Salton City, California – Tuesday, El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents assigned to the Indio station arrested a suspected narcotics smuggler and seized more than 15 pounds of methamphetamine concealed within a hidden aftermarket compartment.

The incident occurred at approximately 8:45 a.m., when Border Patrol agents encountered a 33-year-old man, driving a GMC Sonoma Pickup truck with Baja California plates as he approached the Highway 86 checkpoint located between Westmorland and Salton City.

El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents at the Highway 86 checkpoint discover more than 15 pounds of methamphetamine hidden within an aftermarket compartment after an inspection of the vehicle’s firewall.

Agents referred the driver to the secondary inspection area. During the secondary inspection a canine detection team alerted to the vehicle’s engine compartment and firewall area. Agents conducted an inspection of the vehicle’s firewall and discovered an aftermarket compartment filled with 16 cellophane wrapped packages of methamphetamine concealed inside. An aftermarket Global Positioning System tracking device was also recovered from under the vehicle’s steering column.

The methamphetamine had a combined weight of 15.39 pounds with an estimated street value of $100,039.

The man, a United States citizen was taken into custody. The vehicle and methamphetamine was turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation.




ORLANDO, Fla. – A mobile meth lab forced authorities to evacuate a portion of a hotel in the tourist district of Orlando.

Firefighters early Wednesday initially went to the Ramada Inn at 8342 Jamaican Court near International Drive because of a suspicious smell, but officials decided to call the hazmat team to further investigate.

Crews focused on one room and discovered chemicals used to make meth, deputies said.

A Central Florida woman to whom the room was registered was arrested. Two other women who were in the motel room were trespassed by the business, deputies said.

Some deputies were treated for exposure to the chemicals but were expected to be OK.






NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – One woman is putting a face to the horrible effects of meth addiction. She survived a meth explosion and now hopes her scars will save more lives.

Selena Humphrey said she started cooking meth as a child, and it culminated years later in a horrible explosion just days after her 15th birthday.

The pain of addiction shows in her disfigured face and hands.


“It’s hard for me, you know. The eyes don’t change, but everything else has,” Humphrey said.

Deep scars have limited her mobility for a decade.

“I could not move my head but to right here, and then my face would start drooping. It would pull so tight,” she said.

But about a month ago, a collection of stories on the meth explosion survivor caught one doctor’s eye.

Dr. Brian Biesman has since donated his expertise with a laser therapy that is often used on burn victims in the military. So far, three weekly treatments have softened the scarring.

“The question is can we restore enough of the appearance and texture to the skin that it is less noticeable or easier to cover? And that, I think, we can accomplish,” Biesman said.

“It took me 10 years of dreaming, wishing, and praying and hoping,” Humphrey said.

It’s still a daily struggle for her as she lives for the day she can see her own kids again and for the chance to save someone else’s.

“And the day they are offered meth, my face pops up in their head, and they think twice. One life, that is all I want – one life, one mom, one dad, one child. Then I’ll die a proud hypocrite,” she said.

The treatments have just started and will be ongoing for some time. Humphrey will also need some oral surgery.






 MONCKS CORNER, SC (WCSC) – Berkeley County deputies say two people are behind bars following the discovery of 138 “One-Pot” meth labs in a Moncks Corner home.

Authorities say a tip regarding a possible meth lab led deputies to a home on Serenity Circle Tuesday. Two people at the home reportedly had methamphetamine and marijuana in their possession, prompting a search of the home.


Deputies say a search of the home uncovered 138 “One-Pot” meth labs, along with items used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine. Deputies also seized two rifles, one shotgun, one bow and one crossbow that were found at the home.


The “One-Pot” meth lab, also known as the “Shake and Bake” method, uses a soda bottle to make methamphetamine.

John Mathew Selepack, 57, and Sara Elaine Aikman, 27, were both arrested and charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine. Both are being held at the Hill-Finklea Detention Center







Biggest meth lab in the history of Berkeley County found in Moncks Corner

MONCKS CORNER, SC (WCSC) – Investigators are going over evidence found in the biggest meth lab in the history of Berkeley County.

They say the “shake and bake” method of making the drug is catching on in this area.

It can be dangerous and even deadly trend.

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A Berkeley County Sheriff’s investigator went over the list of meth-making ingredients found at a home on Serenity Circle in Monck Corner.

The investigator said, “What we have here is lithium strips, Sudafed packs, you have cold packs. We have salt, lighter fluid, Coleman fuel.”

Investigators say it’s a deadly combination.

Deputies say they collected 138 two-liter soda bottles with all of these ingredients inside from the home and a boat on the property.

“One bottle could actually burn down a house,” said the investigator.

The mixture can even also explode.

“Can also injure people, we’ve had people burn their arms up over it,” said the investigator.

This process of making meth is called the “one pot”, also known as “shake and bake.”

The investigator said, “There’s all kinds of components that are put into the bottle and they mix it up and they have to of course burp it, it just kind of lets air out of it.”

The investigator says “shake and bake” meth is a trend in this area because it’s easy and fast.

“It takes you about 30, 60 minutes and you get 4 or 5 grams of meth and it’s very easy for them to dispose of,” said the investigator.

If the user isn’t blown up, the effects of meth can still take a toll on the body.

“From my experience, when you see a person, their teeth rotten from extended use from methamphetamine. It’s a big difference in the way they look,” said the investigator.

Two suspects were arrested Tuesday during the bust.

27-year-old Sara Aikman and 57-year-old John Selepack are facing charges for making and having meth.

Investigators say Selepack my get another charge because of weapons found on the property.

Deputies say they seized two rifles, one shotgun, one bow and one crossbow.

Both suspects are expected to have their bond hearing Wednesday at 7pm at the Berkeley County Detention Center.



A new European report on drugs has listed Cyprus—along with Greece and Turkey—as a country where crystal methamphetamine smoking is an emerging risk.
Released on Tuesday, the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) ‘European Drug Report 2014: Trends and developments’ said: “Worrying reports are emerging from south-east Europe (Greece, Cyprus, Turkey) that crystal methamphetamine smoking is a limited, but emerging, problem, with the possibility of a spread among vulnerable populations.”
The report’s general finding was Europe’s drugs problem is becoming “increasingly complex” with new challenges emerging that raise concerns for public health.
Although the agency describes an overall stable situation in the EU, with some positive signs in relation to the more established drugs, this is counter-balanced by new threats posed by synthetic drugs which are becoming more prominent in a changing European drug market.
Cyprus was included in a section on methamphetamine use, which, according to the report, was historically low in Europe and mainly limited to the Czech Republic and Slovakia, but now appears to be spreading.
The EMCDDA figures on Cyprus included the findings of a 2012 general population survey on licit and illicit substance use, and mental health issues. It was the third such survey and used a sample of 3,500 respondents aged 15-64 who were Greek speakers residing in government-controlled areas. According to the findings, cannabis remained the most prevalent illicit substance used; however, there are indications of a decrease when compared with the 2009 survey data.
Among 15-to-34-year-old Cypriots over a year period prevalence was 4.2% and in the month before being questioned prevalence was 2%, compared to the respective rates of 7.9% and 4.5% in 2009, and 3.4 % and 2.1 % in 2006.
Cocaine was the second most prevalent drug reported in 2009 and 2012.
Prevalence of cocaine use in 2012 was 0.6 % (2.2 % in 2009; 0.7 % in 2006) while in the month before being questioned prevalence among younger Cypriots was 0.1 % (0.7 % in 2009; 0.4% in 2006).
A strong link between gender and illicit drug use was re-confirmed in 2012, with males having higher prevalence rates for all drugs.
The 2012 survey indicated the mean age of cannabis experimentation was 18-20 years, which coincides with an obligatory enrolment to and release from National Guard service for all men.
The report said the number of police seizures involving methamphetamine doubled in 2012 compared to 2011, with 400g of the substance confiscated.

