News Release
August 27 , 2008
Erin Mulvey
Public Information Officer
212 337-2906

Nine Arrested for Violation of Combat Meth Act
Charged with purchasing over the monthly limit of medications
containing pseudoephedrine/ephedrine

James Burns, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division, addresses the media.

AUG 27-- (SYRACUSE, NY) United States Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division John P. Gilbride and United States Attorney Glenn T. Suddaby announced today that arrests of nine individuals charged with crimes relating to purchasing in excess of the 9 gram monthly limit of medications containing pseudoehedrine and ephedrine as specified by the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 (CMEA).

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge, John P. Gilbride stated, “Over the past ten years, methamphetamine abuse has spread like wildfire throughout the United States. Families and communities have witnessed the effects of meth abuse while law enforcement continues to work hard to combat meth production and distribution. Today’s arrests prove law enforcement’s commitment to enforcing the CMEA and our desire to decrease drug abuse throughout the country.”

The CMEA became effective on April 8, 2006. The CMEA regulates, among other things, retail over-the-counter sales of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine products which are common ingredients found in cough, cold and allergy products. Retail provisions of the CMEA include daily sales limits and 30 day purchase limits, placement of product out of direct customer access, sales logbooks, customer ID verification, employee training and self-certification of regulated sellers. Congress enacted CMEA and the sale and purchase limitations expressly to curtail the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine since ephedrine based products are needed for the clandestine manufacture of methamphetamine. The sales and purchase restrictions were determined based on what was deemed to be reasonable non-prescription quantities that would be used for lawful purposes. Pseudoephedrine and ephedrine are the principal precursor chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine or amphetamine.

In order to purchase products containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine an individual must show identification and sign a log book at pharmacies or other retail businesses. The Drug Enforcement Administration along with state and local law enforcement are responsible for monitoring these log books in order to identify if any one person is purchasing more than 9 grams within 30 days.

United States Attorney Suddaby emphasized that addressing the problem of drug trafficking continues to be one of the top priorities of the Department of Justice. “Our efforts to reduce the demand for, and supply of, methamphetamine has special priority. The enactment of retail controls on the sale and purchase of key methamphetamine precursors such as pseudoephedrine and ephedrine should reduce the amount of products readily available that could be used to manufacture methamphetamine. The illicit manufacture of methamphetamine has been the subject of wide-scale national attention in recent years and has been particularly prominent in various areas of New York State.”

Those persons charged by federal complaints with offenses related to the purchase of more than nine grams of pseudoephedrine or ephedrine within a 30 day periods are the following:

WILLIAM R. CAHILL, age 34, of Cicero, New York;
JONATHAN D. DECKER, age 34, of Remsen, New York;
JEFFREY A. SULLIVAN, age 43, of Lowville, New York;
JUDY DURANT, age 40, of Verona, New York;
WALTER DOUGLAS, age 32, of Rome, New York;
JESSICA SEIGLER, age 26, of Rome, New York;
MICHELLE WIGGINS, age 46, of Rome, New York;
ROBERT MURPHY, age 43, of Rome, New York; and
TODD J. FARNEY, age 36, of Lowville, New York.

The investigation was conducted by the DEA’s Albany District Office, Albany Diversion Group, New York Field Division Intelligence Group and Syracuse Resident Office with assistance from the New York State Correction Inspector General’s Office; Rome Police Department; Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department; New York State Parole; New York State Police; Lewis County Sheriff’s Department and the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John M. Katko. Further inquiries may be directed to him at 315-448-0672.

The complaints are only accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.