GREENEVILLE, TN — Arnoldo Ayala Guevara Cazarez, 49, was sentenced on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 in federal court to serve 235 months in federal prison for his leadership role in trafficking methamphetamine in upper East Tennessee. Guevara pleaded guilty on June 5, 2012, to conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.

Guevara; his brother, Jose Cruz Guevara; and his nephew, Habraham Enrique Guevara, conspired to bring four pounds of high-quality Mexican methamphetamine from Oklahoma City to sell in upper East Tennessee. All four pounds were found at the Guevara family home in Limestone, Tennessee. One pound was 92.9 percent pure and qualified as meth ice. Arnoldo Guevara was the main source of supply for the four pounds of methamphetamine. He set the price and directed the activities of others with regard to the transportation and ultimate delivery of the methamphetamine. Overall, the investigation resulted in the conviction of six individuals, all natives of Sinaloa, Mexico, who were illegally present in the United States.

Arnoldo Guevara is an illegal alien from Mexico who had been deported from the United States on four prior occasions but was living in Oklahoma during the period of this conspiracy. Habraham Enrique Guevara was previously sentenced to 84 months in prison for his role as a translator, lookout, and transporter in the conspiracy. Jose Cruz Guevara is set for sentencing on March 4, 2013.

U.S. Attorney William C. Killian stated, “The quantity of methamphetamine seized in this case was the second largest prosecuted in federal court in the northeast division of the Eastern District of Tennessee. Methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug, and the presence of high-quality Mexican methamphetamine in Washington County presented a real danger to the safety of that community.”



A Spanaway toddler who died last month had fatal amounts of methamphetamine in his system, the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office said today.

Nathan Iverson, 2, died Dec. 6 of acute methamphetamine toxicity, the office said.

Emergency crews were called about 2:30 a.m. to what sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said is a house well-known to deputies in the 16900 block of Sixth Avenue East in Spanaway.

Nathan was taken to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, where he died later that day, Troyer said.

Residents of the house admitted to authorities after the death that they used drugs, Troyer said. He said there were no signs of drugs or drug use when deputies arrived. The hospital called law enforcement after the boy was examined and deputies arrived hours after he was initially transported, Troyer said.

Deputies think people have been involved with drug use at the house in the past as well, he said.

“We’ve got a mess to sort out,” Troyer said. “The bottom line is, one way or another, this kid ingested enough meth to kill him.”

No one was in custody today.

Troyer said the results of the Sheriff’s Department investigation and the autopsy will be sent to Pierce County prosecutors.


A 42-year-old Nogales, Sonora woman was arrested after $519,000 worth of methamphetamine was found in her vehicle, authorities said.


Nora Alicia Rosas Castelo was taken into custody Friday by federal officers at the Dennis DeConcini port of entry, said Juan Osorio, a Customs and Border Protection spokesman.

Authorities found 26 packages of methamphetamine throughout her Hyundai sedan during inspection, Osorio said.

The car and drugs were seized.


VERNON PARISH, LA (KPLC) – Two Rosepine residents are facing charges after a 10-month-old child tested positive for methamphetamine, according to a news release from Vernon Parish authorities.

Heather Jenkins, 22, and Michael Moore, 55, are accused in the case.

Heather L. Jenkins (Source: Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office)Michael S. Moore (Source: Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office)

Heather L. Jenkins                                    Michael S. Moore


According to a news release from the Vernon Parish Sheriff Sam Craft, Vernon Parish Narcotics Task Force investigators were contacted Jan. 17 by Beauregard Memorial Hospital staff in reference to the child.

Craft said detectives interviewed Jenkins, the child’s mother. Craft said Jenkins told detectives that she had been in a home where methamphetamine was used and that the child “may have inadvertently” been exposed to the narcotic.

“Jenkins stated that she had received and used methamphetamine at the residence in the past,” Craft said in the release.

Craft said detectives then traveled to a home on J.P. Calcote Road in the Rosepine area where 55-year-old Michael Moore was interviewed.

Craft said during the interview, detectives seized 1.75 ounces of methamphetamine with a street value of $5,760.

Craft said Moore told detectives the child was in the same room while he and others smoked methamphetamine.

