BEIJING – China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand police have arrested more than 1,100 suspects in 804 drug-related cases since a joint anti-drug campaign was launched in April, the Ministry of Public Security revealed on Wednesday.

A statement from the ministry said various drugs totaling 2.97 tonnes have been seized in the campaign and the frequent occurrence of drug-related crimes on the Mekong River has been effectively contained.

In one of the largest seizures, China and Myanmar police on May 12 jointly busted a Myanmarese ring engaged in smuggling methamphetamine processed in Myanmar into China. The bust was the culmination of about three months’ cooperation on the case.

The police made three arrests and seized 20 kg of methamphetamine in the ring’s drug processing workshop in Myanmar, according to the statement.

A pistol and two vehicles were also seized during the operation, it added.

Also on May 12, police in central China’s Hunan Province and southwestern Yunnan Province arrested 35 alleged members of a major drug-trafficking gang and seized drugs with a total weight of 12 kg under the command of the headquarters of the joint anti-drug campaign.

This major gang specialized in smuggling large quantities of drugs from foreign countries and transiting it to cities like Changsha, capital city of Hunan Province, for distribution.

The joint police campaign against drug trafficking, titled “Safe River,” was launched in Yunnan Province on April 19. The two-month-long action was designed for drug control on the Mekong, a major Southeast Asian trading route.


Three people busted by police as part of two major drug operations in Hawke’s Bay last year were sent to prison on Tuesday when they appeared for sentencing in Napier District Court.

Shannon Rose Hislop, Dylan John Matthews and Jaydan Peter Wire were sentenced by Judge Bridget Mackintosh on a variety of charges including supplying methamphetamine and offering to supply methamphetamine.

Some of the methamphetamine and money seized during the second major drug bust in Hawke's Bay last year.

Some of the methamphetamine and money seized during the second major drug bust in Hawke’s Bay last year


The operations were overseen by head of the Eastern Districts Organised Crime Unit detective senior sergeant Mike Foster who said the sentences were the result of a lot of hard work put in by him and his team members.

He said there were about 30 police officers working on the operations at the time they were terminated and eight key team members who saw them right the way through.

In total there were seven people arrested as part of the first operation, which terminated in August 2012, and a further seven arrested at the conclusion of the second operation in October.

Police were allegedly able to identify the main source of methamphetamine coming into Hawke’s Bay and passed his details onto police in the relevant area. He was subsequently taken out of action and is now before the courts.

Mr Foster said seven ounces of the drug were seized across the two operations and thousands of dollars in cash.

A single ounce has a street value of about $14,000 meaning a total of $98,000 worth of methamphetamine was removed from the streets thanks to police intervention.

At the height of the drug dealing, police allege three or four ounces were being bought into Hawke’s Bay every four days by members of the two syndicates.

Mr Foster said the people arrested had allegedly accumulated a good network of buyers in the Bay and were operating at a reasonably high level in terms of distribution of the drug.

Judge Mackintosh said the Eastern Districts Organised Crime Unit had investigated both Hislop and Matthews, two of the people jailed, in relation to drug offending and had monitored their communications.

She said they were both regular suppliers for a third person.

Hislop was stopped by police at a routine traffic stop on June 4 which revealed 11.6 grams of methamphetamine, a tick list and $514 in her vehicle.

She was released on bail but continued to offend.

Judge Mackintosh sentenced her to three years and nine months’ imprisonment and said she was a sad case of the effect methamphetamine can have on a normal law abiding citizen.

Matthews was sentenced to three years and seven months by Judge Mackintosh, who said he was “deeply involved” in supply and the commercial aspect of dealing the drug.

Wire, the third person to be jailed, was part of the alleged second syndicate busted by police.

Judge Mackintosh said Wire was another example of a person involved in the terrible cycle of addiction and dealing.

“This cycle has terrible flow on effects through the community.”

She said the sale of 70.5 grams of methamphetamine could be attributed to Wire and sentenced him to three years imprisonment for the offending.


Two people are facing charges and a meth lab has been dismantled following the search of a Shreveport residence Tuesday.

When agents with the Caddo-Shreveport Street Level Interdiction Unit arrived at the residence in the 1100 block of St. Vincent Avenue, a man and woman fled, but were apprehended near the back of the home, according to a news releasee.

Agents found chemicals and other items used in a methamphetamine lab on the second floor of the residence during a search.

Kami Thorn

 Kami Thorn
William McDonald

William McDonald

William McDonald, 35, of the 500 block of Robinson Place and Kami Thorn, 38, of the 700 block of Ockley Drive were each arrested on a charge of operation of a clandestine lab and booked into the Shreveport City Jail.

A chemical disposal company was called to the scene to dismantle the lab and seize the chemicals.



Lena Kettle, 46, of Caldwell, Heidi Aguila, 34, of Middleton, and Kenneth Jones, 47, of Elverta, California, appeared in federal court Tuesday on an 89-count federal indictment charging them and seventeen others with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine; possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; interstate transportation in aid of racketeering; and use of a communication device in drug trafficking, according to U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson.

