(SEATTLE, WA)  —  Seattle Police say a Mercedes driving methamphetamine dealer was arrested Sunday night after he rammed a police car with that Mercedes.

A police spokesman said the 41-year-old suspect was taken into custody after officers from the East Precinct Anti-Crime Team (ACT) conducted a narcotics operation Sunday night.

ACT officers, posing as potential drug customers, contacted the suspect via telephone and “ordered” an ounce of methamphetamine for $1,100 dollars. 

A location and time near the Northgate Mall was suggested as a meeting place. The suspect stated that he would be driving a 2003 Mercedes.

“As soon as the suspect pulled into the parking lot, arrest team officers pulled in attempting to make a stop and arrest the suspect. The suspect saw the patrol cars come in and attempted to get away by ramming one of the patrol cars. The suspect rammed his Mercedes into the patrol car twice, but was pinned by other cars,” said Detective Mark Jamieson.

The suspect was taken into custody without further incident. One officer sustained a minor injury when the suspect rammed the car.

The man was later booked into the King County Jail for drugs, eluding, and vehicular assault.  A search warrant was obtained for the Mercedes and police say methamphetamine and over $500 cash was recovered from the car and seized as part of the investigation.









BLUEFIELD — We had been warned for years that methamphetamine laboratories were an emerging threat for the region. Those warnings were accurate. The meth threat has arrived in southern West Virginia and neighboring Southwest Virginia, and the threat appears to now be more widespread than initially thought.

In a span of less than one month, troopers with the West Virginia State Police have uncovered nine active methamphetamine laboratories and three “meth dumps” in southern West Virginia. A total of 32 arrests were made during the time period on methamphetamine-related charges.

First Sgt. Michael Baylous, of the Charleston detachment of the West Virginia State Police, says the raids were part of a state police effort that began Oct. 26 to discover how pervasive the methamphetamine problem is in the southern part of the Mountain State.

“We wanted to know how bad the problem was outside of the Kanawha Valley,” Baylous told the Register-Herald in Beckley. “What we found was there were quite a few in the month period of time. It’s more widespread than we thought.”

The news shouldn’t come as a surprise. A number of methamphetamine laboratories have already been discovered in our region in recent months, including recent investigations in both McDowell and Buchanan counties.

Troopers are finding that more of the methamphetamine labs are mobile labs that suspects can take from location to location, also called “one pot” or “shake-and-bake” labs, according to Baylous.

One of the by-products of a “one pot” lab is a “meth dump,” or a remnant of the lab that is left in the woods, in a home or at other locations, according to investigators.

The recent state police crackdown has netted methamphetamine laboratories, and the so-called meth dumps, also in Raleigh, Fayette and Greenbrier counties. That would suggest the problem has become more widespread and rampant across southern West Virginia, Baylous adds.

And he correctly points out that methamphetamine doesn’t just hurt addicts.

“Contamination comes from the meth labs and the people around them that take the chemicals out into the general public,” Baylous said. “Sometimes their kids are exposed to it, they take it to school, and other kids are exposed to it.

The fumes from meth labs are highly toxic, according to Baylous. He notes that explosions are also a possibility when meth is being made — adding to the overall highly dangerous situation.

Baylous says troopers are focusing more efforts on educating the public about safety issues related to methamphetamine. He says that abuse of the drug is not just a law enforcement problem, but a moral and social problem as well. He encourages community members to help by reporting suspected meth labs to police.

We agree. The meth problem is here. And it’s a significant threat to our region. All efforts must be made to combat and ultimately eradicate this now widespread threat.









EAST COUNTY — A driver and her passenger were arrested early Sunday when they attempted to smuggle methamphetamine hidden under drywall plaster in a bucket through a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Pine Valley, officials said Tuesday.

About 2.7 ounces of methamphetamine, valued at $3,300, were found buried underneath drywall plaster. A female driver and a male passenger attempting to smuggle the drug were arrested.

Border Patrol agents stopped the 56-year-old female motorist and her 42-year-old male passenger in a 2002 Volkwagen Passat about 1 a.m. Agents took a closer look at the car after a drug-sniffing dog alerted to it, agency spokeswoman Mary Beth Caston said.

            A Rugers .357 handgun was found hidden in the trunk of the 2002 Volkswagen Passat.

A search of the car turned up a trace of marijuana in the front console, a handgun in the trunk and about 2.7 ounces of meth buried in the bucket, Caston said. The meth was valued at $3,300, she said.

The driver and passenger, who are U.S. citizens, each had a record of prior drug arrests and felony charges, Caston said.







More than 330 kilograms of the Class B drug ContacNT has been seized in the biggest haul of the drug in New Zealand history.

ContacNT is manufactured legally in China but is used in New Zealand to produce methamphetamine.


The ContacNT seized during an operation by police and the Organised and Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand (OFCANZ) is enough to produce up to 100 kilograms of methamphetamine which has a corresponding street value of $100 million.

This morning 330 officers from police, OFCANZ and Customs executed 40 search warrants at residential and business premises across Auckland and Waikato, at the conclusion of an 18 month investigation dubbed Operation Ghost.

Twenty four people were arrested and up to $20 million of assets were seized including property, cars and cash.

Police say today’s raids followed the seizure of 267 kilograms of ContacNT at three Auckland addresses as part of the investigation in October. Four people were arrested at that time. An additional 64 kilograms of ContacNT was discovered this morning.

Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess said police expect the impact on the drug market to be significant.

“Police and OFCANZ have eliminated a criminal network responsible for importing and distributing Class B drugs which are used to produce methamphetamine,” he said.

“The people that we have targeted today are essentially the suppliers of the ContacNT, the Class B drug, which is being produced into methamphetamine by others. We’re hoping that the size of the seizure is going to make a dent in that market.

“Operation Ghost sends a powerful message to the criminal community that we will use every legal avenue at our disposal to target organised crime in New Zealand.”

Police believe the material was brought into New Zealand through a container shipment and was offloaded in this country, Mr Burgess said.

$1.5m cash seized

During the “termination phase”, 15 ounces of methamphetamine was also discovered, along with a clandestine lab and approximately $1.5 million of cash was seized.

Today’s raids were the conclusion of an extensive 18 month multi-agency investigation, including liaison with overseas law enforcement agencies.

