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When life imitates 'Breaking Bad'

Tim Nelson
August 24, 2018


If you’ve watched enough Breaking Bad and your brain has been warped and rotted by pop culture like mine has, you probably think of meth trafficking almost every time you pass a fried chicken chain. As far as I know, Vince Gilligan’s inspiration for Gustavo Fring’s drug operation didn’t come from true story. But it would seem that almost five years after the meth-tastic tales of Walter White concluded, some cross-border drug smugglers have taken a page out of the Los Pollos Hermanos playbook.

Earlier this month, cops in the border town of San Luis, Arizona, pulled over a truck that was found to be carrying more than $1 million worth of illegal narcotics, including 118 kilos of methamphetamine. That’s not to mention an amount of fentanyl that could’ve supplied roughly 3 million street doses.

While authorities haven’t disclosed the purity or color of the meth, they did share how they managed to cross the US-Mexican border. It turns out the owner of the vehicle had bought an abandoned KFC, using it as one endpoint of a cross-border tunnel that starts inside a home in San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mexico. The American endpoint of the tunnel was the old KFC’s kitchen, linked to Sonora via a trap door under a bed.

According to local NBC affiliate KYMA, the tunnel descended roughly 22 feet, traversing 590 feet across the border. With a diameter of no more than eight inches, the smugglers used a series of ropes and pulleys to move the contraband.

It probably seemed like an ingenious idea at the time, but maybe using a secret passageway from a fast food chicken restaurant was just a little too on-the-nose. Who knows how they might have fared if they’d operated out of an industrial laundromat instead.


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