The indictment was returned on May 16, 2013, and was unsealed by the court on May 22.
In addition to Kettle, Aguila and Jones, the defendants named in the federal indictment are:
•  Jason Lee Holmberg, 38, of Middleton, Idaho •  Patrick Siemsen, 55, of Nampa, Idaho •  Ute Hornak, 47, of Nampa, Idaho •  Doreen Obrien, 44, of Caldwell, Idaho •  Jerry Holmberg, 64, of Marsing, Idaho •  John Odenwalt, 33, of Nampa, Idaho •  Randi Seferos, 24, of Boise, Idaho •  Seanna Holmberg, 26, of Caldwell, Idaho •  Crystal Clark, 47, of Fruitland, Idaho •  Steven Richard Richard, 41, of Boise, Idaho •  Robbie Gallegos, 42, of Boise, Idaho •  Adrea Smith, 38, of LaGrande, Oregon •  Randy Beal, 58, of Caldwell, Idaho •  Cynthia Prado, 31, of Boise, Idaho •  Andrew Polney, 51, of Boise, Idaho •  Henry Horne, 65, of Boise, Idaho •  David Echevarria, 48, of Boise, Idaho
Fourteen of the defendants have been arraigned in federal court since the indictment was returned.

A trial date has been set for July 2, before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge at the federal courthouse in Boise.  Defendants Jason Holmberg, Siemsen, Obrien, Jerry Holberg and David Echevarria have not yet made their initial appearances, and no dates have been set.
“The indictment alleges that between May 2012 and April 18, 2013, the defendants conspired together to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing detectable amounts of methamphetamine.

The indictment alleges that on various dates beginning in March 2013, one or more of the defendants traveled at various times between Idaho and California with the intent to distribute the proceeds of the unlawful activity,” said U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Pam Bearg.
The charge of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture containing methamphetamine carries a minimum term of 10 years up to life in prison, a maximum fine of $10 million, and up to five years of supervised release.

The charge of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, depending on the amount of drugs possessed, is punishable by up to 40 years in prison, a maximum fine of $5 million, and up to four years of supervised release.

The charge of interstate travel or transportation in aid of a racketeering enterprise, per count, is punishable by up to five years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release.  The charge of using a communication facility in furtherance of drug trafficking is punishable by up to four years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release.



A man’s attempts to flush drugs down his toilet during a police raid were foiled because the system was already blocked by electronic scales.

Hamilton police said they were “flushed with success” after officers stopped the 32-year-old man disposing of what is believed to be methamphetamine.

He had been trying to dispose “of a large quantity of what is believed to be methamphetamine when he blocked a toilet with a pair of electronic scales”, Senior Sergeant Freda Grace said.

Hamilton police said they were 'flushed with success' after officers stopped the man disposing of what is believed to be methamphetamine. Photo / Thinkstock

Hamilton police said they were ‘flushed with success’ after officers stopped the man disposing of what is believed to be methamphetamine

Armed police were involved in the search of the Fairfield home yesterday.

“Quite often when dealing with offenders involved with drugs our staff encounter people armed with a variety of weapons and in yesterday’s case two imitation firearms were recovered,” Ms Grace said.

She said as well as the drugs, a “sizeable amount of cash” had also been seized from the home.

A man has been charged with possession of methamphetamine for supply and breach of bail charges and was due to appear in the Hamilton District Court today.



CLEBURNE — A man accused of causing an alcohol and methamphetamine fueled crash that took the life of an off-duty police officer last year pleaded guilty to intoxication manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident charges on Wednesday.

Ricardo Espinoza, 22, plead guilty to the charges on the day testimony was set to begin on his trial for causing the death of Dustin Dodson, a 25-year-old Lancaster police officer and the father of three young children.

Ricardo Espinoza


Espinoza was accused of plowing his pickup into the motorcycle Dodson was riding. The officer died hours later at John Peter Smith hospital.

Now the jury, instead of deciding Espinoza’s guilt or innocence, will decide what kind of sentence he will receive. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison on the intoxication manslaughter charge and 10 years on the leaving the scene of an accident charge.

“My client made a horrible, tragic mistake by drinking and driving,” Warren St. John, Espinoza’s attorney, told the jury. “He didn’t know the man that he hit was a police officer. This young man with his head bowed is devastated by what happened.”

Dodson had just completed a 12-hour shift about 6 a.m. on July 21 when he left the Lancaster police station and headed home to Cleburne, according to Matt Smid, the assistant Johnson County District attorney  in state District Judge Wayne Bridewell’s court.

Smid told the jury during his opening statements that Dodson was on his motorcycle traveling on Texas 67 in Venus just before the wreck happened. At the same time Espinoza was returning from a night of partying at a strip club and traveling in the opposite direction. A device playing rap videos was sitting on the dashboard of Espinoza’s 2007 Nissan Titan pickup truck, Smid said.

“It was a recipe for disaster,” Smid said.

Espinoza ignored a yield sign at Texas 67 and FM 2738 and turned left, striking Dodson’s motorcycle broadside, Smid said. The impact tossed the motorcycle and its driver into the air, Smid said.

Dodson’s body came to rest in a ditch while his motorcycle helmet filled with his blood, according to testimony. The impact broke the police officer’s neck, Smid said. Espinoza’s truck never slowed down and it was determined to be traveling 83 mph with significant front end damage while the suspect was attempting to flee, Smid said.

“He is brain dead at this point,” Smid said to the jury. “You’re going to see that Dustin Dodson didn’t stand a chance. There was no time for him to react.”

A blood test taken later that night recorded Espinoza’s blood alcohol content at .086, above the legal limit for driving, Smid said. The test also showed traces of methamphetamine in Espinoza’s blood, Smid said.

