LUCEDALE, Mississippi — A Basin community man faces methamphetamine-related charges after his arrest Friday, George County Sheriff Dean Howell said in a news release.

MeSean Blackston, 34, of the 200 block of Mount Pleasant Road, has been charged with manufacture of methamphetamine, Howell stated.

Several chemicals used to make methamphetamine, as well as an ice chest containing a working laboratory, were discovered in a search of Blackston‚s property, the sheriff stated.

George County Meth

Methamphetamine-making supplies seized during an arrest Friday.

A cleanup crew was brought in to dispose of the hazardous materials and Blackston was charged with generating hazardous waste, Howell stated.

MeSean Blackston
MeSean Blackston

Howell estimated that his deputies have made about a half-dozen drug arrests since he took office Jan. 1.

“I’m very pleased with what our guys have done this far,” Howell stated

Blackston remained in custody at the George County Regional Correctional Facility. Bail was set at $25,000 for Blackston.


 A major methamphetamine ring has been busted in Cedartown with three men in jail, more than $20,000 in the drug seized, and “a large quantity” of currency confiscated, according to police officials.

Cedartown Assistant Police Chief Jamie Newsome said his department worked with the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the City of Rome Police Department, the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) on the case for a “significant amount of time” to discover what he called a “rather large drug trafficking ring.”

“Our investigation led to the belief that they were supplying a large quantity of methamphetamine to Northwest Georgia and Alabama,” he said.

The men arrested are identified as Gabriel Molina, 36, of a 614 College Drive apartment, Cedartown; Alfredo Pineda, 26, and Amador Pineda, 26, both of 223 Elizabeth St., Cedartown. All are charged with methamphetamine possession, possession with intent to distribute, methamphetamine trafficking, and possession of firearms during the commission of a crime, according to Newsome.

Police obtained a search warrant and raided Molina’s apartment Saturday night, where they found the drugs and money, Newsome said.

Evidence obtained then gave investigators probable cause to gain a search warrant for the Pineda residence, he said.

Newsome said police also seized four vehicles and four firearms.

He said police believe the drug seized was only a fraction of what was being moved through the Northwest Georgia area.

“We have reason to believe that this particular criminal enterprise was moving multiple pounds of meth through Cedartown weekly,” he said.

He said the case isn’t closed and there could be more arrests. Newsome said the scope of the trafficking could allow the men to be charged federally, so federal officials have been included in the investigation from the beginning.

Newsome said it would be up to federal officials on whether or not to take over the prosecution of the case.


BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A federal judge in South Texas has sentenced a Mexican woman to nearly 20 years in prison for smuggling methamphetamines into the country.

U.S. District Judge Hilda Tagle sentenced 60-year-old Reyna Osorio Martinez in Brownsville on Monday to 235 months in prison. Jurors found her guilty last fall of several charges, including possession, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and conspiracy to import.

Court records indicate customs officers found more than 14 pounds of methamphetamine after stopping the car Osorio was riding in at an international bridge in Brownsville in April.

A U.S. attorney’s statement says crossing records reviewed by investigators showed that Osorio had entered the United States in that vehicle several times before, including with someone who was arrested in Laredo with methamphetamine just three days earlier.

South Bend, WA – Over the course of the past month, deputies with the Pacific County Drug Task Force have been working in conjunction with members of the Clatsop County Interagency Narcotics Task Force (Oregon) regarding an investigation involving the distribution and possession of methamphetamine. The two task forces shared information during the course of this investigation which culminated on January 18th 2012 resulting in the arrest of six individuals for narcotics related crimes.

 Three individuals, identified as Delbert R. Godwin, Jay R. Cox and Jamie A. Heslen were arrested in Clatsop County Oregon regarding charges relating to the possession and distribution of methamphetamine. All three subjects are residents of Pacific County. The three subjects were booked into Clatsop County Jail. An additional subject, identified as Patricia A. Braxton, was also arrested. She is a resident of Clatsop County.

 Information gathered during this investigation and the arrest of the individuals in Clatsop County led deputies from the Pacific County Drug Task Force to a residence located in the Ilwaco area. Deputies with the Pacific County Drug Task Force prepared and applied for a search warrant to serve upon the residence which was located in the 7100 block of Scarboro Lane. The Honorable Judge Douglas Goelz reviewed and granted the warrant.

Members of the Pacific County Drug Task Force were assisted in the service of the warrant by members of the Clatsop County Interagency Narcotics Task Force, the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Long Beach Police Department. A search of the residence yielded suspected methamphetamine, narcotics related paraphernalia and marijuana. A firearm was also secured. Two individuals were arrested at the scene for charges relating to possession of methamphetamine. The two were identified as Randy L. Bloxham age 56 and Carl A. Hart age 60. They were transported to Pacific County Jail for booking.

 The joint effort regarding this investigation was aided by the recently signed Mutual Interstate Law Enforcement Assistance Agreement by the Sheriff’s of the five counties sharing borders along the lower Columbia River. The agreement includes Cowlitz, Wahkiakum and Pacific Counties on the Washington side of the Columbia River. It includes Columbia and Clatsop Counties on the Oregon side of the Columbia River.

 Sheriff Scott Johnson stated, “We are very pleased about the effectiveness of our partnership with Clatsop County. The success of this partnership is shown within the results of this investigation. ““The narcotics trade is very organized at times and it is obvious that it doesn’t cease due to a river separating two states.”


Federal and state officials arrested 22 people on 36 counts of trafficking an atypical form of methamphetamine smuggled from Mexico into Arkansas. Authorities also seized 13.3 pounds of the drug, seven vehicles, $163,590, and five guns from the criminal organization.

