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Aug-20-2009 01:33printcomments

METH-BUSTERS Strike Again in Stayton

Group gains victories by taking their complaints about meth supplies right to the source.
The group wants to see fewer signs like this posted on area homes. Meth is still a major problem in Oregon and METH-BUSTERS is taking a hands on approach as a solution.
KATU/ photo by Tim King

(STAYTON, Ore.) - Meth-busters is a group of concerned citizens in Stayton that monitor the activities of known meth users, while keeping an eye on the activities of places and business that cater to users that need supplies.

Cari Fiske Sessums, part owner of the Covered Bridge Cafe in Stayton, has been the group spokesperson for this group and her restaurant has been the meeting place of METH-BUSTERS for the past year and a half.

Making the Rounds

Two convenience stores owned by Johal Sarbjit in Stayton, have been selling bongs, Hookahs, screens for pipes as well as pipes, scales and plastic bags which have been known to store, sell and distribute meth.

This is the second time METH-BUSTERS, a group of concerned citizens has confronted one of the stores.

After the first visit, Johal Sarbjit pulled some of the products but not all of them. The Stayton Market, his other store, had lots of product in a glass class, right next to the cash register at eye level as you come in the front door.

This is a store that has recently opened and the first time Meth-busters has confronted the owner and manager about these items.

The new facility is right across the street from Stayton Elementary School and 3 blocks from Stayton High School, and Meth-Busters believes that type of merchandise not only promotes illegal usage but is the wrong message to send to school children coming in to buy candy, soft drinks or food.

At One Stop on First and Ida Street, Cari Fiske Sessums asked the clerk to call the owner who was not in the store at the time, advising that he would like to speak with him.

The clerk got Mr. Sarbjit on the phone and explained that she & two other concerned citizens and a videographer from KENC Community Radio and director of Stayton Cable Access, Ken Cartwright, were there. She asked if he would he be willing to pull the merchandise from his store and not sell them anymore. She said the group was there to explain how it impacts the community.

His reply was "yes" immediately, and he then asked to speak with his clerk. The clerk spoke with him and hung up and asked Cari what items she would like pulled from the store.

Cari indicated which items, and the clerk immediately began removing them from display. She said she would take them to the back of the store and that the owner would not sell them anymore. She was thanked and the group left.

At the second store, The Stayton Market, the manager of the store was confronted by this same group and was asked what the items were for?

His reply seemed rather naive and Cari asked him the same question and pointed out the window to the Elementary School across the street. She said, "It does not show a very good example of what being a citizen of Stayton is by displaying and selling these items so close to our public schools". Cari mentioned that the high school is only three blocks away too.

Again in this case, two other citizens and a videographer were there to witness and document his response. He said that he would immediately remove the products and would not carry them anymore. The group thanked him and they left the store.

This reporter went back to the Stayton Market later to see if the products had been removed from the shelf, and they had.

Currently a group of 11 concerned citizens involved in METH-BUSTERS meets on the second Tuesday of each month, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Covered Bridge Cafe 545 N. 3rd Ave. Stayton.

A video is being made of this group and the recent confrontation.

When stories show an east Marion County dateline, they often carry the name Ken Cartwright. Ken contributes stories so the informational needs of visitors in Stayton and Sublimity are met. Born and raised in upstate Pennsylvania, 90 miles south of Buffalo New York, Ken has always had music and radio in his life. Ken is a former US Navy radioman who was discharged in 1965. He has been the owner/luthier of Cartwright's Music and Repair Shop since 1991.

He was the owner and primary luthier of Natural Sound, the predecessor to Cartwright's Music that existed since 1975. Ken moved to the Salem area in 1979 from Coos Bay Oregon. On September 4th 2007, he put Low Power AM 1620 KENC, community radio on the air in Stayton because this community had no voice. They operate under the 501-C3 of the Stayton Community Food Bank and donate 20% of all our proceeds to them. KENC operates 24-7 and is powered by a I-MAC and a automation system. You can email Ken at, and phone messages can be left at 503-769-KENC. Visit to learn more.

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Meth Sucks September 2, 2009 8:13 pm (Pacific time)

It was a voluntary product pull, I see nothing wrong with it. And by the way, Little kids aren't allowed in gun stores alone. Bad analogy.

Nicole August 25, 2009 9:41 pm (Pacific time)

Wow sounds like a lot of these readers want meth to run our streets and ruin our town. Typical trashy Stayton I guess. And people wonder why Stayton looks like a dump.

Damien August 25, 2009 5:38 pm (Pacific time)

These people arent the Taliban, they are standing up for their community

confused August 21, 2009 6:00 pm (Pacific time)

I just saw the little video they made of the stuff they picked up. I want to know whats wrong with incense? why did they make the owner get rid of incenses? also to the smart people writing this article, please check your facts before you publish an article. half your facts are incorrect, you have store information incorrect. And also I was in the store when you first visited them and they removed the stuff you asked and the stuff not removed was left there because you never asked for them to be removed. these stores are doing nothing illegal but are welling to make changes to work with the community. so please before you make them seem like bad guys, be appreciative that that they are working with you to get rid of the problem; instead of being the problem.

