ZANESVILLE — Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz said the investigation that ended this past week in the seizure of more than two pounds of methamphetamine has led detectives to think the drugs, known as “ice,” were manufactured in Mexico.

Lutz said hundreds of drug investigations are being conducted by the joint MCSO/Zanesville police drug unit.

The MCSO joint drug unit seized approximately two and one-half pounds of mthamphetamine, eight pounds grams of marijuana, and one loaded firearm. The street value of these drugs is more than $216,000.

The MCSO joint drug unit seized approximately two and one-half pounds of mthamphetamine, eight pounds grams of marijuana, and one loaded firearm. The street value of these drugs is more than $216,000

The May 7 arrest of Benjamin T. Ortiz, 38, at his home marked the conclusion of more than six months of investigative work through the drug unit. Lutz commended the work of all the departments involved in the investigation — MCSO, the South Zanesville Police Department, Zanesville Police Department, Central Ohio Drug Task Force and the Perry County Sheriff’s Office — and described how the work has paid off.

“When people out in the public don’t see splashes every day about drugs busts, they think sometimes that we’re not doing anything or that there are no drugs in our community,” Lutz said. “But these investigations take a lot of work. They take a lot of time and energy by our narcotics team, but in the end we’re taking huge amount of illegal drugs off the streets.”

Ortiz has been charged by Muskingum County Prosecutor Mike Haddox with one count each of possession of drugs, a first-degree felony; trafficking drugs, a second-degree felony; and having weapons while under disability, a third-degree felony.

Authorities seized almost two and a half pounds of meth and more than eight pounds of marijuana. Lutz ranked the severity of the seizure as a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most severe.

“The volume of drugs we believe this guy was getting in, the distribution component, I think all those things play a part in how dangerous this situation is,” Lutz said.

The drug unit responsible for the bust is comprised of three members from MCSO, and one from the Zanesville Police Department. Lutz said the detectives work together to maintain a constant watch over the hundreds of open cases they’re responsible for.

More than eight pounds of marijuana was confiscated by the MCSO drug unit during its investigation of Benjamin Ortiz.

 More than eight pounds of marijuana was confiscated by the MCSO drug unit during its investigation of Benjamin Ortiz


“It is a never-ending situation,” Lutz said. “We know where a lot of these drugs are at. It’s just a matter of being able to get to them. This was a case where … everything fell into place.”

Ortiz had been under investigation since fall 2012, when 85 grams of methamphetamine was seized from a U.S. mail package in Zanesville.

Detective Matt Wilhite said the particular variety of drugs seized is known on the street as “Mexican ice” or “Crystal ice,” and requires a large lab to manufacture. The drug can be sold for up to $200 per gram. Wilhite said locally-made methamphetamine is a more powery type of substance of a lower quality.

Lutz described the situation as a major bust, involving a major dealer.

“The volume of drugs we believe this guy was getting in, the distribution component, I think all those things play a part in how dangerous this situation is,” Lutz said.

Lutz confirmed that the suspect was from outside the Zanesville area, but said he could not release additional information until the case is closed.

Ortiz is facing eight years in prison if convicted. He remains in Muskingum County Jail on $1,000,000 bond.

“It’s a huge hit for our drug unit,” Lutz said. “These guys are relentless.”



An Arlington man was charged with Methamphetamine possession after a friend overdosed in a hotel room on Tuesday morning, according to police.

Boston Police officers responded to a report of an unconscious man at 10:40 a.m. at the Howard Johnson hotel at 1271 Boylston Street on May 14.

By the time police arrived, EMTs had treated the man, who had reportedly overdosed on methamphetamine. He was transported to Brigham and Women’s Hospital for further treatment.

The man allegedly told police that he and another man had been taking methamphetamine and there was more in the refrigerator in the hotel room. Police said the man opened up the refrigerator and took out a cookie bag with two plastic baggies with meth in them. One EMT also found an open syringe in the suspect’s pocket, and officers found four needles in a backpack.

Officers placed the other man, Douglas Rose of 125 Palmer St. Arlington under arrest and charged him with possession of a Class A substance.


YAKIMA, Wash. — A driver who was high on methamphetamine when he hit two boys waiting for a school bus in Yakima was sentenced Thursday to 15 months in prison.

Benjamin Lea McKenzie pleaded guilty to vehicular assault in a plea bargain with prosecutors who dismissed drug charges against the 32-year-old.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports ( the boys – 10-year-old Chris Sanchez and his 11-year-old brother Israel – are recovering from broken bones they suffered in the October accident just outside their home.


SANDCUT — Acting on community tips and other information, Indiana State Police troopers from the Putnamville District Meth Lab Enforcement Team were led to a rural Vigo County residence where they arrested the homeowner on meth-related charges and a female companion on a Clay County warrant for driving while suspended.

