Clandestine Labs

1. What is a “clan lab”? 

It is a lab that is hidden and is used to illegally manufacture controlled substance such as Methamphetamine.

2. Are clan labs dangerous? 

Yes, due to the type of chemicals and processes used to manufacture illegal drugs, labs can explode, catch fire and contaminate the soil, water and air near the lab. They can be extremely dangerous.

3. How do I know a lab is being operated? 

Strong chemical odors like urine, ether, an ammonia or acetone are usually associated with a clandestine laboratory. Lab operators will also use chemicals such as sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, muriatic acid, red phosphorous, iodine and fuels such as Coleman fuel, paint thinner, starting fluid, Red Devil lye, propane, kerosene, lithium batteries and sources of ephedrine such as large quantities of over the counter cold medications, stay awake tablets, etc.,

4. What should I do if I find a clandestine lab? 

Report it to law enforcement at once. Do not move or otherwise tamper with a clandestine lab. You run the risk of fire, explosion and serious injury or death from chemical contamination.

5. Is operation of a clandestine lab a violation of law? 

Yes, operation of a clandestine lab is a violation under both state and federal law. The Wyoming Legislature passed the Wyoming Clandestine Lab Act that took effect on 07-01-99. It provides for enhanced penalties for the operation of a clandestine lab, contamination of the environment by a lab or waste products, manufacturing with a lab within 500 feet of schools, residences or business and use of firearm or booby trap in a clan lab operation.

6. Are clan labs a problem in Wyoming? 

Yes. In 1997 three labs were seized in Wyoming. In 1998, twelve labs were seized. In 1999, twenty labs were seized. In 2002, 56 labs were seized and in 2001 29 labs were seized. Durring 2003, DCI responded to 22 labs. While there was a peak number of 56 in 2002, that number fortunately has steadily declined since then. It costs an average of $5000 per lab to clean up and dispose of hazardous materials from each lab.

7. What is DCI doing about clandestine labs? 

We have trained and equipped all DCI field offices, the State Crime Laboratory and Regional Enforcement Teams in the investigation and safe processing of clandestine laboratories. We work jointly with local agencies, the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security Regional Response Teams, and federal law enforcement agencies such as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on these cases. For more information regarding illegal drugs please click on this DEA web site http://www.dea.gov/.