Crystal methamphetamine remains the biggest drug threat in Napa County, according to the countywide unit that focuses on drug-related offenses.

Detectives in 2013 made 108 arrests for suspected methamphetamine-related offenses. They also seized 1,368 grams of methamphetamine — or about 3.2 pounds — with a street value of about $136,800, according to the Napa Special Investigations Bureau (NSIB).

Methamphetamine has been, and continues to be, our priority,” said Napa Police Lt. Gary Pitkin, who heads NSIB.

“The addictive properties and behavioral changes caused by methamphetamine is cause for concern,” according to NSIB’s 2013 annual report. “Methamphetamine continues to be trafficked into our county from Mexico by way of Southern California, the Central Valley and through surrounding counties including Solano, Contra Costa, and Sonoma. Methamphetamine has crossed every gender, age, and cultural line in our community.”

The recent passage of Proposition 47 imposes new rules on how drug and theft allegations are charged in California, with drug possessions prosecuted as misdemeanors instead of felonies.

This new law, which went into effect Nov. 5, the day after California voters approved the statewide measure, will not affect NSIB investigations, according to the task force.

“NSIB targets drug dealers, manufacturers and cultivators,” Pitkin said.

NSIB detectives can either book offenders into the jail or cite and release those arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor drug offenses.

In 2013, drug agents also eradicated 25,555 marijuana plants, including 24,181 plants grown outdoors, according to the report. Marijuana grown in Napa County is transported across state lines and sold in other states, the agency reports.

Citizens’ reports of strong odors, armed trespassers and water theft, spurred many of NSIB’s investigations.

Most of the outdoor marijuana plants that were eradicated were grown in large-scale operations on privately owned lands. In most cases, the landowners did not know the marijuana was being cultivated on their property, according to NSIB.

NSIB detectives seized 20 grams of powder cocaine — or 0.70 ounces – far less than in 2012, when agents seized nearly 16 ounces of the drug. That may be due to methamphetamine prices falling, the agency said.

The illicit sales and abuse of prescription painkillers and sedatives have increased and may lead to a resurgence of heroin use and abuse, according to the report. “This theory is predicated on the fact that many of the highly desired prescription painkillers are more expensive and harder to acquire than heroin, a substance that provides a similar high.”





(Reuters) – An increase in the smuggling of synthetic drugs like methamphetamine from Southeast Asia has fueled a rise in violent crime in China this year, a state-run newspaper reported on Wednesday.

In the first nine months of the year, police recorded more than 100 incidents of violent crime blamed on methamphetamine, more than the total number seen in the previous five years, Liu said.

“China is facing a grim task in curbing synthetic drugs, including ‘ice’, which more and more of China’s drug addicts tend to use,” the official China Daily quoted Liu Yuejin, head of the public security ministry’s Narcotics Control Bureau as saying, referring to the street name for methamphetamine.

“Compared with traditional drugs, such as heroin and opium, methamphetamine can easily lead to mental problems,” he added. “Addicts will be prone to extreme and violent behavior, including murder and kidnapping.”

Methamphetamine was being smuggled into China’s southwestern province of Yunnan and region of Guangxi, both of which border Southeast Asia, the newspaper said.

Last year, Yunnan police confiscated more than 9 tons of methamphetamine that had been smuggled in from Myanmar, while drugs have also been coming in from Vietnam, it added.

China has stepped up cooperation with Laos, Myanmar and Thailand to help tackle the problem, the report said.

Liu added that China was suspected of having 14 million drug users, five times more than official numbers, and about half of them use methamphetamine.

Over the past 50 days, police have detained almost 24,000 people suspected of involvement in drugs and seized 12.1 tons of drugs, the ministry said in a statement on its website on Wednesday.

Drug-related crimes carry harsh penalties in China including death or life imprisonment in serious cases.

The government has in recent months stepped up its fight against the problem, arresting a string of celebrities, including the son of Hong Kong kungfu movie star Jackie Chan.

The use of drugs in China, particularly synthetic drugs like methamphetamine, ketamine and ecstasy, has grown along with the rise of a new urban class with greater disposable income.





Oklahoma law enforcement recently received some help in their fight against the state’s ongoing problem with methamphetamine.w300-4c9912d9f87d11ab35b3195d2f84cb35

The state was awarded a grant this week from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, an office in the U.S. Justice Department, that will go towards training officers on how to track meth users through an online database and on how to handle children found in homes where meth is being manufactured.

“This grant displays a multifaceted approach to the methamphetamine plight in Oklahoma and we are very pleased to spearhead this for our state,” said Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Director Darrell Weaver in a Tuesday news release.

Ten states will receive the grant, and Oklahoma’s portion totals $217,400.

Although recent legislation has helped lower the number of lab seizures in the state, down to 200 in 2013 from 913 in 2011, the number of addicts remains steady, said narcotics bureau spokesman Mark Woodward.

While the drug might be cooked less in the state, Mexican drug cartels have stepped in and filled the demand.

“We are also seeing more ‘ice’ than we know what to do with,” Woodward told lawmakers at a September interim study. “It is absolutely pouring in here. The cartels are filling that void.”

State data on methamphetamine use and seizures shows that despite the decline in lab seizures, more than 160 people died from using the drug, up from 140 in 2012.





A SELF-described “monster” with an ice-fuelled lingerie fetish has been jailed for more than a decade after breaking into a sleeping Elwood mother’s apartment and raping her in her bed.

Months earlier Jesse Wright, 42, snuck into the bedroom of a high school student and indecently assaulted a 16-year-old girl, who had been sleeping next to her boyfriend.

