A man who was allegedly high on meth grabbed the wheel of a Greyhound bus en route from Los Angeles to Dallas last night, crashing it and injuring 24 passengers.

Police are claiming that Maquel Donyel Morris, a 25-year-old man from Los Angeles, started punching the bus driver and grabbing the wheel, creating a terrifying scene where the driver and passengers tried to wrestle control of the bus away from Morris, the Los Angeles Times reports.


“He was actually hitting the bus driver—hitting him hard to the face,” passenger Gregory Frost said, according to NBC 4.  “[The driver] was saying, ‘Help me, help me. Somebody come up here and help me.'”

The bus crashed through a dirt median and stopped jest before encountering oncoming traffic on I-10 in Tonopah, Arizona, which is about 50 miles away from Phoenix, the Times reports. After the bus crashed, Morris and his girlfriend took off into the desert. They returned about a half hour later, where they were arrested by police.

Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves said that Morris’ girlfriend told police that he “smoked a lot of meth” before the bus trip, City News Service reports.

Overall, 24 passengers were hurt, and three of them had to be airlifted to local hospitals.

Morris faces a long list of charges—48 counts of felony endangerment, 24 counts of assault and three counts of aggravated assault, NBC 4 reports.









PEKIN  – Another four months may pass before Stacy Maneno — the alleged meth conspirator also accused of spying on Pekin police investigators while cleaning their office — goes to trial in federal court.
Stacy Maneno
Her former husband and another man, however, have begun the prison sentences they received last week for their own conspiracy to make and sell the highly addictive and damaging drug.Chad Maneno, 42, was sentenced to five years in federal prison and Terrance Watson, 32, received a 10-year term for their roles in operating the conspiracy in Tazewell County for at least a year prior to their arrests in fall 2012.
Two others also pleaded guilty in that case earlier this month. Terry Coen, 31, remains free on bond pending his sentencing scheduled for April 23. Sentencing for Ailene Maneno, 31, Chad Maneno’s current wife, was deferred and she was accepted into the federal Central District of Illinois’ new treatment program designed to keep non-violent drug offenders from prison.
Stacy Maneno, 38, was scheduled to be tried next month in her separate federal case. The trial was continued Thursday to May 19, with a pretrial court hearing May 8. Federal prosecutors did not object to the continuance request by Maneno’s attorney.
She was arrested 13 months ago for allegedly conspiring with unidentified others to make and sell as much as 500 grams of methamphetamine. Details of her alleged drug affairs have remained general in federal court records as the case has progressed.
Within days after her arrest, however, police and prosecutors revealed their claims that Maneno not only took part in the conspiracy while working as a Pekin city custodian assigned to police headquarters, she also collected information about meth-related investigations that was left on detectives’ desks and a whiteboard in the department’s conference room.
After she was charged in federal court last January, Maneno was permitted to remain free on bond but under strict home confinement monitored by a GPS tracking device attached to her ankle.On Thursday U.S. District Judge James Shadid granted a prosecutor’s motion to remove the device.
By obeying her bond restrictions throughout the year, including home confinement and no alcohol or other drugs, she has shown federal probation officers they can remove the ankle bracelet and assign it, along with the time needed to monitor the device, to another case, the prosecutor told Shadid.
“I don’t do this lightly,” Shadid said, noting the allegations of spying on police against her. “I caution you to continue complying with all of the (bond) conditions so that I don’t have to deal with this again.”http://www.pekintimes.com/article/20140123/NEWS/140129509/1002/NEWS

CAMDEN COUNTY, Mo. — The fourth quarter report by the Lake Area Narcotics Enforcement Group (LANEG) shows authorities found more meth—but less marijuana—compared to the previous quarter.

From Oct. 1 – Dec. 31, 2014, LANEG reports officers seized 6,148.5 grams of methamphetamine, compared with 538 grams in the third quarter (July – September).

By comparison, marijuana seizures amounted to 230 grams—down from 6,235 grams in the previous quarter.

LANEG also reported seizing 11 firearms and disassembling nine meth labs between October and December.

The group credits its success to cooperation from local and surrounding law enforcement agencies and the public.

The Lake Area Narcotics Enforcement Group (LANEG) is a multi-jurisdictional drug task force which serves Camden, Crawford, Gasconade, Laclede, Maries, Osage, and Pulaski Counties. Additionally, the task force serves the cities of Lebanon, Osage Beach, Camdenton, Cuba, Steelville, Bourbon, Conway and Belle. The task force encompasses seven counties with an approximate population of 200,000 residents. LANEG employs four Task Force Officers and is coordinated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, who additionally supplies one Trooper to the task force.







Two people were arrested on methamphetamine possession charges Monday in South Lake Tahoe after they drove their Jaguar sedan into a street post and a police K-9 found drugs in their car, a police news release says.

South Lake Tahoe police were first called to a report of a Jaguar sedan driving off Lake Tahoe Boulevard near Tata Lane and hitting a fence and street post.

The driver, 22-year-old Marleni Feuntes-Perez, of San Mateo, Calif., then switched seats with passenger Jesus Cruz-Torres, 28, South Lake Tahoe police say. The two were found moments later stopped in a nearby church parking lot, police say.

K-9 Quattro was called

Police K-9 Quattro was called to assist with the search of the vehicle and found more than 12 ounces of methamphetamine, police say.

Feuntes-Perez and Cruz-Torres were booked in El Dorado County Jail on charges of hit and run, conspiracy to commit a crime and transportation of meth.







Federal authorities have charged a Lufkin man with drug trafficking in a Jan. 17 Interstate 40 traffic stop that uncovered 42 pounds of methamphetamine valued at $2 million.

Eduardo Enriquez was charged Wednesday with possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine.


On Jan. 17, Potter County sheriff’s deputies stopped a gray 2004 Cheverolet Tahoe on Interstate 40 in Potter County for following too closely to another vehicle, according to a federal criminal complaint.

After stopping the Tahoe, deputies noticed numerous criminal indicators that led them to suspect Enriquez, the sole occupant in the Tahoe, was involved in drug trafficking. When deputies were finished with the traffic stop, one of them asked for consent to search the SUV, and Enriquez agreed to the search.

A drug-sniffing dog sniffed around the Tahoe, but did not alert to the presence of narcotics. Another deputy, the complaint said, used a density meter on all the vehicle’s tires, including the spare. The spare tire indicated a high density reading, and deputies noticed it felt unusually heavy when they bounced it on the pavement,

Deputies, according to the complaint, transported the SUV to a Potter County holding facility and discovered 41 bundles of methamphetamine inside.

A DEA task force office responded to the location and read Enriquez his rights, which he agreed to waive, according to court records.

Enriquez told the officer he was in a bad economic situation and that “he only did this to make some money,” according to the complaint.

Enriquez told investigators he did not know what was in the Tahoe, nor where it was located, but clarified that he knew there was something illegal inside the vehicle.

When the DEA officer asked Enriquez for specific details, Enriquez asked for the interview to be stopped.

Enriquez will remain in custody until a bond hearing later this week.



An accidental phone call led to the arrest of five people for making meth.

McMinn Co Sheriff Joe Guy said a call came into 911 early Tuesday morning from a home on County Road 527 near Etowah.  The dispatcher could hear people talking on the other end of the line.

“It appears it was an accidental phone call,” said Sheriff Guy, “but the people around the phone were talking about their drug use, drug manufacturing and drug transactions.


Deputies were sent to the home to to check it out, and they saw meth lab components on an outside porch. No one would answer the door, but officers could see people moving around inside.  They got a search warrant, and a tactical team entered the house around 7 am.

Five people were arrested: Donna Russell, 46; John “Eddie” Dawson, 43; Danny Dawson, 42; Nicolas Smith, 26; and Jerry Moses, 52.

Inside the residence, officers found traces of methamphetamine, as well as numerous components used to make meth.  Several items of stolen property were also recovered and returned. The house was quarantined due to recent meth manufacture.

“We get very few meth lab reports from citizens compared to a few years ago,” said Sheriff Guy. “But it’s still here, and we will continue to be aggressive in stamping it out.”









PITMAN — A borough father and son are accused of attacking another man with a paintball gun, and the father also faces a methamphetamine charge after a fight on East Holly Avenue Jan. 17.

Joseph Reinek Jr., 48, was charged with aggravated assault, possession of methamphetamine, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of drug paraphernalia. His son, 23-year-old Joseph Reinek III, was charged with aggravated assault and unlawful possession of a weapon.

Both are scheduled to appear in Mantua Township Joint Municipal Court.

Police were dispatched at 2:15 a.m. on a report of a fight with possible gunshots fired. Cpl. Jon Streater and Ptl. Nick Barbetta were directed to the 300 block of East Holly.

There, they reported finding a 50-year-old man on the side of a home with what they called a severe cut to the forehead and a wound on his right arm.

Police said the elder Reinek had fired the paintball gun several times toward the victim and may have struck him in the arm.

His son allegedly struck the victim in the forehead with the stock of the paintball gun.

A female on the scene was charged with obstructing the administration of law and possession of methamphetamine. She, too, is scheduled to appear in the Mantua court.








CHILLICOTHE — City leaders are expected to take action next month on legislation intended to crack down on methamphetamine labs in Chillicothe.

The city’s Meth Lab Committee met Thursday afternoon to discuss a final draft of a proposed ordinance reviewed by Law Director Sherri Rutherford. If approved, the law would allow the city’s chief building official to issue an order to a property owner to pay for hazardous material cleanup and recovery efforts resulting from a meth lab on the property once it is identified by law enforcement.

