MIDWEST CITY –  Midwest City Police say the man they arrested for trying to rob IBC Bank told them he was up for four days using methamphetamine prior to the incident.

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Christopher Fulton was arrested Friday, one day after the attempted robbery at IBC Bank on N. Air Depot Blvd in Midwest City.
According to court documents, on Thursday Fulton entered the bank and handed the teller a personal check with the personal information scribbled out and a threatening note written on it. The note read “You know what to do or we all die, I will shoot you first $500 $100 $50 $20 $10″.
Police say Fulton thought the bank had triggered the hold up alarm and ran from the bank. He climbed into a black sports car and left the scene.
The next day, the FBI contacted Midwest City Police and said Fulton was confessing to the crime. According to the report, Fulton said he saw the robbery suspect’s picture in the newspaper and it looked like him.
Police say he told them he thought it was his body in the bank, but not his mind. He then told police that he was up for four days and using methamphetamine.
Fulton told police he stole the check from his mother. He also said a friend owed someone $1,400 for two ounces of methamphetamine and that his girlfriend influenced him to commit the crime. According to Fulton, the plan was to rob the bank to get the money to pay back the debt.
He told police that he chose IBC Bank because he had previously banked there.
He was booked into the Midwest City Jail on robbery charges.

 

 

 

http://www.okcfox.com/story/24881277/suspect-to-police-i-tried-to-rob-a-bank-to-pay-for-meth

 

 

Wichita, Kan. – Two women from New Mexico have been indicted  on charges of bringing more than 8 pounds of methamphetamine to Wichita.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Wichita says 37-year-old Annabell Romero and 43-year-old Pamela Y. Meier, both of Tucumcari, N.M., are charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and one count of traveling in interstate commerce in furtherance of drug trafficking.

A Sedgwick County Sheriff’s deputy stopped the pair on Kellogg near 119th Street West back on February 28.  Investigators found the methamphetamine in duct taped bundles inside four brown paper sacks that were hidden in the lining of the trunk of the car.

If convicted of all charges, they could face up to 15 years in federal prison and fines totaling over $10,000,000.

 

 

 

 

http://www.kake.com/home/headlines/New-Mexico-women-charged-with-bringing-more-than-8-pounds-of-meth-to-Wichita-248453821.html

 

SPRINGDALE – A man and a woman were arrested Monday at a hotel on Airport Boulevard.

The Springdale Police Department began an investigation at the Carolina Lodge after receiving an anonymous complaint about drug activity. When officers arrived, they arrested one on outstanding warrants before observing methamphetamine-making materials in plain site, according to the Springdale Police Department.

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Officers executed a search warrant on the room and found multiple methamphetamine making items to include multiple reaction vessels and additional evidence.

Samantha Driggers, 26, and Shane Lempp, 37, were both were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of altered pseudoephedrine. Driggers is also charged with petit larceny from a previous warrant.

Both were then transported to Lexington County Detention Center.

Members of the Lexington County Multi-Agency Narcotics Enforcement Team assisted the Springdale Police Department with dismantling and properly disposing of the lab.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

MURFREESBORO — Murfreesboro Police recovered an active methamphetamine lab in the early hours of Saturday from the McDonald’s parking lot on South Rutherford Boulevard, according to an arrest report.

Officer Randell Gaines discovered the meth lab during a routine welfare check he conducted around 2 a.m. Saturday on a man who was asleep in a running car, the officer reported.

Tracy M. Strawn

Gaines tried to awaken the man by knocking on his window, which was when he noticed the man, later identified as Tracy M. Strawn, was missing his pants, Gaines said.

“Mr. Strawn had his penis wrapped in his shirt, but his buttocks were exposed,” Gaines wrote.

As Gaines placed Strawn, 39, of Madison, Tenn., under arrest for indecent exposure, he began an inventory of Strawn’s car.

“Before I did my inventory, I asked Mr. Strawn if there was anything in the vehicle that I needed to worry about doing me bodily harm,” Gaines said. “Mr. Strawn then stated ‘There might be a meth lab in my car.’”

As Gaines opened the front passenger door of the car, a “gasser bottle” fell out, the officer said, adding he immediately called his supervisor and a methamphetamine cleaning crew was dispatched to the scene.

Gaines said an active meth lab was found and Strawn then admitted to cooking meth in his car.

Strawn was also found to have “a quantity of meth in his possession,” along with plastic baggies consistent with selling drugs, Gaines said.

Strawn was arrested and charged with initiation of methamphetamine, felony possession of a schedule II drug, possession of drug paraphernalia and indecent exposure.

Gaines also noted that Strawn was within 1,000 yards of Black Fox Elementary School, which could enhance the charges.

Strawn was booked into the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center where he is being held on $42,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear April 9 in General Sessions Court.

http://www.dnj.com/article/20140304/NEWS01/303040015/MPD-Man-caught-wearing-no-pants-had-meth-lab-car

STRONG family connections and kinship within south-west Aboriginal communities is facing one of its biggest-ever tests from the drug ice.

“More and more it’s breaking up family units and causing dramas and troubles never seen before,” Aboriginal programs manager Allan Miller told a parliamentary committee inquiry yesterday in Warrnambool.

“The family process has never been challenged as much as with ice.”

He cited a 28-year-old Warr-nambool district woman’s response to a recent survey carried out by the Ngunnung committee, established specifically to tackle ice in south-west Victoria. She said her family and children had been separated because of her addictions.

“I can’t have a convo (conversation) with people, I’m always nasty,” she said when describing the effects of the drug.

“There are the false promises and the fear of not knowing where I am.

“For other family members it’s like they go through the drug habit without using it.”

