THUNDER BAY – It is the first bust in Thunder Bay with the first known seizure of suspected Methamphetamine in Thunder Bay. On August 6, 2013 Drug Enforcement Unit and Guns and Gangs Unit officers arrested two males and executed two Controlled Drug and Substances Act search warrants on residences situated in the 600 block of Strand Avenue and in the 400 block of Piccadilly Street Thunder Bay. This stemmed from an investigation which started with two male suspects who were believed to be trafficking Cocaine in Thunder Bay.

Police officers initially made observations of the 35 year old male who was arrested while in a vehicle located on Strand Avenue. He was in the company of three other occupants. Search of the male and vehicle subsequent to arrest located a loaded 22 caliber handgun. Search of the residences resulted in the seizure of approximately 30 grams of Cocaine, 37 grams marijuana, 520 Methamphetamine pills, and approximately $19,000.00 in Canadian currency. The street value of all drugs seized is approximately $5,340.00. The handgun was previously reported stolen approximately 4 months earlier to police.

Thunder Bay Police Crime Report


Two Suspects Arrested in Drug Bust

Stephan Richard Parr; 35 years of age is facing criminal charges of;

Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking s. 5(2) CDSA
Possession of Methamphetamine for the Purpose of Trafficking s. 5(2) CDSA
Possession of Marijuana s. 4(1) CDSA
Proceeds of Crime exceeding $5,000.00 s. 354(1)(a) CCC
Careless use of a firearm s.86(1) CCC
Unauthorized possession of a firearm s. 91(1) CCC
Possession of unregistered firearm s. 92(1) CCC
Unauthorized Possession of a firearm in a motor vehicle s. 94 CCC
Possession of prohibited weapon s. 117.01(1) CCC
Possession of a loaded restricted firearm s. 95(a) CCC
Possession of restricted firearm obtained by crime s. 96 CCC

Randy Demien Laughlin; 25 years of age is facing the following criminal charges;

Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking s. 5(2) CDSA
Possession of Methamphetamine for the Purpose of Trafficking s. 5(2) CDSA
Possession of Marijuana s. 4(1) CDSA
Proceeds of Crime exceeding $5,000.00 s. 354(1)(a) CCC
Breach of Probation s 733.1(1) x 2 counts

Parr and Laughlin are being held in custody and had court appearances on August 7, 2013. Both have been remanded into custody and will appear in Thunder Bay Court again on Friday August 9, 2013.

The Combined Forces Organized Crime Unit consists of members from The Thunder Bay Police Service, The O.P.P.- Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau, The RCMP, The Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service and The Anishinabek Police Service.


EAGLE PASS — Two teenagers were stopped by U.S. Customs and Border officers at Eagle Pass attempting to smuggle $47, 550 worth of methamphetamines, according to a spokesman.

An 18-year-old Eagle Pass woman and a 15-year-old were driving a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu when they were stopped for routine checks at the Eagle Pass International Bridge I. During the checks it was discovered the car was reported as stolen and there was a missing juvenile report for the 15-year-old.

Two teens stopped trying to smuggle over $40,000 worth of methamphetamines




The 15-year-old was found carrying several packages of methamphetamines weighing a total of 3.17 pounds, according to a press release. She was turned over to Maverick County Sheriff’s office and the 18-year-old will face federal prosecution with Homeland Security.

“It’s not the kind of thing we see very often there,” said a spokesman about the age of the people involved.



CHARLESTON — A woman received prison time when she admitted having methamphetamine ingredients and not registering her address with police as required because of an earlier sex offense conviction.

Michelle N. Decker pleaded guilty to charges of possession of methamphetamine precursor and failure to register as a sex offender and received a three-year prison term, the minimum sentence possible in her case.

Decker, 48, for whom records list an address of an apartment at 1400 Edgar Ave., Mattoon, was accused of obtaining medicine with pseudoephedrine during June and July 2011 to use to make methamphetamine. Prison time was required for that offense with a possible range of three to 14 years.

The other charge alleged she didn’t register her address with police within three days of moving, also in July 2011. Decker also received three years in prison for that offense but the two prison sentences were ordered to run at the same time.

Her registration was required because of her 2003 conviction for sexual assault and abuse convictions for which she served prison time.

Circuit Judge Mitchell Shick also included about $2,000 in fines in Decker’s sentence, which the judge based on a plea agreement that Assistant State’s Attorney Tom Bucher and defense attorney Jeannine Garrett recommended.



CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia law enforcement agencies have seized 332 methamphetamine labs during the first six months of this year, setting a pace that could more than double last year’s number of meth busts.

More than 100 meth labs were found in Kanawha County alone, five times more than in any other county in West Virginia. Wood County had 21 meth busts, followed by Cabell County with 19, Putnam County with 18, and Mason County with 17 labs seized, according to a State Police count released Tuesday.

The sharp increase comes despite a new law designed to curb the proliferation of meth labs.

“The growth of meth labs has been phenomenal,” said Delegate Don Perdue, D-Wayne, who heads the House Health and Human Resources Committee. “It’s a cheap high. It’s the cheapest high they can get.”

Other counties with double-digit meth lab busts include Lewis County with 15 meth labs discovered, and Greenbrier, Boone and Randolph counties, all with 11 seized labs each. Upshur County had 10 meth lab busts so far this year.

Last year, law enforcement agencies shut down 288 meth labs in West Virginia.

During the 2012 legislative session, state lawmakers passed Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s substance-abuse bill, which included a provision that requires statewide electronic tracking of pseudoephedrine, a cold and allergy medication that’s also a key meth-making ingredient. The new law also limits the purchase of pseudoephedrine — better known under the Sudafed or Claritin D brand names — to three boxes per month and 20 per year.

Starting in January, all West Virginia pharmacies started reporting to the “real-time” tracking system — called the National Precursor Log Exchange, or NPLEx.

Despite the computerized system, pseudoephedrine sales remain high. West Virginians have purchased about 44,200 boxes per month of the sinus medication this year, according to data released by Perdue’s office Tuesday.

Kanawha County had the highest number of pseudoephedrine sales, with more than 59,000 boxes sold during the first six months of this year.

“Clearly, the sales of pseudoephedrine are not going down,” Perdue said.

But Bridgett Lambert, executive director of the West Virginia Retailers Association, noted that NPLEx is keeping pseudoephedrine out of criminals’ hands.

The tracking system blocked the sale of 11,635 boxes of the sinus medication since January, according to the report.

In Kanawha County alone, 4,584 boxes were blocked.



WATERLOO — A Waterloo man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for distributing meth in the Mason City area.

Michael Patrick Geraghty, 42, originally faced only 10 years in prison, but Judge Linda Reade added five years because he tried to hire a hit man to kill a confidential informant, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa.

Geraghty was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids. He will have to serve eight years of supervised release following his prison time.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of distributing methamphetamine.

Authorities said Geraghty, who has a prior drug conviction in Black Hawk County from 2007, sold 5 grams of ice meth to an undercover source in Mason City July 3, 2012, and then sold another 5 grams on July 5, 2012.

A grand jury indicted Geraghty in January 2013, and he was arrested in February 2013.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jack Lammers and was investigated by the North Central Iowa Narcotics Task Force, Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Office, Mason City Police Department and Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement.



So far, it appears that West Virginia’s attempt to halt “meth” addiction through pharmacy sales tracking is a flop. The number of meth labs seized by police has doubled since the new tracking system was imposed Jan. 1. The curse of addiction has skyrocketed, especially in Kanawha County.

Two years ago, health crusaders like former state Sen. Dan Foster, D-Kanawha, urged that doctor prescriptions be required for over-the-counter cold remedies such as Sudafed that contain pseudoephedrine. Criminals send stooges to buy armloads of the pills, cook them in homemade methamphetamine labs, then peddle the strong narcotic to pathetic addicts.

But the pharmaceutical industry — which makes fat profits from cold remedy sales feeding the illegal labs — bombarded the Legislature with high-paid lobbyists to obstruct the prescription plan. Instead, they urged West Virginia to join an industry-backed tracking system called the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) that records over-the-counter pill sales at pharmacies.

Various voices warned that NPLEx doesn’t work. West Virginia Wesleyan political professor Robert Rupp said Kentucky used NPLEx and suffered a 250 percent rise in meth labs — while Mississippi and Oregon required prescriptions and enjoyed an 80 percent drop in labs.

But the pharmaceutical lobbyists earned their high pay. The Legislature narrowly scuttled prescriptions and adopted tracking, which began in January.

Since then, results have been dismaying. A total of 332 meth labs were seized in the first half of 2013, compared to 288 in all of 2012. Kanawha County alone accounted for more than 100 of the illegal cookers so far this year.

“The growth of meth labs has been phenomenal,” House Health Chairman Don Perdue, D-Wayne, said. He urged new Attorney General Patrick Morrisey to investigate to learn how much cold remedy medicine is diverted into illegal narcotics. Some national studies estimate the rate as high as 80 percent. But Morrisey — formerly a Washington lobbyist for billion-dollar medical interests — hasn’t replied.

Drugstore operators say NPLEx is helping. Bridgett Lambert of the state retailers association told Statehouse reporter Eric Eyre that the tracking system blocked the sale of 11,635 boxes of cold remedies in West Virginia since January — 4,584 in Kanawha County.

That’s good — but the lab nightmare has doubled, regardless. The Legislature should reconsider prescriptions, and also consider requiring pseudoephedrine to be sold only in gel form, which thwarts meth labs.

Too many West Virginia lives are being destroyed by this ugly narcotic menace.



COTTAGE GROVE — Two California women were arrested this morning near Cottage Grove, after state troopers allegedly discovered a large amount of crystal methamphetamine hidden in their vehicle.

Judith K. Korbler, 41, and Sandra K. Fulton, 47, both of Ontario, Calif., were lodged in the Lane County Jail on charges of unlawful possession and distribution of methamphetamine.

 State troopers said they found about 5 ounces of crystal methamphetamine in an SUV during a traffic stop Wednesday morning near Cottage Grove



A state trooper stopped the suspects’ Chevy sport utility vehicle for speeding northbound on Interstate 5 near Cottage Grove, police said.

Korbler was driving the vehicle at the time of the 10 a.m. traffic stop, police said.

A drug detection dog was called to the scene, and troopers eventually found about 5 ounces of methamphetamine concealed in the SUV, police said.


KENTWOOD, Louisiana — Tangipahoa Parish sheriff’s deputies have arrested two people accused of making methamphetamine at a home in Kentwood.

