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.



Jerry Don Castleberry, 72, was convicted on drug trafficking charges this week in East Texas. His case epitomizes a major trend in criminal activity involving guns and drugs in Texas and other border states.

Castleberry, aka “Grandpa,” is a former member of the Bandidos motorcycle gang, which has long been knee-deep in meth trafficking. He lived in Longview and was using his house as a home base for dealing meth.


Every so often, according to federal court records, Castleberry made the 100-mile trip to Dallas to pick up several ounces of meth from a Mexican drug gang based in the state of Guerrero.

Federal drug enforcement officers have been studying how the Mexicans use Dallas as a big drug warehouse and send salesmen out to rural Texas to connect up with white criminals such as Castleberry. Sometimes, he traded firearms to the Mexicans to pay for the meth.

The whole thing is based on common-sense marketing. You can only sell so much meth within the Hispanic, Spanish-speaking community. So, the Mexicans need to hook up with white criminals to expand into the Anglo market.

For several years now, federal investigators have identified methamphetamine as the number-one drug problem in North Texas. It is linked to property crimes, sex crimes and violent assaults more than any other drug. Addicts often suffer terrible health problems after using meth for a long time.

To be blunt, meth is a horrible drug with destructive potential way beyond heroin and cocaine.

Mexican gangs, operating much like pharmaceutical companies, send entire families to live in Texas and embed themselves in neighborhoods to live as normal people. The meth is manufactured in clandestine Mexican laboratories and smuggled across the border as liquid. Once in the United States, the supposedly normal families reconstitute the liquid into shards of “ice.” Often, they expose their small children to poisonous chemicals used to make the ice.

Castleberry will serve at least 15 years in prison — if he lives that long. In addition, the feds confiscated 11 firearms, two Harley Davidson motorcycles, a Corvette Stingray and $500,000 in cash during the investigation.

Sometimes, the meth business around Dallas almost looks like a parody of pragmatic business practices. We could call it “Drug-dealing Makes Strange Bed Fellows.”  Awhile back, Texas DPS investigators developed information that members of the prison-based Aryan Brotherhood were building bridges to Mexican drug gangs.

The irony is sweet: A gang whose very existence is based on white supremacy depends on Mexicans to make money. Next thing you know, people like Grandpa Castleberry will be flying the Mexican flag on Cinco de Mayo.



Lancaster authorities say a man in his 30s is in the emergency room at Springs Memorial Hospital after an apparent meth overdose on Crestfield Drive on Wednesday.

Police and medical crews were called to the home and found the man unconscious in a back bedroom, said Lancaster Police Capt. Scott Grant. The man’s mother and a woman with a 3-year-old child were also home at the time.

In a bathroom near the bedroom, police found methamphetamine-making supplies, Grant said. Authorities consider the meth lab to be “active,” he said. Criminal charges against the man are pending.

A HAZMAT crew from Columbia was enroute to the Lancaster home on Wednesday afternoon. Fire department officials and police have secured the scene and removed people from the home.

Crestfield Drive is a neighborhood street just off the Lancaster Bypass, near the University of South Carolina-Lancaster.

More than 200 grams of methamphetamine have been taken off the streets of Springhill following the authorized search of a vehicle at a dollar store on Main Street Wednesday night.

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According to Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd Reiny Ratliff, of the 300 block of South Park Dr. was taken into custody after authorities discovered methamphetamine with a street value of $23,400 in the vehicle she was driving.
“That is a lot of Meth,” Lynd said.
The discovery was made by Springhill authorities attempting to issue Ratliff a citation for illegally parking in a handicap zone at Dollar General.

“When she (Ratliff) was asked to show her driver’s license, she couldn’t locate them,” Lynd said. “When the officer opened the passenger-side door she became nervous, clutching her purse and broke into a sweat.”

Ratliff has been charged with Possession of Methamphetamine; Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine over 28 grams; Resisting an Officer; Parking in a Handicap Zone; and Expired Inspection Sticker. As of midnight Wednesday, she was awaiting transport from Springhill city jail to Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center for booking.

Ratliff’s photo and bond amounts and are unavailable at this time. It is unclear if Ratliff has an attorney.

CHINO VALLEY, AZ (CBS5) –  SWAT and Hazmat units assisted in the arrest of a Chino Valley man accused of possessing chemicals used in making methamphetamine and homemade firearms.

