Following a series of undercover buys staged by the Cullman Police Department, a Cullman woman has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of methamphetamine distribution.

Fasha Jade Deans, 27, was arrested Wednesday at the Cullman County Detention Center as she was attempting to bond out of jail on an unrelated charge.56c7f6c638061_image

After obtaining warrants based on their undercover work, police charged Deans with three counts of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, each a Class B felony.

The three charges carry a combined bond of $90,000. Police said Deans was able to post bail on Thursday.

Cullman police investigator Chris Thomason said city investigators had made contact with Deans on three separate occasions, cultivating evidence by posing as customers seeking to purchase methamphetamine from her.

“We made two of those buys in the county; the other we conducted inside the city limits,” said Thomason. “At the time we arrested her, she was already in jail and attempting to bond out. We were able to work up warrants on the distribution charges and go ahead and serve her at that time.”

Cullman Assistant Police Chief Craig Green said effecting the bust required significant man-hours.

“I appreciate the time that our investigators put into this case,” said Green. “We have two of the best narcotics investigators working in the state of Alabama, and I’m happy that the time they put into cultivating the evidence paid off with this arrest.”

Thomason described Deans as an alleged “low- to mid-level” dealer.

“We believe, based on her associates and the kind of people she hangs out with, that she is a local, low- to mid-level dealer,” he said. “She does appear to have some ties to other locations beside Cullman, but we were able to apprehend her based on evidence we developed in connection with her activities in this area.”



CORTLAND, N.Y. — Two people were arrested Thursday after troopers found a methamphetamine lab in a Cortland County apartment, troopers say.duff-james-pic1jpg-2e53e927f411af7a

The methamphetamine investigation that ended with the arrests of James E. Duff and Samantha B. Albanese started with a traffic stop, said the New York State Police. After stopping a car on Squires Street in Cortland, troopers executed a search warrant at an apartment less than half a mile away.

A used one-pot meth lab was found inside 44 Owego St., Apt. 2 — the apartment Duff and Albanese share, troopers said.

Troopers listed some of the evidence seized during the investigation:

  • About 2 grams of meth
  • Lab equipment consisting of coffee filters, tubing and measuring cups
  • Lantern fuel and drain cleaner
  • Over 100 pseudoephedrine pills
  • Scales and drug packaging materials
  • $1,150
  • A small amount of marijuana

Duff, 37, and Albanese, 30, were charged with third-degree unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine, a felony. They were also charged with two counts of second-degree criminal using drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor.19786368-mmmain

Both defendants were arraigned in Cortland City Court, troopers said. Duff is being held in the Cortland County Jail on $5,000 cash or a $10,000 bond. Albanese was released.

The Cortland County Drug Task Force assisted troopers with the traffic stop. Members of state police’s Community Narcotics Enforcement Team removed hazardous materials from the apartment, troopers said.




A Faribault woman is facing multiple drug-related charges, including storing paraphernalia in the presence of a child following a task force search on Thursday.

Jacqueline Rae Winter, 35, of Faribault, is charged with two counts of fifth-degree 56c75abb82159_imagecontrolled substance and storing meth paraphernalia in the presence of a child, all felonies.

If she is convicted of the maximum, she faces up to 25 years in prison, a $50,000 fine, or both.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Rice County District Court:

The Cannon River Drug and Violent Offender Task Force assisted with a search warrant at the Cannon River Trailer Park on Thursday after an officer with the Northfield Police Department made the task force aware of a search warrant for car headlamps, clothing items, burglary tools and documents.

After entering the residence, the task force found Winter, among other individuals, including two minor children, inside the home.

While searching the trailer, officers found a scale with a white substance on it inside a dresser drawer, which tested positive for methamphetamine. Also found in the drawer were stamp-sized baggies. After ceasing the search, a second search warrant was obtained for controlled substances.

After resuming the search, officers found three pills with the imprint AN/627 and a glass pipe containing a liquid that tested positive for meth. Additional paraphernalia was found belonging to one of the juveniles.

The pills were later identified as Tramadol and the liquid inside the pipe weighed 56.33 grams. The pipe with the liquid was within reach of both children that were in the residence.

According to court records, Winter had a previous convicted of fifth-degree controlled substance in 2011.

As of Friday afternoon, court records did not yet reflect Winter’s bail.



CLAY, Ky. (WBKO)– Friday night Kentucky State Police saw Lisa Pompell driving a truck on the wrong side of the road on Cook Street in Clay, she then ran off the road.

During the traffic stop, troopers say they found 44-year-old Pompell was under the influence of a controlled substance. Troopers say they searched her and found a plastic bag of what they believed to be methamphetamine at the time, and a glass meth pipe under the driver’s seat of the truck.

Pompell was taken to the Webster County Detention Center and charged with reckless driving, possession of a controlled substance- 1st degree, 1st offense, DUI 1st offense and possession of drug paraphernalia.

KSP in the press release reminded people that they have a toll-free number (1-800-222-5555) that people can call to confidentially report impaired drivers or criminal activity. They can also download the free KSP mobile phone app. The app provides quick, direct access to KSP including weather, road and traffic information as well as text, voice and photo tip capabilities to report criminal behavior. The app is available for iPhone, iPad and Android applications and can be easily downloaded free of charge through Apple and Google Play stores.



The Carson City Sheriff’s Office arrested two women for trafficking following a traffic stop Saturday afternoon.

At 3:50 p.m., the Special Enforcement Team initiated a traffic stop at the 1800 block of E. Long Street for a vehicle with suspended registration. After activating the narcotics K9, deputies found nearly 28 grams of methamphetamine along with various drug packaging, scales and other drug paraphernalia.

Two women, one 20-year-old and one 25-year-old, were both arrested on trafficking level 3, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The driver of the car was also charged with no driver’s license, suspended registration and no insurance. Bail for both was set at $250,000.




Federal, state and local authorities broke up a methamphetamine pipeline from Atlanta to Macon in a drug bust that recovered over a kilogram of the drug Friday.

Just after 3:30 p.m., Bibb deputies working with the GBI, DEA, Georgia State Patrol and the Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force conducted a sting operation that led to three arrests CecilioRodriquesz%20in the parking lot of Sam’s Club at 4701 Log Cabin Drive, according to a news release from the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office.

Bibb investigators working on another case learned of a large amount of meth that was to be delivered to Macon-Bibb County.

A month-long investigation led to the arrests of 52-year-old Ramiro Barajas, of East Point, 34-year-old Cecilio Cerda Rodriquez, also of East Point, and 28-year-old Jose Rivera, of Warner Robins.

All three were charged with trafficking methamphetamine.




Heroin use appears to trending downward in the Green Bay area.

But in the drug underworld, news is seldom good, and in this case, there appears to be little reason to celebrate, according to Lt. David Poteat, head of the Brown County Drug Task Force.

Heroin users and dealers appear to be switching over to methamphetamine, which saw almost a 30-fold increase in 2015 from 2014. The drug task force has not arrested any more people for possession or distributing methamphetamine than it has in the previous few years, but it’s found much more of the drug on the streets.

In contrast, heroin arrests are about half of what they were the previous year, and the amount drug agents have seized dropped slightly last year.

The numbers aren’t great enough to tell the story, but they appear to support what the task force is hearing anecdotally, Poteat said.

“Users are telling us they are switching from heroin to meth, and some have asked their dealers to switch,” he said.

If the switch is happening, it’s puzzling, he said. Meth is a stimulant, while heroin is a depressant, so it would seem that users of the one drug wouldn’t be interested in the other.

“But that’s what they’re telling us,” he said.

Dealers probably are finding meth more profitable and maybe less risky than heroin. Since meth users are less likely to die of an overdose than heroin users are, the dealers run a smaller chance of facing a reckless homicide charge if a customer dies of an overdose, Poteat said.

Despite a slight falling off of heroin arrests and seizures, the number of heroin overdose deaths have remained consistent. The county had 12 deaths from overdose in 2012, six in 2013, 10 in 2014 and 11 last year. That isn’t a feature of more heroin, just the result of chance stemming from risky behavior, Poteat said.

The street value of meth has declined sharply, from about $300 to $400 per gram three or four years ago to about $100 a gram now. That’s a big indicator that the drug is much more plentiful than it was, he said.

Poteat thinks he has many more active meth cases that have not yet resulted in charges, causing him to predict this year’s numbers will show a marked increase in meth over heroin.

That’s good news only in the sense that people often die abruptly from heroin use, while meth use “is a slower killer,” Poteat said.

This isn’t less bad news,” he said. “Meth is just as addictive, just as likely to ruin your life, and ultimately it will kill you, but maybe a little slower. It’s less likely to make you stop breathing.”

On the other hand, meth users tend to get more violent than heroin users, he said.

“That’s in part because you can go without sleep for such a long time,” he said. “It can make you stay awake for two weeks, and after two weeks, what state of mind would you be in?”

Because both drugs are powerfully addictive, users are equally motivated to commit crimes to get money to buy their drug of choice, he said.

Marijuana arrests and drugs recovered were lower in 2015 than previous years, but not because use or sales are falling off, Poteat said. It’s just that drug task force members find themselves working harder on meth and heroin cases, as those are the more dangerous drugs. He has noticed more marijuana showing up here that appears to have come from the states that legalized it.

Cocaine and crack continue to be on a downward trend, something that is happening not just in Green Bay but all over the country, Poteat said. International crime syndicates apparently are finding it easier to control their profit margins with other drugs, he said.



KENANSVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Deputies charged a Beulaville couple with disseminating obscenity to an underage minor and indecent liberties with a child.

23-year-old Christopher Allen Penny and 24-year-old Christa McCullough were taken into ik6et7ike6rcustody Wednesday. Their arrests followed an investigation by the Jones County Department of Social Services. Both were placed in the Duplin County Jail under a $100,000 secure bond.

The Duplin County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that while their deputies were on the scene serving felony warrants, they discovered several items of drug paraphernalia and narcotics, along with items used to manufacture methamphetamines.

Penny and McCullough were charged with possession and distribution of a meth precursor, possession of methamphetamine, maintaining a vehicle and/or dwelling place for a controlled substance, manufacturing methamphetamine, manufacturing marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and simple possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance.

They were both placed under a $165,500 secure bond.


Christopher Allen Penny, 23, and Christa McCullough, 24 were arrested Wednesday. They are also charged with disseminating obscenity to a minor under the age of 13. Both charges are felonies.

