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Author: Subject: It finally happened, the police showed up
a nitrogen rich explosive
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[*] posted on 30-4-2016 at 10:18


Oh dear...

My popcorn is indeed an energetic material. I use 300 grams of it as a primary explosive.




I can't think of a better signature.
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alive&kickin
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[*] posted on 20-5-2016 at 22:04


Loptr, prove my innocence! You've got to be kidding! No way in hell would I stoop so low! Someone proves my guilt, lets me go, or has a real good lawsuit against them from the sleaziest lawyer I can find that's looking for a big payday. Sorry for the rant, but one thing that really burns me is police or other law enforcement thinking they're above the law and it's up to me to prove I've done nothing wrong. Don't get me wrong, they're not all like this but a few bad ones leave a bad taste in your mouth for all of them.
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[*] posted on 29-5-2016 at 17:06


Got another visit last night. Thoroughly annoying. It couldn't have come at a more inconvenient time.

We are selling our house and have been working hard all weekend to get it ready for real estate agent photos today and open home next weekend. That involved sorting and packing half of our stuff in the garage, copious amounts of cleaning, and lots of painting and repairs. All this while wrangling kids. I had just put in a 12 hour day with another six to go -- the second such day in a row. I was surrounded by packing boxes and delocalised furniture. There are tools all over the place. I have five different colours of paint on me and dust and plaster in my hair and eyes. The shed is chaos -- lab stuff pushed to one side and painting gear, power tools and gardening equipment littered all over the place. And these guys have some questions about a glass order that I made that I can hardly remember in the circumstances. It seems that a Dean Stark trap looks like it is the kind of thing a drug lab might want and so it got stopped at customs.

I took them to my lab, made them step over the lawnmower, showed them the tin and magnesium in my element collection, told them my story (which they already knew), listened to them swear for a while and told them what a Dean Stark trap was. They all but told me I was an idiot for being interested in chemistry and told me that I should make purchases through my place of work (which I am not allowed to do). They warned me about buying any more glassware -- especially splash heads and condensers. They said that the DS trap looked like a meth pipe (with a tap??) and when I expressed my incredulity they informed me that the #%#@&! meth heads will use a light bulb if they need to. (At which point I thought, but didn't say, "Why are you guys hassling me and not the people who buy light bulbs? The problem is not the glassware -- that is incidental to the issue.")

Anyway, the long and short of it is that they will release my Dean Stark and even though they have identified me as one of the good guys I can expect a visit every time they x-ray anything I have purchased. I apologised for the chaos that is moving house time and walked them past the drop-saw that was sitting in the doorway and said goodbye.


It was mid evening on a Sunday night when they came around, for goodness' sake.
More than a little irked I am.




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macckone
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[*] posted on 29-5-2016 at 17:25


At least in your country they are civilized enough to knock. In the land of the free they just knock the door down and trash the place.
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[*] posted on 29-5-2016 at 23:00


lucky you. j_sum the recalcitrant :)



Celebrating completion of element collection
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[*] posted on 30-5-2016 at 15:09


Addendum

My Dean Stark arrived yesterday. Looks sweet. Not that I have an immediate use for it -- I can't see that I will be doing any chemistry for a couple of months.
It occurred to me that maybe that wasn't the thing held up at customs. I bought a drying tube a while back from reacware and it had a 24/29 joint instead of a 24/40 that I ordered. It didn't matter to me but I let them know and they insisted on sending a replacement. That is probably the thing that was intercepted.

So, either they release it, overlooking (or not realising) that it does not match the description of the DS trap I gave the police. Or I get yet another visit...

A spare drying tube was probably going to be a handy thing. nm.




