Prosecutors have netted a string of guilty pleas among the suspects in an interstate drug trafficking case that’s highlighted the criminal underside of an oil boom sweeping the Northern Plains.

The latest to admit to federal charges was Robert Farrell Armstrong of Moses Lake, Wash., described by authorities as the supplier for a large methamphetamine ring that operated in the Bakken oil patch and elsewhere in Montana.

52e0878b6d370_preview-620This undated photo provided by Washington State Department of Corrections, shows Robert Farrell Armstrong. Armstrong, also known as “Dr. Bob,” is accused by Montana authorities of obtaining pure methamphetamine in his home state of Washington to distribute through a network of couriers across Montana. He pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute during an appearance before U.S. District Judge Susan Watters in Billings, Mont. on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014


On Wednesday, the 49-year-old Armstrong pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute during an appearance before U.S. District Judge Susan Watters in Billings.

He faces a mandatory minimum of ten years to life in prison and a fine of up to $10 million.

52e0878be473f_preview-620 52e0878bb7603_preview-620

Armstrong, also known as “Dr. Bob,” was arrested in October in a crackdown by state, federal and local authorities seeking to curb rising crime rates within once-quiet rural communities along the Montana-North Dakota border.

Nine other defendants are awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in related cases, and a tenth is scheduled to enter a guilty plea on Feb. 6. Similar cases are pending in North Dakota.

Yet a prosecutor from the Bakken region suggested the arrests have done little to curb an explosion in meth use over the past year, as cheap, high-quality drugs from Mexico flood the market. Valley County Attorney Nickolas Murnion said the well-paid workers drawn to the region’s oil fields have become a “magnet for meth dealers.”

“With all the publicity about the money to be made in the Bakken, that’s become the focus of their market,” he said. “It’s coming up through Mexico, cartel meth, and it’s a lot purer form than the meth people were making a few years ago.”

More than 20,000 people have poured into eastern Montana and western North Dakota since oil production began its meteoric rise in 2008. Tens of thousands more are expected in the next several years as the boom continues.

Since 2008, the number of arrests for all categories in Montana counties that fall within the Bakken region soared from 1,676 to more than 3,000 in 2012, according to the Montana Board of Crime Control. That’s an increase of almost 80 percent.

Offenses involving drugs, drug paraphernalia and equipment used to make drugs tripled over the same period, from 103 in 2008 to 312 in 2012, according to the crime board.

Similar spikes in crime have been seen in North Dakota, including a July bust that resulted in 22 people being charged in a conspiracy to sell heroin and other drugs on an Indian reservation in the heart of the oil patch.

In Armstrong’s case, authorities alleged he obtained wholesale amounts of methamphetamine from Washington state to be distributed through a network of dealers operating across Montana.

Cities and towns where the drug was sold included Sidney, Fairview, Billings, Big Timber, Columbus, Livingston and Bozeman, according to authorities.

Government prosecutors agreed to dismiss additional drug conspiracy and weapons charges against Armstrong in exchange for his admissions, according to a Jan. 3 plea agreement filed by prosecutors.

The government also agreed not to invoke Armstrong’s prior felony drug convictions in Washington state during sentencing.

Armstrong’s court-appointed attorney, public defender Anthony Gallagher, said such a move would have doubled the mandatory minimum prison sentence faced by his client.

Judge Watters set sentencing in the case for May 28.




NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. — In what could have been pulled directly out of the “Breaking Bad” script archives, four people were arrested near New Smyrna Beach after authorities said they were cooking methamphetamine in a camper.
An anonymous complaint about drug activity in a camper near New Smyrna Beach resulted in the arrest of three men and one woman on suspicion of manufacturing methamphetamine Tuesday night. The defendants — three are New Smyrna Beach residents and one is an Edgewater resident – were booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach.
Volusia County Sheriff’s deputies said they responded to Cavedo Street Tuesday night and found a 25-foot pull-behind camper on the property.
Deputies said they saw Tye Lewandowski, 46, come out of the camper with a duffle bag, but Lewandowski jumped behind a shed when he saw deputies and came out without the bag.
As the deputy explained to the man why he was there, he walked around to where the bag was and found it partially open with bottles, liquids and tubing inside.
The deputy said he knew those items were commonly associated with the manufacture of methamphetamine.
When the deputy knocked on the camper door, he said he heard a lot of commotion inside and could also smell a strong chemical odor.
A couple minutes later, Jeffrey Goodwin, 38, Bobby Sutton, 39, and Kathryn Talbott, 28, emerged from the camper, deputies said.
Deputies obtained consent to search the camper and members of the Clandestine Laboratory Response Team found chemicals and equipment used to manufacture methamphetamine.
There was an active cook going on, authorities said, so the trained agents took control and safely dismantled the equipment.
All four suspects were charged with trafficking in methamphetamine, manufacture of methamphetamine and possession of listed chemicals.

Back when Tom Anderson was in the thick of his meth addiction, he was revered by everyone in his social circle. He said that he would walk into a party, and everyone would gather around him.