Evan Steele, left, and Alan Gossman

The proposed ordinance also indicates that property owners would be required to contract with a firm for environmental testing and assessment at the site in question within 14 days once a declaration of public health hazard has been issued. In addition, property owners would be required to pay for costs incurred by agencies in identifying and testing clandestine sites, neutralizing them, paying for laboratory fees and handling cleanup services, among other items.

City Councilwoman Pat Patrick said the legislation would give the city the power needed to clean up meth labs and to let neighbors know what is occurring, in addition to making any potential renter or homeowner aware of the risks. Property owners would be forbidden to sell or lease any property considered to be a public health hazard without disclosing it.

Patrick said the main goal of the law is to “make the property owner responsive to what goes on at the property” where alleged meth activity takes place. In such instances, the city can either bring in a firm to clean up the property that would be ultimately paid for by the property owner or the property owner can do it themselves.

“Any city services involved in the declaration of a public health hazard at one of these properties, then they have to set up a fee schedule that would basically see how much it would cost in labor, in materials, to abate these nuisances,” Patrick said. “That property owner, once they’re provided with that listing, an itemized list, they’re responsible. If it’s a rental situation, they can go after the tenant to collect the money if they were the ones who caused the issue.”

The costs linked to cleaning up a meth lab vary, depending on its type and the amount of contamination, but Patrick said in cases where properties need to be condemned, property owners would be responsible for those costs as well under the proposed law.

“It legally holds them responsible to do something,” Patrick said.

The committee, which was formed last May, looked at how other cities have dealt with meth labs and met with officials from the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation and firms specializing in cleaning up meth lab sites.

Patrick said meetings with the public are expected to be scheduled to educate the community about the issue, which she called “a dangerous situation.”

“It’s all over the city and the fact that they can do it in vehicles now, they can do it in backpacks. It’s an issue, a tremendous issue,” she said.







PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – A driver on meth left a woman severely brain damaged after a 2010 crash, and now her family is suing Clackamas County and the city of Portland for $42 million.

Cayla Wilson was five months pregnant when she was hit by a car driven by Jack Whiteaker. Police said Whiteaker was high on methamphetamine at the time.

24524161_BG2 24524161_BG3

He was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Doctors gave Wilson a 1 percent chance of survival following the crash. She survived, but it left her in a permanent vegetative state, according to her attorneys.

Her family filed a lawsuit against Clackamas County, blaming probation officers for not revoking Whiteaker’s probation, even though he failed to follow the terms of his release.

The city of Portland is involved in the lawsuit because Wilson’s lawyers contend that Portland police responded to two 911 calls involving Whiteaker hours before the crash, but officers never detained or arrested him.

The trial got through opening statements in court Wednesday.

Wilson’s daughter, Jaikyla, was born three months early because of the crash. Wilson’s parents described their daughter coming home after two years in a rehab center during an interview with Fox 12 in 2012.

“The hardest part is, she wants her mom to respond to her more. And Cayla though, she’ll watch her,” Denise Wilson said. “She’ll just watch her the whole time.”

She also described more positive moments.

“The first time she smiled after she came home I couldn’t believe it, I had to run and get Bill,” Denise Wilson said. “Oh my gosh, she smiled.”


After two years in a rehab center, crash victim Cayla Wilson finally returned home last Monday.

Jack Whiteaker was high on meth when he crashed his car into Wilson, who was pregnant at the time. Her daughter was delivered three months early and Wilson was left severely brain damaged.

Whiteaker is serving 11 years in prison.

Cayla Wilson returned to her Gresham home to be reunited with her parents, Bill and Denise Wilson, and daughter, Jaikyla Wilson, who is now almost 2 years old.

“It’s like the heart is warm again and my blood’s flowing again. It was just so held back the last two years… Just not knowing where my child’s at, who’s caring for her or what they’re doing with her,” Bill Wilson said. “We feel whole now. We feel like we can be a family again.”

Doctors gave Cayla Wilson a 1 percent chance of survival after Whiteaker crashed his car into her in 2010. Bill and Denise Wilson expect her to keep improving now that she is home. Every improvement is thrilling.

“The first time she smiled after she came home I couldn’t believe it, I had to run and get Bill,” Denise Wilson said. “Oh my gosh, she smiled.”

In addition to feeding and bathing Wilson, her parents also deliver her the 24 medications she takes and move her every two hours.

Although her parents are excited about Cayla Wilson’s homecoming, her mom said she wishes Cayla and Jaikyla could interact more.

“The hardest part is, she wants her mom to respond to her more. And Cayla though, she’ll watch her,” Denise Wilson said. “She’ll just watch her the whole time.”

Over the next couple weeks, Cayla Wilson’s family is expecting to get some in-home nursing care to help them out, as Bill Wilson plans to return to work.

The family said they are happy Cayla Wilson is finally back where they know she belongs.








Six people were arrested today and a seventh is sought in connection with recent burglaries in Woodland.

The city experienced more than 100 burglaries during November and December, and patrol officers and detectives, through their investigation, developed probable cause for six search warrants, according to a Police Department news release.


At 6 a.m. today, Woodland officers, in conjunction with West Sacramento and Davis police, the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol, Yolo County Probation and the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office, served all six search warrants at homes in Woodland. The searches resulted in the recovery of stolen property and six arrests. The property recovered included firearms, household items and tools, police said.

Arrested and booked into Yolo County Jail were:

• Mark Lasonde, 28, on suspicion of burglary, possession of stolen property and a warrant.

• Kimberly Lalley, 24, on suspicion of burglary, possession of stolen property and a warrant.

• Jose Garca,, 37, on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine and a warrant.

• Blanca Hernandez, 30, on suspicion of possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance.

• Elia Garcia, 22, on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine and possession of stolen property.

• Salvador Villa, 34, on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine.

Another suspect, 23-year-old Mario Lopez (pictured) is still outstanding and should be considered armed and dangerous, police said. He is wanted in connection with the ongoing burglary investigation. Lopez is described as 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighing about 180 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts is asked to call the Woodland Police Department’s dispatch center at (530) 666-2411.

Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call the Police Department’s investigations division at (530) 661-7800.

A physician was arrested in Scott County Thursday and charged for trafficking controlled substances.

Dr. Robert Yost, 48 of Georgetown was charged for selling methamphetamines and the prescription drug known as GHB.

Kentucky State Police received a complaint back in December 2013 stating that a physician in Scott County was selling crystal methamphetamine.

After conducting several controlled buys from Dr. Yost, a search warrant of his residence was executed and illegal narcotics were seized.

Dr. Yost was lodged in the Scott County Detention Center.

The investigation is continuing by Kentucky State Police Drug Enforcement Special Investigations Branch.







Two men and a woman were arrested Thursday evening after Cayce Public Safety officers discovered a mobile methamphetamine lab.

brandi-m-joiner-224x300 james-w-gleaton-239x300 rodney-l-williamson-240x300

Officers responded to a shoplifting call at the Dollar General at 2441 Charleston Highway at 6:50 p.m., and store employees gave them a description of the shoplifting suspects’ vehicle.

The officers found a vehicle matching the description at the intersection of Charleston Highway and Frink Street and said they found a meth lab in production in the vehicle, which was producing smoke and fumes.

Officers of the Cayce Methamphetamine Lab Removal Team and State Law Enforcement Division were called to the scene to gather evidence and dispose of the materials safely.

Brandi M. Joiner, 25, of Columbia; James W. Gleaton, 28, of Graniteville; and Rodney L. Williamson, 33, of Gaston were arrested and face multiple charges related to the manufacture of methamphetamine as well as shoplifting a package of undergarments.

Investigators ask anyone with information about the suspects to contact Crimestoppers.







A Santa Maria couple with gang ties was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment Tuesday after authorities followed up on a tip that a parolee-at-large was staying at the couple’s apartment in the 1900 block of South Lincoln, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

Rafael Ceja, 26, and Mayra Quintinar, 24, active gang members, were taken into custody and charged with felony child endangerment and possession of methamphetamine for sale following a search of their apartment, where investigators allegedly found a quarter pound of methamphetamine in the children’s bedroom, police said.

The couple’s two children — a 1-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl — were taken into protective custody by Child Welfare Services and turned over to a grandparent. Both children had easy access to the methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, which was located on the floor in their bedroom, intermixed with food items and toys, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

Investigators responded to the apartment after receiving information that Jorge Cortez, 29, a wanted felon, was staying at the apartment. When officers arrived at the apartment, Cortez jumped out of the second-story window and fell about 20 feet, breaking his leg, police said.

He was treated at a local hospital and booked at Santa Barbara County Jail for a violation of his parole terms.

Ceja and Quintinar also face charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and a criminal street gang enhancement.







LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Lafayette’s Metro Narcotics Task Force and law enforcement agencies across Acadiana cooperated on a three-day operation to target areas of suspected crime and drug activity.

The operation, which ran from Jan 14 to Jan. 17, resulted in 251 arrests, 179 citations and almost $97,000 of recovered narcotics.

Agencies also recovered more than $34,000 worth of stolen property and more than $21,000 worth of property, such as vehicles and money, used in illegal activities.

One vehicle and four guns were seized.

Officials say cocaine and methamphetamine were the top two drugs seized, with more than $52,000 in cocaine recovered and more than $26,000 in methamphetamine.