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[*] posted on 30-5-2016 at 15:37


I try to keep a lab notebook and some msds sheets. I also have saftey posters on the walls:D I would try to do a different hobby as well. Like I have a robotics lab for robots and telescope for astronomy as well as a microscope for some biology.
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[*] posted on 30-5-2016 at 16:02


I understand the bullshit about buying glass for some ppl. But I never knew why a dean stark was needed, if you distill into a sep funnel then return the solvent after seperation and keep the water to mesure progress.
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[*] posted on 30-5-2016 at 16:25


A DS has its place I think. This one was a mere 14 bucks. It was sold as part of an essential oil kit -- for which it is well suited.
I think the main advantage of a DS is the set and forget feature. When the ratio of the component you are removing is very small and it comes over slowly and there is consequently a lot of the distillate to return to the original flask -- I think then a Dean Stark is probably useful.

I speak from a theoretical position having never actually used one. But I will try drying some toluene and dehydrating some oxalic acid at some stage.


@100%chem
I also keep a lab book and if you look earlier in this thread you will see that I had the police sign it on their previous visit. I also had evidence of many other projects in my shed. But they were not looking to see if the things I was doing were legit. Rather they wanted me to justify something that they really had no knowledge of. I think that was the main difference between the two visits.

If it came to a legal contest they really don't have a case. They have to demonstrate intent and there is just no evidence that I am either capable or equipped to do drug-related chemistry. But that does not stop the current interactions from being a PITA.




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[*] posted on 31-5-2016 at 05:38


Quote: Originally posted by chemrox  
and why would someone who actually does chemistry make meth?


Br
Ba

:)
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[*] posted on 9-6-2016 at 02:36


I posted in another thread about some chemicals i found on a list. i am in the Uk and after reading this and seeing some utterly confusing documents and websites supposed be inform the public, j_sum1 a serious question...have you ever stopped to wonder if all this is worth it?

You mention work and ordering isnt allowed, so i assume you work in chemistry?? If so then i guess yes i can see why people interested in and working in a science area would also have it as a hobby.

In my own case i am not of working age just yet, and to be fair i dont study chemistry at school (a mistake). I have an interest in chemistry that is slowly developing but i do begin to wonder if its really worth the risk. So many rules and stiff penalties for getting it wrong, and yet no clear guidance on what is allowed and what isnt.

I hope they dont bother you again, is there not a point where the visits become (cant think of the word :() and you are able to report them for picking on you, sorry had a brain fade and cant think of a simple word!!
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[*] posted on 9-6-2016 at 03:01


I am a school teacher and teach chem among other things. Amateur chem has been invaluble for increasing my skill set. But it is pretty important to draw a line between school stuff and personal stuff.

I see no good reason why I should not have a drying tube or DS in my glassenal. Nor do I object to police doing standard checks. But once my situaation is known to the police I should not be having to repeatedly justify my actions. That last visit was plain rude.


As an aside, my replacement drying tube never arrived. They said they would release the package. But since I described a deanstark trap and had temporarily forgotten about the tube I guess they felt justified in calling it a meth pipe and trashing it. I won't pursue the matter but that's mostly because of shifting house and having a million things going on. If there is ever another visit I will be asking them a lot more questions and documenting everything.




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[*] posted on 9-6-2016 at 04:03


Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  
I am a school teacher and teach chem among other things. Amateur chem has been invaluble for increasing my skill set. But it is pretty important to draw a line between school stuff and personal stuff.

I see no good reason why I should not have a drying tube or DS in my glassenal. Nor do I object to police doing standard checks. But once my situaation is known to the police I should not be having to repeatedly justify my actions. That last visit was plain rude.


As an aside, my replacement drying tube never arrived. They said they would release the package. But since I described a deanstark trap and had temporarily forgotten about the tube I guess they felt justified in calling it a meth pipe and trashing it. I won't pursue the matter but that's mostly because of shifting house and having a million things going on. If there is ever another visit I will be asking them a lot more questions and documenting everything.


Harassment was the word i forgot!

I assume they are fully aware you teach chemistry, so at what point do there visits stop being routine checks and start to become harassment?

My concern being i am not a teacher i am a noob, if people like yourself are being harassed then what hope is there for people like me.