Wright was on bail when he fled a rehabilitation centre and began stealing ladies lingerie, including 15 pairs of underwear and five bras that were hanging in a courtyard in Elwood, in April this year.

He broke into a unit, had a shower, rifled through the clothes drawers and tried on women’s underwear and a bra — returning some of the wet underwear to the drawer.

Days later, he broke into another apartment, armed with condoms, lubricant and a torch, and raped a 46-year-old while holding a pair of scissors to her throat.

The sleeping woman awoke, disoriented and confused, before Wright told her, “I’m going to f— you”.

The terrified woman begged him not to hurt her and said, “Okay, okay, okay”.

Wright claimed that, while on ice, he experienced heightened libido, obsessive sexualized thinking and was assailed by visual hallucinations of naked women.

He said he developed a fetish for women’s lingerie and “visions to do sexual stuff”, including breaking into a house and engaging in sexual activity.

Psychiatrist Dr Adam Deacon said in a report tendered to the County Court: “Methamphetamine appears to have generated the onset of an obsessive fetish-type sexual drive whereby he became motivated to access and often wear female underwear.”

“Also, and more alarmingly, has been a history of intense sexual fantasies, experiences as imaginary sexual scripts, including the odd notion of finding a female stranger in a house during a burglary, leading to a fanciful consensual and non-coercive sexual interaction.”

County Court judge Mark Taft said this terrifying ordeal was far from consensual and he was not persuaded that Wright’s underlying mental illness reduced his moral culpability for the crime.

He said the diagnosed schizophrenic, whose mother had spent around $30,000 on drug rehabilitation programs for Wright, was aware he had highly sexualized fantasies when a using ice and not taking his anti-psychotic medications.

Wright pleaded guilty to two counts of rape, two counts of aggravated burglary, four counts of theft, two counts of burglary and one count of indecent assault, obtaining property by deception, possessing a small quantity of cannabis and dealing with proceeds of crime.

The sex offender was sentenced to 11 years and 3 months’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of eight and a half years, and fined $200.







PERU, Ind. (WISH) – Police in Peru say they found a meth lab inside a motel room on Sunday.

Officers made the discovery at the Budget Inn Motel on West Main Street after they were dispatched for the report of a battery.

When officers arrived the door to the room was open and unoccupied. Police found several items to make meth inside the room. Police obtained a search warrant and found more evidence inside for meth manufacturing.

Police arrested Nickolus Toepfer following their investigation. Toepfer was preliminarily charged with manufacturing meth, maintaining a common nuisance, possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia

The 27-year-old Peru man is being held at the Miami County jail on $31,000 bond.

The Miami County Health Department says the motel room will stay closed until it has been decontaminated and cleaned.





LINCOLN, Neb. —State troopers have seized methamphetamine and marijuana in three separate traffic stops along Interstate 80.

The Nebraska State Patrol says more than 23 pounds of meth was seized after a trooper stopped a speeding car just west of the Lincoln Airport exit on Friday night. The meth, with an estimated street value of $1 million, was contained in 18 packages secreted in a hidden compartment. The driver was arrested.

A Hamilton County stop of a speeding car on Friday afternoon yielded 27 pounds of pot and the arrest of a driver and his passenger.

The patrol also says a trooper who stopped a speeding car in Keith County on Friday morning later found 20 pounds of marijuana in the car trunk. The driver and his passenger were arrested.







OTTUMWA — Don’t mistake bad news for good, law enforcement professionals warn.

In a trend that may eventually be helpful, the number of meth labs reported by Iowa law enforcement is down again in 2014 and on a pace to drop to its lowest amount in 17 years.Drug problems continue in Iowa

Lt. Jason Bell of the Ottumwa Police Department said that statewide finding (by the Governor’s Office on Drug Control Policy) is echoed locally, too.

“It’s common all across Iowa, and here, too, because there’s so much meth out there,” said Bell.

And that’s not good, he agreed.

“It just means [users] don’t need to go through the [manufacturing] process,” he said.

“Iowan’s demand for methamphetamine, that appetite, has never dropped in Iowa,” agreed Dale Woolery, associate director of the ODCP. “… which could lead one to conclude … the meth problem has really not gone away.”

In fact, according to the ODCP in Iowa, the amounts and use of meth smuggled into Iowa are increasing. The 64,000 grams of meth seized by Iowa law enforcement so far this year is the largest volume since 2005. And, said Woolery, it’s stronger; meth purity, he said, is approaching 100 percent.

Worse, Iowa drug-related cases involving children testing positive for drugs (or having been in the presence of meth manufacturing), rose to the highest level in five years.

Woolery told the Courier that “labs” are the most visible part of the meth problem. So as the “noise level” dies down, citizens may not realize the problem is still present.

“The education component is generational; it needs to be constant,” he said. “We need to be messaging on methamphetamine or against anything else that is mind altering, or any item that hasn’t been given by a trusted adult.”

Meth-related prison admissions still make up more than half of all Iowa drug-related prison admissions.

Half, but not all. Beginning to catch up? The use of a seemingly helpful group of drugs: pain medicine.

“The ease [at first] of access makes it easy,” said Bell.

The report from the office on drug policy quotes professionals who treat substance abuse. The therapists increasingly say they are treating Iowans who begin taking pain pills for legitimate health problems.

The counselors find legitimate patients may become addicted to the medication over time and eventually “switch to heroin when they can no longer afford the medicine.”

In Ottumwa, it may not be that addicts find the medicine too pricey; they may just have run out of cooperative physicians to provide access to the pain killers.

