Methamphetamine or meth is an extremely dangerous drug. As of late 2006, its usage, manufacture, and sale is not statistically high in central or northern Illinois; however, meth has reached epidemic levels in the southern parts of the state and it will likely move toward our communities in the future. Knowing how to identify and report the signs of meth is the #1 weapon we have, to stop it in its tracks.
Do you suspect a meth lab might be operating in your neighborhood?
It's possible, because any house, apartment, garage, or mobile home could contain a meth lab. Mini "rolling" labs have even been discovered in the trunks of cars. Here are a few characteristics common to the clandestine production of meth:
- Unusual odors in the area. These odors smell like ammonia, cat urine, rotten eggs, and ether
- Open windows or exhaust fans in windows during cold weather
- Unusual or heavy foot traffic at the residence or at a structure on the property especially late at night
- Due to the highly volatile nature of the chemicals used to manufacture meth, individuals involved in the process may exit the residence or building in order to smoke.
Do you work in a retail store that sells items used to manufacture methamphetamine?
Most of the ingredients used to produce meth are common household items that can be purchased from just about any grocery store, drug store, hardware store or automotive supply. If you work in a retail store that sells any of the following items, please be alert to individuals or groups of individuals attempting to purchase large quantities of the following items:
- Cold medication containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine
- Lithium batteries (usually size AA)
- Automotive starting fluid (ether)
- Red Devil or similar brand drain cleaner
- Table salt
- Coffee filters
People involved in the manufacture of meth know the laws and store policies regarding the sale of cold tables that contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. Most realize that if they attempt to purchase several boxes at one time, they increase their chances of being suspected and arrested. In order to avoid detection, these meth cooks and their helpers will make numerous purchases of 1 or 2 boxes of cold tablets. These purchases might be spread out during the same day using different check out lanes or they might purchase one or two boxes of cold medication every other day. The above methods can be utilized despite the modern limitations that pharmacies have on selling these medications. Be alert for these structured transactions.
What you can do to help keep our neighborhoods safe
If you suspect an individual, or group of individuals is attempting to purchase a combination of the items used to manufacture meth, here is what you can do:
Do not attempt to confront the individuals about their purchase. Meth cooks and their associates can be DANGEROUS.
Notify your store manager immediately and contact your local police department.
Follow state laws regarding the sale of cold medication containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine (no more than two packages per transaction).
Observe what the suspicious person or persons are wearing.
If possible, note the type of vehicle and its license plate.
Provided a copy of any store security tapes to the investigating officer.