Jenkins was arrested and booked with possession of methamphetamine and cruelty to a juvenile. Her bond was set at $35,000.

Moore was charged with possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, illegal possession of a firearm while in possession of controlled dangerous substances, distribution of methamphetamine and possession of schedule IV with the intent to distribute.

Craft said Moore was out on bond for prior methamphetamine charges at the time of the incident. Bond for Moore was set at $42,000. He remains in the Vernon Parish Jail.



Meth Labs Found In Leesburg Home

Posted: January 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

Two people were arrested Monday after Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Deputies discovered a meth lab inside a Leesburg home.

Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department drug task force officers were executing active warrants Monday morning in the 300 block of Smith Street, Leesburg, when they discovered various methamphetamine labs inside the residence. KCSD officers were attempting to serve active felony warrants on Thomas O. Rensberger, 36, Leesburg; and Kira Margaret Tuttle, 30, Warsaw.

Once inside the dwelling, officers immediately noted the strong odor commonly associated with the production of methamphetamine. A subsequent search located two active and 18 spent one-pot method meth labs inside the home.

Kira Margaret Tuttle

Kira Margaret Tuttle



Officers immediately took both subjects into custody and removed them from the residence as they summoned the Indiana State Police Clandestine Lab Team due to the strong fumes. The Leesburg/Plain Township Fire Department also responded to the scene as a precautionary measure.

Thomas O. Rensberger

Thomas O. Rensberger

Rensberger was arrested and preliminarily charged with felony manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine precursors, and two counts of felony possession of methamphetamine. His bond was set at $20,000.

Tuttle was also arrested and preliminarily charged with one felony count of possession of methamphetamine less than 3 grams and one felony count of possession of methamphetamine more than 3 grams. Her bond was set at $35,000.




A 42-year-old Nogales, Sonora woman was arrested after $519,000 worth of methamphetamine was found in her vehicle, authorities said.

Nora Alicia Rosas Castelo was taken into custody Friday by federal officers at the Dennis DeConcini port of entry, said Juan Osorio, a Customs and Border Protection spokesman.

Authorities found 26 packages of methamphetamine throughout her Hyundai sedan during inspection, Osorio said.

The car and drugs were seized.



SELLERSBURG — Three people were arrested after police found an active methamphetamine lab in a Sellersburg home Friday.

Sellersburg police received information from a concerned citizen of possible drug activity taking place in a residence at 2122 Jefferson Blvd., Sellersburg Police Chief Russ Whelan said Monday.

Terry, Paul wb.jpg

    • Paul Terry

Dowdle, Julie wb.jpg

  • Julie Dowdle

Whelan said after the search warrant was obtained, officers responded to the home of Paul Edward Terry, 44, and Julie Waynett Dowdle, 42, where Alice Merryman, 49, of Marengo, was also present.

Whelan said along with the active methamphetamine lab, a child was also in the home.

Terry was preliminarily charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of a precursor, possession of paraphernalia and maintaining a common nuisance.

Dowdle was preliminarily charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of a precursor, possession of paraphernalia, maintaining a common nuisance and neglect of a dependent.

Merryman was preliminarily charged with possession of methamphetamine and visiting a common nuisance.

Court records had not been updated with any of the suspects’ upcoming court dates as of press time.

The class of each charge was also not available.

Whelan said the incident is only the third active methamphetamine lab discovered in Sellersburg by police since he became the department’s chief eight years ago.

“But that’s three too many,” Whelan said, “especially when a juvenile is present.”

He added that he is thankful that police were alerted of the activity and for the work of his drug officers.

“It’s always good when you get a tip from a member of the community,” Whelan said. “If we get a tip, we are going to follow up on it, and in this case it paid off.”



PORTAGE, MI — The front porch was blown off of a house at 514 W. Van Hoesen Boulevard shortly after midnight in what Portage authorities say was a methamphetamine-related explosion.