“That’s a lot of heroin addicts,” said Bell. “We talk to people who tell us they started with prescription drugs. After a while, the doctor may stop prescribing it because they worry the patient is abusing the pills — so the people switch to heroin.”

“The thought that [they] start with a broken arm and end some day with injecting a syringe into their bloodstream is [unfathomable] to many people,” said Woolery.

But it happens.

“It really is about access,” said Woolery. “If insurance won’t pay for the prescription, or if the ability to pay for medicine out of pocket decreases, or the doctor won’t fill a prescription” an addict can become desperate.

In a lot of places, the prices for pain meds and the prices for heroin are comparable. Heroin and many pain killers are related via the opiate family of pain-relieving drugs.

“Preventing prescription drug abuse in the first place must be a priority,” said director of the Governor’s Office on Drug Control Policy Steve Lukan in a press release. “One way to do this is through continuing education for health care professionals, parents and children.”

His office judges how bad the prescription drug problem is by ER visits and deaths from overdoses.

In 2003, there were 11 overdose deaths in the state. A decade later sees 2013 with 77 deaths from improperly used meds.

“Medication Take Back … also help Iowans safely dispose of unused prescription drugs in a way that prevents abuse,” said Lukan. “The most recent Take Back effort in September collected over four tons of unused medicines.”

The report is compiled with other data in the 2015 Iowa Drug Control Strategy, which outlines a plan involving prevention, treatment and enforcement efforts aimed at reducing illegal drug use.







TurnerA man arrested Saturday in the Richmond Wal-Mart parking lot on public intoxication and third-degree criminal trespassing charges attempted to swallow pills hidden in his prosthetic leg while being booked at the Madison County Detention Center, according to Richmond Police.

Voyd A. Turner, 40, was wrestled to the ground after deputies saw him trying to swallow the pills, the report stated. When Turner was searched, police found suspected methamphetamine and Suboxone, it added.

In addition to his original charges, Turner was charged with first-degree possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine,) second-degree possession of a controlled substance (Suboxone), first-degree promoting contraband and tampering with physical evidence.

He remained in the detention center Monday evening, according to online jail records.





Fresno police arrested a 41-year-old man on suspicion of stabbing his girlfriend Monday morning, then attacking his mother and son with a knife.

Police said the man, identified as Steven David Clark, was high on methamphetamine. His 44-year-old girlfriend was hospitalized in critical condition but expected to survive.Steven David Clark

Officers were called to Saint Agnes Medical Center just before 10 a.m. after a woman with multiple stab wounds was dropped off at the hospital by her boyfriend.

Minutes later, officers were called to the 1100 block of East Kelso Avenue, just north of Clovis West High School, on a report that an adult son was trying to kill his mother with a knife, Lt. Joe Gomez said. The caller indicated the son had his mother cornered, Gomez said.

Officers arrived and detained the son in the front yard, police said. The mother had the knife and turned it over to police. She was not stabbed in the encounter.

Officers learned the two cases were related. Clark had blood on his clothing and inside his car when arrested, Gomez said.

Police gave this account of what happened:

Clark drove his girlfriend to do some remodeling work on a home near Millbrook and Teague avenues in the Clovis West neighborhood. As she got out of the vehicle, Clark stabbed her in the upper body, Gomez said.

The woman was stabbed in the head, neck, hands and upper torso. Clark then drove her to the hospital.

He returned to his Kelso Avenue home, where he assaulted and threatened to kill his mother while wielding a knife, Gomez said. He also tried to stab and threatened to kill his 18-year-old son, but his mother was able to call police before he could hurt anyone.

Clark’s girlfriend was taken to Community Regional Medical Center. Clark was also at the hospital to detoxify from methamphetamine before he would be booked into Fresno County Jail, Gomez said.

Clark will face charges of assault with a deadly weapon and making terrorists threats, police said.








LONGMONT – A 35-year-old man who was trapped in a space between two walls of a Colorado department store for as long has three days was high on methamphetamine, according to an affidavit released Monday.    635518448363220009-paul-felyk-forweb

Paul Felyk, of Westminster, was arrested Friday on charges of second-degree burglary, criminal trespassing, possession of methamphetamine, criminal tampering and criminal mischief.

In the affidavit, Felyk told police he had fought with a “female friend” and had driven from Westminster to Longmont to “think” about it.

He told police he parked behind a Marshall’s store to use meth and then decided he wanted to get a “better view of the stars” – so he climbed a ladder to the roof.

When he was done stargazing, he wanted to look around the building so he went into a room accessible from the roof. He found himself locked inside the building and climbed down the shaft that went to the first floor. Once in the shaft, he realized he was stuck.

Employees at a Marshalls store in Longmont reported hearing someone yelling Monday but couldn’t tell where it was coming from.

On Tuesday, they found the man yelling for help through a hole in the wall, so they notified authorities. Firefighters used a circular saw to free Felyk.



In his car, police found meth.






CALIPATRIA – A Riverside woman visiting Calipatria State Prison is accused of trying to smuggle heroin and methamphetamine into the prison while visiting an inmate there with her child this weekend.546a5eb6cc71d_image

Monica Garza, 31, was visiting Carlos Deharo, who has been convicted of assault with a firearm, on Sunday when staff noticed that they were acting suspiciously while seated at a table with the child in the visiting area, said Lt. Everardo Silva, prison public information officer/administrative assistant.

Staff then saw Garza hand two bindles to Deharo who placed them into his mouth and swallowed. The pair was separated, and during a search, Garza relinquished six bindles.

