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  1. #1
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    Maybe a stupid question, are air compressors used to make meth?

    I posted a few weeks ago about what I suspect is a meth lab at the end of my street. I spoke with an officer and was asked to take note of cars coming and going and to get plate numbers if I could. I only have two plate numbers and 5 vehicle descriptions, I'm not sure if that's enough to bother calling the guy again. I don't want to be the paranoid pain in the butt who keeps ringing his phone.

    The past two days, I've seen a big pickup with integrated toolboxes and a compressor in the back pull up to the house for a few hours and then leave. While its there, the compressor runs constantly, but there's no sound of any air tools like a hammer or a wrench or anything.

    I've read that sometimes anhydrous ammonia is stored in used air compressors, but I don't know if that's baloney or not because I couldn't find a second source that said the same thing.

    I'm not trying to play junior detective. I just want to know what is relevant to tell the officer if/when I follow up with him again on this problem. I don't want to keep bothering him with stupid or irrelevant details.

    There's been a lot more traffic to the house this week and a lot of cars showing up, staying overnight, and then going.

    I have security cameras that record my front yard and incidentally, the street. No plates are visible on those cameras though, they're not that good.

  2. #2
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    LOL no I don't think he's inflating balloons.

  3. #3
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    ffffffht tp://forums.officer.com/forums/shofvbsad.php?p=2134544#post2134544
    Last edited by Nobody; 03-12-2010 at 03:35 PM.

  4. #4
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    This current post is a follow up from Muppet's OP:

    http://forums.officer.com/forums/sho...17#post2207217

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  5. #5
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    No they are not necessary to produce meth.

  6. #6
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    After reading the original post, it's got me thinking... What if the woman suffers from bad migraines and is extremely sensitive to light? What if one of them works nights, so they have the windows covered to block out light?

    What if they recently had some kind of tragedy in their family? I've known grieving people to let their homes and yards go, and to have that thousand-yard stare.

    As for the compressor and the numerous vehicles: Is the fellow a shade-tree mechanic, trying to make ends meet?

    Just some things that occurred to me...
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  7. #7
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    I would love to be wrong.

    I don't think I'm wrong, though.

  8. #8
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    You would not hear the air tools over the AC running outside. Esp. if they are inside the garage with doors closed etc.

    They could be sandblasting or painting a car, etc.

  9. #9
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    Tank

    Depending on the size of the air comp. tank, sure it can be used. Did you notice any discoloration or freezing? Have you found any discarded in the area? Do they have a burn pit in the yard? Any unusual odors in the area (Wont last for long periods of time) Usually the same odor around the same time every couple days for an average cook.

    As mentioned by several others keep documentation for the investigating officer. There are new database programs we can use to track psuedo purchases. Which after running plates getting names can cross reference through those databases to get a basic picture. There are numerous other ways not suitable for the public forum.
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    There's a very strong cat urine smell periodically but I've never documented the time in the past. The if the wind is blowing toward our house, we'll smell it. If not, then not.

  11. #11
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    big pickups with integrated toolboxes and a compressor in the back that pull up to houses and run the compressor the whole time has nothing to do with meth. air compressors cost to much to be using them for anhydrous anyway. smelling cat urine when the wind blows towards your home is not a sign of meth either. perhaps you should find something more constructive to focus your attention on than those neighbors you dont like down the street.
    Last edited by luckydog; 02-26-2010 at 09:11 AM.

  12. #12
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    Lucky Dog,

    Got a chip on your shoulder, man?

    If they didn't have a small kid there, and if the constant stream of teenage visitors that go down there didn't constantly throw crap in my lawn, and if I wasn't worried about toxic waste being dumped into the water table in my neighborhood, then I wouldn't bother them a bit. What adults do to themselves in their own home is their own business.

    It's when it goes beyond that there's a problem. Since DCF is already making regular visits, that's probably the best that can be done for the kid in the short term, but if they are cooking meth a hundred feet from my house, of COURSE I'll try to stop that.

    As for not being a nuisance, that's why I'm asking/vetting my questions here, where questions are SOLICITED (the place is *called* "Ask a Cop") rather than bugging my local guys who have better things to do than field multiple visits/phone calls from me.

