Real-life meth trade is cracked by 'Breaking Bad'
FILE - In this undated file photo released by AMC, Bryan Cranston as Walter White runs for his life during a scene from the AMC drama series "Breaking Bad". The the saga of the fictitious Walter White, a timid-chemistry-teacher-turned-masterful-drug-lord, bears some similarities to recent reports of factory-like "superlabs" in Mexico that are turning out meth with large-scale efficiency. (AP Photo/Doug Hyun, AMC, FILE)
NEW YORK (AP) — News of drug cartels mass-producing souped-up methamphetamine — that's the latest word as reported by The Associated Press, and it sounds pretty scary.
But haven't we heard this story before? Like on "Breaking Bad," the AMC network's addictive drama series?
Take a look at the real-life drug biz. Then compare it to the saga of fictitious Walter White, the timid-chemistry-teacher-turned-masterful-drug-lord of "Breaking Bad." Real life seems to be reflecting art. Or is it the other way around?
Just consider ...
— Today's newly potent meth has a tell-tale bluish-white color, and it's purer than ever: as high as 88 percent. No wonder! "Shake-and-bake" pushers are deferring to the experts. Recipes have been developed by professional chemists.
— Walter White, in his newly assumed alter ego of Heisenberg, has flooded the market with a product renowned for its distinctive blue color. And acclaimed for its high quality: 99 percent pure. No wonder! Walter is not just a chemistry teacher, but a world-class chemist who never reached his potential — until now.
— Factory-like "superlabs" in Mexico are turning out meth with large-scale efficiency.
— Same on "Breaking Bad," although, in keeping the story close to home, the product can proudly claim to be "Made in U.S.A."
That is, Walter (played by series star Bryan Cranston) and his maladroit assistant, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), have followed the American dream. They started small (cooking meth in meager batches in a battered RV) then graduated to factory proportions in their hometown of Albuquerque, N.M.
FILE - In this Feb. 9, 2012, file photo a soldier stands in what was identified as "metal reactors" after a seizure of a large clandestine methamphetamine lab at a ranch in Tlajomulco de Zuniga, on the outskirts of Guadalajara, Mexico. Soldiers made a historic seizure, 15 tons of pure methamphetamine, a haul that could have supplied 13 million doses worth over $4 billion. (AP Photo/Bruno Gonzalez, File)
For a time, the duo threw in with Gus Fring, a meth king who had hidden a state-of-the-art meth facility beneath his industrial laundry-processing plant. (This seems to echo the strategy of an underground lab discovered in Mexico equipped with an elevator and ventilation systems as well as cooking and sleeping provisions.)
But by this season (whose first half aired this summer), Fring's lab had been destroyed and Fring eliminated savagely thanks to Walter, who was plotting to solidify his own drug empire.