“Operation Ghost is an example of national and international law enforcement agencies working together to target international organised crime groups,” Mr Burgess said.

“The investigation has seen excellent cooperation with other Government agencies, particularly the Ministry for Primary Industries, the New Zealand Customs Service, IRD, MBIE and the Department of Internal Affairs.

“We would also like to acknowledge the National Narcotics Control Commission from the Peoples Republic of China and the Hong Kong Narcotics Bureau for their help during Operation Ghost.”

The 24 individuals arrested this morning are all New Zealand citizens or permanent residents. The average age of those arrested is 40. Police said in total 30 suspects have been arrested during Operation Ghost and further arrests are likely.

Benton County — The Benton County Sheriff’s Office is looking for 56-year-old man who is accused of manufacturing methamphetamine.

James David Woods has eight warrants out for his arrest from the sheriff’s office, according to Crime Stoppers.


Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward for information leading to Woods’ arrest. The warrants include methamphetamine charges, escape and civil contempt.

Woods is 5-foot-8, 260 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. He has tattoos on his arms, chest and back.

Anyone with information on Woods’ whereabouts can contact Crime Stoppers confidentially at 509-586-8477, 1-800-222-8477 or http://www.tricitiescrimestoppers.org.

The Dalton Police Department detectives led a meth bust on Sunday night that resulted in two arrests and the seizure of approximately $190,000 worth of crystal methamphetamine.

Evidence in the case also led investigators in Cherokee County to more drugs. The bust came after more than a month of investigation initiated by the Dalton Police Department’s Drug Unit and in cooperation with a investigators with the Murray County Sheriff’s Office, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security and Georgia State Patrol.


After more than a month of tracking methamphetamine trafficking in the Dalton and Murray County area, Dalton investigators received information that Angela Elezan Lovain, 36, of Chatsworth was planning to travel from Cherokee County to Dalton with methamphetamine.

After conducting surveillance on the trip, Dalton investigators requested that a Georgia State Patrol trooper pull over Ms. Lovain’s vehicle near the intersection of Walnut Avenue and Dug Gap Road.  Dalton investigators received consent from Ms. Lovain to search the vehicle, and also had a K9 drug dog alert on the vehicle.

After searching the car, investigators found approximately 4.3 pounds of crystal meth hidden in an appliance box.  The street value of the drugs is estimated by investigators to be $190,000.

Dalton investigators arrested Ms. Lovain and passenger, Richard Lee Long, 51, of Chatsworth. Ms. Lovain was charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, trafficking in methamphetamine, and possession of methamphetamine.  Long was charged with possession of methamphetamine and trafficking in methamphetamine.

Information developed in this investigation also led investigators with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office to execute a search warrant Monday that led to the seizure to more than two pounds of meth and approximately $30,000 in cash.  This investigation is continuing.







CHARLESTON — Ten people were recently arrested and charged in state court with allegedly providing methamphetamine ingredients to a Loxa-based drug operation that resulted in federal charges against the main suspects.

It’s also likely there will be more arrests of people who are suspected of having smaller roles in the operation, according to the chief of a local police drug enforcement unit.

Federal authorities declined to prosecute the newly charged suspects because of their lesser involvement, according to Tom Houser, commander of the Mattoon-based East Central Illinois Task Force.

Houser confirmed that the new cases resulted from the same investigation that led to the arrest and federal cases against a Loxa woman, Tena Logan, and five others for allegedly working together to produce methamphetamine at her home.

Federal authorities have indicated that they believe 40 or more people were actually involved in the operation, supplying drug ingredients in exchange for some of the finished methamphetamine. Houser said the exact number of people who might have taken part hasn’t been determined.

The newly arrested suspects have all been charged with possession of methamphetamine precursor, a felony offense. They’re all accused of obtaining medicine with pseudoephedrine, a key methamphetamine ingredient, to use to make the drug at various times during 2012.

The newly charged suspects are:

Kathryn J. Cross, 51, for whom court records list addresses on Illinois Avenue and Rudy Avenue in Mattoon.

Richard A. Cross, 54, whose address on record is on Rudy Avenue, Mattoon.

Kelly W. Davis, 46, for whom records list addresses in Arthur and on Dakota Avenue in Mattoon.

William W. Easter, 44, for whom records list addresses on Shelby Avenue in Mattoon and in Janesville.

Christopher D. Leonard, 52, whose address on record is on Palm Avenue, Mattoon.

Andrea L. Medina, 32, for whom records list addresses on Edgar Avenue and Richmond Avenue in Mattoon and in rural Greenup.

Cynthia K. Morgan, 51, whose address on record is in the mobile home court at 504 N. Division St., Charleston.

– Joshua C. Rardin, 32, whose address on record is on Edgar Avenue, Mattoon.

Patricia L. Robinson, 48, for whom records list a rural Neoga address.

Julia A. White, 58, for whom records list addresses on Mitchell Avenue in Mattoon and in rural Greenup.

Most of the suspects have court dates scheduled but none has entered a plea yet.

In addition, Houser said a woman who recently pleaded guilty to a methamphetamine precursor charge is also connected to the Loxa operation. Billie R. Carter, 53, whose address on record is on North 11th St., Mattoon, was placed on probation with the agreement reached in her case last month.

In the federal cases, Logan and the other suspects were accused of conducting the methamphetamine operation at her residence at 6790 Stockton Road in Loxa from at least 2007 until their arrests last year. Authorities described Logan as the ringleader, something to which she admitted in court, saying she had others obtain the pseudoephedrine so she wouldn’t have to do it herself.

All but one of the federal suspects has pleaded guilty and Logan was sentenced in June to 15 years in prison. Another suspect, Robert Jeffrey Leonard of Mattoon, received an 11-year prison sentence in October.

The other suspects who pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing are Paul D. “Bear” Logan, who is Tena Logan’s husband, and Fred A. Leonard and Tammy E. Britt, both of Mattoon. The remaining federal suspect whose case is pending is Floyd W. Curtner Jr. of Mattoon.







BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER)– Maine has hit an all time high of meth labs popping up across the state. This year the number stands at eighteen beating last year’s record of thirteen. The frequency of these busts has Maine drug agents fearing we could see more before the year’s end.

Commander Peter Arno with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency said, “I had about ten years in drug enforcement back in the 90’s during those 10 years I went to one methamphetamine lab during those 10 years. During the time that I’ve been back the past six months or so I’ve been to seven or eight meth labs.”


