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Horrific Murder no Surprise in US Meth Capital

By Jongo, Jan 22, 2012 | Updated: Jan 23, 2012 | | |
  1. Jongo
    FRESNO, California (AP) – When a 23-year-old Fresno woman fatally shot her two toddlers and a cousin, critically wounded her husband then turned the gun on herself last Sunday, investigators immediately suspected methamphetamine abuse in what otherwise was inexplicable carnage. It turned out the mother had videotaped herself smoking meth hours before the shooting.

    In family photos, the children are adorable, the mother pretty. They lived in a large apartment complex near a freeway with neatly clipped lawns and mature trees. The father was recently laid off from a packing house job.

    "When you get this type of tragedy, it's not a surprise that drugs were involved," said Lt. Mark Salazar, the Fresno Police Department's homicide commander. "Meth has been a factor in other violent crimes."

    A mother in Bakersfield, California, was sentenced Tuesday for stabbing her newborn while in a meth rage. An Oklahoma woman drowned her baby in a washing machine in November. A New Mexico woman claiming to be God stabbed her son with a screwdriver last month, saying, "God wants him dead."

    "Once people who are on meth become psychotic, they are very dangerous," said Dr. Alex Stalcup, who treated Haight Ashbury heroin users in the 1960s, but now researches meth and works with addicts in the San Francisco Bay Area suburbs. "They're completely bonkers; they're nuts. We're talking about very extreme alterations of normal brain function. Once someone becomes triggered to violence, there aren't any limits or boundaries."

    The Central Valley of California is a hub of the nation's methamphetamine distribution network, making extremely pure forms of the drug easily available locally. And law enforcement officials say widespread meth abuse is believed to be driving much of the crime in the vast farming region.

    Chronic use of the harsh chemical compound known as speed or crank can lead to psychosis, which includes hearing voices and experiencing hallucinations. The stimulant effect of meth is up to 50 times longer than cocaine, experts say, so users stay awake for days on end, impairing cognitive function and contributing to extreme paranoia.

    "Your children and your spouse become your worst enemy, and you truly believe they are after you," said Bob Pennal, a recently retired meth investigator from the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement.

    Methamphetamine originally took root in California's agricultural heartland in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a poor man's cocaine. Its use initially creates feelings of euphoria and invincibility, but experts say repeated abuse can alter brain chemistry and sometimes cause schizophrenia-like behavior.

    Meth's availability and its potential for abuse combine to create the biggest drug threat in the Central Valley, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Justice's Drug Intelligence Center. From 2009 to 2010 methamphetamine busts in the Central Valley more than tripled to 1,094 kilograms, or more than 2,400 pounds, the report says.

    Large tracts of farmland with isolated outbuildings are an ideal place to avoid detection, which is why the region is home to nearly all of the nation's "super labs," controlled by Mexican drug trafficking organizations, said John Donnelly, resident agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration office in Fresno.

    "They have the potential to make 150 pounds (68 kilograms) per (each) cook," he said. "There are more super labs in California than anywhere else. Every week another office calls us — St. Paul, Dayton, Kansas, Texas — and says, 'We've got a meth case here' and they say the suspects are from Turlock or Visalia. We're slinging it all over the country from here."

    Last month, a drug task force working in four central California counties busted 24 alleged members of the Mexican drug cartel La Familia Michoacana with 14 pounds (6.35 kilograms) of powdered meth, 30 gallons (114 liters) of meth solution, 17 guns, $110,000 in cash and a fleet of vehicles with sophisticated hidden compartments for smuggling.

    Most law enforcement agencies don't keep statistics on how many homicides, burglaries and thefts are meth-related, but those responding to the National Drug Intelligence Center's 2011 survey said the drug is the top contributor to violent crimes and thefts.

    "It drives more crime than other drugs do. Meth is in its own category, because it's so much more addictive than other drugs," said Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims.

    Across the valley, meth addicts steal any metal they can resell — agricultural plumbing, copper wiring, lawn sprinklers.

    "We lose five to 10 manhole covers a week," said Ceres Police Chief Art de Werk, who said a woman was injured recently when she fell into an unprotected drain in a shopping center. "Meth is the poor man's drug and frankly the Central Valley is an impoverished geographic area."

    Authorities say the science involved in creating the chemical compound continues to evolve, including an easier recipe called "Shake and Bake" that is available on the Internet. Last month, an Oklahoma woman was arrested as she walked around a WalMart store — for six hours before she was noticed — mixing ingredients for Shake and Bake.

    In one of the recent attacks by meth users, Danielle Mailloux received a nine- month sentence in Bakersfield Tuesday for stabbing her 6-week-old infant in the back and cutting her along her abdomen, jaw and neck during a binge. The baby survived.

    "It's not illegal because we don't want people to feel better. It's illegal because it makes good people do crazy things," said Mailloux's defense attorney, Mark Anthony Raimondo.

    In Oklahoma, authorities charged Lyndsey Fiddler with second-degree manslaughter after an aunt found her infant daughter in a washing machine thudding off balance in the spin cycle. The aunt told authorities that Fiddler had been up for three days using meth.