The bindles contained a total of 21.6 grams of heroin with an estimated prison value of $16,200 and a smaller bindle within one of them contained .1 grams of methamphetamine with an estimated prison value of $100.

Deharo was medically cleared and placed on contraband watch where staff will monitor him. Once cleared, he will be placed in the prison’s administrative segregation unit which is a jail within the prison.546a5edce4d79_image

Garza was booked into Imperial County jail, and the child was turned over to Child Protective Services. If convicted, Garza faces three to five years in prison.






Salton City, California – Saturday, El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents assigned to the Indio Station arrested a suspected drug smuggler at the Highway 86 checkpoint after discovering twenty-four packages of methamphetamine hidden in an aftermarket compartment in the rear bumper.

The incident occurred at approximately 10:35 a.m., when Border Patrol agents encountered a 29-year-old male driver in a burgundy 2000 Jeep Cherokee at the checkpoint.

Agents referred the driver to secondary inspection area for further examination. During the investigation, a Border Patrol canine detection team alerted to the vehicle.  The agents searched the vehicle and subsequently discovered twenty-four packages of methamphetamine in the rear bumper.

The methamphetamine had a weight of 14.35 pounds with an estimated street value of more than $129,100.

The driver, a citizen of Mexico with valid B1/B2, the Jeep, and methamphetamine were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation.






LAS VEGAS — The man accused of killing another man following a traffic dispute told police three people came at his vehicle armed with guns and that was why he fired his weapon.5847473_G

William Jacobsen, 30, drove to his home immediately after the deadly shooting on Nov. 13 and called police to report the incident on Torrey Pines Drive, just south of Flamingo Road. Marlon Anthony Baylor, 49, was killed.

According to the arrest report, Baylor’s wife, Shirletta, told police Jacobsen was tailgating their vehicle and then pulled in front of them and was driving slowly and occasionally coming to a complete stop. Shirletta Baylor got out of her car and started yelling at Jacobsen. She said, her husband got out of the car to calm her down and that’s when he was shot by Jacobsen.

“I thought I was defending myself,” Jacobsen said. “It’s horrible, knowing that you did that, when never meant to, and what you thought was happening wasn’t.”

The report said, Jacobsen told police that Baylor had pulled up alongside him and he saw vehicles surround his car and three people with guns come toward him. He said he feared for his life and shot from the inside of his vehicle.

Police searched the Baylor’s vehicle and did not find any guns and there was no evidence of additional vehicles or people at the scene, the report said.

“I am so deeply, deeply sorry and I wish that there was so many ways I could change what happened,” Jacobsen said.

During Jacobsen’s arrest, police found crystal methamphetamine and narcotic pills in his pocket, according to the arrest report. Jacobsen is facing murder, drug possession and escape by a prisoner charges. When Jacobsen was being transported to the Clark County Detention Center for booking, he attempted to escape but was caught, police said.






A woman is facing charges after police say she was seen smoking meth in a McDonald’s parking lot.

To make matters worse, a 14-year-old child was in the car at the time, police say.pipe_featured

Brandie Lea Triplett of Lino Lakes, Minnesota, faces one count of meth-related crimes involving children, one count of possessing meth and one count of possessing drug paraphernalia.

The alleged incident occurred on the afternoon of Nov. 8.

According to a criminal complaint, Lino Lakes police were called to the McDonald’s on a report of a woman “smoking drugs” with a child in the car. The caller gave the woman’s license; the number was registered to Triplett.

By the time police got to the McDonald’s, Triplett was gone. The caller, however, was still there, and said that he was parked next to the car with Triplett’s license and clearly saw a woman doing drugs.

As CBS Minnesota reports, police then went to Triplett’s home and told her about the complaint. The 38-year-old woman admitted to being at McDonald’s but denied doing drugs, the complaint states.

Police noted that Triplett appeared to be intoxicated. An active warrant was out for her arrest in Wright County; an officer arrested her. Police conducted a search of her vehicle, during which they found two glass pipes with meth residue and a baggie containing 1.2 grams of meth.

If convicted of the charges, Triplett faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or a fine of more than $20,000.





A Texas couple has been taken into custody after their children tested positive for methamphetamine.

Leeanna and Linton Brandon Keyton were arrested and charged after Titus County Sheriff’s Office Narcotic Investigators obtained a search warrant and discovered quantities of the drug at their hotel room on Oct. 25, KLTV reports.keytons1_featured

The only one found in the room was Leeanna Keyton, who was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance. She was released the next day on $15,000 bond.

Child Protective Services removed the children — both under the age of 5 — from the couple’s care in mid-October. They tested positive for meth.

Officials served arrest warrants on both parents for allegedly endangering a child, KTLA reports.

Leeanna Heyton was arrested once again on Nov. 6 at the parking lot of a Pilgrim’s Pride supermarket. The woman resisted, but deputies managed to quickly take her into custody.

She was booked into the Titus County Jail for endangering a child, resisting arrest and possession of drug paraphernalia.

A week later, Titus County deputies tracked down Linton Brandon Keyton, who refused to identify himself. But deputies confirmed the outstanding arrest warrant and were able to place him into custody.

Deputies booked him into the Titus County Jail for endangering a child, possession of a controlled substance, unlawful carrying of a weapon, failure to identify, and possession of a dangerous drug.






Lethal crystal meth is flooding Irish jails turning inmates into “walking zombies”, we can reveal.

A prison source said crystal meth – short for methamphetamine– can be bought for as little as €20 a bag in prison, which would typically give the user four to five hits.

The highly-addictive drug, which is smoked or injected, causes paranoia. It is considered dangerous as it causes addicts to need a hit every two hours.