Narcotics detectives had developed information that the occupants of the home were manufacturing and possessing dangerous drugs, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office said.


SWAT officers used a small diversionary explosive device as they entered the home in the 1700 block of Tumbleweed Drive just before 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The hazmat team was on hand because of the possibility of contraband chemicals inside.

Authorities found and arrested 55-year-old Darrell Pombo.

Inside the home, detectives said they discovered several glass methamphetamine pipes, marijuana pipes and used syringes throughout. In a bathroom, they said they located a combination of chemicals and supplies commonly used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Three homemade firearms, including one with a suppressor attached to the barrel, and a shotgun were recovered.

Pombo is a prohibited firearms possessor based on a prior felony conviction.

Pombo was booked at the Camp Verde Detention Center on charges including manufacture of a dangerous drug, possession of drug paraphernalia, manufacture of prohibited weapon and multiple counts involving prohibited possession and possession of a deadly weapon during a felony.

Authorities said the investigation is continuing.



Several local law enforcement agencies worked the scene of yet another meth lab Tuesday afternoon at a local motel.

The newest lab was found at the Travel Inn at 914 Murfreesboro Road in Lebanon.

Lebanon police Chief Scott Bowen said around 11:50 a.m., officers responded to the Travel Inn following complaints of an odor coming from room 108.

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Bowen said officers approached the room and gained consent to go inside by a man found in the room. He said officers could then see and smell evidence of a meth lab once they entered. Everyone was then evacuated from the room, and Lebanon police meth technicians were called to the scene to process it and collect evidence.

Wilson Emergency Management Agency and Lebanon Public Safety officials also helped with the decontamination.

Jarrod Griffith, 34, of Gallatin, and Candas Boatwright, 32, of LaVergne, were each charged with promotion of methamphetamine manufacture and manufacturing methamphetamine.

According to Bowen, this is the third methamphetamine-related charge Boatwright has received in Lebanon in the last six months. Griffith had an outstanding warrant in Wilson County for failure to appear on an unrelated charge.

The room Griffith and Boatwright were staying in was registered to Nick Roath, 41, of Lebanon, who was also staying at the hotel in room 202 also registered under his name, Bowen said.

Bowen said officers went and talked to Roath in his room and found him to be in possession of what was believed to be methamphetamine. He said Roath was charged with possession of schedule II drugs.

Since the beginning of the year, this is the fifth meth lab found by Lebanon police and the eighth lab total found in Wilson County. According to the Meth Task Force, only 18 meth labs were found in Lebanon and Wilson County in all of 2013.

In October, a meth lab exploded at the Travel Inn. The blast blew out the door and exterior wall of the room. Two Carthage men were indicted in the case.



Police uncovered almost $40,000 cash and a stash of methamphetamine after raiding a patient’s room at a Perth hospital.

Organised Crime Squad detectives found 18 grams of methamphetamine and $38,740 cash on Wednesday after searching a room at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Nedlands.

They then executed a warrant at the man’s Southern River home where they allegedly found more methamphetamine, cannabis, GHB, a gun, ammunition, and items commonly used to make amphetamines.

The 32-year-old man has been refused bail and is due to reappear in the Armadale Magistrates Court next week.



Four individuals were operating a meth lab that was housed at a Shickshinny residence, authorities say.

As part of an ongoing investigation into methamphetamine manufacturing and distribution in Luzerne County, the state Attorney General’s Office executed a search warrant at 317 Cope Road and arrested Larry Muhlenberg IV, Edward Edwards Jr., Lisa Brock and Kelsey Coutts.

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Authorities recovered a number of items consistent with methamphetamine manufacturing, including red phosphorous, pseudoephedrine and various other chemicals as well as hardware used to build a meth lab, such as plastic tubing, funnels and glassware. They also seized an undisclosed about of methamphetamine and numerous firearms, both handguns and long guns.

All four individuals gave authorities verbal and written statements admitting to being involved with manufacturing methamphetamine. Muhlenberg also admitted to being a convicted felon and to possessing three of the handguns.

Muhlenberg, 26, was charged with two counts of manufacture and possession with intent to deliver, conspiracy to manufacture with intent to deliver, intent to possess a controlled substance, three counts of possession of red phosphorous, risking a catastrophe and possession of prohibited firearms.

Edwards, 26, Brock, 46, and Coutts, 19, were all charged with conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to deliver, intent to possess a controlled substance and three counts each of possession of red phosphorous.

