The United States on Wednesday announced charges against five suspects extradited from Thailand for allegedly smuggling methamphetamines from North Korea, which prosecutors said has become a growing production hub.

Federal prosecutors said Thai authorities arrested the five in September and sent them to New York on Tuesday over an ill-fated bid to send 100 kg (220 lbs) of North Korean-produced meth by boat to the United States.

The suspects included two British citizens, one Chinese, one Filipino and one purported leader of a Thai motorcycle gang whose nationality was not specified. They face life in prison if convicted.

U.S. authorities said that cash-strapped North Korea, which is under stringent international sanctions over its nuclear and other military programs, had emerged as a center for production of the stimulant.

“This investigation continued to highlight the emergence of North Korea as a significant source of methamphetamine in the global drug trade,” Michele Leonhart, head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said in a statement.

Prosecutors said that the group, who used a base in the Philippines, bought 100 kg and planned to package it in tea leaves and send it on a ship to the United States.

An armed motorcycle gang tried to guard the shipment but Thai authorities broke up the shipment and arrested the five on Sept. 25, according to U.S. prosecutors for the southern district of New York.

Meth, often associated with the rural poor in the United States, has seen a boom in Asia both with the young party set as well as laborers and farmers.

Last year 227 million methamphetamine pills were seized in East and Southeast Asia, a 59 percent rise from a year before, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Myanmar is also considered a major source, with some ethnic rebel groups believed to use meth profits to fund their long-running insurgencies.



A man hired to recover a Mexican drug cartel’s stolen drug stash in St. Paul pleaded guilty Monday to a federal charge of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.


Jonatan Delgado Alvarez, 22, was one of four men accused of kidnapping and torturing two Minneapolis teens in an attempt to extract information. One of the victims’ fingers was nearly severed, prosecutors say, before the men determined they didn’t know anything and let them go.

In his plea hearing in federal court Monday in Minneapolis, Alvarez said he’d been hired to fly to the Twin Cities from Los Angeles on April 14 to get back stolen money.

“What I was told is that I was coming to recover some money and talk to some people,” he said through a Spanish-language interpreter.

When he arrived, he said, he learned he was to track down missing drugs — about 30 pounds of methamphetamine, according to court documents.

Alvarez admitted to his involvement in a plot that turned grisly:

He and three other men kidnapped the two teenagers at gunpoint in South Minneapolis and drove them to the stash house — a rental house in St. Paul’s West Seventh neighborhood.

There, the two victims were tied up, questioned and beaten. One of the kidnappers cut a victim’s little finger with a pair of scissors, nearly severing it.

Prosecutor Jeff Paulsen asked Alvarez who did the cutting. It was “Chapo,” Alvarez said — the nickname for Juan Ricardo Elenes Villalvazo, a defendant who is alleged to have supplied the drugs and kept the books for the distribution operation here.

Villalvazo provided the gun, Alvarez said, and handled it, along with Jesus Ramirez — another defendant who flew in from Los Angeles with Alvarez.

Alvarez said he went out to buy phones for the group. He was at the house while the others interrogated the victims, he said, but “I simply watched.”

The kidnappers let the victims go a day later after determining they didn’t know anything. They were bloodied and bruised, according to federal court documents. A search of the house turned up bloody cloths, blood stains on the floor, a handgun, some meth and a suspected drug ledger, the documents said.

Alvarez was arrested as he left the home with a man who prosecutors say was intended to be a third victim. Antonio Navarro, the man hired by the cartel to watch over the house, was arrested as he drove away.

Navarro pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges in July.

Ramirez flew back to Los Angeles after the incident. He was arrested a few days later after a high-speed car chase and is scheduled to go to trial here in October.

Villalvazo remains at large. All four men also face pending charges of kidnapping, assault and robbery in Ramsey County.

Alvarez will likely face between 14 years and 21 years in prison, according to sentencing guidelines described by U.S. District Judge John Tunheim. The charge carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years.

As a Guatemalan citizen in the U.S. as a permanent resident, he could also face deportation. His sentencing has not been scheduled.




A San Diego County man’s death highlights what one former addict considers a growing problem – more grandparents using meth.

Diana Julian, program manager for an East County regional recovery center is seeing an uptick in older meth users.

“A lot of grandmas and grandpas are using meth and have been using for many, many years,” Julian said.

Julian has been clean for more than 14 years and runs the McAlister Institute in El Cajon.  She was not surprised to learn methamphetamine abuse was the cause of a Ramona man’s death.

Carl Salayer’s disappearance on June 16 triggered an all-out search and rescue effort. More than a week later, San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputies found Salayer’s body in a field full of thick brush.

The County Medical Examiner report listed the 67-year-old man’s official cause of death as acute methamphetamine intoxication. The autopsy report lists Parkinson’s Disease among other contributing conditions.

San Diego County officials said the meth found in Salayer’s system was not a byproduct of any other medication.

In 2012, county health records show the majority of deaths attributed to methamphetamine were among Baby Boomers. Sixty-nine people age 50 to 59 died from meth intoxication. Thirteen deaths were among those 60 or older.

In 2013, meth intoxication was listed as the cause of death for 80 people age 45 to 54, 48 people age 55 to 64 and four people 65 or older.

Julian said an older person may resort to meth use because of declining health and may lack the support system to kick the habit.

“For people that are using and they’re older, their support has become smaller and smaller throughout the years,” she said.





A Fresno man was arrested after he fired a shotgun into his neighbor’s first-floor apartment, then discarded methamphetamine at nearby Lowell Elementary School as he attempted to evade officers, police said.

The incident began shortly after 6 p.m. Sunday when the suspect, Anthony Michael Garcia, 25, fired the shotgun through the floor of his own apartment into his neighbor’s downstairs apartment, Lt. Joe Gomez said. No one was injured.

Arriving officers saw Garcia fleeing down an alley behind his apartment in the 200 block of North Glenn Avenue. Garcia ran to Lowell Elementary School, about two blocks away, where he attempted to discard methamphetamine before his arrest, Gomez said.

Garcia was arrested on multiple charges, including resisting arrest, possession of a firearm as a felon and possession of methamphetamine for sales, Gomez said.

He also was held on three warrants, including one filed in connection with a carjacking. No details were immediately available about the carjacking.





SPRINGDALE (WACH) – Police have arrested two people after discovering a 4 year-old child in a motel room where methamphetamine was being manufactured.