Deputies say 32-year-old Jason Wilson was booked into the Tangipahoa Parish Jail Tuesday on counts of manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of Schedule II drugs and possession of a firearm while in possession of a controlled dangerous substance.

Thirty-five-year-old Laurel Lindsey Pittman was booked on counts of manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of Schedule II drugs and possession of Schedule IV drugs.

Authorities say Pittman was in the home with her 3-month-old baby.

Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Dawn Panepinto says the infant has been released to a family member.

It was unclear whether Wilson and Pittman have attorneys.



SAN LUIS, Arizona — Federal authorities say Somerton woman is accused of trying to smuggle nearly three pounds of methamphetamine into southern Arizona by concealing it on her body.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Port of San Luis say an SUV driven by 44-year-old Adriana Palencia-Rodriguez was selected for further inspection Monday.

A CBP narcotics detection canine alerted officers to drugs and the SUV and the woman were searched.

During a pat-down search, officers say they found packages in her purse, underneath each breast and in her groin area.

They say the five packages contained 2.75 pounds of methamphetamine worth nearly $43,000.

The drugs and vehicle were seized and Palencia-Rodriguez was turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Authorities didn’t know Wednesday if she has a lawyer.



FREEHOLD – A police sting resulted in the arrest of two Monmouth County residents, said acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni in a Wednesday press release.

Natalie Malave, 26, of Neptune City, and James Francis, 25, of Deal, are each charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine after investigators recovered 4.7 kilograms – more than 10 pounds – of the drug during a month-long probe, Gramiccioni said.

Malave was released after posting $110,000 bail.

Francis is being held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold Township on $110,000 bail no 10 percent option, as set by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Honora O’Brien Kilgallen.

The case was investigated by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotic Strike Force, with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Postal Inspector’s Office, and the Neptune City, Deal, and Long Branch police departments.


CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) – A major meth lab bust in Cleveland. Police find a thriving illegal drug operation while looking for evidence in another case.

While executing a search warrant for evidence at 5819 Bonna Avenue, detectives discovered a meth lab just before 11 p.m. on Monday.

The Cleveland Division of Police Bomb and Narcotics Units were immediately called to the scene to investigate.The scene was secured and cleared before 4 a.m. on Tuesday.

Sources tell 19 Action News that police also found a moonshine operation being run from the house.

Neighbors say the original search police warrant was for items that were recently stolen from a local marina.

“I see them, being neighbors I’m going to see the people anyway, but what they were doing over there, I don’t know because I like to mind my own business, it’s safer,” said neighbor Johnny Battey.

“Yeah, there’s always kids running around, so that’s bad,” another neighbor added. “Anything can happen. Yeah, we get off work and there’s kids running down the street all the time, so it’s scary just to know we walk by it every day.”

No word on any arrests at this time.



Tennessee municipalities seeking to help law enforcement with its war on methamphetamine are finding themselves running up against a brick wall: their own state and some conservative lawmakers.

Since the first of the year, seven cities in the region have passed ordinances requiring a doctor’s prescription for pseudoephedrine-based cold and allergy medicines — the main ingredient in home-cooked methamphetamine. Six more area cities are in the process of passing such an ordinance, and law enforcement officials are courting 25 across the state.

Nasal decongestant pills containing 30mg of pseudoephedrine hydrochloride are a key ingredient in the manufacturing of methamphetamine, known commonly as meth.

Nasal decongestant pills containing 30mg of pseudoephedrine hydrochloride are a key ingredient in the manufacturing of methamphetamine, known commonly as meth

The medicines currently are available over the counter, and current state law requires buyers of the cold and allergy remedies to show a photo ID and sign a logbook that is submitted to the state. People may not buy more than 3.6 grams of pseudoephedrine per day or more than 9 grams over 30 days.

Law enforcement officials have said for years this strategy is not enough to blunt the meth trade. They say buyers called “smurfers” circumvent those laws by traveling from town to town or even state to state to stay ahead of record-keeping and purchasing limits.

In 2012, about 748,000 of Tennessee’s 6.4 million residents bought a product that contains pseudoephedrine, state records showed. About half the purchases were diverted to make meth, officials said.

So law enforcement has taken its case and pleas for help to cities, asking them to pass ordinances to require prescriptions in their communities. They say the addition of municipal ordinances answers a lack of action from state lawmakers who’ve declined to require the medications to be prescription-only — something drug companies have resisted.

But some conservatives question the validity of city rules that go after retailers and doctors.

Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mount Juliet, said in an opinion piece published July 2 in The Tennessean that a prescription law is wrongheaded and “places a massive burden on law-abiding citizens.”

In a column in July on the Free Press editorial page, she wrote: “Prescription legislation for pseudoephedrine is not a good policy choice for Tennesseans. At its core, it is a penalty for honest people who depend on affordable medicine to treat their common cold and allergy symptoms.”

Beavers, who faces a re-election year in 2014, has reported that health companies contributed just over a third of the $47,184 in donations in her 2012 war chest, according to

In her Free Press column, she cited a recent Drug Enforcement Administration statement that more than 80 percent of our country’s meth comes from Mexico, so: “Domestic restrictions on pseudoephedrine sales will do nothing to affect this supply. Nor will such laws affect demand.”

