KALAMAZOO, MI — Delicate  lung tissues scorched by heat and assaulted by toxic gases. Facial features blistered beyond recognition, and fingers charred beyond  function. Extreme pain and anxiety.

Trauma surgeon Paul Blostein  has seen — and treated — it all.


He has this to say to anyone with thoughts of cooking up methamphetamine: “Don’t do it.”

The 58-year-old physician, at Bronson Methodist Hospital for the last 20 years, has spent considerable time treating victims of serious burns, people injured in car crashes, house fires, industrial accidents and other mishaps.

For more than 10 years he has been tracking a relatively new category of burn victim — those caught up in the burst of flames that can result when amateur chemists try to make illicit methamphetamine from a mish-mash of over-the-counter pills and household chemicals.

The homemade  laboratories, usually contained in a 2-litre pop bottle, can  explode, spraying flaming chemicals that splash and burn  “sort of like napalm,” Blostein said.

His research has documented what Bronson doctors and nurses have observed about meth-related burns — wounds that are slower to heal, lungs that take longer to regain function, pain that is more difficult to manage, and patients who require much more care.


“It was after 2000 when we started to see the patients that came in and  began to have some inkling they had been involved in meth production,” Blostein said.

There was one year when the team saw meth-burn patient numbers plummet, and he and colleagues thought  the era of making meth in Michigan had waned.

That was seven years ago.

Those hopes were dashed when meth makers learned a way to evade police and laws meant to squeeze off the meth trade through the new “one-pot” system of “cooking” meth.

The simplified method eliminates the need for the hard-to-come-by farm fertilizer anhydrous ammonia and requires little more than a few two-liter pop bottles, plastic tubing, household chemicals, and cold tablets. The next year,  meth burns began to climb again at Bronson, and these days Blostein  is resigned to his role in the trenches of  Southwest Michigan’s war on the drug.

Bronson’s Level I Trauma Center’s burn unit, the regional receptacle for all seriously burned patients, receives patients from all over  Southwest Michigan. Because this corner of the state also ranks at the  top of Michigan’s illicit methamphetamine activity, the hospital sees  more meth-related burns than others, and is one of the few in the  country to undertake a long-term study of methamphetamine-related burns.

Last year, 12 patients were admitted to Bronson Methodist Hospital for treatment of meth-related burns, the second-highest total since 2000.

Every case is different, Blostein said. Although the primary meth “cooks” are most frequently burned,  he has treated bystanders who are burned, too, patients as young as age 2 and as old as 60.  Not everyone lives through a lab explosion, and some who do survive never fully recover, he said.

Nor do serious burns prove enough to break the addiction in every patient, Blostein said.  As the saying goes in his department, “trauma is a recurrent disease,” and he’s treated some repeat victims over the years.

A day in the trauma unit

Blostein said he enjoys the pace and variety of trauma work, where every day brings surprises and the challenge of saving lives.

Making order of the chaos of trauma starts for Blostein  with a change from street clothes to scrubs at the beginning of every 12-hour shift. He takes some ribbing from colleagues who suggest simply wearing scrubs to work makes more sense, but Blostein likes to be prepared for whatever the day brings — and that means having street clothes on hand if the need arises.

Every shift starts and ends the same, too, with a sign-off from the doctor who’s going off duty to the one coming on board on the status of  the 10 to 20 patients in the trauma unit at any given time.

“Here we  have a nice arrangement where trauma surgeons do an initial evaluation, resuscitation, insert a breathing tube if necessary, manage fluids — a  challenging thing for large burn patients,” Blostein said. “The burn surgeon does burn wound reconstruction and skin grafts.”

He will spend the day monitoring  trauma patients’ progress —  tweaking ventilators, watching fluid output, scheduling surgeries and procedures, checking for signs of infection, overseeing nutrition and managing pain, as well as performing surgeries. “Many have multiple injuries requiring multiple surgeries,” he said. “The trauma surgeon lays out the plan of action for each injured person.”

Extra physicians are always on standby, since the job of overseeing treatment for those patients   may be interrupted at any time by  incoming trauma emergencies, he said.

That’s the drill for more than 60 hours each week.

“In  between all that excitement, on days off we write papers, do research, teach medical students and residents — that happens on a daily basis, “ he said.

No meth lessons in med school

Though meth-explosion burns require much  the same treatment as those from house fires or car crashes, Blostein said he’s learned over the years to expect differences.

