A convicted felon from Hemet was arrested in San Jacinto Wednesday, Feb.14, on suspicion of drug offenses.

Jeremy Patrick Reynolds was taken into custody at 6:45 p.m. during a traffic stop in the 500 block of East Main Street in San Jacinto, according to a Riverside County Sheriff’s Department news release.

Jeremy Reynolds

Having been previously convicted of possessing a loaded firearm, Reynolds was suspected of being under the influence of and possessing methamphetamine, and of being in violation of parole and probation, the release said.

Reynolds was booked into the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.







OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP, MI — A 34-year-old Kalamazoo man was arrested Thursday when he was found to have a meth lab under his coat, authorities said.

According to a news release from the Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team,  officers from the Community Outreach Problem Solving Division encountered the man leaving the residence in the 5500 block of Coddington Lane in Oshtemo Township when they arrived to execute a search warrant there at about 3 p.m..

The man was also found to be in possession of finished methamphetamine, marijuana, and a digital scale. A search of his vehicle revealed several methamphetamine lab components as well.

A 32-year-old woman and her two children lived in the home, where methamphetamine, packaging equipment, scales, and methamphetamine paraphernalia were located.

The man was arrested and jailed on an outstanding warrant and faces possible charges of operating/maintaining a methamphetamine lab, possession of methamphetamine and  possession of marijuana.  The woman will be facing methamphetamine possession charges in the near future. Child Protective Services  removed the children from the home.







A Newport-area mother and daughter were arrested Tuesday at a Newport-area residence by detectives from the Lincoln Interagency Narcotics Team (LINT), with the assistance of local law enforcement agencies, related to a methamphetamine investigation.

Kattie Sutherland

Kattie Sutherland

On February 12, 2013, LINT detectives assisted by Newport Police Department, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police and Department of Human Service (DHS), served a narcotics-related search warrant in the 200 block of NW 8th Street, a residential area adjacent to a baseball sports complex. Detectives seized small amounts of methamphetamine, packaging materials, and other evidence.

Present at the residence were Dianna Denise Sutherland, age 47; Kattie Irene Sutherland, age 23; and, four children ages 8 years, 5 years, 3 years, and 10 months. The four children were taken into protective custody by DHS.

Kattie Sutherland is the mother of three of the children and related to the fourth child.

Both women were taken into custody and lodged in Lincoln County Jail.







MILL CITY — A 23-year-old man and a 42-year-old woman were arrested Thursday at their residence on drug and child neglect and endangerment charges.

Linn County Sheriff Tim Mueller provided this account:

As the result of an investigation, sheriff’s detectives and members of the Linn Regional Swat Team, went to 876 S.E. Third Ave. with a search warrant. They arrived at 8:55 a.m.

Kami Lou Weaver, left, and Keith James Rupert


Two adults and four juveniles were located. All lived at the residence with the exception of a juvenile who was visiting.

Detectives seized dealer amounts of methamphetamine, digital scales, packaging material, two firearms, methamphetamine and marijuana drug paraphernalia and stolen property.

The Department of Human Services was called to the scene and placed the three juveniles — two 4-year-olds and a 14-year-old who lived at the residence — into protective custody. DHS released the fourth juvenile, age 14, to family friends.

Keith James Rupert, 23, was arrested on charges of unlawful delivery of methamphetamine, unlawful possession of methamphetamine, felon in possession of a firearm, first-degree child neglect and endangering the welfare of a minor.

Kami Lou Weaver, 42, was arrested on charges of unlawful delivery of methamphetamine, unlawful possession of methamphetamine, first-degree child neglect and endangering the welfare of a minor.

Both were lodged in Linn County Jail. Security was set at $35,000 for Rupert and $29,000 for Weaver.

Rupert and Weaver were scheduled to be arraigned Friday.

The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Sweet Home, Lebanon and Albany police departments.








ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) – The Angelina County Sheriff’s Office has filed charges and arrested a Diboll woman after her three-month-old child tested positive for meth.

Jennifer Welch Hebert, 32, is charged with state-jail felony endangering a child.


Jennifer Hebert (Source: Angelina County Jail)

Jennifer Hebert


Angelina County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Tom Matthews says Child Protective Services reported a suspicion of meth use in the home.

Hebert tested positive for meth in a hair panel test on January 29 and the three-month-old tested positive in the same test on Feb 7.

“Just by simple touching the child’s face, touching the child, holding the child, feeding the child, she was also using drugs during the pregnancy of the child, so the child could have also been exposed through the birthing process,” said Matthews.

Matthews obtained a warrant for Hebert’s arrest on Monday. She was booked into the Angelina County Jail on Tuesday, where she is waiting for her bail to be set.







BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – A federal grand jury in Fresno returned an indictment today charging 36-year-old Enrique Reynosa, of Calexico, with possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine following a traffic stop made by the California Highway Patrol in Kern County.



Court documents indicate that Reynosa was stopped on Highway 99, south of State Route 119, for a traffic violation.

Six pounds of meth and eight pounds of cocaine were found inside the car after Reynosa provided consent to search the vehicle.

If convicted, Reynosa faces 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine.

Reynosa is scheduled for arraignment on the indictment on Feb. 19.







Golf course workers  in Purcell, Okla. were surprised to find out that outhouse outlaws had  commandeering one of their Porta Potties in order to create a makeshift meth  lab.

Shocked golf course workers discovered a different kind of 19th hole when  they found a makeshift meth lab inside a Porta Potty.

In a scene straight out of “Breaking Bad,” the disguised drug den was  uncovered on the course in Purcell, Okla., on Tuesday.

Cops found chemicals made to use the powerful narcotic inside strangely  colored sports drink bottles.

Purcell police  sealed off the  portable toilet with tape and say they already have a lead on one suspect:   Fingerprints were recovered from the scene.

The alleged criminals were using the “shake and bake” method to manufacture  the substance — which had led to two of the three bottles exploding.

Purcell Police Department’s Scott Stevens told WCSH 6: “If someone had been in the Porta Potty when  (the bottles exploded), they might have gotten hurt by the flying plastic and  the chemicals.”

Officers sealed off the portable toilet with tape and say they already have  a lead on one suspect. Fingerprints were recovered from the scene.


OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) – A 34-year-old Kalamazoo man was arrested Thursday afternoon in Oshtemo Township when police found a  “one-pot” methamphetamine lab concealed inside his coat.

He also had finished meth, marijuana and a digital scale in his possession, according to a news release from the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety.

Police searched his vehicle and found several meth lab components.

The bust occurred as Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team officers from the Community Outreach Problem Solving Division (COPS) executed a search warrant at a residence in the  5500 block of Coddington Lane. A 32-year-old woman and her two children were located in that residence, police said, as well as meth, packaging equipment, scales and meth paraphernalia.

Children’s Protective Services was called to the scene and removed the kids from the home.

The male suspect was taken to the Kalamazoo County Jail on charges of operating/maintaining a meth lab, possession of meth, possession of marijuana, and an outstanding warrant. The female resident will be facing meth possession charges in the near future, police said.

Anyone with more information about this incident is asked to call COPS at 269.337.8880 or  Silent Observer at 269.343.2100.






Officials say drugs worth about $1M

Mid-Iowa Drug Task Force  deputies arrested three people in connection with the case: Nicholas  Ramirez-Martinez, 44, of Marshalltown, Rene Fernandez, 49, of San Luis, Ariz.,  and Francisco Salgado-Aguirre, 47, of Yuma, Ariz., the Times Republican  reported.

Authorities told the  newspaper that they seized 20 pounds of methamphetamine and $60,000 in cash.

Ramirez-Martinez is  charged with possession of meth with intent to deliver, failure to affix drug  tax stamp and prohibited acts.

