Running a Meth Lab

I was 18 years old, living with the girl I thought I was gonna be with forever, and she cheated on me.

Right around then, I was going to raves, doing a lot of other drugs.

People were selling crystal at raves, but I never wanted to do it. They call it “shards,” because it looks like glass, and the whole idea of putting glass up my nose just didn’t sound appealing.

But a couple of my friends did it, and I ended up buying two one-time-use doses for $20 each.

After I did those, a friend of a friend sold me an eight ball, about 3.5 grams of meth, for $150.

This dude was cooking it himself.

He had a partner who was a complete addict. But this guy was a chemistry major in college and really in it for the money. Since my girlfriend and I had just broken up, I got my own apartment, and it all fell into place. We started cooking meth in my basement.

The most annoying part is having to pop a bunch of cold pills out of the foil - my thumbs would hurt and it takes so long. The cold pills were hard to get, too. There were so many cooks in the area, you would go to the store and there just wouldn’t be any. You can only buy generic because the name-brand stuff has extra ingredients you can’t get rid of, and we found out that Save-A-Lot had the best kind.

I would go into a Save-A-Lot and buy 120 boxes. They had them in big packs already, so I would just pick up four big boxes and put a box of cereal over top of it. No one ever said anything.

People always think it’s so easy for a meth lab to blow up or catch on fire, but the guy I cooked with was really into safety.

[Fred takes 15 minutes to explain the process of cooking meth - a chemistry lesson involving burners on low heat, ice baths, beakers, iodine, pH levels, denatured alcohol and awful smells.]

When the reaction’s done, you cook it, the longer the better. We would sit in my basement for 20 hours straight, just cooking.

You have to filter out the phosphorus and cook off the iodine, add oil, wait for the pH levels to go up and use muriatic acid (cement cleaner) and tin foil to pull out the meth in a powder form. The muriatic acid is so horrible to breathe in. You cannot breathe while you’re doing it, and it takes about 10 minutes. It burns your nose so bad.

My apartment was like a normal person’s apartment, though. Everything was in the basement.

Being on speed, I would clean extensively: paint, dust, clean things you normally wouldn’t clean.

I got busted after about four months of cooking. I had been up for five days straight - not one second of sleep - and I passed out on my bed. My alarm went off at midnight for some reason, and it went off for so long that the neighbors called the police. I woke up to two officers in my room with guns drawn. Downstairs there were four more officers and a drug dog.

I got six months in a detox house in Cuyahoga Falls and two years’ probation. A picture of my porch with a bunch of chemicals on it was on the front page of The Akron Beacon Journal.

I don’t really regret doing it. I was 6-1, 120 pounds, my muscles felt like they were atrophied, I couldn’t climax in bed and I was always late. But it’s really psychological: I liked myself better when I was on it.

I was at the top of the drug chain, you couldn’t go any higher, and it was really cool.

I figured it out one time - once you buy everything, it was probably about $60 to $65 to make an ounce of meth, and that ounce would sell for $1,200 to $1,400.

We were cooking around Christmas time, I had all this money, and I bought Dom Perignon. That was the only time my mom ever drank Dom.

- as told to Amber Matheson

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