MIDDLETON — In the days leading up to Sunday’s double shooting outside a Middleton home, things were getting strange, witnesses told police.

Michael MacMullin, 24, and Kevin Wolff, 27, were at MacMullin’s home, along with other members of the Red Devils motorcycle gang and some of their girlfriends.

A couple of nights earlier, on Friday, two unknown individuals showed up, making threats and assaulting one of the other men in the home. Later, they returned and poured gasoline on the motorcycles parked outside, the witnesses told police, according to court papers.

MacMullin and Wolff spent part of the following day, Saturday, doing “lines” of crystal methamphetamine and, believing the assailants were going to return, growing more and more paranoid, the witnesses told police. They kept thinking they saw things on the home video surveillance system they had set up.

At one point, Wolff was standing outside with a flashlight, a gun in his hand, scanning the nearby woods and walking around his garage. Sometime after that, he called for MacMullin to come outside and look at something.

Moments later, the friends heard gunshots, 15 to 20 in total. By the time it was over, both men had been shot. Wolff was found lying near an SUV, bleeding from wounds to his torso; MacMullin had run to a relative’s home nearby, with a wound to his arm.

Three vehicles also had bullet holes in them, according to court papers.

Both men remain hospitalized, and MacMullin was arraigned his bed at Lahey Hospital in Burlington yesterday on charges of attempted murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling.

He pleaded not guilty, according to the Essex district attorney’s office, which had sought bail of $100,000 cash.

Judge Robert Brennan set bail at $10,000 cash, but ordered that if released, MacMullin must wear an electronic monitoring bracelet, remain confined to his home, surrender all of his weapons, not consume any drugs or alcohol, submit to random screens, and have no contact with Wolff or any members of the motorcycle gang.

Police are continuing their investigation. According to court papers, investigators have been unable so far to speak to Wolff. Investigators have not said whether he will face any charges.

MacMullin, questioned by police at the hospital, recalled being handed a gun by someone inside the home, going outside and shooting someone, but said he didn’t know who.

Another witness questioned by police said she saw both men holding guns, then saw MacMullin fire at Wolff, who returned fire.

After MacMullin fled, another person in the home retrieved the guns and took them inside, where he wrapped them in a towel and left them on the bar.

Police later executed a search warrant and found a gun safe in the home.

A probable cause hearing in the case is scheduled for Oct. 18 in Salem District Court.







INA — A case in Jefferson County shows the dangers of battling meth, after an officer spends days in the hospital for being exposed to toxic chemicals.

Police raided the home of Jonathan Cooper, 41, of Ina Friday night. He was immediately arrested for possession of meth with the intent to deliver.

“We took every precaution possible and that’s what’s so disheartening,” said Ina Police Chief Travis Allen.

An officer got sick after breathing the chemicals on Cooper’s clothes while taking him to the jail. That officer was released from the hospital five days later. It’s a situation Allen says sickens him and won’t be tolerated in the small community.

Ashley Lehman, 18, of Marissa moved to Ina last Monday and within days, she started noticing a lot of police activity around her apartment. “Thursday there were just cops that would keep coming by and coming by,” she said.

The next day she was surprised to see what was happening on her neighbor’s property. “I came outside and there were the guys that looked like they were in the space suits and I had no idea what was going on,” she explained.

Authorities stepped in to Jonathan Cooper’s home in the 200 block of Maple Street to find multiple active meth labs, dozens of syringes, and roughly nine pounds of methamphetamine.

“To think that I just moved here in this, quiet, little small town and there’s a giant meth bust right next door,” said Lehman.

Allen says officers took all the necessary steps to stay safe as they entered the home with help from the state police hazmat team.
“We completely gloved up, we had on the proper uniforms, we had on our gas masks and we hit the house. We got the subject, we had him out in the fresh air for approximately 20 minutes before transporting him,” he explained.

But it still wasn’t enough. An officer suffered respiratory problems from exposure to the meth chemicals while transporting Cooper to the Jefferson County jail.
“The guy we arrested had burns all over his face,” said Allen. “You can imagine if my officer is exposed to this for 15 minutes driving him to a jail facility, what his lungs must be like.”

Allen insists, his department is taking a zero tolerance stance against meth because his community doesn’t deserve to have the poison in their neighborhoods.
“I thank God every day you know, we were able to get that house shut down before it exploded, before it caught fire and you know, could have hurt some innocent people,” Allen added.

Cooper is in the Jefferson County jail on $150,000 bond. If convicted, he could face up to 60 years in prison. The Ina police chief says other arrests in the case are likely.






Aug. 12 – A man on River Rd. in Columbia Falls told deputies someone was after him over a drug bust and had a torture chamber set up. A deputy advised the man he was suffering from meth paranoia and should stop using the drug.







A recent study by the North Korea Review reported that some northern provinces of North Korea are seeing a noted spike in crystal meth use, even calling the surge of recreational speed ingestion an “epidemic.”

“Almost every adult in that area [of North Korea] has experienced using ice and not just once,” a co-author of the study told the Wall Street Journal, “I estimate that at least 40 percent and 50 percent are seriously addicted to the drug.”

Why did North Korea get into this drug problem, and how did a country with such tightly regulated markets enter the crystal game?

According to the Washington Post,  it started in the 1990s, when Pyongyang opened its usually-sealed-up economy to attempt ending a famine that plagued most citizens of the country. North Korea struck up a black market deal with China that would bring food in to nourish the hungry. Since then, the black market trade with China has been so lucrative that closing it down seems like it wouldn’t help either country.

North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un

North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un

Two key events took place following the opening of the black market: Pyongyang’s health system almost completely folded, and North Koreans started making meth in huge labs run by the state.

Apparently, the government was shuttling meth into China and giving the cash back to the manufacturers in Pyongyang.

Inevitably, some of the state-made meth began trickling back into North Korea. Citizens of the country began using, and the North Korea Review’s report even said that some civilians were making their own meth in home labs.

