only humanitarian deed on behalf of the corrupt officers that day was that of a female officer working for Los Zetas who found a little girl of 5 years and a 3 year old boy and got them out of there and took them to another town. Nothing guaranteed that the Zetas would have mercy: a year later in Allende, some family members of the three “traitors” were found and killed. This was a family that consisted of the husband, wife, and their two children, ages 6 and a newborn. This new act of retaliation was carried out by both sicarios and police officers.

According to the report, “In 2010 and 2011, Los Zetas had at their service the 38 police officers of San Fernando and the 20 from Allende.” However, the officers got involved with Los Zetas in a different ways” Some became complicit while others kept their distance but didn’t confront or fight the criminals. The report explains the easiness of buying police officers in Mexico. The report highlighted that an officer would charge at least 300 dollars per month in that region. For example, to have the entire police force in Allende in their payroll, Los Zetas only needed [$6,000] dollars a month. This amount is nothing compared to the millions of dollars that this organization made from the sales of cocaine, kidnappings, and extortion.

The analysis of the major blood baths of Los Zetas highlighted the complicity or lack of operation on behalf of the institutions from the different levels of government. “The municipal governments were complicit of grave human rights violations; the state government of Tamaulipas was indifferent and in Coahuila insufficient. What did the federal entities do or didn’t do? The information that we have is enough to help us understand the actions and inactions of the federal government.” And “we hope to close this gap during the second phase of this investigation.”

Today, the Zetas Cartel has lost its unity. Its historical leaders are no longer in the game. Heriberto Lazacano AKA El Verdugo was killed and his body was mysteriously stolen by a Zetas commando. Miguel Angel Trevino AKA Z40 is currently incarcerated. The organization has become fragmented to the point that the current status of the cartel is unknown; however, its violence is very alive in Gulf States; especially Veracruz and Tamaulipas. Meanwhile, Mexico tries to understand the deadly episodes in the history of this young criminal organization.

Borderland Beat Reporter Chuck Bernabe Almada





Telling him what he did was evil, a Lebanon County judge Monday sentenced a 38-year-old Palmyra man to state prison for 13 to 40 years for repeatedly having sex with a then-13-year-old girl and giving her drugs over a period of more than a year.635942696005068029-mugc

Joel A. Hostetter, of 961 E. Oak St., was sentenced by Judge Bradford H. Charles on charges of statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, unlawful contact with a minor, aggravated indecent assault, child pornography possession, corruption of a minor, endangering the welfare of a child, indecent exposure, possession of methamphetamine, possession of a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession.

“Joel made choices that are simply evil,” Charles said before he sentenced Hostetter.

The judge said Hostetter had victimized a girl beginning when she was 13 by having sex with her and allowing her to use crystal methamphetamine and marijuana over the course of more than a year beginning in the summer of 2014.

“That’s evil,” Charles said.

Prosecutors said Hostetter also took photographs and video of himself and the girl having sex. Police found the images on his cell phone. The girl told investigators that they also engaged in other forms of sexual contact.

“You destroyed a lot of lives,” the judge told Hostetter.

Charles said he could not get over the fact that Hostetter and the victim had sexual contact between 50 and 100 times over the course of at least a year and during that time no one was looking out for the victim. By his estimate, the judge said he figured Hostetter and the girl had sex about twice a week.

“I didn’t know. If I had, I would have stopped it,” the victim’s father said interrupting the judge.

The victim told the judge that she “was very messed up” when she was with Hostetter.

“What he did was wrong. What I did was wrong,” she said.

The judge told her that Hostetter took advantage of her and that she was too young to understand an adult relationship. Charles also told the girl that she should not think that it was partially her fault.

The victim said she has been working to get her life back together.

“I think I’ve come a long way in a year and I have a long way to go,” she said.

The victim’s father also said his daughter was “mixed up” last year.

“I think we got it pretty much straightened out,” he said, adding he believes that she is over him.

He said he did not realize what was going on until Hostetter was arrested.

During the lengthy sentencing hearing, Charles heard a recording of telephone call that Hostetter made from prison to the girl on Oct. 3 last year several weeks after he was arrested. In the conversation, Hostetter and the girl said they loved each other.

“I really miss you,” the girl told Hostetter during the call.

Hostetter said he could be facing 40 years in prison and doubted he could survive that long of a sentence.

“I do love you, and I would wait for you,” the girl told him.

Megan Ryland-Tanner, the assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case, told the judge that Hostetter deserved a 40-year sentence.

“This man violated so many norms,” she said.

Hostetter told the judge that the drugs turned him into a different person and apologized for what he did.

“There are two Joel Hostetters,” his defense attorney David Mueler said. One is a hard-working, family man who goes to church. The other one used crystal methamphetamine, the defense attorney said. He said Hostetter told him that he used the drug two to three times a day.

Mueler said what Hostetter did to the girl was awful but the crystal methamphetamine drove him to do it.

Hostetter’s wife, Ginny, told the judge that her husband had always been a hard worker who loves God and music. She called him “an inherently good man.” She said he worked as an electrician in Philadelphia and drove back and forth to their home every day.

But the crystal methamphetamine changed him, she said.

When they were in their 20s, Mrs. Hostetter said that both of them struggled with drug addiction, but they went through drug treatment.

She blamed the crystal methamphetamine for her husband’s crimes.

“I believe he will live his life without reoffending and using drugs again,” she said, asking the judge for mercy for the sake of their 9-year-old son.

The judge also heard from Hostetter’s parents. His mother, Pamela, said she had tried to talk her son into getting help for this drug addiction.

“He was making bad choices,” she said.

“I’m not buying this narrative that it was all the crystal meth,” Charles said before sentencing Hostetter. If Hostetter were in a methamphetamine fog, how could he have held down a job as an electrician during that year, the judge said in explaining why he was imposing his sentence.

He said Hostetter and the girl’s family knew each other, and Hostetter abused that trust. He said he was also convinced that someone in Hostetter’s or the girl’s families should have known that someone was going on but didn’t.

In addition to the prison sentence, Hostetter was ordered to pay fines totaling $2,050.

