Oconee County sheriff’s deputies made 11 arrests in a pre-Halloween operation that sought 26 people for various drug and child neglect charges.

The arrests come as part of the sheriff’s office’s Operation Infinity and included officers from the Seneca Police Department.

Sheriff Mike Crenshaw said the arrests are part of an ongoing effort to target his county’s drug problem. Fifteen people are still wanted by the sheriff’s office.



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Those arrested:

Matthew Blake Sosby, 30, of Westminster, was charged with unlawful neglect of a child.

Jon Conner Wacaster, 19, of Salem, was charged with distribution of methamphetamine.

Bobby Errol Kimbrell, 42, of Seneca, was charged with distribution of methamphetamine.

Danny Dewayne Orr, 42, of Seneca, was charged with distribution of methamphetamine.

Tammy Renee Cobb, 45, of Seneca, was charged with distribution of marijuana and distribution of Xanax.

Kenneth Daniel Jones, 24, with no fixed address, was charged with unlawful neglect of a child.

April Chantley Poole, 39, of Seneca, was charged with two counts of unlawful neglect of a child.

Audrey Sosby, 19, of Westminster, was charged with unlawful neglect of a child.

Nicole Sosby, 21, of Westminster, was charged with unlawful neglect of a child.

Jonathan Ryan Price, 22, of Westminster, was charged with unlawful neglect of a child.

Kelley Morehead, 31, of Westminster, was charged with distribution of a prescription drug.

Those still sought:

George William Stein Jr., 29, of Seneca, has been charged with unlawful neglect of a child.

Jennifer Marie Stein, 30, of Walhalla, has been charged with unlawful neglect of a child.

Kenneth Tyler Singleton, 28, of Westminster, has been charged with unlawful neglect of a child.

Nicki Lyn Singleton, 26, of Westminster, has been charged with unlawful neglect of a child.

Leslie Weaver Campbell, 42, of Westminster, has been charged with unlawful neglect of a child.

John Scott Vassey, 41, of Seneca, has been charged with two counts unlawful neglect of a child.

Josh Hank Cope, 23, with no fixed address. has been charged with unlawful neglect of a child.

Brandy Lee Ratteeree, 22, with no fixed address, has been charged with unlawful neglect of a child.

Stacey D. Walraven, 25, with no known address, has been charged with unlawful neglect of a child.

Kristina Amber Rogers, 32, of Fair Play, has been charged with unlawful neglect of a child.

Patrice Ann Johnson, 30 of Seneca, has been charged with two counts of unlawful neglect of a child.

Miguel Antonio Oliver, 41, of Central, has been charged with unlawful neglect of a child.

Dexter Lamar Mathis, 27, of Seneca, has been charged with two counts of distribution of cocaine.

Matthew Kyle Swafford, 23, of Seneca, has been charged with distribution of methamphetamine.

Marcus Derrel Whitner, 28, of Westminster, has been charged with two counts of distribution of methamphetamine.







Willard F. Campbell Jr., 47,STAUNTON – As expected, a judge on Thursday upheld a life sentence recommended by a Staunton jury earlier this year for a man who raped a 12-year-old girl.

And then the defendant threatened his attorney before bailiffs quickly ushered him out of the courtroom and into a holding cell.

Willard F. Campbell Jr., 47, of Staunton, was convicted in March on charges of rape and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The jury recommended life in prison, which under Virginia law is mandatory because Campbell was over the age of 18 and his victim was under the age of 13.

On Thursday, Campbell, who already served a previous prison stint for sex crimes committed in Augusta County, continued to claim his innocence. Although he admitted plying the victim with alcohol, he said, “I did not rape that kid.”

He also blamed his attorney, William Little II, even though Little filed a motion for a mistrial after being told by Campbell’s family members that a juror was nodding off during the trial. Judge Charles Ricketts III denied the motion.

Little will also appeal the case before resigning as Campbell’s attorney.

After Ricketts upheld the jury’s life sentence, the handcuffed Campbell pointed a finger at Little and threatened him.

Evidence at the trial showed the girl consumed several shots of whiskey with her friend and Campbell the night she was sexually assaulted at a Staunton home in June 2013. The victim testified she woke up to Campbell raping her, then she passed out.

The victim’s friend testified that when she awoke, she found the 12-year-old wearing no clothing beneath the waist. The victim had also vomited on herself, according to testimony.

After being arrested, Campbell told police he was high on methamphetamine on the night in question, but initially denied providing alcohol to the 12-year-old girl. He later admitted to giving her liquor.

A sexual assault nurse from Augusta Health testified in Staunton Circuit Court that the victim had signs of trauma to her vaginal area. However, Campbell’s DNA was not found on the girl.

Campbell was a registered sex offender at the time he raped the girl. In 1992, he was convicted on two counts of aggravated sexual battery in Augusta County Circuit Court and sentenced to 13 years behind bars. The charges involved him having two minors, ages 4 and 6, simulating sex while he watched, according to Anne Reed, a Staunton assistant prosecutor.

In 1986, a charge of gross sexual imposition was lodged in Ohio against Campbell, although it was not prosecuted and the girl recanted the allegation as a teen, according to court records.

Court records also state Campbell started drinking alcohol as a 7-year-old, and became a heavy drinker by the time he was 17. He also had access to pornography around the time he was 8.







(Lander, Wyo.) – A Lander woman is facing a potential prison sentence of 40 years in prison and/or $50,000 in fines for allegedly delivering methamphetamine to confidential informants twice in late 2013.

Jane Marie Market, 49, is facing two charges of Delivery of a Controlled Substance after the alleged crimes. She is currently being held on a $15,000 unsecured bond. (A photo of Market The crimes detailed in the affidavit written by Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Colin Ryder allegedly occurred in November and December 2013. However, the charges weren’t filed in circuit court until Oct. 16.

According to the affidavit, the investigation began in September 2013 with a report of possible drug activity at a home on the 900 block of McDougall in Lander. The caller reported that a large number of people were stopping at the residence briefly and then leaving. A couple days later, Ryder was made aware of a local man who believed his wife was purchasing meth from Market. The man’s wife told investigators “that she purchased one-0half to one gram of methamphetamine from the defendant whenever the defendant sent her a ‘text’ message that it was available.”

About a month later an unidentified confidential informant who had played middle man between a subject in Casper and Market. “When the individual from Casper arrived in Lander, the CI would give the money to him, and he would hand the methamphetamine to the CI,” the affidavit states. “The CI would in turn give the methamphetamine to the defendant. This had occurred approximately four times since April 2013.”

A controlled buy between the CI and Market was set up in late November 2013, and it allegedly resulted in the exchange of money and meth. The sale was completed inside a bathroom at the Fremont County Library in Lander; there was an audio recording device on the CI during the exchange.

Another confidential information contacted investigators in December, saying they wanted to quit using methamphetamine and agreed to provide information on Market. This exchange reported happened at Market’s home.








TAMPA — A Hillsborough County School District substitute teacher was charged Wednesday with possession of methamphetamine, which deputies said they found in his vehicle at the middle school where he was teaching.