One is immediately apparent. Patients burned by meth usually don’t tell the truth about the source of their burns, he said.  “A tell-tale sign is the story doesn’t make sense. ‘It’s 3 a.m. and I decided to fix my dryer.’ That sort of thing.”

Another: “We’ve sort of noticed a pattern of burns involving hands and face and maybe legs — though it’s nothing we can really put finger on,” he said.

Doctors must be extra alert to signs of infection, extra vigilant about monitoring ventilators and fluids, and should not be surprised if recovery seems slower than normal with meth-burn patients, he said. Researchers are not sure why those challenges are present, but their studies have documented that the differences are real.

Finally,  it may be difficult to control the patient’s pain and anxiety with medication, Blostein said, probably because of pre-existing issues.

“One of the things that makes it difficult is these patients often have multiple substance abuse problems, “ he said, in addition to methamphetamine addiction. If they are addicted to a narcotic, it   may be difficult  to get  pain under control. If they are addicted to meth, they may become agitated, pulling out IVs and feeding tubes, or  trying to get out of bed, he said.

Meth in Michigan

Blostein’s thoughts about the Michigan’s methamphetamine problem, he said, reflect his years of work with its burn victims.

“I think when we sit and reflect, we would all like it not to be happening so we wouldn’t have to spend hours and hours taking care of patients burned in meth activities,” he said. “And we think about the larger picture — a lot of people in jail, a lot of  man-hours and dollars spent — and that money could certainly be used somewhere else.

“Then there’s the even bigger picture — why are people using meth in the first place?,” he said.

The economic downturn likely contributed, he said, with people perhaps cooking meth as a diversion from hardships in their lives.

“But no, those things don’t get get us down,” he said. “We still go off and do our jobs.”

Blostein  said he and his colleagues are grateful for the resources they have available working in a Level I trauma center,  something  he said people in the community may take for granted. They also are acutely aware of the costs of maintaining that resource, and feel the pressure to work efficiently to keep costs down without trimming services, he said.  They worry about legislation that might have an impact on funding.


At  the end of every shift, Blostein  has another ritual —changing back from street clothes into T-shirts and shorts for a 5-mile run.

It’s  partly for his health, he said, and a way to work the kinks out after 12 hours on his feet.

The other part?

Clearing his mind — so that he can get up at 5:30 a.m. the next day and do it all again.









Two people have been arrested after the alleged discovery of a methamphetamine operation at a tent along the northern most part of Sullivan County.

The incident occurred Monday on Sweet Hollow Road, east of South Holston Lake at the Virginia border. Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office personnel responded to the property on a tip that Dustin James Stamper, 34, of Rhymer Road in Damascus, Va., was making meth at a tent.


Dustin James Stamper, 34, and Teresa Carol Winters, 40

When police arrived they allegedly observed a smoking bottle that contained a white substance. SCSO Public Information Officer Leslie Earhart says the property owner consented to a search, saying Stamper and a female had been staying in the tent for the past week.

Along with the smoking bottle, police say they also discovered additional items needed to make methamphetamine.  The Tennessee Meth Task Force was notified and responded to the scene.

Soon Stamper and the female, Teresa Carol Winters, 40, of Azen Road in Damascus, arrived at their campsite. They were each arrested and charged with promotion of methamphetamine and initiation of a process intended to result in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Stamper was additionally charged with violation of probation.







Two people are facing charges after Winnipeg police found a cache of weapons and methamphetamine in a Glenelm area home on Monday.

The Winnipeg Police Service tactical unit descended on a home in the 100 block of Hespeler Avenue, locating over $4,700 worth of methamphetamine, a loaded shotgun, a stun gun, a bayonet and two machetes.

Two men, aged 29 and 38 years old are now facing multiple weapons and drug charges. Police did not say what lead them to the home.

Both remain in police custody.







(KLAMATH FALLS OR) – A California resident is facing charges in Klamath County following a Sunday morning Oregon State Police (OSP) traffic stop in Klamath Falls.

During the stop an OSP trooper discovered approximately 11 pounds of methamphetamine concealed inside the vehicle.

The OSP Drug Enforcement Section is continuing the investigation.

According to Sergeant Patrick Trippett, on June 23, 2013, at approximately 9:14 a.m., an OSP trooper stopped a 1991 Land Rover Discovery displaying Nevada license plates northbound on Highway 97 near milepost 274 for a moving traffic violation.


