Sciencemadness Discussion Board

The DEA is watching you...but does it matter?

Brain&Force - 5-2-2015 at 22:04

Found this on reddit, and I think America has been sent insane by not responding to this as strongly as the NSA scandals. For us amateur chemists it hits really close to home.

However, I wouldn't be too worried. I've been talking to a former UCSD alumna who happens to work at the DEA, and when I brought up the subject of amateur chemistry, she said not to be worried about the DEA raiding our houses – and even if this happens the process of gathering evidence should quickly make it clear if we have no intent to break the law. (In a nutshell. She went over the whole process from report to verdict, and it would be a bear to write out.)

Then again, my fear is not the DEA at all – it's people trying to out others for things they may or may not be doing.

Zombie - 5-2-2015 at 23:27

I agree. Especially on the people ratting on others aspect. This is a rampant aspect of posting on "home Distillation" forums. The site owners rarely address the issue but there are "spurts' where some party gets pissed, and blog lists of names, and ip's get posted. Plus you can generally spot a "new member" with ulterior motives. Not always tho... You know the PM's. Hey Buddy! Do you live near Twin Forks? Maybe we could get together for a stillin' session? I'd Love to learn!
Yes I do distill. No surprise there. The surprise lies in the fact that I have never posted a Pict of a working still, I have never bought anything that can be used to make a working still, and I have 5-6 local police, and sheriff's deputies as customers in my marine business whom have all hung out at the house/shop/new lab, and will all swear what a great guy I am, and there is not nor has there ever been to the best of their knowledge any reason to suspect that I do or have done anything against the law. I can, and will say anything I want to. Internet / Email, whatever.
The article did not address internet "sniffing directly but you all know my opinion on that.
Enough of that soap box... Follow me to a taller one.

Let's just assume for any reason your "home lab" were raided. There are only three major hurdles you would be facing.

One) Scheduled / restricted compounds
Two) Combinations of chemicals / precursors / analogs
Three) Lacking either of the above / zoning / permit issues

Personally my bases are covered. I bought my home on a street that was "future proofed" meaning it is a residential street but it is zoned to allow permitting of commercial businesses.
Our town issues these permits (small fee) as long as you meet the pre requisite guide lines, and have insurance to cover, fire marshal inspection, and permits, and where applicable OSHA certification.

I am permitted by the city to operate my Marine Coatings, and Fiberglass Fabrication business out of my residence.
Part of my business involves researching new methods, and materials pertinent to my industry, and therefore my new 'Lab" is legit.

I posted on another thread that this enables me to order Very large quantities of most anything you can think of (within reason). I order Methylene chloride by the case (4 gal), along with acetone at least once a month. HCL is another (2-3 gal per month), and sulfuric acid is always on hand. (1 gal or so per)

I strongly suggest anyone posting around without the necessary infrastructure to put some real thought into the potential , and or unexpected consequences.
You won't have time to eat all the evidence or flush it down the john like they do in the movies. I would HATE to try to flush 55 gallons of polyepoxides anyway. No time for that!

It's a very valid topic, and I'm happy to see it posted (perhaps you all have seen it 1,000,000,000 times already)

[Edited on 6-2-2015 by Zombie]

Random - 6-2-2015 at 05:02

Freedom and democracy!!

hissingnoise - 6-2-2015 at 05:19

The DEA is seeing its lucrative "weed business" begin to slip its grasp ─ one must wonder which large segment of society they'll target next . . . ?

Praxichys - 6-2-2015 at 05:56

I am not afraid to talk about the lab at work, post YouTube videos, etc. - it's because the spirit of the law is designed to prevent people from being malicious. The law itself might be broken here and there with restricted chemicals or labware, but the reason those laws are in place are to stop people from making drugs and bombs and generally destroying whatever our vision of society is. Since I agree with the spirit of the law, despite laws about ownership of certain chemical combinations designed for symptomatic enforcement of the general idea, I am confident enough that if I do attract government attention, it will only be for the good of all of us. It could shed light on our existence and the legitimacy of our hobby, inducing change in laws to allow the hobby to exist while still preventing drug manufacture, perhaps under our guidance.

Being shady to avoid trouble sort of makes all of us look bad. Maybe the lines between cook and chemist are blurred to the layman because we often exhibit the same behaviors - sneaking around, buying random chemical products from many stores, hiding in basement labs, denouncing and avoiding the law, collaborating online through secure channels...

Some nasty cops, an impatient judge, and an uninformed jury is all that is required to get me behind bars. I find it worth the risk to do what I love, and the worst case scenario is that I end up as an agent of change.

Loptr - 6-2-2015 at 07:29

I have seen references to homes being raided on this forum, and have a couple of questions.

