KUALA LUMPUR (July 13, 2013): Malaysian authorities have seized nearly 50 kilograms of methamphetamine disguised as Chinese tea at Kuala Lumpur’s main airport, police said.

Anti-narcotics agents arrested two ethnic Chinese Malaysians at the airport on Wednesday and later intercepted 12.7 kilos of the drug, police said in a statement late Friday.

“Police found a bag left in front of a shop in KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) that contained 12 plastic packages labelled ‘Guanyingwang Refined Chinese Tea’,” police said.

It added that two bags of unclaimed luggage were seized the following day that contained a further 34.5 kilos of the drug and similarly labelled.

The total value of the seizure was put at around $2.7 million.

The two men, aged 36 and 66, were still being held by police.

In Malaysia, the death penalty is mandatory for convicted drug traffickers.

Reports quoted Federal Narcotics Crime Investigation chief Noor Rashid Ibrahim as saying the drugs were brought in from Myanmar.

According to The Star newspaper, Noor Rashid said only part of the consignment was meant for sale in Malaysia while the rest was destined for other markets, without elaborating.







Law enforcement agencies in Southern Indiana on Friday arrested 15 people — including a former sheriff and 74-year-old woman — as part of an undercover drug investigation, according to Indiana State Police.

The suspects are accused of dealing methamphetamine, marijuana, hydrocodone and methadone in Crawford County.

Former Crawford County Sheriff Alvin Crecelius was among those arrested. Crecelius, 69, of Marengo was charged with four felony counts of dealing in a Schedule III controlled substance.

Crecelius was among several people arrested in 1998 in a vote fraud case. He overcame impeachment proceedings in 1991 after allegations of mismanagement of the county jail and its prisoners and was convicted that same year of charges of battery against his wife after he admitted  bruising her while grabbing her arm during their 1989 divorce proceedings.

Also arrested were:

•  Mary Harmon, 74, of Marengo, who faces two counts of dealing in a Schedule II substance and two counts of maintaining a common nuisance.

•  Melissa “Kelly” Harmon, 38, of Marengo, one count of dealing in a Schedule II substance and one count of maintaining a common nuisance.

•  Esther Smith, 55, of Marengo, two counts of dealing in a Schedule II substance and two counts of maintaining a common nuisance.

•  Ricky Pittman, 52, of Marengo, two counts of dealing in a Schedule III substance.

•  Lisa Pittman, 42, of Marengo, one count of dealing in a Schedule III substance.

•  Gail Dillard, 48, of Marengo, two counts of dealing in a Schedule II substance and two counts of maintaining a common nuisance.

•  Jeremy D. Byerly, 37, of Marengo, charges of dealing methamphetamine over three grams.

•  Charles Becht, 48, of Milltown, charges of dealing methamphetamine under three grams, dealing in a Schedule IV controlled substance, dealing marijuana over 30 grams and dealing marijuana under 30 grams.

•  James H. Graham, 50, of English, two counts of dealing in a Schedule III controlled substance.

•  Carl Hines, 69, of St. Croix, charges of dealing in a Schedule IV controlled substance.

•  Jennifer McDaniel, 41, of Ramsey, charges of dealing in a Schedule II controlled substance and maintaining a common nuisance.

•  Scott McDaniel, 52, of Ramsey, one count of dealing in a Schedule II controlled substance, two counts of dealing in a Schedule IV controlled substance and three counts of maintaining a common nuisance.

•  Kenny Mills, 46, of Milltown, charges of dealing marijuana over 30 grams.

•  Cordellia Patton, 58, of English, charged with dealing in a Schedule IV controlled substance.








LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. — Shortly after midnight on June 5, Lexington County sheriff’s deputies and narcotics officers swooped down on a single-story home in one of the county’s rural areas.

Acting on a tip that people were inside cooking up batches of methamphetamine in not one but two kitchens, officers surrounded the house. Deputies tiptoed to a window and peered inside.

“I was at this time able to detect a strong chemical emitting from the residence,” investigator M.L. McCaw later wrote in his report.

Officers had found yet another active illegal methamphetamine lab – one of 43 meth kitchens busted so far this year in Lexington County that led to the arrest of 60 people. At this rate, meth labs and arrests in 2013 will far outpace last year’s total of 51 labs and 70 arrests.

If you thought meth was gone, you were wrong.

Lexington definitely is seeing “more hits on labs this year than in years past,” said Sheriff Jimmy Metts in an interview.

Meth labs and meth arrests are part of the drug scene’s new normal in Lexington County, a sprawling Midlands county that contains million-dollar-home neighborhoods along Lake Murray’s shores and scattered rural communities, stretching in a rough crescent from Swansea across I-20 up to Batesburg-Leesville.

The June 5 bust, on Fish Hatchery Road near Gaston, netted four men and four women, who ran “frantically” around after a deputy knocked on the door. Deputies then bashed in the front entrance and arrested the eight, charging them with manufacturing meth.

Meth is an illegal drug that you don’t necessarily have to buy from someone. You can cook it up at home or even in a car, in powder or chunks that can be snorted, injected or smoked. Its most popular name is “crank.”

Users say the drug provides a heightened alertness and powerful sense of well-being. People sometimes go for days without eating or sleeping, just fueling their high.

