The parents of a Nebo man alerted authorities after finding him unconscious with a large amount of drugs, detectives said on Monday.

Deputy Adam Burnette of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office charged Brandon Darrell Bates, 27, of Watermelon Lane in Nebo, with felony possession of methamphetamine.5473960d325ee_image

Detective Curtis Stuteville added felony possession with intent to sell and deliver methamphetamine and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

On Nov. 3, Bates’ parents called for deputies to come to their house. They reported that Brandon was unconscious and unresponsive and had narcotics with him.

Lt. Chris Taylor said officers found two bags of methamphetamine, totaling 17.9 grams, and paraphernalia on Bates.

The suspect was taken to The McDowell Hospital for treatment. After he was discharged, Burnette arrested him on the felony possession offense. The case was then turned over to Stuteville, who added further charges.







THE tide of amphetamine addicts seeking help from The Salvation Army is swelling, with an alarming increase in the number of addicts accessing their services during the past 12 months.

The latest statistics from the organization reveal the proportion of Brisbane cases had increased by 40 per cent in the past year.

The number of users the charity was supporting at its Brisbane recovery services centres has grown from 14 per cent of their workload in 2010 to 24 per cent in 2014.

More amphetamine users are now seeking help from The Salvation Army than cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine and gambling addicts combined.

The Salvation Army Recovery Services clinical director Gerard Byrne said there had been a plain shift towards highly dangerous and addictive drugs.



Former amphetamine addict, Simon Cahill, 34, from Queensland, entered the Salvation Army’s Dooralong Transformation Centre on the NSW Central Coast in August last year. He has since graduated and is on the road to recovery.     


“In the case of amphetamine type substances, this can be a major harm to the community as it is associated with violent behavior and mental health problems,” Mr Byrne said.

While alcohol continued to present the highest number of cases at the facilities, it dropped from 54 per cent of people in 2010 to 47 per cent in 2014.

Simon Cahill, who has been clean for 19 months, said the epidemic of crystal methamphetamine – or “ice” – has exacerbated in the past two years.

The 34-year-old was introduced to the drug at parties. But following a relationship break-up in 2011, he began using methamphetamines.

A corporate worker who had run businesses, Mr Cahill’s life plunged into addiction, relentlessly chasing his next hit.

He became hopelessly hooked on ice and willed himself to stop – but feared what would happen if he did.

He lost 25kg, wouldn’t answer calls from his parents, and turned to peddling drugs to feed his habit.

“I thought the drugs were keeping my life manageable – but (in reality) my life was unmanageable,” he said.

“It took over – slowly but it definitely took over my life. With drugs, I didn’t have to think about my emotions. You go to any lengths to get on.” He said the day that he was dragged away in handcuffs after a police raid on his home, he felt a sense of relief.

“I literally thank god it’s all over, and it can only get better from here,” he said.

Mr Cahill credits The Salvation Army’s Bridge Program with rebuilding his life.

“It has given me a whole new perspective on life and dealt with my issues,” he said.







During a six-year span, the number of responses by North Carolina’s State Bureau of Investigation to clandestine labs — or locations where illegal drugs are manufactured — has risen by more than 250 percent, from 157 in 2007 to 561 in 2013, SBI data shows.

Not all of the labs, which involve toxic and hazardous chemicals, were used to manufacture methamphetamine. But Todd Duke, special agent in charge of the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation’s Special Services unit, said about 98 or 99 percent of the labs are methamphetamine related.54710ea6dafe6_image

The process to deconstruct a lab is laborious, tedious and dangerous, due to toxic chemicals and gasses created by the manufacturing of methamphetamine. A mistake made while dealing with these labs can jeopardize workers’ safety.

Before SBI officials deconstruct a lab they must obtain a search warrant, Duke said. Anyone entering the area needs a HAZWOPER certification, proving they have been trained to work with hazardous materials.

Agents have special equipment to keep them safe. But the scene itself must be safe before anyone can enter.

“The first thing we’ll do is assess the scene and monitor the air and assess the flammable levels,” Duke said. “If it is dangerous, we air it out.”

Part of securing the scene involves mitigating hazards. “If you have a reaction taking place, we’re going to do whatever we can to stop the reaction to make sure it doesn’t blow up,” Duke said. Then, the process is similar to evaluating any other crime scene, the main difference being agents’ hazmat suits.

Agents will locate any items related to the drug or manufacturing, such as needles, written notes, finished products or smoking devices. If they’re searching a home, agents will scour the perimeter of the yard. Many times manufacturers will toss items out of windows, Duke pointed out.

After evidence is documented, what the SBI calls a hot zone is set up, normally in the yard of a residence. There, chemicals are separated based on compatibility, Duke said, and unknown items are tested. The process to deconstruct the lab usually takes several hours.

When reports are completed and chemicals have been sampled, everything is stabilized, separated by group, packed into buckets and transported to a holding facility. From there, a hazardous waste contractor will transport the items to a deconstruction facility. Chemicals can’t be stored in evidence rooms.

Duke normally sees clandestine labs inside residences. But due to an increasingly popular manufacturing technique known as the “shake and bake,” or “one-pot,” method, methamphetamine can be produced nearly anywhere because, “it’s small, portable and you don’t need a hot plate or stove to cook,” Duke said.

“Basically, since 2010, it’s increased every year as far as the manufacture method of choice,” he added. “So far (in 2014), 85 percent of our responses have been to one-pot or shake and bake.”


When illegal drugs are being manufactured in your neighborhood, it affects the whole community, not just those involved.

Lt. Jason Beebe, who oversees Catawba County Sheriff’s Office’s narcotics unit, gave four tips on how to identify an area where there is a methamphetamine laboratory.

» CONSTANT VISITORS: “Heavy traffic in and out of a residence and the visits are very short, (ending) within a matter of minutes,” Beebe said.

» ODOR OF BURNING EVIDENCE: “If you see a lot of burn piles and burn barrels, and if while those items are burning, if there is a strong chemical odor when they’re burning,” Beebe said, “or if (you) smell a strong chemical odor in the air that just doesn’t seem to fit the area that you live in.”

» UNUSUAL TRASH: “Used syringes, spoons with burn marks, tourniquets, straws, the cold packs that you buy at any Walgreens or CVS that’s torn open and emptied out, they use the nitro sulfate that are inside those things to react,” Beebe said. “Empty cans of camping fuel, batteries that have been cut open where the lithium strips have been pulled out of the batteries; those are all indicators of methamphetamine manufacturing.”