According to Arno, most labs are discovered when law enforcement is called to a location for another issue.

The busts are expensive as well. Each costs between $5,000 to $10,000. Agents need specialized training, hazmat suits to enter and handle the lab material, containers to store both the product and ingredients as well as help from other agencies such as the Department of Environmental Protection to collect the evidence for prosecution.

The MDEA stresses these labs pose a threat to the neighborhoods that they are in. Dangers which include explosions, burns, and environmental harm.

The people behind most meth labs, says Arno, average people who are users themselves.

“These people behind meth labs or at least the ones that we have seen are not sophisticated drug trafficking organizations. They are typically people who are themselves addicted to meth who are producing enough for themselves and perhaps selling a little bit. So they could get enough to go out and buy more,” explains Arno.

Meth lab busts also tie up resources and personnel. One concern, the increased man hours shutting down and cleaning up the meth labs keeps agents from other drug issues facing the state such as drugs coming in from other states and internationally.







GORDON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Ocmulgee Drug Task force busted up a drug ring and found thousand of dollars worth of methamphetamine.

Six people were arrested during the Thanksgiving drug raid, and now they are facing felony drug charges.

Ocmulgee Drug Task Force, Wilkerson Sheriff’s Office, along with Gordon, McIntyre, and Ivey police departments raided an apartment, located at 201 Gray Highway in Gordon, around 2 a.m., Thursday.

Task force agent Kelvin Hollingsworth said they found, more than $5,000 worth of methamphetamine, two sandwich bags filled with marijuana, three meth pipes, two digital scales, a .22 caliber hand gun, a seven millimeter rifle and two hundred dollars.

Agent Hollingsworth said Gordon Police Sgt. Andy Hester received an anonymous tip about the “meth house” around 11: 30 p.m., on Wednesday.

Police arrested Timothy Ratcliff Sr., 52, and his son, Timothy Ratcliff Jr., 30, along with Ratcliff Jr.’s wife Joanie Ratcliff, 30. The couple was living in the “meth house” at the time of the drug raid.

Tamatha Pack, 40, Sonia English, 48, and Richard Crisp, 41, were also arrested.

Police contacted the Department of Family and Children Services for a 10-year-old child at the apartment.

Timothy Ratcliff Jr., and his wife Joanie are charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of drug related objects, and a disorderly house.

Richard Crisp and Tamatha Pack are charged with charged with, possession of a firearm during certain crimes, possession of meth with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and possession of drug related objects.

Crisp has an additional charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Sonia English is charged with possession of methamphetamine.

Timothy Ratcliff Sr., is charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and possession of drug related objects.







A Minot woman was arrested on several drug-related charges Friday evening.

The Minot Police Department states Lacey Semler, 25, was stopped for disregarding a traffic control signal shortly after 7 p.m. A search of the vehicle she was driving revealed methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and evidence of drug trafficking. Semler was charged with driving under suspension, a Class B misdemeanor, possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class C felony, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, a Class A felony, and three outstanding warrants.







LINCOLN COUNTY, NC (WBTV) – Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Investigators, operating on a tip, located the 21st meth lab in the county this year, and arrested the man they say is responsible.

The lab, which officials say was a “One Pot Methodmethamphetamine lab, was found at a home on the 7100 block of Doyle Beam Memorial Road in Vale just before 5:30 p.m. Monday.

Carl Ray Davenport, 39, was arrested and charged with one felony count each of manufacturing a controlled substance schedule II and possess/distribute meth precursor. He is being held without bond pending a first appearance hearing in Lincoln County District Court on Tuesday.


Investigators seized lithium batteries, an Equate Cold Pack, and Draino Crystals (Lye), which they said are chemicals being used for the manufacture of the drug.

Officials say that a crew from the State Lab will visit the site on Tuesday to clean up the methamphetamine precursors. A Sheriff’s deputy will be posted at the home until the cleanup crew arrives.








Dec. 2, 2013. Narcotics detectives of the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office arrested three females following a traffic stop in reference to manufacturing methamphetamine.  Detectives conducted a surveillance operation which ultimately led to a traffic stop of a vehicle suspected of purchasing methamphetamine precursors.

meth 2

During the traffic stop, detectives located and seized 4 boxes of pseudoephedrine, as well as a variety of precursor chemicals, and hardware used in the manufacturing process.  According to detectives, inside the vehicle was everything one would need for a “Shake and Bake” meth cook.

Elaynia Victoria Huffman, 30, of 626 Locust Street, Foscoe, NC, was charged with Conspiracy to Manufacture Methamphetamine, Possession of Methamphetamine Precursors, and Maintaining a Vehicle/Dwelling/Place CS (F).  Huffman was taken to the Watauga County Detention Facility in lieu of a $25,000 secured bond and is scheduled to appear in District Court on December 30, 2013.





Trina Rene Hinson, 47, of 626 Locust Street, Foscoe, NC, was charged with Conspiracy to Manufacture Methamphetamine and Possession of Methamphetamine Precursors.  Huffman was taken to the Watauga County Detention Facility in lieu of a $25,000 secured bond and is scheduled to appear in District Court on December 30, 2013.

Jessica Lynn Henderson, 26, of 626 Locust Street, Foscoe, NC, was charged with Conspiracy to Manufacture Methamphetamine and Possession of Methamphetamine Precursors.  Huffman was taken to the Watauga County Detention Facility in lieu of a $25,000 secured bond and is scheduled to appear in District Court on December 30, 2013.







Tina, ice, crystal, glass, P-N-P, blowing clouds, Get to the Point, T  — are all common codes that can be found on any gay hook up site,  suggesting, in “tweaker” language,  a night of using meth and most likely having sex.  The sex is almost always unprotected because most don’t have thoughts about tomorrow when they are using tonight.

“I thought it was cocaine.” “It was just a little bump.” “He was so hot, and he said sex would be so much better.” “I wanted to fit in.” Those are some  of the many  reasons members of our community give as to why they tried meth in the first place.

Meth has grabbed the gay male community in a disproportionately and epidemic stranglehold, causing HIV, Hep C, and other STD’S and STI’S  to run rampant.  Slamming, which is slang for injecting meth into the vein, not only spreads disease but causes major scarring, infections and skin erosion. Smoking, or blowing clouds, can cause lung impairment, secondary burns and mouth infections.

