Los Angeles (MMD Newswire) October 7, 2011 – – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at an air cargo consignment facility of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) seized 40 drums, 2,200 pounds of methylamine hydrochloride and two barrels, 880 pounds of ethyl phenyl acetate, both known chemicals that are used as precursors to methamphetamine and ecstasy. The shipment arrived from China with a final destination in the state of Illinois.

“In terms of volume this is a significant interception and definitely one of the largest meth precursor seizures at LAX in recent years,” said Todd C. Owen, CBP director of field operations in Los Angeles. “CBP focuses much of its law enforcement efforts on keeping dangerous and illegal drugs out of America and off the streets.”

On Sept. 29, CBP officers discovered and seized the shipment. Samples of the substance were sent to Laboratories and Scientific Services (LSS), CBP’s scientific arm. LSS’s chemist team identified the chemical as methylamine hydrochloride.

With the assistance of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) it was determined that both methylamine hydrochloride and ethyl phenyl acetate are List 1 controlled substances.

Methylamine hydrochloride is a corrosive, flammable, strong odor chemical essential to manufacture methamphetamine and ecstasy. Methylamine hydrochloride has legitimate industrial applications in pesticides, solvents and pharmaceutical products.

Suppliers of these products are subject to regulations and control measures. The Controlled Substances Act establishes parameters and strict rules on the manufacture, importation, use and distribution of controlled substances.

On a typical day in fiscal year 2010, CBP seized 25,209 pounds of drugs nationwide.


Nearly $30,000 worth of methamphetamine and Ecstasy pills was seized at two Vallejo residences after search warrants were served Thursday, according to the Solano County Sheriff’s Office.

After a three-month drug investigation, detectives working with the Vallejo Police Department served search warrants at two Vallejo residences belonging to 23-year-old Rafael Ruiz Jr.

The first residence is located in the 700 block of Elmwood Drive and the second is located in the 300 block of Hilary Way.

At the residences detectives seized 4.5 ounces of methamphetamine worth about $5,000, and 4,412 MDMA, or Ecstasy, pills worth about $22,000.

Packaging material commonly used to sell narcotics, two loaded guns and $4,353 in cash was also found in the residences, officials said.

Ruiz was found in his car in the 300 block of Hilary Way just before the search warrants were served, officials said.

He was arrested on suspicion of selling methamphetamine and MDMA and being an ex-felon in possession of ammunition and a firearm while committing a felony, according to sheriff’s officials.

He is being held at the Solano County Jail on $500,000 bail.


Border agents at Los Angeles International Airport intercepted a 1 1/2-ton shipment of chemicals used to make methamphetamine, officials said Thursday.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized 40 drums containing 2,200 pounds of methylamine hydrochloride and two barrels with 880 pounds of ethyl phenyl acetate — both used as precursors to methamphetamine and ecstasy.

The shipment, discovered Sept. 29 at an air cargo consignment facility, came from a Chinese company bound for Illinois. Officials declined to name the companies involved.

Customs and Border Protection spokesman Jaime Ruiz said the shipment had been red-flagged before it arrived in Los Angeles.

The Chinese company had declared it was shipping the chemicals, which are controlled substances, although methylamine hydrochloride has legitimate industrial applications.
But on the cargo’s arrival, officials found the company did not have the required permissions to ship the substances, Ruiz said.

“It is a huge amount of a highly flammable, corrosive chemical used to manufacture methamphetamine,” he said.

The chemicals were seized and will be destroyed, Ruiz said. No arrests have been made.

Ruiz said it has become increasingly common to intercept shipments of chemicals from China used to manufacture illicit drugs.

That may be because the large volume of cargo from that country makes it easier to avoid detection.


From law enforcement to industry representatives, speakers at joint interim study meeting Monday said they understand there is a methamphetamine problem in Oklahoma and other states that needs to be addressed.

Where they disagreed was in how to address that problem.

Darrell Weaver, director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control, wants the state to upgrade pseudoephedrine, a precursor chemical in meth production, to a Schedule III drug, which means it would require a prescription to obtain it.

Industry officials and some others said a better strategy would be to bring Oklahoma into the industry-sponsored NPLex program, which monitors drug purchases in participating states at the point of sale.

Weaver said the number of meth labs in Oklahoma grew from 148 in 2007 to 818 last year, a rise he attributed to new the “shake and bake” method of producing meth. With no need of a heat source, labs for this one-pot method of making meth can be small, even mobile.

He said that a governor’s task force a few years ago estimated the cost of Oklahoma’s meth problem to about $1 billion.

Weaver said that in 2006 Oregon made pseudoephedrine a Schedule III drug.

Since that time, he said the state’s crime rate fell to a 50-year low. He said Oregon’s meth-related arrests dropped 32 percent and meth-lab incidents plummeted 96 percent.

Weaver said that Mississippi passed a similar law just one year ago and has already seen a 68 percent reduction in meth-lab incidents and a 62 percent drop in meth arrests.

The director said that Oklahoma’s current pseudoephedrine-tracking program blocked 93,250 purchases out of about 1.5 million attempted purchases last year.

Weaver also said that current Class III regulations allow for five drug refills before a new doctor’s visit is required. A new prescription is not required each time, he said.

Weaver said the industry does not want to see any kind of pseudoephedrine restrictions, because sales of allergy medications containing that ingredient are very profitable. But he does not favor the industry-backed NPLex system.