Salgado-Aguirre and  Fernandez were charged with conspiracy to distribute meth.

Marshall County deputies  said it’s one of the largest, most significant drug seizures in decades. The drugs were worth about $1  million.

However, the seizure is  also proof that the meth problem in rural Iowa is still an issue.

“It’s probably the worst  drug on earth as far as we’re concerned,” Marshall County Sheriff’s Office Chief  Deputy Burt Tecklenburg said.

The operation was the  result of an 18-month investigation by the Mid-Iowa Drug Task Force.

On Friday, agents said  Ramirez-Martinez met the two Arizona men at a truck stop in Des Moines.


Reed Alan Berget, 52, of Willmar, was charged with felony drug possession after law enforcement received a request to remove an unwanted party from Grand Casino.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Mille Lacs County District Court, security staff found Berget sleeping in a chair in the lobby. Law enforcement determined that there were two warrants for Berget’s arrest.

Berget told officers they would find methamphetamine in a pocket in his jeans. They found marijuana in his pocket and in a search of his backpack found plastic bags containing a substance that tested positive for meth, the complaint states.

The charge against Berget carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.







Methamphetamine is quickly becoming the drug of choice for  Mexican cartels, according to new statistics obtained by NBC 7.


Meth Smuggling on the Rise Via Mexican Cartels
Many meth smugglers are pedestrians, who tape the drugs  to their person, while attempting to cross the border.


A top officer involved with border security spoke exclusively  to NBC 7 about the current meth smuggling trend. Turns out, over the past few  years, the number of drug  seizures involving meth has increased dramatically.

“[Meth] is highly addictive. Some reports show that if you  use it once, you’re already addicted,” Deputy Special Agent Jose Garcia with  Homeland Security/ ICE told NBC 7.

Garcia says this addictive quality is why there is such a  high demand for meth in the United States.


Last year, a record 190  teens – ages 18 and under – were caught smuggling drugs along the San Diego  County-Mexico border, according to federal investigators. NBC 7’s Tony Shin  reports.

New Smuggling Trend Teen Girls
New Smuggling Trend Teen  Girls

Border Busts

$2.1M in Pot Stashed in Bus
$2.1M in Pot Stashed in Bus

The special agent spends his days in charge of Homeland Security investigation. His team’s  top priority is to stop drug smugglers along San Diego County’s border with  Mexico.

“Eighty percent of the meth consumed in the U.S. is made and  manufactured in Mexico,” explained Garcia.

According to statistics obtained by NBC 7, there’s been a drastic increase in border seizures involving meth since 2008.

In fact, last year’s total number – 642 seizures – is only  about 250 less than marijuana seizures.

For years, marijuana has been the No. 1 smuggled drug — but  there’s a big downside to cartels when it comes to smuggling pot across the  border.

“They have to smuggle large amounts to realize good  profits,” said Garcia.

However, when it comes to smuggling meth, it’s different  because cartels don’t have to smuggle a lot of the drug to make a big  profit.

That’s why many meth smugglers are pedestrians – who tape a  few kilos to their body.

And, as NBC  7 reported first a few months ago, an increasing number are teenagers.

“I can tell you that some of the kids that we arrested were  getting paid as little as $200,” said Garcia.

The agent says that’s exactly why the risk is not worth the  reward.

“The definition of a felony is a year and a day; you could  get way more than that depending on the quantity of the narcotics you were  smuggling,” he added.

ICE investigators say that the methamphetamine that does  make it into San Diego is typically quickly taken to Los Angeles. From there,  it’s transported all over the country.






SAN DIEGO — Twenty-seven people arrested in a yearlong probe of methamphetamine trafficking in San Diego County have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and drug charges.

U-T San Diego (http://bit.ly/12BpWR6 ) says they appeared in federal court Wednesday.

