SAN BERNARDINO, California — Authorities say they’ve seized more than 450 pounds of methamphetamine in San Bernardino County and arrested two men.

The California attorney general’s office says agents with the state Department of Justice and county sheriff’s detectives went to a home in the city of Hinkley last Wednesday to bust an alleged meth lab.

inline_368650005290This May 28, 2014 photo released by the State of California Department of Justice Office of the Attorney General, shows a methamphetamine conversion lab in San Bernardino County, Calif. Agents with the California Department of Justice task force and detectives with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department seized a total of 206 lbs. of crystal methamphetamine and 250 gallons of liquid methamphetamine, which is capable of producing 1,250 lbs. of crystal methamphetamine.

 

They seized 206 pounds of crystal methamphetamine along with 250 gallons of liquid methamphetamine that authorities say could produce 1,250 pounds of crystal meth.

Authorities say the drugs seized are worth more than $7 million on the street.

Jorge Valdez and Miguel Sanchez, both of Hinkley, were arrested and remained jailed Monday. They’ve been charged with making and possessing meth for sale.

It’s not immediately clear whether they have attorneys.

 

 

 

 

http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/b36117dd6b5d43f8a8e2b6f0d11a9420/CA–Meth-Seized

 

 

 

Agents Bust Methamphetamine Conversion Lab, Seize Drugs Valued at $7.2 Million

SAN BERNARDINO – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the arrest of two individuals suspected of operating a methamphetamine conversion lab in San Bernardino County. Agents with a California Department of Justice task force and detectives with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department seized a total of 206 lbs. of crystal methamphetamine and 250 gallons of liquid methamphetamine, which is capable of producing 1,250 lbs. of crystal methamphetamine. The street value of the methamphetamine seized is estimated at $7.2 million.

Methamphetamine is one of the most toxic drugs available, destroying the bodies and minds of countless people,” Attorney General Harris said. “California is the national epicenter of its trafficking and distribution, so I have made it a priority of the California Department of Justice’s task forces to stop those who would sell and manufacture this debilitating drug. This bust significantly reduces the amount of methamphetamine on our streets, and I thank the agents and partners who worked collaboratively to seize these drugs.”

Agents and detectives arrested Jorge Valdez, 34, and Miguel Angel Sanchez, 24, of Hinkley. Both were booked at the San Bernardino County Jail and are currently being held on $1,000,000 bail each. Both are charged with two felony counts each for the manufacture and possession for sale of methamphetamine and are being prosecuted by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.

“I stand with my law enforcement counterparts with an unwavering commitment to stop the manufacturing and dealing of narcotics in San Bernardino County,” San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said. “Drug use undermines traditional values and it is our responsibility to put an end to it.”

“Thanks to the extensive work of the Attorney General’s task force and our Sheriff’s Department, we were able to prevent a significant amount of the destructive drug, methamphetamine, from making it to our streets,” San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos said. “We look forward to prosecuting these individuals to the fullest extent of the law and sending the message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated in San Bernardino County.”

An investigation headed by a California Department of Justice task force led agents to a residence at 37767 Mountain View Road in the city of Hinkley in Santa Bernardino County, which they believed contained a methamphetamine conversion lab. On Wednesday, May 28, agents obtained a search warrant for the residence and discovered a methamphetamine conversion lab onsite. Inside, law enforcement personnel arrested Valdez and Sanchez, seized 206 lbs. of crystal methamphetamine, and approximately 250 gallons of liquid methamphetamine, which is capable of producing 1,250 lbs. of crystal methamphetamine.

 

Attorney General Harris is currently working with the state legislature to secure funding for Department of Justice task forces and special operations units that specialize in anti-narcotics investigations.

Agencies that participated in this operation include: The California Department of Justice, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol and Homeland Security Investigations.

A March 2014 report issued by Attorney General Harris called the trafficking of methamphetamine a growing threat to the state and a top priority for law enforcement. The report, Gangs Beyond Borders: California and the Fight Against Transnational Organized Crime, is the first comprehensive report analyzing the current state of transnational criminal organizations in California and the threats they pose to the state’s public safety and economy. The report also outlined recommendations to address this problem, which include increased funding for state anti-narcotics trafficking task forces and additional coordination between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in combatting transnational criminal organizations. The report is available here: https://oag.ca.gov/transnational-organized-crime.

 

 

 

 

http://www.highlandnews.net/news/breaking_news/article_860a580e-eaac-11e3-a104-0019bb2963f4.html

 

 

LAKE ISABELLA, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Methamphetamine is an ongoing problem Kern County is trying to end, and Jason Duthridge knows this problem all too well.

“Meth is a drug that if you try it once, you’re hooked,” Duthridge said. “It’s feeling like you never have before. But in reality, it takes everything from you.”

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Duthridge lives in the Kern River Valley, one of the county’s most picturesque communities now plagued with a growing meth problem.

“There ain’t nothing up here but the park, this baseball field, and bicycles and video games. What happens after that?” Duthridge said. “If they want to put a stop to it, they need to start with the kids first. Give them something look forward to.”

Duthridge said he has been clean for six months, while many in his community continue to use the highly addictive drug.

In response, a county-wide effort to curb methamphetamine use paid a visit to the Kern River Valley on Monday to continue raising awareness for its cause.

Kern Stop Meth Now, which began in 2008, takes a step-by-step approach in how it handles raising awareness in each community.

“In the Kern River Valley, we’re taking a business approach,” said Kern County Supervisor Mick Gleason. “We’re going to go knock on doors. We’re going to walk the streets of Lake Isabella.”

And walk the streets the group did, with more than 30 volunteers stopping by about 70 businesses to inform them on the dangers of meth use and invite the community to an informational forum.

The volunteers talked to some business owners who say they have experienced the growing meth problem first-hand.

“We see some of the customers come in, and they’re on drugs, you can tell,” said Wes, the owner of one automotive business.

Another automotive business owner said she was the victim of theft from one of her customers.

“People broke into my truck because they were addicted to meth, went in my truck, stole my CDs and my wallet while I was working on their car,” the woman said.

Stop Meth Now says nearly 40 percent of prosecuted felonies in Kern County include methamphetamine offenses.

Duthridge, who said he never stole the money he used to buy his drugs with, said it took something bigger than him to finally choose to quit.

“Christmas morning, I had my kids tell me they didn’t want Santa Claus, they wanted dad,” Duthridge said. “They told me dad, if you ever do it again, we won’t want nothing to do with you. So being in this community, you know, with the right people. They’ve guided me the right way.”

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.bakersfieldnow.com/news/local/Stop-meth-now-local-group-heads-to-Kern-River-Valley-to-curb-meth-use-261599731.html

 

Houses once used as meth labs dot the country and pose health risks to their future residents

Jaimee Alkinani and her husband had just bought their first home in a quiet suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. The three-bedroom house was in a nice neighborhood: tree-lined street, kids riding their bikes down the sidewalk, and friendly neighbors who waved when they passed. The family was on their way — they’d also just opened a small business near their home, had an 11-month-old child, and Jaimee was eight months pregnant. Life had officially started for the Alkinanis. But soon things turned for the worse.

