Twelve Polk County jurors found a Humansville man guilty of statutory sodomy in the first degree and statutory rape in the first degree.

The trial was the second one for Eddie W. Cook, 47. In a trial Jan. 19-20, a different set of jurors only agreed that they could not agree after four hours of deliberation. Associate Circuit Judge Kenneth F. Thompson of Webster County presided over both trials.

Jurors the second time around were presented with four additional witnesses called by Prosecutor Ken Ashlock and physical evidence introduced by the state.

The victim in the case, now 14, testified at both trials about her relationship with Cook, her mother’s fiancé at the time of the allegations — from July 28, 2008, to Aug. 26, 2009. She was 13 years old at the time.

“We would argue and disagree a lot about things,” the juvenile said. “We just seemed to always butt heads and never get along.”

That changed when Cook began engaging in sexual activity with her, the girl said.

“He would be a lot nicer. If I wanted to go see a friend, it would be a kind of, ‘I’ll let you go if you do this for me.’”

If she told Cook no when he approached her, he would get angry and ignore her, sometimes for several days.

“If I didn’t give in a while after his asking, he would just ignore me completely until I said yes,” she said.

Though she remembered discussing with her mom what to do if she was ever abused, Cook threatened her about telling anyone, the juvenile said.

“He told me that I don’t need to tell anyone, that I shouldn’t. He said that I’d be taken away from my family to a place with white walls no one knows so nobody could hear my screams.”

Cook testified that he served as a father figure and disciplinarian for the juvenile, but that his authority was undermined by the girl’s mother.

“She heard time and time again that I wasn’t her father and I didn’t have the right to discipline her, so she used that to her advantage,” Cook said.

He gave her a cell phone just as he gave all his children cell phones, Cook said. When he received an alert from the cell phone company about overusage on her line, he and the juvenile’s mother confronted her about it. It was then she revealed a sexual relationship with Justin Albright, 21, of Humansville, who pleaded guilty Feb. 18 to unclassified felony statutory rape in the first degree and was given five years supervised probation. Albright was 19 at the time.

The juvenile’s accusations against Cook came to light after police questioned Albright about his relationship with her, according to testimony by Humansville Police Chief Darrell Lean and Ronnie McNew, formerly a Humansville police officer.

During cross-examination of the juvenile, David Smith, Cook’s attorney, questioned the juvenile about her decision not to tell her mother of her relationship with Albright.

“It’s true, isn’t it, you were deceiving your mother and daddy and, in fact, everyone else when you were having this relationship with Justin?” Smith asked.

Smith also questioned her about some of the technical terms she used for sex during her testimony. She had learned them from Cook, she said.

“I might have learned them in health class, too,” she said.

With the testimony of Rachel Lovelace, a DNA criminalist for the Missouri State Highway Patrol Crime Lab, came the introduction of a towel as evidence. A stain consistent with semen was detected on the towel, Lovelace said. When compared to Cook’s DNA, the chance of the sample coming from another white male is 1 in 2.191 quadrillion. The chance of it coming from a black male is 1 in 89.69 quadrillion.

She found a mix of DNA from at least two people, Lovelace said, and found it was 499 billion times more likely a mixture from the juvenile and Cook than from the juvenile and someone else.

Smith urged the jury to remove emotion from the case and consider the evidence only. The juvenile’s use of the correct sexual terminology suggested she had been coached, he said.

The juvenile’s apparent ability to refuse to have sex with Cook was key in the case, Smith said.

“[She] doesn’t like it when she’s ignored,” he said.

He did not believe the juvenile had plotted against Cook, Smith said, only that she had answered “yes” and lost control of the situation when asked by authorities if she was having sex with Cook.

“When there was this moment of great pressure on her, she saw an easy way out,” Smith said.

The jury deliberated for about 40 minutes and returned with a guilty verdict on both charges. Thompson set Cook’s bond at $250,000.

The defendant was granted until May 10 to file a motion for a new trial. That motion hearing and sentencing are set for 1:30 p.m. Thursday, July 7, in Polk County Circuit Court.

Cook is currently serving a three-year prison sentence for probation violation on an original charge of possession of methamphetamine.

KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) — A man is in custody after authorities say he kept several young girls hostage in his house, forced them to take meth and sexually assaulted them. It happened in the Kings County town of Armona.

32-year-old Michael Rodriguez was arrested on kidnapping, child abuse, sexual battery and narcotics charges.

Neighbors woke up at 7:00 Tuesday morning to several young girls screaming for help. A deputy who arrived on scene had to use a taser to subdue the suspect because of his erratic and dangerous behavior.

Jeanette Madrid came out of her house to find her neighbor, Michael Rodriguez, acting bizarre, and five young girls distressed. Madrid says Rodriguez had his hands on one of them. “He was holding her, restraining her. She was just upset and crying, obviously, against her will.”

Com. Robert Thayer with the Kings County Sheriff’s Office describes what happened, “When the deputy first got on scene he confronted the suspect, Michael Rodriguez, who kind of took a position of a fighting stance and made mention of some very bizarre things like he was a god of some sort.

Commander Robert Thayer says the deputy used a taser to subdue and then arrest Rodriguez, who was also found with a large quantity of methamphetamine in his front pocket.

Thayer says the suspect had just put four of the five girls through a horrifying night. A 9-year-old girl was asleep at the time of the crimes but is still considered a victim.

Investigators say Rodriguez forced four of the five girls to take methamphetamines, sexually assaulted three of them, and also injured one of the girls with a pair of scissors. And that’s not all.

Thayer said, “At some point he took out some aggression on the family hamster and killed the family hamster and just creating a terror of an evening for these girls.”

Madrid said, “Obviously he’s out of his mind because any normal person wouldn’t do anything like that.”

While many neighbors are shocked, some are standing by Rodriguez. “This is just some freak accident or I don’t know how to explain it just something that’s hard,” said Tina Moreno. “It’s hard to explain.”

The four girls who were forced to take methamphetamine are still heavily intoxicated and are undergoing treatment at a nearby hospital.

Rodriguez faces a long list of criminal charges, including child abuse, animal abuse, forcing a minor to take drugs and kidnapping.

A South Valley man made his first court appearance on charges he kidnapped several teenage girls, forced them to take drugs and sexually assaulted them. 32-year-old Michael Rodriguez was arrested on several felony counts.

The 32-year-old Armona man was read some of the 23-felony charges he faces. The district attorney’s office says some of the counts are unusual, and if convicted he could spend decades in prison.

This exclusive Action News video shows Michael Rodriguez rocking back and forth as his newly-appointed attorney entered a “not guilty” plea on his behalf. Rodriguez faces 23 felony charges and one misdemeanor for putting several girls through what the Kings County Sheriff’s Office is calling “a night of terror.”

Kings County Prosecutor, Jim Jahn said, “Child endangerment, furnishing drugs to a child, we’ve charged criminal threats, we’ve charged kidnapping and false imprisonment.”

