The Philippines’ one-time largest Muslim rebel group has declared a war against drugs in southern provinces where it is seeking autonomy in talks with the government, while communist insurgents have launched a similar campaign in their nearby strongholds.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has ordered its field commanders to engage in a campaign against illegal drugs in Maguindanao and other areas covered by a government-MILF ceasefire agreement, reported Sunday.thumbs_b_c_09b22f8d784aa3e805c609c1fab52583

The central committee of the MILF, which signed a 2014 peace deal with the government, has adopted a resolution supporting the order aimed at combating drugs, particularly methamphetamine hydrochloride, or “shabu”.

The group has placed posters across Maguindanao warning that “illegal drug is the root of all evil.”

An editorial posted on the MILF’s official website this week said that drug addiction caused by methamphetamine “has hit all sectors of society and does not recognize any boundary, race or religion”.

It especially warned about the negative impact on poor community members, saying that some “resort to criminal means to get money to buy drugs” whereas users from families with financial resources may have access to rehabilitation services.

“As a menace, shabu is the enemy of all and, therefore, should be fought together. A common enemy calls for a united front approach,” the editorial said.

It added that the campaign was supported by local politicians including Governor Esmael Mangudadatu and Vice Governor Lester Sinsuat, both leaders of the Alliance of Lumad, Iranun and Maguindanaon organization for local tribes.

Underlining that the MILF is well-suited to the task due to its “vast knowledge of the population and… good information of the dealers and users”, it referred to the “many success stories” of an MILF-government initiative against kidnap-for-ransom groups operating in southern Mindanao island.

Meanwhile, the communist New People’s Army (NPA) has reportedly executed four suspected drug dealers as part of its separate campaign — moves denounced by local authorities and police. cited unnamed police sources as saying that gunmen who identified themselves as rebels shot the four men dead in Compostela Valley province. They had reportedly not heeded letters by the group calling on local drug suspects to appear at a nearby NPA camp.

Compostela Valley Governor Arturo Uy told the website Friday that he believed the killings, which took place hours apart Tuesday in Pantukan, were meant to “discredit” local police.

“It’s extrajudicial killing,” said Uy. “We condemn it.”

The NPA — to whom some drug dealers have reportedly reported and received stern warnings — has yet to issue a statement.

The use of methamphetamine hydrochloride — also known as “crystal meth” or “ice” — is widespread in the southern Philippines.

In the predominantly Christian city of Zamboanga and the neighboring island province of Basilan, authorities are struggling to fight against the prohibited drug, arresting dealers and users on a near daily basis.

For years, Philippine officials have been gathering information about the involvement of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf — a militant group with strongholds in Sulu and Basilan — in drug trafficking.

The group is notorious for its regular attempts at kidnapping and extortion to raise funds for the acquisition of firearms, explosives and ammunition to be used in its struggle for an Islamic state.




Living a roller-coaster life of being on and off drugs since age 9, being in and out of recovery homes and having one of her five children in prison, Chastity Hollis is done with the chaos.

Hollis, 41, of Linda, has been clean and sober for more than two years and is grateful for the help and support she got, and is still getting, from the Salvation Army – Yuba Sutter Corps.5652c05261827_image

“I’m done with that kind of life; I’m truly done,” said Hollis, who lives in the Salvation Army’s transitional housing. “The Salvation Army has given me my life back. They’ve done so much for me in my time here it makes me realize there are some good people out there.”

Hollis, who has been clean and sober for two years and nine months, recently landed a job with Pathways, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Yuba City.

She’s apartment hunting and hopes to move out of transitional housing with her 4-year-old son, Ayden.

The challenges began for Hollis when she started smoking marijuana at age 9, and by age 15 she was doing methamphetamine, selling drugs and getting into fights at school.

“I dropped out of high school after getting in trouble, and from then on, my drug use progressed,” said Hollis, who shortly thereafter had her first child, a girl, at age 18. Due to Hollis’s chaotic lifestyle, her parent’s took over guardianship of the child.

“Seven years later, I had a son and I used drugs through the whole pregnancy,” said Hollis. “I was shooting meth intravenously at the time, and my son tested positive when he was born.”

Hollis said when it was time for her to be discharged, she kidnapped her newborn son from the hospital.

“That night, the cops and CPS came to my mom’s house and asked me to admit him back into the hospital in case he went through withdrawals,” said Hollis, who complied and was granted supervised visits.

That wasn’t enough, so she took her son on the run and went to Modesto. Eventually, she got a call from her mother saying CPS had taken her daughter.

“A soon as I got the call, I went back and turned my son into CPS to try and get both of them back,” Hollis said.

Hollis said she went to rehabilitation programs and graduated, but as soon as she got out, she relapsed.

“I blew it. I wasn’t going to visits and when I did I tested positive,” said Hollis, whose two children were with CPS at the time. “I didn’t have any responsibility and a lot of freedom.”

She continued to use drugs and eventually lost all chances at seeing or getting custody of her children, who were all adopted by the same family.

“I knew in my heart that I wasn’t going to drag them through the mess that I was in and I continued to live that life,” Hollis said. “At the time, I wasn’t grateful to the family that adopted my children, but I am now.”

Two years later, she was still using and got pregnant, again with a boy. Hollis said she stopped using part way through the pregnancy and both she and her son were clean when he was born.

“I went out of town to Oroville to have him so I could keep him out of the system so that Yuba County CPS didn’t know I had a kid,” Hollis said.

She started using drugs again after her son was about a year old and was sharing visitation with the father after they split up. While the boy was in the father’s custody, the father got arrested in a methamphetamine lab. The child was taken from the father and Hollis wasn’t notified.

That child was also eventually adopted by the same family as her other children.

“After that, I continued to run the streets fighting, stealing cars, stealing from family and friends,” Hollis said. “I was basically a homewrecker and thought that was the coolest thing.”

In 2005, she got busted for possession, transporting and selling methamphetamine and was sentenced to a year in county jail. She served nine months and was sent to a Salvation Army program in San Francisco.

“I was there a couple of months and started seeing a guy who was an employee and ended up getting pregnant again,” said Hollis of her fourth child. “They kicked me out. I told someone at Salvation Army that I thought I was pregnant.”

After being back home in the Yuba-Sutter area, Hollis was restless and wanted to get out. A friend from Texas sent money so she hopped on a Greyhound bus and was off to the Lone Star state.

“I was there about a month and came home and probation was at my sister’s house,” Hollis said. “I violated my probation, turned myself in and got three years in prison at Valley State Prison.”

Five months pregnant and looking at three years in prison, Hollis was desperate. She asked her sister and her husband to adopt her child once she was born, and they did.

“I didn’t know what was going to happen to me after I had her in prison and after I got out of prison what my life would be,” Hollis said.

Once out of prison, she was briefly at a treatment facility in Fresno but didn’t like it and came back to live with her sister and husband, who had adopted her daughter.

She lived with them for more than a year, had two jobs and eventually got her own apartment — but it wouldn’t last.

“I started drinking, and it got so bad that within a year and a half I was waking up and drinking a bottle of vodka,” Hollis said. “That’s what got me up in the morning.”

She continued to drink, relapsed on methamphetamine and got pregnant with her son Ayden.

“I used a little and drank for the first part of the pregnancy, lost my apartment and checked myself into the Garden Valley Progress House in El Dorado County,” Hollis said. “I was there throughout my pregnancy and we were both clean and sober.”

After Ayden was born in 2010, they stayed at the facility and she continued to work the program and graduated successfully. She became an on-site staff member for about three months.

“My oldest daughter found me on her own, and we were reunited,” Hollis said. “I was fearful because I was always afraid of what she would say to me if we ever met. She told me she loved me.”

She relapsed again and moved to a sober living environment in Chico for a few months before going back to the Garden Valley Progress House and eventually got a job at a residential program in Woodland.

“After that, I moved back to Chico and relapsed again before moving in with Mom and Dad,” Hollis said. “It wasn’t long before I got into a physical altercation with my mom, and that’s what got me clean and sober.

“I came to the realization that if I could put hands on my own mom, there’s no telling how far I’d go.”

She moved in with her oldest daughter and was at the house for about a week when her daughter found her drug kit and turned her in.

“My daughter turned me into CPS for my son’s safety, and they gave me the option to go to the Salvation Army Depot and I said ‘yes,'” said Hollis. “I didn’t go in kicking and screaming. I trusted the process and surrendered to God.”

Since February 2014, Hollis has been living in transitional housing, and her son is in preschool.

“I worked at Habitat for Humanity and Factory 2 U to build my resume and in October, I got a job with Pathways,” Hollis said. “Now I’m looking for my own apartment.

“I recently lost my mom in September, so for the rest of my days on Earth I’m doing my recovery for my mother,” Hollis said. “She and Ayden were inseparable — they were two peas in a pod. My recovery is in her honor she wouldn’t want it any other way.”




Rayda Tegen had a husband, five children and a $40,000 a year job in Tooele, Utah, for the nearly 20 years she was clean.

It’s a stark change from where she sits now, wearing a yellow prisoner outfit and shackled in handcuffs inside a no-contact visiting room at Lemon Creek Correctional Center in Juneau.14913934

“It wasn’t that I woke up one day and said, ‘I have a beautiful family, why don’t I screw that up?’” she said. “I didn’t say, ‘I have a beautiful marriage of almost 20 years, why don’t I throw that down the tubes?’ And I didn’t say, ‘I have a great job and a great life, I’m really sick of living like this.’ Some stuff happened, and I relapsed.”

Tegen, 46, is serving a three-year prison sentence for trying to bring in about a pound of methamphetamine and heroin into Juneau last October. She was arrested at the Juneau International Airport.

If that makes her reviled in the capital city, which is battling an alarming and deadly heroin crisis, she wants you know she feels the same way about herself.

“It’s a good thing I got arrested,” she said. “Because maybe someone would have died from something I brought in, and I couldn’t have lived with that. I couldn’t live knowing that I gave someone something that killed them.”

She added matter-of-factly, “Or, I could have ended up dead.”

Tegen’s story about why and how she turned to drugs and the battles she’s faced since is one that rings true of many drug addicts in Juneau, even though she’s not from Alaska. She’s wracked with guilt, remorse and embarrassment, and now must figure out how to go on as a convicted felon — in a state where she has no one.

“I would take it back in a second, I would take it back in a heartbeat,” she said, sober now for the year she’s been behind bars. “I lost everything, and I’m not talking financially — you lose that as well, but I lost my family. My kids still love me, I’m still a part of their life, but I destroyed the life we had.”



Back in Utah where she was running a Best Western motel in the mid-to-late-2000s, a police officer walked into her office and asked if she had watched the news on TV that day. She hadn’t.

He told Tegen that one of her son’s elementary school teachers had been arrested for molesting multiple students in his class. One of the victim’s was her son.

For Tegen, it was too much to handle. All of a sudden traumatic memories of her own childhood sexual abuse — perpetrated by a trusted family member, every summer since she was 8 years old until she was 13 — came rushing back.

“I thought I didn’t have problems with it,” she said. “I thought, you know, I’ve heard people say they have flashbacks, they have nightmares. I didn’t have any of that until my son got molested. Then I had flashbacks, I had nightmares.”

When Tegen learned about her son’s molestation she had been clean for 18 years, her former crack addiction well behind her. She began using the street drug at 16 years old.

The consequences of childhood abuse can have lasting negative psychological and metal health impacts, which can lead to hard drug use, alcohol abuse, depression, anxiety, poor self-esteem, suicide attempts and eating disorders, all well into adulthood. (Victims of child abuse and neglect are also more likely to commit crimes as juveniles and adults.)

Tegen just recalls not caring about anything at that time and wanting to party. That’s how she met a guy — eight years older than she was at 16 — that introduced her to crack at a party.

She spent the next six years getting off of it, with help from her parents — both of whom are drug and alcohol counselors. She’s the sixth of eight children, raised just outside Salt Lake City.

She was able to get off drugs and was in a stable place by her early 20s. At 21, she met a man in the Air Force who had never used drugs; by 23, they were married. She never touched the stuff again.

“I married him, and I stayed clean for 18 years, 12 of them I didn’t smoke a cigarette,” she noted. “I didn’t even drink caffeine.”

But news of her son’s molestation shook Tegen, then 39, to the core. She went to see a counselor, who then referred her to a psychologist who prescribed her with two anti-depressants and sleep medication such as Ambien and Lunesta.

“Suddenly, I’m taking all these drugs, which are OK because it’s a doctor giving it to you,” she recalled.

Tegen said she made it through her son’s teacher’s legal proceedings — the teacher pleaded guilty and is serving a 30-year sentence, according to news reports — but shortly afterward, things fell apart. Her husband was deployed to Afghanistan, leaving her alone with her children. One night, she went out drinking with friends. One of them offered her methamphetamine and she tried it.

“And I loved it because guess what?” she asked. “I could stay up all night long. I could stay up for days and days and days, and I didn’t have to worry someone would come in our house and hurt me or our children while I was asleep.”

She smoked meth a couple more times that year, but things didn’t get too bad until 2010. Her husband had returned from overseas and they began having issues at home and decided to separate. She moved in with a person she had smoked meth with, a huge mistake she realized too late.

She began smoking meth regularly, touching off an addiction that would ravage her life for the next five years, landing her in jail multiple times, and in an out of treatment.

At the time she began using regularly, Tegen lived paycheck to paycheck — she had moved jobs and was working as the office manager of the Tooele County landfill, where she was in charge of hiring, firing and a $2 million budget. She’d buy drugs in bulk to make sure she never ran out. Sometimes, she’d sell it to her friends for cheap.

She was able to hold on to the county landfill job for about a year. Then, they announced they would begin drug testing. She resigned, knowing she would fail.

She continued using, even when her 11-year-old son found a baggie of drugs in her jewelry box, which led to a family confrontation.

“I remember the first year, and you would think that it would have stopped me, I remember so many times my kids saying, ‘We just want our old mom back,’” she said, crying. “That should have been enough to stop me.”


‘We are the unwanted’

At 41 years old, Tegen got her first criminal conviction since she was a teenager. She was driving in an unlicensed, unregistered vehicle and had a $200 warrant out for a few parking tickets she hadn’t paid. The police officer pulled her over, searched her car and found a baggie of drugs with residue in it, enough for a possession charge.

She spent six weeks in county jail, but only lasted two weeks in a court-ordered drug treatment program.

“It took me a month to find the way to that (detox) place that was 15 miles away,” she smiled, shaking her head. “I did stupid stuff that made myself end up in prison. They found a syringe in my jail cell, so then the judge just had enough of me. He was done. I was an idiot. And I deserved it.”

The judge gave her seven months in the slammer. When she was released, she found herself woefully unprepared for sober living.

“The whole time I was in there, all I could think was when I get out, I just want to hug my kids, I want to be home and cook some spaghetti, or you know, you think about everything you want, and life is going to be perfect the minute you get home,” she said.

Instead, she stayed in bed for days. Her kids worried, and told her they feared they would find her there dead.

“I was so depressed,” she said. “I kept thinking I wish I was back in prison! I was happier then.”

“Nothing prepares you for the fact that you’re going to get out, and you are now a loser,” she said with a straight face. “You’re a felon. People used to come to me offering me jobs. Nobody’s going to do that. Even worse, my children have friends whose parents no longer want them hanging out at our house because ‘she’s been to prison.’ Suddenly, you see yourself through other people’s eyes, and maybe even more critical than they do.”

In an interview at LCCC, she threw out a hypothetical: What if your sister came home, and said something like, “I just met this great guy! He works with me, and he’s been out of prison for eight months, and he’s doing really good.”

“What are you going to say?” Tegen asked. “You’re going to say, ‘Hell no, what is wrong with you?’ You’re going to slap her upside the head. We are the unwanted. You go to prison, you go to jail, everyone forgets you but the ones who truly loved you.”


Drug binge

Depressed, Tegen began using again. After a while, she came clean to her kids (three of whom were grown, one who was still in high school, and the youngest in junior high) and told them she had relapsed. They rallied behind her, and the family moved to a small town in southern Utah, close to Tegen’s mother.

But things didn’t get better.

The school system found out that Tegen was a meth addict, and had left her 16-year-old daughter at home for two days alone while she traveled to northern Utah with one of her sons.

Tegen lost custody of her children. She said she didn’t feel like she had anything to live for anymore.

“I don’t even know how I survived the next two months after that,” she said. “I was doing massive amounts of drugs.”

She went on a “drug binge from one end of the state to the other” during that time in 2013, and eventually realized she was going to end up in prison again or dead. She took one of her brother’s up on an offer to stay at his ranch in Oklahoma. It was there she got clean again.

But then, she got a call from an old friend — one who lived in Juneau with his two daughters. He was undergoing knee surgery. Would she mind coming up and helping him recover post-surgery?


Tegen arrived in Juneau with one of her sons. Long story short, her friend was using pills and she began using meth again. They got engaged, which was a bad idea, she said.

She began to realize she needed to leave Juneau, but she didn’t have any money left. An opportunity presented itself — someone offered her money to fly to Utah, pick up drugs and bring them back to Alaska.

It would have gone according to plan. With the drugs stuffed in her purse and in her bra (“I’m chesty, so they didn’t notice,” she said), somehow she made it through security in Utah and Sea-Tac.

But unbeknownst to her, someone else had been arrested four hours before she was and tipped the authorities off that Tegen would be importing drugs to Juneau that day.

Law enforcement officers were at the airport waiting for her. Her friend was waiting for her at the airport and watched. He later sold all her stuff and used it for drugs. Her 17-year-old son was stranded here. The family retrieved him shortly afterward.

At first, Tegen was in denial.

“I kept thinking, ‘Oh, I’ll be out of here in a minute, … and then I realized I wasn’t going to be out of here in a minute.” she said of her time in jail. “It takes a little bit before you start thinking with a clear brain.”

Reflecting, behind bars

During an interview at Lemon Creek, it’s clear Tegen is smart, educated, charismatic and funny.

But she struggles with an overload of emotions. She said all addicts have a hard time loving themselves.

She said she feels guilty about what she put her family through, especially her children, whom she said she “exposed to a world they never should have been exposed to.”

“I’m 46 years old,” she said. “I mean, come on. You should have it all together by now.”

She has low self-esteem and is hard on herself. She refers to herself constantly as a “piece of crap” or a “s—head.”

Still, she’s also optimistic about her future. She writes and receives letters from her parents and children almost every day, talking to them on the phone when she can. Her family never shut her out.

“I’m lucky, I’m truly lucky I have family that is still reaching out to me, and is still willing to love me in spite of myself,” she said.

Tegen said now that she’s had time to reflect, she realizes she has a full-blown addiction, one that she will have to deal with for the rest of her life.”

“If you put a dog in this room,” she said, “and you’ve starved them for two weeks and you put some rotten meat up there and you open the cage with that rotten meat sitting right there, what’s he going to do? He’s going to go eat that rotten meat. Even though it doesn’t smell good. That dog has been starving for two weeks. He’s going to tear apart anything in his way and go eat that. That’s what a drug addict is. That’s what it feels like.”

She said she’s confident she can stay clean — she’s done it before.

“I chose to use,” she said. “I can honestly say this: I really loved to get high. I really do, but I really love my kids. And so, I will just have to spend every day, for the rest of my life, fighting for my life.”





HARTFORD, MI – Police arrested two fugitives Sunday night in Hartford and also took another man into custody who they say was in possession of stolen women’s underwear.

The arrests were made after deputies from the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office and officers from the Hartford and Pokagon Tribal police departments received a tip that two wanted fugitives were at a house in the 100 block of North Maple Street in Hartford.-4d09e82c8512ee08

At the house, police found several people including Thomas Spangler, 49, and Angelina Guajardo, 28, both of Hartford, who were each wanted on outstanding warrants, according to a news release issued by the sheriff’s office.

When deputies and officers tried to arrest Spangler, “he was not cooperative and he resisted arrest,” investigators said in the news release.

During the investigation inside the house, police arrested a 52-year-old Hartford man who “was found to be in possession of methamphetamine as well as stolen women’s underwear,” according to the news release.

During a search of the house, investigators found meth components, a gram of marijuana, six grams of meth, drug paraphernalia, five grams of hashish, a cellphone with a police scanner app and $56 in cash.

“It was found that the suspects had been monitoring police radio traffic on a police scanner,” investigators said in the news release.

