• Rogue state  believed to produce meth with ‘Breaking Bad’ level potency
  • Five men  were arrested in Thailand and included two from UK, one from China, and two  members of a Hong Kong-based organized crime group
  • Accused of  trying to smuggle 100 kilos of the drug, worth about  $3.7m
  • Five men  face between 10 years and life if convicted of charges
  • Manhattan-based attorneys said they hoped the arrests  would help close the ‘floodgates’ of meth into New York and  beyond

Five foreigners, including two Britons, have  been charged with plotting to smuggle 100 kilograms of methamphetamine  worth about $3.7million from North Korea into the U.S.

The men were arrested in Thailand in  September and brought to New York on Tuesday night. They were to appear in  federal court in New York City on Wednesday.

Britons Scott Stammers and Philip Shackels  were arrested along with three men from China, Thailand and the Phillipines.

Worldwide meth: The DEA made five arrests in Thailand of foreigners suspected of plotting to smuggle 100 kilos of super potent meth into the U.S. The international crime ring included a UK citizen, a Chinese, and a FilipinoWorldwide meth: The DEA made five arrests in Thailand of  foreigners (one is pictured) suspected of plotting to smuggle 100 kilos of super  potent meth into the U.S

They face between 10 years and a life  sentence if found guilty of the charges.

‘Methamphetamine is a dangerous,  potentially  deadly drug, whatever its origin.

‘If it ends up in our  neighborhoods, the  threat it poses to public health is grave whether it  is produced in New York,  elsewhere in the U.S., or in North Korea,’ U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a  statement.

‘This investigation shows our determination  to close a potential floodgate of supply,’ he continued.

According to court papers, the suppliers sold  more than 30 kilograms of North  Korean meth in 2012 that was seized by  authorities in Thailand and in  the Philippines.

The meth tested more than 99 per cent pure,  the papers  said.

In  2013, the suppliers agreed to provide 100  kilograms to confidential  sources working with the Drug Enforcement  Administration, the papers  said.

Defendant Le Tiong Tan Lim, from China,  allegedly bragged that the organization was the only  one able to get meth from  North Korea after pressure by the U.S. prompted a government crackdown on  production there.

The same defendant boasted that the North  Korean product was 99 per cent pure methamphetamine, or Breaking Bad level  potency.

Terrifyingly pure: The DEA tested the meth seized in the September arrests and announced Wednesday that it tested at an astounding 99 percent pureTerrifyingly pure: The DEA tested the meth seized in the  September arrests and announced Wednesday that it tested at an astounding 99  percent pure
Life imitating art: The North Korean Meth has been compared to the fictional--and extremely pure--'Blue Magic' meth from the series Breaking BadLife imitating art: The North Korean Meth has been  compared to the fictional–and extremely pure–‘Blue Magic’ meth from the series  Breaking Bad

The North Korean government ‘already burned  all the labs. Only our labs are not closed,’ the defendant said during a meeting  with the fake buyers, according to court papers.

‘To show the Americans that they are not  selling it anymore, they burned it.’

The United States in the past has accused  North Korea of trafficking meth.

The defendant claimed to have stockpiled one  ton of meth because of the diplomatic tensions.

After the meeting, the suppliers sent a  sample to the United States that tested 98 per cent pure, the papers said.

They agreed to deliver the drugs to Thailand,  where they were to be stashed in a boat and smuggled into the United  States.

A pan-Asian problem: Authorities say the super meth pipeline runs from North Korea to China and beyond. But Southeast Asia is also seen as a major world producer of the drug. Here, Thai officer stand behind 2 million capsules of meth seized in 2012A pan-Asian problem: Authorities say the super meth  pipeline runs from North Korea to China and beyond. But Southeast Asia is also  seen as a major world producer of the drug. Here, Thai officer stand behind 2  million capsules of meth seized in 2012

A fourth defendant Alexander Lnu is accused  of organizing an armed group of bikers to act security for the shipment.

The fifth man, Kelly Allan Reyes Peralta,  from the Philippines, allegedly met undercover officials in January along with  his co-defendants.

The case demonstrates ‘the emergence of North  Korea as a significant source of methamphetamine in the global drug trade,’ DEA  Administrator Michele Leonhart said in a statement.

Authorities in Thailand described the men as  accomplices of Joseph Hunter, a former American soldier who was arrested on the  same day as the others in Thailand.

He pleaded not guilty in September to charges  in New York that he was a contract killer.

An indictment alleged that Hunter, also known  as ‘Rambo,’ recruited a group of ex-snipers to be a security team for drug  traffickers.

U.S. prosecutors declined to discuss the  connection between Hunter and the drug defendants.



N.Korea May Be Smuggling Super-Potent Meth Into US, Reports Say

North Korea may be pushing a highly potent form of methamphetamine into the  United States, with one peddler bragging about a 1-ton stockpile with “Breaking  Bad” purity levels, reports said Wednesday.

ABC News reported that five  foreign nationals arrested in Thailand were charged with being part of an  Asia-based syndicate that plotted to smuggle meth  produced in North Korea into New York.

Court records indicate  suppliers agreed to sell 100 kg of North Korean meth — at $60,000 per kg — to a  drug trafficker who was actually working with the U.S. Drug Enforcement  Administration.

One of the defendants bragged his organization was the  only one that could score meth from North Korea after a government  crackdown.

“The North Korean government already burned all the labs,”  court records quoted the defendant as saying, ABC News reported. “Only our labs  are not closed. To show Americans that they are not selling it anymore, they  burned it. Then they transfer to another base.”

He said his group had a  meth stockpile of more than a ton, with “Breaking Bad” levels of 99 percent  purity.

The Wednesday indictment stemmed from a larger investigation that  led to the September arrest of former Army sharpshooter Joseph Hunter — nicknamed “Rambo” — and four others, NBC  News reported.

The five men facing charges are British citizens  Scott Stammers and Philip Shackels; Chinese citizen Ye Tiong Tan Lim; Kelly  Allan Reyes Peralta, of the Philippines; and Alexander Lnu, thought to be a  Slovak resident of Thailand, CNN  reported.

“Methamphetamine is a dangerous, potentially deadly  drug, whatever its origin,” said Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern  District of New York, NBC News reported.

“The threat it poses to public  health is grave whether it is produced in New York, elsewhere in the U.S., or in  North Korea. This investigation shows our determination to close a potential  floodgate of supply.”

A law enforcement source told NBC News that Hunter  was accused in September of leading a ring of globe-trotting contract killers  who worked for drug traffickers. Court papers outlined a plot to assassinate a  DEA agent and an informant in Liberia for $800,000.

