How to Identify a Meth Lab

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By working together, we can be more effective in the detection of illegal drug activity in your neighborhood.

The information you provide about suspicious activity is an important factor in our ability to successfully investigate the people responsible for supplying dangerous drugs in your neighborhood.

You can send anonymous tips via text to "CRIMES" (274637) or do it online.


The following discarded waste items in or around the home that may indicate lab activity:

  • Numerous matchbooks with strike plates removed, or collections of discarded striker plates (source of red phosphorous).
  • Discarded vinyl or rubber tubing, various sizes, sometimes restaurant grade. Tunnels. Tubing with dark red stain.
  • Glass jars, containers, with multilevel fluids. Plastic containers with small plastic or vinyl tubes coming out of the spout, usually duct taped in place (may contain dangerous waste products).
  • Vinyl gas cans or plastic garbage bags with duct taped hoses/tubing sticking out (extremely dangerous)
  • Cat litter, no cat.
  • Dismantled lithium batteries (strips).
  • Discarded propane bottles with discolored brass valves (blue color) may have been used to hold anhydrous ammonia (extremely dangerous).
  • Multiple discarded bottles or boxes of over the counter cold/allergy remedies containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine or discard blister packs that contain these products.
  • Coffee filters with dark red or brown stains.

Signs and Behaviors

The following are behaviors and activities associated with methamphetamine cooks:

  • Many behaviors and characteristics are the same as those listed in the "Signs of Drug Use and Sales."
  • Residents do not use curbside garbage pick-up. House garbage will be stored in garbage bags, and hauled away from the home.
  • Vents blowing from inside the home to the outside. Vents are often makeshift and homemade. There may be a chemical smell from this vent.
  • Labs are often found in garages, tool sheds, house trailers on the property. Late night or all night activity may be observed in the home or these structures. Cooks and associates are very secretive, very paranoid and protective about the lab. If asked about activities they may become very defensive, even hostile.
  • Supplies being brought to the lab site in quantity including glass flasks and other glassware, bottles, vinyl or plastic tubing, solvents, acids, and items listed in the "Common household chemicals or other products."


The following are household chemicals or other products that may be present that are used in the making of methamphetamine:

  • Muriatic Acid
  • Acetone
  • Gas-Line
  • Antifreeze
  • Red Devil Lye
  • Drano
  • Lighter fluid
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Coleman Fuel
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Cases or boxes of matchbooks
  • Coffee filters
  • 7% tincture of iodine or iodine crystals
  • Cold/allergy remedies that contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine.