Law enforcement from across the state met last week to honor Tennessean photographer Shelley Mays for her work to expose the scourge of meth in Tennessee.


The Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association met Thursday for its annual conference. During the conference, Mays received the Courage in Journalism award.

The category is a first for the association, according to its executive director, retired Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe. Ashe said Mays’ work helped pave the way for a law passed this spring that set monthly and annual limits on cold and allergy medicines used to make meth.

“She put herself in harm’s way, all of you did, just to tell the story,” Ashe said. “I think because of her efforts we were able to get a meth bill passed.”

Two others were honored at the event: Winchester Police Chief Dennis Young and State Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville. Ashe also credited Young and Hawk with helping to draw attention to the state’s meth problem.




Roseville Police detectives, following up on a Roseville drug case, searched a home in Sacramento and found evidence of methamphetamine sales and identity theft involving scores of victims.  They arrested eight people.  

On August 15, a narcotics detective stopped a car in the 900 block of Parry Street in connection with suspected drug dealing.  They searched the car and the occupants, finding stolen checks and several falsified ID cards using stolen identity information, as well as evidence of methamphetamine sales.   The two occupants of the car were arrested.

Yesterday detectives served a search warrant at the Sacramento home of one of the suspected drug dealers.  They found packaged methamphetamine and other evidence of drug sales, and a large amount of fraudulently obtained personal financial information from victims in Roseville and other areas of the region, including forged ID cards, credit cards, and equipment and materials used to make fraudulent checks and ID cards.  They also found items indicating gang membership.  There were four children in the residence, who were turned over to the care of children’s protective authorities.  Detectives are still combing through the large amount of evidence that was seized, but they estimate they’ve recovered stolen identity information from close to one hundred victims.

The following people were arrested: 

Carlos Aranda, 32 of Sacramento, on suspicion of identity theft, criminal conspiracy, participating in a criminal street gang, and committing a felony while out on bail for another felony.  He’s being held in the Placer County Jail on $75,000 bail.

Victoria Carrasco Lewis, age 49 of Sacramento, on suspicion of identity theft, participating in a criminal street gang, and criminal conspiracy.  She’s being held in the Placer County Jail on $80,000 bail.

Monica Elisa Delacruz, age 33 of Sacramento, on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine for sale, forgery, identity theft, participating in a criminal street gang, and criminal conspiracy.  She’s being held in the Placer County Jail on $50,000 bail.

Sabrina Sosa Padilla-Pimentel, age 30 of Sacramento, on suspicion of identity theft, participating in a criminal street gang, and criminal conspiracy.  She’s being held in the Placer County Jail on $50,000 bail.

Marc Anthony Lucero, age 30 of Plumas Lake, on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine for sale, identity theft, participating in a criminal street gang and criminal conspiracy.  He’s being held in the Placer County Jail on $125,000 bail.

Robert Carrasco, age 51 of Sacramento, on Placer and Sacramento County warrants for possession of methamphetamine and driving on a suspended license.  He’s being held in the Placer County Jail on $2,500 bail.

Ladislao Carrasco, age 44, on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.  He’s being held in the Sacramento County Jail on $605,000 bail.

Victoria Lisa  Lucero, age 52, on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.  She’s being held in the Sacramento County Jail. Her bail isn’t known at ths time.

The Roseville Police Department is committed to combating both drug trafficking and identity theft-crimes that are often connected to each other.  It’s common now for officers to arrest someone for theft or drug possession, and to find them to be in possession not only of drugs but of stolen credit cards and ID.    Thieves will break into cars or steal unattended purses and wallets to support their drug habits, and then collect credit and ID cards from these thefts to use for fraud.    We urge citizens to never leave their purses or wallets in their cars or other unattended places, to closely monitor their bank and credit card activity and call their bank immediately if they notice anything suspicious, to shred financial information before throwing it away, and to review their free credit reports annually.







A Henderson County woman is in custody and her three minor children removed from the home after Kentucky State Police did a welfare check at her residence in the 9000 block of Kentucky 136 East.


According to a KSP report, Trooper Jeven Keding investigated the call and discovered methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. The conditions of the home required the removal of the three children, the report said.

The children were taken to Methodist Hospital for evaluation and placed with a family member. The mother, Lindsey York, 25, was charged with first-degree possession of a controlled substance, first offense/meth, drug paraphernalia buy/possess and endangering the welfare of a minor.

Trooper Keding was assisted by Trooper Shane Settle, the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department, Henderson County EMS and the Cabinet for Community Based Services.






WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) — Police need your help tracking down a man they say used and sold meth. Officers arrested one woman after they say they found her with methamphetamine at the same home. daniela+RIGHT

Waynesboro police arrested an Augusta County woman wanted since mid-June after locating her and a stash of methamphetamine at a city home.

Officers charged 28 year-old Daniela Gertrud Vogel with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. Officers say they found her and nearly $300 worth of meth at a residence in the 900 block of Bridge Avenue on Thursday.

Vogel had been wanted by police after failing to appear in Waynesboro General District Court for a shoplifting charge she received in April. Officers received a tip that Vogel was at the residence where she was hiding out.

After finding and arresting Vogel, officers were allowed to search the rest of the residence. They found the methamphetamine, used syringes and digital scales in a bedroom being used by Vogel and her acquaintance, Brian Keith Moats, 30 years old of Fishersville. Officers said Moats left the residence when they arrived.

Moats is currently wanted on the same charge, possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. Vogel is being held without bond at Middle River Regional Jail on the felony drug charge and Waynesboro general district court capias.


Anyone with information on Moats’ whereabouts is asked to call the Waynesboro Police Department (540) 942-6675 or Central Shenandoah Crime Stoppers at (800) 322-3017.




A traffic stop Saturday morning led to the arrest of a 26-year-old motorist who Murrieta police say was under the influence of methamphetamine – and was carrying meth and a gun.

Raymond Xavier Orozco III was arrested at 8:33 a.m. at Clinton Keith and McElwain Roads, just west of I-215, and booked for investigation of drug possession, possessing meth while armed, driving under the influence of drugs, possession of burglary tools and driving on a suspended license.

Officers found about a half-gram of meth in his pants pocket, police said, adding that the search also turned up a loaded Ruger .22-caliber handgun and a plastic bag of “shaved” keys.

Anyone with additional information related to the case may call Sgt. Dave Baca at 951-461-6308.



U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas believes Mexican drug cartels and members of the Islamic State are “talking to each other.”


“The drug cartels use the same operational plan as terrorist groups do,” Poe, a member of the House Judiciary Committee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, said in an interview Wednesday with Newsmax TV. “They kill their opponents, they behead their opponents, they brag about it, and they have operational control of many portions of the southern border of the United States.”