“That was part of the allure of it,” Anderson related. “I was the man.”

When he first started doing the drug, he said that it was more pure than what is currently being manufactured and distributed throughout cities and communities just like Graham. He said P2P, or phenylacetone based meth, was the more common form of the drug when he started using it 30 years ago.

In Anderson’s evaluation, P2P created a different high, one less diluted by paranoia. He said that one main difference in the meth being made these days involves its manufacturing process, which includes ingredients such as battery acid and fertilizer, elements that burn a hole in the frontal lobe of the brain.

Anderson’s wife, “Lori,” who also wishes to remain anonymous, was a meth addict off and on from 1989 until 2008. According to her, in was much easier to hold a job and not appear strung out while on the P2P version of meth than with its current manifestations.

“You could still go to work and you could function. You still had thought processes,” Lori said of P2P. “But when I relapsed in 2005 and started doing this “ice,” you can’t do anything. I lost the job I had for the last 10 years. I lost everything.”

She added that however damaging the P2P version of meth is, the new versions are far worse.  Graham Police Chief Tony Widner has seen his share of meth addicts. In his opinion, the meth epidemic is also perpetuated by how easy it currently is to make it.

“I don’t think that you see too many lab technicians involved in the production of methamphetamine,” Widner said. “You’re looking at people that are finding recipes on the internet or other places, and then they’re getting as close as they can with their abilities and the resources they have available.”

Newer versions of meth are easier to make, and there are more people trying it, and that is probably why the Andersons believe that it is worse than past versions, Widner said, adding that both versions cause relatively similar detriment to the human body.

To help explain many of the repeat offenders in the recent burglary epidemic currently happening in our town, crimes perpetuated by those who many believe are addicted to methamphetamine, Anderson said that the drug is deceiving.  He said that once meth addiction takes hold, it is almost impossible to turn away from it.

“People that say you can’t get addicted to it don’t know what they’re talking about,” he said. “You do it once, and you may be able to walk away. But you do it the second time, you’re hooked, and it’s got you. And when it’s got you, you don’t care about anything but getting the next high. You lose all sense of morals.”



PINEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) – The Pineville Community Hospital Emergency Room was closed for several hours on Tuesday.  Officials say a patient with burns from a possible meth lab explosion caused officials to shut down the ER and decontaminate it.

Hospital officials say around 8:00 a.m., a man came in with severe burns that appeared to be from a meth lab explosion.

“We did not know beforehand. It was actually received as an ATV accident and then the details came to light,” said Joshua Collett, Safety Officer at Pineville Community Hospital.

“That caused the whole ER to be exposed and had to be shut down,” said Ben Barnett, Bell County Emergency Management Director.

Bell County Emergency Management officials say they could smell the fumes when they arrived.

“It’s a major concern.  Meth labs have so many dangerous chemicals.  You can’t take that stuff lightly,” Barnett said.

Hospital officials say employees did a practice drill on a similar situation in September, so they knew exactly how to respond when this happened.

Hospital workers closed the emergency room and nearby radiology department immediately.  All employees and patients in the ER were quarantined.

Officials say they had to decontaminate all of the ER employees and patients and then decontaminate the emergency room.

“It’s more fumes and residue, so we’re very confident it’s been contained in our ER and everyone that’s exposed is being treated accordingly,” Collett said.

The ER re-opened around two c’clock.  Emergency management officials say it is safe.

Hospital officials say no one has shown any health problems since the incident.

Barnett says the man with burns was transferred to a burn facility and later died.  Authorities have not released his name yet.

The Bell County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the fire and possible meth lab at the man’s home in Arjay.

While the Pineville Emergency Room was closed, all ambulances and patients were directed to Middlesboro ARH or the Knox County Hospital.  Barnett says no problems were reported.




CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Cedar Rapids police found an active meth lab in a car on  Sunday.

According to the Linn County Attorney’s Office, officers served a  search warrant on 39-year-old James P. Schminkey. Schminkey was found in in his  car in the 400 block of First Avenue NW.

Along with Schminkey, police  said they found an active meth lab in the trunk, along with various meth  precursors and items used to manufacture meth. Police also found more than five  grams of meth and marijuana in the vehicle.

Schminkey has previously been  convicted of possession of marijuana in 2005. He now faces charges of possession  with intent to manufacture meth, possession with intent to deliver meth, three  counts of possession of meth precursors and possession of marijuana – penalty  enhanced.



NEW PHILADELPHIA, Ohio— Emergency crews and investigators had their hands full in New Philadelphia Tuesday afternoon after an explosion at a home as a result of a meth lab.

Captain Shawn Nelson of the New Philadelphia Police Department said the fire started at a home on Independence Circle.

Nelson said that after arriving around 2:30 p.m. crews witnessed two people running from the home.
Those two were quickly caught by police and investigators were able to link them to the meth lab which was located on the second floor.

Nelson said the State Fire Marshal’s office was out to investigate and ruled that a drug accelerant caused the fire.
The two individuals are facing multiple charges including aggravated arson.
They are being held in the Tuscarawas County Jail.
Their names have not yet been released.



