An Australian mother has been charged with attempted murder after allegedly trying to drown her children in the Murray River.

The body of her five-year-old son has been found in the river on Saturday morning, while her nine-year-old son is in a serious condition in hospital.

The 27-year-old woman handed herself over to police in Echuca, on the NSW-Victoria border, on Thursday night, allegedly confessing her guilt, and telling police of her “intention to kill both children”.

She’s been charged with attempted murder, and will likely face charges of murder over her younger son’s death.

In court, witnesses said she told them that she “had to drown my babies”.

Dale Brooks, a lawyer representing the boys’ grandmother, told the woman was known to local authorities as a long-time methamphetamine addict.

“The mother in this instance has been a really troubled individual, she’s been a long term ice addict.”

Mr Brooks said the accused stole the grandmother’s car and snatched the children.

Police say she took them to the Murray River and tried to drown her oldest son. He managed to escape – and she then attacked her five-year-old.


A MAN was high on drugs when he killed his former partner in a horrific car rollover in the Mid-North, a court has heard.

Mother-of-two Jasmine White, 28, was found dead at the scene on the outskirts of Kapunda, in the early hours of September 27 last year.

Her former partner, Adam James Cocks, was at the wheel at the time of the crash while under the influence of methamphetamine, the Adelaide Magistrates Court heard on Friday.

Cocks, 34, is accused of having hours earlier assaulted her and her new boyfriend, Matthew Lintern, after storming out of her Kapunda home, 82km north of Adelaide.

Prosecutors allege Cocks hit Ms White to the head while yelling he would “kill her” before striking Mr Lintern, 22, in the temple with a metal bar.

The court has heard allegations that Mr Lintern claims Ms White was murdered before Cocks staged the crash to cover up his crimes, but no murder charges have been laid.

Cocks, of no fixed address, is yet to plead to one aggravated count of death by dangerous driving and two aggravated counts of assault.

A further charge of serious criminal trespass had been dropped, the court heard.

The assault charges will be heard in the magistrates’ jurisdiction, separate from the driving allegations.

He is also charged with driving under disqualification or suspension, which prosecutors say is the aggravating feature in the driving-death charge. His drivers’ licence expired in October 2014, the court heard.

Ms White died from “catastrophic injuries” in a car rollover on Tarlee Rd, 5km west of Kapunda, while Cocks sustained minor injuries, including a dislocated shoulder.

The fatal crash scene. Picture: First on Scene.

The court heard that in November, Cocks was jailed for two months and 10 days for breaching his bail and the conditions of a previous suspended jail term, after he was caught with meth in his system at least four times.

Prosecutor Nick Wong also applied for Cocks’ home detention bail to be revoked after the Supreme Court freed him in October last year.

Mr Wong said Cocks had particularly high levels of drugs in his system, that he had a “disregard for the law” and posed an unacceptable risk to the public because of his driving and pattern of offending.

But Cocks’ lawyer, Nikki Conley, argued he should be granted bail because he was “dealing with the grief of the death of his partner”.

 “He does not have disregard for bail, it is a concerning drug problem which he is trying to address,” she said.

Ms Conley was seeking expert opinion about whether Cocks was influenced by the drugs, telling the court that CCTV from a local petrol station shortly before the crash showed him to be “coherent”.

Magistrate Ian White revoked Cocks’ bail and remanded him in custody after finding he had a “demonstrably poor” attitude to bail and agreeing that prosecutors had legitimate concerns.

“I do find he is a risk to the public should he be released,” he said. He remanded Cocks in custody to face court again next month.


Ciudad Juarez — just across the border from El Paso, Texas — has long been coveted by Mexico’s narco traffickers, representing a gateway into the voracious US drug market.

Fighting for control of Juarez turned it into one of the most violent cities in the world between 2008 and 2012, but, much to the relief of people on both sides of the border, that violence has eased.

During the course of 2016, however, the violence picked up.

But the body count wasn’t the only reminder of the bloodshed thought to be behind Juarez.

The arrival of the ascendant Jalisco New Generation cartel, taking up space in the city alongside the resurgent Juarez cartel and the fracturing Sinaloa cartel, leads many to believe that another vicious cartel fight is looming — if it hasn’t already started.

‘The bodies were found later’

The years leading up to 2007 in Ciudad Juarez, home to just over a million people, saw about 200 to 300 homicides a year, a normal amount, Molly Molloy, a professor and librarian at New Mexico State University, told Business Insider in December.

The next year, however, saw a more than fivefold increase, to over 1,600 homicides. That was followed by a jump to more than 2,500 killings in 2009. The bloodshed surged against in 2010, reaching over 3,500 slayings.

The next two years saw declines — to about 2,000 and then about 800, respectively — but the spike in homicides and the response to it disrupted life there.

Police investigators at a crime scene where seven bodies were found in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, November 25, 2008. The bodies of seven men with signs of torture and bullet wounds were found alongside three banners threatening rival gangs. REUTERS/Alejandro Bringas

“The surge in killings was so bad … I would find the mayor, oftentimes, spending part of the day praying for a miracle. The military was brought in, a move that many human rights activists to this day say made the violence even worse,” Alfredo Corchado, a Dallas Morning News contributor and author, said during a panel discussion at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC, in early February.

The deployment of troops and federal police to Juarez was part of a larger shift undertaken in the late 2000s by then-President Felipe Calderon, who emphasized attacking urban trafficking points rather than rural production hubs. This militarization of the anti-drug effort has been linked to more violence, human-rights abuses, and deaths.

“You saw, literally, cops and soldiers patrolling … in various neighborhoods in Juarez,” and other places, David Shirk, a professor at San Diego University who runs the school’s Justice in Mexico program, told Business Insider in late 2015.

“I remember walking the streets of Ciudad Juarez and wondering whether the city of my childhood was dying,” Corchado said.

The violence continued falling between 2013 and 2015, driven down by civil-society and citizen-security efforts, but also likely by the triumph of the Sinaloa cartel in its fight with the Juarez cartel for control of the plaza, or trafficking territory, in and around the city.

“What happened was they killed each other,” said Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson, a representative of the Chihuahua State Human Rights Commission during the peak of the cartel fighting. “So many people died … that part of the reduced violence was because of the extinction of [the cartels’] members, and who survived fled.”

2016, however, witnessed an increase in violence many have attributed to drug-trafficking organizations. The brunt of that increase came in the latter half of the year.

“The increase really didn’t start this year until about August, so that was after the … local election, the state and municipal elections, which took place in July, and then the new people take office in October,” Molloy told Business Insider.

The timing of the spike led many observers to attribute the outburst of killings to uncertainty generated by the changeover in government.

Federal forces keep watch at a crime scene where three men were gunned down by unknown assailants in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, September 27, 2016. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

“In other words, the parties changed at the both state level and the local level after the elections this year,” Molloy said.

“So in general the way the system works is the people who are kind of in charge of the major criminal operations in the city, they’ll have arrangements with local leadership, both in government and in the police, and then so when the government changes, they have to negotiate some kind of new arrangement,” Molloy told Business Insider, describing the way many people viewed the narco-politico relationship.

“It is clear that with the change of government, there also comes a struggle for control among criminal rackets, especially in Juarez and Chihuahua City,” Howard Campbell, an anthropologist and expert on national security at the University of Texas at El Paso, told The El Paso Times in August.

“When a new regimen comes, there usually is a ‘cleaning of the house’ in the criminal world,” he said at the time.

Tremors in the government-cartel relationship were not the only drivers, however.

A forensic team at the crime scene where a body was found wrapped in a blanket in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, September 11, 2016.REUTERS/Jose Luiz Gonzalez

A dispute about the drug trade itself is thought to have spurred on growing conflict between the long-dominant Sinaloa cartel and the remnants of the Juarez cartel that remain active in the city.

“The government, in their statements to the newspapers, starting in August … was saying that the uptick in violence was due to things happening in the local, domestic methamphetamine trade,” Molloy told Business Insider.