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Springdale Police Chief Kevin Cornett said Sunday investigators went to check on the welfare of the child at the Days Inn on Branch Road.

Investigators say once the door to the room was opened they noticed drug paraphernalia in plain view.

Cornett said investigators executed a search warrant for the room and discovered dangerous objects, methamphetamine, needles and other drug paraphernalia in the room all within the child’s reach. 

Cornett said officers arrested 30 year-old Crystal McDaniel and 34 year-old Sean Howard.

McDaniel is charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of a scheduled narcotic, possession of drug paraphernalia and exposing a child to methamphetamine.

Officers say Howard is facing charges for providing officers with false information after he gave officers a fake name during the investigation.

The child was taken to a local hospital to be evaluated by medical personnel.

Investigators from the Cayce Department of Public Safety and the Lexington County Multi-Agency Narcotics Enforcement Team assisted the Springdale Police Department with the investigation and proper disposal of the meth lab. 

Cornett asks anyone with information about illegal drug activity to call their local law enforcement agency.



(Stillwater, Okla.) — A woman from Massachusetts — who listed a Drumright address — has been jailed on her third methamphetamine possession charge filed in Payne County District Court within the past eight months.

In her new case, Tiffany Lee Chastity Holzer, 29, allegedly possessed the illegal drug with intent to distribute on July 30 in Stillwater.

If convicted of that felony count, Holzer, who remains in the Payne County Jail on $15,000 bail, could be sentenced to two years to life in prison and given a $20,000 fine.

Holzer could be incarcerated for an additional year if convicted of possessing drug paraphernalia listed as digital scales, a blue glass pipe, a pen casing with residue, a silver spoon with residue and a syringe, also on July 30 in Stillwater.

Four months ago, Holzer pleaded guilty to two separate methamphetamine possession charges and was freed on a personal recognizance bond pending her July 2 sentencing, which was postponed to Aug. 15.

In one case, Holzer admitted possessing the drug on March 11, 2014, when she was arrested by Payne County Sheriff’s Deputy Dan Nack during a traffic stop in Stillwater.

In another case, Holzer admitted possessing methamphetamine on Dec. 16, 2013, and drug paraphernalia, after her arrest at a Ripley apartment on an outstanding city of Stillwater warrant.

A female jailer at the Payne County Detention Center found a snort-type straw containing a small baggy of methamphetamine in Holzer’s bra, court records show.

According to a background report compiled for the court for her sentencing on her two earlier methamphetamine charges, Holzer said she has a 9th grade education from Massachusetts and has worked as a dancer.

“She stated that she stays with friends on their couch and that she only gets to eat when someone offers food to her,” the report said.

She said that her two children live with their father and that she moved to Oklahoma with a man who is currently in prison in Cushing.

She said that although she uses a Drumright address, “she actually lives all over — she stated that she stays with various friends and that it is not usually safe or comfortable,” the report said.

She said that “the only people she knows are involved in criminal activities,” the report said.

“Ms. Holzer reported that she first tried alcohol and marijuana at the age of 12 and used both heavily in the years before having her kids.

“She stated she first tried coke (cocaine) at the age of 15 and methamphetamine at the age of 17. She stated she did not use methamphetamine much until she came to Oklahoma.

“She stated she was addicted to Lortab and used the methamphetamine to get off of it. She reported current use of marijuana, methamphetamine, alcohol and coke,” according to the report that was compiled in April and filed in court records in June.




Police have interrogated Malaysian Chang Cheng We and Russian Anton Pujikov, two foreign inmates at Kerobokan Penitentiary in Denpasar, Bali, for allegedly trying to smuggle drugs into the prison.

North Kuta Police chief Adj. Comr. Ronny Riantoko Eppang told The Jakarta Post on Sunday that the two prisoners might face additional sentences that could see them incarcerated for a longer period.

The police said Friday that a prison guard had received a suspicious mail package, which was later opened. In the package, the guard found white powder, thought to be heroin, weighing around 20 grams. The package was wrapped in three layers—a plastic bag, aluminum foil and a brown envelope.

“The prison guards took the package and reported the case to the North Kuta Police. We later interrogated the two inmates,” Ronny said.

The police said the package had been sent from China and was addressed to We. We is already serving a life sentence for smuggling 2 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine into Bali.

“We admitted that the package was addressed to him, but stated it was to be handed over to the Russian, Anton Pujikov,” the police said. Pujikov is also a convict in a drug case.

Ronny added that the package of white powder had been sent to the police forensic laboratory. “A laboratory test is needed to identify the white powder,” Ronny said.

As the investigation was ongoing, Ronny said that police had not yet decided which article of the Narcotics Law would be used to charge the inmates. “We have three days to conduct the initial investigation,” he said.

Kerobokan Penitentiary is notorious as a haven for drug smuggling and is home to high-profile prisoners convicted of various drug cases. The prison management’s attempt to free the prison from drugs has so far proved unsuccessful, despite several attempts to smuggle drugs into Kerobokan being foiled.

In July this year, one attempt to smuggle drugs into the correctional facility ended with the arrest of Vicky Alberto Delano, 27, who allegedly tried to bring more than 2 grams of crystal meth into the prison.

Delano was caught when the former prisoner arrived to visit an inmate carrying a plastic bag containing food and several packets of cigarettes. When the bag was examined, a prison guard found crystal meth inside a Dunhill cigarette pack.

Earlier, in June, an attempt to smuggle 2.5 kg of marijuana into the prison was also thwarted. Prison officers arrested Juwarso, 26, who had the marijuana wrapped in a plastic bag concealed under some vegetables.

In September last year, another attempt to smuggle drugs was also foiled. Ramli Basalamah, 35, was arrested with 150 g of crystal meth inside a snack package he was bringing into the prison.

Meanwhile, postal services have recently become a favored method used by drug-smuggling syndicates, with many attempts to smuggle drugs into Bali via the post thwarted this year.

One recent case occurred in July, when a customs and excise officer found three packages sent from Malaysia through the post. The packages contained a total of 739 g crystal meth and were concealed between children’s storybooks, clothing and food. One man was arrested, identified by the initials EEP, who could be charged with violating Article 113, subsection 2 of the Narcotics Law, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of Rp 10 billion (US$848.983).



MEMPHIS, TN (–A man accused of selling Meth out of a Northeast Memphis motel room is scheduled to face a judge tomorrow.qkfbruvoclyispntxhbk
Police found Meth, Oxycontin pills, Hydrocodone, a glass pipe and digital scale in Buivan Bui’s Econolodge room on Friday.
Bui is charged with three counts of drug paraphernalia and three possession counts.
He is in jail on a $100,000 bond.