Marijuana accounted for more than $12,000 of narcotics confiscated.

The operation, called “A New Resolution,” was a joint effort by agencies in Lafayette, Acadia, St. Landry, St. Martin, Vermilion and Iberia parishes that focused on taking down buyers and sellers in drug deals on the street.

That drug activity often spawns other crimes, either violence associated with the drug trade or thefts and robberies committed by drug addicts trying to pay for a fix, Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said.

“Street-level sales drive our crime rate,” he said.







A major narcotics investigation by the interagency Rogue Area Drug Enforcement (RADE) team led to the arrest of four people and the seizure of over two pounds of heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana, eight firearms, stolen ATV’s and other stolen property and evidence. The heroin seizure alone is described as the largest amount seized by RADE during the team’s five year existence.

According to Oregon State Police (OSP) Drug Enforcement Section and RADE supervisor, Sergeant Jim Johnson, on January 21, 2014 at approximately 2:30 p.m., search warrants were served at adjacent Grants Pass-area properties including a residence at 2955 Cloverlawn Drive and a 5th wheel travel trailer parked at 2989 Cloverlawn Drive.

Detectives arrested the following suspects and lodged them in the Josephine County Jail:

  • Marcos Antonio Gutierrez, age 35, and Samuel DeLaCruz Gutierrez, age 42, were arrested at the trailer location where detectives seized the narcotics and firearms, including a loaded sawed off shotgun by a bed, found in various locations throughout the trailer. Charges for both suspects include Unlawful Possession, Distribution, and Manufacture of a Controlled Substance – Heroin and Methamphetamine.
  • Christine Esquivel, age 23, was arrested at her residence at 2955 Cloverlawn Drive after detectives seized a smaller amount of methamphetamine, a stolen ATV, and other evidence. Charges for Esquivel include Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance – Methamphetamine and two counts of Unlawful Use of a Vehicle.
  • David Westley Jones, age 31, reportedly fled the scene on January 21 when search warrants were being served. Jones was taken into custody on January 22 when additional search warrants were obtained by an OSP detective. He was found inside the 5th wheel travel trailer and arrested on a Probation Violation warrant stemming from previous burglary charges, Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance – Methamphetamine, and two counts of Unlawful Use of a Vehicle.

During the initial and subsequent search of the properties, three stolen ATV’s were located along with stolen tools and additional stolen property.

Sergeant Johnson noted that although Josephine County is known nationwide where illegal high-grade marijuana is produced and distributed, this latest investigation demonstrates the effort law enforcement agencies are collectively putting forth to prevent the distribution of heroin and methamphetamine in our communities.

“We are very fortunate to live in an area where law enforcement agencies combine resources for a common goal to protect our communities,” said Johnson.

Additional arrests are anticipated and further charges are pending in this ongoing investigation involving federal, state and local investigators.








A New Zealand missionary has been found guilty of importing more than nine kilograms of methamphetamine and heroin into Darwin at an Australian Supreme Court yesterday.

Bernadine Terry Prince – also known as Pastor Bernie McCully – grew up in the Whakatane area, but lived in Sydney for about 15 years until she left her Australian husband to live in Cambodia and marry Nigerian minister Joshua Prince in 2012.

The 41-year-old mother of three was charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled substance and was found guilty after the jury deliberated for five hours, ABC News reported.

She is due to be sentenced next week and faces a maximum sentence of three years’ in prison and a A$340,000 fine.

Prince was returning to Australia from a five-week trip in Kenya and Cambodia last May year when her suitcases were delayed in Singapore, the Australian Associated Press reported.

Crown prosecutor Glen Rice told a Supreme Court jury last week that when the suitcases arrived in Darwin, a Customs officer detected traces of drugs on seven vinyl backpacks which were unusually heavy.

Upon inspection, the officer discovered packages sewn into each backpack containing crystal methamphetamine and heroin with a combined weight of more than 9kg, Mr Rice told the court.

The drugs had a street value of up to A$2 million.

Prince, an ordained minister and head of the Oasis of Grace International Church, has consistently claimed a Kenyan woman called “Mummy Rose” gave her the backpacks to sell in churches in Australia.

She claimed the bags were made by African women, AAP reported.

However, Mr Rice said her claim didn’t stack up.

“The bags were commercially produced bags that might be made anywhere. In fact, they were tagged as having been made in China,” he said.

Also, the cardboard used to pack the drugs was Cambodian, meaning the backpacks were either not obtained in Kenya at all, or were packed with drugs during the four days she spent in Cambodia on her return trip, Mr Rice said.

Prince consistently maintained she did not know the drugs were concealed inside the backpacks.







Nigeria’s booming Methamphetamine business

Posted: 23rd January 2014 by Doc in Uncategorized

On the plane, up there in the skies, a 32-year old Nigerian woman began to  excrete wraps of methamphetamine swallowed in Malaysia, the Southeast Asian country.  She was travelling to Nigeria’s commercial city of Lagos last December.

The suspect, Chizoba Anya Vivian, had boarded the plane with five wraps of methamphetamine concealed in her stomach.

The drug was meant to be delivered in Lagos, but right there on the plane and up there in the air, it began to fall off.

The suspect began to visit the toilets so often that she aroused suspicion from flight attendants.



And by the time the plane landed at the Murtala Muhammed International in Lagos, it was discovered that she had excreted three wraps of methamphetamine right on the plane.

She was immediately arrested and placed under observation and later excreted two additional wraps of the sweet but deadly drug, said Hamza Umar, Lagos Airport Commander of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA.



“The suspect was found with three wraps which she excreted in the aircraft. While she was under observation at the Lagos airport, she excreted two additional wraps of drugs. The five wraps which tested positive for methamphetamine weighed 80 grammes,” Umar said in a press statement made public on 30 December last year.

If Chizoba was coming to Lagos from Malaysia, Olewunne Chibuzor Darlington was travelling in the opposite direction.

On 11 December, NDLEA announced that it had arrested Darlington, an electronic dealer at Alaba International market, Lagos in connection with unlawful exportation of 450 grammes of methamphetamine to Malaysia.

The suspect claimed he had invested N900,000 in the drug trafficking business with the promise and expectation that he would make a profit of N5 million.

But things did not go as planned and he ended up in a cell after he was arrested by anti-narcotics officers at the Lagos Airport.

Darlington and Vivian were not the only ones arrested for methamphetamine trafficking last December.

On 26 December, NDLEA spokesperson, Mitchell Ofoyeju, disclosed in a press statement that his men had arrested three customs licensed clearing and forwarding agents and a motorcycle parts dealer.

The suspects were being interrogated in connection with three shipments of methamphetamine meant for export to Malaysia on an Ethiopian Airways flight at the Lagos Airport.

The drug, weighing 70.4 kilogrammes, had an estimated street value of N352 million, according to NDLEA.

The three agents were Adewuyi Segun, 45, Atebata Godwin, 27 and Akpaida Kareem Ajayi, 33.

In addition, Ukpabi Paul, a 36-year old motorcycle parts dealer at Nnewi, Anambra State, south-eastern Nigeria  was also arrested.

The demand for methamphetamine seems to be increasing by the day as on 6 January this year, NDLEA disclosed that it had aborted a plot to export 9.2 kilogrammes of methamphetamine hidden inside palm oil to South Africa.

The discovery, the agency said, was made during screening of cargoes on a South African Airline flight at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

Okwuokei Peter, taxi driver who brought the consignment to the airport was apprehended by anti-narcotic officials.

Nigerians are not only exporting the drug, they are producing it and NDLEA is closing clandestine methamphetamine laboratories across the country.

On 19 December, the agency announced in a statement that it had discovered another methamphetamine Clandestine Laboratory at Shapeti, off Lekki-Epe Expressway Lagos.

The lab, the sixth of such illegal methamphetamine production factories uncovered in the last two years in various parts of the country, was located opposite two private nursery schools.

Statistics for drug trafficking and drug abuse in Nigeria are mind boggling.

Last year alone, between January and October, the Lagos State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency apprehended 420 suspected drug traffickers with 8,300.277kg of various drugs.

Within the period, 69 persons were convicted for drug related charges while other cases are pending.

NDLEA commander in the State,  Aliyu Sule, who gave the statistics, described drug abuse in Lagos as alarming.

According to the NDLEA, sixteen million Nigerians abuse cannabis also known as hemp. No fewer than ten million others use one narcotic drug or the other while about seven million are cocaine/heroin addicts.

Drug abuse, NDLEA says, is increasing the number of mentally deranged youths, school drop-outs as well as HIV/AIDS infections due to drug injection.

Above all drug-related violence, terrorist acts, and drug induced crimes like rape; murder, armed robbery and suicide are easily done when under the influence of drug.

In all of these, methamphetamine business seems to be booming and more Nigerians are taking to the illegal and dangerous trade.









North Carolina experienced a record number of methamphetamine  lab busts in 2013, according to N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper.

In all, 561 “labs” were discovered  and disbanded statewide by law enforcement. Western North Carolina’s westernmost counties accounted  for 62 of them, an increase from 55 such labs discovered in the region a year ago.

According to  Cooper, much of the credit for the increase of busts goes to advanced tracking systems utilized  since the passing of the 2005 Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act, which regulates, among other  things, the over-the-counter sales of products that include ephedrine and  pseudoephedrine.

“Investigators now have at their fingertips information that can help them find and  stop dangerous meth labs by tracking buys of the drug’s key ingredient,” Cooper said.

