SEGUIN, Texas – Seguin police took two women into custody Wednesday morning after finding packaged methamphetamine inside a home.

Officers served a search warrant at the home in the 700 block of South Austin Street.

Nicole Carrillo, 38, and Priscilla Stair, 39, were arrested.

Police found 29 grams of meth packaged in small bags.

Both women were charged with manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance and taken to the Guadalupe County Jail.








Cambodia’s young adults are using methamphetamines at one of the highest rates in the world, according to a recent report by the UN’s drug watchdog, while demand for more upscale drugs like ecstasy is growing among the affluent.

In an annual report released Tuesday by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the abuse of amphetamine-type stimulants is said to be the “biggest concern” in countries located in the Greater Mekong Subregion.Three young men pose for a photo

The endemic problem is most prevalent among those aged 15 to 29, who typically consume pills like yama, a tablet containing a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine.

“Compared to the rest of the world, methamphetamine use is not as serious as it is in this region. The drug situation in Cambodia, specifically, is getting more serious,” said INCB board member Dr Viroj Sumyai, who has been researching drug addiction, treatment and rehabilitation in Southeast Asia for over 30 years.

Government responses to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s 2014 annual questionnaire, along with official reports, estimate that more than 75,000 people use illegal drugs in the country.

More than half of those are young people, whose drug of choice is methamphetamines.

“The problem is growing, and a big portion of that is yama,” National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) secretary-general Meas Vyrith said. “The number of people using methamphetamine in Cambodia is increasing right now among young people … because users can have entertainment and work without having any meals or sleep.”

According to Sumyai, the steady increase of yama use in Cambodia is partly a result of its proximity to the Golden Triangle, one of Asia’s two main drug-producing areas, which overlaps nearby countries Myanmar, Laos and Thailand.

“The production side of yama is Golden Triangle-heavy, and after production, it spreads in the countries along the Greater Mekong Subregion, where the drugs are transported along the Mekong River,” Sumyai said.

Apart from methamphetamines, the INCB report also noted a surge in the use of cannabis and Ecstasy in the Kingdom. Cambodia is one of the primary sources of safrole oil, the common chemical precursor to the party drug ecstasy, also known as MDMA.

Mainly found in the Cardamom Mountains, safrole has been used in the small-scale production of traditional remedies for centuries. But large-scale production ratcheted up after the international demand for MDMA peaked in 2000. Since then, crackdowns have seen safrole’s availability decline drastically, though it’s done nothing to sate local demand for MDMA.

Sumyai says the gradual rise of the drug’s popularity here can be closely tied to the rise of the middle class.

“Affluent and well-to-do people try to look for ‘better’ drugs, because they have the idea that yama is not good since it’s cheap and used by manual labourers,” he said.

While access to and the use of narcotics is soaring, however, Cambodians’ access to essential opiate-based medications containing codeine or morphine – mainstays in relieving post-operative pain – remains low for a variety of reasons, according to Sumyai.

Key to this is medical professionals’ lack of training and confidence in managing the side effects of the sometimes volatile drugs, he said.

“The situation is very serious in Cambodia because most doctors are afraid and unable to administer antidotes because they don’t have proper training,” Sumyai added.

While there is much work to be done to mitigate Cambodia’s drug situation, the government has also made some recent strides in drug control and treatment.

“The problem remains … but we can tell that 2013 and 2014 have been our best years in combatting drug trafficking and drug production locally,” NACD’s Vyrith said.

The NACD, along with partners like the UNODC and the World Health Organization (WHO), have increased community based drug treatment, which provides health and social services for drug users.

There have also been initiatives to educate border security and officers in rural areas of proper search and seizure techniques.

But according to WHO substance abuse officer Dr Yel Daravuth, those, too, require improvement.

“The [community-based] program is still in the early stage and requires continued efforts in strengthening the systems, framework and mechanisms providing results, as well as securing the necessary financial support to allow for providing more comprehensive coverage in most needed areas,” Daravuth said.








AUSTIN — An informant’s tip to Austin police led to a first-of-its-kind discovery for detectives this week.

Investigators with the Austin Police Department’s Organized Crime Division said they discovered between 8 and 10 gallons of liquid crystal methamphetamine in a compartment hidden inside of an SUV’s gas tank on Tuesday.

The seizure translates into roughly about 64 pounds of crystal meth, according to APD Lt. Frank Dixon. He said the drugs on the street could fetch close to $3 million.

“We believe that the person that was transporting the methamphetamine was coming from Mexico and we do believe that they were heading to somewhere in the Austin area,” said Dixon.

Two men inside the SUV were arrested following the traffic stop along Interstate 35.

“This is the first seizure of the Austin Police Department dealing with liquid forms of crystal methamphetamine and it’s a new emerging threat that we’re seeing coming from Mexico. It’s a lot easier to conceal and transport in liquid form than it is in powder form,” said Dixon.

Jane Maxwell, PhD with the University of Texas Addiction Research Institute, has studied drug abuse trends in the state and beyond for 43 years. She says she’s seeing a trend of liquid meth transported in water bottles in the last 5 to 6 months.

“We thought we had the meth problem licked when we cut off the pseudoephedrine. Now what’s coming back is much more potent,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell said there was a decrease in meth-related deaths after the government cracked down on over the counter drugs containing pseudoephedrine, a common ingredient used in meth in the past.