Winchester, Tenn., police Chief Dennis Young disagrees, noting there is a second cartel of local cooks and smurfers. He is one of the state’s law enforcement officials pushing for city help.

“This legislation is the only successful evidence-based strategy that has ever been effective and sustainable in the nation. It’s time,” he wrote last week in a letter to the Times editorial page.

Mike Taylor, district attorney in the 12th Judicial District of Bledsoe, Franklin, Grundy, Marion, Rhea and Sequatchie counties, also supports local ordinances.

“There’s no question it has a beneficial impact,” he said. “Seizing labs and charging people is reactive, but this is proactive because you curtail their ability to get the ingredients.”

Taylor would take a step further. He says a more effective approach would be restrictions across the country.

Instead, a Tennessee advisory service is indicating cities may not, because of federal law, impose any additional regulations on the drug, and Manchester city officials are waiting for an opinion from the state attorney general’s office.



ABERDEEN, Ohio | Police in Aberdeen recently turned over an alleged methamphetamine lab case to Brown County officials.

According to Aberdeen Police Chief Greg Caudill, on Aug. 2 his office received a tip that a suspect on a warrant was staying at McCann’s Motel, in the village.

Caudill, along with APD Officer Matt Disney investigated and confirmed that Amanda Hacker, 33, was staying at the motel, along with Matthew Gaunce, 36.

Amanda Hacker 

With cooperation of motel owners, Hacker and Gaunce were located and arrested, Caudill said.

During the incident, materials that could have been used to manufacture methamphetamine were discovered on the site, Caudill said.

“Some appeared to be used, like (methamphetamine) had already been made,” Caudill said.

Gaunce and Hacker are in Brown County Detention Center.

Hacker is charged with illegal assembly of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs and has a $50,000 cash/surety bond.

Gaunce is charged with illegal manufacture of drugs and has no bond set.

Due to the dangerous nature of such possible lab sites, Caudill turned the investigation over to the Brown County Sheriff’s Office.

“They have the resources to handle the clean-up,” Caudill said.



Brooks Co, GA – It’s the biggest drug bust in Brooks County, Georgia in at least 30 years.

Brooks County Deputies arrested 70 year old Clarence Edmondson for suspicion of cooking methamphetamine on his property on Moultrie Highway, just outside Quitman city limits, until Deputies put a stop to it Monday afternoon.

They say Edmondson is the meth king pin of Brooks County. His arrest will choke off the supply to smaller drug dealers in the area.

“It spreads out to who they’re distributing to and it branches out from there. But when you cut off the main supply, you cut off all these other little branches also,” said Brooks County Sheriff Mike Dewey.

Neighbors we talked to said they never suspected any of this was going on. Edmondson is a landlord for several surrounding properties, including for Daphney Walker’s sister.

“He’s very nice. The times I’ve seen him he’s always waving. Very sweet,” said Walker.

Edmondson is in the Brooks County Jail. He’s charged with several felonies including conspiracy to manufacture crystal meth. He has been denied bond.




 Brooks Co. sees biggest ever Meth bust

QUITMAN, GA (WALB) – The biggest meth bust Brooks County investigators have ever seen landed a convicted felon behind bars.

It took multiple agencies two days to pack up the elaborate meth operation that was all housed in old hog barns.

Officials say this is the biggest operation they’ve ever seen. And the man taking all the heat, 70-year-old Clarence Edmondson, who was once convicted of trafficking marijuana.

Neighbor Daphney Walker says he’s a well known land owner in the area, and her landlord. “I was shocked, very shocked, surprised. And then to find out actually who was involved, the rent man, that’s just really scary right now.”

DEA agents, and a clandestine lab task force out of Atlanta removed multiple 500 gallon tanks of chemicals and many other cooking materials. Brooks Co. Sheriff Mike Dewey called this “One of the largest that I’ve ever even heard of.”

Dewey says they now have the area’s major supplier of meth out of the business. “He was putting a lot of meth out there on the streets.”

Dewey says they’ve had their eye on Edmondson for years but only when a recent detailed tip came in were they able to get a search warrant. And During the raid Monday afternoon they found Edmondson working inside one of his barns.




Edmondson is charged with conspiracy to manufacture meth, possession of meth, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Officials say more charges are pending and more arrests may be coming. Edmondson is in the Brooks County jail without bond.


LOS ANGELES, (UPI) — Authorities in Los Angeles said they broke up a drug-trafficking alliance involving a drug cartel, a venerable street gang and the notorious Mexican Mafia.

Two federal grand jury indictments led to a series of arrests in the Los Angeles area Tuesday targeting the Florencia 13 gang and the La Familia Michoacana cartel as well as members of the Mexican Mafia.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles said the indictments alleged the Mexican Mafia had struck a deal with La Familia to give the cartel direct access to the street-level drug-dealing activities of Florencia 13.

“We have demonstrated our ability to stop the Mexican Mafia from realizing a new power base by disrupting the gang’s plot to establish an alliance with a major drug trafficking organization,” U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte said in a written statement.

The statement said the Mexican Mafia directed the Florencia 13 drug business. Some Mexican Mafia leaders, in fact, began their criminal careers with Florencia 13, which the statement described as “one of the largest, most powerful and oldest street gangs in Southern California.”

