(CNN)—Mexico’s most notorious drug lord now has one more nefarious title: serial prison escapee.

Authorities are scrambling to find Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman after his stunning escape from a maximum-security prison west of Mexico City.

The leader of the Sinaloa cartel stepped into a shower Saturday night, crawled through a hole and vanished through a mile-long tunnel apparently built just for him.150713224251-mexico-el-chapo-guzman-medium-plus-169

Mexico’s government is offering a reward of up to 60 million pesos ($3.8 million) for information leading to his capture, the country’s attorney general told reporters Monday, releasing what she said was a recent photograph of the cartel kingpin.

The image shows the Sinaloa cartel chief with a shaved head and face — and without the trademark mustache he sported when authorities nabbed him last year.

Mexican authorities released what they said was a recent photograph of escaped drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman as they announced a reward for information leading to his capture.

Mexico’s interior minister said Monday that he’d fired the prison’s director, and he vowed the government won’t stop until Guzman is behind bars again. But right now, the cartel kingpin’s whereabouts are anyone’s guess.

How he did it

Guzman, whose nickname means “Shorty,” has pulled off an elaborate escape from a maximum-security prison before. In 2001, he managed to break free while reportedly hiding in a laundry cart. It took authorities 13 years to catch him — sleeping at a Mexican beach resort.

This time, during his escape from Altiplano federal prison in Almoloya de Juárez, officials believe he took a much more sophisticated route: a tunnel complete with lighting, ventilation and even a modified motorcycle on tracks “that was likely used to remove dirt during the excavation and transport the tools for the dig,” Mexican National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said.

The tunnel began with a 50-by-50-centimeter (20-by-20-inch) opening inside the shower of Guzman’s cell, Rubido said. The tunnel stretched for about a mile and ended inside a half-built house

To pull off the escape, it’s likely the Sinaloa cartel had spent years infiltrating the country’s prison system, a Mexican official told CNN on Monday. Whoever helped in the plot likely had the architectural plans for the prison that pointed them toward the shower area, the official said.

As authorities detailed the evidence they’d found pointing to Guzman’s escape through the underground passageway, one drug war expert questioned Monday whether the notorious kingpin even used the tunnel at all.

“If he went out that tunnel, it was with an armed escort, most likely a mix of prison guards and his own people, if the past is prologue,” said Don Winslow, who’s tracked Guzman’s career for 15 years and wrote about a fictional version of the famed kingpin’s 2001 escape in his recent novel “The Cartel.”

“My bet is that he went out the front gate, and the tunnel was a tissue-thin face-saving device for Mexican officials, the motorcycle a dramatic improvement over the laundry cart.”

How did Guzman slip by the prison’s extensive network of security systems?

It’s likely prison workers played a role, Mexican Interior Minister Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong said Monday as he announced that he’d fired the prison’s director and other prison officials as authorities continue their investigation.

Guzman, he said, was inside a cell with 24-hour hour closed circuit video surveillance and a bracelet that monitored his every move. The video system, he said, had two blind spots that Guzman exploited. And he left the bracelet behind before he crawled into the tunnel and made his getaway.

Mexico’s attorney general said Monday that 34 people had been questioned in connection with the escape. And the country’s interior minister asked for help from the public in tracking Guzman down.

Where could he be?

It’s possible Guzman is hiding out in the sprawling metropolis of Mexico City while the search is hot, a Mexican official told CNN.

But in the end, the official said it’s likely Guzman will head back to his home turf in the Sinaloa region on the Pacific Coast, where there’s a vast network of local residents who will help him stay out of harm’s way. Just like the late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden famously hid in a remote, mountainous area of Afghanistan, Guzman is believed to have found refuge at times during his past stints on the lam in rugged mountain areas of Mexico.

“It’s like Tora-Bora there,” the official said.

No matter where he’s hiding, time is of the essence, according to Mike Braun, a former chief of operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration who spent years tracking and gathering evidence on Guzman.

“The first 72 hours (after the escape) are extraordinarily important here,” he told CNN’s “Erin Burnett: Outfront.” “And if they don’t get their hands on him then, I don’t know, we may never see this guy again.”

U.S. official: We told you so

Guzman has been a nightmare for both sides of the border. He reigns over a multibillion dollar global drug empire that supplied much of the marijuana, cocaine and heroin sold on the streets of the United States.

“In addition to his crimes in Mexico, he faces multiple drug trafficking and organized crime charges in the United States,” Lynch said. “The U.S. government stands ready to work with our Mexican partners to provide any assistance that may help support his swift recapture.”

U.S. officials are livid about Guzman’s escape. When he was arrested in Mexico last year, the United States asked to have him extradited, in part because of concerns of a prison escape.

“This is exactly why we argued for his extradition,” a U.S. law enforcement official said, adding that the escape shows “the strength of the cartel and his ability to pay people off.”

“If this guy can get out of prison, it shows how deep the corruption is there,” the official said.

The Mexican official who spoke with CNN on Monday bristled at that claim, noting that two murderers recently escaped from a New York prison.

Why corruption is so rampant

CNN legal analyst Danny Cevallos, who has lived in Sinaloa, said bribes can often sway Mexican authorities.

“Things are just different in Mexico from a legal perspective and a law enforcement perspective than they are stateside,” Cevallos said. “It’s not uncommon, even if you get stopped in the street, to hand over a roll of pesos to be able to go on your way.”

Concerns that Mexican police officers and other law enforcement officials could be on the take has been a longstanding issue in the drug war.

“We worried about the level of corruption,” former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told CNN Monday as he described U.S. efforts to cooperate with Mexico during his tenure.

And bribing authorities is even easier when you’re a wealthy kingpin like Guzman. His carefully planned 2001 prison escape allegedly cost him $2.5 million in cooperation, according to Malcolm Beith’s book “Last Narco.”

Yet sometimes, authorities succumb to bribes not out of greed, but out of fear — especially when they’re handling someone as powerful as Guzman.

“It’s estimated that he may have murdered or ordered the murders of more than 10,000 people,” said Tom Fuentes, a CNN law enforcement analyst and a former assistant director of the FBI.

“So this is not somebody who is playing around with prison officials,” he said. “He pretty much controls what he wants to do, and they go along with it. They look the other way to keep their families alive.”

‘A complete savage’

Guzman heads the Sinaloa cartel, which the U.S. Justice Department says is “one of the world’s most prolific, violent and powerful drug cartels.” It says Guzman was considered the world’s most powerful drug lord until his arrest in Mexico in February 2014.

“He is a complete savage,” Fuentes said. “What they do, and how they do business, is based on complete terror. … They kill journalists, politicians, police officers, corrections officers. And then not just that person, but every member of their family.”

The Sinaloa cartel moves drugs by land, air and sea, including cargo aircraft, private aircraft, buses, fishing vessels and even submarines, the Justice Department has said.

The cartel has become so powerful that Forbes magazine listed Guzman among the ranks of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in its 2009 list of “self-made” billionaires. Guzman’s estimated fortune at the time was $1 billion.


(CNN) —After Mexico’s most notorious drug lord stepped into a shower and slipped into a tunnel to escape from a maximum-security prison, authorities vowed it wouldn’t be long before the Sinaloa cartel chief was behind bars again.

Prison security cameras last recorded images of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman on Saturday night, just before he apparently crawled through a hole in the shower area of his cell block at the Altiplano Federal Prison.El-Chapo-jpg

Authorities said they later discovered a lighted and ventilated tunnel nearly a mile long that stretched from the prison to a half-built house, where investigators were searching for signs of Guzman’s whereabouts Sunday.

Now a massive manhunt is underway to find Guzman, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said.

Speaking to reporters Sunday from France, where he is traveling on a state visit, Peña Nieto avoided mentioning the drug lord by name, but he said he was closely following news of the escape of a man who has been among the most wanted criminals in Mexico and around the world.

Peña Nieto said he was “deeply troubled” by “a very unfortunate event that has outraged Mexican society.” He vowed that his government would recapture Guzman, step up prison security and investigate whether any prison workers helped the kingpin break out.

“This represents, without a doubt, an affront to the Mexican state, but also I am confident that the institutions of the Mexican state, particularly those in charge of public safety, are at the level, with the strength and determination, to recapture this criminal,” Peña Nieto said.