 Meth-related explosion in Portage

The front porch was blown off of a house at 514 W. Van Hoesen Boulevard shortly after midnight in what Portage authorities say was a methamphetamine-related explosion.
Meth ExplosionMeth ExplosionMeth ExplosionMeth Explosion

According to a news release from Portage Public Safety, at 12:02 a.m. Monday, Jan. 28, police and fire units were dispatched to Wendy’s restaurant on the corner of South Westnedge and West Van Hoesen Boulevard on a report that a man had walked up with burns on his hands.

A few minutes later, a neighbor in the 500 block of West Van Hoesen Boulevard called to report an explosion. Officers found the location of the explosion at 514 W. Van Hoesen. The front porch wall of the home had been blown off and the windows blown out. No one was at the home, but witnesses told police they saw several people leaving the home on foot after the explosion. A neighbor was evacuated until it was safe to return.

The man at Wendy’s with the burned hands admitted to cooking methamphetamine at the time of the explosion, police said. He was taken by ambulance to a local hospital and a search warrant was served on the residence.

Meth-making components were located inside the home.

Portage Department of Public Safety is continuing the investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Portage Department of Public Safety at 329-4567 or Silent Observer at 343-2100, .



Salton City, Calif. – On Saturday, U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Indio station arrested a man with more than $73,000 worth of methamphetamine on their person.

The incident occurred around 10:45 p.m. during a routine inspection of a commercial passenger bus at the Highway 86 checkpoint. While interviewing one of the passengers, agents asked a man to disembark the bus for further questioning.

A subsequent search of the man revealed small packages of methamphetamine wrapped in cellophane taped to the man’s thighs. The packages weighed 2.3 pounds and had an estimated street value of $73,600.

The suspected drug smuggler and the methamphetamine were turned over to the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office.

The El Centro Sector’s Community Awareness Campaign is a simple and effective program to raise public awareness on the indicators of crime and other threats. We encourage public and private sector employees to remain vigilant and play a key role in keeping our country safe. Please report any suspicious activity to the Border Community Threat Hotline at (800) 901-2003.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.



Meth bust leads to 4 arrests

Posted: January 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Northwest Narcotics Task Force, with assistance from the Williams County Sheriff’s office, arrested four individuals on Jan. 24 in connection with possession of methamphetamine after an investigation was conducted at a residence in Trenton.

Tracy Lee Fischer, 35, of Minnesota, was arrested for the class C felony of possession of methamphetamine paraphernalia, as well as possession of marijuana paraphernalia, ingestion of methamphetamine, and child endangerment.

Ryan Allen Edwards, 34, of Nevada, was arrested for possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, a class AA felony. He was also arrested for three class C felonies, possession of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine paraphernalia, and operating a residence where narcotics are sold.

Ryan Scott Baxter, 26, was arrested for possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, possession of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine paraphernalia, and operating a residence where narcotics are sold.

Fischer’s juvenile son was referred to juvenile services after being arrested on miscellaneous drug charges.



Two Tuscumbia men are in Callaway County Jail after leading Callaway County deputies on a 40-mile chase through four towns at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour.

Arrested and jailed are:

• Kasey Wayne Nelson, 22, Tuscumbia, who faces charges of careless and imprudent driving, resisting arrest for a felony by creating a substantial risk of serious injury, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, speeding, illegal possession of methamphetamine, illegal possession of dexroamphetamine, and unlawful use of methamphetamine drug paraphernalia.

• Cody Ray Glore, 20, Tuscumbia, who faces charges of illegal possession a controlled substance and unlawful use of methamphetamine drug paraphernalia.

Callaway County deputies reported at 1:07 a.m. Saturday they attempted to stop a blue Chevrolet Camaro for a traffic violation on County Road 4012 outside of Holts Summit.

The vehicle failed to stop and a deputy pursued the vehicle for more than 40 miles along Route 94 through the towns of Tebbetts, Mokane, Steedman and Portland at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour.

As the vehicle neared the intersection of Old Highway 40 and State Road A, it went out of control and crashed. Both vehicle occupants were taken into custody.

Nelson was identified as the driver and Glore was a passenger.

Nelson was in possession of two types of felony controlled substances and a needle used to inject methamphetamine.

Glore was arrested for possessing methamphetamine and possession of a needle used to inject methamphetamine.

Nelson is jailed on a $20,000 bond and Glore is held on a bond of $9,000.