Deputies said Spangler, Guajardo and the 52-year-old Hartford man were each arrested and taken to the Van Buren County Jail. Once at the jail, the 52-year-old, whose name has not been released, was found to have additional meth on him.-01244c4d7d8a091f

Spangler was arrested on outstanding charges of felony possession of methamphetamine and misdemeanor contempt of court. He is facing new charges of operating/maintaining a meth lab, possession of meth, marijuana and hashish, and resisting and obstructing police, according to the news release.

Meanwhile, Guajardo was an outstanding misdemeanor charges of failing to appear in court and is facing new charges of operating/maintaining a meth lab, possession of meth and marijuana, and possession of a police scanner in the commission of a felony.

The 52-year-old man is being held in the jail on charges of meth possession, larceny in a building and smuggling contraband into a jail, according to the news release.




EUGENE, Ore. – A Washington state woman pulled over for speeding on Interstate 5 in the Eugene area Friday night was found by a drug-sniffing police dog to be carrying more than 24 pounds of crystal methamphetamine hidden in her SUV, Oregon State Police said.24-pounds-of-meth-Teri-Baker-OSP-1123-jpg

An OSP trooper stopped a 2003 Honda Pilot around 10 p.m. for going 73 miles an hour in a posted 60 miles an hour zone, troopers said Sunday.

During the stop, the trooper “observed signs of criminal activity” and with the help of a Springfield police drug-detection canine, a hidden compartment was found in the SUV.

Troopers seized about 24.4 pounds of methamphetamine and arrested Teri L. Baker of Kent, Wash., who was lodged at the Lane County Jail on drug possession and delivery charges.

According to the website Narcotics News, methamphetamine sells in the Eugene area for $9,000 to $16,500 a pound.

Troopers said the investigation is ongoing and more information will be released when available.




A 48-year-old Mesa woman was arrested Nov. 13 in the 800 block of East Southern Avenue on suspicion of shoplifting and dangerous drug possession and use, according to a police report.

The woman had stolen numerous bras, panties and makeup from Walmart that totaled $160.43, police reported.

Store workers saw the woman walk past the registers and out the door without paying for the items, according to the report.

A search revealed that the woman had a glass pipe concealed in her bra with a few small baggies of meth inside her purse, police reported.

The woman told police that she had smoked some of the meth prior to the incident, according to the report.

The woman was transported to Tempe City Jail, where she was booked and held to see a judge, police reported.




Jessica Hardy said her methamphetamine habit caused her to lose it all – her employment, home, automobile and daughter.

Her life is back on track thanks to a program at the Modesto Gospel Mission called New Life.

“I was out in the world doing drugs and had nowhere else to turn,” said Hardy, who stays with other women in a 15-bed dormitory at the mission on Yosemite Boulevard.

The New Life program tries to break the cycle of homelessness for men and women through temporary housing, spiritual and emotional support and education and vocational services.

Hardy’s progress allowed her to reunite with her 13-year-old daughter, who had been staying with a grandmother. The 38-year-old mother has other children who live with their father.

The Modesto resident said she used meth for 10 years, but classes on goal-setting and positive thinking have helped transform her mind.

She attends a faith-based recovery program and also has taken classes on parenting, computers, job search and self-esteem.

Hardy works as a caregiver for an older man, cleaning his home, making sure he eats well and taking him to medical appointments and exercise. She attends church services on Sunday, and says faith is an essential part of her new life.

“It really has connected me with God,” Hardy said.

Trying to do it on my own does not work. Jessica Hardy

Hardy will soon graduate from the yearlong program and begin the next stage – transitional living. She and her daughter will move into an apartment near the gospel mission.

The client said she will pay $400 a month for housing and utilities, but 75 percent of rental payments are returned to clients after six months, enabling them to save money for a permanent apartment. It’s done that way so clients can re-establish some credit.

This transitional stage of the program supports participants while they learn to live on their own.

Hardy said she’s learning to forgive herself and believes she is ready for the next step.

“I am excited about it,” Hardy said. “I know the drug life is not for me, because of what it has taken from me.”


About the agency

Address: 1400 Yosemite Blvd., Modesto, 95354


Fields of interest: Education, health and human services, neighborhoods and communities, youths

Mission: We exist to serve those in need by providing programs and services that help individuals restore, rebuild and transform their lives through the love and power of Jesus Christ.

Program list

  • Provide shelter, clothing, meals, Bible study, life-skills classes
  • GED and adult high school classes
  • Employment assistance
  • Addiction recovery
  • Medical assistance
  • Funding needs
  • Provide support to help shelter, feed and clothe the homeless and help provide the education needed for those seeking their GED or high school diploma
  • Medical care for those who need it


PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – Police say the man, still unidentified, died of his injuries at a regional burn unit.

A man was taken to the hospital in critical condition after police say he accidentally set himself on fire while trying to make a methamphetamine-type substance underneath a bridge in Palm Springs.11-20-manonfire2-jpg

Police Lieutenant Mike Kovaleff said authorities were called to the Ramon Road bridge, located between Landau Boulevard and Crossley Road, just after 3 p.m. Friday.

A Riverside County sheriff’s deputy and another person in the area spotted the man fully engulfed in flames. They tried to extinguish the flames and emergency crews rushed the man to Desert Regional Medical Center.

Officials on scene told News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 the man suffered second and third-degree burns to 70 percent of his body.

A Riverside County Hazardous Materials Team tested substances underneath the bridge. The preliminary investigation indicated the fire was accidental and was caused when a combination of chemical ignited while the man tried to make a form of methamphetamine, Lt. Kovaleff said.

The man hasn’t been identified at this time.

Emergency crews were on scene for over three hours. Eastbound traffic was diverted for about an hour, but lanes were open in both directions.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Palm Springs Police Department at 760-323-8116.



AKRON, Ohio — A postal service worker went to deliver a nine-pound package of crystal meth as part of a drug-dealing scheme, according to court records.

Jalila Stoudemire, 26, was employed with the U.S. Postal Service when she tried to deliver the package Nov. 13 to a home in the 600 block of West Exchange Street.-83c6ced1e7b1e4e7

She is jailed without the possibility to make bond. Her case will likely end up being prosecuted in federal court, according to court records.

Stoudemire was hired as U.S. Postal Service employee in March 2014. She was assigned to the Fairlawn office, according to U.S. Postal Service Inspector General spokesman Scott Balfour.

Balfour said that Stoudemire is being investigated by Akron police, the postal service’s inspector general and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Two men —  Damar Ruffin, 31, and Daemetrice Smith, 33— gave the package to Stoudemire near the West Exchange Street post office to deliver to the home of Wesley Tucker, 35, according to court records.

U.S. Postal inspectors and undercover Akron drug detectives arrested the trio. They took the package and tried to deliver it to Tucker.

Tucker, however, jumped out of a window and fled. He has not been arrested and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Tucker, Ruffin, Smith, Stoudemire and Tucker all are charged with first-degree felony drug possession.

The wholesale price for a pound of crystal methamphetamine in northeast Ohio is $11,000 to $16,400, according to Narcotic News.