PARKERSBURG – A fire Sunday night at a Race Street garage apartment occurred while methamphetamine was being made, the Parkersburg Police Department said on Monday.

A flash fire occurred during production of the narcotic at 1605 Race St. where police and fire fighters were dispatched at about 7:30 p.m., Police Chief Joe Martin said.


Officers located the two people who were in the apartment, Joshua Earl Boston, 35, 46th Street, Vienna, and Nicole Y. Hesson, 32, who resides at the apartment and said she was attempting to cook methamphetamine in her kitchen, Martin said.

They could not extinguish the fire and left the premises, Martin said.

Hesson received serious burns on her face and hands and was taken to Camden Clark Medical Center for treatment of the injuries and to be decontaminated from exposure to methamphetamine, Martin said.

Hesson was transferred to another hospital and a condition was unavailable, Camden Clark spokesman Tim Brunicardi said.

Boston also was taken to Camden Clark for decontamination, Martin said. He was released from the hospital and taken to police headquarters where he was interviewed by police and the Parkersburg Narcotics Task Force, Martin said.

Boston was charged on Sunday with operating a clandestine methamphetamine lab, Martin said. Charges against Hesson are pending after her release from the hospital, he said.

If convicted, both face two to 10 years in prison and a fine of from $5,000 to $25,000.




EDMONDMethamphetamine lab seizures in Oklahoma were on pace to fall by half during last year, but the statistic does not equal breathing room in the fight against meth addiction, an official said.

Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics spokesman Mark Woodward said statewide 830 meth labs were seized in 2012. At the beginning of December the number was on pace for 410 seizures in 2013, which could in the final analysis move up or down, Woodward said.

Woodward said the development is due to two primary reasons.

Meth lab seizures dropped significantly between 2004 and 2008 after Oklahoma placed meth’s key ingredient — pseudoephedrine — in pharmacies. A new recipe using smaller amounts of the drug led to an increase in seizures from 148 in 2007 to 818 in 2010.

In May 2012, Gov. Mary Fallin signed House Bill 2941, which implemented significant improvements to the state’s electronic pseudoephedrine blocking system and set reasonable reductions in the amount of the drug an individual may buy.

The legislation also gave law enforcement officers more tools to fight the war on meth by allowing the state’s tracking system to cross state lines.

Meth offenders who attempt to buy unlawful quantities of pseudoephedrine will be blocked right at the point of sale and that sale block will follow them across state lines.

Woodward said the effort was aimed at reducing the availability of pseudoephedrine to meth cooks to 60 grams annually.

The law, which took effect in July 1, 2012, let the OBN maintain a meth offender registry website created on Nov. 1, 2011.

Thus, when the law took effect some individuals already had reached the limit, Woodward said. Secondly, more meth cooks are now relying on the continuing steady flow of meth made in Mexico into states including Oklahoma, Woodward said.

Other factors include OBN public education efforts, cooperative pharmacies and the agency’s placement of meth lab disposal containers during 2011 initially in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, McAlester, Ponca City and Duncan.

Woodward said the action enabled a greater number of manhours to be used toward intervention efforts. For example, in July 2012, the OBN announced it had dismantled a large Mexican meth network in central Oklahoma. The offenders divided and resold smaller shipments in communities including Oklahoma City, Norman, Edmond, Anadarko and Watonga.

Other meth networks were dismantled in Okmulgee County, Lawton, Lindsay and Tulsa. In April 2013, the OBN announced it had shut down a significant meth pipeline in Oklahoma City where, after an eight-month investigation, agents executed six search warrants and 21 arrest warrants. But the fight against meth continues as do concerns about the number of Oklahomans addicted to meth, Woodward said.



PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) – Two people were arrested after a fire led police to find meth-making materials in a home.

Danny L. Humble, 50, was arrested on charges of possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Jerri C. Bufford, 46, was arrested on charges of manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Paducah firefighters were called to a home at 421 Hayes Ave. in Paducah early Monday around 4:20 a.m.

Paducah Fire marshal Greg Cherry told police that firefighters had found some suspicious items in the kitchen area of the home.

Detective with the Paducah Police Department’s Drug and Vice Enforcement Unit search the home and found a meth lab. They found drug paraphernalia including pipes commonly used to smoke meth and syringes. They also found a plastic container holding meth in Humble’s pants pocket, according to the Paducah Police Department.

Humble and Bufford were arrested and taken to the McCracken County Regional Jail.



FORT WAYNE – Three adults face multiple charges after a meth raid Tuesday at a home on the city’s north side.

Brian L. Hoskins, 34, of the 1500 block of Glenwood Avenue, was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of two or more precursors, maintaining a common nuisance and possession of paraphernalia, according to a statement issued by the Fort Wayne Police Department.

His bond was set at $55,750.

Members of the department’s Vice & Narcotics Division and the Emergency Services Team went to the house off Crescent Avenue shortly after 9 a.m.