» THAT’S NOT PEPSI INSIDE: “A bottle, a two-liter bottle or a 20 ounce drink bottle that has some sludge in it. That’s where somebody more than likely has driven down the road and has thrown it out on the side of the road as trash,” said Beebe.

Be careful with a bottle if you see an unusual substance in it, too.

“Do not touch, don’t open it up, don’t smell it to try and figure out what it is, because if it were to react you could breathe in that chemical and it could melt your lungs,” Beebe said. “All those things are great indicators that someone is manufacturing, and you need to call law enforcement to come out there and deal with it.”








Tauni Duncan, a 40-year-old stay at home mom, was more than a little surprised when her 12-year-old daughter came home from school on Tuesday knowledgeable about how to cook and smoke methamphetamine.

“She was naming off Sudafed and all these other things and going into detail about how to extract the chemicals from these other products and stuff,” Duncan said, “and she was very knowledge on what went into crystal meth.”

The mother learned that her seventh-grade daughter watched a National Geographic Channel documentary in health class called “World’s Most Dangerous Drug” as part of her school’s drug awareness and education curriculum.

Duncan raised concerns to the principal that the content of the film was not age appropriate for middle schoolers, and at the very least the school should have sent out a letter informing parents before it was shown.

“They felt that there was no need to inform the parents because they said that it was age appropriate, is what the principal told me,” Duncan said, noting she talked to the school’s principal the next day. “I told them that was ridiculous, and that this information was too much information for my daughter and for any other kid in class.

She wasn’t the only one who thought so.

“I watched five minutes of it and I was not happy,” William Campbell, a 43-year-old father of a seventh grader, said. “I saw someone using and smoking a meth pipe and talked about the making of it, and that’s not something a 12-year-old should be introduced to at all.”

Juneau School District Chief of Staff Kristin Bartlett said the film has been shown for several years by more than one health teacher, and there has never been a concern raised by a parent. In light of the recent concerns, the school will be informing parents before the film is shown in the future and parents will have the opportunity to keep their kids from watching it. Students who opt out will be given alternative assignments.

“It has been used for a number of years, so I think that that’s an indication that the teachers feel that it’s an effective way of communicating the dangers of drugs to students,” Bartlett said Friday during a joint phone interview with JSD Superintendent Mark Miller. “I think that they feel there’s value in being able to show it to students. We just need to make sure that we’re making parents aware of it.”

The 45-minute TV documentary is not rated by the Movie Picture Association of America. It was produced in 2006 and explores how methamphetamine has swept the nation and the devastating impact it’s had.

The video can easily be construed as a scare tactic for any young person considering smoking meth. Correspondent Lisa Ling interviews addicts in jail who are battling a decades-long addiction with the drug, a grieving mother whose daughter and boyfriend died while trying meth for the first time at a party and a police officer who shows the shocking “before and after” mugshots of meth addicts.

Ling also interviews a law enforcement officer in Portland who demonstrates how accessible the drug is in America; it can be made with common household supplies.

“If you can make chocolate chip cookies, then you can cook meth,” the officer says, then cooks some for the camera. Before the footage airs, Ling explains that the officer is leaving out some key ingredients so as to not encourage copycats, as Superintendent Miller pointed out. The film also shows footage of burn victims who were seriously injured when their home-made lab exploded.

Miller said he watched the documentary from beginning to end after the complaint was raised. (It’s streaming on Netflix, which describes the movie as “gritty and dark.” It’s also available to watch on YouTube.)

“I think the part where the policeman is showing how easy it is to make the drug, they’re very clear that we’re leaving key parts out and we’re not going through all the ingredients because we don’t want people using this as a how-to video,” Miller said. “So I thought they were pretty responsible on that part of it.”

The documentary features other mature scenes: news footage showing hostage situations in Bangkok, Thailand where a bloodied man high on meth is holding a knife up to a young person’s throat; news footage of the dead bodies of meth addicts after the Thai government cracked down on meth users and dealers, killing hundreds of people; an interview with a sex industry worker in Thailand’s Red Light District, who at the start of the interview demonstrates how she crushes pills containing methamphetamine and smokes them so she can stay awake longer to earn more money and buy more drugs.

Miller said the intent behind showing the video was to teach students the dangers of doing drugs.

“I think one of the things that we have an obligation to do is educate students about drugs, and the dangers associated with that,” he said. “I think meth is a drug that clearly is in Juneau — I don’t think there’s any question about that. And so educating students about what the drug is and what the dangers of it are and what people who are on it look like, I think is a socially responsible thing to do.”

The video was only shown at Floyd Dryden Middle School, as far as Miller knows, he said. He added it did not have to be approved by the district because teachers have the ability by contract to choose the support materials they want use to educate students on the required curriculum.

Parents can challenge those materials and curriculum, a process that the school district is undergoing right now for an unrelated matter on whether required fourth-grade reading material is racist toward Native Americans and Alaska Natives.

When asked directly whether “World’s Most Dangerous Drug” was age appropriate for middle schoolers, Miller demurred.

“That would be one that I think we would need more than just my opinion on,” he said. “We have committees that look at age-appropriate curriculum, experts in the field of both mental health and drug education and middle school curriculum that would be much more appropriate to answer than me.”

“I think one thing is that parents really are the best judge of what’s appropriate for their own child because every child has different experiences,” Bartlett added, “so I think that informing parents about this and giving them some information about the video and then allowing them to make the choice for their child is really … the best solution.”

Bartlett said the district encourages any parent with concerns about the school’s curriculum to address it with the school, and then if that doesn’t work, to begin the review process.

“I just think any time with any subject when a parent is concerned or has questions about what’s happening in their child’s classroom,” she said, “they should certainly contact the teacher or the principal.







The NSW Government is under increasing pressure to hold a drug summit after the State Opposition rallied alongside health and welfare groups yesterday and committed to a special parliamentary inquiry, if elected in March.

Minister for Mental Health and Assistant Minister for Health Jai Rowell hinted yesterday that the State Government was receptive to holding a summit next year, stating it was “open to options” and “determined to do more” to address the “terrible impacts” drugs like ice were having on the community.

He also confirmed the government would consult  health professionals and police about what “additional steps” could be taken.


One teenager who spoke to the Sun-Herald about trying to kick her ice habit

More than 15 years after former Premier Bob Carr announced an unprecedented five-day drug summit if re-elected in 1999, Mike Baird is being asked to follow suit, with police, paramedics, health and welfare groups all buckling under the strain of a developing ice crisis.