The four were jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility, unable to post $150,000 bail each set by Magisterial District Judge Donald L. Whittaker. Their preliminary hearings are scheduled for 9 a.m. on March 19 before Whittaker.

Seven people were arrested Monday after a drug bust in Hewitt resulted in the discovery of more than $5,000 worth of methamphetamine.

After searches at 521 Wisconsin St. N and 712 Second Ave. E, agents from the Central Minnesota Violent Offenders Task Force, the West Central Minnesota Drug Task Force and the Todd County Sheriff’s office recovered more than 2 ounces of methamphetamine and items for distributing the drug, according to a release from the Todd County Sheriff’s Office.

Arrested were: 28-year-old Dale Jeremy Camacho, 39-year-old Charles Arthur Biksen, 24-year-old Jennifer Marie Tentler and Erin Elizabeth Biksen — all of of Hewitt — along with Sebeka residents Darrell Leigh Biksen, 50, and Jeffrey James Blaha, 53, along with 35-year-old Jessie Allan McManigle of Wadena. All were taken to Todd County Jail to await charges.





WESTMINSTER, S.C.  —Upstate parents were arrested after investigators said their children  tested positive for methamphetamine.

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office said they have charged Bradley Scott  Owens, 23, and Amber Denis Swafford, 20, with two counts each of unlawful  neglect of a child.

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According to the incident report, an Oconee County Sheriff’s deputy went to  the Department of Social Services office in Walhalla on March 5 and was notified  that two children had tested positive for methamphetamine and both parents of  the children had also tested positive for methamphetamine.

Arrest warrants said on Jan. 1, Owens smoked methamphetamine in the  couple’s home while the children were there.

The warrants said Swafford admitted to smoking methamphetamine between Jan. 1  and Feb. 27.

Owens and Swafford were released from jail after each received a $40,000  personal recognizance bond.



TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — Four alleged traffickers of methamphetamine are in the Tuscaloosa County Jail after two unrelated busts, a Tuscaloosa Police Department representative said Wednesday afternoon.

Sgt. Brent Blankley said the first arrests were made Monday night after someone reported an active meth lab in the 11000 block of McPhearson Landing Road. Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Deputies responded and smelled a strong chemical odor coming from a shed beside a home there.

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Inside the shed, deputies found a man with empty packs of precursor drugs in his back pockets as well as two single-pot meth labs, half a gram of meth, digital scales, glassware and 120 grams of meth oil, according to court records. Agents with the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force were called to the scene to document the evidence and deactivate the lab.

Police arrested the man in the shed, identified as Andrew Chase Blake, and another suspect on the property, Michael Jason Herren. Both were charged with manufacturing and trafficking a controlled substance. Court records show Herren was also in possession of Adderall without a prescription and was charged for that.

Both men are in the Tuscaloosa County Jail. Blake is charged with first-degree manufacturing of a controlled substance, trafficking methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond was set at $205,000. Herren faces the same charges plus one count of possession of a controlled substance for the Adderall, leaving him with a bond of $215,000.

In an unrelated bust, police arrested a man and a woman Tuesday and charged both with trafficking methamphetamine. Blankley said he could not release information on those arrests Wednesday and court records have not yet been filed in that case.

James David Culwell and Tiffany Diane Fuller are both in the county jail pending bonds of $100,000 each. Both are charged with one count of trafficking meth.



A 15-year-old Madera boy sits behind bars – accused of distributing methamphetamine in both the city and county of Madera. His arrest follows a month-long investigation conducted by narcotic agents with the Madera County Narcotic Enforcement Team, or MADNET.

The teenager’s name could be released because of his age.

Agents allege the juvenile had already moved as much as quarter pound of meth in just the last two weeks before his arrest last Thursday morning.

Agents further allege the teenager conducted business in a vehicle that had a crudely manufactured hidden compartment to hide his narcotics.

Thursday morning, MADNET served a search warrant at the teenager’s home, located off West Almond Avenue in the city of Madera, seizing more methamphetamine, items related to sales of the drug, and more than $400.

The 15-year-old was booked into Madera County Juvenile Hall on charges of possession of methamphetamine for sale and having a vehicle with a modified compartment for the transportation of narcotics.

MADNET is a multi-agency narcotics task force that consists of officers from the California Highway Patrol, Chowchilla and Madera police departments, and Madera County Sheriff’s and Probation departments, and the district attorney’s office. The unit is supervised by an agent from the California Department of Justice.