Parliamentary committee hearing chairman Simon Ramsay said earlier sittings in Mildura and Shepparton revealed links between ice addiction and lack of parental control, high truancy and how dealers offered ice at low cost or for free as introductions to indigenous communities with previous alcohol and cannabis addiction problems.

“Users become beholden to dealers and develop habits of up to $3000 a week,” he said.

“Outlaw bikie gangs were leaning on particular indigenous communities, particularly relating to trafficking.”

Mr Miller said there was minimal evidence of pressure from bikies in the south-west, but there was supply from Mount Gambier and Melbourne passing onto small-time dealers.

“Aborigines who have used other drugs are using ice through injection — at the high-risk end of the scale,” he said.

Mr Miller, with fellow Ngunnung committee member and Aboriginal community liaison officer Joey Chatfield, said there were no rehabilitation facilities west of Melbourne and none elsewhere that were culturally appropriate.

They were supported by Mark Powell, diagnosis clinician with Headspace, in calling for locally-based referral bases, known as healing centres, to provide early intervention and mentoring. Magistrate Peter Mellas also supported the concept of healing centres.

“If Aboriginal people are connected with their traditional country there’s a better outcome,” Mr Chatfield said.

Mr Powell said there was anecdotal evidence of a link between broken families and substance abuse.

“We need to engage with families early regarding bringing in young people for treatment — to get them before they go down the wrong path,” he said.

According to Mr Chatfield some people were switching to ice because it was cheaper than alcohol. “I don’t think users are fully educated on what impact ice has on them,” he said.

“We need to target kids we see are at risk and develop role models and leadership programs.”

According to Tanya Dalton, regional co-ordinator for the indigenous family violence program, there were examples of girls using ice to lose weight.

She agreed with Mr Ramsay there was evidence to show the drug was also a sexual stimulant which could lead to prostitution.

Ms Dalton said racism in the general community was a barrier for Aborigines in finding employment.

http://www.standard.net.au/story/2128399/methamphetamine-scourge-stalks-indigenous-communities/?cs=383

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Authorities say 15 pounds of methamphetamine have been found in a car pulled over near Lincoln.

Two men in the car were arrested Sunday night alongside U.S. Highway 77 just off Interstate 80. They’re being held in Lancaster County Jail pending charges.

A deputy had pulled over the car and issued a warning to the driver about a traffic violation. A search dog taken to the scene alerted deputies to the drugs. Sheriff Terry Wagner says 15 1-pound packages of meth were found inside a hidden compartment in the car’s dashboard.

 

 

 

http://www.theindependent.com/news/state/held-after-meth-found-in-car-near-lincoln/article_707b763e-d01f-5cfc-8fda-ebcd12f9a194.html

 

CHICKASHA, Okla. – Authorities in Grady County say a woman smuggled meth inside the county jail after hiding the drug inside her vagina.

Carmen Sue Swafford was charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance.

She was arrested after a traffic stop for an expired paper tag.

According to the police report, Swafford told the officer she had been to prison for meth charges.

Swafford gave the officer permission to search the vehicle she was driving.

A K-9 unit alerted authorities to pills, marijuana and a meth pipe inside the car.

After Swafford was booked into the Grady County Jail, authorities say Swafford acted like she was in pain.

Jail authorities then noticed her on camera remove a baggie and lay it on the ground as she used the restroom.

Swafford admitted meth was inside the baggie and said she flushed it down the toilet.

Swafford is now facing additional charges of destruction of evidence and bringing contraband into a jail.

 

 

 

 

http://kfor.com/2014/03/03/oklahoma-woman-hides-meth-in-vagina-and-smuggles-it-into-jail/

 

Whatever is flushed, that goes down the drain, or into a manhole – none of it just disappears and that’s quite a problem when toxic chemicals from the suspected manufacture of meth end up in a sewage system.

Jenny Williams, with the Baldwin County Sewage System told us, “For every one pound of meth there are six or seven pounds of waste. That includes toxic chemicals, acids, and all kinds of stuff and they have to put it somewhere so they’ll dump it down the drains of directly into the sewer system.”

Baldwin

Chemicals like brake fluid, drain cleaner, and hydrochloric acid among others are used in making meth. Recently the Baldwin County Sewage System has seen high levels of similar chemicals at its Lillian plant.  Testing done shows the amount of the toxins has stayed below permit levels but they make it hard for the facility to work properly.

“It can off balance the treatment process of all of our waste water which can cause problems at our plant and problems with the waste water process,” Williams said.

CONTAINING THE CONTAMINANTS

In order to contain the chemicals the plant had to dig another settling pond. It’s an extra step they had to take to make sure the substances don’t get out into the environment.

“You’d have to be silly to not be concerned.”

Ralph Ward lives across from the sewage plant. He retired to the area to fish and hopes chemicals like these don’t get into the environment.

“If it got down in that bayou, it would go right down into the bay,” Ward said.

Baldwin County Sewage doesn’t want that to happen. They’re offering a $500 reward to hopefully stop the contamination. You can contact them at (251) 971-3022.

This is not the first time chemical dumping has been a concern at the Lillian plant. Officials say this at least the third time high levels of contaminants have been detected.

 

 

 

 

http://fox10tv.com/2014/03/03/suspected-meth-manufacturing-contaminating-plant/

 

  • Charlene Ellet, 25, was detained for  shoplifting at a Texas Walmart
  • Deputies searched her and her brother’s  car and ‘found meth inside’
  • Ellet and her brother, Cameron Beck, 26,  were taken to the county prison ‘where they were seen kissing between the bars  of their adjoining cells’
  • Ellet ‘admitted that she had sex with her  brother in the same motel room they shared with her two toddlers  daughters’
  • She said she was adopted and had a  different father to her brother and only struck up a relationship with him last  year

 

A brother and sister have admitted to having  a sexual relationship after they were caught kissing between their jail cell  bars following an arrest for alleged meth possession.