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a staunch advocate for fortifying America’s borders, said it’s a strong possibility that Islamic State terrorists have already entered the United States with the help of Mexican drug cartels, according to a Yahoo report.

“We have been put on notice lately by a jihadist army that is right now charging across a country we were told was secure and stable,” Perry said in a speech at a Heritage Foundation event.

Mexican drug cartels are as “vicious as some of these other terrorist organizations,” Poe told Newsmax, and communication between cartels and Islamic State could spell disaster at America’s unsecured southern border — despite Harry Reid’s attempt to convince Americans the U.S-Mexico border is “totally secure.”

Poe called on President Obama to be tougher in dealing with the threat.

“Be proactive Mr. President, be very strong,” he told Newsmax, adding that there “has to be consequences for their reckless murder of other people.”

Given an option between doing nothing and eliminating the terrorist group, Poe said, it appears the United States favors the “do-nothing” approach.




Methamphetamine use is climbing as desperate heroin addicts search for a cheaper way to get high and avoid a fatal overdose.

Meth has never gone away,” said Tom Johnson, who heads a regional drug task force. “We just never gave it enough credit.”

Local law enforcement saw meth use rise again in mid-2013 when heroin prices ballooned. Heroin can fetch up to $280 per gram; meth sells for as little as $50 to $100 for the same quantity, said La Crosse police Sgt. Andrew Dittman, who heads the department’s narcotics unit.
  53f93d5d3ba6b_preview-620 53f93d5c52f99_preview-620

“Since May, the market is almost over saturated,” he said.

La Crosse police in the first half of this year arrested 113 people for possessing, selling or making meth, up from just 41 arrests during the same period in 2013.

Local prosecutions also are up, with 83 meth users and dealers charged through June 30, an increase from 38 cases filed in the first half of last year, according to the La Crosse County District Attorney’s office.

Investigators in La Crosse spend about one-third of their time working meth cases, but investigating dealers can tie up the department’s narcotics unit for a week or more, Dittman said. And an arrest can make room for another large-scale dealer who can make tens of thousands of dollars in days.


The investigator pointed to the case against Taylor Baker, a La Crosse woman arrested in July with 60 grams of meth that could have yielded her $6,000 or more.

La Crosse police attribute the increase in meth cases this year to a nearly fully staffed department with officers better trained to find the drug. The agency added a third narcotics detection dog late last year and four community policing officers dedicated to specific neighborhoods earlier this year.

Johnson believes efforts to raise awareness about the deadly effects of heroin frightened some users not into sobriety but into using meth, which is less likely to lead to a fatal overdose.

“The reality of dying is hitting home,” Johnson said.

Meth didn’t disappear when heroin re-emerged in 2010 and escalated to what authorities described as an epidemic.

County officials considered including but ultimately excluded meth when the Heroin and Illicit Drug Task Force formed in October to study the heroin crisis, said Keith Lease, the committee’s co-chairman.

Recovering addicts visiting AMS of Wisconsin report a rise in meth use, said Pat Ruda, the agency’s executive director. The Onalaska facility specializes in treating opiate and heroin addicts.

“I hear a lot more discussion about meth and access to it and hear it used in combination with heroin, maybe for the incredible high,” she said.

The drugs give users a different kind of high — heroin a euphoric feeling and meth a rush — but both are highly addictive and have the potential to kill.

“They’re both extremely difficult to get clean from because of how powerful they are in your brain,” said Lease, who heads the Coulee Council on Addictions.

Heroin addicts can turn to prescription drugs to alleviate the painful withdrawal symptoms and curb cravings, but meth addicts have to rely on will power and counseling, Lease said.

Heroin users will see their vweins collapse, while meth users will claw at their developing scabs, lose teeth and watch their cheeks and eyes sink.

“Physical appearance-wise, meth is probably one of the worst drugs,” Lease said. “It tears you apart.”

Cyndi, a La Crosse recovering addict who asked to be identified only by her first name, tried meth for the first time at age 24 in 2009.

“I figured I would try it just once and that would be it,” she said.

Within four months, she had quit her nursing job to use and sell meth, making up to $1,000 a day. She lost her home and her daughter.

Cyndi was jailed five times in five months before she entered the county’s Drug Treatment Court in October 2010. She admits using drugs while enrolled until “something switched.”

“I was honest with everyone else and I was honest with myself,” she said.

Cyndi celebrated four years of sobriety on Aug. 13. She rebuilt her relationship with her daughter, plans to wed another drug court grad, landed a full-time job and plans to study social work at Western Technical College this semester.

She hasn’t forgotten the drug world she fell into, and she called meth use among local high school students “devastating.”

Meth will rob a person of who they are,” she said.

Local investigators don’t call local meth use an epidemic, but they believe users right now have access to crystal meth, a more expensive and higher quality form of the drug produced in a Mexican lab and trafficked to La Crosse from the Twin Cities.

When that supply is depleted, investigators expect dealers and users will respond by increasing how often they make their own meth in a plastic bottle with household products and cold tablets, Dittman said.

Investigators saw the “one pot” or “shake and bake” method of manufacturing meth grow in recent years because it reduced how often users had to buy the drug, said Johnson, coordinator of the West Central Metropolitan Enforcement Group.

The multi-jurisdictional task force, known as MEG, allows officers from 17 agencies across La Crosse and its surrounding counties to share intelligence.

The region’s rural areas remain ripe for other methods of meth production, Johnson said. Vernon County authorities raided two rural Hillsboro properties on July 31 and uncovered meth labs that used red phosphorus to create the drug. The phosphorus mixed with iodine can create a dangerous gas and explode.

“It can be fatal if inhaled,” Johnson said.

Investigators urge the public to report suspicious activity to reduce meth production and to call if they see someone purchasing a combination of ingredients used to make the drug, including camping fuel, drain cleaner and ice packs.

Police continue to focus on dealers while educating the community about what it can do to help reduce use.

“We have to focus on prevention,” Lease said. “Otherwise, there will always be a drug of the moment.”





CHINA GROVE — Sharon Deal sits at the kitchen table of her immaculate home in China Grove.

“It’s been a bad year,” she says.

Last summer, her husband, Bill, was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died Dec. 23. Almost exactly six months later, Sharon discovered a meth lab in the small rental house she owns across the street.

PostSharon Deal

“It’s not just losing your spouse of 54 years,” Sharon says, pausing for a moment to collect herself. “It’s settling everything and all the legal stuff.”

Then came the meth lab bust.

“At first, you’re so mad they’ve destroyed your property,” Sharon says, “and then they walk away with no financial burdens. I think it’s one of the saddest things when you go into a house and see everything that’s been destroyed.”

And destroyed it was. Sharon and her son-in-law walked in the two-bedroom rental home that morning to find clothing strewn everywhere, plates of food left on the counters, debris seemingly on every surface — and as Mitch Rousey quickly determined — evidence of drug manufacturing.

