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Author: Subject: To my fellow Australians: Police and Glassware shipments
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To my fellow Australians: Police and Glassware shipments

Just yesterday I was visited by two Officers from my local police department (I live in Melbourne), inquiring about glassware I purchased online. I had bought glassware before but it seems they only heard about an order placed 4 months earlier that was flagged by customs (500ml round bottom flask 24/40).

They had done a full background check with all the other nonsense and only wanted to know what I do with the glassware and to see it (presumably to ensure I wasn't selling it on to clandestine cooks). The ordeal was over with after 10 minutes but I thought I should inform other amateur chemists in Australia of the possibility of being visited.

It seems that around 1/5 glassware shipments get flagged by customs and the police will give you a visit when they get the opportunity to, so a word of advice: keep your glassware storage clean, be able to show you use the glassware for yourself and obviously, keep it legal.

I'm interested to know how many of you here have had a similar experience with the local authorities, primarily in Australia.

I know people have probably posted hundreds of these but here's my experience.
gdflp
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5-12-2017 at 06:42
learningChem
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So how do you like living in a police state?
aga
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They pay a visit and if the recipient isn't a gun-toting maniac who can calmly explain what they are doing, they seem to end up OK.

It is a bit crazy to investigate online glassware purchases, but if that's all you got to go on, i applaud the Oz Police for following it up, and being sensible with clearly non-offenders.

It appears as though they take their drug addiction problems seriously, and also the freedoms of their people.

diddi
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crystal meth in au is causing enormous problems, both from a health outcomes and criminal point of view. i dont mind being raided if it helps remove the scourge of drugs destroying peoples lives.

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violet sin
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Just watched the drugs.Inc show on ausie ice... Crazy talk man, crazy. Dude shot up 0.15g in one go and stayed up for a week straight. Then back to the ATM for $from welfare check... And holy shit it's expensive there. Here it is cheap and available for those who choose to poison themselves. Still bought from welfare checks... That stuff is the devil. Chemetix National Hazard Posts: 369 Registered: 23-9-2016 Location: Oztrayleeyah Member Is Offline Mood: Wavering between lucidity and madness The whole Ice thing is a bit of a red herring really, yes there are some who just go nuts and wreck themselves but the drug testing of the sewerage system tells a more complete story. For one, the stuff is everywhere, as the amount of doses going into the water treatment system would suggest. This excerpt from an ABC news article on Perth's population is instructive: West Australians are using about two tonnes of methamphetamine each year with a street value of$2 billion, wastewater tests have revealed.The State Government announced plans to test sewage for the drug last year, with raw samples from three Perth treatment facilities being sent to the University of South Australia for analysis.The initial 12-month results show 31.6 kilograms of methamphetamine is being consumed in the metropolitan area each week, or 1.6 tonnes annually.Acting deputy police commissioner Michelle Fyfe said the findings were not unexpected, but were still shocking."These tests provide us with a level of data that we have not previously had. It is scientifically proven, it is peer-reviewed and it is accurate," she said.

That's 31.6 kg. in a 2.0 million population per week.
Either everyone is on it and consuming 15.8mg per week. Or, as census figures show that about 7% of people have used it. Assuming they are all regulars then that's 140,000 people using 225 mg per person per week. Or 32mg per day
Active dose is 3-10mg so 140 000 people using 3 times the active dose should be pretty bad right? the other factor is that there are more people using it than they admit in any survey, so they aren't taking 3 times the active dose, there is probably more like 10-15% of the population using it at any one time. There is more likely some people taking more and most taking less of the calculated 3 times active dose.
If ice is as bad as it's made out to be in the media....where's the zombie apocalypse?

Only a small number by percentage go on to develop a complete meltdown from abusing it over a long period. I'm not advocating more use it but, the black market with no restrictions or checks and balances is not creating a pandemic of destruction.

