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Crime News

5 Real Meth Stories That As Crazy As What Goes On In The Fictional 'Breaking Bad' World

Before watching Jesse Pinkman evade law enforcement in the new "El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie," read up on some real meth horror stories.

By Gina Tron
Todd W Barrick Jr Walter White Pd Amc

There’s some new “Breaking Bad” content on the horizon — this time in the form of a movie — and its official trailer indicates that it will be just as bleak, if not bleaker, as the hit AMC drama it’s based upon.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” which will stream on Netflix and be available in some theaters on October 11, takes place where the series finale left off in 2013. The trailer shows Jesse Pinkman (played by Aaron Paul) on the run from the law after Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston) rescued him from white supremacists who had been holding him hostage and forcing him to make meth. 

For those unfamiliar with the show, which lasted five seasons, it was loaded with unbelievable and tragic storylines. White started out as a soft-spoken family man and high school chemistry teacher who, after being diagnosed with lung cancer, decided to team up with his former student Pinkman to make and sell methamphetamine to get money for his family before he dies. In the end, though, White ends up enjoying his descent into the criminal underworld and takes on the new persona Heisenberg. Murder, and a lot of it, ensues.

While the show and the new movie are obviously works of fiction, there is no doubt that they draw some inspiration from the real world of meth trafficking. 

In just 2019 alone, there have been several strange tales, often loaded with depravity and death, all in the name of meth. We rounded up some of the most “Breaking Bad” stories of them all.

1. Walter White Doppelgänger

This story makes the list because how can it not? Police in Illinois posted an image of a wanted man to their Facebook page in September, seeking help tracking down a squinting man who looks very similar to White.

The man in question was Todd W. Barrick, Jr., 50, who was wanted for an alleged probation violation related to possession of methamphetamine. He’s the same age as White, he’s bald, he wears glasses, and he sports a goatee, though White’s goatee doesn’t have hints of purple and pink, like Barrick’s goatee appears to have.

The post caused the comment section to erupt in “Breaking Bad” gifs and jokes about the suspect’s uncanny resemblance to the show’s main character.

“Well, I guess we have a spoiler for the Breaking Bad movie,” one commenter joked.

"Have you tried Albuquerque? Perhaps at Los Pollos Hermanos,” another asked on the police page, which refers to a restaurant featured in the AMC show.

It’s  unclear if Barrick has yet been caught. 

Todd W Barrick Jr Walter White Pd Amc

2. “Operation Ice Mama”

There were plenty of interesting drug kingpins and personalities in “Breaking Bad,” but this real life alleged meth leader can rival them all.

A Florida woman named Jennifer Lambert, known as "Mama Jen," was targeted by the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office for years. In fact, she “has been a person of interest related to drug trafficking for more than a decade,” according to a news release from the sheriff’s office. 

Lambert, who investigators claim is a meth ringleader and mid-level leader in the sale and distribution of meth in the Sarasota area, was arrested in May in an operation deemed “Operation Ice Mama.” Investigators sketched up a pyramid depicting how they think the meth chain operated, with Lambert at its top. The graphic even includes letters written in ice, a slang for crystal meth.

Operation Ice Mama Pd

"I'm sure she was shocked when they picked her up. Because she has been our undercover radar screen for 10 years...This meth is so pure and so well done we joke around about the Walter White, 'Breaking Bad,' but that’s really what we are dealing with," Sheriff Tom Knight told Fox13.

In a press conference held to announce the 16 arrests, Knight made another “Breaking Bad” reference, stating that the drugs being trafficked are “like the Walter White meth from ‘Breaking Bad.’ This is high-quality stuff," local outlet Sun North Port reported

A total of 287.82 grams of methamphetamine were confiscated when Lambert and her alleged crew were arrested, investigators claim.

3. Dismembered over meth

“Breaking Bad”characters aren’t the only ones dismembered over meth. The drug trade can be nasty, and nothing shows that more than stories like this.

Two Minneapolis men, Adam Thorpe and Jason McDonough, were allegedly invited to Darren Stebe’s home in Bemidji, Minnesota back in January to discuss meth trafficking. But the chat somehow went awry and Stebe is now accused of shooting both men in his garage.

Stebe allegedly tried to steal meth from them, but couldn’t find any, so he stole about $5,000 worth of cash they had on them instead. Then, he allegedly burned their remains in a fire pit, local outlet Valley News Live reported.

At least one of the bodies may have been dismembered, according to the Bemidji Pioneer.

Stebe admitted to his girlfriend, Kristi Trisco, that he killed them, as well as his buddy Daniel Linde, police say. They claim Linde helped him move and burn the bodies. 

Stebe was charged with two counts of second degree murder while his girlfriend and pal were charged with aiding an offender. He was arraigned in August and will have his next hearing on November 13, according to a separate Bemidji Pioneer update.

4. Hells Angels connection

There are plenty of gangs in “Breaking Bad,” including Mexican cartels and a white supremacist group. In real life, gang activity has been reportedly connected to drugs: In fact, this year, members of a chapter of the well-known Hells Angels motorcycle group were allegedly trying to get in on the meth distribution game.

Randy Picchi, the president of the Modesto Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, his wife, Tina Picchi, and two other men⁠, Michael Mize and Michael Pack, were charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, the Modesto Bee reported. Pack remained at large while the others were captured. It’s not clear if he was ever caught.

Their arrests were the end result of wiretapping and surveillance by local law enforcement and the FBI, who determined that Randy Picchi was the leader of a drug ring and and that his wife delivered the goods. In fact, officials alleged that Tina Picchi delivered “distribution-level quantities” between five or six times a week, according to an affidavit obtained by the Modesto Bee.

Her delivery tasks were referred to as “errands” by Randy, the Bee reported.

In an wiretapped phone call, allegedly between Tina and her mother, she complained about her husband’s incessant drug trade moves.

“Every dime of money we make he buys more dope and more dope and more dope. He just spent six thousand dollars buying more dope yesterday. I said, ‘You know what are we doing it for; we can’t move; we can’t get nothing .... I can’t get a diamond ring. I don’t want to go to prison for the rest of my life,’”she said, according to the affidavit.

5. Meth-death party

One Minnesota man recently became infamous for giving his dying wife a meth-fueled “death party,” complete with a Quiet Riot soundtrack. In January, Duane Johnson of Searles called police to report the death of his wife, 69-year-old Debra Lynn Johnson, after he broke her out of a nursing home to party to death with her, literally.

Debra had diabetes, mental health issues, and had recently suffered two heart attacks at the time. The couple did meth and had sex to the tune of Quiet Riot’s 1983 album “Metal Health (Bang Your Head).”

When police arrived on the scene, Duane Johnson was naked and he had wrapped his wife’s body in a bed sheet “as per the Old Testament,” he told investigators, according to a criminal complaint cited by WCCO. The phrase “Death Parde God Hell” had been painted on the front door of their home.

Duane appeared to be laughing in his mugshot. 

An autopsy found Debra died of meth toxicity, the Free Press reported.

Duane explained back in January that he didn’t call 911 when his spouse was dying in order to respect her wishes. Several guns and ammunition were allegedly found inside the couple’s home, some of which were stolen.

He pleaded guilty to felony neglect charges and was sentenced to three years in prison in August.

Duane Johnson