While the world-and especially the United States-remains fixated on the brutal actions and conquests of the Islamic State, few are looking closer to home to see such brutality, sometimes on a larger and more horrifying scale.china-meth-1

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) – The United Nations reports that in Iraq, 9,000 civilians have been killed and 17,386 wounded since the Islamic State sprung into the scene of that nation, and the actions of that group in Syria have been just as bad.


However, no one seems to acknowledge the damage that the drug cartels in Mexico do. In 2013, cartels murdered more than 16,000 people in Mexico, and another 60,000 were killed between 2006 and 2012, but these reports are from the Mexican government, which is known to deflate the actual numbers.


Those who speak out against the Mexican drug cartels often find themselves attacked, abused, or even murdered.


Mexican cartels often use car bombings as a weapon and tool of terror

International commentators have called the crimes of the Islamic State unique and barbaric. Beheadings, sex slavery and mass executions are crimes that are unheard of in this modern era they say.

These cartels decapitate hundreds every year and then mutilate the corpses of their victims. They display piles of bodies around towns in order to force compliance from locals. These groups systematically target women and children to intimidate communities, engage intensely in the sex trade, use rape as a tool of war and terror, and post images of their crimes for all the world to see on social media.

These groups recruit child soldiers-some as young as 10 or 11-and train them to be assassins or suicide fighters. They kidnap thousands of children every year to use as drug mules or prostitutes. Some they just kill and harvest for organs to sell illegally.

Often those who call for reforms are brutally targeted. Officials, police, even students who dare challenge cartel rule, none are safe.

The Islamic State’s murder of captured journalists is also appalling, but cartels have murdered almost 60 since 2006.

Even Mexico’s media is silent, bribed or intimidated into complacency.

Right now, the Islamic State is the sexy new threat for the American media. Two Americans have been beheaded, and the group threatens to do so to a third.

But the cartels have killed 293 Americans between 2007 and 2010. They have also repeatedly attacked U.S. consulates in Mexico.







By Stuart Gitlow, MD,

Drug use is not isolated to dark alleys or urban street corners, nor is addictive illness relegated to one segment of the population. Addiction crosses every geographic and socio-economic boundary across the country. Addicts can be the older American with chronic pain, the wounded veteran returning home, the teenager who finds leftover pain pills in the medicine cabinet, or the weekend warrior athlete seated in the office cubicle next to yours.

Addiction, after all, is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease—not a sign of flawed character, personal weakness, or low morality. Prescription drug abuse, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said, is “a growing, deadly epidemic.” More than 6 million Americans addictively use prescription drugs, such as painkillers, each year. In 2011, nearly 23,000 people died from prescription drug overdoses alone, according to the CDC, and more than 1.4 million visits to the emergency room were related to misuse and abuse of prescription medications.

It’s time for a fresh approach that puts more emphasis on diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. And yet we approach the fight against addictive illness with one hand tied behind our backs.

The human toll—families broken, careers destroyed, lives lost—is huge. And so is the financial burden. Abuse of prescription drugs, according to the Trust for America’s Health, a Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan group, costs the country a whopping $53 billion a year in lower productivity and medical and criminal-justice costs.

As they look for more effective ways to fund the fight against drug abuse, policymakers should consider the more sophisticated and definitive drug-testing technology that is now available to help identify and potentially prevent problems before they get worse.

We know testing saves lives. That’s why your doctor checks your blood pressure and blood glucose levels during a physical exam. Such tests can help determine if you have hypertension or diabetes. Such basic and inexpensive tests are available, though not commonly used for addictive illnesses, despite the prevalence of these illnesses.

Take the case of a clinician concerned about a patient misusing prescription drugs or taking a painkiller different from the one his or her doctor prescribed. Definitive testing can help doctors answer these questions and better treat the patient. Equally important is testing young adults for addictive disease, just as we test for diabetes and hypertension. Addiction caught early has a far better chance of being treated without complications.

The most recent annual National Drug Control Strategy from the White House asserts we must avoid what it calls a “false choice” between a strategy of eradicating drug abuse by enforcement or legalizing it.

The strategy declares: “Science has shown that drug addiction is not a moral failing but rather a disease of the brain that can be prevented and treated.” The revised strategy promotes “a balance of evidence-based public health and safety initiatives focusing on key areas such as substance abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery.”

While no single test can prove the presence of addiction, it is often impossible to detect addictive illness in its early stages without any test at all. And yet on the front lines, clinicians often overlook a reliable technology they can use to help them know what drugs their patients are using in the first place.

Patients are not offered testing for addictive illnesses because these tests are not well understood. There is a knowledge gap among physicians about how these tests can provide critical clinical information. And economic issues also play a role.

To beat this epidemic, we must begin by doing a far better job of identifying those who are afflicted. To do that, we have to pay fairly for diagnostic workups, treatment, and indeed for innovation in diagnostics and treatment.

Ongoing screening of those at risk as well as regular monitoring of identified patients is as important as checking blood sugar or regularly monitoring for hypertension in patients at risk. Rather than viewing testing as something done to punish “bad” patients, it should be seen as an important clinical tool to manage and improve treatment, giving clinicians confidence in their prescribing decisions and helping to keep patients safe.

Clinicians should be able to access the latest clinical tools and technology on behalf of the child, the veteran, or the weekend warrior who unwittingly—due to an undetected genetic predisposition to addiction—became hooked on opioids while on the mend from knee surgery.

In health matters this grave, it is literally a matter of life and death.