For the past  year, most North Carolina pharmacies have participated in building a 23-state database of  pseudoephedrine purchases known as the National Precursor Log Exchange, which helps law enforcement  track frequent buyers of the drugs used to make meth. The program also helps pharmacies cut off  excessive sales of the drugs to individuals.

In North Carolina, state law restricts anyone from  buying more than two packages of pills containing pseudoephedrine at a time, or more than three  packages a month.







A missing half-ounce of methamphetamine reportedly was the catalyst for a man accused of committing aggravated assault against two women and a police officer.

Daniel Moreno, 33, has been arrested by Lubbock police for aggravated assault against a public servant and two additional counts of aggravated assault in the beating of two women Friday, Jan. 17.


Moreno was shot by LPD Officer Daniel Merritt after allegedly pointing a gun at Merritt.

According to information released in a warrant, Moreno believed Sara Garcia, 33, and Cynthia Hernandez-Ramirez, 39, had stolen some meth from him earlier in the day when his truck was parked in front of Hernandez-Ramirez’s house.

Police say Garcia told them Moreno came to her house in the 2400 block of Avenue U and pointed a gun at her. He is accused of ordering her into his truck and making her drive to Hernandez-Ramirez’s home in the 3300 block of Duke Street.

In Garcia’s statement, she told police she ordered Hernandez-Ramirez to tell Moreno where the meth was. The two women began fighting and Moreno is accused of hitting them both with his guns — a revolver and a semiautomatic pistol.

Not only is Moreno accused of pistol-whipping the women, but police say he fired two shots inside Hernandez-Ramirez’s home. Witnesses outside the home told police they heard the shots.

Garcia told police Moreno grabbed her hair and dragged her outside. This is when Merritt arrived and a confrontation between the two men ensued.

Police and witnesses say Moreno refused to drop his weapons. A witness told police Moreno pointed a gun at the officer before the officer shot Moreno.

Merritt and another officer gave Moreno first aid for the gunshot wound he suffered on the left side of his torso, according to the warrant He was transported to University Medical Center for treatment.

Officers checked the home for other assailants and victims, but found no one. Hernandez-Ramirez was located a few blocks away with lacerations, police say. She was treated at UMC and released.

Garcia was treated at UMC for a fractured jaw and lacerations on her lower chin.

LPD spokesman Sgt. Jason Lewis said Merritt has been placed on administrative paid leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation, which is standard procedure.

Lewis said he was unsure when a ruling would be made on the incident. It will depend on the number of witnesses and reports investigators will have to sort through, he said.

A-J Media was unable to obtain a current mug shot of Moreno because he is still hospitalized. His last local arrest was in 2005 for a traffic violation.







It was half past ten in the morning on January 5, 2005, the thermometer just a few degrees above zero, and a Newfoundland named Bear was cruising the neighborhood. No way that dog should be loose, particularly in such bitter cold.

Toler had just left his house on a quiet street in Lakewood, headed for a Kinko’s to do some copying, when he saw Bear wandering at the end of the block. He’d met the dog the previous summer when he’d gone over to the house of Charles Repenning, his 82-year-old neighbor, to pick up some misdelivered mail. Repenning had turned out to be a friendly old gent — and very fond of his Newfie.


Charles Repenning received medals for heroism in World War II and renown in later years as a paleontologist.
Nick Savajian (top left) promised cash and meth to burglars Richard Kasparson (right) and Mike Wessel — and testified against them as part of a plea deal.
A judge ordered a new murder trial for Michael Mapps because of attorney misconduct.

Now Toler parked his truck and walked the dog back to Repenning’s house. He rang the bell, banged on the door. No answer. He walked around to the back of the house and found that a gate had been left open, providing Bear a means of escape. A window from the back door was lying cracked on the ground.

Then he noticed something even more disturbing. The house’s electric meter had been removed and was sitting on a picnic table. An electrician by trade, Toler knew that was one way to cut off the power. He quickly spotted other snipped and dangling cables and wires, including the phone line.

He pulled out his cell phone and dialed 911.

Two officers from the Lakewood Police Department arrived within minutes. After noting pry marks on a deadbolt and other signs of forced entry, they went inside. The place had been ransacked — drawers missing from dressers, cabinets wide open, papers and knickknacks scattered everywhere.

In a bedroom, under a heap of blankets beside the bed, they found the body of an elderly man. His hands were bound with a telephone cord. There was a sock stuffed in his mouth and a bandage wrapped tightly around his eyes, nose and lips, blocking his ability to breathe. He had suffocated while his killers went about their frantic business, helping themselves to his belongings and leaving a mess behind.

Charles Repenning had cut a wide swath through life. He had been a soldier and a prisoner of war, a scientist and an adventurer. He’d traveled extensively in the Southwest and carved a name for himself in paleontology as a leading authority on fossil rodents. Despite his age and declining health, he’d still been engaged in his voluminous scholarly writing and publishing when the home invaders abruptly ended his journey.

Repenning was accustomed to taking the long view, debating with his colleagues the circumstances surrounding the rise and fall of an entire species. But the investigation of his murder provided a glimpse of an entirely different world, one whose inhabitants care nothing about the past and even less about the future — a netherworld of addicts and dealers, where the long view doesn’t extend beyond what can be smoked or snorted right now.

By the time the case went to trial — actually three separate murder trials — it had become a lurid story of meth and death, with odd overtones of the hit crime drama Breaking Bad. Just like on TV, the Repenning case featured a criminal mastermind, Michael Mapps, who seemed like an ordinary family man and businessman but had a talent for cooking exceptionally potent methamphetamine. And, as in the series, the story line involved a motor home that may have contained lab equipment as well as damning evidence stolen from the Repenning home.

But was Mapps really a kind of Walter Whie? The narrative that pegged him as the “mastermind” of a horrendous crime began to break down shortly after Mapps was convicted by a jury of felony murder in 2006. Evidence that had never been presented at trial made its way, five years later, to a hearing in Jefferson County. District Judge Dennis Hall threw out the murder conviction and ordered a new trial, finding that Mapps’s own attorney had “engaged in improper conduct” in the case by removing and then replacing evidence.

Hall’s ruling was still under appeal when Mapps, who was also serving time for manufacturing meth, died in prison last year. He never got his new trial; it’s possible the verdict would have been the same if he had. But his death leaves several unanswered questions, a puzzle of teeth and vertebrae and bone fragments that can’t quite be assembled into a coherent form.

Members of the Mapps family, who fought doggedly to win him a new trial, insist that he was more of a fall guy than a ruthless drug lord. “That’s not who my dad was,” says the defendant’s son, Ben Mapps. “He was fucking up, making some bad choices. But he wasn’t killing people or setting people up to get killed. He’s not the guy they painted him to be at all.”


Charles Repenning acquired many unusual artifacts and keepsakes over the course of his long and eventful career. It was no easy task to determine the full scope of what had been plundered from his house because his interests were so diverse. Most of the objects that went missing had far more personal significance than monetary value; every piece, it seemed, had a story behind it. The stolen items were evidence not only of a crime, but also of the character of their rightful owner, a testament to his travels and passions and insatiable curiosity.

Among the things that were taken:

Minerals and rocks. Growing up in Oak Park, Illinois, Repenning developed an early interest in geology. As a teenager, he’d set up a museum in the family attic, displaying tables of rocks and fossils he’d found, complete with hand-lettered explanations of their significance.

Several firearms, including a prized German Luger. Repenning served in the 104th Infantry Division in World War II. In late 1944, he was wounded in battle, captured and sent to a stalag in northern Germany, then assigned to work on a farm. In the final, chaotic weeks of the war, he escaped his captors and headed west. Along the way he collected a number of Nazi souvenirs, including the Luger and a ceremonial sword. “Rep,” as he was known to colleagues, never talked much about his wartime experiences, but he wrote sixty years later about learning compassion for the enemy: “It took me two weeks of constant combat to realize that those guys shooting at me had to live in the same mud and snow that I did.”

One Bronze Star, one Purple Heart. Received for military service.

Navajo rugs, Hopi kachina dolls and other Native American pieces. In 1948, Rep began working for the U.S. Geological Survey, producing geologic maps of the Four Corners region and visiting remote areas of reservations in Arizona and New Mexico. His work helped to identify key fossil deposits and led to a wealth of later research.

Numerous bones, teeth, and entire skeletons of creatures great and small, current and extinct, meticulously catalogued and exhaustively studied. In 1955 Repenning moved his family to California. He continued to work for the USGS but also pursued graduate work in paleontology, picking up a master’s degree but never completing his doctoral dissertation. He became renowned for using the fossils of small mammals, particularly rodents, as an aid in reconstructing prehistoric eras. He also studied large seals and demostylia, a long-extinct order of aquatic mammals, and was known to bury dead zoo animals — zebras, emus, even an elephant limb — in his back yard so that he could study their bones.

Books, maps and personal papers. Repenning and his wife divorced in 1982, and he relocated to Lakewood two years later. Despite a growing array of health problems — a stroke, emphysema, lung cancer — he continued to work for the USGS well into the 1990s and was only semi-retired at the time of his death, still deeply engaged with his fossil collection and research library.

A few of the items taken, such as the guns and rugs, certainly had some cash value. Many others had scientific value but no commercial worth; they would be prized only by someone who understood what they were. But the ransacking of the home suggested a much more indiscriminate crew, scooping up whatever they thought might be worth a buck. The police also discovered that a vacant home next to Repenning’s had been hit that same night, the power cut in the same fashion; not finding much to steal, the thieves had tried to make off with the dishwasher. This was no meticulous, professional heist. It was brutal and sloppy, the destruction of a life and desecration of its history by ravenous, careless predators.