The type of methamphetamine seized in this operation is not the common kind made in small batches using ephedrine, according to Reuters. This crystal form of the drug is called “ice” and usually produced in Mexico. Arkansas has become a regional distribution hub for Mexican ice methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive and potentially lethal stimulant that can be taken orally, snorted, smoked, and injected. The Drug Enforcement Administration reports that high doses have been associated with aggressive and violent behavior—in addition to irritability, tremors, convulsions, anxiety, paranoia, neurotoxic effects, hyperthermia, and cardiovascular collapse. Numerous ways to manufacture the drug exist, including small scale production. The toxic waste resulting from methamphetamine production poses a serious health risk not only to the individuals making the drug, but to those in the vicinity of the lab as well.

“Methamphetamine production and use has become a widespread problem in the United States,” states Scott Van Etten, CIH, EMSL Analytical’s National Director of Industrial Hygiene. “EMSL has received increasing requests to test for methamphetamine as its frightening popularity continues to grow.”


ST. LOUIS — A crude new method of making methamphetamine poses a risk even to Americans who never get anywhere near the drug: It is filling hospitals with thousands of uninsured burn patients requiring millions of dollars in advanced treatment — a burden so costly that it’s contributing to the closure of some burn units.

So-called shake-and-bake meth is produced by combining raw, unstable ingredients in a 2-liter soda bottle. But if the person mixing the noxious brew makes the slightest error, such as removing the cap too soon or accidentally perforating the plastic, the concoction can explode, searing flesh and causing permanent disfigurement, blindness or even death.

In Indiana, about three-quarters of meth busts now involve shake-and-bake. And injuries are rising sharply, mostly because of burns, said Niki Crawford of the Indiana State Police Meth Suppression Team.

An Associated Press survey of key hospitals in the nation’s most active meth states showed that up to a third of patients in some burn units were hurt while making meth, and most were uninsured. The average treatment costs $6,000 per day. And the average meth patient’s hospital stay costs $130,000 — 60 percent more than other burn patients, according to a study by doctors at a burn center in Kalamazoo, Mich.

The influx of patients is overwhelming hospitals and becoming a major factor in the closure of some burn wards. At least seven burn units across the nation have shut down over the past six years, partly due to consolidation but also because of the cost of treating uninsured patients, many of whom are connected to methamphetamine.

Burn experts agree the annual cost to taxpayers is well into the tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars, although it is impossible to determine a more accurate number because so many meth users lie about the cause of their burns.

Larger meth labs have been bursting into flame for years, usually in basements, backyard sheds or other private spaces. But those were fires that people could usually escape. Using the shake-and-bake method, drugmakers typically hold the flammable concoction up close, causing burns from the waist to the face.

“You’re holding a flame-thrower in your hands,” said Jason Grellner of the Franklin County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department.

Also known as the “one-pot” approach, the method is popular because it uses less pseudoephedrine — a common component in some cold and allergy pills. It also yields meth in minutes rather than hours, and it’s cheaper and easier to conceal. Meth cooks can carry all the ingredients in a backpack and mix them in a bathroom stall or the seat of a car.

The improvised system first emerged several years ago, partly in response to attempts by many states to limit or forbid over-the-counter access to pseudoephedrine. Since then, the shake-and-bake recipe has spread to become the method of choice.

By 2010, about 80 percent of labs busted by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration were using shake-and-bake recipes, said Pat Johnakin, a DEA agent specializing in meth.

So instead of a large lab that supplies many users, there are now more people making meth for their personal use. The consequences are showing up in emergency rooms and burn wards.

“From what we see on the medical side, that’s the primary reason the numbers seem to be going up: greater numbers of producers making smaller batches,” said Dr. Michael Smock, director of the burn unit at Mercy Hospital St. Louis.

It’s impossible to know precisely how many people are burned while making shake-and-bake meth. Some avoid medical treatment, and no one keeps exact track of those who go to the hospital. But many burn centers in the nation’s most active meth-producing states report sharp spikes in the number of patients linked to meth. And experts say the trend goes well beyond those facilities.

The director of the burn center at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, the state that led the nation in meth lab seizures in 2010, said meth injuries are doubly damaging because patients often suffer thermal burn from the explosion, as well as chemical burns. And the medical challenge is compounded by patients’ addictions.

“You’re not judgmental in this kind of work, but you see it day after day,” said Vanderbilt’s Dr. Jeffrey Guy. “We’ve had patients say, `I’m going out for a smoke,’ and they come back all jacked up. It’s clear they went out and did meth again.”

Few people burned by meth will admit it.

“We get a lot of people who have strange stories,” said Dr. David Greenhalgh, past president of the American Burn Association and director of the burn center at the University of California, Davis. “They’ll say they were working on the carburetor at 2 or 3 in the morning and things blew up. So we don’t know for sure, but 25 to 35 percent of our patients are meth-positive when we check them.”

Guy cited a similar percentage at Vanderbilt, which operates the largest burn unit in Tennessee. He said the lies can come with a big price because the chemicals used in meth-making are often as dangerous as the burns themselves.

He recalled the case of a woman who arrived with facial burns that she said were caused by a toaster. As a result, she didn’t tell doctors that meth-making chemicals got into her eyes, delaying treatment.

“Now she’s probably going to be blind because she wasn’t honest about it,” Guy said.

In Indiana, about three-quarters of meth busts now involve shake-and-bake. And injuries are rising sharply, mostly because of burns, said Niki Crawford of the Indiana State Police Meth Suppression Team.

Indiana had 89 meth-related injuries during the 10-year period ending in 2009. The state has had 70 in the last 23 months, mostly from shake-and-bake labs, Crawford said.

What’s more, meth-related burns often sear some of the body’s most sensitive areas — the face and hands.

