In a rare case of life imitating art, a 53-year-old goatee-wearing man named Walter White has been caught by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) dealing an “extraordinary” quantity of methamphetamine.
Like his namesake in the hugely popular TV series Breaking Bad, Mr White said drug dealing was not in his character – but that once he started he got addicted and found it impossible to stop.
The real Mr White’s career in illegal meth distribution was apparently only brought to an end after a heated argument and shootout with his own son, Brandon White, led to a police investigation.
On Monday, a District Judge in Billings, Montana sentenced him to more than 12 years in a federal prison – nine for a charge of possession with intent to distribute meth and three-and-a-half years on a firearms conviction.
According to a DEA affidavit, officers executing a search warrant on the White household found two handguns, $15,000 in cash and four ounces of meth.
Yet that is nothing compared to the “extraordinary” amount of more than 32 pounds of meth which the judge said Mr White was responsible for over the course of the investigation.
According to reports in the Billings Gazette, Judge Don Molloy said: “He ended up getting shot by his son. Thirty two-and-a-half pounds of methamphetamine coupled with guns and violence is about as serious as you can get.”
Unlike his fictional counterpart, Mr White was not responsible for cooking the meth himself. He admitted receiving the drugs from his partner, Tomas Alvarado of Turlock, California, a dealer with previous convictions who himself received a 30-year sentence for the conspiracy.
Mr White was convicted alongside a string of co-defendants, charged with supplying districts around Montana’s Bakken oil fields from last year.
He apologised in court, having pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime at an earlier hearing.
While Breaking Bad’s Walter White celebrated his 52nd birthday during scenes in the final series of the programme, at 53 the real-life Montana-based criminal can claim at least to have outlived his fictional counterpart.
It remains to be seen whether there was any family relation between Mr White and DEA Special Agent Robert Grayson, who filed the affidavit against him.
Though the hit TV series Breaking Bad has ended, a spin-off starring the lawyer Saul Goodman has been announced to appear on Netflix. Commenting on the legal case of the real Mr White, local Billings business-owner Rob Carpenter said: “Better call Saul!”