The vehicle’s single occupant was identified as James E. Gonzalez, age 25, from Norwalk, California.

Subsequent investigation during the traffic stop led the trooper to discover concealed inside the vehicle approximately 11 pounds of methamphetamine.

The estimated value of the seized methamphetamine is $143,000.

Gonzalez was lodged into the Klamath County Jail on charges of Unlawful Possession, Distribution and Manufacture of a Controlled Substance – Methamphetamine.

News release from Oregon State Police.


Two El Dorado residents were arrested Sunday on multiple drug charges and for child endangerment after a traffic stop, according to a press release from the Arkansas City Police Department.

Jocelyn Maria Cornejo, 25, is charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana and methamphetamine with intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a school, four counts of aggravated child endangerment, driving with a revoked driver’s license, and no proof of liability insurance, all through Arkansas City District Court.

Cornejo was transported to the Cowley County Jail, where she remained Monday night in lieu of a $30,800 bond.

Joshua Blu Schlecht, 28, was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana and methamphetamine with intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a school, possession of drug-use paraphernalia, four counts of aggravated child endangerment, all through Arkansas City District Court.

He also was wanted on a warrant for failure to appear through Arkansas City Municipal Court.

Schlecht also was taken to the county jail, where he remained Monday night in lieu of a $29,000 bond on the district court charges.

His municipal bond was $243.

The two were arrested after police stopped a van around 5 p.m. Sunday in the 100 block of East Vine Avenue.

Cornejo, the driver, was recognized by officers, who knew her driver’s license had been revoked, the release states.

Schlecht was a passenger in the van, as were their four children, the release states.

Cornejo and Schlecht were found to be in possession of methamphetamine, marijuana, and items that indicated they intended to sell the drugs, according to the release.

The drugs and other items allegedly were found within the reach of the children, according to the release — endangering them, in the opinion of the officers.

Cornejo and Schlecht also were found in possession of another controlled prescription drug, the release states.







CLARKSBURG — A man and woman are facing felony burglary charges after allegedly being found in a home with a items for manufacturing methamphetamine.

Brandy Dunkle

Brandy Dunkle

According to the Ross County Sheriff’s Office, a former resident of a home on the 6000 block of Bush Mill Road had been told methamphetamine was being made in the home. Deputies responded to 6550 Bush Mill Road shortly after midnight Saturday and found Andrew E. Swift, 43, of Circleville, and Brandy Dunkle, 38, of Chillicothe, inside the home.

Andrew Swift

Andrew Swift

The pair were arrested on outstanding warrants and charged with burglary.

Deputies worked with the Chillicothe Police Department to obtain consent to search from the homeowner, who lives in Chillicothe, and the renter. During the search, deputies, police and agents from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation allegedly found materials consistent with the manufacture of methamphetamine.

The Chillicothe Fire Department assisted with the cleanup.

Additional charges may be filed after lab results are returned.

Ross County Sheriff George Lavender asks residents to report any suspicious activity to the Ross County Sheriff’s Office at 740-773-1185 or Southern Ohio Crime Stoppers at 740-773-TIPS.




ELIZABETHTON — An investigation into an apparent drug reaction led to several drug charges being placed on a Stoney Creek woman.

Selena Michelle Fenner, 35, 188 Old Stoney Creek Road, Lot 1, was arrested Thursday on charges of initiation of a process intended to result in the manufacture of methamphetamine, felony aggravated child endangerment for a child of 16 years old, and 10 counts of promotion of methamphetamine manufacture.


Selena Michelle Fenner


The charges stem from an investigation that began Thursday when Carter County deputies responded to an apparent fight between two women at 189 Old Stoney Creek Road. Sgt. Harmon Duncan said the apparent fight was actually Fenner struggling to restrain another woman who was having a violent reaction to an unknown drug. The woman was transported to the emergency room at Sycamore Shoals Hospital.

Duncan said Fenner told him she and the other woman had been using bath salts, but had quit over a month ago. She also said they were both using Suboxone and were “coming down.”

Duncan said there was also evidence of methamphetamine activity at Fenner’s mobile home. He found plastic bottles in the kitchen trash can that were determined to be “gassers.” There were also empty blister packs of cold medicine containing psuedoephedrine. He said a 16-year-old boy was also at the residence.

Fenner appeared in Carter County General Sessions Court on Monday, where she was appointed a public defender on those charges and the case was continued to Oct. 8.

