Comments Off on Apparent murder, Methamphetamine lab in McEwen

MCEWEN, TN (WSMV) – Several law enforcement agencies were called to a McEwen home early Sunday after officers found a man dead in a suspected meth lab.Apparent murder, meth lab in McEwen

Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis tells Channel 4 News that a resident called 911 just before midnight to report the apparent murder.

The man who died in the home may have suffered a gunshot wound, according to Davis.

Officers alerted the Meth Task Force and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to the potential danger of a meth lab.

As of 6:30 a.m. Sunday, officers had not entered the home.

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Comments Off on El Rodeo nightclub owner, Edgar De Dios Fragoso, 38, of Hacienda Heights, indicted on charges of laundering money for Mexico drug trade

The owner of a Pico Rivera nightclub has been indicted on charges that he laundered hundreds of thousands of dollars for a Mexican drug-trafficking operation, federal officials said..

Edgar De Dios Fragoso, 38, of Hacienda Heights — owner of El Rodeo nightclub — was named in an eight-count indictment charging him with conspiracy to launder money and money laundering for an unnamed Mexican drug

Fragoso, who also operates a second El Rodeo bar in Moreno Valley, was arrested Feb. 23 on suspicion of money laundering after agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration raided his nightclub and home. He was later freed on a $100,000 bond.

Calls to his attorney were not immediately returned.

The Pico Rivera nightclub, which had been tarnished by violence for years, served as a drop-off point for DEA undercover operatives who would give up as much as $150,000 in cash at a time, according to a sworn affidavit filed Feb. 20.







Comments Off on Methamphetamine-addled driver, Roberta Soto, 46, faces increased punishment in man’s death in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) —  The drug-addled driver who killed a beloved Community Regional Medical Center radiology technician is accepting blame for her crimes, but still hoping for mercy.Roberta Soto, 46

Roberta Soto, 46, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter, auto theft and other charges. Soto is basically throwing herself at the mercy of the court. She admitted to all the crimes, including killing Matt Harkenrider by driving under the influence of meth. But she still has a chance of not getting the maximum punishment.

For Roberta Soto, a days-long drug binge and crime spree ended in Northeast Fresno inside a wrecked SUV — a bag of meth still in her hand and a stolen purse in the back seat floorboard. Soto was still alive, but after she ran a red light and hit a car, Matt Harkenrider was not. Seven months later, Soto faced a judge and said she’s ready to pay the price.

“Ms. Soto is extremely remorseful,’ said her defense attorney Alan DeOcampo. “She’s accepted responsibility for this terrible ordeal and so we’re hoping there’ll be a just and fair closure for all parties in this case.”

Soto set the tragic events in motion when she stole that purse from a Selma hair salon. Action News found a nearby business owner who had surveillance video showing Soto carrying the purse and tracking down the SUV, then driving away with it. Two days later, it was the stolen SUV she drove into Harkenrider’s car. Her defense attorney is hoping a judge will consider her quick admission, her remorse, and her personal problems when he hands down a punishment.

“There clearly is a substance abuse issue in this case and we’re hoping that issue will also hopefully cause the court to maybe show some mercy on Ms. Soto,” DeOcampo said.

Harkenrider’s family has gotten a lot of love and support from his friends at the hospital and up at Yosemite High School, but Soto’s punishment will be their first chance to let her know the true impact of her crime.

A fill-in judge agreed to give Soto a nine-year prison sentence, but the regular judge decided that wasn’t enough and said Friday he’ll give her as long as 13 years, which is close to the maximum she can get for her crimes. We’ll let you know the final outcome next week.








Comments Off on Mother, Jennifer Howard, admits to selling Methamphetamine for the first time in Tulsa

Tulsa, Okla. — Multiple warrants, no insurance, and a suspended driver’s license is bad enough.Howard

On Thursday, it was the least of Jennifer Howard’s problems during a traffic stop near East Pine and North Yale.

Tulsa police say Howard, her child, and an unidentified passenger were inside the vehicle.

While officers conducted inventory of the car, they discovered a makeup box.  Inside the box, police found 6.54 grams of methamphetamine.

After being read her Miranda right, Howard admitted “she sometimes smokes methamphetamine, but not often.”

Plus, police say she intended to sell meth for the first time because “she needs the money.”

Howard was taken to the Tulsa County Jail.  She faces multiple counts including possession of a controlled drug with intent in the presence of a minor child.








Comments Off on Bryan County Sheriff’s Office investigates kidnapping; Man forced to snort Methamphetamine; 40-year-old Jamin Brent Sims arrested

A man says he was kidnapped and forced to snort methamphetamine after he traveled from the Choctaw Casino with two women to Cartwright and then to Colbert, according to the Bryan County Sheriff’s Office.Jamin Brent Sims

Deputies served multiple search warrants Thursday evening after receiving information about a kidnapping involving a firearm and methamphetamine. During a search of a Colbert residence, 40-year-old Jamin Brent Sims was arrested.

The victim, who is from out of state and whose name has not been released, said he met two women at the casino Wednesday afternoon and that he was invited to a woman’s home in Cartwright, according to Sheriff’s Investigator Nathan Calloway.

He then rode with the women who then took him to a friend’s house which was Sims’ residence in Colbert, according to statements made to investigators. They then went into an outbuilding where Sims started talking about a criminal investigation and then became concerned that the victim had heard too much, according to the sheriff’s office, and Sims asked the victim several times if he was a police officer.

The victim repeatedly said he was not, and Sims then put out a “line” of methamphetamine and told him that if he was not a cop, he would snort the methamphetamine, according to the sheriff’s office.

After the victim said he did not use methamphetamine, Sims chambered a round into a pistol, placed it on the table, and told him to ingest the methamphetamine, according to statements the victim gave investigators. He then said that due to fear, he proceeded to ingest the methamphetamine.

The victim told authorities Sims got him and one of the women to travel to a gas station in Denison, Texas, and that Sims had the gun during the trip. They then ended up back at the woman’s residence in Cartwright were the victim said he was given a pill and told to swallow it so he would relax. He said the woman checked his mouth to see if he swallowed it, however, he said he hid it between his cheeks and gums. He then pretended to pass out on the couch.

According to the sheriff’s office, the victim heard Sims and the woman arguing over what they were going to do with them. He then got up, ran out the back door and into the woods until he reached a home where he asked the resident to dial 911. A deputy then found him and brought him to the sheriff’s office.

“Based on the information provided by the victim, the sheriff’s office was able to obtain a search warrant for Jamin’s house in Colbert and one for the house in Cartwright along with the pickup truck he was transported in,” Investigator Calloway said, in a typed statement. “The sheriff’s office located meth, scales, marijuana and two firearms with one being loaded and matching the victim’s description. One unsnorted line of meth was also found in the area where this event reportedly occurred.”

During the execution of the search warrant of Sims’ house, he was discovered lying on his back in a bedroom with his pants pulled down with his genitals exposed holding onto a female pit bull, according to Calloway.

“We are unclear as to what was taking place just seconds earlier,” Calloway said. “Jamin was placed under arrest and transported to the Bryan County Jail where he was booked in for kidnapping, and possession of meth, and possession of a firearm in commission of a felony. Sheriff’s investigators are still reviewing surveillance video from multiple businesses. Based on extremely recent information obtained by sheriff’s investigators, this investigation could very well take a different turn.”

