Last Modified: Tuesday, August 07, 2012 6:07 PM
Since there have been so many meth labs discovered, can you describe what people should be smelling or looking for to be able to report these?
Some clues to the existence of secret crystal methamphetamine labs, as listed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration:
A large amount of cold tablet containers that list ephedrine or pseudoephedrine as ingredients.
Jars containing clear liquid with a white- or red-colored solid on the bottom.
Jars labeled as containing iodine or dark, shiny metallic purple crystals inside of jars.
Jars labeled as containing red phosphorus or a fine, dark red or purple powder.
Coffee filters containing a white pasty substance, a dark red sludge, or small amounts of shiny white crystals.
Bottles labeled as containing sulfuric, muriatic or hydrochloric acid.
Bottles or jars with rubber tubing attached.
Glass cookware or frying pans containing a powdery residue.
An unusually large number of cans of camp fuel, paint thinner, acetone, starter fluid, lye, and drain cleaners containing sulfuric acid or bottles containing muriatic acid.
Large amounts of lithium batteries, especially ones that have been stripped.
Soft silver or gray metallic ribbon (in chunk form) stored in oil or kerosene.
Propane tanks with fittings that have turned blue.
Strong smell of urine, or unusual chemical smells like ether, ammonia or acetone.
In addition to the trash they leave lying around, meth cooks’ behavior often gives them away.
Meth makers — seeing as how they’re engaged in an illegal pursuit — are usually suspicious of strangers and may monitor street traffic; hole up in the house, rarely venturing forth; and have frequent nighttime visitors.
Also, if they smoke cigarettes, they’ll likely do so outside to lessen the chance of sparking a fire amid the chemicals in the house.
The number of “methamphetamine lab incidents” — discoveries of labs, equipment, dump sites — reported in Louisiana has fluctuated over the last eight years, according to the DEA.
Yearly incident totals for Louisiana and the United States from 2004 to 2011:
2004 — Louisiana, 125; U.S., 18,091.
2005 — Louisiana, 99; U.S., 12,974.
2006 — Louisiana, 21; U.S., 8,181.
2007 — Louisiana, 48; U.S., 6,358.
2008 — Louisiana, 34; U.S., 8,068.
2009 — Louisiana, 111; U.S., 11,438.
2010 — Louisiana, 207; U.S., 13,378.
2011 — Louisiana, 36; U.S., 12,033.
According to DEA totals, which the agency says may be incomplete, Missouri (2,067), Tennessee (1,809), Kentucky (1,515), Indiana (1,436) and Oklahoma (923) led the nation in meth lab incidents last year.
The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email email@example.com