Meth Production and Propane Tanks - Fiberglass RV

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Old 05-15-2008, 05:57 PM   #1
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Here's Snopes' comment on info apparently in current distribution at firehouses. Folks who exchange tanks or have strange neighbors might want to take note:

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Old 06-05-2008, 10:22 PM   #2
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Here's Snopes' comment on info apparently in current distribution at firehouses. Folks who exchange tanks or have strange neighbors might want to take note:

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Old 06-05-2008, 10:33 PM   #3
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It's highly unlikely that a methster would risk returning a contaminated propane tank to a distributor. Why should they? They used it for anhydrous ammonia-- what do they want 20# of propane for? And surely not enough to risk discovery. The likelihood of running into a contaminated tank is about zero IMO.
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Old 06-05-2008, 10:39 PM   #4
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Yeah---- been dealing with that for several years while driving tow truck. Even had a complete Meth lab in one impounded car--- ingrediants and all. (also have found propane tanks dumped out in the hills that have been used to carry anhydrous ammonia) BTW-- ya don't want to whiff it--(voice of experience) Made me whirl so hard to get out of car, durn near broke my nose on the door. Larry
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Old 06-06-2008, 02:11 AM   #5
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i used to work with heavy duty ammonia liquid when i worked at a leathery tannery... that stuff will knock you down... if you don't have a mask on, you'll be running 30' away just to breath... i'd rather be hit with pepper spray...
--- steven
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:45 AM   #6
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Methamphetamine cooks are buying propane tanks from the exchanges at Wal-Mart, Kroger, etc., and emptying them of the propane gas. Then they fill the propane tanks with anhydrous ammonia, for which they now have a recipe to cook Methamphetamine.
After they are finished with the propane tanks, they return them to the store. The stores refill the tanks with propane gas, unknown to them that the improper substance was inserted in the tanks, and sell them to their consumers.
Anhydrous ammonia is very corrosive and weakens the structure of the tank. It can be very dangerous when mixed with propane gas and hooked up to a grill, recreation vehicle, etc.
You should inspect the propane tank for any blue or greenish residue around the valve areas. If there is evidence of these substances, do not purchase the propane tank and immediately advise the vendor of your findings.
The information was researched, and you should check out the followig website for more details. They also have pictures for you to view.
Anhydrous ammonia and propane cylinders

INTRODUCTION: Readers of this bulletin should consult the law of their individual jurisdictions for codes, standards and legal requirements applicable to them. This bulletin merely suggests methods which the reader may find useful in implementing applicable codes, standards and legal requirements. This material is not intended nor should it be construed (1) to set forth procedures which are the general custom or practice in the propane industry; (2) to establish the legal standards of care owed by propane distributors to their customers; or (3) to prevent the reader from using different methods to implement applicable codes, standards or legal requirements. The National Propane Gas Association assumes no liability for reliance on the contents of this bulletin. It is offered as a guide only to assist expert and experienced teachers and managers in training in service personnel in their organizations.
The brass valve in a propane cylinder will be damaged if it comes in contact with anhydrous ammonia. This deterioration will lead to cracking of the valve body or its components and can ultimately result in a violent, unexpected expulsion of the valve from the cylinder, causing personal injury or death.
Background and Recommended Action
It has come to the attention of the National Propane Gas Association that propane cylinders are being used in the manufacturing of Methamphetamines. This drug is commonly referred to as 'crank'. Manufacturers of this illegal substance are using propane cylinders for the storage and the use of anhydrous ammonia. These cylinders have been found in many states at cylinder exchange and refilling locations as well as in hotel rooms and mobile laboratories, where the manufacturing of this illegal substance takes place.
As observed in the illustrations, a blue-green stain on any brass portion of a service valve is evidence that it may have been in contact with anhydrous ammonia*. The pungent odor of ammonia on or near the cylinder is also an indication. If you suspect that a propane cylinder contains or has contained anhydrous ammonia, exercise extreme caution and restrict access to the area.
It can be dangerous to move the cylinder due to the unknown integrity of the cylinder's service valve. If you determine that it must be moved, keep in mind that hazards due to valve expulsion can be reduced by pointing the end of the container in which the valve is placed away from yourself and others and towards the most safe direction.
Immediately contact your Fire Department, Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Unit or the nearest office of the United States Department of Justice's Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for information on properly disposing of the cylinder. If these respondents are not sure what to do, for assistance call 1-800-728-2482, which is the contact number for PERS, an independent hazardous materials information resource.
*Note: Sherwood valves contain a green coated valve stem. Additionally, a green thread sealing compound is used on some valves. These valves should not be confused with those that have been exposed to anhydrous ammonia.

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Old 06-06-2008, 08:05 AM   #7
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Sorry folks. I hadn't seen this thread before I posted what is obviously "old news".
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:22 AM   #8
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I asked a friend who until recently was in drug enforcement about this. He said they do take tanks (probably steal them rather than buy them) and use them for anhydrous ammonia, and yes, that is dangerous. But he doubts very much they would ever return the tank to the store, so the part about you buying a bad tank is hooey. (Since they don't want them full of propane, why would they exchange them at a Walmart instead of reusing the tank with ammonia?) And believe me, these people aren't smart enough to think that a new propane tank would be safer than their old tank that was used for ammonia.

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Old 06-06-2008, 09:36 AM   #9
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Meth labs were a huge problem in Iowa until we made pseudoephedrine a schedule V drug that requires ID to purchase. Meth cooks would steal as much Sudafed as they could carry and then use it for their cooks. Now they can't steal it 'cause the amount is regulated, it's behind a counter and they need to show ID to get it.

The odds of them buying an LP tank to begin with are nil. You've gotta remember that most meth cooks are thieves and burglars anyway. It's all part of the lifestyle. They'll steal your gas grill BBQ tank. You'll know if your LP tank has been around anhydrous because the anhydrous ammonia turns all of the brass on the valve green very quickly. Further, they won't try to return the tank, they'll merely pitch it into the nearest ditch or ravine. If you run across a tank in a ditch with green on the valve, leave it lay and contact your local law enforcement. You'll undoubtedly find pinkish used coffee filters, cans of white fuel or starting fluid, Lithium battery wrappers and other debris lying around it.

Don't pick up or touch any of it. Lye is one of the key ingredients, and since meth cooks aren't particularly careful how they dispose of their used lab stuff, any of the items may be covered in lye which will give immediate chemical burns. Methamphetamine can also be absorbed through the skin, and the coffee filters are used to strain the meth base, so if you touch them, you're likely to inadvertently contaminate your hands.

Every clandestine meth lab and meth lab dump are potentially explosive and are most definitely toxic. Don't mess with them.


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