CNN noted that U.S.  allegations that the North Korean government aids in or allows the illegal drug  trade have long been an irritant in the tense relationship between the two  countries.

The current DEA investigation could bolster the U.S.  claims.







A Raceland man has been accused of possession of narcotics and body armor while on parole.

Probation and Parole agents were conducting a home check on Brandon Grabert, 26, at 4046 La. 1 after prior charges of possession of methamphetamine and steroids.


During the search they discovered methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and a bulletproof vest, according to Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office.

He was arrested on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and methamphetamine as well as unlawful use of body armor, authorities said. He is in the Lafourche jail on a $51,000 bond.






A Wilson County grand jury indicted two suspects apparently involved in a meth lab explosion that blew out the wall of a Travel Inn motel room in Lebanon last month.

According to police Chief Scott Bowen, indictments were handed down on Gary Bennett, 36, of Carthage, and Samuel Forrester, 36, of Carthage. Both men were charged with manufacture of methamphetamine more than 0.5 grams, promotion of methamphetamine manufacture, initiation of a process intended to result in the manufacture of methamphetamine, reckless endangerment and five counts of simple assault. Bennett also has methamphetamine charges pending in Smith County from an August incident.

(Democrat File Photo) A meth lab explosion blew out the wall and door on room 272 at the Travel Inn in Lebanon on Oct. 12.
Gary BennettSamuel Forrester

“Methamphetamine labs are very dangerous because of the mixture of chemicals used in the making of meth,” Bowen said. “Hotels are common places for the labs to be set up. If you smell a strange chemical odor, or see a lot of foot traffic in and out of one particular hotel room, please call your local police department.”

The explosion happened Oct. 12 in room 272 at the Travel Inn behind O’Charley’s. Bowen said methamphetamine task force officer Chris Luna quarantined the two rooms on each side of where the explosion happened.

The active meth lab explosion blew out the door and wall of the motel room.







As part of a plea agreement, Charles Birdshead has admitted giving a 15-year-old girl methamphetamine and using cocaine himself.

“My actions, they weren’t the best of decisions,” Birdshead, 31, told Circuit Judge Wally Eklund on Wednesday. “I take full responsibility.”

In exchange for his guilty pleas, the Pennington County State’s Attorney’s Office dismissed two fourth-degree rape charges.

Charles Birdshead

Charles Birdshead


Pennington County Deputy State’s Attorney Gina Nelson supplemented Birdshead’s comments by telling Eklund the girl told authorities that Birdshead usually injected her with the methamphetamine.

Birdshead’s relationship with the girl was uncovered in the days following the fatal shooting of Eustacio Maruffo, 33, in the parking lot of the South Dakota Rose Inn on Jan. 7.

Authorities arrested Birdshead a week later. He was convicted of manslaughter and a weapons charge following a jury trial in August for the shooting.

Birdshead’s attorney Jamy Patterson advised Eklund Wednesday that a methamphetamine kit found in Roosevelt Park during the shooting investigation belonged to the teenage girl, according to the teenager.

In addition to the distribution charge, Birdshead pleaded guilty to a drug charge dating back to a March arrest.

“I had cocaine that I was using to snort,” Birdshead said.

Patterson said the sentences Birdshead receives on the drug charges will run concurrent with his sentences on the manslaughter and weapons charge. He faces a maximum penalty of life in prison for the manslaughter conviction when he is sentenced on Jan. 6.

Patterson is appealing her client’s conviction.







In Rae Portman’s world, friends could become enemies over a single drug deal.

On a cold night in late June last year, Portman, a 33-year-old pregnant drug dealer, had gone to the home of her best friend Nicola Addison and husband Dean to collect money they owed her. Within hours, she was dead.

Today, in the High Court in Auckland, Paraire Te Awa, 33, was found guilty of her kidnapping and murder. Dean Michael Addison, 36, was found guilty of kidnapping, supplying methamphetamine and possessing a methamphetamine precursor.

Rae Portman

Rae “Bok” Portman



The jury was told that the night she died was the third time Portman had visited the Addisons to try to collect her debt, a $15,000 payment for a ”set” of ContactNT, the prime ingredient for methamphetamine. The first two times, the Addisons had hid from her. They didn’t have the money. And Portman was angry.

”Why the f…k hasn’t Dean rung?” she’d texted, the trial heard. ”I’m getting f…ed off. What am I going to say to my mates?”

The Addisons knew her ”mates” were dangerous – high-level drug dealers with potential links to gangs like the Head Hunters and King Cobras. Portman was trying to ”work her way to the top”, associates said, but they feared she was out of her depth. Often she would return from ”business” trips beaten and bruised.

On the night of June 20, 2012, Bok, as her friends called her, arrived to yet another dangerous situation. Instead of being met by her friends at the door, she was gagged, bound and stuffed in the boot of her car by the Addisons’ neighbour, Paraire ”Friday” Te Awa and their ”whipping boy” Lee Rigby.

And then Portman met with her death, strangled by Te Awa in a building site in Hamilton, with Rigby watching from nearby. The Addisons were at home. Neither of them ever text-messaged her again.

”[This is the] dirty, grubby underbelly of society that is the drug world,” Te Awa’s lawyer Peter Kaye, said in his closing address to the jury. ”Dog-eat-dog, greed, the almighty dollar where even friends can become enemies over a piece of meth or cannabis.

    ”You’ve seen it in this case between Rae Portman and her best friends Nicola and Dean Addison, that’s what drugs do – they turn even friends against each other.

”It’s a horrible, dirty, filthy business, make no mistake about that.”

It would take three months of police appeals before the 33-year-old’s murder would come to light.

Her corpse was found in September 2012, buried under rubbish bags in a pit in South Auckland.

There were no signs of strangulation, but a lack of oxygen was ruled as the cause of death.

The case put forward by the Crown linked three players to her demise.

Te Awa was the muscle who killed her. Addison was charged with kidnapping Portman, along with drug offences.

Rigby, 33, was jailed for three years nine months for kidnapping Portman and helping to dispose of her body.

    Rigby’s offer to be a star witness in the case against his former friends reduced his sentence time. He told the court how he drove to Hamilton in tandem with Te Awa on June 21, 2012, where he watched him strangle her to death in an industrial area using a makeshift noose.

Te Awa stuffed her body back into her car and hid the vehicle under a trampoline.

He returned later to remove the body and dump it in a pit on a rural Clevedon property.

Before the facts emerged, Addison was asked to be a pallbearer at Portman’s funeral because his wife was supposedly good friends with her.

However, Portman’s mother Rebecca Norton said she received a cold response from Addison at the funeral.

”I went to give him a friendly hug and there was no response. He stood, basically still, with his hands in his pockets and didn’t speak.” Friends described Portman as ”an angel”- but recognised she was no saint.

