Fifty-eight people are serving time in federal prison as a result of the concerted efforts of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and law enforcement in surrounding counties to bust two methamphetamine manufacturing conspiracies.

“You hear about a war on drugs, but it’s a daily battle that we fight every day,” Sheriff Ed Graybeal said during a press conference last week.

Investigations began in Gray during 2009, and the last defendant was sentenced Jan. 30. A combined total of 348 years was ordered.

“Tennessee unfortunately leads the country in methamphetamine labs, and that is one statistic we don’t want to take a lead in,” District Attorney General Tony Clark said.

The success in taking almost 60 offenders off local streets is an example of what can be accomplished when investigators work together rather than fighting over jurisdictions, he added.

Prosecuting the charges in Federal Court is another deterrent. “In Federal Court, if you get 10 years, you serve 10 years, which is not always the case in State Court,” Clark said, estimating the 348 years would have only been 30-40 years served if sentenced by the state.

The total prosecuted in the two conspiracies include 34 “smurfs,” defined as those who go out and find the needed ingredients. The remaining 24 were the “cooks” who run the manufacturing operation. The ages of those involved range from 21 to 56.

Clark said rather than cash, a lot of the smurfs are being paid for their services with meth, which increases the number of addicts. Thefts, robberies and assaults often result from their efforts to secure the ingredients.

According to Graybeal, there is a 95-98 percent addiction rate from  first-time use. “Get you a drink of that and see how long you stay on your feet; it’s nothing but poison,” he said.

The problem is also self-perpetuating, he noted. “Smurfs go out and get the stuff, then they all get together and teach each other how to cook it.”

In addition to destroying families, Clark said methamphetamine manufacturing sites are an environmental nightmare.

“The federal government has cut out almost all of the clean-up funds and left local agencies holding the bag,” he said.

Legislation may offer the greatest hope, and Clark said his office will support any efforts from the governor, which may include making pseudoephedrine, one of the key ingredients, a prescription drug.

Agencies involved with the WCSO in ending the two manufacturing conspiracies are the 1st Judicial Drug Task Force; the sheriff’s offices in Carter, Greene, Sullivan and Unicoi counties; the police departments in Elizabethton, Erwin, Johnson City and Kingsport; the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; Tennessee Highway Patrol; Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force; the Drug Enforcement Administration; and the U.S. Marshal Service.



HOPKINSVILLE, Tenn. A Todd County woman has been arrested after police said a mobile meth lab was found inside of her car.

Officials with the Hopkinsville Police Department said 33-year-old Jennifer Cunningham-Hadden was arrested just before 8 a.m. Monday at a McDonald’s parking lot in Hopkinsville. She has been charged with public intoxication of a controlled substance, unauthorized parking in a handicapped zone, and drug trafficking of a controlled substance in the first degree.

Police said they were called in for a welfare check after someone reported there was a woman slumped over inside her car. They said Cunningham-Hadden was found in the driver’s seat with her foot on the break and the car running.

The driver’s side door was apparently tied shut with a rope.

When they opened the door, police said the strong odor of either was wafting out of the car. They said a bag with ingredients used to make meth was found inside the vehicle. Two bags of meth, several glass pipes and scales were also recovered.


As a safety precaution, the McDonalds was closed for three hours while police cleared the scene. The restaurant has since reopened.


Hopkinsville police find woman in parking lot with Methamphetamine lab

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. – Police in Hopkinsville discovered a woman in possession of a meth lab early Monday morning in a McDonald’s parking lot after receiving a call that the woman was slumped over the wheel of her vehicle.

According to a report from the Hopkinsville Police Department, officers arrived at the McDonald’s on North Drive and detected a strong odor coming from the vehicle of Jennifer Cunningham-Hadden, 33, of Elkton, Ky.

Officers noticed a trash bag with several cans of starting fluid and a black tote with products used to manufacture methamphetamine in the vehicle.

A detective from the Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force was called to the scene, who located and removed the meth lab.  The detective searched the vehicle and found two bags of meth, several glass pipes with burn marks, and scales in a Crown Royal bag.

The McDonald’s restaurant was closed for three hours to ensure the safety of the public and employees.

Cunningham-Hadden was booked into the Christian County Jail and charged with public intoxication, meth manufacture, drug paraphernalia, and unauthorized parking in a handicapped zone.



PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) – Authorities are investigating an early morning house fire in Paducah where police say meth-making materials were found inside.

Sgt. Steve Smith confirms meth-making materials were found inside the home at 421 Hayes Ave.


Kentucky State Police say no arrests have been made, but they do have suspects detained.

The fire started at 4:25 a.m. according to Deputy Chief Greg Cherry with the Paducah Fire Department.

Kentucky State Police, Paducah Police and Paducah Fire Department are investigating.




EASTERN UPPER PENINSULA — With production and use of methamphetamine seemingly on the increase across the Eastern Upper Peninsula, two local agencies issued press releases last week seeking to raise public awareness.
“Due to its highly addictive nature and potential for abuse,” wrote the Chippewa County Health Department warning of the danger of meth, “it is available only through a prescription, and its medical use is quite limited.
Most of the meth that is used in this country is used illegally and is taken orally, snorted, injected or smoked.
“The Chippewa County Health Department also noted that methamphetamine can be cooked illegally in small labs and that poses serious health risks not only to those who are in the process of making the drug, but the environment and others living in the area due to the highly toxic nature of the ingredients used in the production process.
“During the manufacturing of meth, poisonous vapors are produced which permeate carpets and draperies of houses and buildings,” the health department warned.
“During the manufacturing of meth, the chemicals used are flammable, thereby increasing the risk of house fires, burns to those cooking or living nearby, and potential explosions.
“Crime Stoppers issued their own press release detailing a list of ingredients that local residents should be aware of as the community ramps up its efforts to curtail methamphetamine use and production.
• Acetone — found in nail polish remover of paint thinner.
• Lithium — found in batteries.• Toluene — found in brake fluid.
• Hydrochloric acid• Pseudoephedrine — a decongestant found in cold medicine.
• Red Phosphorous — found on matches, road flares and other combustibles.
• Sodium Hydroxide
• Sulfuric acid — used in drain and toilet bowl cleaners.
• Anhydrous Ammonia — found in fertilizer.
The Crime Stoppers organizations warns that if you find several of these products together in a vehicle, residence or along the road, do not approach or attempt to pick these items up. Authorities also note there is a possibility of explosion due to the potential volatility and unstable nature of the mixed ingredients.
The health department says that in addition to the environmental harm that meth poses, its use breeds crime in the community and often leads to child abuse and neglect. Crimes include burglaries and theft as addicts need to steal to support their habit. Health officials also note that when the addict’s primary focus shifts to meth, children can be exposed to the harmful chemicals and their needs often go unmet.
“We strongly encourage anyone who suspects methamphetamine use or manufacture in their neighborhood to contact local law enforcement,” wrote health officials.
Crime Stoppers is offering more than encouragement with a reward of up to $1,000 for tips leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the manufacture or delivery of meth. Tips can be phoned in at (855) 906-8477 or via the Internet at

Two Shullsburg men were arrested Sunday on a preliminary charge of disposal  of methamphetamine waste after Lafayette County Sheriff’s deputies found them at  a fire in a road-side ditch near Shullsburg, a police report said.

Troy S. Glasgow, 32, and Gregg A. Marcotte, 34, were taken to the Lafayette  County Jail where they are awaiting formal charges, according to a Lafayette  County Sheriff’s report.

Witnesses alerted sheriff’s deputies to the fire, the report said.




Two Ohio County women were charged Sunday with three felonies each regarding manufacturing methamphetamine at a residence on East Main Street in Fordsville, according to a Kentucky State Police report.

Tara A. Payne, 24, of Olaton was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, second or greater offense, controlled substance endangerment to minor, fourth degree, and unlawful possession meth precursor, first offense.

A 36-year-old Ohio County woman is in jail on meth manufacturing charges.


Sheriff’s deputies say they went to an address on Scott Town Road just after midnight Thursday to speak with Crystal Gayle Embry about an assault case in Cromwell.

While inside the home, deputies say they found items commonly used in making meth including pseudoepedrine ills, starting fluid, Coleman fuel, salts, lithium batteries and coffee filters.

She’s facing charges of manufacturing meth, possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of meth precursors and possession of drug paraphernalia.








DOWNTOWN JACKSON — Nine people were arrested last week after law enforcement agencies from around West Tennessee assembled to conduct a joint operation to address an illegal activity commonly referred to as “smurfing”.

The Jackson-Madison County Metro Narcotics Unit headed the operation with assistance form the Madison County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division, the Jackson Police  Department’s Street Crimes, Gang Enforcement and K-9 Units, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Drug Investigation Division, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office Drug Unit, the Crockett County Sheriff’s Office Drug Unit, the 24th Judicial Drug Task Force.and the 28th Judicial Drug Task Force.

willaimg Dylan+B_+Staggs Christopher+Neal+Curtwright Jennifer+Kemp Lonnie+Peoples Casaey+Hairrell Mikel+Wayne+Pugh James+Foster Evan+Walls

“It’s not just a local problem it’s a state wide problem and we’ve all seen the benefit of combining our resources,” said Lt. Marc Byrum., Metro Narcotics Unit.  “Operations like these would not be nearly as successful if we tried to do them on our own.”

Officials said this operation was performed in cooperati

on with local pharmacies to target persons purchasing pseudoephedrine products for the purpose of manufacturing methamphetamine.

“There is a term called diversion, it’s typically used with prescription medications and it essentially means you are diverting them from their intended use for some other illicit use,” said Lt.  Byrum. “We stopped some before they ever get to their next opportunity to manufacture a batch. By preventing that process we are preventing everything that goes along with it like damage to the environment when they dispose of their hazardous waste in an improper way or even the potential for one of them to get hurt during the cooking process.”

Pseudoephedrine is the primary ingredient in decongestant cold medicines that have to be purchased through a pharmacy and not over-the-counter. Officers said not only is it a felony to use psuedoephedrine to make meth but it is also a crime to recklessly buy the drug for someone else who could turn around and use it in the meth making process.

Throughout this operation, a total of 9 people were arrested and cases were developed on 8 of them for Promotion of Methamphetamine Manufacture which is a class D felony.

Investigators said In addition to the pseudoephedrine products, amounts of Methamphetamine, Morphine, Cocaine, Synthetic Cannabinoids and Drug Paraphernalia were recovered. The names of those arrested are as follows:

Jennifer Diane Kemp, age 36, of Lavinia was charged with Promotion of Methamphetamine Manufacture.

Christopher Neal Curtwright, age 22, of McKenzie was charged with Promotion of Methamphetamine Manufacture, Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Dylan B. Staggs, age 27, of Camden was charged with Promotion of Methamphetamine Manufacture, Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

William C. Garner III, age 28, of Jackson was charged with Promotion of Methamphetamine Manufacture, Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell or Distribute, Possession of Synthetic Cannabinoids, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of a Prohibited Weapon, Felony Evading Arrest, Resisting Arrest and Driving on a Suspended Drivers License.