The source said: “Crystal meth is only a recent phenomenon in prisons.

“Drugs such as heroin, cocaine and hash are the main drugs that are smuggled in.

“However, there has been an emergence of inmates who use drugs taking crystal meth.

“It’s extremely dangerous as it makes the user extremely paranoid. They are basically like zombies. It’s one of the most addictive drugs out there and users become extremely desperate and violent in some circumstances if they can’t get it.

“The fear is it will become increasingly more popular in time as it’s cheaper than other similar drugs like heroin.

“Despite there being good drug detection methods in place inmates still manage to get it in.

“They are constantly coming up with new ways of smuggling drugs and other contraband.”

Crystal meth was at the center of acclaimed American TV series Breaking Bad.

Addicts use the drug more regularly than they would an opiate like heroin.

A source last night said that the drug, which is also rife on the streets of Dublin, is primarily made abroad – mostly in Chinese meth labs – and smuggled in.

A similar drug increasingly more popular in jails is Methylenedioxypyrovalerone, or MDPV for short.

It is a psychoactive stimulant which causes euphoria, increased alertness, awareness, motivation and energy, as well as boosting sexual stimulation.

The drug’s effects last for six to eight hours and high doses have been known to cause panic attacks, sleep withdrawal and psychosis.

Users are at risk of blood-borne diseases, but there is also a lot of concern over the potential for mental health issues.





Police in Guangdong have incinerated a staggering 400 tons of crystal meth ingredients, almost a year after a massive police raid in southern China shut down a major production hub for the drug.  tpbje201401030eb_40103759

It took 15 trucks several days to ferry the cargo comprising crystal meth and its precursors – weighing the equivalent of 10 private jets – from police depots to pits in Lufeng city, Guangdong, the Southern Metropolis Daily said on Monday.

Local police could not be reached on Monday.

On Sunday, the 400 tons were incinerated, the newspaper said.

This is far larger than the 16.2 tons of crystal meth seized by Chinese authorities in 2012 alone, based on information provided by national authorities to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime. Seizures have more than quadrupled over the preceding decade.

The incineration operation was meant to prevent the recirculation of the precursor material, which could have further spurred the booming production and trade of methamphetamines in southern China._pek02_40101761

China dismantled 228 clandestine laboratories producing methamphetamine in 2012, UNODC data shows.

Over the last years, police throughout China had traced meth precursor deliveries to villages near Lufeng, about 200 kilometers east of Hong Kong. In October last year, Guangdong police released a list of 109 wanted drug traders along with their residential addresses, all in Lufeng.

“In the past, everyone knew that they were producing crystal meth in the village,” a police official in Lufeng told the Southern Metropolis Daily. “It was impossible to get into the village and make arrests; one would be surrounded by villagers.”

The raid that led to the seizure on December 29 last year involved more than 3,000 paramilitary police. State media reported the arrest of 182 people in the operation and the seizure of almost three tons of crystal meth.

Village Communist party secretary Cai Dongjia was among those arrested in the raid for tolerating the drug cartel in the village.

Most of the white bags containing seized precursors burned on Sunday were filled with ephedra, a type of hemp, which contains key precursor chemicals ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.ephera

Used in the treatment of asthma and seasickness, the shrubs that thrive on Lufeng’s sandy soil can be easily turned into the profitable narcotics.

The burnt ephedra could have produced almost two tons of crystal meth, police estimated.





The Nov. 12 trial of a Portland-area man accused of using a website known as Silk Road — or the “eBay of drugs” to run a methamphetamine trafficking and money laundering ring began in U.S. federal court last week. His case was an example one of an unknown number of Portland-based criminals who used the site to sell drugs to customers around the region and around the world.jason_weld_hagen_360_382_90

Jason Hagen, 40, of Clark County Washington and his three co-defendants earned $607,220 selling a total of 17 pounds of methamphetamine on 3,169 occasions. The group allegedly shipped methamphetamine to buyers around the country and world after connecting with them online, according to court documents.

The site they used, Silk Road, operated behind a wall of encryption. Feds said the site allowed vendors to openly advertise their illegal goods and services, which included listings for drugs, guns, stolen credit card and PIN data, contact lists and hacking services for sale and murder-for-hire. The site was shut down in October 2013 and relaunched a month later as Silk Road 2.0, only to be shut down again earlier this month, according to authorities.

Feds claim that by September 2014, the site was generating approximately $8 million per month in revenue with over 150,000 regular users who believed they were visiting the site anonymously.

Peter Edge, the executive associate director of Homeland Security Investigations, said the site, and 27 other darknet sites that were seized in early November as part of Operation Onymous, created a safe-haven for illegal vices and, “allowed illicit black-market activities to evolve and expand,” meaning regular crimes are riding the cyber-wave.

Hagen obtained an Oregon driver’s license under a fictitious name and later used his fake identity to open a Chase bank account that he used to launder the profits from his business. He under the Silk Road website monicker “hammertime,” selling a gram of methamphetamine for around $1,000, according to court documents.

Hagen’s group deposited money into PayPal accounts in increments of $22,000 and accepted Western Union wires from Cambodia in increments of $2,500, and even accepted over $100,000 in prepaid debit cards, according to the indictment.

Hagen and his cohorts, however, are just a number of Portland-area online drug dealers and customers who used a website known as “the eBay of drugs.”

A review of online message boards revealed that a number of people involved in the online drug trade referenced Portland in their screen names used to visit the site. Some vendors who self-identified themselves as Portlanders achieved reputations as top-level dealers; like a Silk Road vendor known as “Roses Garden,” who allegedly shipped medical grade marijuana-infused foods.