Her former boyfriend said she was also known for angry outbursts and drug dealing.

He told the court Portman was part of a KOA gang, or Kiss Our Arse, and had a reputation for having a big mouth.

They wrote on Portman’s Facebook dedication wall of a good woman who is now with the angels.

There was also hope Portman’s wrong choices could help others avoid the dark world she inhabited.

”You’ve had a big affect (sic) on me which has caused me to re-evaluate the way I look at life,” a female friend wrote on Facebook.

”[It] is an awful way to realise the importance of the company u (sic) keep! I really hope you and your baby are in a better place now.”







Calexico, California – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working Monday discovered $217,536 worth of methamphetamine, concealed inside the undercarriage of a vehicle.

The incident occurred on Nov. 18, shortly before 1:00 p.m. when a canine team screening vehicles at the downtown port alerted to a 2007 Buick La Crosse as the driver waited in line for inspection. Both the vehicle and driver were escorted to a secure area for a more in-depth examination.

While conducting an intensive inspection, officers discovered 10 wrapped packages of methamphetamine concealed inside the undercarriage of the vehicle. The total weight of the narcotics was about 11 pounds.

The driver, a 43-year-old female Mexican citizen and resident of Mexicali, Baja California, was arrested and turned over to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents for further processing.

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

The subject was later transported to the Imperial County Jail to await arraignment.

CBP seized the vehicle and narcotics.






OCALA – A man wanted on violation of probation charges for drug offenses was apprehended Tuesday in an unusual spot – inside a hospital room not long after his girlfriend gave birth to their child.

Detectives from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Apprehension Unit and the Tactical Investigations Unit, assisted by the Ocala Police Department’s Special Deployment Unit, had been told that David Garfield Gilchrist, for whom they had arrest warrants for violation of probation for manufacture of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia, could be found at Munroe Regional Medical Center.

At the facility, detectives were told that the 29-year-old Ocala man was inside a room with his girlfriend and their newborn child. The child was removed from the room and Gilchrist surrendered without incident.

While searching Gilchrist, detectives found methamphetamine in a pocket of his shorts, along with two syringes with needles attached.

Gilchrist admitted to being in possession of the methamphetamine. He was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine, along with the probation violations, and was taken to the Marion County Jail.

State records show Gilchrist was placed on drug offender probation Aug. 30, which was slated to end Aug. 29, 2015.







MANSFIELD — Thirty-one people from DeSoto and Sabine parishes have been put behind bars so far today during a roundup of suspected narcotics dealers in the area.

The Tri-Parish Narcotics Task Force, which is a joint effort of sheriff’s offices in DeSoto, Sabine and Red River parishes, identified the alleged street- and mid-level drug dealers through a six-month undercover operation.

The investigation focused on areas of the community where citizens had been complaining about drug sales taking place on their streets or in neighborhoods, said DeSoto Parish sheriff’s Lt. Ray Sharrow, who heads the task force.

One of the areas given an early morning wakeup call was Pegues Street in Mansfield. Motorists that have to dodge parked cars along the block-long strip of mostly low-income rental houses often complain about suspected drug activity there.

Arrest warrants were obtained for 40 individuals on charges that included distribution of marijuana, methamphetamine, crack cocaine and prescription medications. Several residences were checked during the roundup, resulting in the arrests of additional people.

Aiding in the investigation were the DeSoto, Sabine and Red River sheriff’s offices, Mansfield and Many police, state police, Natchitoches Multijurisdictional Narcotics Task Force and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Shreveport resident office.

Arrested so far and their charges are:

• Latha Joe Pegues, two counts distribution of crack cocaine.

• Omar Shrea Davis, two counts distribution of methamphetamine.

• Marcus Fitzgerald Sibley, four counts of distribution of methamphetamine.

• Adam V. Hicks, three counts of distribution of methamphetamine.

• Orlando Cardell Levo, two counts of distribution of marijuana.

• Cedric R. Montgomery, two counts of distribution of methamphetamine.

• Conway B. Jones, two counts of distribution of methamphetamine.

• Willie C. Kinney, two counts distribution of Lortab.

• Joyce G. Jones, two counts of distribution of Lortab.

• Harold Cortez Wolfe, two counts of distribution of methamphetamine.

• Tony P. Kennedy, two counts of distribution of Lortab.

• Willard Mitchell Jr., two counts of distribution of Lortab.

• Garrick Antoinne King, one count of distribution of methamphetamine.

• Andre Davis, two counts of distribution of marijuana.

• Atari Woods, three counts of marijuana.

• Darrell Alexander, one count of distribution of marijuana.

• Jeffery Calhoun, two counts of distribution of marijuana.

• Linda Dumas, one count of distribution of marijuana.

• Misty Hensarling (Hughes), two counts of distribution of methamphetamine.

• Ray Lee Scott, two counts of distribution of marijuana and one count each of possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

• Labrodrick Abraham, two counts of distribution of marijuana.

• Cynthia Manshack, one count of distribution of cocaine.

• Ezekiel Jackson, one count of distribution of cocaine.

• Morris Beaudion, one count of distribution of marijuana.

• Demar Hill, one count of distribution of marijuana.

• Andreaus Daniels, one count of distribution of cocaine.

• Latanya Shandel, one count of distribution of marijuana.

• O.C. Edwards, one count of possession of marijuana.

• Darelynn Spencer, one count each of possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

• Lakendra Jones, one count each of possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

• Christopher J. Holden, two counts of distribution of cocaine.







An unruly crowd of neighbors approached police as they searching a home in the airport neighborhood where an illegal marijuana growing operation was found Wednesday afternoon, leading to the arrests of three people on suspicion of obstructing officers in addition to the two residents.

The narcotics enforcement team served a search warrant at about noon at the home on Monterey Avenue, just two blocks from Orville Wright Elementary School.

DN pot bust

Officer Chris Adams said about 35 neighbors started yelling obscenities at officers as they made their way around several outbuildings on the property. The neighbors were angry because they didn’t think officers should be wasting their time arresting people who grow marijuana and three of them physically tried to prevent the officers from finishing their search, said Officer Chris Adams.

“We were still trying to clear buildings and see if anyone was in there and they were coming on to the property adding to the chaos,” Adams said.

The drug unit had to call for backup from patrol and three of the neighbors were arrested on suspicion of obstructing or delaying officers.

Inside the home, which had security cameras around the perimeter, officers found 63 marijuana plants in varying sizes, Rea said. In an enclosed area in the back yard there was 55 more plants and behind a plywood barrier were a half dozen that reached about 12 feet high.