Deputies said the arrest is a result of an investigation from the Jones County Department of Social Services. Penny and McCullough were placed in the Duplin County Jail under a $100,000 secured bond.

Duplin County Deputies said they also found drug paraphernalia, narcotics, and items used to manufacture methamphetamines while serving felony warrants. The couple are also charged with possession and distribution of a meth precursor, possession of methamphetamine, and other drug related charges. The two are being held under an additional $165,500 secure bond.



A Beulaville couple has been arrested on multiple charges, including disseminating obscenity to a minor.

Christopher Allen Penny, 23, and Christa McCullough, 24, were charged Wednesday by the Duplin County Sheriff’s Office with disseminating obscenity to a minor under the age of 13 and indecent liberties with a child.

The charges were the result of an investigation and information received from the Jones County Department of Social Services, according to information from the DSCO.

Authorities say that drug paraphernalia and narcotics, as well as items used to manufacture methamphetamine, were located while the warrants were being served.

Penny and McCullough were also charged with possession and distribution of a meth precursor, possession of methamphetamine, maintaining a vehicle and/or dwelling place for a controlled substance, manufacturing methamphetamine, manufacturing marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and simple possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance.

Both were placed in the Duplin County Jail under a $165,500 secure bond.



SAN JOSE — A $5,000,000 bail warrant was issued on February 11 for 68-year-old James Mayfield Tobin, who is accused of sexual assault, false imprisonment, and crime resulting in injury.

The victim reported that Tobin had forced his way into the restroom at a gas station, punched her three times in the face, then forced her pants down and began to assault her. Fortunately, she was able to fight back until police arrived.

This is apparently not the first time Tobin has attempted such an attack. He has also been arrested three other times for violent crimes and was, in fact, on parole for making “terrorist threats” at the time of this most recent incident.

According to a police report, video surveillance and the victim’s own account proved enough to detain Tobin, who was found wearing gloves.

During a brief interview with the arresting officer, Tobin stated that he wanted to get into the Super Bowl, so he took the county bus to San Jose. At some point he met the victim, who allegedly “wanted methamphetamine.” Tobin said he had some and led her to the restroom where, he admits, he punched her in the face and unbuckled his pants to have sex with her. However, he claimed he did not pull her pants down.

After he had punched her, the cashier heard the commotion and notified police. When Tobin was asked what he had been planning to do, he said, “I would have [sic] her, whether she wanted it or not.” The cashier then locked the front door to the station, preventing him from leaving.

Tobin repeatedly told the clerk he was sorry and wanted to leave.

The victim stated that he had pushed her back into the restroom after forcing his way in and told her he was “going to [sic] the [sic] out of you!” She then yelled, “What are you doing?! Who are you? Get off of me!”

Tobin allegedly tried to penetrate her as she lay on the floor after being hit. Fortunately, she was able to push him off and keep him at bay until police arrived.

The arresting officer said he felt that Tobin showed no remorse when he declared, “I don’t play! I was gonna take that [sic] . . . I’m old and my [sic] was hard!”

Tobin’s next court date has been scheduled for March 16th at 9 A.M.



JOAQUIN, TX (KTRE) – Two days after Child Protective Services took custody of the sibling of a 2-year-old girl who died in a Joaquin house fire, East Texas News has learned that the children’s parents allegedly used methamphetamine on the morning of the blaze.9920213_G

When the East Texas News reported on CPS officials taking custody of Roselynn Whitteck’s 4-year-old brother CPS officials would not comment on why they took the boy into their custody other than to say it was for his safety.

According to an affidavit a CPS investigator filed in Shelby County’s 123rd Judicial District Court on Thursday, Det. Chad Brown with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office called the CPS official about a fatal house fire that occurred Wednesday.

“He advised that the father admitted to using methamphetamine and that there was evidence the mother also used methamphetamines,” the affidavit stated.

The affidavit stated that Roselynn’s body has been sent off for an autopsy.9920219_G

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office received word at 12:39 a.m. Wednesday morning about a house fire that occurred at a residence located at 917 FM 3082. Later, the sheriff’s office was notified that Roselynn had died in the fire.

When the CPS investigator arrived at the hospital, the official learned that Jess Whitteck, the children’s father, had refused to allow the hospital to check out his 4-year-old son, the affidavit stated.

Raven Whitteck, the children’s mother, was unconscious when she was transported to the UTMB Burn Unit in Galveston for treatment of burns on her hands and possibly some internal damage.

Jesse Whitteck told the CPS investigator that he wasn’t home when the fire started, but when he arrived, it was still burning.

“He admitted to methamphetamine use and stated the mother, Raven Whitteck, also used methamphetamines,” the affidavit stated. “He later admitted to medical personnel that he and the mother had used methamphetamines that morning. It is also believed that he and the mother argued that morning.”

Later, the CPS investigator talked to people at the hospital and confirmed that the couple had refused to allow medical staff to check their 4-year-old son into the emergency room for a thorough examination although he had been at the home when the fire started.

“Based on the admitted drug use, refusal to allow the child to be examined at the emergency room, and the unknown circumstances of the fire including the sibling’s death, it was determined the department had exigent circumstances to take custody of the child immediately,” the affidavit stated.

The State Fire Marshal office said the case is still under investigation and could not say if the fire appeared to be suspicious.

The affidavit stated that Jesse Whitteck was convicted of possession of marijuana in 2007.