Police said three adults and a 7-year-old were inside at the time.

A 33-year-old man and woman were arrested on charges of possession of meth, possession of a controlled substance, maintaining a common nuisance, child neglect and possession of paraphernalia.

Police said the child was removed from the home and placed in the care of the Department of Child Services.

Narcotics detectives reported finding pills, methamphetamine, meth precursors and drug paraphernalia.

Fort Wayne Animal Control, Neighborhood Code and the Allen County Department of Health assisted with the investigation.



A 38-year-old man was arrested on Monday after he sold to an undercover Seattle police officer methamphetamines that had been stashed in a stroller with two toddlers, according to police.

Officers were conducting a narcotics operation around 3:30 p.m. in Cal Anderson Park when the suspect agreed to sell meth to an undercover officer, police said. The suspect walked the officer over to a stroller with two children, ages 1 and 2, according to police.

The man retrieved the drugs from the stroller and handed them to the undercover officer, police said. When the deal was over, additional officers were called in and the man was arrested, according to police.

Police recovered about 8 grams of methamphetamine from the stroller.

The children were turned over to Children’s Protective Services until their mother was able to take custody, police said.

The suspect was booked into King County Jail on investigation of felony drug dealing.



A man is being held without bond after the Jackson Police Department’s Narcotics unit and the DEA’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force caught him carrying methamphetamine at the Amtrak train station downtown.

JPD officials said on Saturday, officials came across Steven Augustus Harris, 43, who gave them consent to search his luggage.

Upon searching Harris’ bags, police found two packages wrapped in shrink wrap and duct tape. They contained two and a half pounds of methamphetamine, also known as ICE.

Harris told police he had no knowledge of how those packages got in his luggage. According to JPD, Harris has an extensive criminal history, including multiple drugs arrests. Harris was arrested for this incident has been charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.

“That may not look like a lot, but when you think about it going in the bodies of our children, it’s a whole lot and it’s a problem for us,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Floyd Baker. “We’ll continue to combine our efforts on the streets of Jackson.”

Police stressed the dangers of methamphetamine.

“There are two drugs that impact society from where I sit, more than any other point,” said JPD Assistant Chief Lee Vance. “One is crack cocaine, and one is crystal meth. Those two drugs are so addictive that they can take an absolutely honest person and make a criminal out of them. Also in relation to crystal meth, making that stuff is a very dangerous proposition. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can cause a large explosion.”

The partnership with HIDTA is important to the capital city, JPD Chief Lindsay Horton said, because it is cleaning up the streets bit by bit.

“I think it’s important because our work has shown us, we know there’s a direct correlation between drugs, drug sale, drug use, and crime, and Jackson does not have a monopoly on that,” said Horton. “I think that’s pretty much a nationwide problem. Any time we can get a drug dealer off the street, it will make life more conducive for peace and tranquility.”

Authorities promised that the crackdown on crystal meth on the streets of Jackson will continue.

“It is a big enough problem already, it’s back and we definitely have to address it,” Baker said. “Operations like this are just the onset, this is where it will start.”




SAN DIEGO – Federal agents staffing an East County freeway checkpoint over  the Martin Luther King Day weekend arrested two motorists on suspicion of trying  to smuggle methamphetamine into the United States, authorities said Tuesday.


About 3:30 p.m. Saturday, a 24-year-old U.S. woman arrived at the Campo- area  Interstate 8 inspection facility in a 2003 Nissan 350Z, and a service dog  alerted officers to the presence of contraband inside the vehicle, according to  Border Patrol officials.

A search of the car revealed a large non-factory stereo in the trunk. Inside  a connected speaker, officials found 4.1 pounds of methamphetamine, a quantity  with an estimated street value of roughly $47,000.

Early Monday morning, a 53-year-old Mexican man arrived at the checkpoint in  a 1999 Ford F150. A canine team detected something suspicious in the pickup  truck, and a search uncovered 11 hidden packages of the drug. The 13.8-pound  stash would have been worth about $158,700 on the black market, officials  said.

The suspects, whose names were not released, were taken into custody and  turned over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration along with the seized  narcotics. The Border Patrol impounded the vehicles.




Fifty-eight people are serving time in federal prison as a result of the concerted efforts of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and law enforcement in surrounding counties to bust two methamphetamine manufacturing conspiracies.

“You hear about a war on drugs, but it’s a daily battle that we fight every day,” Sheriff Ed Graybeal said during a press conference last week.

Investigations began in Gray during 2009, and the last defendant was sentenced Jan. 30. A combined total of 348 years was ordered.

“Tennessee unfortunately leads the country in methamphetamine labs, and that is one statistic we don’t want to take a lead in,” District Attorney General Tony Clark said.

The success in taking almost 60 offenders off local streets is an example of what can be accomplished when investigators work together rather than fighting over jurisdictions, he added.

Prosecuting the charges in Federal Court is another deterrent. “In Federal Court, if you get 10 years, you serve 10 years, which is not always the case in State Court,” Clark said, estimating the 348 years would have only been 30-40 years served if sentenced by the state.