Guzman is the storied boss of one of the world’s most powerful and deadly drug trafficking operations.

He escaped in 2001 from a high-security prison in a laundry cart and was not apprehended again until 2014, when he was arrested at a Mexican beach resort.

News that he’d somehow managed to break out again drew sharp condemnation at home from Peña Nieto’s political opponents and abroad from U.S. officials, who’d pushed for his extradition.

“One would have assumed that he would have been the most watched criminal in the world, and apparently, that just didn’t happen. This is a huge embarrassment for the Mexican government,” said Ana Maria Salazar, a security analyst and former Pentagon counternarcotics official. “Obviously it’s going to raise a lot of questions as to what’s happening with the Mexican criminal justice system.”

‘The world’s most powerful drug lord’

Guzman heads the Sinaloa Cartel, which the U.S. Justice Department describes as “one of the world’s most prolific, violent and powerful drug cartels.” It says Guzman was “considered the world’s most powerful drug lord until his arrest in Mexico in February 2014.”

“The Sinaloa Cartel moves drugs by land, air, and sea, including cargo aircraft, private aircraft, submarines and other submersible and semi-submersible vessels, container ships, supply vessels, go-fast boats, fishing vessels, buses, rail cars, tractor trailers, trucks, automobiles, and private and commercial interstate and foreign carriers,” the Justice Department said earlier this year.

The trafficking network keeps U.S. drug agents busy. In January, the Justice Department unsealed indictments naming 60 members of the cartel, including Guzman’s son, Ivan Archivaldo Guzman-Salazar, aka “El Chapito.”

The main indictment said the cartel imported cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, other drugs and the chemicals necessary to process methamphetamine into Mexico from various countries, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California said in a news release.

The drugs were then smuggled into San Diego for distribution throughout the United States, the statement said, adding that money was then laundered through a variety of means.

In just one phase of the investigation, which the Justice Department said spanned eight countries and a dozen U.S. states, authorities seized more than 1,400 pounds of methamphetamine, almost 3,000 pounds of cocaine, 12.2 tons of marijuana and 5,500 oxycodone pills, along with $14.1 million.

Also this year, federal authorities announced: Thirty-one people were charged in February with conspiring to launder $100 million for the Sinaloa Cartel in a cash-for-gold scheme; Jose Rodrigo Arechiga-Gamboa, an alleged Sinaloa kingpin who goes by “Chino Antrax,” pleaded guilty in federal court in May to helping coordinate the shipment of tons of marijuana and cocaine into the U.S.; and last month, U.S. officials announced indictments against a Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based trafficking network with ties to Sinaloa.

Toluca International Airport closed

In Mexico, the diminutive Guzman became a larger-than-life figure as he eluded authorities while expanding a drug empire that spanned the world. His life story became the topic of best-selling books and the subject of adoring songs known as narcocorridos.

In the United States, he is wanted on multiple federal drug trafficking and organized crime charges.

His nickname, which means “Shorty,” matches his 5-foot-6-inch frame.

The statement from the National Security Commission said that, at 8:52 p.m. Saturday, surveillance cameras at the Altiplano federal prison saw Guzman approaching a shower area in which prisoners also wash their belongings.

When Guzman was not seen again for some time, officials checked his cell, found it empty, and issued an alert.

Altiplano is a maximum security prison in south central Mexico.

Officials not only launched a manhunt, they also closed Toluca International Airport, a 45-minute drive away.


A 24-year-old Mesa woman was arrested June 30 on the on the 700 block of North Santa Barbara Road on suspicion of theft, identity theft, credit card theft, and three counts of fugitive from justice, according to a police report.

The woman approached the victim at Tempe Market Place and grabbed the victim’s purse which was sitting on the table, police reported. The purse contained a debit card, a credit card and her identification card, police reported.

The woman ran to a vehicle which was waiting for her to get in to flee the area, according to the report.

As she was running, however, she dropped her cell phone providing officers and owner of the purse details about her identity and pictures of herself to help further the identification process, according to the report.

A witness saw the woman taking the purse and fleeing from the scene and tried to write down the license plate number and noting that the plate had been removed, police reported.

The witness picked the woman out of a lineup, according to the report.  The witness was not able to identify the driver of the car, according to the report.

Officers also identified her through the Facebook photos found on her phone, police reported.

Minutes later the theft the card was used at a local QuikTrip to fill up gas, according to the report. The camera at the station recorded her doing the transaction, her driver remaining in the car, police reported.

She then used the debit card and stolen identification to withdraw $50 in cash, police reported.

After contacted the woman admitted she had been high on meth and refused to identify the driver, according to the report. She also said they used the $50 to buy meth, smoke it and then go to the casino, police reported.

She told officers the driver was a female with short hair and would be honest about what she had done, but not identify the driver, according to the report.

The woman was transported to Tempe City Jail, where she was booked and held to see a judge, police reported.


LAWRENCE COUNTY KY – Police are investigating a meth lab that was found in a Super 8 motel in Louisa, KY.

On Sunday, July 12, police were dispatched to investigate a room in the motel. They had received a complaint that a tenant was cooking food in his room. Later, a second call came in dispatching a fire department to respond to the scene.

The tenant, had been renting the room and was not at the scene at the time this was taking place.

Everyone at the motel was evacuated from the area.

After further investigation, officers determined that there was a working meth lab in the bathroom.

Louisa police department contacted Kentucky State Police mobile meth unit to disassemble the lab. “We do have a suspect and will be following up with charges on that person,” stated Chief Greg Fugitt.


A man and his nephew in California got a little more than they expected when they won an auction for an abandoned storage unit.

At Cubesmart in Rancho Cordova, units are auctioned when renters default on them for longer than 45 days, according to NBC affiliate KCRA. Some people buy these units and resell them for a profit.

The two men won one of the units with an $80 bid, according to the station. However, it contained a box full of hazardous, old-fashioned equipment used to make meth.

Narcotics officers told the station that the material was so toxic, hazmat specialists had to be called out.

Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department detectives are not sure if the lab was operated on site, but they are now looking for the original owners of the unit, according to KCRA.

A message for comment left with Cubesmart was not immediately returned.



Pity the poor tweaker! I know I do. It’s hard not to feel at least some sympathy for your average methamphetamine addict, what with the missing teeth and all. There but for the grace of God go I, and according to the latest Shasta County Grand Jury report released last month, as an increasing number of our fellow citizens are choosing to follow this path, hooked on a substance so diabolical, in some parts it is known as Satan dust.

According to the grand jury, Shasta County needs more substance-abuse treatment facilities to address this growing scourge. I concur. No one sets out on life’s journey to become a crank fiend. These folks are victims of their own bad decisions and circumstance and deserve kindness, understanding and tough love, even the lowliest chizel head.

But listen up crankensteins: If you ever set up a meth lab in my backyard again, I’m turning you into the law.

I’m not talking about my backyard per se, but the local swimming hole a couple of miles away on South Cow Creek. It’s one of the few streams with public access in eastern Shasta County that features water deep enough in which to swim. There are several spots along the banks where families and other locals hang out on hot summer days. Pines, oaks and dense foliage hem in the stream on both sides as it cuts through a deep gulch on its way to the Sacramento River.

A couple of weeks ago on a sizzling afternoon I was hiking along the creekside trail when I came upon a large mound of refuse blocking the way. At first I figured it was a homeless encampment. I saw bulging black plastic garbage bags, what appeared to be old moldy sheets and bedding, a few plastic soda bottles, an empty Bud Lite can and an old tennis shoe.

Then I looked to my left and saw the pile of rusty camp fuel cans and empty drain cleaner bottles and instantly knew I’d stumbled upon a makeshift outdoor meth lab.

I Called the Sheriff

My first impulse was to clean up the mess, load it in the truck and cart it off to the transfer station. I’m always picking up after other people’s messes at the swimming hole anyway (thanks neighbors). Then I wondered what if the transfer station won’t accept the potentially toxic waste? What if I get pulled over by the sheriff with a pickup load of used methamphetamine makings? Disposing of the lab wasn’t going to be that simple.

I’m not someone predisposed to calling the police. Live and let live is my philosophy. But the more I thought about the crank lab right here in the middle of my woods — woods so bone-dry they will burst into flames with the first errant spark — the angrier I got. Everyone knows manufacturing meth is a potentially explosive process. Everyone but the geeked-out scatterheads brewing crystal in my backyard.

