A heroic, and possibly drug-addled, son stole a vehicle and destroyed a Washington car dealership while attempting to rescue his mother from an eminent zombie horde.Meth-Head-Zombie_013689209

Cops busted Tyler Goodman on Thursday, not long after he allegedly broke from reality and into Becker Buick in Spokane, Washington. Despite Halloween being weeks away, the 25-year-old admitted he had planned to escape the undead a little early by fleeing to Montana.

“I felt like something was going on, yes, and the first thing I wanted to do was get my family to safety,” a remorseful Goodman said from behind bars.

Police first caught wind of the man’s erratic behavior after a woman called to report Goodman had been hallucinating, KREM reported. She also told authorities she suspected he was high on methamphetamines.

During his flight from ground zero, Goodman allegedly used a rock to smash through the showroom window of the Buick dealership, where he hopped into a Chevy Impala (keys were in the ignition) then rammed through a garage door to flee. Police, however, quickly collared Goodman and dragged him off to jail.

The next day, Goodman’s mother appeared during his court hearing. She said he had called the night before to tell her he was being chased by zombies and that he planned to do whatever it took to save her, the Spokane Spokesman-Review reported. She was less than convinced and called the cops.

Her son now faces charges of first-degree burglary, theft of a motor vehicle and first-degree malicious mischief. He was also wanted on a warrant for DUI. All told, the zombie-inspired caper caused about $14,000 in damages to the Impala and car dealership.

Goodman concedes that he might have a few screws loose.

“My mom and mental health counselor think I need to be evaluated for the mental breakdown,” he said.








A man and woman from Virginia were arrested Sunday after Hernando County deputies say they discovered a meth lab inside their Brooksville motel room. Benjamin Welch, 35, faces charges

Benjamin Welch, 35, faces charges of manufacturing a controlled substance, possession of meth, possession of drug paraphernalia and providing a false identification to law enforcement, according to a report from the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office. Rebecca Looney, 33, was charged with resisting an officer without violence.

Deputies got an anonymous tip that the couple was making meth in room 105 of the Budget Inn, 1795 E. Jefferson Street, according to the report. They arrived at the room at 9 a.m. Sunday and found Welch and Looney along with a “one-pot” meth lab, deputies said.

Members of the vice and narcotics unit arrived to dismantle the lab, which consisted of a hydrogen chloride gas generator, tubing, pill grinder and receipts for those items, deputies said. The items tested positive for meth, according to the report.

Looney told deputies that Welch was making the meth for personal use, according to the report.

The lab and associated chemicals were packaged and taken to a disposal site in Citrus County.

Welch was taken to the Hernando County Detention Center where he was being held on $7,500 bond. Looney was being held on $500 bond.








SARASOTA — Three Kentucky residents have been charged with “cooking” methamphetamine” in a Venice motel room, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.  68vZ4_AuHeEm_69

Deputies on Friday responded to a report of a burglary on Blackburn Road in Nokomis, according to a news release.

“While on scene, a lawn maintenance person approached deputies and told them three people from Kentucky had worked for him and mowed the property on the day of the burglary,” the report states.

Deputies found the suspects’ vehicle at the Motel 6 in Venice and found stolen items, including a television, computer monitor and cash box in their room and car.

“Deputies also found a makeshift meth lab in the hotel room and nearly two grams of the drug,” the sheriff’s office said.

Michael Neace, 39, is charged with theft, manufacturing of methamphetamine and possession of listed chemicals. He is being held on bonds totaling $6,500.

Edman Matthew Hughes, 37, is charged with burglary, principle to manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of listed chemicals. He is being held on bonds totaling $22,500.


Jennifer Harrison, 36, is charged with possession of a controlled substance, principle to manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of listed chemicals. She is being held on bonds totaling $20,000.








SEPANG: A Nigerian man and two women from China, believed to be drug mules, were detained at KL International Airport (KLIA) for attempting to smuggle 6.96kg of methamphetamine worth RM1.3mil.

KLIA Customs director Datuk Chik Omar Chik Lim said the three, aged between 26 and 34, were detained separately.

One of the women was nabbed at 1.50am Monday at KLIA2 for carrying 2.3kg of methamphetamine, valued at RM433,200, in a bag she was carrying.

The other woman was caught with 2.6kg of methamphetamine worth RM494,000 at about 11.40pm at KLIA2 on Monday.

“Both individuals were flying from Hong Kong. We do not rule out the possibility that they were from the same syndicate even though the suspects do not know each other,” Chik Omar told reporters.

Chik Omar said the Nigerian was detained at the KLIA after Customs detected 2.08kg of methamphetamine worth RM395,000 hidden in four pairs of jeans, sewn to the hip area, in a bag on Oct 5.

 “All suspects have been remanded for seven days and the case investigated under Section 39(B) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 which carries the mandatory death sentence,” he said.

In a separate case, 500 grammes of methamphetamine valued at RM95,000 was found hidden in two printer cartridges in a parcel from Lagos, Nigeria at the KLIA post godown on Oct 10.

“The parcel was not claimed and investigations found the address and the name of recipient were fake,” he said.

The quantity of drugs seized at KLIA from January to October increased due to the trend of smuggling in larger quantity even though the number of cases has dropped.

In 2012, there were 50 cases involving 186kg worth RM31mil, compared to in 2013 (49 cases, 246.5kg worth RM33mil) and in 2014 (24 cases, 336.6kg valued at RM54mil). – Bernama







A 77-year-old Peru lawyer, whose law license recently was suspended, was arrested Saturday in Joliet for possession of methamphetamine.

Charles W. Helmig III, 1619 Sixth St., was charged with possession of a controlled substance. He was taken to the Will County Jail where he remained as of Monday. At his first court hearing he applied to be represented by the public defender, but was denied.