Dustin Dodson “is dead for one reason and for one reason only, because Ricardo Espinoza selfishly made the decision to get on the road drunk and high on methamphetamine,” Smid said.

Justin Brown, a motorist who happened on the collision, stopped to help Dodson and called first responders. The jury listened to the 911 recording on Wednesday as Brown described Dodson’s labored attempts at breathing made more difficult by the blood pooling inside his motorcycle helmet.

The jury saw video from surveillance cameras installed at the feed store owned by Brown’s family that clearly shows Espinoza’s truck speed through the intersection and into Dodson’s motorcyle.

“After he hit the motorcycle he floored it and took off,” Brown testified. “He never tried to slow down at all.”

As Brown was describing Dodson’s dying breaths to the dispatcher, Ernest Maggard, another motorist,  chased the suspect on FM 2738 at speeds topping 80 mph, according to the 911 recording.

Espinoza turned into a field next to a pallet company off of Thompson Road, nearly three miles from the site of the collision, Smid told the jury. Maggard followed Espinoza and watched him attempt to conceal his truck from other motorists who might be passing by, Smid said.

The jury heard Maggard’s voice on the 911 recording as he  held Espinoza for Venus police officers.

“Get on the ground. Get on the ground now,” the jury heard Maggard yell on the 911 recording. Then Maggard said to the dispatcher: “I’m going to need some help right now. He’s walking around. He’s intoxicated.”

The jury heard Espinoza’s recorded voice ask Maggard if he saw how fast the motorcycle was going and also say that he was not trying to run away.

“When I hit him, I got scared,” Espinoza recorded voice said.

Twenty people, most of them Treasure Valley residents, have been indicted in a scheme to traffic methamphetamine in southwest Idaho, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced Wednesday.

Lena Kettle, 46, of Caldwell, Heidi Aguila, 34, of Middleton and Kenneth Jones, 47, of Elverta, Calif., appeared in federal court Tuesday on an 89-count federal indictment charging them and 17 others with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine; possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; interstate transportation in aid of racketeering; and use of a communication device in drug trafficking.

In the indictment, the defendants are accused of distributing 500 grams or more of a substance containing detectable amounts of meth between May 2012 and April 18, 2013. One or more of the defendants are also accused of traveling between Idaho and California with the intent to distribute the proceeds of the drug activity.

The other defendants are: Jason Lee Holmberg, 38, of Middleton; Patrick Siemsen, 55, of Nampa; Ute Hornak, 47, of Nampa; Doreen Obrien, 44, of Caldwell; Jerry Holmberg, 64, of Marsing; John Odenwalt, 33, of Nampa; Randi Seferos, 24, of Boise; Seanna Holmberg, 26, of Caldwell; Crystal Clark, 47, of Fruitland; Steven Richard Richard, 41, of Boise; Robbie Gallegos, 42, of Boise; Adrea Smith, 38, of La Grande, Ore.; Randy Beal, 58, of Caldwell; Cynthia Prado, 31, of Boise; Andrew Polney, 51, of Boise; Henry Horne, 65, of Boise; and David Echevarria, 48, of Boise.

Fourteen of the defendants have been arraigned in federal court, and a trial is set for July 2 before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge at the federal courthouse in Boise. Jason Holmberg, Siemsen, Obrien, Jerry Holmberg and Echevarria have not yet made their initial appearances, and no dates have been set for them.

Three repeat offenders were busted in Maries County after authorities found narcotics and stolen property in their home.

56-year-old Francis Craig, 42-year-old Robert Gibbons and 23-year-old Amy Copeland were taken into custody Wednesday morning.

Maries County Sheriff deputies and members from the Lake Area Narcotics Enforcement Group found what they said was a substantial amount of crystal methamphetamine, suspected synthetic controlled substances, several illegal prescription drugs, and numerous items of drug paraphernalia in their home on Route HH in Dixon.

Maries County Sheriff, Chris Heitman said Several of the items were packaged in a manner that is commonly used to sell narcotics.

While they were at the home authorities said they found numerous items used in the distribution of controlled substances along with suspected stolen property.

Craig has been convicted of numerous felonies.

Both Gibbons and Copeland are currently out on probation for manufacturing of methamphetamine.

The two were arrested in June of 2011 after police investigated a string of thefts and possible narcotics violations in the Dixon area.

A photo of some of the suspected stolen property is pictured above and on the Maries County Sheriff’s Facebook page.

The Sheriff’s department is asking for the public help to identify the owners.


Hudson, Wyo. – Wire tapping and call tracing were key tools utilized by law enforcement in the recent arrests of six individuals involved in an alleged methamphetamine distribution system.

According to affidavits filed in the case against the six individuals, wire tapping was used to gain information about the drug ring.

Courthouse sign

Last week Timothy Pitt, 31, Hudson; Travis Fauque, 21, Lander; Abigail White, 21, Riverton; Shene Springfield, 37, Lander; Anthony Hernandez, 42, Riverton; and Lyle Haukaas, 34, Hudson were all arrested and charged with a single count of Conspiracy to Deliver Methamphetamine. Each charge is a felony punishable by 20 years imprisonment and or a fine of $25,000 or both. Hernandez, who was also initially charged with Eluding, has bond set at $250,000 cash. The other five’s bonds are set at $100,000 cash.

All six are currently scheduled to have preliminary hearings on June 5, beginning at 2:30 p.m.