Charlene Ellet, 25, and her brother Cameron  Beck, 26, from Houston, Texas, now also face charges of prohibited sexual  conduct on top of the drugs charges, according to police reports.

The duo were picked up at a Wal-Mart after  Beck drove his sister and her two-year-old twin daughters to the store, where  Ellet was caught for allegedly stealing.

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As deputies searched Beck’s car,  they allegedly found a backpack containing a light bulb with burn marks and a  cut pen with a crystal substance on it, according to the Montgomery County Police  Reporter.

The substance  tested positive for Methamphetamine and Ellet admitted that she and her brother  had smoked it two weeks before, the Police Reporter said.

They were taken to the Montgomery County and  placed in adjoining cells, where deputies witnessed the pair kissing each other  on the lips through the bars, authorities said.

One of the deputies asked if they were  siblings and Ellet confirmed that they were.

She explained that she had the same  biological mother but a different father to her brother and that she had been  adopted.

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Her brother had been in prison until  November last year and they had struck up a relationship by writing back and  forth, she explained.

She told deputies that she had been involved  in a sexual relationship with Beck since he was released from prison, police  said.

Ellet and Beck had been staying in a motel  and they had been sleeping in the same bed as her twin daughters from a previous  relationship, police said.

She explained that the room had a partition and the girls  would stay on the other side while she and her brother had sex, but sometimes  they would go to the bathroom for sex, police said.

Her daughters have been handed over to  Ellet’s sister.

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Ellet and Beck remain in the  Montgomery County Jail for possession  of controlled substance and prohibited  sexual conduct. Ellet was also issued a  citation for shoplifting under $50.

On Facebook last year, Ellet wrote:  ‘So was finally able to talk to my  bro..havent seen or talked to him in 20 yrs…cant believe how alike we  r…practically twins!!! Family is all we got in the  end!!’

On Beck’s Facebook page, he has included  images of his sister which bear the message: ‘Love you baby.’

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2572227/Brother-sister-admit-having-sexual-relationship-cops-catch-kissing-arrested-meth-possession.html

 

 

 

An Auburn man convicted late last year of a nearly identical offense is again accused of sending sexually explicit messages to a teen girl.

King County prosecutors contend returned to “sexting” with teen girls almost immediately after he was released from jail after serving a six-month jail term for the same behavior. Caffroy, 29, is now alleged to have asked a 16-year-old girl to send him “naughty photos.”

Writing the court, a King County Sheriff’s Office detective said Coffroy offered a novel excuse for the unwanted sexually explicit text messages – methamphetamine.

“It’s the meth,” Coffroy is alleged to have told investigators following his Feb. 24 arrest. “I’m OK when I smoke it, but when I inject it, I can’t control myself.”

 

 

 

 

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Sexting-sex-offender-It-s-the-meth-5286427.php

 

Chinese gangs provide the Mexican drug cartels with ingredients to create methamphetamine. This in turn fuels the violent drug war in Mexico as well as addiction in the United States and Mexico to one of the world’s most harmful drugs.

China’s ongoing supply of precursor chemicals to make the drug has been the leading issue for Mexican officials to raise with China, according to Jorge Guajardo, the Mexican ambassador to China from 2007 to 2013.

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“Before I came to China, the first briefing I had with the [Mexican] attorney general was on the problem of precursor flowing from China to Mexico. It was the number one issue I had to address. However, we never got anywhere,” Guajardo told Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post.

“There was never any cooperation from the Chinese side and no intelligence sharing,” he said. “It got to the point where all [Mexican] government officials visiting China had instructions to bring up the issue.”

Methamphetamine, also called “meth,” “glass,” and “ice,” is an illegal stimulant known to cause bodily damage and severe paranoia. Meth is often made with precursor chemicals ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, which were both available in over-the-counter drugs before the United States began regulating their sale in 2004.

The revelation shines a new light on an otherwise opaque topic.

Particularly telling is that Mexican officials regard the issue as their leading topic with China, while Chinese officials have been uncooperative, according to Dr. Robert Bunker, distinguished visiting professor and Minerva chair of the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College.

At the end of the day, it’s all about money. And in China, business and government corruption go hand-in-hand.

“Mexican meth production and distribution is highly lucrative with the yearly U.S. market—estimated at $5 billion street value—seeing increasing volume, decreasing prices, and increased purity levels,” Bunker said via email. “Mexico itself over the last decade has also become another profitable market for meth sales with addiction rates higher than in the U.S.”

Bunker said the Chinese precursors are smuggled to Mexican drug cartels, including the Sinaloa cartel and the Knights Templars. For Mexico, this is a crime that is feeding the drug wars, which are in turn destabilizing the country. For China, it is a lucrative market.

“Simply put, the Chinese have elevated ‘authoritarian capitalism’ to an art form,” Bunker said. “Their strategic mandate is to achieve profit—positive cash flow—for their economic system. In many ways, this is very mercantilist, zero-sum like, and predatory in its perspective.”

With this in mind, Bunker said, “It would make sense that Chinese governmental officials would argue that the precursor chemicals are legal products being misused by Mexican nationals for illicit purposes.”

He said this explains a comment from Guajardo, who said Chinese officials told Mexico that the flow of meth precursors is a problem for Mexico’s customs and not for China to worry about.

A Lucrative Market

In 2001, prior to the regulation of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, pseudoephedrine powder used to be shipped in bulk to the United States and Canada. Germany and India were the largest suppliers, at 392 metric tons and 295 metric tons, respectively, The Oregonian reported. They were followed by China and the Czech Republic, which each exported close to 170 metric tons.

