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Mr_Magnesium
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[*] posted on 19-8-2013 at 03:47
Called by the police for glassware


Don't mind the 0posts, forgot my other accounts password and i lost access to the email.

Anyway hello everyone :)

Started a taste for amateur chemistry and thought i would start my own little lab at home as it is related to my university degree.

Bought a simple distillation setup from laboy glass considering im in Australia and it was far cheaper than any other place.

Just 2 round bottom flasks, condenser and a few adapters.

Police called me up a week later and talked to my mum about how it can be used to make amphetamines. So embarrassed when my mum was talking to me about it, pretty sure she thinks im some drug cook. Its all good though, just sending an email to confirm that i wont be using it make any illegal substances.

Now would this put me on the watch list and prevent me from getting any exotic equipment or chems?

Share some of your stories about the police being involved :)
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[*] posted on 19-8-2013 at 05:17


"a simple distillation setup from laboy"
Is that all you have in the house?

How old are you?
I wonder if there are any preventive measures, say sign a form previously?
Just a little paranoid. =)




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Mr_Magnesium
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[*] posted on 19-8-2013 at 05:32


Yes! i was surprised that a condenser, 2 flasks and adapters brought so much attention. They let me keep it which is great though :)

17, an email was sent explaining my situation from my mum and he said if i wanted to order anymore glassware to just tell him and it should be fine.

Haha yeah i don't fancy being on the bad side of law enforcement though.


Gonna take my chances and ask if he could send me a letter so i can buy sulfuric acid and what not which will be a lot cheaper. Got nothing to lose :cool:

[Edited on 19-8-2013 by Mr_Magnesium]
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confused
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[*] posted on 19-8-2013 at 06:50


they probably just noticed laboratory glassware being shipped to a residential address. its not all that common(i think) and wanted to know what was going on, glassware isnt illegal.
anyway, how did the conversation go?
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[*] posted on 19-8-2013 at 08:09


These types of stories are always amusing and sad at the same time. That the police are focusing on lab glassware is absurd - glassware has many uses besides illegal drug manufacture. Surely the drug cooks can figure out how to make their products in soup cans and soda bottles (and they do) - shall we regulate all containers of any kind now too?

They should be looking at the precursors whose only real use is making illegal substances (so not iodine, acetone, phosphorus, etc. either).

Glad you got to keep your glassware at least. It sounds like your local officers are reasonable people, luckily.

[Edited on 8-19-2013 by MrHomeScientist]
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[*] posted on 19-8-2013 at 08:57


Quote: Originally posted by MrHomeScientist  


Glad you got to keep your glassware at least. It sounds like your local officers are reasonable people, luckily.


What basis would they have for not letting him keep his glassware? Glassware is not illegal in his jurisdiction is it?

Although it is good that you kept this to a low-key, friendly conversation it seems to me that the police shouldn't have even been able to request a conversation without a warrant. Am I wrong?

I'm assuming that the only reason they even knew about the glassware is due to a customs inspection.

[Edited on 19-8-2013 by Magpie]




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[*] posted on 19-8-2013 at 11:22


This sounds like a very good situation to me.
It's much better than having to hide your experiments all the time, worrying all the time about being discovered and then have a passer-by or chemofobic neighbours call the police in a panicked state one day about what they -think- they saw you do in the garden. Even if you do nothing illegal.

Now the police know about you and your acitivities, and they are apparantly reasonable and objective about it, which is good to know. Its something that unfortunately isn't always the case, even if what you are doing is perfectly legal, it is not unknown for cops and judges to overreact.




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[*] posted on 19-8-2013 at 11:27


Wait until He turns 16 and mom buys a car for Him. Swat raid in the future. After all everyone knows cars kill more people than drugs right?

Would help if He stated location. Say Australia, Texas, and the like. Places which have specific laws. Never mind, no call only swat in those locations right?

Honestly this crap of 'if it can be used by a criminal you must be one' is just getting old.

When will LEO realize that as they destroy the spark of creativity they are destroying the future for everyone?


@ MrHomeScientist "shall we regulate all containers of any kind now too?"

No doubt coming soon.