The plants could be seen from the street and the Modesto Police Narcotics Enforcement Team was alerted to the home by neighborhood complaints.

In the master bedroom of the home where a 3-year-old boy also slept, officers found four handguns under a mattress. Almost all were loaded and accessible to the child. Two shot guns and a rifle were located in other areas of the house.

Police also seized evidence of hash oil manufacturing, including butane and a glass tube.

Rea said an unlocked box surrounded by trash on a coffee table contained a half ounce of methamphetamine and a quarter ounce cocaine. A dozen mason jars filled with processed marijuana were also seized, Rea said.

The 3-year-old boy was taken by Child Protective Services and his mother and father were booked into the Stanislaus County Jail.

Steven Atwood, 23, and Julia Menzies, 24, were arrested on suspicion of possession for sale of marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine; cultivating marijuana and manufacturing hash oil and cultivating marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school.

The neighbors arrested included Steven Atwood’s brother Ricky Atwood, 25, as well as Sheila Bergherst, 46, and Anthony Enos, 26.

Posted: 20th November 2013 by Doc in Uncategorized

HOUSTON—A Texas City Mother says she is trying to get help for her 11-year-old son after discovering he is hooked on meth, not just using the drug but injecting it.

“It like just kills me inside. Just to, you know, even look at it. Just keeping it—I kept it because I have to get him help,” said Rena Alvarado, the child’s mother.

She said she found the used needle in her son’s trash Sunday and there are no diabetics in the family, it appeared to be used for drugs.

Texas City mother seeks help for 11-year-old son addicted to meth

Not knowing what else to do she called Texas City police.

“I showed him the syringe and everything, and he did not want to have anything to do with it,” Alvarado said.

She said she hoped her son would get arrested so he could get some help, but that didn’t happen. The family said they don’t understand why.

“If an adult was caught on the street with that they would be in jail,” said Rachell Alvarado, the boy’s aunt.

The Alvarados took the boy to UTMB where he tested negative for meth, but he admitted using it and said he got the drug from a 13-year-old at the new city skate park.

Rena Alvarado’s biggest issue is not knowing what to do now.

“No one is doing anything about it. Nothing is being done about it,” she said.

Meth is an issue in Texas City. Just last month six eighth graders were suspended for meth use and distribution at a middle school.

That was liquid meth, Alvarado’s son into the heaviest injectable version of the drug.

The syringe that she doesn’t know what to do with is still haunting her, she said.

“I don’t want to keep it because every time I see it, it hurts me. Every time I see my son going through the symptoms he is having, it hurts me,” she said.

Texas City police said they are looking into the case.








COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – Authorities say methamphetamine production is reaching epidemic levels in South Carolina with close to 500 labs found in the state this year alone.

In quiet, sleepy neighborhoods across the state of South Carolina, a chemical poison is rotting the core of suburbia.

It’s crystal meth, and you’d be surprised where you’d find it.


Recently, we were allowed to ride along with the Drug Enforcement Agency as part of an undercover investigation into the meth manufacturing trade.

And it didn’t take long to find something on a Monday morning.

“With a little research, less than one hour, using some resources provided to me, I was able to substantiate that there was more likely than not a meth lab at this residence,” said an undercover agent. “Certainly within a few minutes of being here we confirmed it.”

It’s not what you might expect a drug lab should look like — it’s a regular home tucked away in a normal neighborhood. But this is the reality of meth production in South Carolina.

After 15 years with SLED, Lt. Max Dorsey has seen labs like this time and time again.

“All the cooks don’t have PhDs in chemistry,” said Dorsey. “Very few of them have high school diplomas.

“Meth in South Carolina is being manufactured in these mom and pop labs and they have been refined to these drink bottles. These two-liter, one-liter, or sixteen-ounce drink bottles, you put these ingredients in these vessels, you let the reaction occur, and you let it dry, and then you consume it, you smoke it, you snort it, you inject it.”

“You need some type of ether, whether it’s Coleman fuel or charcoal lighter fluid, ice packs, fertilizer, lithium,” said an undercover agent. “I mean these are all items that are fairly inexpensive and you can pick them right up at any pharmacy or Walmart.”

More and more of these portable meth labs are being found in motel rooms, cars, and quiet homes. In 2010, authorities busted just 125 labs in South Carolina. This year, that number has more than tripled to 479.

“The month of October was the highest month of meth lab seizures in South Carolina,” said Dorsey. “I believe the Upstate has had the taste of meth for a lot longer than the rest of the state. I think it has been up there longer and there has been a larger customer base for that.”

Meth may be the one of the only drugs that not only endangers the user, but all those around it due to its volatile and corrosive chemical formula.

“One of these reaction vessels that produces hazardous gases and has the potential to burn their skin or catch on fire, so they have specialized equipment to filter the air they breath and greatly increases their chances of being exposed to a hazardous environment,” said an undercover agent.

The average lab clean up can cost up to $6,000, and that money comes from the taxpayer.

“A lot of times these environments are just terrible,” said Dorsey. “They’re dirty, they’re nasty. You find the worst things you could ever imagine in these environments. Many times, well, sometimes you find children in those environments who have been abused, mistreated, not fed, sexually abused, and so it is some of the most horrific environments you could ever imagine.”

Twelve agencies in the Upstate concentrated their efforts over a two-day period earlier this month to 13 labs. As a result, 31 people were arrested and 7 children were taken into protective custody.

“We’ve put, just from this particular incident, two people in jail that we feel are responsible for manufacturing the meth, and that’s a benefit to the community because we don’t have to worry about these two individuals making meth at least for the next few weeks.”

But technology is giving the Drug Enforcement Agency some help in tracking down these amateur chemists who endanger themselves and all those around them by mixing up a dangerous high.

Fire and death haven’t erased the traces of chemistry that still saturates the ground at in Goose Creek.

“As we walked up the stairway to get to the suspects’ apartment, we had observed the elderly gentleman that had passed away,” said an undercover agent. “Unfortunately, a 19-year-old and a 4-year-old were not able to escape and passed away.”

The fire that destroyed an apartment building last summer and claimed three lives was perhaps the worst documented case of a meth lab explosion in the state. And yet, as long as meth is being made in hostile environments, agents say its only a matter of time before it happens again.

“I mean you can see what kind of damage it can cause if an accident were to happen,” said the agent. “Holes in bottles and the bottle ruptures, it’s a definite threat for us when we make entries into these building and residencies. You essentially have a blow torch of sorts right there in the building.”

“A lot of these chemicals are odorless and tasteless, so burning of lungs, causing irreparable damage to the bronchi,” said DEA agent Tim Davis. “Children who get the residual on their hands and they rub it into their mucous membranes like their eyes, mouth, nose.”
Agents say meth users are the ones making the product, and the chemicals they use are traceable.