Evan Andrew Walls, age 23, of Jackson was charged with Promotion of Methamphetamine Manufacture, Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Violation of the Seatbelt Law.

James J. Foster, age 29, of  in Jackson was charged with Promotionof Methamphetamine Manufacture, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Synthetic Cannabinoids, Possession of a Prohibited Weapon and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Mikel Wayne Pugh, age 43, of  Wildersville was charged with Promotion of Methamphetamine Manufacture, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Driving on a Revoked Drivers License 3rd Offense.

Casey Hairrell, age 37, of Jackson was charged with Initiation of Methamphetamine Manufacture and Felony Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Lonnie Peoples, age 63, of Milan was charged with Driving on a Revoked Drivers License.

Anyone with additional information about any of these cases or any other drug activity can call the Jackson Madison County Metro Narcotics Unit at 731-424-6485 or CrimeStoppers at 731-424-8477.



AMARILLO, Texas (AP) — An Interstate 40 traffic stop in the Texas Panhandle has yielded $2 million worth of methamphetamine hidden in the hefty spare tire of an SUV.

The Potter County Sheriff’s Office in Amarillo on Monday announced the seizure of 42 pounds of methamphetamine and the arrest of the driver.

Deputies on Friday stopped an SUV and the driver gave officers permission to search the vehicle. Deputies found the spare tire seemed too dense. The truck was taken to an auto shop where the tire was removed and the meth was discovered.

Sheriff’s officials say the driver was booked on a charge of manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance.



HOBBS, N.M. – A tip from an informant led police in Hobbs to the arrest of a woman who was trafficking methamphetamine.

30-year-old Crystal Castillo was picked up by police on Saturday for felony charges.


Officers were told last month that Castillo was selling methamphetamine to someone in the Big Lots parking lot close to the intersection of Bender and Dal Paso Street.

When officers arrived, they saw Castillo and a man leaving the parking lot in a car.

The vehicle was stopped in the 1800 block of Dal Paso where police found 30 grams of methamphetamine in Castillo’s purse.

She admitted to officers that she had sold $40 worth of the drug to someone in the parking lot.

Castillo was picked up by police on Saturday.




CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Chambersburg police officers are receiving additional training about methamphetamine as they investigate local production of the highly addictive drug.

Police recently arrested one man, Patrick Ryan McInnis, for allegedly using a vehicle as a mobile meth lab. They are investigating two other labs found in late December.

“You haven’t seen a lot of (methamphetamine) on the East Coast. It’s a new phenomenon for us,” Chambersburg Police Chief David Arnold said.

Investigators are unsure whether the three labs are related, he said.

McInnis, 23, of Fort McCord Road in Chambersburg was charged with manufacture, delivery or possession of a controlled substance and use or possession of drug paraphernalia.

Pennsylvania State Police associated with the agency’s clandestine lab team are providing training for Chambersburg’s officers, and officers are also going to training sessions through other organizations, Arnold said.

The police chief said he would recommend that other area law-enforcement agencies participate in similar training.

“We’re hoping it’s not a trend,” he said.

Methamphetamine can be produced using some common household items like cold medicine, soda bottles and batteries. But the production sites can quickly become highly toxic and explosive.

Last July, an in-home lab exploded and caused a fire in the Borough of Waynesboro. Two people — Logan Buchanan, 31, and Josie McCormick, 34 — were charged after that incident.

McCormick is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty in December to operating a meth lab, according to online court records.

Buchanan is headed to trial on charges of possessing chemicals with the intent to manufacture a controlled substance, operating a meth lab, risking catastrophe and causing a catastrophe.

Emergency crews encountering meth labs take special precautions, using protective gear in the handling of materials.

“We’re trying to be extra careful with these things,” Arnold said.

Chambersburg Mayor Darren Brown did not return two phone calls and an email seeking comment about the methamphetamine issue in town.



VESTAL — A December report on the lack of laws requiring landlords or property sellers to tell buyers or renters if a meth lab operated at the property has the attention of state leaders in Albany.

The report also showed that New York lacks clear regulations for decontaminating a meth lab site before it can be occupied again.

“I could not agree more with the need to strengthen standards for that because of the volatility of meth labs and the toxicity of what is in these homes,” said Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy after a Thursday meeting of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council at Binghamton University in Vestal.

December report on the

Duffy said he would discuss with Gov. Andrew Cuomo if the state should have a greater role in protecting the public from leftover contamination in former methamphetamine labs.

The Central New York Media group, which includes The Ithaca Journal, the Star-Gazette in Elmira and the Press & Sun-Bulletin in Binghamton, in December reported that New York and Pennsylvania have no laws requiring landlords or property sellers to disclose to buyers or renters if meth was made at the property, and that neither state has a standard or guideline for making a former meth lab safe for habitation.

“Standards should be strict,” Duffy said. “I think it would be a good thing for legislators to present. I would say Governor Cuomo would never argue that fact.”

The state Commission on Investigation wrote in a 2005 report to the governor and Legislature that the state ought to consider whether it needed to create standards for meth lab decontamination.

Nearly nine years later, the committee’s recommendation isn’t on the minds of many state decision-makers and legislators, some of whom are learning the state hasn’t set such a standard after inquiries from the Central New York Media group.

“In my last three years in Albany, I’ve never heard this brought up, but I’m acknowledging, it is a great point,” Duffy said Thursday.

