When authorities went to arrest 38-year-old Alexander Rudine this week, he was sitting on his porch in Portland with $1,500 in his pocket and 16 grams of methamphetamine in his wristband, according to court records. The former Portland State University Ph.D. chemistry student and community college chemistry teacher is accused of possessing, manufacturing and delivering meth — which is drawing comparisons on social media to the dark, TV drug drama, “Breaking Bad.”
The TV show is set in Albuquerque, where the lead character, Walter White, works as a high-school chemistry teacher. And amid a terminal lung cancer diagnosis, White turns to meth production to provide for his family.
Rudine’s alleged meth lab was some 1,300 miles north in Portland, among a line of one-story suburban homes shaded by weeping willows and pine trees. Inside the house, police found on Tuesday another 14 grams of meth, a scale and packing supplies, according to an affidavit filed in court.
They also found notes on “how to re-crystalize methamphetamine, along with a handwritten scientific formula at the bottom of the page,” Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Christopher Shull wrote.
The neighborhood is sandwiched between two parks with an elementary school only 790 feet away, which is why he also has been charged with manufacturing meth near a school, according to his booking record.
Police said the tip came from a suspected drug-runner, news reports say.
Three people were detained at the scene while police searched the home. One was interviewed and released. Another, Morgan Amanda Clingings, 39, was arrested on an outstanding warrant for burglary charges.
On Wednesday, Rudine pleaded not guilty to all charges.
“He seemed like an ordinary guy,” his neighbor, Don Garlick, told KPTV. “I had a little trouble telling what he did for a living because his schedule wasn’t very regular.”
Rudine is currently unemployed. Court records indicate that the 5-foot-8 alleged cook had been living off his father’s retirement income.
But last year, he was a part-time chemistry instructor at Mount Hood Community College in Gresham, Ore. Although new to teaching, his students ranked him 4.1 out of 5 on RateMyProfessors.com. One called him “a goofball.” Another said, “He stayed energetic and excited about the material even after hours of lecture.” One claimed, “He wants you to succeed and shows that he has passion for chemistry.”
A Mount Hood Community College spokesperson told KPTV that he is no longer employed at the school.
Rudine told police he was also working on his doctorate in chemistry at Portland State University. University spokesman Scott Gallagher told OregonLive.com he was a student last spring but not anymore.
Rudine is in custody at the Multnomah County Detention Center. His pre-trial hearing is set for Oct. 23.