“Meth is incredibly addictive,” said Jimmy Mount, public information coordinator for the state Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services. “It is also incredibly dangerous, because of the accompanying damage to one’s health that comes along with using it. Sometimes, after a year or two of using it, you can’t even recognize it’s the same person.”

Although meth users initially experience a rush, repeated use can cause acne, loss of appetite that leads to wasting away, rotting teeth and skin that appears years older. Brain functions deteriorate, and users can exhibit psychotic behavior, including paranoia, anxiety, aggression and hallucinations.

Metts said several reasons account for his county’s increase in meth busts:

• Deputies have received increased training on what to look for.

• Lexington has a lot of rural areas, and meth cooks prefer to cook meth – which produces pungent chemical odors – in houses well away from other houses.

The public is increasingly aware of how to recognize meth kitchens and report them to law enforcement.

• A pre-made, hyper-addictive form of the drug, called “ice,” is still being shipped in from Mexico. The recession did nothing to blunt its import.

• It’s easier than ever to produce meth at home. The most popular method, “shake and bake,” involves putting various chemicals in a large soda bottle and putting the cap on. The chemicals, including lye, ammonia, and lithium, react with each other along with pills containing the key meth ingredient ephedrine, and – in several more cooking steps – produce small quantities of meth.

• Psedoephedrine, found in some allergy and cold pills and used to make the drug, is still being acquired, even though it’s sold only behind the counter at S.C. pharmacies and drug stores, law enforcement sources say. S.C. lawmakers have not passed a bill making the drug available by prescription only. Two states, Mississippi and Oregon, require prescriptions for pseudoephedrine; law enforcement officials there say meth lab seizures have plummeted since the laws were enacted. In Mississippi, which adopted a prescription-only law in 2010, authorities say meth lab seizures dropped by nearly 70 percent the next year.

Meth chemicals are so dangerous that the smoke and other chemical waste products given off during the cooking process often pollute a house, motel room or car to such an extent that special hazardous waste experts must clean the site if it is ever to be used again.

Chemicals used to make meth are also explosive. And the drug is explosively ripping apart familes in the Gaston-Swansea-Pelion part of the county that’s dubbed the Meth Triangle.

“We’re talking about a potential bomb, the hazard to our environment, to other people, the long-term health care effects and to our children,” said SLED narcotics Lt. Max Dorsey, who manages SLED’s various meth lab programs, including a $1 million a year state cleanup fund.

Dorsey said the small meth labs headed up by a cook and a small band of followers have upended traditional law enforcement drugfighting methods. When it comes to meth, cops have no major drug trafficking networks to target – they have to devote a lot of resources to small labs.

Then there are the children. Last year, Dorsey said, law officers across the state took more than 100 children found in met lab homes into protective custody after their parents were arrested on manufacturing meth charges.

The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department doesn’t keep statistics on how many children are found at meth labs and turned over to the state Department of Social Services. However, the department said in at least two raids so far this year, children were found and taken into custody.

SLED Chief Mark Keel said Lexington County is one of several major busy pockets of meth activity around South Carolina, but it is not the largest. Greenville, Spartanburg and Laurens counties have substantial meth cooking activity and meth arrests, Keel said.

State law doesn’t require all polluted meth sites to be reported to any central statewide databank. However, SLED does have a General Assembly-approved fund of $1 million a year to clean up meth sites. It keeps two environmental cleanup companies on contract to do the cleanup, and keeps some, but not all, figures on how many meth labs are located. (Not all counties report their meth labs to SLED.)

In the 2011-12 fiscal year, Keel said, SLED spent $800,000 on meth lab clean-ups. In the most recently finished fiscal year, SLED spent some $1.2 million on 523 meth lab clean-ups, Keel said.

“We have $1 million this current fiscal year, and we’re probably going to use every dime of it,” Keel said. He said he may well ask the General Assembly to increase the cleanup fund next year.

Across the Congaree River in Richland County, Sheriff Leon Lott said meth is not yet a big problem. “Our drug of choice is crack cocaine,” Lott said. “We have some meth, but not on the same scale as other counties.”

The one place his deputies are seeing more meth activity is in the areas that border Lexington County, such as the St. Andrews Road area.

“Motel rooms in those areas are being used to manufacture meth,” Lott said. “Often, they use the coffee maker and coffee filters in a motel room as part of the ‘shake and bake’ method.”

Lott said that sometimes the meth cooks put the coffee maker – contaminated with hazardous chemicals – back in place. “It might not get washed, and then who comes in afterwards and uses it get exposed.”

U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles said what Metts and other Lexington law agencies are doing is crucial.

“Given that meth is often made in a local community, it’s particularly important that local law enforcement work to protect the community from this extremely addictive substance,” Nettles said. “I’m certain the residents of Lexington County appreciate what their local officers are doing.”

Metts said that despite meth’s many dangers, there’s one major reason why meth cooks and addicts keep on.

“Once they start taking meth, they cannot stop,” Metts said.

The popularity of methamphetamine in the Lehigh Valley and elsewhere in Pennsylvania has caught the attention of U.S. Sen. Bob Casey.



The Democrat sent a letter to the head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to request technical assistance in the commonwealth’s battle against the increasingly prevalent drug.

“Officials in local municipalities have indicated that they have limited means to fight the production of this drug and need help identifying any resources and technical assistance that may be available to them,” Casey wrote in his letter to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart.