She was also charged with two counts of violation of probation. On the first count, Judge John Walton ordered Fenner to serve 30 days in jail, with credit for time served. One the second violation, Walton ordered Fenner to serve 109 days, consecutive to the first violation.







FUZHOU (Xinhua) —  Two men were executed in east  China’s Fujian Province for  trafficking methamphetamine and heroin, the  Fujian Provincial Higher People’s Court said Tuesday.

Yang Jiande and Yuan Tingchang were executed on Tuesday after the Supreme People’s Court approved their death sentences, according to the local court.

Yang was convicted of hiring people to transport nearly 4.9 kg of methamphetamine in China between April and September 2010. He was also convicted of illegally possessing five guns, according to the court.

Yuan was convicted of purchasing and selling 1.78 kg heroin in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong Province, between February and July 2010.

All property of the two convicted was confiscated.

Separately, another man in east China’s Zhejiang Province was also executed for drug trafficking on Tuesday after the Supreme People’s Court approved his death sentence, according to the Intermediate People’s Court of Wenzhou City.

The man surnamed Chen was found guilty of buying 3 kg of methamphetamine in Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei Province, in 2011, then transporting it in shoe boxes and selling it in Wenzhou.

The Intermediate People’s Court of Wenzhou City also handed down two verdicts in two other separate cases, sentencing a 49-year-old man surnamed Luo and a 32-year-old man surnamed Wei to death for trafficking methamphetamine and heroin in 2012.

Drug trafficking is a felony in China.







Monday morning just before 1:30 a.m., Spokane Valley Sheriff’s Deputies Hilton and Bohanek responded to the area of East Laberry Dr and North Cane Circle to investigate a report of suspicious activity. A citizen reported he observed people walking down the roadway with flashlights looking into vehicles.

Deputy Hilton located and contacted a male in the area matching the description given and holding a small flashlight. The male identified himself as 52-year-old Freddie J. Hall and stated he was just walking home.

During the contact, Hall placed his right hand in his pocket even after being instructed to keep his hands out of his pockets and in view. From prior contacts and knowing Hall’s past history with law enforcement, Deputy Hilton asked for and was given consent to search Hall for weapons.

During the search of his right pants pocket, Deputy Hilton located a hypodermic needle along with 2 clear plastic bags. One of the baggies contained a white crystalline substance believed to be methamphetamine and the other contained 3 pills.

Hall was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for Felony Possession of a Controlled Substance, Methamphetamine. While at the jail, Deputy Hilton identified the pills as Morphine, a controlled substance which Hall could not provide a prescription for. With this information, Hall was also booked for Felony Possession of a Controlled Substance, Morphine.

The white crystalline substance was field tested and showed a presumptive positive reading for Methamphetamine.









Methamphetamine use is on the rise in Minneapolis/St. Paul, while heroin remains the most widely used illegal drug in the Twin Cities area, according to a new report.

Drug Abuse Trends in Minneapolis/St. Paul, released twice a year by the education and training organization Drug Abuse Dialogues, found law enforcement seized 27 meth labs last year. Meth was the top drug seized by officials in the Twin Cities area, and accounted for 22.6 percent of the drug items analyzed, Minnesota Public Radio reports. Meth activity has sharply reversed from a decline that started in 2006, the group found. Last year, 7.4 percent of treatment center admissions in the area were related to meth, while deaths from the drug rose from 10 in 2011, to 21 last year.

“What I’m really talking about is a reversal of a downward trend,” said Drug Abuse Dialogues founder Carol Falkowski. “Not as if it’s becoming the dominant drug, by any stretch. Our problems still remain with heroin and other opiates.” She said her colleagues in other parts of the country, particularly the Midwest, are also seeing increases in meth use.

The report found heroin-related emergency room visits in Minneapolis/St. Paul almost tripled from 2004 to 2011, rising from 1,180 to 3,493. Deaths from accidental overdoses of opiates rose from 92 in 2010, to 129 in 2012.

According to Falkowski, heroin is an especially big problem in rural Minnesota, which doesn’t have adequate treatment and law enforcement resources. “And once a drug takes hold in rural America, I think it’s very hard to reverse that trend. It’s hard to get it un-entrenched,” she said.







A traffic stop on Kirkwood Avenue led to a vehicle identified as stolen, as well as a potential methamphetamine discovery Monday morning, Bloomington Police Department Sgt. Joe Crider said.