The total prosecuted in the two conspiracies include 34 “smurfs,” defined as those who go out and find the needed ingredients. The remaining 24 were the “cooks” who run the manufacturing operation. The ages of those involved range from 21 to 56.

Clark said rather than cash, a lot of the smurfs are being paid for their services with meth, which increases the number of addicts. Thefts, robberies and assaults often result from their efforts to secure the ingredients.

According to Graybeal, there is a 95-98 percent addiction rate from  first-time use. “Get you a drink of that and see how long you stay on your feet; it’s nothing but poison,” he said.

The problem is also self-perpetuating, he noted. “Smurfs go out and get the stuff, then they all get together and teach each other how to cook it.”

In addition to destroying families, Clark said methamphetamine manufacturing sites are an environmental nightmare.

“The federal government has cut out almost all of the clean-up funds and left local agencies holding the bag,” he said.

Legislation may offer the greatest hope, and Clark said his office will support any efforts from the governor, which may include making pseudoephedrine, one of the key ingredients, a prescription drug.

Agencies involved with the WCSO in ending the two manufacturing conspiracies are the 1st Judicial Drug Task Force; the sheriff’s offices in Carter, Greene, Sullivan and Unicoi counties; the police departments in Elizabethton, Erwin, Johnson City and Kingsport; the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; Tennessee Highway Patrol; Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force; the Drug Enforcement Administration; and the U.S. Marshal Service.



HOPKINSVILLE, Tenn. A Todd County woman has been arrested after police said a mobile meth lab was found inside of her car.

Officials with the Hopkinsville Police Department said 33-year-old Jennifer Cunningham-Hadden was arrested just before 8 a.m. Monday at a McDonald’s parking lot in Hopkinsville. She has been charged with public intoxication of a controlled substance, unauthorized parking in a handicapped zone, and drug trafficking of a controlled substance in the first degree.

Police said they were called in for a welfare check after someone reported there was a woman slumped over inside her car. They said Cunningham-Hadden was found in the driver’s seat with her foot on the break and the car running.

The driver’s side door was apparently tied shut with a rope.

When they opened the door, police said the strong odor of either was wafting out of the car. They said a bag with ingredients used to make meth was found inside the vehicle. Two bags of meth, several glass pipes and scales were also recovered.


As a safety precaution, the McDonalds was closed for three hours while police cleared the scene. The restaurant has since reopened.


Hopkinsville police find woman in parking lot with Methamphetamine lab

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. – Police in Hopkinsville discovered a woman in possession of a meth lab early Monday morning in a McDonald’s parking lot after receiving a call that the woman was slumped over the wheel of her vehicle.

According to a report from the Hopkinsville Police Department, officers arrived at the McDonald’s on North Drive and detected a strong odor coming from the vehicle of Jennifer Cunningham-Hadden, 33, of Elkton, Ky.

Officers noticed a trash bag with several cans of starting fluid and a black tote with products used to manufacture methamphetamine in the vehicle.

A detective from the Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force was called to the scene, who located and removed the meth lab.  The detective searched the vehicle and found two bags of meth, several glass pipes with burn marks, and scales in a Crown Royal bag.

The McDonald’s restaurant was closed for three hours to ensure the safety of the public and employees.

Cunningham-Hadden was booked into the Christian County Jail and charged with public intoxication, meth manufacture, drug paraphernalia, and unauthorized parking in a handicapped zone.



PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) – Authorities are investigating an early morning house fire in Paducah where police say meth-making materials were found inside.

Sgt. Steve Smith confirms meth-making materials were found inside the home at 421 Hayes Ave.


Kentucky State Police say no arrests have been made, but they do have suspects detained.

The fire started at 4:25 a.m. according to Deputy Chief Greg Cherry with the Paducah Fire Department.

Kentucky State Police, Paducah Police and Paducah Fire Department are investigating.