Northampton County Assistant District Attorney Michelle Kluk, who specializes in drug crimes, said she welcomes any assistance from the federal government with what she called a rapidly expanding problem. She believes Northampton County is among the leaders statewide in cases involving methamphetamine manufacturing.

“Every aspect of a meth lab case is very sensitive,” Kluk said.

Casey suggested the Department of Justice should assist and coordinate operations, provide ways to raise community awareness and allow local agencies access to government databases about labs uncovered throughout the state.

John Rizzo, Casey’s press secretary, said the senator hopes federal efforts to combat the rampant drug use can enhance those same battles locally. Rizzo said Casey heard firsthand from police about the need for extra tools in the fight against meth production in the commonwealth.

A dangerous scene


Law enforcement in the Lehigh Valley rely heavily on the work of the Pennsylvania State Police Clandestine Unit, a specially trained branch of the department with the equipment necessary to handle the potentially volatile scenes created by meth-making operations.

Detective Sgt. Michael Martinko, leader of the Bethlehem police vice unit, said he remembers the DEA preparing local municipal departments for a meth outbreak in the late 1990s and providing special training and information about the spread of the drug, which at the time had a tight grip on the Midwest. Martinko said it took a while for meth to gain the foothold it now has in the area, and with simpler cooking methods, it’s being produced in more places, including inside vehicles.

A quiet Bethlehem neighborhood was the center of one of the more high-profile cases this year. An operation in the basement and garage at 1965 Greenleaf St. was the scene of a serious fire  that was sparked by the chemical mixing procedure hours before a planned police raid at the residence.

Daniel Houser, who claimed he was the only one behind the meth operation there, was sent to state prison for up to 11 years after pleading guilty to many of the more serious charges. Three others, including homeowner Elaine Noone, 65, are still facing trial in the case.

Martinko said another round of updated training could do law enforcement some good.

“Our biggest challenge is … that when you go to one of those scenes it’s basically a hazmat situation,” Martinko said.

Kluk agreed, saying there is almost too much reliance on an already stretched thin state police unit. And it’s not just processing the scene, Kluk said. The work for investigating and analyzing evidence of a meth lab occurs in the already backlogged state police laboratories.

“It just takes forever,” she said of the lab results. “And that’s because of the volume of the cases.”

Spreading the word

Casey also expressed an interest in bringing more awareness about the drug to the community with the help of the DEA. Kluk said that’s never a bad idea.

Kluk, when speaking with children about the dangers of drugs, said the message to avoid meth can be a powerful one if it’s paired with visual aids and examples. The drug, she said, differs dramatically from plant-based substances such as marijuana or even cocaine, which can seem less threatening to young people.

“When kids see the chemicals that go into this drug and the kind of things it does to your body, you can see on their faces the actual shock of it,” Kluk said. “I think, for a portion of the population, it will prevent them from using or experimenting.”

But should meth continue to grow in popularity and use, Martinko said, something will have to give.

“State police, from a budgetary standpoint, they’re the one affected the most,” Martinko said. “If this really blows up and balloons out, they’re probably going to need more than the few teams they have scattered across the state.”







Police at the University of Louisiana at Monroe arrested two people early Saturday accused of methamphetamine possession.

Jennifer Neitz, 31, of 107 Silver Drive, Monroe, and Gregory Sutton, 47, of 181 Mill Bayou Road, Sterlington, were booked into Ouachita Correctional Center, each on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of methamphetamine. Sutton was also booked on charges of possession of controlled and dangerous substances (subsequent offenses) and obstruction of justice, while Neitz was also booked on charges of having a broken headlight and driving with fog lights on.

Arrest affidavits stated police driving eastbound in the 4200 block of DeSiard Street noticed a vehicle with only one working headlight. They also saw that the vehicle’s bright lights were on.

During a traffic stop, police said the driver, later identified as Neitz, dropped a glass pipe, suspected to have been used for methamphetamine from her lap.

A search of the vehicle revealed a plastic bag with suspected methamphetamine in the driver’s door pocket and under the rear passenger side tire was another container of suspected methamphetamine.

Both Neitz and Sutton admitted to using suspected methamphetamine.

Sutton’s bond on the paraphernalia charge was $500 and Neitz’ bond on the paraphernalia and traffic charges was $800. Other bonds were not set.








A 36-year-old Bryan man was arrested Thursday after police found more than 200 grams of methamphetamine in his car.

Police executed a search warrant Thursday at Ricky Conchola’s Bryan home on Windsor Drive , where they found two guns as well as thousands of dollars in cash and crystal meth in a loose center console of a 1996 Chevy Camaro parked in his garage, according to the arrest report.

Police found meth, guns in man's home, car

Ricky Conchola

Before searching the home, officers had followed Conchola as he drove away from the house and pulled him over for failing to signal a lane change, police said.

He was charged with manufacture and delivery of meth, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison, and driving with an invalid license, a class B misdemeanor.

Because Conchola had been convicted of a felony in 2012, less than five years ago, he was also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

He was released from the Brazos County Jail after posting $68,000 bail.







CONNERSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Indiana State Police are urging elderly residents to become familiar with the dangers of methamphetamine labs and how to spot them in their neighborhoods as law enforcement officials battle the drug’s spread.

Indiana police broke up more than 1,400 meth labs in 2012. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says that’s the third-highest number in the nation.