Tweakers Project Poster

Tweakers Project Poster

Meth has the distinct ability to make a person feel so “amazing” because of the overpowering release of the “feel good” neurotransmitter dopamine that it is said to have no equal. It also tends to make users so libidinous that one or two sexual partners many times cannot fill the urge, and users are always chasing the almost unattainable orgasm they are searching for.  The ironic part of this is that many cannot achieve an erection or ejaculate while using. So it, of course, becomes a vicious cycle.

Very few users can claim occasional use.  Many people like to claim this, but in approximately 85 percent of meth users, it becomes chronic, and the mess gets messy fast.  The weekend warrior using only on a Friday or Saturday can quickly find himself extending his weekend through Monday, into Tuesday and Wednesday, ultimately requiring the drug more often and in larger amounts, to reach the magnitude of the first high, which is not possible.

In West Hollywood and many other gay enclaves, the rehab centers are filled mostly with meth users, with many secondary addictions to alcohol or heroine or opiates.  This poly-addiction occurs because users try to find a way to relax, using a sedative-type drug, to counteract the manic high from using meth.

The consequences of meth use are far and wide. Many crimes of opportunity are caused by the need for money to purchase more meth.  Jobs are lost, families are separated or destroyed because of the shrapnel from a user’s life.  The partners of meth users usually endure an unfathomable hell on earth, because what they will witness a partner do on meth is almost unthinkable.


Jimmy Palmieri is the founder of The Tweakers Project. He currently serves as a human services commissioner for the City of West Hollywood and sits on the community advisory board for the West Hollywood Project, funded by Los Angeles County.






DECATUR — A Decatur man is accused of running a methamphetamine lab in his home while two young children and a baby were present, sworn police statements allege.

Detectives had been tipped about what was going on at the house in the 1600 block of East William Street and had forced their way inside on Nov. 25.

The officers were there to check the welfare of the children, described in the reports as aged 14 and 9, with the 14-year-old having a 3-month-old baby of her own. The children were not present when the officers burst in, but the statements say it was known they lived there with the older children’s mother, an admitted methamphetamine user.

Officers said they saw supplies and equipment associated with the manufacture of methamphetamine and later obtained a warrant. A more detailed search uncovered more drug-making equipment and two plastic bags holding approximately two grams of the drug.

During an interview, the children’s mother said she knew the 28-year-old male suspect was making the drug. “She is a meth user and she had purchased pseudoephedrine pills for him to use in the meth production,” the sworn statements say of the 35-year-old woman.

Detectives caught up with the male suspect Nov. 27 and booked him on charges of aggravated methamphetamine manufacturing, possession of drug making materials and possession of a controlled substance.

The suspect remained in the Macon County Jail on Monday night in lieu of posting $7,500 bail.







SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — Spokane Valley Sheriff’s deputies found methamphetamine inside a man’s ice cream container during a traffic stop Friday night.

A deputy pulled over Steven Fitch, 60, on S. Havana for a traffic stop at 10:45 p.m. Authorities said Fitch did not have a valid driver’s license.

steve finch

While the deputy was checking Fitch’s driving status in his patrol car, he saw Fitch reaching down toward the center console in his car. The deputy ordered Fitch out of the car because he was concerned for his own safety.

The deputy saw Fitch’s hands were covered in a white creamy substance and saw a quart of ice cream in the center console. Officials said a small plastic baggie was found in the ice cream. The baggie contained methamphetamine.

Authorities said Fitch tried to convince the deputy that he had no idea how the meth got into his ice cream.

Fitch was booked into jail for Possession of a Controlled Substance, methamphetamine, Driving While suspended and two other infractions.







Easy access partly to blame, law enforcement official says

It’s known as one of the most dangerous and addictive illicit drugs out there, and its being seen more often in Lee County.

Local law enforcement agencies say they have seen an increase in illegal methamphetamine use in recent months.

meth swf

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office has made arrests on about 64 meth-related charges this year, which is up from about 38 charges in 2012.

Cape Coral police have had five meth lab encounters this year compared to two in 2012.

The Fort Myers Police Department has seen 15 meth-related arrests this year and has confiscated about 42 grams of the drug.

“We’ve seen a rise in the city, but that’s because we haven’t had much in the past,” said Fort Myers police Sgt. Rick Notaro.

Notaro said the increase is partly due to easy access. Household ingredients used to make meth and the widespread availability of instructions on how to make it, particularly on the Internet, brings more opportunity.

Notaro added Southwest Florida didn’t see a lot of illegal methamphetamine use when the drug was getting a lot of attention in the 1990s.

“We were isolated from it, but it could be our time,” he said.

Sgt. Allan Kolak, with the Cape police, said the increase is a disturbing trend.

“Once it gets to an area, it stays there for a long time,” he said. “We are very concerned.

“We’ve seen a rise in mobile meth labs,” Notaro said, referring to what is known on the street as “shake and bake” labs. “The trend is more mom-and-pop operations for personal use, and maybe they sell a little on the side.”

While meth use appears to be on the rise, it still makes up a small portion of the drug arrests in the county.

The sheriff’s office has made arrests on more than 650 charges for controled substances this year, and the vast majority are for possession of cocaine, heroin and other synthetic narcotics.

Notaro said cocaine and marijuana are more prevalent in the area.

Figures for Collier County weren’t immediately available.

Alejandro Garcia-Barbon, with SalusCare, Inc., a nonprofit mental health substance abuse service provider based in Fort Myers, said the organization has seen an increase in methamphetamine addiction during the past year.

Garcia-Barbon said a Crystal Meth Anonymous group in Lee County started about six months ago. He said the group, which is the first of its kind in the area, meets twice a week.

He said meth is one of the more addictive drugs he’s seen. He’s particularly disturbed by the effects it has on users and how drastically the drug changes their appearance.

“The side effects of the drug are very destructive for the individual,” he said. “It affects their appearance, their teeth, they get sores all over their body.”

Garcia-Barbon also said there could be lasting effects to a meth user’s mental health.

He attributed the increase in the drug’s use to the recent statewide crackdown on prescription drug abuse and pill mills. He said prescription drug abusers have been turning to drugs like meth and heroin to fill that void.