It was during Mr Carr’s historic inquiry that the Kings Cross Medically Supervised Injecting Centre and other strategic recommendations were born. While those reforms later released Sydney from the grip of a heroin epidemic, a new set of dilemmas –  and drugs – have emerged, exposing fundamental flaws in the state’s regulatory system. Today, the Salvation Army will become the latest community service group to speak out about the “dangerously addictive” crystal methamphetamine when it holds a joint press conference with NSW Police to reveal the number of patients seeking treatment has doubled, in the past four years, due to the drug.

The announcement coincides with a Fairfax investigation which on Sunday revealed how children as young as 12 were finding themselves hooked on ice. As a group of teenagers spoke candidly to about their addiction, it emerged that at least 11 high school principals in NSW had expressed fears that ice was present in classrooms.

The Salvation Army said the number of people presenting to its recovery services program seeking treatment for ice addiction has increased by 122 per cent since 2010.

The organization’s Bridge Program, which on Monday marks 50 years of service, now treats more people for amphetamine use than other addictions including cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine and gambling.

“It’s probably been a problem for 10 years but it has certainly built up a head of steam over the last four years and particularly over the last 12 months,” recovery service’s clinical director Gerard Byrne said.

“There are hot spots for it, the larger metropolitan areas, but it seems to be pervading the Australian communities at all levels.” Mr Byrne said strong efforts had been made to educate young people about the effects of alcohol but similar efforts now must be repeated to address the shift towards “dangerous, highly addictive drugs” like ice.

Ted Noffs Foundation CEO, Matt Noffs has led calls for Premier Baird to hold another summit. That proposal is “wholeheartedly” supported by President of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation and addiction medicine specialist Dr Alex Wodak who said: “The 1999 Drug Summit was very helpful to NSW. Politicians learned a hell of a lot from it – and said so at the time. It influenced the way they thought and behaved for many years. It provided not just the medically supervised injecting centre but many other worthwhile changes.

“But I think we have lost our way…it’s good that we have this discussion now – with a view to the NSW Government – or whoever forms government – committing to look at this issue again…with fresh eyes.” Pastor Graham Long, CEO of the Wayside Chapel, is another who feels the benefits from the last summit can “only stretch so far”.

He confirmed yesterday that ice affected youngsters, as young as 13, are currently attending the Wayside’s Youth Space. “We are most certainly behind the game,” he said, adding: “I think it’s time we stopped, sat back and asked ‘can we do a better job’…because I certainly think we can.”







Children in Canberra as young as 13 are among the growing number of young people abusing the drug known as ice, according to a drug treatment service.

The Ted Noffs Foundation has warned ice is becoming more prevalent amongst young people, particularly those from a disadvantaged background.

Ronan O’Connor from the foundation said the organization had treated young people aged between 13 and 18 for substance abuse.

“Two years ago, the presentation of ice doubled for young people, and last year it doubled again,” he said.

It comes as a report reveals the percentage of people presenting to the Salvation Army Recovery Services in Canberra with amphetamine addictions has more than doubled since 2010.

Mr O’Connor said more young people had sought treatment for ice addiction than for alcohol or cannabis abuse.

“That means that last year the primary presentation for young people coming into this program was ice, at 50 per cent,” he said.

“As a substance, the process of addiction is quick, the rate of use becomes extreme very quickly, [and] the detox period tends to be longer.”

Mr O’Connor said the take up rate of ice in the community had presented huge challenges for health authorities.

“One of the things that comes with ice is injecting, and we know that with injecting, within 12 months you’ve got a 50 per cent chance of getting Hep C,” he said.

‘A week without sleeping, you go crazy’

The ABC spoke to two young people who have undergone treatment at Noffs for their addiction.

Sally first tried ice when she was 15, and within months she was addicted.

“There wasn’t anyone going around telling us it was bad, and it just got out of control really quickly,” she said.

“I was spending $500 a week, which was my whole pay, every week.”

She suffered severe psychological and physical problems as a result of her drug use.

“You’re going days, sometimes weeks without sleeping. I mean, a week without sleeping, you go crazy, you really do,” she said.

Alex, 16, has been at Noffs for the past few weeks, receiving treatment for ice addiction.

“Now I’ve got permanent effects. I hear things all the time, see people who aren’t there, I just started to lose my mind,” he said.

“It comes to the point where every night I was either breaking into houses or robbing people just so I could get my own hit.”

Despite their addictions, both Alex and Sally were confident of bright futures in the workforce.

They urged other young people to avoid the drug, and to seek help if they were struggling with addiction.

‘Heroin was the ice of its day, 15 or 20 years ago’

On Monday a report revealed the percentage of people accessing the Salvation Army Recovery Services with amphetamine issues, including ice users, had more than doubled since 2010. The figure was up from 11 per cent of people using the service in 2010, to 28 per cent in 2014 as at November 17.

Over the same period, the percentage of people using the service with alcohol problems decreased from 66 per cent to 50 per cent.

Clinical Director of the Salvation Army’s Recovery Services Gerard Byrne said the increase in ice users requiring help from the service was alarming.

“We’ve done such a good job educating people about alcohol. That is great. However, there is this clear shift towards very dangerous drugs that are highly addictive,” he said.

Matt Noffs, the chief executive of the Noffs Foundation, has called on health authorities to work on treatments for ice users, similar to those developed for heroin addicts in the 1990s.

“Heroin was the ice of its day, 15 or 20 years ago,” he said.

“What we’ve actually seen since then is a huge decrease in not only heroin use, but overdoses and deaths.”

Mr Noffs called on the New South Wales Government to hold a drugs summit, to discuss how to deal with ice.

“The kind of interventions that we should be using are akin to the ones that we used for heroin 15 years ago,” he said.

“For heroin it was methadone programs, it was needle exchange, and it was injecting centers. There’s no reason you couldn’t use similar treatments for ice.”

The foundation also called for health authorities to address the abuse of alcohol by young people.

Mr O’Connor warned that most substance abuse problems begin with alcohol addiction.

“That’s the first introduction for young people to a mind altering substance. It’s also the substance they see most readily,” Mr O’Connor said.

The Ted Noffs Foundation has been asked to consider lowering the age it offers treatment to young people from 13 to 11.







AMARILLO, TEXAS — The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) conducted a traffic stop Thursday on IH-40, yielding over nine pounds of methamphetamine valued at over $107,000.

At approximately 12:21 p.m., a DPS trooper conducted a traffic stop on a 2013 Dodge Charger traveling eastbound on IH-40, for a traffic violation, near Conway in Carson County.

The driver of the Charger was identified as Daniel Castro Gallardo Jr., 40, of El Monte, Calif. During the traffic stop, the trooper discovered eight bundles of methamphetamine in the vehicle.

Gallardo was placed under arrest for possession of a controlled substance, a first-degree felony, and booked into the Carson County Jail. The illegal drugs were allegedly being transported from San Bernardino, Calif., to Little Rock, Ark.





JAMESTOWN, N.Y. — A fire that damaged a two-story house Thursday in the 800 block of Prendergast Avenue was caused by methamphetamine production, police said.

The fire caused extensive damage to the second floor. Investigators are attempting to identify the people who were inside the house when the fire began, police said. They fled before firefighters and police arrived, authorities said.

Police said one of the home’s occupants suffered burns. The fire was reported at 3 p.m.

Anyone with information on the fire is asked to call Jamestown police at (716) 483-7537, or call an anonymous tip line at (716) 483-8477.






CarterKaren-jpgGLADE SPRING, Va. – A Nov. 20 federal search warrant in Glade Spring, Virginia yielded numerous one-pot shake and bake meth labs resulting in 20 felony charges lodged against three individuals, according to Washington County Sheriff Fred Newman.

The search was executed at approximately 9:40 p.m. at 10026 Old Mill Road in Glade Spring.

Karen Mae Carter, 38, of 10026 Old Mill Road has been charged with distribution of a Schedule I or II drug, conspiring to distribute a Schedule I or II drug, possession of firearm by convicted felon, possession of a Schedule I or II drug, manufacture of methamphetamine while in possession of a firearm, possession of methamphetamine precursors, conspiring to manufacture over 227 grams of a methamphetamine mixture, manufacturing over 227 grams of a methamphetamine mixture and manufacture 28 grams or more and less than 227 grams of a methamphetamine mixture.


David Ray Nipper, 37, of 10026 Old Mill Road has been charged with distribution of Schedule I or II drug, conspiring to distribute a Schedule I or II drug, possession of a Schedule I or II drug, manufacture of methamphetamine while in possession of a firearm, possession of methamphetamine precursors, conspiring to manufacture over 227 grams of a methamphetamine mixture, manufacturing over 227 grams of a methamphetamine mixture and manufacturing 28 grams or more and less than 227 grams of a methamphetamine mixture.

Carl L. Wright, Jr., 61, of 2801 Pleasant Valley Road, Sugar Gove, Virginia has been charged with possession of Schedule I or II drug, conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine and distribution of a Schedule I or II drug.

All three subjects were transported to the Abingdon Facility of the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail where they are currently being held without bond.

The Washington County Virginia Sheriff’s Office, the DEA, the Abingdon Police Department, the Damascus Police Department and the Glade Spring Police Department were involved in the investigation.






Kansas City, MO – A two-year investigation culminated in a dozen arrests and the execution of several search warrants Friday. Law enforcement officers seized two and a half pounds of methamphetamine, marijuana, cash, drug paraphernalia, two firearms and ammunition during these searches.

Christopher Brian Padilla, 30, Natalie N. Tinoco, 29, Oswaldo Ulises Lopez, 24, Edward Francis Diaz, Jr., 47, Edward Francis Diaz III, 28, Mary Eloisa Steward, 33, Heriberto Muzquiz III, 43, Nicholas Salinas, 46, Jose Tereso Salinas-Covarrubias, 45, and Terry L. Diaz, 50, all of Kansas City, Mo.; Sergio Ibarra-Hernandez, 44, and Martin Fernando Espinoza-Arevalo, 26, both of whom are citizens of Mexico residing in Kansas City, Mo.; and Adan Rogelio Hernandez-Aceves, also known as Jose Delgado-Hernandez, 44, a citizen of Mexico residing in Kansas City, Kan., were charged in a three-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014. That indictment was unsealed and made public today upon the arrests and initial court appearances of 12 of the defendants; Terry Diaz remains at large.

The federal indictment alleges that all of the defendants participated in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana from Jan. 1, 2012, to Nov. 19, 2014. The indictment alleges that conspirators distributed at least 15 kilograms of cocaine, two kilograms of methamphetamine and 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.

In addition to the drug-trafficking conspiracy, Padilla is charged with one count of illegally possessing firearms. Padilla allegedly possessed and used a loaded .357-caliber Glock semi-automatic pistol, a Taurus .38-caliber revolver and a Glock .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.

Padilla is also charged with selling a Taurus .38-caliber revolver and a Glock .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol to a buyer who was prohibited from possessing a firearm because he was a felon.

The federal indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require the defendants to forfeit to the government any property derived from the proceeds of the drug-trafficking conspiracy or used to facilitate the commission of the drug-trafficking conspiracy, including a money judgment of $1,050,000 for which all of the defendants are jointly and severally liable. This sum, in aggregate, allegedly was received in exchange for the unlawful distribution of cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana, based on a conservative average street price of $32,000 per kilogram of cocaine, $1,000 per ounce of methamphetamine and $500 per pound of marijuana and the total conspiracy distribution of at least 15 kilograms of cocaine, two kilograms of methamphetamine and 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.

The forfeiture allegation would also require the defendants to forfeit two residential properties owned by Salinas, a 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche pick-up owned by Hernandez-Aceves and $1,654 seized by law enforcement officers from Steward.







Boyce_james.JPGHODGDON, Maine — Police found a clandestine methamphetamine production lab Saturday at a Hodgdon home — the second time this year police discovered a methamphetamine lab at the same residence.

The Saturday morning search of the 699 Walker Road home resulted in the arrest of James Boyce, 31, of Hodgdon. He was charged with Class B trafficking in methamphetamine and violations of conditions of release from a prior offense, according to a media release issued Saturday afternoon by the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Police became interested in the home after Deputy Erica Pelletier of the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office and Maine State Police Trooper Jared Sylvia went there late Friday evening as part of an unrelated investigation, according to the drug enforcement agency.

“They noticed material in the house consistent with the illicit production of methamphetamine,” the media release stated. “Deputy Pelletier and Trooper Sylvia, who are both members of MDEA’s clandestine lab response team, evacuated the residence and secured it pending the application of a search warrant.”

The warrant was granted. At about 11:30 a.m. Saturday, MDEA’s clandestine lab response team and Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office deputies went into the house.

“A search of the residence is underway currently,” the release, issued at about 1:15 p.m, said. “Thus far a number of items consistent with the manufacturing of methamphetamine have been located and seized as evidence.”

Police said officials discovered another lab at the same address on March 24 and charged 24-year-old Marcus Toner with manufacturing methamphetamine.

“It is unclear what, if any, relationship there is between Toner and Boyce,” the MDEA news release stated.


On Saturday, the drug enforcement agency was assisted at the scene by the sheriff’s office, the Maine State Police, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the Hodgdon Fire Department. Others are likely to be charged, as the investigation continues, police said.

The MDEA has handled record numbers of illegal methamphetamine production sites this year. A meth lab confirmed a month ago in the Aroostook County town of Monticello and a raid on a lab in East Millinocket brought the 2014 number to 22, an all-time record, according to Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland.






A 21-year-old Bryan man with a Breaking Bad-themed wallet was among three people arrested in connection with the sale and manufacture of methamphetamine and a drug designed to mimic the effects of Ecstasy.

College Station police came away with 54.9 grams of analogue MDMA, or “Cloud,” 1.9 grams of methamphetamine, three prescription drugs and about 3.6 ounces of marijuana during a traffic stop in the 2500 block of Texas Avenue on Friday afternoon, according to a court document.

and two Bryan teens — 19-year-old Cristopher Matthew Collins and 18-year-old Jasmine Nicole Lopez — were each charged with first-degree felony manufacture and delivery of analogue MDMA, which carries a punishment of five years to life in prison. They were passengers in the car.54717fc3ae46c_image

All three remained behind bars Saturday on $12,000 bonds on Collins and Lopez and a $46,000 bond on Hayhurst. The driver of the car was also being held at the Brazos County Jail on a failure to identify charge.

Originally stopping the vehicle for an expired registration, officers searched the car after noticing an open bottle of an alcoholic beverage in the center console and brass knuckles in Hayhurst’s lap, police said.

Police found the drugs in Hayhurst’s blue backpack and a locked silver box, which also contained a wallet bearing the name Heisenberg on it with a caricature of Walter White from AMC’s crime drama Breaking Bad, according to the report.

Hayhurst was additionally charged with seven offenses: manufacture and delivery of methamphetamine, which is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison; possession of marijuana; possession of a prohibited weapon; unlawfully carrying a weapon; and three counts of possession of a dangerous drug, which are Class A misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail.

The trio told police they had purchased the ingredients on a website and mixed them to create “Cloud,” believing it to be a safer and “legal alternative to ‘Molly’ since the ingredients had been legal to purchase,” read the probable cause affidavit for their arrest.

Sgt. Mike Dean said the drug was neither safe nor legal, pointing out the dangers of mixing drugs.

“With information off the Internet, you never know what’s true and what’s not, and you never know the purity of the chemical you’re getting versus the chemical that’s used,” Dean said. “You’re taking your chances.”







Take a look sometime at the ingredients that go into making — or “cooking,” as it is called — methamphetamine and you will quickly understand why the drug is such a scourge.

There’s acetone, a chemical used to make nail polish remover and paint thinner and that’s extremely flammable. And lithium, the highly explosive element used to make batteries.

Used to make brake fluid, toluene is powerful enough to dissolve rubber. Hydrochloric acid is, well, acid, and if can remove rust from steel, it can also eat away at human skin.

Red phosphorus, used to make matches and road flares, ignites when overheated, and sodium hydroxide is often used to dispose of road kill.

Then there’s sulfuric acid, used in drain cleaners and toilet bowl cleaners, and, like many of the other ingredients, can easily burn the skin. And anhydrous ammonia is found in fertilizer or countertop cleaners. Mixed with other chemicals, it can release highly toxic gases.

Even pseudoephedrine, a chemical found in cold medicine, can harm the respiratory and nervous systems, as well as the heart, if taken in large amounts.

And these are the ingredients most commonly used to make a product that meth users ingest into their bodies. There is little wonder that the drug has devastating effects on those who use it and abuse it.

Fortunately, the state of Minnesota started cracking down on the manufacturing of the drug about 10 years ago when meth labs were beginning to surface in the Upper Midwest, including here in Steele County. Laws passed by the Minnesota Legislature back in 2005 led to the dramatic reduction in the production of meth.

But the key word there is “production.”

Though the number of meth labs has dropped, there are constant reminders that meth use is alive and well in Minnesota and that we see it right here in Steele County.

Case in point: Just this week, federal charges were filed against an East Bethel man after he was arrested here in Steele County with a large amount of methamphetamine in his possession.

How much? About 10 pounds of the drug, which law enforcement officials say has a street value of more than $450,000.

The arrest last week was just one in a string of large meth seizures and arrest in and around Owatonna in recent months.

Last month, federal prosecutors indicted 11 people in what they say was an Owatonna-based trafficking conspiracy to distribute up to 26 pounds of meth. And in August, a routine traffic stop by the state patrol led to the arrest of a California man who reportedly was transporting 10 pounds of meth.

And these are just the ones who have been caught.

Take another look at those ingredients and ask yourself if you would want anyone using such a drug.

We must never become complacent in our fight against the scourge that is methamphetamine. It is something that hurts us all.










An Anaconda judge told a man convicted by jury of incest he should remain in prison until he takes responsibility for his disturbing actions. Even if that means he’ll die behind bars.

Joshua James Kline, 39, will not be eligible for parole until he completes phase two of sex offender treatment, which includes admitting the crime.

“If not, you’ll be an untreated sex offender and be where you should be in Montana State Prison,” District Judge Ray Dayton said at the sentencing hearing Friday morning in Anaconda.

A jury found Kline guilty of giving a relative methamphetamine and then having sex with the juvenile on numerous occasions. He received a sentence of life in prison for incest, 20 years incarceration for criminal distribution of dangerous drugs and five years in prison for endangering the welfare of children.  The sentences will run concurrently.

Kline, who maintains his innocence, was cavalier throughout the hearing. He shrugged as the judge handed down the sentence.

“I’m a good person,” Kline read in a prepared statement, in which he said he will get a retrial and be exonerated.

Kline is already a registered sexual and violent offender from previous convictions of rape and robbery. He had completed the first phase after being incarcerated for a charge of sexual assault.

“Mark my words, I will be free,” Kline said.

“As I leave with my head held high, knowing I will get out of prison before I die.”

Officials were anxious to get Kline out of the county jail after a Halloween escape attempt with another sex offender. The county attorney’s office has dismissed a charge of felony escape for the time being in order to expedite the process. Prosecutors can refile the charge later.

Kline and another inmate tried to break out of the jail after making a hole in the wall of the shower but ended up caught in a crawlspace.

As soon as the hearing was done, officials were on the phone with the prison to get Kline transported immediately. This will not be his first time at the Deer Lodge facility.

