Check in to the wrong room at a motel or hotel and you may bring home more than great memories of fresh smelling linens, plump fluffy towels, stylish furniture, and a comfortable bed, according to recent news from the Associated Press.
Stay in a motel or hotel room that’s been used to make meth and you may find your eyes and skin get irritated, your asthma may act up, or your stomach may feel so nauseated that you feel like you have to vomit.
The Associated Press reported that DEA records that they obtained showed evidence that nearly 2,000 motel and hotel rooms have been used as meth labs over the last 5 years and those figures only reflect the ones that have been reported to them.
John Martyny, an industrial hygienist, meth researcher, and associate professor at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center, is considered an expert on meth lab chemical contamination. Martyny says that people are more likely to blame cigarette smoke for any respiratory problems they experience while spending time in a motel or hotel room. Yet, motel and hotel rooms that have been used as meth labs by previous renters can make you sick, if they haven’t been decontaminated. Experts say that contamination caused by toxic chemicals used to make meth can last more than a decade.
According to American Hotel and Lodging Association (AH&LA), methamphetamine labs can be set up and produced in less than four hours, which is typically done between midnight and 4 a.m.
Although, the AH & LA says they are working with law enforcement to shut down these labs, many motel and hotel rooms are still being used by meth cooks to manufacture methamphetamine. In fact, the trend is growing. According to Joseph Mclnerney, president and CEO of the AH & LA, “meth lab cooks may check in to the hotel late at night and cook their meth throughout the night before leaving early the next morning. Under the influence of meth, a meth cook can stay awake all night without any problem. In fact, meth addicts can stay awake for several days without sleeping.” Their lack of sleep, however, makes them extremely dangerous, as their lack of sleep coupled with their addiction to meth can make them extremely irritable and highly prone to becoming violent. It is also common for them to hallucinate or experience delusional thoughts. Paranoia is always a central part of their thought processes, as well. They are always worried that someone is going to do something to them i.e. arrest them, steal from them, hurt them, etc.
Warning: Knocking on the door of your hotel neighbor or calling them because they are making too much noise in the middle of the night may put your life at risk -weapons are almost always found when meth lab busts occur.
Why do meth cooks like to use motel and hotel rooms as meth labs? Using a motel or hotel room to make meth helps meth lab cooks keep their homes from becoming contaminated. It also protects their home and family from becoming involved in a meth lab explosion. Setting up a meth lab in a motel or hotel also keeps their neighbors from smelling the fumes of a meth lab cook coming from their home. Motels and hotels are also popular spots for meth dealers to sell the finished product to their customers. They may rent rooms for a night to sell meth in addition to renting it to use as a meth lab.
While setting up a meth lab in a motel or hotel room is highly advantageous to meth cooks, it is extremely expensive for the motel and hotel industry, who may rent rooms to hundreds or thousands of individuals every month. The cost of testing and decontaminating a single room can cost the motel / hotel owner anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000, according to the AH&LA. Like private homeowners, who rent to others who use their property to make meth, or those who have bought a meth lab home without knowing the history of the home, motel and hotel owners are responsible for footing the cost of cleaning up the meth lab contamination.
Hotel and motels don’t actually rent out rooms that have been used as meth labs, do they?
According to meth lab cleanup professionals, like Joe Mazucca from Meth Lab Cleanup, LLC, the odds are that they do. Nearly 70% of of the contaminated properties that his company deals with are never reported. Those properties include all types of property including motels and hotels.
If a motel or hotel isn’t listed on the DEA’s website, then it’s safe, right?
The short answer to that question is – NO! The meth labs listed on the DEA website are only a partial list of meth labs that have been found in the U.S. The DEA list only includes information about busts that have been reported to them by law enforcement agencies, who submit that information to them on a strictly voluntary basis. Law enforcement agencies are not required to give that information to the DEA, therefore you shouldn’t view DEA lists of meth labs as complete lists.