Since the site has gone down, a number of drug dealers and customers have been scrambling for answers, or scrambling for their money.

One vendor wrote that they had lost over $45,000 in the seizure.

“We are almost bankrupted so there’s really nothing we can do,” the vendor wrote. “We’ll be starting all over again here mate.”

The SilK Road marketplace was hosted on the “deep web—” a hidden part of the internet where all traffic is encrypted through the Tor network. Tor is an acronym that stands for “the onion router” because its encryption has many layers. The National Security Administration referred to Tor as the most secure way to use the internet, according to slides released by contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden.

In the wake of the FBI and other agencies seizing the servers that hosted a number of online hidden markets including Silk Road, many Tor users are becoming increasingly concerned that the entire Tor network — which is also used for legal purposes by law enforcement officers, whistleblowers and journalists in danger — may be compromised.

Shortly after Silk Road 2.0 was taken down Nov. 6, another pre-existing drug market rebranded itself as Silk Road 3.0. With no shortage of people to fill the voids left when drug dealers go down, it may not be long before we see another Silk Road defendant in Portland federal court.







A Rome woman accused of having drug-related paraphernalia in her bra during a traffic stop in Silver Creek was arrested Saturday, according to Floyd County Jail records.

According to jail records:

Floyd County police officers arrested Debra Glen Thomas, 57, of 108 Black’s Bluff Road, during a traffic stop on Jack Street at Woodruff Street around 8:50 p.m.

She was charged with felony possession of methamphetamine, possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance, misdemeanor possession of drug-related objects and failure to maintain lane.

Police said Thomas was driving in the middle of the road when patrol officers stopped her.

During the stop, police discovered Thomas had a plastic bag containing suspected methamphetamine.

Thomas had a glass smoking pipe caked with a white crystal residue suspected to also be methamphetamine and a needle in her bra believed to be used to administer the drug.

In Thomas’s purse, officers found two pills believed to be the anti-anxiety medication, Xanax.




The days of mom and pop methamphetamine labs may be drawing to a close in the US. It’s not that meth is any less popular — consumption numbers remain steady — but the dwindling supply generated from the cottage industry is being quickly replaced by transnational Mexican cartels.mexicans1

The number of labs — think Breaking Bad-style motor homes in middle America — has fallen from almost 24,000 in 2004, to 11,573 in 2013, according to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) data reported by the Associated Press. The 2013 seizures are a slight increase of 363 from 2012. For the first time in more than a decade, the number of cooking operations in America’s meth heartland has shown a consistent decline, at least according to the stats the feds are publicizing. It now seems the drug is coming up from south of the border.

Meth seizures along the border have spiked, according to DEA seizure data obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request made by VICE News. In California, for example, the feds captured more than three and a half metric tons of the drug in 2013, up from 2012’s half a ton, and lesser amounts in years past.

Texas showed a startling increase as well — with the feds seizing one and a half metric tons, versus about 350 kilos in 2012. The trend continues through Arizona, where more than one metric ton was seized in 2013 compared with about 220 kilos in 2012.

New Mexico was the only border state where seizures have remained relatively flat in recent history, according to the DEA documents.

The spike in border seizures is likely the result of multinational crime syndicates dominating the American methamphetamine market, according to Sergeant Jason Grellner of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, the local law enforcement agency in a meth-plagued part of Missouri. The upshot, Grellner said, is that police are now devoting fewer resources to busting local labs.

‘There used to be predictable places to find meth cookers, but those spots have long been abandoned.’

“The good thing for the communities is this: meth is a horrible drug that decimates the user, and the labs are manpower intensive to destroy,” Grellner told VICE News. “With [mom and pop] labs, it’s like swatting mosquitoes in July. And now we can go back to working drugs in a traditional and effective manner.”

When cops destroy labs, they often have to wear hazmat suits, deal with extremely hazardous chemicals, and face imminent danger from meth addicts. According to Grellner, the labs are often chemically volatile, sometimes causing collateral damage when they burst into flames. Hospital burn wards in some states have been overwhelmed by meth addicts.

There are several reasons for the decline in the cottage meth industry, Grellner explained.

One is that the cartels have been improving their product for years. In late 2010, imported meth was about 55 percent pure, then 60 percent in late 2011, and in 2012 it was close to 100 percent pure. Grellener theorized that’s because the cartel chemists have managed to alter one of meth’s isomers, turning L-methamphetamine, which is commonly used to relieve congestion, into D-methamphetamine, which is the component that gets a person buzzed.

“They can split the isomers, and get rid of the L isomer, and so the meth coming in is just as good as what we’re making here. [The cartels] spent a lot of money in research and development,” Grellner said.

Because the cartels do not have legal access to pseudoephedrine — a common ingredient in cold medication in the US that is virtually illegal in Mexico — the development is a major breakthrough. The resulting price drop has flooded the market with cheap meth.

It’s also becoming difficult for American cooks to find cheap cooking ingredients, though still not impossible due to the pharmaceutical industry’s lobbying efforts to keep pseudoephedrine available over the counter. Since small time chemists have been unable to readily replace that key compound in their recipes, it’s become increasingly difficult to compete with the high purity, low cost product the cartels have released on the black market.

Cartel meth isn’t restricted to middle America. The Southwest border region has long been a major trafficking artery for cartels moving product to major drug markets across the US and in Canada.

A law enforcement officer in Northern California, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he’s not authorized by his agency to talk to the media, said that a recent raid interdicted several pounds of pure meth that was in a vacuum-packed bag and wrapped in coffee grounds to hide the smell.