EASTERN UPPER PENINSULA — With production and use of methamphetamine seemingly on the increase across the Eastern Upper Peninsula, two local agencies issued press releases last week seeking to raise public awareness.
“Due to its highly addictive nature and potential for abuse,” wrote the Chippewa County Health Department warning of the danger of meth, “it is available only through a prescription, and its medical use is quite limited.
Most of the meth that is used in this country is used illegally and is taken orally, snorted, injected or smoked.
“The Chippewa County Health Department also noted that methamphetamine can be cooked illegally in small labs and that poses serious health risks not only to those who are in the process of making the drug, but the environment and others living in the area due to the highly toxic nature of the ingredients used in the production process.
“During the manufacturing of meth, poisonous vapors are produced which permeate carpets and draperies of houses and buildings,” the health department warned.
“During the manufacturing of meth, the chemicals used are flammable, thereby increasing the risk of house fires, burns to those cooking or living nearby, and potential explosions.
“Crime Stoppers issued their own press release detailing a list of ingredients that local residents should be aware of as the community ramps up its efforts to curtail methamphetamine use and production.
• Acetone — found in nail polish remover of paint thinner.
• Lithium — found in batteries.• Toluene — found in brake fluid.
• Hydrochloric acid• Pseudoephedrine — a decongestant found in cold medicine.
• Red Phosphorous — found on matches, road flares and other combustibles.
• Sodium Hydroxide
• Sulfuric acid — used in drain and toilet bowl cleaners.
• Anhydrous Ammonia — found in fertilizer.
The Crime Stoppers organizations warns that if you find several of these products together in a vehicle, residence or along the road, do not approach or attempt to pick these items up. Authorities also note there is a possibility of explosion due to the potential volatility and unstable nature of the mixed ingredients.
The health department says that in addition to the environmental harm that meth poses, its use breeds crime in the community and often leads to child abuse and neglect. Crimes include burglaries and theft as addicts need to steal to support their habit. Health officials also note that when the addict’s primary focus shifts to meth, children can be exposed to the harmful chemicals and their needs often go unmet.
“We strongly encourage anyone who suspects methamphetamine use or manufacture in their neighborhood to contact local law enforcement,” wrote health officials.
Crime Stoppers is offering more than encouragement with a reward of up to $1,000 for tips leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the manufacture or delivery of meth. Tips can be phoned in at (855) 906-8477 or via the Internet at

Two Shullsburg men were arrested Sunday on a preliminary charge of disposal  of methamphetamine waste after Lafayette County Sheriff’s deputies found them at  a fire in a road-side ditch near Shullsburg, a police report said.

Troy S. Glasgow, 32, and Gregg A. Marcotte, 34, were taken to the Lafayette  County Jail where they are awaiting formal charges, according to a Lafayette  County Sheriff’s report.

Witnesses alerted sheriff’s deputies to the fire, the report said.




Two Ohio County women were charged Sunday with three felonies each regarding manufacturing methamphetamine at a residence on East Main Street in Fordsville, according to a Kentucky State Police report.

Tara A. Payne, 24, of Olaton was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, second or greater offense, controlled substance endangerment to minor, fourth degree, and unlawful possession meth precursor, first offense.

A 36-year-old Ohio County woman is in jail on meth manufacturing charges.


Sheriff’s deputies say they went to an address on Scott Town Road just after midnight Thursday to speak with Crystal Gayle Embry about an assault case in Cromwell.

While inside the home, deputies say they found items commonly used in making meth including pseudoepedrine ills, starting fluid, Coleman fuel, salts, lithium batteries and coffee filters.

She’s facing charges of manufacturing meth, possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of meth precursors and possession of drug paraphernalia.








DOWNTOWN JACKSON — Nine people were arrested last week after law enforcement agencies from around West Tennessee assembled to conduct a joint operation to address an illegal activity commonly referred to as “smurfing”.

The Jackson-Madison County Metro Narcotics Unit headed the operation with assistance form the Madison County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division, the Jackson Police  Department’s Street Crimes, Gang Enforcement and K-9 Units, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Drug Investigation Division, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office Drug Unit, the Crockett County Sheriff’s Office Drug Unit, the 24th Judicial Drug Task Force.and the 28th Judicial Drug Task Force.

willaimg Dylan+B_+Staggs Christopher+Neal+Curtwright Jennifer+Kemp Lonnie+Peoples Casaey+Hairrell Mikel+Wayne+Pugh James+Foster Evan+Walls

“It’s not just a local problem it’s a state wide problem and we’ve all seen the benefit of combining our resources,” said Lt. Marc Byrum., Metro Narcotics Unit.  “Operations like these would not be nearly as successful if we tried to do them on our own.”

Officials said this operation was performed in cooperati

on with local pharmacies to target persons purchasing pseudoephedrine products for the purpose of manufacturing methamphetamine.

“There is a term called diversion, it’s typically used with prescription medications and it essentially means you are diverting them from their intended use for some other illicit use,” said Lt.  Byrum. “We stopped some before they ever get to their next opportunity to manufacture a batch. By preventing that process we are preventing everything that goes along with it like damage to the environment when they dispose of their hazardous waste in an improper way or even the potential for one of them to get hurt during the cooking process.”

Pseudoephedrine is the primary ingredient in decongestant cold medicines that have to be purchased through a pharmacy and not over-the-counter. Officers said not only is it a felony to use psuedoephedrine to make meth but it is also a crime to recklessly buy the drug for someone else who could turn around and use it in the meth making process.

Throughout this operation, a total of 9 people were arrested and cases were developed on 8 of them for Promotion of Methamphetamine Manufacture which is a class D felony.

Investigators said In addition to the pseudoephedrine products, amounts of Methamphetamine, Morphine, Cocaine, Synthetic Cannabinoids and Drug Paraphernalia were recovered. The names of those arrested are as follows:

Jennifer Diane Kemp, age 36, of Lavinia was charged with Promotion of Methamphetamine Manufacture.

