How to spot a Meth Lab

The (un)definitive guide to spotting a meth lab in your neighborhood

Because the process in which meth is made changes as new methods are developed I couldn’t call this the “definitive guide to spotting a meth lab in your neighborhood”. However, this should be a good start if you suspect your neighbors are making meth.

First off, meth has a strange odor, and the smell of meth is not easily masked. Depending on the size and scale of the operation, the odor may be strong. Some people mistake the smell of meth being made as a gas leak – however if you smell an odd smell repeatedly you can always contact your fire department (or police dept.) and ask them to investigate.

There will also likely be people coming and going at all hours. This is typical, not just of a meth lab, but of a meth house in general. Meth addicts can typically stay up for days at a time and don’t exactly use discretion when it comes to what would be considered “normal”  in a neighborhood.

Secondly, depending on how much meth is being made there will likely be containers used in the meth making process laying around. This would be tough to spot if it’s a small scale meth lab or they are using the shake and bake method to make meth because they might not have a large volume of discarded containers laying around. The shake and bake (or one pot) method makes small amounts at a time so if your neighbor is making more than just a small amount they would likely make meth using a combination of items (and some recipes call for some of these items and not others):

So if you happen to glimpse through a kitchen window or into a garage where there are oddities like this laying around out of place and in conjunction with one another it might be time to get suspicious. For instance a hot plate and a blender plugged in out in the garage might be a little odd, especially if it there is a film or chemical residue on them. Also keep in mind that these are common household items, some of which could also be used in making home made beer which is totally legal.

Lastly, the many materials needed to make meth. With the exception of anhydrous ammonia, many of these are items that can be bought at local stores, typically in small quantity (especially pseudoephedrine pills). You would likely see the empty containers for these products laying around or in the trash. The materials needed to make meth include:

Now before you go crazy on me about listing everything needed to make meth, believe me when I say that this information is all over the place online and any resourceful tweaker has found the actual recipe long before finding this list. I am listing the common items needed so that if you happen to see alot of empty containers for the listed items you can maybe make a more educated guess as to whether or not your neighbor or someone else has a meth lab going on.

I am not saying you should become some sort of secret agent here, but if there are a combination of things that make you suspicious, it may be time to contact the authorities to investigate. It’s far better to be safe than sorry when it comes to meth labs. These home made meth labs are very dangerous and explosions caused by making meth can, and do happen all the time.


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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G2JOKFGS532LLAKPGT4WRUFDHA no_one

    wow you have problems Avillrncyay. Only druggies jump to attack like that. Do everyone a favor and get clean!

  • Tammy

    meth

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NPLOG7URFTZFFUNPYWUSLORJP4 Cindy Gaylor

    Got a phone call Nov, 2010. from my son asking mom please move this way you told me,In   time I will learning everything about dad. I see what dad is all about please move this way. Went over internet to find places to rent. Found a place over the internet and asked my son what he thought. He was turning 14. He said  everything looked and sound good. I Told the owner that i just beat cancer my health is very important to me… He replied that they do back ground checked and they really look into everything. I just beat cancer been in remission cents august 2007. I told stories on my treatment, and that i really need  to be careful where i move too. Then asked why they was cheep… they told me that time was hard they dropped the rent 50 dollars to get the apartments rented. Doctors gave me three years to live. I was happy i beat cancer then my son that goes to dads because i had cancer and that he wanted a father figure in his life so I gave him dad before i beat cancer. But i thought all prayers was answer. Headed toward my son I was Happy. But it was just a way to get me to walk away from my home just so he use me against his father to get what he wants something. They got my son and taught the child to lie and he is good at it now really good!!   Well i am hear moved away from everything i new to be with my son and he don’t want me in his life. So i don’t see my son. then get out of apartment found out last renter that was in my apartment was dope dealer. and made meth and smoked it,and i had i clean my apartment they left a nasty mess I clean walls floors. Everything they would not paint for me.  Then finding out i was in a old meth apartment that the last attendants was drug dealers got busted and they made and made meth, and smoked meth. then i go to the apartment complain what i lived in wanted papers about the explosion over the top apartment that exploded over meth lab. what they call it shake and bake and a roll of sweet rolled off the tip of his noise and blew the apartment up complexes I asked about all information about the meth lab that exploded. Manager tell me to find out on my own or get a lawyer they did not have to tell me nothing…what laws are out there to protect me……Life is hard when you are on your own!!

