You asked me if I was in the meth business or the money business. Neither. I'm in the empire business.
|― Walter White to Jesse Pinkman.|
Walt's Drug Empire was a massive meth manufacturing and distribution operation started in 2009 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, founded by former chemistry teacher Walter White and catalyzed by his former student Jesse Pinkman.
Walter's meth empire was rooted from Walt's initial decision to begin cooking crystal meth with Jesse Pinkman after Walt was diagnosed with Stage III terminal lung cancer. Although the two began as amateur, small-time meth cooks, manufacturing the drug out of an RV in the deserts of New Mexico, and being met with very limited success, Walt and Jesse soon climbed up the drug hierarchy, killing or systematically destroying anyone who impeded them. Walt's drug empire almost completely consumed his life, drastically altering the lives of anyone involved in it, including his loved ones, With even his wife eventually aiding him in its management. As time went by, the empire grew larger and more powerful, ultimately becoming the largest meth operation in American history.
Walter began cooking with Jesse in a very small and unprofessional meth manufacturing operation. Soon, the two ended up working for Gustavo Fring. After the destruction of the Juárez Cartel and the collapse of Gus' Drug Empire, Walter White decided to establish himself as the only major drug kingpin left in the Albuquerque area. However, Walter had been manufacturing and selling crystal methamphetamine for a period of time prior to the formal establishment of his "empire". After White's retirement from the business, his "empire" continued on without him, albeit in a highly fragmented and diluted organizational structure. Eventually, White returned to New Mexico, and destroyed what was left of his 'empire', killed all the remaining major players in it, and permanently dismantled the organization he once built and led.
In 2009, after Hector Salamanca killed Gus and Tyrus Kitt with Walt's assistance Walt pitched an idea of a three way partnership between himself, Jesse Pinkman and Gus' second-in-command at the time, Mike Ehrmantraut. Mike handles all business matters while Walt and Jesse handle the production of their signature Blue Sky. The lawyer Saul Goodman would continue to act as legal counsel.("")
Without an RV or superlab to use as a cook site the group had to build a new meth lab. After investigating several options Walt decided for the group to build a mobile lab that would be built inside houses being bug bombed by Vamonos Pest, a cover company the three decided to purchase. They receive three huge stacks of cash—$367,000 each, the gross from their first 50-pound batch, but this steadily dwindles as Mike allocates cuts to the other parts of the operation. The "mules" (drivers) get a flat 20 percent, which elicits Walt’s first objection: “What did Gus pay his mules?” Mike explains that Gus didn’t need mules because he had his own distribution network of Pollos trucks ("").
Jesse gets back the $120,000 he fronted the group. Ira, the owner of Vamonos Pest, gets $45,000 out of each share. Ira’s crew get $10,000 from each. Saul gets $18,000 from each. Walter is further enraged to learn that a portion of the proceeds from every cook would go to the Gus Fring's nine men in prison as hush money. With a final warning that Walt needs to make peace with these ongoing expenditures (including the methylamine, which would not be free next time), Mike leaves Walt to count his depleted stack of cash, which amounts to $137,000 ("").
After coming across issues getting methylamine, the group decided to rob a train of 1,000 gallons of methylamine and replace it with water. With the help of Todd Alquist, the men pulled off the heist but were witnessed by an innocent bystander who was shot and killed by Todd. ("") After the murder, Mike and Jesse decided to retire and sell their share of the methylamine to a rival organization in Arizona run by Declan. ("")
Rather than giving in to Mike and Jesse's plan, Walt decided rather to sell Mike's 34% share in the organization to Declan and would continue to cook his 99.1% pure blue meth, making everyone involved more money in the long run. Jesse, however, decided to leave without a penny because he was tired of the violence and terror. ("")
Setting up a moveable lab in houses tented for fumigation by Vamonos Pest, Walt and Todd would cook batch after batch of blue meth. While Todd drops meth off with Declan's driver to sell in Arizona, Lydia Rodarte-Quayle would label meth bag-filled oil drums in the Madrigal warehouse bound for Europe and then see that the barrels would be shipped overseas to be sold in the Czech Republic via Madrigal's shipping resources("")
After Mike Ehrmantraut was murdered by Walter White in a burst of rage, Walt decided to have Gus's ten former associates murdered in jail in order to eliminate any risks of them making a deal with the DEA. Since all former members of Gus' Drug Empire were dead and the DEA had lost the trail of Heisenberg, Walt and company enjoyed a three month period of prosperity, making tens of millions of dollars. When Skyler showed Walt the true extent of his success in the form of a giant pile of cash, he decided to end his involvement in the meth business, thus ending the empire. ("")
When Walt retired from the meth business Declan took over control of the operation, and partnered with Lydia. He initially worked with Todd for two cooks but returned to his previous cook after Todd accidentally started a fire during his third cook. Lydia, upset with the poor quality, tried to get Walt back to cooking but Walt refused. ("")
After that Lydia tried to convince Declan to give Todd another chance but Declan refused. Lydia then had Todd and his uncle Jack's gang take out Declan's crew and take over control of the meth operation. ("")
Following Hank and Gomez's deaths at the hands of the gang, Walt fled New Mexico and Jesse Pinkman was taken prisoner by the gang and forced to cook for them. Pinkman's meth was of a dramatically higher quality than Todd's and for many months, business continued as before, with the white supremacists selling Blue Sky in the Southwest and Lydia selling it to her buyers in the Czech Republic. ("") ("")
- "There is no drug empire."
