It’s not his first rodeo,” said Carter County Sheriff Milton Anthony as he talked about the joint investigation Wednesday that netted 58-year-old Steven Watterson on methamphetamine charges.

Watterson was taken into custody without incident when narcotics officers with the Carter County Sheriff’s Department and Ardmore Police Department served a search warrant at his O Street NE residence.

“Both departments were receiving tips from concerned citizens,” Anthony said. “Those tips resulted in the joint investigation that ended with the search warrant and Watterson’s arrest.”

The sheriff confirmed investigators recovered plastic baggies containing “a crystal-like substance that field tested as meth” during the execution of the search warrant. He added the investigation showed “he had been at this for some time.”

Court records indicate it wasn’t that long ago that Watterson was collared in a similar case. In fact, he was free on a $60,000 bond and is facing an April 30 trial for possession of methamphetamine and illegal possession of a firearm, charges which he garnered in September following his arrest by APD. And, his arrest six months ago only added to his criminal history, which includes prior drug and drug-related convictions spanning two counties.

Charges based on his Tuesday arrest were filed by the district attorney’s office Wednesday. Those charges include possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possession of methamphetamine after former conviction. Watterson made an initial appearance before Special District Judge Thomas Baldwin in Carter County District Court Wednesday afternoon. Bond on the current charges was set at $50,000. A preliminary conference is set for April 22.

Anthony described the repeated offenses in this case as typical behavior for those submerged in the drug culture.

“This is a perfect example of why it is so important we have the cooperation of citizens who observe first hand what is going on in their neighborhoods, and want drugs taken off the streets and roads throughout the county. We have to have information that gives us probable cause to investigate, like the tips that were called in in this case. It’s what not only enables us to carry out investigations, but get results,” Anthony said.

Late Wednesday, Carter County Detention Center records indicated Watterson remained incarcerated pending the posting of bond or the outcome of the new charges against him.




CONNERSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) – Officials with the Indiana State Police say two Connersville men were arrested on felony charges Thursday after officers discovered a meth lab in an apartment building.

Officers executed a search warrant in the 100 block of East 5th Street in Connersville. At the building, officers found a methamphetamine lab and chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine.

ISP officials arrested 22-year-old Chhoeun Dalton and 21-year-old Rudolph Knight. Dalton is facing charges of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of precursors, possession of methamphetamine and maintaining a common nuisance.

Knight was charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of precursors and maintaining a common nuisance.

The Indiana State Police are reminding the public that anyone with information about illegal drug use should call the Indiana State Police Drug Tip Line at 1-800-453-4756. Tips can be made and kept anonymous.



Guam – Crime on Guam is on the rise and law enforcement officials are constantly combating the war on drugs. Customs and Quarantine Agency officers are stepping up efforts to stop illegal drugs from making it out to the streets.

In 2013 Customs officers confiscated more than $15 million worth of crystal methamphetamine preventing the drugs from hitting the streets of the island. “Customs has seen an increase in the amount of seizures that we have discovered of illegal substances, illegal drugs at the various ports of entry,” explained Customs spokesperson Johnric Mendiola.


The agency is mandated to protect Guam’s ports of entry and ensure contraband and illegal drugs don’t make it in.  Officers are located not just at the Guam International Airport Authority and the Air Cargo Facility, but the Commercial Port, the Agat and Hagatna Marinas, the Guam Main Facility post office and Andersen Air Force Base.  Mendiola says as officers have been more vigilant, criminals have gotten more creative with trying to hide the drugs they’re trying to bring in, noting, “Guam is not immune to the different types of concealment that is being used worldwide so we are doing our very best to keep up with the smuggling trends and to pass that information to our officers so that it can be used in our interdiction and detection inspections.”

In recent months crystal meth and marijuana have been hidden in broomsticks, cakes, candles, stereo speakers, t-shirts, and candy just to name a few.  Mendiola says the 20 recent graduates have had a tremendous impact on operations and the seizure of more drugs but law enforcement personnel know that a significant amount of drugs are still finding their way onto the streets.  That couldn’t be more evident than the going rate for a gram of crystal meth.

He added. “Based on the amount of illegal substances that are coming in the price on the street for methamphetamine in particular has fallen from $800 a gram a couple of years ago to reports of a gram selling between $350-$500 a gram.”

The more readily available drugs are, the cheaper they are.  The more difficult, the more expensive. Customs has been working with their local and federal counterparts and doing all they can to ensure the island is safe but Mendiola says they can’t do it without help from the community. “Wwe ask the community that if they have any information about contraband, drug smuggling into Guam that they can contact Customs officers at 642-8071/72 – that number is manned 24 hours a day,” said Mendiola.



BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Graciela Salazar once worked as a police dispatcher.  She lost her job and was separating from a troubled relationship while raising five children.


“I was a single mom with five kids and trying to figure out how I was going to put food on the table,” said Salazar.  Then she started smoking methamphetamine.

“It helped me escape from whatever problem was going on at the time,” she said. Salazar also ended up homeless.

By all accounts, methamphetamine use in Kern County continues to grow.  It is the drug of choice and it is cheap to buy on the street.  According to a county study, up to 39 percent of all felony prosecutions in Kern County include methamphetamine offenses.  Approximately one-third of emergency room patients at Kern Medical Center have used methamphetamine.  And well over 50 percent of substance abuse treatment admissions in Kern County are for methamphetamine-related disorders.

“Communities have become I would say almost hopeless and in despair around the drug problem,” said Lily Alvarado, Assistant Director at Kern County Mental Health.  Alvarado is also executive director of Kern Stop Meth Now, a collaborative county-wide effort that works with communities to fight the meth problem.

“One of the things that we’ve been really excited about is partnering with the sheriff’s department.  We are delivering treatment right inside the Lerdo jail,” said Alvarado.

The goal is to empower communities by making use of as many resources as possible, including faith based groups and educating families about breaking the cycle of drug use.

The group meets on a quarterly basis at the Kern County Mental Health Department, 3300 Truxtun Avenue.  The next meeting is scheduled for April 28 at 10 a.m.

Graciela Salazar has been clean since 2005.  After hitting bottom, the key for her was getting and staying in treatment.  Salazar now works as a substance abuse counselor for the Kern County Hispanic Commission which works with clients dealing with alcohol and drug abuse issues.

“I’m the one who created this mess … and I needed to take responsibility for my own actions,” she said.



LONG BRANCH — Two Long Branch residents were charged with possessing methamphetamine and intedening to distribute it with 1,000 feet of a school, according to court documents released Thursday.

Maida Wilson, 26, of Second Avenue, was charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of the Audrey W. Clark Elementary School. Wilson also was charged Wednesday with possession of more than half an ounce of methamphetamine and with possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, according to court documents.

Bilall Scurdy, 20, of the 200 block of Long Branch Avenue, was charged with possession of more than half an ounce of methamphetamine within 500 feet of the Long Branch Senior Center, according to court documents Thursday. Scurdy was also charged Wednesday with possession of methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of the Clark school, according to court documents.

Both had bail set at $187,000 with no 10 percent option, according to the documents and both remained in the Monmouth County jail in Freehold Township Friday, according to the jail website.



WAUSAU — Charges were filed Thursday against six out of eight suspects arrested after police discovered a major methamphetamine distribution ring at a Weston hotel and at a home on Wausau’s west side.

Everest Metro police on Tuesday found the drugs packaged for resale in the hotel room along with scales and drug packaging items, a Marathon County Sheriff’s Department news release said. Police did not say how they were tipped off to the operation.

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David M. Brogli, 34, of Kronenwetter and Chelsea M. Sauter, 20, of Athens were arrested at the hotel and were charged Thursday in Marathon County Circuit Court. Sauter faces of possession of amphetamine with intent to deliver, maintaining a drug trafficking place and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. Brogli faces charges of possession of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana. Both were ordered held on cash bonds.

Antron Lamaine Allen, 29, of Wausau was arrested on preliminary felony charges of possession of amphetamine with intent to deliver and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. Allen is jailed on a probation hold; official charges are expected to be filed Monday.

The name of the hotel was not disclosed.

After the hotel bust, the Special Investigations Unit was called in to assist in a second raid — this time at a home in the 1000 block of S. Sixth Avenue in Wausau, where additional drugs were seized. When police arrived at the home, Thong Pathoumvanh, 53, threw an “8-ball of meth out a window; the meth landed at the feet of an officer,” Marathon County Assistant District Attorney Elisabeth Gramer said.

Pathoumvanh, of Wausau, appeared Thursday on charges of possession of methamphetamine, maintaining a drug trafficking place and three counts of bail jumping. He was ordered held on a $15,000 cash bond.

Also arrested at the Wausau home were 22-year-old Amanda Bartlett, 21-year-old Gabrielle S. Campo and 22-year-old Dimitri Walters, all of Wausau, according to the complaint. All three face charges of possession of methamphetamine and are being held on cash bonds.

Bartlett, who has two young children, tried to hide more than 5 grams of methamphetamine in her bra and underwear before she was arrested, Gramer said.