“I’m not sure I want the fox guarding the henhouse,” he said.

Weaver said the prescription requirement would cover only pills containing pseudoephedrine, not gel or liquid medications. He said that covers only 17 products, leaving more than 100 still available over the counter.

“For the first time in a long time, we can have a positive effect on the meth issue,” he said.

David Starkey of Claremore was behind a recent movement in which several municipalities approved local ordinances requiring a prescription for pseudoephedrine. However, an attorney’s general opinion concluded that state law preempted such regulation, placing it out of local communities’ authority.

“The solution absolutely is prescription,” Starkey said, reciting Mississippi’s experience. “It’s been tested and it’s been proven.”

Dr. Jack Beller, chairman of the Oklahoma State Medical Association’s council on legislation, acknowledged that meth is a serious public health and safety issue.

“The solution is not simple or easy,” he said.

Beller said the solution should not over- burden people who are dependent on such medications, or the doctors who would have to write the prescriptions needed to serve them. He also asked whether a prescription requirement would boost insurance costs.

“We need to ask whether we need this drug in this form,” Beller said. “We currently ban other dangerous drugs.”

Generally, the pill form of drugs containing pseudoephedrine is used in making meth, not gel or liquid forms.

Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris said the burgeoning meth problem in Tulsa is draining his department’s resources, with six deaths attributed to meth fires since 2008.

“I can’t prosecute my way out of this hole,” he said.

Attacking the problem will require collaboration, the DA said.

“We’re going to have to have a statewide solution,” Harris said.

The prosecutor said it is estimated it can cost an average of $3,500 to clean up a meth lab, plus $5,000 in law enforcement costs, $252,000 in incarceration costs and more than $350,000 for property damage, treatment, mental health, child welfare and other needs.

Harris said costs to the environment and the health of first-responders and innocent people nearby due to the toxic chemicals involved in making meth are uncalculated.

Harris said that in 2009 there were about 315 meth labs in the Tulsa area. With 303 already this year, he said, Tulsa could be on the way to about 450 labs this year.

“If we are wrong and the detractors are right, you can go back and change it,” he said of the proposal to require a prescription for pseudoephedrine-based drugs. “You know the municipalities are crying out for a solution.”

Jim Aquisto represents Appriss, the technology vendor behind NPLex, which he said is a real-time, Web-based program free to the states and law enforcement agencies that use it.

He said that NPLex has blocked sales of 1 million grams of pseudoephedrine thus far this year. Because participating states share information, Aquisto said, sales can be blocked on an interstate basis. In NPLex states, sales are limited to 3.6 grams at one time, 9 grams over a 30-day period.

Aquisto also said that Oregon had experienced a 77 percent drop in meth labs before it enacted its prescription-only law, and that meth-related deaths actually rose 22 percent in that state last year.

Keith Cain is the sheriff of Daviess County, Kentucky and also consults for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, a trade group that backs NPLex.

He said his state had 400 meth labs in 2008 and is on track to have more than 1,000 this year.

Cain said there is no definitive answer to the meth problem, whether it’s NPLex or a prescription law, but states should examine all of the facts before making a decision.

“I do not think a prescription mandate will solve the problem,” he said.

Cain said an electronic tracking system such as NPLex blocks purchases at the point of sale, on the front end. In Kentucky, he said, it blocks about 10,000 grams per month. The system also provides law enforcement with data for locating offenders, he said.

Kentucky has a prescription monitoring program, Cain said, but it can take 7-10 days to get the information. He also said that such programs do not “talk state to state.”

Weaver said that Oklahoma has been tracking sales since 2005.

“It’s not going to stop it,” he said. “It doesn’t get us where we want to get, in my opinion.”


Five-year data suggest methamphetamine’s national decline has halted and that the drug’s stronghold may be moving eastward

Madison, NJ – October 6, 2011 – Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE: DGX), the world’s leading provider of diagnostic testing, information and services, today issued its annual report on U.S. worker drug use, the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index(TM). The study includes its first state-by-state analysis of methamphetamine positives, based on more than 4.5 million urine specimens collected from the general U.S. workforce from January-December 2010, revealing that several Western and Midwestern states register dramatically higher workforce positive prevalence rates for methamphetamine than the national average. The report also shows that while efforts around the country to control availability of the highly addictive substance and educate against its use may be making progress in some areas, the drug’s attraction among U.S. workers may be moving eastward.

Among the 42 states with sufficient data to compare to the national average for positive workplace drugs tests for methamphetamine in 2010, those notably above were:

• Hawaii – 410% greater than the national average

• Arkansas – 280% greater than the national average

• Oklahoma – 240% greater than the national average

• Nevada – 180% greater than the national average

• California – 140% greater than the national average

• Wyoming – 130% greater than the national average

• Utah – 120% greater than the national average

• Arizona – 100% greater than the national average

• Kansas – 80% greater than the national average

“While the western half of our country consistently struggles with dramatically higher methamphetamine positives than the nation as a whole, the American workforce overall faces a continued national challenge, and our data suggest that methamphetamine’s stronghold may be moving eastward into the Midwest and South,” said Dr. Barry Sample, Director of Science and Technology for Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions. “In 2010 alone, thousands of U.S. workers tested positive for this highly addictive substance that can affect behavior and judgment, and quickly change the course of a life.”