Troopers found an active “one-pot” meth lab when they executed a search warrant at about 3 p.m. Monday at a residence in the 12000 block of East Lark Road in northeastern Vigo County. Troopers also found about 2.5 grams of finished methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia items.

Arrested were David L. Hoover, 45, of Rosedale, on class-B felony charges of manufacturing methamphetamine and dealing methamphetamine, as well as class-D felony charges of possession of methamphetamine, possession of precursors, illegal dumping of controlled waste, maintaining common nuisance, and class-A misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia.

He was booked into the Vigo County Jail.

Randi M. Brown, 44, also of rural Rosedale, was arrested on the Clay County warrant.

Investigating were ISP troopers B.J. Patterson and Brent Robinson with assistance from ISP troopers Don Curtis, Michael Featherling, and Michael Organ.

The Putnamville District is comprised of Parke, Vermillion, Vigo, Clay, Putnam, and Sullivan counties. To report illegal drug activity, call the Putnamville Post at 765-653-4114. Callers can remain anonymous.



West Africa has found a new niche in the international drug trade.




In January, a “big scale, serious methamphetamine lab” was discovered near Lagos, nigeria.

It was the third lab to be uncovered since 2011, Pierre Lapaque, regional representative for the united nations office on drugs and crime (unodc), tells The Africa Report.

West Africa’s role in the international drug trade is changing.

Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Benin and senegal have been used as transit points for narcotics from Latin America onwards to europe and Asia.

Now “the region is shifting from a transit and consumer place to a producing place,” Lapaque says.

“Nigerian criminal groups have quickly identified methamphetamine production as a niche.”

Methamphetamine or ‘crystal meth’ is a highly addictive drug that can be manufactured from common nasal decongestants, which are easily bought in West Africa because there are few controls on the sale of the drugs.

Traffickers exported an estimated 3,000kg of meth from Africa to Asia in 2010, the unodc says.

A kilogramme of the drug costs $200,000 in tokyo, whereas production in West Africa costs a tenth of that, Lapaque explains.

While meth production is rising in West Africa, production in South Africa – where cape town has the world’s highest per capita consumption of methamphetamine – has dropped.

Lapaque says weak governance is the reason West Africa has overtaken south Africa in the trade.

“As long as you have weak rule of law, as long as you can pay your way out of jail and find people to assist you for a couple of dollars, there is no good reason to leave West Africa,” he argues.

The United States government is attempting to strengthen drug enforcement activities off the West African coast.

US authorities arrested former Guinea-Bissauan naval chief José Américo Bubo Na Tchuto off the Atlantic coast in April and will try him for drug smuggling●


A federal grand jury has indicted two men on federal conspiracy and money-laundering charges linked to large-scale methamphetamine and cocaine trafficking in Amarillo and other cities.

Rodolfo Alcorta Jr.

 Rodolfo Alcorta Jr.

Juan Gabriel Mejia and Fabian Orlando Ortega of Dallas were indicted by a Lubbock federal grand jury Wednesday on two counts of conspiracy to commit a drug offense, a money-laundering-related charge; possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine — aiding and abetting; possession with intent to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine — aiding and abetting.

One of the indictments alleges the men conspired with Victor Deangelo Brooks, Thomas Tallant, Kitprasong Chanthavong, Rodolfo Alcorta Jr., Reymundo Uriel Haro, Vongsavat Sayasane, Roberto Juan Martinez and others unknown to the grand jury to distribute more than 5 pounds of cocaine between January 2008 and January 2009.

Mejia also was indicted on a money-laundering charge alleging he received about $125,000 in cash from an unknown Mexican national, money authorities said was linked to drug trafficking. Mejia and Ortega also were indicted on drug-trafficking charges of possessing more than 14 pounds of methamphetamine and more than 8 pounds of cocaine.

Another drug-conspiracy indictment alleges the men conspired to distribute more than 10 pounds of cocaine.

Last year, Alcorta was sentenced to serve more than 16 years in federal prison after state troopers discovered methamphetamine in a 2008 traffic stop.

On Sept. 13, 2008, troopers stopped Chanthavong, a co-defendant in the case, for speeding in Donley County. The trooper searched his 2002 Acura MDX and found about 3 pounds of methamphetamine in a hidden compartment after Chanthavong consented to the search, according to court records.

Drug Enforcement Administration agents interviewed Chanthavong, who said he was going from Dallas to Amarillo, where he lived, according to court documents. Chanthavong told agents a person known as “Root” would pick up the SUV from Chanthavong’s house on Dahlia Street, court documents said.

