A clandestine laboratory is an illicit operation involving a combination of apparatuses and chemicals that have been, or could be, used in the manufacture of dangerous drugs.
These laboratories are extremely volatile and can explode, ignite, and emit odourless and colourless lethal gases. These fumes, gases, and liquid by-products can be ingested, absorbed through the human skin, and inhaled. Exposure to these by-products can result in nausea, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, coughing, chest pain, eye and skin irritation, burns or death.
Once the desired quantity of drugs has been produced, the chemicals and by-products are usually dumped off in a vacant lot or vacant house which creates a bio-hazard for the community.
Some indicators of a clandestine laboratory are as follows:
- unfriendly tenants who avoid contact with neighbours;
- strong smell that resembles urine or an unusual chemical smell similar to ammonia or acetone;
- little or no traffic to the house or business;
- windows are blacked out or covered with dark-coloured curtains;
- sound of fans or pumps operating;
- unusual smells coming from road drains;
- noticeable hoses or pipes coming out of windows which are probably being used for ventilation purposes;
- new tenant not willing to pay rent months in advance;
- large barrels seen being brought into the house or business;
- tenants never putting out their garbage each week;
- tenants smoking outside the house;
- tenants displaying paranoid or odd behaviour;
- tenants watching cars suspiciously when passing by the house;
- dead plants around doors of the house, possibly caused by dumping of by-product chemicals; and
- tenants seen wearing respirators.
If you think that you have discovered a clandestine laboratory, immediately telephone the Port Moody Police Department at 604-461-3456.