“I don’t think a lot of these patients will be able to re-enter society, said Dr. Lucy Wibbenmeyer of the burn center at the University of Iowa. “They’ll need rehab therapy, occupational therapy, which is very expensive.”

Researchers at the University of Iowa found that people burned while making meth typically have longer hospital stays and more expensive bills than other burn patients — bills that are frequently absorbed by the hospital since a vast majority of the meth-makers lack insurance.

Medicaid provides reimbursement for many patients lacking private insurance, but experts say it amounts to pennies on the dollar.

Doctors at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, Mich., performed a five-year study of meth patients in the early 2000s, then a follow-up study in 2009-2010. Their investigation concurred with the Iowa findings. The Kalamazoo study also found that meth burn victims were more likely to suffer damage to the lungs and windpipe, spent more time on ventilators and needed surgery more often.

That report also found that only about 10 percent of meth patients had private insurance coverage, compared with 59 percent of other patients. And in many cases, their injuries leave them unable to work.


WASHINGTON —Methamphetamine usage, which appeared to be decreasing after a national crackdown five years ago, now appears to be on the upswing again as a result of increased activity among Mexican drug cartels and small-time domestic producers.

Recent reports show the incidence of methamphetamine use nationwide was essentially cut in half between 2006 and 2010, despite increased involvement from Mexican drug cartels. A survey conducted for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration showed usage nationally dropping from 731,000 people age 12 and older to 353,000 — this during a period when illicit drugs were on the upswing.

But there are reports that meth and the cartels are making a comeback. Joseph T. Rannazzisi, deputy assistant administrator in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Office of Diversion Control, said much of the turf gained in the fight against meth “has now been lost” because of easy access to the substances used to make the product.

“Methamphetamine is unique from other illicit drugs of abuse because production of the drug requires no specialized skill or training, and its recipes are readily available on the Internet,” Rannazzisi said. “The precursor chemicals associated with this drug have also been historically easy to obtain and inexpensive to purchase. These factors have contributed to methamphetamine’s rapid sweep across our nation.”

In a report released last August, “National Drug Threat Assessment 2011,” from the National Drug Intelligence Center, a part of the U.S. Department of Justice, it was revealed that methamphetamine usage was “increasing, especially among the young.” The jump was attributed to Mexican-based transnational criminal organizations that control smuggling routes across the Southwestern border and maintain the capacity to produce, transport, and/or distribute methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine is primarily smuggled across the Southwestern border in Southern California, according to the National Drug Intelligence Center. Seizures of methamphetamine along the border declined sharply in 2007 but have increased every year since. Most of the increase has been recorded in Southern California.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, two-thirds of the meth supply in the U.S. is produced by “super labs” in Mexico and Southern California and trafficked throughout the country. The remaining third is made in small meth labs found in basements, kitchens, garages, bedrooms, barns, vacant buildings, campgrounds, hotels and trunks of cars. The meth produced in small domestic laboratory operations is usually consumed locally.

In 2004, the U.S. raided a record number of illicit methamphetamine labs, leaving in their wake, according to Rannazzisi, toxic waste, deflated property values, rising crime rates, increased social costs and devastated lives.

The Rand Corp. placed the economic cost of meth use in the U.S. in 2005 at between $16.2 billion and $48.3 billion. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and The National Institute on Drug Abuse have invested tens of millions of dollars into researching the effects of meth and effective treatments.

In response, state and federal lawmakers adopted laws to control some of the essential ingredients that go into meth manufacturing — pseudoephedrine, ephedrine and phenylpropanolamine, some of which are found in common cold remedies.

Some products, once easily available, were kept behind the counter so retailers could limit distribution, keep track of purchases and provide reports and information to state and federal authorities.

The increased federal restrictions became effective in September 2006 and included rules for employee training, product packaging and placement and log books. To purchase products containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, a customer must present identification and sign the log book at sales locations. Law enforcement can now identify anyone purchasing more than 9 grams of the substances within a 30-day period.

“These measures had an immediate and positive result,” Rannazzisi said. “Meth lab incidents plummeted and proved that effective chemical control could have a dramatic positive impact on illicit methamphetamine production.”

Federal praise for states restricting access

In 2006, the number of meth labs busted dropped 58 percent over 2005, but lab seizures began to rise again in 2008. Rannazzisi said the DEA and other law enforcement identified a criminal subculture supplying meth lab operators with large quantities of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine.

According to the DEA, methamphetamine seizures rose from 2,839 in 2007 to 6,168 in 2010.

In response, the DEA has praised steps taken by Oregon, Mississippi and other states to make substances containing pseudoephedrine, ephedrine and phenylpropanolamine available only by prescription. Oregon, which took that step in 2006, has seen a dramatic decline in lab busts — going from 192 in 2005 to just 10 in 2009.

The Kentucky General Assembly is considering legislation sponsored by state Sen. Tom Jensen, R-London, that would make pseudoephedrine cold and allergy medicines available by prescription only. Lawmakers failed to pass similar legislation in 2011 despite the urgings of U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Somerset, whose Southeastern Kentucky district is plagued by methamphetamine abuse.

The measure carries the support of the Kentucky State Police and other law enforcement groups but has drawn opposition from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and various over-the-counter drug producers maintain prescription laws place a hardship on users.

Law enforcement found 1,146 meth labs in Kentucky last year, up from 1,080 in 2010.

Rannazzisi said requiring a prescription for over-the-counter remedies that contain substances vital to meth production is “one option.”

“DEA is supportive of efforts by state, county and municipal jurisdictions to control access to the precursor chemicals from which methamphetamine can be manufactured, while at the same time, ensuring that such substances remain available for legitimate medical purposes,” he said. “At the federal level, DEA is committed to exploring all options, including legislative changes to place pseudoephedrine, ephedrine and their analogues in Schedule V, as prescription only substances.”