A Cedar City woman was arrested Wednesday for allegedly selling methamphetamine out of her home.

Michele Nicks, 47, was charged with possession of methamphetamine with the intent to 635915000352124815-Nicksdistribute, a second degree felony, and possession of marijuana, according to the probable cause statement filed in the case.

Cedar City Police received information from a confidential informant that Nicks was attempting to sell methamphetamine out of her home, the probable cause statement indicated.

The informant allegedly told police the suspect had gone to Las Vegas multiple times within the past few days to obtain approximately one ounce of the drug.

In addition, the informant was also able to provide officers with information on the exact location of the drugs within Nicks’ residence, authorities wrote in the statement.

Based on this information, Cedar City Police Officer Zac Adams was able to obtain a search warrant.

Three small bags containing approximately one to two ounces of methamphetamine were found during a search of the home, authorities said.

Officers also found two small bags of marijuana, according to court documents.

Nicks, during an interview with police, allegedly admitted to selling methamphetamine to either four or five people in order to pay her utilities.

Nicks told police she buys the drug from Las Vegas as it tends to be cheaper for her to purchase, the probable cause statement indicated.

She is being held in the Iron County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.



Paris Police responded to a call at 3560 NE Loop 286 in reference to a civil stand by.


When officers made contact with the occupants, it was found that Samantha Shanta Dillard, 37, of Paris, had an outstansding felony theft warrant for her arrest.

Also found in the room was 24 year old Markecia Keysha Hooker, of Paris.

Officers were given permission to search the room and reportedly found two small packages containing a crystal substance known to be methamphetamine inside a shoe.

Both were arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance.

They were later transferred to the Lamar County Jail.



A 33-year-old Rifle man high on methamphetamine called police on himself while he was attempting to steal a truck, police say.

On Feb. 11 the man called 911 saying he had an emergency, but then put the phone down and didn’t say anymore, according to an arrest affidavit.

Officers responded to his residence and found his front door standing wide open. They could hear a shower running inside, but no one responded when they announced themselves. Searching the home, they found no one inside.

The police then redialed the phone number that had called 911, and the man answered. He said he was in a truck just down the block.

They got the man out of the truck, and he said he had left “his apartment because he smelled funny and that while taking a shower there was a strange cloud over the toilet,” according to the affidavit.

A Rifle officer wrote in the affidavit that the 33-year-old was sweating and grinding his teeth. “He would not talk in clear full sentences,” and “his movements were fast, along with his speech.”

The officers learned that the truck did not belong to him and arrested him. Officers found 1.6 grams of methamphetamine in his pocket.

In later interviews, he told police “that he thought it was his truck,” that “he did not have a vehicle,” that “he went to find a vehicle to steal it,” according to the affidavit.

He told police he’d purchased methamphetamine the day before and that he’d been using it that day, according to an affidavit.

The man was arrested on charges of aggravated motor vehicle theft, a class 5 felony; possession of a controlled substance, a class 4 drug felony; criminal mischief and simple assault.



HORNELL — Firefighters battled an early morning blaze in the city Friday that Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker referred to as a “worst case scenario” meth lab explosion.

Meanwhile, county and city authorities arrested two individuals on drug charges after executing a search warrant.

The Hornell Fire Department received a call regarding a structure fire with the possibility of people trapped in a residence on 9 Olive Place Friday at 2:54 a.m.

Upon arrival, the first engine to respond to the scene reported smoke coming from a rear upstairs window and called for additional help from off-duty firefighters.

“They called for some help because we had reports that there were people inside that came over from 911,” Hornell Fire Chief Dan Smith told The Evening Tribune Friday.

The first crew to arrive stretched a line off and made their way upstairs where they found a fully involved bedroom fire. Firefighters made a quick knockdown, split up and then began a search of the apartment for occupants.

The upper apartment received extensive damage to the bedroom with minor smoke and water damage to the rest of the apartment.

Officially the cause of the fire is under investigation but Baker said all signs point to a meth lab explosion.

“It appears at this stage that it’s an explosion associated with a methamphetamine production,” Baker said. “There were a number of folks in the residence at the time.”

According to Smith, the first crew to attack the blaze reported an unusual flaring as water was applied to the fire. Chemicals and containers consistent with the production of methamphetamine were also present in the bedroom that was involved in the fire.

“When they hit the fire with the line, they noticed unusual reaction to the water,” Smith said. “It didn’t go out — it flared up. In the back of their minds they were figuring something was up when they were attacking the fire. After they put the fire out they noticed some different containers, precursors. Batteries, muriatic acid, Coleman fuel, different containers that they converted to manufacture methamphetamine.”

From eyewitness accounts prior to firefighters’ arrival, two occupants were seen leaving the apartment with one of them reportedly on fire. The Hornell Police Department searched the area and checked with the emergency room at St. James Mercy Hospital as well as various locations in the city but had been unable to locate the alleged occupants.

However, both Baker and Hornell Police confirmed to The Evening Tribune that one of the occupants is currently in custody.

“Others are being sought, the investigation continues,” Baker said.

The identity of the man is custody is not being revealed at this time due to the ongoing investigation.

“We’ve already made very good headway given the hard work of the Hornell Police Department and the assistance they got from my investigators and the North Hornell State Police,” Baker said.

