FARGO — Federal court officials have released documents accusing 13 people in a methamphetamine conspiracy that resulted in the overdose deaths of two people from the Dakotas.

Brock Fish, of Bismarck, is the only defendant named in all six counts of the indictment. He’s charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs resulting in death and intent to distribute meth within school zones in Bismarck, Mandan and Hague.

Court documents show that the conspiracy resulted in the deaths of 39-year-old Douglas Peterson, of Pollock, S.D., on Dec. 20, and 59-year-old Cheri Bettis, of Mandan, on Feb. 6.

Fish’s lawyer, Brenda Neubauer, and U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon declined comment.

The indictment seeks nearly $50,000 in drug proceeds from Fish, Bretton Link and Andreas Samsa.

Trial is scheduled Nov. 18 in Bismarck.







IN 2000, Neil Mellor was working for a drug crisis information service in Victoria when he fielded a call from a distraught mother being terrified by her daughter’s boyfriend.

The young man was experiencing a violent episode and the woman feared for the safety of herself and her loved ones.

“He had gone psychotic and was wrecking the house,” Mr Mellor said.


“It took four police to subdue him. He had never had an episode of violent behaviour before.”

The call is believed to be the first made to a drug crisis centre in Australia concerning crystallised methamphetamine.

Mr Mellor is a 33-year veteran of alcohol and drug rehabilitation. Today he lectures at the University of the Sunshine Coast, as well as seeing clients in private practice.

Since taking that first call he has seen the use of crystallised methamphetamine – colloquially known as ice – increase dramatically.

Now he fears Australia could be following a pattern similar to the United States and heading towards an epidemic.

One of the major problems with ice is that it is relatively cheap and readily available.

It is often made in backyard laboratories from unknown ingredients. It is highly toxic and its side effects are severe, especially for first-time users.

The ice age

Australian authorities began becoming concerned about ice in the early 1990s, however, it was not until a decade later that it started to become more prevalent.

Rates of ice and methamphetamine use in Australia are high compared to other western countries, with 2.5% of people over 14 reporting they used it in the previous 12 months.

Rates of use in Queensland, and on the Sunshine Coast, are difficult to establish, however, there is evidence to suggest its use is increasing in other states.

Mr Mellor said while all illicit drugs were dangerous, ice was especially so.

Users display poor impulse control, high levels of aggression and violent behaviour.

His comments follow the Daily’s report of a court case involving 19-year-old Beau William Glen, who narrowly avoided jail after assaulting a police officer during an amphetamine-fuelled rage.

He pleaded guilty to seven charges in Maroochydore Magistrates Court, however, was given probation after magistrate Cliff Taylor took into account the fact it was his first criminal offence.

Glen’s lawyer claimed the incident was out of character for the apprentice carpenter and it was his first experience with the drug.

Mr Mellor said ice was particularly dangerous for first-time users, many of whom were not aware of its effects.

“It’s dangerous for two particular reasons,” he said.

“Firstly it can be made in a backyard and of a poor quality or it could be high potency – so its ingredients are of an unknown origin.

“Secondly, it’s highly toxic. It’s a poison. People who might take recreational drugs such as ecstasy might take it not knowing the consequences and therefore it could be very dangerous.”

The next epidemic?

Mr Mellor said growing rates of ice use led him to fear an epidemic was developing in Australia.

There was evidence to suggest use was increasing and availability of ice made it cause for concern.

The Sunshine Coast was poorly equipped to deal with ice addiction, mainly due to its lack of accessible detoxification programs.

While there are private detox facilities, many are expensive and out of reach for those in lower socio-economic brackets.

“(An ice addict’s) only option (for treatment on the Sunshine Coast) is hospitalisation at Nambour Hospital, and that facility relies on someone already being withdrawn,” he said.

“It is limited in what it can provide to users suffering acute withdrawal.”

Mr Mellor said the lack of detox facilities meant many Coast addicts had to travel to Brisbane for treatment.







DeWITT TWP – Police suspect that methamphetamine was being cooked in a home that was destroyed by fire in southern Clinton County Thursday morning. The fire happened shortly before 6 A.M. at a home in the 1000 block of Meadownlawn Avenue.

Police say the 51-year-old man renting the home was taken to the hospital with severe burns.The Clinton County Sheriff Department Hazardous Material Team was used to decontaminate the site. Police say the house is a total loss.


GREENVILLE, S.C. – A Greenville County golf club was evacuated Thursday after golfers found meth in a wooded area near the course.

It happened at the Donaldson Golf Club, which is a public course, on Perimeter Road.