WHITLEY COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Kentucky State Police arrested three people in Whitley County who they say were making meth in a home while several children were inside.

Police arrested Rebecca Ellison, Lanny Green, and April McCullough Friday on charges of making meth, controlled substance endangerment to a child, and other charges.

Police say when they searched Ellison’s home they found a meth lab inside the bathroom vanity.

They also say they found numerous other meth-making items.

Seven kids, ranging in ages from 8 months to 17 years were inside the house as police found and began to clean up the labs.



A meth lab was reportedly discovered on Sunday afternoon in Harrison County where authorities said they found one active cook outside the house.
In addition, police also discovered what they believed to be a pipe bomb. The bomb squad was called in from the Columbus area to investigate further.

Police are now searching for Jeraud Rupp, 25, after he allegedly fled from the house, located at 31600 Moravian Trail Road just outside of Deersville. Rupp is 5-feet-ten-inches tall and weighs 130 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call the WTRF Lauttamus Security Crime Fighters tip line at 1-800-223-0312.

(BLOOMFIELD) – A Bloomfield woman was arrested on a warrant after Indiana State Police discovered a meth lab on July 1. woman%20meth-thumb-250xauto-1958

According to Bloomfield Town Marshal Kenny Tharp, police were contacted by a resident after the resident found drug paraphernalia on their property that was being rented by 41-year-old Diana J. Neeley.

Neeley had left the home after utilities were turned off after she failed to pay the bills.

Officers searched the home and found numerous items associated with the making of meth.

Those items included camp fuel, an empty container of lye, modified hose fittings, and multiple plastic bottles containing a by product of pseudoephedrine pills and chemical precursors that is filtered out when meth is extracted from pseudoephedrine.

Officers also located a coffee filter containing a powdery substance that field-tested positive for meth and a glass jar containing organic solvent.

The probable cause affidavit states police found 13 pseudoephedrine and precursor purchases made by Neeley since December of last year.

ISP Troopers interviewed Neely on July 1 at the Greene County Sheriff’s Department where she told police all of the
pseudoephedrine purchases were for the purposes of her “ingesting it into her body for the right reasons” and that she believed her ex-boyfriend was making meth in her residence. She also reportedly explained that her fingerprints would be on glass jars at the residence because she is an avid canner.

But police say Neeley kept changing her story and finally admitted to buying pseudoephedrine for a man twice. But police say that was not true according to store precursor logs.

Neeley was arrested on charges of manufacturing/delivering or financing the manufacture or delivery of meth, possession of meth, maintaining a common nuisance and possession of precursors or chemical reagents with intent to manufacture meth.



A senior Auckland Black Power member has been sentenced to 12 years’ jail after he admitted giving a drug dealer “the magic” – meaning to shoot him – as he fled a robbery.

Samson Opetaia was sentenced in the High Court in Auckland today for wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, aggravated robbery, receiving stolen goods, conspiring to import drugs, supply and possession of methamphetamine and driving while disqualified.

Court documents said Opetaia was the sergeant-at-arms of the Mangu Kaha Auckland chapter of the Black Power gang.

On December 19, 2012, Opetaia and an unknown associate went to a multimillion-dollar house in Auckland’s St Marys Bay where a couple known to be involved in the methamphetamine trade lived.

On Opetaia’s instruction, the associate shot the male at the address as he fled through a window.

Located later by police, the shot man did not co-operate “nor was he forthcoming with any information concerning the reason he was shot”, a police summary said.

Police said Opetaia supplied methamphetamine on several occasions in 2013. When he was arrested in August he had two bags of methamphetamine on him, the larger of which was thought to be 1 gram.

Police could not be sure of the weight though as Opetaia snatched the bigger bag back from police and swallowed it.

The receiving stolen property charge related to property seized by the gang in a drug standover.

Police said in July 2013 Black Power members raided a motel room in Greenlane where two women involved in the meth trade were staying.

Along with drugs they took mobile phones, hard drives and watches and the women’s Volvo and Audi cars.

Opetaia received the electronics and cars and was later intercepted planning to sell the cars and electronics back to the women for an ounce (28 grams) of methamphetamine – valued at about $12,000.

Opetaia was also intercepted discussing selling “iPods” – the codename for the methamphetamine precursor chemical iodine and – and importing a kilogram of the drug ephedrine from someone named Joe in Fiji.

Justice Mark Cooper sentenced Opetaia to 12 years in prison with a minimum period of five years, 10 months.





The Russellville Police Department (RPD) and Arkansas State Police (ASP) busted a potential drug ring Wednesday morning in Russellville.

An investigator with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force testified during bond hearings Friday the RPD went to a Russellville residence to arrest Cynthia Reyes on three counts of delivery of methamphetamine or cocaine.DEJK_REYES__CYNTHIA

Reyes, 21, allegedly sold between $100-$200 worth of methamphetamine on three separate occasions in the past six months to confidential informants.

The investigator testified Saul Yanes, 36, and his wife, Crystal Rosas, 35, told them Reyes wasn’t at the residence. The couple’s children, ages 7 and 8, came out and started talking to the officers.


“They said that there were people hiding inside,” the investigator testified. “And that their mom and dad sold meth — they knew the name of it — and said when [their parents] smoked it, it made their heart race and made them want to throw up.”

Officers contacted the Department of Human Services (DHS) to assess the children’s situation. At this point, Reyes — who had been inside the residence — came out to talk to officers, the investigator testified.

Two DHS workers responded to the scene — one to interview the children and one to administer drug tests to the parents.

A DHS worker asked Yanes to empty his pockets before the drug test, the investigator testified, adding that Yanes was removing the items “very slowly” and initially wouldn’t empty his pockets.

“He pulled out his right hand and laid down several .25-caliber bullets,” the investigator said. “Three baggies of methamphetamine were found in his pocket,” when officers subsequently searched him.

Yanes reportedly told officers there was a gun in the house, but he didn’t know its exact location.

Rosas took an officer in the house to show him where the gun was. She was reportedly uncertain which closet her husband kept it in, so she led officers to closets in three different rooms.

When officers opened the third closet, they found a baggie with white crystal substance was on a shelf and Bounma crouched on the closet floor. Bounma, 34, had arrest warrants.

Officers arrested her and got a search warrant for the house, the investigator testified.