    In Albuquerque, New Mexico, last month Liehsa Henderson, high on meth, claimed to be God and told police God wanted her son to die after allegedly stabbing him in the neck with a screwdriver. The boy survived.

    Last Sunday, Fresno police found Aide Mendez dead on the bathroom floor of her home. Her children — 17-month-old Aliyah Echevarria and Isaiah Echevarria, 3 — were in the bathtub. Mendez's cousin was dead in the kitchen. She had shot each in the head. The children's father remains hospitalized with stabbing and gunshot wounds.

    Police recovered 10 grams of meth, $8,000 and scales — and the iPad the young mother used to videotape herself smoking meth.

    "If she had been on it for any length of time, well it deteriorates your brain and central nervous system," said Sue Webber-Brown, a former district attorney's office investigator in Butte County who now advocates nationally for children in drug cases. "If you are already depressed or feel like a loser mom and you don't have a support system and there is no hope, the meth just fuels that."

    Editor Brent Jones, Associated Press, 23/01/12.



  1. Moving Pictures
    meth does cause psychosis but I don't believe it would cause an otherwise normal person to murder their family. this woman was bat-shit to being with, even before she smoked crank. I've met a lot of speed freaks and several of them are nuts but they were still nuts before the speed, it only made it worse. Drugs might have brought out the evil in this woman but the evil was their to begin with. Not that I'm defending her, I wish she lived and could be tortured to death, but I don't like the media implying that drugs were the sole cause of this.
  2. VagabondWraith
    Toxic psychosis sure is a scary thing to deal with, especially when a family member starts acting out from it. I had an uncle, who was clinically sane, before he started upon what became a severely heavy cocaine and speed habit. At the height of his chemically induced psychosis, he had full blown paranoid schizophrenic like hallucinations... he thought the DEA was hiding in the bushes and trees outside at one point, and he was running around the backyard naked, with a rifle, at 3 AM attacking the shrubbery. He thought there was a conspiracy between the feds, and the rest of the family to kill him, steal his drugs, and so on. Luckily I wasn't there for that one, and they successfully had him committed for detoxification and psych evaluation. It was a miracle he wasn't shot by the police, or that he didn't harm anyone in the family before he was arrested and committed, as he was running about in plain view with his gun shouting incoherent, paranoid monologues at no one in particular. He's still around, and living on his own now, but he has permanent psychological damage he has to contend with that hampers his day to day living. I'm just glad he didn't do something that would've put him in the local headlines...
  3. sassyspy
    I agree with ya, MP.
    As with other drugs, media loves to hype it up and find a drug to blame when tragedies like this occur.
    There are, unfortunately, lots of people who have committed similar acts, not under the influence of anything. So place the blame where it belongs, in that person's psyche.
  4. Jongo
    Yeah people with an already fragile state of mind should definitely avoid things like meth. I have seen even 1 of the best blokes I've known, physically and I thought mentally tough lost the plot after a massive week on the ice.
    He'd had little bits here and there but then decided to go on a bender, and sorta didn't really come back. Smashed all the windows in the local church down the road, and busted up with his childhood sweetheart not too long afterwards.
    But to carve up your own family there must be some dark ingrained shit going on in there to begin with.
  5. whatstheproblem
    i totally agree with Moving Pictures. these people are nuts to begin with. plus, you have to have a strong mind. these people don't. you have to say that the voices or whatever your brain is telling you isn't real and that takes alot. you have to step outside yourself and think "would i be thinking this way sober". definitly not. and if you can get there your good. but meth gets a bad rap. im not saying its good for you, but it isn't solely to blame for these people going off the deep end. alot of it has to do with lack of sleep. its not the drug but simply the brain rewiring itself. sleeping and eating is the most important thing you can do while using
  6. usually0
    How do meth users feel about this? Has anyone on this forum ever gone on a bender and started fucking shit it up and now blame meth as the cause? Or is this a media accusation?

    I find it hard to believe that a drug can bring someone to commit violent acts. It seems irrational, because if someone truly did not like violence, i don't know why being under the influence would cause them commit violence.

    Same goes with alcohol, ive been drunk dozens of times, i dont think i ever thought of violence while under the influence.

    Who else has thoughts on this? Anyone have a drug that causes them to be violent uncontrollably?
  7. runnerupbeautyqueen
    Meth has made me do some crazy things. But it has never made me violent in the least bit.

    I also firmly believe that drugs do not make people a certain way. Rather, drugs enhance parts of peoples personalities that existed long before drugs were part of the equation. Drugs do not make people violent who were not violent to begin with.

    What's the deal with all the cases pertaining to women? Aren't the any men who go on violent meth rages? And since when did (I forget the city) in Missouri lose the title of "meth capitol of the US"?
  8. Maranatha
    I believe that with long-term, high dose use of crystal meth, it's pretty well known to cause psychosis. And if any of you have had toxic psychosis, you would know that a person in the midst of that has no clue what they're doing, no control over their behavior, and little to no memory of it afterwards.

    Here's a medical journal article about methamphetamine psychosis:

  9. kailey_elise
    Well, I'm not a violent person in the least, and the thought doesn't even cross my mind.