“I will carry that message back to the governor, and I also think perhaps that would be a great opportunity for legislators on both sides, in both houses, to take a look at that as well and see if we can strengthen those regulations across the state.”

Duffy said he would speak with with the commissioners of the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Health so a review of medical, chemical and environmental factors might show if any applicable regulations need strengthening.

In New York, legislation proposed by Sen. Tim Kennedy, D-Buffalo, would require disclosure of a property’s status as a former meth lab and set a standard for remediation.

After The Central New York Media group published its watchdog report about the gaps in New York and Pennsylvania’s meth laws, Sen. Tom O’Mara, R-Big Flats, wrote a guest column for the newspaper, reiterating his support for more protection. His district includes Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Yates and the western portion of Tompkins County, including the City of Ithaca.

“I’ll also be pushing legislation in 2014 to require sellers of homes that were previously the site of an illegal meth lab — and therefore contaminated with the hazardous chemicals left behind by meth labs — to disclose this information to potential home-buyers,” O’Mara wrote.

On Friday, O’Mara said setting a cleanup standard for making a former meth lab habitable should also be part of a new law.

O’Mara said he is having the Republican committee review Kennedy’s bill. He also said he would seek more input from the New York State Association of Realtors. “One of their comments was that a hazardous environmental condition is already required to be disclosed,” O’Mara said.

O’Mara said he is also talking with state police about whether there are any up-to-date law enforcement databases about meth labs they can make available to the public, so they can more easily look up a house’s status.

It could be some time before Kennedy’s bill is discussed in the legislature. On Tuesday, Gov. Cuomo is set to release his budget; O’Mara said he expects the Legislature will have most of its attention on the budget for a few months. “Typically after the budget is when legislative matters are covered more in-depth,” he said.

“I think I’ll work with Sen. Kennedy’s office on the legislation he has, and see if that’s something we can move forward with to provide what we might feel would be appropriate disclosure of these circumstances,” O’Mara said. “It is certainly an increasing problem, whether it’s in rural or urban settings.”

Also Friday, state Sen. Tom Libous, R-Binghamton, whose district includes Broome, Tioga, Chenango and part of Delaware counties, said the report had gotten his attention.

“This is a serious and troubling issue,” Libous said in a statement. “I’ll be examining it with my colleagues in the Senate and working toward a solution that addresses these concerns for families and home-buyers.”

To become law, a bill must also pass both houses of the Legislature. Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, R-Corning, said Friday he thinks the Assembly should discuss the issue.

“Obviously, we have a big meth problem in our area and in our region in the state, and we need to take actions to protect residents, and this is another step that I see could be helpful,” Palmesano said.

After an inquiry from the Central New York Media group for the December watchdog report, Sen. Gene Yaw, whose district includes Bradford County and part of Susquehanna County, has partnered with Sen. John Rafferty Jr. to champion the measure in the Senate.

“Since 2006, Pennsylvania has moved to strengthen laws related to the operation and production of methamphetamine labs, but more is still needed,” Yaw said in a statement announcing he and Rafferty would be prime sponsors of the Disclosure of Methamphetamine Property Act.

The bill would require owners or sellers to disclose a property’s former meth history and require the state Department of Health to set standards for removing hazardous materials from former meth labs.

If it becomes law, when a meth lab is discovered, the state would put a lien on the property until it is decontaminated. Police would be required to tell the health department about the meth-making activity, and the lien wouldn’t be removed until the health department certifies the property is safe.

“As best as we can, it keeps people from moving into these homes that have been contaminated,” said Sean Moll, of Newberry Township, Pa., a legislative aide to Rafferty.

Moll said the measure has seven additional co-sponsors, or nearly 20 percent of the Senate, and is likely to be introduced in the coming weeks. Sen. Joe Scarnati, whose district includes Tioga County, Pa., is a co-sponsor.





ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) – The number of methamphetamine cases is the rise across South Dakota.

The Aberdeen American News reports that there were 1,229 meth-related arrests in 45 counties last year compared to 669 in 36 counties in 2012. Data show there were 402 arrests in 30 counties in 2011.

Attorney General Marty Jackley says the 49 agents from the state Division of Criminal Investigation are spread thin.

Jackley says one extra agent was added last year to northwestern South Dakota to help with problems related to the oil boom in western North Dakota.



WAUSAU — A young woman, “tweaking” on meth, runs into traffic on Grand Avenue and nearly is crushed by rush-hour traffic.

A man, high on crack cocaine, threatens to throw himself off the Scott Street bridge.

Two 14-year-old girls admit to having sex in a Wausau motel  with men they just met while smoking crack.

An 8-year-old girl swallows her mother’s meth at a home in Wausau; the girl barely escapes death when her grandmother rushes her to the emergency room and calls police.

And those are the success stories, said Wausau Police Capt. Greg Hagenbucher, because no one died.

The stories, all documented in Wausau Police Department incident reports, are shocking — and increasingly common, said Hagenbucher, who keeps detailed records of all drug-related crime in the city. In 2007, Wausau police dealt with methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine 44 times, or an average of less than once a week.

Last year, that number nearly quadrupled to 155 cases, equivalent to three meth-, heroin- or cocaine-related crimes every week in just the city of Wausau.

“If you didn’t know about a drug problem in town before, you will, after reading our reports,” Hagenbucher said. “Probably two or three times a week we are dealing with some type of incident involving meth, heroin or cocaine.”