A few days after they had moved in, a neighbor welcomed them with disturbing news. “Your house used to be a meth lab,” he said—a fact that the seller had never disclosed. So they called their realtor. He told them not to worry, that the house had been decontaminated. He even produced a certificate from the local health department to prove it.

Then the family started getting sick. Within five months, Jaimee and her husband developed sinus problems that required surgery. When their baby was born, he had serious lung issues that caused him to stop breathing a few times. He also wasn’t gaining weight, and was in and out of the hospital.

So the Alkinanis had their house tested for methamphetamine. The results made Jaimee put her kids in the car and immediately abandon her new home, with all the family’s possessions still inside. The house’s level of methamphetamine contamination was 63 times higher than the level at which the Utah Department of Health condemns a house.

Houses formerly used as meth labs, called meth houses, put their residents at risk of serious health consequences, says Stan Smith, a doctoral student at the University of California, Los Angeles, and director of the Drug Endangered Children Task Force, a division of the California Drug Enforcement Agency.

Upon moving into a meth house, people have experienced short-term health problems ranging from migraines and respiratory difficulties to skin irritation and burns. Long-term problems are less well known, but the results from a 2009 study in Toxicological Sciences suggest that methamphetamine chemicals may cause cancer in humans. And because children have small, developing bodies and a tendency to play on the ground and put things in their mouths, they are especially susceptible to adverse health effects from meth toxins. “When we go into a lab, if there are children, the first thing we do is take the children to the hospital and assess them for contamination,” Smith says.

The chemicals used in methamphetamine production are highly toxic and range from pseudoephedrine—the main ingredient in meth and the active ingredient in decongestants—to any one of 32 other precursor chemicals. These include acetone, the active ingredient in nail polish remover, and phosphine, a widely used insecticide.

Home-cooking meth spreads toxins to every inch of the room where the meth was cooked and beyond. Nothing escapes contamination—the carpet, walls, furniture, drapes, air ducts, and even the air itself becomes toxic. “Ingesting some of these chemicals, even a tiny drop, can cause immediate death,” Smith says.

“When we go into a meth lab, we have on respirators, Tyvec suits, shoe coverings, gloves and eye goggles,” says Sgt. Cory Craig, a state highway patrolman and narcotics specialist based in northern Missouri. Police treat methamphetamine labs as hazardous waste sites. They remove meth-making hardware and chemicals, and often hire professional cleaning companies to sanitize the house.

The sheer amount of chemicals removed from labs is staggering. Consider Missouri alone. “Since 1998 we’ve seized 12,354 meth labs, 251,000 pounds of solid waste, and 118,000 pounds of toxic waste,” Craig says.

In dealing with toxic chemicals, most meth lab clean-up crews follow general guidelines. In the room where the meth was made, they scrub all surfaces, repaint the walls, replace the carpets and air filters, and air out the property. However, there are no national standards for meth lab cleanups—regulations differ from state to state. And in some states, getting a license to decontaminate a house is as easy as taking a few hours of class and a written test. “There are some bad certification methods out there. You could be a pizza delivery guy, study for a month, pay $250 and be certified,” said Joe Mazzuca, a methamphetamine contamination expert and CEO of Meth Lab Cleanup, a nationwide meth-lab-specific cleanup company based in Boise, Idaho. In the Alkinanis’ case, the person who decontaminated their house shirked his responsibility by cleaning too quickly and not using the correct cleaning agents.

And although some states, such as Colorado, Washington and North Carolina, employ effective regulations, some experts think that many may not. In Idaho, for example, a former lab is deemed “clean” when there is less than one tenth of a microgram of methamphetamine per square centimeter in the room where the drug was cooked. If the amount of meth detected is at such a low level, some state regulators think, the precursor chemicals are at low levels too. “We just check for meth,” says Jim Faust of Idaho’s statewide Clandestine Drug Lab Cleanup Program, based in Boise.

Like Idaho, many states only check for meth in the room where the drug was cooked. This method doesn’t account for toxic dust or harmful chemicals that may have traveled to other parts of the house. Another compounding factor is that many states do not require that the person cleaning be professionally trained or licensed in methamphetamine or hazardous waste cleanup.

Of all the toxic chemicals in a meth house, the drug itself is probably the hardest to clean up, but it’s actually the least toxic. The precursor chemicals pose the greatest health risk to residents of a former meth lab. When people smoke or shoot meth they face serious health risks, but they usually don’t die—they just get high. Many of meth’s toxic precursors, if smoked or injected, are lethal.

Even if a meth house is cleaned properly, some contamination experts worry that the toxins may hang around. Glenn Morrison, an engineering professor at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, questions the adequacy of current meth house cleanup standards, emphasizing their failure to ensure the removal of toxins that are absorbed by the home. “These clean-ups tend to be somewhat superficial when it comes to permanent building materials,” he says.

Morrison recently received funding from the National Institute of Standards and Technology to investigate exactly how methamphetamine contamination resides in buildings. He hopes to figure out whether current meth lab cleanup protocols properly address contamination. “Building materials absorb pollutants, even if the materials are not obviously porous or fleecy. This contamination can be re-released, even after the building has been cleaned,” Morrison says.

Professional meth house cleanup contractors estimate that about 90 percent of meth houses are never uncovered, and their tenants will likely never know about their homes’ toxicity. Many of the meth houses that are discovered are listed on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Clandestine Laboratory Register or on other state databases.

The DEA’s registry lists 113,464 meth labs that were uncovered from 1999 to 2008. But this figure doesn’t account for any undiscovered meth labs and many meth experts think it’s an underestimate. “The record keeping is horrific. The DEA’s list can’t be relied upon because it’s completely voluntary,” says Dawn Turner, who started methlabhomes.com, a free, web-based resource for people who have unknowingly purchased a meth house. “I’ve heard estimates that there are a million to a million and a half meth homes and most of them are never found by the police department,” she adds. In the area where the Alkinanis lived, there were 250 known meth houses and most of their owners had no clue about their homes’ nefarious past. The exact number of meth houses in U.S. is still unknown.

And although meth houses are more concentrated in certain states—Missouri is the meth capitol of the world, with 1,471 labs discovered in 2008 alone—there are meth houses in all fifty states. Consider a lab found in Framingham, Mass., a town with an average home price of around $350,000. Or one found in Norwalk, Conn., where the average home is valued at $694,000. “There is a misconception that these houses are crack houses. They are absolutely not. A meth house in Kentucky recently went on the market for $700,000 dollars,” Turner says.

With so many homes potentially contaminated by methamphetamine production, Turner estimates that thousands to tens of thousands of people have discovered that what they thought was the American dream—a nice home for the family—is actually an American nightmare—the potential cause of a range of health problems and a stack of medical bills. But is the issue receiving enough attention? Not for people like Turner. “States are really dragging their feet on this issue,” she says.

The Alkinanis agree. Because there were no meth lab disclosure laws in Utah at the time they bought their house, they have no financial or legal recourse. “We are paying the price for what one person did,” says Jaimee Alkinani. “My child will likely have a lifetime of permanent medical issues because of this house, and we are going into bankruptcy because we can’t sell the house.”

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/former-meth-lab/

 

The drug’s cooks are now finding their ways into hotels that any family might choose for road trips or weekends at various lake communities in the area.