Two arrests so far and more are possible in connection with the death of a 44 year old rural Hallam woman earlier in the month. Chief Lancaster County Deputy Sheriff Jeff Bliemeister says autopsy results showed that Michelle Kover died from toxic effects of methamphetamine.

Arrested were 32 year old Peter Dudek of Lincoln for a variety of drug charges including manslaughter. 49 year old Scott Squires of Lincoln was arrested for a variety of drug related charges including manslaughter and felony child abuse. He is accused of asking Michelle’s nine year old child to hide a marijuana pipe before deputies arrived.



Police arrested Kittiporn Krodkla, 27, on drugs charges, along with her boyfriend Ussaman Changlek, 63, after they were caught at a checkpoint on Muang Mai-Pa Khlok Road in Thalang, at around midday.

Kittiporn had the methamphetamine concealed in her bra inside plastic bags, and admitted to police she was going to sell the drugs to young people living in her village.

In Ussaman’s pocket police found seven plastic bags, used for drug packaging. Both were arrested and charged with drug possession with intent to sell. Ussaman denied the charges.




(KMOV) – Police are investigating after a methamphetamine lab caused an explosion at a house in Granite City.

Police say the home in the 2400 block of Pine St. was not vacant when the explosion occurred sometime overnight.

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No injuries were reported, though some of the windows were blown out when News 4 arrived on scene.

Police tell News 4 it may not be safe to be near the house, which is located in the middle of a neighborhood.

Authorities wouldn’t release any more details.



MOBILE,Ala. – News 5 takes a look at the meth problem in Mobile County.

Despite the recent spike in spice usage, the Mobile County Sheriff’s Department says meth is still the number one drug of choice in the county. We sat down with one man who is in Mobile Metro Jail right now on drug possession and manufacturing charges.


He says it only took one try, and he was hooked. He even began making the drug, saying just getting high off of manufacturing it was enough to keep him content.

“One thing led to another and we went from a weekend use, to everyday use. Would you use it more than once a day? Oh yes, the whole day is spent trying to get more,” he says.

One night, he and his fiance, told their 14-year-old daughter they were going to be barbecuing in a shed behind their home. She came out to ask them a question and that’s when she learned the truth about her parents.

“She put two and two together. She’d be like, ‘where are ya’ll going?’ Ya’ll been gone forever’. And we’d come in with all these ingredients and she’d say, ‘That’s what you had last time.'”

They told her they’d quit, but with a drug as powerful as meth, quitting is easier said than done.

The inmate we spoke with, whose name we can’t release lost 100 pounds in less than three months using the drug. He would also stay up for days on end making it. In fact, on a 13-day binge, with no sleep, he set his house on fire while manufacturing the drug.

“I fell asleep. I blacked out. When I woke up the whole house was on fire. I was on fire. The room I was in was on fire.”

He was arrested and now will serve up to 24 months in jail before learning it he will go to federal prison.




When a partially-clothed woman ran screaming off the Palm Harbor Golf Course, yelling that she was on fire — she wasn’t, at least, not visibly — the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office deputy who took the call placed her in the back of his vehicle “for officer safety” and called paramedics.

But the woman, 22-year-old Nicole Ashley Rizzo, made “numerous statements about a methamphetamine lab in a location she called the island of the Palm Harbor Golf Course,” according to the deputy’s report. And when deputies checked the area, they found evidence she might have been right.


The incident began at about 5:30 p.m. May 15, according to a deputy’s report.

The call to the Sheriff’s Office reported a woman “acting erratic stating that she was on fire,” according to the report, and the responding deputy found Rizzo, standing shirtless in her bra, saying her skin was on fire and that she was running away from people who were trying to assault her.

Rizzo was already known to Flagler County deputies. She’d been arrested before on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, probation violation and failure to appear, according to Flagler County jail records.

She said she’d been in the woods with five other people, most of them men, and that they were cooking meth. Two of those, people — one woman and one man — were trying to lure her into the woods and kill her, she told the deputy. She said they threw a chemical on her skin that made it feel as if it was burning.

Paramedics who evaluated Rizzo said she was under the influence of some kind of narcotics. She said she takes opiates, according to the report. The paramedics said her condition wasn’t life-threatening and released her back to the deputy, and she offered to show the deputy where the meth lab was.

Two deputies followed Rizzo about a quarter mile on foot into the wooded area of the golf course ear the canal that faced north parallel to Club House Drive, according to the report.

“After several possible locations, Nicole was able to lead us to an area that had apparently been occupied by someone,” the deputy wrote in the report. “As we approached this location, I observed a tent structure in the woods 100 yards east of our location.”

Rizzo said one of the meth-cookers used the tent.

The two deputies called for backup to search the area, and Rizzo “began pointing out items such as chairs, bottles and other things she say they placed in the woods to cook meth,” according to the report.

There was a green lawn chair leaning against a tree, and Rizzo said one of the people cooking meth had placed it there.

One of the deputies found a brown luggage bag and a plastic bag, and noticed the smell of propane. The deputies backed off and called a supervisor, saying they’d found evidence of a possible meth lab, and asking the supervisor to call out the Narcotics Unit.

The Narcotics Unit showed up at 7:48 p.m., and “upon further investigation it was determined that the materials found were a quantity of common household products commonly associated with the illegal production of Methamphetamines,” but there was no active cook or product in the bag, according to the repot.

Another woman at the scene, questioned separately from Rizzo and not named in the report, also told deputies there was a meth lab in the area Rizzo had indicated. She said that she and Rizzo had nothing to do with it.

The deputies on the scene turned the case over to Investigative Services for follow-up.




Methamphetamine, once cooked in rural trailers and now mass-produced in Mexican superlabs, has outpaced crack cocaine as the illegal drug posing the greatest threat to Southeast Texas.

For the first time, meth, known for the toll it takes on the body and teeth of users, is cheaper, more available and more associated with violent crime and property crime than crack in a 17-county area that includes Jefferson, Hardin and Orange counties, according to the 2014 Houston High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Threat Assessment.


In 2009, the Jefferson County Regional Crime Laboratory detected methamphetamine in 97 samples taken from drug busts in Jefferson County. In 2013, the number jumpedto 246. The lab also analyzes samples from Orange, Hardin and Chambers counties, though it gets few from Hardin and Chambers.