Under DEA supervision, Chanthavong called Root to pick up the vehicle, and Alcorta showed up and began to drive away with the drugs in the vehicle, court records show. Authorities arrested Alcorta after he left the Dahlia Street house, and he told federal agents he knew drugs were hidden inside the SUV.

DEA agents had wired the SUV with a GPS tracking device less than two months before the stop, court records said. A confidential informant told federal agents the Acura was used to transport large quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine.

Chanthavong was sentenced in May 2010 to more than seven years in prison after he pleaded guilty to methamphetamine trafficking. Brooks, Tallant and Roberto Juan Martinez pleaded guilty to the same charge.

Brooks was sentenced to nine years after he made a partial payment to a DEA informant for about 4.5 pounds of methamphetamine, court records said.

Chanthavong called Tallant on Sept. 13, 2008, to pick up the Acura SUV from the North Park Mall parking lot in Dallas before heading to Amarillo. Tallant received nearly 17 years in prison.

Nearly a month later, federal agents searched an Amarillo home in the 3300 block of Lenwood Drive and found Martinez dismantling a 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser, a complaint said.

Authorities later found more than 11 pounds of methamphetamine in a compartment above one of the rear tires, court records show. Martinez received a seven-year sentence.

Charges against Haro were dismissed after he cooperated in the investigation. Sayasane was sentenced in 2010 to serve more than 20 years in federal prison on conspiracy and meth distribution charges.

In 2010, Martinez was sentenced to serve seven years in federal prison on meth trafficking and aiding and abetting charges.



Kirksville — Kirksville Police identified a suspect in connection with last week’s stolen item bust at the Westbury Trailer Court and are pursuing him as the Fugitive of the Week, warning that he may be armed and dangerous.

Jackie Lee Potter, 35, was charged Tuesday with 16 felony offenses including manufacturing methamphetamine and 10 counts of stealing including seven of those involving offenses involving firearms.

Jackie Potter (KPD) 

Jackie Potter

Police searched Potter’s trailer last Thursday at 2105 Westbury Lane and allegedly recovered more than $15,000 in reportedly stolen items including 10 rifles, power tools, flat screen televisions and electronics.

Detective Justin Jones said evidence at the trailer, including the items allegedly stolen from Adair and Sullivan county addresses since January and active methamphetamine labs in a shed behind the trailer, led police to seek Potter as the primary suspect.

Jones also said that more than 10 stolen handguns are still outstanding from the area burglaries and warned residents that Potter may be armed and dangerous.

According to the Fugitive of the Week information, Potter has family and other ties to the Kirksville area and is believed to still be in the area.

Potter is described as a white male, 5-feet-9-inches tall and weighing about 220 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes.

Potter reportedly has a large mole on the right front portion of his neck, a cross tattoo on his left hand and on his upper left arm and a tattoo of a skull with a hat on his right upper arm.

Potter was charged Tuesday with the class B felony of manufacturing methamphetamine, the class C felony of possession of a controlled substance other than marijuana, three counts of the class C felony of second-degree burglary, three counts of the class C felony of theft of items valued between $500 and $25,000, seven counts of the class C felony of theft of a firearm and the class C felony of unlawful possession of a firearm.

Anyone with information regarding Potter’s location is encouraged to contact the Kirksville Police Department at (660) 785-6945, Central Dispatch at (660) 665-5621 or anonymously at (660) 627-BUST or by email at



KLAMATH FALLS, Oregon — A Klamath County grand jury has returned indictments against 47 people in last week’s drug raids in Klamath County.

The indictments handed up Tuesday show 28 people indicted on racketeering charges, which allege they were part of a criminal enterprise dating to last October that was devoted to selling methamphetamine.

District Attorney Rob Patridge says those facing racketeering charges could be sentenced to as much as 18 years in prison if convicted.

Fifteen people are facing drug charges, alleging they sold or possessed methamphetamine.

Four people were indicted on prostitution charges along with drug charges.

Some 300 police made a series of pre-dawn raids last week, primarily in rural parts of Klamath County, rounding up what authorities called a ring dealing in methamphetamine and guns.



TURLOCK, Calif. – A 60-year-old man was arrested in Turlock Tuesday after officers executed a search warrant at a home on N. Olive Avenue.

Robert Gamboa, 60

According to Sergeant Steve Webb of the Turlock Police Dept., the Turlock Police Narcotics Enforcement Team entered the home on the 1000 block of N. Olive Ave. and located individually packaged bags of crystal methamphetamine totaling more than 30 grams. During the search, officers also recovered additional packaging, cash and other items generally used in the sale of narcotics.