James Tobin, 54, of Tampa, was arrested Wednesday afternoon at Davidsen Middle School, 10501 Montague St., Tampa.

He was initially wanted on an arrest warrant for possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana less than 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies arrested him at the school after receiving information he was going to be substitute teaching that day.

After his arrest, deputies searched his vehicle and found methamphetamine, said Debbie Carter, a sheriff’s office spokeswoman. He was then also charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The original arrest warrant was issued after the sheriff’s office went to Tobin’s home, 11266 Windsor Place Circle in Tampa, to serve a search warrant on Saturday. The sheriff’s office had received a tip of possible drug activity.

No one was home when deputies arrived with the search warrant, Carter said. Deputies searched the home and found methamphetamine and marijuana, according to the sheriff’s office.

Investigators contacted Tobin and told him an arrest warrant would be issued if he didn’t turn himself in, Carter said. When Tobin didn’t respond, the arrest warrant was issued Monday. When deputies learned he would be at the school, they arrested him there.

Tobin remained in a Hillsborough County jail on Thursday, with bail set at $5,500.

Tobin’s attorney, Brian Gonzalez, said the amount of drugs found in Tobin’s home and car are minimal.

“This is not a drug dealer,” Gonzalez said. “We’re talking less than a gram in his vehicle found at the school. “He’s not a danger to children. There was no threat to the safety of our children in our community.”

Tobin was arrested in 2006 and 2009 on DUI charges. Gonzalez said Tobin pleaded guilty to one DUI charge and the second charge was reduced to reckless driving.

Gonzalez said Tobin has been substituting for about a year. Before substituting, he was the former chief executive officer for Prevent Blindness Florida, a St. Petersburg-based non-profit.

Gonzalez said the sheriff’s office didn’t need to arrest Tobin at the school.

“I already talked to law enforcement and said we would surrender him when they issued a warrant,’’ Gonzalez said. “He didn’t need to be arrested at school. That didn’t need to happen.”

The sheriff’s office said deputies followed standard procedure for dealing with an arrest warrant.

“We picked him up like we would anyone that there’s an active warrant for their arrest,” Carter said.

Tobin was working at the school through Kelly Educational Staffing, which the district contracted with at the beginning of the school year to hire substitute teachers.

Steve Hegarty, a school district spokesman, said Kelly Educational Services has prospective substitute teachers undergo a fingerprint or background check, just like the school district did when it hired substitute teachers.

Tobin’s DUI arrests would not have disqualified him from being a substitute teacher when the district was in charge of hiring, Hegarty said. However, charges involving drugs would not allow him to teach, he said.

“Kelly (Educational) Services would do the same exact checks that we would do,” Hegarty said. “They did exactly what we did.”








SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – A Santa Cruz man authorities describe as being a prolific meth dealer has been arrested again after investigation into alleged drug activity.

Members of the Santa Cruz County Anti-Crime Team Narcotic Taskforce and Santa Cruz Police executed search warrants on Oct. 23 in connection with the months-long investigation.

Figueroa-jpg Murillo-jpg

The investigation, which included surveillance of Roberto Murillo, revealed he was continuing to sell methamphetamine after two previous convictions from arrests in 2011 and 2012 for the transportation and/or sales of methamphetamine.

Officers arrested Murillo and Karla Figueroa after finding 41 grams of methamphetamine in separate packages hidden in their car. A search warrant at their residence on Goss Avenue turned up an additional 789 grams of meth, officers said. The majority of it had been packaged for resale into smaller packages.

Officers found another 198 loose grams of the drug, as well as scales, baggies and other equipment.

The pair were arrested on suspicion of multiple drug charges and booked into Santa Cruz County Jail.








Cash totaling about $310,000 has been unearthed northwest of Napier in a drugs operation police believe has cracked a major methamphetamine ring in Hawke’s Bay.

Police found the cash buried in the ground near a small farm alongside the Napier-Taupo highway last week.

Methamphetamine estimated to be worth about $125,000 and two pistols were also seized, and police have used the Proceeds of Crimes Act to restrain the farm. A Ford Mustang car and a quadbike have been seized.SCCZEN_A_041213NZHRGRDRUG14_620x310

A 53-year-old man, from the Te Haroto area, has appeared in court charged with supplying methamphetamine.

A judge has remanded him in custody with interim name suppression and without plea to appear in court again on November 13.

A two-and-a-half month inquiry had focused on a man who allegedly supplied methamphetamine to various dealers around Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne and other parts of the country, said police spokesman Detective Inspector Mike Foster.

About 25 police staff were involved in the searches, including the Hawkes Bay Armed Offenders Squad and a Specialist Search Group.

“This was a difficult operation, not least because of the rural location of the property,” Mr Foster said.

“We believe the arrest will make a significant dent in the supply of methamphetamine not just in the Eastern District, but to other parts of the country.”

Methamphetamine is still regarded by police as a major driver of crime, particularly burglaries, and police were constantly dealing with offending that had its origins in drugs, Mr Foster added.

“It’s well-known that a lot of burglaries and dishonesty crimes are linked to the offender’s need to get drugs, often to support a habit.

Methamphetamine is a major player in the criminal community and we are determined to bring those responsible to justice.”

Napier community advocate Denis O’Reilly, who has headed community searches for answers to the methamphetamine problem, said a “spike” in methamphetamine availability in Hawke’s Bay had been noticed.

“Something’s going on,” he said.

The finding of drugs, cash and weapons on farm properties, while not always incriminating the farmers, showed “what a horrible drug it is,” he added.








 MOORESVILLE, Ind. – A family forced to flee their home over a hidden danger is taking legal action.

Call 6 Investigator Rafael Sanchez first spoke to the Nugent family back in May and shared their real estate nightmare.meth_house_couple_1400183336703_4775599_ver1_0_640_480

The family moved into their dream Mooresville home last year, but their kids soon became sick and their dog suddenly died of cancer.

Experts eventually found traces of methamphetamine in their home and cleanup costs topped $10,000.

The Nugents are now suing the real estate agent, the real estate company, Carpenter Realtors, and the former owners of the house for breach of contract, claiming the agent who sold them the house, Lori Argue, knew meth was being used on the premises because the former owner is her son, Joshua Argue.

RELATED | Where are Indiana meth labs

When contacted by ABC News, the attorney for Lori Argue and her company said, “There is simply no evidence that Lori Argue or any representative of Carpenter had any knowledge of methamphetamine use or contamination on the real estate,” adding that the buyers had an independent home inspection prior to purchasing the home.

Joshua Argue declined ABC News’ request for comment, but his ex-wife Jelisa Argue told ABC News in a statement, “There was no meth being used or cooked in the house when I lived there; I’ve never used meth and I would never put my son or anyone else in that environment.”

She added that after she and her son moved out, her ex-husband remained in the house for almost two years. Read her full statement here.

“It causes a lot of anger. There are some days that are harder than others,” Jenny Nugent said. “I think what helps us get through a lot of the anger is the fact that we’ve had a lot of support from our friends and family.”








Home Sweet… Meth Home? Indiana Family’s Real Estate Nightmare

When Chris and Jenny Nugent bought their dream home in Indiana, they made sure to get the house inspected for mold and damaged pipes.