Hagenbucher’s numbers do not include cases handled by the Marathon County Special Investigations Unit; rather, his report includes routine traffic stops and other cases where officers find a drug connection. Wausau Police Chief Jeff Hardel said life is much different in the city now compared with 33 years ago, when he first joined the police force.

“Heroin is something we never saw years ago,” Hardel said. “Now we deal with it almost every day. We want our community to be safe. When you look at the statistics we have and the amount of drugs we’re seeing, it’s pretty clear that drug use has become a major issue that we need to continue to fight.”

Partnering with Wausau to investigate drug activity, the Special Investigations Unit, or SIU, aims to crack down not just on drug users, but the often well-organized traffickers who bring drugs in massive quantities from Chicago, Milwaukee or Madison. Marathon County Sheriff’s Lt. Gary Schneck, head of SIU, said he has seen meth and heroin use skyrocket in the area, shepherding in misery, pain and property crime the likes of which Wausau has never experienced.

“Addiction creates ripples through the community,” Schneck said. “We’re not only seeing more drug use, but the violence associated with the drug trade is a huge problem. A huge amount of property crime is directly associated with drugs. Then you have dealers ripping off dealers. It’s just an enormous problem.”

A ‘good’ daughter goes bad

Fifty-six-year-old Deb, who lives in Rib Mountain and works for an insurance company, thought heroin was a “’60s drug” used only by criminals who shot up in darkened back alleys in big cities’ crime-riddled neighborhoods. That changed in 2011, when Deb caught her daughter, then-20-year-old Katie, shooting heroin into her vein in the bathroom of their home.

“How does a good, church-going, middle-class kid from the ’burbs go from an athlete who goes on mission trips to shooting up on her father’s birthday?” said Deb, who asked Daily Herald Media to withhold the family’s last name over fears that publicity could jeopardize her daughter’s fragile recovery. “How does it happen? Heroin wasn’t even on my radar.”

Deb said her daughter’s downward spiral began in 2008, when Katie, a Wausau West High School junior, was injured in a basketball game. Katie’s shattered knee required multiple surgeries and months of painful rehab accompanied by strong painkillers; Katie quickly became addicted, Deb said.

By the time Katie was 21, the once-stellar student with dreams of becoming a nurse lost her job working as a CNA, dropped out of school and began stealing from her parents and relatives to support her growing addiction to heroin, Deb said. Katie tried rehab twice without success; first, as an inpatient at Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield, then as an outpatient at North Central Health Care in Wausau.

“Nothing worked,” Deb said. “I felt so helpless.”

Katie finally turned to Wausau Health Services, the city’s lone methadone clinic, for help after a family member threatened to turn Katie in for stealing valuable jewelry and selling it for quick cash, Deb said.

“(Katie) knew at that point she would be going to jail,” Deb said. “She finally said, ‘I don’t want to live this way anymore.’ My husband drove to the pawn shop and bought all the jewelry back. And then we went to the methadone clinic.”

Katie has been clean for about 18 months and is now a student at Northcentral Technical College, where she is pursuing a degree in healthcare administration.

“By the grace of God, my daughter is alive,” Deb said. “She’s one of the lucky ones, so I guess you can call this a success story. She didn’t die; she didn’t end up with huge legal problems. But this is a battle she will be fighting her whole life, and there’s always that fear that she’ll go back to using again.”

The unlucky ones

Drug-related deaths also are sharply up, said Marathon County Medical Examiner Jessica Blahnik. In 2012, six people died of drug overdoses; that number more than doubled in 2013, to 13 deaths.

“Unfortunately, it’s a growing trend,” Blahnik said. “These figures don’t even include alcohol-related deaths.”

Police vigorously investigate every drug-related death, said Schneck, the county SIU leader, and when investigators can unravel the mystery of who provided the fatal dose, suppliers face reckless homicide charges — a felony that typically carries a hefty prison sentence upon conviction.

Most recently, 25-year-old Kevin Mason of Wausau was sentenced in September to 10 years in prison for his role in the 2011 heroin overdose of Justin Selves, 26, of Kronenwetter. Tyshun Meeks, 27, of Chicago faces first-degree reckless homicide charges in connection with the death; a jury trial is set to begin in June.

In a separate case, Kyle Kennedy, 22, of Mosinee will be sentenced Jan. 31 on charges of delivering heroin to Michael Dixon, 24, who was killed in a March 23 crash after injecting the drug. And charges are pending against Lucas Zuehlke, 30, of Coloma and Nycole Creed, 33, of Wausau on accusations they were involved in the March 11 overdose death of Thomas Knickerbocker, 30, of Wausau.

“Our investigators know who the dealers are, and when we can figure out who gave that last dose, they can go away for a long time,” Schneck said. “Putting these guys away is the best thing we can do, because that’s the one thing dealers worry about.”

‘We did everything right’

Drug users defy stereotypes; they are basketball players, cheerleaders, honor students and class valedictorians, said Melissa Dotter, coordinator with the county’s Drug Free Community Program. Fueled by curiosity, boredom and peer pressure, teens are increasingly at risk for becoming addicted to drugs, she said. That addiction has spread like wildfire in central Wisconsin, destroying families, lives and futures regardless of social status.

“The most common phrase I hear from families is, ‘We did everything right,” Dotter said. “These are not bad kids. These are not people you’d pick out as potential drug users.”

Despite the sharp increase in drug-related crime, police say they are doing all they can to stem the flow of deadly drugs to the community. Officers are better trained in how to spot possible drug use during traffic stops and other routine calls. For the first time in more than 25 years, the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department employee roster includes three K9 officers trained in drug detection and Wausau will add two K9 officers in the coming months.