    If I was some sort of clueless jerk, I'd just call the local PD "Hey durrp durrp they're using a compressor at the end of my street hyuk. Better send some cruisers down here right now! Durp Herp."

    If the compressor were the ONLY thing I was worried about, there wouldn't even be question or an issue. Somebody linked my OP yesterday. There's a whole lot of elements that add up to a questionable picture.

    I'm not sitting in my window with binoculars or I'd have a page and a half of license plates to give the police corporal who asked me to keep an eye out for them. Lots of traffic for a dead end street.

  13. #13
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    If they are using anhydrous ammonia you would know when all the birds and animals drop dead and you suddenly can't breath. Also the valves on the tanks would turn blue from the contamination.

    Like this:

  14. #14
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    Are they renters? Contact the landlord.
    Do you have any city codes about lawns, cars, junk etc? contact planning dept.
    If you smell something "funny" in the air, call the Fire Dept.
    They may be just slobs...

    If your local PD can't handle things, go up to the county level (if you have it) or State level. Write everything down and why you think it's suspicious. Make an appointment with someone and take all your concerns in with you.

    Multiple youths visiting a home for short periods of time suggests something is going on: drugs, prostitution, etc. Just because your CPS folks didn't see anything, doesn't mean there's nothing there.

  15. #15
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    How do we know your not the bad guy trying to see if we're on to your type set up.

    Bad place to ask this.

  16. #16
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    Then I guess there's no place to ask this?

    I guess it depends on how paranoid you want to be.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by muppet View Post
    I guess it depends on how paranoid you want to be.
    Who? You? Us?
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  18. #18
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    Heh, well maybe I'm a little paranoid but if folks on here think I'm a meth dealer mining for information, I think that's a bit more so.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by muppet View Post
    I don't want to be the paranoid pain in the butt who keeps ringing his phone.
    I don't know if you're paranoid, someone who is geniunely concerned about his neighborhood, a drama queen or someone who gets excited from spying on others. No matter which it is, it has caused you to stop thinking.

    Quote Originally Posted by muppet View Post
    the compressor runs constantly, but there's no sound of any air tools like a hammer or a wrench or anything.
    You seem to think that the compressor has something to do with anhydrous ammonia....it doesn't. First of all, anhydrous ammonia is a compressed gas....there is no need to compress it. Second, air compressors (key in on the operative word - compressor) do not store anything, they take air at atmospheric pressure and....compress it (wow, imagine that)! Finally, although anhydrous ammonia is listed as an nonflammable gas, the flash point for it is just below the cutoff between flammable and nonflammable gases. Many firemen and civilians have been burned/killed by anhydrous ammonia igniting. Running it through a compressor (let's put aside that there is no need to for a second) might very well heat it to its flash point and cause it to ignite.

    While an air storage tank (storage tanks store, compressors compress) might be used to store anhydrous ammonia, it would not be a very wise idea. Anhydrous ammonia is some pretty bad stuff. Commercial air aren't designed to handle such a product and the common leaks that occur in commercial products would be disastrous. I'll not even go into the hazards that would exist is trying to flush the system so the truck could leave.

    Quote Originally Posted by muppet View Post
    I've read that sometimes anhydrous ammonia is stored in used air compressors
    See previous response.

    Quote Originally Posted by muppet View Post
    I'm not trying to play junior detective.
    Then don't. So far, you've seen some suspicious activity in your neighborhood. That's great, seriously. But you automatically assumed that they're making meth and you went on the Internet and started trying to make what you find fit into what you see and hear, rather than staying objective about it. It's almost like you want it to be meth, which leads me to think you might enjoy the drama.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nuthead View Post
    Then don't. So far, you've seen some suspicious activity in your neighborhood. That's great, seriously. But you automatically assumed that they're making meth and you went on the Internet and started trying to make what you find fit into what you see and hear, rather than staying objective about it. It's almost like you want it to be meth, which leads me to think you might enjoy the drama.
    No, I think you've got me wrong. I would love to be completely wrong about it being meth, and that wasn't my initial assumption, either. But if it is meth, I want to help the officers here make the best possible case. I hear a lot of officers say that if the community just keeps their mouths shut and ignores what they see, the officers can't help them. So I don't want to do that. See my earlier OP. There's a list of reasons I think it might be meth. It could equally well be some other illegal activity or maybe they're just eccentric about their privacy, but the prospect of being slowly poisoned through the water table or the air puts an onus on me to try to find out, I think.