The arrests were made on Tuesday as a task force of federal, state and local authorities raided homes around the county. They seized 19 guns, 26 pounds of meth and more than $150,000 in cash.

Three other people are being sought and three already are in state custody.







Three women are facing drug charges after they were arrested Wednesday night  during a traffic stop on Chulio Road, according to Floyd County Jail  reports.

According to the reports:

Elaine Renae Brown, 41, of 880  Turner Road, and Amanda Jean Nails, 28, of 2669 Reeceburg Road, Cedartown, were  charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine  with the intent to distribute after police found methamphetamine and scales in  the vehicle in which the women were riding.

Elaine Brown

Elaine Brown
Amanda Nails

Amanda Nails
Anna Huckaby

Anna Huckaby


Brown is facing additional  charges of possession of a schedule I or II controlled substance, possession of  a schedule I or II controlled substance with intent to distribute and sale of a  schedule I or II controlled substance. According to warrants, Brown sold four  oxycodone pills at a Presley Street address on July 19 of last year.

Another person in the vehicle Anna Elizabeth Huckaby, 27, of 309 Perkins  St., was charged with possession of methamphetamine. Police found the drug in  her purse, the reports said.





Chico police say they found methamphetamine on an 18-year-old arrested Tuesday on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

Deshawn Dean, a Chico resident, was wanted in Butte County when police found him with the illegal substance, said Chico police Sgt. Rob Merrifield.

Dean was spotted by a police officer in Children’s Playground next to Bidwell Presbyterian Church, Merrifield said.

Police chased Dean through residents’ backyards to Bidwell Park after he realized he was being followed, according to a Chico police press release.

Officers booked Dean on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance as well as the original suspected assault with a deadly weapon, Merrifield said.







BANGKOK – Thai police have seized nearly 2 million methamphetamine pills from smugglers near the country’s northern border in one of this year’s largest drug busts.

Police Col. Panudet Boonruang said Friday that authorities arrested three ethnic minority Hmong men after chasing two pickup trucks near the Thai-Myanmar border in Chiang Rai province Thursday night.

Police confiscated 1.97 million tablets of methamphetamine and 20 kilograms of crystal meth hidden in one of the pickups.

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung said Friday that Thai authorities will ask Interpol to help trace the drugs producers in Myanmar.

Thailand is a transit country for illegal drugs entering the international market, with more than 15 million methamphetamine pills smuggled through the northern and northeastern borders in 2011.








Methamphetamine is an illegally manufactured drug known by a variety of street names, including meth, crystal meth, ice, crank and speed. Once it enters the bloodstream, the drug drastically alters normal function inside a part of the brain called the limbic system. One result of methamphetamine-related change in this system is a feeling of intense euphoria, and meth addiction typically begins when users repeatedly seek this euphoric state. However, use of the drug also alters normal function in a specific part of the limbic system that processes emotions such as anger and fear. As a result of this alteration, people using methamphetamine can easily develop paranoid, aggressive, or violent states of mind.

The Limbic System

The limbic system is a collection of brain structures that includes the hippocampus, hypothalamus and amygdala. It sits between the upper portion of the brain, called the cortex, and the lower part of the brain, called the brainstem. The hippocampus plays a vital role in normal consciousness by converting unstable short-term memories into stable long-term memories. In addition to a wide array of other functions, the hypothalamus acts as the origin point for a number of different emotions and sensations, including pleasure, thirst, hunger, anger, aggression and varying degrees of sexual satisfaction. The amygdala shares in tasks performed by the hippocampus and hypothalamus, including storage of long-term memories and the generation of pleasure, fear, anger and other emotional states.

Pleasure levels inside the limbic system are regulated by a chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) inside the brain called dopamine. Generally speaking, relatively high levels of this chemical translate into an increased experience of pleasure, while relatively low levels translate into a decreased experience of pleasure. Like most other commonly abused drugs, methamphetamine triggers euphoria by boosting the limbic system’s dopamine levels. However, while some drugs produce relatively modest dopamine increases (two to four times above normal), methamphetamine produces an extreme dopamine boost (12 to 13 times above normal). This extreme effect largely accounts for the highly addictive nature of the drug.