Stuart Gitlow, MD, MPH, MBA, president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, is a psychiatrist specializing in addictive disease at the Annenberg Physician Training Program in Addiction.









HESPERIA — A 21-year-old Hesperia man accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old Apple Valley girl he met on Facebook earlier this month has had two additional sex charges filed against him in a 2013 case involving a 14-year-old girl.

Pedro Cruz was arrested on Oct. 20 following a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department investigation of reports that Cruz “forced himself” on a 16-year-old girl. He pleaded not guilty last week to four felony charges, including two counts of oral copulation with a minor and two counts of unlawful sex with a minor.pedro cruz

Deputy District Attorney David Foy said two of the four charges stem from the October case involving the 16-year-old girl. The other two charges are from a June 2013 police report accusing Cruz of committing a sex crime against a 14-year-old Hesperia girl.

Foy said both cases involve Facebook contact between Cruz and the victims.

The father of the 14-year-old victim spoke to the Daily Press and requested that his name be withheld because he fears for his safety.

“He uses Facebook to meet all the girls,” the father told the Daily Press. “He preys upon these young girls and carries a gun on him and has a car and … the young girls are so impressed by a car, drugs, all of that. He knows how to work that.”

On Cruz’s Facebook page, 135 of his 198 friends are females.

“Men who use Facebook and other social media to prey on underage girls has been a threat since social media was developed,” Foy said. “I can’t say there’s more of it than five years ago, but it’s certainly a problem.”

Foy said sheriff’s officials received a report of a sex crime involving Cruz in June 2013. Foy said the report was not immediately submitted to the District Attorney’s Office, but was filed weeks later in connection to an alleged assault case involving Cruz’s father.

Pedro Villalobos, Cruz’s father, allegedly attacked the father of the 14-year-old victim in late June 2013. The victim’s father told the Daily Press the attack came just weeks after he had filed the police report regarding Cruz’s alleged actions with his daughter.

“My mom saw the Facebook messages (Cruz) was sending to my daughter, planning to pick her up,” the victim’s father said. “That’s where I confronted my daughter and it all came out. She’d get high and have sex with him. She was basically brainwashed.”

Court records show Villalobos was arrested on suspicion of assault and a felony criminal threat on July 2, 2013. He entered into a plea bargain, and the assault charge was dismissed. He was convicted of making a criminal threat and is serving time in jail.

It was during this case that the District Attorney’s Office was presented with the June 2013 reports accusing Cruz of sex crimes with the 14-year-old girl, Foy said, but no charges were filed against Cruz at that time.

Meanwhile, Cruz was arrested on suspicion of transporting methamphetamine in August 2013. The case is still open, and Cruz was out on bail when he was arrested for his latest alleged sex crime.

Cruz is scheduled to appear for his pre-preliminary conference on Thursday morning. His preliminary hearing has been tentatively scheduled for Nov. 4. He is being held at the High Desert Detention Center in Adelanto in lieu of $250,000 bail.

“(On Wednesday) we are filing an amended court complaint alleging Cruz had a prior strike,” Foy said.

Court records show Cruz was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in May 2011.







Candy Sue Chamness, 33, pleaded guilty Monday in Kosciusko County Superior Court according to court records after being charged with neglect and reckless homicide in connection with the fatal carbon monoxide poisoning of her 12-year-old son while she was high on methamphetamine.  54500af3e69d5_image

Darrick Spore, 34, Syracuse, was also charged with neglect and reckless homicide in the death of Skyler Spore, who was found dead by police in the family’s Syracuse home June 28 while two gas-powered generators were running. Police said both Chamness and Spore were under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of their son’s death.

Chamness’ sentence hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 1 at 10:30 a.m.

Spore appeared in court Monday for a continuance for a pre-trial hearing scheduled for Nov. 3 at 3 p.m.







The man police say went on a hammer-swinging rampage in Boulder City and Henderson had an eerily calm message for one of his victims.

Midway through Friday evening’s random attacks, an arrest report says, Damien Darnell Robins singled out a man walking among dozens of others in a parking lot at Foothill High School. Robins got out of his car and accosted the man, striking him in the head with the one-handed sledgehammer.

The blow knocked the man onto one knee.web1_hammer1_10

When the man turned around to face his attacker, Robins looked him in the eye.

“Sir, I’m sorry but I’m going to kill you; everything will be OK when you’re dead,” he said in an unemotional voice.

It appears a Henderson police patrol car that pulled into the parking lot may have held off more violence. The approaching car distracted Robins, according to the report, and that gave the man enough time to flee.

That man was one of 10 people police say Robins pummeled at random. His wife also told police he had been high on meth in the hours before the attacks.

And he may have had even more violent intentions.

Robins’ wife told officers she hadn’t seen him in three days when he called her about 1 p.m. Friday and said he wanted to meet her at home, according to an arrest report. When he showed up, the woman told police, she said he was agitated and that she could tell he was high on methamphetamine.

It wasn’t uncommon for Robins to “disappear for a few days when he’s high,” his wife said in the report. She said he had also lost his job as an electrician in the days since she had seen him.

Her husband made her fear for her life, the woman told police. Robins refused to let her leave, according to the report. He told her he wanted to “kill her and burn (her) body,” the report said, and later said he “felt like bludgeoning someone” to relieve his aggression.

Her only way out was leaving with him, according to the report. Robins took the woman to a gun store where she filled out the paperwork to a buy a firearm for him.

Robins could not buy a gun himself because he is a felon, police said.