Mexican Mafia leaders allegedly struck a deal with La Familia to give the cartel “free rein” to sell meth throughout Southern California and also provide protection for La Familia members in U.S. prisons. In return, La Familia provided the Mexican Mafia with a piece of the action and discounted prices on wholesale meth and marijuana.

The street gang provided protection for La Familia members and their products in the United States and also provided muscle for debt collection, the indictment alleged.



When police announced the seizure of $1 million worth of methamphetamine in Douglas County earlier this week, the case was remarkable because it was the largest meth bust ever in the area.


But, though it often goes unremarked, large amounts of cash, drugs, and guns have been seized from homes in Lawrence in previous cases by a special unit within law enforcement tasked with such investigations.


The details and scope of the raids are typically shrouded from public view, but court documents show that local drug enforcement officers have carried out at least six search warrants on Lawrence residences over the past year, in which they seized about $70,000 in cash, as well as 10 guns.


As in the case of last week’s high-dollar methamphetamine seizure, authorities typically decline to discuss the operations of the Douglas County Drug Enforcement Unit, citing the protection of undercover officers and the needs of long-term investigations, according to Sgt. Trent McKinley, a Lawrence Police Department spokesman.


When the unit’s police officers and sheriff’s deputies seize drugs and cash in the course of such investigations, they often do not immediately arrest suspects or make any information public. Instead, it could be months or years before the police action results in a major federal case.


Until then, much of the unit’s activities will be closed to public view, as investigative documents supporting search warrants and arrests are not open records in Kansas, unlike elsewhere in the country. Some of these raids become public record when charges are filed, or when the drug enforcement unit makes a civil case in Douglas County District Court to seize cash that officers confiscated as alleged drug proceeds.


Money, guns and drugs


Among the larger cases this year, the unit seized $23,866 in cash from an apartment in the 900 block of Indiana St. on Feb. 7 after searching the residence on suspicion of marijuana dealing, according to court documents. One man at the residence is now facing a felony charge involving the alleged drug proceeds.


In some cases, as in the seizure a year ago of $7,402 in alleged marijuana-dealing proceeds, plus a Sig Sauer 40-caliber handgun, from a home in the 1300 block of E. 13th St., charges may be filed locally and dropped. In other cases, charges aren’t immediately filed even when the evidence appears to be compelling.


During a search of a residence in the 2600 block of W. Sixth St. this past December, officers discovered two pounds of ecstasy and methamphetamine and seized two handguns along with $9,274 in cash. A man and a woman living at the residence have not been arrested or charged, but the Kansas Department of Revenue did serve both of them with a tax warrant demanding $356,400 in unpaid taxes on alleged marijuana dealing.


Elsewhere in Douglas County this year, the unit seized $5,929 and a 9mm handgun after confiscating $12,762 in cash and seven guns, including shotguns, rifles and handguns, from unidentified locations last November.


According to state law, the investigating agency that seized the property keeps it, if the case is not contested in court, as in these examples. The agency is first required to publish notice of the seizures in the local newspaper of record, as the Douglas County unit does in the Journal-World.


Watching and waiting


Whether some of these cases might be part of a much larger case isn’t known, and authorities prefer not to comment on ongoing investigations. Some, like a Lawrence resident caught with $25,376 in cash at his home in the 1300 block of Jana Drive in 2011, might spend nearly two years in court before pleading no contest to possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.


Other cases, like last week’s seizure of almost 25 pounds of methamphetamine, could be part of a larger drug investigation meant for federal prosecution. Last year, an investigation by local and federal law enforcement went on for more than a year before leading to the arrests and convictions of several Lawrence residents in an alleged marijuana ring linking Lawrence with Northern California. That case still is ongoing in federal court.


Often, the delay in such cases stems from investigators’ hope that suspects, once implicated in a criminal case, will cooperate with authorities in hopes of reduced sentences or favorable plea agreements.


In the meantime, any drug dealers associated with such activities can only do the same as the rest of us: wait to see what happens.





GULFPORT — Authorities said they found nearly 8 pounds of meth in a pickup truck after Harrison County deputies noticed suspicious behavior and asked to search a couple’s vehicle.

Federal court papers show the couple appeared to be overly nervous, and the driver said she and her male companion were going on vacation to a casino in Mobile.

Mobile does not have casinos.

Records show that statement, their shaky hands and the discovery of a piece of compressed marijuana in their pickup truck led to a search and the arrests of Claudia Elizabet Villagomez, 32, and Rodolfo Garcia Quitanilla, 31.







Compressed marijuana is a compact, brick-like form known to be used by drug couriers because it takes up less space than fluffy bags of pot.

A search of the 2003 Chevrolet Silverado found no marijuana, but four packages of a substance that field-tested positive for meth, court papers show.

They were arrested on suspicion of being in the U.S. without authorization and are held pending a grand jury review of a complaint alleging they conspired to distribute meth.

A Homeland Security Investigations agent has testified the meth was hidden between the truck’s headliner and roof.

The couple was arrested in a traffic stop on a hazardous driving violation July 31 on Interstate 10 near Pass Christian. They were heading east.

Federal marshals brought them to court Tuesday for hearings before Magistrate Judge Robert H. Walker.

Through an interpreter, the couple waived their rights to a detention hearing and a preliminary hearing. Walker ordered them returned to custody to await the action of a grand jury review.