FORT WAYNE — Gone are the days when making meth on the go was confined to low-end hotel rooms.

The drug’s cooks are now finding their ways into hotels that any family might choose for road trips or weekends at various lake communities in the area.

“It’s not just happening in low-level hotels or strip hotels. It’s starting to happen in middle-class hotels,” said Joe Clark, operations manager for water and special projects at Protechs, a Fort Wayne company that does meth lab decontamination.

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At the Comfort Inn in Warsaw, two people were found with finished meth and a lab.

Protechs got the cleanup job, and for Clark, the location was fairly unnerving.

It was a hotel he said would appeal to any family in need of a room for the night.

When cooks make meth in hotels, they leave behind contamination that could affect anyone who stays in that room, especially if the stay is long-term.

The ingredients for meth and their byproducts, including ammonia, hydrochloric acid gas, lithium, sulfuric acid and pseudoephedrine, carry a plethora of possible side effects depending on the length of exposure.

The Indiana State Department of Health’s website lists breathing problems, chest pain, skin irritation, dizziness and a burning sensation to the eyes and skin as possible side effects from meth lab exposure.

Children are especially susceptible and can suffer long-term problems if they live in an environment where meth was made.

Hotels still made up a fairly small portion of the locations in Allen County where police found meth labs in recent years, accounting for about 15 percent of the locations from 2008 to 2013, according to Allen County Health Department records.

Although local health departments are tasked with condemning homes or hotel rooms where meth is made, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management sets all rules that apply to meth lab cleanups.

This year, there have been four reported cases of meth lab finds at motels in Allen, Huntington and DeKalb counties, according to The Journal Gazette.

Unless something goes awry in the production or someone smells the telltale ammonia smell of a meth lab, chances are the cooks will check out the next morning and go on their way while the residue of their product remains on the room’s surfaces or bathroom fixtures.

“Very rarely would they (police) probably catch them,” Protechs’ Clark said. Indiana State Police said there’s no way to know how many people get away with making meth in hotels.

To make sure a hotel room can be used again, a cleaning company will have the surfaces and furniture tested by a third party.

Depending on the results, the room can be opened for business or will need to be decontaminated.

Until the room passes inspection, it cannot be used by anyone.

“We will post that room uninhabitable, meaning it can’t be rented out again until it’s decontaminated and final testing has occurred,” said Dave Fiess, director of vector control and environmental services for Allen County’s health department.

The Comfort Inn room is once again open for business after the initial test results showed the level of contamination was below the state minimum, according to the Kosciusko County Health Department.

Health departments provide hotel managers with state laws about meth lab cleanup and a list of certified companies that do such work.

Several phone calls and messages to the Comfort Inn were not returned, nor were calls to other hotels in the area.

Should the hotel manager decide to use the room without it being cleaned, though, local health departments have no authority to issue fines or citations to the hotel.

Bob Weaver, administrator for the Kosciusko County Health Department, said he does not know of any hotels in his area that have opened a room without permission.

“The liability would just be too great,” he said.

On IDEM’s website, the agency says a new coat of paint and simple washing of surfaces in a room or home could be enough to contain or remove the contamination.

For more serious jobs, though, IDEM makes known that the removal of drywall, furniture or carpets could be required.

Clark recalled one decontamination job where the hotel room was stripped of everything, including the heating unit, because of the extensive contamination.

Despite the health concerns posed by such chemical residue, he said the hotel manager wanted to keep the mattress in the room.

Clark did not grant the request.

In some cases, cleanup may be so extensive that IDEM recommends that building owners consider demolition instead of decontamination.

When it comes to decontamination at hotels, the tricky part is not to attract too much attention to what went on in the room.

“The hotel doesn’t want to alarm their clientele,” said Donetta Held, president and owner of Crisis Cleaning, another company in the area that handles meth lab decontamination.

The size of most hotel rooms and the self-contained air-handling systems in them work in favor for decontamination crews. Since each room has its own heating and air-conditioning unit, the chances of the vapors getting into the rest of the building are slim.

“Nine times out of 10 when we’ve tested adjoining units, there hasn’t been contamination that’s carried over,” Held said, adding there would need to be “serious cooking” going on for the contamination to spread throughout the hotel.

Depending on what the initial tests show, the cleanup could be as simple as washing walls or as extensive as gutting the entire room.

Once a decontamination company is finished, a testing company takes samples from the room’s walls, furniture and fixtures to see if the levels meet the IDEM requirements set in 2007.

In Indiana, the standard is 0.5 micrograms of contaminants per 100 square centimeters.

Kentucky and Tennessee only allow 0.1 micrograms per 100 square centimeters, and California allows up to 1.5 micrograms, one of the highest allowances in the nation.

“When they bumped theirs up to 1.5, that kind of surprised me because I was thinking that was high,” said Fiess, of the Allen County Health Department.

Even in cases where homes or hotel rooms were cleaned to IDEM standards, tales occasionally surface across the state where long-term hotel customers reported respiratory and other health problems they never before had.

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.elkharttruth.com/news/crime-fire-courts/2014/06/01/Methamphetamine-labs-pose-growing-problem-expense-for-hotel-owners.html

 

For broke tweakers on the go, bicycles are replacing RVs as the perfect vehicle for cooking crystal

 

Last week, Authorities in Welch, West Virginia arrested a Walter White wannabe with his very own mobile meth lab. Dennis Baker was riding around town on a bike when deputies stopped him and made an unusual discovery: the 31-year-old had a makeshift meth factory strapped to his back, with a batch of pills and household chemicals brewing inside.

“[He] actually had a live meth lab cooking in [his] backpack,” Roger Deel, chief deputy for the McDowell County Sheriff’s Department, told the Beckley Register-Herald.

Scenes of a bicycle meth lab bust in Plymouth, Indiana.

We’d love to herald Baker’s two-wheeled cook as the mark of a budding young mind determined to break new ground in the world of meth manufacturing. But actually, while the majority of mobile meth labs continue to pop up inside cars and motel rooms, it appears that today’s budget-minded tweaker is cooking crystal while literally pedaling it around town.

In May, police found an “active warm pot of methamphetamine” in the backpack of Nathaniel Carpenter, who was stopped while biking in Hamilton, Ohio. And cops in Pittsburg, Kansas seized a man’s mobile cook after he led them on a slow-speed chase on his bike last year.

New formulas for making methamphetamine are helping to drive the revolution. In recent years, cooks have cast aside the clutter of elaborate labs and taken to a process known as the “one-pot” method or “shake-and-bake.” It’s as simple as tossing some pseudoephedrine pills into a plastic soda bottle, mixing in various household chemicals and shaking it up. The small batches would never pass the Breaking Bad purity test, but they are fast, cheap and simple. And they can be made on the run.

Just as with old-school meth cooks, common sense often escapes two-wheeled tweakers. In 2012, cops in South Bend, Indiana discovered Lewis Vandusen’s mobile meth lab because he failed to display proper lighting on his bicycle. Another cycling cook, Jamie Howell, met a similar fate when he got caught cruising around in the dark without reflectors.

