Pubdate: Wed, 25 Apr 2007
Source: Nevada Appeal (Carson City, NV)
Copyright: 2007 Nevada Appeal
Author: Teri Vance
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)

Series: Imprisoned By Meth: Mary's Story (4 Of 5)


Mary's sitting on her bedroom floor, applying mascara in front of her 
full-length mirror.

Behind her a single sheet of paper is taped to the wall.

It says: "Just because you're miserable doesn't mean you can't enjoy life."

And she is.

"I'm just having too much fun," she says. "I like drama. I thrive on drama."

Her makeup, along with clothes and anything else she needs to get 
through the day - including bags of meth - is shoved into a purple backpack.

She's more mobile that way.

"I have to be on the go, go, go," she says, reaching in her bag for 
an eyelash curler.

She doesn't really live in her apartment anymore, just stopping by to 
change clothes and re-do her hair and makeup, which she does several 
times a day. It's just as well she doesn't stay long because the 
power was turned off last week.

It's April, and the weather is starting to warm up.

Click to Enlarge Living in the Cherry Creek Apartments was the first 
time Mary had her own place without a guy, she said. She eventually 
stopped paying the bills, and her electricity was shut off. photos by 
Brad Horn/ Nevada Appeal

Browse and Buy Nevada Appeal Photos   She got a settlement check from 
the insurance company for the car wreck she got into as she was 
leaving a doctor's office in August.

"I won't use it to pay bills, though," she says. "Let them go to collections."

Her boyfriend violated his parole and was arrested, but she wasn't 
alone for long. While saying good-bye to him at jail, she ran into an 
acquaintance who was there to drop off his wife to begin her sentence.

He offered Mary a ride home. She accepted. By the time they got home, 
they were a couple.

Now it's a balancing act. She spends evenings and nights with her new 
boyfriend, but makes sure she's home each afternoon to accept the 
collect phone call from her old boyfriend in prison.

She tells him her plan for the day, how she's going to take that 
first step to becoming a certified nurse's assistant.

"I'm going to go to the college and see about taking classes."

But he's more interested in her social life, and he badgers her to 
give him details.

She resists.

"I'm not going to talk about me running amok," she tells him. "Know 
that if I was in prison, I wouldn't want to hear about you and some 
chick. You're just going to trip."

She reassures him no one will take his place.

"In my heart, I'm still with you," she tells him. "The minute you get 
out of prison, I'll be at the gate waiting for you. Know that when 
you get out and we're together, I wouldn't do that to you."

They hang up. She digs between cushions of the couch she's sitting on 
and pulls out a glass pipe.

She empties the contents of a bag into it and holds it in the flame 
of a lighter. She places her mouth over the edges and inhales.

She exhales.

She decides to go to the college another day.

"I haven't played nickels in forever," she says. "And I need a drink."

On Mother's Day, her boys bring her balloons and homemade cards made 
out of poster board.

Jason's says: "You may not be the best mom, but you're trying. But 
know this, I (heart) you this much."

Ryan wrote: "You may not be there all the time, but I still love you 
a whole bunch."

She tacks both jumbo-sized cards to the wall.

Click to Enlarge Carson City Sheriff's Department's Special 
Enforcement Team members from left, Don Gibson, Geoff Rivera, Bill 
Richards and Sgt. Darrin Sloan, work a drug investigation in Carson 
City. Rivera is testing a piece of what appears to be 
methamphetamine. The sample tested positive.

Browse and Buy Nevada Appeal Photos   Time is scarce. She works 
sometimes and "being Mary is a full-time job," but she doesn't want 
to abandon the boys completely.

She goes to as many of their football games as she can, along with their dad.

While other parents sit on the grassy hill above the field at Carson 
Middle School, the two of them pace along the sidelines.

"Look at Ryan," Mary motions to the field. "For some reason, he looks 
so big today."

Jason kicks the ball to the other team.

"You rock, Jason," Mary shouts.

At halftime, Mary takes the blue bandana off her head and wraps it 
around Jason's forehead to keep the sweat from trickling in his eyes.

The coach gives the team a pep talk.

"We can reverse this," he says. "You can have a really bad first half 
and turn it around. You know what? We're going to have a really good 
second half."