Now Maxwell said Mexican drug dealers are getting chemicals from China that cannot be purchased in the U.S. to make a pseudoephedrine replacement called phenyl-2-propanol.

“It’s almost twice as strong as what we’ve ever seen with pseudoephedrine. So we’re seeing more deaths. We’re seeing more cases of people on the street who are just beginning to use it and they end up psychotic after just a little bit of use,” said Maxwell.

The two men involved are expected to be charged Friday in federal court with conspiracy to possess and distribute meth.









The owner of a grocery store in Bend was arrested last week on suspicion of selling methamphetamine at his store for the second time in four years, according to court and Oregon Liquor Control Commission records.

Antonio Rico-Sanchez, 49, who is also referred to as Antonio Rico in public records, is the owner of Rico’s Groceries on NE Third Street, as well as Rico’s Tacos, according to state business records.

He now faces indictment by a grand jury on two counts of delivery of methamphetamine, according to Deschutes County Circuit Court records.

Deschutes County Circuit Judge Beth Bagley signed a bench warrant for Rico-Sanchez’s arrest Feb. 23 after Deschutes County Chief Deputy District Attorney Stephen Gunnels filed a probable cause affidavit.

During arraignment Feb. 25, Deschutes County Circuit Presiding Judge Alta Brady set bail at $100,000. Court records show Rico-Sanchez signed a security release agreement that same day; he is no longer in county custody, according to the Deschutes County jail.

Two Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team reports, enclosed in Rico-Sanchez’s case file, show the regional drug investigation team sent a confidential criminal informant to Rico’s Groceries to purchase methamphetamine Jan. 21 and Jan. 28.

CODE Detective James McLaughlin wrote in the case report on the second controlled buy on Jan. 28 that Rico “has been a CODE team target for approximately 8 months.” The team has been investigating commercial-quantity illicit drug sales and fraudulent Oregon Trail Card charges for those sales, McLaughlin wrote.

CODE recorded audio and video of the controlled buys, according to the reports. During each buy the criminal informant purchased about one-half ounce of methamphetamine, which showed presumptive positive results for methamphetamine after field tests.

Last year, the OLCC canceled Rico-Sanchez’s off-premises liquor license after an administrative law judge determined Rico-Sanchez failed to disclose his criminal history when applying for a license renewal in 2011, OLCC records show.

In September 2012, Rico-Sanchez was convicted on one count of delivering methamphetamine in Deschutes County, according to the Oregon Judicial Information Network. According to an April 2014 OLCC final order canceling the license, detectives recovered $40,000 worth of methamphetamine during the course of that investigation and determined Rico’s Groceries was the location for most of the sales.

He was sentenced to 13 months in prison and three years of post-prison supervision, according to the Oregon Judicial Information Network. Rico-Sanchez testified during a December 2013 OLCC administrative hearing that he served eight months of that sentence.

Under OLCC requirements, applicants for license renewal must list “all arrests or convictions for any crime, violation, or infraction of any law during the last 18 months even if they are not liquor related for anyone who holds a financial interest in the business.”

In April 2013, Rico-Sanchez told an OLCC inspector that he had not answered the question when he was filling out the renewal application form in August 2011 because his attorney was still negotiating the charges with the district attorney, according to the final order. Under Oregon law, the commission of a felony can lead to cancellation of suspension of a liquor license.

“The false statements on the application and the felony conviction — for delivering methamphetamine using the licensed premises — are sufficiently severe that the Commission is justified to interpret Licensee’s previous record of compliance as a poor one,” wrote Steven Marks, executive director of the OLCC.

Rico-Sanchez is scheduled to appear in court March 11 for arraignment on indictment.








The routine has become almost familiar: a fugitive mafia boss is cornered by Mexican security forces and captured without a shot fired.1000

The stony-faced kingpin is marched by a masked Special Forces escort across airport tarmac dotted with army helicopters, to be whisked away for questioning.

Mexican politicians and police hail another victory in the drug war, warning that no mafia boss is too powerful to escape justice. US officials shower praise on their colleagues, and chalk up another victory in the drug war.

But all the while, violence fuelled by drug-trafficking and corruption continues to rage across Mexico, and shipments of marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine keep crossing the border into the US.

Servando Gómez Martínez, aka “La Tuta

La Tuta captured: Mexico’s flamboyant primary teacher turned drug kingpin 

In recent days the Mexican government has celebrated the capture of two top cartel suspects: on Wednesday Omar Treviño Morales, the leader of the notoriously brutal Zetas drug cartel, was caught in the northern city of Monterrey.

He was found in the wealthiest suburb in the country in a luxury house adorned with abstract art and a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Last week it was the turn of Servando Gómez Martínez, leader of the Knights Templar cartel; he was caught in the central city of Morelia – reportedly after the authorities trailed a chocolate cake his girlfriend had cooked to celebrate his 49th birthday.

On both occasions the detained capos were marched before the TV cameras to waiting helicopters to take them to high-security jail, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration showered the Mexican authorities with praise.

La Tuta’s arrest, the DEA said in a statement, “is another win for Mexico in the fight against brutal criminal cartels”. The capture of Treviño, it wrote a few days later, “should serve as yet another warning that no criminal is immune from arrest and prosecution”.

Security analyst and former intelligence official Alejandro Hope stresses that the latest arrests reinforce the now established trend of major cartels breaking up into smaller groups.

Both the Knights Templar and the Zetas were already shadows of their former selves, even before the capture of La Tuta and Treviño, thanks to earlier arrests of other leaders.