Stanley Wayne Rice accidentally

In what is probably the most egregious case, a father in Oklahoma accidentally scorched his 5-year-old’s face in 2012 when his bottle of shake-and-bake exploded all over the boy. Stanley Wayne Rice’s son was riding on his handle bars when his meth cook erupted, giving the child third degree burns. Rice was eventually sentenced to six years in prison.

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.vocativ.com/underworld/crime/bikes-new-mobile-meth-labs/

 

by Josh and Aishah on 01 June 2014

I don’t normally have time for more than one post per day in the week, which I typically then write before work, so although there are a couple of things I’d like to write about, I’ll have to spread them out. Today I want to address something I see people keep searching for:

Meth and porn

Actually what I really want to write about here is the relationship between sex and drugs, as well as the relationship between drugs and prostitution, and the relationship between drugs and pornography.

I know it’s easy to think that meth users are depraved individuals who get into porn, but this is really looking at the symptom of a much bigger issue. I must warn you that my opinions on some of this might be considered controversial. The truth is, when you use drugs, you are chasing pleasure, and then it’s easy to mix drugs and sex, because sex outside of a romantic relationship is all about personal pleasure. And I do mean personal.

Even mutual sex, when you are a drug addict, is all about your personal pleasure. It’s like mutual masturbation. But not everybody on drugs uses with a partner. If you’re alone, and the drugs still cause sexual stimulation, what do you do? Porn is inevitable at some point. And since drugs ultimately destroy your relationships anyway, everybody who is addicted to meth, as well as most all other addictive drugs, will get there eventually.

Furthermore, people who are desperate, and unfortunately it seems to apply to women more than men, often end up selling themselves for their drugs. This doesn’t only apply to methamphetamine, and if you think it does, you are sadly mistaken, and are failing to see the bigger picture: I believe that all prostitution results from addiction.

Pornography is really nothing more than a different kind of prostitution. Porn stars are just highly successful prostitutes. Same with strippers. Do you really believe that anybody strips to feed their children, or pay their way through college, like the stupid movie, Striptease? No, they strip to support their drug habits.

And my opinion goes even further (and this is where it gets controversial). I highly doubt the existence of so-called sex addiction. I’m willing to bet that all sex addicts use narcotic drugs, so when somebody like Michael Douglas checked in for his sex addiction, he most likely sought help for his sex addiction, but refused to acknowledge that snorting cocaine was a problem. Sex addiction or sex obsession (as it should be called) is nothing more than a preoccupation with pleasure, manifested in pleasure-seeking noncommittal sex, induced by drug addiction.

 

 

 

 

http://recoveredmethaddict.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/meth-and-porn/

 

An estimated 70 percent of methamphetamine in the U.S. travels up from Mexico across the border into Southern California, making us America’s major gateway.

Mexican gangs smuggle the illegal drug to Southern California gangs through the state’s border crossings, particularly San Diego.

The amount of the drug seized at the San Diego border crossing tripled between 2009 and 2013, reaching 13,200 pounds.

By comparison, at South Texas border crossings only 2,200 pounds of meth were seized in 2013.

The Sinaloa drug cartel in Baja California imports precursor chemicals from China and India and refines the drug in Mexican superlabs before shipping it in vehicles to San Diego.

State officials said the drug is being further refined in labs in inland areas of the Southland.

http://www.redlandsdailyfacts.com/opinion/20140530/news-views-mexico-supplies-34-of-us-meth

Mexican drug gangs are flooding Texas with more and more cheap, pure methamphetamine, according to law officers, drug criminals and statistical data assembled by The Dallas Morning News.

Clandestine Mexican laboratories operating on an industrial scale produce meth in liquid form. Traffickers smuggle it across the border, convert it into crystalline form and set up drug houses in small and large cities. The distributors sometimes pose as normal families and expose their children to dangerous chemicals used to convert the meth from liquid to crystal.

The meth trail often ends in a spasm of human misery.

Addicts go to prison or die from medical complications. Social-service agencies take their children away. Some addicts bottom out and seek a return to normalcy at places such as Wellspring House, an eight-bed residential recovery center nestled in a quiet Irving neighborhood.

That dozens of Mexican syndicates control the retail meth market throughout Texas comes as no surprise to Brian Lane and other addicts who help each other maintain sobriety at Wellspring House.

“My dealer was a Hispanic female with a connection to people from Mexico,” said Lane, who recently celebrated two years of meth-free living. “We were getting really good stuff.”

Federal drug enforcement analysts estimate that more than 90 percent of the meth in Texas comes from Mexico.

“Jeff,” an articulate and likeable 19-year-old addict, bounced his leg nervously as he told his story. He had been dealing meth and injecting it for three years by the time he arrived at Wellspring House.

“We got it from the Mexicans, diluted it with a cutting agent to stretch one ounce into two ounces, and then sold it to white guys around East Texas,” said Jeff, who would only talk to The News if his real name wasn’t used in this story.

“The drug house looked like a rundown shack. Inside, there were pounds of dope and stacks of money. You felt lucky to go in there and even luckier to make it out.”

Sneaking off at night

Lane’s love affair with meth, a powerful stimulant, almost ended a decade-long relationship with his life partner, Jonathan Boyd. By the time Lane’s addiction reached its worst point in 2012, Lane wanted to die. Sometimes, Boyd wanted him to die, too.

A cousin had introduced Lane to meth in 2008.

“I suddenly developed so much energy,” he said.

Boyd had smoked pot one time and drank an occasional cocktail or glass of wine. But he was naive about the dark world of drug addiction and manipulative addicts.

“My credit cards went on vacation,” he recalled. “They would disappear at night and return in the morning.”

Night after night, after Boyd fell asleep, Lane would rifle through his wallet, sneak out of the house and spend the night gambling in seedy, windowless gaming parlors stuffed with electronic slot machines.

“The places all had security cameras and doorbells you rang to get inside,” he said. “They checked you for weapons and that was about it.”

Bags of dope exchanged hands. People smoked it in bathroom stalls. Lane, glassy-eyed and wired, sat on a stool for hours, feeding $5 bills into a slot, repeatedly punching the “Play” button and watching the machine’s icons spin.

Lane’s dealer nicknamed him “White Boy” and “Casper.” As his addiction deepened, he grew more erratic.

Boyd often came home from work to find his partner maniacally disassembling garage-door openers, entertainment-center remotes and other electronic devices, pieces scattered everywhere. Sometimes, the meth so debilitated him, he could barely feed himself.

“I was high all the time,” said Lane, who says he stole thousands of dollars from Boyd during his three years of meth abuse. He also stole Boyd’s tools and hocked them at pawn shops.

One night, Lane and his dealer made a mistake. She took him to a drug warehouse where gangsters converted the liquid meth into “ice” and sold it to distributors. The house — actually a small apartment building — sat on a cul-de-sac behind a shopping center just off Interstate 20 in Arlington.

Armed guards weren’t happy that the dealer brought Lane to the drug house. They started yelling and tried to block Lane’s car from leaving the property. The dealer jumped out of the car to explain, and Lane had to drive over a curb to escape into the night.

“It was terrifying,” he recalled. “The only reason they didn’t kill her is she moved so much dope for them.”

Sticking around

Boyd finally got fed up with his partner and threatened to end their relationship unless Lane went to rehab. They chose Caron Texas, a treatment center in Princeton, a small town in Collin County.