Robert Gamboa, 60, was arrested at the scene and booked into Stanislaus County Jail for possession of methamphetamine for sales, and transportation of methamphetamine, said Webb.



ALPINE– A man in Alpine is accused of a drug trafficking operation that ran across state lines. The operation was eventually stopped by U.S. Postal Inspectors in El Paso.
Federal investigators believe Alpine resident Daniel Edward Johnson was receiving drugs like methamphetamine through the mail with intent to distribute it to other people. A criminal complaint indicates inspectors found something suspicious in a parcel. Inspectors said after a federal search warrant was obtained, they found two glass jars that contained marijuana and three plastic bags of methamphetamine.
The parcel was addressed to Johnson in Alpine. Inspectors along with the Drug Enforcement Agency and local enforcement jumped into action and sent an undercover agent to pose as an employee at the post office in Alpine.
They found out that Johnson had previously been arrested in Brewster County and had a criminal history in California where he was arrested for having illegal drugs and had at least one conviction.
Federal investigators were able to obtain a mug shot of Johnson and then identified him at the post office after placing a note in his box saying he had a package ready to be picked up. Court documents state that after Johnson picked up the parcel, he was immediately arrested and questioned by authorities.
He claimed he had no idea and was waiting for energy pills from a nationwide health store. However, after investigators revealed to him what they found, Johnson ended the interview.
He gave authorities permission to search his Alpine home and they found more drugs and several money order receipts that were made payable to multiple people in Lancaster, California. Those items were seized.
Johnson will appear before a federal judge in Pecos on Monday morning.

Seven people have been arrested in Bangkok in possession of 400,000 methamphetamine pills, or “yaba”, and 7kg of crystal methamphetamine, or “ice”.

Pol Lt-Gen Chaiwat Chotima, chief of the Narcotics Suppression Bureau, said police, acting on information from detectives, arrested Kyaw Soe, or Sing, 28, a Myanmar national, and seized the drugs in a search of a house in Soi Navamin 70 in Bung Kum district.

Information gained from him led to the arrest of the six others, who were couriers in his drug network.

NSB police seized from them 10 mobile phones, three cars, three handguns and some bullets.

They were charged with having illicit drugs in their possession with intent to sell.



A 25-year-old Clare woman has been charged with two felonies in connection with a methamphetamine lab explosion in February that left a man in critical condition.

Clare County District Judge Joshua Farrell arraigned Mandy Jo Yancer Wednesday on two counts of controlled substance/maintaining a lab near specified places.

Mandy Jo Yancer


Yancer is being held in the Clare County Jail in Harrison in lieu of $500,000 bond.

 She is accused of having a meth lab in her rented home in the 800 block of East Fifth Street in Clare, which exploded Feb. 15, critically injuring 32-year-old Brent Michael Mogg.
 Mogg, who was severely burned in the explosion and was treated at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, is also named in an arrest warrant but because he is recuperating in a rehabilitation center, he has not yet been arrested, Clare Police Capt. David Saad said.

Yancer faces a preliminary hearing May 28 at 2 p.m. in Farrell’s Harrison courtroom.

When the explosion happened, Clare firefighters were called to the scene, and notified Clare police when they found evidence of an improper mix of chemicals used to make methamphetamine, Clare Police Chief Brian Gregory said.


Customs officers in NSW have seized 72 litres of liquid methamphetamine disguised as shampoo and hair dye with a street value of up to $43 million and arrested two men.

Customs officers intercepted the liquid in a consignment of hairdressing equipment imported from China last weekend.

They detected the methamphetamine after X-raying a pallet of shampoo, conditioner and hair colouring products.

“We have disrupted the activities of a drug syndicate and prevented methamphetamine arriving on Australian streets,” said Australian Federal Police (AFP) Sydney office manager Ray Johnson.

“It’s a significant impact on organised crime.”

After the arrival of the drugs in Sydney, the AFP allowed the products to be delivered under surveillance and arrested two men on Friday morning.

They would not disclose where the arrests were made for operational reasons.

A 35-year-old man and a 43-year-old man, both Hong Kong nationals, were charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of illicit drugs.

They were due to appear in court in Sydney on Friday.

In the last financial year, police and customs seized a total of 4.8 tonnes of illicit drugs, with a street value of $1.6 billion, Mr Johnson said.

The NSW manager of Customs’ container examination facility, Paul Willard, said they were aware of the different ways criminals attempted to avoid detection of drugs.

“Criminals should be aware that we have the examination skills, supported by cutting-edge technology, to detect even the most sophisticated concealments,” he said in a statement.

The maximum penalty for offences such as these is life imprisonment and/or a $1.275 million fine.

The investigation is continuing and police have not ruled out further arrests.