“These detentions underline the fragmentation of the cartels that has been going on for years,” Hope says. “Some of the smaller groups that emerge are particularly predatory, focused on extracting rent from local populations rather than drug trafficking.”

Hope argues that the central problem now lies in the failure of notoriously corrupt and ineffective local law enforcement institutions to contain the criminality and violence of such groups, often focused on such practices as kidnapping and extortion.

The unintended consequences of the kingpin strategy are illustrated by the 2009 death of Arturo Beltrán Leyva, who was killed in a two-hour gun battle with Mexican marines. His demise broke the organization, but the emergence of multiple rival factions – and would-be successors – unleashed a wave of terror and violence.

The numerous Beltrán Leyva spinoffs include the Guerreros Unidos gang which, together with municipal police, allegedly coordinated the disappearance and probable murder of 43 student teachers in the southern city of Iguala in September.

The Zetas, originally formed in the late 1990s by a group of deserters from an elite military unit, appeared to be heading for fragmentation even before the arrest of Treviño, who took over the leadership after the capture of his more powerful brother in July 2013.

One emerging faction, calling itself the Legionarios, had reportedly offered a reward of $1m for information leading to his capture, alongside the $5M offered by the DEA and the $2m by the Mexican government.

Joaquín Guzmán, aka “El Chapo”,

Joaquín Guzmán, aka “El Chapo”, leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, following his arrest at the Pacific resort of Mazatlán

But while the days when the Zetas openly drove around in convoys of dozens of vehicles brandishing grenade launchers appear to be over, Hope stresses that the “Zeta legacy” of extreme violence and diversified criminal activity remains.

Edgardo Buscaglia, a leading expert in organized crime around the world, is even more damning of the existing strategy, which he dismisses as little more than window dressing.

“It does nothing to deal with the challenge of the criminalization of institutions, that is the main problem in Mexico,” he says. “If they keep detaining capos and capitos, but don’t stop the flow of drug money to politics, nothing will change.”

Buscaglia points to the fact that none of the major detentions of recent years have been accompanied by the kind of mass trials of politicians and businessmen he argues are required to dismantle the networks of complicity that ensure “the incentives for criminals to become organised criminals in Mexico are huge”.

This is clearest, he says, in the lack of judicial action against collaborators of the world’s most infamous narco, the Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, arrested a year ago amid much fanfare.

The apparent solidity of the organization in the post-Chapo era leads Buscaglia to argue that it is a mistake to overemphasize the trend towards fragmentation seen in other cartels. Rather, he says, the Sinaloa cartel is absorbing the smaller groups through tactical alliances.

“When large groups consolidate, some physical violence such as homicides go down, but economic crimes like extortion and kidnapping go up,” he says. “Mexico today, and for the foreseeable future, remains a mecca for organized crime.”








Dickinson, N.D.  – Two men and a woman from Dickinson are facing felony charges for allegedly having sex with and giving methamphetamine to a teenage girl.6902091_G

Authorities say 43-year-old Richard Peele and 47-year-old Kimberly Peele gave a teenage girl meth in a hotel room before having sex with her.

Twenty-five-year-old Brandin Poirier has also been charged with three felony counts of having sex with a minor.

Kimberly Peele is charged with six felonies, including three counts of sex with a minor and three for meth possession. Richard Peele is facing four felonies, including one for corruption or solicitation of a minor and three for meth possession.

All three are being held without bond at the Southwest Multi-County Correction Center in Dickinson. Attorneys are not listed for any of them.








BEND, Oregon — An autopsy shows that a 31-year-old prisoner in Bend died of what the sheriff’s office describes as an off-the-chart methamphetamine overdose.

Edwin Burl Mays died Dec. 14 as he was being booked at the Deschutes County Jail on charges resulting from a police chase.

The sheriff’s office said Tuesday that an autopsy had established the overdose as the cause of death.

It says methamphetamine is measured in milligrams per milliliter of blood on a chart that ranges from zero to 5, and Mays’ reading was greater than 5.

Police said he was a passenger in a car that tried to get away. He was described as a transient and accused of possessing heroin, violating parole, interfering with and providing false information to an officer, and menacing.








DECATUR, MI — Police are seeking drug charges against a 70-year-old man from Paw Paw after finding meth making components inside his truck Tuesday.-5cbe461553fb9820

At 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, narcotics detectives with the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office were following up on a prior meth investigation in the 200 block of Edgar Bergen Boulevard, in the village of Decatur, when they made contact with a 70-year-old man in the driveway, a news release issued by the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office said.

The detectives approached the man who then consented to a search of his person and vehicle, according to the release.

Police found “three individually packaged corner baggies of methamphetamine and paraphernalia used for smoking methamphetamine” on his person as well as a one pot meth lab, HCL generator and other meth making components in his truck, the release said.

The man was not arrested at the scene, though the case has been forwarded to the Van Buren County prosecutor’s office.


Drug charges including operating/maintaining a meth lab, as well as possession of meth with the intent to deliver, are expected to be brought against the man at a later date, according to the release.








WASHINGTON, March 4 (UPI) — A report released Wednesday by the International Narcotics Control Board revealed that Mexican drug cartels have extended their reach to Japan, where methamphetamine seizures have doubled compared to the previous year.Mexican-drug-cartels-reach-Japan-meth-seizures-double

The Control Board, a United Nations organization, released its annual report Wednesday and concluded that Mexican drug cartel influence has also created a “significant” increase in crime associated with the drug.

