Accessibility links

Breaking News

Chemistry Professor Caught In Ukrainian-Styled 'Breaking Bad' Operation

KYIV -- Call it breaking bad, Ukraine style.

In a scene eerily reminiscent of the hit TV series about a teacher who decides to manufacture and sell high-grade drugs to provide for his family, a Kyiv chemistry professor has been arrested for allegedly setting up a secret lab to produce methamphetamine and other illegal drugs.

Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) said in a Facebook post dated April 22, that the unidentified professor, who used to teach chemistry at a university in the capital, had been detained on suspicion of organizing a group to manufacture illegal substances.

"The group had two secret labs, one at the group leader's place of residence in [Kyiv], and another in a garage of a rented private house in the Kyiv region," the SBU statement said, adding that in addition to making his own drugs, the professor used his expertise to instruct others on how to make drugs.

According to the statement, the group had received component chemicals from Asia and Western Europe and distributed the drugs via the Internet.

The SBU said preliminary findings showed group members planned to produce nearly 30 kilograms of psychotropic drugs worth about 7.5 million hryvnyas ($275,000) at black-market prices.

It added that members of the group, whose number and identities were not disclosed, were officially informed that they are suspected in the illegal production, storage, transportation, and selling of drugs, as well as for theft, misappropriation, and extortion of equipment to illegally fabricate illegal drugs.

The SBU's video on Facebook was titled Breaking Bad Kyiv-Style: Chemistry Professor Organizes Amphetamine Production.

Breaking Bad was a popular American neo-Western crime drama TV series about Walter White, a high-school chemistry teacher who turned himself into a leading amphetamine producer in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to make money for his family after he was diagnosed with cancer.

Unlike his Ukrainian copycat, White was never caught by the police.

The show, which won 12 Emmy television awards, aired 62 episodes from 2008 to 2013.

  • 16x9 Image

    RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service

    RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service has seen its audience grow significantly since Russia's full-scale invasion in February 2022 and is among the most cited media outlets in the country. Its bold, in-depth reporting from the front lines has won many accolades and awards. Its comprehensive coverage also includes award-winning reporting by the Donbas.Realities and Crimea.Realities projects and the Schemes investigative unit.