So I did the thing I always tell people not to do, and called the Shasta County Sheriff’s Department.

To the department’s credit, an officer from the Shasta Interagency Narcotics Task Force immediately returned my phone call, and little more than an hour later, he and another investigator, riding in a nice shiny new pickup truck, met me at the swimming hole. My right hand was in a cast so I couldn’t take down their names or take notes, but I wasn’t acting as a journalist anyway. I was doing my duty as a fine, upstanding citizen.

They were big men, and when we shook hands, my left hand disappeared into theirs like they were meat gloves. I showed them the trailhead and followed them back 100 yards or so to the meth lab. One of them put on a size XXL rubber glove and poked at the debris with a stick, upturning plastic ziplock baggies, squares of bed sheeting stained with a gray pasty substance, the bottles of drain cleaner and the rusting empty cans of camp fuel. The two conferred and agreed it was definitely a meth lab, probably more than two years old.

They seemed disappointed and I wondered if it was because I’d exaggerated the number of cans and bottles I’d observed by a factor of four or five. What had looked like 40 cans of camp fuel turned out to be 10. Fifty bottles of drain cleaner turned out to be an even dozen. What can I say? I get excited sometimes, like when someone is trying to burn down the forest.

The investigators somewhat forlornly conceded there hasn’t been a big meth lab bust in Redding for 10 years; most of the methamphetamine is coming in through Mexico these days. They told me the abandoned lab posed no toxic hazard but suggested I could call the county Environmental Health Division if I was worried about disposing of it myself. They sure didn’t seem inclined to load it in the back of their shiny new pickup truck. They asked me which way was quickest back to town, I pointed east, and they left me holding the bag.

Don’t Fear the Tweaker

According to the Shasta County Grand Jury report, methamphetamine addicts possess “insensitivity to pain” and “superhuman strength” after “speed-balling” their drug of choice with heroin. Although heroin use also appears to be on the rise in Shasta County, I’m pretty sure the grand jury is confusing speedballs with PCP, the infamous animal tranquilizer that enables users to jump tall buildings in a single bound. Sketch monsters are much more likely to be malnourished than malevolent. However, a word of caution: If crank is cooking, there’s a good chance firearms are on hand.

Back in 2002 I spent the night in a cramped travel trailer somewhere in the Butte County foothills, watching a trio of armed felons cook up a batch of pure methamphetamine. Their chemistry set was cobbled together from discarded flasks, mason jars and aquarium tubing. Things could have spun out any number of ways. I might have succumbed to lethal ammonia fumes. The trailer could have exploded. The sheriff might have turned up. It remains one of the most dangerous stories I’ve ever worked on.

The chemicals used on that night included sodium hydroxide, which can be found in cleaning products such as lye and liquid drain opener. That’s why I knew I was looking at a meth lab when I spotted the bottles of drain cleaner beside the trail. Methanol, toluene, acetone and a host of caustic and toxic chemicals can be used, and whatever the sketch artists here were using went right into the ground then right into South Cow Creek, which provides water to all the ranches and farms between here and the Sacramento River.

The Archaeology of Shake and Bake

Several days after SINTF’s visit, I returned to the abandoned meth lab with a waste disposal bin, garbage bags, a trash grabber, rubber gloves and a refreshed memory of clandestine methamphetamine chemistry.

There are hundreds of formulas for methamphetamine on the internet, each designed to take advantage of the available ingredients in a given geographical region. Most feature the over-the-counter cold medication pseudoephedrine as a precursor, which is why you’re only allowed to buy three boxes at a time at the drug store. This is combined with various household and industrial chemicals, which can become hard to obtain legally once the authorities catch on to the recipe.

The formula used in the meth lab I spent the night in is known as the red phosphorus/iodine synthesis, or RPI. During the process, red phosphorus is converted to highly toxic and explosive phosphene gas. That’s the stuff that makes camping trailers go boom. As the two SINTF agents informed me, the government has severely restricted the purchase of red phosphorus and today it’s almost impossible to get in California. Clandestine chemists have been forced to obtain red phosphorous from road flares or matchbook striker pads.

But as in any free market, a new more efficient method has supplanted RPI. It’s called “shake and bake” and all you need to cook a fat sack of dope is a few blister packs of cold pills, camp fuel, drain cleaner, lithium stripped from alkaline batteries and a couple of plastic soda bottles. The method appears to have originated in the rural South a decade ago and has since spread to the western United States. The lab I found on South Cow Creek employed the shake and bake method.

Lithium explodes on contact with water and is the key to the method. First a plastic soda bottle is filled with camp fuel. Then lithium strips are added so the fuel covers the strips—moisture in the air can ignite the volatile substance. Water is then added, the bottle is capped and then shaken gently to encourage the chemical reaction. As the mixture begins to literally boil, the bottle becomes pressurized by ammonia gas. Unless the gas is carefully bled off using the bottle cap, the bottle will explode. That’s why battery benders prefer to work outdoors.

After the reaction runs its course, the residue is collected. Several more chemicals depending upon the formula are mixed using a second plastic bottle and coffee filters or strips of bed sheeting. The method is far simpler than RPI, yields more methamphetamine, uses less pseudoephedrine and requires no expensive lab equipment. It is sometimes called the “one-pot” method.

Many of these tell-tale signs were evident at the South Cow Creek site, which I now believe may have been operating as recently as six months ago. When I began digging through the mess, I found fresher material buried beneath the trash on top, including zip lock bags filled with an unknown, noxious-smelling liquid that was probably denatured alcohol used to store the lithium in so it doesn’t explode.

I found no stripped batteries or used soda bottles, indicating the chefs tried to cover some of their more obvious tracks. They used 2-ft square pieces of bed sheet for filters, and there were a half-dozen filled with a dried gray paste, like some giant’s handkerchiefs. As I dug deeper into the pile, I came to a clean square of bed sheet. I gave it a tug and was rewarded with a spray of purple powder that settled on my body and the ground like spores.

It looked like red phosphorus, but as far as I know it isn’t used for shake and bake. I still have no idea what it was. It was hot, the purple spores were sticking to my sweaty skin and I was eager to leave. I bagged up the garbage, threw it in the back of the truck and got the hell out of there.

Why Meth Mouth Matters

The illustrations accompanying this story were created by my good friend, artist Jesse Weidel, a Redding native who now lives in Eureka. For decades, Weidel has been painting California’s bleakest landscapes and the people who inhabit them. Methamphetamine was bound to creep into the picture and was the inspiration for the “Meth Mouth” series. I asked Weidel to elaborate further below:

“I began a series of paintings in 2006, called Haunted Trailer Park based on my interpretation of the largely abandoned desert communities surrounding the Salton Sea area of Southern California. In the series, two of the paintings were titled Meth Mouth and featured a cosmic monster based on the dental condition of rotting teeth caused by methamphetamine abuse.

“In the first Meth Mouth painting, the mouth is giant sized, and inside of a large pink mountain, seemingly breathing out orders to the dismal trailer community on the opposite shore of the Salton Sea. A psychedelic shadow of doom covers the bottom third of the painting.

“The second Meth Mouth painting features a barren desert landscape, with the mouth figure inside the sky, sucking up the remaining inhabitants of the decaying community who are pictured flying through the air in some sort of anti-rapture scenario.

“I painted a third Meth Mouth painting a few years later. This one shows the mouth figure as a giant swirling green snot devil, surrounded by a circle of worshiping cheerleaders. Methamphetamine abuse seems to be a scourge of poor communities like this one, and I thought I would illustrate that in this way, showing the mouth as an allegory for meth abuse, holding some sort of psychic power over these places.”

In my view, the third painting, “Meth Mouth 3: The Deadly Spawn,” brilliantly depicts the threat methamphetamine poses to Shasta County. As the grand jury reports, the community is deeply concerned about the increase in meth abuse, particularly among young people. Why would young people, here depicted by cheerleaders, embrace a substance that most often leads to tooth decay and despair? Answer that question, and you’ll be qualified to open your own recovery home.