“It’s really a sad thing,” Sharon emphasizes. “Meth is a really bad drug.”

In 2013, there were 561 meth lab busts in North Carolina, the highest number since reporting began in 2003. In Rowan County last year, there were 10 such busts. In the last three years, that number has doubled in Rowan. As in nearly every other of North Carolina’s 100 counties, meth labs are here.

‘Just plain nasty’

The young couple who rented from Sharon and Bill moved in March 1, 2013. Their 9-year-old son, who attended Bostian Elementary School, lived in the house with them.

“They paid the rent,” Sharon notes. “They were a little slow, but never missed a month.”

In January, the man lost his job.

“It seems then that things really started going downhill,” Sharon says. “We know now that they were using what they were making in exchange for raw materials.”

The couple stopped payments in May, and on June 19, Sharon sent a letter for non-payment of rent. On June 26, she and her son-in-law went into the house for a routine inspection.

Sharon’s calendar that week turns out to be a bit unusual: June 24 — pick up twins (her older daughter’s sons); June 25 — 8:30 a.m. Warrior (she’s an avid golfer); June 26 — new dishwasher for second rental house; June 27 — SBI agents clean out meth house.

The week before, Sharon had seen no activity in the 884-square-foot house, no lights on at night. Her daughter, Laura, and son-in-law live next to her with their children, Aaron and Becca. Laura’s family hadn’t seen anything unusual, either.

“That Thursday morning, we saw the renter and his son come in briefly,” Sharon says. “I don’t know how long they were there. We were going to do an inspection because they were moving out on the 30th. I told Mitch, ‘Let’s just do it now.’ I had not been in the house since before Bill died.”

The last time she was in the house — which she thinks may have been late last summer — she went with Bill to repair the toilet.

“The house was just normal,” she says. “It looked lived in, but it wasn’t dirty.”

The next visit produced a completely different scene.

“We pushed that door open,” Sharon says, “and Mitch and I were both flabbergasted. I was getting madder by the minute. It was just plain nasty, that’s all you could call it.”

The fridge and stove — which belonged to Sharon — were still there, but in terrible shape, she says.

“There was stuff piled everywhere,” Sharon says. “Then Mitch went into one of the bedrooms and said, ‘We need to get out of here.’ ”

   in another bedroom. This  meth lab in a bedroom leaving this home operated a meth lab in

Law and eviction

Sharon called 911 to report a non-emergency. While doing a home inspection, she said, she’d found suspicious-looking stuff.

When deputies arrived, Sharon showed them the photographs Mitch took on his cellphone. It was enough for a search warrant. According to the law, the home was still the renters’ property. Late that evening, a superior court judge signed the search warrant. The next morning, the SBI arrived.

A deputy stayed all night at the rental house. Sharon slept fine.

“With the deputy across the road,” she says, “I figured things were in pretty good hands.”

Deputies urged her to start eviction proceedings, so Sharon drove to the Clerk of Court’s office that morning. She learned it would take 10 days for the order to be carried out.

By the time she came home, the road in front of her house was clogged with law enforcement vehicles and personnel, news media and gawkers.

In her research, Sharon found that meth was highly addictive and highly volatile in the cooking stage. The SBI was on her property all day. Mitch stayed with her the whole time.

After law enforcement left, Sharon had a decision to make. If the house was safe to live in after it was cleaned out and tested, would she rent it again?

Kelvin Story with Servprothat was used forout debris left inprotective clothes standing

The cost of repair

Sharon and Bill purchased the house in 1969 and have rented it ever since. It has a tax value of $53,000.

“Anything I do is gonna cost me money,” Sharon notes. “I have to decide how much I want to put into it.”

According to clean-up guidelines, all the carpet had to be removed, as well as blinds and other porous materials.

On Aug. 11, the rental house was finally turned back over to her. Seven days later, under the terms of the eviction notice, workers with Servpro came to clean out the house.

“They started at 7,” Sharon says. “It was just nasty. It didn’t take long. They put on their hazmat suits, and bagged up and removed trash and debris.”

The fridge was black with mold and mildew. Sharon let it go. The drawer on the bottom of the stove was broken. Sharon will buy another second-hand.

Only one room — the room where the meth was made — showed signs of contamination. The walls had to be washed down three times with a household solution. Sharon hopes its levels will be safe when tests results return, and she can paint. Otherwise, she’ll have to replace drywall.

There’s more damage to repair: holes in the wall, ripped vinyl flooring which will have to be replaced. A leak in the bathroom has caused the floor to rot in there. And she’ll have to replace the trap under the kitchen sink — who knows how or why it disappeared?

“If I don’t have to have the drywall ripped out, I’m ready to start repairs,” Sharon says.

So far, Sharon has spent $5,700 for the eviction, court costs, Servpro’s work, and environmental testing. She estimates with more testing and all the repairs, she’ll spend between $10,000 and $12,000 to get the house ready to rent again.

Sharon hopes she can recoup the investment in two years — if the house stays rented.

“It is a good income, once it’s fixed up and rented,” she says of the house.

Along with running a background check on potential renters, Sgt. Lane Kepley of the Sheriff’s Office recommends constant vigilance on rental property. Because she was busy with her husband’s estate, however, Sharon couldn’t check on things until it was too late.

“Word your lease so that you can make multiple visits,” he advises. “There was months’ worth of trash piled up in this residence. As soon as you see signs somebody is trashing your property, you need to nip it in the bud.”

The sergeant recommends checking a potential renter’s criminal history, credit references, and references from family and friends.

“You need to really, really check into people before you rent,” he says. “You can do all the investigation in the world, but sometimes, somebody can slip in and do things. Do what you can to prevent it from happening.”

After two months, Sharon has accepted the situation with this rental house.

“When it gets fixed up, it’s a nice house,” she says. “It’s a shame the shape it’s in. I was so angry at first and it just runs over you. Then it was two months, almost, to get to the point I can even start this process. I’m resigned to the fact that’s the way it is.

“From now on, I will always do a background check. If a job needs to be done, I want to get out there and do it. But at least we’re moving on this.”

There are vinyl letters above the arch between the living room and kitchen. They’re mostly peeled away, but you can still make out what they say: Bless this house, and all who enter.

Signs of meth

Signs of a meth house include:

• Powerful odors that may smell like cat urine, ammonia, vinegar or rotten eggs

• Residents who exhibit paranoid behavior

• Residents who usually stay inside, but always smoke outside

• Residents who have frequent visitors at odd hours

• Residents who burn, bury or dump their trash

• Blackened or covered windows

• Open windows on cold days or at other seemingly inappropriate times

• Dead vegetation, burn pits or “dead spots” in yard

• Trash containing the packaging of the ingredients used to make meth

HAYWARD — A five-months pregnant woman suspected of being drugged on methamphetamine and speeding to elude a pursuing sheriff’s deputy early Saturday crashed a stolen pickup into a car and ended up on top of it in a Hayward resident’s front lawn.