After an hour-long hearing with testimony from prosecution and defense expert witnesses, Charles ruled that Hostetter does not meet the criteria under Megan’s Law to be classified as a sexually violent predator. He said Hostetter will be under supervision of a a parole officer until Hostetter is in his 80s.







Joel Hostetter, 37, of Palmyra, arrested for child pornography and giving Methamphetamine to, having sex with 13-year-old girl


Joel Hostetter, 37, of Palmyra, admits sexual activity, Methamphetamine use with 13-year-old girl

BOISE — A Boise woman is facing charges after police say they found several bags of meth during a traffic stop.

The incident happened at Chinden Boulevard and 39th Street just after 2 a.m. Sunday, melissa%20foldesi_1476795131056_6533198_ver1_0when an officer pulled over a car for failure to maintain its lane. Boise Police called a K-9 unit out to the stop, and the drug dog alerted on the vehicle, officers say.

Officers searched the vehicle and discovered the passenger, identified as 48-year-old Melissa Foldesi, of multiple baggies containing more than four grams of a white crystal substance.

Police say the crystals tested presumptive positive for methamphetamine.

Foldesi was arrested and booked into the Ada County Jail on a felony drug trafficking charge. She is due in court Oct. 31 for a preliminary hearing.





A Tacoma man was arraigned Monday for allegedly hitting a 4-year-old girl with his car while he was on methamphetamine and recovering from a mixed-drink bender.

Richard William Myers, 48, faces a charge of vehicular assault in Pierce County Superior Court for the June 21 incident. Court Commissioner Meagan Foley set his bail at $75,000.

A bench warrant was issued for his arrest Sept. 30.

According to court documents:

The girl was running across the street about 2:30 p.m. as she followed siblings from their car to a friend’s house in the 1600 block of East 60th Street.

Myers drove down the street at between 30 and 45 mph and hit the girl.

She suffered a concussion, bruising and other injuries, and spent two days in Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma.

Myers stayed at the scene, where officers detected a strong smell of alcohol coming from him. He told police he had been drinking Long Island iced teas at a local casino until 6 a.m.

He said he was “extremely drunk” then, but now was only hung over.

He registered a 0.078 blood-alcohol level — just below the 0.08 legal limit — on a Breathalizer test, but didn’t pass other parts of the field sobriety test.

A blood draw found he had a 0.049 blood-alcohol level, and detected methamphetamine and cocaine in his system.



BRAINERD, Minn. – Two 19-year-olds face drug charges for sale and possession after drug agents confiscated marijuana, methamphetamines and drug paraphernalia at a Brainerd residence.

Elijah John Van Natter of Baxter and Bionka Bea Chamberlin of Brainerd had their first appearance Friday in Crow Wing County District Court and are facing felony third-degree drug possession of 10 grams or more narcotic drug and felony fifth-degree possession of a marijuana mix.1017chamberlin-van-natter

According to the probable cause court document, drug agents with the Lakes Area Drug Investigation Division Thursday applied for a search warrant to search an address on the 6000 block of Estate Circle Drive in Brainerd. Law enforcement arrived at the address and knocked on the door and a 19-year-old man opened the door. He was ordered out of the house, to the ground and subsequently detained in handcuffs.

The rest of the residence was then cleared and suspects Van Natter and Chamberlin were located inside a bedroom. Both of them were also ordered to the ground and placed in handcuffs.

Van Natter admitted to the drug agent the marijuana inside the residence belongs to him and he sold it to several individuals during the day, the court document stated. Van Natter described two different occasions where he sold marijuana, but would not divulge who the methamphetamine inside the house belongs to. Van Natter stated he had $1,090 in cash inside his wallet, some of which was proceeds from his marijuana sales that day.

Chamberlin originally took ownership for all the drugs in the house until learning that Van Natter took ownership of the marijuana, the court document stated. She stated the methamphetamine and methamphetamine paraphernalia belong to her and she smokes it as often as most people smoke cigarettes.

A K-9 search indicated to the odor of controlled substances in the house, which included the living room area of the house which contained a cabinet high on the wall which had a padlock securing it, which contained a stash of contraband, including marijuana, numerous smoking devices, glass pipes and water bong-type smoking devices. These all contained white residue consistent with the smoking of methamphetamine. The lower shelf contained a box with glitter on the lid. This box contained baggies with quantities of white crystalline substance, a scale, baggies and loading devices consistent with the sale and distribution of controlled substances. A cabinet on the floor contained boxes with items of contraband. One box contained funnels and loading devices commonly used for the sale and distribution of controlled substances. Another box in this area also contained a digital scale.

In the end, 155 grams of a green leafy substance which field tested inconclusive, 22.9 grams of suspected marijuana that field tested positive, 22.8 grams of marijuana wax including the weight of the container that field tested positive and 13.4 grams of methamphetamine that field tested positive.








Brown County, WI — Multiple Brown County agencies arrested 15 people in a nationwide child sex trafficking operation.

The nationwide operation took place during the week of October 10.

Multiple Brown County Agencies took part in the operation to identify individuals involved in sex trafficking adults and minors.

The agencies involved include the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, Green Bay Police Department, Ashwaubenon Public Safety, De Pere Police Department and FBI-Milwaukee.

The agencies made 15 arrests during the operation. The arrests included charges of trafficking of a child, child enticement, prostitution, possession of methamphetamine and use of a computer to facilitate child sex crimes.

Brown County Sheriff’s deputies say all of the agencies involved will continue to work together to protect children and residents of Brown County from individuals involved in child sex trafficking.











THE COLONY – Two men and a woman are in jail after police in Denton County found more than 50 pounds of liquid methamphetamine at a home in The Colony on Saturday.

Police also found smaller amounts of crystal meth, heroin and marijuana and a stolen vehicle at the home in the 4900 block of Hackney Lane, The Colony police said in a news release.


Five people were home at the time, and three were arrested: William Bryant Blum Sr., 58, William Bryant Blum Jr., 31, and Lacey Michelle Boothe, 21.