Joliet police said they received a report of a suspicious car, with a man inside, parked in a neighborhood at about 10 a.m. Saturday. When police arrived, the car was moving and they stopped it, saying the registration was expired. The driver was Helmig. Police said Helmig was not wearing a seat belt and his insurance was expired. Helmig also was reaching under the seat. They asked Helmig what he had been doing parked in the neighborhood, with Helmig replying he had been waiting for someone.

Police said they asked more questions, which Helmig could not answer. Helmig also seemed nervous, according to police, so police asked him for permission to search his car, which he granted. In the trunk, police said they found a briefcase with a computer and three hypodermic needles containing a clear rock substance, which testing indicated was the illegal stimulant methamphetamine. Helmig also admitted it was methamphetamine and it was for his own use, adding he obtained the methamphetamine from a friend, police said.

In September, the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission reported Helmig’s law license was suspended pending action by the Supreme Court of Illinois. The Court has not yet taken action. The suspension came about because Helmig misappropriated $95,857 from an elderly woman for whom he had power of attorney between 2009 and 2012, according to the ARDC.

Helmig told the ARDC that during the period in question, he was in a “very bad financial condition.” Helmig, who has been a lawyer since 1964, repaid the money.








Police in Da Nang have arrested a kindergarten manager for concealing at her school more than two kilograms of meth for her drug trafficker mother.

Investigators said Tuesday they had taken in Pham Thi Bich Phuong, 22, after arresting her mother Pham Thi Nga, 43, Sunday and making the biggest drug haul ever in the central city.meth_NPBJ_thumb

The police caught Nga at a bus station with more than 2,340 ecstasy pills.

They then found 140 grams of methamphetamine at the Honey Hotel she was running in the city and more than two kilograms of meth at the Sao Sang nursery she opened.

At the nursery, the meth was hidden in 14 milk bottles in the teachers’ room.

Phuong told the police her mother opened the school to serve as a drug haven and told her to manage it since she is studying to be a teacher herself.

She said they believed hiding the meth at the school would help evade police detection.

The police said the duo moved to Da Nang from Lang Son Province on the China border in 2011 to establish a drug business supplied from China.

She spent hundreds of thousands of dollars opening the hotel and kindergarten and investing in real estate to cover up her drug business.

She used the hotel as a supply point for her mules, most of them ex-convicts, rather than to let out rooms.meth1_voaz

The police also found seven machetes and a gun she used to arm her staff at her house and hotel.

Nga was divorced in 2013 and is living with a Da Nang ex-convict.

Anyone convicted for possessing more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of meth faces the death penalty in Vietnam, which has some of the world’s toughest drug laws.








SAN FRANCISCO — California authorities have announced the arrests of 22 people and the seizure of 500 pounds of methamphetamine as part of a drug investigation targeting gangs tied to Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel.

The state attorney general’s office said Monday the arrests and drug seizures over the past year were based on an investigation that found methamphetamine from Mexico was being delivered to the Nitro gang in Southern California. According to state authorities, the gang made regular road trips to Contra Costa County to distribute methamphetamine to other drug trafficking organizations, including the Urtiz gang.

In addition to the drugs, authorities seized one firearm, four vehicles and more than $720,000 in cash.

The investigation, dubbed “Operation Road Trip,” included authorities from Contra Costa County and Los Angeles.


GRASSROOTS community campaign to end the scourge of methamphetamine in Maroondah has quickly attracted support from police and politicians.

The Heatherdale Community Action Group has started a campaign to highlight the damage the drug, known as ice, has caused, and will hold a community forum this month.

Action group president Steve Roberts said ice had become one of the “most insidious” drugs being used by the area’s youth.460179-69d94cf0-5431-11e4-b832-87336bd9ecaf

“Ice is causing major issues and we’re starting to see its prevalence out here. We wanted to be active, not just let the drug hurt us and our kids,” Mr Roberts said.

Mr Roberts said the forum would highlight how sporting clubs and youth groups were important allies in deterring young people from falling victim to the drug.

“These clubs deal with the kids on a weekly basis, and they need to be able to spot the warning signs early and advise the kids about avoiding ice,” he said.

EACH alcohol and drug services program manager Anne Maree Rogers told the Maroondah Leader last month young females and trade apprentices were increasingly falling victim to the drug.

Guest speakers will include Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge and Police Superintendent Richard Watkins.

The forum was organized with Ringwood state Liberal candidate Dee Ryall who said: “With ice, the ultimate aim is to equip our community to reduce supply, demand and harm”.

The community forum on ice will be held at the Ringwood Bowls Club on Tuesday, October 28, from 7 pm.

To RSVP, phone 9878 4113.







UNION, SC (FOX Carolina) – Deputies said they discovered a shake and bake style meth lab along with a 7-month-old inside a Union home Friday.

Investigators responded to a Spring Street home after receiving a tip, finding the infant inside along with two plastic containers believed to be used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine, according to Union County deputies.

Deputies said the bottles were in a yard along with a smoking container inside an outbuilding. Everyone was removed and the home was secured.

According to deputies, two pipes, empty Sudafed boxes, lighter fluid, meth oil and other items used to make the drug were found.

Ten adults were arrested and charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, trafficking methamphetamine more than 100 grams and unlawful disposal of methamphetamine waste.



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The child’s mother, 25-year-old Heather Browning, was also charged with exposing the child to methamphetamine. Deputies said the child was placed in protective custody.











Outlaw motorcycle gangs are recruiting children to cook crystal meth and targeting young people in country towns, a Four Corners investigation has found.

The investigation uncovered alarming evidence of how the drug is being manufactured and distributed by locally-based biker gangs working with several major international drug cartels.

Four Corners found authorities were unable to deal with the unprecedented ice scourge, with a desperate lack of treatment facilities and resources.

The program spoke to a former child dealer and crystal meth cook who said he was one of many recruited by an outlaw motorcycle gang to deal drugs when he was 11 years old.

A lonely child from a broken home, by 13 he said he was smoking ice and at 15 the gang had taught him how to cook crystal meth, cooking up to an ounce a day with a street value of up to $28,000.

“It was basically only difficult a few times and then after that, just pretty much like cooking a meal,” he said.