Kline’s extensive criminal history started when he was a teen. He was convicted of his first felony charge at age 18.

“As the years went by, his crimes seemed to escalate,” said Tara Billteen, the state probation and parole officer who conducted the pre-sentence investigation.

In his 21 years as an adult, Kline has spent 17 of those either incarcerated or under supervision.

“This crime has torn his whole family apart,” Billteen added.

The victim opted not to testify at the sentencing hearing. An impact statement from the victim’s mother was read by prosecutors.

“I hate him and our lives will never be the same,” she wrote.

“This is a mother’s worst nightmare.”

Meanwhile, Kline awaits sentencing after he and his cousin, George Kelly Kline, robbed the Copper Club casino in Helena.

He pleaded guilty to felony robbery. A sentencing hearing is slated for Dec. 11 in that case.

Joshua Kline was hospitalized after an employee at the casino beat him with a baseball bat on Nov. 24, 2013. Testing at the hospital revealed Kline had amphetamines and opiates in his system, police said.

Police later arrested George Kline after finding him hiding underneath a bed in Butte.










I just received some very graphic pictures.  These are pictures of a man named Dale who was running a meth lab, and had been doing it for quite sometime.  But this time it was the day it went very wrong.  In 2011 while making a batch of meth, he said he knew as soon as he saw the spark that it was going to explode right in front of him.

lab explosion 21 lab explosion 20 lab explosion 19 lab explosion 18  lab explosion 16 lab explosion 15 lab explosion 14 lab explosion 13 lab explosion 12 lab explosion 11 lab explosion 10 lab explosion 9 lab explosion 8 lab explosion 7 lab explosion 6 lab explosion 5 lab explosion 4 lab explosion 3 lab explosion 2 lab explosion 1

His entire body was on fire; for 7 long seconds he was on fire.  This is the damage caused in such a short amount of time.  He said that he could see his flesh on the floor next to him he could smell and see his flesh still burning.

He should not have survived – but he did. These pictures are quite graphic and maybe hard for people to look at, but it doesn’t get more real than this!

The last photo is of how he looks today. lab explosion 22

If these pictures aren’t enough for people to see what can happen, I don’t know what is. He has given permission to use his photos as an example about the dangers of cooking meth. They were taken by the doctors and nurses who took care of his burns.

They are graphic.

Police allege a Fitzroy man attempted to set a teenage girl on fire as he raped her, according to court documents.

Charge sheets tendered to Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday allege Abdirizak Hashi, 29, sprayed the girl in the face with an aerosol can and attempted to set the gas alight as he raped her twice. One of the rape counts is alleged to be digital.

They also allege he committed four armed robberies inside 30 minutes, the first of which allegedly occurred 40 minutes after the attack on the girl.

The court heard Mr Hashi was now withdrawing from the drug ice.

Defense counsel Domenic Care told the court Mr. Hashi, of Fitzroy, suffered from schizophrenia and used drug of dependence methamphetamine.

He requested Hashi see a psychiatric nurse as a “matter of urgency”.

Magistrate Amanda Chambers remanded Mr. Hashi, who was not in court, in custody to return to court on February 20. There was no application for bail.

Police allege the girl, believed to be 15, was assaulted in Drummond Street, Carlton, about 11.30 am on Thursday.

It is then alleged Mr. Hashi attempted to hold up a Caltex service station in High Street, Northcote with the make-shift flame-thrower, before robbing two hotels in St Georges Road, Northcote and Scotchmer Street, North Fitzroy and a supermarket on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.

Mr Hashi faces 16 charges, including rape, indecent assault, false imprisonment, four assault-related offences and three counts of attempted armed robbery.









Edward Flores 39 A veteran mailman distributed methamphetamine while driving along his Texas route in a U.S. Postal Service vehicle, investigators charge.

Edward Flores, 39, is facing felony narcotics charges following a 10-month investigation by state investigators and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Flores, seen at right, is free on $10,000 bond.

According to cops, Flores has worked for the postal service for more than 20 years. His wife is the postmaster in Lorena, a city outside Waco where the couple lives.

During surveillance operations, investigators watched as Flores, wearing his mailman’s uniform, delivered methamphetamine. The probe of Flores–who worked from a Waco post office–was prompted by tips to law enforcement that narcotics was being sold from his residence, as well as from a U.S. Postal Service vehicle being driven by a uniformed worker.

During a raid last week at Flores’s home, cops seized methamphetamine worth $17,000.








U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers arrested Wednesday an unidentified individual who tried to smuggle more than $3.5 million worth of liquid methamphetamine at the Falfurrias Border Patrol Checkpoint, according to a news release.Image courtesy of Border Patrol

The driver was attempting to cross the checkpoint when officers referred his white Ford pickup truck to a secondary inspection at the Falfurrias Border Patrol Checkpoint on north U.S. Highway 281. Agents found the liquid meth, weighing 112 pounds, in one of the vehicle’s gas tanks.

The San Antonio Hazardous Material Team was summoned to safely extract the narcotics from the gas tank, according to the news release. The driver was arrested and released to the Corpus Christi Office of Homeland Security Investigations- along with the narcotics and vehicle used in the smuggling attempt.






The flashing red and blue lights, a major police presence, and a homemade device that looks like something you would find in a trash can.

We’re talking about a meth lab bust.

During the past year in Harrison County alone, officials have made 10 busts and even more arrests. Add in Holmes, Tuscarawas and Carroll counties, the drug task force has responded to more than 300 meth labs.

The numbers just proving that more and more people are experimenting with meth.

The sight has become far too common. But what we haven’t seen is what this drug is doing to those who use it. For some, meth is turning into the drug of choice.

“A lot of people that are on meth you know, you see they’re all scabbed up,” said Tim Miller, a former meth addict. “It feels like they’ve got insects crawling through their veins.”

They know the drug inside…

“It’s the compulsion of the high that just keeps that you just can’t let it alone,” Miller said.

And out …

“Sunk in face, umm black under the eyes, I thought at the time that it was very unnoticeable,” another ex-meth addict, John Beachy, said.

“My family just thought I was getting depressed. And really I was just — you know — I was high,” Miller said.

For a user, it’s the high over the physical. The meth high is unlike alcohol or other drugs.

“Just felt like you could go and go and go, you know?” Miller said.

“The first word that comes to my mind is invincible,” Beachy said. “I literally did feel like I could do anything.”

Miller and Beachy bring a voice to those faces of meth. Between them, they spent 5 years addicted to the illegal chemical concoction.

