With the intention of helping people remove mold from their homes, Bill Tyrrell founded his mold remediation company, Triage BioClean Services. Later on, he branched out and now is also an expert in meth lab testing and cleanup. Here, Tyrrell outlines a few basics on how to spot a meth lab in your neighborhood.
Meth is an extremely dangerous substance. It is a highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. A pound of meth is as dangerous as any hazardous waste and requires serious cleanup and HAZMAT suits to remove safely. Meth is made from simple ingredients that one can find in any drug, supermarket or hardware store. Coffee filters, paper towels, iodine, drain cleaner, measuring cups, glass jars and other simple kitchen apparatus are all that are required. No special equipment is needed; therefore, meth labs can be set up without any notice by unsuspecting neighbors.
Manufacturing meth is messy and requires a full-scale laboratory with some space. Typically manufacturers of meth require some space that is inconspicuous and out of the way. Rural areas with abandoned industrial spaces suit them best. But it is unfortunately becoming more common to find meth labs in the suburbs. Often, my clients are shocked to discover that a meth lab has been operating for months or years right under their noses in an otherwise tranquil suburban neighborhood. That’s why I encourage citizens and property owners to be wary and know the signs of a possible meth lab in your neighborhood.
Odors and Unusual Smells
Cooking meth typically produces awful smells. Rotten egg like fumes, ammonia smells and the odor of cat urine all commonly emanate from the cooking site. If you feel like you’ve noticed these odors coming from a home in your neighborhood, contact the authorities.
It’s pretty unusual for a suburban home to have blackened windows or thick black shades that are never opened. Most people like sunlight, but meth makers don’t. So, be wary of a home with permanently blackened windows.
Making math produces a lot of garbage. Typically, a meth maker realizes that his garbage is an area that can be incriminating. Rather than leaving it on the front lawn, meth makers often elect to burn their trash, so watch for neighbors burning suspicious trash. Some apparatuses, like propane tanks, hoses and bottles can’t be burned. Keep an eye out for an accumulation of these items in a backyard or side property.
Of course, meth makers need a clientele to sell to — meth dealers. Generally, the bulk of these customers will be arriving after dark. So look for heavy traffic at night and people leaving with packages. Of course, having a social neighbor doesn’t guarantee a meth lab; look for other indicators before jumping to a hasty conclusion.
Meth makers operate outside the confines of decent society. As such, they’re also afraid of being stolen from by other criminals. They will often have inordinate and immoderate security for a suburban home. Look for cameras, steel shutters, vicious dogs and other over-the-top security measures.
While the above-mentioned signs are good indicators of a meth lab in your neighborhood, don’t jump to conclusions. If you suspect a house in your neighborhood of containing a lab, keep your eyes open and wait. If you’re sure that a meth lab does in fact exist, don’t approach it or attempt to expose it yourself. Though law enforcement in your hometown can use your help and appreciates a tip off, you should never take matters into your own hands. Meth makers are often dangerous, ruthless criminals, who will stop at nothing to protect their business. Leave matters to the authorities and call the police.