State police Sgt. John Bowling tells the News-Examiner (http://bit.ly/139rxg7 ) it’s important for older residents to be familiar with what the drug looks like and smells like.

He told a group gathered recently at the Fayette Senior Center recently that many elderly residents have been taken advantage of by grandchildren and other relatives making the drug.







LAKE CHARLES — Calcasieu Parish authorities said 18 people arrested as part of a year-and-a-half-long investigation were funneling “lab quality” methamphetamine into the Lake Charles area. The investigation, dubbed “Operation Havana Speed,” involved several people with ties to horse racing.

The American Press reported the operation’s results were announced this week.

Aqueduct Horse Racing.JPG
Lake Charles police have arrested 18 people, starting on Monday, July 8, believed to be involved with an operation to smuggle methamphetamine into Louisiana from overseas. Lake Charles Police Chief Don Dixon said that most of the arrested suspects had some form of ties to the horse racing industry


On Monday, officers began arresting suspects in Louisiana and Texas. Lake Charles Police Chief Don Dixon said 11 search warrants resulted in the seizure of “pounds” of crystal meth, several weapons and the discovery of three active meth labs.

Of the suspects arrested, most had some tie to horse racing as an owner, a jockey or a trainer. Dixon said. “That seemed to be the central theme,” he said.

Authorities would not say whether any of the suspects were employed by Delta Downs, but no officials at the racetrack were targets of the investigation, Sheriff Tony Mancuso said.

The sting led to the seizure of “assets from the horse-racing industry” as well as a large amount of steroids used on horses, Dixon said.

The information has been turned over to the Louisiana Racing Commission for further investigation.

Representatives from Lake Charles and Vinton police, the sheriff’s office, state police, the Calcasieu Parish district attorney’s office and the Office of Homeland Security participated in the investigation. Other law enforcement agencies were also involved.

Dixon said the suspected leaders of the organization are Mario Barrazacorral, who is being held in Texas; Sergio Reyes Castillo; and Lazaro Perez Cribeiro. Cribeiro and Castillo are being held in the Calcasieu Correctional Center.

The investigation involved numerous undercover buys and many hours of surveillance, including aerial surveillance, Dixon said.

“The investigation determined lab-quality crystal meth was being transported from locations in Texas to the Vinton-Starks area of west Calcasieu Parish,” he said.

One of the subjects of the investigation disappeared in May. The body of Jose Guadaloupe Perez Campos, 34, was pulled from the Neches River in Texas a few days later.

“Once this happened, many of our targets … kind of ceased operations and took off,” Mancuso said. “It posed a problem for us because here we are in the midst of a big drug operation and now we have a possible homicide.”

Mancuso said the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Campos, in the country illegally, were suspicious enough to treat the investigation as a homicide, but that many questions still remain.

He said that while official autopsy results from Jefferson County, Texas, have not been released, preliminary results indicate “the injuries he sustained, possibly in Louisiana, may not have been life-threatening” and he could have been alive when he entered the river.

Mancuso said Campos also had a large amount of drugs in his system, so authorities are trying to determine whether he entered the river on his own — possibly because he was high — or whether someone pushed him in.

There are several suspects, Mancuso said.

“We know foul play in some manner has taken place in Louisiana,” he said. “Is it a homicide or is it an accidental death?”

Dixon said the bust was significant because of the rise of crystal meth in the area over the past few years. He said it has possibly surpassed cocaine as the most prevalent drug in Southwest Louisiana.

“We did not just want to do the little local buys,” Dixon said. “We wanted to find out where these drugs were coming from, and we wanted to smash the distribution rings.”








CINCINNATI — A small town was the center of a big series of arrests Thursday.

At about 6:30 a.m., police served two probable-cause narcotics search warrants in the town of Cincinnati, Iowa. Throughout the day, other arrests were made in Iowa until, as of Friday afternoon, eight Iowans were in custody on felony drug charges.

“It’s one of the biggest [police actions] I’ve been involved in,” said Drug Task Force Officer Brad Ryals.

A release from the Appanoose County Sheriff’s Office said the search found “one-pot” methamphetamine laboratories at two residences along with ingredients involved in the manufacturing process including Coleman fuel, sodium hydroxide and ammonium nitrate.


Top row, L-R Corey Short, Jeffery Horn, Billy Shiltz, James Babb Bottom row, L-R Donald Curtis, Leann Garrison, Steven Garrison, Jerry Horn 



When asked if there would be even more arrests, Ryals acknowledged it was possible.

“We’re still investigating, and we still have leads to follow,” he told the Courier on Friday.

The warrants were served on the residence of Billy Joe Shiltz, 109 LaSalle St., and the residence of Steven Lee Garrison, Jeffery Ryan Horn and James Louis Babb Jr., 501 W. Pleasant St.

Various clues led officers to suspect the two locations were the scenes of drug manufacturing. An example includes, Ryals said, the system in which retailers record purchases of certain cold medicine used in the manufacture of meth. After those clues created enough suspicion with the experts, police started quietly investigating.

“My investigation started in February,” Ryals said.

If there is a message, here, he said, the eight arrests should tell meth users “that we’re watching them, and the public that we’re taking these guys off the street.