“The war is because [the Sinaloa cartel] wants [to sell] the crystal and we aren’t going to leave, there are orders to do whatever in order to not permit any of that,” Jorge, a mid-level enforcer and recruiter for La Linea, the armed wing of the Juarez cartel, told El Universal late last year.

Mexican authorities in 2016 attributed the spike in violence to disputes over small-scale drug sales, particularly of crystal meth.

“Recently, two human heads were found left in a Juarez neighborhood inside coolers … along with a narco mensaje,” or narco message, Corchado said. “The bodies were found later. The mensaje was, ‘this is a warning to anyone who sells crystal meth.'”

‘A new dynamic’

Added to the lethal mix in Juarez is the reported arrival of the Jalisco New Generation cartel, or CJNG. Formed around 2010 from a former branch of the Sinaloa cartel in southwest Jalisco state, the eponymous cartel has surged to the top of Mexico’s narco hierarchy in recent years.

“In this Juarez-El Paso corridor we are beginning to make confiscations and some arrests linked to the CJNG,” Will R. Glaspy, a special agent with the US Drug Enforcement Administration and chief of the El Paso division, told Mexican news magazine Proceso.

“The operations of the CJNG in this zone represent a new dynamic for us,” Glaspy said.

Forensic technicians inspect a body after unknown assailants gunned down two persons while leaving a restaurant in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

“Nueva Generacion and La Linea, aka the Juarez cartel, have formed an alliance to finish off a deeply fragmented Sinaloa cartel and take control of one of the most lucrative routes, the Juarez-El Paso distribution route that supplies chains all over the United States, particularly the southwest, where meth’s epidemic is high,” Corchado said at the Wilson Center event.

“What is interesting is how the Juarez and Nueva Generacion have like a campaign in the city where they say, ‘We’re trying to finish off the Sinaloa cartel to try to keep the meth off the streets because the meth is so destructive,'” he added.

Jorge, the enforcer with La Linea, said something similar at the end of 2016.

“The people that use the crystal only last three years and they die. We are killing people [for selling meth] and that money is going to us, because that which they spend on crystal they can use on heroin,” he told El Universal.

‘Unintended consequences’

Regardless of their sentiments about meth, the cartel competition for Juarez has had clear results.

Homicides in Ciudad Juarez have risen steadily over the last year.Mexican government data; El Diario

Through the first six months of 2016, the city saw 166 homicides, according to the Mexican federal government. (Mexican government statistics often understate the number of high-impact crimes like homicides.)

Over that same period, according to Juarez-based newspaper El Diario, there were 192 homicides.

In the latter half of the year, there were 304 homicides, according to government figures, while El Diario recorded 357.

Government data also shows 46 homicides in the city in January, while El Diario reported 54 killings that month and 84 in February, making it the most violent February in the city since 2011.

“The year 2016 marked the worst year in homicides in Ciudad Juarez,” Corchado said.

“The level of brutality and style of killings are reminiscent of that that was seen between 2008 and 2012 between the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels.”

Many of those killings came in execution-style or drive-by shootings. In late October, a series of multi-person homicides stirred memories of the worst of Juarez’s violence a half-decade ago.

Recent months have seen many people, some of them minors, gunned down in their homes or in bars and restaurants. Authorities have discovered dismembered bodies on at least two occasions since Christmas and came across two decapitated bodies in late January.

The spike in killings through 2016 came as Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman — vaunted kingpin of the powerful Sinaloa cartel — languished in jail after his recapture in January, spending much of that time in a prison just outside Juarez.

Guzman was extradited to the US in January, whisked away from Juarez to a jail in New York City in the waning hours of Barack Obama’s term. (It’s not clear why it was timed that way, though Mexicans appear to be unhappy with the transfer.)

Guzman now awaits trial in the US.

While he is left to ponder his fate, many in Mexico are looking with dread to the fallout from his extradition, and likely conviction (or plea bargain).

In the past, the extradition and sentencing of major Mexico capos has opened vacuums in the Mexican underworld, bringing more violence as those left jockey for power and territory.

“There were unintended consequences,” of those extraditions, Corchado said. “So I think people are bracing for some tough months ahead, not just in Juarez, but in other parts of the country.”


More than 7,000 people have been killed in the Philippines’ bloody “war on drugs.” New Human Rights Watch research finds that the killing campaign against suspected drug users and dealers, openly encouraged and applauded by President Rodrigo Duterte, is effectively a war on the urban poor that could amount to crimes against humanity. Human Rights Watch’s emergencies director,Peter Bouckaert, has made two trips to the capital, Manila, to document this unprecedented mass wave of killings. Stephanie Hancock asked him how Human Rights Watch was able to track the police killing squads.

More than 7,000 people have been killed in Duterte’s anti-drug campaign. What is it like in Manila?

During the daytime things appear relatively normal, and in the middle class areas you’d barely notice this killing campaign. It’s very much focused on the poorest areas. There, the terror is very real. As soon as night falls, the killings begin. At one point as many as 35 people were being gunned down in Manila every night.

How did you and your team work?

We worked from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. investigating the latest killings. There are always two distinct versions of reality: the police version, which invariably claims that the suspect fired on the police, who then killed him in self-defense, and the relatives’ version, claiming their family member was killed in cold blood and that evidence of drugs and guns was planted. Our job was to try to figure out which version was the reality. We had to be very careful because with 7,000 already dead, everyone feels like they could be next.

How quickly did you get to crime scenes?

A vast network of people throughout Manila report these killings as soon as they happen, for example using secure WhatsApp groups. We had to move fast. We had a brilliant driver who’d served as a bodyguard driver for VIPs, so he knew what he was doing.


What are these neighborhoods like at night?

The killings start just as people are going to bed. They normally involve a squad of around eight to 10 armed, masked men in civilian clothes on motorcycles looking for the person targeted, and then pulling them out of their homes and executing them. These are very heavily policed neighborhoods, and it’s simply impossible for a group of masked armed men to go around, night after night, without being picked up by the police. So that really was our strongest clue that all of these killings are being carried out by, or in cooperation with, the police.

Philippine police are falsifying evidence to justify unlawful killings in a “war on drugs” that has caused more than 7,000 deaths.

What do the police claim is happening?

Police often claim that a drug suspect opened fire on them and was then killed in a shootout. But we found instead that people are being executed and framed by the police, who plant guns and drugs on the bodies. The gunmen wear masks and try to make sure there are no witnesses, but we met some people who saw the shooting and planting of evidence. This is an organized, government-sanctioned campaign of executions of drug suspects.

Duterte only took office nine months ago. Was there any clue he would endorse such violent policies?

His “tough on crime” image dates back to his two decades as mayor of Davao City in Mindanao, when he was a cheerleader for killing petty criminals, small-time drug dealers, and street children by the “Davao Death Squad.” Our research then linked the death squad to local government officials and the police. When he ran for president last year, he promised a nationwide anti-drug campaign, warning voters that “tens of thousands of people” would be killed and vowing to “make the fish in Manila Bay grow fat on the victims.” He even said he would match Hitler by killing millions.

He even said he would match Hitler by killing millions.

Is the Philippines’ drug problem as bad as Duterte claims?

Duterte insists the Philippines is in the grip of a severe drug crisis, but the evidence doesn’t support that. The most common drug in the country, especially among the poor, is methamphetamine, which is known locally as shabu. Meth use is roughly equivalent to that in the United States. But Duterte has created this myth of a country descending into a lethal drug crisis and has advocated mass extrajudicial violence against “drug lords” as the only solution to this false crisis. Yet the vast majority of those killed are very poor urban slum dwellers.

If the drug problem is exaggerated, why are so many people being killed?

Duterte’s populist base applauds the mass killings as reducing crime. He tries to scare people about drug problems and then portrays himself as the only solution. Like many populists, he’s built this myth around himself as a champion of the poor, but actually he comes from a very powerful political dynasty. Many Filipinos we met told us they had no idea innocent people were being killed in the anti-drug campaign until their own relative got killed. The mother of one victim told me: “We voted for Duterte, and now he’s declaring war on us – he’s killing us like chickens.”