ENID, Oklahoma – A man is behind bars after police say he tried to sell meth to a 12-year-old using Facebook.

The boy’s mother spoke with News 9 and has a word of warning for all parents.

“I was going to have his Facebook deactivated for punishment,” she said. “When I was going to deactivate the Facebook account, the message pops up.”9300780_G

This mother does not want to use her name, but she does want people to know what a man tried to do when he messaged her 12-year-old.

“The messages started getting weird, and I’m like, ‘OK. I’m going to follow this out to see what they’re really talking about.’ And it turned out he was trying to sell my son meth,” she said.

She kept the conversation going and then turned it over to police.

“I was sick to my stomach,” she said. “How did my son know this guy? A hundred things were running through my head.”

Detectives went back and forth with Robert Lewis LeClaire and pretended to be the boy. They set up a time and place to meet LeClaire.

“He was wearing exactly what he said, and they made contact with him,” Enid Police Captain Jack Morris said.

Police say LeClaire had two grams of meth on him, and was ready to sell.

“He saw the picture of the kid on Facebook, thought he used drugs and thought he was about 15 or 16,” Morris said. “So, he started messaging him,”

“Please. Constantly check your children’s cell phones, social media, tablets,” the boy’s mother said. “I never thought that this would come across on my son’s Facebook.”

LeClaire was arrested and is facing several charges.


A detective with the Bakersfield, California, Police Department (BPD) was arrested Friday and charged with abusing his position as a police officer to traffic illegal drugs, among other charges, according to a Justice Department press release.

Damacio Diaz, 43, was indicted on 16 different counts, including charges of conspiring with a narcotics dealer to distribute methamphetamine.

Per the Department of Justice:

The indictment charges that Diaz, in exchange for bribes from the dealer, provided the dealer with intelligence on law enforcement practices and activities, disclosed the names and identities of police informants, tipped the dealer off as to police investigations and attempted to provide the dealer protection from search, seizure, arrest and prosecution.

The indictment also charges Diaz with bribery, retaining seized narcotics on multiple occasions for his own unlawful gain, disclosing contents of a wiretap investigation and two counts of filing false tax returns.

“No one is above the law,” said Special Agent Monica M. Miller of the FBI’s Sacramento Division. “The alleged criminal activity put law enforcement officers at grave risk and significantly undermines public trust in law enforcement.”

“The FBI is committed to working with its enforcement partners to root out officers who have abused their trusted role, and we thank the Bakersfield Police Department, DEA and IRS for their assistance with this extensive investigation,” she said in a news release.

Diaz has been on paid administrative leave since the investigation started. He is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

If convicted on conspiracy charges, he faces a maximum sentence of life behind bars. He also faces 20 years to life in prison for charges of possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute, plus 10 years for each of his three bribery charges, five years for charges of intentionally disclosing wiretap information to interfere with a criminal investigation and three years for charges of filing false income tax returns.




MOSS BLUFF, LA (KPLC) – The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office Combined Anti-Drug Task (C.A.T.) Force arrested a man and woman following a complaint of a possible methamphetamine lab inside a Moss Bluff home.9307365_G

9307363_GKim Myers, spokeswoman for the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office, said 39-year-old Jason K. Smith and his girlfriend, 34-year-old Amanda G. Chapman were arrested after authorities were dispatched to the home and detected a strong chemical odor emitting from the front door of Smith’s home on East Telephone Road.

“Detectives also observed several main components that are associated with operating a methamphetamine lab on the porch outside of the residence. Detectives secured the residence and obtained a search warrant for the home. Detectives located approximately eleven one-pot meth labs along with numerous hazardous chemicals once inside the home.” Myers said in a news release.

Smith and Chapman were booked with operation of clandestine lab, possession of CDS II with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia. Judge David Ritchie set both their bonds at $155,000 each.

The Lake Charles Fire Department and the Louisiana State Police Haz-Mat Team assisted on the scene. Environmental Response Services was called to dismantle and clean up the meth labs.




COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Impact Team members were conducting directed patrols in the 3400 block of Parkmoor Village Drive when they contact two people in a vehicle which displayed license plates that did not belong on it.

According to police, a third subject had been standing outside of the vehicle and walked away from it upon seeing the officers. As officers approached the car, they saw a large knife on the floorboard, behind the driver’s seat.

Officers conducted pat down searches of the occupants for their safety. During the pat downs, officers discovered a large bag containing several, smaller, tightly wrapped bags with suspected methamphetamine in them.

The occupants of the vehicle Jesus Robledo-Flores, 23 and Matilda Subia-Garcia, 50, were arrested for illegal distribution of methamphetamine.

A search of the vehicle yielded another bag containing suspected methamphetamine. Officers recovered a total of approximately 6.5 ounces of methamphetamine.



Federal prosecutors said a Fishtail man trafficked at least 178 pounds of methamphetamine he stored in packages on nearby property and shipped hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug proceeds stashed in a truck back to his Arizona supplier.

Two other people also have been indicted in the meth investigation that led to charges against Merrill Clark Gardner, 61.55883f8c6f53f_image

Gardner pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Billings to conspiracy to possess meth for distribution. A plea deal calls for a second count of possession with intent to distribute to be dismissed and for Gardner to consent to forfeiture of property identified by the government.

Under a forfeiture count, Gardner faces losing his residence at 17 Delger Road, $103,340 in currency and miscellaneous gold and silver coins as property prosecutors say was used in or helped with the commission of crimes.

Gardner also faces a minimum mandatory 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine.

U.S. District Judge Susan Watters set sentencing for March 3 and denied a plea from Gardner to be released pending sentencing so he could spend time with his 4-year-old son.

In an emotional statement at the end of the hearing, Gardner apologized saying he was “truly sorry” for his actions and was taking responsibility. He said he’s lost everything “in the blink of an eye. I am ashamed of myself.”

While admitting the charges, Gardner said he was “not the kingpin, long-time criminal the prosecution says I am.”

Earlier in the hearing, Gardner disputed the 178 pounds of meth, saying the quantity was smaller and that other people were involved as well.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin Rubich said Clark was an “active distributor” of meth from about January 2013 until June 18, 2015, when the federal Drug Enforcement Administration received information that a Billings man was distributing meth for Gardner.

After buying meth several times from the man, the DEA convinced him to become an informant in its investigation of Gardner. The informant told agents that when he needed more meth, he’d contact Gardner and go to his Fishtail residence where Gardner provided large quantities to distribute, Rubich said.

Under the DEA’s direction, the informant met with Gardner on June 17 at Gardner’s home to discuss meth distribution. During the meeting, Gardner left his property to get meth for the informant, Rubich said.

Investigators saw Gardner leave and return about 30 minutes later, when he gave the informant about 1¼ pounds of meth. The informant turned over the meth to DEA agents at a pre-arranged meeting place. Field tests were positive for meth.

The next day, investigators served a federal search warrant on Gardner’s property. While conducting the search, Gardner arrived as a passenger in his truck, which was driven by Brett Wade Clouse, a co-defendant and associate of Gardner’s.

