Meth Lab Overview
One danger associated with Methamphetamines that is not connected to the majority of other illicit drugs is the manufacturing process. Since Meth can be made from common ingredients, using readily available equipment, clandestine Meth labs [clan labs] appear and disappear everywhere. In South Dakota, clan labs have been discovered in the country, in small towns and in the largest cities; in homes, apartments and motels. In fact, Meth can be made in makeshift labs small enough to be stored in a suitcase or cooler and set up anywhere.
Being in or near a Meth lab is extremely dangerous – both while the drug is being cooked and after a lab has been deserted. During the preparation of Meth, there is a risk of fire, explosion and exposure to toxic fumes. After a cook, the toxic nature of Meth ingredients leaves behind hazardous waste - six pounds of residue are generated by each pound of Meth manufactured.
It costs an average of $5,000-$25,000 to clean up a Meth lab, but a property could be a total loss if buildings have to be demolished. Learn the signs of a potential Meth lab to protect your family and your property from catastrophic damage:
- A strong smell that might resemble cat urine, or an unusual chemical smell like ether, ammonia or acetone.
- Little or no traffic during the day, but lots of traffic at extremely late hours
- Extra effort to cover windows or reinforce doors
- Residents never putting their trash out
- Lab materials surrounding the property (lantern fuel cans, red chemically stained coffee filters, clear glass jugs and duct tape)
- Vehicles loaded with trunks, chemical containers, or basic chemistry paraphernalia - glassware, rubber tubing, etc.
- Laboratory glassware being carried into the residence
- Inhabitants smoking outside due to fumes
If you see evidence that makes you suspect a Meth lab, call law enforcement immediately and explain your concerns. Do not attempt to gather evidence on your own, and never handle any materials that may be associated with a lab.