Many of the 32 victims whose killings we investigated for our report were occasional methamphetamine users, as it gives them energy to be able to work long hours. And a few sold drugs to make ends meet. But women and children have been victims, too.
How do you know police are planting evidence?

In almost all the cases we investigated, the family members talked to us freely about the victims – the bad as well as the good. But they were adamant the victim didn’t have a gun so couldn’t have been armed. We’re talking about people so poor they can’t even afford decent meals, let alone buy a gun. In several instances we got eyewitness accounts about police planting evidence.

I imagine the city morgues are overflowing?

We went to one morgue and they had about 40 bodies in the refrigerator. Many Filipinos are very religious and the proper burial of their relatives is of great importance. But a proper funeral costs about US$1,000, in a country where many people live on $2 a day. So many victims eventually are buried in mass graves.

We met one woman who had just managed to get together money for a funeral after one son was killed. Then her second son was picked up by police. She was told to pay a bribe to get him out, but she had no money left. That night her son was found floating in a local river, shot to death.


Did you tell the government you were coming to the Philippines to investigate these killings?

Normally we try to be as transparent as possible in our research. But this was a really high-risk investigation and we felt it was important to stay off radar. This is also one of few reports where it was is too dangerous to acknowledge by name all of the wonderful and courageous people who helped us.

Did you ever fear for your own safety?

Once, we were interviewing a relative of a victim, and she just froze. A group of motorcycles drove by outside, and she said: “That’s them.” We quickly drove away and brought the witness to a safe area. It was a very close brush with the killing squads themselves.

You’re used to flying into war zones, so how did being in a capital city – far from any battlefields – compare?

It’s very bizarre to go from having dinner in a fancy shopping mall one moment to finding yourself, a few hours later, standing at the scene of murder after murder all night long. One night, I had dinner with a close relative who lives in Manila, and then I left to start my research. Just an hour later, I texted him from the scene of the first killing of the night saying: “It’s started.” It’s really that kind of contrast.



SAN ANTONIO – Police have arrested a man they say drugged, sexually assaulted and forced a teenager into prostitution.

39-year old Carlos Villarreal is accused of getting the teen hooked on crystal meth, then selling her for sex when she became addicted.

“Commercial sex the demand for it is growing exponentially,” said Dottie Laster, executive director of the Heidi Search Center. “That arrest report is scary to think about.”

Back in 2015, an arrest affidavit shows Villarreal began messaging the 17-year old through Facebook.

Between July 2015 and the beginning of 2017, police say Villarreal sold crystal meth and heroin to the teen and she became addicted.

“I don’t think parents know the monster that can come through the internet,” said Laster.

Laster says it’s common for human trafficking cases to begin this way.

She says what makes this case rare is someone is caught

“I would feel like it’s maybe 10 percent of our cases or less,” said Laster.

In the messages, Villarreal would tell the girl she would make a lot of money if she would prostitute for him and talked about locations where it would take place.

The teen told police the 39-year old would take her to several motels on the south and northwest sides where she was given drugs and prostituted.

At some point, officers say the teen’s mother found the Facebook messages about the Capital Motel.

“I tell the moms who come in here you’re the expert on your kid,” said Laster. “You’re going to be the best resource to find them.”

Late in 2015, police say the mother found her daughter high on drugs in a motel room with Villarreal and another man.

The Heidi Search Center says they have what they call digital DNA kits that will help parents keep track of what accounts and website their kids use online.


The Del Norte District Attorney’s Office announced that late yesterday afternoon, a Del Norte County jury found Roger Lee Roberts (54) of Crescent City guilty of a total of 20 of 21 separate charges and allegations related to conduct that occurred between May, 2015 and September, 2015 involving a 15 year old female. The charges were as follows: ten counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with the minor, one special allegation of causing great bodily injury for impregnating the minor, four counts of furnishing methamphetamine to the minor (each with special allegations regarding the age difference) and that the Defendant had two prior convictions for lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14 for crimes committed in 1987 and 2000. Both of the Defendant’s prior victims testified as did the victim in the present case.

The jury did not find that the Defendant, by impregnating the minor, had inflicted great bodily injury upon her. The minor gave birth to a baby in May 2016 and paternity was confirmed to the Defendant through DNA testing. The jury did not conclude that the pregnancy amounted to great bodily injury.

The Defendant has been in the Del Norte County Jail since September, 2016. He will be sentenced on March 30, 2017 by the Honorable William H. Follett. District Attorney Dale P. Trigg, who personally handled all stages of the prosecution, will ask Judge Follett to sentence the Defendant to serve 350 years to life in state prison, which is his maximum possible exposure according to the District Attorney who never extended a plea offer to the Defendant in the case.

“This Defendant has demonstrated a pattern of behavior over the last thirty years that makes it abundantly clear that juvenile females are not safe in his presence,” said Trigg. “First and foremost, I want to express my personal gratitude and admiration to the three known victims of this predator for having the incredible courage to face him in the courtroom and tell the jury what he did to them,” said Trigg.

District Attorney Trigg also wants to recognize Sgt. Richard Griffin of the Del Norte Sheriff’s Office for his work as the investigating officer in the case.


A 45-year-old man could be facing a drug charge after an elementary school student handed out methamphetamine pills on a Quebec school bus last month.

Provincial police spokesman Marc Tessier said the suspect was arrested Thursday and could be charged with possession.

The man was released on a promise to appear in court in July.

Police opened an investigation after a young child handed out the tablets Feb. 20, apparently thinking they were candy.

The incident occurred on a school bus near Saint-Paul, about an hour north of Montreal.

Tessier said one child consumed part of a pill but nobody was harmed.


A woman is facing several drug-related charges after police found drugs and paraphernalia in a lunch box.

The Bradenton Police Department received an anonymous call Thursday reporting that a woman named Trinity was attempting to sell a stolen firearm at a fast-food restaurant’s parking lot on Cortez Road, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Police arrived at the scene shortly after 3 a.m. and confronted Jeanette Trinity Wood and a man. Wood, 35, told police she had no knowledge of a stolen gun. But during a search, police found a .22-caliber round in her pocket, according to the affidavit.

A nearby bicycle also was searched after Wood said it was not hers. A .22-caliber black handgun was found wrapped in clothes inside a lunch box, along with rounds that matched the one found in Wood’s pocket, according to the affidavit.

A note reading “Trinity call me” was also found on the lunch box.

Inside the lunch box, officials also found bags of suspected marijuana stems, seeds and residue, suspected synthetic marijuana, a prescription bottle of pseudoephedrin, suspected pipes and several other drug paraphernalia items, according to the PCA.

A purple backpack, which Wood claimed as hers, was searched as well. Several drug paraphernalia items that matched the items found in the lunch box, were discovered according to the affidavit. It was later determined the items were used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine.

Another bag contained a case for sunglasses that held two bags of suspected methamphetamine, straws and counterfeit money inside, according to the affidavit.

A bag that contained Valentine’s Day-themed candy was also found on the bike.

“You have to have candy,” Wood reportedly told officers.

It was later discovered that a key possessed by Wood unlocked the bicycle’s lock, according to the affidavit.

A total of 116.8 grams of synthetic marijuana, 10 milligrams of methadone, 16.6 grams of marijuana and .1 grams of meth was recovered from the various bags, according to the affidavit.

Wood is currently being held in the Manatee County Jail on several charges including possession a controlled substance without a prescription, possession of cannabis, possession of methamphetamine, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and manufacturing meth.


A 38 year-old Carson City woman was arrested Thursday night at 7:26 p.m. in the area of Old Hot Springs Road and Roop Street on multiple felony drug offenses, a Carson City Sheriff’s deputy said.

Jennila McDaniel was taken into custody for felony possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, felony trafficking schedule, and possession of prescription drugs without a prescription after a sheriff’s deputy made a traffic stop on her vehicle, the arrest report said.