The 38-year-old man arrested by FBI agents at his West Odessa home Thursday was a former Odessa police officer, and the charges leveled against him relate to a conspiracy to sell methamphetamine, according to a federal criminal complaint made public on Friday.

Jackie Lynn Thompson, 2900 N. Torrance Ave., was a member of the Odessa Police Department from April 7, 2003, to July 15, 2007, when he voluntarily resigned as a patrol officer, said Andrea Goodson, a spokesperson for the department.

At about 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning, troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety pulled Thompson over as he was driving a black Ford F-350 because he reportedly rolled through a stop sign at 42nd Street and Guernsey Road, the complaint affidavit states. DPS troopers reported arresting him after they found Thompson with a handgun and a small amount of what troopers believed to be meth.

At the DPS office in Odessa, agents told Thompson they had a search warrant for his home. The affidavit states he admitted he distributed about five pounds of meth with a group of other people since October 2012. The affidavit does not name any co-conspirators.

Inside Thompson’s home, agents reported finding 27 guns, a small amount of meth and steroids. The OPD’s SWAT team assisted with the search. Authorities with the DEA and Homeland security also assisted.

Goodson said late Friday afternoon she had not viewed Thompson’s personnel file and did not have information about his conduct during his tenure as an officer.

On Thursday, before the federal complaint was released, Sheriff Mark Donaldson said he knew of no Jackie Thompson in his employ, saying at most he might be a reservist. Donaldson said he knew of the Jackie Thompson that was in the OPD.



Dothan police made their third and fourth drug trafficking arrests in less than a week on Thursday.

Court records show Dothan police investigators arrested both 25-year-old Tiffany Suzanne Hartzog and 33-year-old Aaron Brock Lowe on three drug-related felony charges.

0126 trafficing little.jpg0126 trafficing LOTT Tasha Nicole.jpg


Police investigators charged both Hartzog and Lowe with trafficking a controlled substance (meth), first-degree manufacturing a controlled substance (meth), and the manufacture of drug paraphernalia.

Records show police charged both Hartzog and Lowe with trafficking nearly 2 ounces of meth from a residence on Roxie Lane on Wednesday. Police also charged Hartzog and Lowe with manufacturing meth after a clandestine meth lab was discovered.

Records also show police charged them with felony manufacturing drug paraphernalia, a class C felony, after they were allegedly found to be in possession of Pyrex dishes.

Both Hartzog and Lowe were taken to the Houston County Jail and held on bail that totaled more than $2 million.

Police investigators arrested 34-year-old Tasha Nichole Lott earlier this week on felony trafficking and manufacturing meth charges.

Records show police charged Lott with trafficking meth after they found her in possession of 40 grams of meth at her Oakland Drive home. Police also charged Lott with felony chemical endangerment of a child, for the alleged exposure of meth to a 3-year-old boy.

Lott was taken to the Houston County Jail and held on bail totaling $320,000.

Dothan police also arrested 22-year-old Anthony Dewayne Little earlier this week on a trafficking meth charge.

Records show police charged Little with trafficking 28 grams of meth from the parking lot of the Westgate Inn near Ross Clark Circle on Dec. 6, 2012. Bail for the trafficking charge filed against Little was set at $250,000.



Wheeling, WV — Government officials in West Virginia say the number of reported methamphetamine labs in the state has jumped more than 400 percent since 2008.

If 400 percent sounds like a lot, looking at the numbers makes you realize just how bad it is.
In 2008, 50 meth labs were reported in West Virginia. That number has gone up dramatically each year since, as the following show:

• 2009: 109
• 2010: 140
• 2011: 171
• 2012: 271

To find out why meth labs are on the rise NEWS9 sat down with the U.S. attorney that serves the northern panhandle, William J. Ihlenfeld, II.

“In the northern district of West Virginia, which is 32 counties and includes the northern panhandle, we do see a lot of meth manufacturing and distribution,” said Ihlenfeld.

Even though Ihlenfeld serves the panhandle, he says many reports come from the north-central part of the state in Randolph, Upshur, and Barbour counties.