“I can just go on my laptop and look up a particular person  and begin to get a snapshot of what their purchase history is as far as pseudoephedrine,” said the agent. “No other drug really has that paperwork trail that we can follow, so it makes it a lot easier for us.”

“Those medicines since the federal government passed a law back in 2006 called the Combat Meth Epidemic Act, and it required retailers that sold these products to maintain those products behind the counter and are required purchasers to show them government ID and to sign a paper log,” said SLED Lt. Max Dorsey.

South Carolina lawmakers have considered making psuedophedrine prescription only, a strategy that has helped other states combat clandestine drug labs.

“Oregon has seen theirs go from 400 or 500 a year down to around 10. Mississippi has seen somewhere around a 70 or 80 percent reduction since they implemented their law,” said Dorsey.

But even once agents have their suspects, the labs often leave lingering danger.

“The meth cooking process has been shown to contaminate drapes, curtains, carpets, and studies have shown those effects last many years,” said Davis.

“Currently, there is no law in South Carolina that requires a property owner to meet a certain level of cleanliness when it comes to the removal of contaminants as a result of a meth lab,” said Dorsey. “There are contaminants that go airborne, they will come to rest on flat surfaces, they’ll get in the carpet, and we are aware of locations that have had independent tests done on them.”

The undercover agent, who was on scene as the deadly Goose Creek fire unfolded, says the best way to prevent another tragedy like this one is to know what to look for.

“You look for that very strange chemical odor,” said the agent. “We tell people that it kind of has that cat-urine type smell. It is a very awkward, strange chemical-type smell. Odd traffic, day and night, clutter, people that are burning trash, those are probably it.

“I could find a meth lab any day of the week, anywhere in my area or the state of South Carolina. It’s the easiest drug to manufacture, and there’s no shortage of ways to manufacture this drug.”



A call to a mobile home fire became a crime scene Monday, where lawmen suspect a methamphetamine lab exploded, seriously injuring a Blackshear man inside.
Stephen P. Gill, 44, was transported by medical helicopter to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctor’s Hospital in Augusta for treatment of severe burns. Sheriff Ramsey Bennett said Gill sustained “life threatening” burns in the fire.
Pierce County firefighters and EMS responded to the scene around noon. Most of the structure was saved, but the home suffered heavy smoke damage.
Investigators from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office and Blackshear Police Department were summoned moments later following a “suspicious” development after the flames were quickly brought under control. Law enforcement and fire officials investigating the incident soon concluded the fire appeared to be the result of an apparent drug operation.

“We believe a meth [methamphetamine] lab exploded, causing the fire,” said Bennett.

Bennett said charges are pending against Gill.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Meth Lab Recovery Team was called in to conduct the investigation and to dispose of hazardous materials involved in the operation. The team, along with local law enforcement and emergency personnel, were on scene until midnight Monday.




(CNN) — U.S. drug agents in Thailand took custody of five men wanted in the United States on allegations of being part of a drug ring that sought to traffic in North Korean methamphetamine and other drugs, CNN has learned.

The men, who have British, Filipino, Taiwanese and Slovak citizenship, were being flown to New York to face charges, according to a source.

Thai authorities announced the arrests after the men were turned over to U.S. authorities. A U.S. law enforcement official said the charges would be made public soon.

This file photo shows a small bag of methamphetamine weighing one gram.
 a small bag of methamphetamine weighing one gram

The men are part of a broader investigation that federal prosecutors made public in September, filing charges against a group of former U.S. and European ex-military men in a murder-for-hire and drug-importation plot.

The Drug Enforcement Administration concocted a sting operation and arrested Joseph Hunter, a former U.S. Army sniper trainer nicknamed Rambo, and four others in the sting case.

The five more recently arrested were expelled by Thai authorities and put on a DEA plane to New York.

Additional details of the charges couldn’t be learned because they remain under seal.

Drug trafficking from North Korea has occurred for decades with at least 50 documented incidents. In previous years, North Korea had been linked to shipments of heroin and methamphetamine, according to the CIA World Factbook.

In 2003, a North Korean ship, Pong Su which was carrying nearly 300 pounds of heroin, was seized along the eastern coast of Australia after a four-day chase.

There isn’t enough information to determine whether the North Korean government is currently involved in drug trafficking, according to the 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report issued by the U.S. State Department

“There have been no confirmed reports of large-scale drug trafficking involving DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) state entities since 2004,” it stated. “This suggests that state-sponsored drug trafficking may have ceased or been sharply reduced, or that the DPRK regime has become more adept at concealing state-sponsored trafficking of illicit drugs.”

The report also highlighted that the “proximity and availability of precursor chemicals in China likely contribute to the production of methamphetamine within North Korea.” It alluded to reported transactions between North Korean traffickers and organized crime groups.

Corrupt security agents and government officials are likely responsible for transnational drug operations, according to a different report published in North Korean Review in 2010.

There is great difficulty in collecting data or accurate information regarding drug trafficking because of the secrecy in North Korea.

So the report’s authors, Minwoo Yun and Eunyoung Kim relied on interviews with 28 North Korean defectors living in China and Thailand as well as various documents. They could not be reached Wednesday for this story.

Their report alleges that in the 1980s, the North Korean state “deliberately chose various transnational crime businesses including drug trafficking” during economically troubled times. The North Koreans specialized in heroin trade and kept the drug away from the ordinary population.

Once the economy veered into famine and economic disaster in the 1990s, individuals desperate to survive turned to private drug enterprise, according to Yun and Kim’s report. Corrupt agents and officials sold drugs to transnational organized crime operations through the North Korea-China border, they wrote. Family members also became private drug traffickers, they added.

After poppy production failed due to weather, methamphetamine became more popular, according to a 2007 Drug Trafficking and North Korea report prepared for the U.S. Congress.

One of the interviewees in Yun and Kim’s report said that the city of Hamhueng is the center of methamphetamine production, because it produces the country’s chemicals.

Internally, North Koreans started using opium instead of hard-to-obtain and pricey medication, according to the report. And recreational drug users are more likely wealthy businessmen or members of the Party, according to South Korean media.

More recently, methamphetamine is more widely used in North Korea as stricter China border controls forced drug producers to seek a local market for “ice,” according to a report in the Spring 2013 edition of the journal North Korean Review.







(COLUMBIA, S.C.) — The number of portable meth labs being operated in  the state of South Carolina has more than tripled over the last three  years, Midlands Crime Stopper reports.

In 2010, authorities  “busted” 125 mobile labs — those found in motel rooms, cars and homes  — in the state. In 2013, that figure has ballooned to 479.

