Attorney's Office And DEA Announce
NOV 30 -- Boston, MA... As part of its continuing efforts to inform the public about the real dangers of methamphetamine, the Department of Justice will observe National Methamphetamine Awareness Day on Thursday, November 30, 2006. Officials from the Department, including U.S. Attorneys, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, and DEA Special Agents - partnered with state and local law enforcement, education leaders, and community groups - will host educational presentations around the country.
Special Agent in Charge June W. Stansbury for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in New England and United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan, announced that local public awareness efforts will include presentations in high schools in Boston, Worcester and Springfield on Thursday, November 30th and Friday, December 1st, a presentation to a Shrewsbury parent group, educational outreach to local pharmacies and retailers, appearances on radio programs, and television news interviews.
"We want the citizens of Massachusetts, especially our youth, to know that producing methamphetamine is extremely dangerous, and using it can lead to severe and tragic consequences," commented U.S. Attorney Sullivan. "Presently the level of methamphetamine use and the existence of clandestine labs for its manufacture is extremely low in Massachusetts and we intend to keep it that way. Our law enforcement brethren in other parts of the country are dealing with the effects of methamphetamine that are epidemic in proportion. We are committed to preventing methamphetamine from taking hold in the Commonwealth and will continue our efforts to educate the public about the dangers of this deadly drug as well as investigate and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those who would manufacture and peddle it."
Methamphetamine is a powerfully addictive drug that dramatically affects the users' minds and bodies. The meth abuser suffers the same addiction cycle as crack cocaine abusers. The biggest difference, however, is that while crack binges rarely last more than 72 hours, meth binges can last up to 2 weeks. Chronic use can lead to violent behavior, paranoia, and an inability to cope with the ordinary demands of life.
Methamphetamine is commonly consumed by users by smoking, snorting, eating, or injecting it. It is often sold in a crystal form commonly referred to as “ice” and typically has a purity level in excess of 80%. This form of methamphetamine has the appearance of rock candy or ice crystals and it is commonly referred to by users and dealers as “crystal meth.” Other names for methamphetamine are “glass,” “crystal,” “crank,” “speed,” “tina,” and “go fast.”
The manufacture of methamphetamine in clandestine or "clan" labs poses extreme dangers as well. Methamphetamine can be easily cooked using household chemicals in conjunction with over the counter asthma or cold remedies containing pseudoephedrine, or in a more elaborate fashion using chemicals purchased through the Internet. Many of the chemicals found in these labs are corrosive or flammable - such as drain cleaner, battery acid, lye and hydrochloric acid. The vapors that result from the chemical reactions can attack mucous membranes, skin, eyes, and the respiratory tract. Some chemicals can react with water or other chemicals causing a fire or explosion. Tips for detecting methamphetamine production can be found at www.DEA.gov under the "Clandestine Laboratory Indicator" section.
"To those who would make methamphetamine here, know this - we have DEA agents specially trained to dismantle your methamphetamine labs and to take your freedom," stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Stansbury.
Pseudoephedrine has been identified as one of the most commonly used chemicals in the production of methamphetamine. As a result, the number one contributor to the reduction of meth labs has been making it more difficult for individuals to obtain pseudoephedrine. The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 which took effect in September of this year requires retailers to place all products containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine or phenylpropanalmine (PPA) behind the counter. The stores are also required to maintain a logbook which customers must sign after showing identification. The Act also limits daily purchases by customers to 3.6 grams.
The DEA has contacted and/or sent information to pharmacies and other retailers, such as hardware stores, in Massachusetts directing their attention to items in their inventories that, when purchased in frequent and large quantities, may indicate methamphetamine manufacture.
Another dangerous trend that law enforcement are witnessing is the mixing of methamphetamine into ecstasy tablets to ensure fast addiction and a steady stream of customers for the drug dealers. "Individuals who think they are purchasing ecstasy have no way of knowing for certain what drug in fact they are buying or whether it is laced with methamphetamine. It's a deadly game of Russian roulette that we are urging people to avoid," commented U.S. Attorney Sullivan.