“It’s become easier to make. New methods have been figured out,” said Ihlenfeld. “There’s a shake and bake method that’s a very simple way to manufacture meth. The internet is a great thing but the Internet can be a way to distribute information on how to make things such as meth.”

Ihlenfeld says stopping meth from rising in the valley won’t be easy but there is one thing officials can do.

“If we all come together and share intelligence and if we start to see a trend and we work together we can keep it from growing into a big problem,” said Ihlenfeld.

Customs and Border Protection agents seize more than a million dollars worth of meth from being smuggled into the country.

It happened on Tuesday at the Lincoln-Juarez Bridge when agents referred a 2001 Chevrolet Suburban driven by a 33-year-old woman from Mexico in for secondary inspection.

It was there that they found close to 90 pounds of liquid meth stored in 44 beverage bottles.

The liquid meth had an estimated value of $1.3 million.

Agents seized the drugs and vehicle.

The driver was arrested and turned over to homeland security for further investigation.


People living in current or former clandestine methamphetamine laboratories can be exposed to many dangers. These include exposure to toxic chemicals, sometimes long after the property has been used as a meth lab, and the risk of fires and explosions in active meth labs.

Methamphetamine is a drug that also goes by the names of meth, speed, crank, crystal or ice. It is a potent synthetic drug that stimulants the central nervous system. Although methamphetamine can be prescribed by a doctor, its medical uses are limited, and the doses prescribed are much lower than those typically abused. Due to its high potential for abuse, methamphetamine is classified as a Schedule II drug.

Various toxic chemicals are used in the production of meth. During the cooking process, toxic fumes, spills and vapors are all created that can cause immediate health concerns building occupants and neighbors. Toxic residues are also often left on surfaces throughout a meth laboratory that can be a danger to future building occupants. Often times, future residents may not even know the building was formerly used as a meth laboratory.

“Many meth laboratories are discovered due to fires and explosions that can easily occur during the meth cooking process,” reported Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, a leading industrial hygiene testing laboratory. “Some very volatile and hazardous chemicals are used in the production process that can easily ignite if not properly handled and stored correctly. These fires and explosions create an immediate danger to people in the meth laboratory and to any neighbors. EMSL provides industrial hygiene and environmental sampling for methamphetamine and many of the hazardous chemicals used to make it.”

EMSL has sponsored a public service video on the environmental dangers of meth laboratories that can be viewed at:

To learn more about methamphetamine testing services, or to request testing supplies, please visit, email or call (800) 220-3675.

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.



ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – An APS bus driver gets in an accident, gets caught with meth and admits to being a user – but wasn’t tested for a DWI.

It’s a bizarre story that began when APD was called to the scene of a mechanical breakdown of a school bus that had just finished dropping off kids at Zia Elementary.

When APD arrived at the scene around 8:30, they said the driver, 36-year-old Ruben Gonzales didn’t appear to be impaired – and it appeared some sort of problem with the joints caused the rear axle to brake.

Gonzales was taken to UNM Hospital with injuries. According to both APD and UNM police, hospital staff discovered what they thought was meth on him several hours later.

Because it was on UNM property, UNM Police were called in. They say Gonzales admitted to being a meth user. An initial test confirmed the substance was meth – though they say it has to be sent to a lab for further testing.

That’s when they called APD to tell them the accident may have been a DWI. The problem?

“The reasonable time limit had past for us to lawfully conduct a DWI investigation without violating his civil rights. We couldn’t do that. They understood that,” said Officer Robert Gibbs, spokesperson for APD.

Additionally, they said they had no way to prove that he had meth on him or was under the influence when he was driving the bus – they say he could have somehow received or ingested the meth after the accident, while he was at the hospital.

UNM Police will be sending a complaint to the DA tomorrow – that will likely result in Gonzales’ arrest. He was still in the hospital as of this evening.

Beal Bus, the company that hired Gonzales, says they did pre-employment drug testing on him and they also conduct random drug tests at their company, per DOT regulation. Owner Denny Beal wouldn’t provide the date of his last random drug test citing privacy issues.

APS says Gonzales wasn’t their employee – but says if he was caught with meth, he won’t be driving a bus anymore. They also said they’ll be sending home a letter to parents who had kids on the bus.