“Arrested was one of the homeowners, Shiltz, 48, of Cincinnati, charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, a Class B felony. He also had precursors to making meth. Shiltz is being held in the custody of the Appanoose County Sheriff on a $150,000 cash-only bond.

Horn, 32, of Cincinnati, is accused of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, a Class B felony. Horn is being held on a $100,000 cash-only bond.

Steven Garrison, 25, of Cincinnati, is accused of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, a Class B felony. Garrison is being held on a $100,000 cash-only bond

.Babb, 52, of Cincinnati, is accused of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, a Class B felony. Babb is being held on a $100,000 cash-only bond.

During the course of the investigation, law enforcement personnel also identified Corey Dwayne Short, 29, of Centerville, LeAnn Nicole Garrison, 23, Cincinnati, and Donald Robert Curtis III, 34, of Ames, alleging they are conspirators in the manufacturing process, as they are accused of purchasing pseudoephedrine on a regular, structured basis. Short was arrested at his residence at 703 W. Madison St. in Centerville. Police allege he conspired to manufacture methamphetamine, a Class B felony. Short is being held on a $100,000 cash-only bond.

At the time of Short’s arrest,  LeAnn Garrison, 23, police say, was found to be in possession of marijuana, a serious misdemeanor. Garrison was arrested and transported to the Appanoose County Jail, where she was charged with conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine, a Class B felony. Garrison is being held on a $101,000 cash-only bond.

Curtis was arrested and charged at the Appanoose County Law Center with conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine, a Class B felony. Curtis is being held on a $100,000 cash-only bond.

The latest activity in this case concerned Jerry Lee Horn, 30, of Centerville, charged in the 500 block of Maple Street in Centerville at 7:45 p.m. Thursday. Horn was charged with felony conspiracy to manufacture a controlled substance. He is being held on $100,000 bond. Arrests were made by the Appanoose County Sheriff’s Office, South Central Iowa Drug Task Force, Centerville Police Department, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, Davis County Sheriff’s Office, Southeast Iowa Inter-Agency Drug Task Force and Iowa State Patrol. Cincinnati, population 426, is located between Centerville and the Missouri state line.









A suspected drug trafficker was killed, another arrested and 400,000 methamphetamine pills seized in a clash with police in Chiang Dao district of Chiang Mai on Saturday.

Pol Col Chaiwat Promsook, chief of the Chiang Dao police station, said the gunfight occurred in front of Chiang Dao Witthayakom school when police showed up to arrest the traffickers.

On seeing the police the men opened fire on them. Police fired back and after a brief gunfight, police found the dead body of one man and arrested another.

They also found and seized 400,000 methamphetamine pills, or ya ba, left at the scene. Ya ba can sell for as much as 300 baht a tablet in Bangkok, giving the haul a street value of up to 120 million baht.

Police were hunting for other gang members.







FLIPPIN — On Friday, Flippin Police Department arrested Ronald Vansc, 53, of Yellville  on an outstanding felony warrant for the offenses of two counts of delivery of a controlled substance-methamphetamine  and two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, Class B felonies; and unlawful use of a communication device, a Class C Felony, according to Police Chief Dusty Smith.

In addition to the charges in the warrant,  Vanscoy faces an additional count of delivery of methamphetamine, a Class B felony and unlawful use of a communication device, a Class C felony, Smith said.

The arrest followed a joint investigation by the Flippin Police Department, Marion County Sheriff’s Office and 14th Judicial Drug Task Force.

Smith said during the course of the investigation, undercover officers made purchases of methamphetamine with a street value of approximately $1400. On Friday, officers from each department learned Vanscoy was making another transaction. They located Vanscoy and seized an additional amount of methamphetamine along with $600 cash.

Vanscoy was arrested without incident and transported to Marion County Jail. His bond is set at $30,000, Smith said.









A 60-year-old woman suspected of drug possession was facing possible criminal charges today after deputies pulled her over in Lake Elsinore and found methamphetamine and a scale in her vehicle.

Mindy Raye York of Lakeland Village was pulled over around 4 p.m. Thursday at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Machado Street for a traffic violation, Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. David Cardoza said in a report.

About 1/4 ounce of methamphetamine was found in the vehicle along with prescription medication, narcotics paraphernalia and a digital scale, Cardoza reported.

York was booked at the Southwest Detention Center in French Valley on suspicion of possession for sale of a controlled substance for sale, transportation of a controlled substance and possession of narcotics paraphernalia, according to Cardoza.

She was being held in lieu of $25,000 bail and was due in court in Murrieta on Monday, according to sheriff’s online booking records.







INVERNESS — Officials said three meth labs were discovered in two days in Citrus County.

The first lab was located Thursday at 1:30 at a home on E. Scott Lane in Dunnellon. Detectives said they had received a complaint from the Department of Children and Families regarding the manufacture and use of methamphetamines at the home.

When they arrived at the house, they found the girlfriend of Sean P. Kinney, 50, who was at the home with her teenage daughter. She told deputies that Kinney had just left the house to go to a probationary group meeting, and she allowed the deputies to look around the house, the arrest affidavit said.


Officials said rainwater came into contact with a part of the third meth lab and caused a ‘spontaneous combustion


Deputies said they found a “burn pile” near the house that included burnt remnants from items commonly used to manufacture methamphetamine, as well as the binder from a one-pot operation.

