Postcard from Texas Meth Country

In one East Texas town, a new brand of meth lab has business -- and the occasional house -- booming.

But the power, money, fake friends and dope whores went to his head, he says. He started to believe he was invincible, to think he was able to buy off cops or hire lawyers to get himself out of any jams. He also didn't care what his neighbors thought about his unconventional lifestyle. "If my yard needed a Weed Eater and it was three in the mornin', I got that headlight on and I'm out there mowin' the yard right then and there," he laughs. "I didn't give a damn what my neighbors thought. This is America! That's what my daddy taught me. I was not thinkin' I was embarrassin' myself. I didn't care, 'cause I had the power. I had the money, I didn't give a damn. I'm Bull Durham!"

Eventually Durham fell out of favor with Keene. According to Durham, shortly before Keene was arrested, the Lufkin kingpin stripped Durham of his guns, bodyguards and prized Lincoln because he believed that Durham was too "hot with the laws." In February of 2004, Durham got caught trying to swap a shotgun for crack and cash, and after attempting to evade cops, he was arrested and given six years in the pen. After paroling out and violating a couple of times, he got out in 2010, just in time for the worst year of his life as a free man.

Once out, he hooked up with a troubled, recently widowed woman who Durham claims had a pill problem. It was a tumultuous relationship, and part of the reason he was at his mother's house when it burned down was that he and "Krystal" were on the outs.

Durham has visited the Angelina County Jail 48 times, by his
own count. And why wouldn't you trust this guy's counting?
Courtesy of Angelina County Sheriff's Office
Durham has visited the Angelina County Jail 48 times, by his own count. And why wouldn't you trust this guy's counting?
Lufkin's jail encourages artistic expression. Here, Durham expresses himself in front of a painting by a dead meth head named Iodine Mike.
Joel Andrews, Lufkin Daily News
Lufkin's jail encourages artistic expression. Here, Durham expresses himself in front of a painting by a dead meth head named Iodine Mike.

He says that on the night of the fire, he had just been dumped. In a funk, he got drunk and went to his mother's house. As he went to leave, his mom urged him to stay and sleep it off. He gave in, but claims that before he went to bed, he noticed that his recently incarcerated brother Brad had rigged up an entertainment system consisting of a TV, a VCR, a DVD player, a stereo and a descrambler all off one outlet.

Durham says he told his mom it was a fire hazard and then passed out. When he woke, the house was on fire and his mom was frantically trying to douse the flames. He says he pulled his mom away from the blaze. He says that what were later found to be meth burns on his torso came instead from a flaming mattress he was trying to wrestle into the yard. He wants to be credited as a hero for saving his mom.

After he bonded out on the arson charge, his relationship with Krystal continued to sour, and months later Krystal's son and son-in-law beat and shot Durham in his mom's yard. Durham says both boys were "slobberin' drunk off Mad Dog 20/20" when they arrived at his house, where he was mowing the lawn and attempting repairs on the scorched property. He says that after his stepson hit him a few times with a two-by-four, Durham managed to restrain him, and the younger man collapsed weeping in his arms, wailing that he wanted his family back.

"And I was like, 'I do too, but I cain't,'" Durham remembers saying. "Right then sumbitch" — his ex's son-in-law — "went BOOM and shot me in the goddamn gut. And I went, 'Augh!' [His former stepson] went, 'Oh my God! What did you do?' And when I hit the ground, [Shires] got out of the truck. I went 'Stop! Stop!' and raised my hand up to him, but he walked up to me and shot me right in the butthole."

Durham says he was in a coma for days and when he came to, he had a colostomy bag. (He believes the scar tissue and mesh in his guts from his brother's stabbing might have saved his life.) He had to relearn to walk and talk.

"And the papers clowned me," he says. "They said, 'East Texas Man Burned His Mother's House Down.' Now why did they have to say that? They should have said, 'Charged with Burning' or 'Accused' or something because I ain't even been to court on that yet. It should have said, 'East Texas Man Shot While Rebuilding Mother's Home,' 'cause that's what I was doin'."


Whatever Durham was doing, his travails, along with what Hill and Henson report from their respective daily grinds, seem to stand in contrast to what the mostly cheery federal meth statistics would have you believe. Hill thinks that there are as many new users as ever — they just lie to surveyors now because of the drug's stigma. After all, with so many of the old cooks and fiends dead or in prison, if not new users, who is consuming all the meth he finds?

In the past year, he's helped take down Donald Brooks' historic meth lab. And while Brooks was middle-aged, Hill is also arresting plenty of college-age kids. In the big 13-member bust that snared Dillahunty, virtually all of the others were in their early and mid-20s.

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15 comments
Lan
Lan

I am a 27 years old doctor,mature and beautiful. and now i am seeking a good man who can give me real love, so i got a sername Andromeda2002 on  Agedate.СòM, a nice and free place for younger women and older men,or older women and younger men, to interact with each other.Maybe you wanna check out or tell your friends.

Lan
Lan

I am a 27 years old doctor,mature and beautiful. and now i am seeking a good man who can give me real love, so i got a sername Andromeda2002 on  Agedate.СòM, a nice and free place for younger women and older men,or older women and younger men, to interact with each other.Maybe you wanna check out or tell your friends.

Lan
Lan

I am a 27 years old doctor,mature and beautiful. and now i am seeking a good man who can give me real love, so i got a sername Andromeda2002 on  Agedate.СòM, a nice and free place for younger women and older men,or older women and younger men, to interact with each other.Maybe you wanna check out or tell your friends.

Sakara
Sakara

just kill all these junkies.

Texasdave60
Texasdave60

fourth photo down, left most column = Dave Grohl's stunt double. I cast no aspersions on Mr. Grohl, but, damn! if that isn't the spit n image!

mynameisURL
mynameisURL

FTFA on the industry response to making these medications available only by prescription:

"However, experts predict that lobbyists from Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Merck, mindful of the collective $500 million a year these cold medicines bring to their coffers, would fight a similar national bill tooth and nail."

Yeah, these companies understand upon which side their bread is buttered. Thank the lord for the good intentions of our pharmaceutical lobbyists.

Jw2400
Jw2400

my next door dude does this shit for 5 days in a row and he takes everything apart in his unit including his computer and is a total freak. He thinks that it is curing his AIDS and he is crazy

Iceman
Iceman

Interesting piece--I like your style, Mr. Lomax. Additional props on getting through a 5000 word article about meth without referencing "Breaking Bad." Awesome show, by the way.

NatWu
NatWu

There's never a time not to talk about Breaking Bad!

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

What's really sad is, listen to how the guy describes hunting for certain chemicals and getting the perfect reaction. If he had applied that kind of diligence in school, where would he be now?

Daily Reader
Daily Reader

Look forward to reading the article but right now, all I want to say is "what a great image for your front page". Reminds me of the old '50's postcard colors.

 
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