Hayward resident Dana Tollett, 28, who officers said has a history of stealing cars, was arrested on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, felony evading of police and possession of a stolen vehicle following the 1:30 a.m. wreck, said Sgt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.

Tollett’s injuries were minor, and her unborn child also was expected to live, Kelly said.

About 1:30 a.m., a deputy sought to stop a white Ford F-250 pickup for reckless driving on C Street near Alice Street in Hayward, Kelly said.

The driver did not stop and a pursuit began hitting speeds in excess of 50 mph, Kelly said.

The deputy chased the truck for almost 3 miles until it plowed through a cinder block wall, struck a parked car and landed on top of it in the front lawn of a nearby home at Sycamore and Thomas streets in Hayward, he said.

No one in the home was injured, but the wreck totaled the car.

Deputies say Tollett was the only person in the truck and that after crash she told deputies she was five months pregnant. She also appeared to be under the influence of methamphetamine, Kelly said.

Deputies learned the car had been stolen in Hayward and that she was wanted for two felony warrants including one for stealing cars and another for burglary, said sheriff’s Sgt. J.D. Nelson.

Tollett had methamphetamine with her, Kelly said. She and her unborn child were treated at a hospital.

She was arrested on suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle, reckless driving, felony evasion of a police officer, possession of methamphetamine and for the outstanding warrants.

She was expected to be released from the hospital Saturday afternoon and taken to the Santa Rita Jail, Kelly said.

Toxicology reports are pending and could take several weeks to complete, Kelly said.




Soaring demand from Hong Kong drug users and rising profits makes methamphetamines a lucrative product for smugglers, says customs.

Hong Kong’s growing appetite for methamphetamine was underlined yesterday as customs chiefs revealed a 300 percent jump in the amount of Ice seized at the Lo Wu border crossing.


Soaring local demand and increased profits for traffickers made the drug – also known as crystal meth – a lucrative product for smugglers, said Wong Jug-tung, deputy head of the customs department’s rail and ferry command.

While the number of drug cases at Lo Wu had dropped year-on-year, the amount of Ice seized in the first eight months of this year – 13.7kg – was 291 per cent more than the 3.5kg seized in the first eight months of last year.

Hong Kong’s growing demand for the drug matches an explosion in its popularity globally, fuelled and met by production and distribution networks in Guangdong. The province is widely accepted to be one of the world’s biggest sources of both the main ingredients for crystal meth and the finished product.

Wong said there had been seven significant drug seizures at the Lo Wu crossing in the past three weeks, all of which involved Hongkongers trying to smuggle crystal meth or ketamine from the mainland into the city.

Most of the 8.2kg of seized drugs were concealed inside packs strapped to the mules’ bodies;. one 35-year-old male was discovered with a mixture of crystal meth and ketamine hidden in his underpants.

“Smugglers think they can wait until a change of shift to take advantage [of a lull in security]. But I can tell you they are wrong,” said So Siu-wah, customs’ divisional commander for Lo Wu.

Although department figures showed at 13.5 per cent year-on-year drop in the number of drug cases at Lo Wu, the quantity of the drugs involved jumped substantially.

Apart from the surge in Ice seizures, the amount of ketamine confiscated in the first eight months of this year increased 76 per cent – from 2.5kg to 4.4kg – on the same period last year.

Wong said that at peak hours, about 30 people were passing through the Lo Wu control point at any given time, so risk profiling and assessment was key.


The easy availability of precursor materials – such as ephedrine and pseudoephedrine – combined with the entrenched organised crime landscape make Guangdong a hotbed for crystal meth manufacturing.

Much of the drugs transit through Hong Kong, where crime gangs take advantage of the city’s transport and logistics infrastructure.

Hongkongers are frequently arrested across the Asia-Pacific region for their involvement in the smuggling or manufacture of the drug. A UN report last year on the drugs trade in Indonesia pinpointed the roles of both the city and Guangdong.

“Most of the crystalline methamphetamine smuggled from China exits from Guangzhou and then transits Hong Kong … or Singapore before entering Indonesia,” read the study from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

Meanwhile, police yesterday arrested 31 people and seized drugs valued at more than HK$640,000 at two unlicensed bars in Tsim Sha Tsui. More than 500g of cocaine, 130 tablets of an unspecified Class A drug and a number of weapons were seized.




Some kid shot up a dose again tonight
Pushed back by his other self
Even if you were to buy your dream
You need self-control
No one talks about hopes and dreams
All that’s there is something better, something new, a better way
The name is “Kicks Street” — the city of desire

— Lyrics from “Kicks Street” (1998), Ryo Aska

Who knows what is going through singer-songwriter Ryo Aska’s mind as he awaits his first appearance in court on drugs charges in Tokyo on Thursday. Does he have any regrets over his alleged possession of illegal substances? If he did use such substances, does he have any desire to quit? Or will his 1998 song prove to be something of a premonition?

The pop star, whose real name is Shigeaki Miyazaki, made headlines in May when he was arrested for the alleged possession and use of illicit substances. Newspapers and TV programs universally decried the horrors associated with stimulants, suggesting such drugs are eating away at the fabric of society.

Every time a celebrity such as Aska is arrested on drug charges, news outlets whip themselves into a frenzy about how dangerous such substances are. Fueled by overwrought media coverage, the public typically gets behind the police in pushing for tougher drug-related legislation.

But little, if any, light is shed on the darker side of drugs — addiction.


“Using drugs is akin to committing suicide little by little every day,” says Yoji Miura, director of Drug Addiction Rehabilitation Center (DARC). “So many people have come and gone in my life that my heart has become numb and my tears have dried up.”

In 2013, 12,951 people were arrested in Japan on drug-related charges. Most were charged with the possession or use of stimulants broadly called methamphetamine. It’s virtually impossible to gauge from this figure how many people in the country are currently struggling with an addiction, but the health ministry says the number of arrests is just the tip of the iceberg.

Miura himself is a recovering addict. Bullied as a child for being overweight, he realized his size enabled him to fight back and he began hanging out with a rough crowd. He started sniffing glue to get high but, eventually, started using marijuana and methamphetamine. He was arrested twice before being sentenced to a year in prison.

“When you are first in prison, you think you’re never going to use drugs again because you never want to go back there,” Miura said. “By the time you are released, however, you tell yourself to make sure you’re never caught again.”

That was when Miura was first introduced to DARC.