While overall positivity for methamphetamine use in the U.S. general workforce dropped dramatically from 0.18% in 2006 to 0.11% in 2008, the decline in the drug’s use appears to have halted thereafter, with a 0.10% positivity rate in both 2009 and 2010. Regional analysis of the same five-year period suggests that some high prevalence areas may be showing improvement while others are rising in comparison to the national average in recent years.

The Eastern border of the nation so far remains relatively insulated from methamphetamine prevalence in the workforce. New York fared well below the national average in 2010, as did Washington DC, andMassachusetts. Methamphetamine prevalence in Georgia was 20% higher than the national average. Recent news reports tell of large-scale “drug busts” seizing millions of dollars of the substance per incident in various parts of the country, including the East.

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug stimulant. The substance produces short, intense periods of euphoria, alertness, concentration, and energy as well as irritability, restlessness and aggressiveness, among other effects. Methamphetamine is also known for its intense withdrawal symptoms, including fatigue and depression, which can last for weeks and months in chronic users.

Dr. Steven Shoptaw, Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Department of Family Medicine, and a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)-funded clinical researcher focused on medications and behavioral therapies for methamphetamine dependence, commented on the study findings, “In the mid 2000’s, indicators were that use of methamphetamine was dropping across the population. But this is a highly addictive substance, and in the clinics, we saw demand for treatment remain high during that time. While many people use methamphetamine recreationally for its euphoric effects, I’ve also worked with patients who, paralyzed by the recession and juggling multiple jobs and family responsibilities, started using methamphetamine for its ‘functional’ stimulant benefit. What they didn’t realize is that methamphetamine can wreak havoc on their judgment, their health, their families and their lives. For these sorts of people, we now provide economic counseling in the treatment setting, helping people to live their lives in scale, without using methamphetamine.”

Recently, cross-border drug cartels have been reported to be operating highly productive “superlabs” that are creating new access points to methamphetamine in the U.S. At the same time, new methods for making small amounts of methamphetamine have proliferated in the U.S., creating unprecedented mobility in the domestic “meth lab.” Attempts to control the availability of over-the-counter medications used in methamphetamine production persist, but do not appear to date to have completely curbed the illicit manufacturing. In fact, illegally acquiring and reselling over-the-counter medications used to make methamphetamine has been noted as a flourishing cottage industry. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (SAMHSA 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health), “past-month” methamphetamine use rose in 2009 after declining between 2006-2008.

Five-Year Positivity Rate for Cocaine in the U.S. General Workforce Drops 65%; Amphetamine Up 57%
Other results from the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index show that positive workforce drug tests for cocaine in the general U.S. workforce continued to decline in 2010 vs. 2009, down 13.8% (0.25% vs. 0.29%) and down 65% (0.25% vs. 0.72%) during the five-year period 2006-2010. However, positive workforce drug tests for amphetamine in the U.S. general workforce continued to increase in 2010 vs. 2009, up 15.8% (0.57% vs. 0.66%) and up 57% (0.42% vs. 0.66%) during the five-year period 2006-2010. Since Quest Diagnostics began tracking positive workforce drug tests in the Drug Testing Index in 1988, there has been a steady decline in overall positives in the U.S. general workforce.

For more information on the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index and the full 2010 tables, visit http://www.questdiagnostics.com/employersolutions/drug_testing_index_es.html.


Williamstown, NY – A 25-year-old man is accused of operating a methamphetamine lab in a home in Williamstown, Oswego County authorities said.

Oswego County Sheriff’s deputies Tuesday accused Robert E. Christensen, of 581 CC Road, Williamstown, of the felonies of criminal possession of precursors of methamphetamine and third-degree unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine. He was also accused of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor.

Christensen was arraigned in the Town of Williamstown Court and sent to the Oswego County Jail in lieu of $500 cash or $1,000 bond.

The charges follow an investigation Sunday into a methamphetamine lab at a home in Williamstown, Undersheriff Eugene Sullivan said this morning.

Deputies acting on a tip searched the one-family home at 581 CC Road and found items commonly used to make the drug, authorities said. New York State police, Department of Environmental Conservation officers and Williamstown Fire Department members dismantled the lab.


Two men were arrested Wednesday on drug-related charges after Sheriff’s detectives serving a search warrant at a Santa Barbara home reportedly found methamphetamine, cocaine and drug-related paraphernalia, according Sheriff’s spokesman Drew Sugars.

Pedro Bailon Nava, 39, a Santa Barbara resident, and Jaime Barreto Hernandez, 31, were arrested and booked into Santa Barbara County Jail.

Nava was contacted by detectives Wednesday afternoon at the home in the 600 block of Sola St. in Santa Barbara, after a two-month investigation. Hernandez was contacted as he left the residence, Sugars said.

Detectives reportedly found about an ounce of “icemethamphetamine packaged for sales and one ounce of cocaine, scales, packaging materials and other items related to narcotics sales.

The drugs had an estimated street value of $5,600, and more than $2,000 in cash was taken from Nava pursuant to State Asset Forfeiture laws, Sugars said.

Nava was booked without bail due to an immigration hold, and on charges of drugs for sale.

Hernandez was also booked without bail due to an immigration hold, and on charges of drug possession.

Also on Wednesday, detectives assisted by the Lompoc and Santa Maria police departments arrested numerous suspects in North County on charges of trafficking methamphetamine after a two-month investigation.

