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Meth Labs

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  • Meth Labs

    Seems Meth Labs (fixed and mobile)are becoming more and more popular. What kind of chemicals are common in Meth Labs and what are other departments SOPs handling these incidents?

    Thanks in advance...

  • #2
    Common chemicals:

    Toluene/paint thinner, methanol, benzene, ethyl ether, camp stove fuel/Coleman fuel, starting fluid, "heet", ammonia, iodine crystals, ephedrine or sudaephedrine, drano, lye, red phosphorous, muriatic/ hydrochloric acid, and battery acid are all examples of chemicals found in many clandestine methamphetamine labs.

    Once identified, SOPs should fall into a HazMat mode. Operate as you would in any other commercial HazMat, call in the specialists, evac as needed, set up hot, warm and cold zones and wait for the pros.


    • #3
      Thanks for your reply E229lt. How about reimbursement for equipment used? I wouldn't think these lab operators have insurance to cover such an operation and it would be difficult to collect from someone that is ,hopefully, in jail. Haven't had to deal with this issue yet but I,m sure it is in our future.


      • #4
        The list previously listed is good. Realize however that chemicals used in labs change as restrictions and availability for such chemicals are enforced.

        Hydriotic acid is what is need to extract ephedrine in the 1st cook. This chemical is not available because of restrictions imposed in the late 80's by the DEA. Mixtures of chemicals come into play to get this now.

        There needs to be extreme caution on everyone's part at suspected labs. Good basic HazMat Policy, being aware of possible "Booby traps" and good evidence protection habits on behalf of Haz Mat Teams go along way.

        We are mitigating approx. 100 labs a year and are still being surprised weekly by new tactics and chemical changes on the part of the "Cooks".

        Email us and I'll get you some info.

        [email protected]


        • #5
          Our jurisdiction has just recently responded to the first clandestine drug lab within the last ten years. The lab was a "boxed" mobile lab and the local DEA task force was quick to respond to the scene and handle the incident. However, prior to the arrival of the DEA folks and even after the arrival of the DEA folks, the incident was not a shining moment in the history of public safety within our jurisdiction. A few OSHA and EPA standards and regulations may have been stretched a bit. I have since drafted a SOG for response to Clan labs, both fixed and mobile, incorporating all aspects of public safety into the mix. The SOG is still in the review stage, but I'd be happy to send out a copy of the SOG for review and comments. As long as those persons receiving the SOG agree to change the names of the individuals involved to protect our innocence.

          To address the issue of the recovery of expenses associated with the response to a Clan lab. I issued a citation to the individual responsible for the mobile lab that I spoke of earlier. Our jurisdiction has a hazardous materials control ordinance which prohibits the "unpermitted, release or threatened release of a hazardous material into the environment". My citation proposes to the court that the method and manner in which the hazardous materials involved in the "boxed lab" were packaged and shipped posed a danger to the health and safety of the public and therefore is a violation of our ordinance. The ordinance allows our agency to recover the expenses of local public safety agencies for the response to releases, or in this case, the threatened release, of a hazardous material into the environment. My next court date is Dec 16, if interested I'll let you know how it goes.


          • #6
            Forgotten was anhydrous ammonia in liquid form typically found in small outside grill style size propane bottles. The valve has been altered and will have a classic signature of a bright blue color due to the reaction of the gas and the bronze valve (copper oxidation).

            Another item to look for if you think you are getting into something is large amounts of alumnium foil and large quanities of cold tablet boxes.

            Be real careful if you get into one.
            By- products are deadly at all times. Be sure and do total decon if any cross contamination occurs, not just water wash down, it isn't enough.

            Also, be aware of booby traps (snakes, acid in containers, killing animals, & trip wires.



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