Sims was charged Friday with possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. The investigation is ongoing.

The sheriff’s office thanked Colbert Police for assisting with the search warrant in Colbert.








Comments Off on $56,000 Worth of Methamphetamine (18.5 pounds) Found in Child’s Scooter by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Port of San Luis, Jose Emanuel Figueroa, 20, of Yuma, Arizona arrested

Officers arrested a man on Monday after he attempted to smuggle drugs, via a child’s scooter, into the States.03022015%20TFO%20SLU%20Scooter%20instructions

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Port of San Luis arrested 20-year-old Jose Emanuel Figueroa of Yuma, Arizona, after finding nearly $56,000 worth of meth.

A total of 18.5 pounds of meth was discovered within 12 wooden pieces of a child’s unassembled scooter package that was found in his luggage.03022015%20TFO%20SLU%20Meth%20Scooter%203

Figueroa was attempting to enter the U.S. through the pedestrian crossing when officers searched his luggage.








Comments Off on Methamphetamine – From paradise to purgatory

Meth has devastated many lives in all levels of society. Carly Thomas talks to users about their crazy journey down into and then out of the rabbit hole.

It’s someone’s lover, their partner, another’s best friend, longest friend, truest friend. It’s an obsession, an everything, a late-night longing that eventually leads down to a deep, deep and very dark, dark hole.1425756266486

It’s methamphetamine and it’s a big, bad beast of a drug.

And don’t think it’s not in your world, your life, your circle of friends, because it is – somewhere, hidden in the dusty corners, tucked away on the top shelf, it’s there. Don’t think you’re immune, too good, too respectable, too smart or too sheltered. Meth is clever, it’s persistent and it’s filtering into society, manipulating not just the vulnerable but those who are curious, those who just need to stay awake for a few more hours in the day to get things done, those who never thought they’d get hooked.

*A sanctuary where lives begin anew

Mark* was working as a van salesman, driving around the country, working long, late hours. He smoked a bit of marijuana and had heard about crank, as it was called back in the day.

Mark was 19, he was curious and he says he waited for the opportunity to give it a go.

“I was at a guy’s place who was much more into the drug scene and I remember being in his house and it was like a train station. All these people that I didn’t even know existed, that type of person.

“I didn’t know what was going on really and then he appeared and I was actually there to buy marijuana and he said ‘forget about that, try this’ and he had his mirror on his bed and he put a big line on it. It was much more than I ever needed.”

A moment, a decision made when he was 19, nearly 30 years ago, a day in the life of Mark became the first day in the life of an addict. It became his mate straight away; he would work, earn money and when he got paid, his first thought would be, “I have to get some”.

“When you’re on it you have an answer to every question, you can talk to strangers, lose your inhibitions. Even in bad scenarios you can be there and they’re not so bad, you accept them for what they are.”

Mark always worked, in close to 30 years of having a meth habit he held down jobs throughout. A functioning user, someone that people didn’t necessarily suspect, someone who worked hard to support his habit, a vicious cycle: work, get paid, score and use, repeated over and over.

“My consumption increased hugely. You want more and if you’ve been up all night you need it to function the next day. I’d know that if I didn’t have it I’d still go to work but I knew that I was in for a hard day. Physically, mentally.

“I reached a time where I had on credit the amount that I was earning and it got to the point where I can remember my grocery shopping was four potatoes and I was OK with that.

“It pretty much consumes your life. I think I knew that it was happening and that I was focused on it and it wasn’t a good thing in the normality of the world, but you sort of create your own world. I wasn’t functioning as a so-called normal person, but I rebelled against that, I didn’t want to be like a normal person.”

Meth was Mark’s friend, what more did he need?

He was from a large family, never a lead in his family situation – he had been sent to boarding school – so it wasn’t hard to withdraw.

It’s a sentiment shared by Sarah. She is one of seven siblings and she found her teenage years tough.

“I was the mum for the youngest four. I was pretty sheltered, I wasn’t allowed to go into town, I couldn’t go to any parties and when I went through puberty, I just remember feeling so angry at them.”

Sarah started out taking a lot of Panadol, then moved on to alcohol and at age 14, marijuana and ecstasy. At 19 Sarah got pregnant and miscarried at 16 weeks. She was heartbroken.

“I’d always wanted a baby of my own. I started abusing temazepam, diazepam and I got extremely hooked on them, like I would probably take 60 a day. I think my parents gave up on me.”

Then came methamphetamine and Sarah’s dependency on the drug moved in fast. Three months into using and she had acquired a $1200 a day habit. It was an old friend from high school got her on to it and Sarah says in hindsight that the friend wanted her to get hooked so she would need it, buy it, become dependent.

“You think they are your friends, but they aren’t. . . . she needed my business to keep their smoking alive, because without my money they couldn’t smoke. At the end of it she got me hooked and then when I was fully in the hook of it and I had nowhere to stay, they were nowhere to be seen.

“This is a disgusting drug, it destroys. People are living in poverty, smoking around their children, when they’re pregnant. They don’t care.”

Two years of Sarah’s life became dedicated to the drug: getting it, smoking it. She describes it as her boyfriend; it loved her, cared for her and her biggest fear was it not being there.

“When you’re on it you feel more empowered, your self-esteem is like through the roof and you’re better at everything that you do. You can go to work and work 10 hours and have no break. You can function but in the addiction cycle, you’re not addicted at the start but then the more I went on I would have the drug every single day and it’s so expensive.

“You start to love it. I lost so much weight, I was 75 kg and I got down to 58 kg within a year and I loved it. I looked good and at school you know it’s hard when you don’t fit in, but with meth you have a sense of belonging because you’re in a group and you’re with druggies. You’re all the same, all addicts seem to be the same. They have the same feelings, we’ve been through the craving for it the fighting for it. You have to fight for that drug every day.”

And when she couldn’t get it, Sarah said the comedown was horrific.

“You plan it, you have high anxiety because you don’t want to come down so you just smoke more and more and more. You’re crying you’re depressed. I cut myself, I was just so upset, it’s unbelievable and, when you’re in that world, people stuff you over.

“When you’re there you’re in a totally different state of mind, you become really aggressive, paranoid, because sometimes you’ve been up for seven days. Sometimes I wouldn’t even sit down for days.”

Sarah’s daily routine pivoted around meth.

“I would sit in bed all night, get up and go do something then sit down, then go and have a shower. You’re feeling like s… now. I’d come in, put a scoop in the pipe, smoke it then go and do my face, put my make up on, then I’d have another puff and then I’d be like, ‘what to do now?’ So I’d get changed, then I’d look at my face and think yuck, wash it off, then do it again, then get changed like 10 times.

“I’d walk around in my high heels, it would go on for so long, you’re just so out of it. You’d have another puff then go for a drive and visit your friend and then you’re so bored and you’ve got the dries and you’re uncomfortable because you’ve got anxiety so you have some more and then some more. Your whole day is based on it. When you think about it, it’s pretty bloody boring.”

Sarah would roll with it, which means she would sell meth and be supplied for free in return. She held down a job to begin with but then things started to spiral downwards; she didn’t pay her rent for two weeks then was arrested when a party got out out of control.