Christopher Neal Curtwright, age 22, of McKenzie was charged with Promotion of Methamphetamine Manufacture, Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Dylan B. Staggs, age 27, of Camden was charged with Promotion of Methamphetamine Manufacture, Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

William C. Garner III, age 28, of Jackson was charged with Promotion of Methamphetamine Manufacture, Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell or Distribute, Possession of Synthetic Cannabinoids, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of a Prohibited Weapon, Felony Evading Arrest, Resisting Arrest and Driving on a Suspended Drivers License.

Evan Andrew Walls, age 23, of Jackson was charged with Promotion of Methamphetamine Manufacture, Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Violation of the Seatbelt Law.

James J. Foster, age 29, of  in Jackson was charged with Promotionof Methamphetamine Manufacture, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Synthetic Cannabinoids, Possession of a Prohibited Weapon and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Mikel Wayne Pugh, age 43, of  Wildersville was charged with Promotion of Methamphetamine Manufacture, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Driving on a Revoked Drivers License 3rd Offense.

Casey Hairrell, age 37, of Jackson was charged with Initiation of Methamphetamine Manufacture and Felony Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Lonnie Peoples, age 63, of Milan was charged with Driving on a Revoked Drivers License.

Anyone with additional information about any of these cases or any other drug activity can call the Jackson Madison County Metro Narcotics Unit at 731-424-6485 or CrimeStoppers at 731-424-8477.



AMARILLO, Texas (AP) — An Interstate 40 traffic stop in the Texas Panhandle has yielded $2 million worth of methamphetamine hidden in the hefty spare tire of an SUV.

The Potter County Sheriff’s Office in Amarillo on Monday announced the seizure of 42 pounds of methamphetamine and the arrest of the driver.

Deputies on Friday stopped an SUV and the driver gave officers permission to search the vehicle. Deputies found the spare tire seemed too dense. The truck was taken to an auto shop where the tire was removed and the meth was discovered.

Sheriff’s officials say the driver was booked on a charge of manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance.



HOBBS, N.M. – A tip from an informant led police in Hobbs to the arrest of a woman who was trafficking methamphetamine.

30-year-old Crystal Castillo was picked up by police on Saturday for felony charges.


Officers were told last month that Castillo was selling methamphetamine to someone in the Big Lots parking lot close to the intersection of Bender and Dal Paso Street.

When officers arrived, they saw Castillo and a man leaving the parking lot in a car.

The vehicle was stopped in the 1800 block of Dal Paso where police found 30 grams of methamphetamine in Castillo’s purse.

She admitted to officers that she had sold $40 worth of the drug to someone in the parking lot.

Castillo was picked up by police on Saturday.




CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Chambersburg police officers are receiving additional training about methamphetamine as they investigate local production of the highly addictive drug.

Police recently arrested one man, Patrick Ryan McInnis, for allegedly using a vehicle as a mobile meth lab. They are investigating two other labs found in late December.

“You haven’t seen a lot of (methamphetamine) on the East Coast. It’s a new phenomenon for us,” Chambersburg Police Chief David Arnold said.

Investigators are unsure whether the three labs are related, he said.

McInnis, 23, of Fort McCord Road in Chambersburg was charged with manufacture, delivery or possession of a controlled substance and use or possession of drug paraphernalia.

Pennsylvania State Police associated with the agency’s clandestine lab team are providing training for Chambersburg’s officers, and officers are also going to training sessions through other organizations, Arnold said.

The police chief said he would recommend that other area law-enforcement agencies participate in similar training.

“We’re hoping it’s not a trend,” he said.

Methamphetamine can be produced using some common household items like cold medicine, soda bottles and batteries. But the production sites can quickly become highly toxic and explosive.

Last July, an in-home lab exploded and caused a fire in the Borough of Waynesboro. Two people — Logan Buchanan, 31, and Josie McCormick, 34 — were charged after that incident.

McCormick is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty in December to operating a meth lab, according to online court records.

Buchanan is headed to trial on charges of possessing chemicals with the intent to manufacture a controlled substance, operating a meth lab, risking catastrophe and causing a catastrophe.

Emergency crews encountering meth labs take special precautions, using protective gear in the handling of materials.

“We’re trying to be extra careful with these things,” Arnold said.

Chambersburg Mayor Darren Brown did not return two phone calls and an email seeking comment about the methamphetamine issue in town.



VESTAL — A December report on the lack of laws requiring landlords or property sellers to tell buyers or renters if a meth lab operated at the property has the attention of state leaders in Albany.

The report also showed that New York lacks clear regulations for decontaminating a meth lab site before it can be occupied again.

“I could not agree more with the need to strengthen standards for that because of the volatility of meth labs and the toxicity of what is in these homes,” said Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy after a Thursday meeting of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council at Binghamton University in Vestal.

December report on the

Duffy said he would discuss with Gov. Andrew Cuomo if the state should have a greater role in protecting the public from leftover contamination in former methamphetamine labs.

The Central New York Media group, which includes The Ithaca Journal, the Star-Gazette in Elmira and the Press & Sun-Bulletin in Binghamton, in December reported that New York and Pennsylvania have no laws requiring landlords or property sellers to disclose to buyers or renters if meth was made at the property, and that neither state has a standard or guideline for making a former meth lab safe for habitation.