The affidavit filed in the case was written by Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Andy Hanson. “Based on my training and experience, it is clear to me that T. Pitt is the main conspirator in the organization and he utilizes others such as A. Hernandez, (Cynthia) Payne, A. White, T. Fauque, S. Springfield and others not specifically named in this affidavit to further his organization and the distribution of Methamphetamine in and around Fremont County, Wyoming,” Hanson wrote.

Hanson begins the affidavit with two accounts of a confidential informant who allegedly purchased a total of 10 grams of methamphetamine from Pitt on Feb. 14 and Feb. 22, 2013. “Drug Agents observed and listened to the aforementioned drug transactions taking place for confirmation purposes and audio recordings of the drug transactions are currently maintained in evidence,” states the affidavit.

“On March 8, 2013, the Chief United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Wyoming, Kelly R. Rankin issued an Order for a Pen Register Trap and Trace Device to be installed on T. Pitt’s home telephone number,” states the affidavit. The number was allegedly supplied to the confidential informant during the two transactions. During those traces, the affidavit states Pitt was found to be in regular contact with the individuals listed above.

Later a second confidential informant allegedly told FBI Special Agent Swenson that Pitt was receiving the drugs from the Rock Springs area.

Through a review of the tracing records, Hanson wrote that Pitt was in regular contact with a Maria Vargas of Green River. “A review of State and Federal investigative records indicate that M. Vargas has been a person of interest as a possible source of methamphetamine in previous Controlled Substance Investigations.”

The affidavit states that on April 15, 2013, Ninth District Court Judge Norman Young issued an order to electronically intercept communications on Pitt’s home telephone. The affidavit states that on April 21, Judge Young issued another order to intercept calls on Pitt’s cell phone.

Hanson in his affidavit details a number of phone transactions from a 30-day period where Pitt allegedly conducted drug-related business with his co-defendants and Vargas.

“At times during these conversations (with Vargas) a child in Vargas’ residence would speak to T. Pitt in English and then be heard speaking to Maria Vargas in Spanish,” the affidavit states. “It was clear to the Drug Agents monitoring the conversations that T. Pitt and M. Vargas were utilizing the child in the role of interpreter to facilitate drug business discussions occurring between T. Pitt and M. Vargas.”

On April 15, the affidavit alleges that Pitt asked Fauque, Springfield and White to pay him. “In this particular intercepted telephone call, T. Pitt was instructing T. Fauque to hurry because T. Pitt did not have all of the money to pay his source and he needed the additional monies that T. Faque had to help make up the shortage,” states the affidavit.

The affidavit details another call where Fauque allegedly tells Pitt that he was “ripped off” by “Evelyn on the res.” “T. Fauque tells T. Pitt that he was given a five (five dollar bill) and a bunch of “ones” (one dollar bills) that were rolled up,” states the affidavit. “Then she (Evelyn) drove off leaving T. Fauque with only eleven dollars rather than the one thousand dollars that she owed him.”

A call on April 26, 2013, is described as a transaction with the child at the phone number registered to Vargas in Green River. “During this conversation, T. Pitt asks if ‘they’ are bringing him seven or eight ‘hamburgers’ and tells the caller that he is hungry for ‘hamburgers,’” states the affidavit. “T. Pitt also asks for ‘cheeta’ in his call and T. Pitt is told that they do not have any yet. In the context of all the monitored telephone conversations, usage of the words, ‘hamburgers’ and ‘cheeta’ are obvious references to drugs or drug monies or transactions. Obviously, T. Pitt is not asking Maria Vargas to bring him actual hamburgers from Green River, Wyoming.”

The affidavit states on the next day Pitt was allegedly seen getting into a vehicle with Vargas in Hudson and he left carrying nothing that to Hanson appeared to be hamburgers.

Verbal transactions with Haukaas and Hernandez are also described where “hamburgers,” “golfing,” “tee time,” “fly fishing,” and “swimming trunks” are alleged euphemisms for drugs or transactions. The affidavit states that on occasion, Pitt made comments in phone calls that indicated he was afraid his phone was being tapped.

A May 9 interview with a another confidential informant tells the story of Pitt allegedly threatening a man in Riverton for money with a gun. “The confidential source personally observed T. Pitt walk into the residence located in Riverton … and hold the gun to (the man’s) abdomen.”

One of the last conversations detailed in the affidavit is from from May 11 between Pitt and an unidentified man. “During this conversation, the unidentified male asks T. Pitt about C. Payne and A. Hernandez,” states the affidavit. “T. Pitt responds by laughing and telling the unidentified male ‘they’re my puppets’ to which they both laugh.”

A North Carolina man is facing criminal charges for allegedly operating methamphetamine labs in his Rowan County home. Joshua Aaron Senk, 32, of Rockwell, is currently facing multiple meth charges and is currently being held on $75,000 bond, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Investigators in Rowan County obtained search warrants for Senk’s home earlier this week. During a search, they found six different one-ounce meth labs in addition to various drug related items. All the items were on the property of Senk’s home on the 2400 block of Windswept Way in Rockwell.

The search and drug seizure occurred while Senk was off the property and he surrendered himself to authorities on Tuesday.

Reps from the Rowan County Sheriff’s department confirmed with the Observer that a further investigation is ongoing and more arrests could take place.



Ten ounces of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $56,000 was confiscated Wednesday morning from a car south of Grand Forks, the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Department said.

