What is a Clandestine Laboratory?
Clandestine laboratories found in this area primarily produce methamphetamine, most commonly referred to as: meth, crank, crystal, ice, speed, go fast, and go. These laboratories range from highly sophisticated to makeshift operations, more and more of which are mobile being set up anywhere. They are commonly located in private residences, hotels, trailers, cemeteries, abandoned farms, rural lands and all types of vehicles.
Clandestine laboratories present many forms of health risks. Explosions, caustic fumes, and deadly gases are very common. Anyone who lives or works nearby or comes into contact with the materials used in its operation are subjected to health risks. Byproducts of meth production are often discarded or disposed of indiscriminately to avoid detection, posing a significant human health and environment hazard. Chemicals spilled or dumped as waste into bathtubs, sinks, toilets, on the ground, along roadways, and waterways are common practices.
Clandestine Laboratory Indicators
Have you noticed a house that has a strong smell, numerous visitors, or has their windows covered? Here is a list of meth lab indicators:
- unusual amounts of trash fires
- residents going outside to smoke
- traffic coming and going often
- strong odor or smell similar to urine
- unusual chemical smells like ether, ammonia, or acetone
- coffee filters containing a white pasty substance or a dark red sludge
- jars containing clear liquid with a white colored solid on the bottom
- jars or sealed cans with tubing attached
- lithium batteries stripped/disassembled
- glass cookware containing a powdery residue
- red phosphorus or fine red powder
- propane tanks with fittings that have turned blue
Who operates a Clandestine Lab?
Meth labs are usually operated by novices with little or no knowledge of chemistry. Special skills or training is not required to manufacture meth. The recipes for making meth can be found on the internet, and are usually passed along by word of mouth. "Nazi dope" is the street name for the most common method of making meth.
Laboratories are often hid in nondescript locations. Some contain surveillance equipment and are booby-trapped in an effort to discourage theft and entry as well as to destroy the evidence. Some common booby-traps are:
- light switches wired to flammable liquid containers
- light bulbs altered as explosive devices many times containing fish hooks, pins or nails
- refrigerator doors wired to detonate explosives when opened
- monofilament trip lines connected to chemical or explosive substances
- pipe bombs
- attack dogs
Items used to manufacture Methamphetamine
The majority of equipment and chemicals used in the manufacture of meth can be legally purchased at local stores for this illegal production.
- over the counter cold tablets that list ephedrine or pseudoephedrine as ingredients
- drain cleaner containing sulfuric acid
- Epson, rock, or table salt
- 7% tincture of iodine
- plastic soft drink bottles
- gasoline cans with tubing
- plastic tubing
- cooking utensils (pots, pans, bowls)
- mini thins
- paint thinner
- red devil lye
- muriatic acid
- propane tanks
- cheese cloths
- match heads
- lithium batteries
- Coleman fuel
- battery acid
- iodine crystals
- coffee filters
- hot plates
- canning jars
The High Price of Drugs
Nearly 10,000 young people die in auto accidents each year, mainly because of alcohol or drugs.
Drug abusers are three times as likely as non-users to injure themselves or someone else.
Health insurance rates are higher for everyone as a result of increased illness and accidents by drug users.
Drug abuse costs the United States economy billions of dollars each year.
Effects of Methamphetamine Abuse
Methamphetamine addiction varies from person to person. Meth initially sends the brain a feeling of pleasure but through prolonged use the pleasurable feeling is lessened or lost. The meth addict suffers the same cycle of drug cravings as crack cocaine addicts. The biggest difference of the drugs is that the highs of meth last far longer than crack cocaine and binges differ greatly. In crack cocaine, a binge rarely lasts more than 72 hours, while meth binges can last up to 2 weeks.
Visible Effects of Meth Use
- Deep Depression
- Body Sores
- Bursts of Energy
- Needle Marks on Arms
- Weight Loss
- Pale Skin
- Unpredictable Behavior
- Poor Personal Hygiene
If you suspect a methamphetamine laboratory
- Make a mental note of your cause for suspicions
- Leave immediately
- Never unplug, turn off, or move anything
- Do not touch anything
- If you accidentally come in contact with any substance associated with a lab, wash your hands, shower, and change clothing as soon as possible.
Under no circumstances should private citizens take any action other than to report their drug lab suspicions to Law Enforcement.
For a presentation about clandestine methamphetamine laboratories, or if you have information regarding suspicious activity, Please contact the Greene County Sheriff's Office at 417-868-4040 or the Drug Enforcement Unit at 417-868-4148.