The drug cartels had to get the precursors from suppliers in the United States and Canada. In 2001, an estimated 200 tons were heading toward meth labs.

After the regulations kicked in, the number of meth labs in the United States dropped nearly fourfold. Then in 2007, the number began rapidly increasing.

Behind the increase was a restored supply chain of meth precursors, which were coming from China. Geopolitical intelligence company Stratfor mapped the smuggling lines in 2008. Ephedrine was being shipped from China into southern Mexico, through cooperation between the Chinese triads and the Mexican drug cartels.

While trafficking gets pinned on Chinese organized crime, government corruption in China is just as much to blame.

As recently as 2008, local governments in Guangdong, China, were encouraging farmers to grow ma huang and were promising more than 64 percent profit. Ma huang, also called Ephedra sinica, is used in traditional Chinese medicine and is a natural source of ephedrine.

There have been police raids targeting meth in China, including in areas where ma huang is a common crop, yet authorities typically only go after the finished product and leave the export ingredients untouched.

“While it appears that sales of meth precursors to the Mexican cartels may be an acceptable—and profitable—activity for the Chinese, the internal production of meth within their own country may not in any way be sanctioned, given the hundreds of meth labs raided in Guangdong and other parts of China over the last few years,” Bunker said.

He added that the dynamic suggests that Chinese authorities regard the sale of meth ingredients to the United States and Mexico as “an acceptable outcome of policies related to ‘authoritarian capitalism’ but such use by Chinese nationals is totally unacceptable given the highly addictive and debilitating effects of that drug.”

 

 

 

 

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/540878-china-uncooperative-in-stopping-meth-flow/

 

(Stillwater, Okla.) — A Cushing woman was arraigned today from the Payne County Jail on a charge of possessing methamphetamine – two weeks after she was placed on probation for possession of six drugs including methamphetamine.

Constance Lynn Edwards, 24, remains held on $30,000 bail on her new drug charge pending a March 12 court appearance, court records showed today.

In her case that was filed today, Edwards had been arrested by Payne County Sheriff’s Deputy Dan Nack for alleged possession of methamphetamine, syringes, vials and plastic baggies, all on Feb. 21, court records show.

Only two weeks earlier, Edwards had been placed on five years’ probation under a deferred sentence for possession of methamphetamine, marijuana, hydrocodone, alprazolam, clonazepam and diazepam on Sept. 14, 2013, court records show.

As a condition of that probation, Edwards was given a 30-day jail term, which she had already served, and ordered to undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation with random drug tests, as well as follow all treatment recommendations in a background report.

Edwards was also ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and to pay various fines and assessments including the cost of her incarceration, court records show.

Edwards had been arrested at 3:30 a.m. on Sept. 14, 2013, by Payne County Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Myers in Cushing at Highland Street and Moses Street, court records show.

Edwards had been driving a Blazer without any head lights on when the deputy attempted to stop her, but she accelerated and drove through tight graveled alleyways at 40 mph, not slowing or stopping for adjoining side streets, the deputy’s affidavit said.

    “As we approached the intersection of Moses Street and Highland, Deputy McKosato accelerated around my patrol car and the white Blazer. We conducted a controlled stop, slowing the vehicle until it came to a complete stop,” Myers wrote in his affidavit.

After Edwards was arrested for attempting to elude an officer, various drugs and items of drug paraphernalia including a straw, syringes and digital scales were found during an inventory of the Blazer, the affidavit said.

 

 

http://www.1600kush.com/story.php?id=6733&section=1

 

 

Arrests in West Hollywood for possession or sale of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and GHB increased in the last half of 2013 compared with the same period the year prior, according to a report by the city’s Public Safety Department and the West Hollywood station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.Meth arrestsMethamphetamine, also known as “tina” or “crystal,” accounted for the largest number of arrests, with 115 for possession of the drug and six for possession with intent to sell. That represents a 13 percent increase in meth possession arrests over the same period the year before. The number of arrests for possession with intent to sell remained constant.

Meth use and addiction is a major issue among gay men, who make up 40 percent of West Hollywood’s population. The drug is highly addictive and clouds the judgment of users, sometimes leading them to indulge in unprotected sex and put themselves at risk for infection with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Marijuana arrests, which ranked second with a total of 33, declined significantly from the last half of 2012.

Marijuana arrestsAccording to figures from the LA County Sheriff’s Department’s West Hollywood Narcotics Bureau, 30 people were arrested for possession of marijuana in the last half of 2013, down 27 percent from the year before. There were three arrests for possession of marijuana with intent to sell, down from seven in the last half of 2012.

Arrests for possession of cocaine, heroin and GHB showed the highest percentage increase (29 percent), although with a total of 36 arrests the number was comparatively low compared to arrests for other drugs. Arrests for intent to sell those drugs went up from three in the last half of 2012 to eight in the last half of 2013. GHB is a recreational drug that also has been described as a “date rape” drug for its use by rapists to render victims unconscious.

Cocaine arrests

The Narcotics Bureau reported that a majority of those arrested for illegal drug possession went outside the city to buy those drugs. Nine out of 17 arrests for possession with intent to sell were of people who did not live in West Hollywood.

 

 

 

 

http://www.wehoville.com/2014/03/03/drug/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=drug

 

State police say that Pete Daniel Smith, 33, Blossburg, attempted to make methamphetamine in a basement in Morris Run in 2012.

“Due to the fact that he believed the attempt was unsuccessful, he did not attempt to use any of the end product,” wrote the officer who filed the charges.

Smith is scheduled for a preliminary hearing March 5 on one count each of criminal attempt to manufacture a controlled substance and manufacture of a controlled substance. A Vice/Narcotics officer at the Pa. State Police barracks in Mansfield investigated a tip from Smith’s landlord on June 20, 2012. While in the process of evicting Smith and other tenants, the landlord reportedly found items which made her suspicious, including lithium batteries, drain cleaner and rubber tubing. The officer contacted Walmart in Mansfield and reportedly learned that Smith purchased 2.88 grams of pseudoephedrine on Jan. 8, 2012.