“When I dropped him off at the treatment center, I really was planning on never picking him up,” Boyd said.

Dr. John Dakin, clinical director at Caron, convinced Boyd that he, too, needed treatment because of emotional trauma caused by his partner’s addiction. His attitude evolved during counseling and he stuck with Lane despite the repeated betrayals.

“The cost and toll of meth on our society is well-documented,” Dakin said. “It’s probably not going to stop.”

After rehab at Caron, Lane enrolled in a sober living program at a residential treatment center. And the idea for Wellspring House came to him and Boyd. They bought the two-story home in Irving, got trained for the program and opened in 2013.

Currently, six of eight Wellspring House residents are battling meth addiction. They stay as long as they want, but they must be employed, or enrolled in college or a trade school or engaged as full-time community volunteers.

“Dennis,” 20, said he began using Adderall, a stimulant made to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. Then he graduated to meth.

At first, he felt invincible. He lost weight and felt brilliant. His apartment was immaculately clean. He scrubbed bathroom grout with a toothbrush at 3 a.m. But as his tolerance to the drug increased, he spent more and smoked more in a futile attempt to recapture the initial euphoria.

Like many recovering addicts, Dennis relies on a 12-step program with a spiritual component.

“I have a disease that is chronic and it kills me,” said Dennis, who also requested that his real name not be used. He’s been sober for seven months. “The drug tells me I can control it. It tells me I can use it successfully. But I stayed in rehab for 93 days and got clear enough to see the truth.”

It’s everywhere

Evidence of the Texas meth epidemic is everywhere if you know where to look: the gaming parlors that hooked Lane; communal bathhouses that attract seekers of anonymous sex; a teacher’s purse, a lawyer’s briefcase or a roughneck’s thermos.

Tim Cariker, an assistant district attorney in Marshall, estimates that nine out of 10 low-level drug cases in his East Texas county involve meth possession or sale.

And those aren’t the only meth-related prosecutions. Other defendants face theft charges for stealing oilfield equipment or copper tubing to finance their addiction. Other cases involve domestic abuse and child neglect. The meth problem, as described by law enforcement, is much the same throughout North and East Texas.

Cariker, a prosecutor for 11 years, said current anti-drug strategies are not working. Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies can’t cut off the supply. Jail time for convicted users doesn’t seem to work. They emerge from behind bars to use meth again.

Maybe the answer is increased funding for special court programs that divert users into rehabilitation programs, Cariker said.

“Maybe we need to cut off the demand at the lowest level,” he said.

Curbing domestic meth

Congress passed the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 because domestic meth cookers had gotten out of control. They could walk into any grocery store and buy cartons of cold pills containing pseudoephedrine, mix them with other chemicals and process the noxious brew into methamphetamine.

The new federal law put tight controls on pseudoephedrine and other so-called precursor chemicals used to cook meth.

And the law worked.

“We saw meth production go down starting in 2006,” recalled Jane Maxwell, a senior research scientist at the University of Texas at Austin who has tracked the illegal drug market since the 1970s. “But then it started back up in 2008.”

Mexican drug cartels noticed the lull in U.S. meth production. They saw an opening and began establishing networks in Texas cities, where they also sold marijuana, black tar heroin and cocaine.

But meth became their special product, and they committed resources to it in a big way. The other three crop-based drugs were vulnerable to government eradication programs and weather conditions that affected harvests.

Cocaine required the Mexicans to share profits with Central and South American drug gangs that control the coca fields and processing labs. A lot of the American heroin market is controlled by trafficking groups in Asia and Europe.

“What Mexicans can control is the methamphetamine market,” said Ben West, a drug market analyst for Stratfor, an Austin-based “global intelligence” company that analyzes world events for its clients.

No one knows for sure, but some analysts estimate that as many as 150 Mexican drug gangs, many of which have splintered off from major cartels, have established operations in Texas. The situation resembles America during Prohibition, when criminal gangs sprang up to fight each other for control of the illegal whiskey industry.

The evidence suggests that drug gangs based south of the border are slowly extending their distribution networks by establishing relationships with Texas criminals.

Take the case of Jerry Don Castleberry, 72, a former member of the Bandidos motorcycle gang. Every so often, according to federal court records, he made the 200-mile round trip from his East Texas home in Longview to pick up a few ounces of meth from his Mexican distributor in Dallas.

Castleberry sometimes traded firearms for meth. But he got arrested and is now serving a long prison sentence.

Federal agents often seize big batches of meth before street dealers like Castleberry can dilute the drug to maximize profits. In some cases, the agents are finding purity levels exceeding 95 percent. High quality suggests abundant supply, which means Mexican labs are churning out their product 24/7.

Some statistics suggest that a focus on meth has led Mexican drug gangs to cut back on cocaine smuggling into Texas. The amount of cocaine seized at the border dropped from 16,908 kilograms in 2011 to 7,143 kilos in 2012 — a 58 percent decrease.

Many drug users who prefer stimulants say Mexican meth is better than crack cocaine for several reasons. It’s cheaper and provides a longer-lasting high.

So, business is booming for meth, not so much for cocaine.

‘I’m surrounded’

Lane and Boyd, both 42, got through their meth crisis and are now considering buying another home in Irving and converting it into a second Wellspring House.

“Our lives together are changed,” Boyd said. “When I dropped Brian off at rehab two years ago, I never wanted to deal with another addict. And now I’m surrounded with them.”

During a recent conversation in the spacious living room at Wellspring House, Boyd and several addicts talked about the meth subculture — how they teach each other to score dope, how to steal to finance their habits, how to soften coming down from the high when the meth runs out.

It’s a sordid topic. Outsiders might wonder why decent people should care about addicts and the drug gangs that supply their meth.

“Drug addiction or alcoholism touches everyone,” Lane said. “With meth, you often can’t see it, even when they are using. You might live in a gated community, but the reality is that it’s slipping in your back door in the form of a neighbor, family member or a service provider.”

 

 

 

 

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/headlines/20140531-deluge-of-meth-from-mexico-spreads-misery-across-texas.ece#commentsDiv

 

 

 

 

 

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Missouri Supreme Court has set a July execution date for John Middleton, a methamphetamine dealer convicted of killing another drug dealer in western Missouri in 1995.

Middleton, who is 54, is scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. July 16 at the state prison in Bonne Terre.

Missouri has executed four men this year and six since November. Another convicted killer, John Winfield, is scheduled to be put to death on June 18.

Meanwhile, Russell Bucklew’s execution, originally scheduled for May 21, remains on hold after the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay over concerns that Bucklew’s rare medical condition could cause him to suffer during lethal injection.

Only Texas and Florida have performed more executions than Missouri in 2014.

 

 

http://www.connecttristates.com/news/story.aspx?id=1051429#.U4t8SSxOWzk

 

 

 

 

PAVILION TOWNSHIP, MI – Police said three active one-pot meth labs and six older one-pot vessels were found in a Pavilion Township home after a woman was treated for chemical burns related to meth lab failure.