When the healthcare system collapsed, medicine became even more difficult to come by-prescription drugs are pretty rare in North Korea. But meth is not only widely available, it is also cheap, and considered a cure for a number of ailments.

The issue has ballooned into a serious problem, especially in areas like North Hamgyung-a town that has seen most of the issues associated with this upsurge in meth use.

But according to the Washington Post, since the health system in Pyongyang is so stunted, “North Korean addicts, whatever their numbers, are on their own.”







CLEVELAND, Ohio — Fueled by a quick brewing chemical stew, the scourge of meth is growing faster than ever in Ohio.

Authorities have seen a jump of 467 percent in the number of seized methamphetamine labs this year, compared to five years ago, according to state records.

“It’s killing us,” said Larry Limbert, the leader of the Portage County Drug Task Force. “It’s highly addictive. The people I’ve interviewed over the years say they just can’t get away from it.”


Seized chemicals from methamphetamine raid



The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation tracks meth lab seizures by federal fiscal year, meaning from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30. Through June 24, police reported finding 635 labs. They expect to find more by the end of September.

Officers, through a voluntary reporting process, said they found 607 labs last year. Summit County, the epicenter of meth in Ohio with a deep underground of drug cookers, led the state with 191 seized labs.

“We’re seeing a continuous spike,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “It is easier (for people to make the drug). We used to talk about ‘meth houses,’ or places people would make this. Well, today, you can make it in a pop bottle.”

For years, the number of meth labs in the state fluctuated. It reached 444 in 2005. Then, in about 2007, Ohio began cracking down on the amounts of cold medication pseudoephedrine that can be purchased at stores and pharmacies. Pseudoephedrine is a key ingredient in cooking the drug. Once the state tightened its grip on the way the drug was sold, the number of seizures appeared to slow.

But that didn’t last long, as meth cookers often recruited several different people to buy boxes of the drug from several different places. In 2008, for instance, police reported finding 112 labs. But the next year, the number of labs tripled, to 348, according to state records.

The yearly figures slowly climbed until last year, when agents and police found 607 labs. The numbers appear to have everything to do with the drug’s cheap cost and how it is made.

Records from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addition Services show the drug sells on the streets for about $80 to $120 for a gram, based on its purity The stimulant stays in the body much longer than crack cocaine and its effects are longer lasting.

For years, most cookers made meth in their homes, apartments and hotel rooms, using red phosphorus.

It left a noxious vapor that sickened nearby residents and rotted walls and staircases. Not to mention the bodies of the cookers. They lost weight and their teeth and gums deteriorated.

In recent years, a new form called one-pot cooking developed to allow dealers to make meth in cars and out of the back of trucks. The brew, using pseudoephedrine, lithium and other household materials, takes 15 minutes to a half-hour to mix, as opposed to the old method of several hours. The brew is mixed in 2-liter pop bottles, and it often is called “the shake-and-bake method.”

Once finished, the makers dump the discarded containers and bottles along roadsides and drive off with their product, leaving behind a chemical nightmare.

DeWine said his office gave 110 seminars with police, road crews and workers for the Ohio Department of Transportation about the dangers of the chemical trash. He cited the fact that members of a Boy Scout troop, picking up trash, were burned from the chemical waste of meth.

And Limbert, of Portage County, said a county worker mowing grass about a year ago drove over a bag that contained meth waste, sparking a fire.

“It scared the living daylights out of the poor guy,” Limbert said.

In July, Portage County sheriff’s deputies found a man walking with a smoking backpack. They found that it contained chemicals used in making the drug. Later, agents arrested a nearby couple and accused them of making the drug in a home where children ages 6 and 16 lived.


CRESTVIEW   —  A Crestview man is in jail after police found a “Shake and Bake” meth lab on him.

It started when Crestview police responded to a verbal altercation at the Super 8 Motel Tuesday afternoon.

When they arrived, 19 year old Michael Stephens fled on foot.
He was eventually captured in Mack’s Automotive parking lot.

When police found a homemade meth laboratory on him, they evacuated Mack’s and closed the road until it was dismantled.

Stephens is charged with resisting arrest without violence, trafficking and manufacturing methamphetamine.







OROVILLE — Seven people who are suspected of importing large quantities of methamphetamine into Butte County were arrested on federal charges Wednesday morning by federal and local narcotics officers.

Ten pounds of meth was seized Wednesday.

A 10-month joint investigation by the Butte County Interagency Task Force and Federal Drug Enforcement Administration culminated with about 90 law enforcement officers serving numerous federal search and arrest warrants in the Oroville area.

“This organization has been pumping pounds and pounds of methamphetamine into the county,” BINTF Commander Jeff Smith said Wednesday by telephone.

Most of the drugs were brought into the Oroville area, he said.

Arrests included Frederico Sandoval Aguilar and Alejandro Lopez-Corona of Biggs and Manuel Garcia Navarro, who was already in custody. Arrested Oroville residents included Rafael Morfin-Medina, Rickey Lee Xiong, Sou Xiong and Cindy Lee Hunter.

Five more suspects — Guillermo Ventura-Lopez, David Milton Eleazar, Neng Chue Xiong, Pao Thao and Jaime Dominguez — were not located and are considered fugitives, according to a press release from the DEA.

The complaint alleges Aguilar was the head of an organization distributing methamphetamine in Butte County and elsewhere in California.

The organization was identified through confidential sources, surveillance of organization members, drug purchases by undercover officers and court-authorized wiretaps of Aguilar and his associates.

The case began with information gathered by BINTF, which asked the Sacramento DEA office to join the investigation.

In addition to the meth, law enforcement officers seized guns, including one stolen weapon, and more than $70,000 in cash from drug proceeds.

The complaint alleges couriers transported pounds of methamphetamine from Mexico into the county, and under Aguilar’s direction, sold the illegal drugs to local associates for further distribution and sale.

DEA public information officer Karl Nichols said from the San Francisco office by telephone the organization imported literally pounds of methamphetamine from Mexico into this county every day.