The total value of the drugs seized is estimated at more than $12,000, Marathon County Sheriff’s Lt. Gary Schneck said.

The name of the eighth suspect was not released.

The Special Investigations Unit, which spearheads most major drug investigations in Marathon County, comprises officers from Marathon County Sheriff’s Department, Wausau Police Department and Everest Metro Police Department.

YORK – Krista JJ Shultz, 22, has been accused of numerous charges after the York County Sheriff’s Department investigated reports that she was selling methamphetamine at the Sun Motel at the Henderson interchange.

Shultz appeared in York County District Court this past week, where she pleaded not guilty to all counts against her.

She is charged with possession of methamphetamine with the intent to deliver, a Class 2 felony that carries a possible maximum sentence of 1-50 years in prison; theft by receiving stolen property with a value less than $200, a Class 2 misdemeanor; and accessory to a felony, which is a Class 3A felony that carries a possible maximum sentence of five years in prison.

A trial was set for June 24.

She is currently in jail with a $10,000, 10 percent bond.

Her attorney, York County Public Defender Nancy Waldron, told Judge James Stecker her client “has ties to York County, was working at the Henderson motel and would like to go to a rehabilitation facility. She is asking for a decrease in the amount of her bond.”

“Initially, her bond was $50,000, 10 percent,” argued Deputy York County Attorney Benjamin Dennis, “which was based on the seriousness of her crimes. But it was lowered on the condition that she is not to have contact with her co-defendant who has been wanted in Hall County for a long period of time. In late January, the sheriff’s department received information that they were living in the motel and selling methamphetamine there.”

Dennis indicated the co-defendant has since disappeared and hasn’t been located since.

“The state’s position is that she has no intention of honoring that agreement and she is a flight risk,” Dennis said. “Rather than a bond reduction, I think it is appropriate for the bond to be raised back up to $50,000.”

Judge Stecker left the bond where it was and she was remanded back to the custody of the sheriff’s department.



YORK, SC (WBTV) – Investigators in York County discovered two methamphetamine labs on Thursday.

The first one was discovered around 2 p.m. at a home on the 500 block of Daves Road in York, according to Commander Marvin Brown of the York County Multijurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit.

The home was vacant and the lab was inactive and by-products were in the back yard. The hazardous materials crew were called out to collect the chemicals.

Brown said the second lab was discovered around 5 p.m. on the 1900 block of Twin Lakes Road in Rock Hill.

The lab was an active one-pot lab and discovered upon execution of a search warrant.

Officers had received information of the resident, Jason Jordan, manufacturing methamphetamine, Brown said.

Jason Keith Jordan, 40, is charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and trafficking methamphetamine.

Officers recovered 70 grams of liquid methamphetamine.

The hazmat crew were called out to collect the chemicals.

Brown said this makes 10 meth labs found this year in York County.

Last year at this point the count was 3 meth labs.



Three Clallam County residents are in federal custody after federal and local law enforcement agencies broke up an alleged methamphetamine distribution center on Feb. 23.

Sequim’s Timothy Smith and his alleged co-conspirators Kelsey Davis, of Sequim, and Tammy Coburn, of Port Angeles, are charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, four counts of distribution of methamphetamine and maintaining drug involved premises.

Federal officers worked with the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office and other local agencies to shut down alleged meth dealing. Smith and his cohorts have been under investigation since February 2012 and on multiple occasions the trio sold methamphetamine to undercover law enforcement. He also sold methamphetamine on multiple occasions in the summer of 2013 at his “Sellin’ Style” car dealership on Old Blyn Highway.

Smith and Davis were arrested on Feb. 23 after being stopped by a Washington State Patrol trooper over the Hood Canal bridge. Smith sped off at speeds nearing 100 mph while weaving in and out of traffic. He also threw a suspected bag of 1.6 pounds of methamphetamine out his window before he hit spike strips.

Coburn was at large before turning herself in on Feb. 26.

The arrests ran in conjunction with a larger investigation of a drug trafficking ring of heroin and meth in Pierce County where 13 others were arrested and face a minimum of 10 years in prison if convicted.

The investigation uncovered a conversion lab in Spanaway where liquid meth was processed into highly addictive crystal methamphetamine.

Smith, Davis and Coburn are being held in SeaTac. Davis had her preliminary hearing on Monday, March 10, where the judge found probable cause to move forward.

Their future court dates are to be determined.

The Sequim case was investigated by the FBI, ATF, DEA and Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Task Force (OPNET) with officers from Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Port Angeles Police Department, Sequim Police Department, Neah Bay Department of Public Safety, Elwha Klallam Police, LaPush Police, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Border Patrol, the Washington Department of Corrections, Washington State Patrol and the West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team (WestNet) which has officers from the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and Poulsbo Police Department.




SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Authorities have arrested 29 people on federal drug charges involving the manufacture and sale of opiates.

Law enforcement agents served search warrants throughout Spokane early Thursday. They were searching for evidence that people with ties to Spokane, California, Idaho and Nevada were selling ecstasy, oxycodone, methamphetamine and PCP.

A task force of FBI agents, Spokane Police and Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies have been investigating the alleged drug ring for more than a year.

Court documents say 39 people were indicted, and 26 of the people arrested had Spokane addresses.



U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized 42 pounds of methamphetamine and 412 pounds of marijuana in separate incidents Tuesday.

A 43-year-old female Mexican national was arrested Tuesday for attempting to smuggle 412 pounds of pot worth nearly $206,000 in her SUV through the Port of Douglas, CBP said.

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The drugs were seized and the driver was referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

In a separate incident, an 18-year-old man from Mexico was arrested for attempting to smuggle 42 pounds of methamphetamine valued at nearly $654,000 through the Port of Nogales, CBP said.

During an inspection of the man’s vehicle officers found 27 packages of meth in the quarter panels of his SUV. The vehicle and drugs were seized and the suspect was also referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.



Two Great Falls residents were arrested this week after a hair sample from their 8-month-old infant tested positive for methamphetamine and THC.

Anthony Freeman, 31, and Sarah Hamrick, 28, each face felony child welfare endangerment charges as a result of an investigation conducted by the Russell Country Drug Task Force.

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According to arrest documents, Freeman told law enforcement that he and Hamrick smoked a “good amount” of meth, including in their residence on some occasions when children were present.

They reportedly told officers they used meth in a back bedroom away from their children, and said their baby-sitter must have exposed the child.

According to documents, the couple knew the baby-sitter was a methamphetamine addict and had at times given her the drug as payment.

Hair samples from three other school-age children in the home tested negative for meth, documents say.

Both Freeman and Hamrick were expected to make their initial appearance in Cascade County District Court on Wednesday.

Prosecutors have asked that they each be held on a $5,000 bond.



A passenger in a car found illegally parked Tuesday night near an intersection in north Vallejo was arrested on suspicion of transporting and selling methamphetamine, police said.

Jamondre Ventez James, 36, of Vallejo, was a passenger in the Ford Mustang parked on the wrong side of the road near Corcoran Avenue and Arrowhead Drive, American Canyon Police Chief Tracey Stuart said. The car also lacked at least one license plate and blocked the intersection, she said.

James, who had a warrant for his arrest, had an open vodka bottle in his lap, Stuart said. During a search, an officer found 18 grams of suspected methamphetamine in James’ jacket, police said.

James was booked into the Napa County jail on suspicion of selling and transporting methamphetamine, Stuart said.



ROCHESTER, Ind. (WLFI) – Warrants served Wednesday night in Fulton County led to the arrests of five people and the discovery of an active methamphetamine lab.

Indiana State Police said that Wednesday night an arrest warrant was served on Eugene Dovich, 24. Dovich was arrested at his home in Rochester for a parole violation. He was taken to the Fulton County Jail with no bond.

State police said officers then went to a home on E. Ninth Street in Rochester searching for Chans Baumgart, 22, and James Clark, 25, both of Rochester. The pair was wanted on active arrest warrants for parole violations. Clark and Baumgart were located and taken into custody without incident.

Police said while officers were at the residence they observed drug paraphernalia in plain view. After officers obtained a search warrant, they said methamphetamine, an active methamphetamine lab, drug precursors and drug paraphernalia were all found on the property.

In addition to Clark and Baumgart, Erin Honeycutt, 23, and Timothy Williams, 29, were arrested at the home. All four were transported to the Fulton County Jail on multiple drug-related charges.

The five individuals were arrested of the following preliminary charges.

  • Chans Baumgart: warrant for parole violation, possession of an illegal narcotics lab, conspiracy to manufacturing methamphetamine, and possession of methamphetamine
  • James Clark: warrant for parole violation, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Timothy Williams: possession of illegal narcotics lab, conspiracy to manufacturing methamphetamine, and possession of methamphetamine
  • Erin Honeycutt: possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Eugene Dovich: warrant for parole violation


A 27-year-old Napa woman was arrested Monday during a welfare check at her residence in the 100 block of Calaveras Court, where police officers found her in bed and a suspected methamphetamine pipe on her nightstand, according to Napa Police. Suspected methamphetamine was in the bowl of the pipe, police said.

