Mexico and the Politics of Terror

Posted: December 12, 2014 in Uncategorized

A new chapter of Mexican history began in 2006, when former President Felipe Calderón declared war against the country’s powerful drug cartels. Thousands of military troops were sent to the streets of Mexico’s border cities, where drug cartel activity had rapidly increased in the previous decades. The turning of cities into battlefields unleashed unprecedented levels of violence, where civilians became the main victims. In a country defined by entrenched corruption, the infliction of terror became the key mechanism through which drug traffickers and military forces maintained their power and advanced in the dispute. The fear of being shot, threatened, kidnapped or tortured paralyzed entire communities, who were helplessly absorbed in the conflict.

It soon became evident that Mexico’s drug problem could not be solved by the capturing of drug cartel leaders. The truth was that local authorities, institutions and the military forces were all – at some level or another – involved in the trafficking of drugs. But by then, the drug war had spiraled out of governmental control and seemed unstoppable. Violence expanded from the northern cities of Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez and Reynosa, to the central town of Cuernavaca and reached the southern coast of Acapulco.  Local newspapers started reporting on the appearance of mass graves, abandoned beheaded bodies and narcomantas (large sheets with threatening messages displayed in public spaces) on a daily basis. By the time Calderón left office in 2012, the rate of killing was 1 person every half hour.

Since then, Mexico has operated under a politics of terror. While the term terrorism is not usually employed in a Mexican context, it certainly fits the bill; violence and intimidation are consistently used for political ends, and the population is wracked by fear. Power belongs to those who intimidate and kill ­– regardless of whether they are criminals or the military. Pervasive fear prevails in Mexican society.

Though this recent chapter of violence began in 2006, drug trafficking has a longer history that can be traced back to the 1980s. Since the end of Mexican Revolution in 1929 and until the year 2000, the same political party governed Mexico: the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). While Mexico was officially a democracy during this period, scholars have described the situation as a camouflaged dictatorship due to PRI’s monopoly on power. The government enabled drug trafficking and even colluded with illegal traders. While this was far from ideal, the arrangement ultimately limited violence.

During the 1980s, however, Mexico underwent a political shift, which disrupted the long-standing relationship between drug cartels and the PRI. New autonomous cartels now had the opportunity to enter the market without governmental subordination.

Two other conditions influenced the increase of drug-trafficking activity in Mexico in the coming decades.  Firstly, the collapse of the extremely powerful Cali and Medellin cartels of Colombia in the 1990s encouraged the formation of new cartels in Mexico. The US demand for cocaine and marijuana did not diminish after the clash of Colombian cartels and served as a stimulus for Mexican drug cartels to quickly take over the market. Furthermore, as the neighboring country of the United States, Mexico had a clear advantage on drug transportation.

Of even greater relevance was the role of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In 1994, Canada, Mexico and the United States signed the NAFTA to form a trade bloc economy. The promotion of a neo-liberal economic agreement unintentionally bolstered illegal trade, with increased freedom across the borders. Within a few years, the US-Mexico border region became the ultimate gateway for drug trafficking. The increase of opportunity accelerated drug cartel formation and prompted competition for the control of the market. Drug cartel rivalry quickly turned violent.

Ironically, NAFTA’s policies for the economic opening of the US-Mexico border resulted in its physical closure. A 640-mile long fence was erected to contain the overwhelming influx of migrants escaping from violence in Mexico.

The profound levels of social inequality in Mexico also provide an essential context for the outbursts of violence and terror. On the year that Felipe Calderon implemented the war policies, six percent of Mexico’s total income was shared by the lowest 20 percent of the population, while 50 percent of income was retained by the upper 20 percent of Mexicans. This disparity generated an environment of great social tension, which easily translated into violence. Despite the fact that every one in three Mexicans is under 29 years old, the government has done very little to support its youth. Considering the limited access to education and employment for Mexican youth, the drug cartels and their powerful station hold an appeal. “A good short life is better that a long, penurious one” has become the popular saying among young Mexicans joining the drug forces.

The circumstances of Mexico’s drug problem dramatically changed when the army was sent to the streets. Death and kidnapping of civilians increased, as cartels targeted innocents to intimidate the military.  At the same time, military troops started identifying innocent civilians as criminals, subjecting many innocents to torture or “disappearance.” Terror was inflicted from both sides at a chilling rate: By 2012, an estimated of 85,000 civilians were killed while another 40,000 went missing.

Women working in maquiladoras at the border city of Ciudad Juarez were especially vulnerable, with 2,764 killed during 2012. Fear also controlled the media. In the state of Chihuahua, journalists published an editorial in the local newspaper declaring that it was impossible to fulfill their duties. Primary schools in the states of Guerrero and Tamaulipas were shut down, as teachers and students feared for their lives. The existence of entire indigenous communities in the most war-affected states, such as the Tarahumaras, was threatened. Many of these communities economically depend on tourism, which significantly declined with the increase of violence.

Pain has its limits. The first massive civilian reaction against drug war violence came when in 2011, the son of Javier Sicilia, an acclaimed Mexican poet, was murdered by gang criminals. This event gave birth to the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity and the No + Sangre (No More Blood) movements, where thousands of Mexicans came together to demand the end of the drug war. In the state of Michoacán, “policias comunitarias” or self-defense groups formed to directly combat the cartels, as state police forces were not reliable. Still, to the disappointment of Mexicans, the arrival of Peña Nieto’s administration in 2012 did not change the war policies and the number of deaths did not diminish. Only in 2013, 22,732 murders were reported.

Some things may be changing, however. After the recent disappearance of 43 students from the Rural Training School of Ayotzinapa, national outrage spurred international media attention. As the national situation becomes more and more tense, Mexicans hope that an end is in sight. On a national level, Mexico should look to redirect the gigantic military budget to the educational sector. Attention should be given to a profound revision of institutions, which largely perpetuate and collaborate in war violence. Furthermore, Mexico must come to terms with its human right violations, so that justice is given to victims and tension is released. On an international level, drug users must consider the origins of their products, avoiding the purchase of drugs coming from Mexico. The US in particular should be attentive to the fact that 90 percent of its cocaine supply comes from the drug war and that 80 percent of guns that drug traffickers use are purchased from Mexico.