Authorities say on Monday night, the 32-year-old held hostage four girls ages 14 through 16. A 9-year-old girl was also in the house at the time but was sleeping. She’s still considered a victim.

Kings County Sheriff’s investigators say the four girls were forced to ingest methamphetamine. Three of them were sexually assaulted.

In a criminal complaint filed by the district attorney’s office, prosecutors say Rodriguez also threatened to kill or cause great harm to the girls.

Rodriguez was eventually arrested after the girls ran out of the house on Tuesday morning, screaming for help.

Prosecutors have also charged Rodriguez with animal cruelty, for killing a pet during a fit of rage that night.

Jahn said, “We’ve charged him with killing a hamster by crushing it in his hand.”

Rodriguez’s attorney, Michael Woodbury, talked to his client after the court proceedings to make sure he understood all the charges against him. “I would say he’s pretty scared, pretty nervous.”

The district attorney’s office says one of those felony charges, forcing a minor to take drugs, is rarely filed in Kings County.

Jahn added, “Wouldn’t you say it’s disturbing charges for anyone to see? He’s looking at a substantial amount of time should he be convicted.”

If convicted on all the charges, Rodriguez is facing at least 20 years in prison. He’ll back in court next Monday for more trial proceedings.

A Livermore man charged in the killing of a Fremont man is scheduled to appear in court Friday for a pretrial hearing.

Cort Holbrook, 41, in March pleaded not guilty to the murder charge stemming from a road-rage argument that left 48-year-old Ricky Ziesmer dead from a fatal stab wound.

Holbrook’s attorney, Eric Schweitzer, said the killing was done in self defense.

“Mr. Ziesmer had every advantage. He was bigger, stronger, better armed and fast to hit,” Schweitzer said. “He could have left the scene after delivering the damage he had already dished out, but he didn’t.”

On March 9, Holbrook and Ziesmer were involved in an altercation at a parking lot on Old First Street near the Livermore Cyclery and John’s Char Burger.

Before pulling over, the two exchanged words while driving on First Street in Springtown toward downtown.

Holbrook, a software programmer and the married father of two children, was driving his 2003 Chevy Silverado pickup and Ziesmer was driving a 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier owned by his girlfriend, Roshell Morgan of Newark, who was in the passenger seat.

Holbrook told police that Ziesmer started the incident by drifting into his lane several times and nearly colliding with him, according to a probable cause statement filed in court by the Livermore Police Department.

Morgan’s account differs.

She said in an interview with Livermore Patch that Ziesmer merged into a lane on First Street when Holbrook, who was driving behind them, blared his vehicle’s horn.

“(Holbrook) kept screaming that we cut him off,” Morgan said. “Ricky said, ‘I didn’t cut him off. Didn’t he see my blinker?’ “

During the altercation in the parking lot, Ziesmer punched Holbrook in the face twice, knocking him to the ground, according to the probable cause statement.

In a statement to Livermore Patch, Schweitzer said, “Ziesmer broke Mr. Holbrook’s glasses off of his face with his first unprovoked blow to Mr. Holbrook’s head.”

“That blow was followed by several more, and then Mr. Holbrook was kicked in the belly while on the ground,” Schweitzer said.

Holbrook then pulled himself off the ground as Ziesmer walked away. He reached for his cell phone and attempted to take a picture of Ziesmer to assist police, Schweitzer said.

“Ziesmer sees this, and he becomes more enraged than he was during the first beating,” Schweitzer said. “This is understandable, because had it all ended right there and then, Ziesmer was surely going back to prison for a long time.”

Ziesmer had a criminal history of possessing, selling and using methamphetamine in several East Bay cities, including Pleasanton, Newark and Hayward, according to court records obtained by Livermore Patch.

Morgan, 48, said Ziesmer had stopped using methamphetamine recently and was focused on getting his life together so that he could move to Arkansas to be with his mother.

After Holbrook pulled out his cell phone, Ziesmer charged back toward Holbrook, Schweitzer said.

As the confrontation continued, Holbrook reached into his driver’s door compartment, retrieved a dagger and stabbed Ziesmer in the upper chest, according to court records. He also stabbed the driver’s side rear door of Ziesmer’s car in an attempt to prevent him from leaving.

“It is not unlawful to use that knife in self defense, when faced with an immediate threat of death or great bodily harm,” Schweitzer said. “It is entirely possible that Ziesmer meant to kill Mr. Holbrook, and I am sure that it looked that way to Mr. Holbrook at the time…Mr. Holbrook had every right to stand his ground and to defend himself from Mr. Ziesmer.”

Holbrook’s pretrial hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday in Department 703 of the Gale-Schenone Hall of Justice in Pleasanton.

