Buying Chemicals, Glassware and Lab equipment
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This first part won't be of any use to the non-Americans, but there are probably enough American bees out there to keep it from being a waste of time. I hope that a lot of people can benefit from the "how to buy" parts in the second half of this message, no matter what their nationality. On with the show!
Where the pigs are
The US federal regulations relating to the purchase of chemicals and laboratory equipment/glassware are not difficult to find, but more than a bit ambiguous when you do find them. I've been surfing the web for a few days now, and have found many interesting things. Some of you probably know this stuff. Others probably don't. For those that don't, here's my compilation:
First, let's look at what the DOJ means by List I and List II chemicals. This is in 21USC Sec. 802. That's the US Code, and you can search and read it yourself at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/aaces002.html
From the US Code, current as of 1998:
(33) The term ``listed chemical'' means any list I chemical or any list II chemical.
(34) The term ``list I chemical'' means a chemical specified by regulation of the Attorney General as a chemical that is used in manufacturing a controlled substance in violation of this subchapter and is important to the manufacture of the controlled substances, and such term includes (until otherwise specified by regulation of the Attorney General, as considered appropriate by the Attorney General or upon petition to the Attorney General by any person) the following:
(A) Anthranilic acid, its esters, and its salts.
(35) The term ``list II chemical'' means a chemical (other than a list I chemical) specified by regulation of the Attorney General as a chemical that is used in manufacturing a controlled substance in violation of this subchapter, and such term includes (until otherwise specified by regulation of the Attorney General, as considered appropriate by the Attorney General or upon petition to the Attorney General by any person) the following chemicals:
(A) Acetic anhydride.
[back to igor]
That's it for the definitions of what constitutes a List I or a List II chemical. Analysis of further information follows.
"The reporting of a suspicious order is required by the Controlled
Substances Act and is of primary importance to DEA in limiting the availability
of listed chemicals in the illicit traffic. Each regulated person is
most familiar with its customers and the circumstances surrounding the
orders it processes. The chemical industry must use its best judgment
in identifying suspicious orders.
As you can see, a lot of stuff can be suspicious. If you're going to buy stuff from a distributor then don't be a stupid jerk. Meet these requirements so you won't screw it up for the rest of the people ordering from them. For example, if you shiftily ask for large quantities of acetamide, and want to pay cash, then a smart source will report it. (If they don't, and if they OR you are caught, they could face a sentence of up to 20 years in prison for what the DOJ perceives as their recklessness.) So they report it, the DEA comes knocking on your door, and then they might do an audit of the supplier because he was stupid enough to sell it to you.
Or say you were smart enough to be professional and cooperative with the chemical supplier, but the DEA busts up your lab and finds receipts (credit card statement, purchase order, invoice, whatever) tying you back to that supplier. Well, guess what? You might have just fucked several unwitting bees who were smart enough to be inconspicuous to the business owner, but who are still on file at that business as having purchased potentially suspicious chemicals. Thanks a lot, dumbass. There will be a long line of angry bees waiting outside your cell to hit you with a lead pipe once you're inside. And I hope that you enjoy being brutally raped by psychopaths who are mildly bitter about facing a lifetime incarceration.
More Advice on the Act of Buying Stuff
Many of the chemical/glassware companies that sell to private individuals realize that some (many?) of their customers are buying stuff for use in clandestine drug manufacture. They probably don't want to report you. Don't give them a reason to. In fact, try to make them think that it was insane of them to ever suspect you in the first place. ("He was such a nice boy!")
Be courteous, knowledgeable and professional on the telephone. Burn your receipts. Scrape labels off of chemical bottles and burn them, too. Dispose of containers where no one will ever pay attention to them, like in a dumpster in the city public use landfill. (But be environmentally conscious at the same time.) Be smart about receiving chemicals. You know the drill. Don't fuck it up for everyone else. This is not a joke. By being careless, you could inadvertently send a bunch of people to jail, not the least of which being the guy who owns the chemical supply business. See Dick Drug. See Dick Fuck Up. See Dick Die at the hands of Bubba the Child Molester. Don't be a Dick.