An officer pulled over the Ford pickup truck with an expired temporary license tag. The driver of the vehicle reported he was in the process of buying the vehicle.

After checking the license number and VID, the vehicle, which appeared a different color than was listed on the BMV registration, was reported as stolen.

Police found a plastic bag of a white, crystallized substance inside the vehicle’s ashtray, believed by the officer on-duty to be methamphetamine.

The driver was arrested and preliminarily charged with possession of stolen property and methamphetamine.

The meth charges were increased to a B felony due to being found within 1,000 feet of a public park.







A local woman is facing the possibility of spending two lifetimes behind bars after authorities say she abused and neglected her living and unborn sons primarily because of methamphetamine use.

Court records show 24-year-old Darchell M. Chatman, who appeared in district court Monday and was charged with two felony offenses, is accused of knowingly and intentionally causing harm to her unborn child by using methamphetamine while pregnant and failing to provide nutrition, healthcare and hygiene for the 3-year-old, “causing him to be malnourished.”

Chatman had allegedly chosen a name for her 6-month-old baby boy growing inside her when she gave birth prematurely almost a month ago, an affidavit said. The baby, Jelanie, survived for a week before dying June 7 at a hospital in Oklahoma City.

Chatman allegedly admitted to using meth up until a few days before Jelanie was born. Lawton Police Department Detective David Schucker’s affidavit said records from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services revealed that Chatman had another 3-year-old boy who was allegedly suffering an array of emotional and physical problems as the result of neglect.




Three Mexican nationals and a Somerton, Ariz. man are in custody in  connection with separate failed attempts to smuggle $1.85 million in  methamphetamine and cocaine into the United States through the Port of San Luis  this weekend. Just after midnight Sunday, Jose Andres Godinez, 20, of  Somerton, Ariz., was arrested after a CBP canine alerted to the fuel tank of his  Honda sedan, where officers located and removed nearly 22 pounds of  methamphetamine valued at nearly $336,000.

On Saturday, CBP officers removed more than 68 pounds of methamphetamine valued at more than $1.06 million from the fuel tank of a Chevrolet SUV after a narcotics detection canine alerted to the presence of drugs as the driver attempted to enter the country through the San Luis Port of Entry


On Saturday morning, officers  referred Jose Venegas-Alatorre, 28, of San Luis, Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mexico,  for inspection of his Honda sedan when he attempted to cross the U.S. border.  Officers removed nearly 21 pounds of methamphetamine valued at more than  $322,000 after a narcotics detection canine alerted to the presence of drugs  inside the rear seats. A short time later, Ivan de Jesus Ortiz-Rivas,  30, of San Luis, Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mexico, and was referred for inspection  of his Chevrolet SUV, at which time officers removed more than 68 pounds of  methamphetamine valued at more than $1.06 million from the fuel tank, also  following a canine alert. Then on Friday, Customs and Border Protection  officers referred Gila Del Carmen Garcia-Figueroa, 38, of San Luis, Rio  Colorado, Sonora, Mexico, for inspection of her Ford SUV when she attempted to  enter the country. After a CBP narcotics detection canine alerted to the  presence of drugs inside the vehicle’s spare tire, officers removed nearly 15  pounds of cocaine valued at more than $133,000. “Hard narcotics such as  these are a constant threat to our communities,” said San Luis Port Director  William K. Brooks. “These seizures are a testament of our officers unwavering  determination of protecting our country.” The drugs and vehicles were  seized. The four subjects were turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs  Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. On Saturday, CBP officers  removed more than 68 pounds of methamphetamine valued at more than $1.06 million  from the fuel tank of a Chevrolet SUV after a narcotics detection canine alerted  to the presence of drugs as the driver attempted to enter the country through  the San Luis Port of Entry.


The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s Office said a 35-year-old Honolulu woman whose body was found just after 7 a.m. April 9 in Kewalo Basin had methamphetamine in her system.

Jennifer M.H. Kim died of acidental drowning, and cited as methamphetamine toxicity as a significant condition, the medical examiner’s office said.

Surfers turned over her body to fire rescue personnel after finding her body near the former site of the University of Hawaii’s dolphin research facility.


MASON COUNTY, MI – A possible meth lab was located in a Mason County dumpster Sunday afternoon, the Mason County Press is reporting.