In the meantime, I have a theory about why these sketched-out jib monkeys are cooking crank in my neck of the woods: money. It’s common knowledge that the economies of rural communities across the United States have never recovered from the Great Recession. There are no jobs, even if you have a college degree. But you don’t even need a high school diploma to make meth, and if you’re good at it, it can be quite lucrative.

Using the most common formula for the shake and bake method, I plugged in the number of camp fuel cans and drain cleaner bottles I found at the site to estimate how much methamphetamine was manufactured. According to the formula, the lab could have made up to 150 grams of methamphetamine. The street price for meth is $100 per gram, and depending on the quality, it can be cut as many as four times. Assuming the carpet miners didn’t smoke up all the profits, they could have hauled in anywhere from $15,000 to $60,000.

That’s not chump change. Compared to growing marijuana, which requires significant resources and labor, cooking meth is a money-maker. All you need are a few household chemicals, a couple of soda bottles and a bolt hole in the woods. There are at least three long-abandoned meth labs within a 7-mile radius of my home, including a dilapidated camping trailer that’s been there for more than 15 years. As the Shasta County Grand Jury notes, methamphetamine is a multi-generational problem.

What’s the answer? More drug rehabilitation services, the grand jury suggests, and of course, more cops. How we’re supposed to pay for all that is left unanswered, but I’d like to offer a cheaper alternative. Why not use the police we already have? Learn what the signs of a meth lab are, and if you find one, call the sheriff. Trust me, they’ll come running.


YREKA – Law enforcement dealt what is being described as a substantial blow against drug dealers in Siskiyou County on Thursday when they initiated simultaneous drug raids in several locations, according to the Siskiyou County district attorney’s office.

The raids, known collectively as Operation Angry Elephant, saw six separate search warrants initiated at multiple locations in Yreka and Hornbrook. In Yreka, a helicopter was observed flying over town as law enforcement officers surrounded several locations. Agents reportedly recovered more than 5 pounds of bulk methamphetamine, several pounds of marijuana, several thousand dollars in cash, one firearm and paraphernalia associated with narcotics use and sales. Several people were arrested during the raids, including Jeffrey Stuart Lawhorn and Amanda Wilson.

The district attorney’s office said Lawhorn already faces felony charges in Oregon for methamphetamine trafficking charges. He is expected to be arraigned today on new felony charges brought by the Siskiyou County district attorney’s office. The warrants were issued after several months of investigation by the Siskiyou Unified Major Investigations Team.

The drug ring is said to be responsible for importing a substantial share of methamphetamine into Siskiyou County. The amount of meth seized during Operation Angry Elephant represents more than 22,000 doses.

Agencies that cooperated in the raid included Yreka Police Department, Weed Police Department, Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office, Siskiyou County Probation Department, California Highway Patrol, California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Shasta Interagency Narcotics Task Force, Tehama Interagency Drug Enforcement Team, North State Marijuana Investigation Team, Placer County Special Investigations Unit and the California Bureau of Investigation.


A Coosa woman made her bond Friday after officers found her with drugs and paraphernalia at a Rome residence the previous night, according to Floyd County Jail reports. 55a0097ebaa71_image

According to the report:

Renonda Ann Warren, 48, of 30 Cedar Lane, had meth and what reports characterize as a “a device to introduce methamphetamine into the body” when police found her at 1202 Desoto Ave.

Warren is charged with felony possession of methamphetamine, and misdemeanor possession and use of drug-related objects.

Warren made her $5,700 bond hours after her arrest.


The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to dis-enroll and banish for life anyone convicted of dealing, making or trafficking methamphetamine.

Remi Bald Eagle, intergovernmental affairs coordinator, said the resolution is part of a comprehensive plan to address the tribe’s growing meth problem.

“If you are a user we want to get you help, if you are a trafficker we want to get you out,” Bald Eagle said. “We want to make that message as strong as possible.”

According to a release from the tribe, part of the resolution says:

Methamphetamine has caused an increase in murder, suicides, assaults, burglary, vandalism, child abuse, child neglect, among many other injustices. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Council recognizes this epidemic … which will not be tolerated to affect our families.”

Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier said the resolution will send a message to those who are thinking about bringing meth to Cheyenne River.

In South Dakota, small-batch mobile meth manufacturing has made the drug more available in the state’s less-populated areas.

Meth-related arrests increased nearly 50 percent from 10 years ago in rural counties, according to the attorney general’s office. The amount of meth seized also more than doubled in rural counties.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley applauded the reservation’s strong stance against meth. He said he looks forward to continuing to work with the Cheyenne Sioux Tribe and other reservations in the state to combat the drug.

“I think it obviously sends a strong message about the concern that meth is causing not just across the nation, but in South Dakota and its reservations,” Jackley said.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is located in Ziebach County in western South Dakota.

The county’s sheriff, Gary Cudmore, spent seven years working as a tribal officer before moving into the sheriff’s office.

Cudmore said the tribe’s resolution was the first of a much-needed series of steps toward combating meth in the area. His only hope is that the tribe stands by their resolution and sees it through.

“It’s a long time coming,” Cudmore said. “They needed to do something because it’s getting out of hand. It’s no secret what will happen if you get caught — everyone knows it now.”


A Montour Falls woman has been indicted on third-degree manufacture of methamphetamine, the Chemung County district attorney said.

Tabitha J. Rounds, 32, of County Route 11, possessed an item of laboratory equipment and three or more precursors, chemical re-agents or solvents intended to unlawfully manufacture methamphetamine on June 27 in the Town of Horseheads, District Attorney Weeden Wetmore said in the indictment dated July 2.

Rounds was indicted on a second count of criminal possession of precursors of methamphetamine with intent to manufacture the drug, according to the indictment. Rounds also was indicted on a third count of petit larceny for stealing property from Wal-Mart, the indictment says.

Under state penal law, third-degree manufacture of methamphetamine is a class D felony. Conviction is punishable with a prison term of one to 2½ years for a first-time offender. A second-time offender faces imprisonment for 1½ to four years. The sentence is 2½ to 4½ years in prison for a second-time offender previously convicted of a violent felony.


(Stillwater, Okla.) — An ex-convict jailed on $500,000 bail on a robbery charge has been given a five-year prison term for conspiring with his sister to have their mother deliver a Bible containing methamphetamine for him into the Payne County Jail.

Jailers discovered the methamphetamine hidden in the spine of the Bible, an affidavit by Payne County Sheriff’s Deputy Gregg Russell said.

“It is standard operating procedures for jail staff to check all properties for contraband before giving the property to inmates,” the affidavit said.

Jason Jermaine Gray, 35, of Stillwater, who has been jailed for nearly 18 months, was scheduled to stand trial this week in connection with the theft of a cell phone from an Oklahoma State University student near the campus in January 2014, court records show.

Gray was originally accused with another ex-convict of robbing the student, but after Gray was charged with conspiracy in the methamphetamine jail incident, he accepted a plea bargain in both cases for two concurrent five-year prison terms followed by five years of probation, court records show.

Gray pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy to commit a felony in the methamphetamine jail incident, and also to a reduced charge of being an accessory to theft from a person at night, as well as concealing the stolen cell phone from the OSU student in the January 2014 case, court records show.

Gray had been in the Payne County Jail for more than a year when jailers found methamphetamine in the spine of a Bible on March 2 that had been brought in for him by his mother, an affidavit alleged.

When jailers showed the Payne County deputy a rolled-up piece of paper wrapped in clear tape, Russell examined the contents, a white powder-like substance that tested positive as being methamphetamine, the affidavit said.

A sheriff’s employee who “takes in the property that people drop off for the inmates and controls visitation for the jail,” told the deputy that Gray’s mother dropped the Bible off for him, the affidavit said.

The employee thought it was odd that Gray’s mother dropped off a Bible and thought she was acting odd, the affidavit said.

When Gray’s mother pulled the Bible out of a bag and fanned the book open to see if anything was inside the pages, she said, “There’s nothing in there,” the affidavit said.

The employee didn’t find anything inside the pages before placing the Bible in the jail’s box with Jason Gray’s name on it as standard operating procedure, the affidavit said.

After the jailers found methamphetamine in the Bible’s spine, the sheriff’s deputy examined surveillance footage showing Gray’s mother in the courthouse, the affidavit said. The sheriff’s deputy then obtained the phone numbers of Gray’s mother and Gray’s sister, the affidavit said.