And the other point to be made is that back-yarders with a 1 lt flask and a mantle are not supplying the 31.6 kg per week to the people of Perth. It's obviously coming from well organised syndicates with high level connections that allow imports from Asian mega laboratories to get in.
A certain Mark Standen is one of the very few to get caught and shows just how high the levels of involvement actually go.

The AFP know this but the only thing that gets votes and social kudos is colourful arrests on a few small back yard labs with massive overkill show of force by law enforcement with their new paramilitary toys.

Later edit I buggered up the calc for the daily usage of 7% of the population, edited this to the correct figure.

[Edited on 12-12-2017 by Chemetix]

[Edited on 12-12-2017 by Chemetix]
learningChem
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 Quote: Originally posted by aga It appears as though they take their drug addiction problems seriously, and also the freedoms of their people.

Yes it's clear that the australian police state takes very seriously the task of destroying the freedoms of 'their' people, better described as their subjects.

DraconicAcid
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 Quote: Originally posted by learningChem Yes it's clear that the australian police state takes very seriously the task of destroying the freedoms of 'their' people, better described as their subjects.

Since Hade hasn't reported being dragged off to jail for possession of chemical-related glassware, I'd say your statement is rather idiotic hyperbole.

Please remember: "Filtrate" is not a verb.
Write up your lab reports the way your instructor wants them, not the way your ex-instructor wants them.
Reboot
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 Quote: Active dose is 3-10mg so 140 000 people using 3 times the active dose should be pretty bad right?

Well...active dose is 'we see some mental effects' in non-tolerant users. For a surprising number of people, amphetamines are kind of a morning cup of coffee thing; they dose up in the morning, maybe a bump again in the early afternoon. It gets them through the day, through work, through looking after the kids, etc. They develop high tolerances in the process; 10-30 mg a day of meth in a regular user probably wouldn't have that much of an effect.

I'm really delighted by the sewer sampling work; it's always been a struggle to get robust data on drug use. A lot of people won't admit to it when surveyed.

learningChem
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 Quote: I'd say your statement is rather idiotic hyperbole.

and you'd be entitled to your idiotic opinion
aga
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Is a Hyper Bole like the Super Bowl but bigger ?

NEMO-Chemistry
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Quote: Originally posted by learningChem
 Quote: I'd say your statement is rather idiotic hyperbole.

and you'd be entitled to your idiotic opinion

Just a tiny point, Your statement was called idiotic and not you personally. Your response however was directed personally at a member, now there is stuff about this in the terms you didnt read (few of us have), but the forum on the forum is respect and no personal attacks.

Your new here, so advice is reign it in a bit and be respectful until you at least have a handle on the culture here.
DraconicAcid
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 Quote: Originally posted by NEMO-Chemistry Just a tiny point, Your statement was called idiotic and not you personally. Your response however was directed personally at a member, now there is stuff about this in the terms you didnt read (few of us have), but the forum on the forum is respect and no personal attacks.

To be technical, he called my opinion idiotic, which is as fair as my calling his statement idiotic.

Please remember: "Filtrate" is not a verb.
Write up your lab reports the way your instructor wants them, not the way your ex-instructor wants them.
diddi
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i would not have considered victoria a police state. the social problems caused by 'ice' usage are well documented and very evident in crime statistics. there is also a shocking prevalence of drug misuse in rural communities which is difficult to treat due to a lack of resources and a NIMBY approach to rehab clinics in small towns. i have friends who grandson has been in trouble with the law due to 'ice' usage which he began when he was given it at his local under age AFL football club. the only help is available 200km away (when he gets to the top of the waiting list) and who knows how many years away.

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NEMO-Chemistry
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Quote: Originally posted by DraconicAcid
 Quote: Originally posted by NEMO-Chemistry Just a tiny point, Your statement was called idiotic and not you personally. Your response however was directed personally at a member, now there is stuff about this in the terms you didnt read (few of us have), but the forum on the forum is respect and no personal attacks.

To be technical, he called my opinion idiotic, which is as fair as my calling his statement idiotic.

