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Author: Subject: It finally happened, the police showed up
DrP
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[*] posted on 25-4-2018 at 02:25


Quote: Originally posted by JJay  
A neighbor got busted for meth a few days ago. Let's just say that the level of police surveillance in the area right now is both disgusting and obvious.



They caught the meth cook though yea? I hear the obvious but, to play advocate a second, what's disgusting about cracking a drug manufacturer? OK - it sucks for the meth producer but it IS the job of the police to survey and arrest these people. I am not sure what you find disgusting about it.







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[*] posted on 25-4-2018 at 03:26


I don't really know who got busted and for what; I know that my closest neighbor was raided, but apparently he has not been charged yet.

By disgusting, I mean truly gross. Some of the suspected cops went so far as to put piles of (probably fake) vomit on the ground next to their positions and pee on the sides of buildings to try to look like homeless people. They wouldn't have stood out particularly, but there were just so many of them. They were obviously working in pairs, they were clean-cut and in-shape, the pairs were awfully racially diverse for street people (not that there's anything wrong with that), they all wore headphones, and one member of every pair wore a standard outfit. I'm sure that the cops are capable of carrying out undercover operations and blending in just fine, but these ones might as well have just worn their uniforms.




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[*] posted on 25-4-2018 at 03:46


It does sound a bit incompetent. :-(

I hope they don't cause you any trouble. Good luck.




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[*] posted on 30-4-2018 at 05:42


Quote: Originally posted by Tdep  
Yay it's my time to tell a story.

I was having breakfast, it was about 1pm (don't judge me) when there's a knock on the door. My dad answers it, I hear some talking before he calls me over. At the door are two policemen and a policewoman (?) all dressed up in uniform.

"Hello, we're from the [local] police service. Customs has notified us that you've been importing some glassware from China. Are you running a clandestine laboratory?"

"ah... no I am not"

"So you're not producing methamphetamines?"

"No"

"So what are you doing then?"

I explain about how i'm doing a chemistry degree and like doing a bit of stuff at home. I offer to show the the lab, they actually seem positively curious. Now, i've often told myself 'the day you don't clean up is the day the police show up' and yes, this was true. My lab looks like a train wreck covered in sulfur and smelling weakly of piss. Actually i'll attach a photo of what they walked into.

They were totally cool with it! I showed them my disulfur dichloride, flipped through my notebook pointing out things like 'electowinning of zinc' and 'perchloric acid production'. They asked what sort of job I wanted. I asked if anything was illegal or I could order it differently to avoid this, and they said no. They all seemed like really nice guys, and barely looked around the lab at all. They were 100% only looking for meth production, as i'd assumed from the very start of setting up my lab. They didn't ask about illegal drug manufacture, they asked about methamphetamines. I didn't mention EM of course but they weren't looking for it.

They got back into their unmarked car, I thanked them for doing this so nicely and being good people. The lead guy joked "yeah man, we're not going to come in and kick your door down. Although I do have a warrant in my pocket had I needed it. And my partner has her camera ready to go if needed" and I noticed for the first time that she was carrying a camera that she hadn't turned on at all, good sign. Also, interestingly, it was a very similar camera to what I use to film everything.

Tl;Dr: 3 police showed up looking for meth because of ebay glassware, happy with backyard science explanation, Australian police are level headed lads.

[Edited on 31-5-2015 by Tdep]

[Edited on 31-5-2015 by Tdep]


My response is to the original post rather than to the discussion which has already taken place. I skimmed through the discussion, but feel that my comments actually apply to the initial post more than the discussion I skimmed through.

I was just curious, how exactly did these police find you? I am curious because I order laboratory equipment and chemicals frequently.

I have never had any issues, likely because I conduct very little chemistry from home, though I do order a good deal to my home address.

Generally I don't worry much about it, I have known and known about individuals who would stupidly order this or that without taking any precautions and who never encountered any problems as a result, for example, Do you remember eleusis?
Quote:

I broke every rule in the book, and I did so knowingly. I ordered glassware from Aldrich with my real name and credit card. I ordered chemicals from all over with my real name and money orders. I had boxes shipped to my parents (and, later, my co-conspirator's). I spent hundreds of hours in the library and posted everything I found that sounded remotely useful to the process of making MDMA. I conducted my experiments in a freakin' apartment complex, of all places, but none of these mistakes got me busted.
https://erowid.org/archive/rhodium/chemistry/eleusis/memoirs...

Granted, this was a long time ago, and I am not saying it's a good idea to just order things carelessly (even if you are performing legitimate chemistry) but it just seems crazy that they would bother a student at home for ordering some glassware, I mean, I fully believe you, it's just crazy. Its ridiculous if you ask me.

Speaking of ridiculous, Did you know that in Texas you need a permit from The Texas Department of Public Safety just to purchase an erlenmeyer flask? ...Let alone other laboratory equipment.

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[*] posted on 30-4-2018 at 06:13


Quote: Originally posted by PhenethylamineMachine  
Speaking of ridiculous, Did you know that in Texas you need a permit from The Texas Department of Public Safety just to purchase an erlenmeyer flask? ...Let alone other laboratory equipment.
Yes, it has been discussed ad nauseum here... The consensus is that nobody seems to care about that law (except Cou), and if the police are even aware of its existence, it isn't enforced. There isn't any record of anyone being convicted of violating it. Pretty much every state has a couple stupid laws that nobody takes seriously.