The lesson of the drug war is clear: violence only breeds more violence. The cycle will not be broken by more military offensives. Instead, collaborative civilian action should push for deep systemic changes. While fear paralyzes, Mexicans have understood that they do not deserve more state-sponsored terror and have started mobilizing.

This piece is part of BPR’s special feature on terrorism. You can explore the special feature here





BEIRUT (Reuters) – Women in headscarves and men in tatty clothes puff on a glass pipe as smoke swirls around their faces. The pictures published by Iranian media and blogs in recent months are a sign of a new drug epidemic: shishe, or methamphetamine.

Shishe means “glass” in Farsi, a reference to the appearance of the drug in some of its purest forms.

In less than a decade, methamphetamine use has skyrocketed in Iran to the point where now about 345,000 Iranians are considered addicts, according to official statistics.

Seizures of methamphetamine soared 128 percent between 2008 and 2012, topping all other countries in the region, according to figures compiled by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Last year alone, the government of Iran confiscated 3.6 tons of shishe.

A top official from the Iran Drug Control Headquarters said last year that shishe could be found in Tehran in “less than five minutes,” according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency.

Shishe addicts in Iran are mostly urban, middle class and young, experts say. Notably, there are a large number of women who abuse shishe, too.

One of the main reasons why shishe use has spread quickly in Iran is a lack of information about the drug, which has led casual users to believe, erroneously, that it is not addictive, experts say.

Struggling university students have begun abusing it to stay up longer and try to boost their performance in school. Women have been sold the drug in beauty salons with the promise that it will help them lose weight, according to local media reports.

“We really had a hard time convincing people that this is addiction,” said Azaraksh Mokri, a psychiatrist who teaches at the Tehran University of Medical Sciences and has dealt extensively with the issue of shishe addiction.

Opium addiction has long been a problem in Iran partly because of a tolerance for its use even in conservative rural areas, and also because of the country’s long border with Afghanistan, for decades one of the top opium producers. Opium is still the most abused drug in Iran, according to official statistics.


Shishe began to make inroads in the country about a decade ago, luring users who preferred its effects as a stimulant to the more soporific opium, which was seen as a drug of the poor and elderly.

That shift has been characterized as a change between drugs which are known as sonati, or traditional, and those that are sanaati, or manufactured, according to local media.

The use of shishe was partly driven by increased development in the country and more complicated and faster-paced lifestyles, experts say.

Initially, the drug was imported but it later began to be produced locally. UNODC figures show that the domestic use of pseudoephedrine, one of the key ingredients for making shishe, jumped from five tons in 2006 to 55 tons in 2012.

Drug use and addiction is so prevalent in Iran that it is the second highest cause of death in the country after traffic accidents, a senior official from the Iran Drug Control Headquarters said in early November, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency.

Iran has some of the harshest drug laws in the region, regularly executing smugglers and drug peddlers. At the same time, the country has had a degree of success in the treatment of addiction, experts say.

“Shishe is something that in a short time, in comparison to other things, has very severe effects on behavior,” said Said Kafrashi, an advisory physician and therapist at the Aayandeh addiction rehabilitation clinic in Tehran.

The clinic often tries to bring families of shishe addicts into the rehabilitation process in order to examine all the social factors that may have led to the drug use.

“The family plays a role here,” said Kafrashi. “In light of the individual’s behavior, the family needs to change their behavior too.”

Still, despite some success in the treatment of shishe addiction, Iran’s battle with the drug is far from over.

“We need to do something so that they don’t die, don’t kill themselves, don’t kill others, and don’t get psychosis so they can mature out and get out,” said Mokri.








A 50-year-old Bryan woman has been arrested on a felony warrant after police linked her to about $14,000 worth of methamphetamine548133c7e6909_image

Lorie Ann Dillon was charged with first-degree felony manufacture and delivery of meth, which is punishable by five to 99 years in prison, following an August investigation at a College Station Howard Johnson motel. She was taken into custody on Tuesday.

College Station police were called to the motel in the 3700 block of Texas 6 just after midnight on Aug. 14 for reports of suspicious activity.

According to court documents, a motel guest had seen men and women coming in and out of a room while the women wore wigs and provocative clothing.

As they watched the parking lot, police said Dillon walked outside, told them she had been visiting a friend and was allowed to leave the scene. Officers later learned that the room had been rented to Dillon, according to the probable cause affidavit for her arrest.

Officers were able to search the room when the motel clerk asked the non-registered guests to leave and found 38 grams of meth, police said in the affidavit. At that time, two of the occupants were arrested on unrelated warrants and were later heard, in patrol car video, discussing something “behind the toilet,” authorities said.

Police returned to the motel on Aug. 20 for reports of a man trying to break into a room. With consent from the current guest, police searched the room again to find 83.6 grams of methamphetamine behind the toilet, according to the report.

Dillon remained behind bars Thursday in lieu of $30,000 bail. It was unclear if the other two guests would be facing charges.






GUELPH–The influx of the crystal methamphetamine street drug has authorities concerned as they watch addiction set in and the community afflicted with spinoff effects.

“It’s a very bad drug,” Guelph federal prosecutor David Doney said Monday. “This is a very serious and dangerous drug.”

He’s increasingly encountering it in the justice system.

“It seems to be becoming more prevalent,” Doney said.B821789846Z_1_20141204211456_000_GQJ1CJLCJ_2_Gallery

Local drug enforcement officers are equally concerned. “(It’s) highly addictive. Very dangerous,” Guelph Police Service drug unit head Det. Sgt. Ben Bair said.

Such street drugs tend “to lead toward street violence,” Bair continued. That’s because the relatively cheap, long-lasting meth gains control over individuals and puts them at personal risk when they run out of means to pay for their supplies or turn to crimes such as theft, burglary and prostitution.

Bair said police have found evidence of such spinoff crimes when executing search warrants at crystal meth houses, notably stolen property and evidence of the sex trade.

Meth falls under the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. There were 433 occurrences recorded in Guelph in 2013, outlined in the police service’s just-released annual report. That’s up almost eight per cent from the previous year.