All three face charges of possession of over 1 gram of a controlled substance. Blum Sr. also faces a charge of possession of a controlled substance.

The liquid meth was found in a large Gatorade bottle and in several smaller Gatorade squirt bottles.

“It is pretty rare to find it in that form before it is crystallized,” said officer Kyle Koiner, a police spokesman.


THE COLONY (CBSDFW.COM)– Three people, including a father and son, were arrested Saturday morning, October 15, for possessing more than 50 pounds of  liquid methamphetamine along with smaller amounts of crystal methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana.

The Colony Police said after a several weeks-long narcotics investigation that included multiple tips from the community, the department’s Special Response Team, along with the Denton County Sheriff’s Office, executed a narcotics search warrant on a residence in the 4900 block of Hackney Lane.

Police said more than 50 pounds of liquid methamphetamine along with smaller amounts of crystal methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana were discovered and seized as a result of the search warrant.  A stolen vehicle was also recovered from the property.

58-year-old William Bryant Blum Sr. was arrested and charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance, as was 31-year-old William Bryant Blum Jr


Father And Son Among Trio Arrested For Drug Possession In The Colony


CROW AGENCYA man and a woman who allegedly received and distributed several pounds of methamphetamine while living in Crow Agency were appointed federal public defenders on Monday.

Kevin Torres-Ochoa, 27, and Mary Elizabeth Rock Big Man, 36, both face felony drug charges in U.S. District Court in Billings.12185005_g

When questioned by detectives, Torres-Ochoa referred to Big Man as his wife.

During a September traffic stop, Big Man was arrested on a warrant out of Big Horn County for embezzlement.

At the jail, Big Man was allegedly found to be in possession of methamphetamine.

On Thursday, FBI agents executed a search warrant of Big Man’s home on Long Street in Crow Agency.

Agents located several scales throughout the home that are believed to be used in drug distribution operations.

While conducting the search, agents encountered Big Man and Torres-Ochoa.

Big Man was transported to the Yellowstone County jail.

On the way to jail, Big Man allegedly told authorities that she had been a methamphetamine addict since she was about 14 years old.

She said she met Torres-Ochoa and began having a relationship with him.

Big Man said she then began receiving and storing small amounts of methamphetamine for Torres-Ochoa and two of his associates.

The woman worked at Sarpy Storage in Hardin, where she allegedly kept at least 3 lbs of drugs for the men.

FBI agents determined that Torres-Ochoa was receiving the shipments of methamphetamine from a distributor in San Jose, CA.

At the time of his arrest, Torres-Ochoa told investigators that he had been living in Crow Agency for about eight months.

Torres-Ochoa initially denied his involvement in drug sales, but later allegedly admitted he had received about 5 or 6 lbs of methamphetamine through the mail at a P.O. Box.

He allegedly admitted he was paid between $500 and $700 for each package he received and transferred to co-conspirators.

Torres-Ochoa then said he began receiving methamphetamine instead of cash payment, which he allegedly sold $4,000 per ounce.

Torres-Ochoa said he’d ceased working with the California drug dealers two months prior to his arrest.

Torres-Ochoa and Big Man are being held at the Yellowstone County jail without bond.





The Indian Health Service has almost doubled the number of grants for meth and suicide prevention among youth in American Indian communities with the announcement of 42 new awards to support President Obama’s Generation Indigenous Initiative.

The 2016 Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention Initiative (MSPI) funding, worth more than $7 million, will go to tribes, tribal organizations, urban Indian organizations and IHS programs, adding to the copy3.2 million in MSPI grants awarded last year.meth_use_-_istock

MSPI has funded 156 programs, with awards totaling more than $21 million; 88 of those projects support President Obama’s Gen I initiative launched at the 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference to improve the lives of Native youth by removing barriers to their success.

Methamphetamine is a highly-addictive central nervous system stimulant that has become widely available in Indian country. “Native Americans now experience the highest meth usage rates of any ethnic group in the nation,” according to the U.S. Justice Department publication Methamphetamine in Indian Country: An American Problem Uniquely Affecting Indian Country.

Meth can be smoked, snorted, injected, or ingested orally. Long-term meth use may have severe mental health consequences, including anxiety, confusion, insomnia, memory loss and mood disturbances such as depression. Symptoms of psychosis, such as paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and delusions may also occur. Structural and functional changes in the brain have been identified in meth users, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Physical effects may include extreme weight loss, severe dental problems and skin sores. Most meth used in the U.S. is manufactured in illegal, unregulated laboratories.

Drug and alcohol abusers are at particularly high risk for suicide. A 2008 White Paper from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states, “A growing body of studies has demonstrated that alcohol and drug abuse are second only to depression and other mood disorders as the most frequent risk factors for suicide.”

The connection between suicide and drug abuse is especially strong for injected meth. A 2011 study in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence states, “M[eth] A[mphetamine] injection was associated with an 80 percent increase in the risk of attempting suicide,” compared with people who injected other drugs.

The warning signs of methamphetamine use include changes in relationships with family or friends; loss of inhibitions; mood changes or emotional instability; periods of sleeplessness or agitation; hostile, angry, uncooperative, deceitful, or secretive behavior; changes in speech, including the inability to speak intelligibly; change in appearance and poor hygiene; loss of interest in favorite activities or hobbies; missing work or school; or complaints or comments from coworkers or teachers, according to IHS.

President Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2017 budget for IHS includes funding to further expand the MSPI program, which would be renamed Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention. Of the $49 million proposed for expanding (as distinguished from maintaining) health care services for AIAN people, copy5 million would go to Gen I substance abuse and suicide prevention projects.

