There’s no shortage of iconic antiheroes from the golden age of television: Tony Soprano from The Sopranos, Don Draper from Mad Men, Snooki from Jersey Shore. No character is quite as memorable, however, as Walter White from Breaking Bad. The chemistry teacher turned meth dealer is so profoundly popular that he brought the image of the rolling meth lab into the mainstream.
The following characters may not be as savvy as Walter White, but they have some impressive meth labs of their own. These real life criminals prove that rolling meth labs are alive and well long after the Breaking Bad finale. Check out this list of crazy rolling meth labs found everywhere from busy highways to Walmart parking lots.
7. The Border Crossing Tractor
Cartels have long been using creative methods to smuggle drugs into the U.S. From drug-filled gas tanks to actual catapults, it seems that nothing is off limits when it comes to crossing drugs across the border. Juan Rodolfo Lugo-Urias took things to another level when he attempted to smuggle meth inside a tractor-trailer load of bell peppers in 2016.
A narcotics-detection canine sniffed out the secret stash at the border, which was hidden inside the trailer’s front wall and rear doors. The whole thing played out like a scene out of Sicario, as police seized 400 packages of meth valued at over $1 million. Hey, you have to give this meth dealer credit for ingenuity.
6. Mayhem in Michigan
This one has it all: a stolen car, an elaborate escape plan, and a whole lot of meth. In late 2014, a state police sergeant was alerted of an attempted burglary in Midland County, Michigan. The police were hot on the perpetrators’ tail until he fled his truck and was picked up by an escape vehicle. Police later tracked the suspect to a friend’s apartment where they found 34-year-old Fred Burlingame drying methamphetamine in a microwave.
That’s not all. It turns out he parked his 1988 Chevrolet Allegro RV in the apartment parking lot. The motorhome contained two meth labs, a firearm, and some pipe bombs. It seems like this aspiring meth dealer could use a little help from Saul Goodman.
5. Retirement Village
What can you find at the world’s largest retirement village? Good weather, luxury golf courses, and a rolling meth lab. The Villages is an active adult retirement community in Florida that’s so large it’s actually a census-designated place. Though it’s more famous for geriatric golf cart drivers than crime, that didn’t stop five lawbreakers from cooking up meth in an abandoned retirement home.
A SWAT team raid in 2017 revealed an unkempt house was filled with large quantities of meth and heroin. The house also included illegal golf cart parts, presumably to help the criminals start slinging their product to the local retirees.
4. Always Low Prices
Oh, Walmart. The home of crazy good prices and well… just plain crazy people. Walmart has long attracted some questionable shoppers, but none quite compare to Alabama resident Griffin Allen Thompson. Police found Thompson and his rolling meth lab at an Alabaster Walmart in early 2018.
It turns out, the 43-year-old was taking advantage of Walmart’s free overnight parking policy. The only problem? His RV contained an active shake and bake meth lab on the verge of exploding. Thankfully, a special HazMat certified task force stabilized the meth lab before it exploded. Just another day at your friendly neighborhood Walmart.
3. We’re The Millers Wannabe
For most people, We’re The Millers is a middling 2013 comedy. It’s about a small-time pot dealer who hires a fake family and buys an RV to smuggle drugs across the border. For this Arizona meth dealer, however, it’s less of a comedy movie and more of a guidebook.
In this stranger than fiction story, an RV driver was arrested after a routine traffic stop revealed his vehicle contained over 62 pounds of methamphetamine and heroin. In addition to $3 million worth of drugs, the RV also contained a DVD of We’re The Millers as well as a young child. Clearly, this wannabe drug dealer took the absurd comedy literally – to the point of bringing a kid on his smuggling adventures. You can’t make this stuff up.
2. The Meth Dealing Gym Rat
We’ve all seen our fair share of insane headlines (most of them originating in Florida). But this one takes the cake. This Michigan man and aspiring meth dealer actually drove his mobile lab to a local Planet Fitness after experiencing a meth explosion. This apparent gym rat managed to rush into the locker room to use the showers and put out the flames. The whole ruckus ended in a HazMat scare and an emergency evacuation of over 50 people. As if you needed another reason to avoid the gym.
1. Rush Hour Explosion
Meth making is a complicated science, so it makes sense to assume that meth dealers are an intelligent bunch. Apparently, that’s not the case in Baton Rouge. That’s where David Harkey’s and Jonathan Bato’s Toyota Camry exploded in the middle of the I-10 highway. Apparently, these criminal masterminds drove through rush hour traffic with a leaky propane tank filled with anhydrous ammonia, an active ingredient in meth cooking. Like a real life Dumb and Dumber, this pair actually forced an emergency shut down of the I-10 during rush hour. And you thought your commute was bad!