A jury convicted appellant Cruz Brambila Acevedo of sexual penetration by a foreign object with force and violence (Pen. Code, § 289, subd. (a)(1); count 1),1 torture (§ 206; count 2), kidnapping to commit another crime (§ 209, subd. (b)(1); count 3), kidnapping (§ 207, subd. (a); count 4), and corporal injury to a former cohabitant (§ 273.5, subd. (a); count 5) and found numerous special allegations to be true. The trial court sentenced appellant to 25 years to life for count 1, plus two consecutive life terms for counts 2 and 3. On appeal, appellant contends: (1) the trial court prejudicially erred in instructing the jury on voluntary intoxication; and (2) his conviction of kidnapping must be reversed because it is a lesser included offense of kidnapping to commit another crime, and he cannot be convicted of both. We agree with appellant’s second contention, which respondent concedes, and will remand the matter to the trial court to strike appellant’s conviction of kidnapping in count 4. In all other respects, the judgment is affirmed.
In August 2007, the victim, Vanessa C., was appellant’s girlfriend. She was not living with him at the time of the incident in this case but had been staying with him for a few nights at his mother’s house, along with her seven-year-old son. Vanessa had known appellant for two to three years and they had an “off and on” relationship. In 2006, Vanessa and appellant lived together in Tijuana for three or four months. When they returned to the United States, they lived together at appellant’s mother’s house in Porterville. They separated in January 2007, but started seeing each other again in August 2007.
On the night in question, appellant and his friend Michael White came to Vanessa’s AA meeting in Porterville to look in on her. When the meeting ended around 9:30 p.m., and they had walked outside, appellant grabbed Vanessa by the hand and pushed her inside his van. Inside the van, appellant slapped Vanessa and called her a “[f]ucking bitch.”2
After stopping first at his cousin’s house and then dropping his friend off, appellant drove Vanessa to a grapevine field. During the drive, appellant hit and cussed at Vanessa. He told her that she was going to get it, that he was going to hurt her, and that he was going to take her somewhere no one would find her.
After appellant pulled over and stopped on the side of the road, he started hitting, punching, and kicking Vanessa inside the van. Vanessa jumped out of the window and tried to run away, but appellant caught up with her, pulled her hair, and dragged her back to the van. Back inside the van, appellant choked Vanessa until she lost consciousness.
When Vanessa regained consciousness, appellant was dragging her by the hair through the grapevine field. Vanessa stood up and appellant forced her to walk to the back of the field, hitting her in the back with sticks from the grapevines.
When they reached the end of the field, appellant hit Vanessa forcefully on the side of the face with a grapevine stick. Vanessa testified: “I just remember seeing like red through this eye. Because my skin was hanging off the side of my face.” The resulting injury was a deep laceration that ran from her left eyebrow almost to her cheek.
After hitting her in the face, appellant told Vanessa to get naked. As Vanessa removed her clothes, appellant continued to hit her. When she was naked, appellant pushed and kicked her into a plum field, where he used her clothes to tie her to a plum tree. Appellant tied her with her back and head against the tree and tied her arms to branches. Appellant used her bra to tie up one of her hands.
After tying Vanessa to the tree, appellant started kicking her in the vagina. Vanessa testified: “He was cussing me and telling me things like you fucking bitch. And watch, you are going to die. You are going to regret it. [¶] He told me oh, you like to fuck, so you’ll see what’s going to happen.”
Appellant then picked up a tree branch and inserted the tip into Vanessa’s rectum, causing her pain. Vanessa was unable to scream because appellant had tied a shirt around her mouth. Appellant yelled things like “you fucking bitch” and “you are not going to fucking play on me.” He then punched her in the face, before walking away.
After he walked away, appellant left Vanessa tied to the tree for approximately 20 minutes. During that time, Vanessa used her mouth to loosen the shirt that was in it. Appellant noticed this when he returned and asked, “[Y]ou trying to get away?” He then called Vanessa a “fucking bitch” and kicked her in the vagina again.
Appellant untied Vanessa and directed her to put her clothes back on. They then walked out of the plum field. Appellant continued to hit, punch, and kick Vanessa as they were walking. When they reached a pile of dirt, appellant pushed Vanessa down to the ground and put her face in the dirt. She was unable to breathe because there was dirt in her mouth.
As they started to walk back to the van, appellant continued to kick and hit Vanessa with grapevine sticks. Before they reached the van, appellant took Vanessa back to the dirt pile and hit her with a stick. They then walked to the van. Vanessa walked in front of appellant and he hit her the whole time.
Appellant drove Vanessa back to his mother’s house, where he told her to take a shower. Vanessa obeyed and “tried to clean all the dirt and everything.”
After she took a shower, Vanessa told appellant she needed to go to the hospital because her head was bleeding and hurting badly. Appellant instructed Vanessa to tell his mother that she fell in the shower and hit her head. Vanessa complied with appellant’s instruction.
Appellant’s mother and uncle drove Vanessa to the hospital and appellant stayed behind. Before they left for the hospital, appellant threatened to hurt Vanessa’s mother and children if she told people what really happened.
Once she was at the hospital, and in a separate room from appellant’s mother, Vanessa told hospital staff about appellant’s attack, and the police investigation commenced. Vanessa’s police statement was consistent with her trial testimony.
After her initial treatment at the hospital, Vanessa was taken to a SART3 nurse for a medical examination. The nurse testified that Vanessa appeared to be in a lot of pain. She could hardly walk and the nurse had to help her get up on the examination table. The nurse further testified that the examination particularly stood out in her memory because of Vanessa’s large number of injuries. The nurse found over 25 injuries on her body and an additional four to six injuries to her genital area.
The nurse testified that Vanessa’s injuries were consistent with her description of appellant’s attack. In addition to the laceration on her left eyebrow, which appeared to have been stitched up at the emergency hospital, Vanessa had extensive abrasions and bruises on various parts of her body, including her back, buttocks, chest, and inner thighs. On Vanessa’s back, the nurse observed a red “patterned injury” that resembled the bottom of a shoe. Vanessa also had redness and swelling in the vaginal area, and a laceration on the anal fold near the rectum.
The police investigation of the crime scene also uncovered evidence consistent with Vanessa’s description of events. Among other things, police found a bra attached to a tree and a mound of dirt with an impression consistent with a face, apparent drops of blood, and shoes tracks and foot impressions that looked “as if there was a struggle or milling around.”
A search of appellant’s van uncovered a pair of bloody socks underneath one of the seats. Shoe prints and dust were also found on the dashboard and glove compartment area.
Police located appellant on the afternoon after the attack, but he fled over a fence. Appellant was eventually located in May or June of 2008.
Uncharged prior acts
Tahnee C. testified concerning an incident that occurred in May 2005. Tahnee was sitting on a picnic table, trying to call her mother to come pick her up, when appellant got mad at her for calling her mother. Appellant pushed the picnic table over on top of her, so that she was lying partially underneath it.
After pushing the table over on her, appellant yelled at Tahnee to stand up. When she stood up, he started spraying her with the water hose he had been using to wash his car. Appellant then told her to go inside the house because his brother was coming and he did not want him to see her.
Tahnee went inside the house and was in the bedroom crying, when appellant came in and made her lie on the bed on her stomach, with her head leaning over the bed. Appellant tied Tahnee’s hands behind her back with an Ace bandage. He then pushed her onto the floor and started slapping, hitting, and choking her.
Tahnee further testified:
“He made me go to into the living room. I had to crawl, you know, using my knees. Plus, he was pulling me by my hair. I was in the living room because he had earlier threw food on the ground, so I was in there rolling on the food. He just continued kicking me, hitting me, pulling me by my hair. Telling me things like I can kill you[.] I can go back to Mexico and they can never do anything to me. They’ll never find me.”
Appellant finally stopped and went to open the front door. As he went outside, appellant was laughing at Tahnee.
Tahnee reported the incident to the police the following day, after speaking with her mother. The police took photographs of her injuries, which she described as including a busted blood vessel in her eye, a busted lip, and bruises all over her body. She also had bumps on her head, which were not visible.
Vanessa testified generally that “every other day [appellant] would hit me, beat me.” She also testified about two specific incidents. In 2006, when they were living in Tijuana, appellant hit her in the head with a crowbar and she went to the hospital to get stitches in her head. In January 2007, when she was living with appellant in Porterville, appellant hit her with a metal object, but she did not seek medical treatment.
The defense
Appellant testified that he remembered specifically and with a clear mind what happened on the night in question. Throughout his testimony, appellant denied engaging in any of the coercive or abusive acts described by Vanessa (i.e., choking, hitting, kicking, etc.).
According to appellant’s version of events, he did not force Vanessa into the van after the AA meeting or slap her. Although they did argue in the van, Vanessa instigated the argument. She accused appellant of being with his ex-girlfriend Brenda, over whom they had also argued the previous day. Appellant got mad and hit the back of Vanessa’s headrest, but he did not make contact with her face.
After appellant stopped at his cousin’s house and dropped his friend off, the argument he was having with Vanessa de-escalated. Vanessa began to calm him down. Appellant explained: “Every time I’m mad, for whatever reason, she gives me a chill pill. What that is she kisses me and supposedly that makes everything better. That’s my chill pill.”
At this point, Vanessa wanted, and appellant “kind of” wanted, to have sex. Because he did not want to go back to his mother’s house, where there was no privacy, appellant continued to drive and pulled over a few blocks down from the house.
Appellant and Vanessa went into the field and tried a number of times to have sex because appellant wanted to prove to her that he had not been with Brenda that day. However, appellant was unable to perform because he had been “up for a couple of days already” on methamphetamine. When asked about the effect methamphetamine had on him, appellant testified:
“First it’s okay. But after the second and third day, I can’t do nothing. [¶] But I still tried with her. I mean, I tried. We tried a number — a lot of times in the field. I was in the field with her, but I didn’t hit her. I didn’t strike her. I didn’t do this to her. I didn’t stick nothing up her.”
Appellant testified that both he and Vanessa took all their clothes off, and that he tied her to a tree with her bra because she asked him to. They tried to have sex at the tree but nothing happened.
Appellant and Vanessa also tried unsuccessfully to have sex lying on the ground. Appellant testified that Vanessa was lying on the ground and he was on top of her “[w]orking hard.”
Appellant testified that he was “real rough” with Vanessa when they were trying to have sex, “[b]ut we were always rough when we were on methamphetamine.” Appellant added, however, that he was not rough “in the way of hitting her and stuff like that.”
When asked about the injuries described in the SART nurse’s testimony in relation to what happened at the tree, appellant testified:
“Well, she let me tie her up and she was against the tree. And there was — I don’t know if you can see the picture right now, but there’s a lot of branches. A lot of branches. [¶] I even — they were even hitting me, the branches, when we were going back and forward. And hard.”
After appellant was unable to have sex with Vanessa, she became angry and again accused him of having been with Brenda and said this was the reason he was not able to do anything. When they were back in the van, Vanessa started “going crazy” and was hitting and kicking the dashboard and glove compartment area. Appellant grabbed her legs and put them down and told her to “kick back.”
After they drove home, Vanessa went to take a shower. Appellant testified:
“And when she came out, when she came out she heard me on the phone saying I love you. And she told me oh, you love? Who are you talking to? [¶] And I didn’t say nothing. I just hanged up. But she heard me say I love you, though. And she goes you love her. All right. You watch, Mother F. You see what happened.”
After this exchange, Vanessa told appellant she needed to go to the hospital. When appellant asked why, she showed him a bleeding injury on her head, which she had been covering. Vanessa said she fell in the shower and cracked her head open.
Appellant claimed that Vanessa had not been bleeding earlier when he brought her home in the van. According to appellant, the bloody socks that police found in his van were the socks Vanessa was wearing after she came out of the shower, and that she put them in his van when she thought they were going to be taking the van to the hospital.
Appellant testified that after his mother called him from the hospital and told him Vanessa was accusing him of beating her, he walked to meet some friends and got high on methamphetamine. When the police later located appellant at the abandoned house where he and a friend were smoking methamphetamine, appellant did not know they were police. He ran away because he thought they were “gang-bangers” with whom his friend had been having problems.
On cross-examination, appellant testified that when he went to Vanessa’s AA meeting he was “a little bit drunk” and “[a] little bit high.” When appellant was asked the last time he took methamphetamine prior to the incident, he testified, “[p]robably early that day.” Appellant repeated that he had already been up for three days.
On re-direct examination, appellant testified that when he is up for two or three days smoking methamphetamine, the methamphetamine makes him want to have sex, but he is unable to do it.
In his direct examination testimony, appellant also described his past use of methamphetamine in his relationship with Vanessa. They used methamphetamine a lot together during the period when they lived together in Tijuana, where the drug was easy to obtain. Appellant testified that when they used methamphetamine, sex was “[r]eal different.”
Appellant denied that he hit Vanessa with a crowbar when they were living in Tijuana. According to appellant, her injury was related to her methamphetamine use. They were both high, when Vanessa tripped and hit her head on a metal part of a bed and had to be taken to the hospital.
Appellant also denied that he hit Tahnee. Rather, the “[s]ame thing happened with her.” He explained: “Well, I mean she said I did something, but it wasn’t true.”
Appellant’s mother, Maria Acevedo, testified that Vanessa asked her if she could take her to the hospital. Vanessa told Acevedo that she fell in the bathroom. Once they were at the hospital, Vanessa told Acevedo to tell appellant to leave because she would call the police on him. In the past, Vanessa had said she would do something to appellant if he ever had a relationship with another woman.