20 meth labs dumped on roadsides

Posted: January 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

COOKEVILLE — More than 20 discarded “one-pot” meth labs and other drug-related items were found on roadsides in a city neighborhood yesterday, police said.

A cleanup was conducted, and a criminal investigation is underway.

It began Wednesday morning as a Putnam County Jail road crew — inmates who perform roadside cleanup under supervision — worked in the area of Freehill Road.

According to a report by Putnam Sheriff’s Deputy Josh Reams, the supervisor of the road crew, Tom Nelson, contacted deputies around 8:30 a.m. and reported that he and the crew had found “what he thought to be a one-pot lab in a plastic baggy located on the side of the road on Sharon Avenue.”

After finding that discarded meth lab, the crew walked the roadside on Sharon Avenue near Huddleston Road checking for similar items and reported finding “several small plastic bags containing two-liter bottles,” the report says.

Law officers who work meth cases say that meth drug dealers these days are using a pared down, simpler way of “cooking” the dangerous drug.

They mix the poisonous chemicals and other substances in a plastic bottle, a streamlined process that allows for the quick and easy dumping of the remains, and thus a reduced risk of being caught.

Called the “one-pot” or “shake and bake” meth lab, this process has replaced the old way of making meth, which required actually cooking ingredients on a stove or other heat source.

After the road crew reported its findings on the roadside in a Cookeville neighborhood yesterday, deputies and Cookeville Police officers joined to the search and began an investigation aimed at tracing the dumped items to the owners.

Cpl. Billy Hunter and Deputy Reams began by going to the area of the first plastic bag the crew had found.

“I found a one-pot meth lab — used coffee filters, cut open lithium batteries, and a possible suspect’s prescription for cold medicine containing pseudo ephedrine,” Deputy Reams said. “At this time, I walked Sharon Avenue along with the road crew.”

The crew pointed to plastic bags on the roadside which contained two-liter bottles, and the deputy found that there were 14 bags with “one-pot” meth labs in them.

“Each trash bag contained the meth lab and several other items used in the manufacture of meth, including cut lithium batteries, used coffee filters, charcoal lighter fluid, lye, and an unknown acid in a Gatorade bottle,” the report says.

Deputy Reams then contacted the Meth Task Force here and also notified the Meth Task Force Response Truck, which is run by Officer Brian Long.

Deputy Sgt. Jamie Hunter and Cookeville Police Officer Jamie McCurry then joined the investigation, and Officer McCurry “took possession of the 14 one-pots that had been found,” the report says.

The deputies and the road crew then undertook to check Free Hill Road for dumped meth items.

“While checking Free Hill Road, Mr. Nelson and his road crew advised they had found several more plastic bags that contained two-liter bottles near Stockton Lane,” the report says.

When the deputies checked that area further, they found “six more one-pot meth labs, along with several other trash bags with used meth components inside of them,” the report continues.

Deputy Chris Miller arrived then to assist in the clean-up of the dump sites, and once all of the labs were collected, they were turned over to Officer Long for disposal, Deputy Reams said.

“An on-going investigation will be conducted by the Sheriff’s Department and the Cookeville Police Department in an attempt to find all suspects involved,” Reams said.


Perhaps the most dangerous group of narco-assassins in Mexico looks to be reeling a bit from recent setbacks. One of the ironies of the poor health of the Zetas? Drug trafficking across the border is going up.

A DC-based human rights group, the Washington Office on Latin America, describes the Zetas’ control as “slipping a bit” — but they’re not celebrating. “This is an ominous bit of news,” write Adam Isacson and Maureen Meyer, “if a vacuum or organized crime control has opened up, violence may flare up again in Northeastern Mexico.” Not only is U.S. border security “not deterring traffickers,” heroin busts are up — and police are seeing an increased flow of potent liquid methamphetamine, a reportedly more efficient way to transport the drug.


The Zetas’ kingpin, Heriberto Lazcano, was killed by the Mexican military in October. The reportedly more violent drug lord Miguel “Z-40″ Trevino has since taken Lazcano’s place, and the cartel has experienced a violent internal conflict along with attacks by their rivals: the Sinaloa Cartel. Isacson and Meyer also suggest that a sign of the turmoil is how drug smuggling routes previously “locked down” by the cartel have opened up, giving other criminal groups an opportunity to sneak drugs into the U.S. while slipping past the Zetas.