“They found a handgun — not a .25-caliber — a little over a gram of methamphetamine, numerous baggies and scales,” he said.


Yanes was charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver. No charges were filed in connection with the firearm at the time of this report. Rosas was charged with possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) and endangering the welfare of a minor. Reyes was charged with delivery of methamphetamine.

Yanes, Rosas and Reyes had no prior criminal history, while Bounma has several prior felony convictions, the investigator said.

District Judge Don Bourne ordered Bounma — who was charged with three counts of delivery of methamphetamine or cocaine, possession with the purpose to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia — be held in lieu of a $250,000 bond.

Bourne ordered Reyes held in lieu of a $5,000 and Rosas in lieu of a $10,000 bond.

Prosecuting attorney David Gibbons asked the court for a $50,000 bond on Yanes in spite of his apparent lack of criminal history because Yanes “appears to be the head of this operation.”

Bourne ordered Yanes held in lieu of a $50,000 bond.

All four suspects are scheduled to appear Sept. 29 in Circuit Court.




Walmart Asset Protection contacted police on August 7 when suspect Angelette Gautreaux, 53, was observed concealing a PS3-related item (later valued at $21.86) in her purse.  Gautreaux then proceeded past all points of sale before she was detained and found to be a banned person from an incident in Benton.
Gautreaux was then taken to the Sheriff’s Office where she was searched by a female deputy who located a clear plastic bag containing a clear, rock-like substance which later tested field positive for methamphetamine.  The substance weighed approximately 7.5 grams.
Gautreaux was booked for possession of a controlled substance (F felony), criminal trespassing, and shoplifting.

Mineral Wells police identified a woman arrested on drug charges Thursday after a traffic stop yielded a small amount of marijuana and 16 grams of a narcotic believed to be methamphetamine.

Lezli Carol Spangler Owens, 29, of Mineral Wells, was still in police custody Friday afternoon on charges of operating a motor vehicle with an invalid license and no insurance and manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance more than 4 grams but less than 200 grams, said police spokesman Lt. Randy Wright.

Mineral Wells police arrested Owens around 4:30 p.m. Thursday in the 100 block of S.E. 18th Avenue after she was pulled over for a suspended license and discovered she was allegedly in possession of methamphetamine.

Two passengers in the car with her were not charged and were released at the scene, Wright said.

Officer Nick Wells said at the scene the woman reportedly told the arresting officer she had methamphetamine down her shirt. He said a digital scale was found in her car.

A Palo Pinto County constable also assisted.




Brandy Allen, a long-recovered user of methamphetamine, once worked with children and adults affected by the drug, and spoke against its use as part of the Montana Meth Project, an anti-meth advertising campaign in Montana.

Today, she and her two children live in an apartment at a well-kept five-plex at 614 12th St. N. in Great Falls that’s one of 215 properties in Montana the state Department of Environmental Quality says remain contaminated with toxins resulting from past clandestine meth labs.


Allen didn’t know about the listing until Tribune reporters checking the status of those properties in Cascade County told her.

“Was it a lab?” an incredulous Allen asked, her voice rising. “This was a lab?”

Steve Galloway, the owner of the property, was shocked to learn the property was on the list, too, and he’s since contacted the DEQ and a cleanup contractor. But he doubts whether a cleanup is necessary because he disputes a former renter ever cooked meth there, even though meth-making materials were confiscated from the basement of the apartment.

“If there had been something left there, and there had been any kind of issue, I would have had to do something way back then,” Galloway said.

Cascade County has more properties on the state’s meth house list — 38 — than any other county in Montana, and the list includes Allen’s apartment.

Years after the busts occurred — a bust occurred at 614 12th St. N. in 2004 — court records and interviews with landlords sometimes offer conflicting accounts regarding what actually went down at the properties.

But in the view of the DEQ’s meth cleanup program, the addresses remain contaminated, and state law requires that they stay on the list until a professional contractor assesses them and performs a cleanup if necessary. Otherwise, the law says, renters and homebuyers need to be told of their drug history.

“The concern is to not only the people living in them, but also the people that clean them up,” said Deb Grimm, the DEQ’s manager of the meth cleanup program, who compares the way meth residue permeates a residence to cigarette smoke. “Meth is toxic. And oftentimes other chemicals used to make meth react with the cleaning products used.”

Public unaware of list

Visits by Tribune reporters to the meth properties in Cascade County found several residents, including Allen, who were not aware that the state considers the properties where they live uninhabitable because of past meth lab operations.

That’s despite the public list on the DEQ website and the requirement in the law that they be told.

“I think Realtors, it’s pretty common knowledge with them, but the average public doesn’t know and really isn’t aware of the DEQ site,” Sandy Johnson, environmental health manager for the Cascade City-County Health Department, said of the DEQ’s meth properties list.

“I think that the property owner is required to notify a renter,” Johnson added. “But to be honest, I don’t know if that is occurring, but that’s what the law says they’re supposed to do.”

The Tribune check of the properties also found that the DEQ erred in continuing to publicly list one property even after the property owner had properly cleaned it up, and the agency failed to contact Galloway to let him know his property was being listed on a list of contaminated properties.

215 properties on list

Across Big Sky Country, 215 meth-contaminated properties dot cities and rural areas alike, according to the DEQ’s meth contaminated properties list.

In Cascade County, 30 of the 38 properties are located in Great Falls.

“If I would have known, I probably wouldn’t have bought it,” said Dawn Wilson, 36, who owns a mobile home at 5405 Lower River Road south of Great Falls.

Wilson also was unaware her home was on the list.

“If it’s been used as a meth lab, that’s unnerving,” she said.

Her 5-year-old son, wearing a T-shirt with “Mom’s Lil’ Rebel” on the front, played on the steps.

After being contacted by the Tribune, Wilson checked with the previous owner of the mobile home and learned it is not the same meth-contaminated house on the state’s list, despite having the same address. The mobile home on the state’s list, it turned out, was removed from the property. That was a relief to Wilson. Besides her son, she’s also raising her 6-month-old granddaughter.

However, the DEQ still views the site as contaminated, and the address will remain on the list because the agency was never informed the former mobile home was removed, Grimm said.

Even if a mobile home is disposed of, a cleanup contractor is required to oversee it because the DEQ doesn’t want contaminated mobile homes being transported down city streets with the windows open, Grimm said.

