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Breaking Bad Wiki

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.[src]

Walter White's Drug Empire, also known simply as Walt's Drug Empire, or Heisenberg’s Empire, was a massive meth manufacturing and distribution operation which started in 2008 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was founded by former chemistry teacher Walter White, and catalyzed by his former student Jesse Pinkman. Their lawyer Saul Goodman also played a pivotal role in the empire's success.

Walter's meth empire was rooted from Walt's initial decision to begin cooking crystal meth with Jesse Pinkman after Walt was diagnosed with lung cancer, in order to pay for his treatments and secure the financial future of his family: his wife Skyler, son Walt Jr., and infant daughter Holly. Although Walt and Jesse 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 his wife eventually aiding Walt in the management of the empire. 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 Tuco Salamanca and Gustavo Fring. After the destruction of the Cartel and the collapse of Gus' Drug Empire, Walter 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 Walt's retirement from the business, his "empire" continued on without him, albeit in a highly fragmented and diluted organizational structure. Eventually, Walt returned to New Mexico, and destroyed what was left of his 'empire', killed all the remaining major players in it, and succumbed to his gunshot wound, permanently dismantling the organization he once built and led. Nevertheless, Walt's death only made things worse for the surviving low-level players who remain in the empire, and the surviving former members of it continued to be hunted by the authorities; Jesse and Saul in particular due to Skyler White making a deal with the prosecutors and the DEA being forced to release Huell Babineaux. Saul was eventually caught and sentenced to eighty-six years in federal prison for his role in the empire, leaving Jesse as the only former member of the empire to successfully escape from the authorities.



Jesse and Walt S5a promo

Jesse Pinkman and Walter White, the founders and main figures of the empire.

In 2008, Walter White began cooking crystal meth with his former student Jesse Pinkman after Walt found out about his terminal lung cancer diagnosis. His initial plan was to earn enough money to provide for his family after his death, but later became almost completely consumed by his drug empire. In the chaotic birth of the drug empire and its first days, Walt and Jesse spent several weeks self-distributing before briefly working with Tuco Salamanca.

A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal Promo

Walt and Jesse dealing with Tuco Salamanca.

After Tuco's death, Walt and Jesse became self-distributors again, with them temporarily running their own operation. After the death of Combo, Walt and Jesse began working with Gustavo Fring in his drug empire. The destruction of the Cartel and the collapse of Gus' drug empire led to Walt's drug empire being the only one left.


Walt and Jesse in the superlab with Gustavo Fring and Mike Ehrmantraut.

In 2009, after Hector Salamanca killed Gus with Walt's assistance, Walt decided to establish himself as the only major drug kingpin left in the Albuquerque area. He pitched an idea of a three way partnership between himself, Jesse, 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. ("Madrigal")

Vamonos Pest[]


Walt and Jesse convince Mike to join their side.

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. ("Hazard Pay")


Walt and Jesse in the mobile lab.

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 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. ("Hazard Pay")

Train heist[]

5x5 Dead Freight (07)

Walt and Jesse working with Todd Alquist during the train heist.

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. ("Dead Freight") 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. ("Buyout")

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. ("Say My Name")


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. ("Gliding Over All")



Walt and Skyler examine the empire's success.

After Mike was murdered by Walt 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. By the time of Walt's retirement, he had earned a total of $80 million. ("Gliding Over All")

Change of management[]

Hank: "Was it right to run a drug empire?"
Walt: "There is no drug empire."
―Hank and Walt's argument[src]

After 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. ("Buried")

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. ("Buried") With Declan out of the way, Lydia took charge of the empire and had Todd and Jack's gang take the meth cooking operation back to New Mexico. ("Confessions")

Following the deaths of DEA agents Hank Schrader and Steven Gomez at the hands of Jack's gang, Walt fled New Mexico and Jesse was taken prisoner by the gang and forced to cook for them. Jesse's meth was of a dramatically higher quality than Todd's and for many months, business continued as before, with Jack and his gang members selling Blue Sky in the Southwest and Lydia selling it to her buyers in the Czech Republic. ("Ozymandias",  "Granite State")


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Walt moments before launching his assault on Jack and his men.

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; although Lydia made it clear to Todd that she had no intention of working with Walt and merely wished to have him killed. Unbeknownst to Lydia, Walt had slipped ricin into Lydia's Stevia packet during the meeting that she then poured into her own tea.

Later, Walt launched an assault on the 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 compound lab, which was built from his old empire's equipment.

With Walt's death, all the remaining figures in the empire, on both the manufacturing and distribution sides, had either died (Jack, his men, and Walt) or found out they would die soon (Lydia). Thus, Jesse became the sole survivor of Walt's drug empire. ("Felina")


"So, yeah, I wasn't there when the meth was cooked. I wasn't there when it was sold. I didn't witness any of the murders, but I damn well knew it was happening. I was more than a willing participant, I was indispensable. I kept Walter White out of jail, I laundered his money, I lied for him, I conspired with him and I made millions! (...) Fact is, Walter White couldn't have done it without me."
―Saul confessing his pivotal role in building Walt's empire.[src]

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 be hospitalized and not expected to survive her poisoning, dying at some point following this news report.

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. ("Confessions") 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. ("El Camino")

When Saul, now going by the name Gene Takavic, called his former assistant Francesca Liddy for information on November 12, 2010, she revealed that Walt's death didn't change things and in fact only made it worse for those who were left of his organization. Skyler White was eventually able to make a deal with prosecutors as Walt had hoped and the DEA were forced to release Huell Babineaux due to holding him under false pretenses, allowing Huell to return home to New Orleans, but Francesca didn't know how well Patrick Kuby ended up doing. The police continued to search for Jesse and Saul who were the only ones left for them to go after. However, Jesse's car was found where Badger had planted it at the border and he successfully escaped. The DEA was able to locate and seize all of Saul's hidden assets and shell corporations, leaving Gene with only what he took with him when he went on the run. In an effort to find him, the authorities continued to follow Francesca, though not as closely as they did when everything first started. ("Breaking Bad")

Saul is later caught after his identity is exposed and he faces numerous charges for his connection to Walter White and his activities, including accessory after the fact to a number of murders. Saul claims that he had acted out of fear of what Walt and his associates would do if he didn't help them, but he later confesses to the truth, stating that without his help, Walt would've been dead or in prison within a month. Saul is eventually sentenced to eighty-six years in federal prison for his crimes. ("Saul Gone")

Empire figures (74)[]


Walt, Saul, Mike, and Jesse in "Hazard Pay".

Management & Finance[]


Jack Welker's gang in "To'hajiilee"



Hazard Pay (08)

The Vamonos crew in "Hazard Pay".

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Lydia at the Madrigal warehouse in "Gliding Over All"


  • Lydia Rodarte-Quayle, supplier of methylamine, manager of the distribution of the Blue Sky overseas to the Czech Republic and the third boss
  • Czech distributors: Lydia's distributors in the Czech Republic.
  • Declan, manager of the distribution of Blue Sky in Phoenix, Arizona and the second boss

Fronts and Properties[]

Empire's Victims[]