Daniel Ray Wykle, 50, from Arizona was arrested after a deputy noticed his car being driven in an erratic way and pulled him over at mile marker 133 on the northbound side of Interstate 29.

A drug-sniffing dog discovered the meth, the department said.

Wykle is being charged with driving under the influence of drugs and possession of meth with intent to deliver, the department said.



SULLIVAN, Ind. (WTHI) – Sullivan County prosecutors have filed several charges against a man accused of possessing several pipe bombs and the materials to make meth.

Police arrested Blake Boles, 26, on a warrant last Friday. Officers reported finding two pipe bombs in Boles’ pockets. When they went to his home, they reported finding five more such bombs, along with a device made of a propane tank and a shotgun shell. They also reported finding materials used to make methamphetamine.

On Wednesday, authorities charged Boles with several felonies including counts of Possession of a Destructive Device, Dealing Methamphetamine, Unlawful Possession of a Syringe, Possession of Chemical Reagents, Maintaining a Common Nuisance and Possession of Methamphetamine. County prosecutors said Boles could face more charges as the investigation continues.

Authorities said federal investigators have also visited Sullivan to investigate the case, although they could not say whether Boles will face any federal charges.



WAUPACA — Waupaca police arrested two people Wednesday after a methamphetamine lab was found during a home search.

A 49-year-old man and a 44-year-old woman were arrested at the home at 600 Oak St. Officers found evidence to indicate meth was being made, said the Waupaca Police Department.

The Waupaca Police Department, Central Wisconsin drug task force and Wisconsin Department of Justice Methamphetamine Clandestine Lab Enforcement and Response task force conducted the search.

Waupaca police ask anyone with information about the lab to call investigators at 715-258-4400. Contact Waupaca County Crime Stoppers anonymously by texting Waupaca and the tip to 274637, visit or call 888-258-9955.


PRINCETON — Six Bureau County residents have been charged in federal court with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine over the past two years in the northwest region of the county.
The grand jury indictment alleges that the six defendants, Shane Walters, 27, Nicholas Hand, 29, Kyle Dye, 23, Jenna Regal,
23, Nikole Walters, 26, and Max Moritz, 32, all of Princeton and the surrounding rural area, conspired together over a two-year period, between April 2011 and the present, involving more than 500 grams of methamphetamine.
The indictment remained sealed pending the defendants’ arrests Tuesday, except Regal, who is hospitalized for childbirth. A summons will be issued for Regal’s court appearance at a date to be determined by the U.S. Clerk of the Court.
Initial appearances for the five defendants were scheduled Wednesday at a federal court in Peoria.
Bureau County sheriff John Thompson said the product was manufactured in “mobile labs” under a “shake and bake operation.” He said this makes the manufacturing of the drug more rudimentary when it is made in the trunk of a vehicle and put together with a cap on it.
Thompson said some manufacturing locations were more fixed in place, in northwestern Bureau County, but evidence from those locations has since been removed.
“This is an example of law enforcement that has come together, come together as a task force, on all levels, to work on the methamphetamine problem in this community,” James Lewis, U.S. Attorney of the Central District of Illinois, said during a Wednesday morning press conference.
The charges against each person are conspiracy, a federal crime, meaning in one way or another, each of those involved has “taken
an act and entered into agreements with one another that helped produce the more than 500 grams of meth,” Lewis said.
If convicted, the penalty for the offense carries a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years to life in prison, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.
Local officers put pieces of information together, Lewis said, comparing the investigation to a jigsaw puzzle. As local law enforcement got the Drug Enforcement Agency and the FBI involved, the pieces came together for enforcement to make an arrest, he said.
On the legal side of things, a decision came down to whether state law or federal law should prosecute the charges.
“State law is very strong on these issues, as well as federal law,” Lewis said. “The decision was made that this case should be prosecuted in federal court.”
“Generally speaking, the way the decision was made came down to what will get these people out of the community for the longest period of time,” Lewis said. “In some cases it is state charges, other cases it is federal charges.”
Thompson said the methamphetamine problem extends far beyond Bureau County. He said it is a regional problem that affects the central United States.
“We feel the effects of it when we have an impact on other drugs,” Thompson said. “For instance, heroin. If we have an impact on heroin, methamphetamine shows a resurgence.
“If we have an impact on methamphetamine, heroin will generally show a resurgence.”
Thompson said those who sell the product often thrive financially, which drives everything else.
Princeton police chief Tom Root said whereas 10 percent of alcohol users become alcoholics, 98 percent of those who try meth become addicts.
“That’s how addictive this drug is,” Root said.
The Justice Department issued a reminder to the public that an indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.



NOGALES, AZ (CBS5) – Border agents arrested two men on Saturday at the Mariposa Port of Entry in two attempts to smuggle nearly $500,000 worth of narcotics into the U.S.

(Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection said they found 10 packages of methamphetamine in the gas tank of a truck driven by 33-year-old Joel Amador-De Los Santos. The estimated value was more than $198,000.

Jose Nicolas Plascencia-Gonzalez, 51, had 14 pounds of methamphetamine, two pounds of heroin and more than five pounds of cocaine in the dashboard of his Honda sedan, according to CBP. The value exceeded $291,000.


San Clemente, California – U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Interstate 5 checkpoint foiled two drug smuggling attempts on Tuesday resulting in the arrest of two suspects and the confiscation of cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana valued at more than $1,771,000.

