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Spotting a Meth Lab

Dubuque Drug Task Force
How to spot a Meth Lab

The manufacturing of methamphetamine became a problem in the tri-state area around 1998. Since then numerous methamphetamine laboratories have been located and seized in the City and County of Dubuque.

Here is a web site of where Meth Labs have been located: http://www.dea.gov/seizures

If you are trying to determine if someone is manufacturing methamphetamine in your neighborhood there are some indicators that you can look for.

1. Unusual chemical odors (solvents or ammonia) When manufacturing methamphetamine different chemicals are used. Each has a very strong and distinctive odor associated with it.

2. Windows covered or blacked out. Often time’s people who manufacture meth will cover the windows with black cloth or tin foil to prevent anyone from seeing what is happening in the residence.

3. Video surveillance cameras on or around the property or a specific building or garage. Some meth cooks will want to see if anyone is approaching their residence.

4. Unusual amount of visitors. Often persons who are manufacturing meth have someone bringing them supplies to manufacture the meth. They will come at all hours of the day and night and appear as if they do not want to be seen entering the residence.

5. People who manufacture meth will usually be paranoid. They will always be looking up and down the street for police. They will think that all of the neighbors are watching them or working with the police.

6. Meth manufacturing can produce a large amount of trash. The containers that the chemicals and solvents come in have to be disposed of. Meth cooks will often burn the trash associated with cooking meth. Others will haul their trash away and throw it in the ditch or take it directly to the land fill when they have curb side trash service.

Remember that just because there are some indicators does not automatically mean that someone is manufacturing methamphetamine.

This is a list of some of the chemicals and items commonly used in manufacturing methamphetamine. The amount and type of chemical as well as the items associated with meth manufacturing varies from cook to cook depending on what they prefer to use.

Glass Pyrex or Corning dishesHotplatesSalt
Paper towelsMeasuring cupsTrichloroethane-gun scrubber
ThermometerLaboratory beakers/glasswareSodium Metal
FunnelsStarter fluidMuriatic Acid
Rubber tubing/glovesDrain openerPseudoephedrine
Gas cansCamping fuelCat Litter
Aluminum foilToluene (brake cleaner)Iodine (Tincture)
2 liter bottlesSulfuric Acid (drain cleaner)Pop Bottles (20 oz)
Cold PacksJugs/bottlesCoffee filters
CheeseclothBlendersBuckets
Tape/clamps20lb. Propane cylindersFire extinguishers
Plastic storage containersTowels/bed sheetsHydrogen Peroxide
Iodized saltMatches (striker plates)Alcohol (Isopropyl)
Ether (engine starter)Red Phosphorus (matches)Lithium (batteries)
MSM (cutting agent)Anhydrous AmmoniaEphedrine
Sodium Hydroxide (lye)AcetonePaper Plates
Coffee FiltersPaper TowelsCoffee Pots
Turkey BasterWire WhisksRubber Spatchulas
Numerous Other Items Can Be Used