Halton Regional Police Service
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Halton Police

Clandestine Lab Indicators

Clandestine laboratories are illicit operations consisting of apparatuses and chemicals used in the production of a controlled substance.

A clandestine laboratory can be very sophisticated in nature or very primitive in its construction (i.e. addiction-based labs). In either case, clandestine laboratories are very dangerous and volatile to anyone in the vicinity.

Clandestine Laboratory Indicators:

Clandestine laboratories can be located in any environment, ranging from an elaborate industrial setup to small, mobile, 'suitcase' operations. These labs can be located in rural or urban areas or anywhere detection is difficult.

The following Clandestine Laboratory Indicators are provided by the Halton Regional Police Service Integrated Drug, Gun and Gang Unit to help members of the public identify such operations in their neighbourhoods.

You are reminded not to put yourself in any compromising position to obtain information about a clandestine laboratory or other criminal activity.


  • Neighbours with blacked-out windows
  • Deterioration of property/lack of upkeep
  • Renters who pay cash
  • Frequent traffic to the residence (ins and outs)
  • Unusual amounts of clear glass containers being moved into the residence/place
  • Excessive amounts of garbage/trash
  • Evidence of chemical containers being stored outside the premises
  • Compressed gas cylinders outside of the residence/place
  • Excessive and/or discoloured propane tanks (brass fitting turns green or blue)
  • Unusual or strong chemical odours or similar smell, including:
    • Cat urine
    • Ether
    • Ammonia
    • Acetone
    • Black liquorice
  • Evidence of essential elements required for a clandestine laboratory:
    • Ventilation
    • Cold water (for cooling reactions and evaporation)
    • Electricity to power elements, pumps, fans, etc.

To provide information or tips related to a suspected clandestine laboratory, contact:
905-825-4747 ext. 8732

Members of the public can also provide anonymous tips through Crime Stoppers.