Irina Kristy, 74, who taught mathematics at two prestigious Boston colleges over the past two decades, now stands accused of dealing meth with her grown son, in a scenario eerily like AMC's hit TV show Breaking Bad.
Kristy's 29-year-old son, Grigory Genkin, was charged first, when police searching their Somerville, Mass. home uncovered evidence of methamphetamine production.
Police founds five bottles of noxious chemicals cooking the addictive narcotic on the second floor, and removed a large amount of materials believed to be hazardous from the home.
On Dec. 5, however, word spread that Professor Irina Kristy had been arrested in November as well.
'Kristy was complicit in the meth operation.'
Genkin turned himself in to police in November, but has since pleaded not guilty. He is charged with meth distribution, conspiracy to violate drug laws and drug violations in a school zone.
Police had been investigating the pair since August 2010. Though Kristy denied knowledge of the meth production, cops were convinced she had a role in the drug lab.
Due to the amount of materials and contraband located and seized, Somerville Dectetive Michael Brown wrote in the official police report, It is believed that... Kristy was complicit in the methamphetamine operation.
Irina Kristy, who has taught math at Boston University since 1987 and at Suffolk University since 1985, is scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 21, one day after her son's appearance. The college math professor will face the same charges.
Former Soviet Dissident
The 74-year-old professor emigrated to the U.S. from Moscow, Russia in 1985. She was a noted Soviet dissident, and a close friend of Nobel Peace Prize winner Andre Sakharov.
According to an AP report, both Kristy and husband Sergei Genkin were under surveillance by the KGB and spent time in house arrest in the USSR before fleeing to America with their son Grigory.
Both Kristy and her husband, now deceased, were mathematicians in the USSR, and continued that profession in the U.S.
Breaking Bad: College Edition?
Irina Kristy's case may remind AMC fans of the TV show Breaking Bad, starring Bryan Canstron as high school chemistry teacher turned meth dealer Walter White.
Breaking Bad chronicles the terminally ill and financially struggling White as a man whose dark path leads him to recruit a former student and become increasingly embroiled in neighborhood drug rings. Though college professors get paid more than high school teachers, it's not a stretch to imagine that Kristy's finances may have been the reason why she allegedly ran the meth lab with her son.
White's own students, however, characterize her less as a Breaking Bad stand-in than as the absent-minded professor.
On the web site Ratemyprofessors.com, former students praised her math skills but slammed her for absent-mindedness and a confusing teaching style. She's not aware of her surroundings, one student posted. She is extremely hard to understand, another wrote. She never answers the problem correctly. I got more confused the more I went to class.
Kristy Used 'Shake and Bake' Method
Regardless of how her students perceived her, police are convinced Kristy was involved in her son's meth lab, and in fact was likely running the drug operation.
If this is true, the college math professor was involved in a particularly risky method of meth production, one that can lead to tragic results for the dealer as well as for the users.
Cops report Kristy was utilizing the shake and bake or one-pot method to make methamphetamine.
In this cheaper and far more volatile method, the dangerous chemicals are all mixed in a single container, usually something like a soda bottle. If anything goes wrong during the process, the bottles can explode, causing fast-spreading chemical fires.
Police officials say the house may have to be condemned. Irina Kristy has been suspended from Suffolk University since news of her November arrest broke in early December, but Boston University is keeping her on the faculty list until her trial.