“If it’s not the trailer, and it was the trailer before, it would be nice if they take me off the list,” said Wilson, who had hoped to sell her mobile home one day.

Tribune archives show the Central Montana Drug Task Force discovered a meth lab at the property, including 7,500 pills of cold medication locked in a safe. Pseudoephedrine contained in the pills is used in the meth-cooking process.

‘I didn’t know’

In Cascade County, the properties on the state’s list range from out-of-the-way, run-down mobile homes on dead-end streets to homes near schools to vacant commercial buildings to well-kept apartments to barns out in the country.

“I didn’t know it was on that list, but I know there was a bust here a long time ago,” said a woman who answered the door at 121 16th St. N.W. in Black Eagle, another address on the list.

The bust occurred March 22, 2012, according to the DEQ’s list.

The properties, remnants of law enforcement’s war on illicit meth manufacturing, are still home to many, but other sites are unoccupied.

“The bank owns the place,” shouted neighbor Olaf Medrud, 26, about the house next door, 1014 4th Ave. S., which is on the meth-contaminated properties list. “The outside looks decent. There’s a bunch of graffiti on the other side of the house.”

A notice on the front door says the house is vacant or abandoned. Telephone books are piling up on the front porch. The DEQ says a bust occurred at the property in October 2012.

“Until the EPA enacts some federal legislation that governs all of the United States, I think Montana is doing a good job and being proactive in listing those properties for the public so they’re aware before they rent, or lease or buy that the property was once a meth lab,” the DEQ’s Grimm said.

Protection a goal

The public list of meth properties and the state’s meth cleanup program were created in 2005, about the time the number of meth labs was peaking, to protect renters and home buyers, encourage cleanups and ensure that cleanup contractors were trained to handle toxic messes created by cooking the drug, she said.

Today, the state is one of about 19 with meth cleanup standards.

Grimm says six to seven properties on the list are being cleaned by homeowners each year.

One of the biggest threats to people living in the contaminated homes is the risk of skin exposure to contaminated surfaces and breathing it in when particulate is circulated through heating systems, she said.

Children are particularly susceptible to exposure to meth contamination because they crawl on floors, Grimm said.

Health effects caused by exposure to meth lab chemicals depend on the lab process and chemicals used, the amount of chemical and length of exposure, and the age and health of the person exposed, health authorities say. Less severe exposures can result in headaches, nausea, dizziness and fatigue or lethargy. Liver and kidney damage, neurological problems and increased risk of cancer can occur with long-term exposures.

“I think it’s been so long ago, I don’t think there’s much left to worry about health-wise,” said Robert, who lives at 25 Golden Valley Loop outside of town, another Great Falls area resident who was unaware the home he’s living in is on the meth contaminated properties list.

He’s not concerned and has noticed no ill health effects.

The home is on the list as a result of a meth lab bust in 2001. He loves the location.

“On a very clear day, you can look out there and see the Rockies,” said Robert, who declined to give his last name.

Studies have shown, Grimm said, that meth doesn’t biodegrade and that it remains on surfaces for many years after a bust, with the drug itself and chemicals used to make it posing health threats to the people living in them.

Homeowners who attempt to clean the properties on their own can spread the meth around, paint over it and risk becoming sick or exposed themselves if they don’t wear the proper respirator, gloves and clothing, and that’s why the state requires that a certified contractor be hired before the sites are given a clean bill of health, Grimm said.

In 2005, a housekeeper in Butte had to be hospitalized after becoming ill when she went into a motel room being used as meth lab, she said.

“It’s not as easy as just wiping it down and vacuuming it,” said Tom Koch of Koch Environmental Health in Denver.

Couple bought house

Koch was the principal author of the evaluation and remediation guidance document for meth labs published a few years ago by the American Industrial Hygiene Association. It’s considered a national model for proper meth cleanups. Previously, meth lab cleanup work lacked guidance, Koch said.

When meth is cooked, it’s akin to amateur chemistry, with the mixing of chemicals and ingredients from cold medications that create harmful gases and powder as fine as flour that get all over, including into duct work, he said.

Ingredients used in the cooking process include over-the-counter medications, such as pseudophedrine, along with acids, bases, metals, solvents and salts.

“It’s very difficult and very expensive to clean up, and a lot of them are under the radar,” Koch added. “For everybody on your list, there’s probably a dozen not on your list or more.”

Only properties reported to the DEQ by law enforcement make the list, and the reporting is not optional.

James and Josephine Slack, a Helena couple, testified in a 2010 trial in Lewis and Clark County District Court that they may not have unknowingly purchased a meth house had it been properly listed on the DEQ’s website.

A jury found Lewis and Clark County negligent for failing to report the meth-contaminated property outside of Helena to the DEQ and awarded the couple $563,592 in damages.

During a deposition of James Slack, he reported people banging on the door at 3 a.m. after the family had moved in. They purportedly received visits from people looking for drugs as a result of the past drug activity in the home. One doctor told the couple that blood tests on their children showed abnormal results similar to what is caused by meth exposure.

The Slacks were notified in a letter from the DEQ in 2007 that the house had been used as a meth lab. By that time, they had lived there for two years.

The deposition, in which they answered questions from an attorney, explained how they found out:

Question from attorney: “What did you and your wife do following receipt of that letter?”

Slack: “Looked at each other in shock basically. And then I asked my wife to call the Department of Environmental Quality and check into the letter that we received and what it meant for us.”

Question: “Was that the first time you had ever heard of a contaminated property list?”

Slack: “Yes.”

Question: “And a website?”

Slack: “Yes.”

The bust occurred in 2002. The contaminated property was not reported to the DEQ until 2007.

After being notified about the house, the Slacks had it tested. Results came back showing high levels of meth.

‘Get back …’

Some of properties on the list in Cascade County, like the one at 1120 25th Ave. N.E. in Black Eagle, are not residential homes.

Bill Kurth remembers a night in April 2011 when about 15 law enforcement vehicles from multiple agencies descended upon a Quonset unit at that address, which is located in a commercial and industrial area in Black Eagle. Kurth has a lawn-care business and stores his equipment next door to the address.

A man dressed up in a protective white suit with a respirator came walking up to him.

“‘Get back, we got a meth lab here,'” the man told Kurth.

For about 24 hours, authorities were inside and materials were being taken out with a front-end loader. Kurth was concerned.

“God almighty, look how close I am,” said Kurth, pointing to the Quonset.

For these properties to be removed from the list, property owners must hire one of 18 certified meth cleanup contractors. Property owners then receive a certificate of fitness from the state.