The focus on crystal meth corresponds with a drop in drug seizures in general, to $731,000 last year from $1.77 million the year before. Bair said while that’s a reflection of the lower street value of meth, police are targeting the drug because it’s a danger.

Bair recalls a time when crack cocaine swept through the region two decades ago, leading to an increase of arrests and seizures.

“Right now, crystal meth is doing the exact same thing,” Bair said, of Guelph and much of southern Ontario. Police forces outside Guelph are feeling it, he added.

Sanguen Health Centre, the regional drug treatment facility operating out of bases in Kitchener and Guelph, has seen an increase in people seeking help for crystal meth addiction, community co-ordinator Jan Klotz said.

She concurred with Bair crystal meth is readily available and inexpensive, with youths of both genders increasingly attracted to the illicit drug for these reasons. Once they’re regular users, getting off the drug is a challenge without counseling.

“It’s very addictive,” Klotz said.

Treatment is available and some crystal meth users pursue it, but getting others to accept help is difficult because extended use of the stimulant makes them wary of others, Klotz said.

That paranoia can be pronounced, Bair said.

Methamphetamine comes in several forms, with crystal meth referring to the smokeable form. Others can be taken orally, snorted or injected. Meth can come in the form of off-white chunks, a coarse powder called “speed” and the crystalline form from which crystal meth takes its name.

It’s different from the speed available in the 1960s, being more pure — and thus more powerful — and cheaper.

It’s easily ingested as smoke and, thus, rapid-acting, Bair said. The nearly immediate high reminds users of a similar stimulant — crack cocaine. But because it’s lower in cost and longer lasting, some drug users are switching to meth from coke, the head of the drug unit said.

Extended use can lead to hallucinations and other strange behavior. Bair said some committed users have open sores on their faces from scratching themselves repeatedly, believing they’re infested with bugs. Paranoia can lead to irritation and aggression.

Bair said whereas cocaine is imported, meth can be made regionally, though he’s not convinced Guelph is home to many meth labs.

Yet contrary to popular perception, meth can be easily made in makeshift setups, like a single large pop bottle and some tubing. Bair is warning residents to be wary of large pop bottles, perhaps sporting rubber tubes, containing an unknown substance with the consistency of oatmeal. Chemical reactions in the bottle can produce heat and pressure, turning the bottles into fire and explosion hazards.

“Any meth lab is a dangerous lab.”

Those encountering them should flee and call police immediately.

“We’ll investigate,” Bair said.





A 25-year-old who threatened to kill his wife with a carving knife and was later stabbed by her has been sentenced in a court in Western Australia’s Mid West to four months’ jail.

Police said Jye Gerhard Picking held the large knife to his partner’s throat following ongoing arguments at their property in the seaside town of Dongara in April.5947396-3x2-340x227

The Geraldton Magistrates Court was told Picking eventually released the blade from his partner’s neck when she made mention of their children.

Police said Picking slashed two tires of a car so his wife was unable to travel to Perth and also damaged her mobile phone.

The court also heard that during a scuffle out the front of the property, Picking’s wife grabbed the large knife and stabbed him a number of times in the hands.

Picking, who is serving a three-year sentence at Hakea for attempting to manufacture methamphetamine, also used his car to hit a parked vehicle that had a 10-month-old baby inside.

The baby was not injured.

In court today, Picking’s lawyer Kate Fry said her client had become angry because his wife had come home with methamphetamine and he had been trying to stay off the drug.

Ms Fry told the court the couple had a “volatile” relationship and said Picking’s wife had also held a knife to her client’s throat.

Magistrate Geoff Lawrence described Picking as a “poster boy” for what “methamphetamine could do to a person’s life”.

He told Picking that the addictive drug had caused “a lot of grief in your life and others’ lives and your business has suffered because of it”.

Magistrate Lawrence said he hoped others could learn from Picking’s case.

“This is what methamphetamine can do … ruin your life,” he said.

Picking pleaded guilty to seven offences and was fined $600 and given a four-month prison order, which will be served alongside his existing three-year jail term.






A three-month investigation into cocaine and crystal methamphetamine distribution in the Nashville area led local detectives to arrest two California men Wednesday night, and to seize four pounds of cocaine and more than two pounds of crystal methamphetamine, according to police.B9315380793Z_1_20141204221258_000_GPQ9AP7AB_1-0

Narcotics unit undercover detectives with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department purchased cocaine and crystal methamphetamine on seven occasions, police said, from Salvador Sanchez, 40, and Jamie Santacruz, 44, both of California.

Police said the men were in Nashville Wednesday and were taken into custody after detectives purchased a pound of crystal methamphetamine and more than a half-kilo of cocaine.

Santacruz and Sanchez each face seven felony drug charges. Both are being held in lieu of $525,000.B9315380793Z_1_20141204221258_000_GPQ9AP79R_1-0

The Drug Enforcement Administration and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation assisted in the investigation.







Port Huron police are asking for residents’ help in recognizing and reporting suspected methamphetamine labs.

The request was prompted by an increase in the discovery of methamphetamine labs in the past 30 days, according to a statement from the Port Huron Police Department.B9315368817Z_1_20141204163711_000_GOP9AHRDK_1-0

“We’ve gone from seeing a couple of them here and there, a spattering of them, to about five in the past 30 days,” said Port Huron police Capt. Jeff Baker.

Meth labs have been found in the 400 block of 10th Street, the 800 block of 16th Street, 1300 block of 10th Avenue, the 1000 block of 17th Street and the 1000 block of Poplar Street.

According to the statement, methamphetamine is an odorless, white crystalline powder that is bitter tasting and is smoked, taken orally, snorted, or dissolved into liquid and injected.

Meth is an addictive stimulant drug that causes a euphoric feeling.

Effects of meth use include decreased appetite, rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, and increased blood pressure, body temperature, wakefulness, and respiration.

According to the statement, people who take meth often have “meth mouth” or severe dental issues, skin sores and weight loss.

Residents can recognize possible meth manufacture operations by looking for solvents, lithium batteries, fertilizer sticks, plastic soda bottles with tubing, acids, and cold medicine packets.

Baker said cleaning up the labs can be hazardous and requires a police officer specially trained in meth disposal.

“A lot of these things are household components, but when you put them together they are volatile,” Baker said.