For Miller, a truck driver at the time, it was all about getting ahead at work.

“When I did it for the first time I, I mean, I felt like I could drive all the way to California without sleeping,” he said. “I felt like I couldn’t deal with life without being high.”

Beachy, meanwhile, was a 19-year-old looking for a good time in the wrong places.

“Each thing was not quite good enough,” Beachy said. “After time and it was like OK, let’s try the next step. And just eventually keep making bad choices and you keep going down the row of drugs, and I ended up at meth.”

It’s a drug and addiction that’s baffling to authorities.

“Any time that you put lye, ammonium nitrate … Coleman fluid, lithium battery and to make that cook, and all that stuff says it’s harmful if you ingest it or inhale it, why you’d want to do that to your system,” Harrison County Sheriff Joe Myers said, “I don’t know.”

Regardless, it’s a scene they run into time and time again.

“I was talking to the task force leader,” Myers said. “They’ve had 372 meth labs this year.”

For Miller and Beachy, their meth use never resulted in mug shots. But it was still a lifestyle and past they regret.

“It pretty much tore our family apart,” Miller said. “When you felt like you had to have it to survive, it’s a totally different feeling than when you’re doing it just to have fun.”

Both men have since turned their lives around. Beachy has been clean for 8 years – Miller for 10.

“I thought I wasn’t hurting anybody but myself,” Miller said. “But you know, in all reality, it changes your personality to the point where you don’t — we’ll I guess you’re in denial. You think there’s something wrong with everybody else but yourself, and it’s not worth it.”

Even now, these former users are still working to move forward hoping to put their history with meth is where it belongs – behind them.

Both men went to rehab and they say they wouldn’t have been able to stay clean without a solid support group. If you, or someone you know is addicted to meth, there are groups out there that can help, including one listed below:


Grace Mennonite Church

5750 County Road 77, Berlin, OH 44610

(330) 893-3110

The group for meth addicts/ recovering meth addicts meet s every Friday evening at 7:30.








ADA — The Pontotoc County District Attorney’s Office is seeking the death penalty against two people charged with murdering Ada resident Garry Gray. 546e9821235da_image

On Thursday, Assistant District Attorney Jim Tillison filed a bill of particulars on each of the two defendants, 46-year-old Bryan Keith Ross and 32-year-old Kendra Renee LeFors. The documents must be filed in order for a jury to consider the death penalty, should the case go to trial. Ross and LeFors were in court Thursday. They are due back in court April 3, 2015, for a preliminary hearing.

In the documents, Tillison said Ross and LeFors “…should be punished by death, due to and as a result of the aggravating circumstances…”

Tillison said Ross met three of those circumstances and LeFors met two. For both, he said, “the murder was especially heinous, atrocious and cruel” and there is a probability that both Ross and LeFors would commit additional violent crimes and be a “continuing threat to society.”

Tillison also listed that Ross was previously convicted of a felony involving violence or the threat of violence to a person.

According to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Ross served 20 years of a 30-year sentence — from 1988 to 2008 — for larceny of an automobile, feloniously pointing a firearm, attempted first-degree burglary and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Both Ross and LeFors are charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit a felony, first-degree robbery and larceny of an automobile.546e97b8d7843_image

Gray, 67, was found in his apartment Aug. 31, with severe head trauma from being beaten and had his throat cut in several places. He died at an Oklahoma City Hospital several days later. He had been on life support since he was hospitalized.

Ada Police Detective Kathi Johnston said both Ross and LeFors took part in the murder. According to a court affidavit filed by Tillison, the two caused Gray’s death “by then and there beating and stomping the face and head of … Gray and slashing his throat with a knife, with the deliberate intent to unlawfully take (his life).”

Although Gray wasn’t found until Aug. 31, Ross and LeFors were arrested by a park ranger in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur Friday, Aug. 29. They had Gray’s 2001 Cadillac, credit and debit cards and checkbooks with them.

Johnston said Ross and LeFors used Gray’s credit cards at various ATMs in the area to get cash.

Ross had a bloody knife, which has since been sent to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation crime lab to determine if it is Gray’s blood on the knife. Officials are still waiting on the results.

Johnston said LeFors had been living with Gray for approximately two months before the murder, but he had asked her to leave because she was causing problems for him at his apartment. Detectives said during interviews, Ross (who said he was LeFors’ boyfriend) and LeFors (whose husband is currently serving time in prison) claimed they believed Gray wasn’t treating LeFors right, and that was their explanation for why they killed him.

Ada police detectives believe robbery for money and possessions was the motive. LeFors had been out on bail after being charged Aug. 4 with felony possession of methamphetamine and, Tillison said, she has criminal histories in three other states.

The arrest and discovery

National Park Ranger Heather Hamilton was patrolling in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area when she saw Ross and LeFors arguing near Gray’s vehicle. She radioed for backup, confronted the two and separated them.

Ross said they had “just been playing with each other,” Hamilton said in a report. “As I spoke with Ross, I could smell the strong odor of what smelled like cat urine. This odor is consistent with methamphetamine.”

Hamilton detained Ross and during a search, found he had “many knives,” she said. “I took several knives off Ross’ person. One of the knives was a hunting knife in a sheath. I later examined the knife and observed it was covered in dried blood.”

Ross also had a black bag with a glass pipe containing methamphetamine residue and a red, plastic straw containing methamphetamine residue, Hamilton said.

During a search of the vehicle, rangers found a black box containing syringe needles, scissors and a spoon containing methamphetamine residue. Rangers also found LeFors’ purse which contained four credit/debit cards with the name “Garry Gray,” Hamilton said. “(We also) located two checkbooks with Gray’s name on them. (LeFors’) purse contained $658 in cash and several more syringe needles.”

Rangers noticed Ross had blood on his shoes. Ross told officers he had been rabbit hunting to explain the blood on his shoes and the knife. He said they were going down by a river to smoke some meth, according to the report. Hamilton said Ross was cooperative during the arrest, but LeFors fought with rangers, claiming she had defecated herself and needed to use the bathroom.

“Ranger Henderson observed LeFors reach down her underwear in between her buttocks and remove several plastic baggies and clench them in her fist,” Hamilton said. “LeFors began to kick us and head butt us away while clenching her fist. Ranger Seitz was able to peel each finger back until I was able to retrieve the baggies.”

Hamilton said the baggies contained substances that field-tested positive for codeine and methamphetamine. Rangers ran a check for warrants.

“They confirmed LeFors had a warrant out of Arkansas for possession of methamphetamine, but (Arkansas) would not extradite. Also found in the vehicle was a double-barreled shotgun and two rifles.

