The “Chinese Heisenberg”, identified only by his surname Zhang, was recently convicted on charges of of manufacturing, smuggling, transporting and selling of illegal drugs on Tuesday after he was found exporting 32 kg of illegal drugs to the international market.
Zhang is now being dubbed as China’s real-life Walter White, the lead character of AMC’s popular series Breaking Bad. In the TV drama, Walter White, also a chemistry teacher, used his know-how in chemistry to create high-quality methamphetamine, eventually building his drug empire.
First arrested last year, the 46-year-old Zhang was a chemistry major and held an associate professor title at a top university in the Hubei capital of Wuhan, state media reported (via Time). Zhang reportedly got the idea to create a drugs factory after seeing that psychoactive drugs were in high demand in Australia during a teaching stint.
Customs officials first discovered the drugs in a package for export, leading to a raid on his 800-sqm lab. Investigators found that Zhang was renting a production plant at a local industrial park. He was also found to use Western Union and Bitcoin for financial transactions.
Among the substances discovered were MDMA-like methylone and Flakka, the so-called “zombie drug”, which has been connected to recent attacks in the U.S.. It was believed that the amount produced was at least 10 times more than what was found. According to authorities, at least 193 kilograms of drugs have been sold by the underground operation to overseas buyers between March and November 2014, China Daily reported.
While Zhang and his two accomplices admitted to all of the charges, they argued that they did so for research purposes only.