Hmmm
Cant say anything...just read some my posts! I am no English expert init .

DrManhattan
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Was your glassware checked by international customs or was it purchased domestically in Australia?
NeonPulse
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i have on two occasions had visits from the law about imported glass. imports are far cheaper and easier to obtain. if you are prepared to pay a fortune and hand in an EUD detailing your purchase and use plus have only a smaller selection of glass including being only able to buy flat bottomed flasks then it's all good.
the attraction of the cheaper, hassle free approach is obviously more attractive to both criminals and hobbyists alike and the cops aren't to know who is who in the zoo so i guess they have to check up.

My first visit was actually the first glass i bought which was a 1l distillation setup and it was easy- they just asked my use, sighted the clean glass and left. i had amassed quite a collection in the time before my second visit with many flasks, fittings, condensers and other chemistry related items and there is no way that it went unnoticed by authorities. it was about 3 years later in may last year that two detectives paid me a visit and they were much more interested in my uses basically demanding to know what i used a selection of randomly chosen glass for and spent a considerable amount of time examining my chemical collection all the time telling me they could get a chemist out to look at everything to verify it was OK.
they did several times mention that i had all the basic chemical combinations to make meth like the HCl, NaOH, MeOH, iodine, H3PO4 and the glass to do it.
looking at it from their point they just couldn't grasp why anybody would have all this stuff lawfully and want to do chemistry as a hobby with no ill intent.
eventually they left satisfied that i was not up to no good with a warning to stop buying glass from overseas and to get rid of the iodine. luckily it was ampouled and labelled for my element collection. funnily enough they showed me a copy of the offending items to warrant that visit- a 2 neck flat bottom 250ml flask and a 24/29 50ml erlenmeyer.
most aussie guys here have had that visit im sure.

Where there is a will
there is a way.

AllCheMystery!
Magpie
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I find these visits by the police in Australia to be disturbing. I realize governments must inspect items coming across their borders but does that mean they also have the right to inspect their homes and personal effects?

In the US we have the 4th amendment to our Constitution which states: "The right of people to be secure in their persons , houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Don't Australians have similar rights?

[Edited on 16-12-2017 by Magpie]

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JJay
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In the United States, police may engage in some forms of lawful surveillance to try to obtain the information necessary to obtain a warrant. I have noticed police observation in the past and have discussed some of it here, although I usually avoid doing so in great detail because I feel it makes me sound like a stark raving paranoid loon, and of course they have never found any evidence of wrongdoing. Although it is difficult to prove, glassware imports in the U.S. appear to me to be strongly linked to police observation. From what I've read, it looks like purchases of listed chemicals in the U.S. are linked to knock and talk police visits similar to visits conducted by the Australian police over glassware imports.

WangleSpong5000
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Australia has very strict border controls in general due to the potentially disastrous reprocrussions of any foreign organic materials messing with our ecosystem. About 7 years ago I brought some coffee and a very small amount of diazepam from Thailand and Cambodia into the country... they couldn't have given two shits about the diazepam but went absolutely mental about the coffee! I copped a hefty fine for the coffee which is understandable... it was a stupid thing to do. We also have a large Chinese population in Oz and the older generations love thier wierd and wonderful concoctions... watch any border patrol/customs television program and 95% is Chinese people getting in trouble for bringing in all sorts of stuff lol.

Now due to the already airtight borders its no real stretch for law enforcement to easily montiter other things... such as glassware. After all they're already watching and with good cause but unfortunately this spills over into other areas that have nothing to do with quarantine. Now I bought all my kit from an Australian supplier, filled in the EUD and have not had one visit but seeing the results from other Australians on this board I can be certain of a visit at some time in the future as my hobby is beginning to become active and due to the incrediblely restrictive costs involved with buying everything from home it seems likely that I will be buying things from overseas.