Border Patrol agents operating the checkpoint encountered a 19-year-old male U.S. citizen, at approximately 5:40 p.m., driving a 2000 Dodge Stratus. Agents referred the man for a secondary inspection. A Border Patrol K-9 team conducted an inspection resulting in an alert to the vehicle. Agents subsequently discovered 13 blue shopping bags inside the trunk of the car. The bags held 41 bundles of methamphetamine that weighed 58.9 pounds and had an estimated street value of $1,178,000. The bags also contained eight bundles of cocaine that weighed 20.66 pounds and had an estimated street value of $227,000. The suspected drug smuggler, drugs, and vehicle were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Earlier that day, at approximately 2:45 p.m., agents stopped a 2001 Buick LeSabre. The driver, a 21-year-old male U.S. citizen, was questioned and a K-9 inspection was conducted resulting in an alert to the rear of the vehicle. Agents opened the trunk and found several large blue plastic bags containing 91 bundles of marijuana. The marijuana weighed more than 244 pounds and had an estimated street value of $366,000. The driver and marijuana were turned over to a multi-agency drug task force.

Last week, on May 10, agents operating the I-5 Border Patrol checkpoint arrested a 52-year-old male Mexican national driving a 2000 Toyota Tundra truck that held eight bundles of marijuana weighing 260.48 pounds and had an estimated street value of $390,720.

To prevent the illicit smuggling of humans, drugs, and other contraband, the U.S. Border Patrol maintains a high level of vigilance on corridors of egress away from our Nation’s borders. To report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol, contact San Diego Sector at (619) 498-9900.


KABUL (Reuters) – Impoverished Afghanistan, already plagued by insurgency and struggling to contain crippling rates of opium addiction, faces another potential headache with spiraling usage of the synthetic drug crystal methamphetamine.

The growing use of the drug, known as crystal meth or ice, comes at a critical time. Some fear that, with the exit of most foreign troops by the end of next year and dwindling interest and aid from the international community, significant addiction to the relatively new drug could wreak social havoc.

An Afghan pharmacist analyses samples of drugs, at a laboratory under the Interior Ministry's Counter Narcotics, in Kabul

 An Afghan pharmacist analyses samples of drugs, at a laboratory under the Interior Ministry’s Counter Narcotics



The number of crystal meth samples taken from seizures tripled to 48 in 2012 compared with the year before, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Importantly, however, there are concerns the power vacuum left by the withdrawal of foreign troops could turn Afghanistan into a new route for moving Iranian-made crystal meth to nations in the Pacific, like Thailand and Indonesia, through Pakistan.

“It’s a potential threat,” a Kabul-based official from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Small quantities of around half a kilogram are usually seized, said Peter Bottomley, the UNODC’s consultant in Kabul, describing it as a “worrying trend”.

“If this country gets addicted to meth, there will be a big problem,” Bottomley said.

Afghanistan is the world’s top producer of opium, from which heroin is made and which helps fund the Taliban’s insurgency, and is heading for a near-record this year, the UNODC has said.

Treatment options for Afghanistan’s 1 million heroin addicts, some of whom inject into their groins in broad daylight in central Kabul, are sorely limited.

In the country’s sole, ultra-secretive drugs lab on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghan pharmacists analyze samples from seizures brought in on a daily basis, which are subject to three rounds of testing to identify the substance and its potency.

A sack of translucent crystals resembling large grains of sea salt sat on one of the lab’s tables – one of the recent seizures of crystal meth. It stood out starkly among the brown hues of heroin, opium, morphine and hashish in tiny bags.

“If only we could get the punishment increased for selling this,” said Mohammad Khalid Nabizada, the head of the lab, which operates under the Interior Ministry’s Counter Narcotics Police.

Prison terms for selling crystal meth are relatively light, with dealers facing up to one year behind bars for 1 kg (2.2 lb), compared with up to three years for opium and a maximum of 10 years for the same amount of heroin.


Dubbed “glass” in Afghanistan, crystal meth only appeared in recent years and is made in high-tech labs across the border in Iran. Most of it is consumed in the border provinces of Herat and Nimroz, but seizures have been scattered across the country.

Its street price is about $20, or five times that of heroin, making it relatively expensive in one of the world’s poorest countries, said Ahmad Khalid Mowahid, spokesman for the Criminal Justice Task Force that convicts serious drug offenders.

But its rocketing use hints at falling exclusivity.

“If glass users are added to our opium addicts, it’ll be a disaster. Meth addicts jump off roofs and punch fists in walls. Imagine such abnormal behavior here,” Mowahid told Reuters.

He said Afghanistan does not have the “medicine nor the means” to try to contain a growing meth addiction.

The United States is no stranger to the epidemic of crystal meth, where home-made labs and a booming Mexican trade have consumed small towns.

“It has that same look coming out of Iran, of large-scale commercial properties … And it can become a cancer,” the DEA official said.



Methamphetamine remains a scourge in our local communities, with a heavy impact on individuals and families that requires strong efforts from many parts of society to combat. It starts with education of our children to understand the dangers of the drug and what it can do to their bodies and minds. It requires ready treatment for those already caught in the drug’s clutches. It requires a coordinated effort of law enforcement and the courts to root out sales and distribution of methamphetamine to keep it off the streets. Finally, efforts must be made to decrease its manufacture in the first place.