The discovery of Mexico’s first coca plantation could upend the cocaine business. Read more here.

The law enforcement officer explained that the meth he sees on the streets in the Bay Area is no longer the kind coming from a couple of guys cooking the drug up in a trailer. And it’s been years, maybe as long as a decade, since he’s seized low-purity, brown meth — commonly referred to as Anthrax or Thrax.

“There used to be predictable places to find meth cookers, but those spots have long been abandoned,” he said. “No one’s talking about tipping a joint with ‘Thrax’ anymore.”

Aside from the West Coast drug corridors, the DEA seizure data stats suggest large portions of the meth shipped to America’s heartland moves across the Texas desert. Grellner said Interstate 70, which runs through Kansas City, is serving as a distribution hub for the region, allowing the cartels to move their product to neighboring states such as Indiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

“Interdiction task forces continue to make arrests and seizures [of drugs from this trafficking route] in Iowa, and as far away as Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta is a huge hub for cartel meth,” Grellner said.

Considering the remarkable increase in meth seizures along the border and the corresponding drop in lab busts in the now-shrinking meth heartland, it’s clear the enforcement burden has shifted from local and state law enforcement to the feds. The problem, of course, is the that the porous border with Mexico has historically been difficult, if not impossible, to entirely police. Given the colossal failure of America’s war on drugs, it’s not entirely clear what — if anything — the authorities will be able to do about this new source of cheap, potent meth.






OWATONNA, Minnesota — Prosecutors have charged an East Bethel man with possessing nearly $500,000 worth of methamphetamine.

A state trooper arrested 24-year-old Edgar Cisneros Jr. with 10 pounds of the drug in his vehicle during a traffic stop Wednesday on Interstate 35 in Steele County, the Owatonna People’s Press ( ) reported. According to court documents, the trooper saw the vehicle didn’t have any visible registration and the driver wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.

The trooper noticed as he approached that the vehicle smelled of air fresheners and that several were hanging inside. Cisneros told the trooper he was coming from California and gave the trooper consent to search the vehicle.

The trooper found 10 packages, each containing a pound of methamphetamine, in the fenders. He also found paperwork in the glove box showing bank account numbers, wire transfer receipts and bank receipts totaling $8,600.

Owatonna police said the methamphetamine has a street value of about $100 a gram, so the 10 pounds of drugs the trooper found are worth about $453,592.

Prosecutors charged him with first-degree possession of a controlled substance, sale of a controlled substance and importing a controlled substance across state lines. He faced a maximum sentence of 65 years and $2.25 million in fines if he’s convicted.

Cisneros was being held in the Steele County Detention Center on $250,000 bail. He was due to appear in court on Nov. 24.

The Associated Press contacted the detention center on Saturday and asked if Cisneros was available for comment. Officials there said they weren’t allowed to take messages for inmates and didn’t know if Cisneros had an attorney.



TIGARD, Ore. – Tigard police arrested two 15-year-old girls accused of stealing a minivan early Thursday morning.

The girls stole the minivan from a convenience store parking lot just before 3 a.m. while the driver delivered newspapers to the store, according to Jim Wolf with Tigard police.

An officer spotted the van and the suspects pulled over after a brief pursuit on Upper Boones Ferry Road, police said. The officer took the girls to the Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Center.

The girls told police they were from the Medford area and they ran away from home. They said they met a man, later identified as 44-year-old Kelly Ferguson, who picked them up while they hitchhiked on Interstate 5.

The girls told police they spent a lot of time with Ferguson while he worked as a lighting repairman in Wilsonville, Tualatin and Tigard. They said Ferguson used methamphetamine and offered it to them.

Ferguson helped them find a car to steal so they could drive home to Medford, the girls told police.

Officers found Ferguson at one of his job sites in Tualatin and arrested him on charges including possession of methamphetamine and distribution of meth to a minor.

Police said the parents of both girls were notified about their arrest.



Following a law enforcement operation led by the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division (DPS-CID), 37 individuals have been charged with federal offenses stemming from their respective roles in a drug distribution conspiracy that operated in North Texas and elsewhere from January 2013 to October 2014, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

Defendants who were charged and who are in custody include:

  • George Pass, aka “Tennessee,” 40, of Desoto
  • Rhonda Long, aka “Queen Saltine,” 51, of Mesquite
  • Brandon Crow, 29, of Garland
  • Nia Reed, 27, of Rowlett
  • John Carl Hall, aka “Scooter,” 34, of Dallas
  • Cesar Zarate, 26, of Duncanville
  • Sarah West, 27, of Dallas
  • Bradley Wiltcher, 40, of Dallas
  • Michael Bass, aka “Sleepy,” 45, of Dallas
  • Patrick Penney, aka “Pacman,” 29, of Mesquite
  • Clifton Clowers, 36, of Mesquite
  • Michael McCoy, aka “Bam Bam,” 45, of Garland
  • Christopher Jacobo, aka “Taco Chris,” 39, of Garland
  • Jason Eastham, 34, of Mesquite
  • Cheyenne Miller, aka “CJ,” 36, of Mesquite
  • Christopher Arnold, aka “Phreek,” 40, of Denison
  • Sean Sharer, aka “Cowboy Sean,” 42, of Mesquite
  • Alysha Hayes, 22, of Rowlett
  • Jaclyn Hooker, aka “Queen Bee,” 36, of Mesquite
  • Francisco Coronado, aka “Frank,” 27, of Dallas
  • Kenneth Etter, 25, of Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Joseph Tenpenny, 29, of Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Dusty Bryant, 21, of Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Gregory Oldfield, aka “Casper,” 41, of Garland
  • Casey Rose, 35, of Mesquite
  • Matthew Hays, aka “Cody,” 32, of Richardson
  • Patricia Tucker, aka “Peppermint Patty,” 44, of Mesquite
  • Jeffrey Heathington, 37, of Point
  • Richard Garcia, aka “Charlie Brown,” 38, of Dallas
  • Michael Atkins, aka “Duke,” 38, of Garland
  • William McDowell, aka “Scout,” 33, of Mesquite
  • Christy McCellon, aka “90,” 38, of Quitman