How careless became apparent in a matter of hours.


The morning of the murder, not long before Toler called 911, a neighbor across the street had seen two men going in and out of the Repenning house, loading up a red truck and Rep’s SUV. The men left distinctive shoeprints in the snow.

The face of one of the suspects was captured on an ATM camera in Arvada when he tried to use the victim’s bank card later that day. The stolen SUV, a 1991 Mitsubishi Montero, turned up in Denver a few days later.

But the big break in the investigation came three weeks after the murder. An employee of Table Steaks, a pool hall in Edgewater, overheard two men arguing about a burglary and an old man who’d been killed. One of the men had filled out a job application, providing his name and address.

On the afternoon of January 27, 2005, Lakewood detective Mike Rushford knocked on the door of a south Denver home occupied by Richard Kasparson and his wife, Ginny. Rushford explained that he was investigating a burglary. Kasparson said he didn’t know anything about it. Rushford studied the man’s shoes and asked him to lift up a foot so he could see the tread pattern.

Kasparson was soon in custody, his shoes seized as evidence. A search of his home turned up boxes of stuff that had clearly been taken in the burglary, including prescription-drug bottles with Repenning’s name on the labels. Rushford showed Kasparson a picture of his own pasty face captured by the ATM camera while he was trying to get cash with Repenning’s card.

Kasparson didn’t have much to say. His wife did. Like many in their circle, she and her husband had been out of work for months and were daily meth users. She admitted pawning a camera and a pair of binoculars her husband had brought home and said if the police wanted to know more about where the stuff came from, they should talk to the couple’s friend, Mike Wessel. Wessel had recruited her husband to join him in a burglary, saying he knew someone who would pay them in cash and meth for the goods.

Wessel owned a red truck, similar to the one seen by Repenning’s neighbor. The police picked him up at his home in a Thornton trailer park around midnight. A small-time thief and meth-head who’d been busted for prowling other trailers in the park and even for stealing dog toys, Wessel knew he was in over his head. He began to cry. Then he boo-hooed a confession.

Wessel said his neighbor, Nick Savajian, had approached him about making some money. Savajian had met Repenning months earlier while doing roofing work at the house next door; he’d trimmed some branches for the old man, been invited into his home, and seen a lot of cool stuff. There were a bunch of things Savajian wanted from that house and thought he could quickly convert into money and meth. Savajian told him “that the old man would be no problem because he was eighty or ninety years old,” Wessel said.

Kasparson agreed to join Wessel in the operation. He and Ginny dropped by Wessel’s trailer on the night of January 4, 2005. They smoked weed and meth with Savajian, and then Wessel and Kasparson took off, saying they were going dumpster diving. They drove to Lakewood, cut the power on the vacant house just west of Repenning’s residence and helped themselves to what they could find. They brought the stuff back to the trailer, where Savajian took one look at the crappy haul and told them they’d burgled the wrong address.

Even though it was now morning, the pair drove right back to Lakewood, armed with better directions. They checked out the Repenning garage first. Then Wessel went into the house through a basement window while Kasparson fiddled with the back door. Wessel helped himself to guns, a stereo, an Indian rug, paintings, bones and curios from cabinets. He met Kasparson at the top of the stairs, and the two of them went to find the old man. Hard of hearing and taken by surprise in bed, Repenning still proved to be more of a problem than they thought. The elderly war veteran struggled with them and managed to seize a .25 Beretta from his nightstand. It took both of them to disarm him and tie him up.

By Wessel’s account, he was only in the room a few moments. It was Kasparson, he suggested, who was supposed to go back and untie the homeowner as they were leaving. But Ginny Kasparson would later testify that she overheard the two burglars accusing each other of causing Repenning’s death: “One of them said, ‘You killed him.’ And the other one said, ‘No. Bullshit. You did.'”

Hours after arresting Wessel, police visited Savajian’s trailer. They found Navajo rugs and other items linked to the burglary. They found Savajian a few days later. He was 26 years old, unemployed, with no prior felony record. His wife had recently left him, and he lived in his mother’s trailer with his three kids. He denied any part in the burglary, saying he’d just bought a few items from a neighbor.

Under Colorado’s felony-murder statute, a person who commissions a crime that results in a homicide is just as guilty as the killer. Savajian sat in jail for almost three months, staring at the possibility of life in prison. And then, just as Ginny Kasparson had rolled on Wessel and Wessel had rolled on him, Savajian decided to do some rolling of his own. His attorney arranged a meeting with police and prosecutors so that Savajian could explain that he was just a middleman in the deal — and willing to testify against the guy who set it all up in exchange for a plea agreement that would take the first-degree-murder rap off the table.

The dude they wanted, Savajian told them, was Michael Mapps, a 52-year-old Arvada resident who ran his own construction company. Mapps also cooked meth, real kickass stuff that had a purple tinge and the consistency of wet sugar and sold for a hundred bucks a gram, more than double what you’d pay for the usual homemade devil dust. The man collected guns and oddball antiques and had occasionally traded meth for stolen property that Savajian had ripped off from estate sales. Mapps had been with Savajian when he was invited into Repenning’s home; in fact, Mapps’s ex-wife lived on the same block.

In the weeks leading up to the burglary, Savajian had been trying to raise money to help his father, Gregg, who was in jail in Jefferson County and was facing a long stretch for allegedly soliciting the murder of a sheriff’s deputy over a bad haircut. (Gregg Savajian ultimately got a 24-year sentence in the case.) Nick Savajian wanted to sell his dad’s motorcycle, but first he had to retrieve the title, which Mapps was holding because the older Savajian owed him money. According to Nick, Mapps told him he could have the title in exchange for guns, Nazi memorabilia and a few other items they had seen at Repenning’s house.

Nick Savajian had promised Wessel and Kasparson dope and cash for the items. He insisted that he’d told them to do the burglary when the old man wasn’t home. A few hours after the thieves showed up at Savajian’s trailer with the goods, he said, Mapps came by to settle up, collecting the guns and a Nazi sword and handing over $1,500 and an eight-ball (about three grams) of meth; Savajian kept some of the cash and dope and handed the rest to Ginny Kasparson, to divvy up among the others. A few weeks later — and only hours before Kasparson was arrested — Savajian and Mapps had gone to Kasparson’s house to pick up more items.

On May 5, exactly four months after the murder, a SWAT team executed a no-knock warrant at Mapps’s house in Arvada. They found Mapps and a girlfriend in a cramped bedroom; on the wall was a poster of Al Pacino as the coke-dusted gangster in Scarface. They seized several items suspected to have come from the Repenning burglary and a modest but functional meth lab in the attic, including flasks, beakers, hydrogen peroxide, dozens of packs of pseudoephedrine pills, lye, muriatic acid — and 65 grams of the finished product, the cook’s signature killer purple crank.


Susan Mapps still has the handwritten note, scrawled on the top of a cardboard box her brother gave her years ago.

Hey Sue, I really don’t have any excuse for missing your birthday…once I get on the whisky train the exterior world ceases to exist for me. It has nothing to do with my love for you. We are the exiles of one family and we both deal with it in our own way, there are different ways to check out, it’s obvious how I do it…enjoy this belated gift from your only true brother because it comes from my heart and I know you will transform it into something beautiful. Michael

Inside the box was a bobcat skull and pelt that Michael had picked up at a biker swap meet. Sue liked to paint, turning such humble remains into decorations with a Southwestern flair. Her brother liked to collect quirky things, old tools and antique furniture and elephant figurines; when they were kids growing up in Golden, he was the one who found arrowheads when they went exploring on the Table Mountain mesas.

“Mike was a unique person,” she says, and points at an elegant stained-glass sculpture, a mask with the features of an owl, sitting on a shelf in her apartment. “He made that in prison. That’s all from him. It didn’t come out of a book.”

Susan Mapps has always felt a special bond with her older brother. She was two years old, her brother six when their parents divorced. “We were kind of the throwaway kids,” she explains. “We didn’t fit into either parent’s new family.”

Michael looked out for her, she says, telling her it was the two of them against the world. After high school, he became a master carpenter and started framing houses, eventually starting his own company, Mapps Construction, which had contracts at the Lakewood Federal Center for years. He married and started a family. But he was also an alcoholic and a drug addict, in and out of rehab several times over the course of his adult life.

Sue says her brother was sober for years at a time, but then old habits and old associates would drag him down again. She took care of him for weeks after one drinking bout left him almost dead, shaking with tremors and barely able to crawl to the bathroom. The situation deteriorated further as he began messing around with — and eventually manufacturing — methamphetamine.

His sister wasn’t exactly standing in judgment on the sidelines. Although she’s been clean now for a decade, Sue Mapps knows more than she ever wanted to about the tweaker world. She lived with her brother for a time and did her own checking out. “When you start doing it, it’s fun,” she says. “But it’s a very addictive drug. I always say that, after a while, I didn’t do drugs; they did me. People in the meth world become very scandalous. My brother had his own house, his own business, but after work, people would end up hanging at his house, getting high.

“And here’s the thing about meth. You start using it, and you learn how to clean it up to make it better. You either end up with someone who cooks, or you learn how to do it yourself.”