When Robert Pancake of Valley View Auto Parts in Nelsonville purchased a 1997 Chevrolet Tahoe for only $700, he received a lot more than he expected.

A bag of clothes in the rear cargo area of the Tahoe contained a plastic bag, wrapped in black tape, which concealed a significant amount of a white, powdery substance. Testing of the substance determined it was 777 grams of methamphetamine with a street value of nearly $78,500. 

“After being in this business for 30-plus years not much surprises me anymore, but I couldn’t believe someone would leave that in there,” Pancake told The Messenger.

Nearly $80,000 in meth confiscated



Pancake said he placed a sealed bid for the Tahoe on the website which, according to the site, remarkets all types of vehicles, including commercial, industrial, cars, trucks, motorcycles, etc. Pancake placed the $700 bid on the Tahoe because he wanted to use the vehicle for parts, but when he found the concealed bag he immediately called the Athens County Sheriff’s Office.

According to Sheriff Patrick Kelly, Deputy John Morris responded to the business and tested the powder to see if it was cocaine or heroin, but both tests were negative. Morris took the substance back to the office and tested the powder for methamphetamine. It tested positive.

Kelly told The Messenger Thursday that DNA tests are being run on the bag and that he is working with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles for background on the Tahoe.

Kelly said the vehicle could have reached auction after being confiscated by a law enforcement agency, it may have been towed and never claimed or could have been taken after an accident. He said it’s not unusual for items to be left in vehicles when they go to auction. However, in this case, leaving nearly $80,000 worth of methamphetamine would qualify as unusual.

Kelly noted that it might be difficult to charge anyone with a crime, however, due to the circumstances in the case. In the meantime, the incident remains under investigation.


KNOXVILLE — A 31-year-old South Knoxville woman whose van erupted in flames outside her Maryville Pike apartment building has been charged with trying to make methamphetamine.

Police charged Deanna Renee Fisher, who gave a 146 Maryville Pike address, with initiation of process to manufacture methamphetamine, records show.


Fisher was arrested after her van caught fire at 146 Maryville Pike about 3:06 p.m. Wednesday.


She also was charged with failure to appear in court on a shoplifting charge from Aug. 3, 2012, in which she allegedly pilfered an item from a Pilot station, records show. She also has an outstanding warrant on failure to obey a court order.

Fisher was being held Thursday in jail in lieu of a total of $11,547 in bonds, according to records.

Firefighters responded to the burning van and discovered suspicious chemicals inside, said Knoxville Police Department spokesman Darrell DeBusk.

“According to the preliminary investigation, a pot ruptured while being used to manufacture the illegal substance,” DeBusk said. “The interior of the van was quickly engulfed in flames.”

Police impounded the van as part of the investigation. No one was injured during the blaze.

Fisher, according to records, told police she had parked her van and entered an unidentified business located in the apartment building. She said someone alerted her that the van was on fire, records show.

BROOKVILLE, IND. — A Franklin County woman was arrested Wednesday after authorities said they found a meth lab in her Laurel home.

Carla Taggart, 48, of Laurel, was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine (a Class B felony), possession of precursors used in methamphetamine manufacturing, possession of methamphetamine and maintaining a common nuisance (Class D felonies.) Taggart is held in the Franklin County Jail.

The Indiana State Police Pendleton District meth squad served a search warrant Wednesday on Taggart’s residence on Old U.S. 52. Officers obtained the warrant after receiving tips in an ongoing meth investigation, ISP Sgt. John Bowling said in a statement. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department and the Rushville City Drug Task Force assisted with the arrest.



BELLE, West Virginia — State police with a search warrant say they found an estimated 100 weapons at a home in Belle.

In an investigation that was still unfolding Wednesday night, media reports say the discovery also included methamphetamine, marijuana and cash.

One officer on the scene said the firearms were found throughout the home — in the attic, beside a bed, and elsewhere.

A man was arrested in connection with the search. He told reporters at the scene he collects guns.

Police said the suspect is a convicted felon and not allowed to possess a gun.



MANSFIELD — Tuesday night’s methamphetamine lab bust on Annadale Avenue caught a number of neighbors by surprise.

So, police are getting the word out about what to look for when it comes to local meth labs. Mansfield police Capt. Ken Coontz, the commander of METRICH, said authorities are seeing an increase in “one-pot” meth-making in the 10-county region.

Middlebrook Meadows meth lab

Local law enforcement raided an apartment in the Middlebrook Meadows Apartments on Annadale Avenue on Tuesday night and discovered a meth lab in operation


“The meth-making process has developed and been streamlined from using big containers or pots and complex formulas to a ‘one-pot’ method where all ingredients are in a plastic bottle and can be done in a car or a restroom and can create a liquid fire,” Coontz said.

