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Thursday
Jan022014

"Breaking Bad" Contest Winner Arrested in Major Florida Drug Bust

Lee County Sheriff’s Office(FORT MYERS, Fla.) -- He's no Walter White, but one fan of Breaking Bad does come close.

Ryan Lee Carroll, who won tickets to view the AMC show's series finale last September with the cast, including Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, has been busted in Florida for running an elaborate drug distribution operation in which he allegedly created and sold synthetic marijuana known as "Spice" from his home in Fort Myers. It can't be said whether Carroll, 28, drew inspiration from Breaking Bad, a show about a chemistry teacher, Walter White (Bryan Cranston), turned meth dealer.

At the time of his arrest on Tuesday, Dec. 31, authorities seized large containers holding over 700 pounds of 79,000 individually wrapped packets of synthetic marijuana worth $1.25 million from Carroll's home, hundreds of uncashed money orders totaling thousands of dollars and, police said, "several key indicators [that] implicated the suspects were also involved in a large scale distribution of the illegal substance across the country." They also found several firearms and a souvenir hazmat suit signed by the cast of Breaking Bad.

According to the Lee County Sheriff's Office, the investigation of Carroll's distribution operation "put a large dent in the availability of 'Spice'" across the U.S.  A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released in February of last year linked designer drugs such as "Spice" to 16 cases of kidney failure.  Patients at the time suffered symptoms of nausea, vomiting, abdominal and back pain, and several needed dialysis.

Synthetic drugs became such a problem in the U.S. that Congress acted in 2012 by passing legislation that put 26 synthetic drugs under the list of controlled substances, including 15 types of marijuana compounds, ABC News reported last year.

Ryan Lee Carroll has been charged with synthetic narcotic possession with intent to sell or manufacture, drug possession/controlled substance without prescription and dangerous drugs/keep shop of vehicle etc. for drugs 1st violation.  Two other suspects, James Lee Allen, 35, and Benjamin Scott Smith, 33, were also arrested and charged in connection to the operation.

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