Sue knew meth-heads who would go to work ripping off cold tablets for cooks or otherwise ingratiate themselves, eager to ensure a steady source of supply. Michael Mapps preferred to make his own and sell the surplus. It was a small operation — the amount of meth seized in the raid on his home was a little more than two ounces — but one that drew plenty of scandalous people to the Mapps house and caused a serious rift with his sister.

One sore point was Mike’s long-running friendship with Gregg Savajian. Sue suspected Savajian, whom her brother had provided with construction jobs and shelter, of ripping off his benefactor’s drugs and cash. But her brother accused Sue of being the thief. “He didn’t believe me,” she says. “He believed Gregg. We got into a huge fight. He said, ‘Gregg has my back.'”

Mapps and Savajian eventually fell out over other squabbles. Mapps had put up money for Savajian to purchase a motor home to live in; when Savajian stopped making payments on the loan, Mapps took the RV away. But he continued to “look after” Savajian’s son Nick, who was also a regular meth user, by trading him dope for furniture or art objects. Sue and other family members acknowledge that Mapps must have known that most of the goods he traded for were stolen, but they say he avoided buying anything that might attract police attention. A neighbor recalls Mapps screaming at Nick Savajian one time that he should take his “hot” merchandise and get out of his house, so loudly that she could hear him from her front porch.

Ben Mapps says his father had no reason to commission a burglary: “He wasn’t hurting for money. He just collected stuff.”

A year and a half before the burglary, Ben was working with his father when the two of them, along with Nick Savajian, were invited into Repenning’s home. He recalls that it was Nick, not his father, who was awed by all the “cool stuff” the paleontologist showed them. “Nick talked about trying to get that stuff forever,” he says. “He loved antiques. He’d say, ‘I want to go rob that place so bad.'” But Ben, who’d grown up with Nick, didn’t think he was serious.

In 2003, Sue Mapps was arrested for drug possession and sentenced to prison. When she came out two years later, she was placed in a halfway house. She was determined to make a better life for herself, and her parole officer strongly discouraged any contact with her brother Mike, whom she hadn’t spoken to since she went away. “He was pretty wrapped up in the meth world when I came out,” she says.

But blood is blood. After finding work as a cashier, Sue called her brother and arranged to meet for lunch. He never showed up. He’d been arrested that morning in the raid on his house and was soon facing murder charges.

Sue couldn’t believe it. Her brother was no angel, but he wasn’t crazy enough to send men like Kasparson and Wessel, whom he’d never met, to Repenning’s place — especially when his own ex-wife and kids lived across the street. As far as the Mapps family was concerned, Nick Savajian had to be making the story up as he went along, in order to shave decades off his own prison sentence.

Phone records show that Savajian left numerous brief messages on Mapps’s cell phone hours before and right after the burglary — proof, prosecutors maintain, that Mapps was in on the planning. But Savajian frequently called Mapps to trade goods for dope, and Mapps frequently ignored the calls. Ben Mapps was at his father’s house the morning Repenning was killed and recalls nothing unusual, other than the fact that “my dad’s phone kept ringing and ringing.”

“I guess if you were part of it, you’d be waiting for that phone call, not sitting there not answering while someone’s blowing up your phone,” he says. “Personally, I think Nick planned it, and he was telling these guys he could get rid of all of it, that he could trade it all for drugs. It didn’t work out like that.”

Michael Mapps retained criminal defense attorney Gary Fielder, who brought on board a co-counsel, David Suro. At trial the pair focused on shredding the credibility of the state’s star witness. “The prosecution’s entire case is going to come down to the word of a 26-year-old methamphetamine addict, methamphetamine dealer, admitted burglar, admitted murderer, who’s going to come in here and lie to you to save his own skin,” Fielder declared in his opening statement.

Savajian had already testified against Wessel and Kasparson, helping to secure life sentences for both. But Fielder hammered away at aspects of his story that just didn’t make sense. Savajian claimed that Mapps had specified what he would pay for items from the burglary in three brief phone calls amid the flurry of voice-mail messages on January 4. But none of the calls were longer than thirty seconds. Was it possible to plot a fatal crime that way?

Just what Mapps did pay, what he received and what he knew about the circumstances of the crime didn’t add up, either. Contrary to Savajian’s account, Ginny Kasparson testified that she and the others didn’t receive any cash, just meth, when Mapps showed up at the trailer park hours after the burglary. According to Savajian, he and Mapps didn’t learn that Repenning had died until a news report the next morning, at which point Mapps “said he had to get all the things out of his house.” Yet Mapps agreed to go with Savajian to pick up more items from the burglary at Kasparson’s house three weeks later — odd behavior for someone who didn’t want to be caught with evidence of a homicide.

The prosecution’s case didn’t rest solely on Savajian’s testimony. There were the phone records and the witnesses who saw Mapps picking up his goods at the trailer and Kasparson’s house. And there were the items seized from Mapps’s house, and other property seized from the RV that Mapps had taken away from Savajian’s father — a wealth of evidence that appeared to establish his complicity in the crime.

Yet even the physical evidence wasn’t quite what it seemed. Sitting in the courtroom, Sue watched in amazement as the prosecution presented nine items taken from Mapps’s house that had purportedly come from the burglary. One was a tripod with a U-shaped crotch that Sue had used for years to support a telescope, now misidentified to the jury as a surveyor’s tripod (which has a flat platform). Another was a horse jawbone that the victim’s son, William Repenning, testified had been kept in a cabinet in the Repenning home and had been a favorite plaything of Rep’s grandchildren. But Sue and others were prepared to testify that this particular jawbone had been in Mike’s possession for twenty years, ever since he and his wife found it on a river-rafting trip in the 1980s; there was even a photo that clearly showed the piece in Mike’s house, taken by police at the time of Sue’s arrest in 2003 — two years before the burglary.

Mapps and his family believed they could dispute the provenance of every one of the items taken from his house; they begged his lawyers to challenge that evidence. But Fielder and Suro were reluctant to alienate the jury by getting into a wrangle with the victim’s son over particular items. What was the point? Nobody was denying that Mapps had received stolen property. Even if it could be established that the items from the house didn’t come from the burglary, there was still the material recovered from the RV — several large boxes of rodent bones and other items that unquestionably belonged to Repenning, and one box that contained business cards and other paperwork of one Michael Mapps.

Fielder told Mapps and his family not to worry. The only evidence that Mapps had planned the burglary, rather than being an accessory after the fact, came from the unbelievable Nick Savajian. This was a “slam dunk,” he said. He was so confident that, after a brief quizzing of Detective Rushford about the phone calls, the defense rested without presenting any witnesses of its own.

The jury was out a day and half. It found Mapps guilty of felony murder in the first degree, which carries an automatic sentence of life without parole, as well as second-degree burglary and criminal solicitation. A few weeks later, Nick Savajian, who’d pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, was sentenced to sixteen years; he will be eligible for parole in 2016.

It would be months before Sue discovered certain details of the case the jury never heard about, including incriminating statements made by an alternate suspect and critical information about the boxes found in the RV.

It would take another five years to get a judge to listen to that story.


Life with her drug-addled fiancé had been an ordeal for some time for Jamie Reese. But if she had to pick a moment when it all got too strange to bear, it was probably the night that he freaked out while watching the news.

It was in early January 2005. Reese and her boyfriend, John Gossett, were lying in bed in their Arvada home, watching television. Then a story came on about an elderly man who’d been robbed and murdered in his home in Lakewood. Gossett leaped to his feet, clutching his head in his hands, as if someone had just driven a nail into his skull.

“Oh, my God,” he moaned. “Oh, my…God.”

Reese asked what was wrong. She followed him as he rushed out of the bedroom. “Please tell me you had nothing to do with this,” she pleaded.

Gossett ignored her. He left the house minutes later, not returning until five the next morning. Reese suspected he was seeing another woman, or maybe just getting high. A 43-year-old ex-con with a record of drug and gun charges in several states, Gossett was a regular user of meth, cocaine, heroin and Oxycontin — and, in Reese’s view, getting hinkier by the day.

It hadn’t always been like that. When Reese first met Gossett two years earlier, he had a thriving business installing windows and doing home remodels, often working with his best friend, Michael Mapps. But then Mapps and Gossett had started cooking meth. Really good meth. And the other business seemed to take a back seat to the parties, the yammering and paranoia, the endless procession of pipe-snatching tweakers. It was all pretty much downhill from there.

After the murder of Charles Repenning hit the news, Reese saw less and less of Gossett. She knew he was keeping things from her. Reese heard Gossett talking crazy on the phone, ranting about heists he was going to pull and people he was going to kidnap.

In February, a retired bail bondsman and part-time mechanic named David Frisco visited Gossett’s home in the company of Michael Mapps. Frisco had agreed to replace the clutch in Gossett’s truck and had come by to collect some cash for parts. Gossett told Frisco he wanted to show him something.

Gossett retrieved a large box from a closet and told Mapps and Frisco he was looking to “unload” some things. He produced a Luger and several daggers. Frisco wasn’t interested.

Frisco towed away Gossett’s pickup, fixed it, and then called to make arrangements to return it. But Gossett asked him to hold on to two large plastic tubs sitting in the back of the pickup, as he had no place to put them. Frisco stored the containers in his garage.

Mapps was arrested in May. Gossett soon moved to Florida, where he was building a house. As it turned out, Frisco had property there, too, and looked up Gossett when he was there in December. The men met for drinks at a bar north of Tampa. Agitated, Gossett suggested they adjourn to his truck and smoke a joint. Once there, he broke down and told Frisco he’d made a mess of things, getting involved in a dope deal with a Florida undercover cop. He was out on a six-figure bond and headed for prison. Again.