The officers were dispatched at 6:15 a.m. after Velazquez’s estranged husband told Napa Central Dispatch he had been knocking on her door and calling her to return their children and she had not responded.

Officers forced entry into the residence after making numerous attempts to reach Nancy Velazquez, who is also known as Nancy Larios, police said.

Velazquez was determined to be under the influence of a controlled substance, police said.

Velazquez was booked into the Napa County jail on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and being under the influence of a controlled substance, police said.



SOUTH HAVEN, MI — A Holland man is facing multiple drug charges after he was pulled over and found to be high on drugs with methamphetamine in his vehicle.


Police pulled over Thomas Spangler, 27, after he pulled into a driveway at 72nd Street and County Road 378 in Covert Township that “he did not have any lawful reason to be at,” according to a news release from the Van Buren County  Sheriff’s Office.

When the deputy talked with Spangler, he showed signs of being under the influence of drugs. After some field sobriety tests, he was arrested for drugged driving.

Deputies then searched the vehicle and found methamphetamine, materials to manufacture meth, marijuana, and 45-caliber ammunition.

He also was found to have a suspended license and outstanding warrants for his arrest out of Ottawa County and Berrien County.

Spangler was arrested on charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated on methamphetamine, operating/maintaining a meth lab, possession of marijuana, and various traffic misdemeanors.



SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (AP) — The death of a 35-year-old Iowa man after a Nebraska traffic stop in November has been blamed on methamphetamine.

Dakota County Attorney Kim Watson says a grand jury has found that no crime was involved in the death of Matthew Ahlsten, of Sioux City. Watson said in a news release Wednesday that autopsy tests showed Ahlsten died as a result of methamphetamine toxicity. His death was ruled an accident.

Ahlsten was a passenger in a vehicle pulled over by the trooper on Nov. 3. Ahlsten soon suffered a seizure and became unresponsive. Officials say he died before he could be taken to a hospital.

Dakota County Sheriff Chris Kleinberg has said the vehicle driver didn’t know Ahlsten and was merely giving him a ride.



Tulsa County sheriff’s deputies intercepted more than $4 million of heroin, ice and cocaine and arrested a Florida man after seizing a tractor-trailer rig early Thursday.

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Restituto L. Morales, 51, of Homestead, Fla., was arrested near 31st Street and Memorial Drive shortly after midnight after authorities determined “a semi involving the shipment of narcotics would be arriving in Tulsa,” said Maj. Shannon Clark.

Deputies found 42 pounds of heroin valued at $3 million; 27 pounds of crystal methamphetamine or ice worth nearly $600,000; and 33 pounds of cocaine, or $500,000 worth, inside the truck, Clark said.

“After the narcotics are cut and distributed to low-level narcotics dealers, the estimated value is four to six times this amount,” he said.

Investigators also expect to seize two houses, which were used for dealing the drugs, as part of the probe.

Clark said the shipment was apparently being delivered to “replenish the large quantity of heroin that was recently taken off the streets.”

A multi-agency task force in December netted six arrests, 4.4 kilograms of heroin with an estimated value of $700,000, close to $128,000 cash, three vehicles and 27 cellphones as part of an ongoing investigation, according to U.S. Attorney Danny Williams’ office.



LONG BRANCH — Bilall Scurdy, 20, of the 200 block of Long Branch Avenue was charged this week with possession of more than half an ounce of methamphetamine within 500 feet of the Long Branch Senior Center, according to court documents Thursday.

Scurdy was charged Wednesday with possession of methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of the Audrey Clark Elementary School, according to court documents.

Scurdy was charged with possession of marijuana under 50 grams and possession of a digital scale with residue, according to court documents.

Bail for Scurdy was set at $187,000 with no 10 percent option, according to court documents. Scurdy remained in the Monmouth County Jail in Freehold Township Thursday night, according to the jail website.

The Asbury Park Press asked police for a photo of the suspect, but they refused. State law allows authorities discretion in releasing suspect photos, but they often refuse to do so, saying they are prohibited by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

SOUTH BLOOMINGVILLE — Two South Bloomingville residents were arrested Tuesday after an investigation by members of the Hocking County Sheriff’s Interdiction Unit of a possible methamphetamine lab at their residence on state Route 56 in South Bloomingville.

Megan L. Ruff, 26, and Brandon H. McNichols, 30, was arraigned in Hocking County Municipal Court Wednesday on numerous charges associated with the alleged production of methamphetamine.

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Ruff is charged with two second-degree felonies of illegal assembly of chemicals to manufacture drugs and illegal manufacture of drugs. She also is charged with endangering children, a felony of the third-degree.