An undercover operation with methamphetamine purchases arranged at a Cedartown business led to the arrest of three Rome residents, according to police.

The Polk County Drug Task Force (PCDTF) made the arrests Friday, Aug. 2, on the lot of a business on Highway 27 in Cedartown. Police are not disclosing the name of the business.

According to a task force press release, the arrests were the result of suspects communicating with and conspiring with an undercover officer to purchase methamphetamine.

Jorge Luis Morales, 29, of 103 Asbury Drive N.W. Apt. No. 1, Rome, faces charges of methamphetamine, conspiracy to possess methamphetamine and driving on a suspended license.

Jason Ed Tudor, 33, of 113 Albert Ave. N.W., Rome, was charged with conspiracy to possess methamphetamine.

Felisha McCormick Payne, 36, of 114 Albert Ave. N.W. Rome, faces charges of criminal attempt to possess methamphetamine and use of a communication device to facilitate a drug transaction.

The Polk County Drug Task Force encourages anyone with drug related information to please contact the Polk County DTF at 678-246-5134. All information will be held in confidence. The Polk County Drug Task Force would also like to thank the Polk County Police Departments K-9 Unit for the additional assistance that was provided during this operation.


FAIRBURY — Officers descended on what is believed to be the largest methamphetamine lab operation in the Fairbury area in more than a decade Tuesday morning, discovering components of up to 70 different labs dating back to 2008.

David G. Stenson, 43, was arrested on suspicion of manufacturing of a controlled substance, distribution of a controlled substance and five other felonies Tuesday after an investigation spanning July and August into the production of methamphetamine.

David G. Stenson

According to a press release by the Fairbury Police Department, officers executed a search warrant on the property, located at 1528 Garber Heights in northeast Fairbury, just after 7 a.m. Tuesday.

During the search, methamphetamine was located as well as several components used in the production of methamphetamine including anhydrous ammonia and pseudophedrine tablets. A 12-gauge shotgun was also found in the home.

Officers also found a suspected meth lab in the middle of production, the press release states.

The amount of meth that could have been produced at the home is unknown at this time, Fairbury Police Chief Chad Sprunk said, but other evidence found on the property indicated Stenson may have been producing the highly addictive drug as early as 2008.

“We found receipts in the shed that showed components of a meth lab being purchased as early as 2008,” Sprunk said. “We’re not sure exactly how long it was active, but going off the components that were located, it was a large number of times meth was produced at the residence.”

Approximately 70 gas generators — common plastic pop bottles — used in the production of methamphetamine were found on the property, Sprunk said, with one pop bottle being used each time methamphetamine was produced.

In all, the site is believed to be the single largest meth lab discovered in Fairbury since 2002.

Two meth lab technicians with the Fairbury Police Department were on scene to collect evidence, while Fairbury Fire and Rescue was also on the scene.

Public Health Solutions was also contacted to post warning flyers on the home and secure outbuildings on the property, the press release states.

Victoria Johnson, who is staying with her family next door to Stenson’s home, said she awoke to law enforcement and rescue vehicles parked in the street.

“I woke up and there was 5-6 cops, a fire truck and ambulance in the street,” Johnson said. “They said the guy who was living over there was running a meth lab.”

Johnson said she was surprised to learn the police were targeting Stenson, saying her younger brothers played basketball on a hoop outside Stenson’s home and her grandparents would talk to the man.

“He would make conversation every once in awhile but that was about it,” Johnson said.

Another neighbor declined to comment, stating only that Stenson is a “friendly” man and the allegations against him were “shocking.”

Sprunk said Stenson is the only suspect in the meth production at this time, but added the investigation is ongoing.

“I’m not sure if he’s the only one doing this, apparently he was flying under the radar for quite some time,” Sprunk said. “There are no others at this time, but we’ll see what comes out at the end of the investigation.”

Stenson was charged with a total of seven felonies including: manufacturing a controlled substance and delivery of a controlled substance, both class I-D felonies; possession of methamphetamine, possession of a firearm during a drug crime, possession of anhydrous ammonia with intent to manufacture methamphetamine; possession of pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine and failure to pay drug tax stamp, all class IV felonies.

Stenson was arrested and taken to the Jefferson County Jail where he is being held without bond.



LENOIR NC — A hunt for ghosts and a call for help ended with three men in trouble Monday night and charged with making methamphetamine.

According to a news release from the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, it all started when Sonny Clay Hyatt, 39, of 303 Laurel Street in Hudson, called 911 in the middle of the night and told a dispatcher he was lost deep in the woods off Goat Farm Road in the Baton community. Deputies responded to the area and used the GPS coordinates from Hyatt’s cell phone to locate and bring him out.

Other than being slightly dehydrated, scratched up, and a little distraught from the long hike through the woods, deputies suspected there was more going on and began questioning Hyatt. He said he and two other friends, Thomas Glenn Imler Jr., 38, of 2746 Corral Lane in Lincolnton, and Eric John Schmidt, 31, of 1004 Falcon Court in Lenoir, decided to go walking in the woods off Goat Farm Road because of the haunted tales, but eventually ended up lost and separated from each other, according to the release.

Hyatt, Sonny

Sonny Hyatt

Imler, Thomas

Thomas Imler

Schmidt, Eric

Eric Schmidt


As deputies were talking with Hyatt, several text messages came to his cell phone that said Imler and Schmidt had found their way out and caught a ride back to Hyatt’s apartment, the release said.