Daniel August 21, 2009 12:09 pm (Pacific time)

If you are serious about crank you should go after the suppliers of ephedrine . This main ingredient of crank is used in weight loss pills and cold tablets . There have been a number of deaths attributed to it via weight loss pills and children's cold tablets . Ephedrine should be banned . There are many alternatives that are healthier choices . Going after pipes and not the products that MAKE the drug is like arresting someones shirt for the crime .

carol August 21, 2009 9:12 am (Pacific time)

Are you kidding me, you think these people are vigilantes, why should the city of Stayton allow drug users to get there pipes so easily, those stores were not strong armed they were asked, would you sell that crap to make a buck, as for medical marijuana users, to bad let the government help them, Stayton is a small town, and we do not want our kids picking through bongs and pipes to buy candy. I think that those people did an amazing job and if more people would stand up for whats right in the world, maybe it would be a better place.

Stoney August 21, 2009 7:04 am (Pacific time)

I admit that as a child I consumed all those sugary snacks, and as I aged I consumed high caffeine products, alcoholic products and have participated in other adult, age-appropriate lawful activities. But I never did get involved with consuming things that would so alter my brain chemistry that I was only focused on getting that product no matter what. Opiates and drugs like crank pretty much take control of peoples lives. I admit that alcohol also adversely impacts many people, but there is no reasonable comparison to be made for opiates and drugs like crank. I remember long ago if a person got caught with a joint in states like Texas or Oklahoma you could get 20 years in the "joint." This was during the LBJ administration, but it was the various states that set the criminal statutes for drug use back then. As the feds have constantly increased their power over the states, then we have seen a constant erosion of states rights. As we get a stronger central government we lose both individual liberties and states rights as set out by the Constitution.

Mike H. August 20, 2009 7:54 pm (Pacific time)

So who you gonna call?!?... METH-BUSTERS! I ain't afraid of no meth. Sounds like a bunch of wanna be vigilantes to me. They have good intent obviously but are going about it the wrong way. Why not donate money to your local police so they can enforce laws and catch users,distributors, and manufacturers?

Daniel August 20, 2009 3:59 pm (Pacific time)

I am thinking of forming a group called Fat Busters , like in New York city . It will go around and strong arm local cafes about listing the fat content in their meals . If they exceed the government recommendations about healthy levels of fat we will force them to eliminate this unhealthy fare . Most DIE in the US prematurely from excess fat , sugar and salt in their diets not illegal drugs . And what about caffeine , a proven harmful drug . Should we allow our children exposure to this addicting substance ! Lets get rid of this unhealthy fare and we will have a healthier and more productive country . Kids start out on caffeine and then move on to meth and crank because they enjoy the up buzz they learned as children from sugar and caffeine . Most meth users started out with soda and coffee ! People who abuse sugar/caffeine have rotten teeth and are more prone to diabetes and heart problems . People who eat excess fat die prematurely from heart problems . Look up the stats if you dont believe me , 2/3 of the U.S. dies early from their diet and over use of the above listed substances , not meth use . Meth use is devastating to the users and those around them . When they just said no under Reagan the drugs just got more toxic , coke to crack to crank ! Strong arming the local inconnivence store owner does nothing to stop this serious problem . The rest of his stock of poisoned tobacco products, junk food , and alcohol just service peoples vices , the pot pipes are just one more . Let he who is without sin cast the first stone !

Vic August 20, 2009 2:12 pm (Pacific time)

Did these Crusaders also demand that the stores stop selling beer, wine, tobacco products, racy magazines and condoms? Or is that next week's crusade? The American Taliban is alive and well...just never seems to be a shortae of folks who think they have the right and the superior wisdom to protect the rest of us from ourselves. As far as the proximity to the school, this is a small list of the items I can see and purchase within a short walk of Silverton Elementary School: Beer, wine, liquor,guns, knives, bullets, condoms,propane, gasoline, cigarettes, cigars,pipes, Penthouse magazines, racy underwear, R-rated movies with sex, violence, nudity and drug use.... how are you going to censor everything? I took the approach of talking to my kids and maing sure they could make informed choices and hopefully make the right far has worked.

Daniel August 20, 2009 10:03 am (Pacific time)

I hate what meth and crank do to people . I thought this was going to be a story about going after the manufactures or suppliers of the chemicals . Instead it reads like a group of vigilantes strong arming a minority small business owner for selling marijuana pipes and sandwich bags . Ken your article gives the libelous impression with the quote " and plastic bags which have been know to store , sell and distribute meth " , that the owners have been doing such . How can a plastic bag sell meth ??? The local meth dealer is really a plastic bag ! The plastic bags have also been known to store sandwiches and fruit . There are over 25,000 medical marijuana users in oregon who use glass pipes and hookahs perhaps Mr sarbjit was helping them !

objective one August 20, 2009 8:57 am (Pacific time)

Isn't vigilantism fun? Never mind the fact that the retailer was doing nothing illegal.

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