@ MrHomeScientist "They should be looking at the precursors whose only real use is making illegal substances (so not iodine, acetone, phosphorus, etc. either)"

Problem is so many legitimate creative ideas are destroyed by this.

@ MrHomeScientist "Glad you got to keep your glassware at least. It sounds like your local officers are reasonable people, luckily."

This outlook really disturbs me. No they are not reasonable people in any way shape or form. This is nothing less than tyranny period. Reasonable means if they suspect drug cookery they investigate. Did they also have 'other evidence'? No they did not. Law enforcement should only operate with the premise that there are legitimate reasons for various materials as well as criminal ones. Lacking evidence of actual criminal activity means they leave you the hell alone and stop using gestapo like tactics of intimidation and fear to suppress creativity before it can even begin. This young member for all we know 15 years from now may have been the one who cured cancer for all time, or solved the problem of the need for fossil fuel. Instead He is being beaten by LEO into submission and guided into a 'safe' future of running the grill in a fast food chain. Think about it. I firmly believe this mindset and tactic on the part of LEO is one of the most destructive things going on today.

LEO has already left a sense of fear forever in the mind of this member, one not easily shaken off. One that may well be a directing force in the yet future choices of profession this member may have been contemplating.

I use the name 'member' rather than 'Mr_Magnesium' to point out this kind of activity on the part of LEO creates great harm to many, if not indeed for all. We have had these discussions on SCM since it's inception, for myself at least since 2005 anyway. No doubt I could search back to 02 and find others. Drug cooking has increased not decreased. Obviously this LEO tactic has done nothing in their 'war on drugs'. However if reducing the number of future true scientists is their goal then I would have to conclude they are having great success.

You see an immense problem and one not only hard to overcome, also virtually impossible to overcome, is the simple fact we have no advocates. Likely we never will. There are no organizations with deep pockets speaking to legislatures on behalf of home science, none speaking for the future generations of scientists who thanks to the tactics of LEO will never become scientists. Or for those amateur home scientists who may have discovered something of great benefit to us all.

What was the name of the mother of the 60's TV/rock star who invented whiteout? Imagine if she had been raided and had Her acetone and lab equipment taken away before she could complete Her research. Or the guy in England who used around the kitchen materials to invent a new material now vital for heat shields for spacecraft.

I still remember a few years ago the story of the old man working in His home lab on new ideas for materials for tires. They effectively destroyed His life, carted away everything He had accumulated to conduct science over a lifetime. As well all the samples and data accumulated over many years of hard work. Not the least of which was the cost and utter financial destruction He endured. No one reimbursed a penny of the loss in money, equipment, materials, and experimental results. All for nothing the guy was legit. I firmly believe this was the actual reason, going back to my comments above. Fear, intimidation, suppression. No not the conspiracy theory type of suppression we hear such as hidden carburetors by oil or auto companies. This is real and I believe it is driven by a need to dominate and control any possible way private citizens may gain power which those giving LEO their 'walking orders' perceive. Have I now entered my own realm of 'conspiracy theory's'. Maybe. Maybe not.



[Edited on 8-19-2013 by IrC]




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Mailinmypocket
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[*] posted on 19-8-2013 at 11:55


They don't understand that if people cannot "wow!" themselves in science, they won't be able to "wow!" the non scientists back in years to come with their discoveries and research. Sad.

Now, if you would excuse me, I'm going to get my daily dose of "Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo".
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[*] posted on 19-8-2013 at 13:23


You got off lucky!
get to know them, invite them in for coffee,... we always have copes over for coffe, it has gotten so frequent we just always have a pot of coffee on, and you wouldn't believe how much we get away with.
I had left a small baggie of sodium thiosulfate on the table and cop came by, could you imagine how bad that could have turned out? all they did was say:''OOh, look. meth!" and I corrected them and they believed me (though it has disappeared now, :o?)




all above information is intellectual property of Pyro. :D
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[*] posted on 19-8-2013 at 13:50


Quote: Originally posted by Pyro  
(though it has disappeared now, :o?)


Seems they don't believe you.. there's a reason why such a saying like "the good cop is one which is ***d" exist (known on some continents) :P
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IrC
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[*] posted on 19-8-2013 at 15:15


Quote: Originally posted by papaya  
Quote: Originally posted by Pyro  
(though it has disappeared now, :o?)