“It’s bad,” he said, “but it ain’t near as bad as Mike. He’s the one that’s really jammed up.”

Much to Frisco’s surprise, Gossett began sobbing. He insisted that he should be in jail, not Mapps. “I hired two junkies and they fucked up,” he said. He talked about going back to Colorado, holding a gun to Nick Savajian’s mother’s head and telling her that if her son testified against Mapps, she’d be killed.

Frisco told Gossett he should have his head examined. He immediately wished he hadn’t said it. He could see the butt of the Luger poking out of a towel on the floor of the truck. Maybe this wasn’t a good time to comment on his host’s mental stability. The conversation ended soon after, and Frisco slipped away.

A few weeks later, Gossett was dead, after a rampage that made national news. He fired at Osceola County deputies during a routine traffic stop and, fleeing on foot, panicked shoppers at a nearby Walmart by charging inside, gun in hand. He stole a car, ditched it in a suburban neighborhood and jacked another, crashing into several other vehicles. He commandeered a golf cart, then shot a bartender in a Bennigan’s parking lot in an attempt to obtain another car. While SWAT officers evacuated businesses and sealed off a section of highway south of Orlando, he barricaded himself in a white Malibu and turned the gun on himself.

Reese believed that Gossett had died clutching terrible secrets, that her ex-lover knew more about the Repenning burglary than he would ever admit. “I loved John very much,” she says now. “But the last year we were together, he became somebody I didn’t know. I wouldn’t put anything past him.”

Shortly after his death, she went to the Arvada Police Department and described how Gossett had reacted to the TV report of the murder. She also visited Mapps in jail and told him what she’d seen. But no investigator from the police or Mapps’s defense team ever contacted her.

Two months before Mapps went on trial for murder, Frisco met with detectives at the Lakewood Police Department. He brought with him an attorney, a private investigator and a blue plastic storage container filled with books, fossils, minerals, a sword with an “SS” symbol, drawings of German military uniforms and other materials linked to the Repenning homicide.

Frisco told them he’d forgotten about the containers in his garage that Gossett had given him until shortly after his suicide. When he realized what they were, he explained, he knew they had to be turned over to the police.

The containers became part of the pile of evidence introduced against Mapps at his trial. But Frisco himself was never called to testify by either side. His story just didn’t fit with anyone’s theory of the case.

Re-interviewed by detectives, Savajian insisted that Gossett wasn’t involved in planning the crime at all. Savajian said he’d been present when Gossett had bought the Luger and a Nazi saber from Mapps shortly after the burglary. But in Frisco’s account, Gossett had been trying to sell spoils from the burglary to Mapps, not the other way around.

If you believed Frisco’s story, then Savajian had lied to the police about who planned the burglary — possibly because it was safer to finger Mapps than someone as violent and scary as Gossett. Now he was stuck with that story, even though Gossett was dead.

It just didn’t fit.


Many of the items taken in the Repenning burglary, including the Luger and other guns, were never recovered. Once in the hands of addicts, the loot was scattered far and wide. Some pieces turned up in odd places months after the thieves were arrested. The blue tubs Gossett left with Frisco were one kind of mystery. The boxes found in the RV were another.

Mapps kept the RV and another vehicle on some property in Arvada owned by a friend, Lisa Hicks. He paid Hicks a hundred dollars a month to store them in her driveway. It was an arrangement that made Hicks increasingly nervous — especially after Nick Savajian came by one time, insisting that the RV belonged to his father and should be turned over to him.

In July 2005, a few weeks after Mapps was arrested, Hicks went into the RV; she would later tell police that she was looking for title work that would identify the legal owner. Sitting on a bunk were half a dozen large boxes of what turned out to be mostly bones and fossils. She opened one and saw a Kachina doll and a slip of paper that had the name Repenning.

Hicks didn’t know who put the boxes there. She knew it wasn’t Mapps; her roommate had seen two younger, shorter, “scruffy” types hauling the boxes into the RV months earlier. Not sure what to do, she called Fielder, Mapps’s attorney.

Fielder showed up that evening with a private investigator and examined the boxes. Much to Hicks’s surprise, the attorney and his P.I. put them in their cars and whisked them back to his office.

Fielder held on to the boxes for several days, during which time he apparently consulted other attorneys about what he’d done. Then he had his investigator put them back in the RV. Upset, Hicks notified the Repenning family and the police that the victim’s property was in the RV, and the police seized the boxes a few days later. Neither Fielder nor Hicks ever told the police or the prosecution about the boxes being hustled to and from Fielder’s office.

Hicks was called as a prosecution witness at the Mapps trial. She was combative and uncooperative, invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when asked if Mapps paid her money to store the RV. “Nobody wants to know the truth,” she said. Fielder left her cross-examination to co-counsel Suro, who kept it brief and avoided any questions about the removal and replacement of the boxes.

“I’m sorry for this unpleasantness,” Suro told her.

“It’s okay,” Hicks shot back. “You can post my bail after I’m arrested.”

Sue Mapps learned about Fielder’s secret visit to the RV several months after the trial, from a Hicks acquaintance. As she saw it, the incident explained much of what had baffled and frustrated her about Fielder’s trial strategy, including his reluctance to challenge the evidence found in the RV; too many questions might expose what he had done. “Gary was protecting himself at my brother’s expense,” she says. “He put my brother in for life because he had to save his own ass.”

Mapps’s new attorney, Tom Henry, sought to overturn his conviction based on a claim of ineffective counsel. Fielder had not only failed to impeach witnesses or put on a defense, he argued, but the lawyer had tampered with evidence. At a two-day hearing in 2011, Hicks testified that Fielder had told her not to tell anyone about his visit to the RV. Fielder denied it.

Mapps’s daughter and ex-wife testified about a meeting with Fielder’s private investigator months after the trial, during which he told them that he and Fielder had “wiped down” the boxes to remove fingerprints before returning them. On the stand, Fielder and the investigator denied doing any such thing.

Fielder maintained that he had set out to preserve evidence, not destroy it. Hicks had given him the impression that people were harassing her and trying to break into the motor home — either to steal the boxes or in search of Mapps’s meth-making equipment. “I didn’t feel comfortable calling the police on my own client,” he told Judge Hall. “To this day, I think I did the right thing.”

Michael Bender, the recently retired chief justice of the Colorado Supreme Court, once wrote an article for lawyers on incriminating evidence titled “What to Do With a Hot Potato.” The article discusses a “look but don’t touch” approach and urges attorneys to voluntarily disclose such evidence to the proper authorities, possibly by bringing in another lawyer to contact police — an option Fielder said he’d considered.

“As an officer of the court, I cannot be complicit in a felony,” says Henry, who took over Mapps’s case. “I cannot hide evidence. In that situation, I believe I have an obligation to tell Lisa Hicks to contact an attorney immediately and follow that attorney’s advice.”

Judge Hall found that Fielder’s actions had possibly tainted the evidence — the police were unable to recover any fingerprints off the boxes — and had created a serious conflict of interest in his defense of Mapps. “The jury was not provided with a complete picture of the circumstances in which the boxes were found,” he wrote. “The conflict of interest created by Fielder’s misconduct affected defendant’s trial.”

Hall ordered a new trial, but the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office appealed his ruling. (The office declined to comment on the case for this article because the current DA, Peter Weir, was the judge who sentenced Mapps to life in prison.) The Colorado Court of Appeals decision affirming Hall’s order was even more scathing in its appraisal of Fielder’s conduct. The evidence against Mapps, the justices noted, was far from overwhelming and relied heavily on the testimony of other participants in the crime. That the boxes had been removed and replaced was “highly relevant” to the case, and Mapps’s chances of acquittal had been harmed by Fielder’s “actual and undisclosed conflict of interest” with his own client.

Contacted recently, Fielder still defends his actions. “That was a long time ago,” he says. “I’ve matured since then. Whether I would have done it any differently now, I don’t know. It’s so easy to say, ‘Call the police.’ But when you’re talking about a man’s life, and you honestly think someone is coming to take or destroy the evidence, I felt it was my duty as an officer of the court to protect it.”

Fielder denies that he hid or tampered with evidence in the case. “Obviously, by holding the box, I could have covered up or smeared some other person’s fingerprints,” he notes. “But that was the extent of it. [Mapps] had business cards in there — how easy would it have been for me to take those cards and put them in the trash? That would have been destroying evidence.”

As for failing to disclose his conflict of interest to his client, Fielder says he met with Mapps at the jail shortly after he replaced the boxes and told him what he’d done; Mapps acknowledged that he knew the boxes were in the RV, he adds. But Henry and Sue Mapps dispute both claims, insisting that the defendant never knew about the box caper before the trial.

Mapps contacted the Supreme Court’s Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, which investigates complaints of attorney misconduct. Fielder received a private sanction, meaning that the disciplinary action is confidential. He says his punishment consisted of a two-year “diversion” program, which typically involves taking some ethics and legal-education classes. Although the state has a compensation fund for clients injured by the “dishonest conduct” of their attorneys, the Mapps family was unsuccessful in recovering any portion of the $107,000 they had paid for Fielder’s defense work; the administrators of the fund found that the claim didn’t meet their criteria.