The suspects will probably appear in the U.S. District Court in Sacramento today, Nichols said.

At some point, the court will unseal the records, and the court will make the complaint and search warrant affidavit available to he public, he said.

Methamphetamine is a dangerous drug that severely affects health and is a motivating force behind much violence and criminal activities, DEA special agent in charge Bruce C. Balzano said in the press release.

“We will support our law enforcement partners and provide resources to prosecute those who endanger the honest and hard-working citizens of Butte County,” Balzano said.

BINTF is a cooperative effort between the California Department of Justice Bureau of Investigation, Butte County Sheriff’s Department, Butte County District Attorney’s Office, Butte County Probation Department, California Highway Patrol, Chico Police Department, Gridley Police Department, Oroville Police Department, and the Paradise Police Department.







INVERNESS — Kevin Shields sat on the stand Wednesday and recalled the day last December when Byron Boutin and Crystal Brinson showed up at Shields’ house in Floral City.

Brinson was jumpy and said they had something to tell him. She said 18-year-old DeAnna Stires had freaked out, ransacked Boutin’s house and stolen his methamphetamine.

“She said, ‘I had to whoop her ass, Kevin,’ ” Shields recalled. “I said, ‘Where the hell is DeAnna?’ and she says, ‘She’s in the trunk of the car.’ “

The first witness on the second day of Boutin’s murder trial, Shields seemed to bolster both sides. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Boutin, but defense attorneys say Brinson is responsible for Stires’ death.

Assistant State Attorney Pete Magrino told jurors during opening statements that Boutin, 42, and Brinson, 36, were angry that Stires had stolen Boutin’s methamphetamine, and Boutin told Brinson to “do something about it.” Magrino said Boutin is guilty of first-degree murder even if it was Brinson who hit Stires in the head with Boutin’s handgun and injected her with morphine.

Wednesday was the second day of Byron Boutin’s trial.

Wednesday was the second day of Byron Boutin’s trial



Defense attorney Charlie Vaughn hopes to convince jurors that Boutin just wanted Stires out of his Homosassa mobile home on Dec. 26, 2012, and Brinson took matters into her own hands.

Vaughn repeated what Boutin told investigators after his arrest:

He and Brinson had left Stires alone for about an hour and returned to find drugs missing, the trailer in disarray and an agitated Stires. He said Brinson pistol-whipped Stires after finding the meth in her purse and injected her with a shot of morphine. Boutin said he thought the shot was consensual.

Boutin claims that Stires, who lived in Brooksville with her father, was snoring when Boutin and Brinson put her into the back of his Lincoln Continental and drove to his father’s house west of Brooksville. Hoping she would sober up, they bound her to a table in the garage, taped her mouth shut and left. He said they returned a short time later to find her dead. Boutin admitted to dumping Stires body in a remote wooded area of Levy County a couple of days later.

A medical examiner testified Tuesday that Stires died of acute morphine intoxication.

Shields said he did methamphetamine with Stires in Brooksville on Christmas Eve before Boutin and Brinson came to pick her up. When the pair showed up at his house two or three days later, he said, Brinson was clearly in control.

“There was nothing mentioned by the defendant about permanence or loss of life,” said Shields, who has known Boutin for about 20 years. “Miss Brinson did all of this.”

Later Wednesday, forensics experts testified that Stires’ blood was found in the trunk of Boutin’s car and on the rear passenger door.

Brinson faces the same charge as Boutin and has yet to stand trial.








BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) – Police in Bossier City and Bossier Parish have made more than 30 arrests in a drug warrant roundup dubbed “Operation Summer Sweep.”

Most of the nearly 3-dozen people arrested Tuesday were wanted on felony drug charges of possession and distribution of cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine and were mostly unrelated, according to Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington.

The sweep was conducted by the Bossier Combined Narcotics Task Force, and in addition to 32 arrests, agents also recovered 17.1 grams of methamphetamine and $400 cash.

32 people were arrested on drug charges Tuesday in Bossier City and Bossier Parish as part of Operation Summer Sweep.
32 people were arrested on drug charges Tuesday in Bossier City and Bossier Parish as part of Operation Summer Sweep

All arrestees, except for two who were already incarcerated, were taken to the Bossier Maximum Security Facility for booking.

