Investigators say a 93-year-old woman suffering from Alzheimer’s was found locked in a bedroom in squalor by investigators checking out a tip of possible drug activity.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Inv. Trent Wilson said that 61-year-old Ida Elizabeth McNeill, her daughter 33-year-old Meredith Onata McNeill, and 32-year-old Mark Gunby were all arrested late Monday on drug charges after meth and drug related objects were found in the home off North County Line Road in Lithia Springs.

52bcf9d0d5605_imageDouglas County Sheriff’s Office Inv. Trent Wilson said that 61-year-old Ida Elizabeth McNeill, her daughter 33-year-old Meredith Onata McNeill, and 32-year-old Mark Gunby were all arrested late Monday on drug charges after meth and drug related objects were found in the home off North County Line Road in Lithia Springs. Police say that three children were living in the deplorable conditions and a a 93-year-old woman was found longed alone in a room

The McNeills also face elder abuse charges, as well as three counts of cruelty to children. Gunby faces the same charges, as well. From the conditions described in a bond hearing Thursday, it’s remarkable that the woman was still alive. Wilson said the women claimed that because of the victim’s disease, they locked her in for her own protection.

“As a part of the search of the home and in clearing the scene, investigators located a locked room on the lower level of the house,” Wilson said. “When there were able to gain entry, they found the 93-year-old victim locked inside. The room was locked, with windows boarded up and the only way she could get out was if they let her out.”

Wilson said that Ida McNeill indicated that her mother was suffering from Alzheimer’s and that was the way that they had decided to keep her from roaming off. But Wilson said the conditions of the home were some of the worst he has ever seen. There was no restroom inside the room and the signs of neglect were obvious.

“She told us that she put the locks up about four to six months ago and judging from what we found, it doesn’t look like there had been much cleanup during that time,” Wilson said. “There were at least 14 cats inside the home and dogs inside along with the child children who were 2, 7, and 9. Judging from what we found ,it appeared that we were dealing with a hoarder.”

Wilson said there was trash scattered about the residence and animal feces was also present in multiple locations. Dirty dishes, discarded food, soiled laundry, pet hair and multiple bags of trash filled the living space, Wilson said. Investigators immediately called the Department of Family and Children Services, which took custody of the children, while Adult Protective Services is making sure the elderly victim is being cared for and is assessing her health, Wilson said.

According to Ashley Fielding, director, Legislative Affairs and Communications with the Department of Human Services could not comment on this case specifically, but outlined the process.

Once that referral comes in, a case manager goes out to the home (or, depending on the circumstances, the hospital, nursing home, personal care home, etc.) to meet the client one-on-one and ascertain the individual’s status and begin gathering facts. The case manager also interviews other individuals who may have knowledge of the abuse. Additionally, the case manager may request records, including medical and financial records, that would substantiate an allegation of abuse, neglect or exploitation, Fielding said.

If, early on in the investigation, it is determined that the individual needs to be relocated to a safer environment, the department would work with the person to relocate or to make the current living environment safer, Fielding said.

Douglas County Animal Control was called to help care for the animals. Douglas County Magistrate Court Judge Joel Dodson set bond at a total of $71,000 for Ida McNeill and Meredith McNeill. There was no bond set Thursday for Gunby, as investigators were still finalizing the charges against him.

Gunby denied any wrongdoing, saying he didn’t live at the address and didn’t have any connection to the drugs or items found in the home during his bond hearing.

“I have been doing this for 14 years, and this is in the top three of the worst I have ever seen,” Wilson said. “It is amazing to me the conditions that some people can live in and the things they are capable of doing — thinking there is nothing wrong with it at all.”




LAWRENCE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) –A Walnut Ridge woman is arrested for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

Ashley Stevens, 31, was stopped by a Lawrence County deputy for a traffic violation near Walnut Ridge on Christmas Day. After speaking with Stevens, the deputy suspected that Stevens was impaired.


According to the report, the deputy requested Stevens to step out of the vehicle. When he asked her about drug use, Stevens placed her hands in her pockets of her coat and “grasped something.”

The deputy asked Stevens to empty her pocket. She pulled out a wooden box containing two syringes, spoons and a glass tube with a clear liquid which tested positive for meth.

Stevens is being held at eh Lawrence County Jail awaiting a bond hearing.



The Polk County Sheriff’s department says meth is becoming a bigger problem in the area. Deputy James Tadman with the Polk County Sheriff says more people are being arrested for meth possession throughout Polk County.

He says during a recent week-long stretch, law enforcement arrested at least one person a day on meth related charges. Tadman says the increase in arrests is leading to even more information about potential drug abuse in Polk County.

Dep. James Tadman with the Polk County Sheriff’s Department said, “They have seen an increase in the meth use and also in the coming in of information they receive from concerned citizens about activity.”

Tadman says there has been a task force to deal with drug issues for years. He says extra officers will work drug cases in Polk County as needed. –




Singapore: singing instructor jailed, caned for sex and drug parties — A singing instructor was sentenced to five and one-half years in jail and six strokes of the cane in a Singapore court on Friday for organizing sex and drug parties, according to reports.

The suspect, Tommy Lim Yong Thong, also sold crystal methamphetamines (street name “ice”) on the side to pay for the medical treatment of his AIDS condition, said reports.