When Kinney returned home, deputies said he admitted to making methamphetamine inside the home two or three times, and that when he  did so, the teenager was never present.  Deputies said Kinney and his girlfriend both admitted to using methamphetamine.

Kinney was arrested on two felony charges. Bond was set at $100,000.  The teenager was removed from the home and placed in the custody of the Department of Children and Families.

The second lab was found at a home on Carl Rose Highway in Hernando, shortly before 11 a.m. Friday.

Five people were arrested at the home: Roger Churchill, 27; Yahaira Acosta, 33; Douglas Sturtz, 32; David Whitley, 36; and Rachelle Baker, 48. All of them are facing felony drug charges.

The final lab was found at a home on East Lake Park Drive in Hernando. No arrests were made as a result of this discovery.

Deputies said that it began to rain while crews were cleaning up the third lab, and one of the hazardous items came into contact with rainwater, causing the item to spontaneously combust. Officials said the unspecified item was small enough to control.

Officials said that so far this year, 52 methamphetamine labs have been discovered and seized in Citrus County.






COPPERAS COVE — Police on Thursday morning arrested a woman suspected of smuggling methamphetamine in her car’s air conditioning vent.

Justice of the Peace Bill Price arraigned Angelica Rose Sager on a charge of possession of a controlled substance, more than 1 gram but less than 4 grams. Price set her bond at $8,000.

Police stopped Sager’s vehicle after an officer noticed it traveling in the 500 block of Meggs Street with a non-functioning license plate light at 2:51 a.m. Thursday.

An officer arrested Sager for driving while her license was invalid and no insurance, stated the arrest affidavit. During an inventory of Sager’s vehicle, a second officer located a silver canister in the driver’s side air conditioning vent.

The canister contained a substance the officer believed to be methamphetamine, the affidavit stated. It field-tested positive as the substance and weighed about 2.6 grams.

In an unrelated incident, police arrested Rebecca Matlenena Mays, who is suspected of stealing more than $3,000 from Walmart.

Price arraigned Mays on Thursday on a charge of theft, between $1,500 and $20,000. He set her bail at $5,000.

According to an arrest affidavit, a Walmart loss prevention officer approached Mays about several thefts between June 3 and June 8 totalling nearly $3,160.

Mays allegedly admitted to the loss prevention officer and Copperas Cove detectives that she took the money, the affidavit stated.







The scene investigators with the West Central Task Force found on Dec. 19 was, unfortunately, one that had been all-too-common in this area the past few years.

Methamphetamine-manufacturing materials were strewn throughout the residence. While there seems to be no typical place to find a meth lab, the fact one popped up in the 2000 block of Hampshire, a quiet neighborhood in the middle of Quincy, opened a lot of eyes.

It wasn’t a pretty picture. Officers found a “shake-and-bake” meth lab, as well as meth-making materials in an upstairs bedroom where two small children lived. When officers went to find a clean diaper to put on one of the children at the home at the time of the raid, they couldn’t find one.

“There wasn’t even a clean diaper in the house. That’s pretty low,” Judge Scott Walden told one of the defendants, Frank J. Mullet, at his sentencing hearing in March.

In another bedroom, more meth-making materials were found. They also found traces of substances believed to be meth. Officers said most of the meth manufacturing happened on the main floor of the residence where a house guest cooked the drug and gave it to the people who ran the house in exchange for rent payments.

The main cook in the operation, Sheldon L. Broome, told investigators he would buy pseudoephedrine pills, a main meth-making ingredient, and trade them for meth or would sell them for between $50 and $100 a box.

Having followed the meth trade for almost a year now and having done a number of interviews with former users of the drug, it is a drug unlike any other. It causes good people to neglect their loved ones, their jobs and their life to get a high they say is like none other they’ve experienced.

Too often, we can judge a book by the cover. We look in the paper, read the headline and see the mug shots and automatically think that these are awful people who deserve to rot in prison. What most of the people who use meth need is help. The need help to get themselves out from under the drug’s pull.

That’s not saying people who do meth don’t deserve to go to prison. Plenty of them deserve to spend time behind bars. One of the five people who were arrested in this case was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Broome took full responsibility for his actions, but he was out on bond from a previous meth case. When you re-offend while out on bond, the chances are pretty good that you’ll go to prison.

Four others who were arrested received various lengths of probation. The case came to a close on Thursday when William J. Mullet, who is Frank Mullet’s son, was sentenced to 36 months probation after he pleaded guilty to unlawful meth manufacturing.

Rita R. Black, who is William Mullet’s girlfriend, received 30 months probation after she also pleaded guilty to unlawful meth manufacturing. Frank Mullet received 30 months probation after he pleaded guilty to unlawful use of property. His girlfriend, Danielle Wolkitt, also received 30 months probation after she pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of meth precursors.

Some of the defendants in the case opened up the last few months. They are all in a better spot now than they were in December. They’re thankful for a second chance and seem to be serious about their recovery.







Jasper — A Jennings couple was arrested and booked into Hamilton County jail on charges of manufacturing methamphetamine and child abuse, according to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. Reports show that on Wednesday, July 10, Bruce Everice Thornton, 62, and Melanie Faith Fields, 41, both residing at 3037 NW 37 Blvd., Jennings, were arrested after an ongoing investigation by the Hamilton County Drug Task Force for operating a meth lab.