The thing is, rights in Oz are a tenuous thing... freedom of speech is by implication only ie its not explicitly garenteed like in the States. And what does that mean? It means we don't really have it if you ask me. What this means for our other rights I can't be certain but it doesn't bode well I think. It's true the Aussie law enforcement seems more pragmatic when it's comes to hobby chemists getting a visit and this is a good thing... what's not so good is them knocking on ones door in the first place.

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Okay, so I read through this and a few other threads on glassware laws down there, but am still confused on the details:

Some guy in NSW wants to buy some of my glassware from here in the US, and it's not exactly small stuff.
A couple of 500ml powder funnels &etc, it's gonna be over \$300 US.

But powder addition funnels aren't actually on the list I found for NSW. I saw no addition funnels at all on there.

So He's okay without the EUD?

I assume it's his problem and not mine if it's confiscated, but I don't want that to happen.

And IS it his problem? If customs seizes it, somebody's gonna be out money, and although I don't want it to be him, I sure don't want it to be me either.

I want to help this person out, but I'd really like to be confident I'm not setting him, or me, up for trouble without knowing it.

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Mood: Possessor of a tidy and organised lab. Now to mess it up again.

EUD paperwork is internal to Aus. It does not apply unless you are an australian business. So don't worry about that.
Importing is done at his risk. Police checks are more focussed on what you are doing than what you've got. Confiscations are rare.
You might want to communicate with your purchaser on exactly what you put on the customs declaration. There is also some sense in splitting the order over two packages: watched glass in one package and innocuous stuff in the other. Sep funnels, condensers, 50mL flasks, splash heads are watched. Powder funnels are not. However a large amount of jointware > 24mm will probably attract attention. Nothing is illegal to own. Everything is x-rayed. Some things will be checked; usually via a follow-up police visit.

JJay
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Long story short - years ago, we had this temp at work who seemed way overqualified... he had a master's degree and another job doing finance at a fabrication firm and was working as a janitor and looked like he worked out. If you imagine what you think an undercover cop probably looks like, that is what he looked like - too big, clean-cut and muscular (I can of course tell you exactly what he looked like, but I'm intentionally smudging the details). We got to talking, and I started asking about getting some waste chemicals from his other workplace. He asked what I would want them for. I told him that I do amateur chemistry.

At that point, the tone of the conversation changed 100%. He took this very angry tone and told me that he was an undercover cop assigned to investigate me and that I'd better not try doing anything.

I was a little at a loss for words and told him he didn't have anything to worry about. He definitely looked like a cop, but I couldn't believe an undercover cop would blow his cover like that. He never showed up again.

[Edited on 6-2-2018 by JJay]

Reboot
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Oh, hey, that was you! Small world.

Kidding, of course, though I have been accused of being an undercover cop for probably similar reasons of appearance. In my limited experience undercover cops tend to look like druggy scumbags, which makes a lot more sense.

If he actually was investigating you, I suspect he reacted that way because he was done with the investigation and figured you were probably harmless but wanted to put a scare in you just in case on the way out the door. :-)

That being said, I do think it's unlikely he was really a cop investigating you. There are much more routine methods for a suspected cook (like picking up their trash, monitoring deliveries, monitoring traffic to your home, etc.) Unless...you did something to provoke a potential terrorism/explosives investigation? That might bring somebody to your workplace.
roXefeller
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Wow JJay. That's almost too much to believe. You must be high profile to deserve your own undercover detail. Hard for me to wrap my head around. I've got a US FEL but my biggest fear is someone will mistake my work for a drug lab. Occasionally I'll forgo a reagent just because it too close to a precursor listing.
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 Sciencemadness Discussion Board » Non-chemistry » Legal and Societal Issues » To my fellow Australians: Police and Glassware shipments Select A Forum Fundamentals   » Chemistry in General   » Organic Chemistry   » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition   » Beginnings   » Responsible Practices   » Miscellaneous   » The Wiki Special topics   » Technochemistry   » Energetic Materials   » Biochemistry   » Radiochemistry   » Computational Models and Techniques   » Prepublication Non-chemistry   » Forum Matters   » Legal and Societal Issues