Upon making contact with McDaniel, the deputy noted the odor of marijuana emanating from her vehicle and observed her to be visibly shaking, the report said. Her eyes were also observed to be red.

The suspect denied any marijuana in the vehicle. A K-9 unit was called to the sniff to perform an exterior sniff, which showed a positive alert, the report said.

A full search of the vehicle was then performed and a small bag containing a green leafy substance was discovered inside McDaniel’s purse suspected to be marijuana, the report said.

Several pills, a bundle of small baggies, and a measuring teaspoon with white residue on it were also found inside the purse.

Another bag containing suspected methamphetamine was also found inside the vehicle, the report said.

The white residue was field tested presumptive positive for methamphetamine, the report said.

Pills found in McDaniel’s purse were identified to be controlled prescription drugs, the report said.

At that point, McDaniel was handcuffed and transported to the Carson City Jail for booking. Bail: $20,000.


ALMENA TOWNSHIP, Mich. – A Van Buren County man and two women face several drug charges after a meth bust Thursday night.

Deputies went to an address in the 36000 block of County Road 653 just before 9:00pm after they heard that Warren Trowbridge, 25, may be at the residence.  Trowbridge had a warrant for his arrest on three counts, including possession of methamphetamine and possession of a hand gun.

Deputies report they were using night vision to walk up the driveway without being seen when the came up a vehicle sitting in the driveway with tail lights on. The vehicle was running and Trowbridge was in the driver’s seat. He was taken into custody without incident on his outstanding warrants.

After he was in custody, deputies say that Trowbridge told them he had a meth lab in the vehicle he had been sitting in. While deputies were investigating, another vehicle pulled up and two women, ages 27 and 22, got out.  After seeing the deputies, they tried to leave, but were stopped.  Deputies say that the driver was found to have an open container of alcohol in her car and admitted to deputies she had smoked marijuana before coming to the scene. Deputies found more meth and cash in their vehicle.

Trowbridge’s car also contained a meth lab, a large amount of crystal meth and other narcotics and cash.

All three were lodged at the Van Buren County Jail.  The women have not yet been arraigned.


AVON, Ind. — Federal prosecutors announced the bust of a Mexican drug cartel accused of moving large amounts of meth and cocaine through Hendricks County.

The criminal indictment targeting 17 suspects was filed in January until finally being unsealed this week.

Prosecutors say the drug cartel operated out of Avon for more than a year before being busted last year as part of a nationwide drug trafficking investigation.

One of the accused drug dealers freely admitted his crimes to CBS4.

“Yeah I mean it just happened,” said suspect Roberto Macias.

When you think Mexican cartels, Avon likely doesn’t often come to mind, but Roberto Macias admitted to storing 21 pounds of meth in his Avon home last year before being caught.

“I do (feel bad about it) because I messed up my whole life. I got a record now,” said Macias.

According to court records, 29 pounds of meth were driven to Avon in November 2015 and 30 kilos of cocaine came in days later. Another shipment of meth was made in December 2015 and then again in March and May of 2016 when 60 pounds of meth arrived in Avon.

The drug deals often went down in public places like a Super Target parking lot in Avon. The alleged ring leader locally was Rafael Rojas Reyes. Macias says he was just a low-level courier.

“At the beginning it sounded like I was the boss, but I was nobody,” said Macias.

The drug bust has ties all over the country. Prosecutors claim the operation was directed out of Mexico, with cocaine acquired mainly from California and meth from Arizona. Those drugs then wound up in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Nebraska, Ohio and Indiana.

For his part, Macias denied knowing how large that network really was.

“It’s connected to a cartel. I didn’t know that. I was helping my cousin out holding it for 3 days,” said Macias.

Prosecutors say some of the suspects are facing decades in prison, but Macias says he’s expecting to serve a 5-year sentence when he is sentenced later this year.




A Vernon woman whose family has been deeply affected by methamphetamine is waging her second war on drugs.

Vonda Johnson says her story is about faith, hope and the power of Jesus, not about feeling sorry for the Johnson family.  Her 35 year old son has suffered from drug addiction for 20 years, she said. He has also been diagnosed with schizophrenic effective bipolar disorder.  His mother says, “He hears voices.”

“I believe God has a purpose in life for (him),” Johnson said. “At the age of two, he was playing at Lake Meredith and ran off a cliff, falling about 100 feet into the water.” Johnson’s brother-in-law rescued him. Another life threatening incident occurred several years ago when he rolled his truck eight times near Decatur. “I feel like God protected him during these times, I just don’t know what God’s purpose is,” she said. “But I feel like my purpose in life is to educate others about drugs and how they affect families.”

A girl who grew up with Johnson’s son called  her recently wanting help getting off drugs. She had been beaten and had a black eye.

“When she told me about the meth problem in Vernon and how bad it was, I knew I had to do something,” Johnson said.

Incidents like this spurned her to action in a continued fight against drugs. She is working to raise funds for the Vernon/Wilbarger Crime Stoppers organization. She would also like to see the cityhire a drug enforcement officer, purchase additional equipment for the fight on drugs, and purchase a dog trained in drug detection. She was successful in helping to raise funds several years ago when the Retired Teachers Association purchased a drug dog, but the dog was ultimately sold to Iowa Park.

Johnson said Vernon Police Chief Tom Wilson and former Chief Alan Metcalf have done an awesome job cleaning up Vernon, but are limited because of a personnel shortage and budget limitations.

Several years ago, the Johnsons’ daughter saved both Vonda and her husband, Dan, when the son attacked them when he was high on meth.

“She is my hero,” Johnson said.

Drugs have taken a toll on the entire family, according to Johnson, who said that both she and their daughter suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

 She said that Wilbarger County authorities wanted to have her son enter North Texas State Hospital for treatment, but  he chose to go to jail.

“We felt so helpless, living in a small town where meth was so readily available,” Johnson said. “We did all we could to help our local authorities.”

The Johnson family has not seen their son in five years and are not sure where he is living.

“The last we heard, he was in the Port Aransas area,” his mother said. “We love him with all our hearts, but we also know he can never return to Vernon.”

Help is available in Vernon both at the AA on Indian Street and at the Calvary Baptist Church Celebrate Recovery program, she said.

Johnson said her family has received tremendous support from their friends and family. She said Psalms 31:7 has been her confirmation that God wanted her to do something.  The verse reads: I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love,  for you have seen my troubles,  and you care about the anguish of my soul.”

“I’m not telling my story for sympathy.. I just want help to fight against drugs. I can make a difference and I will make a difference,” she said.


The Changing Face of Methamphetamine

Posted: 4th March 2017 by Doc in Uncategorized

Louise Stanger Ed.d, LCSW, CDWF, CIP

Through my many years as a clinician in behavioral health, I have met many people of all races, socioeconomic status and gender who have experienced a methamphetamine (meth) addiction. When I first learned about meth, I thought it was a poor person’s disease, reserved only for street people or the homeless. However, the people I have met look like you and me. The exception is that their substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders (i.e. anxiety and depression) have led them down a spiral staircase of street drugs, lost values, and money to a lonely existence fueled by meth to keep them up and going.

As the lyrics from Third Eye Blind’s seminal hit song Semi-Charmed Life says, “smiling in the pictures you would take, doing crystal meth will lift you up until you break.” In order words, what starts out as an incredible pleasure ends like a shattered glass, broken and scattered.

Today, methamphetamine is a multibillion dollar drug that, like cocaine, has made its way from rural and poor segments of the country to become the drug of choice for white collar folks. Meth has reached across socio-economic status, race and gender. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), an online resource for substance abuse and addiction treatment, reports that 1.2 million Americans used meth in 2012. And as of 2013, 12.3 million Americans reported using meth in their lifetime.