The 42 entities awarded grants in this funding round are Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Fairbanks Native Association, Kodiak Area Native Association, Maniilaq Association, SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, Ohkay Owingeh Tribal Council, Pueblo of Acoma, Pueblo of Isleta, Santo Domingo Tribe, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, Crow Tribe of Indians, Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes, Rocky Boy Health Board, Pinoleville Pomo Nation, Riverside-San Bernardino County Indian Health, Inc., Oglala Sioux Tribe, Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, Santee Sioux Nation, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, Spirit Lake Tribe, Aroostook Band of Micmacs, Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, Fort Defiance Indian Hospital, Navajo Nation, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Delaware Tribe of Indians, Osage Nation, Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, Tonkawa Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, Hualapai Indian Tribe, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, Tulalip Tribes of Washington, Western Oregon Service Unit – Chemawa Indian Health Center, Tohono O’odham Nation, Bakersfield American Indian Health Project, Urban Indian Health Board of Minneapolis, Urban Nebraska Urban Indian Health Coalition and Urban Nevada Urban Indians.



For the first time, methamphetamine outpaced marijuana as the most common drug found in addition to alcohol in DUI samples sent to the state crime lab last year.

Meth has also been detected more often in other cases that the crime lab’s toxicology division handles, according to a summary report from the Montana Department of Justice’s Forensic Science Division.

“I think that’s the real take-home of this summary, is the massive increase in methamphetamine,” said Scott Larson, toxicology supervisor at the crime lab.

Alcohol remains the most prevalent substance found in DUI toxicology cases.

In 2015, alcohol was the only detected substance in 2,277 cases. There were 3,380 total DUI cases tested that year.

The lab had 294 DUI cases involving meth, and the concentration of the drug increased 123 percent. That’s up from 2011, when state toxicologists processed 73 DUI samples that were positive for meth.

Marijuana used to be the most common substance after alcohol found in DUI blood tests. In 2015, meth became more common in DUI blood tests, according to the lab.

The toxicology section of the state crime lab in Missoula also does postmortem drug screens for medical examiners and analyzes drug and alcohol tests for cases that involve drug-endangered children. The lab also analyzes urine tests for the Department of Corrections — inmates and those on probation.

The lab tests for a range of different drugs — like marijuana, prescription narcotics, hallucinogens and inhalants. The overall number of positive drug findings has decreased over the years.


This chart shows the rise of amphetamine and methamphetamine in DUI cases sent to the Montana State Crime Lab.DUIs make up the largest caseload, accounting for more than half of the 6,139 cases handled last year. In the majority of DUI tests, alcohol is the only substance present in the blood sample.

But meth has increased in other test areas. They include postmortem drug screens, where the lab had 20 positive cases for meth in 2011. That jumped to 73 in 2015, though the lab handled 801 total cases.

Urinalysis tests conducted on probationers and parolees have turned up more meth as well. No other drug has spiked in the same way.

Chris Evans, deputy chief for the Billings region of Montana Probation and Parole, said that there was certainly an increase in violations for meth use since 2011. He said that when officers spoke to the offenders, they heard it was often an easy drug to get.

“The availability of methamphetamine during that time was a lot greater,” he said. “There was just more of it around.”

Of the 1,192 urinalysis cases handled by the lab in 2015, more than 550 turned up positive for meth. There were fewer than 200 in 2011.

In DUI, urine and postmortem samples, meth was the only drug other than alcohol that has steadily become more common.

Other institutions, including the court system, have seen the effects of increased meth use. A February report by The Gazette found that the number of felony drug possession charges in Yellowstone County has significantly increased over the years. Most of them involved meth.

Other findings

The report also tallied tests from traffic fatalities. In more than a third of fatal crashes cases in 2015, no drugs or alcohol were found in the victims.

The report didn’t distinguish between drivers and passengers in its data on fatal crash victims.

The most common drug present in fatal crashes in 2015 were central nervous system depressants, which cover a range of prescription medications. Larson said they can be drugs that treat anxiety and depression, or they could be sleeping pills.

“This is a big problem in terms of DUI cases,” Larson said.

The numbers are still relatively low, however. There were 14 cases in which the depressants, but no alcohol, were found. Fewer than 20 cases involved those types of depressants and alcohol. The lab studied 213 fatal crash cases in 2015.

The presence of marijuana decreased in urinalysis and DUI cases over five years, the report showed.

One bright spot in the report, Larson said, was the decrease in the presence of hydrocodone in cases like DUIs. The prescription narcotic was once the most common in its class.

But another drug, oxycodone, has gradually increased in tests over the years, nearly replacing the hydrocodone.

The overall caseload for the toxicology section of the crime lab has also steadily increased over the years. There were fewer than 4,000 total cases in 2010, but in 2015 it topped 6,000.

A second state crime lab opened in Billings this year, but it won’t house a toxicology section. Its purpose is to process physical drug evidence, a caseload that has grown alongside the number of possession cases in court.

Phil Kinsey, crime lab administrative director, said that there are no plans to expand the Eastern Montana lab for toxicology.




Dubai: Prosecutors are seeking a death sentence against two men, who were accused of possessing 0.07 gm of methamphetamine for trafficking purposes following a drug bust near a hotel in Dubai.

Drug enforcement officers apprehended the Filipino men, 38-year-old R.R. and 34-year-old E.S., following an informant’s tip off that they possessed 0.07 gm of methamphetamine and wanted to sell the same for Dh1,500 in May.

Drug officers arrested R.R. and E.S. during a sting operation near a hotel in Al Jafliya area.

Drugs prosecutors charged the suspects with possessing drugs for trafficking purposes and consuming drugs.

Prosecutors have asked the Dubai Court of First Instance to implement the toughest punishment applicable [capital punishment] against the Filipinos, who pleaded not guilty on Monday.

According to the charge sheet, prosecutors said R.R. and E.S. possessed 0.07 gm of methamphetamine for trafficking purposes. R.R. was solely accused of possessing 1.6 gm of methamphetamine for promotional purposes.

The two suspects were also accused of consuming methamphetamine and amphetamine.

“We possessed the drugs but not for trading … it was for our personal consumption,” R.R. told presiding judge Urfan Omar.

His countryman also contended that they possessed the drug for their personal use and not for trading.

The duo confessed that they consumed methamphetamine and amphetamine.