What do I think about buying chemicals? The best advice I've found is by POPeye, and it is archived at Rhodium's site:
I am totally, irrationally paranoid about being caught, and I usually proceed accordingly. Here's the trade-off: provide as few clues as possible to your real identity, but remain inconspicuous. For what it's worth, I might not have any experience with the actual manufacture of drugs, but dammit, I have bought so much stuff (some of it suspicious, and some of it from big time suppliers, too, not just the companies that sell to individuals) that I have a good bit of experience pulling off my purchases.
All you have to do is apply some common sense to what you're doing, and know enough about your reputed subject to fool the average person taking and filling the orders at a chemical supply company. Know how to pronounce a chemical before you ask for it. Know correct pronunciations of words like "isomer", "carbonyl", "claisen adapter" and "ketone." This shit comes up. Seriously.
Be able to spout off your SSN, driver's license number, street address, business name/phone/address, birth date, etc., immediately upon being asked. And don't just make them up on the spot. Have them (fake or real, whatever) memorized. If you're picking up in person, print up some business cards and take them along with your PO and fake ID.
Other things: when purchasing chemicals, don't let on that you know
anything about the processes related to clandestine manufacture. Pick
a legitimate area of organic/medical chemistry or chemical engineering
research -- how about pesticides, improved delivery of orally administered
drugs, solubility variations with temperature and pressure? Know where
you got "your" under-graduate degree and maybe "your"
graduate degree. Know when "you" graduated. And don't pick
a big school, either. Pick a smaller university in another part of the
country, because if you don't, then Murphy's Law says that the person
to whom you are speaking will have attended the same big school that
you did, and
Did you learn a really believable Australian accent by watching Paul Hogan, a good Massachusetts accent from old videotapes of JFK, or a great Belfast accent from your granny? Hmm. That might be useful. But if you're going international, you'd better know something about where "you" came from, then. Referring to a Scottish or Irish person as English could cause him to put his fist down your throat. Koreans are not Chinese. Perth is on the west coast of Australia, Sydney and Melbourne are on the east. People who live in San Francisco will often call SF "the city" in conversation. Cambridge and Boston are not the same town. Orange County is not LA, at least not to people who live in LA. Dallas and Fort Worth have individual identities; people in Forth Worth DO NOT live in Dallas, and God help you if you think otherwise. The Netherlands is a country, not a region. Ukrainians are not Russian. Pakistan and India are not the same country.
Be friendly, loose and confident, but don't be too talkative. If you've
volunteered all of this information before they've even asked you to
name your first item, they're going to be suspicious. If it comes up
in conversation while they're processing your order, great. If you can
laugh, or you can make them
For walk in purchases, try to be inconspicuous. Wear something nondescript. A polo shirt and khakis. Button down shirt and slacks with a subtle tie. A fairly plain sweater and skirt. Try not to have the mascot of the some distant university on your jacket, or a "I Took Second Place in the Main Street 5K Run!" t-shirt. If you're going to shave your beard, cut or color your hair, or get new glasses, maybe this is a great time to stock up on potassium hydroxide, LAH and hydrochloric acid.
Let's say that, God forbid, you are forced into conversation. (This happens a lot for walk in business, not so much for telephone purchases.) Little things mean a lot in conversation, especially if someone wants to be suspicious of you. DO NOT go looking for conversation. Be polite, be friendly, but get the fuck in and then get the fuck out. This includes both telephone conversations and walk in. If you are forced into conversation, and the opportunity is presented, take an opportunity to mention how many non-standard ground glass stoppers you've accumulated in the stopper drawer at the lab. Bitch about an incompetent co-worker. Comment about how the inspection guy came around yesterday to check the fire extinguishers. Talk about the person you met on the ride up the office elevator that morning. Complain about how you're going to have to pay $2500 to have your rotovap replaced because one of the lab assistants pushed it off of the bench. Praise your graduate advisor for her tireless work in developing delivery mechanisms for antibacterial drugs. Etc. You get the idea.
Developing a convincing and complicated lie is an art form. Practice. Know your entire fake life's history before you start using it. If you're married in your fake life, don't refer to your girlfriend, even if you're not at the same place. If you played soccer, don't talk about how you hate sports. Be consistent.
So, IMHO, the most important things are: