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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
February 4, 2003

Detroit Division Training Law Enforcement Officers In Clandestine Drug Lab Procedures

photo-participant in Clan Lab TrainingColumbus, Ohio- The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Detroit Field Division, which includes all DEA offices in Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky, recently held an extensive five-day training seminar and practical application simulation for law enforcement officers throughout Ohio. The training focused on clandestine drug laboratory detection and investigation. The DEA prides itself on its strong relationships with state and local counterparts throughout the United States.

In addition to having formal Task Force relationships with law enforcement agencies in Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky, the DEA Detroit Field Division actively and regularly provides training to these and other local agencies in all facets of narcotics law enforcement, at little or no cost.

The DEA Clandestine Laboratory Certification School conducted in Columbus, Ohio certified forty-five (45) police officers representing thirty-five (35) law enforcement agencies throughout Ohio. This training could not have been possible without the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification (BCI) and its state of the art training facility. The DEA Office of Training, located in Quantico, Virginia provided DEA clandestine lab certified Senior Special Agents and chemist personnel to conduct intensive training regarding the detection, hazards, dismantling and seizure of clandestine drug laboratories. The training provided classroom and hands-on experience of simulated chemical sampling, decontamination procedures, evidence processing, safety equipment familiarization and appropriate Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) regulations. Upon completion of the training, officers are DEA/OSHA certified to conduct clandestine drug laboratory operations.

photo-clan lab participantClandestine drug laboratories are one of the greatest physical and environmental threats facing law enforcement and public safety personnel in the United States today. The chemical and explosive hazards associated with these laboratories and precursor chemicals present extraordinary hazards to public service personnel as well as everyone in our communities. Because of the outstanding efforts of state and local law enforcement agencies throughout Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky, who work closely with and coordinate resources with the DEA, these states have not seen the devastating impact like many other areas around the country. This joint DEA/local law enforcement strategy has helped slow the spread of clandestine lab manufacturing and increase the safety of our communities.

Members of the public play an important role in curbing the spread of clandestine drug laboratories. Citizens should be vigilant in their observations of unusual activities in their communities. Clandestine laboratory operators often conceal their operations in rural areas where law enforcement is not as concentrated; However, many have been seized in metropolitan areas as well.

photo-clan lab truckDrug traffickers often steal anhydrous ammonia from farmers who use it for legitimate agricultural purposes. Anhydrous ammonia and other precursor chemicals and drugs, such as pseudoephedrine, are used to manufacture methamphetamine, the illicit drug most often associated with clandestine laboratories in our area. A host of other precursor chemicals are used to manufacture other illicit drugs. Other possible indicators of clandestine laboratory activity include:

* Large numbers of cold tablet containers which contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine.
* Unusually large number of cans of Coleman fuel, paint thinner, acetone, starting fluid, Red Devil Lye and drain cleaners and sulfuric acid or muriatic acid.
* Excessive propane canisters, which may have valves that have turned blue or begun to corrode.
* Occupants of residences, motel rooms or other properties going outside to smoke cigarettes, because of the explosive nature of clandestine laboratories. This activity is often coupled with excessively nervous behavior on the part of these people.
* Coffee filters or glass jars containing white crystals, shiny purple crystals or dark red sludge.
* Strong odors, which may resemble nail polish remover, ammonia, chlorine and model airplane glue.

If you see or know of activity that may indicate
clandestine laboratory drug manufacturing, please contact
your nearest DEA office or state or local law enforcement immediately, or local/state law enforcement in your area.


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