“They can cause a fire when they’re put in the trash; they can start a fire at the landfill, and in the truck that’s picking them up.”

People who find some or all of these items together should call police.

“They have to be disposed of properly,” Baker said.

Anyone with information about possible meth activity can call the Port Huron Police Department at (810) 984-8415, or the CAPTURE line at (810) 987-6688.

Submit tips at by clicking the TIPSOFT link.

People who are manufacturing meth, or allowing its manufacture at their home, will be charged criminally and made to pay for cleanup, police said.





SAN DIEGO — Seven people, including the last known Mexican Mafia gang member believed to be living outside of prison in the county, have been charged in a drug trafficking conspiracy that included plans to kill three people, the FBI said Thursday.

During the three-month investigation, investigators with an FBI-led violent crimes gang task force seized 49 firearms and several pounds of methamphetamine, authorities said. The operation culminated Tuesday and Wednesday with seven arrests, including Robert Marin, 66, an alleged member of the Mexican Mafia prison gang, who also goes by “Tawa” or “The Barber.” The powerful, highly organized gang is known for directing criminal enterprises both inside and outside of prisons in California.

The investigation began in September as an offshoot to a probe into Sureños gang activity, the FBI said. A methamphetamine trafficking ring, allegedly led by Ernesto Erding, was using the power and authority of Marin’s Mexican Mafia ties to distribute drugs throughout the county, the FBI said. Marin, in return, is accused of receiving a portion of the profits, as well as extortion payments from drug customers.

Erding and others are also accused of plotting to kidnap and kill a San Diego resident over unpaid drug debts, as well as solicit the help of the prison gang to kill one of Erding’s crew over unpaid debts, according to court documents.

Officials say some defendants provided guns to San Diego street gangs.

Several agencies aided in the arrests and search warrants this week, including tactical teams from San Diego police and the Sheriff’s Department.

Six of the seven defendants pleaded not guilty in San Diego federal court on Wednesday and Thursday, while one has yet to appear in court.






A new study shows Wyoming teens are more aware of the dangers of using methamphetamine and are less likely to try the drug even once.Wyoming teens are

The study compares the results to 2008 when they first conducted the study… But the survey suggests Wyoming teens find the availability of meth and other drugs lower today than in 2008.

The survey asked middle school and high school students a variety of questions about their perception of meth and it found meth is now less socially acceptable than it was in 2008.

One in four teens say meth would be easy to find… Which is down from just one in three.

Even the survey shows one in ten Wyoming teens say they have close friends who use meth… Which is less than a few years ago.

Jean Davies of Wyoming Meth Project says, “So many kids when I talk to them in the state know what meth does, they’ve had a relative or a friend. It’s pretty amazing how much kids know. Adults tend to say oh that’s not in our neighborhood.”

Dean Braughton of Natrona County School District says if a student is caught using or selling drugs on school grounds, the student would most likely be suspended or expelled.

The study also showed four out of ten teens say they’ve discussed the dangers of meth with their parents in the past year.






A police dog in the K9 unit of El Cerrito, California, was sniffing for drugs in a drug search at a traffic stop last week when he accidentally snorted a bunch of “suspected cocaine.”police-dog-back-after-sniffing-meth

Sure, buddy—accidentally. Just like my small town’s three cops used to accidentally lose all the weed they confiscated from high-schoolers from the evidence room.

Anyway, after no doubt getting absolutely psyched out of his mind for a brief period, Koda (pictured above) was taken to the emergency room at a veterinary clinic where he tested positive for methamphetamine.

“Depending on the dosage, how their body responds to it, it could be fatal,” said Joshua Del Prado of El Cerrito PD, which, incidentally is the same way dogs respond to chocolate.

Koda stayed overnight at the vet and was released the next day when he stabilized. He’s now back in action on the force, jacked up and ready to get back on the mean streets.

Mone’ Sellers, 29, of San Pablo, was arrested for meth possession as a result of Koda’s detective work.






EDMONTON – An Edmonton man who ran half-naked through freeway traffic before repeatedly punching a police dog in the head was scolded by a provincial court judge Wednesday.10437805

Paul Leclaire-Logan, 26, bowed his head in the prisoner’s box as court heard about his methamphetamine-fuelled night in July that ended with his hand between the jaws of a German shepherd on the median of Wayne Gretzky Drive.

Meth makes people do bizarre and strange things,” provincial court Judge Steven Bilodeau told court.

Around 10 p.m. several motorists noticed Leclaire-Logan running through traffic.

“He had no shoes on, he had no shirt,” Crown prosecutor Christian Lim told court. “He was running around haphazardly. He was uttering things that didn’t make sense.”

One driver parked his Ford Escape on the roadside and attempted to get the confused man to safety. Moments later, Leclaire-Logan tried to steal the man’s vehicle.

“He was trying to help you,” Bilodeau reminded Leclaire-Logan.

Too high to start the Ford, Leclaire-Logan fled to a nearby apartment complex, picked up a stick and broke two windows.

Court heard he ran toward Rexall Place as witnesses followed and a police helicopter hovered overhead. A police officer and his service dog, Ryker, caught up to Leclaire-Logan when he was stymied by a chain-link fence.

After he refused to surrender, Leclaire-Logan was bitten by Ryker, but managed to escape by pummeling the animal in the head, Lim told court. The man and dog grappled with each other through more traffic on Wayne Gretzky Drive before Leclaire-Logan gave up once they reached the median.

“The dog was OK,” Lim said.

Defence lawyer Marshall Gourley said his client had stopped taking medication for his bipolar disorder, “which amplified the problem.”

Leclaire-Logan told court he wasn’t a criminal and hadn’t meant to hurt Ryker. “I was on meth for about four days. I don’t usually stay up that long. I didn’t have any water or food.”

He pleaded guilty to mischief, wilfully causing pain to an animal, attempted theft, possession of a weapon and obstructing a peace officer.

Bilodeau sentenced Leclaire-Logan to six months in jail, time he has already served in custody. He was also banned from owning pets for a year.

“When violence is used against police service dogs, the court must send a clear, strong message,” the judge said.






The Santa Barbara Police Department (SBPD) reported that methamphetamine has become more prevalent on the streets of Santa Barbara as compared to other illegal drugs abused in the region such as marijuana, heroin and cocaine.

SBPD’s Narcotics Unit released arrests records over the past year that show methamphetamine-related arrests have exceeded arrests related to all other drugs and that at one point in the year, there were six times more meth arrests than those for cocaine and heroin.

According to SBPD Narcotics Unit supervisor Sergeant Dan McGrew, methamphetamine is currently manufactured more efficiently in Mexico than in previous years, causing an increase in supply and a decrease in the drug’s price. McGrew said he attributes the increased emergence of methamphetamine to its currently low price.

“Now [meth] is cheaper, more available and people are addicted to it,” McGrew said.

McGrew said the upsurge of methamphetamine in Santa Barbara makes SBPD anxious that property crimes will rise given that statistically, addicts are disproportionately involved in crimes such as theft, burglary or vandalism.

“[The increase in meth usage] should be concerning to everybody,” McGrew said. “There’s concern that there’s going to be an upsurge in crime rates across the board.”

SBPD spokesman Sergeant Riley Harwood said police officers often find children living in drug houses, making the increase in methamphetamine a particular threat to local youth. Harwood also said drugs such as methamphetamine are often found in places accessible to young children, which is an issue SBPD is making a priority to address.

“A thing that has been a focus for us is children that we come across in a lot of these drug houses,” Harwood said. “We’ve been very aggressive about pursuing cases of child endangerment.”

According to Harwood, SBPD aims to focus on arresting distributers of moderate quantities of methamphetamine in response to the recent drug increase.

“Generally, our plan of action is to go after mid-level drug dealers who supply street-level drug dealers,” Harwood said. “We’ve been very proactive about that.”

McGrew said SBPD Narcotics detectives plan to decrease methamphetamine’s prevalence by limiting its influx into Santa Barbara.

“We want to make it difficult to bring in drugs,” McGrew said.

McGrew said he advises residents to help decrease methamphetamine usage by working to get family members treated who are afflicted by the drug.

“If you have family members that are addicted, work toward getting them off,” McGrew said.

Alcohol & Drug Program Director Jackie Kurta said treatment for methamphetamine addiction is lengthy due to its consequent mental and physical damage to its abusers.

“Treatment is intensive and often involves a detoxification process,” Kurta said. “It tends to be the kind of drug that is a very highly addictive and highly toxic substance.”

According to Kurta, addicts experience a dependence on the substance that supersedes all other basic needs such as food, bathing and sleep. She said other side effects include aggression, hyperactivity, loss of teeth and skin sores.

“No good comes out of this drug,” Kurta said. “It destroys families and societies.”






Michael-OkaforAsaba based music producer, Micheal Okafor was caught by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) alongside three other Nigerians based in South Africa namely, Obi John Chukwuenyem, Gilbert Kelvin and Deborah Ifeoma with banned drugs weighing 41.625 kilograms comprising 36.675kg of methamphetamine and 4.95 kilograms of cocaine with an estimated street value of over N374,625million.

They were all arrested at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) departing and arriving Nigeria. Obi John Chukwuenyem who is 48 years old was arrested with 21.695 kilogrammes of methamphetamine found inside his bag; Gilbert Kelvin, 37 years old with 9.980 kilogrammes of methamphetamine concealed inside solar security lamps; Deborah Ifeoma who is a mother of seven and a 40 year old with five kilograms of methamphetamine packed inside foodstuff while Okafor Michael, the music producer was with 4.95 kilograms of cocaine hidden inside silicon sealants.

When interrogated, some of the suspects said they were not aware the drugs were concealed in their goods. Obi John who lives in South Africa, said he ventured into the business so he could pay his children’s school fees

 “I struggle to feed my family by selling foodstuff. Now, the business is near-moribund. A friend met me on my birthday and introduced me into drug trafficking. He promised to pay me 15,000 South Africa rand. My children are out of school because of my inability to pay tuition fee. This is the first time I would deal in drugs and I regret everything. I pray to be out of this problem” he said.

Gilbert, who claims to be into importation and exportation of phones and clothes, said he has five children from three women and has suffered major loses in his business

“My business is grounded and I now live from hand to mouth. My South African friend for over ten years gave me solar lamps where the drug was found. He used to assist me financially and he also promised to pay my children’s school fees.”

Deborah who is a mother of seven said, “I take care of my seven children from selling foodstuffs. I came to Nigeria to buy foodstuffs like melon, vegetables and other local spices. I approached a man in South Africa for financial assistance to enable me expand my business. He called me that somebody would give me some food items for him. When I got to the airport, NDLEA officers detected methamphetamine in the package given to me by the man. This was how I found myself in this situation”.

For the Asaba based musician who was coming into Nigeria from Brazil when he was apprehended, said he was not aware the hard substances were in a bag a friend gave him to deliver to someone in Nigeria.

“I am a music producer. I traveled to Brazil to promote my music label and to partner other producers. I had a successful deal but on my way back, I accepted a bag from a friend I met in Sao Paulo to take to Nigeria. When I got here, NDLEA demanded to search and 29 out of the 34 sealants were found to contain cocaine. This is a major setback for my career and I feel very bad.”








North coast crime rates have fallen in the two years to September 2014, but researchers say drugs are still a major problem.

The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) said there has been a significant downward trend in stealing from motor vehicles, break-ins to dwellings and vandalism in the region.4946216-3x2-340x227

But BOCSAR director Dr Don Weatherburn said the ‘blackspot’ is the increase in arrests for the use and possession of methamphetamine.

He said the drug arrests and seizures are good news on one hand, but on the other they indicate more people are using the drug known as ‘ice’.

“A lot of that is focused in regional NSW where you’ve seen big increases,” he said.

“For example the Coffs Harbour-Grafton area has seen nearly a doubling of arrests for use and possession of methamphetamine.

“The Hunter Valley’s had an increase as well, the Riverina’s seen an increase.

“In fact there are more regional parts of NSW with a growing problem of methamphetamine use than there are urban areas with that problem.”

Dr Weatherburn said the growing number of arrests for possession and use of methamphetamine is very worrying.

“The reason I think that’s a blackspot rather than good news is that we’ve got other evidence from national surveys that suggest that methamphetamine use has increased over this period,” he said.

“There are more seizures of methamphetamine.

“The evidence is pretty strong that we’ve got a growth in methamphetamine use across the state as a whole.

“A lot of that is focused in regional NSW where you’ve seen big increases.”





A Berks County man is accused of selling methamphetamine and using drugs in the bathroom of a Whitehall Township Wal-Mart, township police said.15167696-large

Anthony G. Happel, 27, of Mertztown, was arrested Monday night in the store at 2601 MacArthur Road, police said. Happel is charged with possession with intent to deliver meth, possession of meth and heroin, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Happel was sent to Lehigh County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Store employees called police at 6:56 p.m. after seeing Happel go into the store’s bathroom, crouch on the floor of a stall and pull out a scale and an unknown substance, police say. A manager told police he saw Happel crouched on the floor of a stall and heard snorting noises, police said.

When township police got to the store, they found Happel walking with another man not identified in court papers. Police said Happel was sweating profusely, his eyes were rapidly moving side to side and he appeared to be shaking, according to court records.

Police searched Happel and found a scale in his sweatshirt pocket, as well as three bags of methamphetamine (13.3 grams, 4.2 grams, and 3.3 grams) and six packets of heroin, court records say.

During an interview with a Lehigh County Drug Task Force detective, Happel admitted the two smaller bags of methamphetamine were for sale, police said.






BEIJING — Chinese police and Indonesian authorities joined forces to capturing three suspects and seize 157 kg of methamphetamine, according to China’s Ministry of Public Security.

The Nov. 22 bust targeted a drug trade chain spanning Indonesia, Hong Kong and Chinese mainland cities, including Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Qingdao, said a statement released Wednesday by the ministry.

The case dates back to April, when Chinese police confiscated 13 kg of methamphetamine, popularly known as ice, in south China’s Guangdong and eastern Shandong Province, detaining several drug dealers whose organization was later found to have links to many cities as well as Indonesia.

On Nov. 10, police seized another ten suspects, including several Hong Kong natives, along with two kg of the drug and 1.9 million yuan ($310,000) in cash, the statement said.

Chinese police notified Indonesia’s anti-drug authorities after confirming that another 150 kg of methamphetamine was en route to Indonesia, which led to the Nov. 22 action. The ministry is now assisting the Indonesian side.

Underlining China’s campaign on drugs, a separate ministry statement on Wednesday described of another eight major drug cases that saw 121 suspects detained, 11 drug making workshop destroyed and 191 kg of ice confiscated.

As part of the ” One Hundred Cities” campaign, police dealing with these cases also confiscated 300 kg of methamphetamine ingredients, other drug ingredients weighing 34 tons, 11.8 million yuan and 2.6 million Hong Kong dollars ($335,000).

Most of these cases took months of police investigations and were wrapped up in raids last month.








CONNERSVILLE, Ind. A Connersville woman was arrested Tuesday night on a felony methamphetamine charge by the Indiana State Police’s Pendleton District Meth Suppression Squad and Task Force Connersville.

Tabitha Belt, 32, was served a with a search warrant at 3204 N. Central Ave. and charged with possession of methamphetamine (Level 6 felony) and maintaining a common nuisance (Level 6 felony), according to an Indiana State Police press release. She was lodged in the Fayette County Jail.

The investigation continues.






LEHI — Police officers originally were looking for a man suspected of fraud, but instead, found one reportedly in possession of methamphetamine at a local motel.

Lehi officers responded Tuesday night to assist Utah County deputies at a Motel 6 hotel room on a fraud case. They entered the room, heard the toilet flush twice and found they were in the wrong room.547fc7ab66681_preview-620

Jose Rivas told the officers he did not know anything about a fraud case. But while they were in the room, the officers reportedly found a broken pipe with methamphetamine residue sitting in plain view on the table. Three males and one female were inside the room.

Rivas, 40, was asked by officers which vehicles in the parking lot were his or were used by anyone inside the hotel room. He reportedly gave officers his keys and the police went down with a K9 to inspect the vehicle. The K9 alerted officers that Rivas’ car had drugs inside.

After receiving permission to search the car, officers reportedly found three baggies of methamphetamine totaling about .38 ounces. However, Rivas denied the car was his and reportedly said he borrowed it from a friend.

But when he took a drug test at the jail, it reportedly tested positive for methamphetamine.

Rivas was booked into the Utah County Jail on suspicion of one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, a first-degree felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a class A misdemeanor.






MADISON, WI—John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Brady Holmes, 48, and Robyn Reed, 50, both of Glendale, Ariz., were sentenced yesterday by Chief U.S. District Judge William Conley for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Holmes was sentenced to 12 years and Reed was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison. Both were sentenced to five years of supervised release to follow their prison sentences. Holmes and Reed pleaded guilty to this charge on September 17, 2014.

Using Facebook, Jill Welsh and Reed arranged a delivery of methamphetamine. On March 6, 2014, agents followed Welsh to Kansas. Once there, they arrested Welsh and Brady Holmes. Holmes’ car was searched and officers located five pounds of methamphetamine in a PVC tube. It was determined that Welsh intended to bring the methamphetamine to the Superior, Wis. area to sell. A package containing two pounds of methamphetamine that was intended for Welsh was also seized in late 2013. The seven pounds of methamphetamine seized from Welsh and Holmes was almost 100% pure.

On November 14, 2014, Welsh was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. The government also forfeited more than $58,000 in drug proceeds found in a safe in Welsh’s home and two properties in Douglas County that Welsh used to facilitate her drug trafficking in Superior.

The charge against Welsh, Reed, and Holmes was the result of an investigation conducted by the Superior Police Department; Douglas County Sheriff’s Office; Duluth Police Department; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Drug Enforcement Administration; U.S. Postal Service; Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation; Mulvane (Kansas) Police Department; and the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Altman.

This content has been reproduced from its original source.






A union official representing Hunter ambulance officers has given an insight into the so called ‘ice’ epidemic, describing violent, deranged users caught in the throes of addiction.

The Bureau of Crime Statistics says last year ice or crystal methamphetamine related crimes increased 18 per cent, prompting fears of a deepening crisis.5896028-3x2-340x227

Regional areas, such as Cessnock, were named as the worst affected.

The President of the Health Services Union in the Hunter Peter Rumball said he is alarmed at ice usage levels and the affects the drug has on users.

“The members have attended people, such as young adults, pulling out their own teeth because it makes them feel happy,” he said.

“Of people wandering the streets with a spoon and digging into abscesses where they believe things like spiders are in under their skin.”

Mr Rumball likens what he calls an ice crisis to the fight against crack cocaine in the United States in the 1980s.

He said many local officers have reported ice related horror stories.

“It is well and truly a crisis at this stage,” he said.

“What we’re experiencing now is very similar to what happened in the US with the introduction of crack cocaine.

“Now, if we continue to let it get to that extent, we are going to have major problems in Australia in relation to mental health issues, issues of crime, and issues with emergency services, such as ambulance and police.”

The Director of the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Don Weatherburn, said ice has a disastrous impact.

“Oh it’s a pitiless drug,” he said.

“I mean, I guess there is nothing to be said for heroin, but one thing about it is that at least while people are under the influence of heroin they’re not inclined to be aggressive.

“Whereas, regular methamphetamine use or amphetamine users are on a steady road to irritation, paranoia, aggressive.

“These sorts of things we can do without.”

Mr Weatherburn says combating ice will not be easy.

“The big problem with amphetamine, compared with other drugs, is that it can be manufactured here, whereas drugs like cocaine or heroin usually are imported and so it is a lot harder to control than heroin used to be or cocaine is.”





Rep. John Huffman, R-The Dalles, is calling for answers about the Oregon Department of Education’s involvement in a youth sexuality conference that has drawn fire for its use – possibly illegal — of graphic materials.

”I doubt any of the parents who signed permission slips for their child to attend this conference really knew what the lesson plans were going to be,” he said. “I think this situation just serves as a reminder for parents to stay vigilant.”

Controversy erupted last week after KOIN 6 aired a report about the Oregon Adolescent Sexuality Conference that was held earlier this year in Seaside.

According to witness statements, one speaker encouraged the use of methamphetamine during sex because it enhanced the experience.

A section of a student handout read: “Meth is widely used for a million reasons to have lots of sex with lots of partners for long periods.”

Students reportedly received an online tutorial in programming a virtual sex partner for gratification.

Pamphlets encouraged students to engage in a variety of intimate activities without intercourse. On the suggestion list was bathing together, shaving each other, wearing each other’s underwear, buying an extra-large pair of pajama bottoms to sleep in together, lap dances, and strip teases. “Students were also given tips on masturbation and urged to try role-playing, such as dressing up as a “nurse, school girl or cops and robbers.”

Bob Dais, director of Human Resources for School District 21, checked in with school principals Dec. 2 to verify that no local educators or students had attended.

“As far as I know, we did not send anyone to the event nor are we planning on sending anybody to future events,” he said.

When told about Huffman’s call for a legislative hearing on the conference, Dais said he was “glad someone’s trying to find out what happened.”

Huffman, who is seated on the House Education Committee, received an email from the department of education Tuesday.

He was informed that Brad Victor, a contract employee and director of the Oregon Teen Pregnancy Task Force, had organized the conference.

The email then said Victor was no longer affiliated with the department as of Monday, Dec. 1, but provided no further details.

“There seems to be a shroud of secrecy about this conference and I find that very interesting,” said Huffman. “We need to know exactly what happened and why.”

When approached by KOIN in November, Victor defended the materials used in the conference and said they were not censored.

“The material passed out at this conference is dedicated to preventing teen pregnancy, preventing STDs and also developing healthy relationships,” he is quoted as saying.

The conference, which is open to all school districts around the state, has been held for the past 20 years.

Church groups and parent organizations have protested the program for the last several years. However, the nature of content taught to students largely stayed off the public radar screen until KOIN investigated complaints.

Huffman said questions were raised about the conference curriculum last year but legislators didn’t delve too deeply into the matter due to a lack of information.

“I am not against sex education that is factual and unslanted,” he said. “What was going on here clearly seems to have crossed that line and now we need to ask why that conference even takes place.”

On Wednesday morning, the Chronicle received an email from the teen pregnancy task force saying the group had been the fiscal sponsor of the conference, and about 25 percent of the participants were youth, who were required to come with an adult chaperone.

“The conference promotes community-side awareness and encourages exchange of ideas across many disciplines,” stated the unsigned email.

The email then outlined that the conference content is aligned with Oregon’s Comprehensive Sexuality Education requirements, which state that abstinence is the best way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

However, the email pointed out that abstinence is not to be stressed to the exclusion of other prevention methods.

The email said there was a keynote speaker and workshop on abstinence at the 2014 conference and many sessions were dedicated to healthy relationship skills. To provide a forum for open and honest dialogue about sexuality, the email states that “sensitive topics such as pornography” were not avoided.

“Having discussions about pornography includes sharing information about such material being illegal.

“The conference does not give directives around what youth should or should not do. It provides information for youth to critically decide for themselves,” the email states.

“We hope that youth who attend will leave understanding that they have choices to make — and some of those choices can have negative consequences. We hope that adults who attend will leave with more information about what youth are exposed to in their lives.”

The conference is billed as a networking opportunity for educators, who can learn more about sexuality issues and take that information back to their respective schools.

“OTPTF supports parents’ rights to find out what sexual health education curriculum looks like in their district. There is no mandated state curriculum for sexual health education,” states the email. “Districts select curriculum that aligns with the law and that meets the needs of their students. OTPRG also supports a parent’s right to opt their child out of sexual health education.”

Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin contends that conference organizers could face criminal charges. He is reaching out to sheriffs across the state and asking that the names of students and educators who attended from their areas give him a call about their experiences.

Wasco County Sheriff Rick Eiesland said Dec. 2 that he had not yet heard from Bergin.

He said the potential for criminal penalties exists if “images of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct was possessed, controlled or transmitted.”

“People can’t buy pornographic material until they turn 18,” he said.

“So, if minors were engaged in some kind of sexual activity online then there is going to be a problem.”

The conference planning committee is also made up of representatives from Oregon Health Authority, Planned Parenthood, Cascade AIDS Project and Insights Teen Parent Program.






Kareem WalkerA North Charleston man faces drug and indecent exposure charges after police were drawn to his idling car by curse-filled music pumping out its speakers Monday while a 5-year-old boy sat in the back seat, authorities said.

Officers said Kareem Walker, 32, of Sorentrue Avenue initially told them he was just watching the car for his girlfriend when they approached him in the parking lot of Cheap Way gas on Dorchester Road at 10:30 a.m. After claiming his girlfriend was having a difficult time in the bathroom, Walker eventually acknowledged he had driven the vehicle there, police said.

A search of the car produced a digital scale sprinkled with white powder which Walker insisted was salt, according to an incident report. From there, police said, the episode played out this way:

Walker kept trying to go back into the store, saying he needed to buy juice. When officers refused to let him go, he became irate, insisted he didn’t have anything on him and then dropped his pants to show them, exposing his private parts.

An officer tried to put cuffs on Walker to arrest him for indecent exposure, but he wrestled with police until confronted with a Taser stun gun.

With the aid of store surveillance video, police determined that Walker had discarded 13 bags containing 6.8 grams of methamphetamine inside the business.

In addition to the exposure count, police charged Walker with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, resisting arrest, leaving a vehicle unattended and violating a loud noise ordinance.

The car and the boy were turned over to the child’s grandmother as police took Walker to the Charleston County jail.






A head chef for P&O Ferries died during a sex game after being wrapped in plastic sheeting and clingfilm, a court has heard.

Alun Williams, 47, was unable to regulate his body temperature after being bound and suffered dehydration that triggered a heart attack, the jury at Canterbury crown court was told on Tuesday.Richard Bowler (left) and David Connor arrive

The chef, who lived with his girlfriend, had an interest in bondage and mummification and would meet men online for sex, the trial heard.

Richard Bowler, 35, and David Connor, 23, from Canterbury, have been charged with manslaughter. They also face an alternative charge of manslaughter by gross negligence, which they deny.

Bowler, who has cerebral palsy which affects his coordination and movement, wept loudly as Ian Hope, prosecuting, opened the case.

Hope said Bowler and Connor lived together in a flat in Dover, Kent, with Connor acting as Bowler’s informal career. Shortly after 6 am on 20 August last year, Connor walked into the taxi rank where his mother worked and said: “Mum, Richard’s killed someone,” the court was told.

He mentioned bondage and a muscle relaxant and told his mother the man was dead.

Bowler, after making a phone call to his brother and texting his sister-in-law for help, phoned the police at 5.53 am and told them he had been involved in a “kinky sex session” with a friend who was wrapped up and had stopped breathing, the court heard. He was put through to the ambulance service and told them Williams had taken the drug ketamine.

Hope said Bowler cut open the clingfilm and plastic sheeting to perform CPR and told the emergency services: “I thought he was just sleeping. I am sorry, I should have called before. He takes ketamine and that mongs him out.”

The court heard that Williams was found wrapped tightly from head to toe in the plastic sheeting and clingfilm, with a space left around his nose and mouth so he could breathe. A hood had been placed over his head, allegedly at Williams’s request, and sexual acts involving the three men had taken place, the court was told.

Connor told the police that he left the flat at midnight after Bowler told him he had a man coming round for a sex session, the jury heard. He said he returned at 1 am and Bowler told him that Williams had wanted to be wrapped in clingfilm.

Hope said police found drugs including ketamine, cocaine, methamphetamine and amyl nitrate, otherwise known as poppers, in Williams’s rucksack. They also found a gas mask and ties in his bag. Sex toys, masking tape, duct tape, black plastic sheeting and clingfilm were also found in the flat, the jury heard.

A laptop found in Williams’s car showed he had an interest in bondage and mummification, the court heard.

A postmortem examination on his body confirmed he had died suddenly after body-wrapping while under the influence of ketamine and methamphetamine.

The trial continues.







A woman was arrested Saturday after authorities found an unloaded handgun and a number of baggies containing marijuana and methamphetamine in her pants.

About 4:15 p.m., Deputy Donald Patterson stopped and pulled over a vehicle for driving without a tag on Herring Road, said Lt. Col. Jimmy Yarbrough with the sheriff’s office. Patterson then met with the driver, Terry Ray Smith, 36, and found Smith was driving on a suspended license and had a warrant for a violation of probation, so he was taken into custody.

Patterson then spoke to the passenger, Amber Rae McKinley, 31, and found she was acting suspiciously, her hands were shaking and she kept holding the waistband of her pants, Yarbrough said. Because of this, Patterson asked McKinley to step out of the vehicle, and when she did, he caught a strong odor of marijuana. Patterson also noticed what looked like a plastic bag hanging out of her waistband.

According to Yarbrough, Patterson requested a female officer to assist in searching McKinley, and a female officer with the Newnan Police Department arrived on scene, Yarbrough said. While being searched, though, McKinley continued to resist officers, so they placed her in both handcuffs and legcuffs.

Once they were able to search her, they found a number of plastic baggies containing marijuana, marijuana cigarettes, several grams of methamphetamine and a glass pipe in her pants. They also found an unloaded 25 caliber semi-automatic handgun wrapped in an orange cloth, and ammunition for the gun was found in the vehicle.

Because of the multiple separate baggies, McKinley was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and she was transported to the Coweta County Jail.

According to Yarbrough, once at the jail, deputies further searched McKinley, and found McKinley was hiding another small container, which contained more suspected marijuana and methamphetamine, in her rectum.








A driver who competed in 15 NASCAR Busch Series races in the late 1980s and early 1990s is now facing drug charges in South Carolina.6101953_g

Robert Powell, 49, is charged with possession of and manufacturing of meth, per a report from WCSC TV in Goose Creek, South Carolina.

Per a police report outlined in the WCSC piece, many of the materials were found in a trash can when the trash can was set by the curb for pick-up.

Powell was a journeyman driver who only started more than two Busch races in a single season once, in 1989. That year, he scored a fourth place finish at Lanier Speedway and three other top-10 finishes in seven starts (10th at South Boston, eighth at Myrtle Beach, 10th at Hickory).

He won a NASCAR Weekly Series national championship in 1988.