“A girl got really aggressive with me. When you are high, it turns you into a different person, you’re so high you don’t care. You haven’t eaten in days, your brain is just fatigued, you’re aggressive. I went into my room and I got a knife, and I was like don’t ‘f… with me’.

“You hang out with people who are mongrels, thugs. They called the cops and I got arrested.”

The drug gets bigger, it gains momentum; the hole grows, the edge gets closer and your hold on it gets more precarious. The best friend starts to turn, the boyfriend isn’t there for you when you’re coming down, the side effects start to move to the front. Methamphetamine takes hold of a life.

Tim knows all too well how it all spirals, how you can keep your foot on the brakes for only so long.

He kept on top of it for years, hidden from friends and family. He started using marijuana at high school and selling it to support his habit. He says he did it to be cool, to fit in. He started taking methamphetamine for the same reason, peer pressure, going along with the crowd.

Tim is clever, eloquent, a person who set his work goals high. Too high. As he moved up a notch in his job, his drug use went up to help him keep up.

“At first I would just use in the weekend and stop on Sunday because I knew I’d have work on Monday. I’d get paid on Thursday and would buy a large amount of meth, enough to sell and smoke from Thursday through to Saturday.

“Then I started doing larger contracts and not being able to put the job away and I’d buy even larger amounts to last me through the week. It gave me the motivation to work eight-hour days and four hours at night doing perk jobs. Doing that week-in, week-out you’re just so damned tired and then coming home trying to be there for the kids, I just had no energy.

“It was a way of trying to gain extra energy and obviously not sleeping much because it made me feel like I needed it the next day in order to get out of bed.”

It was taking over, his control was slipping.

“I started suffering from depression, had a bit of a mental breakdown at my last job and that was where my using got to the point where I couldn’t say no. I had to get it in order to get up in the morning or survive.

“I was selling it more and more, lowering my morals more and more. In the last two years it took control of my life and ruined it.”

Tim was using his finely honed skills of manipulation to get people hooked.

“I got good at selling drugs because I learnt how to get people to want to buy them and use and I’ve ruined quite a few people’s lives like that.

“I’d go in and I’d force them to buy it off me by manipulating them into certain things.”

Tim contemplated killing himself, driving his car off the road; he’s on anti-depressants and says they help. He says the biggest part of depression and addiction is not knowing.

“It’s the scariest thing in the world, it drives you to lose your mind really; if you don’t know what’s going on, you go crazy. You think ‘why the hell am I feeling this way?’ and these guys explain why your brain is doing what it’s doing and it gives you a bit more control back and a bit of understanding.”

Tim is referring to the Mash Trust and the Monarch program addressing mental health and addiction issues. He’s on week five, he’s clean for the first time in a long time and he’s not watching his back because his care workers have got it for him.

It’s the same programme that Mark went through and Sarah as well.

Mark had kept up his level of control for so long but the last 10 years became more of a struggle.

“I came to a point where trying to keep up daily was not effective.”

He got caught growing and selling marijuana a few times, the second time was last September.

“Through due process I got caught. I expected to be put back in jail again and the policeman who arrested me told me I should get some rehabilitation and, if need be, he would pick me up and take me there every day. I took it as a ‘yeah right’ at first but it just kept coming up in my head so I went and saw him.

“He came to Mash and got the forms for me, read questions and wrote the words down. He pointed me in the right direction; what he’d told me was ringing in my head, I thought it was time to do something.”

Sarah had hit rock bottom. She was living with her nana, coming down off the drug, vomiting daily because she wasn’t used to food.

She went through the drug and alcohol centre at Palmerston North Hospital and they told her to keep smoking meth until she could go to detox.

She decided to go it alone, with just the backup of her family.

“I just decided ‘no that’s it’ and I did it on my own. It was horrible, it lasted about seven weeks. You crave it, you dream about it, you can taste it in your mouth, you get really depressed, you can’t really do anything properly.

“You don’t wean yourself off methamphetamine, you just have to stop, completely, you just have to get through that.”

Sarah then went on the Monarch program and completed her second round earlier this year. Her dad moved down from Auckland and is living with her and she has just got a job.

“People can get out of that scene, they just have to want to. You can’t make someone give up something, they have to do it themselves. Mash was like a deep awakening of yourself, you get to learn about everything.

“When we’re in that room we are all the same. I have now swapped my addiction to chocolate, it’s borderline mad but it’s better than meth. I don’t want to look back and look at my young years and think all I did was worry about what people thought of me.”

Tim went through the social detoxification service offered at the Salvation Army before he got to Mash Trust.

He’d had a drug binge which he threw $2000 at; he knew he was heading towards the end and “wanted to end it with a bang”. He was arrested after an argument with his wife and the bed at the men’s hostel was certainly the beginning of the end of his addiction.

“The week of detox at the Sally Army was like lockdown, like a prison, which was good. I slept for two days; the week beforehand I’d had four to six hours sleep in a week. I decided to be dedicated to this as much as I could be with my distorted sense of mind, because I was all over the place, didn’t know what was up or down, left or right. But Aunty Anne ( alcohol and other drugs case worker Anne Te Kawa at the Salvation Army), an amazing lady, dragged me out of bed on the third day – kicking and screaming pretty much, still feeling really low.

“I had hit the big wall of depression, I had terrible suicidal thoughts. These guys came along and I could see that there was more than one way out.

“Anne dragged me out and got me back in the world of the living.”

It’s a world the three of them haven’t lived in for a while; for Mark, the longest user, three decades of his life were spent circling a drug that would go up in smoke as soon as he got it. In this world but only just, the outside was always close by.

They are all back, talking about it, working their way through it; sad, yes, scarred, deeply, but they are back in the world of the living and free from the beast at their backs. And it’s a beast that has its keen and clever eye on us all.


* The meth users we talked to are real people but in the interests of helping their rehabilitation we agreed to not use their real names.








Comments Off on New Methamphetamine charges filed against Keith A. Graves, 39, also accused in sex trafficking case

WILLISTON — A man facing federal sex trafficking charges faces three new counts, according to court documents.

Keith A. Graves, also known by the alias Chris Woods, faces federal charges for distribution of methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance and an additional sex trafficking count.53dc050c2a19f_image

Graves, 39, is being held at the Heart of American Correctional and Treatment Center in Rugby, awaiting trial. He has pleaded not guilty to five charges of sex trafficking by force and coercion and one count of obstruction.

U.S. District Court Judge Daniel L. Hovland signed an order Feb. 25, moving Graves’ trial back to June 1 in Bismarck. It was originally set to begin March 10 as a three-day trial.

Prosecutors allege that Graves told many of his potential victims that his name was Chris Woods. He is accused of beating some of his victims, forcing at least one to perform sex acts on him, and restraining a woman so another could inject her with drugs.

Graves allegedly ran a prostitution ring out of Williston-area hotels and recruited women from the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation. One woman told authorities she earned Graves about $2,700 for five jobs.

Graves was one of the primary subjects in the documentary”The Overnighters,” which won the special jury award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. It followed former Lutheran pastor Jay Reinke, who opened the church and its parking lot to oil workers with nowhere to stay.

Graves is featured as a truck driver from California, who lived in the Reinke home after the Williston Herald published a list of registered sex offenders, which included Graves. In 1999, he was convicted for lewd acts with a child younger than 14. He also had a conviction in juvenile court in Los Angeles in 1990 for sexual battery, according to the North Dakota sex offender website.

Reinke attempted to distance himself from Graves after his arrest, telling The Associated Press in September that he had not spoken to Graves recently, and that he was not living in the Reinke home.

In October, Williston Police testified in Northwest District Court that a July 31 search warrant executed at the pastor’s home revealed a BB gun that resembled a real gun, which police say was used on a “Jane Doe” by Graves.

Police believe he was renting a room from Reinke at the time.

Graves was federally charged Dec. 22, 2014 after unsealed court records revealed more victims and a longer timeframe than previously known.








Comments Off on Elected Ray County coroner, Toby L. Polley, 46, accused of smoking Methamphetamine inside hearse

RIVERSIDE, MO (KCTV) – The elected coroner in Ray County is accused of smoking meth inside a hearse while parked outside a Kansas City area casino, according to court records.6928170_G

Toby L. Polley, 46, was cited for possession of a controlled substance. He is slated to appear in Riverside municipal court on April 15.

Surveillance video on Feb. 24 captured Polley inside the white hearse smoking from a glass pipe as it was parked outside Argosy Casino. A Riverside police officer questioned Polley, who owns several funeral homes in Excelsior Springs, Lawson and Richmond.

Police said Polley admitted to taking the glass pipe and the white substance, which he said was meth, from an employee.

“It was there and he wanted to see what the deal was with it,” according to police.

Polley was elected in 2012. Some Ray County residents were stunned by the allegations, and some residents believe he should resign.

“It’s crazy, it’s shocking. I can’t believe that we voted for him and that’s what he did,” Samantha Williams said.

Natalie Macy, who runs a bail bonds office in Ray County, concurs.

Methamphetamines, they’re terrible. It ruins people’s lives. And as he will see, it will ruin his,” Macy said.

Online records show that Polley has faced a string of financial problems.











Comments Off on TSA Security Screeners, Claudio Rene Sunux, 30, and Amanda Lopez, 27, Accused Of Helping Smuggle Methamphetamine Through San Francisco International Airport

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Two security screeners at San Francisco International Airport were arrested and arraigned today on charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and accepting a bribe from a third suspect, who is also in federal custody.

The alleged smuggling operation was coordinated, at least in part, through Facebook messages, which are quoted extensively in the criminal complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.TSA Adds Screeners For Busy Summer Travel Season

San Francisco resident Claudio Rene Sunux, 30, and South San Francisco resident Amanda Lopez, 27, were working as security screeners as contractors for the Transportation Security Administration, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The morning of September 17, FBI agents provided Anibal Giovanni Ramirez, a 28-year-old San Francisco resident, with two pieces of luggage containing packages filled with 20 pounds of methylsulfonylmethane, a common filler or cutting agent. One of the bags also contained 68.5 grams of pure meth, according to the criminal complaint.

Lopez allegedly overlooked the packages as they were smuggled through a security checkpoint at San Francisco International Airport in exchange for money. Sunux allegedly coordinated the operation, according to the U.S. Attorney.

Ramirez has also been arrested and arraigned.

All three defendants have been charged with conspiracy to distribute meth, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years to life in prison and fines up to $10 million.

Sunux and Lopez have been charged with agreeing to receive a bribe, and Ramirez has been charged with offering to bribe a public official. Those offenses carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

All three defendants are currently in federal custody. Sunux and Lopez are scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James on Monday in San Francisco. Ramirez will be in court on Wednesday.

Other agencies involved in this investigation include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the TSA’s Office of Inspection and the Oakland Police Department and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.









Comments Off on Michelle Stricker-Chenoweth arrested for making Methamphetamine in Wilmington

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) —  One woman is now arrested after law enforcement responded to a possible meth lab Thursday evening.Stricker_Chenoweth

The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office say they received tips which led deputies to Michelle Stricker-Chenoweth in the process of making methamphetamine.

Deputies called the State Bureau of Investigation to 5550 Carolina Beach Road Lot 133 where they processed the crime scene and removed hazardous chemicals from the property.

Stricker-Chenoweth was arrested for manufacturing meth. She was given a $3,000 secure bond which she posted and was released Thursday night.

Friday, Stricker-Chenoweth had a first appearance for the manufacturing meth charges, but when she arrived to the New Hanover County Court House, deputies say she was arrested on warrants for possession of precursor, possession of pseudoephedrine, and possession of methamphetamine.

Stricker-Chenoweth’s next court appearance for Monday.








Comments Off on Havasu police arrested 32-year-old Benjamin Hoaglin for alleged sexual assault near English Village; He and -year-old Sara Burbridge of North Carolina also arrested on Methamphetamine charges

A homeless man who allegedly sexually assaulted a female tourist near the English Village and then used her credit card was arrested Friday by Lake Havasu City Police.54fa04fed5488_image

The man is being held in the Mohave County Jail on a $130,000 bond.

Police said Friday that officers arrested 32-year-old Benjamin Hoaglin in the investigation after detectives with the Crime Investigations Bureau were able to obtain surveillance footage of the suspect using the victim’s credit card.

The victim told police she left her hotel early Sunday morning to take photos in the Bridgewater Channel area when she was approached by Hoaglin and had no recollection of the events that followed. The woman said she woke up in the sand near the edge of the water.

She remembered speaking with Hoaglin and said he was wearing a bag over his shoulder and that he smelled bad due to poor hygiene. She also reported that her purse was missing when she awoke. Further investigation revealed there was evidence of a possible sexual assault.

The victim told police Tuesday that the credit card she was missing from her purse was used at a local convenience store and the information that was received led detectives to a transient camp in the desert area where they said Hoaglin and 28-year-old Sara Burbridge of North Carolina were found manufacturing dangerous drugs including methamphetamine.

Detectives were able to observe contents from the victim’s purse inside the tent and Hoaglin matched the description of the person observed on video surveillance using the stolen credit card. During the investigation, detectives observed items associated with the manufacturing of dangerous drugs such as, muriatic acid, acetone, lighter fluid, foil, glassware, numerous plastic bottles with unknown liquid inside and a heating element.

Detectives served a search warrant and located additional items used to manufacture dangerous drugs such as drain cleaner and packages of empty Sudafed pills. The search also turned up a methamphetamine pipe, a small amount of marijuana, and various contents from the victim’s purse.

Police said further questioning and investigation revealed there was probable cause to arrest Hoaglin for sexual assault.

The pair was charged with possession of chemicals and equipment used to manufacture methamphetamine, manufacturing methamphetamine and drug possession.

Hoaglin’s additional charges included sexual assault, identity theft and theft of a credit card.

Police said Hoaglin is a resident of New York and that he and Burbridge are both homeless and have been in Lake Havasu City for about one week.

Both were transferred to the custody of the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office and were booked into the Mohave County Jail. Burbridge is being held on a $60,000 bond.








Comments Off on Anonymous tip leads to Harpersfield Township Motel 6 Methamphetamine bust; Jennifer L. Thomason, 34, and Michael D. Dixon, 29, both of Geneva, arrested

HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP — Two people were arrested Thursday in connection with a methamphetamine lab set up in a Harpersfield Township motel.

Acting on an anonymous tip that a Geneva man was operating a methamphetamine lab out of the Motel 6 along South Broadway Avenue, County sheriff’s deputy detectives Sean Ward and Taylor Cleveland investigated several rooms at the motel at about 9 a.m. Thursday.

