OK, so some of y’all on the Eastern Seaboard might not be as well versed in this, but here in the Pacific Northwest (or more colloquially, the “Meth Capitol of the US”), the growing prevalence of methamphetamines is difficult to ignore. It’s a fair bit worse- and not nearly as “glamourous” as- Breaking Bad. The ingredients for making meth have been (at least until recently) easy to find, and it can be made just about anywhere. Hell, meth labs have even gone mobile.
Don’tcha just LOVE American ingenuity??
Ah, but I digress. This was supposed to be about how to spot a meth lab, right? Without further delay, then, here are some clues that you might just have a meth lab on your hands:
The usual giveaway is a fire or explosion caused by the manufacturing process. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that about 15 percent of meth labs are found this way.
Strong, unusual odors similar to rotten eggs, cat urine, nail polish remover or ammonia.
Unusually large amounts of cold medicine that lists ephedrine or pseudoephedrine as ingredients.
Unusually large number of jars containing clear liquid with a white or red colored solid on the bottom, iodine, red phosphorus, fine red or purple powder, or dark shiny metallic purple crystals.
Coffee filters containing a white pasty substance, a dark red sludge, or small amounts of shiny white crystals.
Bottles labeled as containing sulfuric, muriatic or hydrochloric acid, or containers with rubber tubing attached.
Glass cookware or frying pans with a powdery residue.
Unusually large amount of camp fuel, paint thinner, acetone, starter fluid, Lye, drain cleaners, or lithium batteries.
Soft silver or gray metallic ribbon stored in oil or kerosene.
Propane tanks with fittings that have turned blue.
So, let’s say you’ve determined that yes, that’s a meth lab. What now? Well, funny you should ask:
Do not touch anything.
Do not turn on any electrical power switches or light switches.
Do not turn off any electrical power switches or light switches.
Do not eat or drink anything in or around the lab.
Do not open or move containers.
Do not smoke in or near the lab.
Do not sniff anything.
Decontaminate yourself and your clothing, and wash your hands and face thoroughly.
Call the police or a DEA district office.
Whatever you do, do NOT do your Walter White impression. That might work well at parties after you’ve slammed a few beers, but a meth lab and it’s remnants are nothing to trifle with. Especially if you understand the chemicals and the associated dangers that making meth entails.
Don’t try this at home kids. Really. You can thank me later.