A team of Vice/Narcotics officers served a warrant on the rental property June 20. No one was home at the time. The officers reportedly found: one package of vinyl tubing, two packages of Energizer lithium batteries, two pounds of crystal drain cleaner which contains lye, 32 oz. of drain cleaner which contains sulfuric acid, lawn fertilizer which contains ammonium nitrate, a pipe cutter which would be used to strip lithium from batteries, a measuring cup and rubber gloves. The narcotics officer said these chemicals, when combined with pseudoephedrine, could be used in a “one pot” or “shake and bake” process to create methamphetamine.

The troopers seized the above items as evidence and arrested Smith as a suspect. Smith reportedly told police he found a “meth” recipe online and purchased the necessary ingredients at Walmart and Lowe’s. He reportedly combined the items in a large sports drink bottle and extracted a muddy mixture, which “ended up stuck to a napkin,” a few months before police raided the home.

 

 

http://www.tiogapublishing.com/news/breaking_news/morris-run-meth-lab/article_577ca8ec-a318-11e3-9c13-0019bb2963f4.html

 

 

 

ROME CITY — An observant Rome City Police Department deputy discovered an active methamphetamine lab in a vehicle Saturday afternoon, police said.

Joni L. Patrick, 37, of Ligonier was booked into the Noble County Jail on charges of manufacturing methamphetamine, a Class B felony; possession of precursors, a Class D felony; possession of methamphetamine, a Class D felony; possession of marijuana, a Class D felony and possession of paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor.

 

 

 

http://www.kpcnews.com/news/latest/newssun/article_10855d70-a314-11e3-bf01-0017a43b2370.html

 

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says methamphetamine has hit epidemic proportions across the state, especially in rural Ohio where investigators continue to find the remnants of labs strewn along back roads and highways.

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“We’re not going to arrest our way out of the problem,” DeWine said. “It’s not going to happen. We need community groups to push back through education and prevention. You have to have grassroots groups fighting this. It’s a huge problem.”

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation tracks meth lab seizures by federal fiscal year, meaning from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30. The state’s police officers report seizing the labs through a voluntary process, so there are likely many more than the statistics reflect.

Since October, police across Ohio have found 315 labs, and there still are seven months left in the fiscal year. Summit County leads the way with 66, according to DeWine’s office. Cuyahoga County, the state’s most urban county, had just one seizure of a lab.

Authorities are on target to seize more labs than it did in 2009, when investigators  dismantled 348, and in 2010, when they grabbed 359. In 2011, officers seized 375.

Last year, investigators reported finding 881, a 45 percent jump over the 607 taken apart the year before. Summit County, which has been the epicenter of meth making in the state for more than a decade with its underground base of cookers, leads with 66.

Some of this year’s seizures have indicated the scope of the problem. On Feb. 12, the Medina County Drug Task Force seized eight portable labs in a home in Medina. A 1-year-old child, and a 13-year-old girl were living there at the time, said Gary Hubbard, the director of the task force.

Five people were charged with using the one-pot method of cooking the drug, a quick, combustible way of making the drug with the help of a handful of household chemicals.

Hubbard said his office has arrested 78 people on more than 200 charges relating to the illegal purchases of pseudoephedrine, the cold medication that is used in making the drug, a gritty stimulant.

He called it “smurfing,” where cookers pay people to buy large volumes of the cold medication at a variety of stores and bring the product back to them. Ohio has limits on the amount of the medication a person can buy.

Hubbard said investigators have tracked a number of people from Summit County who have traveled to Medina County to buy pseudophedrine.

DeWine said the drug has gained a hold in rural counties. Reports show that meth lab seizures in Highland and Clermont counties in Southwest Ohio have jumped: Highland had 29, while Clermont had 25. Fairfield, which is east of Franklin, had 30.

DeWine said his office has stressed training, especially to local groups who work or volunteer outside. He fears a worker picking up litter will stumble upon a 2-liter pop bottle, which is often used to brew the drug’s ingredients, and become injured. And he also stressed the need to educate the dangers of the drug in the state’s rural areas.

“Look at Highland County,” DeWine said. “Its population is about 42,000 people, and it has 29 labs. To me, that’s just a staggering number.”

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2014/03/dewine_says_meth_has_reached_e.html

 

STUART, Fla. – Martin County Sheriff’s detectives are seeing a rash of meth labs in Martin County.

The latest meth lab shut down by deputies, was at a mobile home on SW Tropical Terrace near Stuart on February 25th.

In that case, three men were arrested, including Joshua LaFramboise, 24, who officials say was a key distributor and seller of meth.

In December 2013,  at a home on NW 13th Street in Jensen Beach, they arrested Mark Ramsey, 51.

Even from a wheelchair, investigators say Ramsey was able to run his meth lab.

And in October 2013, Jessie Jones, 32, of Palm City, was arrested for running a meth lab.

They say he suffered second and third degree burns on his face when the meth lab at the townhouse he rented blew up. This took place in a gated community, Sunset Trace at Martin Downs.

“Within the last year or so, we’ve had  five cases and we’re very concerned about that,” said William Snyder, Martin County Sheriff.

He says one possible reason for the increase in meth labs is because pill mills have been forced out of business due to recent changes in the law.

This has made it tougher for abusers to get prescription painkillers, and some have turned to meth.

Some are making it for their own use, others are making it and selling it.

There have been five meth labs closed down by the Martin County Sheriff’s Office since November 30, 2012.