“Once you’ve cooked that meal a certain amount of times, you just don’t even think about it. You’re just doing it and just go in your own world.”

He said the labs changed often, to keep ahead of police, and described them as “wannabe science labs”.

They were highly dangerous and toxic; the fumes were overpowering.

“The only things I can think of close to describing it was bleach, several other nasty chemicals, and if you’d lit that on fire or something… you won’t forget the smell. It’s not a smell I’d ever forget,” he said.

“You never get used to it but you learn to tolerate it. The first few times you’d feel lightheaded. You could feel nauseous. It really just depends on how well they did the ventilation.

“They didn’t provide bodysuits or that like you see on TV or whatever. They didn’t have great ventilation or anything.”

For the first three years he said he was given no protective clothing or gloves by the syndicate he was working for.

“It’s no harm to them. They’re still getting their money. They’re spending less on equipment. They don’t have to spend heaps of money to set up the site, cheap disposable site.

“If they need to move and get rid of it because the site’s no good anymore because it’s been found out or something, it’s lack of expense for them. It’s just … well, hiring the cash flow.”

Australia at risk of losing ‘entire generation’

Now 19, cooking meth has left him with a lasting legacy. He has early onset arthritis and his joints have worn down so much, they now regularly dislocate. He has to pop them back in to place.

Cooking ice, he noticed his health began to deteriorate quickly.

“I was throwing up blood for a period of time and this happened over two years or more,” he said.

“I’d come back after a few days’ work and Mum believed that I changed, like, the colours in my skin pigmentation would change. I looked very pale and unhealthy. Your hair goes a lot thinner … the whole throwing up blood thing was a big scare for me.

“I got extreme cramps through the body and muscle aches. Sometimes I’d be on the couch for up to two days not being able to move properly, couldn’t eat. If you cooked for long enough and you didn’t sleep for a fair while afterwards you’d get hallucinations, and you never hallucinate something good.”

Authorities have told Four Corners there has been an explosion in the numbers of local dealers in country towns, and the age of users is plummeting.

As teenagers take up the drug, crime rates are also soaring, with ice-related offences up.

Health professionals have warned that if nothing is done, Australia is at risk of losing an entire generation of rural youth to ice.








ANDERSON — An Anderson County man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for the deaths of two people, but he is refusing to say how the victims were killed.

John Michael Young accepted a plea deal Friday in the deaths of the two people whose bodies were found in barrels in Lake Hartwell in November 2012. One of the victims was dismembered.

“We can’t go back. I’ve accepted your plea. So what happened; how did these people die?” Judge Ned Miller of Greenville asked Young.

But the Anderson Independent-Mail reported that Young refused to answer, saying he only disposed of the bodies. He said there were 10 to 15 people making, selling and using methamphetamine in the drug house where he was living.

“There were so many dangerous people in and out of my house. I don’t know what happened,” Young said.

Investigators went to Lake Hartwell two years ago expecting to find 53-year-old Tony McGinnis’ body in a barrel, but found the remains of 37-year-old Andrea Mitchell instead in a partially submerged container. They found McGinnis’ dismembered body in a barrel 10 feet underwater the next day.

The victims were beaten to death, authorities said. A motive was not given.

McGinnis’ daughter called Young a monster.

“I think if you would have just killed my daddy instead of knocking him in the head, cutting his body up, and putting him in a barrel and sinking him to the bottom of the lake where he’d never be found, I could have dealt with it better,” Tasha McGinnis said. “I hate you John Michael. I pray to God every day that you get tortured and die.”

Young’s lawyer says he had a terrible methamphetamine problem. Young apologized to the families before he was sentenced.

“I didn’t think clearly,” he said. “Drugs just took control of my life. It’s not the person who I am today.”








 LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) – A Laurel County man was arrested for possession of a controlled substance on Sunday morning.

It happened around 4:00 a.m. on Hensley Road in East Bernstadt. RICHARD+EHLERS+MUG+WEB

Richard Ehlers, 39, was arrested after deputies responded to a complaint of a possible active meth lab.

Deputies say they searched Ehler’s home and found a cooler under a baby bed with bags of suspected methamphetamine, three glass pipes containing methamphetamine, two bags of marijuana and seven packs of suboxone.

Officials say Ehlers told them that he hid the cooler under the infant’s baby bed where the child sleeps.

A 15-month-old child and a 9-year-old child in the home at the time of the arrest.

Ehlers was charged with possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine; possession of a controlled substance; possession of drug paraphernalia; wanton endangerment, theft by unlawful taking and possession of marijuana.HENSLEY+ROAD+LAUREL+METH

No word yet on who is taking care of the two children.








MINOT, North Dakota — Crime rates in Minot continue to increase as more residents establish in the area.

The Minot Daily News (http://bit.ly/1sZK40b ) reports that in major crimes have almost doubled since 2010. Authorities tallied less than 600 in 2010, but the number reached more than 1,100 last year.

Police Chief Jason Olson says the department’s detective caseloads have doubled even when the number of detectives has gone from seven to 11.

Officials say they’ve noticed a significant increase in methamphetamine-related incidents. Olson says the department used to see one meth arrest for every 10 marijuana arrests. Now, he says, it’s about 50-50.

Olson adds that most of the property crimes such as theft, burglary and breaking and entering are also drug related, as users steal to fund their addiction.








Police in Da Nang on Sunday seized thousands of ecstasy pills and more than two kilograms of meth in what they called the biggest drug haul ever in the central hub.

Lieutenant Colonel Tran Phuoc Huong, spokesman of the Da Nang police force, said they caught Pham Thi Nga, 43, at a bus station in the morning with more than 2,340 ecstasy pills.drug_LQDG

The police then raided Honey hotel that the migrant from the northern mountainous province of Lang Son, which borders China, was running in the city. They found 140 grams of methamphetamine there.

Another more than two kilograms of meth showed up at the Sao Sang kindergarten managed by Nga’s daughter. The meth was hidden in formula cans and estimated to value VND4-5 billion (US$188,480-235,600), according to the police.