But they never imagined they would also need to have the house tested for meth contamination.

Watch the full story on “Nightline,” Friday, Oct. 31 at 12:35 a.m. ET.

The Nugents said they used their life savings to take out a mortgage on the $144,000 cheery-looking home nestled on an acre of land in the quiet suburbs, enough room for them, their two young daughters and infant son. But after they moved in, they said everyone in the house started feeling ill.

When Chris and Jenny Nugent brought their dream home in Indiana, they never imagined they would need to have it tested for meth contamination.

When Chris and Jenny Nugent brought their dream home in Indiana, they never imagined they would need to have it tested for meth contamination.

“They were sick every week,” Jenny Nugent said. “They would wake up. Throw up. Have digestive issues and then by noon, 1 o’clock start to feel better.”

The Nugents said their daughters were missing school, the baby wasn’t sleeping through the night, and even the family dog became ill and had to be put down. Jenny Nugent also said she noticed strange metallic smells around the house, especially in the kitchen.

“It smelled like a handful of change,” she said.

Jenny Nugent said a neighbor finally cracked the mystery, telling her she suspected the previous owner had cooked meth in the house. Nugent immediately got her home tested — a simple procedure that costs $50.

“I am so grateful that we were fortunate enough to have really good neighbors,” she said. “If it were not for them, we may have not known until one of our kids ended up in the hospital.”

After two tests, the results were horrifying. The Nugents said the downstairs floor had methamphetamine levels nearly 18 times higher than what’s considered legally safe, including the room where baby Mason had been sleeping for 10 months.abc_methhouse_le_141030_4x3t_384

The family immediately moved out and eventually ending up in an apartment, but they said they felt forced to throw away most of their belongings for fear of contamination.

“Those test results came back, I remember that night we just pulled up in the driveway and were like, ‘we’re never going back in there other than to get our clothes,’ and we haven’t,” Chris Nugent said.

For Jenny, returning to the house is painful. She says she feels like she can’t even go inside without wearing protective gear.

“It feels like a death happened, to be honest,” she said. “That’s how it feels to my husband and I.”

When methamphetamine is smoked or cooked inside a home, invisible molecules of the drug sink into the carpet, walls and everywhere else, experts said. The meth residue is then inhaled or ingested, even absorbed through the skin. Exposure can cause symptoms like headaches, nausea and vomiting, according to the National Institute of Health.

To be able to re-sell the house and recoup their savings, the Nugents had to hire a professional cleaning team, Crisis Cleaning, who handle meth decontamination, something most home insurance doesn’t cover.

“That’s something that’s happening even more than what I’ve ever seen before since I started doing this the last five years,” said Crisis Cleaning’s Donetta Held.

To decontaminate the Nugents house, the Crisis Cleaners cut out all the carpets, gave the house a professional vacuuming and then gassed it with a mix of potent chemicals that the cleaners say neutralize the meth particles. One pass-through is often not enough, sometimes they must de-contaminate a room several times. All in, the cost to clean the Nugents’ home is expected to be about $10,000.

While this is a frightening scenario, the Nugents are not alone. Indiana was ranked number one in the nation in meth lab seizures last year, beating out Tennessee and Missouri, according to statistics that the Missouri State Highway Patrol complied from the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Clandestine Laboratory Seizure Report. Indiana State Police’s Meth Suppression Section said they conduct as many as four meth busts a day across the state.

“It’s an ongoing battle,” said Trooper Nate Raney. “Everything that we do is to try to stay one step ahead of them.”

To combat the meth house problem, the Indiana state police created an online registry that lists thousands of homes where meth or meth labs have been found, although they estimate that for every meth house they locate, two more are undiscovered. “We really don’t know how many meth labs are out there,” said Meth Suppression Section Commander Niki Crawford. “The problem is, when you find one that’s been thrown in a ditch somewhere, that meth lab was somewhere. Was it in a car? Was it in a hotel room? Was it in an apartment? Was it in a house? We don’t know.”

The best way to prevent a nightmare like the Nugent family’s is to have a simple home meth test done on the house before you sign.

“Just do the meth test,” Jenny Nugent said. “It’s $50. It will give you peace of mind. … That’s the best recommendation I could make to anybody.”

The Nugents are now suing the real estate agent, the real estate company, Carpenter Realtors, and the former owners of the house for breach of contract, claiming the agent who sold them the house, Lori Argue, knew meth was being used on the premises because the former owner is her son, Joshua Argue.

When contacted by ABC News, the attorney for Lori Argue and her company said, “There is simply no evidence that Lori Argue or any representative of Carpenter had any knowledge of methamphetamine use or contamination on the real estate,” adding that the buyers had an independent home inspection prior to purchasing the home. Read Read the full statement from Lori Argue’s attorney HERE

Joshua Argue declined ABC News’ request for comment, but his ex-wife Jelisa Argue told ABC News in a statement, “There was no meth being used or cooked in the house when I lived there; I’ve never used meth and I would never put my son or anyone else in that environment.”

She added that after she and her son moved out, her ex-husband remained in the house for almost two years. Read her full statement HERE.

“It causes a lot of anger. There are some days that are harder than others,” Jenny Nugent said. “I think what helps us get through a lot of the anger is the fact that we’ve had a lot of support from our friends and family.”








A Lenoir man was arrested after police say they found him cooking meth Wednesday.

Gareth Todd Nichols, 27, was caught in the process of cooking the drug in his grandma’s attic, at the home where police say he lived. 5491307_G

Officials say they obtained a search warrant after several undercover operations. Agents say when they entered the home, they found Nichols ‘one step away in the cooking process from having an active meth lab.’ Officials say Nichols was using a ‘one pot’ method for cooking the meth.

Sheriff Alan Jones said, “This guy was cooking meth right in his grandmother’s house, in the attic, with no regard for her safety at all. This could have easily turned into a disaster had he not been caught.”

Nichols is charged with felony manufacture methamphetamine, felony possession of precursor chemicals, and felony maintain a dwelling to keep and store a controlled substance.








U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized nearly half a million dollars in drugs at two international bridges.54525955551b8_image

On Wednesday an officer stopped at a 36-year-old Matamoros woman walking across the B&M International Bridge for a secondary inspection.

During the inspection officers discovered three packages of methamphetamine hidden in the woman’s clothes. The drug weighed 9.2 pounds and worth $294,400

The second bust was made at the Gateway International Bridge when a 44-year-old Brownsville woman was stopped during a secondary inspection.

CBP officers say they found two packages hidden within a 2003 Saturn L300 that contained 5.2 pounds of cocaine. The drugs were worth $166,400.

Both women were arrested and turned over to Homeland Security Investigations.







A man accused of beating his wife to death while using methamphetamine says he assaulted her as part of consensual sex, but police say his story doesn’t quite add up. mauldinfacebook

Daniel O. Mauldin, 36, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Tara Mauldin, 30. Judge Dan Imhof found probable cause Wednesday to move Daniel Mauldin’s case toward trial.