Ross was then arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm while committing a felony, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Lefors was arrested on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, obstruction of justice, assault on a police officer and possession of a firearm while committing a felony.

Both were taken to the Murray County jail. Hamilton continued to try and get in contact with Gray until Aug. 31. When she could not reach him by that date, she phoned Ada police, who conducted a welfare check at Gray’s apartment in the 2500 block of Oakhurst Drive.

Gray was found lying on the floor of his apartment with labored breathing. Police called for medical help and secured the area as a crime scene. They said most of the trauma was to the back of his head.







United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced Thursday that a federal grand jury indicted four people in a cocaine and methamphetamine distribution operation.

The operations took place in Caddo, Bossier, DeSoto and Red River parishes.

Those named in the 16-count indictment are: Shawn Swift, 35; Linda Brown, 59; Ricky Swift, 62; and Jarvis Randle, 26.

According to the indictment, the defendants conspired to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, and cocaine base from Jan. of 2013 to Oct. 2014 in Caddo, Bossier, DeSoto and Red River Parishes.

The indictment also seeks forfeiture of 39 weapons seized during the investigation of this case and more than $360,000.

Specifically, the indictment states that $89,700 was seized during a traffic stop on Sept.; $237,753 was seized from the home of Ricky Swift and Linda Brown on Oct. 21 and $40,457 was seized from the home of Shawn Swift on Oct. 21.

The defendants face various possible penalties depending on the drug quantity involved and their criminal histories as listed below:• Conspiracy to Possess and Distribute Cocaine – up to 20 years in prison, and for some, up to life in prison, and up to five years of supervised release:

  • Distribution of Cocaine and Methamphetamine and Possession with Intent to
  • Distribute Cocaine – up to 20 years in prison, and for some, up to 40 years in prison, and up to five years of supervised release;
  • Possession of Firearms in Furtherance of Drug Trafficking – a mandatory five years in prison consecutive to any other sentence and three years of supervised release;
  • Possession of Firearms by a Convicted Felon – up to 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release;
  • Possession of Firearms with Obliterated Serial Numbers – up to 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release; and
  • Maintaining a Drug-Involved Premises – up to 20 years in prison and five years of supervised release. The defendants also face a fine of up to $5 million and forfeiture of the money and property seized in the case.

The defendants were arrested as part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Operation named “Not So Swift.”

The FBI, ATF, DEA, Louisiana State Police, Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office, Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office, DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office, and the Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation.





Four people were arrested after Prince William County police uncovered a methamphetamine lab at a Red Roof Inn in the Manassas area, according to police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

samual hoak James Kiger

Samuel Hoak, 21, and James Kiger, 45, were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine. Lindsey Elizabeth Erngstorff, 24, and a 17-year-old, who was not named because she is a juvenile, were charged with possession of a controlled substance.

The suspects were arrested Nov. 4. The adult suspects are due in court Jan. 9.










BELLINGHAM — The owners of the Villa Inn are moving toward cleaning eight rooms contaminated by methamphetamine use at their north Samish Way motel.

The contamination was detected through tests conducted by the Whatcom County Health Department. Every room tested came back “hot” for residue from meth being smoked inside — for a total of nine out of nine.

One contaminated room was cleaned earlier this year.

As part of the cleanup, the inn applied for and received a building permit to remove and replace sheet rock and insulation in rooms 4, 5, 7, 9, 25, 36, 40 and 42.

Contamination levels were 44 to 290 times the current cleanup standard, according to Jeff Hegedus, environmental health supervisor with the Whatcom County Health Department.

A man who answered the phone at the Villa Inn on Thursday, Nov. 20, declined to comment. The owners are Jodh, Surrinder, Balwant and Sarbjit — all with the last name of Ghag, according to the Whatcom County Assessor.

The health department approved the cleanup plan on Oct. 23, just days before the Bellingham City Council voted to begin condemnation proceedings against another meth-contaminated Samish Way spot, the Aloha Motel.

The Villa Inn’s contaminated rooms, marked on the outside with orange stickers, can’t be used until they’ve been cleaned to acceptable levels. The inn is at 212 N. Samish Way.

Whatcom County requires cleanup if tests show contamination levels at 0.1 microgram per 100 square centimeters and higher.

Meth is a highly toxic and addictive drug that can be injected, snorted, smoked or ingested. Residue left behind — on surfaces like walls, carpets, curtains and countertops — when someone smokes meth contaminates a property and poses a health risk to occupants.

Dizziness, nausea, headaches, throat irritation and weight loss are among the symptoms people might experience if they’re in a contaminated space.

The health department manages such cleanup projects.

A state-certified contractor has submitted a cleanup plan to the health department, which has approved it subject to conditions that include an asbestos survey.

Cleanup could cost $6,000 to $10,000 per room; the Villa Inn’s owners are responsible for the cost.

Bellingham police conducting investigations, and some room residents, asked the health department to test the rooms; the health department doesn’t have the legal authority to go in and test on its own.

The Villa Inn and Aloha Motel, 301 and 315 N. Samish Way, have been a focus for Bellingham police and officials because they were among those receiving the  highest number of police calls.

Mayor Kelli Linville and the Bellingham City Council are moving forward with condemnation proceedings against the Aloha Motel, because it has long been a hub of crime and drug activity.

The case was up to a year in the making and part of an overall plan to clean up Samish Way and deal with other problem motels in the area, officials have said.

The owners of the Aloha are listed as Sang and Mi Yi.









Idaho State Police teamed up with Nez Perce Tribal Police to bust what they say was a methamphetamine trafficking ring being operated out of a hotel room at the Clearwater River Casino in North-Central Idaho.

Police said they arrested six people on Nov. 18 and seized a quantity of meth in the raid. Sarah Rasmussen, 38, of Clarkston, Wash., was charged with a felony count of trafficking meth, and five other suspects were arrested for frequenting a place where illegal substances are used. One was from Lewiston: 37-year-old Lisa Bond; and the other four were from Clarkston: 41-year-old Chris Tannhaill, 35-year-old Tommie Davis, 35-year-old Rodney Olson and 48-year-old Guy Bumpus.

All six suspects were booked into the Nez Perce County Jail.







KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Two arrests have been made at a Kalamazoo hotel near Sprinkle Road where police suspect meth was being made inside a room.

They also found a handgun.

Right now a 23-year-old man and 25-year-old woman are being held on outstanding warrants.

Additional charges including possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and making meth are being submitted to the prosecutor’s office.

Police say they were working on a tip.