Instant Cold Packs Used in Meth Production

By Jayna Smith 

Calais Police Department was recently contacted by a local business after staff became suspicious of an increase in cold pack purchases.   Sergeant Matt Vinson stated, "We received a call that people have been buying large quantities of cold packs, and we recognize many of the names of the purchasers."

Sergeant Vinson told The Calais Advertiser that instant cold packs are now being used to make methamphetamine, or "crystal meth."  Using the ammonium nitrate found in the cold packs allows for an easier and quicker method of producing methamphetamine.  "The contents are dumped into a soda bottle or some type of small container with other ingredients including pseudoephedrine to make meth in as little time as an hour," he said.  This method is commonly referred to as the "one-pot" or "shake and bake."  

According to Roy McKinney, Director of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency (MDEA), who spoke with The Calais Advertiser in January, preliminary methamphetamine manufacturing-related numbers for 2014 show there were 28 lab seizures and 8 dump sites. That's an increase from the 20 lab busts in Maine during 2013 and 14 in 2012.  McKinney reported that all clandestine manufacturing of methamphetamine seized by Maine law enforcement in 2014 was produced using the one-pot or shake and bake method. 

Because these small-scale operations often use items such a soda bottles that can easily be transported, the bottles are often discarded on the side of the road, leaving toxic and/or flammable chemicals with them. These one-pot labs can be carried in bags, suitcases, backpacks, and can be located nearly anywhere, according to the Maine Office of Substance Abuse.


Calais Police Department continues to take steps to eradicate the area's growing drug problem and any help from the public would be greatly appreciated.  As always, the tip line can be used and callers will remain anonymous:  454-8730.