Police say Mauldin called his mother and told her that he had found his wife’s body, and that led police to discover her at a home at 1619 S. Kentwood Ave.

Police said Tara Mauldin was “obviously deceased” and had injuries indicating she was the victim of a physical assault.

Police also found blood in several locations in the house.

Daniel Mauldin told detectives he and Tara were having sex which included “choking, punching and kicking,” according to Det. Brian Smith, the lead investigator on the case.

Smith testified Wednesday that Mauldin described, in length, the acts the day of Tara’s death, but that some details would change as he told the story multiple times.

In one case he said she had tripped and hit her head on a granite-topped case, and another time simply that she had collapsed. He said they had been using methamphetamine earlier in the day.mauldindaniel

Det. Neal McAmis testified that Mauldin told him he’d left the house to walk the dogs for 45 minutes, then stayed outside with the dogs for a couple of hours before going in and finding Tara Mauldin.

Police say Daniel Mauldin cleaned up the house and packed a bag “to run.”

Court documents say Mauldin told detectives he believes someone came to the house and “finished her off.”

Mauldin has a previous conviction for assaulting a woman in Fair Grove in 2010.








CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Eight homes that have been condemned for methamphetamine are now going to be torn down.

The Kanawha County Commission approved the demolition at its meeting on Tuesday.

Once a home is condemned, it takes anywhere from one to two years before the county is allowed to tear the house down. Law enforcement said during that time, people tend to break into the homes to make more drugs, or steal things left inside the home, which slows things down.

David Armstrong, with the Kanawha County Commission, said getting these houses demolished is a long process.

“You’re actually taking someone’s property,” Armstrong said. “Even though the county commission is not taking ownership in the property, we are removing a structure from the property.”

The county still has to wait 70 days to tear down the homes down. Armstrong said the houses are going to be demolished in February.








DECATUR, Alabama — Two people were taken into custody on Wednesday following a two-month investigation of alleged methamphetamine activity at their Decatur home.16212521-large

Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin said county drug agents received information that meth was being made and sold from the home on Harold Drive. Franklin said this information reported the people inside were regularly getting cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine, which can be used to manufacture meth, both by themselves and from outside sources.

Agents made contact with the resident, Brian Stephen Garrett, 43, and executed a search warrant on Wednesday. They reported finding chemicals, materials and equipment used to make meth as well as some finished product. Franklin said they also found ecstasy, pseudoephedrine, digital scales and two loaded semiautomatic handguns. Agents said the house was equipped with an array of surveillance cameras.

During the search, agents said Stacey Haggermaker Garrett, 43, arrived at the home. She was also arrested. Before going to jail, the Mud Tavern Volunteer Fire Department decontaminated both subjects at the scene.

Both suspects were charged with first-degree unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. Circuit Court Judge Haddock set their bonds at $120,000.

Authorities expect more arrests in this case. The investigation is ongoing.

Franklin said a code enforcement officer from the city of Decatur was called in, and the home was condemned because of the operation of a meth lab.








  • Amphetamine busts are up 20 per cent on last year
  • Drug gangs are coming up with weird ways to beat Australian Customs
  • They are hiding substances inside toilet deliveries and extension cords as well as truck tires and kayaks
  • ContacNT is a potent form of pseudoephedrine from China which has become a new battle for drug enforcement agencies
  • Australia is training customs teams from across Asia on detection techniques, in an attempt to stem the flow of illicit drugs

With amphetamine busts up almost 20 per cent on the previous year, drug lords are coming up with more weird and not so wonderful ways of trying to get their illegal substances into Australia.

Drugs are being concealed inside everything from boxed up toilets to the everyday electrical extension cord.Almost 500 illegal drug imports are seized each week Australian by Customs and Border Protection teams.


Dunny or drug box? AFP and Customs officials found this box was full of methamphetamines when they busted a drug shipment into Melbourne 



This box was supposed to contain new toilets but Customs officers and AFP investigations found more than 50 kilograms of methamphetamine when they opened it up


The extension power cord is cut open to unveil hidden pseudoephedrine imported from China



Racket or racquets? An importation of tennis equipment was found to contain large quantities of the banned pseudoephedrine ContacNT from China



The highly potent pseudoephedrine called ContacNT from China has become a popular drug of choice from crime gangs. This shipment saw the substance concealed in the handles of tennis racquets



Ephedrine was packed and concealed into this helmet

Among the most surprising was a haul of 50 kilograms of methamphetamine in Melbourne earlier this year, where a combined AFP, Customs and Victoria Police operation stopped a crime gang’s attempt to bring the illicit drug in as part of a large toilet shipment.

And the latest drug of choice in recent times appears to be ContacNT, a powerful form of pseudoephedrine out of China.

It’s been found inside extension cords, the handles of tennis racquets and in batteries too.

‘The risks to the Australian community posed by the movement of drugs and precursors continue to be high,’ said Michael Pezzullo, chief executive of Australian Customs and Border Protection Services (ACBPS).



This shipment was described as a ‘textile machine’ but on arrival Customs teams found 20 kilograms of meth inside. A 46 year old Taiwanese national was arrested and charged



Customs officers inspect a truck in which more than 200 kilograms of meth was concealed in the tires.



Heavy haulage vehicles are being used by criminals to conceal their drug shipments. More than 200 kilograms of methamphetamine was concealed in the large tires

During the past year the ACBPS, which uses 42 specially trained ‘detector dog teams’ has made more than 25,000 drug busts, over 11,000 were major illicit drugs and precursors, with a total weight of more than four tones.

ACBPS officials also said that drug rings have increasingly used heavy vehicle, machinery and other equipment imports, including kayaks, to hide their material.

One heavy haulage truck had more than 200 kilograms of meth packed into its large tires.




More than six kilograms of ephedrine was found concealed inside these bike seats



Earlier this year $180 million worth of crystal meth, which had been hidden in more than a dozen sea kayaks, was uncovered at a Sydney warehouse.

Five people were charged over the shipment from China.

‘Travel and trade patterns within and to Australia are becoming more complex, with the range of goods, bio-security hazards and economic risks growing,’ said Mr Pezzullo.

‘The geographic area in which the service operates is also expanding, with an increased number of remote ports coming on-line and increasing operational activity.

ACBPS officers this week joined forces with counterparts from across the region to strengthen maritime security in South East Asia, in an attempt to stem the flow of illicit substances.

Officials from Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand have been undertaking vessel search training.

ACBPS National Manager Border Force Capability Terry Wall said this course was an important part of the service’s engagement with its international counterparts in the region.

‘Border security agencies across the region and the world face a shared and ongoing threat from organised criminal networks who are constantly seeking to breach our borders,’ Mr Wall said.


 Criminal networks have gone as far as stuffing chocolates with Methamphetamines to try and avoid detection by Australian Customs officials









SALISBURY, N.C. — “Ice” methamphetamine made its way onto Salisbury streets after police say suspects ordered the drugs through the mail.

Officers arrested Robin Guest, 50, and Melanie Pruitt, 38, on Tuesday following an investigation that began in July.635501931455500108-robin-guest-melanie-pruitt-2014102912259

Police say Guest ordered the drugs from California and wired the money to suppliers. He would then distribute the meth in the Salisbury area, according to investigators.