Arrested were: Jared P. Awbrey, 19, of the 100 block of Roy Hale Dr. in Doyline, charged with possession with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Jeffery L. Brazzle, 30, of the 100 block of W. Washington St. in Haughton, charged with distribution of methamphetamine and three counts of distribution of marijuana.
Melissa H. Childs, 26, of the 1800 block of Lee St. in Bossier City and currently incarcerated in federal prison in Texas, charged with distribution of methamphetamine.
Teresa Cody, 52, of the 800 block of Lee St. in Benton, charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
Brenda M. Cohen, 45, of the 2200 block of Beauregard Pl. in Bossier City, charged with distribution of marijuana and possession of Lortab.
Jerome Cohen II, 25, of the 2200 block of Beauregard Pl. in Bossier City, charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Jimmy J. Ebarb, 31, of the 100 block of N. Maple St. in Haughton, charged with two counts of distribution of methamphetamine and failure to appear.
Antavious O. Franklin, 21, of the 400 block of Adair St. in Bossier City, charged with three counts of distribution of crack cocaine and marijuana.
Corey J. Giddens, of the 1300 block of Highway 527 in Elm Grove and currently incarcerated at the Bossier Medium Security Facility, charged with distribution of methamphetamine.
Judson Hall, Jr., 53, of the 3000 block of Gaines St. in Bossier City, charged with two counts of distribution of marijuana.
Michelle Hart, 43, of the 4800 block of Shed Rd. in Bossier City, charged with possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and fugitive warrant from Bossier City Police Department.
Laishawnquinik Jamison, 30, of the 200 block of Waller St. in Bossier City, charged with distribution of marijuana.
Kenneth G. Laborde II, 31, of the 4900 block of O’Keefe St. in Bossier City, charged with distribution of Subutex, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Steve Matlock, 55, of the 2900 block of Patricia Dr. in Bossier City, charged with distribution of methamphetamine.
Howard L. Moore, 56, of the 80 block of Shirley Rose Rd. in Haughton, charged with distribution of Lortab.
Rachel Murray, 34, of the 600 block of Carrolton St. in Bossier City, charged with 60 counts of prescription fraud.
Stephen Nelson, 49, of the 6200 block of E. Texas St. in Bossier City, charged with possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
Jay Peschel, 36, of the 600 block of Rome St. in Bossier City, charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Donna H. Poole, 49, of the 18 block of Amanda Ln. in Haughton, charged with distribution of Lortab.
Summer Rankin, 20, of the 4800 block of Shed Rd. in Bossier City, charged with distribution of crack cocaine.
Renissa Seekings, 22, of the 1400 block of E. Third St. in Bossier City, charged with possession of synthetic marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Charman Y. Shackleford, 42, of the 100 block of Victory Acres Dr. in Princeton, charged with possession of marijuana.
Andre D. Sheppard, 37, of the 500 block of Joannes St. in Bossier City, charged with distribution of cocaine and five counts of failure to appear.
Jeremy T. Sheppard, 24, of the 500 block of Camp Zion Rd. in Haughton, charged with distribution of Lortab, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Gerrica Stewart, 20, of the  600 block of Rome St. in Bossier City, charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Katherine M. Stover, 51, of the 1200 block of Norris St. in Bossier City, charged with three counts of distribution of marijuana and possession of marijuana.
Kami P. Thorn, 38, of the 7200 block of Winderweedle Rd. in Shreveport, charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of Suboxone and drug paraphernalia.
Diane L. Tubbs, 54, of the 30 block of Academy in Haughton, charged with two counts of distribution of Methadone.
J.B. Washington, 53, of the 1300 block of Burchette St. in Bossier City, charged with distribution of crack cocaine.
Tyrone B. Wiley, 35, of the 500 block of Princeton in Princeton, charged with distribution of marijuana.
Jacobi T. Williams, 25, of the 1100 block of Bellevue Rd. in Haughton, charged with possession of marijuana.
Eddie M. Wilson, 25, of the 1600 block of E. Third St. in Bossier City, charged with distribution of marijuana.

The Bossier Combined Narcotics Task Force comprises agents of the Bossier Sheriff’s Office and the Bossier City Police Department.  The team was established in October 2012 by Sheriff Whittington and Chief McWilliams as a combined effort to combat illegal drug activity and associated crimes all throughout Bossier Parish.






Two men who allegedly manufactured methamphetamine inside a 2000 GMC Jimmy face several drug charges.

Mansfield Police stopped the truck on Aug. 20 in the Mansfield Commons Parking Lot and, when they searched it, allegedly found methamphetamine as well as items used in the manufacture of the drug.

The SUV’s owner, Charles Wilcox, 46, of Hackettstown, and passenger, Daniel McCart, 27, of Glen Gardner, were arrested the following day and charged on several counts.

They were each charged with maintaining a controlled dangerous substance manufacturing facility, a first-degree offense; manufacturing methamphetamine in a quantity less than one ounce; and unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance.
The first-degree offense carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in state prison.

McCart was also found to have outstanding warrants from Passaic County, which he was held in custody on previous to the drug charges.
McCart is being held in the Passaic County Jail with bail set at $200,000. His first court appearance is being scheduled while his transfer to Warren County is also being arranged.

Wilcox is being held in the Warren County Correctional Center with bail set at $200,000. His first appearance before a Warren County Superior Court Judge is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 22, in the Warren County Courthouse.

The Jimmy was impounded at the Washington Collision Center in Washington Borough (Warren County).

The investigation included the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office, the Warren County Hazardous Materials Response Team, the New Jersey State Police Hazardous Materials Unit, Mansfield Township Fire and Rescue, Washington Borough Fire and Rescue, and the Drug Enforcement Administration Clandestine Lab Unit.






PROVO, Utah (ABC 4 Utah)- Seven people now face meth charges after Provo Police say they admitted to using and distributing methamphetamine in their home. All seven of them were arrested Thursday and it all happened with nine children living in the house.

Detectives say this was a hard scene to walk into. They say the found drugs and drug paraphernalia throughout the house with nine kids inside, ages four to 15.

The house at 290 W 500 S in Provo where SWAT Teams had to go in after receiving a tip that it was a drug house and people inside had criminal backgrounds.

“And we knew kids would be there so we had victims advocates and told protective services that we might need some help removing children from this home,” said Utah County Major Crimes Task Force Director Lt. Phil Murphy.

Kids removed from the house where police say drugs, drug paraphernalia, and drug use were part of their everyday life.

“These children didn’t have a choice to be there and witness these acts in front of them. The drug use, the drug distribution, they didn’t have any control over it and they were subjected to it,” said Lt. Murphy.

Grandfather to some of the children, Darwin Goode, admitted to police that he and his wife Mary sold meth to pay their bills.

“I’m sure there are plenty of other alternatives out there that don’t create the risks that this one did,” said Lt. Murphy.

The Goode’s daughter, Tiena Marie Cook, was the mother to five out of the nine kids in the home. Two other adults arrested were parents to the remaining four kids.

“Some of them admitted to using it and they didn’t think the children knew what they were doing. But that’s the adults’ responsibility to put the children first and they didn’t,” said Lt. Murphy.

Police say all the adults tested positive for meth, but the effects on the nine children are unknown.

“Those fumes and vapors are gong to go into the couches, into the walls. What they’re crawling around, what they touch. Anything they stick in their mouths. And there’s no telling what kind of exposure those children might have and that’s very concerning,” said Lt. Murphy.

All seven adults face charges for distributing meth and child endangerment.







Seven people have been arrested and methamphetamine and firearms seized after federal and local law enforcement officials served search warrants in Butte County.