    However, I've found out that I apparently *AM* violent when I'm blackout drunk. I had no idea this side of me existed (considering it only comes out when i've blacked out). There was an incident involving my ex-husband the last time I drank to serious excess & blacked out, and once he realized I really didn't have a clue what the hell he was talking about when he was describing my behaviour, he informed me that I'm violent when blacked out. I then called a few exes & asked them & was told the same thing - all the way back to high school.

    *shrug* Take that for what it's worth.

  10. Moving Pictures
    Seeing as this is an old thread and looking back on what has happened to me between my last post and now, I feel I have kind of changed my mind.

    I still think the drugs will only enhance something you already have inside of you but I think we all have a dark side. I've done thing while under the infulence that I never thought I was capable of. I'm a pretty nonviolent person but I have gotten dangerous violent when really messed up. I lose all sense of reason and act on some primal feeling. It's fucked up, it's scary. I never wanted to acknowledge this shit inside me, but it is there. I've often noticed that normally reserved people can get really crazy when they are on certain drugs that remove their inhabations.

    So I have some fucked up shit inside me. I can be dangerous when I'm really intoxicated. It's scary but it's true.

    So I think this woman had some fucked up shit inside her that broke lose from the meth and she lost it and killed her family.
  11. Kilomech
    Not sleeping for days on end can lead to vivid hallucinations that can seem very real, as well as paranoia. However, having any amount of intelligence will allow you to realize that you are indeed hallucinating and the reason is that you haven't slept in X amount of days. In the end, they are responsible for their own actions. It's entirely your own fault if you decide it's a good idea to video tape yourself smoking meth as a precursor to murdering your family and committing suicide. The drugs didn't force that woman to walk through Wal-Mart, mixing up meth, her own stupidity did. The media is quick to dismiss general idiocy or insanity and blame foreign substances but the truth of the matter is that there are some really, really stupid people out there who need serious psychological help.
  12. Diverboone
    More sensational hyped up media, using a drug as a scapegoat for someones horrific action. Oh it makes great headlines, such as "Man high on synthetic drugs shot and killed by Miami police after chewing another man's face off"'. Problem is when their headlines prove to be misleading or out right lies, they do not report that under such big eye grabbing headlines.
    References to an earlier post showing research is often heard loudly in the media. When if you read the research it plainly states that this behavior was more common among poly drug users. Which makes their showings of very little use when speaking of one drug alone.
    These types of propaganda have been used for prohibition causes many times. You can find the same with marijuana and "Reefer Madness". "Man beats mother to death with cast iron skillet!" Society falls for these tactics time and time again. Baseless unfounded media reports are the core of education the general public receives and believes about illegal drugs.
  13. SB1981
    I'll never forget seeing my former friend almost kill her boyfriend while under the influence. She literally broke his ribs from kicking him and punching him. She also ended up breaking his nose as well. She was a very violent tweaker that should have never been using with her personality disorder. She is diagnosed bipolar and the meth just fueled her in the wrong way. She is now in and out of jail with two daughters in foster care. Some can handle meth and some go off the deep end. She was pretty damn scary to be around when she'd be up for a week from smoking the shit. I sure hope she can at least use way less often to where she doesn't get too sleep deprived, etc. From what I know now she is currently in jail. She would make it very obvious she was on meth from dumpster diving, etc.
  14. tweakybird
    *I believe humanity was born from conflict. Maybe that's why in all of us lives a dark side. Some of us choose to embrace it. Some have no choice. The rest of us fight it. But in the end, it's as natural as the air we breathe. At some point, all of us are forced to face the truth. Ourselves. its who we are, were all have evil inside us, some more than others, most people just find it easier to blame another source rather than take responsibility.
  15. tweakybird

    *I believe humanity was born from conflict. Maybe that's why in all of us lives a dark side. Some of us choose to embrace it. Some have no choice. The rest of us fight it. But in the end, it's as natural as the air we breathe. At some point, all of us are forced to face the truth: ourselves.
  16. El Diablo Blanco
    "Monkey killing monkey killing monkey.
    Over pieces of the ground.
    Silly monkeys give them thumbs.
    They make a club.
    And beat their brother, down.
    How they survive so misguided is a mystery.
    Repugnant is a creature who would squander the ability to lift an eye to heaven conscious of his fleeting time here."

    I've witnessed great things in people, but spending my past on the street I've seen a lot of the dark side in humanity.
    Were all capable of it and there's no limit to how far either way...
    combine not eating, not drinking water and sleep deprivation and it's hard enough on your body and mind...but on top of that, saturating it with toxic chemicals can have devastating effects. Everything starts to deteriorate and If they're already suffering from schizophrenia or are borderline then they're sensitivity is that much worse. I can't count how many times I've had users freak out and accuse me conspiring against them, attack me for no reason other than I happen look at them. And when guys are fucked up, they start believing each others paranoid delusions..and then The desperation just from addiction causes people to do stupid shit... I don't socialize with street users anymore. I only have a couple 'using friends' because of psychosis...I can't stand being around paranoid tweekers, besides not being able to trust them or understanding what they're ranting about. Violence just comes out of nowhere.
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