“If we were less vigilant about what we’re doing, you’d see even more drug activity,” Schneck said. “There’s no street corner dealing here, where it’s out in the open. If we weren’t picking away at it every day of the week, that’s exactly what would happen. You don’t get rid of it, ever, but you have to keep trying.”



GREENVILLE, Mich. – The Central Michigan Enforcement Team (CMET) and the Michigan State Police Lakeview Post investigated a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory in the City of Greenville on Sunday.

CMET detectives developed information about methamphetamine production taking place at a residence in Greenville.

MSP Lakeview troopers responded to the scene in an attempt to arrest the homeowner on an outstanding warrant and investigate the reports of illegal activity taking place at the residence. When troopers from the Lakeview Post attempted to make contact with the residence the occupants refused to answer the door.

The residence was secured and a search warrant was obtained. The Michigan State Police Emergency Response Team responded to the scene. After a brief standoff, the occupants of the residence exited and were arrested.

CMET then responded and a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory was removed from the residence. A 43-year-old male, 17-year-old male and 23-year-old female were arrested and lodge at Montcalm County Jail on methamphetamine related charges.

CMET was assisted at the scene by Michigan State Police Lakeview Post, Greenville Department of Public Safety, and the Michigan State Police Emergency Response Team. CMET is a multi-jurisdictional drug task force operating in Montcalm, Newaygo, Mecosta and Ionia County. CMET consists of detectives from the Michigan State Police, Montcalm County Sheriff’s Department, Ionia County Sheriff’s Department, Newaygo County Sheriff’s Department, Mecosta County Sheriff’s Department, Big Rapids Department of Public Safety and Ferris State University Department of Public Safety.

This investigation continues and anyone with information can contact Silent Observer or CMET at 1-800-342-0406.


Methamphetamine use among Kiwi women of child bearing age is on the increase, a researcher says.  

    Development psychologist Trecia Wouldes says intervention is vital to educate women of the dangers if they take P during pregnancy.  

    The Murrrays Bay woman is leading research at the University of Auckland looking at the behavior and development of 110 children exposed to methamphetamine prenatally.  


    The research is part of the Infant Development Environment and Lifestyle (IDEAL) Study, which comprises of four US sites and one in New Zealand – the largest of the five sites.  

    It is the only study of its kind worldwide.  

    Dr Wouldes says the study began when the Alcohol Drug and Pregnancy Team at the National Women’s Hospital noticed a high number of mothers exhibiting comorbidity – a link between psychiatric problems and drug use.  

    In 2001 the number of referrals due to methamphetamine use was 10 per cent. By 2003 that number had grown to 59 per cent.  

    “When we looked at what drugs that was associated with for the majority it was P. At the time there was nothing in the literature to say how that was going to impact their children.”  

    Mothers, some of whom have had two or more children while on P, have been recruited from North Shore, Auckland and Waitakere hospitals.  

    Most of the mothers are from low socio-economic backgrounds and are generally not well educated, she says.  

    Dr Wouldes says the aim is to monitor their children until they reach puberty.  

    The New Zealand mothers are not only more likely to have psychiatric problems related to their methamphetamine use, but have also been found to drink more alcohol than their US counterparts.  

    Dr Wouldes says it is typical for substance abuse to entail a combination of drugs. Alcohol and methamphetamine is a common cocktail, she says.  

    “When we asked the women why P over other drugs they said because they can party all night, drink without getting drunk and get up in the morning and go to work. They also said it helps to keep them slim, so in that sense it is very much a women’s drug.”  

    So far the effects of methamphetamine on children seem largely behavioral and therefore treatable, Dr Wouldes says.  

    Of particular concern is the “double whammy” that sees these children go on to be raised in a high risk home environment.  

    Results so far indicate a higher rate of preterm births, growth retardation and possible outcomes such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).





A Frenchman has been arrested for trying to smuggle more than $500,000 worth of crystal methamphetamine into the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

Francois Giuily, 48, was detained on Sunday at Bali airport with more than three kilograms of the drug hidden in plastic bags in his suitcase lining.

Airport customs chief I Made Wijaya says the drugs have a street value of $US511,280.

5209852-3x2-700x467_1Frenchman Francois Jacques Giuily sits inside the Custom office in Denpasar on January 20, 2014, after being arrested for drug smuggling 


Giuily could face the death penalty under Indonesia’s tough anti-narcotics laws as well as a 10 billion rupiah ($830,000) fine.

Several foreign nationals are on death row for drug-related offences in Indonesia.

British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford was sentenced to death in January last year after being found with $2.4 million worth of cocaine in her luggage as she arrived in Bali.

Rare early release

The latest arrest comes as another French national, Michael Blanc, was freed Monday on parole from an Indonesian jail more than 14 years after he was caught smuggling drugs into Bali.

Blanc had been imprisoned in a jail in the south of the Indonesian capital Jakarta.

He was arrested the day after Christmas in 1999 at Bali airport with 3.8 kilograms of hash hidden in diving canisters.

The 40-year-old, who has always maintained his innocence, was originally given a life sentence under Indonesia’s tough anti-drugs laws, which provoked outrage in his native France.

Blanc’s sentence was cut to 20 years and he received several remissions.

Following a lengthy battle with Indonesia’s complex legal system, he finally succeeded in being granted parole, which is rare for a foreign prisoner.

Under the conditions of Blanc’s parole, he must remain in Indonesia until the end of his sentence in July, 2017.