“Standards should be strict,” Duffy said. “I think it would be a good thing for legislators to present. I would say Governor Cuomo would never argue that fact.”

The state Commission on Investigation wrote in a 2005 report to the governor and Legislature that the state ought to consider whether it needed to create standards for meth lab decontamination.

Nearly nine years later, the committee’s recommendation isn’t on the minds of many state decision-makers and legislators, some of whom are learning the state hasn’t set such a standard after inquiries from the Central New York Media group.

“In my last three years in Albany, I’ve never heard this brought up, but I’m acknowledging, it is a great point,” Duffy said Thursday.

“I will carry that message back to the governor, and I also think perhaps that would be a great opportunity for legislators on both sides, in both houses, to take a look at that as well and see if we can strengthen those regulations across the state.”

Duffy said he would speak with with the commissioners of the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Health so a review of medical, chemical and environmental factors might show if any applicable regulations need strengthening.

In New York, legislation proposed by Sen. Tim Kennedy, D-Buffalo, would require disclosure of a property’s status as a former meth lab and set a standard for remediation.

After The Central New York Media group published its watchdog report about the gaps in New York and Pennsylvania’s meth laws, Sen. Tom O’Mara, R-Big Flats, wrote a guest column for the newspaper, reiterating his support for more protection. His district includes Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Yates and the western portion of Tompkins County, including the City of Ithaca.

“I’ll also be pushing legislation in 2014 to require sellers of homes that were previously the site of an illegal meth lab — and therefore contaminated with the hazardous chemicals left behind by meth labs — to disclose this information to potential home-buyers,” O’Mara wrote.

On Friday, O’Mara said setting a cleanup standard for making a former meth lab habitable should also be part of a new law.

O’Mara said he is having the Republican committee review Kennedy’s bill. He also said he would seek more input from the New York State Association of Realtors. “One of their comments was that a hazardous environmental condition is already required to be disclosed,” O’Mara said.

O’Mara said he is also talking with state police about whether there are any up-to-date law enforcement databases about meth labs they can make available to the public, so they can more easily look up a house’s status.

It could be some time before Kennedy’s bill is discussed in the legislature. On Tuesday, Gov. Cuomo is set to release his budget; O’Mara said he expects the Legislature will have most of its attention on the budget for a few months. “Typically after the budget is when legislative matters are covered more in-depth,” he said.

“I think I’ll work with Sen. Kennedy’s office on the legislation he has, and see if that’s something we can move forward with to provide what we might feel would be appropriate disclosure of these circumstances,” O’Mara said. “It is certainly an increasing problem, whether it’s in rural or urban settings.”

Also Friday, state Sen. Tom Libous, R-Binghamton, whose district includes Broome, Tioga, Chenango and part of Delaware counties, said the report had gotten his attention.

“This is a serious and troubling issue,” Libous said in a statement. “I’ll be examining it with my colleagues in the Senate and working toward a solution that addresses these concerns for families and home-buyers.”

To become law, a bill must also pass both houses of the Legislature. Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, R-Corning, said Friday he thinks the Assembly should discuss the issue.

“Obviously, we have a big meth problem in our area and in our region in the state, and we need to take actions to protect residents, and this is another step that I see could be helpful,” Palmesano said.

After an inquiry from the Central New York Media group for the December watchdog report, Sen. Gene Yaw, whose district includes Bradford County and part of Susquehanna County, has partnered with Sen. John Rafferty Jr. to champion the measure in the Senate.

“Since 2006, Pennsylvania has moved to strengthen laws related to the operation and production of methamphetamine labs, but more is still needed,” Yaw said in a statement announcing he and Rafferty would be prime sponsors of the Disclosure of Methamphetamine Property Act.

The bill would require owners or sellers to disclose a property’s former meth history and require the state Department of Health to set standards for removing hazardous materials from former meth labs.

If it becomes law, when a meth lab is discovered, the state would put a lien on the property until it is decontaminated. Police would be required to tell the health department about the meth-making activity, and the lien wouldn’t be removed until the health department certifies the property is safe.

“As best as we can, it keeps people from moving into these homes that have been contaminated,” said Sean Moll, of Newberry Township, Pa., a legislative aide to Rafferty.

Moll said the measure has seven additional co-sponsors, or nearly 20 percent of the Senate, and is likely to be introduced in the coming weeks. Sen. Joe Scarnati, whose district includes Tioga County, Pa., is a co-sponsor.





ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) – The number of methamphetamine cases is the rise across South Dakota.

The Aberdeen American News reports that there were 1,229 meth-related arrests in 45 counties last year compared to 669 in 36 counties in 2012. Data show there were 402 arrests in 30 counties in 2011.

Attorney General Marty Jackley says the 49 agents from the state Division of Criminal Investigation are spread thin.

Jackley says one extra agent was added last year to northwestern South Dakota to help with problems related to the oil boom in western North Dakota.