The sheriff’s office is investigating a possible methamphetamine lab located in a dumpster in the 5700 block of West U.S. 10 in Pere Marquette Township on Sunday, the Press reported.

meth lab stuff.jpg

An investigator carries away evidence from an alleged meth lab scene



Authorities were called after someone discovered a black bag in the dumpster that contained items typically linked to making meth.

The discovery was made about 3:45 p.m., the Press reported.

The Michigan State Police Methamphetamine Team from Grand Rapids was called to investigate.

Late last month evidence of a meth lab was reportedly discovered on the property of a Manistee seasonal residence.

In that case Michigan State Police troopers from the Cadillac Post were dispatched to a seasonal residence in Manistee County’s Cleon Township where items, believed to be components to a meth lab, where discovered.







Officers took two men into custody Wednesday morning in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Boaz.

They uncovered several pounds of meth.

“We have a pretty significant meth problem. We have a lot of ice that has been imported on the streets from the Atlanta area,” says Ricky Phillips, the drug enforcement commander for Boaz PD.

Phillips and his unit recovered an estimated $65,000 worth of meth.


“When they arrived officers took both suspects down and seized 4 pounds of ice from their vehicle,” says Phillips.

People in Boaz who shop at the Wal-Mart say they are glad for busts like these.

“It’s scary. I’m glad they did it. I’m glad they found them. Our kids don’t need this around them at all. It’s time they clean this up and they’re doing a good job in doing that,” says Jan Wiley, a Boaz resident.


In addition to the two arrests Wednesday morning, a third person was arrested Wednesday afternoon in connection with the crime.


KALAMAZOO, MI — Got a cold? The usual adult dose of pseudoephedrine for nasal congestion is 30 to 60 milligrams every four to six hours as needed, up to 240 milligrams a day.

Stores in Kalamazoo County sold enough of the cold medicine between January 2012 and March 2013 for every man, woman and child to have nearly a six-day supply of the maximum dose.


Kalamazoo and St. Joseph counties are selling pseudoephedrine products — used to make methamphetamine — at high rates, despite a law that limits the amount people can buy


That’s despite a 2012 Michigan law that tracks purchases and caps sales of pseudoephedrine products in an effort to limit the production of methamphetamine, a highly addictive, illegal stimulant mostly manufactured using products containing pseudoephedrine.

Kalamazoo and St. Joseph counties have been selling more than double the state average of pseudoephedrine per person, according to statistics obtained by MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette from the Michigan State Police. St. Joseph County is No. 1 in the state in pseudoephedrine sales per capita, followed by neighboring Kalamazoo County in second.


Are we that much sicker in Southwest Michigan?


Law enforcement and drug treatment officials don’t think so.

“It’s very clear that many of them were not people who had hay fever. It is clear they were using it to make meth,” Spencer Price, substance abuse supervisor with Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services of St. Joseph County, said of pseudoephedrine buyers.

The 2012 law has helped in blocking some pseudoephedrine sales. Kalamazoo County blocked 18.6 million milligrams between January 2012 and March 2013, according to statistics from the tracking system provided by state police.

But the law’s goal of cutting down on methamphetamine production in Southwest Michigan has not been achieved.

Counties in Southwest Michigan continue to lead the state in the number of reported meth lab busts, according to MSP statistics, and law enforcement continues to struggle to keep up with the meth producers.

Police say high pseudoephedrine sales in St. Joseph and Kalamazoo counties are helping to fuel the meth problem throughout Southwest Michigan and northern Indiana.

meth sales per capita

Despite the pseudoephedrine-blocking law, 336.6 million milligrams were purchased legally in Kalamazoo County between January 2012 and March 2013. The 1,345 milligrams per person sold in the county over that 15 months is double the state average of 671 milligrams a person.

In St. Joseph County, 1,536 milligrams per person, or about 6.5 days’ worth of cold medicine per person, were sold during that same period.

Many counties on the east side of the state logged far fewer in pseudoephedrine sales per capita. In Wayne County, for example, 492 milligrams per person was sold. In Monroe County the number was 575 milligrams, while in Hillsdale County it was 546 milligrams a person.

Law enforcement officials in Kalamazoo and St. Joseph counties are trying to figure out why pseudoephedrine is being sold at such an alarming rate.

Capt. David Boysen of Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team said the cities of Kalamazoo and Portage have many retail stores and pharmacies that draw meth cooks from smaller, neighboring counties to purchase pseudoephedrine. The meth producers can then drive a short distance and be in a secluded rural area to make the drug, he said.

