A former Italian rugby star who set up a Breaking Bad-style crystal meth lab in London is expected to be sentenced in December, the Metropolitan Police has said.
Emulating the modus operandi employed by fictional drug baron Walter White in the popular American TV series, Lorenzo Bocchini used his Little Venice home to make up batches of the deadly drug, dying the narcotics blue in the same way White did on the show.
Police found drugs worth £300,000, a large sum of cash and a stun gun when they raided Bocchini’s laboratory in west London. Among the substances discovered during the raid were 813g of methamphetamine, 1,354 ecstasy tablets and 34.9g of cocaine. Bocchini told officers he was merely looking after the drugs for somebody else.
Bocchini appeared at Southwark Crown Court yesterday having previously pleaded guilty to six drug charges, including possession of methamphetamine with intent to supply. His sentencing was adjourned until 1 December.
The former prop’s brother Alessandro and his wife Justine were sentenced to six and four years respectively in October after pleading guilty to a series of drug charges. When officers raided their home as part of their investigation into Bocchini, large amounts of crystal meth, MDMA and cash were found. Police discovered the couple had run £100,000 of dugs money through their bank account in the months leading up to their arrests.
All three offenders gradually became addicted to the drugs they were selling, police said.
Detective Constable Matt Clark, who led the investigation, 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 methlyamphetamine 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 we continue to investigate.”
Popular among drug users in the US, crystal meth has been slow to catch on in Britain until recently. Figures released by the Metropolitan Police in August suggested that use of the substance had rocketed 500% in five years. The force said it arrested 100 last year for possessing methamphetamine, up from just 18 in 2010.
The drug is popular on the London gay scene, where it is used to fuel sex parties that can go on for days. As a result, its use has become synonymous with sexually transmitted diseases such as hepatitis C and HIV. In 2014, Professor Ellis Cashmore from Staffordshire University blamed the rising use of meth across Europe on the success of Breaking Bad, which has been viewed by millions of people all over the world on Netflix.