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  • Forthegood

    I can’t understand why people are putting their own health and their neighbor’s health at risk to make meth. There is a high risk of it exploding. The chemicals are very harmful if breathed in or absorbed through the skin. Where do they throw away the waste at? Don’t they care that they may end up polluting their own environment, water source, and animals. This is a situation where all of us who are against the use and making of meth need to unite to bring about change. None of us want to live next to toxic chemicals in the air. We need to call our congress representatives and put pressure on them and demand them to pass laws to protect us. Maybe it’s time to make ephedrine and pseudoephedrine illegal. I wish there was some kind of detector, like a meter, that could read the chemicals in the air and let you know what levels they are at so that the cops could immediately enter a home to arrest the individuals making meth. In an apartment, there should be some way to get the meth makers evicted immediately, if not arrested. To people who are making meth: there are better, less dangerous, more respectable ways to make money. If it’s for the high, drink alcohol – it’s legal! Also, I believe in karma – you get what you give. If you injure or kill someone because of the chemicals emitted from you making meth, you might end up getting sick yourself. If you don’t serve your punishment in this life, you will in hell.

  • Forthegood

    I can’t understand why people are putting their own health and their neighbor’s health at risk to make meth. There is a high risk of it exploding. The chemicals are very harmful if breathed in or absorbed through the skin. Where do they throw away the waste at? Don’t they care that they may end up polluting their own environment, water source, and animals. This is a situation where all of us who are against the use and making of meth need to unite to bring about change. None of us want to live next to toxic chemicals in the air. We need to call our congress representatives and put pressure on them and demand them to pass laws to protect us. Maybe it’s time to make ephedrine and pseudoephedrine illegal. I wish there was some kind of detector, like a meter, that could read the chemicals in the air and let you know what levels they are at so that the cops could immediately enter a home to arrest the individuals making meth. In an apartment, there should be some way to get the meth makers evicted immediately, if not arrested. To people who are making meth: there are better, less dangerous, more respectable ways to make money. If it’s for the high, drink alcohol – it’s legal! Also, I believe in karma – you get what you give. If you injure or kill someone because of the chemicals emitted from you making meth, you might end up getting sick yourself. If you don’t serve your punishment in this life, you will in hell.

  • Tongueweasel

    You are an absolute penis with ears that spurts vile anger. I bet your momma and pop are so proud of a drip like you. Die soon and make the world a better place. :-)

  • cmurway

    I contacted the local authorities here in lovely Charlotte & he acted like I was on Meth…asked me what I expected him to do with an attitude as well as belittling me and my mother…I will be calling the Fire Dept in the a.m. and then a lawyer in the p.m.

  • guest

    Stop renting to low income people. Tweakers are poor or very soon to be poor. If you quit renting to garbage low life people then you will quit having problems. I hope it costs you heaps of money and I bet those poor neighbors are thrilled that you rental home is screwed up.

  • Concerned mommy

    I have suspicious feeling that the lady below us (in an apartment) is making meth.She just moved in and she is barely home, but when she is, I can hear weird pounding noises… almost like a knocking… and a few fights with her bf.  I have a 2 year old. This is not something I am taking lightly…. she is putting my son at risk… and from what I have seen, she has a little boy too. I hate not knowing… maybe I’m parinoid- but wouldn’t you be if you had a baby and suspected anything. I don’t know what to do for a first step. I don’t want to take the chance and say something to the landlord when it could very well turn out that it was nothing…. then there will always be the look and/or the disrespect from her if she found out I said anything. blah… scared for my family…. 

  • Pottytoddy

    You are a dumb ignorant cunt. Drugs are not evil people are weak. Addiction is not a disease it is a choice. If I see anyone looking in my windows or my shed windows I will shoot. I have cats dont mind the empty kitty litter containers… better yet call the police. 