“I then searched the two phone numbers in the jail’s phone system and found where Jason Gray calls the number (for his sister) almost on a daily basis from the phone located in his jail cell,” the deputy wrote in his affidavit.

In the recorded conversations, Gray’s sister said, “I’ll have Mom bring it onto you,” the affidavit alleged.

Gray asked, “What is it? Bible?” to which his sister answered “yup,” the affidavit alleged.

Gray asked, “Is Momma going to bring it in?” to which his sister answered, “She going to have to. I always bring it in. They know me,” the affidavit alleged.

Gray’s sister asked their mother, “Mom, can you take something in for him in the morning?” to which she agreed, the affidavit alleged.

Although the deputy requested arrest warrants for both Gray’s mother and his sister, no charges were filed on Gray’s mother, court records show

Gray’s sister, Lashonda Renae Davis, 32, of Stillwater, who was already on probation for a drug conviction, was charged with conspiracy to commit a felony in the methamphetamine jail incident on which she was scheduled to appear in court his week.

In October 2013, Davis had been given a six-month jail term followed by nine and one-half years of probation for possessing cocaine in Stillwater, court records show. Davis was ordered to have random drug tests and a substance abuse evaluation as well as follow-up, court records show.

In that cocaine case from 2013, Davis was also ordered to pay the cost of her incarceration, as well as $1,550 in fines and assessments, and to perform 100 hours of community service, court records show.

Davis also had been charged with making a false declaration of ownership in pawn regarding a Sony PlayStation 4 that had been stolen in a Stillwater burglary in July 2014, a felony case on which she was also scheduled to appear in court his week.

Her brother, Jason Gray, had been released from prison in 2013 after serving about six years of a 10-year sentence for drug possession with intent to distribute in 2005 in Bryan County, state Department of Corrections records show.

Gray had also been given a concurrent 10-year prison term for robbery in 1999 in Bryan County after his probation was revoked in 2007, DOC records show.

Gray had also served about four years of a five-year prison term for second-degree burglary in 1998 after he was found in violation of his probation in Bryan County, DOC records show.


Police have cracked an international drug smuggling ring that used Czech and Slovak couriers to take Iranian methamphetamine from Turkey and Armenia to Japan.sake-meth-map

Czech authorities are detaining three people, and more are being held in other countries, police spokeswoman Barbora Kudláčková said on the police website.

More arrests are possible, she added.

The suspects held in the Czech Republic face up to 18 years in prison if convicted of unauthorized production and other handling of narcotics and psychotropic substances and of poisons.

Czech, Slovak, Turkish, Armenian, Japanses and British police cooperated with Interpol and Europol on the case, which was codenamed Sake.

The methamphetamine that was smuggled into Japan was purchased in Iran, where a gram sells for about 200 Kč. In Japan, the same amount sells for 19,000 Kč.sake-meth

In most cases, the couriers traveled in mixed pairs or as spouses or siblings, making it more difficult to detect them.

The couriers traveled by plane from Prague and Vienna to Turkey or Armenia, where they would get specially adapted suitcases that hid a kilogram of methamphetamine. The couriers then flew to Tokyo by way of Abu Dhabi or Dubai.

In Tokyo, they went to a predetermined hotel where they drugs were dropped off.

The couples received 100,000 Kč plus travel expenses for their efforts.

Detectives worked on the case three months, during which time they managed to establish the organizers of the group, some of whom were staying in the UK. The detectives documented five methamphetamine shipments to Japan.

Japanese authorities detained a man and a woman attempting to import about 2 kilograms of methamphetamine concealed in two suitcases. These two have been convicted and face sentences of seven to 10 years in prison and fines of up to 6 million Japanese yen.

Further, two Slovak people were arrested in Britain before they could leave for Turkey or Armenia with about 5 kg of methamphetamine that was most probably destined for the Japanese drug market. One of the two Slovaks is being considered for extradition to the Czech Republic.

Under the same international cooperation, a Slovak with permanent Czech Residence was caught in a hotel in Antalya, Turkey, just as he took possession of a bag hiding 2 kilograms of methamphetamine. The unidentified Slovak was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The trend of hiring Czech couriers to transport methamphetamine to Japan began in 2011. Most of the couriers come from underprivileged regions or have significant economic problems. The recruiters are usually Czech or Slovak citizens with links to foreign crime groups, the police said.

Prices for methamphetamine on the Japanese market are considerably higher than in European markets, and police expect the smuggling to continue.


Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics investigators wrapped up a 3-month investigation that involved undercover operations by confidential informants with a roundup targeting 20 suspects on Thursday.4-c63b46ec33

Sheriff Steve Mueller said the operation targeted Cherokee Avenue and the Happy Valley area of Gaffney based on resident complaints to the sheriff’s office. While Mueller said no specific drugs were targeted, the majority of the charges involved methamphetamine.

“Our success depends on the watchful eyes of our citizens in our community and we truly appreciate your calls with tips and information about possible illegal activity,” Mueller said in a written announcement of the roundup.4-32b9ba5c2b

The following 18 individuals were identified by the sheriff’s office in the written announcement as having been taken into custody as of 6 p.m.:

    • Brenda Jean Mincey, 25, of Kraft Street, charged with distribution of methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine within proximity of a school.
    • Clint Daniel Fort, currently in custody in Cleveland County, N.C., 31, of Jackson Street, charged with two counts distribution of methamphetamine.
    • Jacob Anthony Phillips, 25, of Marietta Street, charged with a 3rd drug offense of distribution of methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine within proximity of a school.
    • Jamarcus Deleon Foster, 26, of Evans Street, charged with a 3rd drug offense of distribution of methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine within proximity of a school.
    • Jomiltron Sentell Fair, 25, of Evans Street, charged with distribution of methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine in proximity of a school.
    • Joyce Ann Bolin, 43, of Kraft Avenue, charged with two counts of distribution of methamphetamine and two counts of distribution of methamphetamine within proximity of a school.
    • Tammy Crystal Owens, 36, of Marietta Road, charged with distribution of methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine within proximity of a school, distribution of a schedule II drug and  distribution of a schedule II drug in proximity of a school.
    • Kimberly Harrison, 30, of Rita Street, charged with distribution of methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine in proximity of a school.
    • Ricky Wayne Allen, 36, of Marietta Road, charged with distribution of methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine within proximity of a school.
    • Michael Ray Sellars, 28, of Wilkinsville Highway, charged with distribution of methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine within proximity of a school.
    • Miranda Elizabeth Giles, 23, of Pine Crest Road, charged with distribution of methamphetamine.
    • Patricia Gail Huskey, 51, of Rita Street, charged with two counts of distribution of methamphetamine and two counts of distribution of methamphetamine within proximity of a school.
    • Robert Allen Russell, 20, of Mullinax Circle, Blacksburg, charged with distribution of methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine within proximity of school and simple possession of marijuana.
    • Robert Luther Sprouse, 37, of River Drive, charged with distribution of a schedule III drug, distribution of methamphetamine. He also was served with a General Sessions Court bench warrant.
    • Roger Wayne Parris, 44, of Kraft Street, charged with distribution of methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine within proximity of a school.
    • Sharon Loraine Stone, 56, of Marietta Street, charged with distribution of methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine within proximity of a school.
    • Travis Gilford Childers, 19, of Hickory Street, charged with two counts of distribution of methamphetamine and two counts of distribution of methamphetamine within proximity of a school.
    • Tammy Kristin Fowler, 34, of Blue Bird Lane, Blacksburg, charged with unlawful attempt to purchase pseudoephedrine.

According to the sheriff’s office, deputies were still searching for two additional subjects as of Thursday evening. They are:

  • Angela Lucille Wentz, 40, of Freeman Road, Blacksburg, who faces a charge of distribution of methamphetamine.
  • Linda Kay Arquette, 23, of Marietta Road, who faces charges of distribution of methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine within proximity of a school.


A federal judge on Friday granted attorneys more time for the case of a 49-year-old man who spent decades working for Sen. Thad Cochran, starting with a stint as the Mississippi Republican’s page, before serious drug charges related to methamphetamine and date rape drugs cost him his career.