Methamphetamine-Driven Changes Inside the Amygdala

Normal function inside the amygdala is controlled by another portion of the brain, called the pre-frontal cortex, or PFC. Much of what we think of as our “selves” comes from activities inside this brain region, including specific expression of personality, the ability to make complex plans, the ability make judgments or decisions, and the ability to act in accordance with established social norms for behavior. In effect, the links between the PFC and the amygdala form a bridge between rational thinking and emotional response. When people habitually use methamphetamine, the UCLA Brain Research Institute explains, they destabilize normal function in the pre-frontal cortex. In turn, this destabilization disrupts the pre-frontal cortex’s control over the amygdala; it is this loss of control that triggers the erratic emotional states often found in chronic meth users.

The Onset of Paranoia

Methamphetamine-related changes in amygdala function commonly produce an increased sense of paranoia in an affected individual. Characteristics of this emotional state center on an untrue or exaggerated belief that “someone is out to get you.” Specific threats that a paranoid person may mistakenly perceive include a belief that someone is spreading false rumors; a belief that someone intends to steal money, or damage or steal property; and a belief that someone intends to cause serious or fatal physical harm. Depending on the individual and the type of paranoid thinking in progress, the outcome of these beliefs can be volatile emotional states such as fear, terror, panic, or anxiety, or a combination of two or more such states.

Aggression and Violence

Together with decreased behavioral control inside the pre-frontal cortex, the presence of anxiety, fear, terror or panic set the stage for unpredictable episodes of aggression and violence in habitual meth users. The potential for these behaviors is also tied to the onset of a disorder called methamphetamine-induced psychosis. People with this disorder develop psychotic symptoms that can include auditory (sound-based) or visual hallucinations, as well as various forms of delusional thinking. In some cases, this delusional thinking involves paranoid fixations, and people in the grips of psychosis have a clear capacity to turn aggressive or violent.

Methamphetamine-induced psychosis is an officially recognized psychiatric disorder that can last for a period of days, months or (in relatively rare cases) years, even in the absence of continued meth use. However, the brain changes associated with habitual meth use also appear in people who don’t develop clinical psychosis, and any long-term methamphetamine user can experience bouts of paranoia-fueled aggressive or violent behavior.







NASHUA – A Nashua man and his wife were arrested and their apartment condemned after he was burned last month while “cooking” methamphetamine inside their home and in front of their children.
Raymond Champagne, 34, formerly of 11 A Amory St., was arrested Wednesday on a charge of manufacturing methamphetamine and two counts of prohibited conduct, for making the drug in the presence of his children, ages 12 and 4. His wife Melissa Champagne, 32, is also charged with two counts of prohibited conduct.

Originally, police went to the couple’s apartment on Jan. 15 after a 911 call for an ambulance for a man suffering from burns to his body. Raymond Champagne was burned while trying to manufacture or cook methamphetamine using a “one pot” method, police said.
Lt. David Bailey of the Narcotics Intelligence Division said the batch of methamphetamine exploded while Raymond Champagne was making it, burning him. He was taken by ambulance to a local hospital for treatment of serious burns.
“It’s very dangerous,” Bailey said about of the way methamphetamine is made.
Police secured the premises because of the volatile nature of chemicals used in making the drug. Members of the city’s Narcotics Intelligence Division and the DEA Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement Team also were called to the scene.

Investigators obtained a warrant and searched the apartment, which then was condemned by housing code enforcement inspectors.
Bailey said the state Department of Children, Youth and Families are involved in the case with respect to the care of the children.

Manufacturing methamphetamine is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of not more than $500,000 or both.

