Ecstasy, date rape drug case will go to District Court

2012-02-16T16:30:00Z 2012-02-16T22:14:34Z Ecstasy, date rape drug case will go to District CourtBy MARTIN KIDSTON mkidston@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

CODY, Wyo. -- A Circuit Court judge found probable cause Thursday to send to District Court the charges against a man accused of manufacturing and distributing ecstasy and another drug often associated with sexual assaults.

Nicholas Meng, 26, appeared at 9 a.m. for the hearing before Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters, who heard testimony from Sgt. John Beck of the Cody Police Department.

Meng's wife, Sara Meng, 24, who is facing similar charges, was also scheduled to appear later in the day. Her hearing, however, was postponed until early next month.

Beck said the investigation into Meng began around Jan. 25 when Agent Scott Spieth of the Utah County Narcotics Task Force informed him that Meng was selling GHB and MDMA in the Salt Lake City area.

GHB is often referred to as a "date rape" drug for its ability to render unsuspecting victims helpless. MDMA, also known as ecstasy, can induce euphoria and feelings of intimacy while dissolving anxiety.

According to Spieth's informant, Beck said, Meng intended to ship 1,000 pills believed to be ecstasy to a friend in Utah. The informant later learned that Meng intended to make the delivery himself.

Beck said he began surveillance of the Meng residence in Cody while looking into Meng's frequent Federal Express shipments.

Beck told the court that Meng had made at least 11 overnight shipments to Utah within 30 days and also had sent packages to Colorado, Arizona and California.

Beck said that on Feb. 2, Meng left Cody with his wife for Utah County to deliver "a substantial amount" of GHB and ecstasy.

The couple was stopped by law enforcement officers in Coalville, Utah, and found to be in possession of one gallon of GHB and approximately 1,000 pills believed to be ecstasy, according to court documents.

While Nicholas Meng declined to talk with authorities, court records state, Sara Meng admitted that the liquid was GHB and the pills were "party pills." She also said they were driving to Utah to deliver the drugs to someone who intended to sell them.

Beck placed the drugs' street value at around $4,000. He also said that Meng had initially told arresting officers in Utah that the liquid was windshield cleaner.

After the couple's arrest in Utah, Beck said, a search warrant was issued for the couple's residence in Cody. Investigators recovered a chemistry set, pills, a pill press, and roughly 100 ounces of liquid believed to be GHB.

Investigators also found a recipe for making GHB, large quantities of powders, syringes and vials of suspected anabolic steroids, records state.

The couple was charged in Utah with two felony counts of possession of a controlled substance. They bonded out of jail in Summit County, Utah, on Feb. 2 and returned to Cody.

Once they arrived, they were arrested on local charges related to the manufacturing of a controlled substance. Beck said Meng admitted to producing GHB at his home with the chemistry set. Meng said the steroids were for his personal use in weightlifting.

Meng's defense attorney, Brigita Krisjansons, argued that the charges against her client were based at this point on allegations. She said Meng's mail shipments were never intercepted by authorities and no evidence existed to suggest they contained drugs.

She also said the Wyoming State Crime Lab had yet to identify the substances recovered at Meng's residence. Some recipe items needed to manufacture GHB weren't found during the search, she said.

"There are a lot of allegations at this point," Krisjansons said. "There are allegations that he sent out the pills they made via Fed Ex, but we don't have any intercepts or confirmations."

Prosecutor Tim Black said Meng was caught with a significant amount of GHB in his possession. He added that Sara Meng had confessed that they were making the substance in Cody and delivering it to Utah.

When asked by the court, Beck said that GHB can be used by weightlifters to induce deep sleep to aid in muscle recovery. In greater quantities, he said, it's also used as a "date rape" drug for its ability to cause drowsiness and render victims helpless.

"While it can be used in weightlifting, the GHB was not for (Meng's) personal use and he was manufacturing it for delivery," Black argued.

Black noted that Meng had been arrested in Utah in 2008 for cultivating marijuana. Black also told the court that Meng's name had come up locally over the past year in law enforcement circles relating to drug activity.

Krisjansons argued that Meng posed no flight risk and had abided by the court's earlier demands.

Waters agreed to reduce Meng's bail from $20,000 to a $15,000 cash surety bond. He also allowed Meng to contact his wife, who is set to appear for her probable cause hearing next month.

No date has been set for Meng's trial in District Court.

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