The team rallies, but it's not enough. They lose by a touchdown.

Mary still holds out hope for a comeback of her own.

Click to Enlarge A member of the Carson City Sheriff's Department's 
Special Enforcement Team tests a shard of crystal they believed to be 
methamphetamine during a traffic stop on Edmonds Drive. The substance 
tested positive for the drug. Officers seized about a quarter pound 
of methamphetamine. photos by Brad Horn/ Nevada Appeal

Browse and Buy Nevada Appeal Photos   "One day I'll get it. I can't 
give up on myself," she says. "Sometimes my addiction gets the best 
of me. I need to do something this time before I end up losing 
everything again."

But it's not the right time.

"We've had bad dope in this town so long," she says. "Now, the dope's 
so good, it's got everybody so paranoid. It's off the hook.

"I'm having way too much fun."

The parents are supposed to go to a pizza party with the team after 
the game, but Mary doesn't go.

It's 9:30 at night, most of Carson City is shut down and quiet. The 
sheriff's department's newly formed Special Enforcement Team is just 
getting started.

"After midnight, the tweakers congregate in the casinos. They feel 
safe there," explains Deputy Donald Gibson. "We want them to move out 
of Carson City."

The group of volunteers from the sheriff's department congregate for 
a briefing from leader Sgt. Darrin Sloan.

The focus tonight will be to make contact with areas where it has 
been reported through the community's methamphetamine hotline that 
drugs are being sold.

A parade of law-enforcement vehicles marked with the SET logo makes 
its way through the darkened streets. They want to make their presence known.

The first stop is an apartment on Brown Street. Two plain-clothed 
officers knock on the door, announcing who they are, while the others 
wait at a distance.

As soon as the door opens, a man backs into the kitchen and runs out 
the back door. Officers run through the front door, chasing him out 
onto the patio, then into the street.

Seeing the chase, those in wait jump into action, and soon the man is 

They discover he's got an outstanding felony warrant for distribution 
of methamphetamine. They arrest him.

Now inside the apartment, officers conduct a basic search.

Upstairs, they find a bed piled with clothes and a tipped-over 
laundry basket. A single, pink baby shoe lies amidst the clutter 
strewn on the stained carpet.

On top of the dresser, in plain view, is a plastic bag of marijuana.

It's 10:07 p.m. and an 8-year-old is sitting her 4-year-old brother 
and 2-year-old sister down for dinner.

Sloan shines his flashlight on the boy's plate, "What's for dinner?" he asks.

To their mother, he asks, "That guy was a known drug dealer, why do 
you let him in your house?"

He tells her she's a bad mother for using drugs.

"I don't use drugs," she counters. "I just sell them."

She refuses to give officers consent to search. They call the 
district attorney to ask for a warrant, but Noel Waters says that 
because the man was already inside the house when the pursuit began, 
they didn't have cause to enter.

There's nothing they can do. They can't arrest the mother, but they 
have her call her sister to get the kids out of the house.

And, after talking to her for some time, she gives them the address 
of her supplier and a vehicle description.

And that, Sloan says, is the point. One person rats on another and so 
on until they reach the top of the supply chain. Working at night 
gives them the time they need to follow up on the leads.

This latest tip leads them to Woodside Drive. Along the way, they 
pass a vehicle matching the description of the dealer.

Lights flash, they flip a U-turn, and, after a brief pursuit, the car 
pulls over.

Luke, the drug dog, taps the door, indicating there are drugs inside.

Officers find a sunglasses case stuffed with a plastic bag full of 
white powder.

Deputy Geoff Rivera, Luke's handler, opens the bag and recoils, coughing.

"That's a good amount of dope," Rivera says.

It turns out to be nearly a quarter pound of methamphetamine.

The driver and passenger are both arrested, and interrogation leads 
investigators to a trailer park on Hot Springs Road.

Two officers approach the door, while the others duck behind cars 
parked along the street.

A dog in a nearby yard barks as dawn begins to peek over the horizon.

"You know who hangs out here?" Detective Keith Bopko asks his team members.

"Mary Reasoner," he answers himself. "Man, I'd love to catch her here."

Nothing turns up. They probably flushed it - which is all right with Sloan.

"At least they're getting rid of it," he says.