Undercover officers say they bought drugs several times at Guest’s home between July and the recent arrests. Guest lived in the 100 block of North Park Drive on property belonging to Catawba College, where he worked in housekeeping.

Police arrested Guest during one of his shifts on campus. They found his girlfriend, Pruitt, hiding in a closet at the house. Investigators say she helped Guest in the operation.

Guest is behind bars now charged with trafficking and selling meth, among other crimes. His bond was set at $250,000.

Pruitt is charged with two counts of conspiracy and one count of resisting arrest. Her bond was set at $21,000.

Detectives say they seized total of 155 grams of methamphetamine “Ice” valued at $31,000.

Police say there is no indication any other students or staff of Catawba College were involved.

The High Point Police Department, Salisbury Police Department and Catawba College assisted the sheriff’s office with the investigation.








BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — Police made an unusual meth bust in Broken Arrow involving a woman who tried to hide the drugs.d861324c-5ff2-11e4-a3d6-00151712edf8

Tammy Stokes and Paul Curry were arrested Saturday morning after they were pulled over during a traffic stop. The arrest report showed that when officers approached the car, Stokes looked between the seat and console and acted nervous.

“We were able to determine that she had actually hid another little baggie of what appeared to be methamphetamine inside her bra,” said Sgt. Thomas Cooper.

Police said they found it stashed in a slit in the fabric.

“She had a suspended license and was arrested for that,” Sgt. Cooper said.

Cooper said that Curry lied to police.

“He gave them a fake name, which led to even more investigation,” Cooper said.

Once officers impounded the car, a search produced a black satchel, three glass pipes and a small bag of methamphetamine.

Officials told FOX23 that Curry had past drug-possession offenses. Neither Curry nor Stokes lives in Broken Arrow.








Police found the remnants of 22 plastic bottles used to make methamphetamine in a filth-strewn house on Jacksonville’s Westside where toilets were clogged with human waste and the only bathtub was filled with a black, rancid liquid.

“It was like a condemned house,” said Chip Moore, narcotics detective with the Sheriff’s Office, of the raid two years ago.

There was evidence children lived there at least some of the time.

Methamphetamine — made by mixing an explosive cocktail of fuels, drain cleaner, lithium and cold remedies containing pseudoephedrine — can crush lives with addiction and cause tens of thousands of dollars in property damage.

While the number of cases in Northeast Florida fluctuates, lab seizures and meth-related charges have climbed statewide in recent years even as fears exist that new trends will draw more users.

Moore said a shed at the back of the house on Herta Road was a wasteland of jugs used for what is known as the “one-pot” process to illegally make the stimulant. The chemical reactions involved when meth is cooked are so volatile that explosions and fire can occur.

Of the 22 jugs Moore found at the house, 15 had burst, he said.

“At some point, these vessels ruptured,” he said.

The man and woman living there were arrested and later sentenced to prison on convictions related to the drugs and charges that children were present.


Meth lab discoveries can result in properties being condemned and abandoned.

After police and hazardous-materials teams remove dangerous substances from what are often mobile homes or empty houses, owners can face cleanup costs higher than what the properties are worth.

“Most of the homeowners just leave them,” Moore said.

In Ponte Vedra Beach, a patio home in the Sawgrass golf community was so saturated with drug residue that its $40,000 cleanup ranked as the second-most expensive among St. Johns County cases, detective Shawn Ferris said.

Two people were arrested in the January case.

“When you put all that stuff in the bottle and start cooking, it starts giving off gas,” Ferris said. “They must have been doing a lot for a long time.”

Resins from the gases stick to walls, air-conditioning ducts and other surfaces. The mixing pots are thrown out once the drug is made and their contents sometimes dumped.

Earlier this month, a woman arrested in the bust was sentenced to five years’ probation and drug rehabilitation. A man arrested with her pleaded guilty to four drug-related charges and will be sentenced in December, according to court records.

The most expensive St. Johns property cleanup would have run about $80,000, Ferris said. Instead, the house south of St. Augustine was bulldozed.

Still, before a new house was built there, eight inches of topsoil had to be removed to ensure the toxins were gone, Ferris said.

In Jacksonville and St. Johns, properties where drug contamination is found must be certified as clean before they can be occupied again. The process includes an evaluation by contractors vetted for their expertise, then more testing after the homeowner has had the cleanup completed.

Local communities have had to take that initiative, Ferris said.13841875

“There are no set guidelines federally that says this is dirty and this is cleaned up,” he said.

Palatka recently passed a similar cleanup ordinance requiring homeowners to get the work done.


While specific guidelines for addressing methamphetamine cleanups vary in Northeast Florida, a key issue remains finding the labs, which are primarily the compact and quick-acting one-pot style. Users and meth producers are often squatters who move from place to place and are difficult to locate.

Police only know of a small fraction of the meth lab activity occurring in communities, said Dawn Turner, who started methlabhomes.com, a resource providing information about the topic. Her son and daughter-in-law bought a Tennessee mobile home in 2004 that turned out to be contaminated. Difficulties the family faced after the discovery, including diagnosis of autism in the couple’s two sons, prompted Turner to launch the site.

Former meth houses are still flying under the radar, due to the clandestine nature of manufacturing meth and the fact that meth testing is not required of homes that are sold or rented,” she said.

Tight budgets for local government and police agencies also can mean methamphetamine cases are a lower priority, she said. The Drug Enforcement Administration has a program to help police agencies with some of their costs removing spent meth labs, but other measures such as a $6 million Department of Justice grant for 2014 won’t have a deep impact, she said.

“Only 10 states are receiving money,” she said. The money will be used to make some police hires, buy some gear and pay for some cleanup, she said.

Moore said the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office investigates any complaint it gets about methamphetamine. Twenty-five percent to half of his time is dealing with those cases, he said.

“We get about 20 complaints a month,” he said. “I keep a kind of tally the best I can and we were up around 300 complaints with only 15 labs. Every one of them gets investigated. Not all of them turn out.”

Methamphetamine users, he said, are transient and tend toward paranoia.

Nationally, investigators have run into explosives and other booby traps.

Moore said Jacksonville police have had two such encounters, including one in which an acid would spill into a container of salt when a door was opened. The combination created a toxic gas.

The other involved a Samurai sword dangled above a door and positioned to drop down blade-first when the door opened.

“It was designed to hit you in the head,” Moore said. “You just don’t go opening stuff.”


The effects of methamphetamine addiction can be dramatic. Users will stay awake for days and lab busts often include weapons, Turner noted.

In Clay County, a trial opened Monday in the shooting death of sheriff’s detective David White, who died in a February 2012 meth lab raid.

Ryan Christopher Wilder is the first of four to be tried in the case. He and the others were in the house in Middleburg when White and fellow officers came to the door. White was killed and detective Matthew Hanlin was wounded by Ted Tilley, a fifth person in the house who was shot and killed by police.

Investigators were later told Tilley, who was the meth cook, always carried a gun.