McNichols is charged with two second-degree felonies of illegal assembly of chemicals to manufacture drugs and illegal manufacture of drugs, as well as two third-degree felonies of weapons under disability and endangering children.

The couple was charged with endangering children due to the manufacturing of methamphetamine in the residence in the presence of a 6-year-old child.

McNichols was charged with weapons under disability for possessing firearms after being convicted of a criminal offense that prohibits the possession of firearms.

According to Hocking County Sheriff’s Office, upon arrival at the residence, SIU members found materials to produce methamphetamine such as pseudoephedrine and prescription pills in various containers.

Detectives from the Fairfield-Hocking Major Crimes Unit responded to the scene to neutralize several active methamphetamine labs discovered during the search of the home.

Ruff and McNichols remain incarcerated in Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail, each under a $40,000 recognizance bond and a $40,000 appearance bond. If they should make bail, they are to have no contact with the 6-year-old child or each other.

In addition to the SIU investigation, the Ohio State Wildlife Department responded to the scene to investigate illegal harvesting of deer.

The investigation was conducted with the help of SIU, Fairfield-Hocking Major Crimes Unit, Ohio State Wildlife Department and Laurelville Fire Department.

A preliminary hearing for the couple has been scheduled for 1:45 p.m. Monday, March 17.



QUINCY, ILL. — Social agencies across Western-Central Illinois came together to learn about the effects of methamphetamine on children at the second annual All Our Kids Summit.

“Adams county was the number one county with the highest number of meth busts in the whole state of Illinois so its just something we continually deal with on a regular basis,” Alison Ketsenburg, All Our Kids Coordinator, said.

Methamphetamine not only affects the ones using, but the unseen victims as well.

This year’s theme at the All Our Kids Summit was the effect of methamphetamine on children.

“Oh absolutely it affects all areas, it affects them at school, at home life, peers, on into later life and their employment status later on,” Jackie Bruns, Area Director for the Quincy Catholic Charities said.

More than a dozen agencies came together to learn how they can reduce the trauma the methamphetamine can have on youth.

Quincy Public Schools were one of the agencies present. They state they start looking at the children in early childhood classes. If they believe a child is being exposed to methamphetamine they do multiple home visits to determine if the child is in danger. They look outside and inside the house to look for meth-making materials.

Dr. Kate Sheridan, the keynote speaker, says the drug especially affects children in rural areas.

She says the lack of resources contributes to the problem.

“One would be the availability of treatment for  methamphetamine and also because of the geographic location, so there are some counties in areas of the country that are in drug primary trafficking routes,” Dr. Kate Sheridan, Assistant Professor  in the School of Social Work at Illinois State University said.

And Adams County is near one of those routes.

Dr. Sheridan says a way to help children is by making resources accessible and available.

“We tend to tap into resources of the other agencies that are here counseling services, alcohol abuse, get them connected with community support that type of thing,” Bruns said.

They all agree that to break the downward cycle methamphetamine creates, you must show that you care.



Officers with the Lexington County Multi-Agency Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET) on Wednesday, March 12 seized a methamphetamine laboratory that was being operated at a home on Seleta Circle near Lexington.

Officers arrested five men and one woman on charges that they operated the methamphetamine laboratory that officers found at the home.

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Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts said NET officers arrested Joe Cecil Clark, 19, of  Gilbert; Charles Walter Huggins, IV, 24, of Leesville; Lakisha Rachelle Shealy, 18, of Aiken; Carl William Smith, 45, of Lexington; Terry Wayne Smith, Sr., 59,  Lexington; and Terry Wayne Smith, Jr., 34,  Lexington.

Officers arrested Clark and Shealy on charges of manufacturing methamphetamine, possessing methamphetamine and simple possession of marijuana, Metts said.

Officers arrested Carl Smith, Terry Wayne Smith, Sr., and Terry Wayne Smith, Jr., on charges of manufacturing methamphetamine and improperly disposing of waste from a methamphetamine laboratory.

Officers arrested Huggins on a charge of manufacturing methamphetamine.

Clark was being held on bail totaling $10,620, Metts said. Shealy was being held on bail totaling $3,620.

Huggins was being held on a $5,000 bond, Metts said. Carl Smith, Terry Wayne Smith, Sr., and Terry Wayne Smith, Jr., each were being held on  bail totaling $10,000 for each man.

At about 4:22 p.m. on Wednesday, NET officers went to a home on Seleta Circle in order to investigate a tip that methamphetamine actively was being manufactured at the residence, Metts said.

Carl Smith, Terry Wayne Smith, Sr., and Terry Wayne Smith, Jr., live at the home. Officers found one reaction vessel at the residence that actively was being used to manufacture methamphetamine.