Fred W. Pagan pleaded not guilty on April 29 to charges of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and importation of a controlled substance, after allegedly confessing plans to distribute both drugs “in exchange for sexual favors.” U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell continued the case until Aug. 7, with attorneys hinting a plea deal may be in the works.

“Productive discussions” are underway about a disposition in the case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Pearlman told Howell during a quick status hearing at the federal courthouse blocks from the Capitol. Further evidence still needs to be produced, including phone records and Drug Enforcement Administration analysis of some of the items found in Pagan’s Northwest Washington house.

Federal agents raided his home on April 23, after authorities intercepted more than a kilogram of gamma-Butyrolactone, commonly known as GBL, in a package shipped to “Longevity Concepts LNC, Fred Pagan” from a business in China. The bust was part of a two-week investigation, according to court documents.

GBL produces euphoria, intoxication and hallucinogenic states, and allegedly acts as a muscle growth hormone. Odorless and colorless, the substance is also abused as a “date rape” drug, causing drowsiness, dizziness, loss of consciousness and loss of inhibition, as well as memory impairment — which can make prosecuting rape cases difficult when victims are given the drug.

Pagan said little more than, “Good morning,” and, “Yes, ma’am,” during the brief proceedings. Neither Pagan nor defense attorney Kobie A. Flowers commented on the case.

Cochran’s office suspended Pagan of all duties when the senator learned of the arrest, and issued a statement saying Cochran was “disturbed and deeply saddened.” A spokesman said Pagan was terminated on May 15.

Pagan earned about $160,000 annually working as Cochran’s personal assistant and office administrator, according to LegiStorm. He also worked as a staffer on the Senate Appropriations Committee, which Cochran chairs, and the Senate Agriculture Committee, which Cochran previously chaired.

At 16, Pagan was accepted as a page for the senator and he completed his high school studies through correspondence from the University of Southern Mississippi after being asked to stay on for a second year, according to a 2006 column in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

“I guess I’m the page that never went home,” he told the writer.


PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. –  Two Putnam County men are facing serious charges Friday after deputies said they were found in a condemned home with methamphetamine and two underage girls who were 14 and 15 years old.

Deputies were called to the home on Douglas Street in Georgetown, west of Crescent City, just before midnight Thursday.

The two men are 18-year old Justin Quintana and 18-year old Erasmo Mercado.

Quintana has bonded out of the jail, but Mercado is still behind bars. Mercado listed the condemned home as his address, but since it was condemned by the county, no one had a legal right to be there.

Neighbors in the area have said that the house has been a problem for quite a while.

Friday afternoon, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the home on Douglas Street to give the final all clear, hours after authorities said that Mercado and Quintana were found inside with two young girls and about a gram of methamphetamine. Neighbors said they weren’t surprised.

“The police have been aware of that house for at least 8 months. But they’ve been monitoring it, and they rely on citizens to make calls,” neighbor Michael Rock said.

One of the people to call 911 Thursday was Rock’s neighbor, who heard Quintana and Mercado arrive to the home with the two girls. Because it was condemned, they knew no one was supposed to be there.

“Well, the girls were laughing and carrying on. They went to the back door first and then they went around the front,” Rock said.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Quintana was found inside the house, but once deputies went searching, they said they spotted Mercado and the two girls in the garage hiding under a counter. Police later found the methamphetamine and a credit card used to cut it.

In the incident report, the sheriff’s office reported one of the girls was found wearing only a t-shirt.

When she was asked about it, the deputy said she quote: “admitted she had intentions to have sexual intercourse with Erasmo, however, our presence interrupted that.”

That detail is especially upsetting to those in the area and now that this has happened, neighbors are hoping to see this house gone.

“I just, I hope they tear the place down,” Rock said.

Mercado and Quintana are both charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia, plus trespassing. The girls were released to their parents.


PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) — A man was badly burned Friday in a suspected meth lab fire and explosion along Depot Street in Paintsville, police say.

It happened about 1:15 p.m. Friday. A man in an upstairs apartment suffered severe burns to his hand and arm.

Police say the fire appeared to have started from a “shake and bake” meth lab. The explosion was so strong that it blew out an apartment window and into the playground area of a daycare across the street.

Materials used to make meth were found in the apartment. No charges have been filed at this time.


MUNCIE –  Their encounter terrified a 9-year-old girl, and startled the law enforcement officers involved.

On Thursday night, as they prepared to arrest a Muncie woman for selling methamphetamine to an undercover officer, members of the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office’s narcotics unit converged on her van, their guns drawn, outside the southside Wal-Mart store.B9318039551Z_1_20150710165834_000_GMMBAKS6O_1-0

Then they saw the child in the back seat, “shouting and screaming hysterically,” one officer wrote in a report.

“Child! Child! Child!” one of the officers called to his colleagues.

Efforts were then made to take the girl’s mother, Sandra Lynn Stover, 29, of the 2100 block of South Mulberry Street, into custody in as low-key a manner as possible.

Child Protective Services were called to the scene, and the girl was eventually placed in the custody of a relative.

Authorities said Stover had sold the undercover officer a half-gram of meth for $40, inviting the agent “to taste it before I go.”

During a later interview, Stover said she “sells drugs to support her kids,” and was “disappointed” in herself that she brought her daughter to a meth transaction, according to an affidavit.

Stover said four months ago, she was “cooking” meth when her lab “blew up,” apparently costing her the sight in one eye.

“She was pleased with her decision to stop making meth and just selling it now,” Corp. Lenny Popp wrote.

Investigators said they found meth in Stover’s van, near where her daughter had been seated.

The Muncie woman was being held in the Delaware County jail on Friday under a $15,000 bond, preliminarily charged with dealing in meth, possession of meth and neglect of a dependent.


A Harrison man and Lake woman each face charges related to methamphetamine after being caught stealing from a Wal-Mart store in Isabella County’s Union Township.

Zachary Allen Thompson, 25, and Autumn Nicole Wonsey, 19, were jailed after officials were called to a case of retail fraud at the store, 4730 Encore Blvd., at 8:20 p.m. Once deputies arrived, the male suspect attempted to run away, but was caught after a short foot chase.

Deputies were given permission to search the car the couple were using, and found a bottle containing meth as well as other ingredients used to make the drug.

Thompson was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, second-degree retail fraud, and resisting and obstructing police; his bond is set at $60,000. Wonsey faces charged of meth possession and third-degree retail fraud; her bond is set at $50,000.

Deputies were assisted by Mount Pleasant Police, Michigan State Police and the Third District Methamphetamine Team.


PHUKET: A woman was arrested in Phang Nga, north of Phuket, following the discovery of 760 pills of ya bah (methamphetamine) hidden inside her vagina.1_2015711144047585_SgscTMMNCAIKAwPfStTDmLjxdafHgmsXQhgExDlh_jpeg

“The pills were packed into three plastic bags before being nestled into two condoms and inserted into the suspect’s vagina,” Takua Pa Police Deputy Superintendent Worawit Yamaree revealed today.

The 33-year-old Laos national named by Takua Pa Police as ‘Ms Waen’, was in the midst of transporting the drugs on a bus from Bangkok when she was arrested.1_2015711144047585_EwKFHitQJVytjGTLZncbvNinvdiVytjSjStbloup_jpeg

“After busting a meth user, and then his local dealer, we were able to set up a sting operation,” Lt Col Worawit said.

The events that led police to the vaginal stash started with the arrest of Suksai Kokkian, who had four ya bah pills on him on Thursday. He confessed to having bought them from Chuanpit Sirisopano, 37, who was nabbed later that day.

Ms Chuanpit was in possession of 427 ya bah pills and 3.06 grams of ya ice (crystal methamphetamine), confirmed Col Worawit.

“When we searched Chuanpit’s house we found plenty of evidence connecting her to a dealer in Bangkok named ‘Uan’,” Col Worawit said. “So, we set up the sting by having Ms Chuanpit place an order. Ms Uan confirmed the order and said it would be delivered by Ms Waen.”

Police were waiting for Ms Waen at the Baan Bang Por checkpoint in Takua Pa when the bus arrived.

“Ms Waen showed us her luggage and said she didn’t have any drugs. However, we conducted a full-body cavity search and discovered the package in her vagina.

Police confiscated the packed condoms, her mobile phone, a tablet, 1,120 baht in cash and the rest of her belongings.