  • Mconner1978

    Hi, Im a maintenance tech for an apartment complex. every few days i find meth baggies and broken glass pipes. In my youth ive tryed this a few times (prefer to sleep) so i know what im looking at. My problem is i have a good idea of who does what, but the fair housing law prohibits me saying or passing judgement on any tenants even to the police or any authorities its like a patient doctor ethics thing. Unless i can prove a threat to others or themselves i have to keep my mouth shut. I would like to nail these methheads because half the complex are children. These minors put everything in they mouth like cigarette butts and pretend they smoke. This is a concern from the parents around the alleged meth addicts. Any Ideas How to get them on record to get rid of these low lives? If i could have a reason to get into they apt i can take pics? Maybe have them sell or offer me drugs and record it? Im sure they are being watched officers cruise through regularly.    

  • Modman

     LMAO! Methhead

  • teaner_latina

    Hi. Im a drug dealer and meth happens to be my forté, i can gladly say im financially stable and business has alway been good, im not stupid i hv a cover up, so the government gets a good chunk of my profit, i dont have it cooked at residence let alone in city limits, thats stupid, i deal out of my home but to ppl that use ultimate discretion, u gotta be smart wen it comes to ur business, stupid greedy ppl get caught, one more thing its not WHAT u kno but WHO u know and HOW to, i have 3 consumers that happen to be sheriffs in my town, and the mayor’s son is is dating my daughter so u can kiss my ass, did i mention im not a natural citizen of this country, im a single mom and im putting 1 kid through junior college? Ive been in the u.s 23 yrs and i havent set foot in any jail house or prison, i hv a masters degree in business admiration, im not “hallucinating”, just so you know ive been sober since my first child was born, that was 17 yrs ago, think twice before u call someone a “tweaker” or “garbage” u might be benefiting from my profession?

  • teaner_latina

    Hi. Im a drug dealer and meth happens to be my forté, i can gladly say im financially stable and business has alway been good, im not stupid i hv a cover up, so the government gets a good chunk of my profit, i deal out of my home but to ppl that use ultimate discretion, u gotta be smart wen it comes to ur business, stupid greedy ppl get caught, one more thing its not wat u kno but WHO u kno, i have 3 consumers that happen to be sheriffs in my town, and the mayor’s son is is dating my daughter so u can kiss my ass, did i mention im not a natural citizen of this country, im a single mom and im putting 1 kid through junior college? Ive been in the u.s 23 yrs and i havent set foot in any jail house or prison, i hv a masters degree in business admiration, im not “hallucinating”, just so ypu know ive been sober since 1stmy child was born, that was 17 yrs ago, im book smart but also boo Some say love ain’t worth the buck But I’ll give every dime I have left To have what I’ve only Been dreaming about k smar

  • you cant bring me down

    Your “profession” kills people! You are disgusting and your daughter is probably snorting it up with her boyfriend. You should be ashamed of yourself!

  • Chucksgoodeats

    This was helpful. I knew my neighbors were users, but didn’t ever make it my business. Until recently, there have been a lot of people coming and going in through their garage that is filled with old shit. The other day I could have sworn there was a propane leak, it smelled a little like sewage so I just dismissed it. I now have a reason to get them out of the other side of my duplex. I certainly don’t need them blowing up my family!

  • michelle

    I live in a trailer park with my daughters in laws. Today while Laura the mother in law was taking her sister to the store, her sister informed her that the neighbor across the street from us (trailer park street not regular street) is cooking Meth. We had not noticed that the neighbors had put up black bags in their window until something was said and the reason the sister knew was these neighbors went to another neighbor and told her that if her or her husband needed some to come to them, because they are making it. The same neighbor went and told sister, Now we do not know what to do that won’t put the neighbor they went to out of harms way. Looking for suggestions.

  • SomeChick

    Go girl!

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/ScottSaysMYOB Scott

    This is why I moved out of my apartment complex years ago – at least two lab fires in my area and burned most of those buildings down. No apartment renters insurance and you’re screwed. Weed is one thing but I won’t associate with anyone involved with meth! LOL

  • PIU007

    Good only 8 months ago. By the time you read this we will have tracked you down and undergone a sting and busted you. Welcome to the world of PI as you rot in prison!