Authorities  are concerned both because methamphetamine production endangers  everyone in the area. Crime Stoppers points out the volatility and  potential for corrosion when creating methamphetamine. Additionally, the  average clean up cost for a lab can reach $6,000, money that comes from  taxpayers.







Information from the arrests of the following people is selected from the websites of Lane County Jail (LCJ) and Springfield Municipal Jail (SMJ). Pictures used in this article were taken from those websites and are public record. All those arrested are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.


Symmone Alaina Ditmar – Lodged in LCJ 11/13/13 on a charge of possession of methamphetamine.

Symmone Alaina Ditmar - 11-13 - p meth


 Taylor Camden Crahan – Lodged in LCJ 11/14/13 on a parole violation for delivery of methamphetamine.

Taylor Camden Crahan - 11-14 - par v for d meth



Terra Dawn Boggs – Lodged in LCJ 11//14/13 on a parole violation of possession of methamphetamine; charges of possession of methamphetamine and contempt of court.

Terra Dawn Boggs - 11-14 - par v for p meth; p meth, cc








A Springdale man being investigated by the Fourth Judicial Drug Task Force in connection with distributing methamphetamine rammed an officer’s car while police tried to arrest him Tuesday, according to a preliminary arrest report.

Douglas Crowley, 32, was arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms, theft by receiving and hindering apprehension, according to the report.

Police had converged on a motel where Crowley was staying at Futrall Drive and Old Farmington Road in Fayetteville to arrest him in connection with a methamphetamine distribution investigation, according to the report. An officer pulled into the motel parking lot, and Crowley, driving a yellow Chevrolet Camaro, rammed the officer’s vehicle, incapacitating both vehicles, the report stated.

Crowley was apprehended following a short foot chase, according to the report. He was found with a large folding knife, methamphetamine, marijuana, prescription painkillers and various pills, according to the report.







CLOVER – Four people have been charged after drug agents discovered they had cooked and planned to create more methamphetamine in a detached garage at one suspect’s parent’s home in Clover Tuesday morning.

York County drug agents say the latest lab is the 16th active one uncovered in the county this year. So far, more than 30 people have been arrested and charged with operating meth labs.

At about 2 a.m., Clover Police went to a Stokes Avenue home after the homeowner reported finding a suspicious car at his house, said Lt. Mike Ligon, York and Clover unit commander for the county’s multijurisdictional drug enforcement unit.

When police spoke with the people inside, they realized they had been cooking meth in one-pot labs, one of the simplest methods of cooking meth that only requires a small container, soda bottle or Gatorade bottle to hold the ingredients. Police then called the drug unit, Ligon said.

Agents found the group harboring all the “precursors” to a meth lab, which typically include gloves, filters, lithium batteries and pseudoephedrine, meth’s key ingredient, Ligon said. Officials were able to take samples of some substances manufactured that will have to be tested.

The foursome were preparing to cook more meth when police arrived, but were unable to finish the process, he said.

Authorities charged Joseph Bennett, Scott Aaron Pressley, Brent Love and Jennifer Wilson all with manufacturing methamphetamine, manufacturing methamphetamine in proximity to a school and trafficking pseudoephedrine, Ligon said. Wilson also faces additional charges of possession of heroin and possession of oxycodone.

Bennett, a fugitive from North Carolina wanted for a probation violation, is also on hold for authorities there, police said.

Though he did not live in his father’s garage, he had been staying at the house because he was supposed to be caring for his mother, who recently underwent a surgical procedure, Ligon said.

MEXICO CITY — The availability of heroin and methamphetamine in the U.S. is on the rise, due in part to the ever-evolving entrepreneurial spirit of the Mexican drug cartels, according to a new study released by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The report, which analyzes illicit drug trends through 2012, also notes that cocaine availability was down across the United States. It offered various possible reasons for the decline, including cartel versus cartel fights over drug routes in Mexico, declining production in Colombia and various anti-narcotics strategies that have put more heat on the groups that control production and shipment of the product.

Mexico efforts against drug cartels

Vigilantes arrive in the town of Pareo, in Mexico’s Michoacan state. The Knights Templar drug cartel controls parts of the state, and a “self-defense” movement has arisen to fight it.     

The yearly report, released Monday and known as the National Drug Threat Assessment Summary, is an effort to describe “the threat posed to the United States by the trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs.”

The report is a synthesis of quantitative data and survey feedback from more than 1,300 state and local law enforcement agencies. Among other things, it provides an updated profile of the seemingly intractable user-pusher relationship that has developed between the United States  and its southern neighbor.

According to the report, the amount of heroin seized at the southern U.S. border increased 232% between 2008 and 2012 — apparently the result of greater Mexican heroin production and a growing incursion by  Mexican traffickers into U.S. markets. It notes that the U.S. is experiencing a “sizable increase” in the number of new heroin users.

Methamphetamine seizures at the Mexican border, meanwhile, increased fivefold in the same time period, although the report notes that U.S. demand and abuse data for meth appeared to remain stable.

The trouble with meth is most acutely felt in the West: The report notes  that 2011 arrest data showed that large percentages of arrestees in Western states tested positive for meth, with rates much lower in the East. For example, 42.9% of men arrested in Sacramento tested positive for methamphetamine; in Washington, DC, that number was 0.4%.

Marijuana continues to be Americans’ illicit drug of choice. Smuggling from Mexico has remained “consistently high” for 10 years, the report says, while U.S. domestic production is on the rise — in part due to large-scale U.S. growing operations controlled by Mexican traffickers.

The U.S. government appears to be tolerating recent decisions by voters in Washington and Colorado to legalize marijuana for recreational use in those states. But the plant remains classified as a dangerous and illegal controlled substance under federal law, and the report warns, darkly, that drug cartels will “increasingly exploit the opportunities for marijuana cultivation and trafficking created in states that allow ‘medical marijuana’ grows and have legalized marijuana sales and possession.”

The report notes the continued decline of availability of cocaine in the U.S., a trend that began in 2007. The majority of cocaine that ends up in the U.S. is of Colombian provenance, and much of it must first travel through Mexico. The United Nations has noted a decline in Colombian coca production, and U.S. officials have credited the success of Plan Merida, the United States’  multibillion-dollar drug-fighting effort in Colombia, which includes, among other things, military aid, crop eradication programs and social spending.

Critics of U.S. drug policy fear that the pressure on Colombia is only pushing production to other countries, like Peru, a phenomenon commonly known as the “balloon effect.”

The title of “fastest growing drug problem” in the U.S., according to the report, goes to prescription drugs, including painkillers, which are often obtained domestically at unscrupulous “pill mills,” or from online sellers.