One of the three rooms the man had rented was vacated and detectives found no evidence of drug activity.

In the second room, detectives discovered Jennifer L. Thomason, 34, of 3723 Woodside Drive, Geneva, and Michael D. Dixon, 29, of 488 Eastwood St. Apt. 43, Geneva, and two “one-pot” methamphetamine labs in plain view.

They also found a bottle of sulfuric acid, a bottle of Drano Crystals, a can of salt, three empty lighter fluid containers, a lithium battery and plastic tubing — all materials that can be used to manufacture methamphetamine. In addition, they discovered a trash bag from one of the other cleared rooms, which contained miscellaneous trash consistent with a methamphetamine lab, according to a sheriff’s report.

More methamphetamine lab equipment was discovered in the bed of Dixon’s truck, according to the report.

The man renting the rooms — who has previous drug charges — had not been charged in connection with this Motel 6 bust as of Friday.

As a fire precaution, deputies began evacuating the adjacent motel rooms as they prepared to clean up the potentially hazardous lab materials. Harpersfield Township Fire Department assisted on standby.

Detectives discovered associates of the man who rented the motel rooms — some of whom have previous drug charges — in one of the adjacent rooms. One of the occupants, Ryan J. Blake, 27, of 4534 Lake Road E. Lot 76, Geneva, was arrested on an active warrant by Geneva-on-the-Lake police.

The Motel 6 cleaning staff later discovered a digital scale and disposable baggies authorities believed were being used to package drugs in the third room, according to the sheriff’s report.

Detectives gave motel staff tips on identifying individuals who are renting motel rooms for drug activity and measures to “prevent this from happening in the future.”

Thomason and Dixon were arrested and transported to the county jail. Both face second-degree felony charges of possessing a controlled substance and third-degree felony charges of illegal assembly or possession of chemicals used to manufacture drugs.

Both are scheduled for arraignment before Western County Court Judge David Schroeder at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday.








Comments Off on Woman beaten and raped – escapes days-long ordeal; Craig Alexander Lazon, 37, arrested on these and Methamphetamine charges

ALBANY —An Albany man has been arrested on charges that he kidnapped, raped and tried to kill a local woman after keeping her against her will for about a week.54f7bfe9dd54b_image

Craig Alexander Lazon, 37, was charged in Linn County Circuit Court with attempted aggravated murder, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, first-degree unlawful sexual penetration, two counts of second-degree assault, strangulation and fourth-degree assault.

“The victim here had been tied up since Feb. 24, beat up daily, strangled several times” and repeatedly sexually assaulted, Linn County District Attorney Doug Marteeny said Wednesday afternoon during a court hearing.

The charging document states that the attempted murder charge came during the course of, or as a result of, Lazon intentionally maiming or torturing the victim, whom Lazon knows.

The Gazette-Times generally does not identify the victims of sex crimes.

Court paperwork also states that the victim was strangled with a phone cord. Lazon also strangled her with his hands. The bones in her face were broken, and Lazon was convicted previously of assaulting her.

Albany Police officers arrested Lazon, who was booked into the Linn County Jail, early Wednesday morning.

The situation came to light about 5:30 p.m. Monday, when police were alerted to an assault report from Lazon’s address in the 900 block of 21st Avenue Southwest.

The victim reportedly ran to a neighbor’s house, saying, “He’s going to kill me!” Lazon fled from the scene in an SUV, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

In a police interview at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis, the victim said that during the beatings, every time she made a noise or cried out in pain, Lazon would hit her harder.

“She said that (her daughter) was still living in the residence when this was going on, but Craig would tell (her daughter) that (the victim) was sick,” according to the affidavit, which further noted that according to the victim, Lazon hit her in the back of a head with a screwdriver handle and repeatedly told her he would kill her during the week. At one point he reportedly said that nobody came looking for her because nobody cared about her.

On Monday, Lazon dressed her in a pair of pajama pants, a hooded sweatshirt and a jacket, put some sunglasses on her face and pulled the hood shut. He walked her out of the house and told the victim that he was taking her to the hospital. He then tied her to the passenger door of the car, and said he was planning to take her to the Calapooia River, drown her and dispose of her body, according to the probable cause affidavit, which further stated:

“She said that they started driving, but he had forgotten his phone. Craig drove back to the residence and went inside. She said that is when she was able to get away from the vehicle.”

During Wednesday’s court hearing, Lazon appeared via teleconference from the Linn County Jail. Judge David Delsman set his bail at $500,000, and appointed Tim Felling as his attorney.

The next hearing in the case was set for 8:30 a.m. March 23.








Neighbor saves beating victim; ‘He probably would have killed her’

ALBANY — The owner of a local security firm helped to save a kidnapping and rape victim after she escaped from her assailant Monday night, and he essentially stared down the suspect while calling 911 for help.

Frederick J. Edwards shuddered to think what might have happened if he wasn’t there.

“He probably would have killed her,” he said.54f8fd070925d_image

Prosecutors Wednesday afternoon charged Craig Lazon, 37, of Albany with attempted murder and other charges, saying that he tied up the victim for about a week, repeatedly beat her, raped and sexually assaulted her.

The victim was his wife, and Linn County District Attorney Doug Marteeny said he had assaulted her on a previous occasion.

Edwards, who owns Knight Vision Security, was getting ready to go to a community meeting, sidearm strapped to his hip, when the frantic victim ran to his apartment and began banging on the door.

“At first, I was sort of startled,” said Edwards, who lives at Westside Villa, near West Albany High School. He said the woman probably went to his apartment for help because neighbors often see him in a security uniform and he has a work SUV parked outside.

“You could tell, she was in distress. … She just said, ‘I need help. Help me. He’s going to kill me,’” Edwards added.

The woman was barefoot, in pajamas, and bleeding from her face, which looked like it had been bashed in.

She said she had been tied up, and that Lazon had been binging on methamphetamine.

“You could tell she was strangled, you could tell she was beaten up for days,” Edwards said. “Her whole skin was disfigured. It was purple around her neck.”

He knew he had to protect her.

Edwards talked with the woman outside his apartment and called 911. Within three minutes, the suspect pulled up nearby in the victim’s Mercury Mountaineer.

“I don’t know if this guy’s coming with a weapon or anything,” Edwards said. “He looked at me. I didn’t know what he was going to do, so I held on to my sidearm without taking it out of the holster, and I told her, ‘Don’t worry.’”

Lazon peeled out and sped away, Edwards said.

Edwards said he was scared, but glad he could assist.

“I’m happy that she ran to me. The guy was on all kinds of stuff. Anything could have happened,” he added. “I thank Jehovah that he put me at the right place at the right time. … A few minutes later, I don’t know where she would have ran.”

Albany Police Detective Lt. Travis Giboney said he was thankful as well that Edwards was there to help.

Court paperwork indicates that Lazon dressed his wife Monday in pajama bottoms and a hoodie, which he pulled up, put sunglasses on her and walked her out of the house. He told her she was going to the hospital. The victim told investigators that Lazon then tied her to the passenger door of the car and said he was planning to take her to the Calapooia River, drown her and dispose of the body.

Lazon started driving but he had forgotten his phone, so he went back to his residence and his wife took the opportunity to escape, according to court paperwork.