The authors are cautious about the extent to which the Zetas are really on the ropes, and note that the cartel remains strong. Another question is where the Zetas are losing control, more precisely. According to Mexico City newspaper Reforma, homicides in five of six of Mexico’s border states declined in 2012. A strict crackdown on kidnappers by the police and army have been suggested as one reason for the decline in violence in cities like Ciudad Juarez. Another theory has it that the Sinaloa Cartel, the Zetas’ main rivals, eliminated or sidelined smaller rivals like Juarez’s street gangs.

The exception is the border state of Coahuila. Unlike other Zetas strongholds, rates of violence in the state have shot upwards. Coahuila’s largest city, Torreon, has seen enough rising violence for El Manana to label it “the most violent of Mexico,” with numerous attacks in recent weeks on bars, nightclubs, drug rehabilitation clinics and military checkpoints. “Those are results, basically, of clashes between the Zetas and Sinaloa,” Christopher Wilson, a Mexico analyst with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, tells Danger Room. “Maybe not entirely, but that’s the driving force behind that violence. The Zetas’ position in certain areas may be being threatened right now.”

Wilson cautions, though, that there’s not been a corresponding increase in violence in states that are firmly under the control of the Zetas. This “makes me think that they’re not on the verge of extinction or anything close to that,” Wilson adds. Earlier in January, the Dallas Morning News‘ Alfredo Corchado, citing law enforcement officials, reported that the Zetas were pushing further into Coahuila, “threatening to reignite deadly violence in areas bordering Texas.” One estimate of homicides in Mexico touted by the Mexican news media counted more than 1,000 deaths since the first of December, “a pace even faster than during the administration of [President Enrique Pena Nieto’s] predecessor, Felipe Calderon,” Corchado wrote.

That’s a problem for Mexico’s new president. Pena Nieto has emphasized reducing violence as an alternative to a blunt-force attack on the cartels of the kind deployed with gusto by Calderon. Wilson and his colleagues at the Mexico Institute have written that the shift in strategy — likely in the form of targeting kidnappers and extortion rings — could be a “positive first step,” but expressed concern that the president hasn’t clearly described it. The talk around the new strategy also came during an election year, and just before the news that the Pentagon is expanding its assistance to elite units within the Mexican military.

“The government of Mexico describes its use of the military as a stop-gap measure, while longer-term efforts are put in place,” Wilson says. “Well, I think sort of the question is: what are the long-term efforts?” They may not come soon enough before the Zetas bounce back.

SAN DIEGO — A 19-year-old Mexican citizen was behind bars in San Diego Thursday for allegedly smuggling nearly 25 pounds of methamphetamine into the United States in her car.

The woman drove into the U.S. Border Patrol’s Pine Valley-area checkpoint on Interstate 8 in a 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Border busts

Agents seize nearly $500K of meth at I-8 checkpoint

Nearly $500K of meth was found inside the silver 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier

The 23 bundles of meth weighed 24.91 pounds and had an estimated street value of $498,200.

After a service dog indicated the presence of contraband in the sedan, officers searched it and found the haul of illicit narcotics — worth an estimated $498,000 in street sales — wrapped in 23 packages that had been stashed under the front fenders, according to USBP officials.

The suspect, whose name was withheld, was placed in federal custody pending prosecution. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration seized her car along with the methamphetamine.


Another group of county residents has been arrested for manufacturing methamphetamine after deputies with the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office discovered illegal paraphernalia.

 On January 22, officers were called to 11 Beattie Street in Laurens. While at the residence, they found several items commonly used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine. Paraphernalia was discovered both inside and outside of the home.

 Deputies arrested 53-year-old Larry Kenneth Summerall and 32-year-old Larry Jay Cooper, both of 11 Beattie Street. Additionally, 39-year-old Edgar Dennis Benton and 29-year-old Wayne Scott Wayman, Jr., both of 26 Beattie Street, were taken into custody.

 All four subjects are being charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, unlawful disposal of methamphetamine waste, and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine. They were transported to the Johnson Detention Center where they await a bond hearing.



BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) – The Indiana State Police Meth Task Force dismantled a meth lab in a Bloomington home Wednesday night where four children were present.

Troopers responded to the 1000 block of North Summit Street after running an investigation that led to the locations of reaction vessels, items used to manufacture methamphetamine, methamphetamine and paraphernalia used to ingest methamphetamine, according to a release.



Investigators removed hazardous chemicals from the residence that were combined to produce meth.

Inside the home were four children, who ranged in ages from 5 months old to 4 years old.

They were placed in protective custody by Child Protective Services.

Arrested was Joshua Scroggins, 27, Misty Chambers, 21, and Dale McCutchen, 29.

Scroggins and Chambers face preliminary charges of manufacturing methamphetamine in a government housing complex, a Class A felony, possession of precursors with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, a Class D felony, maintaining a common nuisance, a Class D felony, possession of methamphetamine, a Class D felony, four counts of neglect of a dependant, a Class D felony, and possession of paraphernalia a Class A misdemeanor.

McCutchen faces a preliminary charge of visiting a common nuisance, a Class A misdemeanor.


Officers with the Lexington County Multi-Agency Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET) and Lexington County Sheriff’s Department arrested three people after discovering a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory in a shed.



On Thursday, deputies arrested 24-year-old Michael Paul Dixon and 30-year-old Christopher Edward Dubose on a charge of manufacturing methamphetamine.

Deputies also arrested 35-year-old Wendy Lee Gantt on a charge of possessing methamphetamine.

The report said at about 4:39 a.m. on Thursday, deputies went to 1633 Southbound Road, the home where Dixon and Gantt reside at, in order to investigate a tip that a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory was being operated at the residence.

When deputies arrived at the home, they detected a strong chemical odor emanating from a shed outside the residence that they recognized from training that they received as an indication that a methamphetamine laboratory was being operated at the shed.

Deputies say they found Dixon and Dubose in the shed. Deputies say Dixon was holding a clear glass jar that contained a white substance at the bottom of the jar.

Deputies placed Dixon and Dubose in investigative detention.

According to sheriff’s deputies, officers located Gantt, who is Dixon’s girlfriend, sleeping inside the Southbound Road home. Deputies determined that Gantt possessed methamphetamine, which deputies found in the residence.

Deputies arrested Gantt on a charge of possessing methamphetamine.

The report said officers also found a small plastic bottle inside the shed that was being used as a reaction vessel to manufacture methamphetamine.

Officers requested assistance from NET officers in further investigating the clandestine methamphetamine laboratory found in the shed.

Officers later arrested Dixon and Dubose on a charge of manufacturing methamphetamine.

Dixon, Dubose and Gantt each were being held on Thursday at the Lexington County Detention Center while awaiting bond hearings.


A traffic violation on Interstate 65 on Wednesday led to the arrest of Alejandro Martinez, 31, of Chicago after Indiana State Police reportedly found two pounds of methamphetamine in a booster seat in the 2006 white Ford F150.

Martinez was headed south on I-65 around 4:45 p.m. when Trooper Ryan Winters pulled him over, police said.

Neither Martinez nor the female passenger had valid driver’s licenses. Winters’ K-9, with assistance from Trooper Ben Rector’s K-9, assisted in searching the truck. The troopers disassembled the booster seat and found the two pounds of methamphetamine, Indiana State Police Sgt. Kim Riley said.

Martinez was arrested on suspicion of dealing in methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine and never receiving an operator’s license. Police continue to investigate while Martinez is being held at Clinton County Jail.

According to the press release, no bond has been set. The female passenger was released with no charges.



COLON TOWNSHIP, MI — A man and a woman were arrested Tuesday after officers executed a search warrant in the 33000 block of Maryann Drive and found evidence of the manufacture of methamphetamine and marijuana, according to a news release from the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department.

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The drugs were found during a search of the home

Authorities said a 36-year-old woman and a 37-year- old man were taken to the St. Joseph County Jail and charged with operating and maintaining a methamphetamine lab, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana and maintaining a drug house.