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Latest news: 02-05-09

Study assesses economic burden of meth on US

In the first effort to calculate the national price of methamphetamine abuse, a new study said the addictive stimulant imposed costs of $23.4 billion in 2005. While the authors, from the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, Calif., caution that many impacts were difficult to quantify, their study suggests that methamphetamine takes an economic toll nearly as great as heroin and possibly more.

Methamphetamine was named the primary cause of some 900 deaths in 2005, and the report estimates that premature mortality alone cost $4 billion. Its abuse has spread from Hawaii and rural areas of the West and South since the 1990s, slowly expanding to the Midwest and the East. In the process, it has wreaked havoc on addicts’ physical and mental health and on their families.

Full story, The New York Times

312 pounds of meth found amid load of grapefruit

CORPUS CHRISTI - A truck driver faces federal drug charges after the discovery of 312 pounds of methamphetamine in a truckload of grapefruit, a bust authorities said is one of the largest in memory.

The seized methamphetamine amounts to nearly half of what authorities in Texas seized in 2007, when 730 pounds was confiscated, according to Drug Enforcement Administration statistics.

"It's the biggest one I've seen since I've been here," said William Grant, a three-year veteran of the Corpus Christi DEA office and resident agent-in-charge.

According to a complaint filed Wednesday in federal court, Rafael Gonzalez-Rodriguez, operator of a trucking company called Nokturnal Shipment, was traveling Jan. 31 to a warehouse in Dallas. The truck was stopped at a checkpoint south of Falfurrias, where a drug dog indicated the presence of contraband during an inspection outside the truck. Authorities then asked for permission to enter and found the drugs packaged under sacks of grapefruit.

Gonzalez-Rodriguez is being held without bond on suspicion of possession with intent to distribute.

From the Corpus Christi Caller Times

Meth bust turns up infant's body

MILLER COUNTY, Mo. - Police are investigating the death of an infant girl found during a meth bust Tuesday. Investigators found the infant’s body in a plastic container in the trunk of a car in the garage of a home on Main Street in St. Elizabeth, Mo.

Five persons were arrested as a result of the investigation, all charged with manufacturing methamphetamine. The homeowner was arrested later and charges are pending.

Full story, Lake Expo

Man shot by deputies was high on toxic level of meth  

A Sonoma man shot by Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies outside his home Dec. 6 was on a high level of methamphetamine when he charged at deputies, toxicology reports show.

Craig Von Dohlen, 37, died after being shot 10 times. He was reported to be suicidal and had threatened to “blow” his father’s head off and shoot officers, according to police reports.

Von Dohlen’s family has not filed legal action against the Sheriff’s Department, but has hired a lawyer to review the case as information becomes available.

Full story, Santa Rosa Press Democrat

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