Miley Cyrus made “twerking” famous. When Jacob M. Peterson tried the provocative dance, he wound up being arrested on three drug charges.

Peterson, 24, of 4609 225th Ave., New Auburn, is charged with possessing methamphetamine, possessing drug paraphernalia and disorderly conduct-party to a crime. All of the charges stem from Nov. 27 in the town of Cleveland.

According to a criminal complaint:

A deputy responded to a domestic call at Peterson’s residence. The deputy saw Peterson “twerking,” and at times hallucinating. Peterson admitted to using methamphetamine earlier.

Drug paraphernalia was found in the residence and a test for methamphetamine was positive.

A $5,000 signature bond was set for Peterson, who will appear before Judge Steven Cray at 11 a.m. Feb. 27.



A Gastonia couple used their home to manufacture methamphetamine, according to police reports.

Cassie Patrice Hawkins and Chad Michael Adams were in the process of cooking drugs when charged, a police officer wrote in the report.


Hawkins, 27, and Adams, 33, both of Dean Street, were charged with possession of methamphetamine, manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of precursors for methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance.

Adamswas assigned a $100,000 secured bond. Hawkins was held without bond.

BANGKOK, Jan 18 –Saraburi highway police seized over 2 million pills of methamphetamine (meth) worth Bt600 million hidden in a pickup truck heading towards Bangkok.

Deputy national police commander Pol Gen Somyot Poompanmoung and Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) secretary-general Pol Gen Pongsapat Pongcharoen jointly chaired a press conference on the seizure of 2,244,000 meth pills in the central province of Saraburi.


The meth pills were wrapped in waxed paper and packaged in 12 sacks Saraburi highway police had set up a checkpoint on Highway number 21 (Pukhae-Lonsak road) in Chalermphrakiat district and noticed a black pick up truck driving at high speed. The driver defied a police order to stop the vehicle and turned the truck around to escape the police. The police followed the truck for about 20 kilometres into the provincial seat, where the truck then lost control and hit a railtrack fence. Two smugglers abandoned the vehicle and fled from the scene. The police found the drugs after searching the truck.

Police said there were six smugglers in three cars. It was believed that the smugglers may be members of drug lord Yi Say’s trafficking network. The drugs were enroute to customers in Bangkok, police said. In the southern province of Surat Thani, police arrested Saudee Jehha, deputy chairman of Narathiwat’s Bang Po Tambon Administration Organization as he was smuggling 200,000 meth pills valued at Bt60 million.

Mr Saudee told police that he took advantage of rallies in Bangkok to smuggle the drugs into southern provinces. In the northen province of Chiang Mai, Mr Somkiat Wiboonsantisuk was arrested by police as he picked up a 4 kilogram parcel of crystal meth or “ice” worth Bt20 million.

He told police that the parcel was mailed from the northeastern province of Khon Kaen and he was delivering the drug into the southern provinces. He was paid Bt30,000 for each shipment.




A bill introduced by Del. Charles Poindexter (R-Glade Hill) would increase the minimum penalty for methamphetamine convictions.

HB676 would increase the mandatory minimum sentence for manufacturing, selling or possessing with intent to sell at least 28 grams of meth to 10 years.


The current mandatory minimum sentence is three years for more than 28 grams and five years for 227 grams or more.

“The Virginia Sheriff’s Association and Franklin County Sheriff’s Office supports this bill,” said Capt. Mark Torbert. “As we see a marked increase in methamphetamine use in the county, increasing the mandatory minimum sentence for convictions will be better for the community.”

“It’s a safer environment for our citizens with meth dealers off the street,” he added. “The increased sentence would also be a deterrent to those committing the crime in the first place.”

Sheriff’s offices also support a bill introduced by state Sen. Bill Stanley (R-Glade Hill) to make homes safer after methamphetamine labs are discovered.

SB31 would require the health department to establish a program to certify that buildings that were previously a methamphetamine lab site are safe for human occupancy.

“Most labs in Franklin County are found inside residences or buildings, like garages or workshops, very close to residences,” Torbert said. “The chemicals used in the manufacture of methamphetamine are toxic so it’s necessary to ensure the environment is safe for human inhabitants.”

“The bill is well written because it specifies that the financial burden for the certification process does not fall back on the locality,” Torbert added.

The bill would require the person convicted of the crime to pay the cost of certification. Virginia law already requires those persons convicted to pay for the cost of lab cleanup.

Those costs are high, Torbert said. The cost of cleanup ranges from $1,500 to $2,500 for a small lab. The larger the lab, the higher the cost.

From May to December 2013, Franklin County spent $11,443 in meth lab cleanup, Torbert said.




Marion County deputies arrested two people in a Mehama residence Friday, Jan. 17, for separate outstanding warrants.

Jessica King, 35, and Steven Nida, 45, were arrested at King’s residence after 9:30 p.m. King reportedly had methamphetamine paraphernalia in her possession.

Information obtained on scene led officers to learn that Nida, who was wanted for two outstanding felony warrants, was hiding inside the home, according to Chris Baldridge, spokesperson for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.


Deputies approached the house, only to find its doors locked. They forced their way in and searched the house, finding Nida in the attic. A small caliber handgun was found at the home.

Both were taken to Marion County Jail. King was booked for an outstanding bench warrant for second-degree burglary and cited for unlawful possession of methamphetamine. She is no longer in custody.

Nida is in custody for his warrants on charges that include 10 counts of felon in possession of a firearm and failure to appear on the charge of attempt to elude. His bail is set at $115,000.