From 2009 to 2013, the number of samples that contained meth more than doubled, from 162 to 382, across the four counties.

“It’s a very popular drug right now, and it’s a bad drug,” said Judge Larry Gist, who presides over Jefferson County’s Drug Impact Court.

The price of the drug, commonly known as crystal meth or ice, has dropped because of market saturation.

“The market is consumer-driven,” Gist said. “The supply has caught up with the demand.”



The majority of drug-related cases Jefferson County detectives have worked in recent years involve methamphetamine and prescription drugs, said Deputy Rod Carroll.

The drug gained public attention after the premiere of AMC’s hit drama “Breaking Bad,” in which a New Mexico high school chemistry teacher and lung cancer patient evolved into a feared drug lord cooking his signature blue meth.

In Jefferson and Orange counties, law enforcement agencies have increased efforts in the face of the imminent problem.

“(The number is) concerning in the sense that we don’t like to see it that high,” said Clint Hodgkinson, Orange County chief deputy. “But we’re stepping up and making more arrests.”

Hodgkinson said Orange County deputies have made at least 100 methamphetamine-related arrests this year, mostly for possession. Distribution arrests involve more complex investigations.

“You have to have an undercover officer to do an undercover purchase of it,” Hodgkinson said.

Punishment for possession of meth can range from 180 days to life behind bars, depending on the amount.

“Most property crimes – burglary, theft, aggravated robberies – and also prostitution are drug-related,” said Ramon Rodriguez, Jefferson County assistant criminal district attorney.

Mary Ann Johnston, resident director at the South East Texas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, said a greater number of users are seeking help for meth addiction – particularly intravenous users.




SUNBURY — The federal government does not require Pennsylvania to publicize those properties where methamphetamine-producing materials are found.

The state government does not require a certain contamination threshold be met to trigger remediation of the sites.

That must change, said Joe Mazzuca, CEO of operations for Meth Lab Cleanup LLC, of Idaho. Potential home buyers should be made aware of what could have been in a house they are considering.

Some Northumberland County employees may have been exposed to methamphetamine-producing materials Wednesday when two Milton residents allegedly had the drug in their possession inside the county building at 322 N. Second St.

Northumberland County Adult Probation officers had the two visitors detained under the suspicion of possessing materials consistent with the production of methamphetamine.

Mazzuca, a nationally recognized trainer for cleanup of methamphetamine sites, is concerned about the serious consequences of a drug that is growing in popularity, even with the associated high risks of explosions and residue in the labs where it is cooked.

The Department of Justice website shows a listing of homes across the United States that police have registered as meth houses.

Police in Pennsylvania do not have to register homes where meth is found. In fact, Mazzuca said, police don’t even have to meet a criteria to hire a cleaning company because the state has no legislation enforcing that.

No homes in Montour, Northumberland, Snyder or Union counties are registered on the federal site, even though there have been several meth labs broken up in the Valley over the past two years.

One meth lab in particular was in Shamokin, where a neighbor saw a fireball shoot across the window. Police discovered the lab was in a garage next to houses.

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. It can be found in several forms, including powder, crystal, rocks and tablets, and can be taken by swallowing, snorting, smoking or injecting it with a hypodermic needle.

Berwick has become the regional epicenter of the meth epidemic, with more than 30 busts in the past year. Berwick has three homes listed on the Department of Justice site.

State Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver, R-108, of Sunbury, said lawmakers must consider the overall protection of families or tenants.

“There should be something in place,” she said, “and I will be looking into seeing what we can do about this.”



AppletonSince the beginning of this year, authorities have uncovered about a half a dozen meth labs just in the Fox Valley. Thursday’s incident at a Grand Chute motel is the latest that needed to be cleaned up by a specially trained team.

Thanks to an alert motel guest who noticed a strange odor coming from a nearby room, authorities who responded to the suspected meth lab say a crisis was most likely averted.


“Instead of ignoring it they did the right thing and contacted authorities, and that way we were able to intervene before anything serious really did happen,” says Appleton firefighter and HAZMAT team member Brian Horst.

Part of that intervention is the Appleton Fire Department HAZMAT team. It’s one of three local members of a regional team that covers all of Northeast Wisconsin.

Horst says, “Primarily, when we we get the call, we gather the HAZMAT technicians that work on the department and they’re out the door within 15 minutes with the HAZMAT vehicle.”

Essentially a toolbox on wheels, the HAZMAT truck has everything the Level II team which monitors the atmosphere and tries to determine what chemicals are present needs to diffuse a situation. There’s everything from tens of thousands of dollars of monitoring equipment to special protective suits and gear worn by the technicians.

It’s all used to methodically determine exactly what authorities have on their hands to ensure the proper response and clean up, because crews don’t always know exactly what they’re up against.

“Flammable vapors may cause an explosion that way,” says Horst, adding, “You may have toxic fumes from the caustics, phosphorus things like that.”

And like Thursday, in what took almost all day to deal with, members of HAZMAT crews work carefully to ensure everyone’s safety.



Gone are the days when making meth on the go was confined to low-end hotel rooms.

The drug’s cooks are now finding their ways into hotels that any family might choose for road trips or weekends at various lake communities in the area.

“It’s not just happening in low-level hotels or strip hotels. It’s starting to happen in middle-class hotels,” said Joe Clark, operations manager for water and special projects at Protechs, a Fort Wayne company that does meth lab decontamination.

At the Comfort Inn in Warsaw, two people were found with finished meth and a lab.

Protechs got the cleanup job, and for Clark, the location was fairly unnerving.

It was a hotel he said would appeal to any family in need of a room for the night.

When cooks make meth in hotels, they leave behind contamination that could affect anyone who stays in that room, especially if the stay is long-term.

The ingredients for meth and their byproducts, including ammonia, hydrochloric acid gas, lithium, sulfuric acid and pseudoephedrine, carry a plethora of possible side effects depending on the length of exposure.

The Indiana State Department of Health’s website lists breathing problems, chest pain, skin irritation, dizziness and a burning sensation to the eyes and skin as possible side effects from meth lab exposure.

Children are especially susceptible and can suffer long-term problems if they live in an environment where meth was made.

Hotels still made up a fairly small portion of the locations in Allen County where police found meth labs in recent years, accounting for about 15 percent of the locations from 2008 to 2013, according to Allen County Health Department records.

Although local health departments are tasked with condemning homes or hotel rooms where meth is made, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management sets all rules that apply to meth lab cleanups.

This year, there have been four reported cases of meth lab finds at motels in Allen, Huntington and DeKalb counties.

Meth residue

Unless something goes awry in the production or someone smells the telltale ammonia smell of a meth lab, chances are the cooks will check out the next morning and go on their way while the residue of their product remains on the room’s surfaces or bathroom fixtures.

“Very rarely would they (police) probably catch them,” Protechs’ Clark said. Indiana State Police said there’s no way to know how many people get away with making meth in hotels.

To make sure a hotel room can be used again, a cleaning company will have the surfaces and furniture tested by a third party.

Depending on the results, the room can be opened for business or will need to be decontaminated.

Until the room passes inspection, it cannot be used by anyone.