The report says that recent state laws to crack down on pill mills could create another kind of balloon effect, forcing “abusers and distributors to obtain [prescription drugs] in other areas of the country where little or no legislation currently exists … or in other countries such as Canada and Mexico.”


SAN YSIDRO, Calif. – Homicide detectives Tuesday investigated the death of a 16-year-old boy who apparently drank a lethal amount of methamphetamine-laced liquid while attempting to cross into the country at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. The boy, identified as Tijuana resident Cruz Marcelino Velazquez Acevedo, was alone and used a pedestrian entrance to come into the United States from Mexico about 6:40 p.m. Monday, according to San Diego police Lt. Mike Hastings. According to a report from the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office, the boy was stopped by officers for claification on a discrepancy with his visa. He was carrying two small containers that held an amber colored liquid, and told Customs and Border Patrol agents that the liquid was juice, Hastings said in a statement.


“Agents became suspicious and inquired further about the contents of the containers,” he said. While at a secondary inspection area, the boy voluntarily drank some of the liquid, the ME reported. “A CBP narcotics trained canine alerted to the male and he was handcuffed and taken to a nearby security office,” Hastings said. “The male began to feel sick and told CBP officers the liquid in the containers was a ‘chemical.'” Paramedics were called and took the boy to a local hospital, where he died a short time later. A preliminary test showed the liquid was positive for methamphetamine, according to Hastings.


HUDSON FALLS — It was a strange chemical smell emanating Sunday morning from the upstairs apartment at 1 Tidmarsh St. that prompted a neighbor to suspect a resident was making methamphetamine, police said.

The neighbor contacted police, who when allowed into the home by the cooperative residents found evidence on a second-story porch that led them to conclude the suspicion was justified, Hudson Falls Police Chief Randy Diamond said. Officers found containers indicative of crystal methamphetamine production, and minor burns on the porch screen that appeared to be from the part of the process that produces combustion, police said.

The investigation led to the arrest of 28-year-old Nicholas Deyette, the first meth production arrest in Hudson Falls, according to village police.

Deyette told police he had been trying to make the drug for a few months, but was not getting a high when using the product he made.

“He told us it wasn’t working, but I don’t know why you would continue making it if it didn’t work,” Diamond said.

Police did not say how Deyette learned the manufacturing process. It was clear from the signs of combustion on the porch that some sort of chemical reaction had been taking place, Diamond said. That reaction creates a harsh odor, which at least one neighbor noticed and became concerned about, he said.

Local sheriff’s offices are part of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration team that has received training on meth production “labs” and their identification and handling, and Hudson Falls Police tapped that experience Sunday by calling on Washington County sheriff’s Deputy Scott Stark.

Stark called in a State Police team that specializes in safe removal of hazardous chemicals from methamphetamine production, and members of that team removed the materials found on the porch and in garbage cans.

The State Police sergeant who supervises the team, Doug Wildermuth, lives in Warren County and was on scene with his vehicle and equipment in 10 minutes, Diamond said.

Even though police said Deyette’s production setup was a “small operation,” he still produced enough potentially hazardous waste to require the use of 40 five-gallon buckets filled with cement mix and vermiculite to stabilize it for disposal, Diamond said.

Methamphetamine is an illegal stimulant that can be made with chemicals and over-the-counter medications through a complicated process that uses a potentially explosive chemical reaction.

Police believe Deyette was using the legal decongestant pseudoephedrine as part of the manufacturing process. The over-the-counter drug is regulated by the federal government, and Diamond said officers were working to trace the pseudoephedrine Deyette had obtained.

Deyette, who was charged with a felony count of unlawful manufacturing of methamphetamine, lived in the apartment with his girlfriend and two young children. His meth production efforts took place on a three-season porch, so the apartment was not contaminated. The woman and children were allowed to return after the materials were removed, police said.

Police have seen a trickle of methamphetamine making its way to the Glens Falls region.

The Hudson Falls manufacturing operation was the second found in the region in little more than a month. On Oct. 5, three residents of a Greenfield mobile home park were arrested on charges they were making the drug there. Two bigger meth labs were found elsewhere in Washington County over the past five years.

Police to the north, in Clinton and Franklin counties, have seen a big spike in meth production and possession arrests over the past year or so.

Police in the Glens Falls region have not been seeing the tell-tale signs that the drug has established itself among local narcotics users, however.

Officers have not routinely been finding the drug when arresting suspects in other crimes, which is typically the first sign that police see of a drug’s appearance.

“Every once in a while we hear about it, but not very often,” Warren County sheriff’s Sgt. Tony Breen said.

A representative of Conifer Park, which operates a drug treatment center in Glens Falls and others around the region, said Tuesday the company’s staff has not seen much methamphetamine abuse to date. Opiate abuse continues to be the major drug issue in the area, he said.

Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy said rural areas across the country have been hit hardest by the drug, because rural areas provide room to hide clandestine manufacturing operations, and that is a concern in Washington County.

Police have received training on meth, and have been bracing for its impact for years.

“It is our biggest fear,” Murphy said. “The biggest issue is it’s very volatile and dangerous. We’ve been told it’s just a matter of time.”

Deyette was being held Tuesday in Washington County Jail for lack of bail. His girlfriend was not charged because police said she was not aware that he was making meth.







A Maiden man has been convicted of several felonies after a GPS led authorities to a stolen iPhone and a meth lab, the Catawba County District Attorney’s Office said Monday.

Bryan Keith Harris, 35, was convicted of possessing/distributing a methamphetamine precursor, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, two counts of breaking and entering, two counts of larceny, possession of stolen goods and possession of a stolen firearm — all felonies, prosecutors said.


Bryan Keith Harris


Harris was sentenced to a minimum of 8 years and a maximum of 14 1/2 years in prison.

The crimes occurred in February 2013 in the city of Maiden and involved the breaking and entering and larceny of more than $10,000 in property from two residences, according to prosecutors.

One of the items stolen was an iPhone. Investigators with the Maiden Police Department used the GPS function to find the phone and other stolen items. They also found remnants of a meth lab, prosecutors said.

People who are trying to fight the abuse of synthetic drugs need a centralized, national source that collects information about the latest substances, analyzes it and quickly disseminates early alerts, according to a group of experts trying to stay one step ahead of these ever-changing products.

Several sources of information exist, such as poison control centers, the Drug Abuse Warning Network and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), according to Sherry Green, the CEO of the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws (NAMSDL). The group organized a recent meeting of health officials, law enforcement, doctors, state drug directors and others trying to stop the spread of synthetic drugs.