    I don't get off on spying on neighbors. In fact, I would love to have fewer neighbors on the street! Three new houses are going in and that's a bummer, as far as we're concerned.

    The officer I spoke to told me that our neighborhood would be vastly improved if that house would just fall down. That leads me to think that I'm not alone in my suspicions of what goes on down there. He also said that he's had dealings with the mom down there since the early 80s.

    I'm not offering the above as gossip, but rather as maybe some justification for why I'm concerned.

    If they're just a bunch of potheads getting together to share a bong, I honestly couldn't care less as long as the 10 year old isn't home when they do it.

    I only asked about the compressor because I'd read something about it. It sounds like from this thread that what I read was probably erroneous, so great, I'm glad. No meth down there means no toxic fumes to worry about and no toxic crap being dumped into the river that runs directly past our house.

    Again, this is why I'm not ringing the phone at my local PD. If I was a drama *****, I'd just call them and not vet my questions here.

    In "real life", the entirety of my action has been to personally visit the PD and explain my concerns to the corporal who sat down with me, and to write down a handful of license plates, as instructed by that corporal.

    Beyond that, all I've done is ask questions on this forum looking for some advice.

    The only reason I feel any particular urgency about nailing these guys if indeed there's a lab down there is that I don't want the poisons or the dangerous human elements 75 feet from the house where I raise my two small girls.
    Last edited by muppet; 03-01-2010 at 08:59 AM.

  21. #21
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    There's nothing wrong with you asking the question but there's so much information on meth labs on the internet that you could practically build your own within a days time.

    Considering that the information you seek is out there, it would be natural for us to wonder why you would want to know what we know and look for.

    You can call it paranoid but thats why we make the big bucks.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by leesrt View Post
    There's nothing wrong with you asking the question but there's so much information on meth labs on the internet that you could practically build your own within a days time.

    Considering that the information you seek is out there, it would be natural for us to wonder why you would want to know what we know and look for.

    You can call it paranoid but thats why we make the big bucks.
    Well, yeah I could go on erowid and read a bunch of bull made up by stoners or I could ask people who would be more likely to know.

    Plus there's the added reason that questions are actively solicited here, or so I thought.

    If my questions are unwelcome for some reason, then I'll stop bringing down the room.

  23. #23
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    I think the plan is clear:

    1. Get a notebook and a pair of binoculars. Document times, license plates, vehicle descriptions/models, and distinguishing marks on those vehicles.

    2. Document odors, sounds, and descriptions of individuals coming and going from the address.

    3. Call the police. Call the police. Call the police.

    4. Profit! er... Or not.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by muppet View Post
    Well, yeah I could go on erowid and read a bunch of bull made up by stoners or I could ask people who would be more likely to know.

    Plus there's the added reason that questions are actively solicited here, or so I thought.

    If my questions are unwelcome for some reason, then I'll stop bringing down the room.
    Your welcome to ask questions, just consider our view point.

    We train, and train, and train again on stuff like this but we don't discuss that with the general public because among the general public are the dope dealers we're after. You didn't go through a back ground test to post here so we don't know who you are. As a result the information you get will be limited.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCSD Frank View Post
    I think the plan is clear:

    1. Get a notebook and a pair of binoculars. Document times, license plates, vehicle descriptions/models, and distinguishing marks on those vehicles.

    2. Document odors, sounds, and descriptions of individuals coming and going from the address.

    3. Call the police. Call the police. Call the police.

    4. Profit! er... Or not.
    Binoculars seem like overkill but maybe not since he did ask me to get plates. I guess you're right, Frank, there's not really anything left to ask.

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