The police also found records documenting drug and weapon transactions at the family’s establishment in the city.

Anyone convicted of smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of meth faces the death penalty in Vietnam, which is said to have some of the world’s toughest drug laws.

Firearm trade is also illegal in the country where the military is the only unit entitled to own and maintain arsenals.

The manufacture and transportation of military-grade weapons is punishable by between one year and life in prison.








Methamphetamine use in Vermont is low compared to heroin or cocaine, but it’s that low profile that helps Vermont’s small meth labs to hide in plain sight, according to drug investigators.

While statistics kept by the Vermont Criminal Information Center list more than 2,400 incidents involving marijuana and hashish and 897 incidents involving narcotics such as heroin during 2012 — the most recent reporting year — methamphetamine is part of a broad category of stimulants that police investigated only 82 times that year.

U.S. Department of Justice numbers and drug treatment statistics show similarly low numbers for “meth” with only four clandestine laboratory incidents reported to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration in 2012 and only four people were admitted to drug treatment — one 10th of 1 percent of the treatment of all admissions to state-financed drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers — in 2013.

But the numbers are somewhat misleading and drug investigators who focus on methamphetamine activity in the state say there’s significantly more of it being made and used than the statistics would suggest.

“It is a problem here, but there are so few law enforcement officers looking for it and Vermont is such a rural state that people can literally make it in a hunting trailer year round and no one would know about it,” Lt. John Merrigan of the Vermont State Police said this week.

Merrigan, who commands a statewide drug unit that includes a team of meth lab investigators, said there’s no indication that Vermont is poised to see manufacturing and distribution of the highly addictive drug on levels seen in other states — including New York and New Hampshire where meth production is far more prevalent.

But Merrigan and other drug investigators and treatment officials in the state said methamphetamine has been flying quietly under the radar for years due to some characteristics of its production and use in Vermont.

For starters, large-scale manufacture of the drug through red phosphorous reduction — usually referred to as the “red P” method — has never been discovered in Vermont.

“The guys manufacturing here are not Walter White,” state police Sgt. Shawn Loan said, referring to the television show “Breaking Bad,” which deals with a high school chemistry teacher’s descent into meth production and distribution.

While the red phosphorus method resembles work done in chemistry labs, state police Lt. Fred Cornell, commander of the Clandestine Lab Team, said the operations his group has uncovered in Vermont haven’t been run by chemists.

Every meth-making operation state police have uncovered since 2004 — when the first “lab” was discovered in Shrewsbury — has used the so-called “one-pot” method which produces smaller and less potent yields of the drug, Cornell said.

“It’s a simple method that you only need a few ingredients for and you can literally make in a soda bottle,” he said.

While DEA statistics indicate that less than four meth labs have been found in Vermont during each of the last 10 years, Cornell and other drug investigators say that number is incorrect.

“I don’t know why (the DEA) numbers are so low but it may be getting under-reported,” he said.

Cornell and Christopher Herrick, chief of the State Hazmat Response Team, said they estimated that roughly a dozen methamphetamine one-pot labs are found and cleaned up each year in every part of the state and in areas representing every kind of demographic.

“We find them in apartments, in camps, in $400,000 and $500,000 homes,” Cornell said. “They’re all over the place.”

The most recent meth discovery is still under investigation in Proctor where police believe the drug was being produced in an apartment at 9 River St. — a quiet residential side-street.

Drug investigators said the labs are able to remain hidden in most communities because they don’t engender the kind of traffic that bigger operations, like the opiate trade, bring when they move into a community.

Loan said that while most illegal drugs are imported into Vermont by dealers intent on making money, meth users generally make the drug themselves and distribute it mostly only to those who help them make it.

“We’ll find, say, a kid who comes up here from Tennessee who knows how to make meth and he’ll trade the drug for Pseudoephedrine,” he said. “That’s the price a lot of people pay to get their meth.”

Pseudoephedrine, a stimulant found in a number of pharmaceutical drugs including nasal decongestants like Sudafed, is a primary ingredient in the one-pot method and the hardest to come by due to federal and state laws that limit the amount of the drug that can be purchased each day and month.

The implementation last year of an electronic monitoring system that allows Vermont pharmacies to track an individual’s Pseudoephedrine purchases has also made it more difficult for meth makers to simply visit multiple pharmacies to skirt the limit on the amount of the drug they can buy.

To get around the law and the monitoring system, Loan said meth makers engage in a practice known as “smurfing” which involves recruiting many people to buy Pseudoephedrine for them.

The self-contained nature of the meth operations found in Vermont to date have made it hard to uncover them.

But occasionally, as in the Proctor case, an accident or death leads investigators to a meth lab.

Days before the drug investigation in Proctor began, 39-year-old Derek Reed, who shared the apartment with his girlfriend, was found dead in the home.

A state medical examiner’s report released this week indicated that the cause of death was due to “acute and chronic bronchial asthma” caused by the former construction worker’s inhalation of concrete dust. However, a toxicology report also showed the presence of methamphetamine and cocaine in Reed’s system and the medical examiner said substance abuse contributed to Reed’s asthma.

While Reed’s death wasn’t attributed to methamphetamine alone, Herrick said the toxic combination of chemicals used to make the drug can be life-threatening.

“It’s dangerous to breathe, which is why we wear self-contained breathing apparatuses when we clean a site,” he said. “If mixed incorrectly, they can also be flammable and explosive.”

Cornell said a number of fires in Vermont have involved suspected meth labs and one person was maimed by an explosion while making the drug.

“There was a case we had with a Hinesburg kid who was experimenting with making meth in a compressed gas cylinder,” he said. “It didn’t work and it blew up in his face, causing permanent loss of eyesight and serious burns.”








Richland County, SC (WLTX) – Authorities responded to an apartment fire that is believed to have been caused from manufacturing methamphetamine Saturday night.

