- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 25, 2004

WICHITA, Kan. - It might fall a shade shy of catching thieves red-handed, but for farmers fed up with methamphetamine cooks filching their fertilizer, staining them pink will do just fine.

Assuming that you can discourage thieves you cannot easily catch, a new product called GloTell — which is added to tanks of anhydrous ammonia — will besmirch the hands of those who touch the fertilizer and leave its mark on anyone who snorts or shoots the end product.

GloTell already is proving to be a handy deterrent, but there were details to be worked out between its birth as a farmer’s brainstorm and finished product.

The additive had to withstand the cold, corrosive nature of anhydrous ammonia. It had to be safe for the environment, safe for crops and even safe around children.

In the two years it took to develop GloTell, researchers at the University of Southern Illinois Carbondale found it did much more than stain thieves pink.

The stain, even if washed off, was still detectable by ultraviolet light 24 to 72 hours later. As a benefit, the additive helped farmers detect any tank leaks, said Truitt Clements, spokesman for Illinois-based GloTell Distributors LLC.

Best of all, the treated anhydrous ammonia rendered any meth it was used to make difficult to dry and turned it an unbleachable pink, he said.

“Most people that are drug users, they like a clean-looking drug if they are going to … put it in their body,” Mr. Clements said. “We know the end product is not pretty at all.”

Snort it, and it turns the nose fluorescent pink. Inject it, and the telltale pink shows up at the injection site, he said.

During product testing, GloTell was added to anhydrous ammonia tanks at farms that had been having problems with meth thefts in Illinois, Kentucky and Indiana, Mr. Clements said. Within a week, the thefts stopped.

Last week, GloTell was introduced at the Illinois State Fair. Next month, Virginia-based Royster-Clark Inc. will begin selling it at nearly 250 of its outlets across the nation under an exclusive distribution agreement with GloTell, said Lori Ann Peters, a spokeswoman for Royster-Clark.

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