It should be noted that Sheriff John Anderson who, recognizing the need for such a task force because no one law enforcement agency in Madera County can tackle Madera County’s drug problem alone, spear-headed an MOU (memo of understanding) between the county and the state of California to create a unit of sworn personnel drawn from all law enforcement agencies operating in Madera County – hence, the creation of MADNET.

Lastly, during statewide cutbacks in anti-narcotics programs last year, Madera County was spared. “Madera County is fortunate to have one of the few remaining drug task forces,” said Anderson, adding, “This is no doubt due to the positive efforts and results obtained by MADNET.”

72-year-old Longview, Texas man has been convicted of drug trafficking charges in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.


Jerry Don Castleberry was found guilty by a jury on March 11, 2014, of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking activity, following a two day trial before U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider.

According to information presented in court, up until May 1, 2013, Castleberry conspired with other persons to acquire and distribute large quantities of methamphetamine from a source in Dallas, Texas to dealers throughout the Longview, Texas area. Evidence indicated that Castleberry was distributing methamphetamine manufactured in Mexico. Castleberry was also in possession of numerous firearms and ammunition, which are subject to forfeiture. Castleberry is a former member of the Bandidos motorcycle gang. As a result of his crime, Castleberry will also forfeit two Harley Davidson motorcycles and a Corvette Stingray.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment on June 27, 2013, charging Castleberry and others with the federal violations. Castleberry faces a minimum of 15 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not been set.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Baldwin.



Cincinnati Police and the SWAT team converged on a home in Kennedy Heights Tuesday evening.  Police tell Local 12 one man who is a member of the “Iron Horsemen” motorcycle club was arrested.


Police found a meth lab in a home on Kirkup Avenue.  Officials say the arrest and search are part of a larger investigation of Motorcycle club activity.



Authorities have accused a local woman of keeping meth and marijuana in areas within her 6-year-old son’s reach.

Caryn Freeman, 27, was charged Sunday with possession of a controlled substance, child endangerment, knowingly keeping or permitting the possession of a controlled substance in a structure or vehicle, and gathering for use of drugs.

According to an Iowa City police complaint, officers responded in a welfare check on a 6-year-old male. Officers had been advised that Freeman was using drugs in the residence where the child lived.

When officers made contact with Freeman and three other adult occupants, they allegedly spotted hypodermic syringes and prescription pills lying on the floor, the complaint said. They also reportedly found marijuana and methamphetamine residue on low tables within reach of the child.

Officers conducted a search and allegedly located more methamphetamine, prescription pills, and marijuana in the apartment, as well as finding methamphetamine and paraphernalia in Freeman’s vehicle, the complaint said.

Possession of a controlled substance is a serious misdemeanor. Child endangerment is an aggravated misdemeanor. Knowingly keeping or permitting the possession of a controlled substance in a structure or vehicle is an aggravated misdemeanor. Gathering for use of drugs is a Class-D felony.


QANTAS valet driver caught running a drug lab from his St Leonards unit, claimed he started making ice to help his pregnant girlfriend get off heroin, a court has heard.

Geelong Magistrates’ Court heard Nick Nicu was found with 183.4g of liquid mix methamphetamine, 60 times the trafficable quantity, when police raided his unit last year.

The court was also told how the couple’s baby was born drug-addicted on Christmas Day and spent the first few months of its tiny life being weaned off its addiction in hospital.

Nicu, 42, formerly of Bluff Rd, St Leonards, pleaded guilty yesterday to trafficking methamphetamine.

Police prosecutor leading Senior Constable Siobhan Daly said that, in June last year, police intelligence identified Nicu as purchasing large quantities of cold and flu products containing pseudoephedrine.

Sen-Constable Daly said that, on August 24, police executed a search warrant on a unit occupied by Nicu and his pregnant partner.

“They immediately identified a small plastic container on the kitchen bench which appeared to be facilitating an active pseudoephedrine extract,” Sen-Constable Daly said.

“The premises was secured until Clandestine Lab investigators arrived.

“Inside the property, police found chemicals, glassware and drug paraphernalia, all used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.”

Sen-Constable Daly said a liquid mix containing 183.4g of methamphetamine, 60 times the trafficable quantity, was also seized.