Search warrants were served at multiple locations in Lompoc including the 700 block of East Ocean Ave. and the 400 block of North B Street.

Two of the main suspects, Santana Lopez, 24, and Jorge Tafoya, 25, were detained during a traffic stop and reportedly found to be in possession of five ounces of “icemethamphetamine packages for sales.

The street value of the drug is estimated at $14,000.

Two children, ages eight and two, were also inside the vehicle and were later released to family members.

Detectives reportedly found additional methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia at both locations in Lompoc.

A wanted parolee, Eugene Lopez, 30, was arrested while reportedly attempting to flush contraband down the toilet at the residence in the 700 block of East Ocean.

A small marijuana grow operation, which was accessible to four children, was also reportedly located at the residence in the 400 block of North B Street. Manuel Bazaldua, 34, was reportedly found to be trying to flush marijuana plants. Charges of marijuana cultivation and child endangerment are being submitted to the District Attorney’s Office, according to Sugars.

Tafoya and Santana Lopez were booked at the Lompoc City Jail on charges of possessing meth for sale, and transportation of meth for sales with bail set at $30,000. Eugene Lopez was booked at the Lompoc jail for violation of parole and possession of drug paraphernalia, without bail.


THIBODAUX, La. — The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office says it’s dealing with an increase in methamphetamine production in the parish.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Brennan Matherne tells The Daily Comet (http://bit.ly/oFUejt) that the number of labs shut down has increased since last year. Exact figures were not available.

The office recently shut down two alleged meth labs within a week. One recent arrest involved four members of a Lockport family — a 53-year-old man and his three adult children. A search of the House on Monday turned up meth packaged for sale as well as marijuana.


EASTON, Pa. – A man who admitted to cooking up drugs at a hotel has learned his fate.

Todd Laudenbach, of Wind Gap, Northampton County, was sentenced Thursday to two-to-four years in prison for manufacturing methamphetamine. He was also ordered to pay about $5,000 in restitution.

Laudenbach pleaded guilty last month to making the drugs at the Hampton Inn in Lower Nazareth Township, Northampton County. Several other charges against him were withdrawn.


LOGANSPORT, Ind.— Police arrested a Logansport man on a preliminary charge of possessing methamphetamine after finding the drug in a truck owned by Cass County Prosecutor Kevin Enyeart.

The Pharos-Tribune reported Thursday (http://bit.ly/qrNEAb) that 42-year-old Charles Allen Skaggs was arrested Friday. He’s been released from jail.

Cass County Sheriff’s Deputy John O’Connor says Skaggs allowed officers to search the truck during a traffic stop. Officers found two grams of meth in engine compartment.

Enyeart says he had lent the vehicle to Skaggs, who was working for Enyeart’s real estate business. Enyeart says he doesn’t know who the meth belonged to.

A special prosecutor has been appointed in the case. No formal charges have been filed.

Skaggs does not have a published telephone number and he could not be reached for comment.


San Diego County residents have endured extreme and heart-wrenching loss in recent months as intimate partner violence has escalated to murder-suicide, in some cases ending the lives of entire families.

Spouses killing spouses. Boyfriends killing girlfriends. Parents killing children. And the perpetrators of these crimes dying by suicide.

Murder-suicides have taken place throughout the county this year and forever changed the lives of countless friends, families, neighbors and colleagues.

People of all ages, backgrounds and walks of life were impacted by the violence. And every single death was preventable. Everyone can take action and help prevent these incidents by educating themselves about domestic violence and where to call for assistance, supporting those experiencing violence, and participating in events to raise awareness about domestic violence.

On Oct. 8, residents will come together in Balboa Park – asking for one day free of violence as they honor the lives of 14 people killed by domestic violence in 2010 during the annual HOPE in the Park event.

Ongoing mental health issues and substance abuse or dependency issues often coincide with domestic violence. For example, depression can lead to feelings of desperation and hopelessness. There is also a link to substance abuse, as a study by SANDAG found that approximately 30 percent of those arrested on suspicion of domestic violence tested positive for methamphetamine.

A common thread through some of the recent murder-suicides is desperation. People who feel backed into a corner and helpless often make irrational decisions. Too frequently, we see people reach a point of hopelessness that drives them to kill their loved ones – and sometimes themselves.

Domestic violence can escalate to homicide, but usually starts out less extreme.

In 2010, there were 12 people killed in San Diego County by an intimate partner. There were also two others killed related to domestic violence, one a new boyfriend and the other a mother-in-law. That year 16,880 domestic violence incidents were reported to police in San Diego County.

This year, the violence has continued to increase, with as many as 15 individuals killed in the county where the suspect was an intimate partner (current or former) and related others (friends, family, new partners, etc.) were also slain.

Many cases end with the perpetrator dying by suicide. The case of Kevin Collier exemplifies these tragic dynamics. Collier killed his 4-month-old daughter and his mother-in-law before taking his own life. He also nearly killed police officer Jarred Slocum during a related shootout.

Warning signs for someone who may commit homicide/suicide include prior family violence, threats of violence and suicide, prior history of mental illness or substance abuse, and isolation from family and friends.

It is rarely easy to leave an abusive relationship and it is sometimes dangerous. But there are professionals available to assist you if you or someone you know is thinking about leaving an abusive relationship.

Nearly 1,400 adults and children reside in emergency domestic violence shelters each day in California, with a similar number in transitional shelters that are steppingstones to new violence-free lives.