DADE CITY — The Pasco Sheriff’s Office has released the names of the man and woman who were burned Tuesday evening when an alleged methamphetamine lab exploded in a house at 15615 14th St., Dade City.

Kenneth Dixon, 39, suffered severe burns to the face. Adonia “Star” Olsen, 45, was also burned but not as severely, a sheriff’s spokesman said. Both are listed as living at the same address.

A neighbor told Bays News 9 that the victims had been renting the home for about three weeks.

“They were screaming and they were smoking and she was on the ground flipping around,” the neighbor said. “I was calling 911 and she was just melting and his eyes were just glazed over.”

There have been no arrests as detectives investigate who owned the lab.

Dixon, who has “hard times” tattooed on his upper eyelids, has served three stints in prison for possession of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, aggravated assault, child abuse, possession of controlled substances, child abuse and felony driving with a suspended or revoked license, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. Olsen was convicted in 2009 of carrying a concealed weapon, in 2007 for giving a false name to law enforcement and in 2003 for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to Pasco court records.

A Texas woman and an Alabama man were arrested Tuesday, accused of operating a methamphetamine lab in a recreational vehicle in a Meraux Trailer Park, the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office said.

A small amount of methamphetamine and precursors used to make the drug were recovered after sheriff’s narcotics agents, acting on a tip by phone, set up surveillance and got information to obtain a warrant to search the RV.

Rhonda Ritchie of Texas, no age or hometown available, was booked with manufacturing methamphetamine, the sheriff’s office said. James Howell Jr., 39, of Alabama, no hometown available, was booked on a charge of creating or operating a clandestine meth lab.

Both had jobs in St. Bernard Parish and were living in the RV, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Both Ritchie and Howell had to be decontaminated in a portable center set up at the scene by the St. Bernard Parish Fire Department before they could be taken to the prison in Chalmette.

It was the first time since before Hurricane Katrina that anyone has been caught manufacturing meth in St. Bernard, the Sheriff’s Office said. A man was booked last December while preparing to set up a lab in a building in Arabi.

Narcotics agents and Street Crimes Unit officers from the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division and several narcotics officers from the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office participated in the dismantling of the meth lab in the RV, Sheriff Jack Stephens said.

State Police also took part in the investigation and the company U.S. Environmental Services was involved in clean-up at the scene.

Five children have been removed from their Meredosia home after remnants of a meth cooking lab were found there Friday.

During an emergency shelter care hearing Tuesday in Morgan County Juvenile Court, the three youngest children were placed in temporary protective custody of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

The action came after their father, Dustin Cowick, appeared minutes earlier in circuit court on six felony methamphetamine-related charges.

The most serious of charges accuse Cowick, 33, of participation in the manufacture of more than 400 grams and up to 900 grams of methamphetamine at his residence at 140 N. Washington St. while five children were present and the home was being protected by a surveillance system.

Two older children residing with Cowick have been placed in the temporary care of their biological father.

The five children range in age from less than 1 year old and up to 10, Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Bonjean III said.

Bonjean filed a petition Tuesday alleging Leslie Chaney, the mother of all five children, and Cowick, the father of the three youngest children, of neglect and that their home was an injurious environment.

“That’s kind of an understatement given the fact that we now believe that at one time there was an active meth lab in the residence,” Bonjean said.

Cowick was arrested on Friday after a DCFS investigator and Meredosia Police checked out allegations of domestic violence and drug use going on at the house.

“Mom (Chaney) told me a lot of fighting was going on and there was some hitting” between her and Cowick, DCFS investigator Jill Lautemann testified during the juvenile court hearing. “She admitted she used morphine, Xanax and methamphetamine.”

Chaney submitted to “a drug drop which tested positive for all three of those substances,” Bonjean said.

Chaney has not been arrested on any charges.

After remnants of a methamphetamine cooking lab were located in jars in a bedroom the two oldest children were taken to their biological father and the three youngest to their paternal grandmother.

DCFS consulted with the children’s primary care physician who wanted the children to have immediate physical exams based on their potential exposure to the methamphetamine, Bonjean said.

“When DCFS doesn’t have temporary custody or guardianship they just can’t grab kids and take them to get physical exams,” Bonjean said. “The department needed to get temporary protective custody and guardianship so they could take the children in to be seen by a doctor.”

With the three youngest children, Associate Judge Tim P. Olson found there was an immediate and urgent necessity that they be removed from the home and temporary custody and guardianship be granted to the department.

Olson also ordered that the two oldest children be placed in the custody of their biological father until further order of the court.

Chaney and Cowick are to appear May 12 in juvenile court for a hearing on the child neglect petitions. A preliminary hearing in circuit court for Cowick on the methamphetamine-related charges was set for Tuesday.

Federal authorities announced the arrests of 15 people this morning after 14-month investigation into drug trafficking in Southern Colorado, including the sales of highly-potent methamphetamine.

The defendants, arrested April 14 and 15, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and other drugs.

One defendant, Lucio Vazquez, 33, of Calhan is named in four separate indictments.

“Thanks to the hard work of these dedicated agents and officers, a major drug distribution organization transporting drugs to be sold in Pueblo and Colorado Springs has been dismantled. This result demonstrates the outstanding results law enforcement can achieve by working together,” said Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh.

Agents are still looking for three more defendants who are fugitives and the state is prosecuting another 10 individuals bringing the numbers of people involved in the drug organization to 36.

During the investigation, agents found 38 pounds of methamphetamine – most of it 99 percent pure. They also found 13 kilos of cocaine, four ounces of heroin, $506,500 and other assets.

At the time agents arrested the defendants, they found an additional 10 to 12 pounds of methamphetamine, five guns, about $33,000, and a number of vehicles. The total assets seized is more than $610,000.

During the takedown of the drug organization, agents learned three people were harboring and transporting illegal immigrants and Immigration and Customs Enforcement referred the case to prosecution in Arizona where federal charges were filed.

If convicted, all but two of the defendants named in the indictments face 10 years to life in prison.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration in Colorado with help from federal agents and local law enforcement throughout Southern Colorado and DEA agents in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

The following are those who were indicted as part of the drug conspiracy: Edgar Navarro, 36, Baldwin Park, Calif.; Manuel Martinez-Diaz, 39, Marino Valley, Calif.; Alberto Quiroz-Chavez, 31, San Jose, Calif., Eduardo Jimenez-Cortez, 43, Las Vegas, Nev.; Oscar Montano, 33, Denver; Pedro Carrera-Chavez, 36, Commerce City; Lucio Vazquez, 33, Calhan; Humberto Torres, 37, Juan Luis Virjen, 30, Eric Venabides-Alcantor, 29, Cristoval Ramirez-Cervantez, 27, Wilbert Cortina-Dzul, 28, Samuel Retano-Gradilla, 40, Julio Garcia-Alvarado, 37, Pedro Guillen-Ortiz, 24, Luis Aguayo-Castro, 42, Trevor Yeager, 35, all of Colorado Springs; Jamie Upchurch, 34, Elbert; Vincent Duvall, 53, Pueblo; Edgar Castro-Motta, 30, and Nancy Castro-Motta, 32, both of Reseda, Calif.; and Edgar Linares-Cevallos, 53, South Gate, Calif.

CONCORD – A Massachusetts man who helped create a methamphetamine ring in Nashua was sentenced Monday to five years in federal prison, prosecutors announced.

Alan Phillips, 49, of North Chelmsford, Mass., was already behind bars at the time of his arrest in 2009, following a two-year investigation by Nashua police and federal agents that was dubbed “Operation Crystal Baker.”

Thirteen other persons were charged in connection with the drug ring and have since pleaded guilty and been sentenced.

Thomas McElligott, whom police claim operated a meth lab in his home at 83 Gillis St., Nashua, near the Dr. Norman Crisp Elementary School, was sentenced last year to 3½ years in prison, U.S. District Court records show.

Phillips was charged in the Nashua case following a 2005 arrest in Chelmsford, where police were watching him for years.

Phillips moved to Massachusetts after being paroled from a 1996 methamphetamine conviction in San Diego.

He was charged with running a meth lab in Tyngsborough, Mass., in 1998, but the charges were dismissed after one witness died and others refused to testify.

Investigators claim that Phillips taught various people around Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire how to make methamphetamine. He pleaded guilty last year to a single count of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine from 2005-07.

Methamphetamine has long plagued the Midwestern and western United States. In addition to being highly addictive, methamphetamine manufacturing makes a toxic volatile mess, sometimes setting off fires and explosions.

Nashua Police first learned of McElligott and his lab in 2007, when a Massachusetts man stopped for speeding on Arlington Street was caught with a mobile meth lab in the back of his Ford F-150 truck.

That man was later convicted and sentenced to five to 20 years in State Prison.

Police and federal agents raided McElligott’s home Aug. 10, 2007, and found all the makings of a meth lab, but continued to watch and investigate as McElligott and associates continued to buy ingredients from local stores, and make methamphetamine, until a second raid in 2009.

VAN BUREN, Mo. (AP) – One county on the edge of the Missouri Ozarks seemed oddly immune to the scourge of methamphetamine ravaging the state, boasting few meth raids or arrests in recent years. Some residents now think they know why, after a meth bust landed the Carter County sheriff himself in jail.