The investigation is ongoing.



For most 12-year-olds, even in today’s complicated times, the biggest worries of the day come in the form of grade stress or whether or not the team tryout or play audition went well. Perhaps the overwhelming desire to place in the junior livestock show substantially preoccupies preteen minds.

For Tom Anderson, that was the age when he first tried methamphetamine. (Tom Anderson is not his real name. He agreed to tell his story only if he could remain anonymous.)

It was given to him by a high-school aged co-worker during a shift they were both working at a Graham establishment he would not name.

“He asked me if I wanted to try some, so I did,” Anderson related. “I didn’t like it, and then he said there was another way to do it.”

That’s when, at the ripe young age of 12, Tom Anderson began shooting meth into his veins. He preferred that method to snorting it up his nose. He said that the first time he injected the drug, he was hooked.

“It just electrified my whole insides,” he related. “It made me feel powerful, like I could do anything. I could go nonstop for weeks on end without sleep.”

For the next two decades, Anderson was a regular user, secretly getting high while the bulk of his direct family remained ignorant of his activity.

The story of his daily routine as an addict reads like that of a disciplined go-getter, except for the fact that what drove him to do anything was the pursuit of more meth.

He would lie in bed most nights but wouldn’t sleep. He would get out of bed at 4:30 a.m., do a shot of meth, eat breakfast, do another shot, go to work, do another shot during lunch, and so on and so on.



MAIDEN N.C. – Two people were arrested early Saturday morning after police say they discovered a meth lab in their vehicle.

Hollie Huffman Harris, 37, of 2761 Mount Olive Church Road, Newton, and Brent Allen Stidham, 37, of 3963 Circle Street, Maiden, were charged with felony manufacturing methamphetamine and felony maintaining a vehicle, dwelling or place for a controlled substance. Harris was also charged with felony probation violation.


Police stopped a 2000 Dodge Neon shortly after midnight on Water Plant Road, a news release from the Maiden Police Department said. Stidham was driving and Harris was a passenger.

An officer noticed items consistent with a one-pot meth lab inside the vehicle as he was speaking with the suspects, the release said. Items police said they found in the car included two-liter plastic drink bottles with residue, modified plastic bottles and empty pseudoephedrine blister packs.

The State Bureau of Investigation assisted Maiden Police in the investigation and cleanup.

Both suspects were placed in the Catawba County Detention Facility. Harris was held with a $95,000 secured bond. Stidham was held with an $80,000 secured bond. Both suspects are scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.

FAYETTEVILLE, TN (WSMV) – Lincoln County sheriff’s officials said a massive  house fire on Remington Drive in Fayetteville on Friday started because  of a meth lab explosion.

“I smelled smoke, and I thought  something was burning in our house,” said neighbor John Derm. “I looked  outside and saw the smoke. At that time, you couldn’t see across the  street, the smoke was so bad.”


One full day after the fire, smoke  still wafted from piles of brick. Debris covered the steps leading to  where a home once stood. Lincoln County Sheriff Murray Blackwelder said  the fire that destroyed a home less than 4-years-old was all started by a  simple one-pot meth lab.

“It’s a scary thing to know this is right across the street from our house, from our family and our children,” said Derm.

Blackwelder  said homeowner Teresa Baker was using the place as a “party house”  where guests could find meth. He said the sheriff’s department had been  monitoring the home for a while due to suspected drug activity. Baker’s  charges include promoting and manufacturing meth in a drug-free school  zone.

“We’ve got an elementary school right up the street here, less than half a mile up the road,” said Amy Derm.

Blackwelder  also told Channel 4 that Baker has a previous charge for driving into  oncoming traffic in Lincoln County last September. Her vehicle  eventually bumped into a patrol car. Her charges include a DUI, evading  arrest, vandalism and reckless endangerment in that case.



TRIAD — The N.C. Department of Justice says improved technology helped state and local authorities uncover a record number of meth labs in 2013. State Bureau of Investigation agents responded to 561 meth labs in 2013, an increase from 460 labs found in 2012. Of those meth labs, 81 percent used the “one-pot” method, portable labs which make small amounts of meth, according to the SBI. Also known as “shake-and-bake” labs, one pot meth labs use a small amount of pseudoephedrine, an over-the-counter decongestant, to make meth in a plastic soda bottle. The labs are easy to conceal and move, making them more challenging for authorities to find. While there were no labs in Guilford County, the report shows there were three labs in Davidson County and four in Randolph County. State authorities have access to information about pseudoephedrine purchases through the National Precursor Log Exchange, helping them to identify likely meth cooks and find more meth labs.  Pharmacies log all purchases of products containing pseudoephedrine through NPLEx. The system also helps block illegal sales of meth’s key ingredient. The system has worked for Thomasville police, who discovered a meth lab in May 2013. Investigators observed a delivery of pseudoephedrine pills and camp fuel, key ingredients in the manufacturing of methamphetamine, being received by William Jerome Smith, of 325 Taylor St. According to police reports, when they entered the home, they found a working meth lab. “The NPLx is what led to the investigation. It allows on-demand, real-time access to pharmacy (records),” said Detective Brad Saintsing. “It gives law enforcement the availability to monitor suspicious buying patterns and watch specific individuals who exceed the limits by state law.” Smith, 49, was arrested and charged with possession of precursors to manufacture methamphetamine. Saintsing said the department still sees a lot of meth-related arrests. “We are still seeing it out there,” Saintsing said. “Meth is gaining popularity again, and this is an excellent tool to monitor it.”