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Latest news: 12-17-08

Meth production only the start of man's charges

Turlock, CA - A 32-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of manufacturing methamphetamine in Turlock this week, after officers with the Merced County Sheriff's Department's Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET) served two search warrants on a trailer park.

Officers also reported that a 17-year-old girl was living at the residence on the 600 block of Soderquist Road, according to detective Paul Barile of NET.

Christian Blum of Turlock was arrested on suspicion of manufacturing methamphetamine, of being a felon in possession of a firearm and child endangerment. Blum also faces charges on suspicion of having sex with a minor, Barile said.

Full story, Fresno Bee

Meth blaze could lead to two life sentences

The courtroom provided lessons this week that propane heaters and meth labs don’t mix, and they especially don’t mix for people with prior drug convictions.

A jury found William A. Turner Jr. guilty on Wednesday of attempting to manufacture meth, and arson. He could face up to two life sentences in prison without parole after being prosecuted as a “prior and persistent offender.”

In February, authorities served a search warrant at 218 W. Rosine St. They found Mr. Turner and Jeannie R. Swope, along with a pot bubbling with ingredients to cook meth, according to court testimony and documents.

During the search, the house caught fire and quickly burned to the ground. According to testimony, the atmosphere ignited in one of the home’s bedrooms where a propane heater was being used, and authorities believed the fumes from the volatile “Nazi method” of meth cooking had come in contact with the heater.

Full story, St. Joseph News Press

Drug supply expected to fall in Kansas City

The availability of methamphetamine and cocaine in Kansas City has declined in recent years, according to a federal drug report released Monday.

Shrinking Mexican meth production, coca eradication projects in Colombia and large seizures have contributed to local drug shortages, according to the 2009 National Drug Threat Assessment produced by the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center.

The 82-page study is the government’s annual assessment of the threat posed to the country by the trafficking and abuse of illegal drugs. It draws on public health data and uses information from thousands of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

A decline in Mexican meth production in 2007 and 2008 contributed to less of the drug being available locally, the report noted.

Full story, Kansas City Star

Denver drug-endangered kids get new protections

Children found in homes where drug dealing or manufacture is going on will get better care under new policies put in place by the city today, officials said.

Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey and other officials announced new child abuse policies that give specifics for how "drug-endangered" children will be treated.

"These are children who are not only at risk for child abuse but medical problems from exposure to chemicals found in drugs or used in their manufacture," Morrissey said. "Some people say drug cases are victimless crimes but they are not victimless crimes when children are involved," he said.

Home meth labs pose a particular danger he said.

"When these people pass out after hours of meth use and go into a meth coma, the kids are just left on their own with no food, no water, toilets backed up, all kinds of things," he said. Young children in these situations are also at risk for ingesting the drugs themselves, he said.

Full story, Rocky Mountain News

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