Prohibited conduct is punishable up to five years in prison with a fine of not more than $10,000 or both per count.
What’s next: Melissa Champagne is free on $10,000 cash/surety bail pending a March 5 arraignment in 9th Circuit Court, Nashua District Division. Raymond Champagne was arraigned on the felony charges and is detained in jail on $15,000 cash/surety bail.





OROVILLE — An Oroville man was arrested Tuesday after deputies found 12.58 grams of suspected methamphetamine in his belongings.

Butte County Sheriff deputies and the Butte Interagency Narcotics Task Force went to the 1200 block of Fourth Street to locate a wanted person at about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to a BCSO press release.

Once there, deputies contacted Steve Patten, 51, of Oroville, who was on a searchable probation. Deputies found the methamphetamine and $4,078 in cash allegedly in Patten’s belongings during a search.

Patten was arrested on suspicion for possession of a controlled substance for sale and booked into Butte County Jail.







A 56-year-old Mesa man was arrested Friday near the corner of South McClintock and East Randall Drives on suspicion of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia possession and driving with an open container of alcohol, according to a police report.

A police officer stopped the man driving faster than the posted speed limit and not having the license plate properly lit, police reported.

He appeared very nervous to the officer and looked down when he spoke, according to the report.

After the officer saw a can of Busch beer in a vehicle cup holder, the man told the officer it was his, but it was empty, police reported.

The officer checked the can, and it was half full of beer, according to the report.

The man was told to step out of the vehicle, which he did, and a canine handler arrived with a drug-sniffing dog, police reported.

The dog alerted to the officers of a cigarette box containing a glass pipe with white residue and plastic baggies with methamphetamines, according to the report.

After the man was read his Miranda rights and complied, he said he bought the methamphetamines for $20, was given the pipe and was going to smoke the drug later, police reported.

The man was transported to Tempe City Jail, booked for the open container and released pending drug charges, according to the report.








EDWARDSVILLE – A Cottage Hills man was charged Wednesday with two felonies for allegedly starting a weekend fire while making methamphetamine in his home.

John L. Piper, 41, of the 1300 block of Seventh Street, was charged in Madison County Circuit Court with aggravated participation in methamphetamine manufacturing and unlawful disposal of methamphetamine manufacturing waste.

John L. Piper



About 9:27 p.m. Sunday, the Madison County Sheriff’s Department and the Cottage Hills Fire Department responded to a fire at Piper’s residence, which they found fully engulfed in flames. Deputies met with another occupant of the residence, who had gotten out and confirmed there was nobody else inside. It took the Cottage Hills Fire Department about an hour to 90 minutes to extinguish the fire.

The other resident, who is handicapped, told deputies he had been asleep in his bedroom when he heard a loud pop, and when he went out of the bedroom, he found the home was on fire.

Sheriff’s Department officials said evidence developed during the investigation revealed the fire likely was caused by a clandestine methamphetamine drug lab. Sheriff’s investigators requested the assistance of the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Illinois State Police Methamphetamine Response Team.

Investigators identified Piper as an occupant of the residence and learned he had fled the home prior to the arrival of emergency personnel.

On Tuesday, investigators located Piper at a business in Wood River. Piper was questioned and detained at the Madison County Jail in Edwardsville. The investigation allegedly revealed Piper was producing methamphetamine at the residence when the fire started.

Circuit Judge Kyle A. Napp signed the felony warrant and information against Piper. Bond was set at $100,000.







Effingham County sheriff’s investigators say they made the largest methamphetamine bust in county history Wednesday morning at a McLaws Road home.

Dayrl Westenbarger, 56, and Donald Wilt, 61, both of Guyton, were arrested following a search warrant served about 10:30 a.m. at the home in the 400 block of McLaws Road.