Because the program is voluntary, property owners can choose not to hire a certified contractor to conduct a cleanup. And the owners may still rent, lease or sell, but they must notify the person renting or buying it’s a meth lab property, Grimm said.

In 2009, a bill failed in the Legislature that would have revised the law to make cleanups mandatory. It also would have required cleanup of homes contaminated with meth smoking, not just those where cooking occurred, Grimm said. As it stands, there is no enforcement provision in the law, meaning if a renter or owner living in a property listed on the website did not receive written notification they would have to pursue legal action on their own.

‘Expensive nightmare’

Bob Murray, owner of Magic Manor Apartments in Great Falls, said cleaning up the aftermath of a meth-cooking operation is “an expensive nightmare.”

“We try to keep a decent place, but sometimes that stuff happens,” Murray said.

In 2001, meth lab busts occurred at two apartments in the complex on 14th Avenue South.

The bust predated the meth cleanup program, and Murray received a letter from the state Department of Justice that the apartments may be contaminated by use of anhydrous ammonia, lithium metal and other unknown substances that “are known to be carcinogenic, corrosive and explosive.”

At the time, Murray said, the state offered no lists of certified cleanup contractors, and he was on his own.

Murray hired Flathead Chemical Lab Cleanup to clean up the apartments.

The cost of the labor, hygienist report and materials came to $12,508.

That included $1,493 in lost rent during the more than two months of cleanup work. The linoleum, carpet and furniture were all thrown out.

“We went the extra mile,” Murray said. “I’d put my kid in there.”

To his frustration, the properties still ended up on the DEQ’s meth contaminated properties.

In 2013, eight years after the cleanup law was passed, and 12 years after the apartments were cleaned up, a DEQ official visited Magic Manor. The purpose was to check whether the apartment had been cleaned up by a certified cleanup company. Murray couldn’t believe it, but he provided the DEQ with the documentation so the properties would be taken off the list.

They were still on the list in 2014, when the Tribune inquired about them. The DEQ’s Grimm said it was an oversight, and the apartments have since been removed from the list.

Tom Tinsen, who lives at 46 Fields Road, thinks authorities went overboard in listing his property as meth-contaminated in 2002. Nobody lives there now, said Tinsen, who offered to give a tour.

At the time, he was letting a person stay in an apartment located in a barn on his property, when that person was busted on a meth-related charge. It was Tinsen who called the sheriff after smelling something funny when he walked by, but “there was not a drop of meth ever cooked in that place,” Tinsen said.

He was amused to see his property in a training video on meth-contaminated properties that was shown at a meeting of a local volunteer firefighting department.

Meth property?

Debbie Helen Kipp-Lucas pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine on May 12, 2005, and was sentenced to 97 months in federal prison on Nov. 3, 2005. She also was ordered to pay $4,197 in restitution, which must go toward the cleanup of the property, according to court records.

At the time, Kipp-Lucas was living at 614 12th St. N.

Allen, 39, who once gave speeches about the evils of meth, lives at that same residence today, and she’s not amused her residence is on a list of meth-contaminated properties.

“I’m shocked, really shocked,” she said. “Like I said, I have two kids that live here. I had no clue.”

And she knows Kipp-Lucas.

For three years, she worked for the Great Falls Children’s Receiving Home, which provides temporary shelter for children due to child abuse, neglect, abandonment, parental drug use, domestic violence and parental incarceration. She also worked for Great Falls Pre-Release Services, which provides a cost-effective alternative to incarceration for offenders through a variety of community-based programs. Kipp-Lucas was a resident.

She plans to research whether meth was ever cooked in the basement.

“It’s 10 years ago,” she said. “It shouldn’t still be on list if everything was done right.”

In 2004, a search warrant was conducted at the property and remnants of a meth lab were found in the basement, including a gas generator, paint thinner, cookware and 18 boxes of pseudoephedrine pills, in addition to small baggies used for packing meth and syringes, according to court records.

Meth-making materials may have been found at the location, but that doesn’t mean meth was ever cooked at the location, said Galloway, who owns the rental property.

He’s been frustrated by what he says are a lack of clear guidelines from the state.

“This is where the whole thing falls apart,” Galloway says of the state’s program. “Just because a categorized bust was made, they list my property. So it’s kind of frustrating.”

He also questions why nobody told him the property needed to be cleaned up at the time, if a cleanup really was necessary.

Since learning of the listing, however, he’s contacted the DEQ and a cleanup contractor to check it out. Another sore point is there is no state-certified meth cleanup contractor in Cascade County, where the highest number of meth properties are located.

“To get off the list, I’ll have to pay somebody a fee to do what?” Galloway said. “Nothing?”

The DEQ’s Grimm said the agency tries to notify all landowners when the properties are added to the list, she said, but it’s not required and it can be challenging for properties that predate the creation of the meth cleanup program in 2005.

DEQ records show that the agency did not notify Galloway because it was unable to locate an owner for the property.

Meth properties list







A deadly standoff last month in Christian County between a man and police at a reported meth house is a reminder that the powerful drug remains prevalent in Illinois and that it may be time to reopen the debate about how to best fight it.

A chaotic scene played out early July 29 at the house about 7 miles west of Pana. Josh A. Edwards, 25, allegedly shot and wounded a police officer after authorities went there for a reported armed and dangerous man. Officers returned fire, prompting Edwards to flee to the roof, where he remained for several hours as police tried to convince him to surrender.

Edwards allegedly shot at officers again, at which point police returned fire and killed him.

Three people in the house were arrested for meth-related offenses. Police said they were aware that people were cooking meth at the house and had been working on an investigation.

Statewide, police have been locked in a battle with meth producers and users for at least 15 years. A state law in 2006 that cracked down on the sale of pseudoephedrine pills, a key ingredient in the manufacture of meth at the time, helped curb production until cooks came up with alternate recipes. Since then, there’s been a noticeable resurgence, authorities say.

The numbers bear that out. In 2004, Illinois authorities reported 1,576 clandestine meth lab seizures. That number fell steadily for a while, dropping to 369 in 2008, but in 2009 it began to creep up again. In 2012, the most recent data available, Illinois reported 801 lab seizures, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Tougher laws and sentencing haven’t been enough to put an end to meth in Illinois. Meanwhile, police grapple with budget shortfalls, cuts to staffing and less grant money to support drug-enforcement efforts, all of which make it more difficult to root out meth.