Tommy Adams, county sheriff for a little more than two years, was arrested earlier this month after giving meth to an informant at his cabin on a remote and hilly gravel road, according to a court document. He also allegedly snorted the drug himself with a straw. Authorities would not detail the extent of Adam’s alleged meth involvement, but charged him with meth distribution. He is being held in Cape Girardeau County jail on $250,000 bond.

Now, a county once seen as an exception has become the latest example of how deeply meth has saturated every corner of rural Missouri life. Other rural law enforcement officers have been linked to drugs over the years, but Adams is one of the first arrested for meth.

“I think it’s pretty sad,” said Vicki Babbs, 46, of Van Buren. “You’ve got someone who’s sheriff riding around high on meth with a gun. It’s pretty scary.”

County residents hope the case sheds light on the extent of the local meth problem as well as other crimes. Days after the sheriff’s arrest, his chief deputy, 23-year-old Steffanie Kearbey, was charged with burglary and receiving stolen property – a gun taken from the department’s evidence room.

No state has been hit harder by the meth epidemic than Missouri, which led the nation in meth lab busts every year for a decade before Tennessee took over the top spot in 2010, dropping Missouri to second. Missouri has reported more than 13,000 meth lab incidents in the past seven years. The highly-addictive drug, made by cooking common chemicals, has caused countless fires and explosions, along with severe health problems among users.

Carter County sits in the Ozark Mountain foothills, surrounded by the Mark Twain National Forest. Thousands of visitors come each year for float trips and to visit Big Spring State Park, just outside of Van Buren, where crystal-clear water bubbles constantly into a meandering stream.

Just more than 6,000 residents live here. Good jobs are hard to come by.

Adams, 31, worked as a laborer around Ellsinore, his hometown, before getting his law enforcement certification about four years ago, and was soon hired as an Ellsinore city officer, Mayor David Bowman said. “I never had any trouble with him,” Bowman said. “He was outgoing, friendly.”

After just two years of law enforcement experience, Adams, a Republican ran for sheriff in 2008 against favored Democratic incumbent Greg Melton. But just weeks before the November election, Melton died in what was ruled a suicide. It was too late for the Democrats to replace him, and Melton’s name remained on the ballot.

Adams won by a single vote – 1,424-1,423 – and took over the $37,000-a-year job.

Other southern Missouri counties have had dozens of meth lab busts in recent years. But Carter County had just five since Adams took over as sheriff – two in 2009, three in 2010.

“I think meth is out there and maybe he knew what was going on,” Carter County Presiding Commissioner John Bailiff said. “I think a lot of people just turn a deaf ear to it, including maybe the sheriff.”

Lloyd Parsons, 37, a member of the Van Buren Fire Department, never figured Adams for one of the bad guys. He described Adams, the married father of an infant son, as professional and knowledgeable.

“I’ve worked several accidents with the guy and he knew his stuff, even the medical part,” Parsons said.

But Richard Stephens, who was a Van Buren officer before being appointed as temporary sheriff until a special election can be held this summer, said he had concerns about Adams.

“I had a suspicion that things weren’t being handled effectively and professionally,” said Stephens, 42. He would not elaborate, citing ongoing state and federal investigations.

Mark Alan Kennedy, attorney for chief deputy Kearbey, said his client had no law enforcement experience before the sheriff paid for her certification training, then hired her for the $20,000-a-year job.

He said Adams was the “instigator” of the crimes alleged against Kearbey. She is accused of selling a gun that had been stolen from the sheriff’s department’s evidence room and taking a duffel bag of coins from a house.

“We’re hoping that an eventual jury will understand that this young woman was under a lot of pressure from the sheriff,” Kennedy said. “She was new in law enforcement, and acted under threats of loss of her job or physical threats.”

Adams and his attorney declined several interview requests. The Missouri Attorney General’s office has taken over prosecution of the case.

Stephens and county commissioners are trying to ease the minds of residents left angry and disappointed.

“They’re upset about the breakdown in trust,” Stephens said. “We need to be bending over backward to try and regain that trust with the public.”

Officers in hazardous materials suits went in and out of a house on Park Avenue on Tuesday, collecting boxes of chemicals from a suspected methamphetamine lab.

The house at 2103 Park Avenue near Langhorne Road, which is subdivided into six apartments, was evacuated shortly after 12:30 a.m. and remained cordoned off, along with a block of Park Avenue, for most of the day, said Lt. Danny Mark of the Lynchburg Police Department.

No arrests have been made so far, Marks said.

The investigation into the suspected methamphetamine lab began after paramedics with the Lynchburg Fire Department responded to the house early Tuesday for a medical call, Marks said. While paramedics prepared the patient for transport to the hospital, they noticed suspicious chemicals and notified the police department.

The health issue, Marks said, was not related to the possible methamphetamine lab.

Because of the volatile nature of the manufacturing process of the drug, Marks said the remaining residents in the house were evacuated and the city block was closed to traffic while police, firefighters and members of the Virginia State Police seized evidence from the house.

“It contains chemicals that can be very flammable,” Marks said. “The fire department remains on standby in the event that something happens.”

There was no risk of explosion, he said Tuesday.

This is only the second suspected methamphetamine lab discovered in the city, according to Lynchburg Police Department records. The first was found in February 2007 on Coleman Place off Langhorne Road.

While these types of operations are somewhat rare in Lynchburg, statewide there has been a dramatic increase in the discovery of methamphetamine labs.

Corinne Geller, spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police, said in July 2005, the state enacted a law that required pseudoephedrine to be placed behind pharmacy counters and required pharmacists to identify buyers to determine if the drug was being sold to the same people repeatedly.

That caused the number of labs discovered in the state to drop to 21 in 2006, from 53 the year before, Geller said. The numbers remained relatively steady until last year, when the number of labs jumped to 107, compared to 28 in 2009.

In the first three months of this year, 37 meth labs have been discovered, with 15 reported in the last two weeks of March.

“As often happens, the drug dealers have figured out a way to get around what state law mandates,” Geller said.

The labs, she said, come in two forms — the kitchen lab, where all the production and cooling of the drug takes place within a structure, and the “shake and bake” lab, which is very portable and can be created using liter bottles.

Geller said the “shake and bake” labs are becoming more common in Virginia, as has methamphetamine imported from Mexico.

“The bottom line is, meth is very volatile,” Geller said. “To manufacture meth takes mixing various chemicals. The clean up can be very dangerous.”

The bill for the cleanup rests with the jurisdiction in charge of the investigation — in this case the city of Lynchburg, Geller said.

DADE CITY — Two people were burned — one severely — when a methamphetamine lab exploded Tuesday evening inside a Dade City home, the Pasco Sheriff’s Office said.

The home is in the area of 14th Street and Long Avenue. Both victims, a man and a woman, were flown to a hospital for treatment after the explosion around 5:15 p.m., sheriff’s spokesman Doug Tobin said.

A team specially trained in meth-lab cleanup was called to the location, Tobin said.

EVANSVILLE — A woman whose apartment was the scene of an explosion that severely burned a man was found guilty Tuesday of dealing methamphetamine.

