Nobody, except for a methamphetamine addict, wants to live near a meth lab. Because the cooks (the people who turn ordinary household items and pharmaceuticals into an illegal drug) are working with unstable concoctions, the lab could conceivably explode at any time. Anybody who lives near that lab will suffer the consequences of the cook’s actions, which isn’t fair or right at all.
If you suspect that you might live near a meth lab, look for these signs. If most or all of them are present, you can report this information to your local law-enforcement agency or drug task force so that they can investigate, and break up, the dangerous drug lab next door.
The people who operate meth labs like to hide their criminal activities. They will often black out their windows, usually with spray paint. In some cases, they’ll set up spotlights that point directly at the street. That way, anybody who looks in their direction will be blinded by the lights and not be able to see what’s happening.
The actual lab section of the house will be reinforced and heavily protected. Meth labs have in the past been protected by everything from “no trespassing” signs to guard dogs to barbed-wire fences.
If the area frequently smells like strong cleaning products, it’s either a cleaning woman’s home or a meth lab. Meth labs often smell like ammonia.
Meth can be made with all sorts of common objects. Canisters of camp stove fuel, ammonia, a big pile of pseudoephedrine-loaded products (like sinus medication) and lithium batteries are just a few of these items.
There are a few other, weirder items that meth cooks use too. Coffee filters with red stains are good signs that a meth lab is in operation.
You should also look out for excessive trash. Meth labs go through massive amounts of plastic soda bottles, duct tape, coffee filters, sandwich baggies, etc.
Meth cooks have to ditch the evidence – expended propane tanks, for example – somewhere. They often dump by roadsides, but not always very far from the lab.
Meth cooks have to sell their products to somebody. If lots of traffic comes and goes from the house, motel room, whatever – especially at night – that’s a good indication that there’s a person cooking up meth inside.
The users themselves will also have distinctive appearances. They’ll often be nervous and “twitchy.” Many have red sores all over their bodies. They’re usually very skinny, like to be awake at night and can go for a few days straight without napping or sleeping.
If you suspect that your neighbors are running a meth lab, stay as far away as possible. Inhaling the fumes and other byproducts can make you sick. Also: the chemicals aren’t very stable. At certain stages of the cooking process, exposure to air or water can cause explosions.
The safest response is to call law enforcement and report the suspicious activities. You can even write down descriptions of people and vehicles (including license-plate numbers) that come and go from the lab so that the police will have someplace to start investigating.