“We will post that room uninhabitable, meaning it can’t be rented out again until it’s decontaminated and final testing has occurred,” said Dave Fiess, director of vector control and environmental services for Allen County’s health department.

The Comfort Inn room is once again open for business after the initial test results showed the level of contamination was below the state minimum, according to the Kosciusko County Health Department.

Health departments provide hotel managers with state laws about meth lab cleanup and a list of certified companies that do such work.

Several phone calls and messages to the Comfort Inn were not returned, nor were calls to other hotels in the area.

Should the hotel manager decide to use the room without it being cleaned, though, local health departments have no authority to issue fines or citations to the hotel.

Bob Weaver, administrator for the Kosciusko County Health Department, said he does not know of any hotels in his area that have opened a room without permission.

“The liability would just be too great,” he said.

The right approach

On IDEM’s website, the agency says a new coat of paint and simple washing of surfaces in a room or home could be enough to contain or remove the contamination.

For more serious jobs, though, IDEM makes known that the removal of drywall, furniture or carpets could be required.

Clark recalled one decontamination job where the hotel room was stripped of everything, including the heating unit, because of the extensive contamination.

Despite the health concerns posed by such chemical residue, he said the hotel manager wanted to keep the mattress in the room.

Clark did not grant the request.

In some cases, cleanup may be so extensive that IDEM recommends that building owners consider demolition instead of decontamination.

When it comes to decontamination at hotels, the tricky part is not to attract too much attention to what went on in the room.

“The hotel doesn’t want to alarm their clientele,” said Donetta Held, president and owner of Crisis Cleaning, another company in the area that handles meth lab decontamination.

The size of most hotel rooms and the self-contained air-handling systems in them work in favor for decontamination crews. Since each room has its own heating and air-conditioning unit, the chances of the vapors getting into the rest of the building are slim.

“Nine times out of 10 when we’ve tested adjoining units, there hasn’t been contamination that’s carried over,” Held said, adding there would need to be “serious ooking” going on for the contamination to spread throughout the hotel.

Depending on what the initial tests show, the cleanup could be as simple as washing walls or as extensive as gutting the entire room.

Ready for use again

Once a decontamination company is finished, a testing company takes samples from the room’s walls, furniture and fixtures to see if the levels meet the IDEM requirements set in 2007.

In Indiana, the standard is 0.5 micrograms of contaminants per 100 square centimeters.

Kentucky and Tennessee only allow 0.1 micrograms per 100 square centimeters, and California allows up to 1.5 micrograms, one of the highest allowances in the nation.

“When they bumped theirs up to 1.5, that kind of surprised me because I was thinking that was high,” said Fiess, of the Allen County Health Department.

Even in cases where homes or hotel rooms were cleaned to IDEM standards, tales occasionally surface across the state where long-term hotel customers reported respiratory and other health problems they never before had.

SUNBURY — Northumberland County employees returned to work Thursday after receiving a scare that they may have been exposed to methamphetamine-producing materials, and one expert says the scare may not be over.

“Chances are it is fine,” Joe Mazzuca, CEO of operations for Meth Lab Cleanup LLC, of Idaho, said Thursday. “But there are cases were we have quarantined a home or building to evaluate and test. Then we evaluate and test again, then we decontaminate.”

First responders, hazardous-materials crews, city police and state troopers rushed to 322 N. Second St. around 3 p.m. Wednesday, while Northumberland County Adult Probation officers had two Milton visitors detained under the suspicion of possessing materials consistent with the production of methamphetamine.

Sunbury acting Police Chief Brad Hare confirmed on Thursday that two individuals were taken into custody and placed inside the Northumberland County Prison on probation violations. Hare said the individuals would not be arraigned on any other charges at this time because law enforcement sent out samples of materials to be tested.

Hare said a third person, a young child, was taken into Children and Youth Services, and was placed with family members of the individuals who were taken into custody.

Hare said a significant amount of meth-making materials were discovered and there was also “already-produced meth” found at the address.

Materials used to produce meth are extremely flammable and dangerous, and Hare said some of those materials were on the individuals at the time they entered the building.

Police are concerned about the possible mobile meth lab found in the city, and Hare said the cost of cleanup is very expensive.

“There are a lot of agencies that are involved when something like this happens,” he said. “This can get costly and we are taking this whole situation very seriously.”

A cleanup, depending on the size and what is involved can cost up to $40,000, according to various Internet sites.

Mazzuca, CEO of operations for Meth Lab Cleanup LLC, agreed with Hare, but also said law enforcement should make sure they are spending the right amount of money on the right clean up crews.

“Pennsylvania is not regulated for meth lab cleanups,” Mazzuca said. “There are no rules to this in Pennsylvania. I know that in these types of situations the city building inspectors come in and police also go inside, but we just have to make sure these people know exactly what they are doing.”

Mazzuca said if the individuals entered the county building and had mixed chemicals on there clothes, not only could there have been a disaster, but the material waste could lead to employees and any other individuals entering the building could also become sick.

City police searched a car parked about 50 feet from the building’s entrance but would not confirm if the vehicle they searched was the suspects’ car, nor would they say what exact products were inside the vehicle.

Mazzuca would not get into detail on the proper cleaning technique for safety reasons, and said although he was not familiar with the case, he would hope Pennsylvania would pass a law soon because of the increase in meth lap operations.

Only 25 states are regulated, Mazzuca said.

Hare believes everyone who returned to work is safe. Hare also said the case is under investigation.



ROGERSVILLE — A Hawkins County woman who reportedly fell asleep on her probation officer’s desk following a two-day meth binge is facing several charges, including possession of meth and marijuana, which police allegedly found in her handbag.

Chasity Onalou Livesay, 21, 1602 Melinda Ferry Road, Rogersville, was accepted into Hawkins County Recovery Court last month, but had reportedly already failed a drug test, resulting in an arrest warrant being issued.


Shortly before 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Gary Lawson was dispatched to the Rogersville ACS probation office on Armstrong Street to serve that warrant on Livesay. Upon his arrival Lawson reportedly observed Livesay “slumped over probation officer Brooke Hall’s desk.”

Lawson said he was able to awaken Livesay after several attempts. When she woke up she reportedly looked up at the deputy and started crying.

“I then asked Chasity why she was sleeping on her probation officer’s desk,” Lawson said. “Chasity stated she had been up for two days on meth, and had a lot going on in her life. Chasity then attempted to stand to her feet and was very unsteady.”

Livesay allegedly brought illicit materials with her on her visit to the probation office. A search of her handbag allegedly revealed Livesay to be in possession of a small baggy containing meth, a small baggy containing marijuana, a syringe and rolling papers.

She was charged Tuesday with possession of meth, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and public intoxication. She had a failure to appear charge pending.

Livesay was arraigned Wednesday in Hawkins County Sessions Court. As of Thursday she remained held without bond in the Hawkins County Jail.

Her probation stemmed from an arrest during a traffic stop in April 2013, a which time she was found in possession of about 100 generic Soma pills, 40 syringes, marijuana and Suboxone strips.