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With assistance from Echols County, (Ga.) Sheriff’s Office, the drug task force arrived at the couple’s residence to conduct a “knock and talk” and detected very strong chemical odors that were consistent with the production of methamphetamine. After donning protective masks, officers knocked and Fields opened the door. She was immediately removed from the residence, along with a special needs child, reports state. HCSO said Fields advised officers that Thornton was in the master bedroom lying down. Thornton initially refused to come out of the bedroom, but finally complied and was removed from the residence without incident. Reports further state that all three subjects were decontaminated by Hamilton County Emergency Management and EMS. The special needs child was transported to a Lake City hospital for treatment and the Department of Children and Families was notified. Due to the dangerous risks involved with a meth lab, such as fire or explosion, a protective sweep/search was conducted. Two plastic bottles of cooked meth were located inside the residence and were removed and made safe, authorities said. A further search warrant revealed various meth, smoking devices, gas generators, ammunition, lye and other drug paraphernalia inside the residence. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was notified of the incident. Fields and Thornton were placed under arrest and booked into Hamilton County Jail on $50,000 bond each, according to HCSO. Both subjects were charged with child abuse, possession of narcotic equipment, manufacturing of methamphetamine, and a capital charge of manufacturing 400 grams or more of methamphetamine. Additionally, Fields was being held for the Georgia State Probation Office for a warrant of theft by deception, reports show.







SANTA TERESA, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Border Patrol agents have seized a number of bottles filled with liquid methamphetamine at a checkpoint in southern New Mexico.

Officials say the bust happened Tuesday morning in Santa Teresa. The bottles were found in boxes in the backseat of an SUV that was crossing into the U.S. from Mexico.

The drugs were concealed as hand lotion, but agents used a drug-sniffing dog to find the contraband.

Authorities say the bottles weighed about 14 pounds.

The driver, 51-year-old Diega Holguin of Strasburg, Colo., was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations special agents and taken to the Dona Ana County Detention Facility.







Dunnellon, Florida — A Dunnellon man was arrested Thursday for making methamphetamine at a home he shared with his girlfriend and a 16-year-old child.

 On July 11, deputies were notified about a complaint received by the Department of Children and Families that Sean Kinney and his girlfriend, Cynthia Cummings, were manufacturing and using methamphetamine. Kinney was already on felony probation for manufacturing meth.

When deputies arrived at the home in the 4500 block of E. Scott Lane to investigate the claim, they made contact with Kinney’s girlfriend, Cynthia, and her 16-year-old child. She told the deputies they had just missed Kinney who left to go to a probation group meeting.

Cummings let the deputies to look around the yard as well as the common areas of the house. During a search, they found a burn pile by the house with remnants from methamphetamine manufacturing that included a burnt cold pack container, burnt lithium battery casings which had the lithium removed from them, remnants of a plastic container with remnants of the actual binder from the one pot cook.

When they asked Cummings about what they had found, she told them she didn’t know anything about the manufacturing of meth. At the same time, deputies reached Kinney on the phone and told him to come back to the house.

During a taped interview with Kinney, he reportedly told them he had been doing “a lot better” since his previous arrest, however, he had manufactured meth at the home on two or three occasions. He said during those cooks, the 16-year-old girl was not at the home at the time. He said the only chemicals in the home was a container of lye and some miscellaneous lithium batteries and all of the remnants from the cooks were burned in the burn pile.

When deputies asked about his drug use, he reportedly admitted that since being on probation he used meth about five times. When asked where the Sudafed used in the manufacturing came from, he did not give a clear answer, but it could have possibly come from an associate of Cummings.

In an interview with deputies, Cummings told them she didn’t know anything about Kinney making meth but had her suspicions. She did reportedly admit to using meth frequently by shooting it in syringes and smoking it, and that the last time she used was the night before. She then turned over a meth pipe she had in her bedroom.

Kinney was arrested and charged with manufacturing/possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and violation of probation. He is currently being held on $100,000 bond.

The 16-year-old girl was removed from the home by DCF. It is not known if Cummings was arrested and charged.







BRISTOL, Tenn. – With all the recent discoveries of meth labs around our region we wanted to know just how dangerous these labs can be for people living around them. There have also been many children found inside homes where meth is being made.

In a week’s time, Sullivan County sheriff’s deputies found 50 bottles used to make meth inside a home, along with a marijuana growing lab and a moonshine still, “There is health concerns no question about that,” said Elizabeth Brown who lives near a discovered meth lab.


With all the recent discoveries of meth labs around our region we wanted to know just how dangerous these labs can be for people living around them. There have also been many children found inside homes where meth is being made



Brown lives just a few houses down from where the meth, marijuana, and moonshine were found. After the discovery, she tells us she’s worried about her health and her neighbors’ health, “I’m concerned and I’m also concerned about the fumes and things that we breathe that we probably weren’t even aware that we were breathing them,” adds Brown.

We’ve learned Brown has a good reason to be concerned because the fumes could affect neighbors, depending on a few factors. For example, how much space is between the homes and, if you live in an apartment or townhouse, what’s between your wall and their wall. “It also depends on how much is being made how many chemicals are there, exposure time it all has to be factored in,” says Dr. John Daniel.

What about children found inside the homes? Wellmont Urgent Care doctor John Daniel says little ones are a different story, “It’s the same risk as the meth user because they’re immediately exposed to the chemical components that are being made,” adds Daniel.

