Signs of a Meth Lab

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Although Methamphetamine can be produced or cooked in many different locations there are certain warning signs that may indicate a drug house

Making or cooking methamphetamine requires minimal training and experience and limited amounts of equipment and chemicals, both of which are relatively inexpensive. Meth Labs can be found in almost any location, from houses, apartments, cars, rental storage units and motorhomes. There are many external recognition clues alluding to a meth lab. Some of the common warning signs of a suspected meth lab include:

  • Strong odours (acrid, sour, ammonia, solvents, pungent)
  • Windows covered with foils or plastics
  • Renters who pay landlords cash
  • Excessive trash and rubbish
  • Unusual structures
  • Increased activity, especially at night
  • Discolouration of structures, soil and pavement or driveway
  • Increased security systems or other devices

Though there are tell-tale signs of a meth lab previously being used in a home, unit, hotel, car, abandoned building or motor home, sometimes you can’t tell for sure until it’s too late. However, there are resources and techniques you can use to investigate the potential meth lab:

Did you ever see any of the following equipment at the property?

  • Propane tanks
  • Scuba tanks
  • Camping stoves
  • Chemical bottles
  • Glassware
  • Fire extinguishes
  • Soda dispenses

Did you ever see any of the follow trash and rubbish at the property?

  • Rags with red or yellow stains
  • Rubber hoses
  • Coffee filters with red stains
  • Chemical bottles
  • Excessive rubbish

Did you ever smell any of the following strong or unusual odours?

  • Ammonia
  • Rotten eggs
  • Fertiliser
  • Solvents
  • Vinegar-like
  • Pungent, acrid or sour

Did you ever see any of the following external conditions at the property?

  • Blocked windows
  • Burned glass
  • Rigged vents
  • Windows covered with aluminium foil or plastic
  • Discolouration of structures, pavement, soil or driveway

Have you ever experienced any of the following symptoms when in the property or after leaving?

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pains

The following, often in combination, may indicate the presence of a methamphetamine laboratory:

  • Unusual odours including ether, ammonia, acetone, or other chemicals
  • Frequent visitors, particularly at unusual times
  • Extensive security measures or attempts to ensure privacy
  • Secretive or unfriendly occupants
  • Excessive amounts of trash, particularly chemical containers, coffee filters or pieces of cloth that are stained red, and duct tape rolls
  • Curtains always drawn or windows covered with aluminium foil or blackened on residences, garages, sheds, or other structures
  • Evidence of chemical waste or dumping

If you suspect that someone in your neighbourhood is operating a methamphetamine laboratory, report your concerns to the local police department immediately. For your own safety, do not investigate the suspected laboratory or confront the occupants. In addition to the hazards discussed above, many laboratories are equipped with security devices or booby traps that could cause serious injuries or death.

Learn More About Methamphetamine