According to deputies, the Columbia Fire Department responded to apartments on the 7600 block of Hunt Club Road around 6:30 p.m. regarding a suspicious fire.635493170472120024-meht-lab-2

Once the fire department determined a methamphetamine lab was inside the home, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department was called in.

Investigators say the suspects fled the scene when the fire department arrived.

Officials say the fire caused $15,000 worth of damages and only impacted the room and contents of one unit.

No injuries have been reported.

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department and the Richland County Fire Marshall are continuing to investigate this incident,

Anyone with information about the individuals operating the methamphetamine lab is asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC, or e-mail a tip in to http://www.midlandscrimestoppers.com. You can also text information in by texting “TIPSC” plus your message to CRIMES (274637). Either way you choose, your identity will remain anonymous, and you could be eligible for a cash reward.












Meth lab believed to be cause of fire at northeast Columbia apartment building

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC — A fire that broke out at an apartment building northeast of Columbia Saturday night is believed to have been caused by a methamphetamine lab, officials say.

The Columbia Fire Department responded to the fire in the 7600 block of Hunt Club Road in an area between Two Notch Road and I-77 around 6:30 p.m. Saturday, department spokesman Brick Lewis said.6jt7A_AuSt_74

The fire was contained to one room within a single apartment and damaged only the contents of that room, Lewis said. No one was at the apartment when firefighters arrived on the scene, he said.

After discovering suspicious materials in the room, the fire department notified investigators with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department who then determined that the materials were used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine, Lewis said.

The fire caused about $15,000 worth of damages. No one was injured in the incident.

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department and Richland County Fire Marshal are continuing to investigate.









A couple have been arrested in Chiang Rai after a police search found almost 100,000 speed pills hidden in a cargo of bamboo shoots on their pickup truck.

Rung Yatha, 48, and his wife Thida Thondee, 43, were presented at a police press conference in Chiang Rai province on Monday. Police said they seized 96,000 speed pills from their vehicle.

Their arrest followed a tip-off that a gang planned to transport smuggled drugs from Wiang Kaen border district of Chiang Rai into the heart of the country.

Police manning Ban Huay Ian checkpoint stopped a pickup truck for a search about 8pm on Saturday. The vehicle carried buckets of bamboo shoots on the back. Police became suspicious because two buckets were lighter than the other buckets, and they were firmly sealed. This prompted the police to force open the two buckets and they found the methamphetamine pills hidden inside.

Driver Rung and his wife Thida denied any knowledge of the illicit drugs. They reportedly said they had been hired for 50,000 baht by a man identified as Worawit Khongtharasaichon to deliver bamboo shoots to a customer in Hat Yai district of Songkhla.

Police investigators were not convinced by their explanation and they were detained.

Pol Col Weerawut Niamnoi, acting Chiang Rai police chief, said strict checks at border areas might have forced the drug gang to change their usual route for transporting drugs to Wiang Kaen district, to avoid being caught. Luckily, police on duty became suspicious and arrested the suspects and seized the drugs, he said.








A SUNSHINE Coast drug syndicate kingpin ran his burgeoning million dollar empire peddling “ice’’ during meetings over a cup of tea and a pie with “high level’’ drug dealers, a court has been told.

The Brisbane Supreme Court was told grandfather William Fredricis Barker earned an estimated $1.8 million trafficking methamphetamine to four high level drug trafficking operatives over a two-year period.

Prosecutors said police secretly listened to Barker arrange drug deals over a pie or a “cuppa’’ after taking coded drug orders from operatives using horse racing parlance.

The court was told police found almost $1 million is cash made via illicit drug sales buried or hidden in shopping bags, plastic drums or wrapped in duct tape during a raid on Barker’s Mooloolah Valley home, 90km north of Brisbane.

Barker, 50, pleaded guilty on Monday to a charge of drug trafficking between May 11, 2007, and April 23, 2009.

He also pleaded guilty to possessing property, substances and objects, such as laboratory glassware, used in connection with drug trafficking.

However, the Crown is challenging the time period for the trafficking during a contested sentence hearing.

Prosecutor Sarah Farndon told the court the prosecution allege Barker trafficked the drug between May 11, 2007, and April 2009.

She said Barker became the prime suspect of a covert police drug operation during which he was secretly recorded making drug deals with four regular high level operatives during telephone calls over a two-year period.

The court was told Barker’s clients would order quantities of methamphetamine by choosing the starting gate of a fictitious horse race to for each ounce of the drug they required. For example Gate 2 would denote two ounces, while Gate 4 would denote four ounces.

Ms Farndon said the deals would be completed during meetings with one client over a “cuppa’’ at the Mad Hatter’s Tea House, at Landsborough, over a pie with another near the Ettamogah Pub, at Palm View.

She said Barker would sell one ounce of methamphetamine to his customers for amounts of between $3000 and $4200 and that one of the dealers settled his account by issuing him a check for $100,000.

The court was told during a raid of Barker’s home they found $995,250 in hidden cash, including $273,880 stuffed into two shopping bags hidden behind a false wall and $485,000 hidden inside a buried plastic drum.

The prosecution claims during the period of Barker’s drug trafficking, his illegal earnings were estimated to be $1.78 million.

Ms Farndon said one of Barker’s co-offenders was sentenced to five years jail for his role in the drug trafficking venture.

The two-day hearing continues.







His name is ‘Jake’. At 15 years old, he was an ice dealer, a user and a crystal meth cook.

‘Jake’ is the new face of crystal meth, or ice, in Australia. It’s the drug that’s ravaged our major cities. But now it’s destroying country towns one by one.

This week on Four Corners, reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna travels through the regions of two states, riding with police and users, to tell the shocking story of towns and people in the grip of ice.r1342835_18754890

She pieces together a disturbing picture: major international drug cartels are working with locally based outlaw motorcycle gangs to push ice out of the cities. It’s a massive illicit corporate enterprise; sophisticated and highly organized.

Their targets? Captive markets of bored teenagers in country towns, where there’s a desperate lack of treatment facilities and under resourced or non-existent police.

