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Clandestine Laboratories

What is a Clandestine Laboratory?

Clandestine laboratories are illegal operations consisting of chemicals and equipment necessary to manufacture controlled substances. The types and numbers of laboratories seized, to a large degree, reflect regional and national trends in the types and amounts of illicit substances that are being manufactured, trafficked and abused. Clandestine laboratories have been found in abandoned and rural farms. Laboratories are also being operated in single and multifamily residences in urban and suburban neighborhoods where their toxic and explosive fumes can pose a significant threat to the health and safety of local residents.

What are indicators of a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory?

Strong smell that might resemble urine, or unusual chemical smell like ether, ammonia, or acetone.

Little or no traffic during the day, but lots of traffic at extremely late hours.

Extra efforts made to cover windows or reinforce doors.

Residents never putting their trash out or burning all trash.

Lab materials surrounding property (lantern fuel cans, red chemically stained coffee filters, clear glass jugs and duct tape).

Vehicles loaded with trunks, chemical containers, or basic chemistry paraphernalia - glassware, rubber tubing, etc.

Laboratory glassware being carried into residence.

Inhabitants smoking outside due to the fumes.

Dying grass or plants in a particular area.

Who do I call if I suspect a clandestine laboratory in my neighborhood?

Contact your local police or sheriff's department, State Police agency or the Drug Enforcement Administration.  Do not take matters into your own hands!  Exposure to chemicals or suspects can be hazardous.

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Updated: 8.25.09

Contact us:

Clandestine Laboratory Investigators Association

PO Box 22074

Honolulu, Hawaii 96823

Fax:  808.356.1524



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