The music school vocal instructor pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and consuming illegal drugs, and planning the gatherings that centered around the use of crystal methamphetamine.

He was arrested, along with two other men, at 1pm on May 26 of this year by officers of the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB).


The two others with him were 29-year-old Diego Mark Jason Solares and 33-year-old De Tomas Camerino Efren Jr, both Filipino nationals, in a room at the Furama Riverfront Hotel, said a report from The Straits Times.

More than 40 grams of crystal methamphetamine was discovered in the room during the arrests.

CNB officers returned to the hotel later that day to raid the room of 42-year-old Coert Isaac Stanley Parree, a Dutch national who was then working as a flight attendant for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, said the report.

The officers found “ice” and an improvised pipe in the room.

Methamphetamine has become perhaps the most serious and dangerous illicit drug in Asia, especially among young people, in both its crystal and pill form.

A highly addictive stimulant, it gives increased energy for hours, with a loss of appetite and inability to sleep. When the drug wears off the user suffers fatigue and often sleeps for a long period of time.

In its crystal form, it is smoked with a pipe. This form is very popular among young gay people looking to have sex parties.

Even more alarming is that many people who engage in these activities do so without the use of condoms, as the drug often impairs a person’s judgement in such matters.




Bryan man accused of assaulting his girlfriend in College Station had crystal methamphetamine in his car, police said.

Officers responded to a parking lot in the 1100 block of Spring Loop just after 6 a.m. Thursday and arrested Zachary White, 26, on an assault charge, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $4,000 or up to one year in jail.                   

A search of his vehicle revealed between four and 200 grams of crystal meth, according to a press release from the College Station Police Department.

The quantity of the drug was “greater than what would normally be considered for personal use,” so officers charged White with manufacture and delivery of four to 200 grams of crystal meth, a first-degree felony punishable by five to 99 years in prison.



CALIPATRIA– A woman was arrested and is accused of trying to smuggle heroin and methamphetamine into Calipatria State Prison on Christmas Day, according to a prison official.


Lisa Salas Harper, 39, of Riverside was being processed to visit inmate Walter Harper, a man convicted of attempted murder, when staff noticed she appeared nervous, said Lt. Everardo Silva, prison administrative assistant public information officer.

The nervous behavior continued, and staff asked Lisa Harper if she had any contraband on her. She then relinquished four bindles with two containing a combined weight of 3.3 grams of heroin and two containing a combined weight of 3 grams of methamphetamine, Silva said.

The heroin has an estimated prison value of $1,650 while the methamphetamine has an estimated prison value of $4,500.

The evidence collected linked the inmate to the crime, and Walter Harper was placed into the prison’s administration segregation unit. Harper was booked into Imperial County jail.



MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government is investigating how a Mexican drug cartel may have entered the country after police seized a large cache of high-grade crystal methamphetamine intended for the local market, officials said Friday.

“Good information sharing” among Filipino law enforcers led to the Christmas Day raid on an alleged drug warehouse inside a ranch in Lipa City south of Manila, said Abigal Valte, a spokeswoman for President Benigno Aquino III.

Police seized 84 kilograms (185 pounds) of crystal meth, known locally as “shabu,” worth around 420 million pesos ($9.4 million).

National police chief Alan Purisima said a Chinese-Filipino who was among three people arrested at the ranch has alleged links to Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel. The two others who were arrested were a Filipino man and his wife, identified as caretakers. The ranch where the drugs were found was leased by an American citizen, also with alleged cartel links.

The American, who is a native of the Philippines, was believed to have returned to the United States, Purisima said.

Two other suspects, both Mexicans, are at large. Purisima said the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration helped identify the suspects.

Valte said part of the investigation will be to determine how the suspects were able to enter the country and whether there were lapses by the immigration bureau.

“We don’t want our country to be a haven for illegal drugs,” she said.

Police did not disclose the source of the drugs.

Purisima said investigators believe the Mexican cartel may be getting help from Chinese drug traffickers in order to operate in the Philippines.

“We can see that they are just starting. We need to take action so they cannot go further in,” he told reporters.




Methamphetamine, guns, ammunition and an estimated $10K worth of stolen property were allegedly recovered following the morning burglary on Barnes Road.

A burglary in Menifee today led to the arrests of five people and the discovery of methamphetamine, guns and ammunition.

The burglary was reported shortly after 8 a.m. in the 25000 block of Barnes Road, according to the Sheriff’s Department. Suspects fled the scene in a pair of vehicles, and deputies tracked down one of them near Murrieta and San Quentin roads, where the two occupants were arrested and several stolen items were recovered, sheriff’s Sgt. Frank Lodes said.

Deputies then went to the 29000 block of Catano Road, where the second vehicle suspected of being used in the burglary was parked in the driveway, Lodes said. Deputies found more stolen items and methamphetamine, he said.

Deputies followed leads to the 26000 block of Olson Road in Homeland, where they found two sawed-off shotguns, rounds of 12-gauge ammunition and more meth, Lodes said.

An estimated $10,000 in stolen property was recovered during the investigation, the sergeant said.