The deputies, still not convinced of his story, got Hyatt to admit that he and his friends had been using methamphetamine. The deputies also learned that a possible meth lab could be at Hyatt’s home. Sheriff’s Office ICE agents and special agents with the SBI were called in to help with the investigation, the release said.

Hyatt gave officers consent to search his apartment, where they found and seized a “one-pot shake and bake”-style meth lab and other precursor chemicals used to make meth. Schmidt and Imler were also found inside the residence and taken into custody without incident, according to the information from the Sheriff’s Office.

A handwritten recipe for making meth was found in Imler’s shorts pocket.

A chemist with the SBI also responded to the scene to help process and safely discard of the lab, the release said.

The lab was capable of producing up to 2.5 grams of meth each cook. ICE Agents conducted research into the NPLEX (National Precursor Log Exchange) Log and discovered that one of the suspects had recently been buying ephedrine products. Another suspect said he had been denied a purchase. Ephedrine is one of the key ingredients needed to make meth, the release said.

The release said the three men had gathered all the necessary ingredients to cook meth and, fearful of being caught doing it at the apartment, decided to go into the woods off Goat Farm Road. Hyatt drove them using Schmidt’s car, and they walked deep into the woods during the night looking for a place to start the process.

“The suspects, being fairly inexperienced, caused the cook to fail and got into an argument over it,” the release said. “They went their separate ways with Imler and Schmidt taking what was left of the lab and equipment with them.”

Imler and Schmidt found their way out and called another friend who gave them a ride back to Hyatt’s apartment, taking the meth lab with them. Each suspect had a different role in the cook and all three were arrested on meth-related charges, the release said.

“You hear every excuse imaginable,” said Caldwell Sheriff Alan C. Jones. “These criminals would have us believe they were looking for paranormal activity in the woods at night and simply got lost. We didn’t fall for that story at all.”

Hyatt, Imler and Schmidt were each charged with one count of felony manufacture methamphetamine and one count of felony possession of methamphetamine precursor chemicals. They were taken to the Caldwell County Detention Center and each placed under a $50,000 secured bond. Their first appearance in district court is set for Thursday in Lenoir.

Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office said they are always in search of any information involving the use and distribution of illegal controlled substances. Information and assistance will be kept confidential. If you have any information concerning illegal drug activity in Caldwell County, contact the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office ICE Unit at 828-757-1178; Lenoir Police Department’s Narcotics Division at 828-757-2145; or Caldwell County Crimestoppers at 828-758-8300.




Fake ghost hunting story leads to meth lab bust

CALDWELL COUNTY, N.C. — A fake story about ghost hunting led Caldwell County deputies to discover a meth-making operation in the woods, according to WCNC-TV.

Sonny Clay Hyatt, 39, allegedly called 911 Monday, saying he was lost in the woods.

The caller said he was investigating ghost stories with two friends when he somehow became separated from the group.

Deputies reportedly used his cell phone signal to track him down to the woods off Goat Farm Road.

Caldwell County deputies found the suspect and started questioning him further, saying they suspected more to his story.

Hyatt eventually told authorities that the ghost story was made up. He said he and two friends were in the woods, but they were actually trying to make meth. He said they were afraid to do it at his apartment.

Three people were arrested after a made-up story about ghost hunting led authorities to find a meth lab.

Three people were arrested after a made-up story about ghost hunting led authorities to find a meth lab.



The suspects allegedly got into an argument involving meth and left separately, leaving Hyatt alone in the woods.

Deputies said they later found meth-making material inside Hyatt’s apartment. All three suspects were arrested.

Hyatt, along with 38-year-old Thomas Glenn Imler Jr. and 31-year-old Eric John Schmidt, were all charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and possessing methamphetamine precursor chemicals.

Deputies booked them into the Caldwell County Detention Center on $50,000 bonds. They all have court planned for Thursday.


PADUCAH, Ky. (8/6/13) – Detectives with the McCracken County Sheriff’s Department Drug Division has been actively receiving tips alleging that Joe Kent Elliott of Old Lovelaceville Road was involved in the illegal sale of crystal methamphetamine.

Detectives began investigating the allegations and during the course of the investigation they located Michael Reese of Metropolis, Illinois. Detectives found Reese, 43 years old, to be in possession of Methamphetamine, Lortab and Methamphetamine paraphernalia on 08/05/2013 at approximately 5:45 pm. He was eventually lodged in the McCracken County Regional Jail for Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Lortab and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

In continuing their investigation, detectives obtained and executed a search warrant at 10575 Old Lovelaceville Road on 08/05/2013 at approximately 9:30pm. Kent Elliott was located in the driveway of the residence. A search of the property revealed quantities of both methamphetamine, powder cocaine and other controlled substances. The items were hidden inside magnetic containers which were concealed from normal view. Detectives also located quantities of Amphetamines, Hydrocodone, and Xanax, as well as methamphetamine paraphernalia. Money, believed to proceeds from illegal drug sales, was also seized.

In close proximity to the methamphetamine and cocaine were several firearms. In total, three handguns and four long guns were seized from the residence.

