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Teen rights advocate collared for prolific evildoing


A Nampa woman, once nationally renowned for protecting teens from domestic abuse, now faces a bevy of charges for her own thuggish lifestyle. Barbara Dehl, 49, was arrested with four men for drug trafficking as the culmination of a three-month interagency drug investigation into Nampa's recent bumper crop of high-grade methamphetamine. Then she was charged with kidnapping. Then, for the final leg of a low-life triple crown, Dehl used her stellar interpersonal skills to add a charge of resisting and obstructing officers.

Dehl is best known for being the force behind "Cassie's law," which allows teens to qualify for protection orders against violent boyfriends or girlfriends. In the past, she has had private meetings with Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, Sen. Mike Crapo and President George W. Bush, but on March 24, she was apprehended with a group of slightly lesser-caliber brutes: Jerry Rayne of Boise and Nampans Shannon Babbs, Larry Hanslovan and Elias Garcia. According to Boise Police, Dehl, Hanslovan and Babbs were major meth suppliers to local dealers, Rayne provided storage space for imported shipments of the drug and Garcia was the group's hookup to "super-labs" in Mexico. The Boise Police BANDIT Task Force, Idaho State Police, Nampa Police and the Ada County Metro Drug Task force all worked together to bring the fried fivesome down.

Details about Dehl's other charges are sparse. What is clear is that on Friday night, while already in custody, she was charged with recently kidnapping a 17-year-old and a 20-year-old in Boise. According to prosecutors at Dehl's arraignment, Dehl imprisoned the pair in her Nampa home, tortured them and threatened to cut off the minor's leg. These kidnappings, prosecutors say, ultimately led-in a still mysterious series of events-to the murder of 22-year-old John Albert Schmeichel of Boise.

Schmeichel, investigators say, was shot in the head several weeks ago while riding in Dehl's 1986 Toyota 4-Runner on Interstate 84, then kept in her home for several days, until finally getting buried in a shallow grave in remote Elmore County. Police believe Hanslovan was driving the SUV at the time of the shooting, but that neither he nor Dehl pulled the trigger.

That dubious dishonor goes to Ronald Huntsman of Boise, who was arrested late Thursday night at an apartment in West Boise. After receiving a citizen tip, police surrounded the apartment complex and evacuated nearby residents. Then they called the apartment Huntsman was in and spoke briefly with one of the residents. When it became clear that a phone conversation was not the way to engage Huntsman's soft, yielding side, they tried the next best thing: sending in a SWAT team to shatter the apartment's windows and carry away all five people inside. Huntsman was charged with first-degree murder; the others were questioned and released.