The use of the drug has developed over time. NIDA outlines the history of meth, starting with an earlier form of the drug – amphetamine – first synthesized by German pharmacologist L. Edeleono at the turn of the 20th century. Years later, Japan created a chemically altered form of the drug – more potent and powerful – called methamphetamine. The United States government, which has labeled meth a schedule 2 drug because it has little medical use and a high potential for abuse, explains that meth acts as a powerful central nervous system stimulant. It floods the brain and spinal cord with a natural chemical in your body called dopamine, a neurotransmitter that interacts in the synapses between neurons, giving the user immense pleasure.

It didn’t take long for the drug’s powerful stimulating effects – sustained energy lasting 6-12 hours and positive sense of well-being – to be used in questionable ways. During WWII, Germany, Japan and the U.S. distributed meth to their soldiers because the drug’s energizing and antidepressant properties treated battle fatigue. In fact, reports revealed that Japanese kamikaze pilots – essentially suicide bombers – used the drug to complete their fatal missions.

Once meth got into the hands of the drug trade in America, it took root in rural and poor areas. Abusers of the drug often experiment with alcohol, cocaine or opioids, and progress to meth because it is widely available and cheap to produce and purchase. And meth’s highly addictive qualities – 99% of users get hooked according to the Drugs, Inc. documentary on meth – make it difficult to break the habit. The drug slowly spread beyond rural areas, reports NIDA, catching wind with the Hippie movement and psychedelic drug craze of the 1960s before becoming officially criminalized by the U.S. Congress in 1971.

In recent years, meth has found itself in the company of tech giants like Facebook, Google and Apple. Now a resident of Silicon Valley, meth has eclipsed cocaine in distribution and revenue. In Drugs, Inc., a documentary-style show about the drug trade (produced by National Geographic and streaming on Netflix), a recent episode shows how cocaine, once the stalwart of white collar professionals, lost its foothold because of DEA crackdowns and Latin American drug cartels’ control of the drug. The drug cartels, situated in Mexico, Columbia, and other Latin countries, must smuggle cocaine across the U.S. border and transport it nearly 500 miles up the California coast. With border control and transportation difficulties, costs have gone up, making way for a cheaper and more readily available drug: meth.

Meth boasts cheap prices, local distribution, highly addictive qualities, and energizing effects. The drug has bargain basement prices because of its split into two markets: one by cartels in “super labs” out of Mexico and the other by average Joes in small makeshift meth labs. Walter White’s RV meth lab in the first season of the hit TV series Breaking Bad mirrors the local meth labs that have sprouted up in Silicon Valley.

Dylan Matthews writes in the Washington Post how these local meth labs keep costs low because they have easy access to the chemicals needed to produce the drug, it is made in small batches, and they can set up shop pretty much anywhere. This makes it difficult for law enforcement to track portable and elusive meth cookers. And because the localized market stays out of the way of the large drug cartels, they dodge the violence that comes with it.

Finally, the meth market appeals to its customer base in the tech bubble. Computer programmers, software engineers and other white collar IT professionals accustomed to long work hours and juggling multiple projects turn to meth to keep them focused and awake. In essence, meth has become the occupational necessity of the digital work age.

Meth, however, is not new to the gay community. In gay circles, the drug is often used as a “party” drug whereby users partake in the drug’s euphoric properties to engage in prolonged sexual experiences, including risky behaviors like unprotected and group sex. Researchers suspect this behavior has facilitated the spread of HIV. Although there is not a proven direct link between meth use and HIV, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, a health and resource center for the gay community, reports data collected from their patients that gay men who had used meth within the previous 12 months were five times more likely to test positive for HIV than those who did not use meth. Moreover, meth is so pervasive that 71% of gay and bisexual men who were surveyed said they have been asked to try crystal meth.

And with the ubiquity of social media and cellphones, meth has found a new conduit for distribution. Gay men have been reported using hook-up apps (i.e. Grindr, Scruff, Hornet) to sell and purchase “Tina,” the slang word used for meth. The spread of meth through hook-up apps has seen an increase of users in prominent gay neighborhoods like West Hollywood in Los Angeles. As such, meth’s psychological addictive qualities and negative physiological effects on the body (i.e. dry mouth, tooth decay, gum disease) can devastate whole communities like these. The issue reached a boiling point when the mayor of West Hollywood, city manager and three city council members contacted the founder and CEO of hook-up app Grindr about it facilitating the illegal sales of meth and requesting the company look at its policies and procedures, according to an article in WeHoVille in October 2016.

With changes in the way gay men access meth, we are also seeing it cross racial lines to Black and Hispanic gay men. “In the early days, 85 to 90 percent of [group therapy program] participants were white. Now most are Black or Hispanic,” says addiction specialist Joseph Ruggiero who founded the first recovery program for gay and bisexual men in NYC, according to the New York Times.

For lower income and rural segments of the country, a turbulent economic climate draws people to meth for its pick-me-up and energizing qualities. The Washington Post cites the Center for Disease Control (CDC), noting that some meth users rely on it to get “increased energy to work multiple jobs.” Blue collar workers typically take on many jobs feeling the pinch of strained industries. And the impact of multiple menial jobs can create occupational stressors – long work hours, constant time pressures, harsh work conditions depending on vocation – which can take a toll on the mental health and well-being of working class professionals. For example, according to a study titled “Occupational Stressors and the Mental Health of Truckers,” 88.1% of the truckers interviewed for the study reported using drugs to combat fatigue and stress associated with the pressures of their job. “You know, drugs come along with it. I ain’t met a trucker yet that don’t do drugs,” said one trucker interviewed for the study.

With some work drying up altogether and America’s economy shifting toward service-based work in the wake of the Great Recession, the Washington Post sums up the issue with a theory that “the rise of meth coincided with the rise of low-paying, low-skilled service work, where people had to work multiple menial jobs to earn the same amount they used to earn in one manufacturing job, or other good-paying low-skilled position.”

Because of the change in the economic landscape, there’s been a spike in women’s use of meth, too. Working mothers rely on a strong stimulant like meth to juggle their sundry responsibilities. A paper published by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists writes that pregnant women who use meth are at particularly high risk of passing on developmental problems to their child. Pregnant women who use meth frequently also use tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, further compounding problems that can develop during pregnancy. Additionally, women who find themselves homeless are afraid to sleep because of the dangers of being out on the street. Meth keeps them up and alert throughout the night, acting as their sense of security. This is also true for woman who may have been thrown into the sex trade business.

The behavioral health industry has responded with new programs to curb meth’s deleterious effects on urban and rural communities. In addition to group therapy programs like the one started by Joseph Ruggiero in NYC, the LGBT Center in Los Angeles offers several substance abuse recovery services including 12-step groups, individual therapy, and a free meth recovery program called “Methology.” For gay communities, most major cities offer some sort of health clinic or resource to find help if you or a loved one is experiencing meth addiction. Additionally, treatment centers offer gender-specific treatment programs tailored to the specific population in need of help.

Online resources are a great source of guidance and help. is a website that removes judgment and shame associated with substance abuse and gives detailed information about crystal meth, the drug’s physiological effects on the body, user stories, and additional resources. Lastly, under the Affordable Care Act, health coverage is available to help meth users find treatment and recovery. Visit your state’s online health coverage exchange to get enrolled if you have not already. Recovery is possible when communities work together to build up our citizens.


POCATELLO, Id. – A Rigby couple was found in possession of methamphetamine while being processed through the screening area at a federal courthouse, the East Idaho News reported.

Around 11:20 a.m. Monday, Pocatello Police officers responded to the Federal Courthouse in Pocatello to a report of a controlled substance found at a security checkpoint.

Officers say they discovered what they believed to be meth and a pipe used to smoke meth in a backpack belonging to Tera and John Mullins.

The backpack contained a small glass vial containing .2 grams of methamphetamine and 65 small plastic baggies, according to investigators.

The couple’s vehicle was searched and officers say they located more methamphetamine in a plastic baggie and three additional glass vials containing methamphetamine.

John and Tera Mullins were each charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver.


A woman arrested Monday could face up to two decades in prison for her alleged role in methamphetamine sales in the Casper area.