Although most of the methamphetamine abused in east and southeast Asia is produced within the region, sources for methamphetamine have originated from Africa to Iran.

“In a worrying development, trafficking of amphetamine-type stimulants through East Africa (e.g. Ethiopia and Kenya) for onward shipment by plane to east and southeast Asia has continued,” the Control Board states. “The latest reports from the authorities in Japan suggest an increasing influence of Mexican cartels on its domestic methamphetamine traffic.”

The Attorney General’s Office of Mexico suspects gangs in Hong Kong are making deals with Mexican drug cartels by helping give the cartels the precursor chemicals to making meth.

It is not the first time Mexican drug cartels have impacted the region. In 2013, about 185 pounds of methamphetamine were found on suspected members of the Sinaloa Mexican drug cartel.

“In facing the world drug problem, all countries find their destinies intertwined,” International Narcotics Control Board President Lochan Naidoo said in the report. “In tackling the world drug problem, all countries face shared challenges and have a common purpose in promoting the health and welfare of their peoples and, together, of humankind.”

Border seizures between the United States and Mexico have increased. More than 10 tons of meth were seized in 2014, compared to just 2 tons in 2008.

The board also released recommendations to create “a comprehensive, integrated and balanced approach to the world drug problem.”

Recommendations include cooperation between all government levels and relevant actors, as well as placing emphasis on decreasing supply and demand by “taking into consideration the socioeconomic, sociocultural, security and stability aspects that have an impact on the drug problem.”











CANBERRA: Australian police have arrested six men in Sydney with smuggled 1,060 pounds of cocaine and methamphetamine.

Australian police and customs officers found 230 kilograms (507 pounds) of liquid methamphetamine worth 156 million Australian dollars ($122 million) hidden in 20,000 bottles of lemonade at a Sydney warehouse in December, a joint statement by four Australian law enforcement agencies said. The bottles had entered Sydney in shipping containers.police1

Colombian police found 253 kilograms (558 pounds) of cocaine hidden in boxes of flowers bound for Europe and Australia in January and February involving the same syndicate, the statement said. The operation began in May last year following a tip off from Colombian police that a suspected drug dealer had arrived in Australia. The Spanish-Colombian dual citizen quickly led police to Australian members of the syndicate.

In January, law enforcement authorities in the Colombian capital of Bogota seized 243 kilograms (536 pounds) of cocaine related to the same syndicate destined for Europe, the statement said. The cocaine was concealed in cardboard boxes of fresh flowers that were to be air freighted. Last week, Colombian police examined 2 tons of fresh flowers bound for Sydney and found 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of cocaine worth AU$3.6 million, the statement said. Five Australian men as well as the Spanish-Colombian national appeared in a Sydney court Wednesday on drug trafficking charges. They were denied bail and will appear in court next in May. They face life imprisonment if convicted.








A northern Tasmanian man gave methamphetamine to five children before sexually abusing them, the Supreme Court in Hobart has been told.

The 38-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, previously pleaded guilty to five charges of maintaining a relationship with a young person, and one charge each of possessing and producing child exploitation material.

The court today heard the facts of the case and submissions in mitigation by the man’s lawyer.

Prosecutor Linda Mason told the court the man abused five children, including two of his daughters and his son, over a six-year period.

The children were aged between three and 14 years old and lived with the man, his fiancée and another woman who was the mother of two of the girls.

The two women also took part in the abuse and were sentenced in the Supreme Court last year.

All three adults were frequent users of methamphetamine and the sexual abuse occurred mainly when they were using drugs.

On several occasions the man administered methamphetamine to some of the children orally to keep them awake during the sexual activity.

The man threatened to kill or hurt the children if they told anyone about the abuse or refused to take part in sexual activity with him.

Several of the children told police they were “petrified” of the man and feared he would kill them.

The abuse was discovered when an associate of the man found a memory card with images and videos of the abuse and turned it in to police.

Ms Mason said the man was the “driving force behind the sexual conduct”, which constituted the worst offending of that type.

She said the abuse was a gross breach of parental trust and had a profound and continuing impact on the children.

The man’s lawyer, Evan Hughes, said the man had indicated he would plead guilty at an early stage, sparing the children further trauma.

He said the abuse was intertwined with the man’s drug use and he had little memory of it.

The man sat with his head down for most of the hearing, and occasionally held his head in his hands.

He also pleaded guilty to drugs and firearms charges and will be sentenced at a later date.








The leader of Mexico’s notorious Zetas drug cartel was captured Wednesday during a pre-dawn raid in the city of Monterrey, officials announced.Alejandro-Trevino-Morales

Alejandro Trevino-Morales, also known as “Omar” and “42,” was taken into custody by federal forces, an official – who was not authorized to be quoted by name due to government policy – told The Associated Press.

Trevino-Morales is reported to have run the cartel since the 2013 arrest of his brother, Miguel. The Zetas’ other biggest leader, Heriberto Lazcano, or “El Lazca,” was killed by Mexican marines in 2012.

Trevino-Morales, 41, is allegedly responsible for several abductions and murders committed in Nuevo Laredo between 2005 and 2006, the U.S. State Department says. He also was allegedly the supply source for multi-kilogram loads of cocaine smuggled from Mexico to the United States.