“The chemicals were of a highly volatile nature and posed significant danger to residents in other units including a couple with three young children next door.”

Ronald Gipp, for Nicu, said his client had been trying to get his girlfriend off heroin at the time.

“He would smoke ice with his colleagues and partner and finished up with a substantial habit,” Mr Gipp said.

The lawyer said his client had no priors, was being treated for his ice addiction and was employed as a valet driver for Qantas.

“The co-accused had a baby to my client on Christmas Day and that baby was born drug-addicted,” he said.

“It remained in hospital for a couple of months being weaned off drugs and was only recently released into the care of relatives.”

Magistrate Ann McGarvie convicted Nicu and placed him on an 18 month Community Corrections Order with 200 hours unpaid community work.

He was also ordered to undergo drug treatment and rehabilitation and pay a $1000 bond.



FLATHEAD RESERVATION –  Tribal, state, and federal game authorities are feeling the effects of a resurgence in methamphetamine usage in the Mission Valley.

Tribal Game Warden Mike McElderry pointed to his bulletproof vest in a meeting with the Flathead Reservation Fish and Wildlife Board last week as one result of more armed users taking to the forest.

“We’ve come across more of these guys just carrying handguns,” McElderry said. “We came across two incidents already where folks pulled their handgun, but they were talked down. It’s changing.”

Some of the meth users camp illegally in the forest. Others gather firewood. One of the individuals had an outstanding warrant worth approximately $50,000. The methamphetamine cases can bleed over into fish and game cases, according to Tribal Game Warden Pablo Espinoza. In one case, a man was put into Lake County Jail for drug charges and was cited for an additional game violation while in jail for wasting meat that was left for more than 30 days at a processor.

“I had more meth (cases) this year than all my previous years,” Federal Wildlife Officer Mike Koole said.

Three of the four felony cases Koole handled last year were all methamphetamine related.

“They may be doing meth or they might have meth in their possession,” Koole said. “We’ve had people actually smoking meth when we rolled up in Pablo (Wildlife Management Area). It’s just a little bit out of town, but close enough to town that you can just kind of hide back there a little bit. It’s everywhere. It’s just so much more prevalent now.”



CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State legislators’ decision this year to do nothing to reduce methamphetamine labs while no longer reimbursing landlords for meth cleanup costs could leave the state with hundreds of vacant and toxic properties, the president of the West Virginia Landlords Association said Tuesday.

“It doesn’t make sense to me that they’re going to allow meth labs to continue at the same rate — and we know they’re increasing every year — yet they’re going to pull money to innocent victims who unknowingly had someone make meth on their property,” said Jennifer McQuerrey Rhyne, who heads the statewide landlord group.

Last week, lawmakers rejected legislation (SB6) that aimed to reduce the number of meth labs by requiring a prescription for cold medications containing pseudoephedrine, a key meth-making ingredient. The Senate passed the bill, but the House killed the prescription-only measure.

Meanwhile, the House and Senate passed legislation (SB204) that stops the West Virginia Crime Victims Compensation Fund from distributing money to help property owners clean up meth labs.

If the governor signs the bill, the new law would take effect July 1.

Rhyne said landlords would be reluctant to report meth labs to police. Property owners who couldn’t afford to pay cleanup costs would face fines and condemnation proceedings.

“The victim of the crime [landlords] become the criminal,” Rhyne said. “If someone cooks meth in your house, and you don’t have the money to do the cleanup within 30 days, then you’re the criminal, then you’re not following the law.”

Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley, who sponsored the bill that stops meth lab claims from draining the Victims Compensation Fund, said the Legislature would look for other ways to help property owners pay for meth lab cleanup expenses.

“She has a legitimate concern, and we definitely need to look at this,” Unger said. “But it shouldn’t be coming out of the crime victims fund.”

Lawmakers passed legislation in 2007 that allowed the crime victims fund to reimburse landlords for cleanup expenses. The following year, the fund paid out about $30,000 for meth cleaning costs.

But meth lab seizures spiked in subsequent years. The crime victims fund is on pace to pay out more than $1 million for meth cleanup claims during the current fiscal year.

“It was just gobbling up the fund,” Unger said. “That money was intended for crimes committed to a person, not their property. It’s money that should be going to the victims of violent crime.”

Rhyne, who also co-owns a company that cleans up meth labs, said such firms and property owners worry that the state might not reimburse pending claims — those already being processed — before the July deadline. The crime victims fund reimburses companies and landlords up to $10,000 for each meth lab cleanup.