She was charged with possession of Schedule IV narcotics with intent to deliver — a felony — as well as misdemeanors including simple possession of Schedule III narcotics, simple possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and DUI.

The felony charge was later amended to a misdemeanor possession.





Growing demand for methamphetamine in Asia has seen seizures of the drug triple over a five-year period to record levels, with China accounting for nearly half of the amount reported by regional enforcement agencies over the same period of time, according to the United Nations.

Use of methamphetamine and other amphetamine-type stimulants (ATSs) is a “major problem” in the region, which is the world’s largest market for the drugs, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a report.

ATS seizures in Asia saw an increase from about 13 tons in 2008 to just under 40 tons in 2012, it said.


The rise was primarily attributable to the increase of methamphetamine seizures, which the report said increased three-fold from less than 12 tons in 2008 to 36 tons in 2012.

Methamphetamine, or meth, is an extremely addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system.

While countries such as Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand were major contributors to the reported seizures, China accounted for the vast majority of methamphetamines recovered by authorities over the five-year period, UNODC said.

“A rapid rise in seizures have particularly been reported in mainland China, where detected methamphetamine has risen annually from 6 tons in 2008 to more than 16 tons in 2012, making up about 45 percent of total methamphetamine seizures for the region that year,” the report said.

In Thailand, seizures increased over the same period from about 2 tons to more than 10 tons and in Myanmar from 0.1 tons to 2 tons.

UNODC said that aside from a slight decrease of methamphetamine seizures in Malaysia from 1.1 tons to 0.9 tons, seizures increased in Indonesia from 0.7 tons to more than 2.1 tons over the same period and in Laos from 0.1 tons to 0.9 tons.

Growing demand

The report called ATS use “a major problem in large parts of the [Asian] region,” and specifically in China, where ATS users accounted for the second largest share, at 19.1 percent, of people receiving drug treatment in the country, after those treated for opioid use, at 79.7 percent.

It cited a “large increase” of methamphetamine use in mainland China in 2012, as opposed to use of other ATSs such as amphetamine, which has remained stable, and ecstasy, which has shown some decline.

In Cambodia, out of an estimated 1,300 people treated for drugs by community-based treatment services in 2012, 86.4 percent were treated for ATS use, the report said.

Specifically, experts perceived methamphetamine to be “the second most commonly used drug in Cambodia after heroin since 2010.”

Myanmar saw an annual increase in the number of people admitted for treatment related to ATS use at the Yangon Mental Health Hospital over the past five years, the report said, adding that a study on ATS use among high school students in the Kachin state capital of Myitkyina in the north of the country found that methamphetamines were the most used drug under international control.

In Laos, UNODC said that methamphetamine users accounted for more than 50 percent of people treated for ATS use in 2012 at the Somsanga Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre in the capital Vientiane.

Production bases

UNODC said that as the Asian market for methamphetamines becomes more lucrative, the number of producers within the region is increasing to meet demand.

“The rise in demand in Asian markets for methamphetamines and emerging demand for new psychoactive substances is being met by large production bases in neighboring China, Myanmar, and the Philippines,” the report said.

UNODC said that in 2012, authorities in China reported that 228 dismantled methamphetamine laboratories accounted for the largest share of all 326 drug laboratories dismantled that year. Data on the number of laboratories intended for specific drug manufacture up until 2011 was unclear.

“Large amounts of methamphetamine seized in China and originating in the country are perceived to be intended for the domestic market,” the report said, though methamphetamine seized in some countries—including Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines—in 2012 are thought to have originated from China.

Meanwhile, UNODC said, most methamphetamine originating in Myanmar “is intended for trafficking to neighboring countries.”

“Methamphetamine is trafficked from Myanmar to Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia, via Lao PDR, though the drug also continues to be trafficked to these countries directly from Myanmar by sea,” it said, adding that there are indications that large quantities of the substance are also smuggled to China.

“According to expert perception, a large share of methamphetamine pills seized in China in 2012 originated from Myanmar,” the report said.

Psychoactive substances

UNODC said that the Asia region had also become “a large and established market for New Psychoactive Substances (NPS),” including ketamine—an anesthetic largely used in veterinary medicine—which has shown growing demand “most notably in East Asia.”

It said that between 5 and 6 tons of ketamine has been seized annually in China and Hong Kong since 2009 and that the seizures have accounted for almost 60 percent of the global total between 2008 and 2011, except for 2010 when they accounted for about 42 percent.

A total of 81 ketamine laboratories were discovered in mainland China in 2012, prior to which another 44 ketamine laboratories were dismantled in 2007, the report said.

UNODC said that high levels of khat seizures “also indicate an emerging threat in East and South-East Asia and Oceania.”

Between 2008 and 2012, about 6.4 tons of khat—an amphetamine-like stimulant which is said to cause euphoria—was seized in China and Hong Kong, which were reported to be the origins of more than half of all khat seized in the U.S. in 2012, the report said.

“Khat manufacture in the region may heighten the risk of an expanding market in the future,” UNODC warned.

Spreading threat

Jeremy Douglas, UNODC representative to Southeast Asia and the Pacific, called the impact of synthetic drugs—especially methamphetamine and NPSs—on the police, court, prison, and health care systems of states in the region “tremendous.”

“This rising threat of synthetic drugs is compounded for … Asia because the production epicenters of amphetamine-type stimulants and new psychoactive substances are nearby,” he said in a statement.

“States throughout the region are deeply concerned about illicit drug production, the diversion of the precursor chemicals needed to make methamphetamines and new psychoactive substances, organized crime syndicates, and vulnerable borders.”

But the lucrative drug market makes combating the problem extremely difficult, he said.

“Roughly a third of the estimated U.S. $90 billion illegal economy in Asia comes from drugs,” Douglas told Agence France-Presse.



Methamphetamines and other synthetic drugs have become the dominant drug-type of choice around the world, and there were record levels of meth seizures in 2013 – particularly in Asia – according to a report released Tuesday by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) such as meth and ecstasy are now more widely used than opium or heroin, according to the report. There has also been an “unprecedented” increase of “new psychoactive substances” (NPS), drugs that have been chemically altered with other ingredients, and they are quickly taking over the market.

The study said there were 348 reports of NPS drugs in more than 90 countries over the last five years. The U.N. Agency noted, however, that this number could be much higher because of how quickly new NPS drugs are developed.

The drugs are often marketed as “legal highs” and “designer drugs.” NPS use is no longer restricted to the niche markets the substances once occupied, and they are flooding countries faster than governments can ban them, the report said.

The U.N. classifies NPS as drugs that are not under any sort of international control convention but pose a health risk to the public.

The rapid increase of meth usage is attributed to changing international supply chains, with ATS markets that once only had a regional presence now operating on a global scale. New supply routes to Asia – the world’s largest market for ATS drugs and ecstasy – are cropping up from West Africa and the Americas, supplementing meth manufacturing in Asia, the report says.

As a result of the new global supply chains, ATS drug seizures by authorities have skyrocketed, up 80 percent from 2010 figures to more than 135 tons of ATS drugs in 2012.