An anti-narcotics police officer said prosecutors’ warrant was obtained to search and arrest the duo following the informant’s tip off. “We were cautioned by the informant that E.S. possessed methamphetamine that he wanted to promote and had been consuming drugs. A drug team went to the location and identified the suspect [E.S.] from the photo that we had obtained of him from Dubai Police’s system. We apprehended him outside the hotel where he was standing at 12.15 am. A policeman had spotted the suspect getting rid of a tiny pouch that contained methamphetamine. When I asked him about that material, he claimed that he had intended to sell it to a Filipino man for Dh1,500 … he claimed that R.R. had ordered him to sell it. He further claimed that he had been working for R.R. for a month and used to get Dh50 for each delivery. R.R. was also apprehended,” the lieutenant testified to prosecutors.

The court will hire a lawyer to defend the suspects when it reconvenes on October 24.







Police say she had about $15,000 worth of meth in her car.

That’s how much cash Douazhong Vu will need to get out of the La Crosse County jail.

Vu is facing new drug charges, after a traffic stop Thursday in West Salem, Wis. An douazhongvuofficer found the meth and more than $1,000 in cash in Vu’s car after pulling her over for swerving all over the road.

Prosecutor Noel Lawrence had asked for a $20,000 bond, and said that Vu has a history of removing electronic monitoring.

“We’ll leave GPS monitoring to the court’s discretion as she either cut off her old bracelet or stopped charging it altogether,” Lawrence told the court.efb26372f5ecf970d01e34e145852d9d_xl

Judge Scott Horne ordered that Vu should not get a G-P-S monitor, because she has cut off a similar monitor in the past.

“Taking into account that she was on bound for the same offense for which she is now arrested again – a substantial amount of methamphetamine in her vehicle,” Horne said.

Douazhong Vu and her sister KoJoua Vu, were also busted during a drug raid at a La Crosse apartment in April.






A woman is wanted on a $40,000 arrest warrant for two felony counts of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs after allegedly selling methamphetamine.

Deana Dimler-Wise, 37, was charged Wednesday in Flathead District Court.img_0155

According to court documents, Dimler-Wise was observed selling .7 grams of methamphetamine to someone at the Best Value Inn on April 12. Surveillance was conducted by Northwest Drug Task Force agents.

Dimler allegedly sold another ounce of methamphetamine to someone at Woodland Park later that day.

The Montana State Crime Lab confirmed that the drugs allegedly sold by Dimler Wise were methamphetamine.

An arraignment date has not immediately been set.





CHEYENNE – Three Gillette residents have been charged here with multiple drug crimes after a traffic stop on Interstate 25 last month revealed they were allegedly traveling with more than 300 grams of methamphetamine.

According to the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, methamphetamine currently has an average street value in Wyoming of about $100 per gram. At that rate, the trio allegedly was traveling with upwards of $30,000 or more worth of methamphetamine alone.56a458ece63b7_image

Charging documents say investigators also recovered a Glock 22 .40-caliber pistol and a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber pistol with ammunition for both. The Smith & Wesson was later found to be reported stolen out of Campbell County.

Brandon J. Hudspeth, 32, and Samantha E. Taylor, 19, appeared Friday in Laramie County District Court, and each pleaded not guilty to counts of felony methamphetamine possession, felony cocaine possession, possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine and misdemeanor marijuana possession.

A third person, Kennith J. Cassady, 40, was arrested along with Hudspeth and Taylor in the Sept. 16 traffic stop. He faces the same charges, with the addition of a misdemeanor improper lane change.

Cassady appeared Friday in Laramie County Circuit Court for a preliminary hearing to determine whether there was probable cause to support the charges filed against him and send them to district court for trial.

His case fell behind Taylor’s and Hudspeth’s after he failed to appear for his preliminary hearing Sept. 28 because he was in jail in Campbell County for allegedly possessing methamphetamine there with the intent to deliver.

His case file indicates he was released in the Laramie County case Sept. 21 after posting a $10,000 surety bond, and the alleged controlled substance crime in Campbell County happened four days later.

His bond in the Laramie County case was revoked and reset at $20,000 cash at his preliminary hearing Friday.

The case was bound over to district court for trial, and Cassady likely will appear there soon for his arraignment.

Prosecutor Ryan Wright of the Laramie County District Attorney’s Office told District Judge Thomas Campbell on Friday that he intends to file a motion to join the three cases for trial once Cassady’s charges make it to district court.

Taylor and Hudspeth, who both were still in custody as of Friday, currently are set for trial in early January.

Public defenders assigned to represent them told Campbell the cases will hinge on who the drugs actually belonged to.

Campbell agreed to reduce their bonds, which they had not yet posted, from $10,000 cash or surety to 10 percent of $10,000, or $1,000.

According to charging documents:

A Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper pulled over the Ford F-150 pickup Cassady was driving for changing lanes without a turn signal near mile marker 22 on northbound I-25, north of Cheyenne in Laramie County.

Hudspeth was sitting in the front passenger seat, and Taylor was in the back seat.

A drug-sniffing K-9 called to the scene detected controlled substances in the truck. The troopers called DCI to the scene after finding drugs in the truck.

In addition to the guns, a search of the truck revealed:

  • Four plastic bags of methamphetamine in a backpack under the front passenger’s feet that weighed 328.9 grams, including packaging.
  • A small plastic bag of cocaine in a coffee cup in the same backpack that weighed 3.8 grams, including packaging.
  • A plastic wrapper of marijuana in the backpack that weighed 2.4 grams, including packaging.
  • A small bag of methamphetamine hidden inside of a bag of potato chips on the floorboard.
  • Three digital scales, small jewelry bags, multiple glass pipes and four cellphones.






CULLMAN, Ala. (AP) – Cullman police have arrested three people after finding an active methamphetamine lab.

AL.com reports police and sheriff’s deputies executed a search warrant at a home on Highway 91 in Bremen on Friday. There, they found methamphetamine, the lab it was being produced in, and drug paraphernalia.

Police say the owner of the home 49-year-old Terry Dewayne Quinn and 39-year-old Kimberly Campbell were charged with unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance in the first degree, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

Police also charged 32-year-old Cassatina Hyde with unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

Online jail records did not list attorneys for those arrested.