Arrested were:

— Tina Baker, 43, of Menifee, on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance;

— Rob-Roy Baker, 40, of Menifee, on suspicion of residential burglary, possession of stolen property and possession of methamphetamine;

— Nicole Begley, 37, of Menifee, on suspicion of residential burglary, possession of stolen property, a probation violation and a felony warrant for fraud;

— Breenan Begley, 18, of Menifee, was arrested on suspicion of residential burglary and possession of stolen property; and

— Manuel Lopez, 38, of Homeland, on suspicion of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, possession and under the influence of methamphetamine while armed.

All were booked into the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta, Lodes said.



NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) – Nacogdoches Police officers arrested a 52-year-old Louisiana woman on felony drunk driving and drug charges after she was allegedly spotted weaving in and out of traffic Tuesday morning.

Jennifer Jene Campbell, of Trout, Louisiana, is still being held in the Nacogdoches County Jail on third-degree felony charges of possession of a controlled substance between 1 and 4 grams, driving while intoxicated (third or more), and motion to revoke probation. She was also charged with a Class A misdemeanor charge of possession of a dangerous drug and a Class B misdemeanor charge. No bail has been set at this time.


According to the police report, a motorist called 911 dispatch and reported a car weaving in and out of traffic at approximately 8:17 a.m. Tuesday. NPD officers stopped Campbell’s vehicle in the 5100 block of North Street.

Campbell failed the field sobriety tests, according to the police report. Then, when officers searched her vehicle, they found approximately one fourth of a gram of methamphetamine.

The NPD officers arrested Campbell at the scene and transported her to the Nacogdoches County Jail.




Medics airlifted a burn victim to St. John’s Mercy Hospital as firefighters battled a two-alarm fire Tuesday afternoon.

As of Wednesday authorities were withholding the victim’s name, citing an ongoing investigation. Sources close to the case said the male suffered serious burns to his hands and lower body and was in critical condition.

According to firefighters, a first-alarm dispatch at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday sent crews to a home on Mitchell Road, approximately two miles west of Park Hills and Highway 8. Arriving on the scene, they found the west side of the building engulfed in flames. Wind blew the flames toward a neighboring building, putting it in danger, and fire command initiated a second alarm… summoning more firefighters and equipment.


The burn victim was reportedly crawling out of the door of the home when bystanders pulled him out and carried him to safety. Medics airlifted him to the St. Louis area burn center for treatment.

The Mineral Area Drug Task Force and the state fire marshal’s office are investigating the incident. The building is a total loss.

Bystanders reportedly told authorities they heard an explosion. While the drug task force or the fire marshal has not released an official statement, they also reportedly told authorities the man was manufacturing methamphetamine when the explosion occurred.

Leadwood firefighters were the first on the scene, assisted by Bismarck, Park Hills, Desloge and Terre Du Lac. Big River Fire Protection, Leadington, Potosi, and Wolf Creek responded when the second alarm was called. Farmington moved up to cover Leadwood in the case of another emergency during that time.

Methamphetamine arrests have increased in more than one-third of South Dakota’s 66 counties this year, records indicate.


Through Oct. 31, the number of arrests for methamphetamine possession in 25 counties is higher than all of last year, according to statistics provided to the Capital Journal by the attorney general’s office.

Similar to 2012, the counties with the largest cities in the state have seen the most arrests. Pennington and Minnehaha counties have had 387 and 385 arrests, respectively. That is up from last year, when Pennington had 235 and Minnehaha had 287.

Several other counties throughout the state have had significant increases as well. Over a third of all West River counties, including Lawrence, Meade and Corson, have seen more arrests through October than in all of 2012. In Lawrence County alone, there have been 22 more arrests than last year.

Arrests are up in nearly 40 percent of East River counties, with Brown, Roberts and Davison counties seeing the largest increases outside of Minnehaha.

In total, more than 1,026 arrests have been made for meth in 41 counties. That is up from last year, when 669 arrests were made in 36 counties. The amount of meth seized this year, however, is down compared to last year when 48 pounds were seized. This year, approximately 29 pounds of meth have been seized.

In addition to the increased number of arrests, more meth labs have been discovered throughout the state in 2013 than last year. There have been 36 lab incidents in 2013, or nine more than in 2012.

Despite the rising number of arrests, authorities say they have yet to determine any long-term trends. “It is hard to tell what is driving it,” said Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom. He explained that the presence of drugs like methamphetamine tends to be cyclical. “It is too soon to tell if it is a trend or part of the cycle,” Thom said.

Minnehaha County Sheriff Michael Milstead concurred with Thom. “We kind of see peaks and valleys in particular with certain drugs,” said Milstead. Meth is not the only area of increase, he explained. This year, he said, there has been an increase in arrests in several different categories, including violent crimes and aggravated assaults.


Fighting meth with HOPE

The best way to fight the ongoing battle against meth is through prevention, education and treatment, Minnehaha County Sheriff Michael Milstead said. Meth can be “instantly addictive,” he said.

By implementing a new drug court model, known as the Hawaii Opportunity Probation with Enforcement, or HOPE, Milstead believes the 10- to 12-month intensive treatment program can help reduce meth addiction. “You invest a lot of time,” Misltead said, “But we are optimistic it has the best chance of being successful.”



WHEELING – 2013 was a record year for the number of crystal methamphetamine lab busts in West Virginia, according to United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld.

