17 dos and don’ts for handling meth precursors

Submitted by:
PoliceOne Senior Editor Doug Wyllie


In light of a recent record-breaking 15-ton methamphetamine bust in Guadalajara, Mexico — and the on-going proliferation of meth users and manufacturers nationwide — it’s important for officers everywhere to remember the extreme dangers associated with encounters not only with the drug itself, those under its influence and those cooking it, but with the pre-cursor chemicals used to make it. When you encounter known Meth precursors — or any unknown/suspicious substances for that matter — remember these do’s and don’ts.


1.) Take a whiff.
2.) Put a little on your finger and take a taste (yes, that does happen!).
3.) Put your eye close to the opening of a bottle or other container to get a closer look at what’s inside.
4.) Shake bottles or cans full of liquid.
5.) Smoke nearby.
6.) Stay in an area filled with strong odors for a prolonged period of time.
7.) Touch any substances or glass, potentially tainted cookware or storage containers with your bare hands. That includes scrapping off residue with your bare finger or fingernail to read a label it might be covering.
8.) Open suspicious containers that are sealed closed.
9.) Place glass containers in positions that could result in breakage.
10.) Transport suspicious chemicals in your trunk or back seat.
11.) Let a K9 lick or smell chemicals or containers at a known or likely cook site.


1.) Get Haz-Mat in whenever possible
2.) Handle the encounter as one that could be explosive — because could be!
3.) Remember that you can encounter Meth and Meth-related chemicals virtually anywhere... in big cities, small towns, during vehicle stops, in visits to hotel rooms, in any house, moving truck, or motor home, etc.
4.) Contain the area effectively and limit the number of people who have access to the scene.
5.) Use the best protective gear you can find if you absolutely must handle things at the scene.
6.) Remain alert for booby traps at the cook site.

One final thought.  If you happen along 15 tons of Meth in your jurisdiction, notify Mexican authorities immediately — they may have misplaced their haul!  I’m kidding, of course… sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

Stay safe out there my friends.

Doug Wyllie is Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, responsible for setting the editorial direction of the website and managing the planned editorial features by our roster of expert writers. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 900 feature articles and tactical tips on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community.

On a daily basis, Doug is in close personal contact with some of the top subject-matter experts in law enforcement, regularly tapping into the world-class knowledge of officers and trainers from around the United States, and working to help spread that information and insight to the hundreds of thousands of officers who visit PoliceOne every month.

Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Even in his "spare" time, he is active in his support for the law enforcement community, contributing his time and talents toward police-related charitable events as well as participating in force-on-force training, search-and-rescue training, and other scenario-based training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

Contact Doug Wyllie

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