Other details emerged about the case Thursday.

Giboney said that Lazon was arrested just after midnight at a Springfield motel with the assistance of the Springfield Police Department.

He declined to elaborate on how investigators learned Lazon was at the motel.

Search warrants have been served on Lazon’s person, the Mercury Mountaineer registered to the victim, which Lazon drove from his apartment, and Lazon’s motel room, Giboney said.

Lazon has previous convictions in Linn County for fourth-degree assault in 2012 and methamphetamine possession in 2013.

He also was convicted in Lane County of fourth-degree assault, methamphetamine possession and tampering with a witness regarding a June 2013 incident. A charge of fourth-degree assault (domestic violence) was dismissed. A victim in that Eugene Police Department case is his wife, according to Oregon’s online court database.








Comments Off on Franklin D. McClane III, 42, of Elkhart, faces sexual misconduct with a minor, criminal deviate conduct, and methamphetamine charges


An Elkhart man who police say led them on a chase two weeks ago also faces sexual misconduct charges.

The investigation began when a parent told an Elkhart County Sheriff’s detective that their daughter was raped several years ago but was too scared to report it, according to court documents. The documents don’t state when the report was made.McClane-Franklin

In an interview at the Elkhart County Child and Family Advocacy Center, the victim, who has some developmental issues, said she was sexually assaulted in 2011 and 2012 by Franklin D. McClane III, whom she knew through another adult, the documents state. She was in her mid-teens at the time.

The victim said that in 2011, McClane was living at her home and one evening while her mother was at work McClane raped her.

In 2012, she said, McClane raped her again and forced her to perform oral sex on him while one of her friends was in another room of the apartment.

McClane appeared drunk on both occasions and threatened to kill the girl if she told anyone, the court documents state.

McClane, 42, was arrested on a warrant for sexual misconduct with a minor and criminal deviate conduct Friday, Feb. 20, after leading police on a chase through Elkhart with an active methamphetamine lab in his car, Elkhart police said. He also faces charges of manufacturing methamphetamine and resisting law enforcement by fleeing in a vehicle in connection with that incident.

He was booked at the Elkhart County Jail, where he was still listed as an inmate as of Thursday, March 5. His bond is set at $150,000 for the sexual misconduct case and $75,000 for the methamphetamine case.

A public defender was appointed to represent McClane in both cases. He is scheduled to appear in court for a bond reduction hearing March 12.








Comments Off on Argus Police: Bag of Methamphetamine found in child’s diaper; McKeasha Lachea Parks, Naomi Ruth Redowl and Alex Vela Robinson arrested

Three people were indicted Thursday on drug and child abuse charges after police say a bag of meth was found in a child’s diaper.

Alex Vela Robinson, Naomi Ruth Redowl and McKeasha Lachea Parks were charged in a two-count indictment alleging that social workers found a bag of methamphetamine in the diaper of the 2-year-old child of two of the suspects.

Police spokesman Sam Clemens said the trio initially was arrested for shoplifting from Walmart. The 2-year-old was then taken into protective custody at the Children’s Inn.

At a certain point, workers found a small bag of methamphetamine in the child’s diaper.








Comments Off on Nicole Carrillo, 38, and Priscilla Stair, 39, arrested in Seguin Meth­amphetamin­e bust

SEGUIN, Texas – Seguin police took two women into custody Wednesday morning after finding packaged methamphetamine inside a home.

Officers served a search warrant at the home in the 700 block of South Austin Street.

Nicole Carrillo, 38, and Priscilla Stair, 39, were arrested.

Police found 29 grams of meth packaged in small bags.

Both women were charged with manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance and taken to the Guadalupe County Jail.








Comments Off on Youth Methamphetamine use on the rise Cambodia

Cambodia’s young adults are using methamphetamines at one of the highest rates in the world, according to a recent report by the UN’s drug watchdog, while demand for more upscale drugs like ecstasy is growing among the affluent.

In an annual report released Tuesday by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the abuse of amphetamine-type stimulants is said to be the “biggest concern” in countries located in the Greater Mekong Subregion.Three young men pose for a photo

The endemic problem is most prevalent among those aged 15 to 29, who typically consume pills like yama, a tablet containing a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine.

“Compared to the rest of the world, methamphetamine use is not as serious as it is in this region. The drug situation in Cambodia, specifically, is getting more serious,” said INCB board member Dr Viroj Sumyai, who has been researching drug addiction, treatment and rehabilitation in Southeast Asia for over 30 years.

Government responses to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s 2014 annual questionnaire, along with official reports, estimate that more than 75,000 people use illegal drugs in the country.

More than half of those are young people, whose drug of choice is methamphetamines.

“The problem is growing, and a big portion of that is yama,” National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) secretary-general Meas Vyrith said. “The number of people using methamphetamine in Cambodia is increasing right now among young people … because users can have entertainment and work without having any meals or sleep.”

According to Sumyai, the steady increase of yama use in Cambodia is partly a result of its proximity to the Golden Triangle, one of Asia’s two main drug-producing areas, which overlaps nearby countries Myanmar, Laos and Thailand.

“The production side of yama is Golden Triangle-heavy, and after production, it spreads in the countries along the Greater Mekong Subregion, where the drugs are transported along the Mekong River,” Sumyai said.

Apart from methamphetamines, the INCB report also noted a surge in the use of cannabis and Ecstasy in the Kingdom. Cambodia is one of the primary sources of safrole oil, the common chemical precursor to the party drug ecstasy, also known as MDMA.

Mainly found in the Cardamom Mountains, safrole has been used in the small-scale production of traditional remedies for centuries. But large-scale production ratcheted up after the international demand for MDMA peaked in 2000. Since then, crackdowns have seen safrole’s availability decline drastically, though it’s done nothing to sate local demand for MDMA.

Sumyai says the gradual rise of the drug’s popularity here can be closely tied to the rise of the middle class.

“Affluent and well-to-do people try to look for ‘better’ drugs, because they have the idea that yama is not good since it’s cheap and used by manual labourers,” he said.

While access to and the use of narcotics is soaring, however, Cambodians’ access to essential opiate-based medications containing codeine or morphine – mainstays in relieving post-operative pain – remains low for a variety of reasons, according to Sumyai.

Key to this is medical professionals’ lack of training and confidence in managing the side effects of the sometimes volatile drugs, he said.

“The situation is very serious in Cambodia because most doctors are afraid and unable to administer antidotes because they don’t have proper training,” Sumyai added.

While there is much work to be done to mitigate Cambodia’s drug situation, the government has also made some recent strides in drug control and treatment.

“The problem remains … but we can tell that 2013 and 2014 have been our best years in combatting drug trafficking and drug production locally,” NACD’s Vyrith said.

The NACD, along with partners like the UNODC and the World Health Organization (WHO), have increased community based drug treatment, which provides health and social services for drug users.

There have also been initiatives to educate border security and officers in rural areas of proper search and seizure techniques.

But according to WHO substance abuse officer Dr Yel Daravuth, those, too, require improvement.

“The [community-based] program is still in the early stage and requires continued efforts in strengthening the systems, framework and mechanisms providing results, as well as securing the necessary financial support to allow for providing more comprehensive coverage in most needed areas,” Daravuth said.








