Breaking Bad-Style Meth Ring Run By Italian Rugby Pro Busted By Police

Lorenzo Bocchini pleaded guilty after raid found blue-dyed drugs

Nov 17, 2016 at 4:37 PM ET

An investigation by London Metropolitan Police has led to the convictions of former Italian rugby star Lorenzo Bocchini and two relatives for a Breaking Bad-inspired home meth lab and distribution ring.

Bocchini pleaded guilty to six drug-related charges after a police raid of his home in London’s Little Venice neighborhood turned up £200,000 of MDMA (ecstasy) and crystal meth—some of which had been dyed blue, the same signature used in the hit television show—as well as £33,000 in cash and a stun gun.

The police sting was called Operation Mako, an apparent reference to the large blue mako shark, and also led to jail sentences for Bocchini’s brother, Alessandro, and sister-in-law, Justine, who received prison terms of six years and four years, respectively. Lorenzo Bocchini, who played for Italian club Viadana in rugby’s famed Heineken Cup championship and retired in 2010, is due to be sentenced on Dec. 1.

Detective Inspector Stephen Payne said, according to the London Evening Standard, that none of the trio had previously been linked to the drug scene by police:

“In that sense it was like the Breaking Bad scenario. These were professional people who made a choice to go into this venture. They were not career criminals but were looking for an opportunity to make money out of nothing.

“They lived a high-roller, Breaking Bad lifestyle, not really knowing what to do with the cash. They even seemed to adopt the Breaking Bad signature of dying their crystal meth blue.”

Police also said, per the paper, all three “grew hooked” to their supply, which made them more Jesse Pinkman than Walter White in the TV scenario.

The investigation leader, detective constable Matt Clark said, “The Bocchini family were making significant profits selling highly dangerous and addictive class A drugs. What we uncovered was the wholesale supply of crystal meth and other drugs, focusing on the ‘chemsex’ scene in south London.

“The use of crystal meth within this scene is hugely damaging and we believe there are strong connections to drug deaths, rape and child sexual exploitation, links which continue to be investigated.”