Suspected meth lab revealed to be maple syrup homebrew hobby

The Benson family's maple "meth lab." Photo: WFVS-TV.

A Missouri Illinois couple who enjoy making their own maple syrup were reported to the cops as likely meth cooks.

"I think my neighbors on their way to church see the buckets and stuff and think we've got a meth lab operation going on here," said Laura Benson.

"I just want to put their minds at ease, and let them know it's maple syrup. And that they're all welcome for pancakes if they want to come on over."

(HT: @kitchenmage)


  1. this is why it’s good to get to know your neighbors — being sure to mention your homebrewing/syrup making/crafter-type hobbies — up front, to avoid this type of embarrassing social situation, haha

    1.  it is good to know your neighbors…unless they are the kind of idiots that see a few plastic buckets and tubes hooked up to maple trees on the way to church and automatically think “meth”…best to avoid those types of people altogether.

  2. “Thanks for decent church-goin’ women, with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces.” – W. S. Burroughs

    1. “……Most of the trouble in this world has been caused by folks who can’t mind their own business, because they have no business of their own to mind, any more than a smallpox virus has.”

  3. Those are some forgiving folks.  If my neighbours reported me to the cops as a “likely meth cook”, sure wouldn’t be inviting them over for pancakes.  If I did, I’d probably damage my teeth I’d be gritting them so hard trying to keep a smile on my face.

    And who knows, they might see some tomato seedlings on a table and report my house as a grow-op.

    1.  Our neighbours actually did this to us when I was a kid – dropped the dime on us for gro-bags full of tomatoes.

  4. Meth is huge problem in rural America (at least where I’m from) so I’m not surprised neighbors are sensitive to that. However I AM surprised the first response was a ‘swarm of drug agents’ rather than ‘just one squad car slowly driving by and looking first’. Maybe my home town is unusually sane… or maybe I’m just unusually lucky to never have encountered overzealous police. 

    On the other hand, maybe this isn’t the first response. Maybe the police did drive by with a single squad car first, and just weren’t sharp enough to recognize maple sugaring, and thought there really was something bad going on. I guess I couldn’t hold that against them since it isn’t that common a hobby these days.

    1. My children were born and raised in one of the largest cities in the US, and they’ve seen springtime maple syrup set-ups since they were toddlers.  It’s nice that you’re giving the local police the benefit of the doubt, but it seems unlikely NONE of them knew what a maple tree looks like with a tap in it.

      1. Your children may be sharper than you realize. My sister, a school teacher, routinely teaches children who do not know apples come from trees, or that beef comes from cows, which seem to be much more fundamental misunderstandings. But the cops are adults, they should know better. Even if this apparatus doesn’t look like what my grandfather used on his farm, it shouldn’t be that hard to figure out.

        1. You want to confuse the heck out of a preschooler, tell them milk comes from cows. They’re like “WHAT?!?”

          Also explain what poo is. You’d think they’d instinctively know it’s what they ate yesterday.

    2.  Lots of small police departments have tons of nifty “SWAT” gear and high-end emergency stuff courtesy of DHS handing out your money to all and sundry in the name of “anti-terrorisim”.

      You buy the toys, you want to play with the toys sooner or later.

      Hysteria and over-reaction is the name of the game these days.

      NO rational person seeing trees being tapped would assume methamphetamines were being produced, these were simply very stupid people fed a diet of constant fear and misinformation.

  5. “I just want to put their minds at ease, and let them know it’s maple syrup. And that they’re all welcome for pancakes if they want to come on over.”

    Which did you say was the Christian couple?

  6. If you actually live in a community that has been ravaged by meth, you can be forgiven for being vigilant. If you’re like 99% of this country that has only heard about meth from Breaking Bad or 60 Minutes, then you need to learn to mind your own fucking business and stop panicking every time your TV tells you to.

    1. I remember my next door neighbors (about 300 yards away) getting treed by the K9 dogs in my back yard when I was about twelve, and my parents having to explain to me that they’d been running a meth lab, and everyone in the neighborhood know about it (though it was one of their customers who actually turned them in).   I still don’t think there’s even remotely an excuse for the attitudes of the fucking busybodies in this country who think anything that’s not normal must be illegal, and have made it so you can’t even get materials to do perfectly legitimate science projects at home anymore.  In other words, I think that applying your reasoning to the case is completely fucked up.

    1. I’d rather they found a way to make it from fracking fluid than from syrup. I mean, we wouldn’t want the cops cutting down all the maple trees, would we?

      1. I had an idea to splice the THC producing gene into dandelions, let a few years (and some mass pollination) pass by, then reveal this information so the cops would have to weed everybody’s lawn or just give up. The problem I found out was that 1] dandelions self pollinate so much they’re basically clones 2] the seeds take five years to germinate hence why you can never get rid of them 3] gene-splicing is huurrrddd.

        1. Have you considered modifying the concept to use a viral vector?

          Viruses excel at splicing genes into other organisms, and nothing says ‘slapstick stoner comedy’ quite like a viral release into the ventilation system that produces an entire headquarters full of THC-producing DEA agents…

  7. Lmmfao….the crazy maple syrup lady is my mother….She finds the whole situation funny. She is almost 50 and swat pulled up at her house yelling about meth. She informed them there was no meth she didn’t grow that. She then informed them if they wanted some syrup though she could whip up some pancakes…She seriously told them she didn’t grow meth….and they continued to search…i would have peed my pants are her lack of knowledge and there dumb mistakes

    1. Yeah, well, see this is why homeowners need lots of guns.  So your ma could have wiped out those jackbooted thugs in one great barrage.

  8. Oh yeah. Sure. Sure. We here been makin’ meth this way in Canada for years eh. We’s call it Maple Meth or sometimes just Doug.

    1. Hey, there’s trees in this part of Illinois; Anna is in the Shawnee National Forest, after all. :-> Having said that, despite living somewhat close, I was shocked, too!

  9. I suggest a new article “People choosing headline confuse boiling syrup with brewing”, which is about as mixed up as thinking it’s a meth lab.

  10. Just once, I’d like to see my home region hit the Internets for a non-stupid reason.  I’m going to suggest that Fark have a “Southern Illinois” tag.

    The photo attribution is slightly incorrect, BTW.  While the news item took place in Illinois, the station providing the photo is in Missouri, which makes it KFVS.  Source: I watch the news on KFVS, like, all the time.

  11. This is worse then the lightbrite fiasco.  Tubes coming out of maple trees, and people automatically think meth? Meth?

  12. Well this explains why Canada has that “Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve” that was stolen and why they were all hopped up to get it back….

  13. My girlfriend an I use beakers, Erlenmeyer flasks, and test tubes for kitchenware.  I’m always nervous that someday a neighbor will look in my kitchen window, see me brewing up a batch of Earl Grey tea in a big flask, and report me for have a meth lab.

  14. Why aren’t people who “snitch” on grandma held accountable?

    Why isn’t law enforcement held accountable when they shoot first and ask questions later?

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