After doing what Robins told her, the couple went back home, police said. The wife persuaded him to let her drive away to pick up their daughter from a baby sitter. In reality, she used the opportunity to drive to a friend’s house and hide.

Police said Robins’ next move started his brutal spree.

About 8 p.m. he battered a woman in a car with the hammer in a convenience store parking lot in Boulder City, police said. He later attacked two older people at an auto parts store parking lot, according to a police report.

In both attacks, according to the report, Robins asked the victims if they were lost as he approached them.

Robins next ran a driver off U.S. Highway 93 then struck the driver several times with the hammer, police said. He drove off and did the same thing to another driver, they said.

The erratic behavior continued after police say Robins drove over the hill into Henderson and onto U.S. Highway 95.

Robins started tailgating a woman driving a Dodge Neon north on U.S. 95 near College Drive, police said. She made a U-turn in an attempt to get away from Robins, but he crossed the median and drove his car head-on into the Neon, according to the report. The driver told police she managed to drive away only after Robins hit her windshield twice with the hammer.

He used his car to cut off and then attack another driver before getting to Foothill, police said.

After he initially hit the man with the hammer at Foothill, police said, the man jumped up and started running. Robins got back in his car and followed, catching up quickly.

As he approached the man, the report said, Robins said, “Sir, I want to let you know everything’s going to be OK, but I’m going to kill you.”

But before Robins could swing the hammer again, something caught his eye. A Henderson police patrol car pulled into the parking lot and headed toward Robins, the report said. He got back in his car and took off.

Robins drove into a neighborhood across from the school and turned off his headlights, the report said. There, Robins pulled in front of a woman and forced her to stop near Cherry Drive and Butch Cassidy Lane.

She told police Robins got out of his car and ran at her shouting, “What did you say?” and began hitting her car with the hammer while repeating the question, the report said.

She threw her car in reverse, police said, but Robins said, “There’s nowhere to go,” and started chasing her on foot. The woman managed to evade Robins.

Police said Robins’ last victim was in the drive-thru at a Taco Bell at 730 E. Horizon Drive. He blocked the drive-thru exit, and attacked the woman’s car before reaching through the driver side window and hitting her with the hammer, police said.

Robins eventually surrendered to police after a pursuit about 9 p.m., when he was confronted by a K-9 officer on Arrow­head Canyon Drive in Henderson.

He kept calm while Boulder City police detectives interviewed him, according to the arrest report. He denied fighting with anyone.

When police asked why they had found a hammer in the passenger seat of his vehicle, the report says, Robins replied, “Well, it’s mine.”

After further prodding, the report says, Robins said: “Well I beat some people up I guess.” When a detective asked why, the man didn’t respond.

Robins, 37, is being held at the Clark County Detention Center on six counts of attempted murder, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon and a single count of kidnapping. He is scheduled for a hearing at 1 p.m. Nov. 11 at Boulder City Justice Court.








A 35-year-old Dutch woman was arrested Oct. 24 on the 1800 block of East Rio Salado Parkway on suspicion of shoplifting, dangerous drug possession and drug paraphernalia possession, according to a police report.

The woman put two bathroom rugs, a bathroom lid cover, a shower curtain and a king size comforter set, valued at $196, inside a shopping cart, and exited the Target without paying, police reported.

Upon searching the woman, police found her to be in possession of a small bag of methamphetamine, according to the report.

The woman said the bag and the methamphetamine were hers, police reported.

The woman was transported to Tempe City Jail, where she was booked and held to see a judge, according to the report.








LANCASTER – A methamphetamine lab was found at a residence in the 900 block of Fay Avenue on Tuesday just before 3 a.m., according to police reports.

A 911 call was made at 2:45 a.m. from the residence by a woman who said she wanted police to stop her friends from doing drugs in her home, police reported.

Police believe that the three whom the woman accused of doing drugs fled the scene before officers could search the residence. However, they did find a methamphetamine lab inside a smoking backpack in the back yard, the report said. No arrests had been made at press time.







5450161e4c9b0_preview-699In the last six months, 37-year-old Sarah Marie Grady of Helena has been arrested multiple times, and many of the cases are apparently connected to drug abuse.

Grady’s recent encounters with law enforcement started in late April when Helena police searched her vehicle and residence and found a large amount and wide variety of drug-related evidence.

Police listed the following in an affidavit: two used syringes containing an unknown liquid substance, a prescription bottle made into a pipe, a camouflage-colored bag containing two methamphetamine pipes, a pill organizer containing a marijuana roach, a glass jar containing Q-tips, a mirror with drug related residue, three small syringes from a plastic sandwich bag, a spoon with cotton and residue, a methamphetamine pipe with residue, a box with a used syringe and spoon, a cloth flower bag containing seven loaded syringes, a small water bottle, a broken syringe, two syringes with a red liquid residue, a knife, and a plastic container containing a dronabinol tablet. (dronabinol is made from cannabis prescribed for cancer patients to treat loss of appetite.)

Police also reported finding, in Grady’s purse, a gray zipper case containing an 8 mg strip of Suboxone (a narcotic often used to help patients with opiate withdrawal), an iPod case with several syringes, a black case containing a scale, a pink case containing a melted straw, and another case containing 16 oxycodone hydrochloride tablets, one Focalin tablet, two Suboxone tablets and morphine. From her residence, police reported finding a methamphetamine pipe, three loaded syringes and other drug paraphernalia.

From the April 24 search, according to an affidavit filed on Aug. 15, Grady was accused of six counts of criminal possession of dangerous drugs and one count of criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.

On Sept. 23-24, Helena police charged Grady with issuing bad checks between July and September for more than $1,500 from a business account to which no deposits had been made since November of 2013. When she was taken to jail on the bad checks charge, jail personnel reportedly found drug paraphernalia and drugs: a syringe, a pill crusher, a plastic bag containing numerous small plastic bags and four prescription pill bottles containing “mismatched pills.” Although the pill bottles did contain medications prescribed to Grady, there was one pill (methadone hydrochloride, an opiate) for which she had no prescription.

On Oct. 3, Grady was accused of forgery for allegedly forging and cashing checks from someone else’s account. In that case there were four checks totaling $1,225.

Grady had posted $50,000 bond (on two charges from Sept. 24). She wrote a letter, Sept. 27, to the court asking to be released on her own recognizance. She had been in jail for four days. Grady wrote that when she was arrested she was on her way to a medical clinic to have a cast put on her hand and that she was in “severe pain” from “compartment syndrome.” She wrote that if her medical needs were “not taken care of immediately, I will suffer more serious issues medically.” She also mentioned “serious personal issues going on at this time, including that her house was in foreclosure.”

Thirty-three days after writing to the court, asking for and gaining her release on bond, Grady was arrested again.

On Oct. 10, police were called to a store on North Montana for a report of a female shoplifter. Witnesses told police that the woman was seen going into the cemetery north of the shopping center. Police reported finding Grady, who matched the description from store employees, hiding under a tree in the cemetery. Grady at first refused to come out, according to police. Grady did eventually come out and was arrested on a booking charge of obstructing a police officer. Grady allegedly told police that she had only stolen makeup and because it was a misdemeanor they couldn’t take her to jail.

Once she was admitted to jail, detention officers reportedly found in her purse a glass pipe that tested positive for methamphetamine.

Prosecutors had requested that Grady’s bond be revoked on Oct. 3 as she had failed to report for twice-weekly drug testing as required in her release.







METHAMPHETAMINE use is on the rise in Gisborne and Wairoa, and police have called for increased public support to help crack down on a trade that is worth tens of thousands of dollars a week.

Police say the drug is primarily sold by the gangs.

Methamphetamine is dealt by the gangs to make money and they don’t care about the harm it causes,” says Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Scott of the Gisborne CIB.

“They don’t care who they sell to and in some cases that means family members.”

Det Snr Sgt Scott says the drug has a real foothold in the community and probably mostly among people who cannot afford to be using it.

“Therefore they get involved in dealing it themselves to pay for their own habit.”

Wairoa police have found ‘P’, ‘ice’ or ‘crack’ is becoming more prevalent than before and it’s across a lot of different demographics, says Wairoa CIB head Detective Sergeant Martin James.

“The level of public awareness of the increased use needs to be raised in the community.

“People need to be aware that methamphetamine is here in our community and it’s having a huge effect on social behaviour,” Det Sgt James says.

“People need to understand the damage this drug can cause.”

Police were often dealing with the aftermath and he says a lot of violence-related incidents Wairoa police were attending were the result of methamphetamine use.

Det Snr Sgt Scott says Gisborne police have also noted increased violence and health issues, both physical and mental, caused by the drug.

“We are called to violent incidents where we definitely believe meth was a factor and that has been the case for a while now.

“The statistics don’t tell us that violence across the board is on the increase but the use of meth certainly is, and it’s associated with violence,” he says.

“It’s a drug where you lack a sense of your actions.

“You don’t care what you’re doing and you don’t care about the consequences,” Det Snr Sgt Scott says.

Wairoa police have seen people who have been cannabis users graduating on to meth.

“It is becoming more and more common for Wairoa police to go to a cannabis user’s address and find methamphetamine and methamphetamine paraphernalia,” Det Sgt James says.

“The high from cannabis is no longer sufficient.

“So they have gone on to methamphetamine, which is highly addictive and once they become addicted, they have to support that habit.”

Det Snr Sgt Scott says cannabis use is still definitely there. “But for some people here, as in Wairoa, it has become a pathway drug into methamphetamine.”

He says a large number of people are actively involved in dealing the drug in the Gisborne-East Coast district.

“Tens of thousands of dollars changes hands for it in the district each week.”

The police say one gram of meth costs $700-$1000, with users paying $100 for 0.1 of a gram.

Both officers say in most cases the drug is brought in from out of the district.

“Auckland is the prime supply centre for the drug,” Det Snr Sgt Scott says.

Signs of meth use can be irrational behaviour, mood swings, sores on the face or body, picking at skin, rotting or brown teeth, not sleeping for long periods or erratic sleeping, nervousness or anxiety, being unusually active or weight loss.

“A heavy period of meth use is often followed by a crash, in which users cannot control their sleeping, and sleep for long hours or keep falling into a sleep.”

Police in Gisborne and Wairoa want information about people involved in the trade.

“We want information about its use and who is selling it in our communities.”

If people have any information around the sale of methamphetamine, contact police directly or anonymously on the Crimestoppers hotline 0800 555 111.








AUBURN | The Locke meth lab explosion that ended a man’s life and razed a home has had a slew of consequences.     

In addition to the death of Shawn Perreault, a 47-year-old Locke man, the events surrounding the May 12 explosion resulted in the arrests of nine people, including the late Shawn Perreault’s wife.

And on Tuesday morning in Cayuga County Court, Judge Mark Fandrich hoped the deadly incident would have at least one positive consequence: Keeping those involved away from methamphetamine.