“The DEA uses a system to gather information from sources about where substances are being used, but it is limited to controlled substances—so if they’re not being controlled or banned yet, the DEA isn’t getting reports about them,” she said. “There’s no one central place that draws on all these sources. We need to gather information from these sources, quickly analyze it and get it back out to people who need it—ER doctors, public health officials and administrators of schools—so they can act.”

Many states have enacted laws banning synthetic drugs, but most ban specific chemical combinations, and drug makers evade these laws by slightly modifying the formula, Green says. “States find they have to play catch-up,” she added. Several states, including Idaho, are trying a different approach, by banning a general class of substances, and then giving specific examples of substances within that class. “If something else in that class is created after the law takes effect, it would already be banned,” she explains. “We’ll be following the success of these statutes, and if they work, we’ll be recommending this type of legislation to other states.”

While there is federal legislation that bans synthetic drugs, signed in 2012, Green said states don’t want to wait for the long process of scheduling and controlling new substances, which can take 18 months or longer. “They want to look at procedures on the state level so they can control new substances on a much more expedited basis,” she said. NAMSDL is also hoping to learn from the experience of Canada and European countries that have passed laws to ban synthetic drugs, also known as novel psychoactive substances.

In addition to new legislation, the group advocated for a much stronger education and prevention campaign. “People need better information about novel psychoactive substances,” Green says. “Everyone from parents to school administrators to ER physicians need better education about what these substances do.” A number of groups, including the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and the National Association of Chiefs of Police, agreed there needs to be a coordinated effort on education. NAMSDL is working with the Office of National Drug Control Policy and other federal partners to produce a campaign, Green noted.

NAMSDL will be working with the experts at the meeting to draft model legislation that will be part of a toolbox of legislative options states can use starting early in 2014.






MORROW, Ohio (WKRC) — Four people are charged with making meth in front of children.

Shannon and Marsha Mckinley, Emily Freeman, and Stanley Jacques all face drug and endangering children charges.

Police say they found a lab and a large amount of meth in a home on Middleboro road in Morrow.

Watch video HERE







“We’re going to improvise,” said Veronica, after being denied Sudafed at two pharmacies for failing to have a history of prescription with them. “I ain’t quitting.”

Veronica, 43, has been addicted to methamphetamine for more than a third of her life. She makes her meth at home, but that’s getting harder. In recent years, Arkansas, like most states, has passed heavy restrictions on the key ingredient pseudoephedrine, found in decongestants.


Veronica prepares meth for injection

On this occasion, Veronica’s 26-year-old son Teddy came to the rescue, with his stash of methamphetamine “ice” – a cheaper, ready-to-use concoction, trafficked into the American heartland by Mexican drug cartels. It’s named for its prettier, bluish-white shine, straight out of a winter wonderland.

In Arkansas, pseudoephedrine regulations have seriously reduced the amount of “shaking-and-baking” – cooking personal doses of meth in a plastic bottle — and the home explosions and burn injuries that came along with it, according to Bill Bradley, the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration office in Arkansas. But the rules have done nothing to curb abuse.

“I saw dad put on the lid and shake it so much, shake ‘em up, and pop, pshhh!”

6-year-old boy

Father addicted to meth

The rise of ice is simple economics. With the smalltime meth-maker crushed by regulations, “superlabs” abroad have swooped in to steal the marketshare. As much as 80 percent of the meth sold in the U.S. is a Mexican import, according to DEA calculations reported by the Associated Press. And since 2007, it has become cheaper and purer. Bradley said there’s in fact more meth now in rural areas than there was before the restrictions.

Teddy, who has been using meth since he was 14, said it’s only old-timers like his mom who even try to make their own meth anymore. Buying meth pre-packaged is also considered safer than trying to brew it at home. In about 40 percent of shake-and-bakes, someone gets badly injured, said Chris Harrison, the chief chemist at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory.

In 2012, a doctor at the burn center of Mercy Hospital in St. Louis told KJRH that 15 percent of the patients were injured in meth lab fires.

“I saw dad put on the lid and shake it so much, shake ‘em up, and pop, pshhh!” a 6-year-old boy told America Tonight about the time a shake-and-bake set his house on fire, burning his right arm. “…I just saw a big explosion. It just went pshhooo! I just saw it explode. I just saw the house explode.”

Asked why the adults in his home shake up plastic bottles that can do such scary things, the boy replied: “They think it’s for fun.”

“People refer to it as the ‘walk-away drug.’ You walk away from everything that was ever important to you and all you care about is that next high.”

Chris Harrison

Chief chemist at the Arkansas State Crime Lab

Ice provides the high, without the risk of five-degree burns.

“There’s really no need for cooking meth no more,” Teddy said. “Why take all the risk and doing that, if the Mexicans are bringing it over by the truckloads. I can buy way larger amounts and a dirt-cheap price.”

But ice is also more potent than meth cooked at home, sometimes 80 or even 90 percent pure, according to the DEA. With a cleaner and more intense high, and a lower price, ice is not only supplanting homegrown meth; it’s capturing an entirely new customer base.

“When you talk to our state and local counterparts and ask what the number one drug problem there is, and they’ll say methamphetamine ice,” Bradley said.

It’s a worrying development in rural communities already decimated by decades of meth abuse.

“People refer to it as the ‘walk-away drug,’” Harrison said. “You walk away from everything that was ever important to you and all you care about is that next high.”

From the perspective of the user, however, there’s now a better, safer product on the shelf.

“Everybody’s winning,” Teddy said. “I’m winning. [The Mexican cartels] are winning. It’s all good, where everybody’s happy.”







ABERDEEN, SD – An alleged meth ring broken up in Huron recently could cut down on drug activity in the city, at least for a while.

That’s what has happened in Brown County over the past few years. About half the county’s pending felony drug cases involve methamphetamine, but that figure rises and falls.

“If there’s a big arrest made one week, the next few weeks or next few months, there will obviously be a low trend in methamphetamine. But it will always go up and it will always come back and kind of flat line at some point,” Chris White, Brown County Chief Deputy States Attorney said.

White says officials often see an immediate drop in meth activity after an arrest.

Brown County Deputy Ross Erickson is a member of the area’s drug task force. He says police arrested a large meth dealer in the area in 2011. As a result, meth activity dropped drastically and remained low before gradually increasing again.

With 24 felony meth cases currently pending in Brown County, White hopes to see another drop in activity.

“I have seen meth destroy more lives than all of the drugs combined,” White said.

Erickson and White expect they’re dealing with multiple smaller-scale meth dealers lately, so arrests aren’t having as large an impact as the 2011 arrests. But even a smaller arrest, they say, should have an effect for awhile.

South of Aberdeen, other counties are seeing similar activity. More than half of the pending felony drug cases in Beadle County involve meth. The Davidson County States Attorney says the drug is prevalent there too.