Treatment is also available for people struggling with issues like depression and substance abuse.


SHAH ALAM, Oct 6 (Bernama) — Police have detained seven men, including a father and son, to help with investigations into the murder of a married couple last month at a durian orchard near a rubber farm at Batu 30, Jalan Kuala Lumpur-Ipoh, Hulu Yam, Selangor.

Selangor deputy police chief Datuk A. Thaiveegan said the suspects, aged between 16 and 44, were apprehended at various locations on Sept 30 and Oct 3.

“The first arrest involved five men. Three had previous convictions, while two had a case each under the Prevention of Crime Ordinance (PCO) in Ulu Yam.

“Two more suspects were arrested last Monday. Neither had any criminal record, but one tested positive for methamphetamine,” he said in a press conference at the police contingent headquarters’ media centre here today.

He said police also recovered two units of parang in Selangor Rasa river at Batang Kali, about one kilometre from the murder scene, which were believed to have been used by the suspects to kill the victims.

Police suspected the motive to be jealousy and a misunderstanding.

The bodies of L. Ramasandram, 57, and A. Bakiam, 51, were found sprawled on the road near the orchard about 5.30am on Sept 28.

Ramasandram had serious injuries on his head, and all five fingers of his right hand were severed. Bakiam’s wrist was almost severed, and her head was slashed.

The couple were said to have left home around 5am to tap rubber at the farm, about two kilometres from the house.


BARSTOW • A defense attorney representing a Barstow man on trial for murder in the 2010 shooting death of his neighbor asked jurors to convict his client of second-degree murder, rather than first-degree, during closing arguments in the case on Wednesday.

Frank Gonzales, 36, is on trial for the Aug. 2010 shooting death of his 39-year-old neighbor, Mark Good. Gonzales — who said he was high on methamphetamine and hadn’t slept for two days prior to the shooting — believed that Good was peeking in his windows to look at his fiancee and children.

Gonzales confessed to shooting Good several times after the shooting, including during his testimony in court on Tuesday.

Ron Powell, Gonzales’ conflict panel attorney, said during his closing statements that a crime was committed on the day of Good’s death, but said the jury shouldn’t convict his client of first-degree murder because he said Gonzales did not lie in wait and the murder was not premeditated. The jury has to find at least one of those allegations correct in order to find Gonzales guilty of first-degree murder.

Powell also said that Gonzales was not in his right mind on the day of the shooting.

“The actions (Gonzales) took were not reasonable,” said Powell. “No one in their right mind would act the way my client did.”

Powell added that Gonzales had bought the rifle because he was afraid for himself and for his family.

Deputy District Attorney Sean Daugherty asked the jury to convict Gonzales of first-degree murder and an additional special allegation of using a firearm to kill Good. He said Gonzales showed both premeditation and lying in wait during his actions on the night of Good’s death.

“Is there a more unambiguous intention to kill than shooting someone twice?” asked Daugherty of the jury during his closing statements.

The jury of seven women and five men began their deliberations Wednesday morning after closing arguments were finished.

The jury has the choice of convicting Gonzales of first-degree murder, second-degree murder or can find him not guilty. Gonzales also has an alleged special allegation of using a firearm to commit the killing, which adds additional time to the sentence if he is convicted.

Gonzales faces 79 years to life if convicted of all charges.


A woman has been left partly deaf by a violent attack in which she was bitten so hard her lower lip and one ear were nearly torn off.

Lorraine Cassidy, a 47-year-old preschool teacher, was at a birthday party in Northland when she was attacked.

Glenis Ngaire Tito, of no fixed abode, was arrested in Auckland last week in relation to the attack and appeared in North Shore District Court. She is on bail.

It is alleged the 38-year-old Tito grabbed Ms Cassidy and pinned her to the ground before biting her so hard on the lower lip that it was torn from her face and left hanging by a small strip of skin.

The solo mother then allegedly moved to Ms Cassidy’s ear, again biting on it so hard that it ripped in half, causing the victim’s eardrum to rupture.

The Herald understands the attack, early on July 16, stopped only when Tito’s partner pulled her away.

Although it is not clear what prompted the violence, it is believed Tito was dating a man who had gone out with, and fathered a child with, one of Ms Cassidy’s relatives.

Tito has been charged with two counts of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and one of injuring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

She also faces one charge of possessing a glass methamphetamine pipe, in relation to an incident last week.

It is understood Ms Cassidy, who also had her hair pulled and was left with a bite mark on her forehead, was taken to hospital after the attack.

She required numerous stitches to reattach her lip and fix her ear, but has reportedly lost the hearing in it.


Two people were arrested Saturday after a routine traffic stop in Carrollton led to the discovery of a mobile meth lab in the back of a truck, police said.

Sabrina Michelle May, 31, and Dewayne Edward Crews, 43, both of Whitesburg, are facing charges of criminal intent to manufacture methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute meth — all following a simple seat belt violation.

According to police reports, Officer Omereo Potts of the Carrollton Police Department pulled over a white Dodge Dakota on Rome Street when he noticed that neither the driver nor the passenger were wearing seat belts. May, who was driving the truck, presented a Georgia identification card, rather than a driver’s license, and admitted to Potts that her license had been suspended. Crews, who was riding in the passenger seat, said the truck belonged to him.