The large number of busts has not slowed the drug from spreading across the state. Crystal methamphetamine used to exclusively be used in the southern half of the state, but has quickly moved into the northern panhandle.

While the number of busts in the Ohio Valley is relatively low, Ihlenfeld said it could be on the rise in the coming years.

“We also see a lot of pseudoephedrine sales in Ohio County, in Wetzel County, also in Mon County and Harrison Counties. Those sales of pseudoephedrine products haven’t turned into a lot of meth lab busts, fortunately but we are seeing more and more purchases of this product,” Ihlenfeld said.

Products containing pseudoephedrine are a main ingredient in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Ihlenfeld blames the growth of meth on a simplified cooking method that requires less experience. He said if you know of a meth lab, or suspect one to call the local authorities.



PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland police arrested one of two suspected thieves who were reportedly swiping Christmas packages off porches in Northeast Portland’s Irvington neighborhood Tuesday afternoon.

Officers responded around 2 p.m. to reports of two subjects stealing packages off of neighborhood porches in the area of Northeast 22nd Avenue and Knott Street.

Officers arrived and found Robert Joseph Leonard sitting in a vehicle with an open box from He also had a microwave oven, which appeared to be new but was not in a box.


Police arrested Leonard. He faces charges of third degree theft, possession of methamphetamine, violating his parole, and driving with a revoked license.

Officer are still looking for the second suspect, a white man in his 40s with short, dark brown hair, wearing a black coat with blue trim.

Police have released a picture of the presumably stolen microwave (below) in hopes of returning it to the intended recipient.


They ask that anyone with information about this suspect or the possible owner of the microwave please contact Sgt. Mike Frome via email.


A Chinese national has spent Christmas behind bars after she was allegedly found in possession of approximately $1.5 million of methamphetamine hidden underneath food.

Ming Yun Zheng, 47, appeared in Perth Magistrate’s Court on Christmas Eve on charges of intent to sell or supply methamphetamine and possess amphetamine.


Midland detectives and Customs officials executed a search warrant on Monday night at her Beechboro home.

They allegedly found 3kg of methamphetamine hidden in tubs covered by dried meat.

When asked by Magistrate Robert Young whether she understood the charges, Ms Zheng said no and made a request for a Mandarin interpreter.

The court was told Ms Zheng had made admissions to police about packing and storing the methamphetamine.

She did not have legal representation and was not required to enter a plea.

Ms Zheng was remanded in custody to next appear in Perth Magistrate’s Court on January 17 next year.

Investigations are still ongoing.



GERONIMO Okla – Tuesday, all that’s left of a Geronimo trailer home is a pile of rubble.

When firefighters arrived at the scene, they found three men standing outside the burning home. All three of them were later arrested after drug paraphernalia that included meth and marijuana were found inside the trailer. However, investigators have not said if the drugs contributed to the start of the fire.


Geronimo Mayor Edward Mounts said he can only hope that this fire wasn’t ignited because of drug activity. 

Meth is a really bad problem,” Mounts said. “No matter how small it is, it’s a problem. I think it has gotten to be a bigger problem over the years, and we are just like any other town, unfortunately.”

Authorities say the blaze took nearly two hours to contain. Comanche County deputies were called in after they discovered the drug paraphernalia inside. 30-year-old John Arthur Lewis, 52-year-old John Stanton Lewis were charged with unlawful possession of paraphernalia. The name of the third man has not been released.



The passenger in a car that stalled on Teton Pass — allegedly with a load of hidden methamphetamine — pleaded not guilty to three felony drug charges and a high misdemeanor.

entered her plea Tuesday morning at an arraignment in 9th District Court.

She faces charges of possessing marijuana, possessing methamphetamine, intending to deliver methamphetamine and taking methamphetamine into Teton County Jail, all of which she denied at the hearing.

Judge Timothy Day set her trial for April 21 and kept her bail at a $25,000 surety bond or $10,000 cash. She has yet to post the amount and remains in Teton County Jail.

A plea deal is in the works, said Teton County Public Defender Elisabeth Trefonas in court documents, but it did not come up at the arraignment.

The deal was mentioned as the reason Christensen waived her preliminary hearing in 9th Circuit Court. The hearing would have required Teton County Deputy Prosecutor Beckett Hinckley to prove that there was probable cause to believe Christensen committed a crime to send her case on to the higher court for trial.

Christensen and her husband, Adam James Christensen, 31, were arrested earlier this month after a snowstorm proved too much for their car to make it over Teton Pass.

Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers pulled the Long Beach, Calif., couple over after noticing their car was having trouble making it up the icy incline on the way to Idaho.

During the traffic stop, troopers reported that they found both Christensens had warrants for their arrest in Teton County, Idaho, where they are accused of violating terms of their probation.

Troopers said they found felony amounts of meth along with 20 grams of marijuana and assorted prescription drugs in the car, in the couple’s pockets and in Danielle Christensen’s purse.

Much of the meth was hidden in a compartment in a keg of Heineken beer, according to court files.

The operator of the impound lot where troopers took the car told them he found another stash of meth hidden in the roof of the car while he was trying to turn off the car’s dome light. At least one plastic bag of the drug fell out of a panel in the roof, court files state.

After completing all their searching, troopers said the total weight of the meth they found came to about a quarter of a pound.