  • Demi

    That’s a b.s. story from teaner-latina: can’t spell at all, but has a Masters? LMAO Anyway, DJ, by LAW, you are required to have meth lab cleanup done by an organization that specializes in that, as you, yourself, aren’t allowed to re-rent or sell the the place knowing that a meth lab was there and that all the toxic chemicals haven’t been removed. In the selling case, it’s known as “Disclosure”. There are specific chemical tests to determine the toxicity of the area and specialists trained for the cleaning and disposing of the toxins. If you don’t and it’s found out through a renter or buyer getting sick, YOU are responsible and can be sued for all you have. Get it, got it? You tried turning a quick buck in renting a place, now you must beresponsible for what you didn’t think out as pertains to your responsibilty and renters.

  • cooingbird

    I really believe my infrequent neighbor, who lives in the duplex next to me, is making meth. I have never been around meth, don’t know what it smells like, but I just moved into this duplex out in the country, farmland, and everytime the landlord’s son comes here to stay in the duplex next to mine, I get this real strong chemical smell in my duplex; burns the back of my throat, and tongue. It’s definitely a chemical smell. I am concerned about my health and my animals’ health. There is a basement below my duplex, where the landlord use to do taxidermy, and I believe that is where his son, who only comes here three days of the week, is making meth. He has all these jugs, and bottles lined up in his windows, which is very strange too.
    The smell is only really, really strong when he comes to stay his three days. I think he is making up batches of meth, then when he is done, he goes back to where ever else he lives, to sell it. His parents, my landlord, they are in their eighties, and I don’t know if they even would have a clue as to what there son is doing in the basement under my duplex. Should I tell the police?

  • DrugsRforLosers

    I’m going crazy looking for information about this. My neighbor lives above me, is up all the time, home all the time, I’ve been home for 2 months with a broken foot and have not been able to go out. I had the dead animal rotten egg smell in my kitchen and kept wondering where it was coming from. I washed the floor countless times but nothing. I often feel sick and smell weird odors and smoke but the real question is are they hammering all the time? This guy, seems to be working on something where he is hammering, listens for when I make noise so he can make noise to cover up these sounds. It scares me sometimes. I’m having a hard time getting anyone to take me seriously. I’ve told my lawyer friend and a new lawyer, a friend in the US and one here in Canada. My breathing is being affected. This guy covers up the smoke with other smells, like piping in lemon pledge through the vent and cigar, but that nasty smell still comes through. I’m sorry you sh*t bag human beings, you f*cking suck and I don’t care if you live because you are Fing up everyone else’s lives. DON”T do the fing drug in the first place. There is more than enough information on it even if you are stupid and can’t read, there is NO excuse for doing it your first time. I don’t want to pay with my life, or your prison term. You should have to work to pay for your place in jail just like I do with rent. I have no empathy for you except that you are human but you make everyone’s life hell and I hope you go there.

  • derp

    dont forget

    Things to look for are actualy the following,

    Cat litter all over the place

    empty blister packs – boxes for Sudafed

    plastic soda bottles with tape and hot glue on caps with aquarium tubeing

    Drinking straws that have been cut short, one side at an angle and another side melted shut

    Rectangles of tinfoil with black scortching from flame on one side and a brown or black residue on the other in the patern of dried liquid

    incandecent lightbulbs that have been hollowed out, with filament and black glass plug knocked out. bulb will have white coating removed by shaking salt inside it, there will probly be residue from meth in it. blub may have a soda bottle cap with the tube from a pen put through the center of the cap, then cap screwed to the bulbs threading, this is a improvised meth pipe.

    loose outer ball point pen tubes laying about

    small ziplock bags about an inch square laying about, bags often have bizzare logos on them like 8 balls, skulls, dollar signs, hearts, bulldogs faces and designer clothing or sportscar logos.

    spoons burnt on the bottom with wads cotton dried to the inside.