Meanwhile, the DEA and other law enforcement agencies continue the campaign against methamphetamine through traditional means. In August, for instance, the DEA announced the arrest and indictment of New York City-based drug kingpin Jose Mauro Mota and three fellow drug traffickers following the record-breaking seizure of 51 pounds of methamphetamine worth $4.8 million.

The shipment, according to authorities, was five times the size of the total amount of methamphetamine seized by the DEA’s New York Field Division in all of 2010. The shipment originated in Mexico and was transported to Texas where it remained for several weeks before being trucked across country.

Mota, described as one of the top drug kingpins on the east coast, was arrested as the meth was being transferred from a tractor-trailer to a car at an I-95 service area in Ridgefield, N.J.

“This case shows the direct link between drug trafficking in New York City and the Mexican cartels,” said Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor. A methamphetamine seizure of this size is rare in New York. “It appears that the Mexican cartels are now attempting to directly distribute this dangerous drug in the New York area.”


Police have seized 3.8 million methamphetamine tablets in Thailand’s largest drug bust in years.

The haul was estimated as worth more than one billion baht ($31.7 million).

Police Maj. Gen. Comronwit Toopgrajank said the pills and 71 kilograms (156 pounds) of crystal meth were found hidden in an empty house in Bangkok’s northern outskirts.

Police raided the house Saturday after tracking down a driver who abandoned his vehicle after a car chase.

Thailand is a leading market and transit point for methamphetamine, much of which is produced in neighboring Myanmar.


FRESNO, California (AP) – When a 23-year-old Fresno woman fatally shot her two toddlers and a cousin, critically wounded her husband then turned the gun on herself last Sunday, investigators immediately suspected methamphetamine abuse in what otherwise was inexplicable carnage. It turned out the mother had videotaped herself smoking meth hours before the shooting.

  • Isaiah Echeverria, 3, and his sister, Aliyah Echeverria, 17 months old, were shot and killed by their mother, Aide Mendez, on Jan. 15.Isaiah Echeverria, 3, and his sister, Aliyah Echeverria, 17 months old, were shot and killed by their mother, Aide Mendez, on Jan. 15.
In family photos, the children are adorable, the mother pretty. They lived in a large apartment complex near a freeway with neatly clipped lawns and mature trees. The father was recently laid off from a packing house job.

“When you get this type of tragedy, it’s not a surprise that drugs were involved,” said Lt. Mark Salazar, the Fresno Police Department’s homicide commander. “Meth has been a factor in other violent crimes.”

A mother in Bakersfield, California, was sentenced Tuesday for stabbing her newborn while in a meth rage. An Oklahoma woman drowned her baby in a washing machine in November. A New Mexico woman claiming to be God stabbed her son with a screwdriver last month, saying, “God wants him dead.”

“Once people who are on meth become psychotic, they are very dangerous,” said Dr. Alex Stalcup, who treated Haight Ashbury heroin users in the 1960s, but now researches meth and works with addicts in the San Francisco Bay Area suburbs. “They’re completely bonkers; they’re nuts. We’re talking about very extreme alterations of normal brain function. Once someone becomes triggered to violence, there aren’t any limits or boundaries.”

The Central Valley of California is a hub of the nation’s methamphetamine distribution network, making extremely pure forms of the drug easily available locally. And law enforcement officials say widespread meth abuse is believed to be driving much of the crime in the vast farming region.

Chronic use of the harsh chemical compound known as speed or crank can lead to psychosis, which includes hearing voices and experiencing hallucinations. The stimulant effect of meth is up to 50 times longer than cocaine, experts say, so users stay awake for days on end, impairing cognitive function and contributing to extreme paranoia.

“Your children and your spouse become your worst enemy, and you truly believe they are after you,” said Bob Pennal, a recently retired meth investigator from the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement.

Methamphetamine originally took root in California’s agricultural heartland in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a poor man’s cocaine. Its use initially creates feelings of euphoria and invincibility, but experts say repeated abuse can alter brain chemistry and sometimes cause schizophrenia-like behavior.

Meth’s availability and its potential for abuse combine to create the biggest drug threat in the Central Valley, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Intelligence Center. From 2009 to 2010 methamphetamine busts in the Central Valley more than tripled to 1,094 kilograms, or more than 2,400 pounds, the report says.

Large tracts of farmland with isolated outbuildings are an ideal place to avoid detection, which is why the region is home to nearly all of the nation’s “super labs,” controlled by Mexican drug trafficking organizations, said John Donnelly, resident agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration office in Fresno.

“They have the potential to make 150 pounds (68 kilograms) per (each) cook,” he said. “There are more super labs in California than anywhere else. Every week another office calls us — St. Paul, Dayton, Kansas, Texas — and says, ‘We’ve got a meth case here’ and they say the suspects are from Turlock or Visalia. We’re slinging it all over the country from here.”

Last month, a drug task force working in four central California counties busted 24 alleged members of the Mexican drug cartel La Familia Michoacana with 14 pounds (6.35 kilograms) of powdered meth, 30 gallons (114 liters) of meth solution, 17 guns, $110,000 in cash and a fleet of vehicles with sophisticated hidden compartments for smuggling.

Most law enforcement agencies don’t keep statistics on how many homicides, burglaries and thefts are meth-related, but those responding to the National Drug Intelligence Center’s 2011 survey said the drug is the top contributor to violent crimes and thefts.

“It drives more crime than other drugs do. Meth is in its own category, because it’s so much more addictive than other drugs,” said Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims.

Across the valley, meth addicts steal any metal they can resell — agricultural plumbing, copper wiring, lawn sprinklers.