Four Corners goes to one community of less than 4,000 people where up to one in ten people are using ice. Meldrum-Hanna meets teenagers who began using in their early teens, sits with them as they smoke ice and with others as they inject, and discovers how bikie gangs use other children to “cook” methamphetamine, destroying their health and leaving them with ruinous addiction.

In short, the program tells the story of a generation that is being condemned to a life of drug abuse, crime and ultimately early death. The most alarming element of this story is the age of the people involved, as one clinical nurse at the coalface in regional Australia explains:

“The demographic for ice is changing all the time. We’re noticing the age actually dropping, there’s been reports of 10 year olds presenting at the Emergency Department here.”

Seventeen-year-old ‘Ethan’ is a prime example of the power and spread of ice, the reality of what’s happening beyond city borders. He was injected by a local drug dealer when he was just a boy. He says it took just one night for him to get hooked. This sent his life into a downward spiral that saw ‘Ethan’ leave school, join a crystal meth pack of fellow young addicts hopping from town to town chasing ice, stealing from people night and day to feed their addiction.

Not even his family was safe.

“Mum locked the door on me and I remember thinking… if I get in there I will hurt her for money. I will get money out of her some, one way or another.”

As each person’s story unfolds it becomes disturbingly clear: there is almost nowhere for young addicts in regional Australia to go to get help. That leaves health workers in despair:

“We’re going to talk about the utter devastation of small rural communities where we’re going to have a lot of mental health issues, criminal activity. It’s going to be a nightmare.”







  • ABC Four Corners reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna travelled to Victoria and Tasmania and met ice addicts whose lives have been destroyed
  • ‘I heard tales of absolute self-destruction,’ she said
  • Ice is a stimulant drug, a type of methamphetamine
  • It is highly addictive and destroys the brain’s pleasure systems
  • Addicts experience psychosis and many use violence to feed their habit
  • Caro met a crystal meth cook without ‘any protection, no suits – this isn’t Breaking Bad… at just 19-years-old his body was falling apart’

An ice epidemic is sweeping through Australia and destroying regional towns as children as young as 11 become hooked on the deadly drug from their first hit.

A Four Corners investigation has revealed there are now almost 350,000 Australians taking cheap, easily accessible and highly addictive crystal methamphetamine, nicknamed ice, which destroys the brain and creates psychotic behavior such as users gauging away at their skin as they imagine feeling insects crawling beneath it.

The ABC’s current affairs show has met with ice users, ice cooks, police and recovering addicts in Victoria and Tasmania, who painted a disturbing picture: international drug cartels are working with local bikie gangs to push ice out of the cities, and police are losing the battle to stop it.

‘These addicts have the battle scars, there was a man who has ripped out all of his teeth with pliers, people pick away at their teeth, gums and skin,’ reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna told Daily Mail Australia.1413765245851_wps_19_ice

The ravaged physical appearance of those consumed by the drug shocked Caro and so did the age of the people she encountered. She said ‘sitting down with a young crystal meth cook’ who tried ice at 13 and was cooking by 15 horrified her the most.

‘He was cooking without any protection, no suits – this isn’t Breaking Bad… at just 19-years-old his body was falling apart already, his joints pop out of place, he is riddled with early onset arthritis, he’s vomiting blood, paralyzed by muscles aches.

‘His brain has suddenly changed, he is very sick and probably won’t live very long,’ Caro explained.

She discovered that ‘young and desperate’ kids from broken homes, often lonely and with great responsibilities to provide for their families, were being targeted by outlaw motorcycle gangs to do their dirty work – dealing and cooking ice for other bored teenagers in country towns.



Caro explained that the people who agreed to open up on camera – such as 17-year-old Ethan who left school after an older man injected him with ice and joined a crystal meth pack of fellow young addicts, stealing from people to feed their addiction – did so because they want to show people the dangers.

They want to show that it’s not just junkies who are involved, it’s young people with promising futures who are ruining their lives with the drug.

‘Park that judgment and put that aside… we are spending time with young people who started using when they were 15 and 13, older men putting needles in their arms… their’s are tales of absolute self-destruction.’

Teenage user Ethan said of his desperation to get more ice: ‘Mum locked the door on me and I remember thinking… if I get in there I will hurt her for money. I will get money out of her one way or another.’



When people take ice the dopamine levels in the brain shoot up from 100 units to over 1000, something that’s about 12 times as much of a release of dopamine as you get from naturally pleasurable activities such as food and sex.

‘Over sustained use your brain stops producing naturally so you really became no longer a human being,’ Caro reasoned.

One disturbing example of an ice addict who lost his human side, was a man Caro met who almost beat an undercover police officer to death.

‘He lost all empathy… while he was beating him he thought it was funny and ironic because the police officer was squealing and he thought it was a pig,’ Caro said.

In 2006, the ABC’s The Ice Age program also showed the the psychosis some users suffer. They showed Lenore, an ice-addicted mother who had become obsessed with rubbish, rummaging through bins and Matty who had just come out of jail.

This time, in the small regional towns that ice has infiltrated Four Corners was confronted by a desperate lack of treatment facilities for those trying to get clean and under resourced or non-existent police.

‘The country needs and deserves better,’ Caro said as she explained the solution to the epidemic is education about the drug and more treatment facilities.

Highlighting the difficulties people currently face when trying to get clean, Caro said: ‘I met a woman named Kim in Tasmania. For her to get into rehab, which is a sixth month program to reboot the brain to start producing dopamine again, she would lose her housing commission house and become homeless.’

In one community of less than 4,000 people Four Corners found up to one in ten people are using ice.

A clinical nurse in regional Australia explained: ‘The demographic for ice is changing all the time. We’re noticing the age actually dropping, there’s been reports of 10 year olds presenting at the Emergency Department here.’

Some of the young people Caro met told her that their friends had died before getting a spot in rehab.