Life EMS responded to a report of a subject with chemical burns in the 5300 block of Pavilion Drive at 8:50 a.m. on Saturday. Upon arrival, first responders learned the burns suffered by a 23-year-old woman were a result of a methamphetamine lab failure and notified police, according to a news release from the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said they responded to a home in the 5200 block of Pavilion Dr. where the victim had come from and made contact with four subjects at the back entrance of the home. While at the back of the home deputies said they identified a man running from the back of the residence to the front carrying what appeared to be a meth lab.

“Multiple subjects still inside fled from the residence and the other subject with the suspected meth lab escaped before additional officers arrived,” the release said. “Once in the home three active one-pot methamphetamine labs were located and six older one-pot vessels were found.”

The female victim who police said was uncooperative was transported to the hospital and treated for minor injuries related to the burns.

Deputies were assisted at the scene by officers from the Portage Department of Public Safety who attempted to locate the subjects who fled the home into Pavilion Estates Trailer Park. Officers were able to identify a 44-year-old suspect.

According to the news release charges will be requested for several subjects from the investigation..

http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2014/05/police_find_multiple_meth_labs.html

 

MOBILE, Alabama — A 60-year-old man remained jailed Friday after police said they found him and the materials for a “shake and bake” meth lab after a two and a half week long investigation.

On May 8, officers received information about a person growing hydroponic marijuana and manufacturing methamphetamine on the 700 block of Barlow Road West, Mobile Police Department spokesman Officer Terence Perkins said Friday.

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Otha Lavon Rowell was seen going and out of a shed on the property “several times a day,” Perkins said.

“Officers also observed Rowell making several hand-to-hand transactions with people inside vehicles that would frequent the location,” he said.

On Thursday, officers with MPD’s narcotics unit approached Rowell inside the shed. Police seized a digital scale and a white powder substance, believed to be cocaine, in addition to the materials for the meth lab.

He faces charges of manufacturing meth, possession of a controlled substance and possession of narcotic paraphernalia.

Records from Mobile County Metro Jail show authorities arrested Rowell on six other occasions, starting in 2002. He has previously faced charges of theft and domestic violence, although he does not have any known previous drug-related charges.

Anyone with information on the crime can contact MPD at 251-208-7211

 

 

 

 

http://blog.al.com/live/2014/05/60-year-old_mobile_man_accused.html

 

 

 

A Salem teenager was arrested Thursday on charges of methamphetamine trafficking and unlawful carrying of a handgun.

Kenneth Harold Miller Jr., 18, was arrested around 5 a.m. when a deputy stopped to help people pulled off the side of the road.

The two people appeared nervous, a deputy wrote in an incident report.

Miller told the deputy he had a firearm in his boot and the deputy also found a large sum of money rubber banded to his wallet and two other guns in the truck.

Deputies found a black bag in the woods. Miller first denied throwing anything into the woods but then admitted throwing the bag into the woods.

A jelly jar in the bag had 4.75 ounces of a substance believed to be methamphetamine along with s substance suspected to be marijuana and paraphernalia.

Deputies also seized $1,722 in cash.

Miller is being held at the Oconee County Detention Center and a $60,000 bond has been set for his release.

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2014/05/30/3477790/brief-salem-teen-charged-with.html#storylink=cpy

 

 

 

 

http://www.thestate.com/2014/05/30/3477790/brief-salem-teen-charged-with.html

 

 

 

 

MARSHALL, Co., Ind.— A father and son were taken into custody Tuesday night after a traffic stop in Marshall County turned into a drug bust.

It all started near U.S. 31 and U.S. 6 when police pulled over Marshall Smith Sr. and believed he was under the influence of drugs.

Marshall+jrMarshall+sr

His passenger, Marshall Smith Jr., was found with synthetic marijuana.

Police also found over three grams of meth.

The two are facing several drug related charges and are being held in the Marshall County Jail, each on $20,000 bond.

 

 

 

http://www.wndu.com/home/headlines/Father-son-arrested-for-meth-possession-261182011.html

 

 

 

 

Investigators on Wednesday arrested a La Crosse man for the second time in nine days for drug trafficking.

Jacob Lewis, 30, of 907 S. Fifth Ave., No. 222, was free on a $2,500 signature bond issued last week when he sold methamphetamine to a police informant, according to the complaint filed Thursday in La Crosse County Circuit Court.

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His case is similar to that of the case filed in January against Shawn Welch, an Illinois transplant who now faces 13 years in prison after he was arrested twice in one week for dealing crack cocaine in La Crosse.

That case drove La Crosse Police Chief Ron Tischer to issue his public criticism of the county’s judges for the “lack of accountability” imposed on drug dealers.

The chief was unavailable Thursday but said after Welch’s second arrest that “too often our department spends weeks or months developing a case, makes a great arrest of a drug dealer, and they are back out on the street within 24 hours.”

According to court records, Lewis sold 2.1 grams of meth to a police informant on May 16 and 0.9 grams on May 19. Police credited complaints to the department’s new neighborhood response officers as the investigation’s catalyst.

Police arrested Lewis late May 20 on seven charges and a warrant stemming from an open misdemeanor drug possession case.

He was released from the La Crosse County Jail the next day on a $2,500 signature bond ordered by Circuit Judge Ramona Gonzalez. She issued an order to detain on Friday when he failed to report to Justice Support Services as a condition of his bond.

On Wednesday afternoon, Lewis sold 0.3 grams of meth to an informant and fought arrest, according to the complaint. Police found a knife, a pipe and cash belonging to the police department in his possession. He referred to the case as “a joke,” prosecutors said in court.

He faces 15 charges between two felony cases, including three counts of delivery of meth and six counts of bail jumping. Reserve Judge John Perlich on Thursday ordered Lewis jailed on a $10,000 cash bond at a prosecutor’s request.

 

 

 

 

 

http://host.madison.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/la-crosse-man-arrested-for-alleged-methamphetamine-dealing-twice-in/article_dd9428c3-5615-551a-9773-37f342ae064c.html

 

 

 

 

Read more: http://lacrossetribune.com/tncms/asset/editorial/29f21a8f-f0dd-5dec-99b4-6ac8c03afe16/#ixzz33PxgCY2e

INDEPENDENCE – A teenage girl from Lamont is no longer facing prison after she was given a deferred judgment in the case of a methamphetamine making operation that has already resulted in three people getting 25-10 year prison sentences, another having to go to a residential facility for a year, and two more still facing trial.

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Jessica Marie Pirtle, 18, of 855 Prospect St., Lamont, was facing a 10-year prison sentence on the charge of Conspire to Manufacture, Deliver and/or Possess with Intent to Deliver Methamphetamine, a Class C Felony. Pirtle had previously entered a guilty plea to the charge on Jan. 28, 2014.

That is a sentence that Buchanan County Attorney Shawn Harden feels should have been suspended, rather than deferred. Harden went on record as opposing Pirtle and her attorney’s request for a deferred judgment.

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.communitynewspapergroup.com/oelwein_daily_register/news/article_a192a146-e816-11e3-adbb-0019bb2963f4.html

 

A 36-year-old woman was charged with methamphetamine possession Thursday after she was found asleep in her car outside Circle K, according to a Columbus police report.

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An officer had to shout and shake Ashlee Whearley by the shoulder to rouse her after he found her asleep in the driver’s seat outside the 12th Avenue gas station around 12:10 a.m.