Established in Tokyo in 1985, DARC now has 57 branches with 78 facilities all over Japan. Most members live in DARC dormitories and they generally attend two internal meetings and one external Narcotics Anonymous meeting every day. Most employees at each facility are recovering addicts, too.

“DARC is the only place addicts can be honest,” Miura said. “Once you’ve spent time in prison, you have to lie all the time: when you’re looking for a job or a place to live, or meeting new people.”

Stimulants have effectively dominated the domestic drug scene since the end of World War II. Chemist Nagayoshi Nagai first synthesized methamphetamine from ephedrine in 1893, and people would primarily use it to recover from fatigue.

Philopon, produced by Dainippon Pharmaceutical Co. (now Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma), was used as a pick-me-up during World War II for military personnel who needed to stay alert. The name is said to have originated from the Greek word philoponus, which means “he who loves labor.”

Military stocks of the methamphetamine fell into civilian hands in the aftermath of World War II, leading to widespread abuse. At its peak in 1954, police reports estimated there were 550,000 addicts in the country, with around 2 million people having tried the drug at some point in their life.

The Stimulant Control Law was enacted in 1951, banning the production, import, possession or use of methamphetamine across the board. A subsequent police crackdown meant that the number of arrests over the substance fell dramatically from 55,664 in 1954 to 271 in 1958, the lowest number in postwar history. However, stimulants are strongly addictive, and the number of arrests has remained steadily above 10,000 since 1976.

That said, drug use in Japan appears to be significantly lower than the figures reported abroad. According to statistics compiled by the health ministry in February, 0.4 percent of the Japanese population aged between 15 and 64 years old have tried stimulants at least once in their life. In the United States, 5.1 percent of the population over the age of 12 has tried meth at least once. Meanwhile, 41.9 percent of Americans have tried marijuana at least once in their life, compared to 1.2 percent of the Japanese population.

Nobuya Naruse, deputy chief at Saitama Prefectural Psychiatric Hospital, says police in Japan often brag about being extremely vigilant when it comes to drugs but show little interest in treating addicts once they’re caught.

“Japan is very good at regulating drug-related crime — one of the leading nations in the world — and depends on regulation to keep the crime rate down in terms of drug use,” Naruse says. “But that is why it has fallen way behind in terms of the treatment and recovery of addiction.”

More recently, a new problem is changing the outlook on drugs in the country: “loophole drugs.”

In addition to the Stimulant Control Law, other drug-related legislation includes the Cannabis Control Law, the Narcotics and Psychotropics Control Law and the Opium Law. The Metropolitan Police Department is, ineffectively, using the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law to deal with this new variation of drugs.

Loophole drugs typically include a mixture of chemicals that are not regulated by the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law but can have similar effects to illegal drugs such as methamphetamine and marijuana. The possession of these compounds is not strictly illegal, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has declared war on such law-evading drugs after a recent series of car accidents that were allegedly caused by drivers under the influence of such substances.

Naruse expressed concern over such drugs, which he said were extremely dangerous and difficult to treat because of the complex mixture of substances. Alarmingly, the latest statistics show that the number of patients at Saitama Prefectural Psychiatric Hospital who had been committed in 2013 over an addiction to loophole drugs outnumbered those who had been addicted to methamphetamine for the first time in history.

(Loophole drugs) drugs have become the most dangerous drug in Japan,” Naruse says. “They are several times more dangerous than methamphetamine and 10 times more effective than marijuana.”

The health ministry says that more than 1,370 chemicals have now been outlawed — a sharp increase from the 68 that had been banned in 2012. But every time the health ministry bans one compound, a new one finds its way onto the market, turning the whole exercise into an endless game of cat-and-mouse for authorities.

Sakae Komori, a lawyer who specializes in drug cases, says the government should speed up the process of outlawing the substances in the first place. A health ministry official said that it typically takes about three to six months to designate a drug.

Komori, however, says that simply speeding up the designation process won’t solve the problem on its own, and governments in Europe and the U.S. are battling similar difficulties.

“As there is a massive global market supporting these synthetic drugs, authorities must be prepared to engage in a prolonged war,” Komori says. “Any series of measures must first look at strengthening the capacity of analyzing and evaluating the drugs.”

With the rapid spread of synthetic drugs as well as the unchanging number of arrests over methamphetamine, authorities are expected to crack down harder.

Recidivism is also a major headache, with statistics showing that 60 percent of convictions for stimulants are repeat offenders. A 2009 survey compiled by the Justice Ministry shows that 30 percent of suspects convicted for stimulants were jailed again for a related crime.

Naruse, a 20-year veteran on treating drug addicts, says the primary focus needs to shift from penalties to treatment. Naruse says the country’s famous catch phrase, “Dame. Zettai.” (similar to the “Just Say No” campaign in the U.S. in the 1980s) simply doesn’t work anymore.

“Not everyone becomes an addict,” Naruse says. “It is the lonely, people with low self-esteem and have a strong sense of anxiety about being disliked by others who typically become addicted. Publicly attacking people such as Aska is not going to help at all. … These types of people have already lost so much along the way.”

Experts suggest there is already a trend in Western nations to shift away from harsh punishment over “victimless crimes” such as the possession and use of illegal drugs. For example, many drug courts in the U.S. are now part of the diversion program, a type of sentencing that offers offenders a chance to avoid criminal charges.

Komori, who has defended more than 1,000 drug cases, says it probably isn’t realistic to import exactly the same system in the country from the United States. Nevertheless, it’s still an overall objective worth striving for. “Correctional facilities greatly damage the relationship that the offenders have with society and I don’t think it is an appropriate punishment for drug crimes,” Komori says. “I think criminals should be treated within the community.”

In 2013, a revision of the Criminal Law introduced a new option for sentencing narcotics users that offers convicts suspended sentences and probation. Authorities hope the new procedure will allow addicts to be rehabilititated back into society and, ultimately, reduce recidivism.

However, a number of experts say there are not enough private facilities to take care of the former addicts who have spent time behind bars, expressing doubt over whether such a system can be effective in the longer term.

DARC founder Tsuneo Kondo says putting addicts in jail in the first place will not help prevent drug crimes or reduce recidivism.

A recovering addict himself, Kondo expresses frustration that no one seems to understand that addiction is a disease and that Japan’s solution to drug crimes is to put the offenders in prison and then release them, automatically expecting them to stay sober without any additional support.

“Drugs are a sign of pain,” Kondo says. “The pain could come from anywhere — from stress or work or the loss of a loved one — and anyone can become addicted. Once you become an addict, you have to deal with it for the rest of your life.”




Police have seized more than 1.6 million methamphetamine pills – believed to have been produced in the same lot as those seized earlier from former drug buster cop Pol Lt Col Chamnan Poompaijit – in Bung Kan district and arrested two suspects.