Victoria Ball, 27, is also known as Paige Hatch. She is charged with a single count of conspiring to deliver methamphetamine, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $25,000.

Ball made her initial appearance Tuesday in Natrona County Circuit Court, where her bond was set at $10,000 cash or surety.

An affidavit composed by agents with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation alleges Ball was part of an “ongoing and multi-state drug trafficking organization.”

Special agents in December interviewed a man who reportedly said he would usually get his methamphetamine from Ball, having obtained “grams” and “balls” — a ball being 3.5 grams of methamphetamine — from Ball in the past.

The man allegedly told agents he had also sold methamphetamine to Ball.

Through further interviews, DCI agents learned of alleged co-conspirators who also provided methamphetamine. Charging papers say one person brought methamphetamine up from Colorado as many as three times per week.

Ball would reportedly act as a “middleman” in methamphetamine deals for at least one of the co-conspirators, the affidavit says.

The investigation turned up text messages from early February in which Ball allegedly agreed to “look” for methamphetamine on behalf of another person. A special agent also found multiple Facebook messages reportedly related to drug transactions.



A 34-year-old Seattle man charged with raping a University of Washington student in her bedroom last week is also accused of trying to inject her with what he said was methamphetamine.

The victim told police her attacker said “he would make it look like she was buying drugs from him” during the Feb. 23 rape in her U District apartment, according to King County prosecutors.

Asfawesan Dres was charged Thursday with first-degree rape and first-degree burglary with sexual motivation in connection with the assault. Dres — who has a lengthy criminal history and was released from jail less than 15 hours before the attack — was ordered held in lieu of $500,000 bail, jail and court records show.

Dres was charged with residential burglary Wednesday in connection with an incident that happened four days after the rape. That burglary was committed in the same University District neighborhood where the rape occurred.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carla Carlstrom wrote in charging documents in the rape case: “the similarity to the current rape causes concern that this burglary could have been sexually motivated.”

The charges say Dres raped the UW student, whose apartment door was left unlocked when her roommate left for class, which wasn’t unusual because the 21-year-old typically left soon after her roommate.

But on the morning of Feb. 23, the victim was still in bed when she woke to find Dres in her bedroom, the charges say. During the assault, Dres “attempted to inject her with what he said was methamphetamine and told her he would make it look like she was buying drugs from him,” Carlstrom wrote.

The woman, fearing she’d be stuck with the needle, was able to drop the syringe behind her headboard, charging papers say.

After the rape, Dres “even went so far as to use her cell phone to send a text to another individual that made it appear as though (the victim) was seeking drugs,” Carlstrom wrote in the charges.

Dres later made the woman retrieve the needle, the charges say. He apologized and “fist bumped” the woman before leaving her apartment, charging documents say.

She called 911, and crime-scene investigators found an orange cap, likely from the syringe, in the woman’s bedding, according to the charges.

Four days later, Dres walked into another residence about a half-mile from the woman’s apartment and woke the residents when he turned on lights in two bedrooms, the charges say.

Dres was arrested a few hours later at a nearby homeless encampment, charging papers say. A man who had escorted Dres out of the house during the earlier burglary identified Dres as the suspect, and the rape victim picked Dres out of a police photo montage as the man who raped her, the charges say.

A Grand Island woman charged with three felonies after police found 24 ounces of meth in her vehicle in February was bound over to Hall County District Court on Thursday.

D’Ne Rose Brodigan, 36, was charged with possession of 10 to 27 grams of methamphetamine, which is a Class 1D felony. The charge is also known as possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. She was also charged with possession of money in violation of drug statutes and having no drug tax stamp. Both are Class 4 felonies.

Other charges against Brodigan were possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of 1 ounce or less of K2 or marijuana, first offense, and possession of an open alcohol container in a vehicle. Those are all infractions and were dropped.

Brodigan waived her preliminary hearing, which was scheduled for Thursday morning, prompting her being bound over to district court.

She will be arraigned at 9 a.m. March 21 in Hall County District Court.




A federal grand jury returned a nine-count indictment against eight individuals involved in drug trafficking in the Fox Valley area of Northeastern Wisconsin.

All eight defendants are charged in Count One with Conspiracy to Distribute Greater than 50 Grams of Methamphetamine in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846.

Each defendant faces a sentence on this count of a minimum of 10 years, and up to life, in prison; up to a $10,000,000 fine; and between 5 years and a lifetime of supervised release. Additional drug charges were issued against Sanchez, Whitaker, Scott, Pomeroy, and Hietpas. Pomeroy also faces additional firearms charges.

The indictment named the following individuals:

  • Brady Pomeroy (Age: 38), of Fox Crossing, Wisconsin
  • Omar Sanchez (Age: 24), of Los Angeles, California
  • Curtis Whitaker (Age: 24), of Appleton, Wisconsin
  • Zoey Scott (Age: 20), of Fox Crossing, Wisconsin
  • Zachary Hietpas (Age: 31), of Kaukauna, Wisconsin
  • Teng Her (Age: 32), of Waupun, Wisconsin
  • David Ly (Age: 31), of Sacramento, California; and
  • Zachary Kryzaniak (Age: 23), of Green Bay, Wisconsin

According to the indictment, the defendants conspired amongst themselves and with others to obtain and distribute more than 1500 grams of methamphetamine in the Fox Valley area of Northeastern Wisconsin.

Multiple search warrants were executed at residences in Appleton and Fox Crossing, and a business in Fox Crossing.



A birthday nail party descended into a night involving methamphetamine, alcohol, and the abduction and torture of a teenager, the Crown’s star witness in the Dome Valley kidnapping trial says.

Jaclyn Keates has admitted and been sentenced for her role in the attack. On Friday she gave evidence of witnessing the alleged attack, including her memory of the complainant appearing “broken and helpless”. 

Cameron Hakeke, Michelle Blom, Julie-Ann Torrance, Nicola Jones and Wayne Blackett have all denied various charges relating to two incidents where the Crown says a 19-year-old was kidnapped and subjected to various assaults.

The five are accused of varying roles in the two separate attacks, and Torrance and Jones have denied charges of attempted murder in relation to the final abduction where it’s alleged the complainant nearly died from a hammer attack.

Prosecutors allege the victim was also subjected to a vicious sexual assault, which they claim was master-minded by Jones following her suspicions the complainant, who can’t be named, had an affair with her boyfriend.

At the High Court at Auckland on Friday Keates told the court that she attended a birthday party for Blom’s flatmate Leesa Harris, at their Great North Rd, Kelston, property.

They were joined by Jones and Torrance and they all smoked methamphetamine before driving into Auckland city, she said.

“I was quite impaired from the amount of alcohol and drugs, and quite scared,” she said.

“I had an eerie feeling. I just didn’t feel very comfortable in the car.”

At some point during the evening they pulled onto a central city street where Jones got out of the car and returned with the complainant, pushing her into the car.

En route back to the Kelston address the women began assaulting the complainant, including Keates, who said she didn’t know why but she joined in with the assaults.

The women were abusing the complainant for being disloyal, she said.

On arrival at Kelston she said the complainant was forced into the boot, and she and Blom went to collect Blom’s boyfriend.

Keates claimed that on their return Blom went upstairs with her boyfriend, staying there the rest of the evening, and Keates went to the downstairs basement area to discover the complainant naked and crouching on the floor.

The woman’s hair was in pieces on the floor and Jones was holding a pair of scissors, Keates said.

“There was a lot of talking and yelling. Lots of arguing and abuse towards the victim, from all of us, because of her apparently stealing rings, and sleeping with Nicole’s boyfriend.

“(The complainant) just seemed broken and helpless. It was all of us against her.”

Keates said she left after Torrance forced her to sexually violate the complainant with a long plastic tube.

“I pulled away and that’s when I walked out of the room. I kind of freaked out and shut my eyes and looked away. I was disgusted about everything and I just wanted to leave.

“I didn’t want to be around that anymore…I just wanted to get out of there.”