It’s a similar situation in St. Joseph County, where meth producers from smaller communities in Michigan and nearby Indiana will go to box stores in Three Rivers or Sturgis to get the products, said Undersheriff Mark Lillywhite.

“Meth production is nothing new in our area, unfortunately. It’s an epidemic,” Lillywhite said. “So these numbers don’t really surprise me.”

St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough met with local pharmacists and law enforcement officials last 2012 to discuss the excessive sales of pseudoephedrine products.

“That sit-down discussion brought about some very positive feedback,” McDonough said.

Among strategies discussed was reducing the number of doses per box, so meth makers will have less product to work with per purchase, the prosecutor said.

He also hopes improved communication between pharmacies and the St. Joseph County Area Narcotics Unit (SCAN) will cut down on the sales of pseudoephedrine.

State Sen. John Proos, who sponsored the 2012 pseudoephedrine legislation, admits the law hasn’t solved the problem.

“I think the law was another step forward in giving law enforcement the tools they need to stop the problem at the point of sale,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “I think it’s a step in the right direction. But we always understood this would be an ongoing process.”







MONTEREY CO., Calif. — A Prunedale man who was out on bail after being arrested on suspicion of assault was taken back into custody early Saturday morning — this time for allegedly possessing methamphetamine for sale, Monterey County Sheriff’s officials said.

James Wyatt, 43, was pulled over by sheriff’s deputies at about 3:15 a.m. Saturday on northbound U.S. Highway 101 near Mallory Canyon Road in unincorporated Prunedale, according to the sheriff’s office.

Wyatt was in violation of restrictions on his license and appeared to be under the influence of a stimulant, sheriff’s officials said.

He allegedly failed field sobriety tests and refused to provide a urine sample. Investigators then found methamphetamine in his shoe, as well as evidence indicating he was selling the drug — including cash, “pay-owe” sheets, and text messages, sheriff’s officials said.

Wyatt was arrested and booked into Monterey County Jail that night.







DOTHAN, Alabama — Dothan Police have arrested two suspects accused of manufacturing methamphetamine at a Best Value Inn and Suites on June 20.

John Tyler Bounds, 20, of Ashford, and Sara Nebel, 21, of Webb, were arrested and charged with first-degree manufacturing of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Sara Nebel.pngTyler Bounds.png

              Sara Nebel                          John Tyler Bounds


Both of their bonds have been set at $515,000.

According to Dothan Police, investigators received information that Bounds was in the process of manufacturing meth at the hotel located at 2901 Ross Clark Circle.

While speaking with Bounds and Nebel at room 209 of the hotel, investigators smelled a strong chemical odor coming from inside of the room, police released. The investigators were allowed access to the room and located several items used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine.








LAMONT — For the second time in seven days, police have arrested persons in connection with selling methamphetamine in the small southwestern Kern County town of Lamont.

Approximate location of drug sweep


Kern County Sheriff’s deputies have arrested Marlon Mejia, 23, Jose Cisneros, 23, and Mileire Valdez, 26, after seizing seven ounces of suspected methamphetamine during a probation sweep.

At approximately 10 p.m. on June 22, Lamont Substation deputies conducted a probation search at a home located in the 11600 block of Pierce Street in Lamont.

During the search, Mejia was found to be in possession of one ounce of suspected methamphetamine.

A short time later, deputies also executed a search warrant at Cisneros’ apartment located in the 10800 block of Santa Clara Street in Lamont, where they discovered an additional six ounces of methamphetamine.

Meanwhile, authorities said Valdez was found in possession of a small amount of methamphetamine at an undisclosed location.

All three suspects were booked into the Kern County Sheriff’s office Central Receiving Facility and the charges are as follows:  Mejia — possession of a controlled substance for sales, Valdez — possession of a controlled substance, and Cisneros — possession of a controlled substance for sales and transportation of a controlled substance.

Earlier this month on June 15, deputies arrested 22-year-old Jaime Urias, of Bakersfield, after finding a total of two pounds of meth in his vehicle during a routine traffic stop in Lamont, and his apartment located on Lotus Lane in Bakersfield.

A police spokesperson said they do not believe the two incidents are related.







SALTON CITY — The  U.S. Border Patrol seized more than $272,000 worth of methamphetamine at the Highway 86 checkpoint on Friday, according to the agency.

El Centro Sector agents stopped a 22-year-old woman  driving a 1999 Chrysler Cirrus after dogs  alerted agents to the car at the checkpoint between Salton City and Westmorland about 2:40 p.m. Friday.

