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Latest news: 09-13-2010

U.S. border corruption opens door to drug cartels

El Paso, TX - She lived a double life. At the border crossing, she was Agent Garnica, a veteran law enforcement officer. In the shadows, she was "La Estrella," the star, a brassy looker who helped drug cartels make a mockery of the U.S. border. Martha Garnica devised secret codes, passed stacks of cash through car windows and sketched out a map for smugglers to safely haul drugs and illegal immigrants across the border. For that she was richly rewarded; she lived in a spacious house with a built-in pool, owned two Hummers and vacationed in Europe. For years, until an intricate sting operation brought her down in late 2009, Garnica embodied the seldom-discussed role of the United States in the trafficking trade.

Full story, The Dallas Morning News

Despite crackdown, meth labs skyrocket in Tenn.

TN - Change the law, and the addicts change right along with it. Officers around Tennessee have seized 1,149 suspected methamphetamine labs so far this year at an average of more than 150 labs per month. That's already almost twice the state total from just four years ago - and all with the main ingredient for most meth recipes locked behind pharmacy counters. "I've made it every way there is, and I've never bought a thing," said Jason Thomas, a convicted meth cook from Lake City. "I can make it anytime I want." Some counties haven't seen a boom yet. Others can't get out from under the labs.

Full story, Knoxville News Sentinel

Budget cuts eliminate survey used for drug prevention programs

Boise, ID - Idaho has made much of a startling statistic – that teen meth use in the state dropped 52 percent from 2007 to 2009. It’s the largest percentage drop of any state and coincided with the Idaho Meth Project ramping up its graphic anti-meth TV ads and billboards. But that 52 percent figure was boosted by a small increase from 2005 to 2007; 11 states actually saw greater declines from 2005 to 2009, according to the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey. A separate, similar survey of teen meth use in Idaho – with a much larger sample size – shows smaller, steadier drops, similar to drops seen for the past decade nationwide.

Full story, The Spokesman-Review

Mapping the Tenn. 'meth belt'

Athens, TN - Welcome to the new buckle of the meth lab belt. McMinn County sits about halfway between East Tennessee's two largest cities on Interstate 75 and at the top of the state's totals for suspected methamphetamine labs for the past two years. Police have seized more than 245 suspected labs since January 2009 - sometimes as many as three or four in a day. "I think we get people moving here just to cook dope," said Mike Hall, outgoing director of the 10th Judicial District Drug Task Force. "You could sit in the drugstore parking lot and catch 20-25 people a day easy. We've had to let (suspects) go because we didn't have enough agents to work all the cases."

Full story, Knoxville News Sentinel

Pseudoephedrine law helps drop Ore. crime lowest in four decades

OR - While 2009 saw the largest percentage increase in the state's unemployment rate, crime in Oregon dipped to the lowest levels in four decades, according to FBI figures to be released today. Violent crime – including murders, rapes, robbery and aggravated assault -- fell 2.1 percent from 2008 to 2009, the lowest crime rate since 1969. Property crime, including burglary, thefts, auto theft and arson, dropped 10.2 percent from 2008 to 2009, falling below the national average for the first time since comparable data was collected starting in 1960. It marked Oregon's lowest property crime rate since 1966.

Full story, The Oregonian

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