Afterward she sat outside with Blom and her boyfriend having a cigarette, claiming Blom had “no idea” what was going on downstairs.

However later she received a text from Blom, allegedly in reference to the complainant, which said, “the dog needs baby sitting”.

Keates replied saying, “That ain’t no dog. That’s a gutter rat.”

Blom replied: “Love you. Glad you had a good night.”

Keates told the court she didn’t feel proud of what had happened.

So far jurors have heard from more than 20 of the 80 witnesses expected to give evidence.

The complainant is due to give evidence by audio visual link next week.


The defendants have denied the following:

Nicola Jones: Threatening to kill, sexual violation, attempted murder, injuring with intent, assault with a Taser 

Julie-Ann Torrance: Injuring with intent, assault with a Taser, two counts of assault with scissors, assault with a cricket wicket, sexual violation, attempted murder

Cameron Hakeke: Kidnapping, stealing a car, assault with a Taser, assault with scissors

Michelle Blom: Injuring with intent, kidnapping, assault with a cricket wicket, assault with scissors, sexual violation 

Wayne Blackett: Assault with a cricket wicket, assault with scissors, sexual violation.



A friend of a teenager who was allegedly abducted, tortured and nearly killed in two separate attacks wept in court as she described hearing her friend screaming in pain.

Savannah Bell gave evidence in the High Court at Auckland on Wednesday in the trial of five people in relation to the incidents.

The 19-year-old complainant’s bound body was discovered on the side of the road in Auckland’s Dome Valley in May last year.

The Crown alleges she was targeted by a former friend, Nicola Jones, who believed the complainant had an affair with her boyfriend.

Jones, along with Cameron Hakeke, Wayne Blackett, Julie-Ann Torrance, and Michelle Blom, are facing various charges including kidnapping, sexual violation, and assault with weapons.

Torrance and Jones have also denied attempted murder charges after they allegedly attacked the complainant with a hammer.

The Crown claims Jones orchestrated two attacks on her former friend, who can’t be named, including one where she was lured to a West Auckland home before having her hair cut off and being repeatedly Tasered.

The victim was allegedly dropped off at the Bombay Hills afterward, and warned not to come back to Auckland.

On Wednesday morning, Bell told the court she and another friend, Danielle Ferguson, had been with the complainant in April last year when the complainant received a text inviting her to pick up methamphetamine.

The three drove to Green Bay and Bell and the third friend waited in the car while the complainant went into the apartment.

Bell cried softly as she said that over the ensuing hour she could hear her friend screaming and yelling.

“She was screaming like she was in pain.”

Eventually a woman came downstairs and jumped in the complainant’s car, identifying herself to Bell and the other woman as “Nicki”, Bell said.

“She said, ‘who the f… are yous?’ She kept repeating it,” Bell said.

“She was saying it very angrily because she was literally just screaming at us.”

Bell said the woman began driving them back to Auckland city, leaving the complainant behind, and en route the woman allegedly told Bell that she had cut the complainant’s hair off and Tasered her.

“[She said] they were cutting her and other terrible things,” Bell said.

The woman allegedly told Bell that she was furious because the complainant had slept with her boyfriend, and that as a result she had lost custody of her children.

“I was scared, I didn’t know what to do.”

After the woman dropped the pair off at Karangahape Rd, Bell said “Nicki” kept items the complainant had left in the car, including her wallet and iPad.

“She gave us $50 out of [the complainant’s] wallet and told us to shut our mouths [and] don’t say anything about what they did to [the complainant].”

Bell said the next time she saw her friend, the alleged victim, she was back in Auckland but was wearing a wig to disguise herself.

During cross examination Nicola Jones’ defence lawyer Maria Pecotic put it to Bell that she was lying and had embellished her version of events.

Pecotic put to her that the trio had been at Green Bay for five minutes only, and queried why, if Bell had heard screaming, she hadn’t called the police.

The next woman to give evidence, Danielle Ferguson, who was also in the car, disputed Bell’s evidence of hearing screaming for an hour.

“I would have gapped it if I heard that,” she said.

She corroborated Bell’s evidence that Nicola Jones had made threats against them on the car ride back to the city.

“I can’t remember what she said to us, something along the lines of she was going to hurt us, and she was going to Taser us. She was angry. She was kind of yelling.

“I told her we were both pregnant and she seemed to calm down.”

Ferguson told the court she had met the complainant only briefly before that night, but she was “nice. A bit too nice. Friendly.”

The Crown claims that weeks later the complainant was abducted again and subjected to a day-long ordeal, ending with her suffering critical head injuries.

Prosecutors will call more than 80 witnesses over the next three weeks, including the complainant.



A pathologist says a woman who survived an alleged hammer attack was struck on the skull at least seven times.

Simon Stables told the High Court at Auckland that the teenager’s injuries were consistent with injuries he had seen in others who had died from them.

Stables was giving evidence for the Crown in its case against five people accused of the kidnapping, assault, sexual violation and attempted murder of a 19-year-old.

The teenager was allegedly beaten and dumped on the side of a dirt road in Auckland’s Dome Valley in May last year.

Earlier the court was told the complainant, who can’t be named, was “virtually sisters” with the woman accused of orchestrating the near-fatal attack on her.

The Crown claims the complainant was kidnapped twice and subjected to attacks where she was stripped, tied up, had her hair hacked off, was repeatedly Tasered, sexually violated, assaulted with various weapons, and had her finger stomped on until it broke.

Prosecutor Henry Steele has alleged the attacks arose because one of the defendants, Nicola Jones, suspected the victim was sleeping with her ex-boyfriend.

In the final alleged attack, Jones and co-accused Julie-Ann Torrance are alleged to have beaten the victim around the head with a hammer, giving rise to the attempted murder charges.

On Tuesday Stables, a forensic pathologist, presented a three-dimensional scan of the victim’s head, which showed multiple fractures to the woman’s skull.

There were at least five injuries present but Stables believed at least two of the injuries were caused by more than one blow.

He concluded the woman had been struck at least seven times and said the injuries were consistent with having been inflicted by a claw hammer.

The Crown has produced into evidence a hammer it says was used in the attack.

Stables said he couldn’t tell how much force was used in the alleged attack, but said “common sense” had to prevail.

Bone was “fairly hard” and required “a reasonable amount of force” to break, he said.

“It’s not a light blow…I have dealt with cases where these sorts of injuries have resulted in death.”

Evidence from the victim’s attending surgeon John Scotter was also read to the court.

He said the complainant had presented with a “severe, life-threatening brain injury”.


Text messages would be produced that showed Jones texted the complainant’s mother, telling her she was going to kill her daughter.

Jones’ lawyer Maria Pecotic said in her opening statement on Tuesday that the messages were not meant to be taken seriously.

“Look at what was going on in and around her life when the text was sent,” Pecotic said.

“These comments were made in the heat of the moment and were not intended to be taken seriously or intended to be acted on in any way.”

Graeme Newell, the lawyer for another co-accused, Cameron Hakeke, said the victim and Jones had been “virtually sisters”.

On Tuesday morning one of the complainant’s rescuers, who found her on the side of the road, gave evidence that her head looked like it had been “hacked”.

“It looked like [her head] was cracked. I could just see blood on the top of her head, through her hair,” he said.


The trial continues.


Three people remained in jail Wednesday after deputies found methamphetamine, hydro­codone and a counterfeit $20 bill while serving a warrant at the Kings Inn at 3741 Martha Berry Highway, reports stated.

According to Floyd County Jail records:

Deputies were serving a warrant Tuesday for misdemeanor prostitution charges on Elena Morae Blitch, 33, in Room 213 of the Kings Inn, when they found the drugs.

Blitch agreed to perform a sex act for money on Feb. 22. She is also charged with felony possession of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, first-degree forgery, possession of a Schedule II controlled substance and possession and use of drug-related objects.

Two other people who were in the room were also arrested.

Joshua Michael Murdock, 26, of 20 Texas Ave., is charged with felony possession of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, first-degree forgery, possession of a Schedule II controlled substance and possession and use of drug-related objects.