Comments Off on First-of-its-kind drug seizure in Austin, discovery of 8 to 10 gallons of liquid crystal Methamphetamine (64 pounds) in a compartment hidden inside of an SUV’s gas tank, may signal larger problem

AUSTIN — An informant’s tip to Austin police led to a first-of-its-kind discovery for detectives this week.

Investigators with the Austin Police Department’s Organized Crime Division said they discovered between 8 and 10 gallons of liquid crystal methamphetamine in a compartment hidden inside of an SUV’s gas tank on Tuesday.

The seizure translates into roughly about 64 pounds of crystal meth, according to APD Lt. Frank Dixon. He said the drugs on the street could fetch close to $3 million.

“We believe that the person that was transporting the methamphetamine was coming from Mexico and we do believe that they were heading to somewhere in the Austin area,” said Dixon.

Two men inside the SUV were arrested following the traffic stop along Interstate 35.

“This is the first seizure of the Austin Police Department dealing with liquid forms of crystal methamphetamine and it’s a new emerging threat that we’re seeing coming from Mexico. It’s a lot easier to conceal and transport in liquid form than it is in powder form,” said Dixon.

Jane Maxwell, PhD with the University of Texas Addiction Research Institute, has studied drug abuse trends in the state and beyond for 43 years. She says she’s seeing a trend of liquid meth transported in water bottles in the last 5 to 6 months.

“We thought we had the meth problem licked when we cut off the pseudoephedrine. Now what’s coming back is much more potent,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell said there was a decrease in meth-related deaths after the government cracked down on over the counter drugs containing pseudoephedrine, a common ingredient used in meth in the past.

Now Maxwell said Mexican drug dealers are getting chemicals from China that cannot be purchased in the U.S. to make a pseudoephedrine replacement called phenyl-2-propanol.

“It’s almost twice as strong as what we’ve ever seen with pseudoephedrine. So we’re seeing more deaths. We’re seeing more cases of people on the street who are just beginning to use it and they end up psychotic after just a little bit of use,” said Maxwell.

The two men involved are expected to be charged Friday in federal court with conspiracy to possess and distribute meth.









Comments Off on Owner of Rico’s Groceries, Antonio Rico-Sanchez, 49, Bend. arrested on suspicion of using store to sell Methamphetamine

The owner of a grocery store in Bend was arrested last week on suspicion of selling methamphetamine at his store for the second time in four years, according to court and Oregon Liquor Control Commission records.

Antonio Rico-Sanchez, 49, who is also referred to as Antonio Rico in public records, is the owner of Rico’s Groceries on NE Third Street, as well as Rico’s Tacos, according to state business records.

He now faces indictment by a grand jury on two counts of delivery of methamphetamine, according to Deschutes County Circuit Court records.

Deschutes County Circuit Judge Beth Bagley signed a bench warrant for Rico-Sanchez’s arrest Feb. 23 after Deschutes County Chief Deputy District Attorney Stephen Gunnels filed a probable cause affidavit.

During arraignment Feb. 25, Deschutes County Circuit Presiding Judge Alta Brady set bail at $100,000. Court records show Rico-Sanchez signed a security release agreement that same day; he is no longer in county custody, according to the Deschutes County jail.

Two Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team reports, enclosed in Rico-Sanchez’s case file, show the regional drug investigation team sent a confidential criminal informant to Rico’s Groceries to purchase methamphetamine Jan. 21 and Jan. 28.

CODE Detective James McLaughlin wrote in the case report on the second controlled buy on Jan. 28 that Rico “has been a CODE team target for approximately 8 months.” The team has been investigating commercial-quantity illicit drug sales and fraudulent Oregon Trail Card charges for those sales, McLaughlin wrote.

CODE recorded audio and video of the controlled buys, according to the reports. During each buy the criminal informant purchased about one-half ounce of methamphetamine, which showed presumptive positive results for methamphetamine after field tests.

Last year, the OLCC canceled Rico-Sanchez’s off-premises liquor license after an administrative law judge determined Rico-Sanchez failed to disclose his criminal history when applying for a license renewal in 2011, OLCC records show.

In September 2012, Rico-Sanchez was convicted on one count of delivering methamphetamine in Deschutes County, according to the Oregon Judicial Information Network. According to an April 2014 OLCC final order canceling the license, detectives recovered $40,000 worth of methamphetamine during the course of that investigation and determined Rico’s Groceries was the location for most of the sales.

He was sentenced to 13 months in prison and three years of post-prison supervision, according to the Oregon Judicial Information Network. Rico-Sanchez testified during a December 2013 OLCC administrative hearing that he served eight months of that sentence.

Under OLCC requirements, applicants for license renewal must list “all arrests or convictions for any crime, violation, or infraction of any law during the last 18 months even if they are not liquor related for anyone who holds a financial interest in the business.”

In April 2013, Rico-Sanchez told an OLCC inspector that he had not answered the question when he was filling out the renewal application form in August 2011 because his attorney was still negotiating the charges with the district attorney, according to the final order. Under Oregon law, the commission of a felony can lead to cancellation of suspension of a liquor license.

“The false statements on the application and the felony conviction — for delivering methamphetamine using the licensed premises — are sufficiently severe that the Commission is justified to interpret Licensee’s previous record of compliance as a poor one,” wrote Steven Marks, executive director of the OLCC.

Rico-Sanchez is scheduled to appear in court March 11 for arraignment on indictment.








Comments Off on Mexico drug kingpins behind bars but violence and corruption go unchecked

The routine has become almost familiar: a fugitive mafia boss is cornered by Mexican security forces and captured without a shot fired.1000

The stony-faced kingpin is marched by a masked Special Forces escort across airport tarmac dotted with army helicopters, to be whisked away for questioning.

Mexican politicians and police hail another victory in the drug war, warning that no mafia boss is too powerful to escape justice. US officials shower praise on their colleagues, and chalk up another victory in the drug war.

But all the while, violence fuelled by drug-trafficking and corruption continues to rage across Mexico, and shipments of marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine keep crossing the border into the US.

Servando Gómez Martínez, aka “La Tuta

La Tuta captured: Mexico’s flamboyant primary teacher turned drug kingpin 

In recent days the Mexican government has celebrated the capture of two top cartel suspects: on Wednesday Omar Treviño Morales, the leader of the notoriously brutal Zetas drug cartel, was caught in the northern city of Monterrey.

He was found in the wealthiest suburb in the country in a luxury house adorned with abstract art and a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Last week it was the turn of Servando Gómez Martínez, leader of the Knights Templar cartel; he was caught in the central city of Morelia – reportedly after the authorities trailed a chocolate cake his girlfriend had cooked to celebrate his 49th birthday.

On both occasions the detained capos were marched before the TV cameras to waiting helicopters to take them to high-security jail, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration showered the Mexican authorities with praise.

La Tuta’s arrest, the DEA said in a statement, “is another win for Mexico in the fight against brutal criminal cartels”. The capture of Treviño, it wrote a few days later, “should serve as yet another warning that no criminal is immune from arrest and prosecution”.

Security analyst and former intelligence official Alejandro Hope stresses that the latest arrests reinforce the now established trend of major cartels breaking up into smaller groups.

Both the Knights Templar and the Zetas were already shadows of their former selves, even before the capture of La Tuta and Treviño, thanks to earlier arrests of other leaders.

