Walter, Jesse, Saul — the whole Breaking Bad crew made a surprise appearance at a secret drug lab inside a Miami-Dade home.
Not the actual characters, but their stylized artsy images, which were portrayed on paper tabs dipped in LSD.
Investigators say the psychedelic drug — popularized in the Hippie era — was discovered in the Northwest Miami-Dade town home of Raul Puig, 29, who is accused of operating a mad-scientist style lab not unlike the crime drama’s fictional kingpin Walter White.
The critically acclaimed show, which ran five seasons on AMC and ended in 2013, told the story of a cancer-stricken high school chemistry teacher who turned to manufacturing crystal methamphetamine to make money.
Puig’s back story is not quite as colorful. In May, police discovered his lab while serving an eviction notice in a quiet suburban neighborhood just northwest of Miami Lakes. Investigators believe he was cooking up an array of meth-laced concoctions.
Federal agents and Miami-Dade police detectives — dressed in special protective suits —removed a dizzying array of beakers, large vats, chemical bottles, empty pill capsules, pill presses and gas masks.
The State Attorney’s Office on Tuesday also released police video of the inside of the cluttered town home, showing the elaborate garage setup where Puig allegedly manufactured the meth-laced drugs – even recipes written on posters taped to walls. As for the LSD, police say it was unclear if Puig made it or if the colorful paper sheets called “blotter art” were to be sold or used for personal consumption.
At a bond hearing in May, a Miami-Dade detective told a judge the place looked like a television set from the show. “Have you ever watched ‘Breaking Bad? The whole entire house was full of beakers, cooking supplies.”
Investigators found the LSD sheets inside a three-ring binder of dog-eared drug recipes. Also found inside: a manual on surviving nuclear and natural disasters. One sheet of tabs, blue in color, featured portraits of the main characters from the show. Another depicted the periodic table with the image of White, aka Heisenberg, portrayed by actor Bryan Cranston.
Miami-Dade’s crime lab tested the tabs and found traces of LSD – for which Puig was charged with possession of a controlled substance. Puig’s defense attorney did not return a call from the Miami Herald on Tuesday.
The “blotter art” is a throwbacks to the 1960s and 70s. Back then, dealer sold the color sheets laced with LSD, commonly known as acid.
Today, anyone online can order the striking artwork, sans the drug coating, which features an array of pop culture images from the Grateful Dead to Spongebob Squarepants. And, of course, Breaking Bad.
“I'm not happy people are putting stuff on it,” said Oregon artist Zane Kesey, who through eBay sells sheet art identical to one found in Puig’s home. Kesey’s website beseeches buyers: “This is only art – not drugs – please keep it that way!”
The most famous “blotter” artist is San Francisco’s Mark McCloud, who twice beat federal charges of dealing in LSD. His collection, known as the Institute of Illegal Images, is composed of over 30,000 piece of blotter art.