“If the supply is low, that person looks to other drugs to fulfill that need,” he said. “The pain management clinic busts have limited supply.”

Deborah Comella, with the Lee County Coalition for a Drug Free Southwest Florida, said she’s only heard anecdotally methamphetamine use is on the rise, but she still sees it as a problem.

“If even one person is using it, that is too many,” she said.

She said the perception of meth as a drug used in rural areas has changed.

“It’s reached main street,” she said, adding she has also noticed a mainstream push to warn people about the dangers of the drug.

She said she recently saw a TV ad for cough medicine that made a point of saying it didn’t contain a drug commonly used in creating methamphetamine.

“I thought it was interesting it has crossed over into advertising,” she said. “Anything that stops the production of this stuff is a good thing.”








Officers seized 4 pounds of methamphetamine and arrested a Georgia woman during a traffic stop, the Greenville Police Department reported Monday.


Members of the police department’s IMPACT Unit stopped a Dodge Charger with a Georgia license plate driven by Tierra Alexis Ramirez on Saturday for a traffic violation near the intersection of Stantonsburg and Allen roads, a news release said.

A police dog detected the odor of narcotics in the vehicle, the release said, and a subsequent search revealed the crystal meth in the trunk.

The news release said the drugs had an estimated street value of $120,000.

Officers believe that the vehicle was traveling through Greenville on its way to another area of North Carolina.

Ramirez, 29, of 2295 Berkeley Cove Court in Duluth, Ga., was arrested and jailed at the Pitt County Detention Center under a $400,000 secured bond, the release said.

Jail records indicate Ramirez is charged with trafficking in methamphetamine and maintaining a vehicle for controlled substance.













New law could apply to pair in alleged meth lab bust

Two Carteret County residents accused in a weekend meth bust at a Newport motel face stricter penalties under a new law if convicted, authorities said.

Brandon Lee Hobbs, 33, of Atlantic Beach, and Katie Marie Craft, 22, of Newport were arrested Sunday by Newport Police Department. Each was charged with possession of methamphetamine precursor materials and manufacturing methamphetamine, according to a department news release.


Brandon Lee Hobbs, 33, of Atlantic Beach, and Katie Marie Craft, 22, of Newport, face charges of possession of methamphetamine precursor materials and manufacturing methamphetamine

They were placed in the Carteret County Jail under a $100,000 bond each and were scheduled for a first appearance in court today.

Their arrest followed police response Sunday evening to a report of suspicious activity at the Hostess House Extended Stay Motel at 6741 Highway 70.

During the course of their investigation, Sgt. W. Pollock and Officer J. Ferrell discovered several individuals in one the motel rooms acting suspiciously and discovered precursor materials consistent with the manufacturing of methamphetamine.

Upon further investigation, the officers found the suspects were actively cooking meth in the motel room, according to the news release.

Motel guests in the adjacent rooms were evacuated for safety reasons due to the volatile materials being used. One of the adjacent rooms was occupied by a family with an infant child, police said.

If there is a conviction, a new law could apply to the case.

A new state law that took effect Dec. 1, increased the penalties for those convicted of methamphetamine where children, disabled or elderly adults are present by increasing the sentence by 24 months, police said.

Specially trained agents with the State Bureau of Investigation arrived Monday to dismantle the meth operation and remove the hazardous materials. The Newport Fire Department also responded.




Meth Lab Found At Newport Motel Same Day New Meth Law Kicks In

A couple was charged with cooking methamphetamine in a Newport motel room Sunday, the same day a new law law went into effect calling for tougher punishments for meth makers.

Newport Police say when they arrived at Hostess House Extended Stay Motel on Highway 70 in Newport Sunday night, they found 33-year-old Brandon Hobbs and 22-year-old Katie Craft, both from Atlantic Beach, cooking meth in a motel room.


Police say a family with an infant was staying in a nearby room. North Carolina’s new law says penalties will be increased for those convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine where children, disabled people, or elderly adults are present. The law took effect the same day of the Newport meth lab bust, December 1st.

“In total we probably relocated about 8 or 9 individuals, two small children and some elderly people as well. Due to the volatility of the chemicals that are involved in these labs, we didn’t want to take a chance with them being in the adjacent rooms,” said Newport Police Chief Jeff Clark.

The SBI is investigating the motel meth lab.

More than 500 meth labs have been busted in North Carolina so far in 2013, already beating last year’s record of 460 labs. According to the new law, 2 years  will be added to the sentence of someone found guilty of manufacturing meth.

PREVIOUS STORY: A man and a woman in Carteret County may be among the first to be charged under stiffer laws when it comes to meth.

Newport police were called to the Hostess House Extended Stay Motel on Highway 70 Sunday night because of suspicious activity.  Officers first discovered meth precursors, and then found an active meth lab in one of the motel rooms.

Charged with manufacturing and possession of meth precursors were Brandon Hobbs of Atlantic Beach and Katie Craft of Newport.

Because an adjacent room was occupied by a family with an infant, police say the two will be charged under the new law that took effect earlier that day.  That law adds two years to prison sentences where children, disabled or elderly adults are present when meth is being cooked.

The SBI was brought in the help with the removal of the meth lab, while adjacent motels rooms were evacuated.

Hobbs and Craft were jailed under $100,000 secured bonds.









The day before Thanksgiving, 7-year-old Bradley accompanied his grandmother to the Home Depot on North Wendover Road, where the two picked out a Christmas tree “bigger than a giant.”

Bradley swears it is the best tree he’s ever seen, but that’s coming from a boy who’s never actually had a Christmas tree. The same is true for his 4-year-old brother, Gavin, and 17-month-old sister, Madison, who also came along.

Their grandmother, Alexandra, knows this to be true. But she said she didn’t realize the impact of her $29.97 purchase until the tree was in the trunk of her car and the three mesmerized kids refused to take their eyes off  it during the drive home.

“It was scary,” Bradley said. “We had to go real slow, because if the tree fell out, we’d have no Christmas.”

Explaining that’s not how Christmas works is one of many unexpected conversations the 47-year-old Charlotte woman has had since taking in her grandchildren three months ago.

None of three has celebrated Christmas before – or Easter, Thanksgiving or even their own birthdays, she said.