While methamphetamine comes from many sources, a significant amount is still made locally in California out of cold and allergy decongestant tabs that are bought over-the-counter. State and federal laws currently restrict how these medications are sold, including requiring ID and limiting how much medication can be bought in a single day or month. However, these rules are enforced with written and paper logs, and there is no way for stores to know if someone is buying these medications at multiple sites.

That is why I am urging support for Senate Bill SB 506 by Senator Jerry Hill that will be voted on in the state Senate this month.

This legislation allows our state to use electronic blocking technology — called the National Precursor Log Exchange — as a responsible solution to meth production in California. The current written system is time-consuming and provides very little assistance to law enforcement.

NPLEx, in contrast, links these logs electronically from store to store and blocks unlawful attempted purchases of PSE instantaneously. This will provide a real-time means for retailers to stop illegal sales before they occur and ensure that law-abiding Californians continue to have access to popular and reliable cold and allergy medicines without a prescription. In short, the system targets criminals, not law-abiding citizens.

It’s time for California to join more than half the nation and employ electronic blocking technology. This system will allow our state to prevent the sale of PSE to meth producers.

A majority of states in the U.S. that have implemented NPLEx have experienced significant results in their fights against meth. The system has blocked tens of thousands of illegal purchases and led to numerous arrests.

In fact, the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators recently found outstanding results for the 17 states where NPLEx is fully operational. In the past six months, Indiana prevented 132,000 grams of PSE from potentially being used by meth producers, Missouri blocked 54,000 grams, South Carolina stopped 67,000 grams, Kentucky blocked 42,000 grams, and Alabama blocked more than 112,000 grams.  There have also been dozens of arrests throughout the country as a direct result of NPLEx evidence.

This is a commonsense solution — it does not cost more to taxpayers, but it provides effective and proven new tools for us to do our jobs more effectively. Specifically this legislation could result in less meth on the streets, which will make our neighborhoods safer and improve our public safety.

It’s time for California to join more than half the nation and employ electronic blocking technology. This system will allow our state to prevent the sale of PSE to meth producers. But just as important, it will allow legitimate consumers to purchase cold medication they want and need.

Real progress is possible in the battle against meth production. To make progress, California must get off the sidelines and take action. Our elected leaders in the state Senate have an opportunity to make a difference. Please join me in encouraging our leaders to support this important legislation.

Dr. Frank L. Lang is chief medical officer at Western Sierra Medical Clinic in Grass Valley.



A Wayland attorney has pleaded guilty to a methamphetamine charge after authorities last year found drug labs at his Wayland office and at an Otsego home.

Mlive is reporting that Patrick Burson, 45, pleaded guilty before Calhoun County Circuit Court Judge James Kingsley to a charge of maintaining a meth lab.

Prosecutors filed multiple meth-related charges against him last year after search warrants were executed in June at his Wayland office and at the home.

When he is sentenced July 9, the remaining charges will be dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

The case was transferred from Allegan County to Calhoun County because of potential conflict of interest. Burson commonly practiced in the Allegan County courthouse before his arrest.

So far, Burson has not been disciplined by the state Attorney Discipline Board.



A 29-year-old Vancouver, Wash., man walked into the Lucky Eagle Casino in Rochester Sunday with a duffle bag containing more than $66,000 cash. He also had methamphetamine in his jacket pocket and a stolen handgun, a prosecutor said in court Tuesday.

Christopher Lathrop, 29, who owns a food truck, according to court papers, was ordered held at the Thurston County Jail after a judge found probable cause to support allegations of unlawful possession of methamphetamine and possession of a stolen firearm. Thurston County Superior Court Judge Christine Schaller set Lathrop’s bail at $25,000.

Lathrop’s mother, Rose Vaida, of Vancouver, was present during Tuesday’s hearing. Outside court, Vaida said her son had called her prior to his arrest on Sunday and told her he had won $40,000 playing at a casino. However, Lucky Eagle CEO John Setterstrom said Tuesday that Lathrop did not win the cash at Lucky Eagle.

Setterstrom confirmed that gaming agents checked Lathrop’s bag when he entered the casino Sunday and found the large sum of cash.

It is not uncommon for “high rollers” at the casino to enter the premises with large sums of cash, Setterstrom said. However, court papers indicate that Lucky Eagle security staff also learned that Lathrop was carrying a firearm while he was on the gaming floor, which is against casino policy, Setterstrom said.

Setterstrom said that even individuals with a concealed-carry permit, or off-duty police officers are not allowed to carry firearms when they are in the casino.

Lathrop told casino security that the gun was a “toy,” according to court papers. However, security determined it was a real .45 caliber Springfield pistol that had been reported stolen in Oregon in late 2012, court papers state. Security also found a small bag containing suspected methamphetamine in Lathrop’s jacket pocket, court papers state.

Chehalis Tribal police were dispatched to the casino and arrested Lathrop.

Vaida said outside court Tuesday that it was her impression that her son had won a large sum of cash at Lucky Eagle. She added that her son had also recently sold a food truck, which may have contributed to his unusually large bankroll.

“He probably just took that money to go to the casino,” she said.

Elk City police arrested two people for possession of methamphetamine at an area motel last week.

Brittani Paige Evans, 19, of Elk City, and Chris Lynn Rhodes, 48, of Elk City, were both arrested on a complaint of possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia Wednesday.

The arrest came after officers were called to the Elk City Motor Lodge Motel by an employee who alerted police about possible drug activity in a room rented to Rhodes, according to a preliminary police report.