So what side effects could kids inside these homes face? “They can have meth mouth the whole 9 yards of weight loss mood changes,” says Daniel.

Meanwhile, Brown tells us after hearing what these chemicals can do to innocent by standers, she says she will be keeping a closer eye on her neighborhood, “If I see any of that yeah I’m going to say something I don’t want it here,” adds Brown.

Police tell us they have been receiving more tips from the public about suspected meth labs. They say that’s important to be able to bring an end to the meth problem and they ask the community to work with them.







RACINE —  Racine police discovered a drug house after the residents in the home stole cable from a vacant house next to it. The owner of the vacant home called police, and police found several drugs including methamphetamine, xanax, hydrocodone, and GHB commonly known as the date rape drug.

According to a criminal complaint, property owner Robert Baran came to his vacant property and saw extension cords running from his home to the neighbors house. He called police who contacted the residents who confessed to police they broke into the vacant home and plugged in extension cords.

Based on suspicions a Racine police officer took a sample from the house’s garbage. That sample tested positive for GHB, the date rape drug.

Police executed a search warrant one week later, and found several baggies of methamphetamine. They also found  large containers with residue testing positive for methamphetamine. Officers also found 64 pills of amphetamine, dextroamphetamine, hydrocodone, and xanax. They also found 32 dropper bottles containing a clear substance that officers believe is GHB. Test results from the crime lab have not been turned in yet.







Two women are behind bars after police found four pot methamphetamine labs in their Middleport home Thursday.

The Meigs County Sheriff says Norma Ratliff, 39, and Ashley Hamilton, 29, were both arrested at 38028 Story’s Run Road.

Both are being charged with illegally manufacturing methamphetamine, a felony of the second degree.

The meth was neutralized by the Middleport Police Department.

Police say Ratliff has a prior conviction from the Meigs County Common Pleas Court from charges stemming from a 2007 methamphetamine lab.

Ashley Hamilton also had an active warrant from Gallia County for illegally manufacturing methamphetamine.






JACKSON, MI – Jackson police were called to a break-in in progress early Friday morning in the 100 block of N. Thompson Street.

While interviewing the victim, police spotted the suspect across the street, and after a short pursuit the suspect was arrested, Jackson Police Lt. Elmer Hitt said.

The officer chased the suspect on foot and had to Taser him in the backyard of a residence, Hitt said.

While searching the area, the officer located a duffel bag belonging to the teen, which appeared to have components of a methamphetamine lab inside, Hitt said.

The teen was arrested for breaking and entering and being in possession of methamphetamine components.







ATWATER, Ohio — The  Portage County Sheriff’s  Office arrested a 27-year-old Atwater man on Thursday as he walked on Waterloo Road carrying a smoking backpack. They  smoking chemicals used to make methamphetamine, other meth manufacturing equipment and a stolen gun inside.


And that was just the beginning.

The arrest was followed by three busts of suspected methamphetamine laboratories in the area by the Portage County Drug Task Force.

Following the arrest of the man with the backpack, agents went to a home on nearby Waterloo Road and arrested a man and woman on suspicion of operating a meth lab with children nearby. The woman had two children, ages 6 and 16, living in the house,  where agents found chemicals and components used in the manufacturing of  methamphetamine.

In a third incident, agents arrested a 20-year-old Ravenna man and an 18-year-old  Rootstown woman on suspicion of manufacturing methamphetamine.

Later, agents arrested a man who police said was making meth at his grandfather’s garage in Ravenna Township.

The Portage County Drug Task Force, after meeting with the prosecutor’s office, will present more evidence to the Portage County grand jury and seek additional charges. Names of the suspects will be released once charges are filed.


Portage County Drug Task Force has members from the Portage County Sheriff’s Office, Portage County Prosecutor’s Office, Aurora, Kent, Ravenna and Streetsboro, Garrettsville, Hiram and Windham, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.







A woman accused of exposing children to methamphetamine while running a daycare will go to prison.
A ruling from a Scott County judge sentences Amanda Taylor to 10 years.
Taylor ran a daycare from her home. Last December police found meth materials there. Taylor faced child endangerment and several other drug related charges and plead guilty.
Parents of the children exposed were in the court room today including the mother of a child who tested positive for high levels of meth. The judge based his ruling on the involvement of children other than Taylor’s own kids.
“This court has trouble getting past the fact that you ignored the safety of the children whose parents entrusted you to care for them,” the judge said.
Taylor will have to serve at least half her sentence before being eligible for parole.
She could try to appeal the decision made today with the Iowa Supreme Court within 30 days.
A woman accused of exposing children to methamphetamine while running a daycare will go to prison.
A ruling from a Scott County judge sentences Amanda Taylor to 10 years.
Taylor ran a daycare from her home. Last December police found meth materials there. Taylor faced child endangerment and several other drug related charges and plead guilty.
Parents of the children exposed were in the court room today including the mother of a child who tested positive for high levels of meth. The judge based his ruling on the involvement of children other than Taylor’s own kids.
“This court has trouble getting past the fact that you ignored the safety of the children whose parents entrusted you to care for them,” the judge said.
Taylor will have to serve at least half her sentence before being eligible for parole.
She could try to appeal the decision made today with the Iowa Supreme Court within 30 days.