The report also said that the United States has seen a significant increase in meth manufacturing and smuggling from Mexico, though usage of the drug has remained fairly low and stable – an indication that people are actually using an NPS that is being marketed as meth.

The same is happening with ecstasy in Canada; there are reports of high ecstasy usage, but seizure rates of the drug have dropped, meaning users are likely taking a drug with unknown substances added and unknown or health risks.

“Emergency services may therefore find themselves unable to identify life-threatening substances and powerless to administer the proper treatment to users,” the U.N. report said.

Global Synthetic Drugs Assessment – Amphetamine-type stimulants and new psychoactive substances – United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime





Hancock County has the third-highest number of children in foster care in the state of Mississippi – 414, as of Thursday, just behind the much-larger Hines and Harrison counties – but the problem is even worse than anybody feared, Hancock Youth Court Judge Elise Deano said this week.
Deano said she recently began ordering tests for children taken from homes where the parents or guardians were arrested for methamphetamine possession or trafficking and made a startling discovery – nearly all of the children tested positive for meth.
“Some of them are at obscenely high levels,” Deano said, “higher than adults who use meth on a regular basis.”
Results from the first round of testing came back this week, Deano said, and out of 31 children tested, 29 had methamphetamine in their systems.
It isn’t that the children are using the substance themselves, she said – the meth residue in their homes is getting into their blood streams.
“If the parents smoke it or cook it, even if the kids aren’t in the home at the time, when they get back home, the residue is on every flat surface in the house,” Deano said. “They get it on their hands, they get it in their mouths. … I feel like these kids are going to forever have developmental problems and further, have addiction issues. … A lot of times, these are very young children. They’re being stymied at a very important time of their lives, as far as brain development.”
“I would like to believe that if parents knew this, they would not do meth in the home or around their kids.”
The meth epidemic and resulting child foster care crisis has been growing steadily in Hancock County since shortly after Hurricane Katrina, according to Terry Latham, executive director of Hope Haven Children’s Services.
Latham has long been an advocate for bringing more community resources to bear on the problem.
“Hancock County is a different county than it used to be in the wake of Katrina, the oil spill and the economic meltdown,” Latham said in a letter to the Hancock County Resource Agency’s community improvement committee. “The demographics are different. The housing picture is different. True unemployment is near 20 percent as ‘official’ figures do not count those who are no longer actively seeking work via the State services. The percentage of people in our County who are living on minimum wages and or are working less than full time is very high. The tax credit housing, influx of single parents, underemployed/unemployed and individuals who rely up SSI/SSDI have all upset our “applecart”. We all can see what has happened and these changes have had a dramatic and terrible effect in my sphere of work that is unfortunately not fully appreciated by many due to the nature of the problem.
Latham estimates the crisis costs Hancock County more than $7,675,000 per year.
That figure includes $2.2 million per year for the Department of Human Services buildings, staff, utilities and expenses; $475,000 for youth court; $500,000 per year for law enforcement; $4 million per year for foster care training and placement; and $500,000 per year for medical, dental and psychological services for the affected children.
While we’re throwing money at the problem, Latham said, we aren’t doing anything to actually stop it.
“No direct monies from any state or county sources are spent on any prevention programs or on any program to address this cancer,” Latham said. “Our county leaders need to recognize the value of funding agencies and programs that work in this field.”
At the very least, Deano said, she hopes that meth users or makers with children care enough to keep it away from their children. They also need to be aware that meth itself is contributing to the sharp spike in child neglect and sexual abuse.
The substance sharply increases dopamine levels, which stimulate the libido while reducing inhibitions and good decision-making skills.
Even if you aren’t actively abusing your child while using meth, she said, “if someone is ‘tweaking’ for three or four days, then crashing for three or four days, they’re not taking care of their children – they’re zombies.
“I think the public needs to be aware of what’s happening to our babies,” she said.
“It’s completely and totally unfair to these children. And it’s criminal.”



GOLDSBORO, N.C. – Two Goldsboro women were arrested Tuesday following an investigation into the illegal manufacturing and distribution of methamphetamine.

Officers with the Goldsboro/Wayne County Drug Task Force and the North Carolina SBI executed a search warrant at a residence on US Hwy 70 in West Goldsboro. Following a search of the property, 41-year-old Jennifer Howell Bannorra and 39-year-old Michelle Sugg Howell were arrested and placed into the Wayne County Jail.
Bannorra was charged with one count of Possession of Methamphetamine and one count of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Her bond is set at $5,000.
Howell was charged with one count of Possession of Marijuana and also one count of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Her bond is set at $500.




 TWIN FALLS, IDAHO — An Idaho man is accused of keeping a woman as a sex slave for 18 months in a home that was boarded up and booby trapped with electrical wire, authorities said.

Oscar Ayala-Arizmendi, 36, was charged with first-degree kidnapping, rape and possession of a controlled substance, according to the (Twin Falls, Idaho) Times-News. Bail was set Wednesday in Twin Falls County Magistrate Court at $1 million and likely will be moved to 5th District Court.

Oscar Ayala-Arizmendi

The 27-year-old woman escaped April 8 from a house in Buhl, a town of about 5,000 residents, and made a report April 26 after she was arrested on a drug charge and in jail, authorities say. The victim is not being identified because of the nature of the accusations.

She told police that Ayala-Arizmendi forced her to use methamphetamine, sometimes held a gun to her head, beat her with a 2-by-4, and often placed a rope around her neck to lead her around the house like a dog. The suspect moved her to two houses in the town and raped her multiple times.

She tried to escape several times, which resulted in additional beatings, and was able to get out successfully only with the help of her brother and three other people, Detective John Koning of the Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

The suspect also threatened to “cut her up into small pieces and flush her down the toilet” if she attempted to leave the house, according to police documents. But at times, three or four, she told police that she was allowed to leave the house but would then return under the threat of harm or death.

Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs said Thursday that following the woman’s report, police worked for the next 2½ weeks to collect enough evidence to make the arrest.

Buhl, about 15 miles west of Twin Falls and 120 miles southeast of Boise, is better known for trout fishing than sex crimes. Officials reported two rapes to the FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System in 2012, the most recent year available, and had not had any reported rapes in 2010 or 2011






Idaho Copycat Of Ariel Castro? Man Accused Of Keeping Sex Slave For 18 Months

A man in the town of Buhl, in south central Idaho, stands accused of keeping a woman imprisoned as a sex slave for 18 months.

The 27-year-old woman says that Oscar Ayala-Arizmendi, 36, would lead her around the house with a rope tied around her neck as if she were a dog, and that he forced her to use methamphetamine.

According to published reports, the man was living in the U.S. illegally.

The alleged victim was able to escape from her captor on April 8, according to testimony published on the Times-News of Twin Falls.. Her identity is not being released because of the nature of her claims.

The woman, who was arrested on April 26 on a drug charge, informed police that Ayala-Arizmendi raped her multiple times during her imprisonment in two homes.

Ayala-Arizmendi allegedly would threaten her with a gun and told her he would “cut her up into small pieces and flush her down the toilet” if she tried to escape, police documents state.

Despite that, the woman said, she did try to escape three or four times and was brutally beaten for her effort. She also claimed that he struck her many times with a hammer or a 2×4.