The just-unsealed superseding indictment in the case charges each of the above defendants with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.  In addition, each of the defendants, with the exception of Garcia and McCellon, is charged with one substantive count of possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.  Penney is also charged with one substantive count of possession of heroin with intent to distribute.   Crow and Garcia are also each charged with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Three other individuals, Eliezer Jarillo Gonzalez, 22, Alejando Ornelas, 33 and Javier Eduardo Dominquez, 23, all of Dallas, were also arrested and have been charged in a federal criminal complaint with their roles in the conspiracy.

According to the indictment, the defendants were members of, or associated with, various white supremacist organizations, including the “Aryan Brotherhood of Texas” (ABT), the “Aryan Circle,” the “Irish Mob,” and the “Dirty White Boys.”  Despite their differences, they would often collaborate for purposes of drug distribution or other illegal ventures.  The indictment alleges that since January 2013, the defendants conspired together, and with others, to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.  According to the indictment, the defendants used stash houses and other locations to store the quantities of methamphetamine.  Each of the co-conspirators was linked to one another either directly or through another co-conspirator.  Certain co-conspirators acted as hubs for narcotics trafficking, supplying methamphetamine to numerous other co-conspirators. Throughout the investigation, over 16 pounds of methamphetamine and five firearms were seized.

A federal indictment is an accusation by a grand jury.  A complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offenses charged and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge; the government has 30 days to present the matter to a grand jury for indictment.

A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty.  If convicted, however, the statutory maximum penalty for each count of the drug trafficking conspiracy is life in federal prison and millions of dollars in fines.  The statutory maximum penalty for each substantive count of possession of methamphetamine or heroin with the intent to distribute is twenty years.  The maximum statutory penalty for being a felon in possession of a firearm is ten years.  The indictment also includes a forfeiture allegation which would require the defendants, upon conviction, to forfeit all real or personal property derived from the proceeds of their offense.

The investigation is being led by the DPS-CID Gang Unit with assistance from the Dallas Police Department Criminal Intelligence Unit, the Garland Police Department Neighborhood Police Officer Unit, the Mesquite and Rockwall Police Departments and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations.

Assistant U.S. Attorney P. J. Meitl is prosecuting.





YUMA, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) – Border Patrol agents seized 100 pounds of methamphetamine at the Wellton Station on Thursday.drugs111414

According to, agents discovered a large cache of drugs during a traffic stop on Interstate 8 east of Yuma. Following a search of the vehicle, agents found a false compartment in the vehicle containing 79 packages of methamphetamine.

The vehicle, driver and drugs were taken to Wellton Station for processing.




VAN ZANDT COUNTY, TX (KLTV) – Several burglary and theft cases have been cleared in Van Zandt County and authorities said they all lead back to one woman.5754632_G

The Van Zandt County Constable’s Office says Lisa Powers, 27,  used her sex appeal to get men to steal for her.

Stacks of paper fill Constable Pat Jordan’s desk. It’s all files on dozens of individuals thought to be connected to one woman.

“These young girls get caught up in the meth world and they pass themselves on, you know, where a guy gets locked up they go to what we call the next sack daddy,” Constable Jordan explained. “You know, who’s toting the sack of methamphetamines at the time.”

One of those young girls, he said, is Lisa Powers, who began showing up on Jordan’s radar in 2012. Since then, he said, she has been arrested several times for methamphetamine from Dallas to Bossier City.

A license photo shows Powers with blond hair and blue eyes.

“Lisa is an attractive girl. These guys they’ll just do anything for her,” Jordan said.5754050_G

In her most recent mug shot, when she was arrested for burglary last month, her hair has darkened and her eyes appear glazed over. But, Jordan said, it’s the men around her that usually do the stealing.

“They use that to their advantage because these guys are going to go out and they’re going to steal from them. They’re going to make sure they keep their girls in supply of drugs,” he explained.

His files include trucks and four wheelers stolen from Van Zandt County that are all cases with ties to Powers. Then a motorcycle stolen out of Waxahachie, he said, “it was a different group of guys and Lisa was involved in that.”

It’s just one story, all too common, he said, amongst the rampant meth community.

We ask if it would be safe to say that Powers is using these men to steal for her.

“That would be a term that, I guess you could say,” Jordan said.

It’s all to feed a drug habit and is something that goes both ways. Now, with her most recent arrest, Constable Jordan has hope of closing all the files on his desk.

“We catch her or we catch someone else and they cooperate with us eventually we start catching more and more, and more, and more, and then that puts a significant dent in crime,” he explained.

But, it’s not a theft problem, he said, it’s a drug problem and it’s East Texas wide.

Jordan said Powers has confessed to several crimes leading to the recovery of stolen goods. She is cooperating with authorities, which they said will help them in tracking down other criminals for a variety of crimes. Powers is currently being held in the Smith County Jail for a hearing on Thursday. Eventually she will be taken back to Van Zandt County to await hearings for other crimes there.