Methamphetamine can be made with all sorts of common objects, including ammonia, ether, batteries that are torn or peeled open to expose lithium, and products containing pseudoephedrine, such as sinus medication. The strong smell of ammonia or other cleaning products is a tip-off, “any type of strong chemical smell.”

“Any type of tubing coming from containers like a plastic pop bottle, mason jars, is a huge red flag,” Coontz said.

Coleman fuel, gasoline containers or a five-gallon bucket are among the contents most often used, he said.

There have been documented cases in Michigan where some have used glass containers to cook the chemicals, which have exploded and killed people because the pressure builds.

A large amount of trash also is a strong sign, as meth labs go through massive amounts of plastic soda bottles, duct tape, coffee filters and sandwich baggies. If coffee filters have red stains, police say that should raise suspicions.

Landlords and neighbors can look for several unusual products in bulk, including drain cleaners, cold packs, paint thinner and propane.

Symptoms also can help residents determine if someone is using meth.

Tooth decay is one of the most common side effects of meth abuse, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Acid in the drug weakens tooth enamel and causes the mouth to dry.

Unexplained tooth decay over a short period of time, especially in teenagers and young adults, should raise concern of meth usage. Red sores on the body could be another sign.

In terms of a changing personality, ODH says meth users tend to be irritable, confused, anxious, paranoid and aggressive.

The drug also acts as an appetite suppressant, making users look skinny and malnourished. Effects of the drug can cause users to go a long period of time without sleeping. Addiction to it can cause damage to the heart, liver, kidneys and brain. In some cases, users can have strokes, fall into comas and die from using methamphetamine.

WICHITA, Kansas — The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Department making a significant meth bust early Saturday.

It happened at 3:17 a.m. in the 19900 block of West Highway 54.

Deputies stopped a woman for a traffic violation.

They conducted a search of her vehicle and found two packages containing three pounds of methamphetamine.

“It is a terrific seizure,” said Lt. David Mattingly, Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Department. “She was passing through the city.”

The driver, a 32-year-old Arizona woman, was booked for possession with intent to sell methamphetamine.

The street value of the meth is estimated to be between $60,000 to $70,000 according to Mattingly.



CLARKSVILLE, TENN. — The 19th Judicial Drug Task Force discovered several one-pot methamphetamine labs inside a home on Bob White Drive Wednesday morning.

According to Jamie Dexter, public information officer for the DTF, several hours were spent at the home dismantling the meth labs and cleaning the scene.

“We executed a search warrant on the home and found several methamphetamine lab components,” said Captain Jesse Reynolds, director of the 19th JDDTF.

Bob White Drive, a dead end street off of Britton Springs Road in West Clarksville, was blocked off by Clarksville Fire Rescue for several hours as the investigation continued.

A Drug Task Force agent investigates several one-pot methamphetamine labs found at a Bob White Drive home.

 A Drug Task Force agent investigates several one-pot methamphetamine labs found at a Bob White Drive home


A Drug Task Force agent investigates several one-pot methamphetamine labs found at a Bob White Drive home.

A Drug Task Force agent investigates several one-pot methamphetamine labs found at a Bob White Drive home

As with every structure where methamphetamines are found, the property was condemned by drug agents, Dexter said

Jerry Whitmore, a resident on Bob White, said he was shocked when he came outside to wash his truck before going to a doctor’s appointment and saw emergency workers.

“A neighbor told me they found a meth lab a couple of doors down from me and they weren’t letting anybody off the street,” Whitmore said.

Whitmore said the neighborhood is very quiet and nothing bad has happened on the street.

He said it was scary knowing something like that was going on near his home.

While attempting to secure the house, agents found three pit bull dogs on the property and three puppies. Two of the adult dogs began to fight, prompting one of the agents to attempt to separate them, and one of the dog’s teeth grazed the agent’s skin, according to a news release from Dexter.

The agent received medical attention and was medically cleared.

The animals weren’t harmed and were released to Animal Control.

Clarksville Fire Rescue set up a decontamination area for the agents and suspects involved, and Montgomery County EMS was on hand to ensure the safety of those on scene.

Deputies from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office also assisted.

“As always, this was a great multi-agency team effort,” Reynolds said. “We always appreciate the support of the other agencies when we’re dealing with something like this.”

Arrests are pending, Dexter said.



GRANTS PASS, Ore.—More than 300 local, state and federal officers, some in camouflage gear and helmets, fanned out across rural Klamath County in the pre-dawn darkness Wednesday and arrested 38 people accused of operating a methamphetamine and gun distribution network connected to Mexican drug cartels. Ten more were still sought.