The New York State Police Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team arrived at the scene Friday morning and was expected to be there for the balance of the day. The Hornell Fire Department assisted with an engine and ambulance for precautionary reasons.

Other than the victim who was allegedly on fire, no further injuries have been reported. Smith noted that residents in the downstairs apartment had already evacuated upon firefighters’ arrival.

“They’ve taken quite a few, more than we thought, containers that were in the process of ‘cooking,’ as they call it,” Smith said. “There’s a lot going on up there in that apartment and luckily no one got hurt except for the person that we heard was on fire. We’re lucky none of our guys got hurt.”

Baker, who was in Hornell on Friday thanked firefighters and law enforcement for their quick response to the blaze, noting that the situation could have become much more volatile than it ultimately ended up being.

“The methamphetamine fire is again a situation that’s extremely scary,” Baker said. “It’s what can happen in these things and it could have killed the upstairs apartment, it could have killed the folks downstairs, it could have involved the entire street. The Olive (Place) area is a relatively compact neighborhood. If that house went up really, really bad things could’ve happened.

“Part of it is just plain luck and anybody involved in methamphetamine production could at any time have a situation like this happen and hurt a lot of people.”

The Hornell Area Humane Society rescued two dogs, three cats and one rabbit from the scene of the fire according to executive director Barbara Stephens.

Fire equipment used at the scene is currently being decontaminated by Hornell firefighters.

According to Smith, the South Hornell Volunteer Fire Department was on standby in case the fire spread to any of the tightly packed homes on Olive Place.

Later in the day, Hornell Police and the Steuben County District Attorney’s Office executed a search warrant on 66 Sawyer St. late Friday morning in what Baker referred to as a “separate, distinct” investigation.

“All I can officially say is this was an investigation that came from and through the Hornell Police Department,” Baker said. “It was in the works for a period of a time and a search warrant was executed there. There are two people in custody and a quantity of heroin and other evidence associated with the trafficking and sale of heroin was taken from that location.”

The identities of those arrested on Sawyer Street are currently being withheld as the investigation regarding that case is currently ongoing.

“This was another example of cooperative law enforcement,” Baker said. “The investigation was spearheaded by the Hornell Police Department but there was assistance from the whole drug initiative including members of D.A. staff, Sheriff’s Department, Corning Police Department and other departments as well.”

Even though drugs continue to be an issue city and county authorities face on a regular basis, Baker credited the Hornell Police Department for spearheading great cooperation between different levels of law enforcement.

“Both situations involved clear cooperative policing,” Baker said. “The Hornell Police Department took the lead in both cases but we had help from other agencies to make these cases work … They’re both examples of good, heads-up police work by the Hornell Police Department and then the cooperation of other agencies in making these cases run.”



Gastonia police seized 20 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and arrested two men and a woman during a routine traffic stop Thursday.Enma%20Nunez-Vazquez

Police arrested and charged Ignacio Morales-Leon, 48, Eduardo Ramirez-Cerriteño, 26, and Enma Nunez-Vasquez, 37, all of Gastonia, on two counts each of trafficking in methamphetamine.

Each was in the Gaston County Jail Friday on $1.5 million bail.

The cost of 1 pound of crystal meth ranges from $10,000 to $30,000, according to the National Drug Intelligence Center.

Gaston County police helped with the arrests.




BISMARCK – A California man convicted of sex trafficking was sentenced Wednesday to 33 years in prison, but one victim said she’ll deal with the trauma for her entire life.

Federal prosecutors asked for a life sentence for Keith A. Graves, found guilty of preying on drug-addicted women and using violence and sexual assaults to force them to engage in 56c64ed8109ce_imageprostitution, primarily in the Williston area.

“Mr. Graves’ conduct is despicable, but I don’t think a life sentence is appropriate,” said U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland, ordering a term of 33 years and nine months, which fell under federal sentencing guidelines.

A jury found Graves, 39, guilty last fall of five counts of sex trafficking by force or coercion in addition to distributing methamphetamine.

Eight victims testified during the eight-day trial in Bismarck, telling jurors how Graves forced them to ingest meth and threatened them with weapons including a Taser and a BB gun they thought was real.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandi Sasse Russell said there are dozens of additional victims who were referenced during trial or in communications on Graves’ electronic devices, but prosecutors were unable to locate them for the trial. Some victims were recruited from North Dakota’s Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation, Russell said.

The victims who testified were adults, but prosecutors did locate one juvenile victim after they had rested their case, she said.

One victim, who said she still has nightmares and takes medication for post-traumatic stress disorder, urged the judge to impose a life sentence.

“I and the other victims are stuck with a life sentence ourselves having to relive what happened to us,” the woman said during the hearing.

Hovland called the evidence in the case “overwhelming” and said the amount of violence and preying on women with drug addiction was “unprecedented” in the cases he’s seen as a judge since 2002.

“Your conduct throughout the trial demonstrated a total disregard and disrespect for women of all ages,” Hovland said.

Graves, who represented himself at trial in spite of Hovland’s advice that he use an attorney, said he plans to appeal the conviction. Graves objected several times Wednesday to information about his criminal history and continued to maintain his innocence.

“The way they do everything up here is unfair,” Graves said. “This is not justice.”

Four jurors attended the sentencing hearing to get closure on the trial, which they said was emotionally exhausting.