A Marion County woman awaiting the resolution of an aggravated battery case will now spend her waiting period behind bars after being charged with possession of methamphetamine in a separate case.

Jennifer Grace Balliet, 31, had her bond in the first case revoked Tuesday morning by Circuit Judge Sandra Edwards-Stephens in response to a motion from the State Attorney’s Office.

Balliet was released from jail in late October 2012 after posting a $15,000 bond. She was charged with aggravated battery, and that case is pending.

She was arrested on April 24 following a traffic stop. Police searched the car and said they found methamphetamine.

On Tuesday, Assistant State Attorney Nick Camuccio told the court that since the defendant is still committing crimes while her case is pending, it would be safer to revoke her bond.

According to Ocala police records, Balliet was arrested and charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon after authorities were called to Terry’s Bar and Grill, 4121 NE 36th Ave., on Oct. 9.

The victim, Cory Willard, told police she was there with friends when a drunken Balliet stepped on her foot and later bumped into her. The two exchanged words and Balliet hit the victim over the head with a beer mug, causing a cut on Willard’s forehead and knocking her to the floor, according to a police report.

The two women did not know each other prior to the incident.

Balliet fled the bar before police arrived. The K-9 unit found her two blocks away trying to climb a fence, and she was taken into custody. Balliet was “hostile and highly uncooperative with law enforcement,” according to court records.

Balliet told police that while dancing, she had bumped into Willard several times and Willard told her to stay back and pushed her away. According to records, Balliet told police, “No one touches me and gets away with it, so I hit her with the beer bottle.”

The public defender representing Balliet told the judge on Tuesday that Balliet could not appear in court because she was unable to secure transportation. A request to move the court date to later in the week was denied.

Officials said they would contact Balliet and give her the opportunity to report to the jail. Her next court date is set for July.

According to court records, Balliet was charged with attempted murder in 2011 on allegations she stabbed a man. That charge was later dropped.



WAUPACA — Police discovered a methamphetamine lab Saturday in an apartment after they were called to help a man who was badly burned.

Jeffrey Rudd, 23, is in critical condition at a Milwaukee burn center, said Waupaca police Detective Sgt. Brian Hoelzel.

Police responded to 108 Granite St. about 11:50 p.m. for a man with burns on his body. Rudd was taken Riverside Medical Center and later transferred to Milwaukee for his injuries. Rudd has not been charged, Hoelzel said.

Officers found the meth lab during a search of the apartment. The Wisconsin Department of Justice Methamphetamine Clandestine Lab Enforcement and Response task force was called to assist with the ongoing investigation.

Waupaca police ask anyone with information about the lab to call investigators at 715-258-4400. Contact Waupaca County Crime Stoppers anonymously by texting Waupaca and the tip to 274637, or visit or call 888-258-9955.


A 76-year-old American man has been found dead inside a house in Tak province, police said on Tuesday.

Paul Milford Muller was a former official at the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) and the Jet Propulsion Lab, and the author of three books.

According to his website, he worked for 10 years at Nasa/JPL and served as a senior member of the Apollo navigation team.

Pol Col Ekarat Intasueb, chief of Mae Sot police station, said Muller was found with a rope tied around his genitals and waist and another rope tied around his neck, hanging from a knob of his bedroom door.

He said there was no sign that the American had been assaulted.

Equipment for injecting crystal methamphetamine, five methamphetamine pills and several sex toys were also found in the room.

Muller appeared to have died from asphyxiation or from a heart attack after a drug overdose, police said.

His body had started decomposing and giving off a bad odour. Police suspect he had been dead about three days when his body was found. It was sent to Mae Sot hospital for a post-mortem examination.

Police were trying to contact his relatives to take charge of the body.

Muller was the author of books including  “Suicide Inc” –  described on his website as a “romantic and erotic thriller”.


An Ottawa woman has been sentenced to 18 years in federal prison for her part in a drug-trafficking ring linked to the death of a man who combined pills with an injection he believed to be methamphetamine.

Prosecutors in a news release Tuesday said Tamara Ledom, 37, had pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, morphine and methamphetamine resulting in the death of a user.

Ledom admitted she was a member of a drug-trafficking ring from Nov. 1, 2007, through Feb. 28, 2012, the release said. The ring distributed controlled substances in Franklin County.

Co-defendant Connie Edwards led the ring, the release said, and a man died May 10, 2009, after buying drugs from the two women at Edwards’ house in Ottawa. The man was found unconscious in his mother’s home, and an autopsy showed he died from taking a toxic mix of methadone, hydrocodone and carisoprodol.

Investigators learned Ledom had crushed pills into a powder that was sold as methamphetamine. The victim injected the substance and took other prescription pills, creating the toxic combination.

Edwards was sentenced to 300 months in the case. Other defendants:

■ Brittany Edwards, 20, of Ottawa, is set for sentencing June 3.

■ Shirley Price, 45, of Ottawa, is set for sentencing June 10.

■ Dustin Price, 24, of Ottawa, is set for sentencing June 10.

■ Joel Keith Price, 55, of Ottawa, is set for sentencing June 10.

■ Morgan Price, 22, of Ottawa, was sentenced to five years of probation with six months in a halfway house.

■ Brandi Bivens, 31, of Ottawa, is set for sentencing Aug. 19.

■ Angela Mitchell, 36, of Ottawa, is set for sentencing July 8.

■ Florence Edwards, 39, of Ottawa, was sentenced to 12 months of probation.