Before sentencing John Lunn Jr. for purchasing the Claritin-D cold medicine Shawn Perreault used to cook meth, Fandrich asked the 20-year-old Moravia man a few questions.5407b350b5545_image

“Are you sorry for what happened?” Fandrich asked.

“Yes, your honor,” Lunn answered quietly.

Fandrich then asked Lunn to think back to the deadly explosion, when a fatally wounded Shawn Perreault exited his burning 5651 Sears Road home covered in severe burns.

“You saw what was happening to him when he came out of the house,” Fandrich said. “Well if that won’t keep you away from meth, I don’t know what will.”

Lunn, of 68 E. Cayuga St., was sentenced to five years probation for fourth-degree conspiracy, a felony, and second-degree possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material, a misdemeanor. The shock portion of his sentence — six months in the Cayuga County Jail — has been served.

Lunn was not the only defendant charged in connection with the deadly, botched meth lab case to appear in court.

Tanya Perreault — the widow of the late Shawn Perreault — pleaded guilty to her role in the events surrounding the explosion.544ff821ca100_image

The 43-year-old Locke woman admitted possessing meth making materials on Dec. 26 and conspiring to combine meth making materials on May 12.

In addition, Tanya Perreault also admitting helping her late husband make the illicit drug while a 4-year-old child was present.

“I mixed the solvent together, and there was a child under the age of 16,” she said.

In exchange for pleading guilty to second-degree manufacturing of methamphetamine and fourth-degree conspiracy, both felonies, along with second-degree possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material, a misdemeanor, she was promised four months in jail and five years probation.

In addition to Lunn, two other defendants were sentenced.

Sara Townsend, a 21-year-old Cortland woman, was sentenced to three years probation for second-degree criminal possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material and endangering the welfare of a child, both misdemeanors.

Townsend, of 115 Kellog Road, told Fandrich she would stay out of trouble.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I was definitely in the wrong, and I realize that now.”

Floyd Perreault, a 51-year-old McGraw man, was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge for second-degree criminal possession of methamphetamine manufacturing material, a misdemeanor.

“At age 51, you’re probably beyond doing meth,” Judge Fandrich said.

“You’ve got that right,” Floyd Perreault, of 4514 Maybury Road, said.


The cases of the other five defendants are pending.








 BELLINGHAM, Washington — The Bellingham City Council voted Monday night to condemn the Aloha Motel.

The Bellingham Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1rxIqhd) it has a reputation for criminal activity, and the Whatcom County Health Department found methamphetamine contamination in 11 rooms.

A lawyer for the owners, Greg Greenan, said they would accept the condemnation proceedings if the city pays a fair price for the property.








A 29-year-old man faces trial on charges of making methamphetamine and risking a catastrophe following a preliminary hearing Tuesday.

Gary Christian Long is accused of setting up a portable methamphetamine lab in the Horsham Days Inn on Easton Road on April 4. He is being held on 10 percent of $10,000 bail as well as detainers for probation violations in Bucks and Montgomery counties. 545006a6660a0_image

Following testimony from Horsham Detective Sgt. Larry Bozzomo, Long’s attorney, Louis Busico, argued Bozzomo was not an expert in methamphetamine manufacturing and as a result, the testimony and evidence was not enough to support the charges.

District Judge Harry Nesbitt said Busico’s arguments were germane for trial, but police had made their prima facie case and ordered Long held for trial.

Long is charged with manufacturing a controlled substance, risking a catastrophe, illegally dumping methamphetamine waste, possession of precursor chemicals with the intent to use them to make methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, drug possession, recklessly endangering another person and a charge of flight to avoid apprehension that was added shortly before the hearing began.

Long was arrested in May by Philadelphia police on DUI and drug possession charges. Bozzomo testified police attempted to arrest Long at the hotel based on warrants for his arrest in multiple counties for violation of his probation and failure to appear for trial on charges in Bucks County. The detective testified that, as police attempted to enter Long’s room, Long jumped from a third-floor window to a mulch pile and fled.

Bozzomo said he saw various household chemicals, observed a “chemical odor” in the room and, with the assistance of firefighters, had the building evacuated. Bozzomo introduced a state police report cataloging what was found in the room and concluding Long had put together a “one-pot” methamphetamine lab — a system of creating the powerful stimulant using household chemicals shaken in a soda bottle or similar container to initiate a reaction.

Long is being held in Montgomery County prison. He is scheduled for formal arraignment in the Montgomery County Court on Dec. 17.








Anti-drug trafficking police arrested nine Nigerian nationals on Sunday night in three separate Phnom Penh locations for drug possession and distribution after undercover police bought 100 grams of crystal methamphetamine from one of the men, police said.

In Song, deputy chief of the Ministry of Interior’s anti-drug police, said undercover officers arrested one known dealer in Daun Penh district’s Phsar Thmei II commune after agreeing to purchase 100 grams of crystal methamphetamine from him valued at $2,600.

“After questioning the first suspect, our anti-drug police went to two other rental houses in Choam Chao commune in Pur Senchey district, which eventually led us to arrest nine Nigerian men,” he said.

The drug bust was the result of a monthlong operation approved by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to establish the Nigerian gang’s activity, said Yen Panharith, acting chief of the drug police’s Bureau 9.

“The men are Nigerian citizens and were very active selling drugs throughout the city at nighttime and during the day,” he said, adding that members of his unit masqueraded as buyers to snare the suspects.

“We spent a month watching their activity and with the approval of the municipal court prosecutor, [our undercover agents] first bought 20 grams from the dealer and then set up a bigger deal for 100 grams,” Colonel Panharith said.