The woman was only able to escape at last with the help of her brother and at least one other man.

After April 26, the police investigated her claims and got a search warrant for Ayala-Arizmendi’s house.

During the search police found chains and locks mounted on the walls and floors, a handgun, ammo and a wire system both inside and outside the house that may have been intended to shock a person trying to get out.

Officers spotted Ayala-Arizmendi with a glass pipe that he threw into the bathtub. It contained meth.

He was arrested and charged on Wednesday for felony rape, 1st degree kidnapping and possession of a controlled substance. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 23.




Buhl Woman Held as Sex Slave for 1½ Years, Raped and Beaten, Detectives Say

TWIN FALLS, Idaho • A Buhl woman was repeatedly raped, beaten and held against her will for 18 months in a home that was boarded-up and booby-trapped with electrical wire, Twin Falls County sheriff’s detectives said Wednesday.

Oscar Ayala-Arizmendi, 36, is charged with felony rape, first-degree kidnapping and possession of a controlled substance. His bail is $1 million.

Chains and locks were mounted to the walls in Arizmendi’s home, and a large wood and metal gate kept the woman trapped in his bedroom at night, detectives say.

She told detectives she had escaped with only the clothes on her back after dark April 8 with help from her brother.

Arizmendi was arraigned Wednesday in county Magistrate Court.

Detective John Koning’s report gives this account:

The 27-year-old woman told detectives April 26 that Arizmendi had beaten and raped her multiple times, starting at a home along U.S. 30 in Buhl, then continued at another residence southeast of town.

She said Arizmendi kept her “drugged up on meth,” making her smoke it once or twice a week while she was held against her will. He often placed a rope around her neck and led her around the house “like a dog.”

He also had beaten her with a hammer and a 2-by-4 “more times than she could count” and boarded his home’s windows and doors to prevent her from escaping When she did try to escape, she was beaten again. Arizmendi also held a pillow between her head and a 9mm handgun, threatening to shoot her, she told detectives.

At night, he would lock them in the bedroom together with a metal gate fastened and locked to the inside of the bedroom door. She told detectives that she was forced to use a wastebasket as a toilet at night.

She believes she left the home three or four times over the past six months. Deputies photographed a bruise on her leg, which she said happened the day she escaped.

Tuesday, deputies served a search warrant at Arizmendi’s home and saw him throw a glass pipe into a bathtub, Detective Travis DeBie reported. Residue in the pipe tested positive for meth.

Koning found many chains and locks mounted to walls and on the floors of several rooms, and he found a 9 mm handgun with a box of ammo.

A framework of wood and heavy metal mesh, with bent nails holding the mesh in place and metal hinges, was just inside the bedroom door. The interior door jamb appeared to have been modified to accommodate the gate.

Detectives also found a metal waste can with urine in it.

The home’s exterior doors were rigged with chains and locks, and an electrical wire system inside and outside the house was attached to electrical outlets. Detectives believe it was used to shock anyone who tried to escape. Several security cameras were mounted around the home, with monitors in Arizmendi’s bedroom.

Koning arrested Arizmendi about 5:15 p.m. Tuesday at his home. A preliminary hearing on the charges is scheduled for May 23.


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.  — The State of Indiana continues to battle a very serious meth problem. In 2013, more than 1,800 meth labs were busted across the state. That’s compared to 1,700 in 2012. In 1995, there were only six meth lab busts.

These meth labs are dangerous, the chemicals used can be explosive and deadly.


Meth has even become the story line for hit television shows like AMC’s “Breaking Bad.” And while Hollywood is cashing in, a real life meth lab is anything but glamorous. In fact, the conditions are horrible.

FOX59 was given an exclusive tour of a lab in central Indiana. The conditions were disgusting, and our lives were in danger because we didn’t know what to expect, or what we’d step on.

“You can actually get needles on yourself, you know, get poked,” said Rick Held, operations manager for Crisis Cleaning. We’ll tell you more about his company a little later.

He says in meth labs, you have to be aware that something could explode at any second.

“You go in, you turn the light on, they got water in the light bulb and it explodes. you got needles,” Held said. “You saw bullets here.”

The only way we could be in the home was to be dressed in hazmat suits with paper masks, and even gas masks! We literally entered at our own risk. The setting for our tour was a home just outside Crawfordsville. The outside wasn’t the important part, it was the inside where the meth was cooked as the family was living. The family included young children.

“They’re so young, they have a weak immune system actually so by them crawling around, licking their fingers, and touching the walls and the floor, there’s still meth there,” Held said.

This particular meth lab was shut down, and the drugs were cleared out, but it needed to be cleaned and brought back to livable condition. That’s where Held’s company comes in. He and meth cleanup technician James Plessinger began the tough job of cleaning the house up.

“There’s a couple days to take out all the contents, and then the actual decontamination part will take two or three days. You know, we can walk in to a house and have it cleaned with in a week,” said Plessinger.

“We throw the contents out, because the meth is on the contents. We actually come in and we HEPA vac the walls, and after we HEPA vac it, we actually go in and we fog it,” said Held.

With the crew watching over me, I had a chance to try that fogging machine that sprays out a chemical meant to break down the meth. It can only be used while wearing a gas mask because that’s how strong the chemical is. Once that’s done, surfaces are tested at four different points to see if residue levels are at safe, state mandated levels. The samples are rushed to a lab, and if they’re returned at safe levels, the home is essentially considered liveable. The cost to clean the average three bedroom house is about $5,000. Crisis Cleaning has been doing this kind of work for about 12 years.

“We were at the sheriff shows, and they said there’s a need for meth cleaning, and we jumped on it and that’s what we did,” Held said.

And like the old saying, it’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

“We do meth, death, mold. We do a lot of dirty jobs,” said Held.

What if you’re looking to buy a home in Indiana? You’re covered because state law requires sellers to make it known that the home you’re buying was a meth lab.



Just hours after being sentenced to nine months in prison for drug supply, with a non-parole period of two, a Young grandmother and long-time foster mother has been granted bail after lodging an appeal.

Cecelia Hardman (also known by the last name Cruden), 47, pleaded guilty to four charges of drug supply (methamphetamine) and one charge of driving with an illicit substance in her blood at Young Local Court on Wednesday.


The court heard Ms Hardman was arrested as part of Strike Force Nandi, an ongoing investigation into the drug trade in Young formed in April last year.

Police gathered evidence over a period of months, which included recording phone conversations and undercover police operations.

Ms Hardman and the central figure in the investigation were observed and recorded supplying methamphetamine to an undercover police operative.

Police said she was an accomplice to the central player in the drug operation, who is in custody with her case still in the courts.

Her solicitor Rachael Power told the court Ms Hardman was embarrassed and ashamed following her arrest and “deeply saddened” that her children had been drawn into the situation.

The court heard she was a single mother of five, a grandmother to a further five and had cared for foster children for the past 26 years.

One foster child is currently living with her.

Ms Power said her client had usually been involved with drugs as a user and had kept her use away from the knowledge of her family and friends.