Krista Lynn Thorpe, 28, of 3741 Martha Berry Highway, no room listed, is charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession and use of drug-related objects and giving a false name and address to a law enforcement officer.

Blitch and Murdock remained in jail Wednesday on $10,100 bond. Thorpe remained in jail Wednesday on $5,700 bond.


Shayna Delaney passed a prescription bottle to a 5-year-old child, telling her to hold on.


A 29-year-old woman who was found in possession of crystal methamphetamine after arriving on Guam signed a plea agreement in the District Court, admitting to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine hydrochloride.

Katlyn Breanne Scully and David Michael Sare, 40, are accused of attempting to smuggle 400 grams of the drug “ice” onto the island last August. Timothy James Mendiola Duenas, 30, was also charged in connection with the drug distribution conspiracy.

Guam Daily Post files state that Sare and Scully were tapped for secondary inspection. Scully was found in possession of eight condoms containing methamphetamine, the plea agreement states. Several days later, she excreted additional drugs while in jail.

The plea agreement states that Scully and her ex-boyfriend had brought the drug “ice” to Guam a few months before her August trip. She said her former boyfriend kept all of the money from the transaction.

Court documents state that Sare purchased the drugs before the two got on a plane in California to Guam.

Scully has agreed to cooperate fully with authorities and she is scheduled to appear before District Court Magistrate Judge Joaquin Manibusan on March 3.



Three in drug bust plead not guilty

Three of four suspects arrested and charged after authorities found about 400 gross grams of methamphetamine packed in condoms and saran wrap in a woman’s luggage and purse pleaded not guilty to the charges they faced on Wednesday.

Katlyn Breanne Scully, 29, Timothy James Mendiola Duenas, 30, and Ryan Christopher Mesa, 31, appeared before Magistrate Judge Alberto Tolentino at the Northern Court Satellite in Dededo.

The fourth defendant in the case, 40-year-old David Michael Sare, appeared without a lawyer, so Judge Tolentino continued the arraignment until next week. Tolentino said Sare reported having $10,000 in a checking account and did not qualify for a public defender.

Sare on Wednesday told the court he has no family ties in Guam, no money, no way to obtain a lawyer and no way to contact his family to tell them he is alive. When Judge Tolentino suggested Sare call collect to his family off island so he could arrange to pay for a lawyer, Sare said he has not been afforded the chance to use a phone.

If Sare does not have a lawyer by Sept. 7, he will be representing himself, Tolentino said.

The four were charged after drugs allegedly were found in Scully’s luggage. She and Sare were aboard a United Airlines flight from Hawaii on Aug. 15.

When authorities diverted Scully for a secondary inspection, a crystalline substance that tested positive for methamphetamine was reportedly found packed in condoms and saran wrap in her luggage, with more drugs in her purse, documents state. Scully told investigators in an interview that Sare bought the drugs for her in the mainland and the two were traveling to Guam in order to complete the drug sale, according to a magistrate’s complaint.

Scully reportedly said she was supposed to carry the drugs internally but decided to secure it in her belongings. Police were able to use Scully’s phone to have Duenas meet them at a hotel, under the guise of completing the drug transaction, court papers state.

When Duenas arrived at the hotel, authorities arrested Duenas and Mesa, who arrived at the hotel in a separate car, according to court documents.

Scully told authorities that Mesa was one of several drug pushers who she said worked for Duenas, documents state.

Sare, according to the magistrate’s complaint, has a substantial criminal history in California.

All four face drug possession and related charges. In addition to not guilty pleas, Duenas and Mesa asserted their right to a speedy trial, while Scully waived her right to a speedy trial. They are scheduled to appear in adult drug court on Sept. 12.



Katlyn Breanne Scully, 29, David Michael Sare, 40, Timothy James Mendiola Duenas, 30, and Ryan Christopher Mesa, 31, arrested after 400 grams of Methamphetamine found in air passenger luggage at the A.B. Won Pat International Airport in Guam



QUINCY — Three Quincy residents were taken into custody Monday night on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine.

At 10:30 p.m., the West Central Illinois Task Force, the Quincy Police Department and the Adams County Sheriff’s Department served a search warrant at 821 N. 22nd. Residents Christie Smith, 44, and Kelly Neese, 49, and Janifer Doellman, 36, of 606 Jackson, were found to possess methamphetamine, according to a task force news release. The three were taken to the Adams County Jail, where they are being held.

A search of the home turned up cannabis, cannabis wax, scales, drug packaging and drug paraphernalia, the release said.

Doellman also was found to be wanted on an Adams County warrant for failure to appear on a charge of endangering the health and welfare of a child.

During booking, jail staff saw Smith ingesting a bag containing what they suspected to be methamphetamine, the news release said. She had allegedly concealed the bag on her person, so she was charged with obstruction.

More methamphetamine was seized at the jail, and Smith was taken to Blessing Hospital for treatment. A juvenile living in the home was removed by officers and placed with a family member.

Bodycam footage out of Texas captured a bizarre encounter between police officers and a man covered in dark-colored body paint in an apparent attempt at blackface.

The Denton Police Department released a video showing what an incredibly patient cop went through when he went face to face with 25-year-old Joseph Augustini. Authorities had received several reports about a suspicious individual darting through traffic in the area, but they were not prepared for this dude.

Clearly high as a kite, Augustini demands officers to give him “the whole truth and nothing but the truth” as they attempt to figure out why he is wearing so much body paint.

“Take off your gun, because I don’t trust you,” Augustini can be heard telling the officer. “Take off your gun and tell me I am free to go, right now.”

“Why are you in my circle right now?” he later inquires.

When police finally grow tired of Augustini’s antics and move in to detain him, he begins to scream out for a “witness.”

“Are you trying to assassinate me, Denton Police Texas? Yes or no,” he frantically asks. Augustini was hauled off to the Denton County Jail, where he was found to have drug paraphernalia on him and tested positive for methamphetamine. What a surprise!


DYERSBURG, Tenn. (WREG) — Police say Christopher Milligan is charged with Aggravated Burglary and Criminal Attempt to Commit Especially Aggravated Kidnapping, after he tried to snatch a one year-old from her bed while he was allegedly high on meth.

Police said he smashed a window to a house on Bishop Street Monday evening and grabbed the little girl. But the child’s father, Chance Floyd, put up a a fight to keep his child from being kidnapped.

“She didn’t have any scratches. The window broke right over her. That’s exactly where she was and he just came in straight through the window,” said Floyd.

In his arms was one-year-old Rylee, who escaped a harrowing experience.

Her father had just put her to bed Monday night when she started to cry.

“My daughter, she was crying. So I laid her in the bed. And the bed is right there by the window,” said Floyd.

Before he could even say goodnight, Milligan came crashing through the bedroom window.

“And all of the sudden the dude just, he just comes…arrghh…making noises and all kinds of stuff through the window and grabs her. So I went over there and grab Rylee and I pulled her from him. And we tugged on her for a second and I pulled her from him,” said Floyd.

He put Rylee back on her bed and shoved it out of Milligan’s reach. But the man, who was allegedly high on meth, kept trying to grab the baby.

“I was hitting him while he was trying to do that,” said the father.

Milligan lives next door to the family he terrorized. A family member told News Channel 3, Milligan is addicted to meth and had been acting very strange all day Monday.

Floyd said during their struggle Milligan believed Rylee was “his” son.

“He kept screaming, ‘Give me my son, give me my son, that’s my son.’ And, ‘You switched his body with her body.’ Whenever I showed him, I showed him my daughter and said like, ‘This is my daughter,'” explained Floyd.

While the window was quickly repaired, broken pieces of glass still remain.They remind Chance and Rylee’s mom April that things could have ended tragically. And that’s something Floyd said he won’t let happen.

I’m fixin’ to try and get some kind of weapon. Cause that don’t need to happen,” he said.

Milligan was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon in Dyersburg City Court.