Just off the golf cart path, close to the fourth green, Harold  Alexander said he and his golfing buddy found some weed killer  containers.


“He just thought it belonged to the clubhouse and they had been killing weeds,” said Alexander.

They took the containers to the club house.

“The owner, he took the top off and he said it had a really vile  smell, almost knocked the top of his head off, he said. So that’s when  he called the Sheriff’s Department,” said Alexander.

Greenville County’s Hazardous Materials team, EMS and the Donaldson Fire Department rushed to the scene and evacuated the club.

Crime scene tape was put up around golf carts and trees at the 9-hole course that was originally built in the 1940s as a private golf  recreation facility for officers of the United States Army Air Base,  later called the Donaldson Center.

“It’s okay, I didn’t have a great round that first nine anyway. So  I’m waiting to go back out and get a chance to get them back,” said  golfer Gerald Smith, who works at the club.

The Donaldson Golf Club is unique in that it is still a part of a  working air-strip used by military and private airplanes, according to a golf website.

“It is very common to have a C141 fly right over your head as you prepare to hit a tee shot or make a putt.”

Smith got in a little putting practice while the investigators tested the contents of the containers.

The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office now says they were from a meth lab.

“You see all kinds of things on a golf course. You see everything.  You never know what you’re going to find. This is amazing, though,” said Smith.

A spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office said deputies do not know how long the containers had been out there, but Alexander said he’d played  the course the day before and did not see them.

Meth labs can be as small as a 20-ounce bottle and the contents can  be volatile. The Sheriff’s Office said if you see a container and you’re not sure what’s in it, do not pick it up and do not open it. Instead,  call law enforcement immediately.







Jacksonville police arrested four suspects in connection with operating a meth lab after police learned suspects were buying a “suspicious” amount of materials used to manufacture the drug, according to a press release by Jacksonville Public Safety Spokeswoman Beth Purcell.

The four suspects face the same charges: three counts of possession and distribution of meth precursor and felony conspiracy.

The following suspects were charged: Steven A. Malpass, 48, and Christine Seymour, 36, both of 1547 Catherine Lake Road; Sybil Batchelor, 57, of 402 Hickory Road; and Jack Ames II, 32, of 106 Ash Street.


Update: Police seeing ‘more and more meth labs’
Meth bust

From left: Christine Seymour, Jack Ames II, Steven Malpass and Sybil Batchelor were arrested and charged with meth possession and conspiracy, among others, in connection with a meth lab operation in a garage on Ash Street, Jacksonville. Jacksonville police closed the street during the investigation Friday



Ames, who is held on $187,000 bond, also is charged with manufacturing meth and possession of a weapon of mass destruction. Police said meth labs house such volatile ingredients, which can catch fire or explode, explaining Ames’ weapon-of-mass-destruction charge.

Batchelor, Seymour and Malpass were held on $67,000 bond.

About 3 p.m. Thursday, Jacksonville Police Special Operations Division detectives received information from a confidential source that suspects were buying a “suspicious” amount of meth precursors and the tip included a description of the vehicle that had just left the store where the materials were sold, according to the press release.

Detectives located the vehicle at the intersection of Hickory Road and U.S. 258 and conducted a traffic stop. A search of the vehicle revealed precursor chemicals used to make meth, according to the press release.

The investigation led detectives to a residence at 106 Ash Street, where the garage was used to manufacture methamphetamine, according to the press release. 

Jacksonville Police Lt. Ronnie Dorn, investigations supervisor, said Friday afternoon that evidence showed meth had been cooked in the garage previously, but there was not an active lab when officers showed up at the scene. Officers blocked the roadway and secured the area.

N.C. State Bureau of Investigation responded and was at the scene to “provide site safety,” along with Jacksonville Fire Department, Southwest Volunteer Fire Department and Onslow County Sheriff’s Department Narcotics Deputies, according to the press release.

Seventeen pit bulls were located in buildings on the property and one animal was chained inside of the garage.

Onslow County Animal Control removed the animals. The dog inside of the garage was sedated, removed by law enforcement officers and turned over to Animal Control for transport to their facility for decontamination and to monitor its health. Neither Bettis nor Dorn commented as to why the dogs were on the property Friday and Dorn said, “it would be speculation as to that part of it.”

Alan Davis, the director of Onslow County Animal Services, said the dogs were in fair condition, with good body weight, but he said they did have some skin problems. Davis said Friday that all the dogs are on “hold” status as Animal Control investigates who owns the dogs and whether it is safe for them to return home.