She said being caught was somewhat of a weight off Ms Hardman’s shoulders as her drug issues were out in the open and she was able to get help.

In sentencing, while considering the affect a custodial sentence would have on her children, local Magistrate Peter Dare S.C said there were no exceptional circumstances that could see her avoid jail time.

“I am satisfied having considered all possible alternatives, that no penalty other than imprisonment is appropriate,” he told the court.

“Someone unfamiliar with the more commonplace anti-social dynamics of this community and responding, no doubt, to a case not put before me, might be persuaded to release the offender on appeal or reduce the sentence.”

Ms Hardman immediately appealed the severity of the sentence.

She was granted bail, pending the outcome of the appeal, which will be heard at Wagga District Court on July 28.

Magistrate Dare said he would grant Ms Hardman bail as the length of the non parole section of her sentence was less than the time until the appeal would be heard.



A former Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency officer has signed a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, admitting to his suspected role in a scheme to smuggle drugs into Guam.

Jayvin Wyll Ueda Remoket is the last of three suspects to enter plea agreements in the case. Remoket agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and giving notice of a search warrant. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison for the first charge and five years for the second charge.

The agreement states that while Remoket was a Customs officer, he assisted with executing search warrants. At one point, he agreed to tip off a suspected drug smuggler, Frederick Obak, about any investigation concerning him.

In January, postal inspectors intercepted a package containing more than a kilogram of methamphetamine and addressed to a person named Amos Ueda. When law enforcement prepared for a controlled delivery of a package containing more than a kilogram of methamphetamine, court documents said, Remoket agreed to participate in the delivery.

Remoket’s agreement states that while he was in the back seat of a vehicle, the Customs officer tipped off Obak that law enforcement was on its way.



COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – Smurfing to get meth is a system that relies on dozens of people – sometimes unsuspecting and innocent – to help a cook get ingredients for another batch of meth.

WIS went undercover with a reformed meth cook to explore smurfing – waiting outside of a big box store and asking people walking by if they wanted to make a quick $20. If the person said yes, the former meth cook Todd McGill would then ask them to buy him allergy medication with pseudoephedrine in it. McGill said he used to get more than the state-allowed limit to make meth. Typically, McGill said eight out of 10 times, his method worked.


Pseudoephedrine is a crucial chemical for making meth that is found in common cold and allergy medicine.

“Smurfers, people who have bought the maximum daily or monthly limit or employing other people to buy more and more of these pills,” said Lt. Max Dorsey of the State Law Enforcement Division.

Under federal guidelines, a buyer can only purchase 3.6 grams of pseudoephedrine based on cold medicine per day, and the person’s ID is logged electronically. Per month, 3.6 grams is roughly three boxes depending on the type of medicine.

For McGill, it was never enough medicine.

“I wouldn’t do it unless I could make three grams of meth, which would be one box – one big box of pseudoephedrine,” McGill said.

McGill had a system for approaching people in public when trying to get them to purchase cold and allergy medicine for him.

“Usually a 20- to 30-year-old black male because they’re not users of the drug,” McGill explained.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the average meth user is Caucasian and under 25 years old.

When WIS went out with McGill to see how easy it would be to get shoppers to purchase the cold and allergy medicine, WIS discovered some did not know the medicine was used to make meth.

PJ Randhawa: “So were you actually going to go in and buy the medicine for him?”

Shopper: “No, I was just going to go shopping with my daughter and walk right out.”

Others WIS approached immediately denied the request to buy the medicine.

Shopper Troy Belton: “It sounds like I wasn’t about to do anything good, so I was just trying to stay out of trouble.”

PJ Randhawa: “He was going to ask you to buy Sudafed, the common cold medicine. Are you aware of what people are using that for?”

Belton: “I have no idea. What are they using that for?”

PJ Randhawa: “If you get enough boxes you can use it to make meth.”

Belton: “I wouldn’t even think he was using meth, but I guess you can’t tell from looking at somebody.”

Lawmaker and pharmacist Kit Spires, who runs a small drug store in Pelion, said most times you can tell when someone is using meth.

“You can tell generally,” Spires said. “In most cases, they’re on the meth when they come in. You can exhibit the anxiety, the nervousness. They get in front of everyone in the line. They’re very talkative, and they try to distract you by talking a lot.”

WIS producer: “Hey, can I ask you a quick question?”

Shopper Charles Frazier agrees almost immediately to buy allergy medicine for the producer, but says he doesn’t have his driver’s license.

PJ Randhawa: “Did you ever think an ingredient like that, used to make meth, would be in a superstore like that?

Frazier: “No ma’am. I don’t think it should be in any superstore. It should be prescription only.”

Then WIS got a “no” from a woman who knew what allergy medicine could be used for.

WIS producer: “Hey there, would you do me a favor and buy this allergy medicine? I met my limit and they want my ID. They won’t do it.”

April Platts: “No, I’m sorry. Ordinarily, I’d do it, but that’s illegal.”

Actually, it’s not illegal, unless the person asking tells the shopper it will be used for meth.

PJ Randhawa: “Is there anything he could have said to you that would’ve convinced you to get that medicine?”

Platts: “I don’t think so. I do think it should be illegal. It all rolls downhill. If I buy you something to make meth, you go make meth, you sell it to someone, someone dies … what’s my part in that?”

Since 2011, the National Pharmacy Monitoring System NPLEX has blocked the sale of more than 53,000 boxes of the drug in South Carolina. According to SLED, in 2012, there were 1,333,649 boxes of pseudoephedrine sold and 48,173 blocked sales. In 2013, there were 1,319,286 boxes sold and 53,635 blocked sales. According to SLED, 89 percent of South Carolinians did not buy any Sudafed last year.

“The NPLEX system is a wonderful system to use, but it’s not stopping meth labs,” Dorsey said.

Narcotic agents told WIS less than 10 percent of the meth labs they find are a result of the NPLEX system alerting them to suspicious activity. WIS also put that system to the test.

Reporter PJ Randhawa bought a box of Sudafed at one store and then went to a different one to try to buy another box. Her ID was flagged at the second pharmacy.

Spires said it’s an easy system to manipulate.

“You can have a fake ID to get meth,” Spires said. “You have to list a driver’s license number, but it’s not checked in the data system with the highway department. With computers, you can generate IDs that would pass.”

That’s why Spires is leading the charge in the State House to make South Carolina the third state in the nation to make pseudoephedrine-based medicine available by prescription only.

“We need to get Sudafed as a prescription, so we can regulate it,” Spires said. “So it’s easily accessible, and I don’t think the doctors would mind.”

Pharmacy company lobbyists fighting the legislation say restricting the drug would be futile.

“We’re not willing to totally eliminate our customers’ ability to buy this freely,” said Jason Puhlasky, lobbyist for Consumer Health Care Products Association. “The No. 1 most abused drug in the world is prescription pain killers in the United States of America. If you think that something becomes a prescription and you need to go to a doctor and it cannot be abused, you need to look up Rush Limbaugh and see if that’s the fact, because it’s not.”

McGill is now advocating for the legislation. He says if something like that were in place, it might’ve stopped him a long time ago.