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Latest news: 04-01-09

Facing possible life sentence, suspected drug trafficker remains in custody

A Verona man facing a possible life sentence for drug trafficking and firearm charges was denied bond Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg.

Douglas Jay Rankin, 45, remains in custody at Rockingham Regional Jail on charges of conspiracy to distribute 500 or more grams of methamphetamine, distribution of meth, unlawful firearm possession by a convicted felon and possession of a machine gun in furtherance of drug distribution.

Full story, The News Virginian

Oregon meth-related deaths up 45 percent since 1999

Oregon State Medical Examiner Dr. Karen Gunson on Wednesday released drug-related death statistics for 2008, reflecting a continuing rise since 1999.

The statistics showed a huge (45 percent) jump in methamphetamine-related deaths, a small increase in heroin-related deaths, and a slight drop in cocaine-related deaths, for an 8 percent rise overall, to 229 drug-related deaths last year.

Full story, KTVZ-TV

SWAT fires tear gas in meth lab, but suspect not found

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A meth lab bust led to a standoff Wednesday at an Orange County hotel. The SWAT team was working Wednesday afternoon to smoke out a man who was believed to be holed up inside the Palace Hotel (see map), but when they went inside there was no one there.

The hotel was evacuated around 6:00am after a search through a stolen vehicle parked outside the hotel led deputies to a meth lab inside a room. A deputy had to be hospitalized after being exposed to the toxic fumes. Two others had to be treated on the scene.

Full story, WFTV

Overdoses on methadone and other Rx drugs top meth-related deaths

PORTLAND, Ore. - State statistics show 229 people overdosed on heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine or a combination of them in 2008, the highest number in nine years.

But overdoses from prescription drugs accounted for most drug-related deaths in Oregon, with methadone the leading culprit, according to numbers set for release Wednesday. The findings have led the state medical examiner's office to start annually tracking deaths due to prescription drugs, The Oregonian newspaper reported.

In 2008, there were 131 overdose deaths from methadone, which has long been used to help curb the cravings of people addicted to drugs such as heroin.

From The Oregonian

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