Wednesday, June 19 2013 1:30 PM EDT2013-06-19 17:30:30 GMT
HENDERSON, Nev. -- The killing of a woman in 1996 has police asking the public for help in solving the cold case crime. Diane Hietbrink, 58, was found dead in her home at 302 Nebraska Street on Sept.More>>
The killing of a woman in 1996 has police asking the public for help in solving the cold case crime.More>>
Thursday, June 20 2013 9:30 AM EDT2013-06-20 13:30:09 GMT
LAS VEGAS - Nevada Treasurer Kate Marshall is looking for the rightful owners of unclaimed property. This money could be an old deposit someone never collected, a refund that was never cashed or a safeMore>>
You could have free money and/or valuables coming to you and not know it. This week, the Nevada Treasurer's Office will list the names of people who have unclaimed property with the state.More>>
Thursday, June 20 2013 8:43 AM EDT2013-06-20 12:43:24 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. unemployment benefit applications rose by 18,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 354,000. Despite the gain, the level remains consistent with moderate job gains. The Labor DepartmentMore>>
U.S. unemployment benefit applications rose by 18,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 354,000. Despite the gain, the level remains consistent with moderate job gains.More>>
Thursday, June 20 2013 7:03 AM EDT2013-06-20 11:03:57 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- North Las Vegas Police are investigating a fatal crash at the intersection of West Ann Road and Camino Al Norte. Investigators said two vehicles collided with a female victim dying on scene.More>>
North Las Vegas Police is investigating a fatal crash at the intersection of West Ann Road and Camino Al Norte. More>>
Thursday, June 20 2013 1:32 AM EDT2013-06-20 05:32:50 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- It's been eight months and there's still no sign of a Las Vegas couple with Police believing there were suspicious circumstances surrounding the disappearance of April Roberts and her boyfriendMore>>
It's been eight months and there's still no sign of a Las Vegas couple with Police believing there were suspicious circumstances surrounding the disappearance of April Roberts and her boyfriend Phillip Johnson. A high profile volunteer search and rescue team is helping police track down new clues.More>>
Thursday, June 20 2013 12:01 AM EDT2013-06-20 04:01:12 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas as of this month ranks eighth among the nation's largest metropolitan areas in the number of foreclosed residences that have been vacated by their owners, RealtyTrac.com reportedMore>>
Las Vegas as of this month ranks eighth among the nation's largest metropolitan areas in the number of foreclosed residences that have been vacated by their owners, RealtyTrac.com reported Wednesday evening.More>>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 8:25 PM EDT2013-06-20 00:25:44 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- A U.S. District Judge has sentenced a Henderson man to 15 years in federal prison for multiple child pornography offenses. Richard Carl Brown, 35, was convicted in February on several charges,More>>
A U.S. District Judge has sentenced a Henderson man to 15 years in federal prison for multiple child pornography offenses.More>>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 7:06 PM EDT2013-06-19 23:06:17 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Obesity is an epidemic that's plagued our nation for decades. The American Medical Association now labels obesity a disease. There are 78 million obese adults and 12 million obese children. ElectedMore>>
Elected officials are trying to combat the obesity crisis in Las Vegas. On Wednesday, the Las Vegas City Council passed a resolution that increases access to healthy food options in under served areas.More>>
LAS VEGAS -- The illegal trade in methamphetamine has been turned upside down in the past few years. Homegrown meth labs are ancient history, even in Las Vegas, which is a center of meth distribution and consumption. Meth is now controlled by conglomerates.
For street narcotics officers of the mid-90's, it was like the movie Groundhog Day -- the same scene played over and over as they struggled to get a handle on the explosive growth of meth, which muscled its way past crack as the drug of choice on the streets.
Makeshift meth labs sprung up in homes and apartments, hotel rooms, in storage spaces, even in cars. Recipes for making meth were posted online. Dangerous chemicals mixed by novices led to explosions, fires, and meth cooks who themselves were cooked.
Teams of meth-heads made mass purchases of cold medicine for the pseudoephedrine and bought other chemicals from seemingly legit supply houses. Then-Sheriff Jerry Keller pushed back. His teams busted the chemical suppliers and labs by the hundreds. That scene is now ancient history and the meth industry has been completely transformed.
"We went from 350, 400 labs back in the late-90's, early-2000, to four last year. That was it," said Metro Lt. Laz Chavez.
Chavez says the disappearance of meth labs is the result of increased pressure by law enforcement, aided by laws that have made it tougher to obtain pseudoephedrine.
There has also been the emergence of Mexican drug cartels, which have built massive super-labs south of the border, capable of producing meth by the ton. They smuggle it across the border and drive it to Las Vegas, which is a market and distribution point. It is now $6,000 per pound cheaper than it was five years ago.
"You can buy an ounce of meth from a drug dealer for just under $1,000. It might take you three to four weeks going around to different pharmacies to buy enough pseudoephedrine to make it yourself. Even then, you're only going to make a quarter ounce of meth in the trunk of your car," said Chavez.
Chavez and his interdiction team recently made a record meth bust -- more than 200 pounds. Last year, meth arrests and seizures set records. All signs point to increased production and sales because, while the business model has changed, the appetite has not.
"Meth is the most widely encountered illicit drug in Nevada," said Clark County Specialty Courts Administrator Steve Roll.
As the administrator for Clark County's Drug Court, Steve Roll sees meth's deadly toll. Half of the cases they see involve meth, more than cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and prescription pills combined. It is cheap, readily available, highly addictive, and slowly poisons the body and the brain of users. The effects become pretty obvious in time.
"It is a very toxic substance. It has a lot of negative impact on the chemistry of the brain. So it does take quite awhile for those who have used it on a regular basis to get themselves off that particular drug," said Roll.
"It's a very dangerous drug. It's something that, people get high on meth, they are awake for days, they are highly paranoid, they are very dangerous people," said Lt. Chavez.
Las Vegas is sort of the perfect storm for the meth industry. Nationally, the highest rates of meth use show up in two employee groups -- hospitality and food workers and construction workers. The two groups that make up 40 percent of Nevada's workforce, according to a federal report.
A 2011 threat assessment report for law enforcement notes that since meth users can't keep jobs, they resort to crime to support their habits. The rest of us feel the effects, not only in burglaries, but in identity theft or large scale ripoffs of copper wiring from public facilities.
Nevada casinos are still used for money laundering by drug cartels, the report states, and the profits are staggering. One Las Vegas high roller suspected of running a Mexican super-lab had a room in his home stuffed with $200 million in cash, though federal charges against him were eventually dropped.
District Judge Kathleen Delaney presides over one of the only bright spots in the war against meth, the drug court, where she hears a parade of sob stories and excuses day after day.
"I'll tell you the truth, I was fighting my disease of addiction. I don't know why I used. I was stupid," said one defendant in her courtroom. "I messed up. I'm embarrassed of it."
For every meth user who gets busted and sent to court, there are other victims -- spouses, kids, and families whose lives have been trampled. The court walks a fine line between toughness and mercy, but Judge Delaney understands that for most defendants, this is the only alternative to either prison or death.
A law enforcement assessment predicts that meth trafficking by Mexican cartels and abuse at the street level will remain as the most significant drug threat facing this region for the foreseeable future.