After getting consent to search the vehicle, Potts discovered what he believed to be meth, digital scales, and “items used to manufacture meth,” according to the report. Potts also found the components of a mobile meth lab in a cooler in the back of the truck.

May and Crews told the officer that they have been selling the drug for the past six months to “make ends meet,” according to the report.

Capt. Chris Dobbs said meth certified officers were called to the scene to dispose of the chemicals.

Meth continues to be a major source of crime and one of the leading causes of drug arrests in Carroll County.

Sgt. Matt Howard said the police department has recovered around $14,000 worth of meth this year, though the costs are higher because of the expense of cleaning up meth labs. He said the total number of arrests in Carrollton from January to August has been roughly 15.

Last year, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office confiscated 30 pounds of meth, which they said has a street value of $2.1 million.

“What we’re having a big problem with now, is people go to your local pharmacies and they will purchase boxes of Ephedrin pills, batteries, Coleman fuel and fertilizer, and nine out of ten times they’re not the ones manufacturing the dope,” Howard said.

He said because of the limits in place to prevent major sales of Ephedrin, those cooking meth are finding it more difficult. Now, users have taken to bartering for the product rather than paying cash.

According to Jill Hendricks, a patient advocate at the University of West Georgia’s Health Services and vice-chair of the Carroll Meth Awareness Coalition, there is a major concern in the public sector over the effects of the drug.

“In addition to homegrown labs, people are buying it off the street. It’s dangerous for a lot of reasons, because it’s so inexpensive and easy to make, the repercussions are so great,” she said. “It can tear apart the fabric of the community because of its ripple effect in the health care community, and schools.”

The CMAC is holding its annual drug awareness summit, “Meth and Other Dead Ends,” on Oct. 20 at the Tabernacle Baptist Church. This year’s focus, Hendricks said, is to spread awareness beyond meth to the abuse of prescription and synthetic drugs, gangs and violence.


NEWARK — A Newark woman was arrested for reportedly purchasing medication used to make methamphetamine at her East North Street residence.

Melissa A. Robbins, 36, last known address 54 E. North St., was charged with illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for manufacture of drugs near juveniles, a second-degree felony.

Newark firefighters discovered the suspected methamphetamine lab in the basement of 54 E. North St. when extinguishing a fire at the residence Sunday evening, according to court records.

Police report that Robbins’ husband, Chad, was making methamphetamine in the basement with pseudoephedrine Melissa Robbins purchased from pharmacies across Licking County, according to court records.

Their two children were living in the house where the drugs were made, according to records.

Melissa Robbins was arrested Tuesday. Her bond, set at $10,000 by Licking County Municipal Court Judge Michael Higgins, was posted Wednesday and she was released.

Chad Robbins remains incarcerated on a $100,000 bond set by Judge David Stansbury. Both cases will be reviewed by a grand jury for possible indictments.


ALTMAR — Members of the Oswego County Sheriff’s Department arrested an Altmar man Tuesday for allegedly running the methamphetamine lab deputies found earlier this week.

The sheriff’s department reported that it received a tip from a concerned citizen regarding a possible methamphetamine lab at 581 CC Road, Altmar. Members of the department investigated, and on Monday, found the lab and materials used in manufacturing the Schedule II stimulant. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, a Schedule II drug “has a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.”

On Tuesday, deputies arrested Robert E. Christensen, 25, who lives at the address where the methamphetamine lab was found. He was charged with criminal possession of precursors of methamphetamine, a class E felony; unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine in the third degree, a class D felony; and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, a class A misdemeanor.


WACO (October 5, 2011)–Billy John Ortiz, of Hewitt, was sentenced to prison Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Waco after he earlier pleaded to possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute the drug.

U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith sentenced Ortiz to 46 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years release and ordered him to pay a $1,000 fine and a $100 special assessment to the court.

Waco police narcotics officers arrested Ortiz May 27 after they executed a search warrant his home in Hewitt.

During the search of the residence, officers found about 42.5 grams of white powder in the garage and kitchen areas of the home, which tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine, prosecutors said.

Police also reported finding packaging materials, digital scales and other drug paraphernalia in the garage and kitchen areas of the residence.

In addition officers recovered four handguns, one bulletproof vest, ammunition of various calibers and approximately $1,375 in U.S. currency during the search.


United States Attorney Deborah R Gilg announced that Javier Garcia-Hernandez, a/k/a Alberto Perez, a/k/a Juan Manuel Aranada, Jr, a/k/a Carlos Alcozer, a/k/a Javier Hernandez, a/k/a Alberto Aranda, a/k/a Juan Manuel Aranda, 43, of Lincoln, Nebraska ., was sentenced to life imprisonment on October 4, 2011, for conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.

Garcia-Hernandez was convicted of the charge by a federal jury in Lincoln in June of 2011. Prior to the trial, the United States Attorney’s Office filed an Information alleging that Garcia-Hernandez had three prior felony drug convictions from the states of Iowa, South Dakota, and Texas. Those three felony convictions were filed under three different names. At an evidentiary hearing on October 4, 2011, the government presented documentary and fingerprint evidence linking Garcia-Hernandez to the three prior convictions.

Based on that evidence, the Honorable Richard G Kopf, United States District Judge, found that Garcia-Hernandez was the person convicted in all three of the earlier cases. Due to the amount of drugs for which Garcia-Hernandez was held responsible and the court’s finding that Garcia-Hernandez had at least two prior felony drug convictions, the mandatory minimum sentence was life imprisonment.