Authorities in Adams County, consistently one of the top Illinois counties for meth lab seizures, sounded an alarm earlier this year, saying they were facing a “tsunami.”

“We thought we were over the hump in terms of the effectiveness of our eradication efforts and prevalence of its usage,” Adams County State’s Attorney Jon Barnard told the Herald-Whig newspaper in Quincy. “Unfortunately, and much to our chagrin, meth has experienced a significant and ominous resurgence in the last four or five years.”

Last fall Carlinville Police Chief David Haley said meth was “the No. 1 target” for his department after busting three meth labs and arresting six people in a matter of weeks. Beardstown police have arrested more than a dozen people for meth-related crimes this summer.

Last month, a Jacksonville man was arrested after police found a “one-pot” meth lab in his home. And a Schuyler County man and his wife were arrested after a teenager who lived in his house ran away and refused to return, triggering a police investigation and the discovery of a meth lab there.

Last week in Herrin in southern Illinois, a 10-year-old boy was treated for meth exposure and released to child-welfare authorities after a traffic stop resulted the discovery of a mobile meth lab and the arrest of two adults.

Pope County in far southern Illinois is seeing a noticeable spike in meth and secondary crimes, such as burglary and theft.

“We’ve spent thousands of dollars in staff, overtime and jail bills while fighting that battle,” Sheriff Jerry Suites told WSIL-TV, noting that he has only two detectives.

Much of Illinois lawmakers’ chatter about meth died down when the number of lab seizures decreased a few years ago. Many of the state’s online resources about meth now feature outdated statistics and information. Now lawmakers have turned their attention to combatting heroin. Meanwhile, prescription drug abuse became the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem.

Meth’s continued presence Illinois can’t be forgotten or disregarded. Elected officials in charge of the purse strings must continue to ensure local authorities have the money and resources they need to deal with meth abuse and the problems that come with it, including child neglect, environmental damage and danger to the public.

It also may be time to rethink our approach to fighting meth and re-evaluate the supply and demand in Illinois. Pseudoephedrine regulation and online lab registries haven’t taken us far enough.


WEST MONROE (KTVE/KARD) – Deputies with the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office SCAT and Metro Narcotics Units have arrested three people on multiple drug related offenses.

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On August 7th, police conducted an investigation at 209 Wheelis Street and found that one man, Marcus Thomas of West Monroe was in possession of methamphetamine.

A further investigation led police to two other individuals, Blaine Powell and Brittany Warner.

Police say the two were in position of large amounts of meth and the prescription drug, Oxycodone, along with digital scales, small plastic bags and glass pipes. Police also found a large amount of money, in denominations consistent with street level drug sales.

Deputies located two guns, which Powell, who is a convicted felon, stated belonged to him.

Thomas is charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, schedule II.

Powell is charged with five counts of possession with intent to distribute, the creation of narcotics with intent to distribute, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, four counts of criminal conspiracy, and two counts of having drugs in a ‘drug-free zone.” His bond has been set at $590,500.

Warner is charged with three counts of possession with intent to distribute, one count of production of narcotics with intent to distribute, possession of drug paraphernalia, and criminal conspiracy. Her bond has been set at $95,500.



Lebanon police, firefighters and public safety officials secured the scene of an active methamphetamine lab found inside a car in the Walmart parking lot in Lebanon on Saturday afternoon.

Police Sgt. Joe Nokes responded to a shoplifting call at the Walmart Supercenter at around 2:30 p.m. According to Nokes, the stores loss prevention team saw a man and woman take cold compresses and batteries out of the store without paying for them.

Nokes said lithium in batteries and ingredients in cold compresses are commonly used to make meth.

He said the couple tried to get into a red Saturn car, but the loss prevention members stopped them. The woman got into another waiting vehicle and left, but Nokes cited the man for misdemeanor shoplifting before he left on foot.

Nokes said he called in a K9 unit, and the dog alerted officers to the presence of drugs.

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An active “shake-and-bake” meth lab was found in the trunk of the car. Police meth technician Chris Luna was then called to the scene, along with firefighters and public safety officials to secure the area surrounding the car.

Luna said the lab was active. Officers said they also found two additional jars filled with liquid that tested positive for meth, along with ingredients commonly used to make meth, in the car.

Officers also found a prescription pill bottle with a man’s name on it that matched the name of the suspect cited for shoplifting. Police are currently searching for the suspect, but couldn’t hold him at the time on the misdemeanor charge.

The suspect’s name wasn’t immediately available.

State meth task force agents were called in to properly dispose of the lab and ingredients.



FAYETTEVILLE — Three men were arrested Friday after drug task force detectives said they received tips about drug activity.

Jason Clampit, 33, address unknown, was arrested Friday in connection with delivery of marijuana, two counts of possession of a controlled substance with purpose to deliver (methamphetamine and oxycodone), possession of drug paraphernalia, simultaneous possession of drugs and a firearm, possession of a firearm by a certain person, resisting arrest and aggravated assault. He was being held Saturday in the Washington County Detention Center in lieu of a $5,000 bond.41894778_FN-DRUG-BUST-CLAMPIT-8-10_t598

John Fuhrman, 34, of 15673 Ramsey St. in Winslow was arrested in connection with two counts of possession of controlled substances with purpose to deliver (methamphetamine and oxycodone), possession of drug paraphernalia and simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms. He was being held Saturday in the Washington County Detention Center in lieu of a $3,500 bond.

Daniel Hicks, 24, of Fayetteville was arrested in connection with two counts of possession of a controlled substance with purpose to deliver (methamphetamine and oxycodone) and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was being held Saturday in the Washington County Detention Center in lieu of a $2,500 bond.

Before the arrests, detectives said they bought 14 grams of marijuana from Clampit with the help of a confidential informant, according to arrest reports.

Another person told detectives on Friday that Clampit was staying in a Fayetteville hotel with methamphetamine and a gun in the room, according to an arrest report.

After finding the room where Clampit was staying, detectives said they saw him, Fuhrman and Hicks carrying bags outside and putting them in the back of Clampit’s pickup, according to the report. Police later stopped the vehicle and arrested Clampit.

Police said Clampit resisted arrested and began to fight, kick and bite them, and tried to stab a detective with a screwdriver.

Fuhrman was asked to get of the vehicle and he said he had a loaded gun in his waistband.

While Hicks was searched, nearly $1,100 was found.