I have read through the forum a fair bit, and out of interest i have read some of the other more...........narrowly focused forums, what i dont really understand is with so many 'raids' visits or whatever you want to call them, why is the proportion of prosecution of drug factories going down?

I know nothing of how these things operate but to my thinking none of this makes any sense.

Surely if your a big drug producer you would be careful enough to have a good cover, at least something that would allow you to buy large amounts of glass and chemicals without anyone raising an eyebrow.

And yet few news stories on the internet of businesses etc being looked at. Having read advice given on here and elsewhere to people in places that makes glass hard to get, it would seem that if you were a one man operation then to avoid knocks and visits you would choose the jam jar chemistry methods, after all it would make little sense to buy small amounts of glass when it is likely to get you a visit.

I am basing this on your experience of being known to have a valid reason and interest, so if i was a drug maker i would avoid glassware like the plague.

Surely the police have actually busted drug makers, i wonder how many of them living in normal houses and making drugs actually used real glassware? I dont know but would guess few.

So what is the point of keep using resources to target someone that has already been cleared? Without trying to sound like i wear a tinfoil hat :D, does start to look like the purpose if to make people interested in chemistry simply give up, this would then make it much easier to do drug busts.

My logic behind the last bit being, if you make hobby chemist's give up then by default anyone left buying chemicals are the drug people!

My final rant/concern. At what point did innocent until proof of guilt, change to probably guilty so prove your not?

The kind of chemistry i like, is probably at the end of the scale where i am the only person remotely interested! And yet even with the things i like and enjoy experimenting with, i find it difficult to fully enjoy my hobby when i worry every time i order something.

Dont get me wrong i dont order things on the banned list, although i am no longer sure what some of these are!! I do own some chemicals that it appears i shouldnt own, i got some nitric acid off Amazon. My assumption was seeing as it was freely available on a reputable site then it was ok, only a little later did i discover its a no no.

So i guess i need to dilute it, the problem then becomes i end up with alot of nitric acid! If i get a visit 10 bottles of Nitric acid is going to look worse than the original 1 ltr i purchased.

Sorry for going on, i doubt i would be so concerned had i not read threads like yours.

I do hope you are left alone from now on.
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j_sum1
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[*] posted on 9-6-2016 at 14:49


Round here it is mostly a matter of red tape, checking boxes and butt covering. The customs guys have orders to xray and report anything suspicious and so they do. The police have orders to follow up everything that the customs guys find and so they do. In the case of my drying tube, I didn't describe it accurately (because I forgot it was coming and that was because of my circumstances.) Because I had not demonstrated a legitimate use for that specific item, they could not tick the box and so it would have been held back.

Next time I will have my lab journal with me again. I'll get the names and numbers of the officers. I'll get them to write down exactly what information they have received and what they are investigating. Then I can invite them in to look at the things they specifically need to see. In other words I will help them to tick all the boxes they need and make sure that it is documented by me as well as them.

Yes it seems reasonable to have my name and details on some list of approved people. But that would mean creating a whole new administrative category and probably mean scheduled checks on what I am doing. That's not going to happen. So I will cooperate with the occasional visit as it happens.

I don't think the system is that flawed. My beef is really with the timing and the manner of the last visit. I think it will be to my advantage to have names of the various officers and details written down so that I can name-drop as needed and build up a bit of familiarity. After all, if I am a known quantity then it is more likely that they will use their discretion and leave me alone.




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[*] posted on 11-6-2016 at 16:42


Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  
Round here it is mostly a matter of red tape, checking boxes and butt covering. The customs guys have orders to xray and report anything suspicious and so they do. The police have orders to follow up everything that the customs guys find and so they do. In the case of my drying tube, I didn't describe it accurately (because I forgot it was coming and that was because of my circumstances.) Because I had not demonstrated a legitimate use for that specific item, they could not tick the box and so it would have been held back.