The huge drug seizure was announced in a press conference on Sunday at the Royal Thai Police Office by deputy police chiefs Pol Gen Somyot Phumphanmuang and Pol Gen Pongsapat Pongcharoen and other police officers concerned.

Pol Gen Pongsapat said the success followed the seizure of 508kg of compressed marijuana by border patrol police in Bung Kan province on July 10 when two suspects were also arrested.

It was learned from the investigation of the two suspects that their gang had been involved with a major drug network believed planning to smuggle a huge quantity of methamphetamines into the country from Laos.

A sting operation was subsequently launched in which three suspects were arrested on a road in Bung Khong Long district of Bung Kan province with 1,646,000 methamphetamine pills they had smuggled from Laos.

The three suspects, who had been kept as witnesses, told police that this huge lot of amphetamines were intended to be further delivered to the South.  They said the drugs were to be delivered to two men in the Central Region.

An appointment was then made for the three to hand over the drugs to the two.  This led to the arrest of Sunthorn Sawangpheng, 32, and Suchit Noodam 54, at a petrol station on Vibhavadi Rangsit road in Wang Noi district of Ayutthaya province on Aug 22.

Pol Gen Pongsapat said the methamphetamine pills seized were found to have been produced in the same lot with the 800,000 speed pills seized from Pol Lt Col Camnan Poompaijit, a former officer of Chai Prakan police station in Chiang Mai, who was reputed to be a drug buster.

Pol Gen Somyot, the police chief-designate, said the Pol Lt Col Chamnan case showed that the drugs have a great power to lure officers reputed for their drug suppression records to waver and become greedy for money.



You can find photos of people maimed in meth lab explosions on the Internet, but unless you have a strong stomach, you’d best not look at them. On the other hand, if you or someone you know is engaged in this illegal behavior, we recommend that you check them out. They’re not pretty. You won’t be either if your lab goes up.Pennsylvania State Police clandestine

That’s what happened — again — in Locke, a town northwest of Cortland in Cayuga County. An explosion there May 12 set a home and nearby barn on fire, killing the 47-year-old man who police say was cooking up methamphetamine. Last week, nine people ranging in age from 20 to 51 were arrested. Four are related to the victim.

Three people escaped the explosion, including a 4-year-old child. As in other instances where adults do stupid things, children are often helpless victims. In March 2013, a mother and the man prosecutors said were responsible for a meth lab explosion in Gwinnett County, Ga., were sent to prison in a plea deal to avoid a murder trial. The blast killed the woman’s three children, ages 4, 3 and 21 months.

It’s reprehensible. And it makes it all the more critical that we all become eyes, ears and noses in our own communities so we can blow the whistle on suspected meth labs. One could be operating in your neighborhood.

Once upon a time, meth production was pretty much limited to rural sites because it could easily be detected by its odor — acrid ammonia fumes are given off during the “cooking” process. But producers now use an easier method called the “shake-n-bake” or “one-pot” process, where the ingredients — acids, drain cleaner and lithium from batteries — are mixed in a plastic bottle. It takes about 90 minutes.

That means meth can be cooked up just about anywhere. Local police agencies have discovered production operations in communities ranging from Rome and Oneida to New Hartford and Oriskany Falls. And that’s just within the past year. In fact, just one year ago, New Hartford police charged two people with manufacturing meth in a mobile “shake and bake” lab concealed in a car.

Making the junk is easy, but dangerous. Aside from the effects on users — anxiety, psychotic and violent behavior, paranoia and brain damage — it’s a serious threat to innocent bystanders, especially as production makes its way into residential areas where there is a higher concentration of people. It can explode during the mixing process and the toxic chemicals used can be poisonous. That’s what happened in Georgia where three kids were killed.

So be on guard. If you witness strange behavior, frequent, short visits in and out of a house or apartment building, smell chemicals, notice large trash bags that might include chemical containers, coffee filters or plastic bottles and tubing, it could be meth production.

Don’t hesitate to call police. A bust last year in Oriskany Falls that shut down a meth lab was the direct result of an anonymous complaint and subsequent investigation. And in 2012, police found a makeshift meth lab along the banks of the Mohawk River in Rome after a citizen became suspicious of activity in that area and called police.

Err on the side of caution. Put the bums out of business.






FARMINGTON — San Juan County Sherriff’s Deputies were involved in a high speed pursuit in the early morning hours of August 10.San_Juan_Co_woman_had_toddlers_15_pounds_of_meth_in_car_during_pursuit-syndImport-073501

Dash cam footage obtained by KOB Eyewitness News 4 shows deputies talking with 25-year-old Brittaney Escojeda as she fuels her SUV. Deputies recognized her on an outstanding warrant for felony burglary.

After more than 30 minutes, Escojeda starts the car with no warning and drives off, almost hitting a deputy with her door and with the fuel fill hose still in the car. She then led deputies on a chase, reaching speeds of 90 miles per hour. The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office called off the chase because the woman had a 1-year-old and 2-year-old unrestrained in the vehicle.

Deputies lost sight of the car until they noticed a gate broken open by Escojeda’s car. In a wrecking yard, they found the car, and Escojeda trying to hide from police. As deputies attempted to apprehend her, she got back in the vehicle and attempted to drive off.

Two deputies attempted to box her in and the woman rammed into their vehicles. A second attempt to box her in was unsuccessful as well.

The then took a sharp turn, and crashed through a chain link fence and down an embankment, where she attempted to flee on foot with her two children. The woman was apprehended and the children were released to relatives.

San Juan County Sheriff’s Deputies say a search of the vehicle involved in the chase, another vehicle and the woman’s belongings yielded more than 1.5 pounds of methamphetamine.

Escojeda was booked into San Juan County Detention Center under multiple charges and remains on a no-bond hold.




Parkersburg Methamphetamine House Demolished

Posted: 23rd August 2014 by Doc in Uncategorized

Hundreds of meth houses left to demolish in Wood County, all at the expense of the homeowners.


It takes permits, inspection, disconnecting the utilities, and then an official okay from the state.

Once deemed a meth house, it can not be re-sold.

It has to be demolished at the owners expense.

Judy and Pete Wajda didn’t realize the home they rented was used to run a meth lab.

But wish they would have been more cautious.

They say it is a very expensive process and can’t emphasize enough how important it is to research your renters.

“If you are going to rent out people just do your research. Find out who they are and if they’ve been in any kind of trouble, because it’s happening more and more in the state of West Virginia,” says Tiffany Phillips, a clandestine drug lab technician.

“We had no idea that it was a meth place that they were cooking here,” says Judy Wajda, owner of the home at 4303 18th Avenue, which was demolished Friday.

Within five house the debris from the home was taken away in trailers to one of the four landfills in the state where contaminated property can go.





Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) Authorities have released the name of a man arrested Wednesday in Twin Falls suspected of possessing child porn and meth manufacturing.

Homeland Security with help from the Twin Falls Police Department served a search warrant to Keith Joseph Banning at the Oregon Trail Campsite. According to city spokesman Josh Palmer, after serving the warrant authorities found a meth lab in the residence.

A federal case has been filed against Banning for the charge of receipt of child pornography. No word yet on charges for the meth.






PAINTSVILLE, Ky.A roadway had to be shutdown in Johnson County, Kentucky, after officers smelled a strong chemical odor coming from a car at safety checkpoint.


Turns out what they smelled was an active meth lab bubbling in the rear floorboard of a car that was stopped on KY 321 near Southside Lane in Paintsville. The incident happened just before 11:30 p.m.

Shelby Barnett, 23, of Lowmansville, and her passenger, James Baldwin, 32, are charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, according to a news release from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department. Deputies say Baldwin is facing additional charges because he “was out of jail on bond at the time” due to the fact deputies caught him weeks earlier with methamphetamine.


Both were taken to the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center.

The meth lab was cleaned up by the Kentucky State Police DESI Unite. Traffic was routed around the scene.



A woman found loitering in Van Eps Park after hours was arrested on drug charges Thursday night.

Madonna Bull Bear, 34, was spotted by an officer at 11:40 p.m., police spokesman Sam Clemens said. When questioned about being in the park after the 10 p.m. closing time, he said, the officer learned that Bull Bear had warrants for failure to appear, petty theft and possession of a controlled substance.

A search turned up loose pills, drug paraphernalia and a small amount of methamphetamine, Clemens said.

Bull Bear was charged with possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia.



A methamphetamine lab was found in the aftermath of a fire Thursday that damaged a Binghamton apartment, and two residents were arrested by city police on drug charges.

Christopher L. Osborne and Ashley S. Ottaviani, both 23, lived in the fire-damaged second-floor apartment at 23 Baxter St., located in the city’s First Ward. Meth-related items were uncovered by investigators once the fire was put out, police said Friday.

Osborne and Ottaviani were arraigned in Binghamton City Court after being charged with felony counts of second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine. They were sent to the Broome County jail.

Once authorities discovered an active meth lab in the apartment, the New York State Police Contaminated Response Team and the Binghamton Crime Scene Unit collected evidence and cleaned up the scene, police said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Binghamton firefighters responded to the two-story residence at 8:30 a.m., after receiving a 911 call for a fire in an upstairs apartment. The two-story residence contains four apartment units, two of which were occupied.

The fire started in the kitchen of one apartment and was knocked out within about 10 minutes, firefighters said.

Seven people, including two children, escaped the fire unhurt. Three adults lived in the apartment where the fire started, police said.

LAURELVILLE — After receiving an anonymous tip, deputies from the Hocking County Sheriff’s Interdiction Unit (SIU) searched a Laurelville home looking for a methamphetamine lab.


Although Chelsea Danner, 25, of Pike Street, denied that methamphetamine was being manufactured in the home where her three small children were residing, she gave permission for SIU deputies to search the residence.

Deputies allegedly located two methamphetamine manufacturing reaction vessels inside a garage at the Pike Street residence, which is next door to Laurelville Police Chief Michael Berkermeier’s residence.

The vessels and components were neutralized and SIU deputies removed a liquid sample of the methamphetamine to submit to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s lab. The deputies located and recovered other components from the garage, which also were packaged for proper destruction.

Hocking County Children Services were notified and responded to the scene to assist in the removal of the three small children ranging from eight-months to four-years-old. The children were later released to the custody of an aunt.

Danner is charged with illegal manufacture of drugs, a felony of the first-degree; illegal assembly of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs, a second-degree felony; and child endangerment, a third-degree felony.

She was transported to Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail to await her arraignment in Hocking County Municipal Court.

Robert Thurston II, 31, also resides at the same address and was charged with the same offenses. According to the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office, a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

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The Laurelville Fire Department and Laurelville Police Department also responded to the scene. The fire department was on scene to assist during the neutralization of the components.

Additional charges are likely to be presented to the Hocking County Grand Jury at a later date pending the lab results from BCI.




Two men and a woman were arrested Thursday on charges of making methamphetamine in their motel room, according to the North Charleston Police Department.4549347_G

Reginald Dale Butler, 25, of Calvert Street in North Charleston, Timothy M. Tinsley, 27, of Miami Street in Ladson and Ashley Nicole Wright, 19, of Ellington Drive in Goose Creek also face a count of possession with intent to distribute the drug, according to police spokesman Spencer Pryor.

Pryor said officers responded to reports of an inactive meth laboratory at the Economy Inn and Suites at 5020 Rivers Ave.

Inside Room 146, officers said they found drug paraphernalia, a little marijuana and a book bag with tubes. Sensing a strong chemical odor, the officers had the room evacuated.

Investigators later came across 4.16 grams, which is about 0.15 ounces, of meth, Pryor said.

Butler and Wright remained Friday at Charleston County’s jail, but there was no record that Tinsley had ever been booked there.

SPANISH FORK — Spanish Fork Police Department and Utah County’s Major Crimes Unit arrested six individuals at a residence in Spanish Fork on Thursday evening on multiple counts of drug possession. Two children were also found in the home and were released to family members.


Police reported they served a search warrant on the home and identified four individuals who reside at the residence, Gene Dominge, 49; Gary Tyler Simpson, 31; Karlee Degraw, 25; Jessica Chappel, 30; and Chappel’s 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter.

Police reported that two other individuals, Trenton Stanley, 22 and Lea Adamson, 23, were visiting the residence at the time the search warrant was served.

Police reported that the search warrant allowed them to search the residence and all the individuals there. Adamson was found outside the residence attempting to leave in a vehicle. Adamson was questioned by police and told them she had a backpack inside the residence that contained drug paraphernalia.

Police reported the polka dot backpack contained three syringes and a glass methamphetamine pipe. Adamson admitted the backpack was hers and admitted that she recently used methamphetamine and marijuana.

Police report that Stanley was encountered in the living room of the residence. Stanley allegedly had a syringe in the front pocket of his pants and admitted to recently using drugs.


Police report that Dominge and his girlfriend, Chappel, were encountered in the living room of the residence. The two identified their shared bedroom, where police reported finding two marijuana pipes with burnt residue in them. A small bag containing a green leafy substance was also located in the bedroom and field tested positive for marijuana, according to police.

Police reported they found syringes located in the bedroom of Chappel’s 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter. Police reported that the syringes were accessible to the two children.

Police reported that Simpson and his girlfriend, Degraw, were encountered as they were exiting a room in the southwest corner of the residence. Police reported the two identified the room as the room they had been staying in together.

Police reported they found a syringe in the room and a small coin pouch with Degraw’s ID. Inside the coin pouch they also found a small white pill, identified as hydrocodone. A controlled substance prescription report was obtained and Degraw allegedly didn’t have a prescription for the hydrocodone.

Police reported they searched a detached garage and found a Honda dirt bike that appeared to be in new condition. During the investigation, police were able to identify the owner of the motorcycle, who confirmed it had been stolen from his locked shop on his property in Spanish Fork.

Police reported they questioned Dominge, who stated that Simpson and another individual asked him at 5 a.m. on Thursday morning if they could store a motorcycle in his garage. Dominge told police he gave the keys to his locked garage to Simpson so he could put the motorcycle inside.

Police stated that after talking with individuals at the residence, they learned that Simpson and another male had been taking photos of the motorcycle and attempting to sell it.

Police reported they questioned Simpson about the motorcycle and he told police he didn’t steal the bike, but said his fingerprints would be on the motorcycle. The dirt bike is valued at approximately $7,000.

All six individuals were arrested and transported to the Utah County Jail. Police report that at the jail, all six individuals gave consent to collect blood and urine. A quick urinalysis revealed that Adamson tested positive for amphetamines and methamphetamines. Stanley tested positive for amphetamines, methamphetamines and opiates. Dominge tested positive for THC and Chappel tested positive for amphetamines, methamphetamines and THC. Simpson tested positive for amphetamines and methamphetamines. Degraw tested positive for benzodiazepines, amphetamines, THC, opiates and methamphetamines.

Dominge was booked on suspicion of possession of drug paraphernalia in a drug free zone and possession of marijuana in a drug free zone, all misdemeanors.

Chappel was booked on suspicion of possession of drug paraphernalia in a drug free zone, possession of marijuana in a drug free zone, possession of methamphetamine by consumption and two counts of child endangerment.

Simpson was booked on suspicion of possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of drug paraphernalia in a drug free zone and possession of methamphetamine by consumption.

Degraw was booked on suspicion of possession drug paraphernalia in a drug free zone, possession of THC by consumption, possession of methamphetamine by consumption and possession of a schedule III drug in a drug free zone.

Stanley was booked on suspicion of possession of drug paraphernalia in a drug free zone, possession of methamphetamine by consumption and possession of opiates by consumption.

Adamson was booked on suspicion of possession of drug paraphernalia in a drug free zone, use or possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of methamphetamine in a drug free zone and possession or use of a controlled substance.




Fresno, California – A federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment today against Mario Farias Pineda, 22, of Calistoga, charging him with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute it, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, Pineda was driving northbound on California State Highway 99 when he was pulled over by Fresno County Sheriff’s deputies for talking on his cellphone. The deputies obtained permission to search his vehicle and found approximately 25 pounds of methamphetamine in a hidden compartment behind the rear passenger seat.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Michael Frye is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Pineda faces a statutory penalty of at least 10 years and up to life in prison and a $10 million fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.



THE number of young women facing court for serious offences as the result of taking methamphetamine is a cause for concern, according to Orange solicitor Michael Madden.

“I work in courts in Orange, Bathurst and Cowra and methamphetamine use is a big problem,” he said.

Lyndon Withdrawal Unit deputy chief executive officer Dr Juliane Allen says she and her co-workers are seeing increased amphetamine-use in young adults up to age 30.

“Not so much here at Lyndon, but definitely in the programs we are running in the community in Orange there’s more of it,” she said.

Dr Allen said the potency of a current batch of methamphtamine being sold to both recreational and regular users was taking a stronger physical and mental toll on clients, including young women.

Mr Madden said many cases involving young women also involved violence and he had seen the rapid physical and mental deterioration of some of his clients firsthand.

“The drug is one of the biggest contributing factors to the violence,” he said.

Dr Allen says the drug, which is usually smoked or snorted, gives the user an enhanced sense of confidence, which can lead to confrontational and risk-taking behaviour.

She said while Mr Madden was right to be concerned about the growing incidence of methamphetamine use, particularly in young women, Orange was just a snapshot of what was happening across the nation.

Dr Allen says people who take methamphetamine and other amphetamines at weekends on a recreational basis can turn up at work on Monday morning fully functioning.

“It only takes hours to get out of the system and the following day a user will feel tired, irritable, dehydrated and very flat,” she said.

However, Dr Allen said the long term effects were devastating to a user’s health.

“It seems to me to affect their mental health much quicker than, say, cannabis. They go downhill quickly,” Mr Madden said.

“My perspective these days is that use of the drug in Orange and other place is one of the biggest contributing factors to people being in court.”




Five people from North Platte have been indicted on federal charges by a Grand Jury, U.S. Attorney Deborah R. Gilg announced Thursday.

Ross Rivera, 30, and Sheena Strand, 27, of North Platte are charged with possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture containing methamphetamine on or about July 11.

Jacque Little Jamie D. Perez   Sheena Strand

Rivera and Strand were arrested that day in North Platte, when an officer pulled their car over for a fictitious license plate.

The officer contacted a man and woman as they got out of the vehicle near a house in the 1200 block of West Sixth.

The officer detected the odor of burning marijuana from the SUV, according to the police report.

Rivera and Strand admitted to smoking in the vehicle earlier in the day. A subsequent search of the SUV and personal items revealed drug paraphernalia commonly used to smoke marijuana and methamphetamine.

And, the officer reportedly discovered a large self-sealing clear bag containing approximately 80 grams of meth, with an approximate street value of $10,000.

If convicted, Rivera and Strand will each face up to 40 years imprisonment, a $5 million fine, a 4-year term of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.

Reynaldo Perez, Jr., 34, and Jamie Perez, 31, and Jacque Little, 28, of North Platte are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a mixture containing methamphetamine, Gilg said.

Reynaldo Perez, JrRoss Rivera

The three were rounded up along with two other North Platte residents on July 18, all charged with meth crimes.

The Perezes are charged with distribution from February and continuing to July. Little is charged with distribution from May-July.

The Perezes were initially each charged with possession of a weapon while distributing, a second felony.

The investigation was conducted by state patrol, police and sheriff’s officers working together in a cooperative drug enforcement (CODE) task force.

The Perezes and Little each face a maximum possible penalty, if convicted, of 20 years imprisonment, a $1 million fine, three years of supervised release and a $100 special assessment.

Gilg said Thursday that the grand jury returned a total of 26 indictments charging 31 individuals across Nebraska.

Indictments are charging documents that contain one or more individual counts that are merely accusations, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty, Gilg said.

Also, Paloma Aguirre, 28, of Lexington is charged with two counts of distribution. Count I of the Indictment charges Aguirre with distribution of a mixture containing methamphetamine on or about June 20.

Count II charges Aguirre with possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture containing meth on or about June 4.