Dayrl Westenbarger

Dayrl Westenbarger


Donald Wilt

Donald Wilt


Photo courtesy of Effingham County Sheriff's Office Effingham County Sheriff's Office investigators arrested two men Wednesday in the largest methamphetamine bust in county history. Over 100 one-pot meth labs were found inside the home in the 400 block of McLaws Road. 150 pounds of meth product were also found.

Effingham County Sheriff’s Office investigators arrested two men Wednesday in the largest methamphetamine bust in county history. Over 100 one-pot meth labs were found inside the home in the 400 block of McLaws Road. 150 pounds of meth product were also found.
Photo courtesy of Effingham County Sheriff's Office Effingham County Sheriff's Office investigators arrested two men Wednesday in the largest methamphetamine bust in county history. Over 100 one-pot meth labs were found inside the home in the 400 block of McLaws Road. 150 pounds of meth product were also found.

Effingham County Sheriff’s Office investigators arrested two men Wednesday in the largest methamphetamine bust in county history. Over 100 one-pot meth labs were found inside the home in the 400 block of McLaws Road. 150 pounds of meth product were also found.

The arrests came after an almost 4-month investigation, Sheriff’s Office spokesman David Ehsanipoor said.

Deputies discovered 136 one-pot meth labs, 42 generators and several products to manufacture methamphetamine, including camp fuel, pseudoephedrine and 150 pounds of product testing positive for methamphetamine, Ehsanipoor said.

Meth is frequently made in a single container, such as a 2-liter soda bottle, and referred to as a lab.

Ehsanipoor said once investigators separated out the lab bottles and other chemicals, 24 pounds of pure methamphetamine were found.

The quantity of methamphetamine found makes it the county’s largest bust “by far,” Ehsanipoor said.

“There were also three active labs,” Ehsanipoor said. “They were cooking meth when deputies arrived.”

The second largest meth bust in Effingham County also occurred in 2011 on McLaws Road, just a few doors away from Wednesday’s arrests. Investigators found 62 one-pot meth labs in that case.

Westenbarger and Wilt have both been charged with trafficking methamphetamine, manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of tools during the commission of a crime.

Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie said Wednesday’s arrests will help get meth off the streets of Effingham County.

“This is a huge success for us in the battle to eradicate this dangerous drug from our community,” McDuffie said. “Drugs are in all surrounding areas, but we feel it is the public’s right to know what goes on in our county whether good or bad. We depend on the community’s support to fight all crimes in the county.”

Westenbarger and Wilt are being held in the Effingham County jail without bond.







With nearly a month passing since receiving toxicology reports listing high levels of methamphetamine in a 44-day-old baby that died in December, Oakdale Police still have the case listed as an open investigation.

Police also remain tight-lipped on the status on the case.

“It’s an ongoing active investigation,” said Lieutenant Keri Redd, who declined additional comment.

No arrests have been made and no charges have been filed in the Dec. 11 incident where police were summoned to an unresponsive baby on Obsidian Drive that was later pronounced dead at Oak Valley Hospital. On Jan. 17 police received a toxicology report showing “excessive levels” of the street drug in the baby’s system, causing it to choke on its own vomit.

Police are still operating on the theory that the methamphetamine was ingested through breast milk.

Police Sergeant Joe Johnson said the department is consulting with the Stanislaus County District Attorney before proceeding further.

“The DA is waiting on a report from some experts before deciding on charges,” Johnson said.

Police previously reported that interview times were scheduled with the child’s mother, but the mother failed to show for the appointments. According to investigators, the mother still has not been contacted for an additional statement.

Deputy District Attorney Annette Rees said she received the coroner’s report of the infant on Friday, Feb. 8 and was still awaiting additional Oakdale Police supplemental reports. She said she would then review the information with a forensic pediatrician.

“I’m going to rely on my expert to determine how the methamphetamine got into the baby’s system,” said Rees. “At that time a decision will be made as to if charges and what charges will be filed.”

Messages left by The Leader to the mother and family members have not been returned. There has been no answer at the Obsidian Drive address, which now appears unoccupied.