Evidence presented at trial indicated that between the spring of 2009 and May 19, 2010, Garcia-Hernandez was part of a methamphetamine distribution organization which distributed multiple pounds of methamphetamine in the Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota areas. Search warrants executed on May 19, 2010, at four Lincoln residences and three garages resulted in the finding of over two pounds of methamphetamine at locations associated with members of the conspiracy. This case resulted from an investigation which began in the spring of 2009.

A total of eight persons, including Garcia-Hernandez, were indicted as a result of that investigation. The remaining seven persons all pled guilty and have received sentences ranging from 37 months to 135 months in federal prison.

The matter was investigated by the Lincoln/Lancaster County Narcotics Task Force, which includes the Lincoln Police Department Narcotics Unit and investigators from the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Department and the UNL Police Department; the Drug Enforcement Administration in Omaha and Sioux Falls, South Dakota; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Additional assistance was provided by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of South Dakota.


FORT COLLINS – Deputies arrested a man on Monday evening after they say he hit them several times with his pickup before running into a tree in his front yard.

The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office says deputies responded to 33-year-old Frank Ray Runyan Jr.’s home in Fort Collins around 5 p.m. on Monday on a report of a domestic disturbance.

When deputies tried to talk to Runyan, he tried to leave in his Ford pickup. That is when deputies say he hit them several times with his truck and ran into hit a tree.

The sheriff’s office says Runyan then tried to run away on foot. Deputies chased him, but he circled back around, got in his truck and drove away. He allegedly hit deputies again when he drove away.

Runyan was finally arrested at gunpoint and investigators found a significant amount of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in and around the truck.

The deputies were not severely hurt, and Runyan was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

Runyan faces several charges, including two counts of first-degree assault of a police officer and domestic violence.

His bond was set at $500,000 and he will appear in court on Oct. 13.


BARTLESVILLE – Lyndsey Fiddler said she has been “waking up every day to the same bad dream” since Nov. 4, when her 10-day-old daughter was found dead in a washing machine.

In a presentencing investigation report filed in her case, Fiddler insists that she did not kill her daughter, Maggie May Trammel.

“It sucks being me,” Fiddler states in the report. “Everybody has made it out like I’m a monster. I want the truth to come out, but I know it never will.”

Fiddler said she lives daily with the impact of Maggie May’s death.

“I am guilty of child neglect, and I lost my daughter,” she states. “I know I am not the victim in this case, but I wish I would have died (and) not her. There’s nobody that can hurt me any worse than I’ve been hurt now.”

Washington County District Judge Curtis DeLapp will sentence Fiddler, 27, on Wednesday on charges of child neglect and second-degree manslaughter. She pleaded guilty to the counts in August.

District Attorney Kevin Buchanan has recommended a four-year prison sentence on the manslaughter charge and a split 30-year sentence – with 15 years in prison followed by 15 years of probation – on the neglect charge with the sentences to be served concurrently.

Despite testing positive for numerous drugs, Fiddler said she knows everything that happened on the day and night of her daughter’s death and remembers putting the baby to sleep in a bassinet before lying down to take a nap.

Fiddler said that when she awoke, her other children were screaming and her aunt Rhonda Coshatt was pulling the baby out of the washing machine.

“I know I’m not the one who put my baby in that washing machine, but I can’t prove that I did or didn’t,” Fiddler states in the report. “I know in my heart I did not kill my baby.”

William Alexander, a Bartlesville probation and parole officer who prepared the presentencing investigation report, recommended incarceration for Fiddler.

“The community is justifiably outraged by the loss of an innocent life in such a manner,” he states in the report. “The impact of the crime affects not only the immediate parties related to the victim, but the entire community.”

Buchanan originally charged Fiddler with first-degree murder but amended the charge to manslaughter in August, noting that there were “unique factual and legal circumstances” in the case.

He said the evidence does not point to Fiddler intentionally killing her child; however, her “conscious decision to ingest methamphetamine, along with other prescription medication, directly led to the death” of the baby.

During the 11 months since her daughter’s death, Fiddler has been in the Washington County Jail with bail set at $100,000 while her two sons – ages 6 and 9 – have been in the custody of a relative.

Coshatt, the only other adult present on the night the baby died, could not be located by authorities to be interviewed in connection with the presentencing report. Investigators determined that she had left Bartlesville for Coffeyville, Kan., but then left that residence without a forwarding address.

During Fiddler’s preliminary hearing in March, Coshatt testified that Fiddler had been doing methamphetamine the day before the baby died.

Coshatt also testified that she had taken morphine that night for back pain.

In a previous court document, Fiddler states that Coshatt “was high on morphine and I was high on methamphetamine. I do not know which of us put her (the baby) in the machine, but I do not think either of us did it on purpose.”

The District Attorney’s Office has said it wants Fiddler to remain in prison long enough to avoid ever having custody of her children again, Fiddler says in the report that she hopes she will “get out to at least see my other kids before they are grown.”


Crestview meth lab shut down

Posted: October 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

Other occupants of the house allowed deputies to enter, however, McDonald could not be found, deputies reported. The occupants told deputies about a trap door in the bathroom that allowed access to underneath the home, through which McDonald had climbed.

McDonald was seen by deputies under the house, but refused to come out. A sheriff’s special response team arrested McDonald after spraying a “chemical irritant” under the house to force him to come out, according to the press release.