Paranoia can lead to addicts dismantling electronic devices out of fear of surveillance. Terms “meth bugs” and “meth mouth” commonly are used to describe someone digging at the skin because users believe they are infested with bugs and teeth that are ruined from smoking the drug.

“It hijacks the brain’s reward system,” said Joe Spillane, a clinical toxicologist and drug abuse epidemiologist at UF Health Jacksonville who studies drug trends.

Methamphetamine causes the release of dopamine, which according to Psychology Today is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers.

“You take these drugs and you get 10 times that release of dopamine,” Spillane said. “And pretty soon you don’t care about eating or drinking or having sex. Finally, you’ve got to take the thing just to feel normal.”

Methamphetamine rewires the brain, making it difficult to reason a way out of abusing the drug, he said.

“It can physically damage the brain to the point that you don’t have that same ability to reason the way you had before you got into the problem,” he said.

An intellectual balance in the user’s brain goes out of whack, he said.

Drug abuse also has a generational aspect, Spillane said. As time passes and a drug fades from use, it is then rediscovered by a new generation or used in a new way.

“A lot of times what feels like the hot new thing is just a new route,” he said. “It might be the same drug, but it’s a new route of administration.”

Spillane said he is concerned methamphetamine could be converted to a liquid that would then be vaporized and inhaled using electronic cigarettes now designed for nicotine. There are already concerns by law enforcement officials that vaporizing of synthetic marijuana could become a problem.

“Can it be far behind if it is not happening already?” Spillane questioned.

Otherwise, the production of meth is increasing in Mexico, where cartels manufacture large quantities and ship to places such as Atlanta.

Law enforcement officers in Northeast Florida said users in the region stick to the one-pot method. Only about 1 percent of the meth they seize is from outside traffickers.

However, federal authorities have made at least two cases involving quantities of methamphetamine brought from other areas.

The Department of Justice said in July ounces of methamphetamine were being distributed from an apartment in Macclenny. Five people from Baker and Nassau counties and Alma, Ga., were charged.

In September, federal authorities made three arrests in Putnam County and Texas linked to about eight pounds of the drug.

DEA special agent Mia Ro said the region has been targeted by traffickers.

“A majority of what we are seeing is in North Florida and Central Florida,” she said.







Rene Nevarez-Reyes, 22DAYTON — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer, Butler Township Police Chief John Cresie, and Miami Township Police Chief Ronald Hess announced Wednesday the arrest of a Chicago resident following the seizure of nearly a quarter of a million dollars worth of crystal methamphetamine.

Investigators with the Miami Valley Bulk Cash Smuggling Task Force arrested Rene Nevarez-Reyes, 22, following a traffic stop in Montgomery County on Sunday. Approximately five kilograms of crystal methamphetamine was located in his vehicle.

“Task force members were able to make this arrest after gathering intelligence that this large amount of crystal meth was on its way to Dayton from Chicago,” said Attorney General DeWine. “Those thinking about bringing drugs into the Miami Valley should know that members of this task force have been very successful at intercepting narcotics before they make it to the streets.”

“This is the second time in two weeks that members of this task force have taken a large amount of crystal meth off the streets of Montgomery County,” said Sheriff Phil Plummer. “I believe our message is clear, and our unified efforts with federal, state and local law enforcement are working.”

Nevarez-Reyes is currently being held in the Montgomery County Jail.

The Miami Valley Bulk Cash Smuggling Task Force, which is part of the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, was formed in 2013 to investigate upper level drug organizations operating in and around Montgomery County.

The task force is made up of several law enforcement agencies including the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Miami Township Police Department, Butler Township Police Department, Montgomery County RANGE Task Force, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office.

Established in 1986, the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission (OOCIC) assists local law enforcement agencies in combating organized crime and corrupt activities. The Commission is composed of members of the law enforcement community and is chaired by the Ohio Attorney General. In 2013, authorities working in OOCIC task forces across the state seized more than $14 million worth of drugs and more than $5 million in U.S. currency.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office consists of nearly 30 distinct sections that advocate for consumers and victims of crime, assist the criminal justice community, provide legal counsel for state offices and agencies, and enforce certain state laws. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office can be reached at 800-282-0515 or www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.








A champion New Zealand boxer has been sentenced to more than two years’ imprisonment for manufacturing methamphetamine.

Adrian Toa Taihia, 32, who holds the national super middleweight title, pleaded guilty at the High Court at Auckland in September to one representative charge of being a party to manufacturing methamphetamine.boxer2_300x200

At the same court today, Justice Susan Thomas sentenced Taihia to two years and six months’ imprisonment.

Crown lawyer Evan McCaughan said Taihia’s sporting prowess proved both a positive and a negative for him.

It was a positive as it suggested that the offending was out of character and he had prospects in the future. However, more was expected of a person of his talent and abilities, Mr McCaughan said.

Taihia was supported in court today by a public gallery almost filled to capacity.

His lawyer Peter Winter said Taihia’s offending was not out of greed, but due to an obligation-based situation where he wanted to pay for his mother-in-law’s funeral, but was not able to due to a shortage of cash.

Mr Winter also noted that Taihia had upcoming fights scheduled for December and January, saying: “He has a lot to lose.”

Justice Thomas said the offending between 2011 and 2012 involved Taihia assisting with the manufacture of methamphetamine, including at one point allowing his home to be used while pseudoephedrine was converted into methamphetamine.

She acknowledged Taihia was a role-model to Polynesian youths in the community and was the current holder of four New Zealand and international boxing titles.

However, she said that did not diminish his culpability and accepted he may lose his titles during his time in prison.

Taihia, whose fighting name is ‘The Terrah’, appeared on the popular reality TV series The Contender in 2009 and claimed the interim Pan Asian Boxing Association light heavyweight title after fighting Samoan journeyman Togasilimai Letoa in May.

Taihia’s co-accused, Isaiah Timothi Keresoma, was today also sentenced for his role in the offending to six years and four months’ imprisonment after earlier pleading guilty to one representative charge of manufacturing methamphetamine, one of supply, one of attempting to manufacture and one of possessing a firearm.

His other co-accused, Daniel Ralph Harvey, received a sentence of one year and one months’ imprisonment and 300 hours community service. Steven Brent Gunbie was sentenced to 22 months’ imprisonment and Sophia Wilson did not appear.








A 43-year-old rural Louisville woman who suffered burns Sunday in a suspected mobile meth lab explosion was released from a Lincoln hospital on Tuesday, authorities said.

A medical helicopter flew the woman to CHI Health St. Elizabeth Sunday night after her daughter found her with burns on her face, neck and arms, said Cass County Sheriff’s Capt. Dave Lamprecht.

The woman ran into her home east of Louisville after a fire started in her car, Lamprecht said.

Investigators found a bottle with tubing coming from it in the passenger seat that they suspect was used to make meth, Lamprecht said.

The Nebraska State Patrol dismantled the lab.

Deputies think the injured woman was the only person in the car.

A criminal investigation into the incident is ongoing.