He said they have determined they belong to multiple owners and some belonged to residents of 106 Ash Street. He also said some of the dogs belong to someone living as far away as Fayetteville.

Once the animals were removed, an initial assessment of the crime scene determined that there was no immediate public safety concern. An SBI chemist was dispatched to process evidence at the site. The homeowner was notified of the bust. 

On Thursday, residents of the neighborhood were participating in routine activities. Children were jumping on trampolines while others were grilling on the porch. Some residents sat in lawn chairs in their yards. Bettis said there was no immediate danger to the public, and investigators determined an evacuation was not necessary. Bettis said Friday that no one was injured.

This is the fourth meth lab dismantled within Jacksonville city limits this year.

“We’re seeing more and more meth labs,” Bettis said Friday.

Bettis encourages anyone who has any information about methamphetamine abuse to call the JPD at 910-455-400 or Crime Stoppers at 910-9383273. Callers can remain anonymous.

Dorn said even if callers are not sure about what they are seeing, he said to call it in.

“We’d much rather air on the side of caution,” he said, due to the toxicity and the instability of meth labs.

All four suspects remained in custody Friday at Onslow County Jail.









ASHTABULA — A 28-year-old Ashtabula woman was arrested Thursday after law enforcement officials received information of her possible involvement in manufacturing methamphetamine.

Maria Wooten, of 1627 W. 19th St. Apt. A, was arraigned Friday afternoon in Ashtabula Mun-icipal Court. She was charged with two counts of illegal manufacture of drugs or cultivation      of methamphetamine, according to a court spokesperson.

Wooten entered no plea during her arraignment and was released on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond, according to a court spokesperson.


Detectives from the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department along with TAG officers and a Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation agent were notified by the Madison Police Department of a subject purchasing pseudoephedrine, commonly used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, in excess of legal limitations, according to reports.

Wooten was identified, by still-camera images, purchasing the medication with a young child present, according to reports.

ACSO Det. Taylor Cleveland and Det. Brian Cumberledge responded to Wooten’s apartment with TAG officers and the BCI&I agent. Wooten reportedly came to the door with her 5-year-old child, according to reports.

Detectives asked her to separate herself from the child so the child was not present while they spoke, but Wooten refused to do so. Detectives advised her they were conducting a drug investigation surrounding her and she was likely to be charged as a result, according to reports.

While detectives were standing outside the apartment, a chemical odor was detected from inside the apartment. When Wooten was asked about it she reportedly told detectives she “smells it all the time as well.” She reportedly said “some people a couple apartments away were just arrested for drugs,” according to reports.

Detectives reportedly asked Wooten for permission to enter her apartment to further speak to her about their investigation; however, Wooten reportedly became very defensive and asked if they had a search warrant, according to reports.

After several attempts to gain permission to enter her apartment, Wooten finally allowed them in, according to reports.

Cleveland began searching kitchen cabinets and reportedly observed a “one pot” style meth lab inside a plastic 20 ounce bottle. It was not active and reportedly contained waste product left as a result of making methamphetamine, according to reports.

Wooten reportedly immediately broke down emotionally stating the meth lab was not hers. She was arrested and Ashtabula County Children Services was notified to assist with the child, according to reports.

Wooten’s live-in boyfriend arrived at the apartment and was arrested on an outstanding warrant with Lake County. He reportedly began giving detectives explanations for the meth lab, according to reports.

He reportedly told detectives someone came into the apartment through the attic and placed the meth lab in the cupboard. He also reportedly told detectives he finds meth labs “popping” up around the apartment complex all the time and he takes them into the apartment so children don’t find them, according to reports.

Detectives also found other meth-related items in the wooded area directly behind the apartment complex, according to reports.

A family member was contacted to take custody of the child in lieu of the child going with CSB, according to reports.

Both Wooten and her boyfriend were transported to Ashtabula County Jail. Wooten is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Oct. 10 in Ashtabula Municipal Court.







Chatham-Kent police Intelligence Unit have arrested 28 people and seized a quantity of drugs including methamphetamine and fentanyl during a five-month investigation.

The accused face over 100 charges including possession and trafficking controlled substances, weapons charges and obstructing police.

Chatham police




Officers used seven drug warrants to search various residences throughout Chatham-Kent during what police dubbed Project ATAM.

Drugs seized include 52.2 grams of methamphetamine, 530 mg of fentanyl, 35.75 grams of cocaine, 30 grams of cannabis, 3 cannabis plants and one gram of psilocybin.

The combined street value of the drugs seized is estimated at $ 17,160.

Officers also seized $6,970.00 in cash.