 

 

 

http://www.cbs12.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_13739.shtml

 

 

The assistant superintendent of the Gloversville schools is on paid leave after being arrested Sunday on charges of possessing methamphetamine.

Frank Pickus, 57, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, was stopped at 6:41 p.m. Sunday near the Starbucks at 549 Troy Schenectady Road over traffic violations, Colonie Police Lt. Robert Winn said.

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A search of his person and car revealed Pickus had less than a half-ounce of the drug, Winn said.

Pickus had been stopped for failure to stay in his lane and failure to signal a turn, the police spokesman said.

“The traffic violations were observed in the area of the circle,” Winn said. “During the investigation into the traffic stop, they discovered he had a small amount of methamphetamine.”

He also was charged with misdemeanors of possessing methamphetamine and possessing drug paraphernalia, Winn said. Pickus also faces traffic violations and a traffic misdemeanor of driving with a suspended license.

Pickus acknowledged his role with the district, leading police to inform the Gloversville schools.

Gloversville Superintendent Michael Vanyo posted a notice on the district’s website that Pickus had been placed on paid administrative leave.

The bulletin specified that Pickus was arrested in Colonie, but not the charges.

“As this is a personnel matter and an active investigation, the district is unable to provide further information at this time,” the statement said.

Pickus was released and is due to answer to the charges Wednesday in Colonie Town Court.

The charges are misdemeanors, Winn said. To be a felony, a person must possess more than a half-ounce of the drug or be trying to sell it, he said.

http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Cops-School-leader-caught-with-meth-5284416.php

Two Rapides Parish residents were arrested Feb. 25 after police say they found two ounces of methamphetamine and “a few ounces” of marijuana on the suspects’ property.

Sandy Denise Malone, 33, and Michael James Malone, 33, of East Deville were charged with one count of possession of CDS I to distribute, two counts of possession of CDS II to distribute, one count of CDS IV to distribute and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. They have since been released on a $35,250 bond.

Deputies responded to a disturbance at 11885 Highway 28, where they first found Sandy Malone running into a shed, according to the police report. As they followed her, deputies say they discovered “a large amount of suspected methamphetamine” inside a truck with its windows down. Once inside the shed, deputies allegedly found Michael Malone.

Because of the amount of methamphetamine discovered, metro detectives were called to the scene.

Both suspects allegedly admitted to having “some meth” inside the shed and gave verbal consent for the detectives to search the property, where they found, in addition to the methamphetamine and marijuana, 97 methadone pills and 20 soma pills.

Police booked them at the Rapides Parish Detention Center without incident.

The investigation remains ongoing.

 

 

 

 

http://www.katc.com/news/two-rapides-parish-residents-facing-meth-related-charges/

 

GAINES COUNTY – One man is behind bars following a six month long methamphetamine trafficking investigation in Seminole and Gaines County.

The Gaines County Sheriff’s Office tells NewsWest 9, they executed a narcotics search and arrest warrant on Sunday morning for a residence in the 600 block of Southwest 9th Street in Seminole.

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During the search, officials found 59-year-old Cecil “Butch” Orban Callaway, who is the identified “kingpin” of the operation.

Officials also found over 26 grams of methamphetamine, worth over $3,000 on the street. They also found marijuana, dangerous drugs and a large amount of assorted drug paraphernalia in the home.

Callaway was arrested on charges of possession of methamphetamines (with intent to deliver), possession of marijuana and possession of dangerous drugs.

Callaway is currently behind bars at the Gaines County Jail.

 

 

 

http://www.newswest9.com/story/24873991/man-arrested-after-six-month-long-methamphetamine-trafficking-investigation

 

 

A Muhlenberg County woman was charged with trafficking in methamphetamine Friday after deputies found crystal methamphetamine in a Drakesboro home.

Muhlenberg County Sheriff Curtis McGehee said Julie A. Mackey, 26, of Drakesboro was charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

 

 

 

http://www.messenger-inquirer.com/developing_news/article_2a45b9e3-2e50-5860-bd6c-d449e7a7350f.html

 

 

CHICAGO — Authorities say they arrested a Minneapolis man on drug charges after discovering what they believe is $1.75 million worth of methamphetamine during a suburban Chicago traffic stop.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office says Monday that 22-year-old Roberto Ortiz has been charged with felony narcotics possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

Roberto_Ortiz_Meth

The department says Ortiz was driving an SUV in Arlington Heights on Saturday evening when he was pulled over for traffic violations. During the stop, officers found about 25 pounds of suspected crystal methamphetamine under the front seat and inside a locked box in the back of the SUV.

Ortiz was taken into custody and was expected to appear in court for a bond hearing on Monday. It wasn’t clear if he had an attorney.

http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/266cc9fc65224d0ea0bd25e62f152bfe/IL–Methamphetamine-Bust

 

Driver Allegedly Caught With 25 Pounds of Meth

A Minneapolis man faces felony charges after police say he  was found with 25 pounds of crystal methamphetamine in his vehicle.

According to the Cook County Sheriff’s Department, the drugs  were found during a routine traffic stop in the 200 block of East Algonquin Road  in Arlington Heights Saturday evening.

Authorities say the driver, 22-year-old Roberto Ortiz,  consented to a search of the SUV he was driving, and that’s when the drugs were  found under the front driver seat and in a box located in the back of the  vehicle.

Ortiz was charged with felony narcotics possession with  intent to deliver.

The drugs have an estimated street value of $1.75  million.

Ortiz was scheduled to appear in bond court Monday.

 

 

 

 

http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Driver-Allegedly-Caught-With-25-Pounds-of-Meth-248249221.html

 

 

U.S. Border Patrol agents took more methamphetamine off the streets Tuesday by foiling an attempted smuggling at the San Clemente checkpoint.