Methamphetamine is second only to marijuana as the most widely used illegal drug, possibly because it is relatively cheap and easy to manufacture. The drug is highly addictive, experts report, causing users to crave more as soon as the end of the last dose, making it difficult to quit.

Police and a family friend have stated that the mother had methamphetamine-related arrests. According to one source, the mother has since gone through “Proposition 36” drug diversion.

Proposition 36 was passed by California voters in 2000. Proposition 36 allows eligible non-violent drug offenders to serve their time in a drug treatment program instead of in jail or prison.

Recent cases in California where the mother has used methamphetamine while breast feeding and the infant later died have resulted in murder charges against the mother.

In 2003, a mother in Southern California was convicted of second-degree murder after breast-feeding a baby with her methamphetamine-laced milk. That conviction was overturned, and the mother eventually pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

In April 2012, a Humboldt County woman accepted a plea offer and pleaded guilty to a charge of voluntary manslaughter for killing her infant son with methamphetamine-laced breast milk and was later sentenced to six years in prison. The original charge in that case was second-degree murder. Last June a Butte County woman was charged with felony child abuse and child endangerment while breast feeding while using marijuana. There was no death in that incident.







McALESTER, Oklahoma — The distinctive smell given off from the manufacture of methamphetamine led McAlester authorities to a meth lab in an apartment across the street from the police station.

Four people were arrested Monday after police were called about the fumes.

The McAlester News-Capital reports that police found two people — 28-year-old Jessica Ann Smith and 23-year-old Thomas Logan McElroy — in the apartment with numerous items used to manufacture meth.

An affidavit says two other people approached the apartment and McElroy shouted that it was a bad time to visit. Police found items for making meth with one of the people and arrested them both — 32-year-old Mitchell Ray Stripe and 23-year-old Vivian Corean Redd.

The suspects have a Feb. 22 court date.







A 44-year-old man was arrested Monday night in Moorpark on suspicion of  felony narcotics violations, officials said.

About 9:20 p.m., a Ventura County sheriff’s sergeant stopped a pickup that  was traveling without its lights on at Ruth Avenue and Harry Street, authorities  said. The sergeant found 100 grams of methamphetamine, scales and packaging materials in the pickup, officials  said.

The driver, Fillmore resident Rafael Arias, was arrested and taken to the  pretrial detention facility, authorities said.





A Chinese student has been sentenced to nearly seven years in prison for importing more than 16 kilograms of cold medicine, used to make methamphetamine, inside household items including a teddy bear .

Zecheng Li, a 19 year-old student, pleaded guilty in the Manukau District Court today to 18 charges of the importation of a Class B controlled drug after ContacNT granules, a cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine, were found concealed within items including a teddy bear, bicycle frame, and in the packaging of some goods.

The quantity of ContacNT contained enough pseudoephedrine to manufacture between $7.4 to $11.1 million worth of methamphetamine Customs Investigations Manager Mark Day said.

Customs investigators arrested Li after courier packages from China, Hong Kong and Greece were intercepted and found to contain the ContacNT granules. Li arranged to have the packages delivered to a number of associates in the greater Auckland area.

Pseudoephedrine is a Class B controlled drug used in the manufacture of the Class A controlled drug methamphetamine, or ‘P’. Importation of a Class B controlled drug carries a maximum penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment.

Li’s co-offender, Jayden Wenski, had pleaded guilty to his involvement in some of the importations and was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment in December 2012.

Day said the drugs were detected following inspection of various consignments by Customs officers.

“This is a great example of the processes and intelligence we have in place to identify these packages and link them to the people involved,” he said.

“Criminals are finding it harder to locally source products containing pseudoephedrine and ephedrine so there is an increasing tendency for them to try and source it from overseas,”  Day said.

“While the methods of smuggling drugs into the country are constantly evolving, we have the technology and capability to find them.”