The Vanderburgh Circuit Court jury found Sassy Belle Sunderman, 32, guilty of the B felony after deliberating for about an hour and a half.

The jury could have found her guilty of a lesser offense of maintaining a common nuisance, a D felony, which is what public defender Conor O’Daniel supported.

While both sides disagreed about how to interpret the facts of the case, neither side disagreed on the majority of those facts.

The charge stemmed from a Jan. 21 fire in Sunderman’s West Side apartment that severely burned Michael Kingery. Sunderman fled the apartment at 480 Applewood Court but turned herself in to police several hours later.

Sunderman told police she watched Kingery open boxes of pseudoephedrine cold pills to begin making the meth and that he later sealed himself into the bathroom with duct tape to keep odors from escaping while he finished the process, according to testimony from Evansville Police Department Detective Sgt. Scott Hurt.

She told police she was sleeping on a couch when she heard a loud noise and then broke down the bathroom door to find Kingery with his legs on fire. The pair went outside where Kingery tried to extinguish his burning clothes.

Hurt testified that Sunderman said she “freaked out” and walked away from the apartment and eventually called her mother after wandering around.

Emergency responders found Kingery outside with most of his clothes burned away and screaming in pain. Police said he had burns to the majority of his body.

Deputy Prosecutor Jacklyn Buente argued that by allowing Sunderman to use her apartment, by helping him open the pill packages and by staying alone in the apartment with the meth lab for a time, she was an active participant in methamphetamine manufacturing.

“Although she wasn’t the cook, she played a major role in the process,” Buente said.

She noted police found items used both at the beginning and end of the manufacturing process in the apartment’s bathroom.

O’Daniel argued that one detective’s testimony that he saw the burned remains of a duffel bag in the bathroom with other meth-making items could have meant that Kingery allegedly took the lab with him when he left for a time.

“When we are talking about manufacturing, you have to do something,” O’Daniel stressed to jurors. “Maintaining a common nuisance is what she did.”

That statute, he said, more specifically fit Sunderman’s role in the events that took place that day.

Sunderman will be sentenced at 1 p.m. May 12.—20a0xmethtrial/

HONOLULU — Honolulu police are investigating whether the two men involved in a crime spree that snarled Honolulu traffic last week are the same suspects captured on a widely-publicized surveillance video trying to rob a Waikele jewelry store five days earlier.

On Thursday, two suspected car thieves led police on a chase, which ended with officers fatally shooting 28-year-old Mark Ahnee of Mililani, who allegedly fired at police with a shotgun.

An autopsy revealed Ahnee had methamphetamine in his system, the medical examiner’s office said Tuesday. A preliminary toxicology screen tested positive for the drug.

On April 9, two masked men were captured on surveillance video trying to break open a display case using a hammer and shotgun at the Zales store in Waikele.

Police Sgt. Kim Buffett of Honolulu CrimeStoppers said that because a shotgun was used in both incidents, detectives are investigating a “long-shot” connection.–Police-Shooting/

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — A Roswell man has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for selling about 2½ ounces of methamphetamine to a federal informant and agreeing to sell more.

Stanley Montoya has been in custody since he was arrested in August 2010.

The 20-year-old pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possession methamphetamine for distribution and distribution of meth. He was sentenced on Tuesday in federal court in Las Cruces.–Meth-Sentence/

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – In federal court Monday, U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings sentenced several Lubbock residents following their drug and firearms convictions, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas.

These defendants along with others were arrested by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents on November 3, 2010, on charges outlined in sealed federal indictments that had been returned by a grand jury in Lubbock in September 2010. In the course of executing several federal search and arrest warrants on that early morning takedown on November 3, law enforcement seized cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, and firearms.

Michael Ruiz Peralez, 31, of Lubbock, was sentenced this morning to 180 months in federal prison. He pleaded guilty in January 2011 to several counts of a superseding indictment including one count each of: 1) conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine; 2) distribution and possession with intent to distribute cocaine; 3) possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and 4) convicted felon in possession of a firearm. His co-defendant, Bobby Joe Escobedo, 42, of Slaton, Texas, also pleaded guilty and has been sentenced to 24 months in federal prison. Co-defendant Andrew Lee Reynolds, 47, of Lubbock, also pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 6, 2011.

Two defendants, both from Lubbock, charged in another related case, were also sentenced today. Judge Cummings sentenced Juan Bustamante, Jr., 44, to 162 months in federal prison. He pleaded guilty in January 2011, to one count of possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine. His co-defendant, Rene A. Benavides, 38, was sentenced to 135 months; he also pleaded guilty in January 2011, to distribution and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

In another related case, two defendants, Monica Alicia Garcia, 31, and Delma Pequeno, 51, both of Lubbock, were sentenced today to 168 and 48 months, respectively. Garcia pleaded guilty in January 2011 to distribution and possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine and Pequeno pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a communications facility.

Defendant Jennifer Paige Moeller, also of Lubbock, was sentenced this morning by Judge Cummings to 37 months imprisonment. Moeller also pleaded guilty in January 2011 to distribution and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Jasper Martinez, 33, also of Lubbock and who is charged in a related case, also pleaded guilty in January 2011 to one count each of: 1) distribution and possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine; 2) possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and 3) convicted felon in possession of firearms. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 13, 2011.

These Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) cases were investigated by the DEA, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Lubbock Police Department, the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office, and the Slaton Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Haag, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Lubbock, prosecuted.

WARRICK CO., IN (WFIE) – A conservation officer busts two Warrick County men with meth making materials in the woods.

According to a press release, the officer was called to investigate a complaint of trespassing south of Buckskin.

The officer said he arrived to find a vehicle partially hidden in the woods. The officer said he suspected the driver was fishing illegally.

The officer followed a path to a nearby lake and found Derek Claycomb, 37 and Joseph Weddle, 31, with meth making ingredients, a release said.

Claycomb and Weddle were both taken to jail and charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of precursors, possession of anhydrous ammonia and criminal trespass.

NORTH VERNON, Ind. — A Jennings County methamphetamine investigation led to the discovery of numerous guns, a video-surveillance system and two motorcycles missing identification numbers.

Deputy Karen McCoy located a lab operation hidden near Road 550E and Road 700N Sunday, according to police reports. That lab led to a nearby residence where deputies discovered more methamphetamine production equipment and ingredients.

Deputies secured the home until they received a search warrant. Inside the home officers discovered more chemicals used in the production of methamphetamine, a video-surveillance system and numerous guns throughout the home. Two motorcycles were discovered that were missing their Vehicle Identification Numbers.

The Indiana State Police meth suppression unit assisted in securing the lab and the chemicals.

No arrests have been made, but officers expect to file charges and request arrests warrants. The investigation is continuing.

BEND, OR – A Bend woman suspected of dealing methamphetamine was arrested after trying to flee from police in a shopping center parking lot.

Suzette M. Delancey, 46, has been under investigation for over nine months for allegedly trafficking methamphetamine in the Central Oregon area.