That all will change this year, though. The three are among 12,200 kids from low-income families registered to get free toys from the Salvation Army’s Christmas Center. The gifts “from Santa” are paid for in part by donations  to Observer’s Empty Stocking Fund.

Alexandra, who prefers not to give her full name, said she intends to show her grandchildren all the magic they missed while being raised in Silverhill, Ala., by two drug addicts.

One of those addicts was the second oldest of her three sons, who she said cut ties with her five years ago.

Prescription drugs, meth, you name it, and her son and his girlfriend were abusing it, Alexandra said.

“I have to respect them for one thing,” she said. “They called and said they were tired of watching their kids starve and had decided to give them away. I said, ‘No, you’re not giving away my grandchildren. I’ll be in the car this afternoon.’”

And so she got a friend to drive her to Alabama, where they found the children living in squalor in a 1970s-era mobile home at the end of a muddy road.

“They were malnourished, dehydrated, filthy, wearing rags and smelled of dirty diapers,” said Alexandra, adding that all three had health problems associated with being in or around a meth lab.

“Gavin’s skin was peeling off. The baby had crystal meth sores on her legs, face and back; and Gavin and Bradley’s gums were blistered and bleeding. They had rotten spots on their teeth.”

Three months later, she’s still learning things that make her want to cry, including  that the two older kids have told her they know how to pack a pipe with “weed” for smoking.

Specialists are assessing the emotional and developmental damage, but Alexandra is optimistic. The sores are fading, two of the three are enrolled in the school system and therapy is going well. They’re also going with her to church, including Sunday school, and have learned to say grace before meals.

In addition, she is getting unexpected support from her 9-year-old daughter, Rain, whom she adopted seven years ago from another troubled home. Rain, who is also getting toys through the Salvation Army, is now a straight-A student and is preparing to run a 5K for charity, she said.

Anthony Miller, one of Alexandra’s brothers, is not surprised that his sister has once again taken in a child in need, or rather, three of them.

“I couldn’t do it. If I spent 24 hours in that house, they’d have to put me in the hospital,” he said. “But even when she was young, she had a habit of bringing home anything that didn’t run from her. She’s got that kind of a heart.”

Alexandra’s endurance was clear Friday, when the four children took control of decorating the tree. More ornaments hit the floor than made it onto branches. In the process, the kids argued, one cried and hid, and the 17-month-old crawled in the box of decorations and began tossing them in the air like confetti.

But the tree still came out looking perfect, at least in the kids’ opinions.

If all goes as hoped, this Christmas will be the start of a new life filled with birthday cakes, Easter baskets and small change from the tooth fairy, Alexandra said.

It won’t be easy,  because of her being out of work now for health reasons, but she’s talking a lot about feeling lucky these days.

“I love giving them the things they’ve never had, but it is heartbreaking when you’re dealing with a child that’s never blown out the candles on a cake,” Alexandra said.

“Sometime the tears start to flow, but I believe God has blessed me to do this. He led me here. He’ll get me through it.”

COLDWATER — Danielle Abrajan-Chagala, 35, from Angola, Ind., told  Branch County Circuit Court Judge Bill O’Grady, “My three children need me,” as  she promised to stay off meth after she finishes her jail sentences for  attempted possession of the drug.

“Children need a mother who does not do meth and is drug free,”  Judge O’Grady told her.

Addicted in 2010, she admitted buying pseudophedrine cold medicine  used to make the drug since 2008. At first she did it for money. Abrajan-Chagala  made 44 purchases of the drug, and the federal computer system blocked her  purchases another 11 times.

Abrajan-Chagala was a passenger in a car stopped after she made the  purchase of the cold remedy July 11 in Coldwater. Those in the car had purchased  at both Meijer and Walmart.

Other supplies to make meth were in the car.

Judge O’Grady placed her on probation for two years on the five-year  offense. Abrajan-Chagala asked to be allowed to go to a treatment  center.

“You need time away from the streets and out of the meth environment  before treatment,” the judge told her.

She will serve nine months in jail with credit for 130 days  served.

Abrajan-Chagala is facing five charges for theft and one for illegal  purchase of pseudophedrine in Steuben County (Ind.) after her release in Branch  County.


Even though the number of meth labs recovered by Tulsa police is down more than 65 percent from two years ago, methamphetamine has contributed to at least 11 homicides this year, including two quadruple slayings.

During a January raid, narcotics officers found “trafficking amounts” of methamphetamine at a home in the 1300 block of North New Haven Avenue, Homicide Sgt. Dave Walker said. Four people — Charlie Dean Dake Jr., 34; Melissa Lynn Dake, 35; Glenda Ellen Harper, 54; and Tammy Brunson, 46 — were fatally shot at the residence last Saturday.

Police investigate the scene of a shooting in Tulsa on Nov. 23 in which four people were killed. A homicide detective said police have not identified any suspects but “are working on the premise” meth was involved



Detectives have yet to identify any suspects in the killings but “are working on the premise” that meth was involved, Walker said.

“That’s the only thing we can think of that they were involved in that would lead to this carnage,” he said.

Investigators do not think meth was being manufactured in the home.



Two of the victims in a January quadruple homicide at the Fairmont Terrace apartment complex near 61st Street and Peoria Avenue were suspected of dealing drugs, including meth, police said previously. Walker specified that the amount of drugs likely involved in those deaths was much smaller than in the case of the victims on New Haven Avenue.

Last weekend’s slayings came on the heels of the beating death of 34-year-old Quinton Shaver, which unveiled a “cult-like atmosphere” of violence, kidnapping and heavy meth use, police said.

Shaver’s body was discovered after investigators received a tip about his death on the evening of Nov. 10, but he might have been killed the previous day, they said. George Emile July and Angel Marie Proctor were charged with Shaver’s killing and several other felony counts on Tuesday.

“Shaver may be the tip of an iceberg,” Walker said.

In addition to police finding meth addicts living in squalor, users are “willing to be beaten; they’re willing to move from place to place; they’re willing to give up their kids” for the drug, which is creating the next generation of addicts, he said.

The shooting deaths of Ronnie Stanley on Jan. 4 and Donald Treat on May 5 were also motivated by meth, according to investigators.

“Something’s going on. There is an increase in violence at this moment,” Walker said.

He speculated that violence is the way meth suppliers are “taking care of” unpaid debts and turf disputes.