While the world-and especially the United States-remains fixated on the brutal actions and conquests of the Islamic State, few are looking closer to home to see such brutality, sometimes on a larger and more horrifying scale.china-meth-1

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) – The United Nations reports that in Iraq, 9,000 civilians have been killed and 17,386 wounded since the Islamic State sprung into the scene of that nation, and the actions of that group in Syria have been just as bad.


However, no one seems to acknowledge the damage that the drug cartels in Mexico do. In 2013, cartels murdered more than 16,000 people in Mexico, and another 60,000 were killed between 2006 and 2012, but these reports are from the Mexican government, which is known to deflate the actual numbers.


Those who speak out against the Mexican drug cartels often find themselves attacked, abused, or even murdered.


Mexican cartels often use car bombings as a weapon and tool of terror

International commentators have called the crimes of the Islamic State unique and barbaric. Beheadings, sex slavery and mass executions are crimes that are unheard of in this modern era they say.

These cartels decapitate hundreds every year and then mutilate the corpses of their victims. They display piles of bodies around towns in order to force compliance from locals. These groups systematically target women and children to intimidate communities, engage intensely in the sex trade, use rape as a tool of war and terror, and post images of their crimes for all the world to see on social media.

These groups recruit child soldiers-some as young as 10 or 11-and train them to be assassins or suicide fighters. They kidnap thousands of children every year to use as drug mules or prostitutes. Some they just kill and harvest for organs to sell illegally.

Often those who call for reforms are brutally targeted. Officials, police, even students who dare challenge cartel rule, none are safe.

The Islamic State’s murder of captured journalists is also appalling, but cartels have murdered almost 60 since 2006.

Even Mexico’s media is silent, bribed or intimidated into complacency.

Right now, the Islamic State is the sexy new threat for the American media. Two Americans have been beheaded, and the group threatens to do so to a third.

But the cartels have killed 293 Americans between 2007 and 2010. They have also repeatedly attacked U.S. consulates in Mexico.







By Stuart Gitlow, MD,

Drug use is not isolated to dark alleys or urban street corners, nor is addictive illness relegated to one segment of the population. Addiction crosses every geographic and socio-economic boundary across the country. Addicts can be the older American with chronic pain, the wounded veteran returning home, the teenager who finds leftover pain pills in the medicine cabinet, or the weekend warrior athlete seated in the office cubicle next to yours.

Addiction, after all, is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease—not a sign of flawed character, personal weakness, or low morality. Prescription drug abuse, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said, is “a growing, deadly epidemic.” More than 6 million Americans addictively use prescription drugs, such as painkillers, each year. In 2011, nearly 23,000 people died from prescription drug overdoses alone, according to the CDC, and more than 1.4 million visits to the emergency room were related to misuse and abuse of prescription medications.

It’s time for a fresh approach that puts more emphasis on diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. And yet we approach the fight against addictive illness with one hand tied behind our backs.

The human toll—families broken, careers destroyed, lives lost—is huge. And so is the financial burden. Abuse of prescription drugs, according to the Trust for America’s Health, a Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan group, costs the country a whopping $53 billion a year in lower productivity and medical and criminal-justice costs.

As they look for more effective ways to fund the fight against drug abuse, policymakers should consider the more sophisticated and definitive drug-testing technology that is now available to help identify and potentially prevent problems before they get worse.

We know testing saves lives. That’s why your doctor checks your blood pressure and blood glucose levels during a physical exam. Such tests can help determine if you have hypertension or diabetes. Such basic and inexpensive tests are available, though not commonly used for addictive illnesses, despite the prevalence of these illnesses.

Take the case of a clinician concerned about a patient misusing prescription drugs or taking a painkiller different from the one his or her doctor prescribed. Definitive testing can help doctors answer these questions and better treat the patient. Equally important is testing young adults for addictive disease, just as we test for diabetes and hypertension. Addiction caught early has a far better chance of being treated without complications.

The most recent annual National Drug Control Strategy from the White House asserts we must avoid what it calls a “false choice” between a strategy of eradicating drug abuse by enforcement or legalizing it.

The strategy declares: “Science has shown that drug addiction is not a moral failing but rather a disease of the brain that can be prevented and treated.” The revised strategy promotes “a balance of evidence-based public health and safety initiatives focusing on key areas such as substance abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery.”

While no single test can prove the presence of addiction, it is often impossible to detect addictive illness in its early stages without any test at all. And yet on the front lines, clinicians often overlook a reliable technology they can use to help them know what drugs their patients are using in the first place.

Patients are not offered testing for addictive illnesses because these tests are not well understood. There is a knowledge gap among physicians about how these tests can provide critical clinical information. And economic issues also play a role.

To beat this epidemic, we must begin by doing a far better job of identifying those who are afflicted. To do that, we have to pay fairly for diagnostic workups, treatment, and indeed for innovation in diagnostics and treatment.

Ongoing screening of those at risk as well as regular monitoring of identified patients is as important as checking blood sugar or regularly monitoring for hypertension in patients at risk. Rather than viewing testing as something done to punish “bad” patients, it should be seen as an important clinical tool to manage and improve treatment, giving clinicians confidence in their prescribing decisions and helping to keep patients safe.

Clinicians should be able to access the latest clinical tools and technology on behalf of the child, the veteran, or the weekend warrior who unwittingly—due to an undetected genetic predisposition to addiction—became hooked on opioids while on the mend from knee surgery.

In health matters this grave, it is literally a matter of life and death.


Stuart Gitlow, MD, MPH, MBA, president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, is a psychiatrist specializing in addictive disease at the Annenberg Physician Training Program in Addiction.









HESPERIA — A 21-year-old Hesperia man accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old Apple Valley girl he met on Facebook earlier this month has had two additional sex charges filed against him in a 2013 case involving a 14-year-old girl.

Pedro Cruz was arrested on Oct. 20 following a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department investigation of reports that Cruz “forced himself” on a 16-year-old girl. He pleaded not guilty last week to four felony charges, including two counts of oral copulation with a minor and two counts of unlawful sex with a minor.pedro cruz

Deputy District Attorney David Foy said two of the four charges stem from the October case involving the 16-year-old girl. The other two charges are from a June 2013 police report accusing Cruz of committing a sex crime against a 14-year-old Hesperia girl.

Foy said both cases involve Facebook contact between Cruz and the victims.

The father of the 14-year-old victim spoke to the Daily Press and requested that his name be withheld because he fears for his safety.

“He uses Facebook to meet all the girls,” the father told the Daily Press. “He preys upon these young girls and carries a gun on him and has a car and … the young girls are so impressed by a car, drugs, all of that. He knows how to work that.”

On Cruz’s Facebook page, 135 of his 198 friends are females.

“Men who use Facebook and other social media to prey on underage girls has been a threat since social media was developed,” Foy said. “I can’t say there’s more of it than five years ago, but it’s certainly a problem.”

Foy said sheriff’s officials received a report of a sex crime involving Cruz in June 2013. Foy said the report was not immediately submitted to the District Attorney’s Office, but was filed weeks later in connection to an alleged assault case involving Cruz’s father.

Pedro Villalobos, Cruz’s father, allegedly attacked the father of the 14-year-old victim in late June 2013. The victim’s father told the Daily Press the attack came just weeks after he had filed the police report regarding Cruz’s alleged actions with his daughter.

