If you live in a farming community or near a crop where anhydrous ammonia may be used used to fertilize the fields, this warning from the Monmouth Daily Review Atlas of Monmouth, Illinois will make sense. The theft of anhydrous ammonia to make meth has become much more commonplace in recent years and isn’t likely to slow any time soon.
Thieves use the gas to make crystal meth
By Stacey Creasy/Editor
MONMOUTH – This is one of the times of the year when law enforcement agencies want farmers to use caution when it comes to where they keep tanks or containers of anhydrous ammonia.
Anhydrous ammonia is one of the key ingredients used to manufacture methamphetamine, better known on the street as crystal meth or crank.
On numerous occasions Warren County Sheriff Martin Edwards and the Illinois State Police have issued alerts or warnings about anhydrous ammonia. Law enforcement agencies would like to see farmers keep the anhydrous ammonia containers out of sight or locked up to keep methamphetamine dealers from taking the chemical.
There are a number of concerns when it comes to stealing anhydrous ammonia. The thieves could rupture the gas tank, or cause the tank to leak, leaving everyone in the immediate vicinity at risk. The thieves often place the anhydrous ammonia in a propane gas tank, which is not built for storing anhydrous ammonia. There have been cases across the Midwest were the tanks have exploded, killing or injuring people.
The obvious concern is the thieves could use the chemical to make methamphetamine, creating a hazardous environment where the meth is made.
Law enforcement agencies recommend farmers do not leave tanks along roadways or highways, or in dark spots.
The tanks should be moved away from the roads and stored in a well lit area.
Edwards has said the tanks should also be locked up anytime the anhydrous ammonia is not being used.
In recent years some companies have taken steps to make the ingredients more difficult to use. Some anhydrous ammonia producers have colored the gas, making it harder to steal and/or use. Others have made it more difficult to remove the gas from the tank.
However, the number of anhydrous ammonia thefts in Warren, Mercer, McDonough, and Henderson counties is on the rise over the past year.
If you see suspicious activity around anhydrous ammonia tanks or the dealers that sell the product, contact your local police department immediately.
I am glad to see at least one paper that understands the importance of warning the public about this problem.