The Drug Enforcement Administration Sacramento District Office in cooperation with the Butte County Interagency Narcotics Task Force executed eight federal search warrants. Today’s activities followed a 10-month-long investigation of a methamphetamine trafficking organization, according to an announcement by Acting Special Agent in Charge Bruce C. Balzano and U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner.

Arrested today were Federico Sandoval Aguilar and Alejandro Lopez-Corona of Biggs; Rafael Morfin-Medina, Rickey Lee Xiong, Sou Xiong and Cindy Lee Hunter, all of Oroville; and Manual Garcia Navarro, whose place of residence was not given. Five other people, Guillermo Ventura-Lopez, David Milton Eleazar, Neng Chue Xiong, Pao Thao and Jaime Dominguez were not found and are considered fugitives, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration news release.

Approximately 10 pounds of methamphetamine, five firearms, including one stolen weapon, and more than $70,000 in drug proceeds were seized as a result of the arrest and search warrants.

The complaint alleges that Federico Aguilar was the head of an organization distributing methamphetamine in Butte County and within the Eastern District of California. The organization was identified through information provided by confidential sources, surveillance of the organization’s members, drug purchases made by undercover law enforcement officers and court authorized wiretaps of Aguilar and his associates, officials said.

The complaint alleges that couriers transported pound quantities of methamphetamine from Mexico to Butte County and, at the direction of Aguilar, members of the organization then sold the drugs to local associates for further distribution and sale.

Officials said the case began with information development by task for officers who asked the Sacramento Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration to join the investigation. Other participating agencies included the California Highway Patrol, Butte County Sheriff’s Office, Chico Police Department, Butte County Probation Department, Butte County District Attorney’s Office, the California Department of Justice Bureau of Gambling Control and the U.S. Marshal’s Service.


Criminal charges have been filed against a Lafayette father accused of cooking methamphetamine in his home while also being the sole caretaker for his two children, ages 2 and 4.

Dale A. Bulthius III, 31, was arrested Friday following a tip from the Indiana Department of Child Services. He was formally charged Wednesday in Tippecanoe Superior Court 1 with dealing in methamphetamine, a Class B felony; information of an illegal drug lab, a Class D felony; and two counts of neglect of a dependent, Class C felonies because of the risk the children faced.

Dale A. Bulthius III

Dale A. Bulthius III


As of Wednesday afternoon, Bulthuis remained in Tippecanoe County Jail on a combined $25,000 surety and $2,500 cash bond.

According to a probable cause affidavit, the children had temporarily been staying with Bulthuis while their mother moved. She again has custody of them.

Tippecanoe County and Indiana State Police, acting on the DCS tip, went to Bulthuis’ Lobo Court home on Aug. 16. They allegedly found Bulthuis hiding in a bedroom closet.

During a search of the home, according to the affidavit, police allegedly found multiple items commonly used to cook meth. They included a 2-liter bottle with a tube protruding from the top and a solid substance inside; empty packets of cold medication; battery shavings; and foil with burnt residue.

The court also revoked his probation on charges of operating while intoxicated and possession of meth precursors, charges to which Bulthuis pleaded guilty in June 2012.








LOS ANGELES – A federal drug task force arrested 18 people Thursday linked to three drug trafficking organizations that smuggled narcotics from Mexico inside PVC pipe typically hidden in the axles of commercial trucks that ended up at truck yards in South Los Angeles and southern Los Angeles County.

The 18 defendants arrested Thursday are among 57 defendants charged in two indictments and one criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court. Authorities continue to search for the remaining defendants. During the course of the probe, which started in early 2011, authorities seized more than 2,400 pounds of methamphetamine, 30 kilograms of cocaine, 16 kilograms of white heroin, 20 kilograms of brown heroin, and more than $1.2 million in suspected narcotics proceeds, along with 18 firearms. Thursday’s enforcement actions resulted in the seizure of an additional seven pounds of methamphetamine, three firearms, four vehicles, approximately $50,000 in cash and an operational methamphetamine laboratory.

Feds charge 57 people linked to organizations that smuggled narcotics from Mexico inside PVC pipeFeds charge 57 people linked to organizations that smuggled narcotics from Mexico inside PVC pipe

“As the means and methods that drug trafficking organizations use evolve, so will law enforcement evolve to meet the challenge,” said U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. “The allegations here describe a wide-ranging conspiracy to exploit aspects of our nation’s trucking and transportation system and funnel enormous amounts of dangerous narcotics into this country. The arrests we announce today dismantle that conspiracy and disrupt this threat to public safety.”

The investigations that led to Thursday’s takedown were conducted by the Los Angeles High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA)/Southern California Drug Task Force, a federally funded group comprised of federal and local law enforcement agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and Internal Revenue Service -Criminal Investigation. The Azusa, South Gate and Whittier police departments along with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department provided substantial assistance with the case.

“Through the cooperation of federal, state and local law enforcement, thousands of pounds of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin have been seized, with a combined street value in the tens of millions of dollars,” said Anthony Williams, DEA special agent in charge. “These drugs were en-route to our communities and neighborhoods. Today’s arrests have taken those responsible for distributing these dangerous drugs off our streets to face justice in federal court.”

“The criminal networks targeted in this case exploited one of the nation’s busiest transportation corridors to mask the movement of staggering amounts of contraband – the volume of methamphetamine being smuggled by these organizations is virtually unprecedented,” said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for HSI Los Angeles. “Today, as a result of our collective enforcement efforts, we’ve literally knocked the wheels off of a highly sophisticated drug distribution scheme that had ties to at least five states.”

The investigation initially looked into a drug trafficking organization run by Mexico-based Miguel Angel Molinero-Castro. Molinero’s organization used truck yards in South Gate and Wilmington to receive large quantities of controlled substances hidden in PVC pipes that were further concealed in tractor trailer axles.

