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Mom of 3 jailed on drug charges

4-year-old boy had sores on legs; infant's crib filled with garbage, lawn chair
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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The arrest of Samantha Jackson on methamphetamine-possession charges was routine. What wasn’t was the way the 23-year-old mother of three was treating her children. While sheriff’s deputies quickly discovered syringes and a spoon with a white substance that early tests indicated was methamphetamine, they also discovered a fourplex unit in squalor and what law enforcement contends were children endangered by their living conditions. Jackson was booked into Placer County Jail over the weekend after deputies fielded an anonymous report of children playing outside the 11600-block Garnet Way unit unattended while the mother was inside “shooting up,” according to a sheriff’s report released Tuesday. Inside the unit, deputies reported finding the floor covered with old food, clothes and garbage. Jackson’s 4-year-old son was described as very thin with legs covered in sores. Wrapped in a blanket, he was taken away to a hospital for treatment. Deputies also found Jackson’s two daughters – ages 2 and 4 months. The 4-month-old was found strapped into a car seat in front of a TV in an upstairs bedroom. The sheriff’s report said the baby’s crib was full of garbage, clothing and a lawn chair. Two men were found upstairs in the fourplex unit but neither was determined by deputies to be living there. The three children were taken into protective custody by deputies and released to Child Protective Services. Held on $50,000 bail, Jackson was charged with felony child endangerment likely to cause great bodily harm, felony possession of a controlled substance and possession of hypodermic needles. “The anonymous caller who reported this situation is a true hero,” Lt. Jeff Ausnow said. “Their actions may very well have saved the lives of these small children. I would encourage more people to get involved to do the right thing.” METH WAR ON FAMILY FRONT While Jackson’s case was being made public, Placer County law enforcement’s multi-agency Special Investigations Unit was being cleared by the county Board of Supervisors for $194,728 in Anti-Drug Abuse Enforcement Program funding. Commander William Olson, of the Special Investigations Unit, said Tuesday that the meth arrest in North Auburn by sheriff’s deputies not connected with his team is another example of how the public can provide important pieces of the puzzle in shutting down a drug supply chain. While the investigations unit is targeting meth suppliers, it also has a goal of keeping children away from exposure to the drug environment. The exposure can cause injury, health risk or death, he said. “It’s believed that many of these children will become drug offenders themselves,” Olson said. “We do everything we can to keep these kids safe because one of our goals is not to repeat the cycle of narcotics addiction.” NEIGHBORHOOD REACTION The reason for Saturday’s arrest was a surprise to some residents in the Garnet Way area. “It’s horrible,” said John Clinton, who lives in a fourplex unit nearby. “Everything about it sounds horrible. The syringes. The garbage in the crib. Were the kids tested?” Clinton said he may have seen the two older children run up unattended earlier this month to look at his dogs and thought at the time it was unusual. Mason Osborne, also a Garnet Way resident, said he didn’t know the woman and had no contact with her children. “This can be a really good place or a really bad place,” Osborne said. “In any situation, there can always be bad stuff.” Oscar Martinez, who has lived in the Auburn Greens subdivision Garnet Way is in for the past 10 years, said he’s unsure about what the arrest means for the neighborhood. He too did not know of the woman or the circumstances leading to her arrest. “I don’t know if this means things are going from bad to worse,” he said. “With a real nice neighborhood all it takes are one or two bad apples.”