Mapps was still awaiting his new day in court when he died of complications from hepatitis C last June. Shortly after his arrival in prison, he’d learned that he had the bloodborne virus, typically acquired through intravenous drug use. One of the most common causes of chronic liver disease, hep C can lie dormant in the system for years before wreaking havoc. The state of prison health care, especially for lifers, may have contributed to his demise, but it was as if the choices Mapps had made years before had finally caught up with him.

Other inmates sent eulogies to his family to be read at his memorial service, describing him as avuncular and generous, a man of honor and integrity and — even rarer inside — a man of empathy. Not the qualities you’d associate with a criminal kingpin who cooked up poison in his attic, a poison with the uncanny ability to inflict misery in all directions, among the innocent and the damned alike.

In a victim-impact statement filed with the court, Jeanne Repenning Forsberg described her father as a man of honor and integrity and, yes, empathy. He was also a born storyteller. One time, she wrote, he came across a wolf with a paw clamped in a bear trap in Navajo country: “He looked into the wolf’s eyes for a long time and then cautiously reached forward and released the trap. He and the wolf ran for their lives in opposite directions…

“My father insisted that we learn to look into the eyes of strangers and see their humanity. It may not save our lives, but it will save our sanity and our souls. My father was more afraid of losing his sanity than of death. I wake up at night hoping he kept his sanity as he fought to breathe in his final moments, and wondering what he saw as he looked into the eyes of the man who chose to kill him.”








INDIANA (WIFE) – Indiana lawmakers, including State Representative Wendy McNamara of Posey County, are introducing a meth cleanup bill.

If house bill 1141 is passed, lists would be kept of all properties affected by meth manufacturing.
Property buyers would also have to be notified if the home they are buying is on that list, and they would also be able to see if the home had been decontaminated.
McNamara says she’s hopeful the bill could be passed in a year.

Terrorist groups are profiting as part of a money-laundering operation  involving the hundreds of millions of dollars Australians  spend  on illegal  drugs.

The revelations come as Australia’s biggest money-laundering probe, Project  Eligo, has identified hundreds of unwitting Australian residents being duped  into helping launder the drug money overseas, including funds generated by  outlaw motorcycle groups and people-smuggling operations.


The money-laundering investigation has uncovered 40 separate money-laundering  operations across Australia that are involved in moving hundreds of millions of  dollars in drug money offshore.

The operation has so far seized $26 million in dirty cash, restrained $30  million of houses and other assets funded by drug money and intercepted drug  shipments totalling more than  $530 million dollars.

  It’s understood that dozens of ”exchange houses” or money-laundering  centres in the Middle East and Asia are then used to wash and distribute the  money to overseas crime bosses.

It is believed at least one of the exchange houses used in the Australian  operation delivers a cut from every dollar it launders to Lebanese militant  group Hezbollah, whose military wing has been proscribed in Australia as a  terrorist organisation.

Last year, the US government identified two Lebanese exchange houses, Kassem  Rmeiti and Halawi Exchange, as drug money cleaners financing Hezbollah.

Taskforce Eligo has for at least 12 months been monitoring the businesses  behind the movement of drug money from Australia. The process has led to the  identification of almost 130 serious organised-crime figures previously unknown  to law-enforcement agencies.

The revelations about the taskforce come with the federal government planning  to revamp the nation’s asset confiscation and unexplained wealth regime.  Most  state governments and police forces are failing to back a push from federal  agencies to fully utilise seizure powers.

One senior police source said that while Australia was good at tracking and  freezing drug money heading overseas, it struggled to do the same thing to  proceeds of crime locally.

Acting Australian Crime Commission operations manager Col Blanch said the  taskforce investigation had tracked ”people-smuggling money …  and bikie  money”. Most of the funds moved involve the proceeds of drug trafficking.

A major impediment to the local struggle against organised crime has also  been significant cuts made over the past three years to the ACC budget, forcing  it to rely on the resources of other agencies.

Mr Blanch said that due to the scale of the operation, his agency had to call  for the help of state and federal police and the US Drug Enforcement  Administration.

”The amount of money and targets overwhelmed us. So all the agencies had to  come working together.

”We saw this network of people whose job was to deliver money to banks,” Mr  Blanch said. ”It was just never ending. We were regularly finding bags of  $500,000 and $400,000.”

In one case, the ACC tracked a Mexican man working for a South American  syndicate travelling to a property at Diggers Rest in rural Victoria. There,  Vietnamese drug distributors were to give the Mexican a large amount of cash to  be laundered offshore.

”People are paying ridiculous prices for drugs. The South Americans are  obviously realising the potential for large profits,”  Mr Blanch said.

One of the ways drug money can be laundered offshore involves crime figures  targeting Australian residents – mostly foreign nationals and students – who are  expecting a foreign bank, remittance service or business overseas to send money  into their local account. Instead of this occurring, the crime figures deposit  Australian drug money into the bank accounts of the unsuspecting victims and  request money from the the bank or business overseas.

The scheme usually needs trust-based informal banking, remittance and  exchange house services – commonly found in Vietnam, China and the Middle East –  to be infiltrated by money-laundering networks.

Mr Blanch said that people in Australia needed to be aware their bank  accounts could be exploited in such a fashion.

”We are trying to educate these innocent people. If we have new arrivals in  the country, we want to educate them. If they are moving their money this way  you risk being exploited by serious organised criminals.”

Another scheme involves the identification cards of foreign students being  copied and used to set up local bank accounts.

”We have found the students have been remitting large amounts of money when  they are not even in Australia.”










A Newfield woman was charged with felony unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine after a report of a possible meth lab at her home.

The Tompkins County Sheriff’s deputies were called to 43 Rowell Hill Road in Newfield on Saturday and confirmed a possible meth lab was present, Sheriff Ken Lansing said in a news release on Tuesday.

Krystle Bain

The Sheriff’s Office obtained a search warrant for the residence on Sunday through the Town of Newfield Court. With the assistance of the New York State Police CCSERT Team, the meth lab was disassembled safely on Sunday, according to the sheriff’s office news release.

Krystle Bain, 31, of 43 Rowell Hill Road, was arraigned on the felony drug charge in the Town of Newfield Court and sent to the Tompkins County Jail in lieu of $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond, according to the news release. She was still at the jail Wednesday evening.

Members from the Town of Newfield Fire Department and Bangs Ambulance were on scene for safety precaution.







It wasn’t hard to read Nikki Cain’s facial expressions.

A happy thought would still trigger her smile.

Make her angry, and the corners of that same mouth would turn suddenly downward.

And a song on the radio, stirring old memories, might even elicit some tears.

52df7bc419178_imageNikki Cain, a former Tulsa substance-abuse counselor who was left brain-damaged from a meth lab fire at her apartment complex in 2009, died Jan. 6. She was 60

But beyond her face, for the past five years Cain had no way to say what she was feeling.

“She was basically a person locked in her body,” said Deborah Morris, her cousin and caregiver.

A former drug-abuse counselor in Tulsa, Cain had been injured in 2009 in a fire at her apartment complex.

The blaze, started by a meth lab, destroyed part of the complex and left two uninvolved people dead.

Cain, who also wasn’t involved, was rescued, but smoke inhalation left her with severe brain damage.

Just like that, Cain’s life as she had known it — and the promising career she had begun — were over.

Cain, who had spent the years since the fire moving between hospital and nursing home, died Jan. 6. She was 60. Chelsea Funeral Home in Chelsea handled arrange-


Details about a public memorial service, to be held March 9, the fifth anniversary of the fire, will be announced later.

As a counselor at Tulsa Rightway Medical, Cain had worked with recovering addicts.

Helping them stay clean while improving their life skills, she was known as easygoing and positive and was admired for her rapport with her patients.

“They told us that several of the people she had counseled were just devastated by what happened,” Morris said.

A stay-at-home mother for many years, Cain, who held a bachelor’s degree in psychology, had only recently joined the workforce.

“She felt like she had found her niche” in counseling recovering addicts, Morris said.

Cain loved her job so much, Morris added, that she had been making plans to enter a master’s degree program at Northeastern State University.

Seeing her once-vibrant, active cousin, who enjoyed kickboxing and other athletic activities, reduced to life on a feeding tube was hard, Morris said.

But with Cain’s death underscoring the importance of her former work, Morris hopes that memories of her life will also leave lasting lessons.

She believes that Cain would want addicts to realize that “this is what happens when you do this. You don’t think about the consequences for innocent people and their families.”

Mark Roberts, who was cooking meth in a neighboring apartment and who officials believe started the fire, was convicted of manufacturing or attempting to manufacture a controlled dangerous substance — methamphetamine — and is now serving a life prison sentence. He was acquitted of murder and arson.

Cain, a native of Cushing and a graduate of Cushing High School, is survived by her daughter, Stephanie Birdsong, and two grandchildren.







ELIZABETHTON — Police recently charged the parents of a dead 8-month-old child with attempted aggravated child abuse after tests revealed they had exposed the infant to methamphetamine, police said Wednesday in a news release.

Jeffery McLaughlin, 26, and Stephanie Bowman, 22, were arrested Friday following an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of the child on Nov. 20.


Police and Carter County Emergency Medical Services were called Nov. 20 to the couple’s home at 1277 Bluefield Avenue, Apt. G-4, because the infant was unresponsive.

The child later died, and police and the Department of Children’s Services began an investigation into the circumstances and conditions surrounding the death. Investigators found evidence indicating meth use by both McLaughlin and Bowman. Additional testing performed on the deceased infant also revealed evidence to support that the infant had also been exposed to methamphetamine, police said.