They don’t call the nerve centers behind Mexican cartels’ massive meth ventures “super labs” for nothing. Unlike explosive shake ‘n bakes and toothless backwoods operations, which at best can produce about an ounce of the highly addictive psychostimulant in 24 hours, one Mexican meth super lab can crank out 10 pounds of “ice”—the most potent form of meth—every day.


That is a lot of high-grade meth, the clear stuff revered for looking quite like actual crystals. And it’s this capability to quickly produce ice en masse, coupled with a close proximity to a regional market long steeped in the meth trade, that has Mexican ice flooding portions of the American Southeast, just one of the end points of a globe-spanning underworld of meth trafficking.


Take Gulfport, Mississippi, the second largest city in the Gulf Coast state. Untold “hundreds of kilos of ice” have turned up in Gulfport over the past few years, as the Associated Press reports. Much of this product traces back to certain Mexican crime syndicates and their respective superlabs, according to Daniel Comeaux, head of the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s Gulfport office. By his count, around 20 Mexican cartel members have been pinched in ice investigations across southern Mississippi alone.


“Drug cartels are trying to infiltrate different states and are setting up cell heads as distributors,” Comeaux told the AP. “That’s what we are seeing here.”


Those cell heads then charge local dealers top dollar (often several hundred dollars per pound) for the stuff, the AP adds. But even lowly drug runners, the very men and women who physically move large quantities of illegal substances from Points A to B to C to D (and so on), quite possibly by “hacking” shipping containers, stand to gain here: In just the last year, a handful of mules prosecuted by US agents said they were individually paid between $3,000 and $5,000 to transport bulk ice shipments to southern Mississippi.


Such windfall profits are pots of gold at the end of a tweaked rainbow, in this case a sophisticated global network of meth manufacturing and distribution forged by Mexican cartels like the Knights Templar and organized gangs in the People’s Republic. Indeed, before they land in Gulfport, there’s a good chance those kilos upon kilos of ice are crystallizing in cartel-run super labs by way of secret precursor labs on the other side of the world, in China.


It might sound almost stranger than fiction, like something that could’ve been fit for Breaking Bad. But then this is China, where Breaking Bad could’ve (should’ve?) been set. We know full well, too, that the Knights Templar, in particular, is shipping iron ore to the People’s Republic in exchange for meth precursor chemicals, which are delivered straight to ports in Lazaro Cardenas and Manzanillo.


So the question, now that the world’s top drug lord has been nabbed in a joint US-Mexico phone dragnet, is not just whether high-power Mexican ice will cast an even chillier cloud over Gulfport and beyond. What will the DEA actually do about it?



The 17-year-old sat in jail last week telling a reporter things were supposed to be different.
Brett Pearson that said instead of being there, he should have been at home having dinner with his parents.  The problem was that he and a friend of his, according to police, had shot and killed his mother and shot and wounded his father.
Why did things go so wrong?
Meth, he told the reporter.

“It’s absolutely heartbreaking,” says Captain Mark Kruger, commander of  the Portland Police Bureau’s Drugs and Vice Division, when he hears the  Pearson story. “Just heartbreaking.”

Kruger’s been an officer in Portland for 20 years. He grew up here and  has seen meth use in the region decline. And he has watched with sadness  and anger as it’s gone back up.

“There is an abundance of meth on the streets,” he says. “There was a  tremendous decline around 2004 when the state removed Sudafed from the  shelves. But that’s a thing of the past.”

Two things changed as a result of the change in state law – people in  Oregon pretty much stopped making meth; meth labs are now virtually  unheard of here and the Mexican cartels got involved.

“The Mexican cartels have gotten involved in a tremendous way,” he says.  “They are making it on an industrial basis and smuggling it in.”
Methamphetamine continues to be highly available and widely used,”  according to the 2013 Threat Assessment and Counter-Drug Strategy  prepared by the Oregon High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task  Force.

Meth “remains the most serious drug threat to Oregon.”
Kruger says it’s as bad now – or worse – than it’s ever been.
And the numbers back him up.
In 2009, the drug and vice squad seized 13,110.6 grams of the drug. By 2012 that number had come close to tripling.
And that doesn’t include what meth is seized by patrol officers.
The federal government does an annual report looking at people arrested  in certain cities – including Portland – around the country and whether  or not they test positive for drugs.
In 2011, the last year for which numbers are available, 23.2 percent of  people arrested in Portland tested positive for meth. The good news is  that it’s down from ten years ago when the number peaked at 27 percent.  The bad news is the number is once again on the rise.
And with meth on the rise, so are meth-related deaths.
In 2004, there were 78 meth-related deaths in Oregon, according to the  state medical examiner’s office. By 2010, the number had grown to 107.  In 2012, the last year for which numbers are available, there were 93  meth-related deaths; down from the previous two years but still roughly a  20 percent increase over 2004.
The HIDTA report notes that a majority of Oregon law enforcement  officers surveyed in 2012 called meth “their area’s greatest drug  threat” and said it is “the drug which contributes most toward violent  crime and property crime.”
The report also says that meth-related crime, “such as ide

ntity theft,  abused and neglected children and other serious person and property  crimes, continues to be a daily problem.”
Kruger says his officers see the effects every day.