According to the criminal complaint that charged Molinero and 37 others connected to the alleged drug trafficking ring, Molinero arranged for narcotics to be transported via truck from Mexico to Nogales, Ariz., where co-conspirators would take control of the shipments. The narcotics were then transported either to other distributors in Arizona or to the Los Angeles area.

The criminal complaint charges 38 defendants with two counts: conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances.

A related indictment charges eight defendants involved in another drug distribution ring that also allegedly smuggled narcotics from Mexico into the U.S. inside PVC pipes hidden inside truck axles.

An indictment in a third case charges eight defendants in a conspiracy to distribute heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. This case concerns narcotics smuggled from Mexico in PVC pipes and distributed from a truck yard in South Gate.

Additional agencies that aided with this investigation and Thursday’s takedown include, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Los Angeles-SRT; the U.S. Marshals Service; the Ventura County Combined Agency Team (VCAT); the California Highway Patrol; the California Multi-Jurisdictional Methamphetamine Enforcement Team; the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Team; and the Anaheim Police Department.


On the eve of June 26th’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, leaders from China’s Ministry of Health gathered to talk to reporters about the country’s efforts to battle drug addiction. What came out in the discussion is that the abuse of synthetic drugs is on the rise, while abuse of more traditional drugs on the relative decline. There is special concern for what the Chinese have dubbed ‘new ice’ or “冰毒,” commonly referred to in the states as crystal meth.

According to Bao Yanping, Peking University Institute of Drug Dependence Research Assistant, crystal meth is preferred above all forms of synthetic drugs:

As of 2009, according to data released by the Narcotics Control Commission, there are 1.335 million registered drug abusers and 27% are users of ‘new’ drugs [synthetics], and this figure is rising very quickly: use of ‘new ice’ [crystal meth], especially, has risen very fast among drug users. Last year’s data show that China has more than 20 provinces where the amount of seized crystal meth was more than the amount of seized heroin.

 One big issue with crystal meth and other synthetic drugs is that they are more likely to be mixed and used together than their traditional counterparts. Another issue is that the drugs are cheaper and more easily manufactured than traditional drugs. These two characteristics mean that synthetic drugs are most dangerous for already at risk populations because the mixing of drugs can lead to much more destructive health effects and result in behavior that puts people at greater risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases:

 In the past we believed that drugs and drug users came in two basic groups. One set of drugs/users was central inhibitors, the other was central stimulants, and these two were always separate groups, they did not cross. But with the recent increase in drug abuse, new multi-drug abuse has increased, according to national survey on drug abuse. Drug abuse monitoring centers’ data show that 30% of the heroin user population also uses synthetic drugs.


In addition…sex workers comprise a very high percentage of crystal meth users. Combined with the use of traditional drugs by intravenous injection, the risk of of HIV sexual transmission is increased, so HIV infection risk may be higher.

 Another group of particular concern is young people under 35 years of age, who are the group most likely to use the new drugs.  The worry is that since young people under 35 are also the most sexually active members of society, the increased risk of sexual disease transmission likely to occur in the sex-worker community will also cross over into the mainstream due to the fact that synthetic drugs are most commonly taken in groups:

New drugs are abused mainly by people under the age of 35, and these people are sexually active, and the abuse of new drugs are mainly used recreationally, in groups. Such circumstances may easily lead to mass promiscuous sexual behavior or group behavior. Sexual promiscuity, however, is not likely to result in the use of condoms and other protective behavior, and these actions together likely to lead to HIV infection.

As part of the state’s major AIDS prevention, research and intervention strategies among drug users, including for new drugs, a study conducted among drug users, found that the prevalence of multiple sex partners, same-sex sexual behavior and the use and mixing of a variety of new drugs is likely to cause  HIV infection.

This focus on youth and HIV is not surprising, partly because this year’s theme for the June 26th day against drugs is “youth and synthetic drugs,” and partly because HIV is still poorly understood and widely mis-characterized among the Chinese public (see also here). The connections between drug use and HIV are clear in some instances – like with intravenous drug users – and not so clear in other instances, so take the words quoted above with a grain of salt.

But, the focus is not misplaced. Crystal meth use has proven itself a hit with youth all across the world: the fact that it is cheap and easily made is the ultimate formula for winning over youth with limited money to spend on drugs and limited resources to travel to acquire them.

If this and last year’s focus on drug raids in Beijing and the other cities is any indication of China’s current attitude against the drug problem, people can expect such police activities to increase in the immediate future.







JACKSON COUNTY, Alabama – Jackson County deputies and Stevenson police found a half ounce of meth ice and marijuana during a home search on County Road 139 in Bryant last Friday.

Meth Ice in Jackson County.jpg


Officials said Sonya Gail Wade, 36, was arrested in connection with the deputies’ search. She was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, marijuana and controlled substances along with possession with intent to distribute meth.

Wade is being held in Jackson County Jail on $16,000 bond.








BRYAN Bryan Police arrest two suspected Meth dealers all over a seat belt.

 23-year-old Jerry Duane Burford and 43-year-old Paul David Mason were arrested and charged with manufacturing and delivery of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Burford was also charged with possession of marijuana.

According to the police report, officers spotted Mason without his seat belt and pulled them over. When asking where they were headed, officers noticed several tools in the backseat. Officers say there have been a lot of burglaries in the area and searched the car.

They found marijuana in the driver’s door and a waterproof case in the console that had cash and pills that tested positive for meth.

Both are in Brazos County Jail.









WELLS — Police received a call Friday that there was a large amount of drugs in a residence in Wells. It was believed that three children lived in the residence.

A sheriff’s deputy made contact with Lachrishna Shields, 30, and she denied the charges, according to Undersheriff Clair Morris.

Lachrishna Shields

The officer asked to enter the house and inside he found drug paraphernalia, including a pipe and a prescription bottle with meth in it, according to Morris. Small amounts of meth were found throughout the home, he added.

Shields reportedly tried to conceal meth that was on her person so the officer would not find it.

