Alleged perp won contest to party with stars of hit meth man show and then was collared for breaking more-than-bad himself.
WHEN Ryan Carroll won a contest to watch the “Breaking Bad” finale with the cast of the series about illegal drugmaking, no one realized he may have gone to Hollywood to do some research!
On New Year’s Eve, the 28-year-old Florida man was busted in a residential Fort Myers neighborhood for allegedly running a million-dollar synthetic marijuana manufacturing ring with two others out of a nondescript house.
“It’s just kind of mind-boggling to think that stuff like that can happen right next to you,” marveled neighbor Jim Mielke, 51.
Coincidentally, Carroll was a huge fan of “Breaking Bad,” the AMC hit that followed the misadventures of high school chemistry teacher-turned-meth manufacturer Walter White. After winning the contest, Carroll headed to California in September to join the cast – led by Emmy-winning White portrayer Bryan Cranston – for a private party at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
“I think we’re going to be in hazmat suits with them,” said Carroll about the trip. “It’s going to be crazy.” He added that he found the show “addicting, just like the meth they make.”
But Carroll and his cohorts, James Lee Allen, 35, and Benjamin Scott Smith, 33, were allegedly running their own drug operation out of a rental house on Meadow Lake Circle.
Investigators say the trio had turned the garage into a facility to manufacture the synthetic pot “Spice,” using a cement mixer to formulate the drugs. Inside the house, the investigators say they found large rubber bins with by-products of the substance, 79,000 packets of the finished product with a street value of $1.25 million and hundreds of uncashed money orders.
They also say that they found a hazmat suit signed by the “Breaking Bad” cast members.
Authorities believe the bust will put a big dent on the availability of “Spice” across the entire country.
“We’re starting the year with an aggressive approach at combating illicit drugs in our community,” declared Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott. “It is concerning and we will not tolerate it.”
The three suspects were booked into the Lee County Jail on felony drug charges.
Neighbors say that Carroll moved into the place about six months ago and kept a low profile. But they did notice an unusually large number of mail and packages coming in and going out of the house.
“You knew something was up,” said next-door neighbor Randy Hughes, 55. “They either had a successful business or they were up to something they shouldn’t be. There were FedEx deliveries every day.”