Tulsa police saw a peak of 429 meth labs in the city in 2011, up from a recent low of 20 in 2007.

After legislation passed further restricting access to pseudoephedrine — a key ingredient for meth production — in July 2012, the number fell to 295 last year. Officers have found 143 so far this year.

“The more you control pseudoephedrine, the (fewer) meth labs you’re going to have,” Cpl. Mike Griffin said. “If you (revert) pseudoephedrine back to a Schedule III drug like it once was, they would go down even further, so it’s really simple.”

The number of meth labs found in Tulsa is significantly lower than the 429 found in 2011, “but it’s still way up from 20,” Griffin said.

He emphasized that the decreased number of meth labs does not indicate any reduction in meth use.

“It depends on whether or not you want to look at it from the fact that we still have a whole lot of people in a risky, illegal business in town,” he said, referring to meth use. “Or do we want to say, ‘Hey, (the number of meth labs found) is down from where it was’ ?”

“Meth itself doesn’t start apartment fires or kill little babies; meth labs do.”

The Tulsa ZIP code with the most meth labs found is 74110, the area bounded by Interstate 244 and 46th Street North, and from Utica to Harvard avenues. Eighty labs were found in the area in 2011, 61 in 2012 and 24 so far this year.

The site of the New Haven homicides is in a neighboring ZIP code (74115), which has the second-highest number of labs in the city this year with 17. The ZIP code that includes Fairmont Terrace — 74105 — ranks fifth.

Fires have occurred at eight meth lab sites this year. None of them has been fatal, according to Police Department data.

SAN YSIDRO — A Tijuana teenager’s recent attempt to smuggle methamphetamine into San Diego might have drawn little public notice — except that after he was pulled aside for questioning at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, he sipped the liquid and died.

Now the case of Cruz Marcelino Velázquez Acevedo, 16-year-old high school student, has shined a new spotlight on the issue of underage drug smugglers from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

“These kids are oftentimes typical teenagers making a really bad decision,” said Marian Gaston, a public defender in San Diego. “They’re not thinking in terms of border security, they’re not thinking of how many meth deaths there are each year. They’re thinking, ‘This is a really quick way to buy a new pair of tennis shoes.’ ”

Velázquez was detained at the San Ysidro crossing about 6:40 p.m. Nov. 18, a Monday, as he walked into the pedestrian crossing area from Tijuana. He told inspectors he was carrying juice in two small containers and voluntarily took a sip, according to San Diego police.

Not much later, he fell violently ill and died after being taken to Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. A test showed that the liquid he drank contained methamphetamine.

Those who knew Velázquez said he was an average student at Cobach Siglo XXI, a public high school in Tijuana’s San Antonio de los Buenos district.

“He had no discipline problems. He regularly attended class,” said María Guadalupe Estrella, the school’s principal. “For the children, this has been devastating.”

As San Diego homicide detectives continue to investigate the case, many questions remain unanswered, including what persuaded Velázquez to smuggle the drug and why he sipped the liquid.

Seizures at California ports of entry with violators under 18 years old


Marijuana 176

Cocaine 0

Heroin 3

Meth 5


Marijuana 61

Cocaine 4

Heroin 1

Meth 27


Marijuana 34

Cocaine 10

Heroin 6

Meth 40


Marijuana 14

Cocaine 11

Heroin 12

Meth 59


Marijuana 17

Cocaine 2

Heroin 18

Meth 75

Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Seizures of methamphetamine along California’s border with Mexico have soared by 575 percent between 2008 and 2013, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Liquid meth has been a growing phenomenon in the past two years, with smugglers hiding it in receptacles such as bottles, gas tanks, windshield-wiper reservoirs and battery containers, said Pete Flores, the agency’s San Diego director of field operations.

“They’re getting the liquid meth from the labs in Mexico, crossing it here into the United States” and then converting it back into solid form for sale, said Gary Hill, assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s office in San Diego. “A lot of cartels (in central Mexico) are involved — Knights Templar, Familia Michoacana. But obviously, the Sinaloa cartel is also actively involved with the same thing.”

Velázquez was among a growing number of minors caught at the U.S.-Mexico border with methamphetamine in recent years, reflecting the overall smuggling trend. In 2009, the vast majority of juveniles caught with drugs at California ports of entry, a total of 176, were carrying marijuana, according Customs and Border Protection. In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, methamphetamine seizures topped the list for juvenile violators — a total of 75.

Despite the switch in drug of choice, the proportion of minors caught with drugs at U.S. land ports of entry has remained steady over the years — about 5 percent of all drug-related arrests, Flores said. Typically, the children are detained as they enter from Mexico on foot, he said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who investigate these cases have seen children as young as 12 carrying drugs across the border. ICE spokeswoman Lauren Mack said those caught usually have no criminal records and are not drug users. They work for low pay, earning $50 to $100 for each load, she said.

“The value of the drug is incredibly high compared to the amount of money they’re paying them to smuggle the load,” Mack said.

She also said traffickers who target minors lure them by saying there’s little risk. “They’re telling them, ‘Nothing will happen to you. Don’t worry, they can’t prosecute you,’ ” Mack said.

In fact, those arrested are then turned over to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution, where they face charges of drug transportation, said Michele Linley, chief of the juvenile division in that office.

In a more typical scenario, had he not drank the meth liquid, the 16-year-old Velázquez “would have been arrested and brought to juvenile hall,” Linley said. He would have faced a range of penalties, depending on his family background, support system and other factors.

The consequences for those found guilty “run the gamut from going home with supervision, from probation all the way to spending up to a year or more in a local juvenile program,” Linley said.

Hoping to prevent teenagers from being tempted to smuggle, officers from ICE and Customs and Border Protection regularly visit San Diego schools to warn students about the dangers. The presentation includes a video of a teenage girl behind bars.

“They’re warned that this can go against their chances of going into the military, of going to college and getting students loans,” Mack said.

“The ultimate goal is to educate the kids on the hazards,” said Flores at Customs and Border Protection. “It’s a dangerous position they’re putting themselves in.”







THREE RIVERS, MI — A Three Rivers man was arrested after police found methamphetamine in his car during a traffic stop and discovered a sex offense and other violations as well.


According to a news release from the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Office, at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27 deputies conducted a traffic stop on a pickup truck on Klines Resort Road near Silver Sreet in Park Township and a during subsequent search of the vehicle located methamphetamine and items associated with methamphetamine production.