While inside the house, deputies saw items used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine in plain view, the press release states. Okaloosa Drug Task Force Investigators were called to the scene and obtained a search warrant for the methamphetamine lab.

McDonald is charged with trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting an officer without violence.

Another occupant at the house, Kenneth Ben Williams, 21, of Crestview is charged with possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) and drug paraphernalia.


The U.S. Border Patrol busted a driver with 25 pounds of methamphetamine hidden near the bumper of a sedan, it announced Tuesday.

The $806,000 worth of drugs were found on a car driven through the Indio station checkpoint at highways 78 and 86 near Salton Sea.

Border Patrol dogs alerted agents to the car about 7:10 p.m. Saturday.

Agents found a compartment added near the bumper that hid two long tubular packages, the Border Patrol said. The methamphetamine was hidden inside.

The driver, a 20-year-old man whose name was not released, was arrested and turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.


Darren McCracken busted with Meth, guns and a dead hawk!

A local man whom police call a prolific methamphetamine dealer is behind bars following a two-week investigation by the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.

Darren McCracken, 48, of East Portland is being held at the Clackamas County Jail on $250,000 bail on allegations of delivering and possessing methamphetamine and heroin.

Police arrested him Friday, Sept. 30, at a Milwaukie motel after confronting him in the middle of a drug deal, said Detective Marcus Mendoza.

Meanwhile, a Milwaukie Police Department police canine trained to sniff out drugs indicated there were narcotics in the car McCracken was driving.

Inside the vehicle, police reportedly found a large amount of methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, oxycodone pills and money, Mendoza said.

Detectives found more of the same – plus cocaine, hallucinogenic mushrooms, two stolen handguns, including one that was stolen from Gresham, and a dead hawk in a freezer – during a search of his home in the 15800 block of Southeast Stark Street.

In total, police seized 264 grams of methamphetamine and 204 grams of heroin. The combined street value of the drugs is more than $20,000. In addition, a total of $12,000 in cash was seized.

McCracken faces additional charges in Multnomah County for drug possession and delivery, being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen firearm and a game violation. Hawks are a protected species, so Oregon State Police fish and game investigators will focus on that aspect of the case, Mendoza said.


Two co-defendants in the “Devil’s Professor” methamphetamine trafficking case entered not-guilty pleas Tuesday to conspiracy charges.
Chelsea Marie Johnson, 34, and Eric Cortez, 31, both of Redlands, entered the pleas and denied all allegations at a formal arraignment before Judge Harold T. Wilson in San Bernardino Superior Court.

Both defendants face charges in connection with a methemphetamine trafficking ring allegedly run by Cal State San Bernardino professor Steve Kinzey.

Johnson and Cortez were ordered held on the charges after a preliminary hearing on Sept. 27. Judge Douglas Gericke ruled then that sufficient evidence was presented to hold over the defendants for trial.

Also on Tuesday, lawyer Sean O’Connor, who represents Johnson, sought a hearing to argue for a reduction in his client’s bail. She is currently being held on $150,000 bail, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

“There is a little bit of confusion as to what the court may have used to get there,” said O’Connor.

He argued that the gang allegations in the case do not apply to her, according to the preliminary hearing.

“Statutorily, it should be lower,” O’Connor said of his client’s bail.

Deputy District Attorney Steve Sanchez agreed that the gang allegations don’t apply. But he said Johnson’s bail should remain the same because more than a pound of meth was recovered by investigators.

A hearing on the bail issue was set for Friday. Both Johnson and Cortez are being held at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, Cortez on $300,000 bail, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
In other matters related to the case, Deputy Public Defender Timothy Douglass, who represents Cortez, announced in court Tuesday that he plans to file a motion challenging the charges against his client.

O’Connor said he would join in the motion with Douglass.

A pretrial hearing for Johnson and Cortez was set for Oct. 19. A jury trial was scheduled for Nov. 7.

Johnson faces one count of conspiracy. Cortez is charged with conspiracy and possession of a controlled substance for sale.

Sheriff’s detectives allege that Kinzey purchased large amounts of methamphetamine from Jeremy Disney, 30, of San Bernardino and distributed quantities to Johnson and Cortez, who then split the drugs into smaller amounts for mid-level and street-level dealers.

Kinzey is president of the San Bernardino Mountains chapter of the Devil’s Diciples, a group founded in Fontana in 1967, deputies said. He also has taught kinesiology at Cal State San Bernardino for 10 years.

Local, county and federal law enforcement launched the “Devil’s Professor” investigation six months ago, which culminated in a raid Aug. 26 at Kinzey’s East Highlands Ranch home, sheriff’s deputies said.

On Monday, two other co-defendants accepted plea bargains and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, prosecutors said. They become the second and third defendants – of the 11 charged in the case – who have taken plea bargains.

Under the agreements, Stephanie Danielle Padilla, 33, and Elaine Linda Flores, 35, both of Redlands, will receive 210 days in county jail, which can be served on weekends.

However, the court agreed to release Padilla and Flores from custody conditionally before sentencing, Sanchez said.

To ensure the defendants return to court, Judge Kenneth Barr sentenced both women to three years in state prison. If they return to court on Nov. 1 and haven’t violated any laws or had any contacts with law enforcement, the judge will re-sentence them to the lesser term.