“Watching people relive it (the violence) right in front of you, that was difficult,” said one juror who didn’t want to be identified. “You could almost sense the anxiety, the terror, in some of the victims.”

Graves, already a sex offender for a conviction in California, also was ordered to be on supervised release for life, complete sex offender treatment and have no contact with the victims.

Graves, who was featured in the film “The Overnighters,” worked as a truck driver in the Bakken Oil Patch.

Lt. Detective David Peterson of the Williston Police Department, the first agency that began investigating Graves, said the department was pleased with the sentence and grateful for the work of federal agencies.

The investigation began in July 2014 when a woman fled from a Williston hotel room and sought help at the nearby Walmart.

“We hope that this brings some closure to the victims,” Peterson said. “It is an example of if agencies work together with victim advocates and with the victims, how a trial can come together and a sentence like this can be achieved.”



MUNCIE – Two Muncie women were arrested Wednesday night after a teenager suffered severe burns in what authorities believe was a meth-related accident.

An ambulance was sent to a house in the 2100 block of South Jefferson Street about 9:15 p.m. and transported the 16-year-old girl to IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital for treatment of what were described as “bad burns all over her legs.”


The teen was later transferred to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Muncie police Sgt. Mike Engle said. She was reported to have suffered third-degree burns on her thighs.

The victim first told investigators her burns were the result of a cooking accident, and later described a mishap involving a blowtorch.

A search of the Jefferson Street house, however, turned up numerous ingredients used in meth “cooking,” including generators, lithium batteries, propane tanks and at least one “one-pot” meth lab.

“Meth trash” was also found in the home’s yard. A state police meth suppression team was called to the scene to remove potentially hazardous materials.

Arrested were two women listed as living at the house, Katelyn Deanne Fields, 21 and Jessica Ann Yaney, 27. They were preliminarily charged with manufacturing meth and maintaining a common nuisance.

They were being held in the Delaware County jail on Thursday under $10,000 bonds.

Yaney reportedly told officers she had bought an allergy medication frequently used in meth production at the request of Fields and another person, and was aware they intended to “make meth.”

Yaney said she was not at the house when the teenager was burned.

Fields – who is Yaney’s cousin, according to an affidavit – declined to speak to officers.

Another witness told authorities he had observed the victim’s leg burns as early as 5 p.m. Police said they found a “chopped-up aloe plant” that had been used in an effort to treat the burns.



Prestonsburg Police didn’t have to go far for a drug bust Thursday morning. Turns out, someone allegedly decided the parking lot of the police station was as good a place as any to cook up some meth.dghe h3y 35

A trip to the police station for an impounded car turned into a criminal investigation for a mother and son and two others around 2 a.m., when police noticed something unusual about the group.

“When your own 911 dispatch, who’s your life line out here, on the road yells at you at the radio ‘hey something’s not right with these people in the parking lot,” said Officer Ross Shurtleff.

When officers took a closer look at the vehicle they said, in clear sight, they could see an gfrb r3wqractive meth lab inside a water bottle “cooking” between the feet of Dwight Collins in a Mountain Dew Bottle.

“That’s just insane! Why would anyone go to a police station and do that?” asked Brittany Dixon, store clerk.

But when Officer Shurtleff asked Collins what he had, he said Collins lied.

“It’s a bottle of water was the response I got and as well know water doesn’t arc,” said Officer Shurtleff.

According the arrest citation, police said the meth lab was “omitting a distinct and disturbing odor”.

“I even tried to explain it in a way of ‘who would cook meth in a police parking lot?'” said Officer Shurtleff.

But there’s more, some also had several other forms of drugs on them so the Prestonsburg police parking lot was transformed into a decontamination area.

Connie Collins, her son Dwight Collins, Britney Owsley and Justin Horner were all taken to the Floyd County Detention Center where they face several drug related charges.

“I have to admit this took me by a little bit of surprise,” said Officer Shurtleff

But others who live in Prestonsburg said it was an eye-opener about their community.

“This is a little small town you don’t really hear about it much,” Dixon said. “But it’s definitely something to think about.”

Officer Shurtleff said he had arrested Collins the previous night and Owsley had an active arrest warrant.



ROCHESTER, Minn. — Authorities say they found an underground tunnel from the house to the garage while searching a home for drugs on Wednesday morning.oul,y,ld r6u sw

Rochester police say they found 4 grams of methamphetamine at 111 18th Avenue NW and arrested 26-year-old Meredith Dirksmeyer and 27-year-old Brett Kuehl.

Police say they think the two may have used the tunnel to store drugs. Dirksmeyer and Kuehl both face drug charges.



NASHVILLE, Tenn.– An anonymous drug complaint led to the arrest of a registered sex offender and another man for the Manufacturing of Meth.877b2ace-be44-441a-aec7-be7cc3d6939d-large16x9_DickyNoahWilliamTalleyMetroPD

According to police, South Precinct detectives entered the Murfreesboro Pike apartment around 5pm on Wednesday following the call. There, they found residents William Talley and Dicky Noah. A search of the residence found “multiple items used for the manufacturing of methamphetamine.”

Police found Coleman fuel, ground up pseudoephedrine, empty pseudoephedrine packs, lye, ammonium nitrate, HCL gas generator, lithium batteries and a tool to cut the batteries among other items.