ROCK HILL – Making methamphetamine may be a small-scale operation today, thanks to newer, more compact methods.

However, the response by law enforcement and health officials to remove those labs – like the one busted this week across from Winthrop University – is much larger and more expensive.meth%20hazmat

Older, more obsolete forms of making meth involved items like pots and hoses, and the drug was actually cooked on a stovetop or hot surface, according to Marvin Brown, commander of the York County Multijurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit. The newer “one-pot” or “shake and bake” method involves mixing the ingredients in a plastic 20-ounce bottle, causing a chemical reaction that makes methamphetamine.

Regardless of how it’s made, the chemicals are just as volatile. Six agents in the drug unit are certified to handle the chemicals in a meth lab busted by law enforcement, Brown said, and they typically remove the ingredients and items and place them on a tarp outside.

Investigators recovered three one-pot labs in a trash container outside the Park Avenue Extension building Tuesday.

“Old meth labs where they cooked on the stove made a much bigger mess,” Brown said. “These new meth labs don’t leave much of a mess.”

If a lab is active, meaning someone is in the process of making meth, agents have to wear special suits with masks and air tanks to enter the area and handle the chemicals, Brown said. A number of additional agencies will respond if the lab is active, including firefighters, EMS and York County Emergency Management, which has its own suits and trained technicians.

Old meth labs where they cooked on the stove made a much bigger mess. These new meth labs don’t leave much of a mess. – Marvin Brown, York County drug unit commander

A suspect actively cooking meth must be decontaminated before they are taken to either jail or the hospital, Brown said. This is done with a tent set up on the property and hazmat crew members who get the person disrobed and decontaminated.

“We do that, but we do it with respect,” Brown said.

Crews and investigators spend, on average, between one and six hours removing chemicals and items used in a meth lab, Brown said. The process takes even longer if there’s a fire or explosion.

Once the chemicals have been removed, they have to be sealed in special containers and taken to be destroyed. Brown said most agencies contract with the state, which sends hazmat crews to remove the chemicals from the scene and take them to be destroyed. The crews typically have to come from Columbia or Spartanburg.

The state can only dispatch those hazmat crews if the local law enforcement agency contacts the State Law Enforcement Division, according to SLED spokesman Thom Berry.

“When we are called in to assist in the discovery of a meth lab, we will activate the state contractor for gross decontamination cleanup,” Berry said. “They will take away any evidence and gross contamination that is there.”

If the bottle or chemicals have been discarded on the ground, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control responds to remove the contamination from the ground.

The cost of the cleanup crew removing the chemicals from a single meth lab can be around $3,000, Brown said. That doesn’t include the taxpayer money spent on other emergency resources and personnel used in the response.

The good news? The number of meth labs in York County has dropped significantly, from 22 each in 2013 and 2014 to around half a dozen in 2015, according to Brown.

Tuesday’s lab on Park Avenue Extension was only the third one handled by York County agents this year.


Scott Young has a jumbo-sized problem.

He owns the home where police discovered a suspected meth lab on Sept. 24 in Kresgeville. And he can’t do anything with it.

State police found what it believes to be a one-pot meth lab in an apartment occupied by William Knibbs on Lower Middle Creek Road. They found chemicals and tools used to make methamphetamine, as well as suspected methamphetamine. Knibbs remains incarcerated in the Monroe County Correctional Facility, unable to make bail.eergxfdfg4ga

Meanwhile, Young is trying to sell the home, but he cannot get into the apartment to clean it up. Someone placed a padlock and chain on the sliding glass door to the upstairs apartment.

Knibbs’ mother, Cathy Knibbs, rents a mobile home from Young on the same property. She said police put the chain on the door to her son’s apartment and gave her a key to feed two dogs locked inside.

Sgt. Martin Ritsick, of the state police at Lehighton, said the state police never put chains on doors and that it didn’t know who did it. Ritsick said at the time of the arrest that Cathy Knibbs said she would feed the dogs.

Therein lies problem No. 1. Young can’t show the home until he can clean up the apartment. But Young’s lease states he has to give two days’ notice to enter the apartment. He said he was denied access, and must now go to court and get an order that allows him access.

“The way the rules are drafted provides a lot of ways to protect the tenant,” said Bob Kidwell, an attorney who practices landlord-tenant law with Mishkin, Corvelyen, Wolfe and Fareri in Stroudsburg in an earlier interview.

The apartment is in shambles, with appliances piled in the living room and feces from two dogs. Cathy Knibbs said she walks and feeds the dogs while her son is in jail.

That’s not the landlord’s only problem. The presence of a meth lab creates environmental hazards that require remediation beyond the police removing all the flammable and hazardous materials.

“Any of the surfaces touched by the contaminant still has to be removed of and disposed properly,” Joseph Amarillo of Restoration in Mt. Laurel, N.J. said.

The space used to make the meth is completely contaminated and has to be gutted out. It’s like doing mold remediation, and it has to be air scrubbed to make sure the air is clean.

Corey Johnson lives downstairs from the suspected meth lab with his mother Paula Carter-Johnson. Both were evacuated when the raid occurred. They have had to burn incense to cover the smells from above.

“Neighbors should also be concerned with any fumes that may have seeped into their space,” Amarillo said.

It will be at least two weeks before Young can gain access to the apartment. Then he has to clean it up. But the hardest part is to evict the tenant.

“The fly in the ointment is when the tenant avails themselves of their rights. They can take an appeal to the county court, post a bond and drag it out for a several months. If you have a tenant that’s savvy, they can use the timelines that are part of the appeal process,” Kidwell said.







Two soldiers stationed along the border in Ratanakkiri province were arrested on Saturday morning after crossing into Vietnam with 1 kilogram of crystal methamphetamine, an official said on Sunday.

Provincial anti-drug police chief Leang Im said the pair of soldiers were arrested by Vietnamese border officials in Gia Lai province and were being held at a detention center along the border. He said his attempt to visit them on Sunday was unsuccessful.