“These detentions underline the fragmentation of the cartels that has been going on for years,” Hope says. “Some of the smaller groups that emerge are particularly predatory, focused on extracting rent from local populations rather than drug trafficking.”

Hope argues that the central problem now lies in the failure of notoriously corrupt and ineffective local law enforcement institutions to contain the criminality and violence of such groups, often focused on such practices as kidnapping and extortion.

The unintended consequences of the kingpin strategy are illustrated by the 2009 death of Arturo Beltrán Leyva, who was killed in a two-hour gun battle with Mexican marines. His demise broke the organization, but the emergence of multiple rival factions – and would-be successors – unleashed a wave of terror and violence.

The numerous Beltrán Leyva spinoffs include the Guerreros Unidos gang which, together with municipal police, allegedly coordinated the disappearance and probable murder of 43 student teachers in the southern city of Iguala in September.

The Zetas, originally formed in the late 1990s by a group of deserters from an elite military unit, appeared to be heading for fragmentation even before the arrest of Treviño, who took over the leadership after the capture of his more powerful brother in July 2013.

One emerging faction, calling itself the Legionarios, had reportedly offered a reward of $1m for information leading to his capture, alongside the $5M offered by the DEA and the $2m by the Mexican government.

Joaquín Guzmán, aka “El Chapo”,

Joaquín Guzmán, aka “El Chapo”, leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, following his arrest at the Pacific resort of Mazatlán

But while the days when the Zetas openly drove around in convoys of dozens of vehicles brandishing grenade launchers appear to be over, Hope stresses that the “Zeta legacy” of extreme violence and diversified criminal activity remains.

Edgardo Buscaglia, a leading expert in organized crime around the world, is even more damning of the existing strategy, which he dismisses as little more than window dressing.

“It does nothing to deal with the challenge of the criminalization of institutions, that is the main problem in Mexico,” he says. “If they keep detaining capos and capitos, but don’t stop the flow of drug money to politics, nothing will change.”

Buscaglia points to the fact that none of the major detentions of recent years have been accompanied by the kind of mass trials of politicians and businessmen he argues are required to dismantle the networks of complicity that ensure “the incentives for criminals to become organised criminals in Mexico are huge”.

This is clearest, he says, in the lack of judicial action against collaborators of the world’s most infamous narco, the Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, arrested a year ago amid much fanfare.

The apparent solidity of the organization in the post-Chapo era leads Buscaglia to argue that it is a mistake to overemphasize the trend towards fragmentation seen in other cartels. Rather, he says, the Sinaloa cartel is absorbing the smaller groups through tactical alliances.

“When large groups consolidate, some physical violence such as homicides go down, but economic crimes like extortion and kidnapping go up,” he says. “Mexico today, and for the foreseeable future, remains a mecca for organized crime.”








Comments Off on Dickinson Police: Kimberly Peele, 47, Richard Peele, 43, and Brandin Poirier, 25, gave Methamphetamine to and had sex with minor teenage girl

Dickinson, N.D.  – Two men and a woman from Dickinson are facing felony charges for allegedly having sex with and giving methamphetamine to a teenage girl.6902091_G

Authorities say 43-year-old Richard Peele and 47-year-old Kimberly Peele gave a teenage girl meth in a hotel room before having sex with her.

Twenty-five-year-old Brandin Poirier has also been charged with three felony counts of having sex with a minor.

Kimberly Peele is charged with six felonies, including three counts of sex with a minor and three for meth possession. Richard Peele is facing four felonies, including one for corruption or solicitation of a minor and three for meth possession.

All three are being held without bond at the Southwest Multi-County Correction Center in Dickinson. Attorneys are not listed for any of them.








Comments Off on Sheriff’s office says Deschutes prisoner, Edwin Burl Mays, 31, died of heavy-duty Methamphetamine overdose

BEND, Oregon — An autopsy shows that a 31-year-old prisoner in Bend died of what the sheriff’s office describes as an off-the-chart methamphetamine overdose.

Edwin Burl Mays died Dec. 14 as he was being booked at the Deschutes County Jail on charges resulting from a police chase.

The sheriff’s office said Tuesday that an autopsy had established the overdose as the cause of death.

It says methamphetamine is measured in milligrams per milliliter of blood on a chart that ranges from zero to 5, and Mays’ reading was greater than 5.

Police said he was a passenger in a car that tried to get away. He was described as a transient and accused of possessing heroin, violating parole, interfering with and providing false information to an officer, and menacing.








DECATUR, MI — Police are seeking drug charges against a 70-year-old man from Paw Paw after finding meth making components inside his truck Tuesday.-5cbe461553fb9820

At 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, narcotics detectives with the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office were following up on a prior meth investigation in the 200 block of Edgar Bergen Boulevard, in the village of Decatur, when they made contact with a 70-year-old man in the driveway, a news release issued by the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office said.

The detectives approached the man who then consented to a search of his person and vehicle, according to the release.

Police found “three individually packaged corner baggies of methamphetamine and paraphernalia used for smoking methamphetamine” on his person as well as a one pot meth lab, HCL generator and other meth making components in his truck, the release said.

The man was not arrested at the scene, though the case has been forwarded to the Van Buren County prosecutor’s office.


Drug charges including operating/maintaining a meth lab, as well as possession of meth with the intent to deliver, are expected to be brought against the man at a later date, according to the release.








Comments Off on Mexican drug cartels reach Japan; Methamphetamine seizures double there

WASHINGTON, March 4 (UPI) — A report released Wednesday by the International Narcotics Control Board revealed that Mexican drug cartels have extended their reach to Japan, where methamphetamine seizures have doubled compared to the previous year.Mexican-drug-cartels-reach-Japan-meth-seizures-double

The Control Board, a United Nations organization, released its annual report Wednesday and concluded that Mexican drug cartel influence has also created a “significant” increase in crime associated with the drug.

Although most of the methamphetamine abused in east and southeast Asia is produced within the region, sources for methamphetamine have originated from Africa to Iran.

“In a worrying development, trafficking of amphetamine-type stimulants through East Africa (e.g. Ethiopia and Kenya) for onward shipment by plane to east and southeast Asia has continued,” the Control Board states. “The latest reports from the authorities in Japan suggest an increasing influence of Mexican cartels on its domestic methamphetamine traffic.”

The Attorney General’s Office of Mexico suspects gangs in Hong Kong are making deals with Mexican drug cartels by helping give the cartels the precursor chemicals to making meth.

It is not the first time Mexican drug cartels have impacted the region. In 2013, about 185 pounds of methamphetamine were found on suspected members of the Sinaloa Mexican drug cartel.

“In facing the world drug problem, all countries find their destinies intertwined,” International Narcotics Control Board President Lochan Naidoo said in the report. “In tackling the world drug problem, all countries face shared challenges and have a common purpose in promoting the health and welfare of their peoples and, together, of humankind.”

Border seizures between the United States and Mexico have increased. More than 10 tons of meth were seized in 2014, compared to just 2 tons in 2008.

The board also released recommendations to create “a comprehensive, integrated and balanced approach to the world drug problem.”

Recommendations include cooperation between all government levels and relevant actors, as well as placing emphasis on decreasing supply and demand by “taking into consideration the socioeconomic, sociocultural, security and stability aspects that have an impact on the drug problem.”