Police discovered  a clandestine drug laboratory in Lismore Heights last July. A man has now been charged with cocaine manufacture. Photo Mireille Merlet-Shaw / Northern Star
Police discovered a clandestine drug laboratory in Lismore Heights last July. A man has now been charged with cocaine manufacture. Photo Mireille Merlet-Shaw / Northern Star Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Seven signs you’re living next to a drug den

Strange odours emanating from the property: The production of illicit drugs such as methylamphetamine (ice) uses highly toxic chemicals. The reactions produce strong fumes. Smells to be aware of include ammonia, acetone, acid and solvents.

 

Diverted electricity: The production and cultivation of drugs can require large amounts of electricity.

 

Drug Raid Nimbin Stony Chute Road 21 plants retrieved, two buckets cannabis resin, Richmond Local Area Command Action Group . Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Drug Raid Nimbin Stony Chute Road 21 plants retrieved, two buckets cannabis resin, Richmond Local Area Command Action Group . Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

Chemical containers and waste: The chemicals used in the manufacture of methylamphetamine are highly toxic and can cause serious damage to health, even death is a person is exposed to them. These chemicals are often stored on site. Some of the chemicals to look out for include Hypophosphorous acid, Hydriodic acid, Hydrochloric acid, Phenylacetic acid, Formamide, Acetic Anhydride, Sodium Acetate, Iodine, Red Phosphorous, Acetone, Toluene, Methylated spirits in large quantities.

 

Blacked out windows: Plastic or cloth sheeting is often placed over the windows to conceal operations and block out the powerful lighting that is frequently on at all hours (hydroponic cannabis).

 

Police investigating drug supply in the Lismore area have dismantled a clandestine drug laboratory in Lismore Heights thursday afternoon. Police from the Chemical Operations Unit with the assistance of NSW Fire & Rescue HAZMAT officers, are examining the premises. Photo Mireille Merlet-Shaw / Northern Star
Police investigating drug supply in the Lismore area have dismantled a clandestine drug laboratory in Lismore Heights thursday afternoon. Police from the Chemical Operations Unit with the assistance of NSW Fire & Rescue HAZMAT officers, are examining the premises. Photo Mireille Merlet-Shaw / Northern Star Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Hoses and pipes in strange places: Hydroponic cannabis requires powerful lighting and a constant water supply. The toxic fumes created by methylamphetamine production require a well ventilated environment not commonly found in residential residences.

 

Blinds down, with extremely bright indoor lighting radiating through gaps: Used to block out the powerful lighting that is frequently on at all hours (hydroponic cannabis).

 

 

High Street home in Lismore Heights, where police seized homemade guns and drugs. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star
High Street home in Lismore Heights, where police seized homemade guns and drugs. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star Cathy Adams

Vehicles arriving at odd hours: Watch for frequent short visits by different cars at any time of the day or night - darkness provides more cover. Be suspicious of vehicles with obscured or absent number plates. Be aware also of vehicles delivering containers of chemicals, gas cylinders and lab equipment to residential premises.

Source: NSW Police



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