Seems they don't believe you.. there's a reason why such a saying like "the good cop is one which is ***d" exist (known on some continents) :P


I have to say that bothers me. Without LEO many would be in bad circumstances or not here at all. The best friend I have is a state Trooper who would jump in front of a bus to save someone. He has put Himself in danger many times in 24 years on the force protecting others as well as removing from society many who would have gone on to destroy the lives of the innocent. That saying should not exist here or anywhere else. In fact 'the good cop' is a cop with my overwhelming support. Often it is not the cop but the training and orders not to mention improper screening causing the problems. We need law and order. What we do not need is tyranny and persecution. Most likely the 'good cop' is equally disturbed with what goes on in their department as well as things going on in society. Statements such as the one you quoted have no place here.




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[*] posted on 19-8-2013 at 15:48


Indeed, all cops that I know personally or have dealt with are good people that generally do a good job and honestly only try to act in the interest of society. I am really glad to live in a country were the law is upheld by a reliable, well-meaning force. They are certainly not 'the enemy'.
Our hobby being so unusual, you can't really blame them for being suspicious when they encounter a home lab. Possibly, the majority of labs in domestic places may actually be illegal drug labs. Statistics are against us.

However, it is essential that they give you the opportunity to explain and that they leave you alone if there is no real reason to believe you are doing anything illegal.
In the OP's case, this happened, which is a very good thing.

Incidentally, LEO probably doesn't mean Low Earth Orbit in this context.. what does it mean? I guess Law enforcement -something-, but I couldn't find it explained online.




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[*] posted on 19-8-2013 at 15:52


Law enforcement organization?



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IrC
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[*] posted on 19-8-2013 at 16:24


LEO has long meant 'Law Enforcement Officer' in any of the places I have seen it used.

I suppose it should be modified to avoid confusion when used to mean more than one, a group, service, or department. LEO = the individual, or the FBI, DEA, local department, or whatever. Oddly I never gave thought to this as in many conversations online (including here), it is typically used to name them in whatever context at the time.

A generic term I suppose. Along the lines of 'Kosh' in Babylon 5, or the Wraith of Stargate Atlantis fame. Thinking of the scene where the Vorlon said "we are all Kosh".





[Edited on 8-20-2013 by IrC]




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Mr_Magnesium
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[*] posted on 19-8-2013 at 22:54


Thanks for all the replies! i enjoyed reading every single post.

I did a bit of detective work and found out he actually has a conference coming up in a couple weeks which is apart of the WA Rangers.

Guess what he is there to talk about?

Clandestine Laboratories!

Going to go there and meet him afterwards just to introduce myself because i feel like a physical meeting will be a lot more comfortable than over the phone.


May even invite him over if he has spare time to take a look at how my lab is going, considering hes actually in a high ranked position which is rather surprising.


Time to hit up Laboy glass again and pick out a few strange pieces of glassware :)

Any reccomendations?

[Edited on 20-8-2013 by Mr_Magnesium]
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[*] posted on 20-8-2013 at 05:38


dont know if you can take this as actual reccomendation, althought i have something with tall beakers rather than low beakers

for laboratory use you might want to get a wide glass pan
makes it really fast to boil off 2 litres of water
makes everything possible and easy to do

perhaps just go buy some standard glass ware collection? 25 mL beakers are really good for just testing out some small stuff, such as lithium methoxide (lithium + methanol)
makes it all much easier i think, not so much to clean up afterwards




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[*] posted on 20-8-2013 at 06:38


Quote: Originally posted by Magpie  
What basis would they have for not letting him keep his glassware? Glassware is not illegal in his jurisdiction is it?

Although it is good that you kept this to a low-key, friendly conversation it seems to me that the police shouldn't have even been able to request a conversation without a warrant. Am I wrong?

I'm assuming that the only reason they even knew about the glassware is due to a customs inspection.

