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Meth Labs

If you suspect a meth lab in your neighborhood, call the Northwest Drug Task Force: 406.758.5674 or Report it Online

How do I recognize a Methamphetamine lab?

Many people may be unaware that they're living near a meth lab. Here are some things to look for:

  • Unusual, strong odors (like cat urine, ether, ammonia, acetone or other chemicals)
  • Residences with windows blacked out
  • Open windows vented with fans during the winter
  • Renters who pay their landlords in cash. (Most drug dealers trade exclusively in cash)
  • Lots of traffic - people coming and going at unusual times. There may be little traffic during the day, but at night the activity increases dramatically
  • Excessive trash including large amounts of items such as: antifreeze containers, lantern fuel cans, red chemically stained coffee filters, drain cleaner and duct tape
  • Unusual amounts of clear glass containers being brought into the home

Additionally, many of the chemicals can be found in common household items such as lantern fuel, cleaners, acetone, muriatic acid, and diet pills.

There are many different methods for producing methamphetamine. Each method has its own inherent dangers. Many of the chemicals used are caustic or corrosive, and some of the processes create noxious and harmful fumes.

If you suspect a meth lab, leave at once and report it.

  • Do not open any coolers
  • Do not touch any items
  • Handling methamphetamine waste residue can burn your skin and eyes, and breathing in the gases can send you to the hospital
  • Handling these chemicals with unprotected skin, or getting the dust in your eyes can cause serious damage

To avoid the possibility of fire, explosion, death or serious illness, only trained and properly equipped workers can dismantle a lab and take the remnants away for disposal, usually in sealed 55-gallon drums.

Presence of the following items could indicate the existence of a meth lab:

  • Alcohol
  • Ether
  • Benzene
  • Toluene/Paint Thinner
  • Freon
  • Acetone
  • Chloroform
  • Camp Stove Fuel/Coleman Fuel Starting Fluid
  • Anhydrous Ammonia
  • "Heet"
  • White Gasoline
  • Phenyl-2-Propane
  • Phenylacetone
  • Phenylpropanolamine
  • Iodine Crystals Red Phosphorous
  • Black Iodine
  • Lye (Red Devil Lye)
  • Drano
  • Muriatic/Hydrochloric Acid
  • Battery Acid/Sulfuric Acid
  • Epsom Salts
  • Batteries/Lithium
  • Sodium Metal
  • Wooden Matches
  • Propane Cylinders
  • Diet Aids Hot Plates
  • Ephedrine (over-the-counter)
  • Cold Tablets Bronchodialators
  • Energy Boosters
  • Rock Salt


Weapons are very common in meth labs. People who use meth are very paranoid about everything. they are worried that they will be caught by law enforcement and will use any means to not get caught.

If you suspect a meth lab in your neighborhood, call the Northwest Drug Task Force: 406.758.5674 or Report it Online

Photos courtesy of Digital Broadway LLC