One of the items found on a child’s high chair was a drug scale used to measure amounts of meth, according to the report. There was a powdery white substance on the scale and it tested positive for meth.

Shields was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, attempted child abuse or neglect, and attempting to make a false statement or obstruct a public officer. Her bail was set at $7,920.







The FADE Task Force along with the officers from the Flatwoods, Olive Hill, Raceland, Vanceburg and Russell Police Department along with The Carter County Sheriff’s Office arrest two people for operating multiple meth labs.

Authorities responded to a welfare check at home at 2600 Indian Run Road. One they arrived they found 35 year old Jessica D. Sammons of Wurtland, Kentucky along with Ryan J. Cornwell, 32, of Ashland, Kentucky cooking methamphetamine.

Jessica D. Sammons- Arrested for manufacturing meth

Jessica D. Sammons- Arrested for manufacturing meth


Ryan J. Cornwall- Arrested for manufacturing meth

Ryan J. Cornwall- Arrested for manufacturing meth

Law enforcement say they found a one pot meth lab along with two active gas generators. All occupants of the house were safely escorted out and away from danger. The house was posted unfit for habitation Sammons was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine first offense. Cornwell also faces the same charges.No additional charges are being filed at this time.







CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Toxic methamphetamine labs are poisoning West Virginia’s children, senior citizens, police officers and paramedics, according to members of a group studying the state’s meth “epidemic.”

“It’s a real serious problem we have to do something about,” said Kanawha County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Mike Rutherford at a meeting Tuesday organized by the Kanawha Coalition for Community Health Improvement. “If you don’t think this is a problem, shame on you.”

Law enforcement agencies across the state have reported finding more than 330 meth labs this year, more than were discovered in all of 2012. More than 100 of the clandestine labs have been seized in Kanawha County alone.

Six Kanawha County sheriff deputies have been hospitalized after being exposed to meth while investigating crimes in recent years, Rutherford said. Two state troopers had to retire after breathing meth fumes and developing respiratory illnesses, he said.

To combat the meth problem, the Kanawha sheriff’s office has purchased a special truck, equipment and “moon suits” to clean up the clandestine labs.

“It’s a big cost for us,” Rutherford said. “What we need is help. We need help.”

The Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority has to shut down ambulances that must be decontaminated after paramedics respond to emergencies at residences where people are cooking meth, said Mike Jarrett, the agency’s chaplain.

Paramedics treat children with burns and breathing problems. They discover prescription inhalers at nearly every home where there’s meth lab, Jarrett said.

“What responders see, it breaks your heart,” he said.

Illegal meth labs also ruin the lives of law-abiding homeowners who live beside residences where criminals cook meth, said Jennifer Rhyne, co-owner of a business that specializes in meth lab cleanup, which can cost more than $17,000 for a single house.

A lab in an apartment building can contaminate an entire floor of units.

“It can result in the loss of innocent tenants’ belongings and their housing through no fault of their own,” Rhyne said. “They must vacate immediately if their unit is contaminated. All the contents go right to the Dumpster.”

In Huntington, an elderly woman was recently forced to leave her home because her grandson cooked meth there, Rhyne said.

“She lost precious family heirlooms,” Rhyne said. “She was embarrassed about the situation. It was a big mess.”

 The meth study group — which includes state lawmakers, pharmacists, nurses, public health advocates and law enforcement officers — is looking at ways to reduce the number of meth labs in West Virginia.

Hernando, Miss. Mayor Chip Johnson, spoke to the group via conference call Tuesday. Johnson said a 2011 state law that requires people to get a prescription to purchase pseudoephedrine, a common cold medicine that’s also a key meth-making ingredient, has led to a sharp decline in meth labs statewide. In 2009, police seized 698 labs in Mississippi, he said. The number dropped to 85 last year.

 “Our meth lab problem has totally gone away in our city,” Johnson said.

State legislators acknowledged Tuesday that it would be difficult to pass a bill that requires a doctor’s prescription to buy pseudoephedrine.

West Virginia lawmakers have twice introduced such legislation — in 2011 and 2012. But legislators rejected the bills, after drug industry representatives lobbied against the proposals.

“It was all about dollars,” recalled Sen. Brooks McCabe, D-Kanawha. “It was all about the pharmaceutical industry protecting their turf.”

Two lobbyists for the Consumer Products Healthcare Association — Sam Minardi and Abby Sobonya — showed up at Tuesday’s meeting uninvited. The health-care products group has lobbied against making pseudoephedrine prescription-only. Minardi and Sobonya did not comment at the meeting.

“I don’t think this was a forum where they felt comfortable speaking,” said Bridget Lambert, president of the West Virginia Retailers Association, who talked to Minardi after Tuesday’s meeting.

Lambert said meth lab seizures could be increasing because police are reporting the labs differently this year. She and others also credit a new pseudoephedrine tracking system — called NPLEx — with helping law enforcement find more labs.

Lambert said sheriff’s deputies in Randolph, Mineral and Harrison counties are using NPLEx to identify criminals that manufacture meth. State police also use the tracking system daily, she said.

Rutherford and other Kanawha County officers have said NPLEx hasn’t helped with a single meth lab bust.

“We understand meth labs are a problem and need to be addressed,” Lambert said. “NPLEx needs to prove itself before it’s picked apart.”







Methamphetamine was found in the possession of a Chicago man who was unconscious at a Niles street corner last week, Niles police said.

An officer on patrol reportedly discovered Justin Wangen, 35, of 720 W. Grace Street, lying on his back at the southeast corner of the intersection of Waukegan Road and Oakton Street at 4:15 a.m. on Aug. 14. According to police, when the officer approached Wangen, he was “snoring loudly” and had difficulty waking up. A laptop computer was located in the street next to Wangen and additional items belonging to him were scattered on the sidewalk, police said.

Justin Wangen

Justin Wangen


Wangen allegedly told police that he had smoked methamphetamine a few hours earlier and was at the street corner waiting for a taxi. According to police, Wangen allowed for his laptop bag to be searched and the officer discovered a glass pipe, pills, a bag containing suspected methamphetamine and $631 in cash inside.

Wangen was charged with felony possession of methamphetamine, felony possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. He remained in Cook County Jail this week with bond set at $30,000. He has an Aug. 23 court date.








A Stanly County man has been charged with operating a meth lab from his residence in the Locust area, authorities say.

John Michael Furr, 43, was arrested last Thursday and charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine precursors. He is being held without bond, according to the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office.


John Michael Furr, 43, of Locust, was arrested last week on meth-related charges in Stanly County, according to the sheriff’s office


Investigators say agents with the sheriff’s Drug Task Force and from the SBI searched the residence on Five Points Road and found a number of items that can be used to make meth. Those included Coleman fuel, household lye, coffee filters, plastic tubing, muriatic acid and glass jars. Agents also found meth at the residence, according to the sheriff’s office.

Crews from the SBI cleaned the site and removed the hazardous materials, authorities say.

Maj. Kent Myers, deputy chief of the sheriff’s office, described meth production as a “growing problem” in Stanly County. He asked residents who might suspect methamphetamine activity to call authorities at 704-986-3727.


A traffic stop in Lubbock over the weekend led to the arrest of a man who reportedly had a sizable amount of an illegal drug in his vehicle.

 A Lubbock Police officer stopped a 2001 Chevrolet Tahoe at 3400 Elmwood for a traffic violation just before 11:45 p.m. Saturday, August 17th.



 The officer requested that the K9 unit search the vehicle after observing evidence that made him believe there may be an illegal substance inside the vehicle, according to a press release from LPD.

 The K-9 unit reportedly found 120 grams of methamphetamine and more than $9,000 cash inside the vehicle.

 Police arrested 39-year-old Brian Melcher for possession of a controlled substance.

 Melcher is being held in the Lubbock County Jail on more than $100,000 bond.








Seven Tucumcari area residents are facing felony drug trafficking charges as part of District Attorney Tim Rose’s crackdown on methamphetamine operations, Rose said in a press release Tuesday.

On Aug. 12, Tucumcari police executed a search warrant and arrested Max Jimenez, Jr., on an outstanding Quay County Magistrate Court warrant for trafficking of methamphetamine and conspiracy to commit trafficking of a controlled substance. Also arrested in that search was Theresa Quintana of Tucumcari.

Arrest warrants had been issued for Jimenez, as well as for Pete (P.J.) Estrada, La Donna Evans, Hector Dominguez, Agnes (Krissy) Hussman, Mathew Arias and Jolanda Jessie. All have been arrested except Estrada, who is still wanted, according to Rose.

Rose said the search for Jimenez and Estrada involved posting notices through the Tucumcari Crimestoppers Organization for information leading to the arrest and indictment of both men.

Rose said Jimenez’s arrest is a result of a Crimestopper’s tip that was received on Aug. 12. The Crimestoppers informant also said Quintana was in possession of a substantial amount of methamphetamine.

The search warrant for Jimenez and Quintana was issued and executed on the same day by Tucumcari police officers with assistance from the investigations division of the Tenth Judicial District Attorney’s Office and the Quay County Sheriff’s Office.

Jimenez was inside Quintana’s residence. Both were found to be in possession of methamphetamine, and drug paraphernalia was also found during the search, Rose reported.

Both Jimenez and Quintana were jailed and charged with the drug-related offenses. Quintana was charged with harboring or aiding a felon, because she allowed Jimenez to stay at her residence to evade police, Rose reported.

Police are still actively seeking Estrada, and are requesting the public’s assistance in locating him.

Jimenez is being held at the Quay County Detention Center on drug trafficking and conspiracy to commit drug trafficking charges, charges of methamphetamine possession stemming from the execution of the search warrant, and on warrants issued in multiple non-related criminal cases. Quintana is also being held at the detention center on charges of harboring or aiding a felon, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

“The apprehension and prosecution of these local meth dealers is the result of months of investigations through our office,” Rose said. “Meth investigations are ongoing and will continue as long as I am in office and as long as we are blessed with the dedicated staff and law enforcement officers that contributed to our operations. I expect several more arrests in the near future.”







Authorities arraigned four people accused of manufacturing meth in a Hellertown home where they lived with a 12-year-old.

 Chad Hummer, 30, his mother, Joan Hummer, 53, Nicholas Reynolds, 26, and Lindsey Zacot, 24, each face 11 charges connected to the production of the drug at 166 Main St., according to authorities.

 The suspects were arrested this morning after a Northampton County Drug Task Force raid at the home. The four were led to District Judge David Tidd’s office about 3:30 this afternoon.


 Authorities allege the four cooked, packaged and sold methamphetamine from the apartment. Police say the first floor was vacant, the suspects lived on the second floor, and the basement was primarily used to produce the drug.

 Police say the drug operations occurred in the home while a 12-year-old was present, though no child endangerment charges were filed.

 Police seized a large amount of ingredients and equipment used to make meth with the popular, but volatile, one-pot method, court records say.

 During the arraignment, Joan Hummer, wearing a pair of pajama pants as a shawl around her bare shoulders, required the judge to go over each charge because she said she didn’t understand the offenses.

 “What exactly don’t you understand?” Tidd asked her.

 “I don’t understand what I’m being charged with,” she said. “Delivering what? I don’t understand. My son wrote in a statement that I don’t know anything and I don’t know anything.”

 “You’re going to stay here until you do understand,” Tidd said.

 All four individuals are charged with manufacturing or delivering meth, possession of meth, possession of the ingredients used to produce meth, operating a methamphetamine lab, illegal dumping of methamphetamine laboratory waste, possession of liquified as methamphetamine precursors, unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine, risking catastrophe, possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia and conspiracy.

 Each suspect was sent to Northampton County Prison in lieu of $75,000 bail. The judge allowed a 10 percent option if approved by pretrial services.