Central Oregon Dreg Enforcement (C.O.D.E.) detectives believed Delancey was in possession of the drug when she arrived in the back parking lot of the J.C. Penny at the Cascade Village Shopping Center.

As they attempted to take her into custody, she tried to flee the scene in her vehicle, striking a police vehicle before driving into a light pole in the parking lot. After a brief struggle, she was taken into custody. No injuries were reported.

Delancey was booked into Deschutes County Jail.

SYRACUSE — The son of former Sherrill city Police Chief James Hastings was sentenced in federal court Monday to 15 days behind bars for buying an excessive amount of ephedrine pills, an ingredient used to make the illegal drug methamphetamine.

U.S. District Court Judge Glenn Suddaby also ordered Jason Hastings, 30, to pay a $2,500 fine, pay a $100 special assessment and face one year of supervision upon his release. Jason Hastings is due to report to U.S. Marshals to begin his sentence on June 7.

Jason Hastings had pleaded guilty Nov. 30, 2010, to a federal charge of knowingly and intentionally purchasing at retail stores during a 30-day period more than 9 grams of pseudoephedrine base from Jan. 3 to Jan. 26, 2010, in violation of the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005.

This law places a limit on how much someone can buy of over-the-counter ephedrine and pseudoephedrine products, which are common ingredients found in cough, cold and allergy products and used in the clandestine manufacture of methamphetamine.

In order to purchase products containing those ingredients, individuals must show ID and sign a log book at pharmacies or other retail businesses.

Jason Hastings was accused of purchasing a total of 13.76 grams of pseudoephedrine base during the month of January by visiting multiple stores in Madison and Oneida counties, said federal prosecutor Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Brown. The legal limit of 9 grams per 30 days is the equivalent of 371 30-milligram pills.

Jason Hastings was charged last May, weeks after then-police Chief James Hastings’ 6-year-old grandson suffered a drug-related illness following a visit to his grandfather’s home.

Earlier this year, the city terminated James Hastings as police chief earlier following an investigation into the incident.

Jason Hastings purchased these drug ingredients across the region after he was previously convicted in 2003 of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance in Oneida County Court.

This latest prosecution resulted from a joint investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Oneida City Police Department.

Routine traffic stops in American Canyon on Thursday resulted in the arrests of two Vallejoans and an American Canyon resident on a variety of charges, American Canyon’s police chief said.

American Canyon police stopped a vehicle at Daniel Drive and Flosden Avenue just before 9 a.m. for expired registration and encountered a strong marijuana odor, prompting a further search, police chief Jean Donaldson said.

This led to the arrest of the vehicle’s passenger, Clifton Dickson, 62, of Vallejo, on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, marijuana and drug-related paraphernalia.

Dickson was also found to be in possession of a loaded firearm, Donaldson said.

The driver, Theresa Wallace, 37, also of Vallejo, was arrested on drug-related charges. A third person in the car was not arrested, Donaldson said.

At about 10:45 p.m. Thursday, another expired registration-related vehicle stop in the 2500 block of Flosden, led to the arrest of Hector Hernandez of American Canyon. Hernandez was on probation and subject to a temporary restraining order meant to keep him from the woman who was driving the car, Donaldson said.

Hernandez was found to be under the influence of a controlled substance and a subsequent search of his residence produced methamphetamine and a “meth pipe,” Donaldson said.

He was arrested and taken to Napa County Jail, Donaldson said.

ROGERSVILLE — A traffic stop Thursday night led Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office deputies to an alleged methamphetamine manufacturing operation and also uncovered alleged food stamp fraud.

The HCSO Narcotics Unit was conducting a highway drug interdiction operation in the area of Spruce Pine Road when Sgt. Lynn Campbell and Deputy Jeff Hilton observed that the driver of a white 1997 Dodge Dakota traveling west on Spruce Pine Road was not wearing a seat belt.

The Narcotics Unit also recognized the driver, Vance Edgar “Dank” Lawson Jr., 44, of Morristown, as being the subject of numerous complaints of meth manufacturing.

As the Dodge Dakota came to a stop, police said a male passenger identified as Billy Robert Jr., 32, 314 Lee Valley Road, Whitesburg, exited the vehicle and fled on foot but was quickly apprehended. The other occupants of the vehicle were identified as Rita Faye Lawson, 40, and Nicky Lawson.

“As officers were speaking to Mr. Lawson he was observed to be in possession of a glass pipe, which he confirmed he used to smoke meth with,” Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said. “During a search of the vehicle, officers located a ‘Benefit Security Card’ that had been issued to Gerald K. Pearson. Mr. Lawson stated that he had purchased the card for $75.

VISALIA – Police recovered a quarer-ounce of methamphetamine packaged for sale during the search of a west Visalia residence, leading to the arrest of four people.

Officers with Visalia Police Department’s gang suppression unit served a warrant at a residence in the 1900 block of West Princeton Avenue. They uncovered the meth packaged for sale, along with currency and other items connected to narcotics sales. Arrested on suspicion of possessing the meth was Refugio Gonzales Escalante, 53, of Visalia.

Police also arrested Celestine Caroline Davison, 31, Althea Savannah Dykes, 30, and Danny Leyba, 29, all from Visalia. The three were cited on various outstanding warrants, police said.

A Meredosia man was arrested Friday night on methamphetamine and weapons charges after authorities went to his residence to check on the welfare of five children residing there.

Meredosia Police arrested Dustin E. Cowick, 26, of 140 N. Washington St. on preliminary charges of aggravated participation in methamphetamine manufacturing (two counts), methamphetamine-related child endangerment, possession of methamphetamine manufacturing materials, possession of a firearm without a firearm owner’s identification card, possession of less than 2.5 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

A village police officer and Department of Children and Family Services worker went to the residence to follow up on a report the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department received Thursday night alleging possible drug activity by a man and the neglect of five children, ranging in age from 1 to 10 years old, residing there, Chief Mike Beard said.

Cowick was placed under arrest after he reportedly told the officer that used needles, burnt spoons and other drug paraphernalia spotted in the house all belonged to him.

Police seized two weapons and several surveillance cameras Cowick had set up on the property. The Illinois State Police Methamphetamine Response Team was called in to assist.

A 42-year-old woman was arrested Thursday after a drug bust involving local and federal law enforcement agents at a home in Seaside, police said.

At 4:18 p.m., police said, Seaside and Monterey police officers together with the FBI served a search warrant at a home on the 1600 block of Vallejo Street.

They said officers seized items including cocaine base, methamphetamines, marijuana, controlled pills, drug sales evidence, a scanner, perimeter security cameras, a rifle and ammunition.

Police said Yvonne Johnson was arrested on suspicion of possessing cocaine base for sales, methamphetamine, controlled substances for sale, and a dangerous weapon, bringing drugs into a jail facility, violation of probation and possession of drug paraphernalia.

They said residents had previously complained of elevated vehicle and foot traffic at Johnson’s home for months.