The Edge Effect

Monday, April 24, 2006

Dangers of Fieldwork

We all know that fieldwork has it's dangers. Scorpions, snakes, heat stroke, exotic diseases, and goofy hats for starters. When I worked for the Forest Service we had to watch out for treasure hunters who thought we were hiding Spanish gold, Mormon gold, and god knows what else. These folks could get territorial and usually carried weapons. The illegal artifact trade in the Southwest involves some pretty violent and unsavory people. And now it looks like there is a connection between crystal meth production and artifact trading in some areas. Today I got an e-mail from a regional list. It follows:
There has been a relevant discussion on the list that a significant number of dealers in meth drugs are "arrowhead hunters" and that they trade in artifacts. Incredible as this might seem, indeed law enforcement has begun to track drug dealers and abusers through this underworld of artifact collecting, digging, and trading
Sketchy. An attached message included this warning as well:
By the way - and just for field personnel's situational awareness - the meth makers have developed a new way of making product that we have seen in the past couple of years. Everything is placed in a single can (1 to 5 gal whatever can), and left somewhere until the 'process' is complete - usually 3-5 days - then it is retrieved and refined. Because the reaction going on inside the can is potentially lethal and the can can rupture, they will leave it in the woods someplace until it is 'cooked.' Field personnel finding one of these during survey/inventory need to steer well clear...

Just one more thing to look out for.