Crime

Breaking Bad-Style Blue Meth Found All Over Phoenix

In a case of life imitating art, methamphetamine with a tint of blue, just like Walter White's "Blue Sky" product, is turning up routinely on the streets of Phoenix, cops say.

Meth dealers tell their customers the blue powder will get them higher, says Phoenix police Sergeant Tommy Thompson, but narcotics officers say it's likely just average meth with some food coloring thrown in.

Phoenix police make small seizures of blue meth every week or two, he says.

See also: -10 Meth-iest Crimes (Allegedly) Committed by Arizona Meth-Heads

Coloring meth to look like the fictional high-quality stuff in the popular TV show Breaking Bad apparently is part of a trend to make the drug look better to users.

Efforts to restrict the sale of pharmacy drugs used to make meth have worked fairly well over the years, he says, but folks still manage to make meth with pseudoephedrine. The problem for meth makers is that the allergy-relieving drug contains chemical "binders" that help it retain the form of a pill. That may leave the finished product looking lumpy and gross, Thompson says, so the illicit chemists will "wash" the meth with other chemicals or by straining it through coffee filters. The finished product has a more-appealing, "flour-like" appearance.

"The bottom line is, it looks prettier," Thompson says. "Throw in a few drops of blue food coloring and you've taken a product and made it a little more marketable."

It's not just in Phoenix: In January, a Homeland Security official announced that blue meth had been showing up in the Four Corners region and in New Mexico.

Phoenix officials have conducted no tests on the blue meth being found, meaning no one but the person who made it knows for sure what's in it.

Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.