The 34-year-old driver was arrested  on charges of driving with a suspended license, providing a false name to investigating officers, a sex offender violation, possession of methamphetamine and multiple warrants for his arrest.

A Plainwell man, 27,  was also arrested for possession of methamphetamine and an outstanding warrant and a Galesburg woman, 25, was arrested  on a charge of possession of methamphetamine.

Assisting at the scene were troopers from the Michigan State Police.


LIHUE — Hawaii’s youth are taking methamphetamine prevention into their own hands.

The Hawaii Meth Project has several events planned statewide to coincide with the first national Meth Awareness Week from Nov. 30 through Dec. 7. The events are aimed at discouraging first-time use of methamphetamine — which is considered a more serious drug today than cocaine and marijuana combined.


“The past few years have made it clear that crystal methamphetamine abuse, along with the growing prescription drug abuse epidemic, is the primary driver of property crime violence on this island,” said County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar.

On Kauai, the big event will be Wednesday, when students from around the island will join volunteers and community at an anti-meth sign-waving rally from 3 to 4 p.m. at the Kapule Highway and Ahukini Road intersection fronting the entrance to Lihue Airport.

Erica Owan, a Kauai High School sophomore and member of the  Hawaii Meth Project’s Teen Advisory Council, will educate peers about prevention and the risks of first-time meth use on Monday. An informational booth will be available at the school on Tuesday.

“My position has never wavered or changed over the past 20 plus years,” said Kauai Chief of Police Darryl Perry. “Law enforcement is not the answer to solving the crystal meth issue or any other drug abuse problem for that matter.

“We need a concerted effort from government leaders and the entire criminal justice system with much more focus on prevention: education, treatment, rehabilitation, with emphasis and support for after-care programs,” Perry added.

A 2011 Meth Project survey shows that Hawaii ranks second in the nation for meth use. The financial and social costs include devastated families and foster care, lost productivity, healthcare and treatment.

Addiction-fueled crimes often result in violence and arrests. The courts report that 90 percent of federal drug cases in Hawaii involve methamphetamine, along with 42 percent of state drug enforcement operations.

“Hawaii has seen firsthand the devastating effects that meth abuse has had and continues to have on our local community, which is why our goal is to bring highly effective peer-to-peer outreach to our youth — our future,” said Hawaii Meth Project Executive Director David Earles.

Nine percent of Hawaii teens and 18 percent of young adults report having close friends who use meth, according to the report. Nineteen percent of teens and 37 percent of young adults say it would not be difficult to acquire meth.

“We need to educate our youth on the terrible consequences of this drug, treat those who have become addicted, and punish those who prey on their neighbors and fellow community members by selling this poison to those who can’t or won’t control their sickness,” Kollar said. “We will all have to deal with the consequences should we fail in that mission.”








JACKSON, MI – As the older method of making meth is on the decline, makers are using a simpler and quicker method to produce the drug, police say.

The Michigan State Police say over the past 10 years, use of larger methamphetamine labs to produce the drug has been on the decline. These methods include red-phosphorus, Phenyl-2-Propanone and Anhydrous Ammonia methods.

But police say the use of one-pot methods to make meth has stayed steady over the last couple years, if not increased slightly. The one-pot method is when the ingredients to make meth are placed in a plastic bottle to mix.



Michigan State Police Detective Lt. Dave Cook shows the Hazmat approved storage location for hazardous waste at the Jackson Post where ingredients used to make methamphetamine are stored before being destroyed or recycled


“(The one-pot method) has been steady for quite some time now,” said Michigan State Police Detective Lt. Dave Cook, who is commander of the Jackson Narcotic Enforcement Team. “I am not sure if it has been increasing, but it has not gone away.”

Cook said the one-pot, or shake-and-bake, method is easy to do and and takes less time to reach the final product. The “old-style” methods would take four hours to produce meth, but the one-pots create the drug in less than an hour and are portable, Cook said.

“They can buy the (ingredients) right in the ,and it doesn’t take long to make,” Cook said. “They can do it anywhere. Mobile labs are popular, too. They can do it on the road (in their vehicle), the shake-and-bake.”

With the old-style methods, the labs could explode from the chemical reactions taking place under pressure. Although the one-pot methods do not necessarily explode, the chemical reaction of lithium and water mixing can corrode the plastic vessel. Through the hole, a pressurized steam of highly flammable, acidic chemicals can shoot out causing injury, contamination or fire.

“Lithium can react to water and become flammable,” Jackson Police Department Lt. Elmer Hitt said. “With the one-pots, using plastic bottles, a hole is burned in the bottle and reacts to the air causing flames to shoot out of it. Like a flamethrower.”

Hitt said over the past several months, more one-pots have been located, most in vacant buildings.

“The shift is in these one-pots,” Hitt said. “We wouldn’t see (the old methods) often in the city, not as often as these one-pots.”

Hitt said officers are trained to identify methamphetamine labs, and recently had training from a police officer who is also a JNET member. Through the training, they were taught what to identify as potential one-pot labs and the items used. Once a lab is found, JNET is called in to properly collect and dispose of the materials.

one pot container.jpg
A Hazmat approved hazardous waste container which a one-pot methamphetamine lab can be stored

JNET members use specially designed, Hazmat-approved containers to place the individual items used to create methamphetamine. Each item, such as batteries, acids, ammonia, nitrates and gas generators, are placed with like items so as not to create a dangerous reaction. There are also buckets designed to place full one-pot labs, which Cook said are made to withstand the scenario of the lab exploding or leaking.

“We package it in Hazmat-approved buckets and a Hazmat trailer, and it goes to the Michigan State Police post,” Cook said. “It goes into a secure, safe facility. If something happens, it is not going to blow up the building. It is designed to handle that.”

Once the secure shelter is full, a company contacted by the Drug Enforcement Agency comes to collect the material to be recycled or destroyed.

“When they come and get it, they have chemists and they will separate (the items) further,” Cook said. “It is a really green company, and they recycle a lot of the items.”

The company will wash and sanitize the buckets to be reused, and the acids and other liquids separate from each other are collected to be refined and reused, Cook said.

“A lot of the stuff can be refined,” Cook said. “The true garbage and trash is incinerated.”