Explosive Chemicals Being Dumped in Area Woods

By: Sabrina Wu
By: Sabrina Wu

Agents with the state's Department of Justice Division of Narcotics Enforcement say there has been an increase in methamphetamine related activity in North-Central Wisconsin.

"In the past week we've had five meth-related incidents that our agency has responded to in the central Wisconsin area," said Special Agent David Forsythe, "including Marathon County up to Vilas County and up to Taylor County."

Forsythe said the increase in the number of meth labs in northcentral Wisconsin is leaving behind hazardous by-products in area woods and other public areas.

Forsythe says they have received reports of discarded propane tanks, filled with anhydrous ammonia, being dumped in the woods. Anhydrous ammonia is commonly used in fertilizer, and is illegally stored in propane tanks to manufacture meth. These tanks can explode on contact, and with gun-deer season scheduled to start Nov. 23, this places hunters in danger.

"Our concern is that some young, new hunter or anyone that's out there is going to see a tank, kinda kick it over see what it is, and these things can kind of become a torpedo and just go shooting off," said Forsythe. "[It] could easily take somebody's head off, easily could kill somebody."

The valves on these propane tanks turn blue from the corrosive effects of the anhydrous ammonia. People who suspect a meth lab or dump in their area, are urged not to go near it. Authorities say to call local law enforcement right away, or contact the DOJ-DNE Drug Tip-Line at 1(800) 622-3784

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Fast Facts About Meth

  • Methamphetamine use among high school seniors more than doubled between 1990 and 1996.

  • Women are more likely to use meth than cocaine.

  • The average meth "cook" annually teaches ten others how to make meth.

  • Every pound of meth produced leaves behind five to six pounds of toxic waste.

  • Seizures of clandestine meth labs in the Midwest increased tenfold from 1995 to 1997.

  • Methamphetamine accounts for up to 90 percent of all drug cases in many Midwest communities.

  • Methamphetamine kills by causing heart failure, brain damage and stroke.

  • Methamphetamine-induced paranoia has led to numerous murders and suicides.

  • Methamphetamine produces hallucinations.

  • Meth users are the hardest to treat of all drug users.

  • Meth lab site cleanups can cost up to $150,000.

  • Methamphetamine is highly addictive.

  • Meth use increases risk of child abuse and neglect and domestic violence.

Many people may be unaware that they're living near a meth lab. Here are some things to look for:

  • Unusual, strong odors (like cat urine, ether, ammonia, acetone or other chemicals).
  • Residences with windows blacked out.
  • Renters who pay their landlords in cash. (Most drug dealers trade exclusively in cash.)
  • Lots of traffic - people coming and going at unusual times.
  • There may be little traffic during the day, but at night the activity increases dramatically.
  • Excessive trash including large amounts of items such as: antifreeze containers, lantern fuel cans, red chemically stained coffee filters, drain cleaner and duct tape.
  • Unusual amounts of clear glass containers being brought into the home.

Source: www.kci.org [Koch Crime Institute]


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