“This afternoon I went into Vietnam and contacted the Vietnamese side. They said they couldn’t allow us to meet yet,” Mr. Im said. “We have to wait until they finish the investigation and they will inform us later.”

In a post to its Facebook page, the national anti-drug police department named the soldiers as Chab Samean, 28, and An Bunthy, 39, both residents of Banlung City.

In a separate case, a man who was attempting to traffic 16 kg of methamphetamine pills across the border to Thailand was arrested in Preah Vihear province on Saturday night when police stopped his car at a checkpoint to test drivers for illegal drugs, officials said.

Soun Chalna, head of the provincial police anti-drug bureau, said Kong Vich, 32, was caught with 145,440 meth pills in the trunk of his Toyota Camry when he was waved down by officers on National Road 62 in Tbeng Meanchey district at about 10:35 p.m.

The drugs originated from Laos, he said, and entered the country through a border crossing in Stung Treng province, destined for Thailand via Pailin province.

Mr. Chalna said the suspect was merely a drug mule and that a Thai national was likely in charge of the operation. He estimated the value of the pills to be about $0.50 each, meaning the pills in Mr. Vich’s trunk were worth about $73,000.

Provincial police chief Sy Kiri said the pills had been confiscated, along with the Toyota Camry and a samurai sword. He said the suspect would likely be sent to the provincial court today.




Border Soldiers Arrested Moving Meth in Vietnam


CAMP VERDE – Clark Jeffrey Reber accepted a plea deal and admitted guilt to charges stemming from the recreation center trolling-for-sex case in front of Judge Michael Bluff at Yavapai Superior Court in Camp Verde.

Reber is required to register as a sex offender and pay for sex offender assessment. 72226a

He is charged with attempting to lure a 19-year-old female employee and two 12-year-old girls for sexual exploitation at the Cottonwood Recreation Center July 2. Reber, 48, of Nevada, had spent time at the recreation center, and placed notes in front of all three of the victims. The notes invited the victims to meet him at the men’s restroom at Garrison Park.

According to Patti Wortman of Yavapai County Attorney’s Office, the notes said to meet him in the stall in 10 minutes, and “got what you need – promise you.”

The 19-year-old employee read her note, and then saw Reber drop notes in front of the minors sitting on the couch. The woman intercepted the notes and called police.

Upon arrest, Reber was found to have a pipe on him containing methamphetamine residue.

Reber accepted the plea deal, and plead guilty to one count of luring a minor for sexual exploitation, a class 4 felony; one count of a possession/use of methamphetamine, a class 6 felony; and one count of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor.

When Judge Bluff asked Reber if he attempted to lure the 12-year-old girls for sexual exploitation, he said yes.

The disorderly conduct charge stems from the 19-year-old’s experience from the ordeal, which she found upsetting – interfering with her ability to perform her job.

For the luring of a minor charge, Reber faces between 1 and 3 ¾ years of prison time, with a 2 ½ year presumptive sentence.

For the dangerous drug charge, he faces between 1/3 of a year to 2 years of prison time, with a 1 year presumptive sentence.

For his presumptive probation term, Reber faces not less than 4 years and up to a lifetime for the luring of a minor charge, and up to 3 years for the dangerous drug charge. Judge Bluff said the probation term is appropriate, and is considering placing him on a lifetime length initially.

Under the terms of his probation, Reber will be prohibited from contact with children, required to undergo treatment, and abide by other requirements set forth. He could also be forced to pay restitution to the three victims.

Defense attorney Renee Mendelsohn asked to have 60 days to prepare for the mitigation. Reber’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec.13.





A recent drug bust in Alpharetta uncovered $4 million in crystal methamphetamine and a suspect wanted by federal immigration agencies. 14724581_1371198729586312_4233091908185231344_n

Alpharetta police announced Friday that the arrest of Moises Isidro-Jaimes, 34, came after a joint operation between their department’s special units and the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Atlanta division. Recent search warrants served to an apartment in Alpharetta resulted in authorities finding Jaimes and 95 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, according to police. 14721650_1371201416252710_612485602182759037_n

Prior to his arrest, federal immigration officials sought Jaimes, whom they previously deported. Jaimes also had active federal warrants at the time of his arrest, authorities said.

Click below to view more pictures of the arrest on the Alpharetta Department of Public Safety’s Facebook page:



HANCOCK COUNTY — County officials decided to invest nearly $120,000 in a body scanner for the county jail after an inmate sneaked drugs into the facility and passed them out to fellow inmates.

Hancock County Jail officials will purchase a full-body scanner in coming weeks to provide an extra level of security at the local facility. Currently, anyone arrested by police and brought to the Hancock County Jail is searched upon their arrival by an officer. Banned items are confiscated, officials said.

But occasionally, inmates still manage to smuggle contraband into the jail, officials say.

The body scanner will screen inmates for hidden items, such as drugs or weapons, before they’re booked into a cell.

Maj. Brad Burkhart, the sheriff’s department’s chief deputy, told the Hancock County Council this week some inmates who use drugs want the narcotics so badly, they smuggle them in, even knowing that being caught with contraband could lead to additional charges.

In August, a woman sneaked narcotics and methamphetamine into the facility and passed the drugs out to other inmates. Fifteen women in her cell block tested positive for methamphetamine along with ingredients commonly found in narcotic painkillers, officials said.

As a punishment, the women were on lockdown — confined to their individual cells at the jail for 23 hours a day — for 30 days.

Burkhart said the body scanner should help keep contraband out of the facility, improving safety for jail officers and inmates alike.

Hancock County will be the first jail in the state to buy the equipment, but six other law enforcement agencies in other states use it, Burkhart said, and it comes highly recommended.

The scanner, which has a 10- to 12-year life expectancy, will cost the county about $118,000. The jail will pay $20,000 with commissary funds, which are generated through purchases inmates make while in the facility.

The county council will pitch in $98,000 from its food and beverage tax fund, which is collected from diners at area restaurants.

After the first five years, the council will also need to pay an annual maintenance fee of $8,750.

That’s a small price to pay to keep drugs out of the local jail, which might help prevent fights or overdoses, which can be life-threatening, council members say.