Christensen’s husband also faces felony drug charges and remains in the Teton County Jail.

A Jackson woman faces charges of possessing drugs in a school zone after authorities found methamphetamine and marijuana in her purse.
Stacia Coonradt, 21, was arrested Dec. 18 and charged with one felony count of third-degree possession of meth in a school zone and one felony count of fifth-degree possession of meth. She was released from jail after posting a $20,000 bond.
Deputies with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office stumbled across the drugs while responding to a report of a noise disturbance at 510 Sheridan St. Apt. D in Jackson. Upon drawing near to the apartment, deputies heard two people arguing over drugs. While inside the apartment, the deputies saw a purse on the couch with drug paraphernalia sticking out of it. Upon checking the contents of the purse, the deputies located a small amount of marijuana and a small amount of methamphetamine.



A Beaverton man was arrested following a string of erratic outbursts that culminated in the suspect allegedly masturbating in a Salem roadhouse, officials said.

It took a Taser and more than a dozen officers on Sunday to finally subdue Andrew Frey inside Iggy’s Bar & Grill on Portland Road Northeast, the Marion County Sheriff’s office said.


The 37-year-old man later told authorities he had used methamphetamine the day before and had no recollection of the alleged wild behavior, according to officials.

The brouhaha began around 1 p.m. when sheriff’s deputies started receiving reports of man acting bizarrely in the 9000 block of Brooklake Road Northeast, officials said.

The man, identified as Frey, had allegedly called a locksmith and later refused to pay the worker for his services, Marion County officials said.


After allegedly stiffing the locksmith, Frey wandered over to Brook’s Market and refused to leave, officials said. An employee at the market had to eventually escort the alleged suspect off of the property, who then made his way to Iggy’s Bar & Grill.


That’s when Frey’s behavior allegedly took a turn for the vulgar, Marion County officials said.

A bartender told authorities that Frey exposed his genitals and started masturbating at the bar, officials said. By the time a Marion County deputy arrived on scene, Frey had moved from the bar to the bathroom, but reportedly had not stopped pleasuring himself.

Frey allegedly resisted arrest, forcing the deputy to zap the suspect with a Taser multiple times, officials said. The Taser had no effect on Frey, who then allegedly starting fighting with the deputy, officials said.

At least 15 police officers from Salem, Keizer and Marion County rushed to the bar and were eventually able to take the suspect into custody, officials said.

Frey was later charged with public indecency, resisting arrest and theft.





Police need FIFTEEN officers to haul away man ‘high on meth and pleasuring himself in a bar’ after Taser doesn’t work

  • Andrew Frey of Beaverton, Oregon was arrested for public indecency, resisting arrest and theft on Sunday
  • A locksmith in the area claims he stiffed him over a job
  • He then wandered into an area bar and grill, where the indecency allegedly occurred

An Oregon man was arrested for masturbating in a bar Sunday and it took 15 officers to finally haul him in.

Andrew Frey was Tasered to no effect by Marion County Sheriffs after employees at Iggy’s Bar and Grill in Salem called to complain he was rubbing them the wrong way.

The 37-year-old apparently later came to, at which point he admitted to authorities he’d been using methamphetamine and had no recollection of his crazed behavior.

According to Oregon Live, Frey began acting strangely well before he made it inside Iggy’s.

Around 1pm on Sunday, Frey called a locksmith but then allegedly refused to pay him for services rendered.

Authorities say Frey then wandered to a nearby convenience store and refused to  leave until an employee escorted him off the premises.

That’s when Frey entered Iggy’s.

According to bartender, Frey began masturbating at the bar.

By the time police officers showed up, Frey had moved to the restroom for some privacy.

Frey allegedly resisted arrest, at which point cops tried to stun him into submission with a Taser.

It only served to enrage him, however, as police say he then began fighting with officers.

By the time Frey was hauled away, 15 officers from three jurisdictions had arrived to the scene to subdue him.

Frey now faces charges of public indecency, resisting arrest and theft.


A Hysham couple in their 70s denied federal charges accusing them of trafficking methamphetamine in Yellowstone and Park counties and elsewhere in Montana.

Thomas Edmond Van Haele, 72, and Karen Williams Van Haele, 71, each pleaded not guilty to a multi-count indictment during an arraignment on Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn Ostby in U.S. District Court in Billings. The couple was arrested earlier in the day.


Thomas Van Haele is named in four counts, including conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute and two distribution charges. Karen Van Haele faces three counts, including conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute and distribution.

The couple is accused of trafficking more than 500 grams, or more than a pound, of meth beginning in February 2012 and continuing until the present in Yellowstone and Park counties and elsewhere in the state, the indictment said.

The conspiracy count carries a maximum penalty of a mandatory minimum 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine.

Ostby ordered the couple to remain in custody. The case is assigned to Senior U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy



State House Republican leaders say stalled proposals that would require prescriptions for cold medications containing pseudoephedrine could gain momentum in the House as a result of a Vanderbilt University poll showing high public support for the idea to reduce illegal meth production.

“Well, a recent Vanderbilt survey said the public’s attitude to that has certainly changed,” House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, told reporters. “We do know we have a problem with meth in our state. It’s a very serious one.”