As soon as the second transaction took place, police pounced and the suspect led officers to Borey Phiphup Thmei housing community in Traipang Thloeung village, where they arrested six others. Two men escaped with drugs but were later picked up empty-handed after being spotted by police wading through flooded rice fields nearby.

“They are now in our custody and we are questioning them one by one to find out their boss, as they have many tactics to sell drugs throughout Phnom Penh,” said Col. Panharith.

Abayomi Koledoye, president of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organization in Cambodia, said he was still waiting for authorities to disclose information on the suspects’ identities, but he cautioned against allowing the illegal activity of a handful of people to stigmatize the entire Nigerian community in Cambodia, the vast majority of whom are law-abiding and engaged in legitimate business.

“This issue is a big problem for us…but how do we monitor this recalcitrant element unless they are caught by law enforcement agencies?” he said.

“I continue to appeal to media organizations to speak on behalf of the hundreds of well-meaning Nigerians living here and not to look at us through the eyes of a few that are determined to get rich quick.”







In another example of how there seems to be no limit to the ways in which drugs are smuggled into the United States, officials said Tuesday that they arrested a man in a wheelchair for trying to move a load of methamphetamine at the remote U.S.-Mexico border crossing of Presidio.


“Smugglers have no scruples when it comes to getting narcotics across the border,” John Deputy, port director for Customs and Border Protection said Tuesday in announcing the arrest. “It is unfortunate, but even individuals with disabilities can serve as an avenue to smuggle drugs.”

Arturo Chavez Solis was the only passenger in a taxi that arrived from Mexico to the West Texas town. A U.S. border inspector allegedly noticed “suspicious” bulges on his thighs, then had Chavez wheeled into an area where the officer found bundles of methamphetamine taped to his legs.

Chavez, 41, of Chihuahua, Mexico, told authorities he thought he was smuggling marijuana and was to be paid $200 for his efforts, according to a document filed in federal court.

Prosecutors contend that as Chavez is from Mexico and likely to flee, and faces more than 10 years in prison, he should be held in jail without bail. His attorney could not be immediately reached for comment.

Presidio, which is west of Big Bend National Park, doesn’t see nearly the amount of drugs captured as other border crossings, but a generation ago was across the border from the home turf of Pablo Acosta, a major marijuana trafficker who inspired the excellent book, Drug Lord, by Terrance Poppa.







IDAHO FALLS – Three people were arrested and more than six ounces of methamphetamine seized Friday at an Idaho Falls motel.

According to police reports, the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant at Motel West Room No. 290 after receiving information about possible drug activity.

During the search, deputies discovered 186 grams of suspected methamphetamine and $1,729 in cash.

Shane Shipley, 42, was arrested and charged with trafficking methamphetamine. Debra Jenkins, 56, was arrested for possession of paraphernalia, and frequenting a place where drugs are sold and Savanna Lemmons Acor, 30, was also arrested and charged with frequenting a place where drugs are sold.

All three suspects were booked into the Bonneville County Jail Friday.







SAN DIEGO COUNTY – Marijuana use among men and woman arrested in San Diego County last year reached a 14-year high, and methamphetamine use was up for the fifth year in a row among male arrestees, according to a San Diego Association of Governments report released today, Mon., Oct. 27.

Researchers compiling the “2013 Adult Arrestee Drug Use in the San Diego Region”‘ found that 71 percent of arrested men and 69 percent of arrested women tested positive for at least one illicit drug. According to the report, 2013 was the first year that men who tested positive for drug use outnumbered women.

“Seeing a high level of drug use among individuals arrested and booked into our jails isn’t new,” Criminal Justice Research Director Dr. Cynthia Burke said. “But these rates are the highest we have seen since we started the drug monitoring program in 2000 — with 71 percent of males and 69 percent of females testing positive for marijuana, meth, opiates or cocaine.”

SANDAG officials said methamphetamine use among male arrestees has been climbing steadily over the years, but last year’s figure of 41 percent was a 10 percent jump from 2012’s number. Methamphetamine use among women arrestees fell slightly, from 47 percent in 2012 to 46 percent in 2013.

Illegal use of prescription drugs rose 5 percent last year, and authorities said Vicodin, tranquilizers and Oxycontin were the most frequently abused.

Of the 953 inmates interviewed last year, 91 percent of men and 88 percent of women said they had used marijuana at some point in their lives.

Researchers also found that 69 percent of the women and 57 percent of the men had tried methamphetamine. Around four in five had also been arrested more than once.

“The relationship between drug use and criminal activities is complex.

Many of the individuals we interviewed for the study have other issues besides drug addiction, such as unemployment, homelessness, gang involvement or a mental health condition,” Burke said. “About two in five have gotten drug treatment before, but for most, it was not voluntary, but court-ordered. Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes for this complex problem.”

The report found that cocaine use among inmates was less prevalent than it was in 2000, but figures related to heroin or other opiate use were higher than 14 years ago.








PALMETTO, Fla. — Authorities said five children have been removed from a Tampa area home after a 12-year-old brought illegal drugs to school.

The boy told school administrators he found the drugs in his parent’s bedroom.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports that Manatee County Sheriff’s officials found seven grams of methamphetamine, a “dime bag” of cocaine and one marijuana blunt to his Palmetto middle school last week.

Investigators said no drugs were found in the boy’s home when it was searched.

Officials said the children were removed from the home as the investigation continued.








Natali+Rose+GitelmanWAYNESBORO, Va. — The Waynesboro Police Department arrested a Maryland woman early Sunday morning after they found her passed out in a wrecked car loaded with suspected methamphetamine.

Officers charged Natali Rose Gitelman, 31, of North Potomac, Md. with a felony, possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute and a misdemeanor, possession of marijuana.

On Oct. 26 at approximately 4 a.m., officers responded to the Sunoco, 1175 East Main Street, to investigate a suspicious vehicle parked on the lot. The caller indicated that the vehicle was improperly parked with two people apparently passed out inside. When officers arrived, they found Gitelman, in the driver’s seat, and a 34-year-old man sleeping in a heavily damaged 1996 Toyota Camry.

The officers woke the subjects and investigated the damage. Gitelman told the officers that she was en route from Maryland to Georgia when she crashed on Interstate 64 near mile marker 99. During the course of the interview, Gitelman admitted having marijuana and a pipe in the vehicle. The officers recovered the items inside the vehicle. Gitelman’s male passenger told the officers that she was traveling to Georgia to pick up drugs and that he was “just along to be security;” however, he was only armed with a BB gun and a knife.

As the search of the vehicle continued, they found several rock like items in a purse that Gitelman said belonged to her; however, she claimed the suspected drugs weren’t hers. She told the officers that she found the items on the floorboard of her car. She told them she was sure it was methamphetamine because she tasted it and knows what meth tastes like.

The officers field tested the rock like items, which yielded a positive result for methamphetamine. Several others items that are related to drug distribution, i.e. scales, cash, glass containers, plastic baggies, were also located during the search of the vehicle.

The male passenger was released but officers arrested Gitelman at the scene. She is being held without bond at Middle River Regional Jail.

She also faces traffic charges from the Virginia State Police for the car crash.








(KMSP) – Meth used to be found in mostly rural areas because of the smell and danger associated with making it. But over the last few years it has made its way into the metro and is growing in popularity with younger users.

“Devastating, just destroyed me and made me someone I didn’t want to be at all,” Nick from Savage, Minn. said. He started abusing Adderall in the 9th grade, and then graduated to pot, cocaine, and heroin. But when his friends introduced him to meth, he found the “high” he was looking for.

“It was that invincibility,” Nick said. “It was that power. I was The Hulk and I’m going to smash you now.”

Nick is one of a new wave of drug users getting hooked on the illegal stimulant. After peaking in popularity in the late 90s and bottoming out in the mid-2000s, thanks in part to public service campaigns like “Faces of Meth” which show the damage the drug can do to a user’s mind and body, local addiction counselors say meth use has done an “about face” in Minnesota.

“It used to be meth was a rural thing, a rural cultish clique of people making their own meth and selling it to their circle,” Dr. Joe Lee at Hazelden said. “Now it has gone mainstream. Gangs are selling it. Other organizations are selling it right in the city.”

Dr. Lee says meth manufactures no longer need a big lab which could possibly explode to make their product.With a new method called “shake and bake,” all it takes is a few chemicals in a plastic pop bottle to create a cheaper version of the drug. According to Dr. Lee, shows like “Breaking Bad” have unintentionally made meth more attractive to a new generation of users.

“The irony really is that despite all the dangers on the show of using methamphetamine, kids still cling to the glamorization of the drug use and that’s how powerful the media messaging can be,” Dr. Lee said.

“I’ve seen every episode of Breaking Bad,” Nick said. “I idolized the show.”

Nick says it was more the price and availability of meth that made him want to “break bad.” But in the end, the temporary “high” didn’t outweigh the reality of hitting rock bottom.

“Anything is better than that,” Nick said. “Really, it will literally destroy your life.”








dt_common_streams_StreamServerwertgFriday, a possible first in the area.

Athol police arrested Joseph Hamel, 28, and subsequently called the State Police Fire and Explosion Unit and the Drug Enforcement Agency to remove a portable meth lab from the back of his mother’s car. Methamphetamine labs are famously combustible.

Crystal methamphetamine is an established problem drug in much of the rest of the country, but is rarely heard of in western Massachusetts.

“First time that I’ve ever dealt with it,” said Athol Police narcotics officer and Northwestern Anti-Crime Task Force member Jarret Mousseau.

“Hopefully it’s an isolated case,” Mousseau said.

On Monday, Hamel pleaded innocent at his arraignment in Orange District Court to three charges of manufacturing, possession with intent to distribute and simple possession of methamphetamine, a Class B drug. Judge David Ross ordered Hamel held on $25,000 cash bail.

Hamel’s address is variously listed in court papers as the apartment in which he was arrested, 159 Park St., Apt. 3, Athol, and a Blackington Road, New Salem address. In explaining his decision to hold Hamel on bail, Ross wrote Hamel reported himself to be homeless and living seasonally in Maine.

According to Mousseau’s police report, he and another officer, acting on a tip from the Park Street apartment building’s landlord and with permission from the apartment resident, searched the apartment for a portable meth lab and found Hamel, whom they arrested on two outstanding warrants.

Ross set a second bail of $25,000 on those charges: warrants from a 2008 case in which Hamel was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a prescription opioid, half a Percocet, without a prescription.dt_common_streams_StreamServereweew

Tipped off that the lab was in a PT Cruiser driven by a man matching Hamel’s description, Mousseau questioned Hamel. Hamel allegedly admitted that all the chemicals needed to make meth were in the trunk of the black PT Cruiser, the car belonging to his mother and driven to the parking lot by himself, and later described manufacturing the drug to sell it for profit in a recorded interview.

Members of the State Police Fire and Explosion Unit, DEA, Athol Fire Department and more Athol Police and members of the Anti-Crime Task Force responded.

Mousseau said the lab and ingredients all fit into a large laptop bag. “It’s highly portable, you could bring it inside, you could carry it in the woods, you could do it in your car, it’s very small and portable,” Mousseau said.

Hamel cooperated with the investigation and later told police that he had left some of the finished product under a mattress inside the apartment, according to the report. Mousseau wrote the tenant told him to “get it the hell out of there” when told of the meth, worried his 4-year-old son would find the drug.

Police seized unidentified pills and less than a gram of a flaky white substance that field-tested positive for methamphetamine.







MUNCIE – Two people had to be decontaminated Friday after a meth lab allegedly popped on them.

On Friday, officers arrested and booked Richard Morris, 41, of 1400 E. Fifth St., and Amanda Doss, 27, and Dusty Norris, 23, both of 1613 E. First St. The trio has been accused of making and selling methamphetamine in Delaware County.

Authorities received a complaint about suspicious activity taking place at Morris’ residence, according to a probable cause affidavit. Officers searched the home, and allegedly found several items commonly used to manufacture meth.

Several guns and knives were also found throughout the house, documents said. There was also hypodermic needles found in the kitchen, as well as several plastic bottles containing a crystal like residue.

Doss allegedly told police that she and Norris had a meth lab pop on them, causing her skin to burn. A decontamination site was put up at the scene and the two people were decontaminated before being transported to IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital, documents said.

All three suspects were preliminarily charged with four felonies, with the highest being dealing in methamphetamine. They remain at the Delaware County jail on Monday under $35,000 bond.

In other police news:

State troopers and local officers arrested three people over the weekend for allegedly conspiring to manufacture meth.

The group was arrested Friday after officials were tipped off to a meth making scheme, according to an affidavit. Paraphernalia and ingredients, including empty pseudoephedrine packs, were also found in Davis’ house, documents said.

Derrick Davis, 34, of 17909 N. Wheeling Ave., and Spring Miller, 26, and Jeremy Williams, 37, both of 1816 E. 23rd St., were all preliminarily charged with conspiracy to manufacture meth, possession of paraphernalia and maintaining a common nuisance, in addition to several misdemeanors.

As of Monday, all three remain in custody at the Delaware County jail.







 Police say a man carrying meth and armed with a large machete tried to fight an officer early Tuesday morning.

According to police, around 3:45 a.m. CSPD Officer Spicuglia spotted a suspicious-looking vehicle driving slowly behind several shops in the area of North Academy and Flintridge. When Spicuglia stopped the driver, he noticed the man was carrying a machete.

The driver allegedly turned combative once the officer started searching for other weapons. Police say he tried throwing several punches at Spicuglia, but was quickly detained and taken into custody. After he was arrested, police say Spicuglia found meth on him.

The suspect has been identified as John Britten.








Christina OsborneA visit from social services resulted in the arrest of a Cumberland woman on multiple drug charges including manufacturing methamphetamine.

Christina M. Osborne, 27, was arrested by Cumberland City Police Officer Cody Bargo on Friday.

According to the citation, Bargo and Officer Mark Saylor went along to assist social services with a complaint concerning Osborne. Upon request from police, Osborne consented to a search of the home and cars.

Bargo said a search of the residence turned up several items including several large white oval pills with 800 on one side and the letters GAB on the other. Officers also found a needle inside a drawer. A garbage can was found to contain a green bottle with a white salt-like substance inside and a needle.

Social services removed the children from the residence.

Osborne was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, unlawful possession of a meth precursor, first-degree wanton endangerment, third-degree possession of a controlled substance and tampering with physical evidence.

Osborne was lodged in the Harlan County Detention Center on a $50,000 full cash bond.








LAREDO, TEXAS (CBP) – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Laredo Port of Entry seized 40 pounds of alleged crystal methamphetamines (meth) in an enforcement action at the Lincoln Juarez Bridge.

“The detection of this seizure can be attributed to the primary officer’s interviewing technique and the keen observation skills from the officers operating our non-intrusive imaging system,” said Acting Port Director Joseph Misenhelter, Laredo Port of Entry.meth+seizure4

The incident occurred on Oct. 23 at Lincoln-Juarez Bridge when a CBP officer referred a 2004 Ford Expedition for a secondary examination.

CBP officers conducting non-intrusive imaging system inspections noticed anomalies within the vehicle. An intensive examination of the Expedition by CBP officers resulted in the discovery of 114 bundles that allegedly contained 40 pounds of crystal meth.

CBP officers seized the Ford Expedition and the narcotics, valued at $806,000. CBP officers arrested a 34-year-old Mexican citizen from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico in connection to the seizure and turned him over to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents for further investigation.

CBP’s Laredo Port of Entry is part of the South Texas Campaign, which leverages federal, state and local resources to combat transnational criminal organizations.






img_2527EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) – A car crash in East Palestine Sunday turned into a more serious situation for authorities on the scene.

Police told WKBN they found a suspected mobile meth lab while investigating an accident on East Market Street near James Street.

A firefighter responding to the crash said he saw 22-year old Jordan Wales go to his trunk and take out a bag. Police said there was a plastic pop bottle inside used to mix chemicals to make methamphetamine.

Officer Alex Pryor was treated at the scene after inhaling fumes while searching the bag. The Columbiana County Drug Task Force was called to secure the scene.

Wales was charged with illegal possession of chemicals used to make methamphetamine. He was immediately arraigned on Monday and held on $100,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 3.