Amphetamines are a popular and lucrative class of drug that see use among security guards, desperate college students, trailer trash, and varying other classes of addicts or those desperate to stay awake. Recent steps in the War on Drugs tracking bulk orders of key ingredients and state laws requiring records be kept of pseudoephedrine purchases have made your average meth producers even twitchier than their product.
Minnesota is a large producer and consumer of methamphetamines. Usual venues for production include miles of thick, bountiful State Forests, a plethora of abandoned mills, and abandoned houses in lower income neighborhoods of the Twin Cities. With seemingly inevitability, these structures go up in large, showy explosions, or end up the target of raids due to the chemical stench of the process or conscientious Minnesotans getting tired of the suspiciously pale, thin, and twitchy dealers found around your average meth lab.
However, the long and hard winters in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and the popularity of ice fishing has recently presented a new and intriguing development in methamphetamine. Where before your producers have had meth shacks, meth houses, and meth factories in Greater Minnesota, now we see a combination of winter sports and the illegal drug industry that provides new and interesting methods of explosions. A new option in clandestine locations and disposal of ingredients presents itself.
I refer, of course, to the meth lab on ice.
Consider the seemingly masochistic sport of ice fishing. By the time the ice in Minnesotan lakes freezes a foot or two, Minnesota has sunk well into the grips of winter malaise and cabin fever. With temperatures hovering around 0F, the Scandinavian residents find themselves confronted with the prospect of another weekend shut in watching TV, doing chores around the house, and having to deal with their wives, neighbors, or even worse, the dreaded potluck. Facing lutefisk, a fate arguably worse than death, the men take to the lake with makeshift shacks, TVs, space heaters, and several layers of clothing. Holes are drilled through the thick ice, lines are dropped, and beer is consumed.
Foom! "What's dat, Ole?"
"Oh, dat's just Bob, doncha know, fiddlin' around wif' his space heater again. Gosh, yanno, he looks awfully pale an' skinny lately, Lena's been thinkin' aboot takin' 'im some hot dish!"
"Oh, ya. He jus' hasn't been da same since he got divorced an lost 'is money to da ex, ya."
"Oh ya. Dat poor man."
BOOM, crack crack crack!
"Ole, dat don't sound so good..."
Placing an ice lab out on the ice provides a convenient hole for disposing of ingredients in case of police investigation. Predictably, any fish remaining in a torpor at the botom of the frozen lake die off rapidly from the toxic chemicals used to produce the drug. However, running any sort of meth lab, icebound or no, remains an explosive prospect. All too often, this results in the amusing spectacle of ice fishing houses exploding for what seems to be no reason.
Local law enforcement authorities have, for this very reason, picked up the habit of going around and shaking down ice fishing houses for meth labs (and, failing that, suspicious batches of hot chocolate in need of sampling).