Ms Chuanpit and Ms Waen were both released from prison within the last year after having served time on earlier drug convictions.

Both women were charged with possession of a Category 1 drug with intent to sell. Mr Suksai was charged with possession of a Category 1 drug.


CLYDE –  Many have seen it, heard about it, or binge-watched it: “Breaking Bad,” the ratings juggernaut of a TV show, tells tales of a chemistry teacher who teams with a former student to make and sell crystal meth.

The popular show, whose final episode in 2013 drew 10.3 million viewers, is fiction, but the real world demand for meth is growing — and the number of arrests for meth-related crimes is on the rise in Sandusky County and Ohio.

“You can learn to cook meth online and make it at home. People are going to get high for cheap. It’s a matter of economics,” Clyde police Chief Bruce Gower said.B9317995418Z_1_20150710201009_000_G8DBAID32_1-0

Gower said meth labs are popping up around the area because the drug can be produced in small or large quantities, and its combination of a low price tag and high potency keeps addicts coming back for more.

Since February, four meth labs have been found in Clyde, and each one was connected with the others, Gower said.

As people read and see stories and videos of the arrests — with law-enforcement officials in hazmat gear searching through bottles, chemicals and run-down homes — many law-abiding citizens might wonder what meth is and why it is growing in popularity in this area.

What is methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine, commonly known as meth or crystal meth, is a white crystalline powder that can be dissolved in water or alcohol, swallowed, smoked, snorted or injected using needles.

Gower said the business of meth has increased through the years, starting with large-scale laboratories in the western United States and Mexico and then slowly migrating east as ways to manufacture it got easier.

One simple process of manufacturing, called the one-pot method, takes from 20 minutes to four hours depending on the size of the batch.

Despite the danger of mixing chemicals and creating a volatile potion, Gower said, sellers can manufacture meth in the woods, a motel, at a house, or even while driving. A couple arrested recently in Sandusky were operating a mobile meth lab in the back seat of their car, according to police.

A drug trend report from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services said meth was on the rise from July 2014 to January 2015, including a spike in rural areas such as Bellevue and Clyde.

Ranking the ease of access for buying meth from 1 and 10, with 10 being the easiest, the 2014 report scored a 4 in urban areas and a 6 in rural areas. But those numbers changed dramatically in January 2015, when law enforcement gave big cities such as Toledo a score of 1 while rural areas jumped to a 10.

Jill DelGreco, a public information officer for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, said the number of meth labs found in Sandusky County nearly doubled, from four in 2014 to seven so far this year.

Meth labs are tracked by the attorney general’s office from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30 each year.

“These only represent labs that BCI assisted with or were reported to us by local agencies. Not all agencies report, so the numbers are likely higher,” DelGreco said.

Statewide, DelGreco said, seven years of data show the meth problem is growing.

In 2005, law enforcement reported 444 meth labs were found in Ohio. In 2014, 1,003 were found. Through July 2015, DelGreco said, state law enforcement agencies have reported 547 labs.

Buying and making meth

The materials to produce meth are relatively easy to obtain, with most coming from pharmacies and local stores, Gower said.

“You can learn how to cook meth online,” he said. “Some learn in prison.”

The equipment and ingredients for the one-pot method include pseudoephedrine or ephedrine tablets, some kind of solvent, and other easily purchased household items.

Using another method called “Shake and Bake,” all the ingredients are combined in a bottle, either an ordinary 2-liter pop bottle or 16- to 20-ounce bottles.

Ottawa County Common Pleas Judge Bruce Winters said meth is worse than heroin.

“Heroin is not as dangerous,” Winters said. “It terrifies me to think of meth coming into our community.”

Winters said Ottawa County has been dealing with heroin use, and he considers heroin users to be more thinkers than meth users.

“I’ve had a (meth) addict tell me they don’t care about anything. You could have a person holding a gun at your children, and a meth user will just ask them to move away from the TV,” Winters said.

“Meth is a less-forgiving drug. You can lose your teeth,” Winters continued. “A user said meth is the devil.”

Meth on wheels

Unlike most drugs, meth can be made on the road, Gower said.

“You can cook it in your back seat. If it catches on fire, they just throw it out the window,” he said.

Using a heating source in the back seat, manufacturers roll down the windows while combining the chemicals. Gower said the rolling meth lab allows dealers to conceal their whereabouts, making it difficult to find the moving meth labs.

“We have a website of people who are buying the materials. We know the people but are trying to figure out where they are,” Gower said.

When purchasing items for the one-pot cooking method, many meth dealers buy materials in small quantities at different locations, a tactic known as “smurfing.” That makes it harder for law-enforcement official to track them, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Being able to buy materials in one city and then drive to another for the manufacturing process helps dealers elude the law, officials say.

Meth’s effects and impact

The report by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services said a gram of meth can sell for up to $180, with some buyers saying they can buy a tenth of a gram for $20.

The DEA compared the addictiveness of meth to alcohol and cocaine, with staggering results.

Using a group of 100 people, the DEA found that, if given a drink of alcohol once a day for three weeks, eight of the 100 will become addicted.

If a person snorts or ingests cocaine every day for three weeks, the DEA found, 14 of the 100 will become addicted.

Whether injecting or smoking meth, the DEA study found that, if used only twice, 90 of the 100 people would become addicted.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse cites several complications a user can expect if addicted to meth, including damage to the cardiovascular system, memory loss, malnutrition and severe dental problems. Meth use also can increase the risk of transmitting infectious diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.

Ohio 3rd in the nation

Meth can cause a potent effect on the user, similar to cocaine and other stimulants, said Dave Posten, who oversees the meth program for the Ohio BCI.

“Ohio was No. 3 in the nation last year for meth-related seizures that were reported,” he said.

As meth became easier to produce and required only ordinary household items, a law was passed in 2005 to monitor the sale of nonprescription products containing pseudoephedrine. Retailers were required to keep those products behind the counter, and customers had to sign a logbook after each purchase.

After that law was enacted, the DEA reported a large drop-off in the number of meth labs found, from 10,693 in 2005 to 5,031 in 2006.

Posten said many meth users also are starting to use heroin, as the drugs are at the opposite ends of the spectrum for the kinds of highs they produce.

“Meth is stimulant and heroin is a depressant. They are using the other drug to come up or down from their other high,” Posten said.

Many busts and arrests have led to child endangerment charges against suspects, a horror that Gower said is all too familiar in the busts executed by Clyde police.

“Fumes can be toxic. I (also) worry about kids getting into it. We had a bust on Mechanic Street where needles were found next to a crib,” Gower said.

With toxic materials, needles, and fumes and stains getting into carpets, Gower said, kids are risking their lives by crawling around homes where there are meth labs. Gower said charges are often heightened in meth cases when children have been exposed to the chemicals.

The DEA reports that 35 percent of all children removed from homes with meth labs tested positive for the drug.

Drug task force sought

Because of the meth labs and heroin busts in Bellevue and Clyde, the county’s prosecutor, Tom Stierwalt, has applied for grant funding to create a drug task force.

In Ottawa County, Winters said, law enforcement agencies have come together to compile a drug task force to help curtail the heroin issue.

Currently, Sandusky County does not have a drug task force, which Gower said makes it more challenging to track this mobile drug.

“Everybody’s going to have to work together with money and manpower,” Gower said.

Posten said the drug will likely remain popular because of how accessible it can be, with users either making it themselves or buying their fix.

“We’re not seeing any shortage,” Posten said. “Other types of labs for hallucinogens are starting to pop up. It’s a two-pronged approach (to stopping the drug) of treatment and enforcement.”


DUBLIN, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Twenty-two people are facing drug related charges after the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office conducted a methamphetamine bust.

According to a news release from Sheriff Bill Harrell, the deputies with the drug unit started the investigation into a methamphetamine distribution network in Laurens County in September 2014. Investigators found evidence to link the network to meth violators throughout the state.

Six Laurens County homes were searched on July 2 and July 3. As of Thursday, 22 people were arrested and charged with drug related offenses. The ages range from 17 to 54. Investigators also seized 11 vehicles and more than $17,000 in cash.

Investigators intercepted approximately two pounds of methamphetamine as it was being delivered to Laurens County on July 2. The sheriff’s office says it has a street value of more than $70,000.