“We see it connected to virtually every criminal issue we deal with,” he  says. “From the disintegration of families and child custody issues to  burglaries and assaults, so much of it is traceable back to addiction.  And more and more these days, that addiction is once again to meth.
“People get addicted and commit crimes to fuel their fix.”

Kruger says frequently they are seeing addicts who started out abusing prescription drugs.

“But then they reach the point where their access to prescription drugs  is cut off or they can’t afford it,” he says. “And they turn to what’s  cheaper and more available.”

Kruger says that in addition to the heartbreak of seeing young people  stumble down the road to addiction, it’s also hard to watch the  seemingly endless flow of foot soldiers who are dealing the stuff.

“It’s horrible to watch these people come up from Mexico to deal not  realizing that the cartels who are sending them don’t care about them as  people,” he says. “The cartels send them here knowing that will get  arrested and when they do, they will just replace them.”
Kruger says one of the hardest parts is watching the victories they had a decade ago erode.
“It’s frustrating to see what’s happening,” he says. “But what I do,  what you have to do, is focus on the small victories. I focus on what  disruptions we can cause to what the cartels; focus on what we can take  off the streets.
“It’s so sad when you hear about a young person who has become addicted and has destroyed their life,” he says.”
Like Brett Pearson who, cops say, along with a friend killed his mother and wounded his father.



63-year-old Columbia Falls man facing a felony meth distribution charge was the winner of the $12,000 Montana Lottery “Strike It Rich Bingo” prize announced on March 3.

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John Leon Riggs was arrested by Northwest Drug Task Force agents conducting drug interdiction work between West Glacier and Columbia Falls on Oct. 18, 2013, after his vehicle was stopped for a traffic violation.

The two agents recognized his passenger as Holly Joy Dull, aka Holly Joy Knight, 36, and arrested her on an outstanding warrant.

After she was Mirandized, Knight allegedly agreed to speak without an attorney and admitted to being a meth user. She also allegedly said Riggs had given her some black cases to hold for him, and that illegal drugs were in the vehicle.

The two agents requested a drug-sniffing dog from the U.S. Border Patrol and then requested a search warrant after the dog indicated drugs were present. Syringes containing meth residue, a digital scale and at least nine jewel bags each containing from 0.4 to 1.3 grams of meth were allegedly found by the agents.

Riggs and Knight were each charged with felony possession of dangerous drugs with intent to distribute and face up to 20 years and a $50,000 fine if convicted.

Riggs posted a $10,000 bond on Jan. 7 and moved to an address in Columbia Falls. He was assigned a public defender on Jan. 24, pleaded not guilty on Jan. 30 and was the announced winner of the Montana Lottery prize on March 3. He has an omnibus hearing scheduled for May 7.

Knight remains in the county jail on a $40,000 bond. She pleaded not guilty on Jan. 9, but her public defender was rescinded because she didn’t qualify for assistance.

Knight has long wrestled with meth addiction. She and Jessica Albrecht were arrested near the Old Red Bridge in Columbia Falls on March 11, 2006. According to the arresting police officer, a passenger who turned out to be Knight emerged from a suspect vehicle and began taking her clothes off. The officer ordered her to stop, but her behavior was “unpredictable,” the officer reported.

A search warrant turned up syringes, pipes, 102 jewel bags inside a Ziplock bag, a jewel bag with residue and other drug-related materials. Albrecht allegedly admitted she and Knight were in the process of injecting meth when the officers showed up. Knight allegedly admitted she had been using meth for several years — about a gram per week.

Knight violated her probation conditions both before and after she was sentenced to five years with two suspended in September 2007. With an alcohol relapse and incidences of meth use cited, Knight’s suspended sentence was revoked in October 2011 and reinstated in full.

After completing a nine-month chemical dependency treatment program at the Elkhorn Treatment Center in Boulder in October 2012, Knight petitioned to have the rest of her sentence suspended, but Flathead County District Court Judge Robert Allison turned her down, saying she could apply for parole when she became eligible.