- ―Walter to Hank Schrader
After several months in hiding, Walt returned to Albuquerque to destroy the empire he had once built. He interrupted Lydia and Todd's regular meeting, under the auspices of pitching them a new meth cooking process that did not require methylamine. Lydia and Todd agreed that Walt should meet with Jack's gang that night. During their meeting, Walt had slipped ricin into Lydia's Stevia packet that she then poured into her own tea. Later, Walt launched an assault on the Nazi compound with a remote-controlled M60 machine gun. He saved Jesse Pinkman from the gunfire, but in the process was shot himself. Shortly after the M60 ran out of bullets, Jesse broke Todd's neck with his own chains, and Walt executed Jack with a single gunshot to the head. When Todd's phone rang, Lydia was surprised to hear Walt's voice on the other end. He informed her he had poisoned her with the ricin and said goodbye. Jesse drove off into the night and Walter died from his gunshot wound in the Nazi compound lab, which was built from his old empire's equipment. Thus, all the remaining figures in the empire, on both the manufacturing and distribution sides, had died, with the exception of Jesse. ("")
The day after Walt's death, news reports covered the aftermath of both the empire and the gang massacre. In one news report, Walt's empire was stated to be the largest meth manufacturing operation in US history. Jesse remained wanted as a person of interest for his role in the empire, though both the authorities and public at large became aware of Jesse's captivity and liberation by Walt. Another news report mentioned that an unnamed Houston woman -- Lydia -- had been poisoned by Walt and was under investigation for her ties to him. Lydia was stated to hospitalized and not expected to survive her poisoning. With the authorities after him, Jesse sought the services of Ed Galbraith, "the disappearer" Saul Goodman had once enlisted to help him get a new life and identity. ("") Recovering one-third of Todd's drug money stash with Neil Kandy and Casey taking the other two-thirds, Jesse attempted to flee to a new life in Alaska but lacked the necessary funds with Ed also demanding payment for the previous aborted pickup. After killing Neil and Casey, Jesse recovered Neil's share of the money and was taken to make a new life in Alaska by Ed, free to finally have a fresh start, as Mr. Driscoll. ("")
- Walter White †, first partner & primary cook, the boss
- Jesse Pinkman, second partner & Walt's first assistant
- Mike Ehrmantraut †, third partner & manager of business connections
Management & Finance
- Saul Goodman, attorney for all of Walt's men
- Dan Wachsberger †, attorney for Mike's men and manager of the legacy cost
- Skyler White, manager of front business A1A Car Wash
- Ira, founder and manager of front business Vamonos Pest
- Jack Welker †, gang leader and third boss
- Fernando, employed as Vamonos Pest Control fumigator
- Sandor, employed as Vamonos Pest Control fumigator
- Huell Babineaux, Saul Goodman's bodyguard
- Patrick Kuby, Saul Goodman's fixer
- Skinny Pete, member of Jesse’s Drug Group
- Badger, member of Jesse's Drug Group
- Combo†,member of Jesse's Drug Group
- Lydia Rodarte-Quayle†, supplier of methylamine, manager of the distribution of the Blue Sky overseas to the Czech Republic and third boss
- Ron Forenall†, a Madrigal warehouse foreman
- Declan†, manager of the distribution of Blue Sky in Phoenix, Arizona and second boss
- Emilio Koyama (Poisoned with Phosphine gas by Walter White)
- Krazy-8 (Strangled to death with a bike lock by Walt)
- Rival Dealers (Run over with a van and then shot once in the head by Walt)
- Gale Boetticher (Shot by Jesse Pinkman)
- Gustavo Fring (Blown up by Hector Salamanca. Walt supplied the bomb)
- Tyrus Kitt (Blown up by Hector. Walt supplied the bomb)
- Two of Gus' employees (Shot to death by Walt)
- Duane Chow (Shot by Chris Mara on Lydia Rodarte-Quayle's orders)
- Chris Mara (Shot by Mike)
- Drew Sharp (Shot by Todd Alquist)
- Mike Ehrmantraut (Shot by Walt)
- Gus's ten former employees (Murdered within a two minute window across multiple prisons, orchestrated by Walt with help of Todd's uncle Jack Welker and his gang):
- Six of Jack Welker's Gang (Murdered with Walter White's remote-controlled M60 to avenge Walt's brother-in-law Hank Schrader)
- Todd Alquist (Garrotted to death with a chain by Jesse)
- Jack Welker (Shot in the head by Walt)
- Lydia Rodarte-Quayle (Poisoned with ricin by Walt)