The Vanderbilt survey found 65 percent of the 680 registered voters surveyed show support for requiring prescriptions for over-the-counter cold relief medicines like Sudafed, which contain pseudoephedrine. Drug dealers use pseudophedrine to make illegal and highly addictive methamphetamine.

In recent years, the General Assembly has resisted requiring prescriptions for pseudoephedrine-based products, instead passing a pharmaceutical industry-backed law limiting purchases of the products, requiring purchasers to sign for those they do buy and entering the information in a database.

But 18 Tennessee towns and cities said that isn’t good enough and last summer passed local ordinances requiring prescriptions. In a legal opinion issued this month, however, Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper said the local approach is banned under a 2011 state law.

“I believe we will look at” requiring prescriptions in the upcoming legislative session that starts Jan. 14, Harwell said. “What passes the General Assembly, I’m not sure. But I do believe a bill will be put in.”

House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, said, “I think we ought to require a prescription, and that’s a reversal from a couple of years ago. But the problem is horrible. It’s destroyed families; it’s not just destroying the people on drugs. It’s destroying their families.”

Meth labs in Tennessee continue to thrive. Tennessee ranks third in the nation for lab seizures year to date and has remained in the top three for seven years. The resulting meth-related cost is huge for the Volunteer State, $1.6 billion in 2012 alone, law enforcement authorities have said.

Still, the chairman of the House Criminal Justice Committee, Rep. Eric Watson, R-Cleveland, says in an op-ed column that he remains opposed to requiring prescriptions, arguing it “would unfairly burden law-abiding citizens.”

Watson called Cooper’s legal opinion an “important step forward this week in the fight against this scourge. That puts the focus in the fight back where it belongs: stopping meth cooks at the sales counter when they try to buy more pseudoephedrine (PSE) products than the law allows.”

The National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx), the state’s electronic monitoring database, is effective, Watson said.

It “blocks meth cooks and smurfers — individuals who illegally buy PSE products on behalf of meth cooks — by requiring an ID and alerting the pharmacy immediately if the buyer has exceeded the legal limit,” Watson said.

“Just as important, it lets law enforcement know who the meth cooks are. What it does not do is punish innocent consumers by preventing them from buying popular cold, flu and allergy medicines they need,” the lawmaker added.

He said a number of “well-intentioned policymakers at the state and local level believe that requiring a prescription for PSE products will make a difference in the battle against meth production. It will — but not the kind of difference they want.

“For one thing,” Watson said, “it would unfairly burden law-abiding citizens. Families would have to bear the expense of a doctor visit and a prescription, just for basic treatment for a cold or for the allergies that are so prevalent here. It would hit seniors especially hard, causing some to simply forego taking anything. At an advanced age, that can be particularly dangerous.”

Watson also argues that in states where prescription laws have been passed, use of meth has not declined.

Instead, Mexican drug cartels have moved in with even more deadly forms of meth and business is booming,” Watson said.

But McCormick said prescriptions should be considered in the fight against meth addiction. One proposal by two state senators is aimed at making it easier to obtain a prescription for pseudophedrine products by allowing pharmacists as well as physicians to issue prescriptions.

“I know they’re going to make it somewhere, somehow, but if we can make it less convenient maybe we can save some lives,” McCormick said.

Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, recently told reporters he was more open to the idea of requiring a prescription, citing the Vanderbilt poll.

But the national Consumer Healthcare Products Association, whose members include drug manufacturers, has opposed efforts to require prescriptions, arguing the national online registry is the solution.

“When presented with the full scope of this complex issue — which includes the fact that the large majority of methamphetamine is imported into this country and imposing a prescription requirement on law-abiding citizens will do nothing to address the demand for meth — Tennesseans oppose legislation that would require them to take time off of work to visit a doctor for cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine,” the group said in a recent statement.

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association has launched anti-prescription campaigns in any number of states, including West Virginia and Oklahoma.

In Tennessee, the trade group has lobbied the General Assembly on the issue, according to Consumer Healthcare Products Association filings with the Tennessee Ethics Commission.

Between May 5, 2009, and Aug. 6, 2013, the group reported spending between $370,000 and $785,000 to hire lobbyists and for lobbying-related expenses, according to a Times Free Press tally of expenditures from the group’s disclosures to the Tennessee Ethics Commission.

Tennessee doesn’t require groups to report exact amounts spent on lobbyists and other efforts to influence state lawmakers, but rather broad ranges.

The federal government stopped requiring prescriptions for pseudoephedrine products in 1976. But states can still regulate them.

In a new legal opinion Cooper weighs in yet again on the issue, saying federal law does not pre-empt states’ ability to enact a prescription requirement for drugs such as pseudoephedrine.

The opinion was requested by Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mount Juliet, a sponsor of the current law placing limits on the amounts of the drug someone can purchase and requiring purchasers provide photo-ID and signatures with their names going into the database.





GULFPORT — A federal drug-distribution case alleges a man has admitted mailing several pounds of crystal meth, or ice, to the Gulfport post office in two shipments in June.

Victor Angel Lamas confessed in November, when he and his passenger were pulled over in a traffic stop Nov. 4 in Louisiana en route to Gulfport from Fresno, Calif., a federal drug agent’s affidavit statement said.


Lamas, 28, and his passenger, 30-year-old Maria Guadalupe Lamas, were on Interstate 10 in a 2005 Cadillac SRX.