Elliott, 55-years-old, was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Cocaine, two counts of Possession of Controlled Substance 2nd Degree, Possession of Controlled Substance 3rd Degree, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Due to the close proximity of the firearms, the charges were firearm enhanced, carrying a greater penalty under law.

The investigation is ongoing at this time.



IDAHO FALLS — Megan L. Sasinouski, 24, of Iona, was arrested last Friday and charged with possession of methamphetamines, possession of drug paraphernalia, as well as obstructing and resisting an officer.

In addition, authorities indicated that Sasinouski was wanted in connection with a probation violation.

According to the Idaho Falls Police report, officers contacted Sasinouski around 7:45 p.m. in the 200 block of Houston Circle at her place of employment. They were there to serve her with a Bonneville County issued warrant.

Megan L. Sasinouski


While being placed under arrest, she reportedly attempted to flee from police.

Officials say she was found to be in possession of syringes that contained methamphetamines and that the total weight of the liquid methamphetamines was 4.87 grams.

Sasinouski was taken to the Bonneville County.



BULLOCH COUNTY, GA  – Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office has arrested and charged three people who were manufacturing methamphetamine at a residence in the 2000 block of Pulaski Road.

23-year-old Brittany Darlene Black, 21-year-old Dylan Chase Edwards and 22-year-old Frank Robert Black Jr. were taken into custody and transported to Bulloch County jail.



A deputy was called to the house on Saturday, August 3 after a woman complained she had to remove her grandchildren because her daughter was manufacturing the drug there.

The deputy confirmed the complaint and called investigators with the Bulloch County Drug Suppression team to process the scene.

Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Anderson encourages citizens with knowledge of drug activity to call the Sheriff’s Office immediately at (912) 764-8888.



LAWRENCE, Kansas — Authorities in Douglas County say they’ve seized 25 pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $1 million.

Lawrence police tell 6News Lawrence ( ) the seizure was made last week. Few other details about the case were released Monday because the investigation continues.

Police Sgt. Trent McKinley says authorities believe the meth came from Mexican producers and was meant for distribution in Douglas County. He says cash, cocaine, other drugs and a handgun were also seized.

The evidence is being turned over to federal agents.



MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (8/6/13) – Meth in Muhlenberg County continues to be a problem as indicated recently in the local news. The community feels the impact of the meth epidemic in many ways – economically, environmentally, morally, socially, and perhaps in other ways.

Some residents are finding that the drug is sometimes closer to their home or property than they would have initially believed. Because of the popularity of the drug, it may be found in an obvious area. It may also be found in areas that would be completely unsuspected. It has been found in the trunk of cars, in boats, in attics, barns, outbuildings, under sinks, on top of kitchen stoves, in brush piles, huddled next to tombstones, buried in the ground and in nearly every place that one might imagine. It is important for residents to be aware of the possibility that meth may be nearby. This week I will discuss some warning signs that may serve as an indicator of the presence of methamphetamine manufacturing.

When a cook (one who manufactures meth) is putting the lab together, several chemicals will most likely be used. The ingredients used for making meth vary, depending on the cook’s recipe. The method that is most common to this area usually involves anhydrous ammonia, starting fluid, ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, lithium battery acid, and drain opener. Other ingredients may also be used. Starting fluid and anhydrous ammonia produce a pungent odor; even before they are mixed they may be easily detected when not properly contained. Some report that when meth is cooking the smell resembles cat urine, while others simply refer to the smell as a sharp chemical, or gas-type odor. If you smell an unusual odor that you feel might be meth related, it is extremely important for it to be reported to authorities as soon as possible.

In addition to smelling a possible meth lab, it is also very common for residents or property owners to find the remains of a meth lab. Many hunters, fishermen, and other outdoor enthusiasts are also reporting lab site findings. There are several items that might mean meth is being made, or has been made, in an area. Starting fluid cans are often present; while sometimes there may be just one found, oftentimes the cans may be found in piles of three or more. The cans will usually have a hole in the bottom where the fluid was extracted.

The lab itself may simply be a glass or plastic jar; however, sometimes other containers are used as well. The container may hold residue, including crushed ephedrine pills. Most labs will have what cooks call “smoker bottles” somewhere in the vicinity (the bottles may be large jugs or 2-liter soda bottles). The most common bottle in our county seems to be a smaller soda bottle –either 16 or 20 ounces. This bottle or jug will most likely have a tube coming out of the top of it, which is used in the final phases of the manufacturing process. Like many of the findings at a lab site, these bottles should be considered toxic and should not be handled by the general public.

Following is a list of other items you might see at a site where meth is being made. This list is not conclusive: coffee filters, salt, salt shakers, plastic baggies, rubber or plastic tubing, duct tape, propane tanks, black spray paint (sometimes used for concealing equipment), drain opener bottles (often red in color, esp. Liquid Fire brand), plastic gloves, aluminum foil, signs of lithium batteries and/or remains of packages that contained cold/allergy pills.

Meth labs are extremely dangerous, and the remains can be potentially dangerous also. For example, propane tanks or coolers that contain anhydrous ammonia can be very dangerous and should only be handled by trained professionals. If you see what you believe is a meth lab, or the remains of a lab, please contact authorities. You may do so by calling 338-2000. If you would like to see a photo of a meth lab or any of the items mentioned, please go to the Muhlenberg County Sheriff Department’s Facebook page.

SurfKY News
Information provided by Sheriff Curtis McGehee