“My mom saw the Facebook messages (Cruz) was sending to my daughter, planning to pick her up,” the victim’s father said. “That’s where I confronted my daughter and it all came out. She’d get high and have sex with him. She was basically brainwashed.”

Court records show Villalobos was arrested on suspicion of assault and a felony criminal threat on July 2, 2013. He entered into a plea bargain, and the assault charge was dismissed. He was convicted of making a criminal threat and is serving time in jail.

It was during this case that the District Attorney’s Office was presented with the June 2013 reports accusing Cruz of sex crimes with the 14-year-old girl, Foy said, but no charges were filed against Cruz at that time.

Meanwhile, Cruz was arrested on suspicion of transporting methamphetamine in August 2013. The case is still open, and Cruz was out on bail when he was arrested for his latest alleged sex crime.

Cruz is scheduled to appear for his pre-preliminary conference on Thursday morning. His preliminary hearing has been tentatively scheduled for Nov. 4. He is being held at the High Desert Detention Center in Adelanto in lieu of $250,000 bail.

“(On Wednesday) we are filing an amended court complaint alleging Cruz had a prior strike,” Foy said.

Court records show Cruz was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in May 2011.







Candy Sue Chamness, 33, pleaded guilty Monday in Kosciusko County Superior Court according to court records after being charged with neglect and reckless homicide in connection with the fatal carbon monoxide poisoning of her 12-year-old son while she was high on methamphetamine.  54500af3e69d5_image

Darrick Spore, 34, Syracuse, was also charged with neglect and reckless homicide in the death of Skyler Spore, who was found dead by police in the family’s Syracuse home June 28 while two gas-powered generators were running. Police said both Chamness and Spore were under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of their son’s death.

Chamness’ sentence hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 1 at 10:30 a.m.

Spore appeared in court Monday for a continuance for a pre-trial hearing scheduled for Nov. 3 at 3 p.m.







The man police say went on a hammer-swinging rampage in Boulder City and Henderson had an eerily calm message for one of his victims.

Midway through Friday evening’s random attacks, an arrest report says, Damien Darnell Robins singled out a man walking among dozens of others in a parking lot at Foothill High School. Robins got out of his car and accosted the man, striking him in the head with the one-handed sledgehammer.

The blow knocked the man onto one knee.web1_hammer1_10

When the man turned around to face his attacker, Robins looked him in the eye.

“Sir, I’m sorry but I’m going to kill you; everything will be OK when you’re dead,” he said in an unemotional voice.

It appears a Henderson police patrol car that pulled into the parking lot may have held off more violence. The approaching car distracted Robins, according to the report, and that gave the man enough time to flee.

That man was one of 10 people police say Robins pummeled at random. His wife also told police he had been high on meth in the hours before the attacks.

And he may have had even more violent intentions.

Robins’ wife told officers she hadn’t seen him in three days when he called her about 1 p.m. Friday and said he wanted to meet her at home, according to an arrest report. When he showed up, the woman told police, she said he was agitated and that she could tell he was high on methamphetamine.

It wasn’t uncommon for Robins to “disappear for a few days when he’s high,” his wife said in the report. She said he had also lost his job as an electrician in the days since she had seen him.

Her husband made her fear for her life, the woman told police. Robins refused to let her leave, according to the report. He told her he wanted to “kill her and burn (her) body,” the report said, and later said he “felt like bludgeoning someone” to relieve his aggression.

Her only way out was leaving with him, according to the report. Robins took the woman to a gun store where she filled out the paperwork to a buy a firearm for him.

Robins could not buy a gun himself because he is a felon, police said.

After doing what Robins told her, the couple went back home, police said. The wife persuaded him to let her drive away to pick up their daughter from a baby sitter. In reality, she used the opportunity to drive to a friend’s house and hide.

Police said Robins’ next move started his brutal spree.

About 8 p.m. he battered a woman in a car with the hammer in a convenience store parking lot in Boulder City, police said. He later attacked two older people at an auto parts store parking lot, according to a police report.

In both attacks, according to the report, Robins asked the victims if they were lost as he approached them.

Robins next ran a driver off U.S. Highway 93 then struck the driver several times with the hammer, police said. He drove off and did the same thing to another driver, they said.

The erratic behavior continued after police say Robins drove over the hill into Henderson and onto U.S. Highway 95.

Robins started tailgating a woman driving a Dodge Neon north on U.S. 95 near College Drive, police said. She made a U-turn in an attempt to get away from Robins, but he crossed the median and drove his car head-on into the Neon, according to the report. The driver told police she managed to drive away only after Robins hit her windshield twice with the hammer.

He used his car to cut off and then attack another driver before getting to Foothill, police said.

After he initially hit the man with the hammer at Foothill, police said, the man jumped up and started running. Robins got back in his car and followed, catching up quickly.

As he approached the man, the report said, Robins said, “Sir, I want to let you know everything’s going to be OK, but I’m going to kill you.”

But before Robins could swing the hammer again, something caught his eye. A Henderson police patrol car pulled into the parking lot and headed toward Robins, the report said. He got back in his car and took off.

Robins drove into a neighborhood across from the school and turned off his headlights, the report said. There, Robins pulled in front of a woman and forced her to stop near Cherry Drive and Butch Cassidy Lane.

She told police Robins got out of his car and ran at her shouting, “What did you say?” and began hitting her car with the hammer while repeating the question, the report said.

She threw her car in reverse, police said, but Robins said, “There’s nowhere to go,” and started chasing her on foot. The woman managed to evade Robins.

Police said Robins’ last victim was in the drive-thru at a Taco Bell at 730 E. Horizon Drive. He blocked the drive-thru exit, and attacked the woman’s car before reaching through the driver side window and hitting her with the hammer, police said.

Robins eventually surrendered to police after a pursuit about 9 p.m., when he was confronted by a K-9 officer on Arrow­head Canyon Drive in Henderson.

He kept calm while Boulder City police detectives interviewed him, according to the arrest report. He denied fighting with anyone.

When police asked why they had found a hammer in the passenger seat of his vehicle, the report says, Robins replied, “Well, it’s mine.”

After further prodding, the report says, Robins said: “Well I beat some people up I guess.” When a detective asked why, the man didn’t respond.

Robins, 37, is being held at the Clark County Detention Center on six counts of attempted murder, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon and a single count of kidnapping. He is scheduled for a hearing at 1 p.m. Nov. 11 at Boulder City Justice Court.








A 35-year-old Dutch woman was arrested Oct. 24 on the 1800 block of East Rio Salado Parkway on suspicion of shoplifting, dangerous drug possession and drug paraphernalia possession, according to a police report.

The woman put two bathroom rugs, a bathroom lid cover, a shower curtain and a king size comforter set, valued at $196, inside a shopping cart, and exited the Target without paying, police reported.

Upon searching the woman, police found her to be in possession of a small bag of methamphetamine, according to the report.

The woman said the bag and the methamphetamine were hers, police reported.

The woman was transported to Tempe City Jail, where she was booked and held to see a judge, according to the report.