In the news release, Harrell said he is concerned “for the significant increase in methamphetamine trafficking in Laurens County.” He adds he’s setting aside more resources to combat “the wave of plentiful meth made available through Atlanta area traffickers connected to sources in Mexico.”

District Attorney Craig Fraiser said in a statement this “strike is one of the largest blows against the drug trade in Laurens County history.”

The Dublin Police Department, a Department of Corrections K9 officer, officers with the Department of Community Supervision, and the GBI also assisted on the investigation.

If you have any information, call the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office at (478) 275-1522 or the drug hotline at (478) 272-8990.


Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) cited a fictional novel to back his claim that Islamic State militants had set up a base camp across the U.S. border with Mexico.wnd_gohmert_churchstate_140401c-800x430-800x430

The Tea Party lawmaker warned during an interview Thursday with World Net Daily’s Radio America that ISIS may be working with Mexican drug cartels, reported Right Wing Watch.

“Like Tom Clancy had written about in a novel years ago, they are linking up with cartels and they’re putting America at risk,” Gohmert said, referring to the 2011 novel, “Against All Enemies,” in which Taliban militants team up with Mexican drug cartels.

The right-wing Judicial Watch group, founded by conspiracy theorist Larry Klayman, claimed earlier this year that it had thwarted a planned terrorist attack by reporting that Islamic extremists were camped near El Paso, Texas.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said those claims had been confirmed by federal authorities – but numerous federal, state, local, and foreign law enforcement agencies knocked down those rumors.

The U.S. Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Northern Command, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and the Mexican government each denied the Judicial Watch report.

But Gohmert remains unconvinced, and claims that the shooting of 32-year-old Kate Steinle by an illegal immigrant proves that Republicans must not back down on limiting immigration in an effort to win Latino voters – who he claims will back the GOP through their innate love of God and family.

“It may just be because our president doesn’t know enough about our history — I’m sure they didn’t teach it in Indonesia — but the fact is when he says, ‘nobody has done more to secure the border than I have,’ or words to that effect – (it) is simply not true,” Gohmert said.

He said President Barack Obama should look to Woodrow Wilson’s Mexican Expedition, which nearly caused a war when U.S. troops entered Mexico, as an example of proper border security.

“This administration not only encourages people to violate the law, our immigration law, but it violates the laws regularly themselves, (which) leads to the tens of thousands of crimes that occur in the United States,” Gohmert said.


SANTA CRUZ, Calif. —Santa Cruz residents were jarred awake Thursday morning by the sound of a car crashing into parked vehicles.

Police said Richard Ducati, 51, of San Francisco, was under the influence of methamphetamine during his bizarre rampage.

Ducati recklessly rammed into cars on Park Way and Acacia Way before he bailed out on foot and tried to break into a house, police said.naked-man-JPG

“I got up and looked out the window and then I see a car screaming down Park Way” resident Sarah Ringler said.

“I’d estimate 80 to 90 miles-an-hour down the road. I heard him coming back. He bottomed out right here at this intersection. He caught air when he hit it and hit the car over there and hit the speed bump and flipped over,” resident Justin Bettencourt said.

A very startled homeowner saw the naked man trying to open a sliding glass door and called 911 at 5:20 a.m.

The Glavis family was in shock while watching through their window.

“I heard from my mom on the phone (saying), ‘There’s a naked person in my backyard,'” Nolan Glavis said.

The naked driver ran into the Glavis’ backyard and tried to get inside.

“I was terrified. I was shaking. I was on the phone with 911 so I knew help would be on the way. But mostly I was thinking I had to protect my family, myself. I was worried he would get in and hurt us,” 911 caller Kristina Glavis said.

She laughed as she added, “Although, he had nowhere to hide a weapon.”

Emergency responders found Ducati in the backyard and hauled him away on a gurney. He was taken to a hospital to be treated for significant injuries.

Investigators discovered that shortly before the Park Way collisions on the east side of Santa Cruz, Ducati also caused hit-and-run crashes in Live Oak, as well as on the west side of Santa Cruz on Mission Street near Miramar Drive.

Police are unsure exactly where the rampage started, but they know it ended on Park Way, where the Jeep flipped and became disabled.

Ducati remained in the hospital Thursday afternoon.

“Mr. Ducati will likely be hospitalized for an extended period of time. He will be booked for his pending charges of driving under the influence of drugs, and hit-and-run,” police spokeswoman Joyce Blaschke said.

Anyone with information relative to this incident is asked to call the Santa Cruz Police Department’s investigations unit at 831-420-5820.


A long-term meth-user with what probation called “an abominable history of violence” has now been jailed for nine years for the rape of an adolescent girl.

Christchurch District Court Judge Jane Farish told 38-year-old Christopher Allan McKenzie at his sentencing that his guilty plea had been only the first step for him.

“It is a very long road for you,” she said, noting the pre-sentence report by the Probation Service described him as having an abominable history of violence.

In 2009, McKenzie was jailed for six years for a drive-by shooting in Aranui when gang members from the Ruthless Boot Boys fired at a house where rival Harris gang associates were boarding.

The shooting at a house in Hampshire Street took place in the middle of the day on a public holiday, when people were around.

Shots broke a window and embedded in a ceiling, and put a hole in a tin fence and a weatherboard wall. No-one was injured.

McKenzie and his brother – both jailed – denied they were part of a gang but McKenzie referred to the gang twice in texts he sent amid the threats and rising gang tensions on the day of the shooting.

Judge Farish decided not to impose a non-parole term as part of the rape sentence.

She said she would leave the decision about 38-year-old McKenzie’s eventual release to the Parole Board, after he has completed a Kia Marama sex offenders’ rehabilitation program.

He has already done rehabilitation programs, a Stopping Violence course, and a first aid course while on remand in custody.

Defence counsel Tom Stevens said McKenzie had profound regret about the offending.

He said McKenzie’s lengthy indulgence in methamphetamine might give some indication of how his mind had been affected to behave in this manner.

McKenzie had pleaded guilty to the charge of sexual violation by rape after a sentencing indication hearing. He has now been given a first strike warning under the system that imposes heavier sentences on repeat violent and sexual offenders.


A Bismarck woman is charged with felony child neglect after allegedly losing track of a 3-year-old child while high on methamphetamine.

Darcy Ann Moore, 28, could receive up to five years in prison if convicted of the offense in South Central District Court in Morton County.559ee14b32174_image

At 1 p.m. Wednesday, Moore allegedly called the Mandan Police Department to report a 3-year-old child missing. She then went to the department, where “she was visibly under the influence of a narcotic and admitted to having done meth in the past few hours,” according to the complaint.

“She stated she took a nap at the residence she was visiting … and when she woke up (the child) was gone and she did not know how long he had been missing,” according to the complaint.

The child was found earlier Wednesday morning wandering along the street of a mobile home park at 100 Third St. S.W. and was taken into custody at Morton County Social Services at 11:36 a.m.


BRADENTON — A Bradenton man has been charged with distributing methamphetamine disguised as candy, according to federal prosecutors.

According to a complaint, Jesus Casteyano, 53, and others distributed more than 500 grams of a mixture containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine that was contained and packaged as retail candy.104vAd_AuSt

Casteyano faces charges of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. If convicted he faces a mandatory sentence of 10 years to life in federal prison, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office in Tampa.

Casteyano made his first appearance in court Wednesday, and was ordered held without bond.

The complaint states that authorities began investigating Casteyano after Drug Enforcement Administration agents in Miami arrested a man with 5 kilograms of methamphetamine disguised as candy. The man told agents he had picked up the drugs from a residence in the 100 block of 59th Avenue Drive West in Bradenton.

Casteyano was among the people at the residence when authorities went to investigate on Tuesday. He and his wife were found in a bedroom with a 6-year-old and a 1-year-old. His wife confirmed that the four of them stayed in that bedroom of the home.

When law enforcement asked his wife if there were drugs in the home during a search, the woman said there were bags of candy in a storage tub in their closet. She said Casteyano had told her not to give the candy to her son because it was methamphetamine, according to the complaint.

Law enforcement found 19 pounds of a substance packaged as candy but tested positive for methamphetamine in the tub she indicated.

In interviews with officers, Casteyano confirmed that he was aware the candy was methamphetamine and that it belonged to him. He said there was one more processing step to complete for it to be usable meth.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.