“We lose five to 10 manhole covers a week,” said Ceres Police Chief Art de Werk, who said a woman was injured recently when she fell into an unprotected drain in a shopping center. “Meth is the poor man’s drug and frankly the Central Valley is an impoverished geographic area.”

Authorities say the science involved in creating the chemical compound continues to evolve, including an easier recipe called “Shake and Bake” that is available on the Internet. Last month, an Oklahoma woman was arrested as she walked around a WalMart store — for six hours before she was noticed — mixing ingredients for Shake and Bake.

In one of the recent attacks by meth users, Danielle Mailloux received a nine- month sentence in Bakersfield Tuesday for stabbing her 6-week-old infant in the back and cutting her along her abdomen, jaw and neck during a binge. The baby survived.

“It’s not illegal because we don’t want people to feel better. It’s illegal because it makes good people do crazy things,” said Mailloux’s defense attorney, Mark Anthony Raimondo.

In Oklahoma, authorities charged Lyndsey Fiddler with second-degree manslaughter after an aunt found her infant daughter in a washing machine thudding off balance in the spin cycle. The aunt told authorities that Fiddler had been up for three days using meth.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, last month Liehsa Henderson, high on meth, claimed to be God and told police God wanted her son to die after allegedly stabbing him in the neck with a screwdriver. The boy survived.

Last Sunday, Fresno police found Aide Mendez dead on the bathroom floor of her home. Her children — 17-month-old Aliyah Echevarria and Isaiah Echevarria, 3 — were in the bathtub. Mendez’s cousin was dead in the kitchen. She had shot each in the head. The children’s father remains hospitalized with stabbing and gunshot wounds.

Police recovered 10 grams of meth, $8,000 and scales — and the iPad the young mother used to videotape herself smoking meth.

“If she had been on it for any length of time, well it deteriorates your brain and central nervous system,” said Sue Webber-Brown, a former district attorney’s office investigator in Butte County who now advocates nationally for children in drug cases. “If you are already depressed or feel like a loser mom and you don’t have a support system and there is no hope, the meth just fuels that.”


Calexico, Calif.— U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Calexico downtown port of entry arrested a female Mexican citizen after they discovered 12 pounds of methamphetamine hidden in the vehicle she was driving.

Drugs seized by CBP officers at Calexico, CA. Port of Entry

The incident occurred yesterday at about 11:40 a.m. when officers with the port’s Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team were conducting inspections and a canine alerted to a silver 2005 Nissan Murano. Officers then escorted both the vehicle and driver to the secondary inspection area for further examination.

An intensive examination resulted in the discovery of 10 wrapped packages of methamphetamine hidden inside a non-factory compartment within the center console area. The narcotics have a street value of approximately $132,000.

The driver, a 49-year-old Lawful Permanent Resident of Norwalk, California, was turned over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who then transported her to the Imperial County Jail where she awaits arraignment.

CBP placed an immigration hold on the Mexican citizen to initiate removal from the United States at the conclusion of her criminal proceedings.

CBP seized both the vehicle and narcotic.


Authorities arrested two illegal immigrants from Boaz on illegal drug distribution charges Wednesday, the result of a federal indictment returned in December, according to U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick Maley.

Carlos Tabera Gonzalez, 37, and Efran Ramirez Calderon, 34, are charged in the indictment with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine in Marshall County from 2002 to November 2011. The indictment also charges Calderon with distributing methamphetamine on Feb. 3, 2011, in Marshall County.

Authorities executed search warrants at two Boaz residences associated with the two suspects and recovered about two pounds of methamphetamine, three handguns, ammunition, scales and about $13,000 in cash.

“Criminals with guns who are involved in trafficking dangerous and illegal drugs in our commu nities are the kind of people that we must take off our streets,” Vance said.

“I want to thank all the law enforcement agencies who have worked with the FBI to achieve the indictment and Wednesday’s arrests of these men.”

Vance said the case is part of the FBI’s Safe Streets Program, an initiative bringing together law enforcement at all levels to combat violent street crime as well as gang and drug-trafficking offenses.

The FBI, Boaz Police Department, Albertville Police Department, Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, the Marshall County Drug Enforcement Unit and the Etowah County Drug Enforcement Unit investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Hodge is prosecuting the case.

Bossier Sheriff Larry Deen says additional charges from two separate incidents have been levied against a Princeton man who was arrested nearly two weeks ago for manufacturing methamphetamine at his residence.

 Six additional drug charges were handed down to Billy J. Thomas, 29, of the 2000 block of Coastal Drive, following an investigation by narcotics agents that tied Thomas to another meth lab in south Bossier and led them to other drug and hazardous material evidence found at the Briarwood Trailer Park in Princeton.

 Thomas was initially arrested Jan. 11 on warrants issued in early November in which he was charged with two counts of the manufacture of Schedule II (meth), two counts of cruelty to juveniles (two small children were present in the house while he made meth), and two unrelated warrants. Thomas had remained at-large from November to January until someone spotted him Jan. 11 trespassing and fishing at a private pond off of Highway 157 in Haughton.

 Over the course of the next few days following Thomas’ arrest on Jan. 11, narcotics agents pieced together a puzzle that tied Thomas to another meth lab that was discovered at the residence of John A. White in the 100 block of Vantage Pointe in south Bossier. At that residence, agents found a meth lab and seized drug paraphernalia and approximately one gram of suspected methamphetamine.

 Further investigation led agents to discover that Thomas had discarded evidence from his vehicle somewhere near Coastal Drive and Winfield Road in Princeton. Agents searched the area and found on the edge of the Briarwood Trailer Park property a suitcase and backpack with clothing, a pouch with three needles, a broken metal spoon, and a red straw with residue that field tested positive for methamphetamine, all tied to Thomas.

 Additional charges for Thomas include the manufacture of Schedule II (meth), two counts of possession of Schedule II (meth), two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and reckless handling of hazardous materials.

 Thomas is currently incarcerated at the Bossier Maximum Security Facility and has a bond from all charges of $283,150.


BAY CITY — A Bay City couple police say cooked methamphetamine in the garage of their South End home is a step closer to facing a jury.

Jennifer McCarthy.JPG

Jennifer McCarthy

Matthew Heeren.JPG

Matthew Heeren


Jennifer R. McCarthy, 35, and Matthew R. Heeren, 32, on Thursday each waived their right to a preliminary hearing in Bay County District Court. District Judge Dawn A. Klida bound the pair over to circuit court, where they must either plead guilty or no contest or go to trial.

The Bay Area Narcotics Enforcement Team, or BAYANET, on Dec. 1 raided the couple’s home at 1224 Lafayette Ave. The police were tipped off by the Department of Human Services, who claimed McCarthy was neglecting her three children and that drug use was suspected.

Officers found what they described as a meth lab in a detached garage or shed behind the house. Asbury previously said that the lead investigator indicated the lab was one of the largest he’s ever seen in Bay County.

Heeren has a series of misdemeanor convictions dating back to 1998, though McCarthy appears not to have a criminal record.

Both defendants are charged with single counts of manufacturing meth, operating a meth lab and possession of meth. They remain in the Bay County Jail.


MOCANAQUA – A man authorities allege permitted his residence to be used to manufacture methamphetamine was charged by the state Office of Attorney General.


Engle Jr.


Kevin Hall, 26, of Hill Street, was arraigned Thursday night by District Judge Donald Whittaker in Nanticoke on three counts of possession of chemicals with intent to manufacture a controlled substance, two counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, and one count each of risking a catastrophe, illegal dumping of methamphetamine waste, manufacture of methamphetamine, criminal conspiracy, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Hall was released without bail.

According to the criminal complaint:

State drug agents with the Bureau of Narcotics Investigation allege Hall permitted Brian Engle Jr., 26, to use his residence to manufacture methamphetamine in the basement.

Engle was arrested by drug agents on Jan. 10 after he cooked methamphetamine, according to arrest records.

Hall’s 10-year-old son was inside the house when Engle cooked the narcotic the night of Jan. 10 when a fire erupted in the basement, arrest records say.

Engle is facing a series of drug manufacturing charges. He remains jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $120,000 bail.


TEMECULA —- The U.S. Border Patrol seized 30 pounds of methamphetamine at the Interstate 15 checkpoint just south of the city on Thursday.

The agents found 20 bundles of meth tucked inside a vehicle compartment that was searched by a K-9 team, according to a news release issued by the agency.

The suspected smugglers, who were not identified, were taken into custody and turned over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The driver was a 20-year-old man and the other occupant was a 21-year-old man. Both were identified by authorities as U.S. citizens.

The vehicle, a Hummer H3, was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol, the agency said.


Snow and freezing rain didn’t stop federal and local law enforcement officers from conducting a coordinated gang sweep in the Tri-Cities, Walla Walla and Spokane early Thursday.

Four Tri-City men and two Walla Walla men were among 25 suspects picked up on federal drug or gun charges stemming from a months-long investigation led by the Spokane Violent Crime Gang Enforcement Team.

More than eight pounds of methamphetamine, 40 guns, one grenade, 10 vehicles and about $150,000 in cash were seized during the searches, Michael C. Ormsby, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, said in a news release.

Search warrants were served in Kennewick, Prosser, Walla Walla and the Spokane area. Two areas in Oregon, Milton-Freewater and Weston, also had locations that were raided, officials said.

Those arrested were charged in federal court with numerous counts of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and other drugs, and some were charged as convicted felons in possession of guns, Ormbsy said.

“As we all know, across this country and in Eastern Washington, violent gang culture has become part of the daily lives of teachers and taxi drivers, police officers and pastors, parents and children,” said Laura M. Laughlin, FBI special agent-in-charge. “The siren song of gang life lulls too many of our youth into lives of crime, drugs and violence.”

Kennewick and Prosser police departments, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Tri-City Regional SWAT team, Tri-Cities Metro Drug Task Force and Tri-Cities Violent Gang Task Force were among the local agencies who participated in the early-morning sweep.

In Walla Walla, the police department and sheriff’s office also participated, along with the Umatilla County sheriff’s office.

Thursday’s operation was made possible by federal authorities working with state and local agencies to investigate and dismantle gang-related and other violent crime enterprises, Ormsby said.

“Without a close, daily working relationship among our local, state and federal authorities, such a cohesive, effective effort to staunch an expanding wave of organized criminal activity would be impossible,” he said.

The indictments were filed Dec. 20 and unsealed Thursday after the numerous arrests, which include: William Childs, 40, Donald Cummings, 55, and Amador Sanchez, 31, all of Kennewick; Edgar Lizarraga-Felix, 28, of Pasco, and Christopher Brotherton, 32, and Keith Hall, 42, both of Walla Walla.


Atmore man faces Meth charges

Posted: January 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

An Atmore man will face drug charges in Baldwin County after being arrested this week for manufacturing methamphetamines.


Lyndon Keith Musselwhite, along with Tina Marie Musselwhite, of Pensacola, were taken into custody Wednesday by officers with the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office Drug Task Force.

The Sheriff’s Office made the arrests after receiving information leading them to believe a methamphetamine laboratory was located inside the Musselwhite’s business, All Pro CB Shop, located on County Road Ext in the Wilcox community of Robertsdale according to a Sheriff’s Office report.