Federal drug agents said Maria Lamas had a pound of crystal meth in her possession, and Victor Lamas confessed he had been mailing packages of meth to Gulfport. Court documents don’t say to whom the packages were addressed.

Court papers show Drug Enforcement Administration agents intercepted packages of crystal meth at the Gulfport post office June 6 and June 20. Each package contained heat-sealed smaller packages.

About 5 pounds of meth were seized.

The couple was ordered held without bond. Detention orders show Victor Lamas has convictions for evading police, possession of a dangerous weapon and burglary. Maria Lamas is a citizen of Mexico, her order said.

Both were indicted later in November on a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance.

They each pleaded not guilty at arraignments Dec. 12.

They are set for trial on a court calendar that starts March 10.

DECATUR, AL (WAFF) – Decatur Police discovered a meth lab in a motel room and arrested a woman on several drug charges Monday.


According to a press release, officers responded to a call about someone cooking methamphetamine at the Motel 6 on Sixth Avenue and found Jessica L. Rives, 26, of Decatur, in the room, where they also located a quantity of meth, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and components and ingredients used to make meth.

Rives was charged with felony possession of drug paraphernalia, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, and second-degree possession of marijuana. She was taken to the Decatur City Jail and will be transferred to the Morgan County Jail in lieu of a $6,000 bond.


PARKERSBURG – Two people have been charged with drug offenses after a search of a suspected methamphetamine laboratory in Wood County, authorities said Tuesday.

The Wood County Sheriff’s Department and troopers from the West Virginia State Police Wood County Detachment collaborated in the search warrant and ongoing investigation of the residence at 45 Green Meadow Drive off Winding Road, said Trooper 1st Class C.S. Jackson with the Wood County detachment.

Michael P. Rhodes, 34, of Parkersburg, was arrested on charges of operating or attempting to operate a clandestine drug laboratory, exposure of children to methamphetamine manufacturing, purchase or possession of substances used for manufacturing methamphetamine and conspiracy to operate a clandestine drug laboratory, Jackson said.


Bradley L. Long, 23, of Sandyville, W.Va., was arrested on charges of operating or attempting to operate a clandestine drug laboratory, purchase or possession of substances used for manufacturing methamphetamine and conspiracy to operate a clandestine drug laboratory.


Rhodes and Long were arraigned by Wood County Magistrate Robin Waters on Tuesday. Both were remanded to the North Central Regional Jail when Rhodes failed to post a $350,000 bond and Long failed to post a $250,000 bond.

An ongoing investigation by the Aggressive Crime Enforcement Task Force led the officers to suspect the property of containing a meth lab, said Chief Deputy Shawn Graham of the Wood County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies and troopers encountered the smell of the meth lab before they entered the residence, said Jackson. During the search warrant execution, deputies and troopers recovered an active one pot “shake and bake” style of methamphetamine lab in the kitchen of the home, said Jackson.

The search also turned up a backpack containing precursors of meth creation and items used in the manufacturing process, including Coleman fuel, drain cleaner, lithium batteries, a battery cutter, and ice compresses, said Graham. A trash bag containing empty boxes of psuedoephedrine, cut lithium batteries, insides of batteries and used syringes was also discovered, said Graham.

Additional meth lab components were discovered in a child’s bedroom closet, said Graham. The closet contained mason jars, topped with coffee filters and filled with a clear, strong smelling liquid, he said.

The investigation revealed that the child’s bedroom and the kitchen were the primary staging areas for the meth lab in the home, said Jackson. Both rooms smelled strongly of meth lab odors when deputies and troopers entered the residence, he said.

The investigation at the residence began when Wood County Sheriff’s Deputies were alerted to statements taken from the two minor children of the suspects, said Graham. The children stated their father had been manufacturing methamphetamines inside their home, that they had witnessed the drug-making first-hand, and that the meth manufacturing process had “hurt their noses,” said Graham.

Additional investigation revealed that three suspects involved in the case had made psuedoephedrine purchases on Saturday and Monday, said Graham. Additional arrests in connection with this meth lab are expected in the near future, he said.



Calexico, California – Customs and Border Protection officers at the Calexico downtown port of entry Thursday seized approximately $21,500 worth of methamphetamine concealed on the body of a pedestrian border crosser.

On December 19, at about 3:50 a.m., a CBP canine team was screening pedestrian travelers as they waited in line for inspection. The detector dog alerted to an 18-year-old male U.S. citizen and officers escorted the man to a secure area for further review.

During the inspection, officers discovered two wrapped packages of methamphetamine strapped to the man’s abdomen and lower back, concealed under layers of clothing. The narcotics yielded a total weight of about 2.5 pounds.

The man, a resident of Mexicali, Baja California, was turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigation agents for further processing, and was later transported to the Imperial County Jail to await arraignment.

CBP seized the narcotics.


The trailer parks of Jefferson County, Missouri, are a far cry from the international cartels of Breaking Bad, but this is the real picture of meth in America: Eveready batteries and Red Devil Lye on kitchen counters, used syringes mixed in with children’s homework, drawers full of forks bent out of shape by chronic users’ obsessive tinkering. Over the course of nearly a decade studying home meth production in the rural U.S., SUNY Purchase anthropologist Jason Pine has looked on as Jefferson County’s practiced ‘chemists’ cook their product, watched addicts inject their own veins, and visited houses destroyed by meth lab explosions. “Jefferson County is largely rural,” Pine told me. “Houses can be quite secluded. It has rocky ridges that make it unsuitable for farming, but great for meth cooking.”