Detectives searched the vehicle and found a bag containing 22 bags of methamphetamine totaling 44.3 grams, 11½ oxycodone pills, marijuana, scales, pipes and baggies, according to the report.

Police said they also found a receipt for $4,000 sent from Clampit to Hicks in Colorado to buy marijuana.




PORTLAND, Ore. – Police arrested 10 people on drug and identity-theft charges after serving a warrant on a house in S.E. Portland on Friday afternoon.


Leonard Lee Jetland, 47, was arrested for conspiracy to deliver methamphetamine; delivery of methamphetamine; frequenting a place where controlled substances are used; possession of methamphetamine and first-degree theft by receiving.

Michael Dwayne Fields, 29 was arrested for conspiracy to deliver methamphetamine; delivery of methamphetamine; frequenting a place where controlled substances are used; and possession of methamphetamine.

Police said they aren’t done investigating and that more charges might be forthcoming.

The warrant was served at about 2:30 p.m. Friday in the 4600 block of SE 76th Ave.

Police say they arrested Kelly Dee Megard, 52, a homeless convict, Tuesday afternoon after he became convinced during a bad methamphetamine high that someone was following and trying to kill him. He shot at a driver with two children on a residential road with a gun bought ‘on the street’ and took his drugged rampage to a nearby state park, cops say.

Paranoia got the best of a homeless man who went on a methamphetamine-induced shooting spree in Billings, Mont. and nearly shot a mother and her children.


Suspect Kelly Dee Megard, 52, has been connected to mayhem Tuesday that included a violent car chase on a residential street and a shooting at Pictograph Cave State Park, where tourists scrambled for shelter as he yelled and fired shots at nearby vegetation.

Billings Police Chief Rich St. John said Megard exemplified “desperate people high on drugs” showing no regard for life as they make “irrational and dangerous decisions,” according to the Billings Gazette.

He is charged with attempted homicide and three counts of criminal endangerment.

Megard allegedly confessed to smoking meth two days before the shooting and said he believed someone had been out to kill him for the past three days as he drove around town. He also admitted to chasing a driver and trying to gun her down, he told detectives after his arrest.

His bullets hit the vehicle of a mother with her two children. The spooked woman, described as “shaken up and shocked” by police, said Megard attacked her family along Rimrock Road near the Rocky Mountain College campus that morning. She saw the suspect point a gun right at her before he fired several shots, hitting her three times. The bullets missed her passengers — a 6- and 7-year-old sitting in the backseat — by mere inches.


The mom attempted to escape by speeding away, but Megard chased her and allegedly rammed her SUV several times in a parking lot at around 12:45 p.m.

She drove through a grassy area and hid on a side road before Megard finally zoomed off.

“This could have been a tragedy,” St. John said.

The shooter had no idea he was firing at a vehicle with children inside, but thought there was a man with a gun sitting in the passenger seat.

He was “going to get that guy first,” Megard said.

Montana Highway Patrol troopers and Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office deputies took Megard into custody at Pictograph Cave State Park about 30 minutes later after they received a call of shots fired.

Witnesses at the park had watched Megard careen off the road and down a ravine where he “disappeared out of sight,” documents said, but he emerged bellowing and shooting at people and nearby vegetation.

When deputies arrived, they heard additional shots fired and saw Megard hiding in a field of trees and brush as park-goers hid inside the visitor center a mile away.

After a brief standoff, Megard and his 9-mm. pistol was taken into custody.

Megard has an extensive criminal record in Washington state and Montana and has been convicted several times. He had been on parole for conspiracy to assault a police officer in Montana’s Cascade County.

He claims to have bought a gun “on the street” last week and some ammo at a Billings ammo store.




Sheriff’s deputies in South Carolina say they are looking for a young mother who left her small child at a meth house and didn’t come back.

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Amanda Leigh Vosburg, 24, is wanted on charges of child neglect, Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said Friday. The woman also sent a Facebook message to a stranger, offering to give away her daughter.

“This is a heartbreaking story and a far too common scene about a child that was shuffled around, abandoned, and neglected because her mother simply doesn’t care, Ravenell said, WIS-TV reported.

Authorities arrested two women at the drug home, he said. Christy Kinsey, 41, has been charged with methamphetamine possession. Fran Roberts, 29 was arrested on an outstanding family court warrant.


The little girl has been placed in emergency protective custody.

Ravenell said Vosburg left her toddler at the home, in the care of another resident. When she didn’t return after days, the unnamed resident tried to get others, including the child’s relatives, to care for the little girl. No one would take her, the sheriff said.

The child was taken to another county and left with social service workers, who contacted Ravenell’s office.





COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – A man was seriously injured after a fire broke out at a home on Coastdale Road Friday evening.

Jennifer Timmons with the Columbia Police Department said police and fire crews were called to a home in the 1000 block of Coatsdale Road near Veterans drive after a suspected meth lab caught fire inside the home.

The man, who name has not been released, suffered severe burns and was transported to a local hospital, Timmons said.

Officers at the scene were also taken to the hospital as a precaution to be checked out for possible meth exposure, Timmons said.

Fire crews were able to put out the fire, but not before the home was damaged.

Timmons said charges for the man are pending.

The incident is still under investigation.




The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter’s Field Services Department this week investigated reports of a puppy that had possibly overdosed on methamphetamine.

Officers received an emergency call from VCA Veterinary Hospital in Santa Cruz Tuesday regarding a puppy they had in their care. Based on statements made by the person with the dog, as well as the dog’s behavior, the veterinarian believed that the dog was under the influence of methamphetamine. The person who brought the dog to the veterinarian was evasive and tried to take the dog back, shelter officials reported.

An animal control officer made contact with the person via phone, and told them they would not be taking the puppy home and that the Animal Shelter would be taking custody of it.

The officer responded to the veterinarian’s office and rushed the puppy to the Animal Shelter Veterinarian, who immediately began emergency treatment on the dog.

Based on tips of whom the owner could be, the animal control officer went to several known transient locations in search of the owner and additional puppies suspected to be in the litter.

The officer was unable to locate them, but began spreading the word that animal control was looking for the suspected owner to answer questions on how one of her puppies overdosed on methamphetamine.

On Wednesday, animal control officers went with Santa Cruz city park rangers to conduct multiple sweeps in the area in search of the owner and the other puppies. Six hours of searching did not turn up the woman or the dogs.

Animal control officers are still seeking the owner. Meanwhile, the puppy believed to have overdosed is recovering and will be adopted out.