The U.S. Border Patrol says agents found 16 packages of methamphetamine hidden behind the backseat of a car stopped Friday at a checkpoint near Salton City.

The U.S. Border Patrol says agents found 16 packages of methamphetamine hidden behind the backseat of a car stopped Friday at a checkpoint near Salton City
The U.S. Border Patrol says agents found 16 packages of methamphetamine hidden behind the backseat of a car stopped Friday at a checkpoint near Salton City.

Border Patrol says agents found 16 packages of methamphetamine hidden behind the backseat of a car stopped Friday at a checkpoint near Salton City

Agents found 16 packages of methamphetamine weighing 8 pounds, 5 ounces behind the car’s backseat, according to the Border Patrol.

The U.S. Border Patrol says agents found 16 packages of methamphetamine hidden behind the backseat of a car stopped Friday at a checkpoint near Salton City.

The U.S. Border Patrol says agents found 16 packages of methamphetamine hidden behind the backseat of a car stopped Friday at a checkpoint near Salton City

The driver, a U.S. citizen, was turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration along with the car and drugs for further investigation.

The woman’s name has not been released.




Those arrested are accused of being involved in a drug trafficking organization in Oklahoma that distributed methamphetamine and marijuana throughout the state from November 2011 through May.

Federal complaints unsealed Monday included charges against 13 people in a drug trafficking investigation, with one other person arrested on state drug charges.

Five of those named in the complaints already were in custody on other charges. Nine were arrested Friday by the FBI and Oklahoma City police.

The 14 people arrested following the investigation are accused of being involved in a drug trafficking organization that distributed methamphetamine and marijuana throughout the state from November 2011 through May.

Those arrested Friday were: Bryan J. Alcorta, 25, of Altus; Robert Ray Sanchez, 25, of Altus; Jason Lee Herrera, 25, of Oklahoma City; Robbin Lopez, 50, of Moore; Erlinda Ramirez 43, of Oklahoma City; Lyndie Prentice, 34, of Moore; Alaciano Ramirez, 20, of Oklahoma City; Tabitha Frair, 28, of Oklahoma City; and Isabel Marie Favela, 32, of Oklahoma City;

Those already in custody were: Courtney Watts, 29; Marsial Garcia, 31; Floyd Patterson, 30; Jeremy Pena, 32; and Baldomero Reyes Jr., 37.








Two people were sentenced to death and 71 others handed down different jail terms in China for illegal drug manufacturing.

The Intermediate People’s Court of Guangzhou City, capital of Guangdong Province, ruled that Feng Guiquan, Li Yuxiong and Luo Songyao were found guilty of manufacturing methamphetamine from November 2010 to May 2011.

Police arrested them on May 8, 2011 and confiscated 70.28 kg of methamphetamine.

They also confiscated more than 620 kg of 0.24-per cent pure methamphetamine at Luo’s house.

According to the court order, Feng was given the death penalty, Li was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve and Luo was sentenced to 15 years in jail and 200,000 yuan (USD 32,620) of his personal property was confiscated.

The People’s Court and 12 other grassroots courts also pronounced judgements in 66 drug-related cases involving more than 740 kg of drugs.

Seventy-three people were sentenced for manufacturing, smuggling, selling or transporting drugs, and their sentences range from six months in jail to the death penalty, state-run Xinhua news agency reported today.







A man in possession of methamphetamine, cash and a pistol was arrested Sunday night in southwest Fresno after he attracted the attention of police by firing the gun in the air repeatedly, Sgt. Ron Hughes said.

Officers went to investigate the gunfire near Martin Luther King Boulevard and Florence Avenue about 9 p.m. and found the man, who had the pistol in his waistband. He was booked into the Fresno County Jail on drug and weapons charges.

ARKANSAS CITY, Kansas — Arkansas City police arrested two people from El Dorado Sunday night in the 100 block of East Vine for possession of drugs.

Police found out the driver, 25-year-old Jocelyn Cornejo, had a revoked license and pulled her over.

Cornejo was arrested for driving on a revoked license.

During the investigation, Cornejo and her 28-year-old passenger, Joshua Schlecht, were found to be in possession of methamphetamine and marijuana.

Officers say the drugs were allegedly found within reach of four children inside the vehicle.

Cornejo and Schlecht are both charged with possession and the intent to sell marijuana and methamphetamine.