But the stigma around the drug has been diminished.1413768789623_wps_34_FOUR_CORNERS_ICE_RUSH_Mon

‘It’s thought of as common as having a joint and you are the weird kid if you are not on it… we spoke to kids in the very small country towns of a few thousand people who said they could get three difference ounces up the hill on their bikes,’ Caro said.

Unlike other drugs, ice does not have to be imported – it’s being cooked up in homes and even in the back of vans in Australia.

In August, NSW Police Commission Andrew Scipione spoke about a syndicate police had smashed and the ‘very very big issue for Australia in 2014′.

‘It’s tearing apart the fabric of our community, its destroying families, you’ve only got to look at those before and after photographs to release this changes its not like humpty dumpty you can’t put them back together again, they are forever damaged.’


In Victoria last month, where places like Mildura are gripped with ice addiction, the state government announced more than 980 regional sporting clubs will be given financial help to tackle ice through education programs.

‘The expansion of the good Spots program in regional and rural Victoria will enable football and netball clubs to lead the discussion about the dangers of methamphetamine use,’ Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge said.

The Australian Drug Foundation has been given $200,000 to run the program.


  • Ice is a stimulant drug, a type of methamphetamine that speeds up the messages travelling between the brain and the body.
  • It usually looks like small chunky clear crystals, which is why it was given the name ice. It can also come as white or brownish crystal-like powder.
  • Ice is generally smoked or injected and the effects can be felt in 3 to 7 seconds. The effects are slower when swallowed or snorted and can last around 6 hours.
  • Ice causes dopamine levels in the brain to shoot from 100 to around 1,250 units, about 12 times as much of a release of dopamine as you get from food and sex and other pleasurable activities.
  • When the drug wears off, users experience a debilitating depression and urge to get more of the drug.
  • Persistent use can change the brain chemistry, destroying the wiring in the brain’s pleasure centers and making it increasingly impossible to experience any pleasure at all.
  • Long term use can cause severe impairment in memory, judgment and motor coordination, similar to symptoms seen in individuals suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.
  • Changes in brain chemistry can lead to violent behaviour, anxiety and wakefulness because of the adrenaline surge the drug causes.
  • And then there is psychotic behaviour, such as paranoia, hallucinations and delusions. Many users report feeling insects crawling beneath their skin.

In Victoria last month, where places like Mildura are gripped with ice addiction, the state government








Heroin is still the drug of choice for injectors but the use of crystal methamphetamine, also known as ice, is rising rapidly, a snapshot of drug use across Australia has found.

The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre’s annual survey of people who use illicit drugs found 61 per cent of those who inject substances had used ice in the last six months.

The study’s chief investigator, Associate Professor Lucy Burns from the University of New South Wales, said that was an increase of 9 per cent over the past 10 years.


Although the prevalence of methamphetamine use generally has remained fairly stable, we’ve actually found an increase in the use of crystal methamphetamine, otherwise known as ice.

Drug survey chief investigator Associate Professor Lucy Burns


“Although the prevalence of methamphetamine use generally has remained fairly stable, we’ve actually found an increase in the use of crystal methamphetamine, otherwise known as ice,” she said.

“This is a cause for concern as ice is metabolized by the body more quickly than other forms of methamphetamine.

“It is more addictive and its use is associated with drug induced psychosis, violence and erratic behavior.”

Victoria reported biggest increase in ‘ice’ use

The biggest increases were in Victoria, where 75 per cent of drug users reported using ice in the last six months compared with 55 per cent in 2013.

The survey also found that rates of ice use among injectors had increased, from a national median of 12 days within the past six months in 2013 to 20 days of use within the last six months in 2014.

This trend was being reflected in the number of shipments of ice seized at Australian airports and ports; figures from the Australian Customs and Border Protection Services indicate the number of detections of ice rose from 171 in 2012 to 1084 in 2013.

Drug and alcohol epidemiologist Professor Paul Dietze from the Burnet Institute in Melbourne said there had been a dramatic increase in the purity of crystal methamphetamine, especially in Victoria.

“We’re seeing a really marked change in the purity adjusted price,” he said.


We’ve seen a doubling of methamphetamine-related ambulance attendances in Victoria for example and we think that’s underpinned by this change in purity rather than a change in the number of people using methamphetamine.

Drug and Alcohol Epidemiologist Professor Paul Dietze



“When they go to purchase the drug you see people essentially getting much more bang for their buck.

“Victoria has the most sophisticated systems for analyzing the purity of drug seizures, so we don’t really know what the picture is like in the rest of the country, but there’s no reason to believe that things are any different.”

Professor Dietze said there had been a corresponding rise in crystal methamphetamine-related medical visits.

“We’ve seen a doubling of methamphetamine-related ambulance attendances in Victoria for example, and we think that’s underpinned by this change in purity rather than a change in the number of people using methamphetamine,” he said.

“When you go buy something that’s 80 per cent pure and you’re used to 14 per cent, that has a dramatic effect.”

Ice mega-labs have increased drug’s purity: UN

Jeremy Douglass is the South-East Asian and Pacific representative for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

He said the rise in the purity or potency of crystal methamphetamine had been driven, at least in part, to the rise of industrial-scale drug labs in countries such as China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in production in what we would term industrial-scale labs, or ‘mega labs’,” he said.

“The labs in Asia are not like the kind of labs you see here in Australia where you’re cooking it in your garage.

“These are the kind of labs where they’re producing hundreds of kilos in a production cycle, so you’re talking tens of thousands of doses of methamphetamine in a production cycle and it’s high purity.”






An investigator testified Friday that an East Hemet man told him he “had a deal with the devil” and killed his estranged wife and 5-year-old daughter and tried to kill his girlfriend in 2013. Johnny Lopez

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Angel Bermudez ordered Johnny Lopez, 34, to stand trial on two counts of murder, rape by force, burglary and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

The judge set his arraignment on the charges for Oct. 31.

The county District Attorney’s Office has announced it will seek the death penalty.