    syringes

    glass tubes often burnt

    many people visiting for only a few minutes the leaving

    jugs of meriatic acid, toluline or acitone kept in places one would not normaly store such things

    lots of weirdos visiting at night riding bikes and wearing headlamps, frequently droping stuff and looking for it for long periods of time, often with little purple led flashlights often seen by cash registers at gas stations.

    cars pulling up with 4 or so people, with only one going into the house leaving the others to wait for long periods of time.

    people peaking out of their window blinds constantly

    people hanging out in a gargage with a police scanner on all the time.

    coffee filters with chalky white substance in them

    lithium batteries that have been ripped apart

    instant cold pack bags cut open and contents missing

    bottles of MSM

    electronic jewlery postage scales, the samll pocket sized ones

    egredgous amounts of mountain dew bottles

    vicks vapor inhaler caseings that have been cut open

    the smell of cat urine and paint thinner

    heavy gagging smell of clorine, burns eyes and irritates lungs.

    burnt melted soda bottles and lots of soda bottles cut into funnels.

    resident may vandalize property with drawings in sharpie of tight interterocking black shapes without seeming form or pourpose

    hide a key boxes on the residence that many people seem to know about, (used to hide drugs to be picked up, often a person will take something out of the box and putt money in it and leave without even talking to the occupants of the home) this is refered to as a “dead drop”

  • linbegone

    Just found your blog and i like it’s candor. seems like a good place chat. for people wanting some recipe for manufacturing. stop asking and go to erowid, You can find what you’re looking for there. I dont advocate anyone making meth their own, but i understand the reasons behind it.

    I’ve been using meth since 1978 and I use it for pain. the simple fact is that with out it i would spend most of my remaining time on this rock in bed. I’ve got one ruptured and two herniated discs (3 total) in my lower back. Opiates don’t work very well and neither do NSAID’s. I’ve had three attempts with nerve blocks and they don’t last more than a week or two. Surgery offered a 50% chance of reduction of pain. The other 50% left over could also leave me paralyzed from the waist down and/or could leave me dead. I chose accordingly.

    The pain i have is 24/7 and doesn’t go away whether standing, sitting or lying down. It’s really a fucked up spot to be in.

    I would like to try an answer some of the folks in here on why people take such risks to obtain their high. But foist:

    FOLKS, PLEASE…DO NOT, DO NOT, AND I’LL REPEAT IT ONCE MORE DO NOT INVOLVE LAW ENFORCEMENT INTO A SITUATION THAT CAN BE FIXED EASIER AND WITH FEWER DEATHS BEING CAUSED BY OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM. EXAMPLE, TRAILER ACROSS WAY STARTS UP METH LAB. DROP ANON LETTER TO SAID METH LAB SAYING THAT THEY’VE BEEN DISCOVERED BY LEO’S OR FED’S. You’ll probably watch them packing an moving like they’re on……speed. Law enforcement only makes a bad situation worse.

    now for my answer, at least as i see it:

    Simply, there isn’t a viable source for the consumer to obtain his pharmaceuticals other than the black market. Our gubmit should protect us from the manufacturers of these products, but not in the sense you might think. The only thing that our feeble leechers should be doing is regulating the purity and quality control of the products. we as consumers should be protected from arsenic, lye and other poisons in the products we use. Instead they create more harm destroying lives and separating families causing more harm than the drugs themselves.

    We’ve turned into a nanny state. It’s not the gubmints job to control what i like to smoke. unless it wants to add a tax at the user end or something similar to alcohol an tobacco. I can grow my own tobacco an distill my own grains… for 70+ years and prohibition has accomplished exactly what? Maybe we should try the legalize route.

    What’s happening is that gubmint is continually using whatever propaganda necessary using a time proven technique called divide and conquer. If any notices, Immigration, racial, gender issues seems to run in cycles, meaning that problems in immigration for example runs through our media once every few weeks (the issue of the moment). Next weeks issues in the news will be abortion issues and it continues non stop. It has eroded our freedoms to the core.

    time for a dab

  • Lola

    Pssst…. NSA + IP address = you’re toast