The Mexican government had offered a $2 million reward for Trevino-Morales’ capture on weapons and organized crime charges, while the U.S. State Department offered a reward of up to $5 million.

The Zetas cartel evolved from a small group of Mexican Special Forces deserters that were hired to protect Osiel Cardenas-Guillen, the former leader of the Gulf Cartel.

The organization grew into a ruthless security force that took responsibility for the smuggling of the Gulf Cartel’s cocaine and other drugs from Mexico into the United States, in addition to running their own smuggling operations.

Last week, police captured another suspected drug lord, Servando “La Tuta” Gomez, who was the leader of the Knights Templar cartel.









TUMBISCATIO, Mexico — He traveled by four-wheeler and on horseback. He lived in caves and on secluded mountain ranches, surrounded by his bodyguards and logistics men who kept his meth-dealing cartel dominant for years in the western state of Michoacan.

When authorities finally caught up last week with Servando Gomez Martinez, aka. “La Tuta,” the top surviving leader of the Knights Templar cartel and the country’s most-wanted fugitive, they got him with chocolate cake.

That was the dessert that his girlfriend, Maria Antonieta Luna Avalos, delivered to his hideout in the colonial town of Morelia on Feb. 6, which happened to be his 49th birthday. When authorities observed that errand, coupled with some shoddy spycraft by his handpicked messenger, a federal police team was able to capture him in the pre-dawn hours of Friday without a shot fired.

“Michoacan now is in a better position,” Federal Police Commissioner Enrique Galindo Ceballos said. “The important parts of the [cartel] structure are neutralized.”

For more than a year, the Mexican government has fought the cartel while also struggling to keep in check the citizens’ militia that rose against the Knights Templar. More than 1,500 people have been arrested, authorities said, and nearly all the top leaders have now been killed or captured. On Monday, Galindo led reporters on a tour of Gómez’s rural hideouts and described how his cartel operated and the ways he evaded capture for so long.

“He felt comfortable here, he felt safe,” Galindo said at Gomez’s farm, set amid forested hills about 25 miles outside Apatzingan. “Practically all this territory he dominated with his men.”

His men controlled about 50 methamphetamine labs and also made millions from illegal mining, extortion and kidnapping. Some of this they redistributed to the locals, a move that helped protect them. “A year ago this was practically inaccessible,” Galindo said.

Another hideout was an underground cavern near his home town of Arteaga. The entrance was a small hole next to a riverbed at the base of a cliff face. Inside, amid stalactites and bat guano, authorities discovered wine, 18-year-old whiskey, food and clothes. Authorities said Gomez also used the cavern as a secret prison to hold his enemies, including people who failed to comply with his cartel’s extortion demands.

Gómez is an unusual drug lord. Born in the farmlands of Michoacan, he taught elementary school and worked at a teachers college before committing himself to organized crime. He started with the La Familia cartel and rose when his group split off to form the Knights Templar, a cultish gang that erected shrines and printed its own code of conduct. Unlike the slain Nazario Moreno, its mystical and secretive supreme leader, Gomez loved fame and attention, granting interviews to the news media even as he was the target of an intense manhunt. He saw himself as a Robin Hood figure who defended the rural campesinos against a corrupt government.

But over the past few years, as the cartel grew more vicious in its extortion, kidnappings and killings, locals formed a militia to fight it. That movement helped authorities find many of the leaders through local connections and intelligence, including Gomez.

To find Gomez, authorities discovered the farm outside Apatzingan last year and then learned of a messenger who passed notes between him and his men. Gomez didn’t use a cellphone, but the messenger was more careless, and his phone calls were tracked, Galindo said.

“The messenger didn’t have much experience,” he said. Using the phone was the “most serious error he committed.”

Last month, after the birthday cake delivery, authorities suspected that Gómez was hiding in Morelia, the state capital, but it took a few weeks to confirm his presence at the house and plan the takedown. He was arrested while leaving the house about 3:30 a.m. Friday.

With that arrest, Mexican authorities described the Knights Templar as largely dismantled, but others predict violence will continue in Michoacan. The drug trade marches on, and the militia has split into rival warring factions, with most of the founding leaders now in prison.








DUBUQUE, Iowa — An eastern Iowa woman is charged with child endangerment following accusations she exposed two 7-year-old children to methamphetamine inside her residence.

A criminal complaint says 51-year-old Paula A. Barton of Dubuque admitted to authorities she previously has used the drug but denied any recent drug activity at her residence.

The Telegraph Herald ( ) reports the complaint says hair samples for Barton and the two children all tested positive for meth exposure.

It wasn’t immediately known if Barton has an attorney.








PALO PINTO – On Tuesday,  a Palo Pinto County jury determined Cecil Ray Huddleston, 50, of Mineral Wells, was not responsible for the death of his wife Shannon Sheri Herrin, who was believed to have died from a toxic dose of methamphetamine.54f71bf88a327_image

Huddleston, however, was found guilty of delivery of less than 1 gram of methamphetamine to Herrin. Sentencing was to begin Wednesday morning.

Herrin, 38, was found dead Aug. 8, 2013, inside a deep freezer in the garage of her Mineral Wells home by her son, Jordan Glover, 22.

During testimony in the trial presided over by 29th Judicial Court Judge Michael Moore, Glover said he was visiting his mom’s home because he “wanted to check on Mom because she wasn’t at work.”

He and his mother had the same employer at the time, he told the eight-woman, four-man jury, and she had not shown up for work. He also said his mother had seemed upset that he had moved out of the house to live with his girlfriend and he was concerned about her mood.

He told the jury that when he arrived at the house on Aug. 8, the only person he found inside the home was Hunter Whitley, the teenage son of Holly Sloan, both of whom were staying with Herrin and Huddleston temporarily.

Unable to find his mother inside the home, he said he decided he would raid the freezer for meat to take back to his place. On opening the deep freeze in the garage, he discovered his mother dead inside.

Her body was face up and covered by a yellow rain coat, he told the jury.

“I just freaked out,” he said. He called his grandmother and then called authorities.

Initial investigation of Herrin’s death by the Mineral Wells Police Department determined there were no signs of major trauma, but there appeared to be bruising on the left elbow and a discolored mark consistent with a puncture wound from a needle, Detective Neal Davis said during testimony. Drug paraphernalia commonly used for marijuana was later found inside the home.

Fresh needle marks on the inside crooks of both arms were discovered during an autopsy of Herrin’s body by medical examiner Tracy Dyer of the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office, Dyer said during testimony, and toxicology reports later confirmed Herrin had methamphetamine in her system when she died.

According to Dyer’s findings, Herrin’s death was caused by the toxic effects of methamphetamine with hypothermia as a contributing factor. Additionally, toxicology reports also indicated other substances found in the body included marijuana, hydrocodone and a prescription anti-anxiety medication.

Dyer said though the blood showed multiple substances, “methamphetamine was the cause of death,” although the death was determined to be accidental.

After the autopsy report revealed methamphetamine had been the cause of death, Palo Pinto District Attorney Mike Burns said the unusual circumstances behind Herrin’s death led to further investigation as to the source of the methamphetamine.

From the investigation it appeared Huddleston had been the person who delivered the methamphetamine to Herrin, Burns said, and led to Huddleston’s indictment last January on charges of manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance causing death or serious bodily injury.

The investigation, led by Texas Ranger Tony Bradford, also appeared to show Herrin had climbed into the freezer on her own, Bradford said during Tuesday’s testimony.

Defense attorney Chad Cannon said the statute used to arrive at the charges is usually aimed at drug dealers who sell primarily to juveniles who die or are seriously injured from the drug use.

Cannon said the intent of the statute wasn’t meant to prosecute end users like Huddleston and Herrin.

Both he and Burns said cases such as the one brought against Huddleston are rare.

Burns said in his preparation for the case he only found four other instances of similar cases, and the current case is the only one he knew of in Texas that involved a death.

As evidence surfaced in Tuesday’s trial, it was clear both Huddleston and Herrin had been involved with methamphetamine use and had chronic issues with the drug. In a videotaped interview conducted Aug. 16, 2013, by Lt. Matt Mull of the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigation Division, Huddleston, cooperating with the investigation, said he and Herrin had been clean for some time but had relapsed into using the drug.

In an excerpt from the video, Huddleston told Mull they had used about “half a gram of dope,” shooting up with methamphetamine twice on Aug. 7, once in the morning and later that night. Around 1:20 a.m. on Aug. 8, Huddleston then said he went to a dealer to purchase more methamphetamine to use later.

“I did go back and get more,” he said in the video.

He said he planned to use the drug later in the day, but Herrin wanted to take it then, so he filled a syringe with 20 units and gave the syringe to Herrin, who injected the drug herself.

Burns argued that Huddleston’s purchasing the drug and then giving it to Herrin constituted delivery of methamphetamine and that this injection was enough to cause her death.

Cannon countered that it was possible Herrin had used more methamphetamine with Sloan, who reportedly was a heavy user, but no evidence was available that such an event had occurred. He also said the other drugs in Herrin’s system could have contributed to her death.

Cannon also argued that Herrin might have been attempting suicide by overdosing on drugs and then climbing into the freezer.

He said Herrin had a long history mental health issues, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and had made several suicide attempts in the past.

The jury will convene Wednesday for the sentencing phase of the trial.

Huddleston faces a state jail felony offense for the delivery of the methamphetamine.









Baxter County Sheriff’s Office discovered a Mountain Home woman passed out behind the wheel of an SUV Tuesday and then arrested her on felony drug charges after observing “a syringe and a small baggie holding a crystal substance suspected to be methamphetamine.”635610037382982843-may

According to a press release issued by BCSO, Kyla Lani May, 23, of Mountain Home, was arrested Tuesday morning on charges of possessing methamphetamine with purpose of delivery and possession of drug paraphernalia, both considered felonies.

Officers responded to a complaint call at 9:54 a.m. Tuesday about a person being slumped over the steering wheel of a parked vehicle at the intersection of Hwy 5 North and Canvassback Drive.

Sgt. Brian Davis was dispatched to investigate the scene. When he arrived, he found a white Ford Escape with a female, later identified as May, passed out behind the wheel.

Davis also observed a green container in her lap that contained a syringe and a small baggie holding a crystal substance suspected to be methamphetamine. Upon her being revived, May was very disoriented, and EMS was summoned to check on her physical condition, according to the release.

BCSO determined that the woman had “approximately 2.8 grams of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, including a syringe, a bent spoon, and small plastic baggies commonly used to package drugs.”

May was transported to the Baxter County Detention Center and is being held in lieu of a $100,000 bond.









Meth arrests — The Warren County Sheriff’s Office arrested four people Saturday on methamphetamine charges.