A jailhouse interview video recorded two days after the Nov. 9, 2013, attacks was shown in court at Lopez’s preliminary hearing Friday. In it, Lopez admitted to killing his wife, Joanna Angel Barrientos Lopez, 36, and her stepdaughter, Mia Lopez, 5, and attempting to strangle and then cutting his girlfriend with a knife and an ax.

During cross-examination after the video was shown, sheriff’s homicide Investigator Robert Stites told defense lawyer Brian Cosgrove that Johnny Lopez told him he (Lopez) was under the influence of alcohol and methamphetamine at the time of the attacks.

“He said he had a deal with the devil,” Stites testified. He added Lopez said he’d been hearing voices.

Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Buelna testified that he was called to the 41000 block of Sunset Lane, an unincorporated Hemet area neighborhood, just after 8 p.m. on Nov. 9, 2013, to answer a report of unknown trouble, looking for a man holding a knife with blood on him.

When he arrived, Buelna said, he spotted a man in front of a home across the street who was dressed in a T-shirt, boxer shorts and socks and who appeared to have blood on his hands.

He said the man, later identified as Lopez, did not respond to questions and resisted and tried to run away when the deputy attempted to handcuff him. Lopez was apprehended after a struggle in which he struck the deputy’s lip, ran away and the deputy fired pepper spray and struck the suspect several times with a baton.

Deputies found a broken window in the front of the house where they had been called and found Lopez’s girlfriend in the garage. An electrical cord had been wrapped around the naked woman’s neck and she had been slashed with a knife and ax.

Buelna said the woman was groaning, but did not appear to be conscious. The woman, now 31, survived her wounds.

At another home on Girard Street, Stites said, investigators found the bodies of Joanna and Mia Lopez. Joanna Lopez had been shot in the forehead and Mia in the left temple.

In the video shown in court, Lopez said he had attacked the two, then drove away, only to return to “finish” them.









A terminally ill Houma man, previously pinched for selling meth out of a trendy hotel in New Orleans’ Central Business District, is again facing a federal drug charge after his California suppliers sent him meth through the mail, according to court documents.

A federal grand jury indicted Shawn Jaccuzzo, 43, on a charge of conspiracy to possess and distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. His alleged suppliers, Angela Weaver, 43, and Chance Weaver, 30, both of Cypress, California, were indicted on the same charge.

The indictment, filed in the Louisiana’s Eastern District, was unsealed Thursday after the arrests of Angela and Chance Weaver.

Jaccuzzo, awaiting sentencing on a meth conviction from earlier this year, was caught after U.S. Postal Service investigators on July 2 alerted the Drug Enforcement Agency to a suspicious package bound for Houma, prosecutors said in court documents. The address matched Jaccuzzo’s, which was on file with federal authorities from his previous conviction.

After a drug-sniffing dog keyed on the package, agents brought the parcel to Jaccuzzo’s house where he admitted it was his and opened it in the presence of investigators, according to the court document. Inside were two ounces of meth.

Court documents do not specify how authorities were able to trace the package back to Angela and Chance Weaver.

After Jaccuzzo was arrested and his pre-trial release revoked, he was admitted to a Houma Hospital under the supervision of U.S. Marshals. He had recently been diagnosed with cancer and another, unspecified, potentially terminal illness, his lawyer said in a motion requesting Jaccuzzo’s mother be allowed to visit him at his bedside. Doctors have given Jaccuzzo a 10-20 percent chance of survival, his lawyer said.

Weaver has previously admitted to selling meth that he received through the mail.

In May 2013, Weaver put the word out to customers that he was “stocked up and ready for business,” which he was conducting out of the Royal St. Charles Hotel in the CBD, according to a criminal complaint filed against him in the case.

After federal agents raided the hotel room, they found 87 grams of meth, which tests later revealed to be 98 percent pure. Agents also found one and a half gallons of 1,4 Butanediol, a drug similar to GHB, an intoxicant used both recreationally and as a “date rape” drug.

Jaccuzzo and a boyfriend, Matthew Bourg, both pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.

Durring the course of the investigation in that case, Jaccuzzo told DEA agents that he received as many as two deliveries of meth from California each week via a parcel service.









A man suspected of reckless driving was found with methamphetamine as he was being booked into jail after a traffic stop Thursday night in Barstow, authorities said.

Ryan Robertson, 23, of Victorville, was riding a motorcycle east on Main Street near H Street about 11 p.m., according to a San Bernardino County sheriff’s news release.

He was weaving in and out of traffic and driving at speeds in excess of 85 miles per hour as he approached the 200 block of West Main Street, the release said.

A deputy stopped Robertson at Main Street and Barstow Road and took him into custody on suspicion of reckless driving, the release said.

As Robertson was being booked into the Barstow jail, the deputy found methamphetamine in Robertson’s pants pocket, authorities said.

He was arrested on suspicion of reckless driving and bringing a controlled substance into a jail facility.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s department at 760-256-4838.








An inmate at Pueblo County jail is facing new charges after reportedly trying to smuggle an undisclosed amount of methamphetamine into jail by carrying it in a Skittle’s package inside a body cavity.

Gretchen Hesselberg, 38, turned herself in at the jail on Oct. 2 to serve four months for a misdemeanor unlawful possession charge.

Deputies obtained information that Hesselberg was possibly bringing drugs into the jail when she turned herself in, according to the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office.

Hesselberg did not agree to be searched so Capt. Dawn Ballas ordered that she be separated from the jail population in a cell where plumbing is controlled by jail staff. Body cavity searches of inmates at the jail require consent.

On Wednesday, Hesselberg agreed to go to Parkview Medical Center to be searched.

She had removed the contraband from her body but was being carefully monitored by two deputies while doing so.

As Hesselberg attempted to hide the drugs in her waistband, deputies were alerted and acted.

Hesselberg was found to be in possession of suspected methamphetamine, according to the sheriff’s office.

She allegedly asked the deputies to dispose of it in exchange for money.

Hesselberg was returned to jail with new felony charges of bribery and introduction of contraband as well as possession of a controlled substances.