Sheriff’s Office officials said their investigation led them to a meth lab, methamphetamines, drug paraphernalia and two handguns.

Both suspects have been charged with unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance in the first degree and possession of a controlled substance.

Both suspects were transported to the Baldwin County Jail in Bay Minette and held on $30,000 bail each.

Both have since been released on bond.



FORT WORTH — A Fort Worth man with a history of sexually assaulting and abusing women has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for raping his girlfriend and dragging her into a cactus field in 2010.

Eddie Dorris II, 53, was sentenced by jurors last week to 20 years after he was found guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in the May 19, 2010, beating.

On Thursday, state District Judge George Gallagher stacked on 10 more years after he revoked Dorris’ probation for twice beating up another girlfriend in 2009.

“When you rape and beat a woman until she is unrecognizable, and leave her out in the country for coyotes, you deserve to sit in prison for 30 years,” Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney Bill Vassar said in a news release.

During the trial last week, jurors heard that Dorris had befriended the victim when she was homeless and living in a storage unit in 2010.

On May 19, 2010, Dorris became enraged and drove her to a remote area near Benbrook, got high on methamphetamine and raped her in his vehicle, the news release stated.

The woman ran away after she told him that she had to use the bathroom.

But Dorris caught up to her and dragged her across Interstate 20 and into the field, where he hit, kicked and stomped her, according to evidence in the trial.

Prosecutors said Dorris left her there but vowed to return to kill her.

The woman got up and was rescued by motorists.

During the punishment phase of the trial, the judge heard from two of Dorris’ former girlfriends that he had also raped and abused them. Dorris was on probation for assaulting one of those women when he was convicted last week.


Reno, NV– (KRNV and– As the documentary “Crystal Darkness– Meth’s Deadly Assault” airs across the Truckee Meadows, recovering addicts say their lives were forever changed by the deadly drug.

“It was about as close to hell as you could get,” says Pat Cashell, who abused the drug for 10 years. “Every day was a nightmare.

“My whole life depended on that bag of dope. What time I would wake up, if I would eat, if I was happy or sad,” Cashell says. “It controlled every aspect of my life.”

Cashell abused the drug for a decade before getting help. He has been sober for six years, but says he still regrets the effects of the drug on his family and friends, who struggled to help him.

Authorities say meth is instantly addictive because of the intense high it carries. Often, addicts say they are addicted after the first time they try the drug. Crimes like burglary, theft, even murder are linked to the use of meth because addicts are irrational.


Six people from Effingham County are in jail this afternoon, accused of operating a rolling methamphetamine lab and growing marijuana indoors.

Denny Knight

Denny Knight

Investigators received information that a Chevrolet Avalanche had a meth lab inside it, according to Effingham County sheriff’s spokesman David Ehsanipoor. They stopped the vehicle on Old Dixie Highway near Chester Thomas Road.

Inside the vehicle were: Denny Knight, 32, of Springfield; William “Bookie” Malphus, 58, of Springfield; Michael Vickery, 26, of Springfield; and Brent Moore, 27, of Clyo.

After the stop, investigators found several marijuana plants growing inside Moore’s residence off of Lee Road in Springfield, Ehsanipoor said. Two more people were arrested — Lacey Morgan, 29, of Guyton, and Robert Finch, 28, of Springfield.

“They were in the beginning stages of setting up an indoor grow lab,” Ehsanipoor said.

Knight, Malphus and Moore were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of tools during the commission of a crime, the spokesman said. Vickery was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, and manufacturing marijuana.

Finch and Morgan were charged with manufacturing marijuana.


Federal agents and local law enforcement arrested four Californians and seized seven pounds of methamphetamine in Colorado Springs today, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Denver office said.

Those arrested were Jovel Cristian, 27, Martin Martinez, 21, and Rafael Amezcua, 27, all of Los Angeles, and Vicente Martinez, 40, of Salinas, Calif.

Agents received a tip about a large shipment of drugs coming into Colorado Springs, then arrested the four at a local motel today. The meth was found in a hidden compartment in their vehicle, the DEA stated.

Since October, the DEA’s Southern Colorado Drug Task Force, which includes local agencies, has seized 70 pounds of methamphetamine and arrested 24 people.


A man who told police “I am always a gentleman to women” was convicted Wednesday of rape and murder in a verdict that took jurors less than a day to reach.


Demetrius Shaffer  also was found guilty of seven sex counts in a different attack.

Demetrius Shaffer, 32, is likely to be sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for the sex killing of Rajneet Kor Singh on Jan. 1, 2011.

He also was convicted on seven more sex counts in the Thanksgiving Day 2010 attack of another woman.   

    “We’re very happy that justice has been done,” Singh’s cousin, Mohini Singh Farias, told reporters after the jury returned the Sacramento Superior Court verdict.

According to the evidence at trial, Shaffer met up with Singh, 37, at the Rancho Cordova apartment of a mutual friend.

The two of them smoked methamphetamine together before walking across the street to the Rancho’s Club Casino on Folsom Boulevard at Mills Park Drive.

Singh’s body was found behind a brick wall a block away, about seven hours after video cameras filmed her and Shaffer leaving the casino around 3:40 a.m.

“Justice was done today,” Deputy District Attorney Thienvu Ho said.

Judge Maryanne G. Gilliard scheduled Shaffer’s sentencing for Feb. 16.

Assistant Public Defender Michael Nelson said he and his client were “disappointed” with the verdict.

“We believe the evidence pointed to another man committing the crime,” Nelson said.

Trace DNA samples found on Singh’s body did implicate other men, but the prosecutor told jurors that Shaffer’s genetic material was all over her body – including scrapings underneath her fingernails that matched the defendant.

Along with the DNA, there were the videotapes that showed Shaffer and Singh walking into the casino and then leaving together.

Ho also told jurors in his closing argument that Shaffer lied 15 times to detectives when they first questioned him about the killing.

The deputy DA said the “biggest lie of all” was the one where he told investigators, “I am always a gentleman to a woman.”

Singh’s sister, Roshil Singh, described the victim as “a loving person who had a good heart and who was always considerate of other people.”

“She was loved by countless people,” Roshil Singh said. “I want people to remember her not for how she died but for the person that she was, and that was a beautiful person.” 


SANTA CRUZ – A 62-year-old owner of a Scotts Valley television repair shop was sentenced to two years in prison on Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to having more than 1,000 images of child porn and methamphetamine.

Aladdin William Winchester

Aladdin William Winchester pleaded guilty to meth possession and possession of images of children younger than 18 engaged in sex acts, according to court records. He was arrested in August 2011 after police saw a light on at Scotts Valley TV at 218-I Mount Hermon Road about 1:30 a.m.

Police ordered Winchester out of the shop. When they went to retrieve his ID, police said they found meth, lewd pictures on the walls and child porn images on CDs.


Two men were charged Wednesday with having sex with a 17-year-old runaway from Novato after giving her methamphetamine in a motel room, a county prosecutor said.

The charges were the latest fallout from a confrontation Sunday at the Travelodge on Francisco Boulevard East. Authorities have arrested four suspects in the case, recovered a handgun and taken three small children into protective custody.

Jose Ricardo Miranda, 25, of San Rafael and Humberto Jose Espinoza, 29, of Daly City were charged with raping a drugged victim, administering drugs to commit a felony, sex with a minor and related counts, said Deputy District Attorney Tom Brown.

Police said Miranda and Espinoza were in a motel room with the girl Sunday morning when Miranda’s girlfriend burst into the room with a gunman. The girlfriend, identified as Shannon Lacey Nakooka, was jealous because she thought Miranda was cheating on her with the girl, so she enlisted the gunman to help track him down, according to police.

Miranda jumped out a second-story window and fled. The alleged gunman, Juan Manuel Ponce, then held the weapon to Espinoza’s head and demanded information about Miranda’s whereabouts, police said.

Nakooka and Ponce were arrested a short time later at Country Club Bowl in the Canal area.

The Novato runaway was returned to her parents. So was a 16-year-old runaway from Petaluma who was at the motel but not directly involved in the incident.

Police initially concluded that only Espinoza had sex with the Novato girl, but that Miranda himself had committed no crimes. Further investigation implicated Miranda as well, and police arrested him Tuesday night on Kerner Boulevard.

The district attorney’s office has also filed burglary charges against Nakooka, 24, of San Rafael and Ponce, 30, of Richmond. Ponce was also charged with assault with a firearm and gun possession by a felon.

Nakooka’s three children — ages 5, 4 and 1 — were found at her home and taken away by Child Protective Services. Miranda is the father of the 1-year-old but not the other children, police said.


NORTH LITTLE ROCK — Law enforcement officials on Tuesday announced the breakup of what they called a major drug ring in Arkansas with the arrests of 22 people in an investigation dubbed Operation Meilke Way.

U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer said the investigation, which began last March, targeted a large-scale drug trafficking organization distributing “multi-pound” quantities of methamphetamine in central, north and northeast Arkansas.

The methamphetamine was smuggled from Mexico to northern and central Arkansas for distribution in an operation that handled $500,000 worth of meth each month, Thyer said.

“We’ve shut down a major drug operation in Arkansas,” said the federal prosecutor, who was joined at a news conference by William J. Bryant, assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Arkansas, and North Little Rock Police Chief Danny Bradley.

“This operation took a significant amount of drugs off the streets,” Bryant said.

Law enforcement officers seized a little over 13 pounds of meth, seven vehicles, $163,590 in cash and five guns in the probe.

According to Thyer, the investigation also involved sheriff’s offices in Pulaski, Jefferson and Independence counties; city police agencies in Maumelle and Benton, the Arkansas State Police and the Arkansas National Guard.

Bryant said that in larger states, the drug operation set up in urban areas and distributed statewide. In Arkansas, the headquarters was in Batesville, he said.

Thyer said the genesis of the operation was a traffic stop in North Little Rock in late 2010 in which a large quantity of methamphetamine was found. Terry Wayne Green, 54, of Pleasant Plains was arrested in that stop. A subsequent indictment had been sealed until Tuesday when a superseding indictment was disclosed. Green faces one count of conspiring to possess methamphetamine with intent to deliver and one count of possession.

The DEA became involved in March 2011. Thyer said the traffic stop of Green led to the arrests announced Tuesday. He identified the suspected ringleader in Arkansas as Jorge Rojas-Olivera, 27, of Batesville, who has been charged with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine mixture and two additional counts covering smaller amounts of the drug and witness-tampering.

Thyer said the namesake of the investigation is Michael Richard Meilke, 38, of Bradford, who was charged with conspiring to possess methamphetamine, four counts of meth possession with intent to deliver and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a federal drug trafficking crime.

Thyer said the majority of the drugs involved were smuggled into the United States from Mexico to Rojas-Olivera. From that point, the indictment alleges, Meilke distributed the drug at the rate of $18-$24 a pound. Each pound was broken into 454 grams, Bryant said, and sold on the street for around $100.

Sixteen of those accused were arrested, five were issued subpoenas to appear in court, and one, Rhanda Rachael Ramey, 30, of North Little Rock, was still being sought by authorities on one count of conspiracy and two counts of possession.

Thyer said five of the 22 are in the U.S. illegally. He declined to say whether any of those arrested had ties to organized crime in Mexico.