Life imitating art: Breaking Bad fan arrested in US drugs bust
Florida man was making synthetic marijuana known as 'Spice'
A man who won a competition to meet the cast of the TV series Breaking Bad - about a chemistry teacher turned violent drug dealer - has been arrested on drugs charges.
Ryan Lee Carroll, 28 and from Florida, was arrested on New Year’s Eve and charged with making and shipping synthetic marijuana known as 'Spice' to distribution points across the country from his home.
Police revealed that Carroll had previously won a contest to watch the finale of Breaking Bad, in which the characters produce and sell methamphetamine.
Lee County Sheriff's Office said in a statement: "Ironically, Ryan Lee Carroll was a contest winner for the hit TV series Breaking Bad; a show about a chemistry teacher turned drug dealer"
Speaking to local news station WTVR after winning the competition a few months ago, Carroll said of the show: “It’s just so addicting. It’s such a good show. I think its addicting because people can relate to the main character.”
Two other suspects, the statement went on, whose homes served as additional manufacturing and storage facilities for the illicit drug operation, were arrested.
It said that more than 700 pounds (315 kg) - 79,000 packets - of 'Spice' were seized, with an estimated street value of $1.25 million (£760,000).
"The investigation has put a large dent in the availability of 'Spice' nationally," the sheriff's office said.
Deputies said they had also confiscated a souvenir Hazmat suit signed by Breaking Bad cast members from Carroll's home.
The suit was similar to the one worn by Walter White, the fictitious former high school teacher in the TV show who amasses a fortune by manufacturing a potent variety of meth.
A lawyer for Carroll could not immediately be reached for comment.
Local residents reacted to the news with surprise.
“That’s crazy if he’s trying to do that here,” Ruthann Coyne told WTVR.
“I was just shocked, especially here. This is such a good neighbourhood.”
Another resident, Peter Ryther, said: “It is bizarre, I’ll give you that. If it turns out to be true, media certainly influences the way that we live, but I would imagine his dealings would have been before then.”
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