In the truck, agents found another 1¼ pounds of meth that was wrapped like the meth the informant had received.

Clouse told investigators he had driven Gardner to another residence, at 123 Nye Cemetery Road in Nye. During a consent search of that property, agents found three more packages wrapped in duct tape with each package containing about 1¼ pounds of meth. The packages were in a garbage can containing sawdust, the prosecution said earlier.

The investigators interviewed the tenant, Bill Meyer, who admitted he had allowed Gardner to store meth on his property. Meyer has not been charged.

Clouse, Rubich said, told agents that beginning in about January 2013, he acted as Gardner’s courier and made seven trips to Tucson, Ariz., in Gardner’s truck to get meth.

Gardner would hide about $200,000 or tell Clouse to hide the cash in the truck’s door panels, Rubich said. Clouse would meet Gardner’s source in Tucson, where the source would take the truck, remove the cash and conceal between 22 pounds to 26 pounds of meth for delivery back to Gardner.

Clouse told agents he transported about 178 pounds of meth in the seven trips, Rubich said.

Clouse, 36, of Absarokee, has pleaded not guilty to four counts, including conspiracy and possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, in a separate indictment.

A magistrate judge on Monday released Clouse from custody on conditions pending trial.

A third person, Rinda Lee Morgan, 42, of Helena, also indicted with Clouse, has pleaded not guilty to charges.

The IRS also participated in the investigation.



DALLAS — An investigation by federal, state and local officials has led to drug charges against 54 people associated with white supremacist organizations.

According to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Dallas, the 54 have been charged with federal crimes arising from their participation in a drug distribution operation in North Texas from January 2013 through this month. Two of the 54 are still fugitives.

A previous phase of the investigation in 2014 led to the arrests of 37 members and associates of white supremacist groups on similar drug charges. All were convicted. One remains a fugitive.

The federal statement says the suspects are associated with such groups as the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, the Aryan Circle, the White Knights and the Peckerwoods.



SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – It’s very clear that members of ISIS have no regard for human life, including their own.

But what’s driving this level of evil?

They claim it’s a holy war, a Jihad against Infidels.

As it turns out, most of them are also “Jihad Junkies,” addicted to a turbo-charged form of meth.

The drug is called “Captagon.”

By all estimates, the Captagon cartel makes hundreds of millions of dollars a year, the second biggest money maker in the Middle East next to oil.

This drug is even sold to members of the Saudi royal family, which means the royals are supporting ISIS, at least financially.

Captagon is not only the money maker that fuels their reign of terror, it’s also the fuel for extreme madness.

It’s said that most members of ISIS are addicted to Captagon, a drug that keeps you awake for three days at a time.

This may help explain the unprecedented level of evil seen from ISIS.

Instead of a war fueled by religious beliefs, turns out, it’s fueled by a turbo-charged version of meth.

So along with bombing their hiding spots and oil reserve, there’s a new target, drug factories that line their pockets and fuel their fighters.



KALISPELL – The recent rise of meth use in in the Flathead Valley can cause damage that permeates a community.

Reports of increased meth use, and its connections to the thefts and property damages around the area raises the question – just how much more damage and liabilities these illegal activities are costing our community?

Allied 24/7 Restoration owner Tim Price says that when a meth lab cleanup takes place the bill can run as high as $85,000. “The insurance support for doing this kind of cleanup was moving rapidly away and was leaving landlords and homeowners without the financial means to pay for the level of cleanup that was necessary,” he explained.

Community Action Partnership of Northwest Montana Housing Director Maren McCleary says she has been working in the industry for over 15 years and that in her experience in previous roles, it would be much more challenging to recover from such an event – especially if responsibilities lay on just one party. “But if you have federal funding, there is definitely an incentive as an agency to do that but as an individual, there really isn’t a lot to hold their feet to the fire, the big issue is the expense; it’s the cost,” McCleary said.

Montana Department of Environmental Quality Meth Cleanup Bureau Chief Ed Thamke says legislators created a cleanup act in 2005 to help combat the hundreds of meth labs across Montana, but adds it does have a few limitations.

“The law does not apply to consumption of methamphetamine; it’s just the manufacture of methamphetamine; and the methamphetamine arousals imprint the floor space in the structure then the Department of Environmental Equality has no statutory ability to work with the property owners and subsequent occupants to restore that property,” told MTN News.

If you suspect any suspicious activities in your area, don’t hesitate to report it to the police. You can also do this anonymously on their website.




CARSON CITY, NV – Carson City Sheriff deputies have arrested the father of a 4-year-old boy after the boy was taken to a hospital and tested positive for methamphetamine on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015.

The Sheriff’s Office says it happened about 5:45 PM, when deputies were called to the Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center regarding a report of child abuse.

When officers arrived, they learned that a 4-year-old boy had been brought into the Emergency Room late in the afternoon suffering from hallucinations and presumably mentally ill.

A routine toxicology test revealed the boy was actively high on methamphetamine and suffering from the effects.

The boy had been taken from the hospital by his parents who were believed to be transporting him to a Reno area hospital.

Sheriff’s Deputies and the Special Enforcement Team members went to the home of the boy at the 1900 block of Molly Drive in North Carson City. Both parents and the boy were home. No other children were present. A search of the residence turned up approximately one ounce of methamphetamine.

Deputies then arrested 27-year-old Pedro Montanez on suspicion of child endangerment and possession of trafficking levels of a controlled substance. A criminal history check found that Montanez had previously been deported from the United States. Montanez and the child’s mother are not married.

The mother was not taken into custody and both the mother and Montanez continue to cooperate with investigators.

Although the boy remains under medical care, Child Protective Services has taken custody of him and is implementing a “safety plan”.



HOPKINS COUNTY, KY – Five people were arrested early Friday morning after a cell phone accidentally called 911.

The Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office says dispatchers could hear people discussing illegal drug activity during the phone call.

The call was tracked to 243B Morris Siks Road in Madisonville, Kentucky.

When deputies arrived, they found drug paraphernalia and the people inside the home tried to hide.

Methamphetamine was located along with needles.

Five people were arrested and charged.

30-year-old Marc Whitaker from Madisonville, Kentucky charged with possession of a controlled substance 1st degree methamphetamine, tampering with physical evidence, possession of drug paraphernalia, promoting contraband, giving an officer a false name, contempt of court, and flagrant non-support.

42-year-old Brian Robards of Madisonville, Kentucky charged with possession of a controlled substance 1st degree methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and tampering with physical evidence.

33-year-old Christopher Geary of Madisonville, Kentucky charged with possession of a controlled substance 1st degree methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and tampering with physical evidence.

37-year-old Jonda Munoz of Earlington, Kentucky charged with possession of a controlled substance 1st degree methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and tampering with physical evidence.

32-year-old Stephanie Vannoy of Earlington, Kentucky charged with possession of a controlled substance 1st degree methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and tampering with physical evidence.