Both men were placed into custody and Noah (pictured left) was found to have two small bags of meth in his pockets. Talley (pictured right) is a convicted sex offender who was charged with Sexual Exploitation of a Minor in 2013.



NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Nashville area motel has been shut down for cleaning after an active meth lab was found inside.

The incident happened Wednesday night on Murfreesboro Pike.

Acting on a tip, officers with Metro Nashville Police went to the motel and talked their way into the room in question.

There, they found a very toxic situation.

The suspects were allegedly cranking out meth from an active lab for some time.

Some of the items found were ammonium nitrate, lithium batteries and a gas generator, in addition to the poisonous fumes.

Crews were working to clean up the room. The suspects were arrested.



WALLA WALLA, WA – Walla Walla Police are looking for a man they say is armed and extremely dangerous.

A few minutes after 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, Detectives from the Career Criminal Apprehension Team (CCAT) attempted to stop a white Dodge flatbed pickup occupied by 23 year old Cager J. York.







York has warrants for his arrest and is well-known by area law enforcement for attempting to elude police.

The stop was initiated in the area of SE Meadowbrook in College Place.

The driver of the vehicle quickly accelerated and continued eastbound on Taumarason and then southbound on Plaza Way.

Approximately 2 minutes into the pursuit, the vehicle slowed and the driver jumped from the moving vehicle. That subject was detained and told officers that York had told him not to stop and threatened him with a gun pressed into his ribs.

York then moved into the driver’s seat and continued to drive.

A Walla Walla Sheriff’s Deputy was able to place spike strips when the pursuit continued on Plaza Way and onto Old Milton Highway, crossing Highway 125. Three of the pickup tires were flattened, but York continued to drive on the vehicle’s rims.

The chase eventually ended when York pulled into the parking lot of the Stateline Cigarette Store at the intersection of Stateline Road and Highway 125.

York and a female exited the pickup and got into a Cadillac that York had parked there earlier. He was boxed in by law enforcement so he took off running. The female was taken into custody and identified as 24 year old Michaela R. Garcia. She was booked into the Umatilla County Jail on 2 felony warrants for failure to appear.

Law enforcement officers with the Walla Walla Sheriff’s Office, Milton-Freewater Police Department, Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office, and Oregon State Police searched for York for about 3 hours following the pursuit, but he has not been located at this time.

York is wanted on numerous charges as well as warrants. He is believed to be armed and extremely dangerous and should not be approached if seen. He has been arrested many times by local law enforcement for charges ranging from driving while suspended, attempting to elude, methamphetamine, and rape. Anyone with information about York’s whereabouts is strongly urged to contact law enforcement.



CLAREMORE, Oklahoma – Deputies arrested a Claremore couple on drug complaints after a search of their home Thursday morning.dfbereag

Rogers County Sheriff’s deputies say the search turned up a meth lab in a bedroom closet along with meth-related chemicals in the trash.

Deputies says DHS was called because of the couple’s three children living in the home. They said one girl reportedly had some breathing problems.

The sheriff’s office said the search and arrests capped a lengthy investigation into drug activity at the home.



NEWFIELD, N.Y. — Eight people were arrested and charged in connection to an investigation into methamphetamine production and trafficking in Tompkins County on Wednesday, according to the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office.

The arrests were made at three different homes in Newfield. The sheriff’s office along with the Ithaca City Police Department, New York State Police Community Narcotics bbe401e4-ddc6-46f0-a7bc-fb74db3e3dd0-large16x9_meth8Enforcement Team, Special Operation Response Team and Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team served the warrants at 36 Bishop Road, 106 Ward Heights North and 712 Ward Boulevard East, all in Newfield.

Investigators seized methamphetamine and items used to cook meth from the homes, according to the sheriff’s office.

The following people were arrested and charged:

  • Louis “Steve” Park, 44, of Bishop Road, was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, third-degree unlawful manufacturing of methamphetamine, second-degree criminal nuisance and second-degree conspiracy. He is currently being held at the Tompkins County Jail without bail.
  • Corey Woodward, 29, of Smith Road, was charged with second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, third-degree unlawful manufacturing of methamphetamine, second-degree criminal nuisance and second-degree conspiracy. He is currently being held at the Tompkins County Jail without bail.
  • Amanda Chaffee, 32, of Ward Heights North, was charged with second-degree criminal use of drug paraphernalia, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and second-degree conspiracy. She is currently being held at the Tompkins County Jail on $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond.
  • Thomas Chaffee, 52, of Douglas Road, was charged with second-degree criminal possession of meth manufacturing material and second-degree conspiracy. He is currently being held at the Tompkins County Jail without bail.
  • Debra Buck, also known as Debra Miller, 52, of Ward Boulevard was charged with second-degree criminal possession of meth manufacturing material and second-degree conspiracy. She is currently being held at the Tompkins County Jail on $2,500 cash bail or $5,000 bond.
  • Kenneth Benjamin, 36, of North Van Dorn Road, was charged with second-degree AUO. He was released at the Ithaca City Courthouse on Thursday.
  • Katie Adams, 33, of Dassance Road, was charged wth second-degree criminal possession of meth manufacturing materal. She was released Thursday at Ithaca City Court.
  • William Pelto, 30, of Dassance Road, was charged with second-degree criminal possession of meth manufacturing material. He is currently being held at the Tompkins County Jail on $2,500 cash bail or $5,000 bond.



Another lawsuit was filed last week against rehab operator Chris Bathum, alleging that he used his rehab facilities, Community Recovery Los Angeles (CRLA), “to financially enrich Bathum and his associates and to feed Bathum’s depraved appetite for drugs and young women to sexually victimize.”

It’s the second sexual battery lawsuit in six years against the 54-year-old Bathum, who’s been a party to at least 88 lawsuits in L.A. County, including an ongoing dispute with a disgruntled investor, Cliff Brodsky.bathum_crop

As we reported two months ago, Bathum is currently being investigated by the LAPD, FBI, Los Angeles District Attorney and several major insurance companies. A memo summarizing a Blue Shield investigation stated that Bathum had been “engaging in extensive unlicensed residential treatment activity, and in potential patient abuse, fraud and forgery. … Blue Shield received information from four sources that Christopher Bathum may be supplying drugs to patients and acting in a sexually inappropriate way with female patients.”

The three women who filed the suit are all former patients of Bathum’s treatment center, and the suit accuses him of, among other things, fraud, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and sexual battery.

The suit alleges a pattern of predatory behavior:

Bathum specializes in targeting young women who have suffered childhood traumas or sexual abuse and who are particularly vulnerable. Bathum used offers of “scholarships,” “internships” and other rewards and inducements to young women to encourage them to trust Bathum and to permit Bathum and CRLA to misappropriate insurance money by billing for services which Bathum masqueraded as “treatment” but which involved him engaging in sexual and drug abuse towards Plaintiffs and other clients. Bathum would then abuse and betray that trust under the guise of providing “treatment” and “therapy” to these young women, by isolating them in settings where Bathum would introduce and use drugs in front of them, aggressively encourage them to take drugs despite his knowledge that they had entered CRLA and paid for services to avoid drugs, and then force sexual encounters and demand sexual favors in return for their being allowed to continue in the CRLA program.

When asked to comment on the suit, Bathum responded via text: “I have no confidence anything I’d say to you would be accurately reported. I’m suing you in case you haven’t been served yet — have your lawyer talk to mine maybe. No comment don’t talk to me.”

He then followed up with a written statement: “We have not seen the actual allegations nor any lawsuit — apparently made out to the wrong company names etc — nor have we been served. We welcome this opportunity to show the motivation and lack of fact in the allegations — usually whispered — that may be stated here now and be examined for once.”

Community Recovery comprises more than 20 outpatient clinics and sober-living houses, mostly in the Los Angeles area, though a few are based in Anaheim and in Colorado (it also owns Grounded, a coffee shop on Melrose). At any given time, it has 200-plus clients, many of whom go on to work for Community Recovery, first as interns, then as low-level staff members. When we spoke to him in December, Bathum said he expected the company to take in $30 million in revenue in 2015.

“I am very proud of the treatment at Community Recovery and the 170 or so people who now have a year clean that went through our program,” Bathum wrote in his statement. “I take responsibility for the care of each client that come [sic] to Community Recovery as a principal and part owner but it has been some time since I have been directly involved in individual client care. … When a person attacks Community Recovery they are not attacking myself but the work of 250 staff and the sobriety of 275 clients that we will do anything to defend.”

Bathum has been sued for sexual battery once before, in 2010, by former patient Julie Hluchota. The suit was settled for an undisclosed amount in 2011. In July 2015, Hluchota died; her obituary attributed her death to a losing battle with drug addiction. Bathum has denied allegations related to Hluchota.

Hluchota’s lawyer, Alan Schimmel, is also representing the three women in the lawsuit filed last week. The Weekly is withholding the names of the plaintiffs because they are alleged victims of sex crimes.

The suit claims that Bathum is a frequent methamphetamine and heroin user and details one incident when Bathum holed up in a motel room with three young women – patients of his — for three days. It alleges that the four shot meth and heroin, that Bathum had sex with two of the women and that he “attempted to force himself” on the third (one of the suit’s plaintiffs). At the end of the three days, according to the suit, Bathum overdosed and was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance.

The suit goes on to describe another incident, on Dec. 27, 2015, during which Bathum led a guided meditation in a dark sweat lodge and allegedly molested another one of his patients, another plaintiff.

Says Bathum in his statement: “The plaintiff lawyer is an opportunist who smells money and is again bringing people new in recovery into the highly stressful world of litigation where he does not take responsibility for their sobriety, which he knows he puts at risk, and he does this without facts and with only the allegations of those new in their recovery, who now have to put themselves though [sic] the spot light and judgement of their peers, family and community.”

Three Community Recovery employees also are named as defendants in the complaint. The suit claims they knew about Bathum’s sexual misbehavior and “failed to report the egregious conduct and/or protect clients … from Bathum’s wrongful conduct.”

Regulation of the burgeoning rehab industry is lax. There is no requirement to hold any kind of license to open a facility (Bathum himself has no license other than one to practice hypnotherapy). In-patient facilities require licenses, but sober living houses and outpatient clinics do not. And there are no rules governing what kind of treatment a rehab facility must provide in order to qualify for insurance reimbursements.

“These facilities aren’t monitored, they aren’t well-regulated, and the people running them are usually money makers,” Schimmel told us in December. “And a lot of times, something horrible occurs.”