A drug tip led deputies to 1709 Catherine Drive, where they found two meth labs and two HCL generators commonly used in making meth, according to arrest citations.

Arrested were William Fulton, 62, 1709 Catherine Drive, charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, unlawful possession of a meth precursor and first-degree possession of a controlled substance; Lana Haney, 44, 1709 Catherine Drive, charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and first-degree possession of a controlled substance; Lisa Lay, 41, 822 Payne St., charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and unlawful possession of a meth precursor; and Terri Lester, 41, of Portland, Tenn., charged with manufacturing methamphetamine (second or greater offense) and unlawful possession of a meth precursor.

All were in Warren County Regional Jail. Bonds were set at $25,000 for Lester, $10,000 for Lay, $25,000 for Fulton and $10,000 for Haney.









Investigators seized 20 pounds of suspected crystal methamphetamine Feb. 24 in Allensville, according to a release from Kentucky State Police Drug Enforcement/Special Investigations West.

In a search at 1565 Russellville Road, officers found the crystal meth, 1.5 pounds of marijuana, $14,000 cash, a handgun, a 2002 Chevrolet truck and drug paraphernalia, according to the release.

The crystal meth has a street value of nearly $1 million.

Scott Harris, 45, of Olmstead, was arrested and charged with trafficking in a controlled substance, trafficking in marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Elkton residents Jonathan B. Scott, 31, Cecilia Dortch Gant, 47, and Kayce Powell, 26, were arrested and charged with trafficking in a controlled substance.

All four were in Todd County Jail, according to the release.








Federal agents seized methamphetamine from a woman, and heroin from a man in two separate incidents at the Nogales border, authorities said.

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection news release:

On Feb. 25, officers arrested a woman at the Dennis DeConcini crossing after a drug-sniffing dog alerted to the presence of drugs in her Pontiac sedan.

Officers said they found nearly 35 pounds of methamphetamine in the vehicle. The meth’s value was estimated at more than $104,000. Daniela Ruiz, 33, of Tucson, was taken into custody. The vehicle and drugs were seized.

On Feb. 24, officers at the Morley pedestrian crossing stopped a man after a drug-sniffing dog alerted that the man possibly had drugs.richard christen

During a search, officers said they found more than three pounds of heroin taped to the man’s back. The heroin was valued at more than $44,000.

Richard Christian Holm, 36, of Nogales, Arizona, was taken into custody. The heroin was seized.








Trace Roger SmithA Canyon Lake man was sentenced Monday to 42 years in prison for his role in the 2013 abduction and torture of a woman at a drug house there, an incident that sparked charges against five people.

The victim, herself a methamphetamine user, has said three female acquaintances cut her with knives, tased her, burned her with cigarettes and beat her as two male suspects at the home sat by. She was shackled and put in a shed, from which she escaped.

Prosecutor Chari Kelly said she asked jurors to give Trace R. Smith, 29, life in prison for his convictions at trial Friday on charges of attempted capital murder, kidnapping, robbery and evidence tampering.

After deliberating about two hours, jurors sentenced Smith to 42 years each on the attempted murder and kidnapping charges, 10 years on the robbery charge and five years for evidence-tampering, to be served concurrently, Kelly said.

Kayla Jean LardieriMichael Edward Chapin

Smith’s ex-girlfriend, Kayla Lardieri, 18, was the first in the case to be tried and was convicted last month on the same charges, receiving a 30-year sentence.








MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Minneapolis woman is accused of taking meth and then wandering with her 5-year-old daughter in 19-degree weather.lewis

Leah Marie Lewis, 29, was charged with gross misdemeanor child neglect after her daughter was found wearing mittens on her feet for shoes on Feb. 21. The girl told police she had only slept for “seven minutes” the night before.

Police found Lewis inside a Hampton, Minnesota, fire station, where she had come to warm up.

Lewis had walked around outside with the girl, looking for a hotel, for “an unknown time,” according to the criminal complaint. Police said she was confused about the number and gender of children she had.

“She was very animated, was walking in circles and insisted the child with her was her son,” the criminal complaint reads.

If convicted, Lewis faces up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine.








RAVENSWOOD, W.Va — Police say a child was found living in filth and being kept behind a gate while methamphetamine was being made inside an apartment in Ravenswood.POR66wql

On Sunday night, Ravenswood police were looking for a fugitive at the old Washington Motel on Washington Street, which now serves as an apartment complex.

They did not find the fugitive but they said they did find an active meth lab inside apartment No. 15. The complex’s maintenance man, Bruce Casto and his wife, Leigh Casto, live there and were both arrested and charged with manufacturing meth, and exposure of a child to meth.

Lawrence Wilfong was arrested at another location but charged with manufacturing meth after police said a Pseudopedrine prescription belonging to him was found inside the apartment. His bond is set at $250,000.

Police said the living conditions were “deplorable.” They said the floor was covered with trash and feces, and there was no running water.

“When I have officers who  have been a policeman 15 years, 18 years, they’re telling me it’s one of the worst apartments they’ve ever seen, you can bet it’s pretty bad,” said Ravenswood Police Chief Lance Morrison.

A kindergarten aged girl also lived in the home. Police said just a few feet from where the meth was being made, the girl was being kept in a stairwell behind a baby gate.

“I think that that was their idea of keeping her away from the meth, but everyone involved with this knows that that doesn’t work,” Morrison said.

The child is now in Child Protective Services custody. The Castos’ bonds are set at $300,000 each.

