Arizona Attorney General

Mark Brnovich

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How to Recognize a Meth Lab

Blankets and other materials are used to cover windows. Click to enlarge.Meth labs are dangerous to those who live in them. They also present dangers to law enforcement, safety and utility workers, as well as to delivery persons, neighbors and door-to-door solicitors who may unexpectedly come across them. Of the many signs of illegal drug manufacturing, some are more obvious than others. Watch for these signs as an alert to a possible drug lab:

  • Strong chemical smells like fuel or ammonia
  • Laboratory equipment, including glass tubing, beakers/flasks, Bunsen burners, funnels and large plastic containers
  • Windows covered with plastic, foil, wood, tarps or other materials
  • Hoses hanging from windows
  • An unusual number of cook stoves, hot plates or blow torches
  • Melted pots and pans
  • Bottles in a refrigerator or freezer where fluids and solids have been separated
  • Evidence of large quantities of cold medication and non-prescription weight loss products that contain pseudoephedrine or ephedrine, the basic ingredient in meth
  • Large quantities of chemical cans or drums in the yard (e.g., Drano, iodine crystals, Red Devil Lye, pool acid with no pool present, antifreeze in a hot climate)
  • Large quantities of kitty litter, used to trap toxic gases
  • People standing outside only long enough to smokeMeth lab with wiring for surveillance equipment. Click image to enlarge.
  • Automobile or foot traffic at all hours of the day and night
  • Heavily barred windows or doors on houses or outbuildings
  • Surveillance cameras and audio listening devices
  • New high fences with no visible signs of animals
  • Orange-brown or rust colored stains on walls, floors, counter tops, bathtubs and sinks
  • Dismantled smoke detectors