Last week, agents found $7 million in meth stashed in the hull of a boat in Oceanside Harbor.

In the most recent discovery, agents searched a pickup driven by a U.S. citizen who had an undocumented Mexican national as a passenger.

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Meth found in a pickup truck Tuesday at the San Clemente checkpoint

 

A K-9 gave a positive alert for narcotics, and a non-intrusive X-ray detection system discovered anomalies within the truck, according to a Border Patrol press release.

Agents searched the Ford F-150 and found bundles of meth underneath the truck bed and even more hidden with “natural voids of the vehicle,” the release states.

The bundles weighed 12.24 pounds and had an estimated street value of $122,400.

Both the 32-year-old U.S. citizen and the 32-year-old Mexican national were arrested and turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation. Their names were withheld.

 

 

 

 

http://lagunaniguel-danapoint.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/border-patrol-agents-find-12-pounds-of-meth

 

The explosion happened in 2011, but Jessica Biggs still bleeds.

She bleeds when the sores on her leg pop open. She bleeds on the operating table during the skin grafts. And she still cries.

She was 22 that September night when the father of her children went into the bathroom of their Madison apartment to cook meth and something went wrong. He died two weeks later in the burn unit at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where she also was hospitalized.

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Selena Humphrey was just 15 when she went to the Vanderbilt burn unit. She was cooking methamphetamine Dec. 4, 2000, in Grundy County when the chemical brew exploded in her face. She’s done with the skin grafts, but her scars will never go away.

The explosions that forever changed the lives of these young women happened more than a decade apart — a timeline that demonstrates the longevity of Tennessee’s meth problem. Surgeons at the state’s burn units in Nashville and Memphis continue to rebuild the melted body parts of addicts. And even after having suffered horrible, disfiguring injuries, their patients still struggle with addiction.

Humphrey, who was spared a jail sentence because of her age, wound up serving time later, pleading guilty to possession of meth-related paraphernalia six years after the 2000 explosion. She said she’s still using drugs but wants to stop.

Biggs wound up with another addiction after she stopped using meth. She got hooked on prescription pills after her surgeries, she said, “abusing them to numb my pain.” She had to go to rehab to get off narcotics, but said meth is the drug that dragged her down.

“Meth is not just a speed drug,” Biggs said. “It’s a devil’s drug.”

Jessica Biggs was 22

A revolving door

Burn units can be revolving doors for some addicts.

Dr. Bill Hickerson, the plastic surgeon who runs the unit at The MED in Memphis, said he has treated patients multiple times for repeat burns from meth lab explosions.

Just one bad burn case can carry a high price tag, especially when a patient develops an infection.

“It can go more than $1 million,” Hickerson said, noting that burn victims are prone to serious complications. “It can be $1 million or $2 million with a large burn that gets sick.”

He has worked at burn units in Memphis and Little Rock, Ark., before and since meth infested the South. The initial wave of burn victims were people who made the drugs in large quantities, mixing explosive chemicals while using propane heaters, before the smaller cold-cook “shake-and-bake” method became popular.

“Everything in that lab was obviously volatile,” Hickerson said. “With a mistake, they got a huge explosion and very serious burns. The total body surface area burned would be very high.”

The introduction of the shake-and-bake method accelerated the spread and use of the drug in Tennessee. In shake and bake, household chemicals are mixed in a soda bottle. No flame is needed.

“The shake-and-bake has made it more available for anybody,” Hickerson said.

In a shake-and-bake explosion, the burned body area is generally smaller, but that does not mean people are not at risk for dying.

“They still get very sick because their immune systems have been totally destroyed by the drug,” he said. “Their cardiovascular system is definitely not normal. With their pulmonary system, it is not unusual to see inflammatory condition of their lungs develop.”

Dr. Blair Summitt, medical director of the burn unit at Vanderbilt, said he does not see as many obvious cases of meth explosion burns as he once did.

“Either we’re not getting the full story — maybe we have some and we don’t know it because the burns are smaller — but a lot of times the story can be sketchy,” Summitt said.

Doctors and nurses know to look for telltale clues, such as a patient showing up at an emergency room two or three days after a burn has occurred or giving accounts of accidents that don’t quite add up.

Hospital staff are mandated by Tennessee law to report suspicious cases to police.

Jessica’s story

Police knew immediately it was a meth explosion at Cedar Crest apartments in Madison on Sept. 17, 2011. It blew out a wall of the apartment that Biggs shared with Jason Scott, who already had a criminal record for making meth.

She cannot erase the memory of his screams for water and the strange whiteness of his face devoid of the top layer of skin the night of the explosion that led to his death. Shards of flesh hung from her hands and feet. Her ears looked like charcoal briquettes.

The couple had once been beautiful. Standing 6-foot-3 with high cheekbones and blond hair, Scott had the confident, closed-mouth smile of a man who thought he had the world by the tail. After years of performing pirouettes, leaps and stretches, Biggs had the body of a dancer and smooth, olive skin.

When they met, she was 19. He was five years older and had just gotten out of prison after serving time for burglary convictions, but he wasn’t using drugs then.

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His addiction problem began with pills and graduated to meth, Biggs said. She tried meth and liked it.

Scott was buying the drug directly from a meth cook who told him he needed help making meth.

“Jason, at first, said, ‘I don’t want to learn,’ ” she said. “But he got so bad on it that he eventually learned how to do it. That was his thing every day, all day. That was his life. He would get up, find a way to buy the stuff to cook it, cook it, do it and stay up all night. Of course, I tried it.”

In a two-week time frame, she said, her weight dropped from 140 pounds to 105 pounds.

“We were staying with his brother in Cheatham County,” Biggs said.