The Jackson County Bureau of Investigations served the search warrant. It is made up of officers from the sheriff’s office, Ripley and Ravenswood police departments.

It is unclear at this point if others living in the complex will be forced out because of possible contamination.

The owner of the building, Barbara LaCava, did not wish to go on camera but said she was upset and shocked. She said her main concern is keeping the other tenants safe.








Parental drug use is a major factor in child neglect and abuse cases resulting in foster care placements in the Helena area.

Lewis and Clark County District judges have appointed Court Appointed Special Advocates for kids in 13 child abuse and neglect cases since January, nearly half of which involve parental abuse of methamphetamine, said Pamela Young, assistant director of CASA of Lewis and Clark and Broadwater counties.

“I don’t think our community realizes the depth of neglect and child abuse cases,” Young said. “It’s severe and it’s only getting worse.”

Including the cases carried over from last year, there are currently 165 child abuse and neglect cases involving substance abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse in Lewis and Clark County, Young said. The number of cases increased 30 percent from 2013 to 2014.

Fifty-six percent of the 152 cases in the county carried over from last year stemmed from parental abuse of meth, 28 percent marijuana, 28 percent alcohol and 11 percent prescription drugs, Young said. More than one substance was found in some cases.

“The caseload is unmanageable,” Young said. CASA, a nonprofit organization, has three Helena-based employees, including its assistant director, and 50 trained volunteers who advocate for youth in child neglect and abuse cases that may result in the termination of parental rights. Child Protection Services, attorneys and judges are also overworked with child abuse and neglect cases, Young added.

Statewide caseload figures have also increased, showing similar drug and alcohol abuse issues.

At the end of 2014, there were 2,003 kids in the state placements — foster and kinship care — half of which involved substance abuse, said Young, who cited statistics from the state Department of Child and Family Services.

Figures from CASA of Montana, which partners with 15 nonprofit programs statewide, showed a breakdown of statewide drug-involved foster and kinship placements: 53 percent of cases involved meth, 28 percent alcohol, 25 percent marijuana and 18 percent prescription drugs, Young said.

Case workers have found more youth who have been exposed to meth in the homes, and babies are sometimes born testing positive for drugs.

“The worst thing for me to see besides severe abuse is a baby born addicted,” Young said. Some parents facing termination of rights were raised in drug-fueled environments themselves and were moved to foster or kinship care. “It’s really tough when the problem becomes a cycle.”


Local and statewide caseworkers have continued to advocate for kids without voices, providing judges with necessary information to determine the termination of parental rights or the unification of family.

“We work hard to get the children home,” Young said.

CASA of Lewis and Clark and Broadwater counties is hosting its annual fundraiser March 20 at the Red Lion Colonial Inn in Helena. For more information, visit








INDIAN LAND — A traffic stop in Indian Land led to a North Carolina woman’s arrest on alcohol and drug charges, including trafficking methamphetamine, according to a release issued Monday from the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office.570-fqTSA_AuSt_6

Narcotics officers were investigating drug activity last week when they noticed the woman driving with a flat tire on Barberville Road in Indian Land. Officers stopped her vehicle and smelled marijuana, the release states.

Officers searched the vehicle and discovered a small amount of meth, marijuana, prescription medication, an open bottle of liquor, scales and smoking pipes, the release states. The woman did not have a valid driver’s license.

At the Lancaster County Detention Center, a correctional officer discovered the woman was hiding a large amount of crystal meth.

Natalie Walters, 34, of Monroe, N.C., was charged with trafficking methamphetamine, simple possession of marijuana, possession of a schedule III narcotic, violation of ABC law, a driver’s license violation, and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to the release. Her bond was denied.









QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) –  The fight against methemphetimine in Adams County has taken a different turn. Officers with the West Central Illinois Drug Task Force say the number of meth labs seized in the last year have dropped by half.6880201_G

However, officers say, one big reason for that is the popularity of a new way of making meth, called Ice.

Major shake and bake meth busts like the one back in January of 2013, are becoming fewer and fewer in Adams County. Master Sergeant Patrick Frazier with the West Central Illinois Task Force says they only saw 35 labs last year, after seizing 72 in 2013. But Frazier says the news isn’t all good. While lab seizures have gone down, he says ice methamphetamine has become increasingly popular, here in the Tri-States, and even internationally.

Drug cartels have flooded the United States with ice methamphetamine,” Frazier said. “It’s a way to make money.”

Frazier says ice is growing in popularity because it’s widely available and it can be purchased in a large quantity, unlike the shake and bake method, which can only yield a few grams at the time. But he says it does make it harder to track who’s involved.

“When they do the shake and bake, they have to have the ingredients, and those are purchased locally,” Frazier said. “So when they’re buying those pills, I know that. The individuals buying ice may not be known to us.”

For counselor Rosemary Trinkle at Preferred Family Healthcare, the battle against meth she sees is with her clients, trying to overcome an addiction.

Meth affects every part of your life,” Trinkle said. “It affects your looks, your family, your legal problems.”

She says meth, both the shake and bake variety and ice, can also do strange things to a user’s mind.

“A lot of users when they’re high on meth or coming down from that high, they’ll have some paranoia,” Trinkle said.

A high and a habit that Trinkle says is so dangerous, yet so difficult to break.

Frazier says they continue to investigate and make arrests on people suspected of using or dealing ice. He says they deal with a lot of the same people with ice as they did with the shake and bake operations.