Methamphetamine presently has a limited availability in Massachusetts and is often transported into the area via express mail packages from California. Methamphetamine is reportedly abused at "rave” parties by young adults between the ages of 18 to 25; however, individuals in their late 30s to early 40s also abuse it. According to DEA statistics there have been a total of 6 methamphetamine lab incidents in Massachusetts from calendar years 2001 through 2005. Also, over the past several years there have been only a handful of federal prosecutions in Massachusetts for methamphetamine distribution - typically these have involved methamphetamine that was manufactured elsewhere and then shipped to dealers in the Commonwealth.
"Because there has been such limited use of methamphetamine here in Massachusetts, traffickers of the drug see the Commonwealth as fertile ground for marketing." However, Stansbury cautions, "the DEA is alert to this and has disrupted efforts of some drug trafficking groups to make available this horrific drug."
The 2002 federal arrest of a Cambridge man, Robert Dubuc, on methamphetamine distribution charges led to a further investigation resulting in charges against three of his California suppliers and another Cambridge methamphetamine distributor, Keith Porter. All of the defendants pleaded guilty to the charges against them. All of the defendants except Dubuc are already serving prison sentences ranging from 3 ½ to 10 years. Dubuc is still awaiting sentencing.
In 2004, a Massachusetts surgeon, Dr. David Arndt, was indicted for methamphetamine and oxycodone distribution. Arndt, age 45, of 26 Rutland Square, Boston, pleaded guilty on June 29, 2005, to a nine-count Superseding Indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and seven counts of distribution of oxycodone. Arndt is scheduled to be sentenced on December 19, 2006, by U.S. District Judge Richard G. Stearns. Arndt's license to practice medicine was suspended in August 2002, and expired in October 2002.
Also in 2004, Dale Bernard, age 43, of 36 Gale Street, Malden, was indicted for methamphetamine distribution. Bernard was a wholesale supplier of methamphetamine to many retail sellers in the Greater Boston area - obtaining the narcotic from sources in Arizona and California. Bernard was captured on tape bragging to an undercover officer that during his peak, he had been responsible for 80-90% of the methamphetamine that came into Boston, bringing 3 pounds a week into the city. Bernard claimed to be have been “number one” in Boston referring to his residence in Malden as “the crystal palace, the house that Tina built.” Bernard pled guilty to the charges in June 2005, and was sentenced in April of this year to 7 years and 3 months in prison. Bernard's co-defendant, Gary Carlow, age 47, of 74 West Rutland Square, Boston, pled guilty to methamphetamine distribution charges in August 2005. Carlow was a retail supplier of crystal methamphetamine to customers in Provincetown which he sold from his vacation home there. He was sentenced in May of this year to 1 year and 1 day in prison.
Most recently, on October 11, 2006, three Boston men were charged in a four-count federal Indictment with conspiracy, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The defendants, Damien Smith, age 27, of 60 Charles Gate East, Boston, Antonio Fortuny, age 49, of 260 North Harvard Street, Brighton, and Douglas E. Tribley III, age 28, of 260 North Harvard Street, Brighton, allegedly made three sales of methamphetamine to two undercover Massachusetts State Troopers assigned to the DEA’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force located in Worcester. All three defendants are awaiting trial on the charges and upon conviction face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Information and Educational Resources
The DEA in Massachusetts makes presentations regularly to students as well as parent groups on drug use prevention. School officials or parents interested in having the DEA make such a presentation should contact the DEA's Drug Demand Reduction Coordinator, Tina Murphy at 413-785-0284 X203.
The Department of Justice has also created a model methamphetamine educational presentation that is available to the public to be used by law enforcement, community groups and local leaders in addressing methamphetamine use in their communities. The educational presentation is posted on the Department's new methamphetamine awareness website: www.usdoj.gov.
Additionally, a DEA sponsored website developed specifically for teenagers can be found at www.JustThinkTwice.com. There teenagers can find information on methamphetamine as well as other illegal, legal, prescription, and over-the-counter drugs, their effects on the body and brain, as well as the legal consequences for growing, manufacturing and dealing drugs.
Editor's Note: B-roll video and still photos of methamphetamine lab seizures and arrests are available. To obtain copies please contact Tony Pettigrew at the DEA at (617) 557-2138.
Contacts: U.S. Attorney's
Office: Samantha Martin, (617) 748-3139; or