“He had just got done cooking. We went to sleep. We woke up the next morning and the drug task force was knocking on the door. His brother called the cops on us.

“I did get my son taken from me,” she said. “But the charges got dropped because Jason took my charges. We stopped after that.”

She got her son back, and the couple had another baby boy. The children weren’t home the night of the explosion. She said she was sleeping on the couch in a room next to the bathroom where the explosion occurred.

She insisted that it had been a year since he had cooked meth. She couldn’t say why he chose to start again.

“I don’t know why,” she said. “He wanted some pills, and he couldn’t find pills. He looked at me and said, ‘I’m going to go cook.’ ”

She was hospitalized in the Vanderbilt burn unit for three months, then had to undergo a month of physical rehabilitation at another hospital. Besides those stays, she was hospitalized again last July because of a serious infection stemming from the injuries. She received treatment for addiction to painkillers in October 2012.

Her last skin graft surgery occurred Feb. 12.

“I have people who look at me every day,” Biggs said. “I went to the zoo at Halloween. This one guy asked me if that was my Halloween costume. Every person just kind of stared at me like I had a disease or something. A lady at Wal-Mart didn’t want to do my nails because of my skin.”

She is on probation for criminal convictions associated with the explosion.

Her grandmother, Peggy Biggs, has custody of her sons. Jessica Biggs also lives with “Granny,” the woman who raised her. She said her goals in life are to be a good mother to her sons and to become a licensed drug counselor.

Selena’s story

Motherhood is a tough reality for Selena Humphrey.

Her mother introduced her to meth, she said. Her mother’s boyfriend taught her to cook it. And Humphrey has lost her own rights to be a mother.

“My life is destroyed,” she said. “It took my kids from me. It took my serenity, my pride, my self-esteem.”

She has become the poster child for meth explosion burns — a role she is tired of playing after an appearance on “Oprah,” a feature in Newsweek and having her picture pop up on multiple websites. Her recovery from the physical injuries nearly 14 years ago, as horrible as they were, has been more certain than her recovery from the disease of addiction.

“It took me two years before I could open a car door, almost three years before I could pick up a half gallon of milk,” she said. “I had to learn to eat, talk, walk and sleep. For almost three years, I kept a garbage bag on my pillow because my face was bloody. I’ve had at least 100 multiple skin grafts.”

 

She became a licensed nurse aide but lost her certification after she relapsed and a 2006 arrest. Now out of prison, she cleans rooms in a Winchester motel that gives her a free place to stay. She is as brutally honest about herself as the reflection she sees scrubbing bathroom mirrors. She counts toking on a joint and drinking beer as using drugs, but said meth remains her drug of choice.

“My heart races, my mouth waters,” she said, describing the craving.

She reads “Our Daily Bread,” a devotional, every night. Humphrey prays for another chance and said she needs a residential option for treatment after a 30-day rehabilitation — a place for a fresh start.

“Something I can focus my life on instead of just sitting around twiddling my thumbs saying, ‘Let’s get high,’ ” she said. “What more have I got to do with my life? Nothing.”

Treating burns

$1 million When meth labs go up in flames, treating the injured can prove costly. The Tennessee Methamphetamine and Pharmaceutical Task Force found  one meth-burn patient at Vanderbilt University Medical Center who required four months of critical care treatment costing $1 million.

Meth treatment

$2.8 million In fiscal year 2011, 1,066 people in Tennessee received publicly funded treatment for meth abuse at a cost of $2.8 million in federal and state funds, according to the comptroller’s report.

 

 

 

 

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20140303/NEWS01/303030013/2-women-will-forever-bear-pain-scars-of-meth-lab-explosions

 

Tennessee is in a methamphetamine crisis. The state ranks among the top in the nation for meth-lab seizures. The economic costs are estimated at more $1 billion in the state. But the problem is more than numbers. The illegal drug affects the lives of tens of thousands. It devastates the body and can even cause death.

 

Brain and mouth

  • • Meth works in a region of the brain packed with nerve cells that manufacture dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (messenger) that controls pleasurable sensations.
  • • Reduced dopamine levels lead to a decrease in simple motor skills and learning tasks, long-term brain damage.
  • • Stroke, long-term brain damage.
  • • Damage to blood vessels.
  • • Insomnia, paranoia, severe depression.

Heart, lungs and other organs

  • • When meth is smoked, it enters the respiratory system and takes effect in three to five minutes. It can damage the heart and lungs.
  • • Meth can severely increase heart rate and blood pressure. Long time use can result in an irregular heartbeat, heart attack or stroke.
  • • Possible fluid in the lungs and chronic lung disease.
  • • Liver damage.
  • • Loss of appetite, weight loss and malnutrition.
  • • Skin sores result from picking and scratching at imaginary insects that chronic abusers think are crawling on them.

Immune, digestive and muscular systems

  • • Meth restricts the skin’s blood flow and its healing process, resulting in graying skin, acne and open sores.
  • • Abdominal pain.
  • • Obstruction in intestines.
  • • Lack of appetite and few nutrients received from food that is absorbed in the digestive system.
  • • Meth also effects the muscles, causing jerky movements, increased activity, convulsions and loss of coordination.

Other impacts

  • • Like with other stimulants, meth is often abused in a “binge and crash” pattern. Users try to maintain a high by taking more of the drug. Some users forgo food and sleep while continuing to take the drug for up to several days.
  • • Meth makes you high, but it also drags you way down. The “feel-good” emotions for the abuser go far beyond their usual boundaries. But the person feels far worse than usual when coming off the drug.
  • • A single does of cocaine lasts eight to 30 minutes. But a single dose of meth lasts six to eight hours.

 

 

 

 

http://www.tennessean.com/interactive/article/99999999/NEWS03/140226016/Meth-s-stranglehold-Tennessee