Next time I will have my lab journal with me again. I'll get the names and numbers of the officers. I'll get them to write down exactly what information they have received and what they are investigating. Then I can invite them in to look at the things they specifically need to see. In other words I will help them to tick all the boxes they need and make sure that it is documented by me as well as them.

Yes it seems reasonable to have my name and details on some list of approved people. But that would mean creating a whole new administrative category and probably mean scheduled checks on what I am doing. That's not going to happen. So I will cooperate with the occasional visit as it happens.

I don't think the system is that flawed. My beef is really with the timing and the manner of the last visit. I think it will be to my advantage to have names of the various officers and details written down so that I can name-drop as needed and build up a bit of familiarity. After all, if I am a known quantity then it is more likely that they will use their discretion and leave me alone.


I understand what your saying, but there is still supposed to be innocent until guilty.Most of you are way older than i am, so i wonder when you started chemistry if you ever seriously thought in X number of years this kind of thing would happen?

What worries me is the trickle principle of loss of normal rights, just how long before you go into a supermarket and but some beer, then because your on a data base of owning car you are stopped 'just in case you been drinking'?

We cant blame terrorism for all this, terrorism has been around alot longer than i have. As i pointed out none of the rules remotely impact the terrorist or drug producer in continuing.

Drugs is a good example, as long as there is a significant profit for all in the chain, then no amount of regulation or rules will stop it.

I know little of America so apologize in advance, but it seems to me America has some of the most strict laws there is regarding certain drugs, the penalties from what i have seen on TV or really severe, and yet has it put any kind of dent in the drug trade?

So is it really about control of drugs or terrorism prevention, or without sounding conspiracy tinfoil type, is it becoming more about overall control? I worry mainly because when most here were my age there was more freedom, what frightens me more than anything is when i am your age and look back, will i think this was the golden era of freedom for me?

I still think considering how much information and how many databases you must be on as a teacher, some common sense should be used and maybe some money saved.

NEMO

I also think you take it all extremely well, maybe too well though. Maybe we all take the gradual loss of our rights to easy? Just a thought.
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[*] posted on 20-12-2016 at 07:19


sounds like ordering in Australia is horrible! i live in the USA and ive ordered lots of glassware on ebay but havent received a visit, should i? Im not talking about 22 liter flasks, just basic like 1000 ml flasks and condensers and stuff like that.
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[*] posted on 20-12-2016 at 21:14


Quote: Originally posted by Db33  
sounds like ordering in Australia is horrible! i live in the USA and ive ordered lots of glassware on ebay but havent received a visit, should i? Im not talking about 22 liter flasks, just basic like 1000 ml flasks and condensers and stuff like that.


Assuming that you aren't ordering red phosphorus, iodine, benzaldehyde, acetic anhydride, etc. sold notoriously all over the Internet, and assuming that someone doesn't break shipping regulations in sending something to you and get caught, no, probably not. That doesn't necessarily mean that you won't be placed under surveillance or that the powers that be won't try to make you think the police are watching you to discourage you from engaging in any kind of illegal activity, but they need a legitimate reason to stop by your home, even if just for a friendly chat with the local chemist.

I will say, though, that when researching hydroquinone recently, I stumbled across this. It's over ten years old, but it is eye-opening: http://www.telegram.com/article/20060330/news/603300536

It appears that the DEA obtained a warrant allowing them to secretly view eBay records based on a declared import of benzoquinone. That strikes me as odd... customs officials wouldn't care about something like benzoquinone. Something else must tipped off the police... right?





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[*] posted on 22-12-2016 at 19:02


Perhaps it is possible the Canadian seller sold on ebay and reported the sale to the DEA which would allow the DEA to find a link between the seller and ebay.
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[*] posted on 22-12-2016 at 19:27


This makes it look like the Canandian company was under a separate investigation:
"In late 2005, agents in the Drug Enforcement Administration's (β€œDEA”) Worcester, Massachusetts office learned that a Canadian company was shipping chemicals used to make ecstasy to individuals in the United States.   One of the recipients was Diana Piesak.   Piesak, who resided with her family in Dudley, Massachusetts, was a full-time student at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy."

source:United States Court of Appeals,First Circuit.
UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Diana PIESAK, Defendant, Appellant.
http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-1st-circuit/1062025.html
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[*] posted on 22-12-2016 at 20:57


It's not completely clear from the documents whether this is the same company that sent her the benzoquinone. Personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with ordering some benzoquinone, although along with other chemicals it might be suspicious. For example, if someone were to order benzoquinone, palladium chloride, and sassafras oil together, that would be extremely suspicious and could possibly justify a warrant. Ordering sassafras oil alone is nearly sufficient grounds for a warrant. But just benzoquinone?? It's like reading a newspaper article saying, "The police obtained a warrant after learning that the LSD manufacturer attempted to purchase sodium hydroxide from a local hardware store."

A business relationship between a seller under investigation and a buyer does not, by itself, give grounds to seize the buyer's other records. I'm still not seeing how the warrant for the initial search was justified, and she apparently didn't contest the grounds for the search. Of course, back in 2005, I think eBay made most sales public... so perhaps it's a moot point.




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[*] posted on 27-2-2017 at 12:05


Well, I just saw a police officer in an unmarked vehicle taking position in front of my building. I guess he saw me checking out his vehicle, which looked like a cop Expedition to me (but I wasn't 100% sure) and then rolled down his tinted windows and smiled and nodded in my direction. I returned the gesture.

I wonder what they're here for... there was a lab bust next door a while back, and I suspect they occasionally place my residence under surveillance when I order glass from overseas (I actually wouldn't be surprised if that was what led to the bust, though I didn't even know my next-door neighbor). I have several pieces of of labware sitting in customs right now, but I'm guessing it's probably something that has nothing whatsoever to do with me.


[Edited on 27-2-2017 by JJay]




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[*] posted on 25-4-2017 at 09:01


Had a very marked police van parked outside all day, because it seems that our neighbours decided that conducting a (unmonitored) grow-op under the cover of renovating a business property was a smart idea; double trouble - both that property and our property have the same landlord; triple trouble - the police discovered that the grow-op was, along with our property, using an illegal power hookup that one of the shell companies hanging off the long chain of "landlords" had been using to 'save money'.

Thankfully, Mr Bill appears to have gone home for the day, suggesting that they aren't interested in tearing our property apart to find my 'suspicious looking' sodium bicarbonate.

Also thankfully, the head end of the landlord chain wasn't willing to let the power company in to axe the electricity, literally.
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[*] posted on 25-4-2017 at 09:27


I noticed a while back that I hadn't observed any weird police activity around my glassware purchases. I can only conclude one of three things:

1. The cops weren't actually watching my glassware purchases in the first place.
2. The cops got bored of watching my glassware purchases.
3. The cops got better at hiding their monitoring activities.

#3 actually seems rather unlikely, but I guess I will never know for sure if they were actually watching.




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[*] posted on 25-4-2017 at 10:12


I'm just waiting for a visit. I need to get my lab cleaned up though. At least I live in a relatively rural area. Plus we kind of know the police in our area and I feel like if I show them my notes and my lab space they will be cool with it.
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[*] posted on 7-5-2017 at 16:00


My nightmare is not the police, but if I am arrested on some technical issue and it proceeds to trial, that's the problem.

First, the money needed for bail, a good lawyer pretrial and for trial prep is not far from $100,000.

Second, where is the jury pool of my scientifically educated peers? Answer: largely does not exist.

Third, media bias has warped peoples' opinion on anyone who knows chemistry must, without doubt, be doing something illegal.

The truth is if you admit to using a hydrogen oxygen compound, the jury goes into a state of shock, and you can rot in jail forever!



[Edited on 8-5-2017 by AJKOER]
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