Darin Tweedt, chief counsel of the criminal division of the Oregon Department of Justice, said the raids were the culmination of an eight-month investigation dubbed Operation Trojan Horse. It started last October when agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives came to the state criminal division with information about the ring. State authorities enlisted the help of local authorities and other federal agencies, and the investigation snowballed.

“We have evidence that shows they are linked to the cartels,” Tweedt said of those arrested. “The goal of this particular operation was to send a pretty clear signal that we are not neglecting to enforce narcotics laws in rural Oregon counties. We cast a pretty wide net.”

In the course of searching 23 homes and businesses in Klamath Falls and outlying rural communities, police also seized 4 pounds of methamphetamine and 50 guns.

The Herald and News newspaper reported officers used flash-bang grenades and forced their way in to some homes.

“This operation takes a big group of suspected meth dealers off our streets,” Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said in a statement.

Nearly all of the methamphetamine and heroin available in Oregon comes through Mexico, said Chris Gibson, Oregon director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas. Mexican gangs are also responsible for most of the large marijuana being grown illegally on remote national forest lands in Oregon.

The agency’s statistics showed that seizures of methamphetamine and guns in Oregon have been trending upward since 2008, along with drug arrests. Seizures of marijuana and cocaine are down. And seizures of heroin and prescription drugs are up.

Law enforcement taskforces report they are currently investigating 47 drug gangs in Oregon, 24 of which are described as Mexican or Hispanic, Gibson said.

Tweedt refused to comment on whether the ring was connected to the killing last fall of two California men whose bodies were found buried on an abandoned ranch outside the rural community of Bonanza, where some of the arrests were carried out. The slain men were identified as Ricardo Jauregui, 38, of Oakley, Calif., and Everado Mendez-Ceja, 32, of Richmond, Calif. They had told their families they were going to Oregon to buy a horse and hay. Their truck was burned.

The arrests overwhelmed the local jail, which has closed whole sections due to budget cuts related to the loss of federal timber subsidies. Tweedt said the Klamath County sheriff opened unused sections to accommodate all the people being arrested. More arrests were expected as police continued serving warrants. Klamath County Circuit Court started arraigning the first of those arrested. A grand jury will start considering indictments next week.

Tweedt said the drugs were manufactured somewhere else then distributed around Klamath County and neighboring rural areas. Very little methamphetamine has been made in Oregon since laws went into effect regulating the sale of cold medicines, which can be used in making the chemical.

Among the 19 people arraigned was Jose Buenaventura Vinals, 50, of Klamath Falls, District Attorney Rob Patridge said. He was charged with two counts of racketeering and two counts of selling methamphetamine. The district attorney’s information alleged that Vinals was involved with at least six other people in a criminal enterprise dating back to Oct. 1, 2012. Others arrested included men and women ranging in age from 22 to 49 from Bonanza, Chiloquin, Beatty and Klamath Falls.


A woman driving under the influence of methamphetamine and other drugs who ran over and killed a 6-year-old boy walking to school last year and injured his 8-year-old brother pleaded no contest Tuesday to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

Tresa Bales-Sterba, who was 52 at the time of the fatal 8 a.m. collision on Oct. 5, is facing a maximum term of 15 years in state prison. Free on $200,000 bail, Bales-Sterba will be sentenced July 15 by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Laurel D. White.

Prosecutors said Bales-Sterba ran a red light while speeding through an intersection in Citrus Heights at Mariposa Avenue and Greenback Lane.

According to police reports, Bales-Sterba’s Chrysler 300 hit a Chevrolet Suburban and then spun into Henry Perez-Rocha and his big brother Juan. Henry died Jan. 16 at UC Davis Medical Center. Juan was released from the hospital four days after the wreck.

The two boys were walking in the crosswalk with their mother to Skycrest Elementary School at the time of the collision.


RADCLIFF – The site of a routine traffic stop on Route 160 turned into a crime scene late Wednesday when a Highway Patrol trooper uncovered what appeared to be chemicals used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Vinton County Sheriff’s deputies and personnel from the Hamden Fire Department and Vinton County Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene.

Authorities uncover meth chemicals, 3 suspects under arrest



Inside the vehicle authorities found meth-making chemicals, meth manufacturing equipment and an undetermined amount of meth.

According to Highway Patrol Lt. Taulbee, three suspects, two males and a female, are in custody charged with allegedly manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of meth-making chemicals and possession of methamphetamine. The identity of the suspects has not been released.

Firefighters and a sheriff’s deputy from a neighboring county neutralized the chemicals. After the contents of the vehicle were inventoried and the vehicle was towed from the scene.

This is a developing story. The Courier will post more information as it becomes available.



OKLAHOMA CITY —Wednesday a man could learn when he will face a trial in the death of his teenaged sister.