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PhenethylamineMachine
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[*] posted on 2-5-2018 at 08:12


Quote: Originally posted by Texium (zts16)  
Quote: Originally posted by PhenethylamineMachine  
Speaking of ridiculous, Did you know that in Texas you need a permit from The Texas Department of Public Safety just to purchase an erlenmeyer flask? ...Let alone other laboratory equipment.
Yes, it has been discussed ad nauseum here... The consensus is that nobody seems to care about that law (except Cou), and if the police are even aware of its existence, it isn't enforced. There isn't any record of anyone being convicted of violating it. Pretty much every state has a couple stupid laws that nobody takes seriously.


I have Never been to Texas, and I can't speak from any personal experience, only from what I have read about the law existing. I have not seen the conversations here on the matter, but will skim through them.

... I am somewhat relieved that they are not raiding chemistry students and chemistry enthusiasts just for some simple glass-ware.

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[*] posted on 2-5-2018 at 08:41


Here's a case where a search warrant was obtained with no more evidence than glassware purchases: https://casetext.com/case/united-states-v-settegast




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[*] posted on 2-5-2018 at 15:09


Quote: Originally posted by JJay  
Here's a case where a search warrant was obtained with no more evidence than glassware purchases: https://casetext.com/case/united-states-v-settegast


He was buying 50 liter flasks with heating mantles, he was pretending to be a company that they determined did not exist at a fake address, and he had the stuff shipped cash-on-delivery, which he picked up from a shipping terminal, paying for it with a cashier's check.

A glassware purchase might have been the start of the inquiry, but it was the situation as a whole that got them a search warrant. And the whole thing stank like drug lab IMO.
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[*] posted on 2-5-2018 at 15:40


The business practices used were questionable (ordering anything under a fake name is a bad practice, and I personally never use a business name for anything related to hobby chemistry), but no attempt was made to defraud anyone for anything of value, and I don't think the business practices surrounding the glassware purchases were actually illegal.

Do you think a hobbyist can actually order a 50 L flask?




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[*] posted on 3-5-2018 at 06:09


Quote: Originally posted by JJay  
The business practices used were questionable (ordering anything under a fake name is a bad practice, and I personally never use a business name for anything related to hobby chemistry), but no attempt was made to defraud anyone for anything of value, and I don't think the business practices surrounding the glassware purchases were actually illegal.

Do you think a hobbyist can actually order a 50 L flask?


Sure the hobbyist could...

The practices might not have been illegal, but I can somewhat understand why it drew attention.


...you have to understand, most people don't have a good understanding of chemistry, and it can seem very scary to them, even if it's hobby experimentation.

...gases being released from the lab, proper disposal of chemicals, hazards involving fire, explosion, toxicity or environmental contamination, and so on are very real risks, and the public must trust that these hobby chemists are not placing the environment and the community at risk.

So I can understand why the public is so edgy about this stuff, but charging hobby chemists as criminals? That is definitely crossing a line.

Chemistry is a science which highly benefits the world, and we can not make chemistry, or wanting to practice chemistry illegal. I feel instilling proper ethics, safety protocol, and laboratory practice is a start, but also think that there should be more places where hobby chemists can go to practice their chemistry in a safe and productive manner.

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[*] posted on 3-5-2018 at 17:34


Quote: Originally posted by JJay  

Do you think a hobbyist can actually order a 50 L flask?


https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lab-ball-shape-flask-200L-customizb...

The Chinese will sell you absolutely anything. :-) If I win the lottery I'm getting one of these to keep goldfish in.

More on topic, if you want to take exception to the warrant, the part that does bother me is the DEA expert testifying that the glassware in question was of the sort used by drug labs. True, but not illuminating; it could have a million legitimate uses. In that one regard I think they scammed the judge.

Having said that, though, I do think think the warrant was issued for good cause. The size of the flasks is somewhat suspicious. If that was all they had done, I don't think a warrant would have been issued. But the way it was ordered/purchased (by people who were clearly trying to cover their tracks) is WILDLY suspicious.

[Edited on 4-5-2018 by Reboot]
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[*] posted on 3-5-2018 at 17:48


I've been looking at a 12L flask, but I can't think of anything I would really need it for....



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[*] posted on 4-5-2018 at 22:29


What's interesting on the search warrant case is that it merely initiated a case in federal jurisdiction and Texas didn't even regulate glassware yet.

The federal special surveillance list, which covers lab equipment, didn't go into effect until 1998.
https://www.dps.texas.gov/rsd/Precursor/index.htm
https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/fed_regs/notices/1998/fr1...
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[*] posted on 9-5-2018 at 16:14


In fairness, the defendants were actively in the process of manufacturing illegal drugs when the police kicked in the door. :-) This wasn't an arrest for glassware; that much was perfectly legal. The glassware purchase is just what first drew police interest. (And again, it was a very suspicious purchase under very suspicious circumstances.)
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[*] posted on 9-5-2018 at 16:38


Eh, phenylacetone isn't really an illegal drug even though it is regulated as one in the U.S. I'm not so naive as to think that they were using it to flavor a delicious new fruit punch, but I don't think any actual drugs were found.



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