John Wolf, a dentist in the Chelsea section of Manhattan, is well known in the neighborhood — not only for his popular, light-filled offices, but also for his AIDS activism. He studied the disease in dentistry school, according to his Google profile, and as a practicing dentist in the 1980s he brought, and won, a prominent lawsuit against a landlord who did not want him to treat patients with AIDS.

On Friday, federal authorities painted a darker picture of Dr. Wolf: They arrested him at his West Village residence on charges that he had done dental work for a drug dealer in exchange for methamphetamine, and that he possessed child pornography videos.DENTIST-web-master315

A criminal complaint prosecutors filed also states that he is H.I.V.-positive and that, according to an informer, he said he had punctured holes in condoms “in an intentional attempt to spread the H.I.V. to his sexual partners.”

Neighborhood residents and one of Dr. Wolf’s brothers, Robert Wolf, said they were shocked at the allegations. Even federal prosecutors referred in a memorandum to Dr. Wolf’s life having a “bizarre duality.”

Dr. Wolf, 59, moved to New York from Michigan decades ago, according to Robert Wolf, who was reached by phone on Friday. He attended college and dental school in the city, and lives with his husband in the West Village, his Google profile says. The partner has worked as an administrator at the dental practice, according to court papers. Dr. Wolf wrote in the Google profile about his love for bicycling, his Chihuahuas and singing. A video posted on his profile page that was filmed in 1985 shows him singing in a gay men’s chorus and discussing AIDS and homophobia.

Dr. Wolf appeared in Federal District Court in Brooklyn on Friday. He is charged with conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with the intent to distribute it, and with possession and distribution of child pornography. Asked by Robert M. Levy, a federal magistrate judge, if he understood the charges in the complaint, Dr. Wolf said, “I think so.”

After searching Dr. Wolf’s home and office on Friday morning, federal agents found methamphetamine and a flash drive filled with 246 files, mostly child pornography, according to a memorandum filed by prosecutors. He admitted to possessing child pornography, “denied having sex with minors and indicated he was unwilling to discuss his drug use or distribution or whether he had drugged anyone unwillingly during sex,” according to the memorandum.

Dr. Wolf’s lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, said after his client’s initial court appearance: “He was woken up at 5 o’clock in the morning, and woke up into a day where his life is going to be completely different. These are charges that are very hard to weather, and I think he’s understandably shaken.”

Federal authorities said they began looking at Dr. Wolf as part of a standard drug case.

“Drug investigations have taken us down dark roads before, but nothing darker than the office practices of Dr. Wolf,” James J. Hunt, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York division, said in a statement.

A drug dealer arrested at Kennedy International Airport in March told the authorities that he had been swapping methamphetamine for Dr. Wolf’s dentistry, according to a complaint filed by Aaron Spivack, a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The dealer, who was charged with conspiracy to distribute narcotics, is cooperating with the government in the hopes of leniency.

The dealer also said that Dr. Wolf had shown him videos “of infants and toddlers being sexually abused by adults,” including images of infants and toddlers being raped by men, according to the complaint.

Dr. Wolf was arrested Friday at his apartment building on Charles Street in the West Village. Credit Andrew Renneisen for The New York Times21dentist-web1-master675

According to the dealer’s version in the complaint, Dr. Wolf also told him “that he was actively involved in underground sex parties at various locations in New York City, including in Brooklyn, where participants would engage in sexual intercourse with animals.”

In October and earlier this month, the dealer made recordings of Dr. Wolf for the government. In those, according to the complaint, the dentist discussed having sex with animals; said he continued to use and hand out drugs; said he continued to poke holes in condoms during sexual encounters; and discussed drugging an adult man with a “slam of K” before sexually assaulting him, referring, apparently, to ketamine, a drug used illegally as a hallucinogenic.

The drug dealer then offered to introduce Dr. Wolf to his “roommate,” saying that the roommate was interested in child pornography as well. The “roommate” was an undercover F.B.I. agent.

The three met at Dr. Wolf’s office in Chelsea. Last week, the undercover agent recorded Dr. Wolf saying he used the basement for sex parties. Dr. Wolf then plugged in a flash drive and showed the agent about 35 minutes of child pornography, the complaint said.

As recently as Thursday, according to the memorandum, the undercover agent recorded Dr. Wolf. In that recording, Dr. Wolf said he had given drugs to “willing and unwilling adults during drug-fueled sex parties,” said it would be “hot” if he and the agent abused children together, and talked about how they might arrange that, among other things.

Robert Risko, an artist who lives near Dr. Wolf’s office, said the office environment was “wacky,” and “loose, friendly, fun.”

“He has a huge clientele because people like him,” Mr. Risko said.

Robert Wolf, who lives in Tennessee, said he was “absolutely floored” by the accusations. He said he did not know of any drug or addiction problems in his brother’s past.

In court, Moira Kim Penza, an assistant United States attorney, cited the “safety of the community” and the “overwhelming evidence in this case” as she asked Judge Levy to hold Dr. Wolf without bail. The judge set a hearing for Tuesday to discuss bail.

At Dr. Wolf’s office on Friday morning, a man at the front desk said that Dr. Wolf was not in, but that two other dentists were still seeing patients. He declined to give his name because he was not authorized to speak to the press.


Luck went from bad to worse one August day last year for a young Houston man named Jose Manuel Trevino who decide to break the law.

Trevino was 18 years old, out of work, and needed some money as he and his pregnant girlfriend were expecting a child. But now he is headed to federal prison for six years.meth-caught-maph

Court documents reveal his story, which at first is certainly like many others all along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trevino went for quick cash, by trying to drive a load of methamphetamine from Mexico to Houston, where the drug has become wildly popular.

He was no kingpin, but doing a quick job for some people in the drug business would likely pay well.

About 25 pounds of the meth were carefully wrapped into 44 bundles and hidden in secret compartments in the 1983 Chevy Blazer that smugglers gave him to drive.

But then the truck’s battery died at a South Texas gas station. Trevino waiting for awhile hoping it would somehow start, then asked another man sitting in a car there if he had jumper cables.

But the car was an unmarked police unit. And the driver was Lt. Clayton Cohea of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Cohea, who was on the job as part of a border security push, was in uniform as he climbed out and tried to help Trevino.

But Trevino’s increasing nervousness, along with mounting problems, such as the battery not even having water, didn’t help. A drug-sniffing dog solidified suspicions and Trevino’s once cover journey was over.

When Trevino was sentenced to prison Thursday he got some sympathy from U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez due to his age.

He will be 25 when he gets out.




CINCINNATI – The regional narcotics unit and federal agents intercepted more than $323,000 worth of crystal meth shipped from Mexico in ceramic watermelons, the sheriff’s office announced Friday.WCPO_watermelon_1448057819289_27198014_ver1_0_640_480

Agents arrested Jorge Yobanis Garcia, 23, at his residence at 301 West North Bend Road in Carthage after he took possession of the parcel, officials said.