1) How often has this happened?
2) Any idea what caused it?
3) If you feel so inclined, who has been raided? (besides, arkoma)

I work with the government as a contractor for my day job, and have had the privilege of seeing some wreckless and irresponsible things, and frankly, wouldn't trust them with my freedom. They aren't all bad, but I have seen some bad ones.

Varmint - 6-2-2015 at 07:48


I admire your resolve, but I think you've got the "law" wrong. The actual enforcement personell's intent is not to prevent the malicious, it's to see if anyone can be placed in the malicious category by any means possible. Now that might sound conspiracy lunatic-ish, but the fact is, no one likes to make a mistake, it's human nature.

First, time was spent seeing if anything was going on. In all probability, any possible evidence was peer, then supervisor approved. Then, if it passed the department "sniff test", and if they are playing the game right, an order to come knocking was requested.

The first person gathering info wants to be right before he shares it for peer review. The group of two or more peers (in most cases) will want to be sure the information warrants escallation to the supervisor. The supervisor will want to be dead certain before he escalates it, and so on. Each person in the chain has a vested interest in being right, because a mistake looks bad, make too many any you have no credibiity.

So, if they find a reason to come knocking, they will, with clear conscious and perfect resolve, find some way to make their trip "worthwhile". Take a look at any police action. If they can, they will hit you with multiple charges so that at least one "sticks".

If you thought the law was to protect and serve, I'm sorry, but those days are long gone, they disappeared about the time "zero tolerance" entered the vernacular. You see a law on the books does no good if it actually manages to prevent anything, the success is in the number of arrests.

And that's the point. No legislator will be able to trumpet his or her achievements by pointing to a chart showing the decline in a behavior meant to be discouraged by their legislation. No, the progress, the rule by which these sorts of things are measured is the number of arrests and whenever possible, convictions.

The trouble is, most laws don't achieve anything they hope to. Make it illegal to carry guns into convenience stores? Only the law abiding will adhere to the rule of law, the criminals, those for who the law is intended to protect against already planned on breaking the law, another one is supposed to bother them in any way? No, that law would measure its success by the number of normally law abiding who either forgot they were carrying, or made the conscious decision that the law is unconstitutional (it is) and decided their ability to defend themselves outweighed the risk of getting caught. In other words, they became criminals by their own choice so far as the law is concerned, yet the ones the law was "intended" to affect simply don't care because they wanted that gun to perform a robbery, not for self protection, and they quite like knowing no one else is supposed to be armed either.

Yeah, you go ahead and "trust" they are only looking for the"bad guys". But please don't be surprized when they find the means to make you one of the bad guys after all.

Loptr - 6-2-2015 at 07:54

I have to agree with you, Varmint.

I think you put that very well, and the intent is not necessarily bad, but comes from place of protecting ones ass; human nature.

Chemosynthesis - 6-2-2015 at 09:13

Agreed on the public apathy.

I am less worried about the DEA itself than I am the prospect of the DEA SOD using constructive intent to lie to judges and prosecutors, or masking a bust with local law enforcement... who has rather famously destroyed extremely expensive labs in one instance. I brought this up with a couple people in the DEA or on task forces, and aside from the whole lying to the other hand and illegal spying issue, their self assurance didn't cover city/town/county police, code enforcement, or whoever might want a shakedown (fees, civil asset forfeiture, etc.)

There is incentive to abuse the system. There is financial incentive from asset forfeiture, statistical incentive for funding arguments even if not brought to trial, and potential personal incentive for other statistics. Even if one level or agency is trustworthy enough now, the risk of being in the news, gossiped about by neighbors, having to pay any kind of legal bill, taking time off work to clear up asset issues.... Why have it? And some jobs, such as those with security clearances, will require spending time on even stupid issues reporting and documenting.

Zombie - 6-2-2015 at 13:46

Exactly why I suggest CYA as your first step. (cover your arse)

[Edited on 6-2-2015 by Zombie]

hurley_dave_jump.jpg - 35kB

morganbw - 7-2-2015 at 04:04

I do not worry about the DEA (federal) but the local drug enforcement in my area is very aggressive. Lots of mom and pops busted each week.
They ignore the Mexican cartel and go for the people who do not know a damn thing about chemistry and are able to make only a few grams of dirty shit for their-selves and possibly a couple of others.
Stupid people who are trying to feed their demon, but in reality only hurt their-selves.

We need to be careful because a lot of useful organics can be tagged as a precursor for drug manufacturer.

It pisses me off a little, there is an experiment I want to do but one of the steps goes through a drug precursor. I haven't come to terms on how to do it with out placing myself in legal jeopardy.