[Edited on 19-8-2013 by Magpie]


100% correct. Sounds like some over zealous customs inspector. How unlucky. In theory you can tell the cops to go away and get a warrant. In this particular case it's probably better to do what you did. When you get older and have a place of your own you may want to stand by your rights and let them waste their time. :)
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[*] posted on 21-8-2013 at 00:43


AHHHH! I live in australia, am also 17, and was planning to buy this from laboy. This could very easily have been me. I have done quite a bit of research on the subject of purchasing glassware in australia. The reason they rang you up is almost certainly because your glassware contained one or more of the following:

-RBF's of capacity 500ml or greater
-Joint sized of 24/40 or greater
-a still head capable of attaching a thermometer <----wtf?

An end user agreement (EUD) is filled out for glassware like this, which basically says your not going to cook meth with the glassware, and by the way here are all my contact details, feel free to pop over any time you like. (yes they can and do come round to your house, but if your reasonably tidy and label all your chemicals etc then they will just go away, they'll need a warrant if they want to take your stuff)
Now precisely where your meant to send this EUD to isn't clear, but I understand that you send it to the supplier, and they give it to the police if needed. How this works for suppliers that are overseas I don't know, if I do purchase the glassware then I'll probs send a copy to a government department and laboy just to be on the safe side. Also, apparently this whole EUD thing is voluntary for the suppliers, but they are strongly encouraged to participate, i.e. participate or die!


Relevant info:
A handy table: http://sciencesupply.com.au/Ethos.html This also has other handy links.
legislation: http://scienceindustry.com.au/storage/documents/Code.pdf




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[*] posted on 21-8-2013 at 01:32


Thanks for the post Oscilliator :)

Yeah! There's a nice little picture that details the necessary requirements for each state and has a few thumbs up of thumbs down on certain pieces of equipment.

I actually had to send an EUD to the detective sergeant for the chemical division in organized crime bahaha! Gave me his email and asked to send it to him. Probably saw me post in a Breaking Bad thread on another forum :(

Well I'm about to order some interesting glassware and send an EUD into laboy to forward it to them if necessary.

Guess I can't be the next Heisenberg :D
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[*] posted on 21-8-2013 at 04:40


I have made quite a few large purchases of glassware a few years ago from various suppliers; including laboy (to Australia). If it was picked up by customs I would have ended up with a visit from local LEO. I now feel that ordering anything else is really not worth the trouble of having my privacy violated.
The police will keep tabs on you but they have bigger fish to fry. As long as you are not trying to order anything on a watch list and you don't mind having a visit every blue moon or filling in paperwork, I would not worry.
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[*] posted on 2-9-2013 at 15:19


Recently while vacationing in Minneapolis St. Paul I came across this strange surplus store named 'Axe Man' while looking for electronic equipment. Surprisingly this store had a wide array of glass ware including some strange looking gas generation apparati. I purchased several volumetric flasks as well as some ground glass bottles at about half the normal price. When flying back to Seattle I packed the glass ware in a carry on so they wouldn't get thrown around. Every thing went surprisingly well and no one had any objections to me taking my 500ml volumetric flask, even though slightly club like, on board.:D
Had I been transporting any chemicals, obviously the consequences would have been much more severe




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[*] posted on 3-9-2013 at 14:01


I was going to buy a retort. I wonder if that would make the SC police come after me. It's really dumb that a few idiots trying to make methamphetamine (with no real knowledge of chemistry) have turned amateur chemists into criminals.
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[*] posted on 4-9-2013 at 07:22


A relative of mine ordered a complete 24/40 distillation setup from USA to Australia a few years back which was subsequently intercepted by customs. I don't know all the details, but I do know that he got a nice visit from the local police, and never ended up receiving said glassware despite being one of the most straightlaced(boring) individuals I know.
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[*] posted on 28-9-2013 at 07:22


Unfortunately, Plutonium, I have heard SC State (SLED) police make silly comments ("three neck flasks are illegal despite not having a law on the books, but you are associated"... whatever that means..." associated with various research institutes? Oh, we would make exceptions". Sound legit to you too? No?). Luckily none were directed to me.

Of course the paranoia was about meth labs... but now that the county disbanded the COBRA strike team... Well, I should just stop there. at least I never hear about personal orders being stopped and know of quite a few, but heaven forbid our bureaucracy actually enforce real laws instead of tell burgeoning students about the evils of school and government auctions.
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