Whearley told police that she was at the location because her friend lived next door and she was waiting for him to come home. The officer noticed she appeared nervous and asked to search her vehicle. He located 0.5 grams of methamphetamine in a small plastic bag in the center console.

Whearley was transported to the Muscogee County Jail.

Read more here: http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/2014/05/30/3127995/report-woman-falls-asleep-outside.html?sp=/99/100/&ihp=1#storylink=cpy

 

 

 

 

http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/2014/05/30/3127995/report-woman-falls-asleep-outside.html?sp=/99/100/&ihp=1

 

Blythe, California – Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents arrested one man and seized 47 pounds of methamphetamine yesterday.

Blythe Station agents assigned to an immigration checkpoint at Highway 95 referred a Mazda SUV to secondary inspection after a canine alerted to the vehicle. Using a fiber optic scope to see inside the suspect vehicle’s gas tank, agents saw what appeared to be cellophane packages.

A mechanic was called in to remove the gas tank. Afterwards, agents discovered 12 cellophane packages of methamphetamine worth an estimated $141,000. The vehicle and drugs were seized.

The Border Patrol’s Yuma Sector effectively combats smuggling organizations attempting to illegally transport people and contraband through southwestern Arizona and California. Citizens can help the Border Patrol and U.S. Customs and Border Protection by calling 1-866-999-8727 toll-free to report suspicious activity. Callers can remain anonymous.

 

 

 

 

http://www.imperialvalleynews.com/index.php/news/latest-news/8983-blythe-station-border-patrol-agents-seize-47-pounds-of-meth.html

 

MIDLAND – Two Midland women got locked up last week for using fake money to buy methamphetamine.

33-year-old Yolanda Ruiz and 25-year-old Kimberly Dunman are facing forgery and drug possession charges.

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An investigation revealed that Dunman made two counterfeit $100 bills and took them to the convenience store where Ruiz worked about two weeks ago.

Ruiz exchanged the fake bills for real money.

The women then used the funds to purchase methamphetamine.

Ruiz confessed to the crime when she was arrested last Friday.

Text messages on her phone and video from the convenience store confirmed her story.

 

 

http://www.newswest9.com/story/25656396/two-midland-women-arrested-for-using-fake-money-to-buy-methamphetamine

 

 

 

 

For the second time this month, a Vinton garage has been destroyed in a fire that has local residents wondering if it could be related to a meth lab.

This time, the fire claimed a historic Vinton landmark, as well.

Residents near the area of 9th street and A and First Avenue reported hearing a loud explosion and seeing flames coming from two buildings: The garage behind the vacant house at 908 A Avenue, and Joe Wehage’s historic carriage house, which he had converted into an office area.

The Wehages have lived at 907 First Avenue for the past seven years, and Joe renovated the carriage house with a combination of historical flavor and a modern man-cave décor which included an octagon conference table with an optional poker top.

Joe had the poker table all set up for a scheduled open house on Sunday; the Wehage home is for sale.

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But at around 10 p.m. Thursday night, a fire in the garage next to the carriage house quickly spread, engulfing both structures. By Friday morning, only the west wall of Wehage’s carriage house remained standing. Fire Chief Gary McKenna said firemen were on the scene virtually all night, leaving around 4:15 to 4:30 a.m. Crews from the Vinton Municipal Electric Utility arrived to replace a pole and other infrastructure Friday morning.

Joe and his family had planned to leave for a vacation Friday morning. Instead, Joe began the day discussing the events of the past 10 hours with his neighbors, and sitting on the porch, making phone calls to insurance and other personnel, in an effort to begin the recovery process.

The official cause of the fire is ruled as “inconclusive.” Vinton Police Lt. Bruce Smith said that so far authorities have found no evidence of a meth lab. More information will be available to authorities after an investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Smith said.

Rumors of the meth lab began quickly after the fire, said Smith. However, he said, the “popping” noises that witnesses heard could have been simply the natural sounds of old lumber burning.

A fire seven blocks away, at 704 East 8th Street, earlier in May, led to the arrest of a Vinton man on a warrant from another county. That case remains under investigation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.vintoniowa.org/articles/News/article1012489.html

 

One of the largest methamphetamine busts in several years in Lodi recently resulted in recovery of about 12 pounds of the drug and arrests of two men.

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Two weeks ago Lodi police received a tip from U.S. Department of Homeland Security that a man living near Salas Park was allegedly selling methamphetamine. Lodi police investigated and searched two Lodi homes.

Twelve pounds of methamphetamine worth about $50,000 were recovered. Police arrested Jose B. Millan, 50, and Miguel Rodriguez, 34, of Lodi on suspicion of selling drugs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.sacbee.com/2014/05/30/6444269/lodi-drug-bust-nets-12-pounds.html

 

FORT WAYNE, Indiana — Gone are the days when making meth on the go was confined to low-end hotel rooms.

The drug’s cooks are now finding their ways into hotels that any family might choose for road trips or weekends at various lake communities in the area.

“It’s not just happening in low-level hotels or strip hotels. It’s starting to happen in middle-class hotels,” said Joe Clark, operations manager for water and special projects at Protechs, a Fort Wayne company that does meth lab decontamination.

At the Comfort Inn in Warsaw, two people were found with finished meth and a lab.

Protechs got the cleanup job, and for Clark, the location was fairly unnerving.

It was a hotel he said would appeal to any family in need of a room for the night.

When cooks make meth in hotels, they leave behind contamination that could affect anyone who stays in that room, especially if the stay is long-term.

The ingredients for meth and their byproducts, including ammonia, hydrochloric acid gas, lithium, sulfuric acid and pseudoephedrine, carry a plethora of possible side effects depending on the length of exposure.

The Indiana State Department of Health’s website lists breathing problems, chest pain, skin irritation, dizziness and a burning sensation to the eyes and skin as possible side effects from meth lab exposure.

Children are especially susceptible and can suffer long-term problems if they live in an environment where meth was made.

Hotels still made up a fairly small portion of the locations in Allen County where police found meth labs in recent years, accounting for about 15 percent of the locations from 2008 to 2013, according to Allen County Health Department records.

Although local health departments are tasked with condemning homes or hotel rooms where meth is made, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management sets all rules that apply to meth lab cleanups.

This year, there have been four reported cases of meth lab finds at motels in Allen, Huntington and DeKalb counties, according to The Journal Gazette (http://bit.ly/TRhIay ).

Unless something goes awry in the production or someone smells the telltale ammonia smell of a meth lab, chances are the cooks will check out the next morning and go on their way while the residue of their product remains on the room’s surfaces or bathroom fixtures.

“Very rarely would they (police) probably catch them,” Protechs’ Clark said. Indiana State Police said there’s no way to know how many people get away with making meth in hotels.

To make sure a hotel room can be used again, a cleaning company will have the surfaces and furniture tested by a third party.

Depending on the results, the room can be opened for business or will need to be decontaminated.

Until the room passes inspection, it cannot be used by anyone.

“We will post that room uninhabitable, meaning it can’t be rented out again until it’s decontaminated and final testing has occurred,” said Dave Fiess, director of vector control and environmental services for Allen County’s health department.

The Comfort Inn room is once again open for business after the initial test results showed the level of contamination was below the state minimum, according to the Kosciusko County Health Department.

Health departments provide hotel managers with state laws about meth lab cleanup and a list of certified companies that do such work.

Several phone calls and messages to the Comfort Inn were not returned, nor were calls to other hotels in the area.

Should the hotel manager decide to use the room without it being cleaned, though, local health departments have no authority to issue fines or citations to the hotel.

Bob Weaver, administrator for the Kosciusko County Health Department, said he does not know of any hotels in his area that have opened a room without permission.

“The liability would just be too great,” he said.

On IDEM’s website, the agency says a new coat of paint and simple washing of surfaces in a room or home could be enough to contain or remove the contamination.

For more serious jobs, though, IDEM makes known that the removal of drywall, furniture or carpets could be required.

Clark recalled one decontamination job where the hotel room was stripped of everything, including the heating unit, because of the extensive contamination.

Despite the health concerns posed by such chemical residue, he said the hotel manager wanted to keep the mattress in the room.

Clark did not grant the request.

In some cases, cleanup may be so extensive that IDEM recommends that building owners consider demolition instead of decontamination.

When it comes to decontamination at hotels, the tricky part is not to attract too much attention to what went on in the room.

“The hotel doesn’t want to alarm their clientele,” said Donetta Held, president and owner of Crisis Cleaning, another company in the area that handles meth lab decontamination.

The size of most hotel rooms and the self-contained air-handling systems in them work in favor for decontamination crews. Since each room has its own heating and air-conditioning unit, the chances of the vapors getting into the rest of the building are slim.

“Nine times out of 10 when we’ve tested adjoining units, there hasn’t been contamination that’s carried over,” Held said, adding there would need to be “serious cooking” going on for the contamination to spread throughout the hotel.

Depending on what the initial tests show, the cleanup could be as simple as washing walls or as extensive as gutting the entire room.

Once a decontamination company is finished, a testing company takes samples from the room’s walls, furniture and fixtures to see if the levels meet the IDEM requirements set in 2007.

In Indiana, the standard is 0.5 micrograms of contaminants per 100 square centimeters.

Kentucky and Tennessee only allow 0.1 micrograms per 100 square centimeters, and California allows up to 1.5 micrograms, one of the highest allowances in the nation.

“When they bumped theirs up to 1.5, that kind of surprised me because I was thinking that was high,” said Fiess, of the Allen County Health Department.

Even in cases where homes or hotel rooms were cleaned to IDEM standards, tales occasionally surface across the state where long-term hotel customers reported respiratory and other health problems they never before had.

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/f67a68a3382340d386bbffd5f6cc2302/IN–Meth-Hotels

 

  •  Data shows amphetamine use, including methamphetamine, is rising nationally
  • Hotspots include Sydney’s Kings Cross party district
  • Data is based on detainee surveys in Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane

 

Amphetamine usage has skyrocketed in Australia’s capital cities and a large percentage of people arrested over the last five years have consumed the drug, a new report has revealed.

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And Sydney’s notorious party district Kings Cross is the biggest hotspot with 61 per cent of people detained in the area testing positive for amphetamines, according to data collected since 2009.

In East Perth, 43 per cent tested positive, while in Brisbane it was 41 per cent – and most people surveyed admitted the drug was readily available.

The information comes from the Australian Institute of Criminology’s drug use monitoring in Australia program and supports the Australian Crime Commission’s findings in its latest annual illicit drug data report.

Completing bi-yearly surveys of detainees at selected police lock-ups in Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane, the institute has run the drug use monitoring in Australia since 1999.

In the surveys, detainees are asked about drug use and to provide a urine sample to determine if and what drugs they consumed.

Australian Crime Commission research manager Matthew Willis said the research showed a steady increase in amphetamine use since 2009.

Research shows a steady increase in amphetamine use in Australia since 2009

‘Given that amphetamine use, in particular methamphetamine use, has been associated with an increased risk of violence and aggression, a rise in use among the Australian detainee population is of concern,’ he said in a blog on the commission website.

The research was completed in the first quarter of this year and showed the lowest rates of amphetamine use among detainees were in Adelaide, with 23 per cent having consumed it, while 26 per cent consumed it in Sydney’s Surry Hills.

Nationally, 46 per cent of property offenders and 47 per cent of drug offenders tested positive for amphetamines.

Twenty-eight per cent of violent offenders tested positive to amphetamines, as did 20 per cent of driving offenders.

Asked to rate the difficulty of getting the drugs, no one had any problem. On a scale of one, being hard to obtain and 10, being abundant, detainees rate amphetamine availability at eight.

They also rated the quality at seven.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2643775/Methamphetamine-use-continues-rise-Australia.html

 

NORCROSS, Georgia — Gwinnett County Sheriff’s officials say members of the department’s SWAT team were decontaminated after being exposed to methamphetamine during a lab bust.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Shannon Volkodav told local media outlets that authorities were helping the Department of Homeland Security execute a search warrant at a home in Norcross Thursday, and were exposed to the drug while taking a suspect into custody.

Volkodav says the exposure caused skin and eye irritation to eight officers who were on the scene.

Authorities set up a tent outside the Gwinnett Medical Center and called a hazardous materials team in for assistance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/b01996fb7e1445bcb2181cff37fbe840/GA–Meth-Lab-Exposure

 

Salton City, California – Tuesday, El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents assigned to the Indio station arrested a suspected narcotics smuggler and seized more than 15 pounds of methamphetamine concealed within a hidden aftermarket compartment.

The incident occurred at approximately 8:45 a.m., when Border Patrol agents encountered a 33-year-old man, driving a GMC Sonoma Pickup truck with Baja California plates as he approached the Highway 86 checkpoint located between Westmorland and Salton City.

El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents at the Highway 86 checkpoint discover more than 15 pounds of methamphetamine hidden within an aftermarket compartment after an inspection of the vehicle’s firewall.

Agents referred the driver to the secondary inspection area. During the secondary inspection a canine detection team alerted to the vehicle’s engine compartment and firewall area. Agents conducted an inspection of the vehicle’s firewall and discovered an aftermarket compartment filled with 16 cellophane wrapped packages of methamphetamine concealed inside. An aftermarket Global Positioning System tracking device was also recovered from under the vehicle’s steering column.

The methamphetamine had a combined weight of 15.39 pounds with an estimated street value of $100,039.

The man, a United States citizen was taken into custody. The vehicle and methamphetamine was turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation.

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.imperialvalleynews.com/index.php/news/imperial-valley/8971-el-centro-sector-border-patrol-uncovers-hidden-vehicle-compartment-filled-with-methamphetamine.html

 

ORLANDO, Fla. – A mobile meth lab forced authorities to evacuate a portion of a hotel in the tourist district of Orlando.

Firefighters early Wednesday initially went to the Ramada Inn at 8342 Jamaican Court near International Drive because of a suspicious smell, but officials decided to call the hazmat team to further investigate.

Crews focused on one room and discovered chemicals used to make meth, deputies said.

A Central Florida woman to whom the room was registered was arrested. Two other women who were in the motel room were trespassed by the business, deputies said.

Some deputies were treated for exposure to the chemicals but were expected to be OK.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.clickorlando.com/news/hazmat-situation-prompts-evacuation-of-idrive-hotel/26202366