Man charged in sister's drug death

A 28-year-old man from Purcell is charged with killing his sister by injecting her with methamphetamine.


Prosecutors have charged Chance Wilson with first-degree murder. They say he gave his 16-year-old sister Saleda Wilson a deadly dose of methamphetamine.

Wilson’s co-worker told police he saw the suspect inject his sister with meth in an Oklahoma City home last year. Court documents claim more was injected into the teen the next morning.

Later that day, police said Saleda’s dad came home to find her dead. The state medical examiner ruled she died of meth toxicity.


NEWTON NC – A grand jury returned indictments on 99 felony charges against 13 suspects for the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine in Burke and Catawba counties last week, according to a release from the office of Jay Gaither, District Attorney.

The indictments are the result of an investigation conducted by the SBI under the code name “Baker’s Dozen,” according to the release.

Assisting the SBI with the investigation were the Long View Police Department, Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, Burke County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Task Force, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Baker's Dozen

Baker's Dozen

 Baker's Dozen

Baker's Dozen

Baker's Dozen

Baker's dozen

Indictments were handed down against:

  • Bobby Lee Biddix, 35, aka “Chester,” of Hickory. Indicted for 16 counts felony possess/distribute methamphetamine precursor chemicals, one count felony conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, and one count habitual felon status. Biddix is being held under no bond in the North Carolina Division of Adult Correction. He is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Newton on July 8.
  • Mark Allan Biddix, 41, aka “King of Shake,” of Hickory. Indicted for 11 counts felony possess/distribute methamphetamine precursor chemicals, two counts felony conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, and one count felony manufacture methamphetamine. He is being held under no bond at the Catawba County jail. He is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Newton on July 8.
  • Joseph Cornell Bright, Jr., 40, aka “Jo Jo,” of Hickory. Three counts felony possess/distribute methamphetamine precursor chemicals, one count felony conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, and habitual felon status. He is being held under no bond at the Catawba County jail. He is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Newton on July 8.
  • Tammy Delores Bright, 46, aka “Six Toes,” of Hickory. One count felony conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. She is being held under no bond at the Catawba County jail and is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Newton on July 8.
  • Eric Louis Brown, 24, aka “Eric Downtown Brown,” of Connelly Springs. Indicted for eight counts felony possess/distribute methamphetamine precursor chemicals, and one count felony manufacture methamphetamine. He is being held under no bond at the Catawba County jail. He is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Newton on July 8.
  • James Boyd Hefner, 42, aka “Mamma’s Boy,” of Hickory. Indicted for 10 counts felony possess/distribute methamphetamine precursor chemicals, and felony conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. He is being held under no bond at the Catawba County jail. He is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Newton on July 8.
  • Dustin Thomas Miller, 24, aka “Dubb,” of Connelly Springs. One count felony conspiracy to possess/distribute methamphetamine precursor chemicals, and one count felony conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. He is being held under no bond at the Burke County jail. He is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Newton on July 8.
  • Dwayne Winfred Orders, 35, aka “the Comet,” of Connelly Springs. Indicted on six counts felony possess/distribute methamphetamine precursor chemicals, three counts felony conspiracy to possess/distribute methamphetamine precursor chemicals and one count felony conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. He is being held under no bond at the Catawba County jail. He is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Newton on July 8.
  • Sharon Freeman Orders, 53, aka “Mamma Orders,” of Connelly Springs. Indicted for three counts felony possess/distribute methamphetamine precursor chemicals, and one count felony conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. She is being held under no bond at the Catawba County jail and is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Newton on July 8.
  • Thaddeus Lane Parker, 41, aka “Tex,” of Connelly Springs. Indicted for six counts felony possess/distribute methamphetamine precursor chemicals, five counts felony conspiracy to possess/distribute methamphetamine precursor chemicals, two counts felony conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, one count felony manufacture methamphetamine, and one count felony continuing criminal enterprise. He is being held under no bond at the Catawba County jail. He is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Newton on July 8.
  • Clarissa Leann Speck, 32, aka “Clarissa Parker,” of Connelly Springs. Indicted on five counts felony possess/distribute methamphetamine precursor chemicals and one count felony conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. She was given a $30,000 secured bond and is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Newton on July 8.
  • Alee Vang, 24, of Connelly Springs. Indicted for one count felony conspiracy to possess/distribute methamphetamine precursor chemicals, and one count felony conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine.
  • Amy Byrd Whitis, 34, aka “Amy Marie Whitis,” of Morganton. Indicted for two counts felony possess/distribute methamphetamine precursor chemicals and one count felony conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine.

According to the release, further charges may be filed as a result of the ongoing investigation.