Officials said they believe Garcia is an illegal immigrant from Mexico. Agents recovered a fictitious Ohio State Identification card, and he has an Atlanta, Georgia address on his Consular Identification Card.

The package contained approximately 4.7 pounds of crystal meth, also known as “ice.”WCPO_Jorge_Yobanis_Garcia_1448055298602_27191186_ver1_0_900_675

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Regional Narcotics Unit and Homeland Security Investigators made the bust.

Garcia is jailed at the Justice Center. He will be arraigned Saturday.



SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC 4 News) – when buying a home you have a lot to think about; is it in good condition, is it in a nice neighborhood, is it safe? There are plenty of tests to make sure it’s structurally sound, but here in Utah there’s another test potential homebuyers should do that many don’t know about – testing for methamphetamine. It’s not a requirement, but health experts and local realtors say it’s a really good idea. utah meth

David Barker thought he found the perfect home for his aging father. “It was the house across the street.” The house, on a quiet street in Brigham City, but the house had a past.

“It’s been a rental ever since we have lived here for the last 30 some years,” explained Barker.

The home inspection went well, and Barker was ready to buy, until his son asked him a very important question. “He said ‘well did you check it for meth?’ and I said no. He said, ‘well you better do that.'” Barker continued, “I contacted the state and they came up and did the test and got the report back and he said it was bad.”

Barker backed out of the deal and the seller was forced to clean the house of meth.

“It’s generally carpet, carpet pad, insulated duct work, dropped ceilings, anything porous we remove and any hard surfaces can be decontaminated,” said Mark Shepard. Shepard is the owner Apple Environmental, a Utah company certified to clean homes contaminated with methamphetamine.

Shepard says the number of homes that test positive for meth might surprise you. “Some numbers that we’ve heard of are one in ten homes are affected and rentals are anywhere from 60-80%.”

The Salt Lake County Health Department says in the last couple of years they’ve seen the numbers of homes that have tested positive for meth jump. Kerry Cramer, Supervisor of the Bureau of Sanitation and Safety explained, “This year we’ve had probably over 200 cases that we’ve got involved with and it’s sort of a record for us, in year’s past we’ve probably had 50 or 60.”

Not because there are more meth contaminated homes, but likely because the housing market has picked up and more people are testing. And that’s a good thing. “We strongly encourage buyers to do a meth test,” said Ryan Kirkham. Kirkham is the President of the Utah Association of Realtors. Kirkham says if a seller knows there’s methamphetamine contamination in their home they have a legal obligation to disclose it to a potential buyer, but they can’t disclose if they don’t know and that’s why Kirkham says it’s important for buyers to do the test themselves.

Kirkham said, “If you don’t test, yes there could be health implications, but if you don’t test and they go to sell the property later…if someone comes in 5 years and finds it, it doesn’t just go away and all the sudden they have a $20,000 bill to clean up the house, replace the carpet, repaint, redo the hardwood floors, redo the furnace and the ductwork.”

That meth could have been there for years, there’s no way of knowing who exactly is responsible. Cramer said, “Meth dissolves or evaporates about as fast as table salt. So on the house you’re talking about it could have been contaminated 30 years ago and the stuff is still there. It just doesn’t go away by itself.”

During the 90s, the State of Utah was the number one meth producing state in the county. While there isn’t as many meth labs in the state anymore there are a lot of those former lab locations.

“Houses that were contaminated 10-15 years ago when this state was one of the leading producing states of Meth a lot of those homes are still out there and the only way to find them is to test,” warned Shepard.

The test only costs about $50 – $100 and it’s easy to do on your own. The state only allows for a tiny amount of methamphetamine, anything less than one microgram per 100 centimeters squared. So the house doesn’t have the be the location of a former meth lab to be unsafe, someone could have smoked meth in the house and contaminated it.

A lesson David Barker almost learned the hard way. “Had your son not said anything?” asked Kimberly Nelson. “I might have gotten stuck with it,” replied Barker.

For more information from the Salt Lake Co. Health Department log on to:

For more information on Apple Environmental log on to:




HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) – A Texas woman pulled over in Hudsonville with 3 ½ pounds of crystal methamphetamine in her rental car has been indicted on federal drug trafficking charges.

Kelli Nicole Drake, 31, was indicted this week for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine.635836232003519829-drakemeth

In addition to the crystal methamphetamine, officers found nearly 11 ½ ounces of cocaine, court records show. The combined street value of both exceeds $180,000.

“These quantities far exceed user quantities; rather, they are distribution quantities,” Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Jon Schafer wrote in a Sept. 17 criminal complaint. Schafer arrested Drake in Grand Rapids that same day.

Drake was driving a rented 2014 Nissan Maxima with a Vermont license plate when she was pulled over by Michigan State Police on Sept. 16.

A police drug dog was brought to the scene and indicated the presence of narcotics in the vehicle, according to a search warrant affidavit in Grand Rapids District Court. The search warrant was for two cellphones Drake had with her at the time.

Police searched the trunk of the Nissan and found 3.5 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and nearly 11-½ ounces of cocaine, court documents show.

It is one of the largest crystal methamphetamine seizures in West Michigan in recent years.

The criminal complaint was filed Sept. 17, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office in October dropped the complaint so the government could continue its investigation. The indictment came nearly four weeks later.

Drake is free on an unsecured $50,000 bond. A condition of her release prohibits Drake from “engaging in any sovereign citizen or tax protester activity.”

Drake, who lists an address in Dallas, Texas and goes by the alias “Lady Jade,” is saddled with more than criminal charges. The federal government has launched forfeiture proceedings on $2,952 in cash found in her vehicle, court records show.



HAMILTON — A Hamilton man charged with kidnapping, drugging and repeatedly raping a 17-year-old girl over several days in February is now charged with capturing some of the assaults on video.

Byron Craig Hall, 33, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to sexual abuse of children. The new charge was filed after investigators found three videos taken with the webcam on Hall’s laptop between Feb. 6 and 9 that 553a60c8a7441_imageincluded sexual content involving the girl.

Hall pleaded not guilty in March to felony aggravated kidnapping, sexual intercourse without consent, aggravated assault, child criminal endangerment and two drug charges. District Judge Jeffrey Langton set his bail at $750,000. However, he is also being held without bond for violating his parole on an earlier drug lab conviction.

The girl told officers that she had invited Hall to her home on Feb. 6 after meeting him at a college orientation. She said she mentioned his former girlfriend, and Hall became extremely angry, pushed her onto the bed and choked her until she passed out.

She said he injected her with methamphetamine and raped her over the course of five days. The girl’s 8-month-old child also was in the apartment.

Hall and his father were later charged with tampering with evidence after Hall asked and his father destroyed drugs and paraphernalia that Hall had in the trunk of his car. Prosecutors say when Hall’s father visited him in jail, Hall was recorded asking his father to find his laptop and hide it from investigators. The father told officers he didn’t carry out his son’s instructions regarding the laptop, which was seized by investigators.

Hall’s trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 29, 2016.