JUNEAU - Anhydrous ammonia was the ingredient of choice for a methamphetamine laboratory raided in Juneau in December, and it is becoming more and more popular in Southeast, said Sgt. Ray Culbreth, head of the Southeast Alaska Narcotics Enforcement Team.
The illegal drug methamphetamine can be produced with different recipes. "Anhydrous ammonia is a terrible substance in that it basically seeks water or moisture, and it is caustic. It seeks out your eyes, your ears, your throat, your skin. It causes bad chemical burns," Culbreth said. "If you inhale enough of it, it can kill you."
Producing methamphetamine with anhydrous ammonia is called the Nazi method, said local attorney David Mallett, "because Germany used it during World War II. They gave it to their troops to keep them fighting the Russians."
"It affects your brain. Both the lab and the product are deadly," Mallett said.
Culbreth warned local residents about touching propane cylinders, because the cylinders can be used by criminals for storing ammonia. "If you see propane cylinders and no one is heating with propane and they're not barbecuing on weekends, don't touch it. Don't tamper with it because of its volatility."
Suspicious cylinders should be reported to police or SEANET at 586-0651, Culbreth advised.