‘Breaking Bad’ Inspires Yet Another Meth Lab – This Time Inside A Government Building

Why hide your meth lab under a dry cleaning warehouse like they did in AMC’s Breaking Bad when you can hide it in the basement of a government building? A drug dealer in Maryland hid his meth lab in the basement of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The scary thing is, he wasn’t discovered until the meth lab blew up!

A federal security officer (who has since resigned) received burns to his arms and hands, but no one else was seriously injured in the Breaking Bad-style incident. It is unclear whether he had anything to do with the explosion, but it is suspected he was involved in the clandestine lab. Police and the US Drug Enforcement Administration are now investigating as to why the meth lab was not discovered earlier.

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST is “the federal technology agency that works with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements, and standards.” Perhaps the meth lab owner chose this location specifically to poke fun at the fact an institute such as this could have a Breaking Bad meth lab right under its nose and not even know it? However, staff at NIST did not find the situation humorous. Lamar S Smith, chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee told the Chemical and Engineering News that he is troubled by the fact this could happen at a taxpayer-funded institution.

“The fact that this explosion took place at a taxpayer-funded NIST facility, potentially endangering NIST employees, is of great concern… I am troubled by the allegations that such a dangerous and illicit activity went undetected at a federal research facility.”

At first it was unclear as to why an explosion occurred in the basement of the National Insitute of Standards and Technology, however, when pseudophedrine and drain cleaner was located, police deduced a Breaking Bad-style meth lab had been in operation as these two products are commonly used to make the drug, methamphetamine.

According to The Telegraph, the explosion occurred in a “small laboratory where the Department of Commerce conducts experiments.” Earlier, a combustion experiment had been done in the same room, NIST spokeswoman Gail Porter told Chemical and Engineering News. It is unclear if this experiment contributed to the explosion or not.

The Breaking Bad explosion occurred on July 18 but, as yet, the meth lab owner has not been charged pending further investigations in the the explosion.

This is not the first time Breaking Bad has inspired people to imitate the television series. Recently, a British man used Breaking Bad as his inspiration behind an attempted ricin purchase. When asked, Mohammed Ali, of Liverpool, said he “had been watching Breaking Bad, [and] just had ricin in [his] mind” as a result. Besides this recent incident, there have been many meth labs found across the world that have reportedly been inspired by Breaking Bad.

[Image credit: Breaking Bad / AMC]