“It would be crushing,” Rhyne said. “We’ve already done the work.”

Insurance companies in West Virginia don’t offer policies that cover meth lab remediation, she said.

Some property owners might raise rents and set aside the extra money for meth cleaning expenses, said Rhyne, who does background checks and credit checks on her tenants.

“As hard as we try to screen them, a bad tenant can get in there from time to time,” Rhyne said. “If one bad one gets in, that could be the end of the line for many landlords. They may not have the money to clean it up.”

And what’s next? A condemnation notice followed by a bulldozer, in some cases, she said.

“In Kanawha County, they can come and tear your house down,” Rhyne said.

West Virginia is the only state that reimburses property owners for meth cleanup costs through a crime victims fund.

In Virginia and Pennsylvania, convicted meth manufacturers are required to help landlords pay for cleanup costs. West Virginia doesn’t have a similar law.

Rhyne said the state could garnish wages from meth offenders, make them pay extra court costs, and take away their income tax refunds.

“They should make them pay some type of restitution to the property owner,” she said. “They’re the ones that caused the problem. They should be the ones to pay for the problem.”

Rhyne said state legislators had it backward during the session, which ended Saturday night.

They should have passed the Senate bill designed to eradicate meth labs and continued to reimburse property owners for cleanup expenses, she said.

In recent years, Mississippi and Oregon have passed laws that require a prescription for cold medications used to make meth. The number of meth labs dropped significantly in those states.

“Had they passed Senate Bill 6 [the prescription requirement], they could have left the crime victims fund alone, and the money they paid out would have been so reduced.

“The fact that these other states showed such a dramatic reduction in meth labs shows that it works. But here, the drug lobbyists came in and convinced our legislators otherwise.”

Also Tuesday, the Kanawha County Commission wrote a letter to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, asking him to put the pseudoephedrine prescription bill on the agenda for a possible legislative special session.

The bill died on the last night of the regular session because of “technical reasons,” according to the letter.

The House missed a deadline to file a proposed House-Senate agreement on the legislation late Saturday night.

Tomblin’s Advisory Council for Substance Abuse has recommended requiring a prescription for pseudoephedrine as a way to reduce meth labs in West Virginia. But Tomblin was silent on the issue while lawmakers were in session.



JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The grandmother of a woman suspected of manufacturing methamphetamine called police after her granddaughter was arrested in St. Augustine Monday morning.

The 74-old-year grandmother of Amanda Paige Albert had allowed her to stay in her home since Feb. 28, according to a police report from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Albert was arrested in St. Augustine Monday and charged with drug possession, drug equipment possession, drug production and methamphetamine possession after investigators allegedly found her inside a car suspected of being a mobile meth lab.

Amanda Paige Albert

Following Albert’s arrest, family members called her grandmother and urged her to check her home for drugs. The 74-year-old allegedly found suspicious items in the bedroom Albert was staying in and called police.

Patrol officers were called to the home in the 6700 block of Heidi Road in Arlington around 2 p.m., according to JSO Sgt. Padgett. During a search of the home police allegedly found pseudo-ephedrine pills, lithium strips in a clear liquid, salt and other unknown liquids consistent with meth lab ingredients, according to a police report from JSO. The home was immediately evacuated and a JSO team that deals with methamphetamine responded to the house to further assess the situation.

The specialized team removed the items found by patrol officers, along with glassware and other paraphernalia, the report detailed.

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No injuries were reported and the 74-year-old’s home was left secure by police.

Albert, 28, and two additional suspects, 37-year-old Scott Christopher Smith and Victor Vance Alden, 59, were arrested Monday morning in St. Augustine and are facing multiple drug related charges.





CROSSVILLE – An investigation involving methamphetamine being sent by mail that began in Indiana culminated Friday afternoon with the arrest of a Crossville man.White County Sheriff Doug Maier identified the man arrested as 30-year-old Luke Burnett.
The investigation began in Evansville, Ind., after U.S. Postal Service employees identified two suspicious packages at the distribution center.
luke barnett
It was determined one of the packages was addressed to 1009 W. Main St. in Crossville, Burnett’s residence. Illinois State Police, the Southern Illinois Drug Task Force, White County Sheriff’s Office and Carmi Police Department joined in the investigation.
Ultimately, the package was delivered to the Crossville address by a police agent posing as a postal service employee. The transaction was conducted under the surveillance of law enforcement, which included a tactical response team from the state police.
Burnett allegedly signed for the package and was immediately taken into custody. He was booked at the City-County Jail pending the setting of bail on felony meth-related charges.
Maier said the package delivered to Burnett contained about 227 grams of methamphetamine.

Wellington Police have executed several new search warrants after the clan lab bust at an inner city apartment in the early hours of Friday 7 March 2014. After the scene was examined by ESR scientists and the Police clan lab team, investigators executed another three search warrants at inner city addresses and seized and searched four vehicles.

These searches have resulted in more than a million dollars worth of crystal methamphetamine being seized along with $30,000 cash.

Three men and a woman have been charged with methamphetamine-related offences. Two will next appear in the Wellington District Court today, 12 March 2014, with one facing a further methamphetamine-related charge. The other two will appear in the Wellington District Court on 28 March 2014.

Detective Inspector Darrin Thomson says “These arrests are another blow to the methamphetamine supply chain in Wellington and is a continuation of our operations off the back of a two million dollar methamphetamine seizure in December 2013.”

“The public continues to be our eyes and ears and this discovery shows that it can happen anywhere. Information from the public ensures that the unlawful activity of such groups is brought to a stop. The community impact of methamphetamine continues to be a cause misery which preys on the vulnerable.”

The investigation team continue to gather evidence of this group’s offending which is now before the Courts.



A 2-year-old boy was high on methamphetamine Friday after his father brought him to a “dope house” where a resident was smoking the drug, prosecutors said Tuesday.

The father, Joseph Michael Ray, 22, of St. Paul, was charged with child endangerment.


According to the criminal complaint filed Tuesday in Ramsey County District Court:

Police were called Friday to Children’s Hospital in St. Paul, where medics had taken him. Ray told police that the toddler had fallen asleep about 12:30 that morning and that Ray had slept next to him. Ray’s father woke him up at one point, asking where the boy was.

They pulled off his covers and found him “in a deep, deep sleep like he was drugged up,” Ray told police. The two shook him to wake him up.

Hospital staff said the boy was lethargic and unresponsive. He appeared pale and dehydrated, with chapped lips. “As officers spoke to Ray, (the boy) stared at police and didn’t speak.”

Ray said that the boy’s mother had abandoned them about five weeks earlier and that he and his son had been living at Ray’s grandmother’s house.

Police asked if it was possible that the boy had ingested something. Ray “eventually admitted” that he had taken the toddler to a house across the street from the grandmother’s residence in the 600 block of East Jessamine Street about two days earlier.

“Ray said one of the residents was smoking methamphetamine and he acknowledged that they shouldn’t have been there,” the complaint said.

After that, Ray said, a friend’s mother told him the boy looked “kinda sick” and suggested Ray give him a teaspoon of “liquid cherry Tylenol gel or something.”

Later that day, the boy looked even worse. He got “really sunk-eyed,” Ray told police.

Doctors determined that the boy was severely dehydrated. He tested positive for amphetamine.

Ray also was charged with violating a domestic abuse no-contact order; with him at the hospital was his girlfriend, whom he had made terroristic threats against in November. He had been given a suspended sentence for that crime Feb. 7.

Ray was being held Tuesday at the Ramsey County Jail.



Three people were arrested on drug charges Tuesday after the Lebanon Police Department discovered its fifth methamphetamine lab so far this year.

Candas Boatwright, 32, of La Vergne, and Jarrod Griffith, 34, of Gallatin, are charged with promotion of methamphetamine manufacture and manufacturing methamphetamine after police responded to a complaint of an odor coming from a room at the Travel Inn, 914 Murfreesboro Road.

Boatwright Courtesy Griffith Courtesy Roath Courtesy

The arrest is Boatwright’s third meth-related charge in Lebanon in about six months. Griffith was also cited for failure to appear in court on an unrelated charge.

Nick Roath, 41, of Lebanon, also was charged with drug possession. The room where Boatwright and Griffith were staying was registered to Roath. He was staying in a different room registered in his name.

According to the state’s methamphetamine task force, there were 18 meth labs found in Lebanon and Wilson County in 2013.

All three suspects were booked into the Wilson County Jail. Boatwright’s total bail was set at $25,000, Griffith’s at $22,000 and Roath’s at $2,750.