Lawsuits and medical bills that could ensue as a result of such events would far exceed the amount the council is chipping in, said councilman John Jessup.

“This makes it clear to the inmates we’re serious about keeping contraband out,” he said. “It’s a great investment. It could potentially save a life.”

Jail officials expect to receive the equipment before the end of the year.





The northwest Mexican state of Sinaloa — where cartel boss Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán was born and lived — has become a focal point of the country’s growing production of synthetic drugs like methamphetamine.

Parts of Sinaloa state, along with areas of Chihuahua and Durango states, make up Mexico’s “Golden Triangle,” an area so-named for intense marijuana and opium cultivation that also take place there.

And the recent rise in synthetic-drug production indicates the continued expansion of Mexican criminal organizations’ presence in the drug trade,likely driven by changing drug-consumption habits in the US.

Drug laboratories discovered in Sinaloa, around the state capital of Culiacan in particular, appear set to double in two years, according to details shared by Rogelio Terán Contreras, commander of the local military zone.

In 2014, 47 labs were discovered, followed by 80 in 2015. Thus far in 2015, authorities have come across 55 such labs, according to official statistics cited by El Universal and noted by Insight Crime.

Since the end of June, Mexican troops have discovered a suspected synthetic-drug lab near Cosalá in Sinaloa, a suspected lab in Culiacan, and another lab about 30 miles outside of Culiacan.

“The principal problem in the jurisdiction is organized crime …,” Terán Contreras told El Universal. “The units of the ninth military zone are bound for, practically, the eradication of the … aspects of of organized crime.”


A suspected drug lab discovered in Mexico’s Sinaloa state. Mexican Naval Secretariat

“Mexican traffickers have achieved this booming meth production by adapting their labs, switching recipes, and finding new sources of precursor ingredients,” journalist Ioan Grillo reported in early 2015.

Mexico’s Pacific coast, on which Sinaloa sits, has long been a major production and transit point for drugs, and that dynamic has continued with the growth of synthetic-drug production. Sinaloa and Guerrero state, farther south, are known to be hubs for opium and heroin production.

Sinaloa and Michoacan, another state on coast, have now become the sites of superlabs for synthetic-drug production. A report earlier this year from the International Narcotics Control Board found that 131 such labs were dismantled in 2014, the majority of them located in Guerrero, Sinaloa, and Michoacan.

“As well as running some big labs, the crime syndicates now often cook meth — known here as ‘hielo’ (ice) — in clusters of small labs scattered over hills and valleys,” Grillo reported in January 2015. “Traffickers with capital buy raw ingredients in bulk, then subcontract producers … to do the dirty work.”


A Marine stands next to ingredients of crystal methamphetamines at a clandestine laboratory discovered by the police and military in the municipality of Badiraguato, in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, June 12, 2009.

One such producer who spoke with Grillo said the workers who cook the meth will set up makeshift labs of plastic barrels and generators in secluded areas, packing the final product into plastic containers.

Ports up and down the Pacific shore are believed to be arrival points for the precursor chemicals needed to make synthetic drugs and departure points for the finished product. According to the INCB report, Mexico is a source country for crystal meth found in East and Southeast Asia and throughout Oceania — regions no doubt served by shipments from Mexico’s western coast.

“Historically the states of Sinaloa, Colima, to a lesser extent Nayarit, but also Guerrero … historically maritime smuggling in these areas has always been important,” David Shirk, a professor at the University of San Diego, told Business Insider this summer. “And the physical infrastructure and transportation infrastructure from the coast to the center of Mexico, to Mexico City importantly, is vital to all kind of trade, including illicit trade.”


A map of suspected areas of influence for Mexico’s drug cartels. DEA 2015 NDTA

Competition over ports in this area has driven up violence, particularly in Guerrero and Colima states, both of which currently have homicide rates many times higher than the national average.

Two major cartels, the Jalisco New Generation cartel and Guzmán’s Sinaloa cartel, are suspected of causing most of that violence. Those two organizations, along with various other regional criminal groups, are believed to be clashing up and down Mexico’s west coast, including in Guerrero state (Acapulco in particular), Colima state, and in both Baja California Sur and Baja California, especially in Tijuana.

The Jalisco and Sinaloa cartel are believed to dominate the crystal-meth market in the US, with the Jalisco group gaining a boost from local expertise and from knowledge it took with it when it split from Sinaloa in about 2010.

“They have a Ph.D. in drug trafficking thanks to the education provided by the Sinaloa cartel and other cartels,” Mike Vigil, a former chief of international operations for the US Drug Enforcement Administration,told Reuters of the Jalisco cartel.

Meth ‘availability will continue to increase’


A soldier takes a photograph while standing near boilers at an outdoor clandestine drug-processing laboratory discovered in Chiquilistlan in the state of Jalisco, December 7, 2011.

The proliferation of drug laboratories has created a significant strain on Mexican authorities’ resources.

Investigative work and the dismantling of each lab can cost the Mexican attorney general’s office about $50,000 to $100,000, and the manpower needed to take apart the labs pulls soldiers away from other duties for as long as three months. This distraction comes as production of other drugs in Sinaloa appears to be rising, too, with 5,300 poppy plantations seizedso far this year, up from 1,070 seized during 2014.

As noted by Insight Crime, Mexican criminal organizations operating in these areas have likely intensified production of opium and synthetic drugs to compensate for falling revenue from marijuana, demand for which is believed to have fallen with the spread of legal marijuana in the US.

“Methamphetamine in the United States originates primarily from clandestine laboratories in Mexico and is smuggled across the Southwest Border,” the US Drug Enforcement Administration noted in its 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment.


Meth seizures were up all along the US border in 2014. DEA 2015 NDTA

“Methamphetamine availability will continue to increase as Mexican TCOs have adapted to restrictions placed on precursor chemicals and are able to continue producing large amounts of high-purity, high-potency methamphetamine,” the DEA added.

“The increase in heroin abuse in the US is creating a significant surge of opium and heroin production by criminal groups in Mexico,” Vigil told Business Insider earlier this year.