Alice Robb: Who makes meth?

The cost of setting up a lab is very low—you need a Gatorade bottle, some tubing, some batteries. And it’s portable: You can make it on the run. If you need to, you can pick up your ‘lab’ and throw it out.

Cooking meth is a kind of apprenticeship. Recipes circulate among cooks like secrets or rumors. Apprenticeships take place in the woods or in the home, sometimes inter-generationally. There are cases when three generations of a single family have cooked and used together. They engage in a DIY practice that I equate with alchemy. They’re transmuting base substances—everyday commodities you can find at Wal-Mart—into something precious: a panacea, a cure-all. Meth cures all ills of the world by transforming the world, by tweaking the user’s neurological relation to the world. Meth cooking is alchemy in its contemporary, late capitalist form.

AR: How do people in Jefferson County get into meth?

JP: Many of the people I met began meth on the job—concrete work, roofing, trucking, factory work. It’s a way to make the job easier, to work longer hours and make more money. Meth increases dopamine levels in the brain, which can cause people to engage in repetitive (and often meaningless) actions—a behavioral effect that syncs up well with ‘work you gotta turn your mind off for,’ as one cook told me.

Others began at home, often because their parents, older siblings, or grandparents were making it. I talked to people in prison who began when they were in elementary school. Some users will administer it to their children—they’ll blow it into their mouths if they’re smoking it. They want to share it with their children; they want to experience it together, feel closer. If there’s no entertainment, no sports, nothing to do after school—you need money to pay for gas, to go to the movies—the main activities are drinking, smoking weed. The boundaries are blurry.

With meth, there aren’t big parties like there are with some other drugs. If there are large groups of people who take meth together regularly, it’s a network of people who help each other acquire the ingredients to cook it.


AR: How do they consume it?

JP: People smoke it, inject it—sometimes they’ll just cut themselves open and pour it into their veins. Other times, people will eat it: They’ll stick it in Twinkies, roll it up in balls of Wonderbread, put it in their coffee if they’re working. The convenience of meth is that it doesn’t require constant administration. It’s not like coke that you have to take every hour or crack that you have to take every ten minutes.



AR: How does meth affect people?

JP: They become exuberant and talkative, switching subjects often. They’re very happy and want to share. There’s some moodiness, too—they’ll quickly snap into some kind of aggressive reaction. They generate a lot of abstract ideas. They want to talk about their own theories—not well thought-out ones, of course, but they’ll feel that they’re onto something. Often, God comes up while they’re explaining their hallucinations. The neurological effects of high dopamine levels can induce religious sentiment and transcendental thinking.

They talk about feeling more alive, more god-like. They don’t talk about the drug like, say, a heroin user would talk about being radically altered or slipping out of life; rather, they feel like more of a self.

Physically, they’re very fidgety. They feel engaged and active and entrepreneurial. They’ll launch into many projects: tinkering with machines, repairing and re-repairing, inventing and re-inventing. It’s like you or me taking ADHD meds—a sort of legitimated form of speed. Adderall is middle-class meth. It motivates people to produce themselves as the kinds of avid, goal-pursuing, risk-taking and at-the-ready subjects of late capitalism. The stressed, anxious and overworked individuals that animate many segments of the US ‘mainstream’ economy are perhaps the more presentable kin of the emaciated, toothless, pockmarked, wide-eyed and busy meth users I encountered.

Meth addiction is quite different from other addictions. For up to two years after quitting, people suffer from anhedonia—the inability to experience pleasure.

AR: How did you gain access to communities of meth users?

JP: I worked with cultural “ambassadors” who could communicate to users that I wasn’t out to get them. One bartender was particularly helpful. In a small community, you get connected to people easily.

Some people I encountered were suspicious that I was collaborating with police. Twice, people followed me in their cars. Some users had trouble understanding why I wasn’t using along with them. I’d tell them I prefer other drugs. In one failed meeting with a (supposedly) former meth user, the guy snarled at me, “I want to know what you think you’re doing here and what you think you’re going to learn from people who are putting all their energy into hiding what they’re doing.”

To most people, though, my status as a professor made me a different kind of ‘male.’ I’m not working-class; I speak with a certain level of articulation that sets me apart. They don’t compare me on the same terms.

AR: There are reports of meth reaching new, urban markets.

JP: In cities like New York, San Francisco, and LA, the drug is popular with many types of people from all classes and races and ethnicities; it’s particularly popular among men who have sex with men, many of whom use the drug to enhance sex. In rural Missouri, on the other hand, meth circulates largely among poorer white blue-collar people. It has distinct class associations. Students at the University of Missouri told me that they would use crack before they used meth, which they considered a “white trash” drug.

It’s a different kind of meth that has made it to the cities, which are better-networked with drug trafficking routes. There’s a kind of meth that’s professionally produced: It’s more aesthetically appealing, more acceptable to a middle-class consumer than meth cooked in a home lab, which is going to be yellowish or brownish and doesn’t have the same kind of packaging.