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Gus' Drug Empire

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DrugEmpire

Close-up of the DEA billboard mapping the extent of Gus's drug empire seen in "Fifty-One".

Gus' Drug Empire was an American drug cartel based in Albuquerque, New Mexico and run by mastermind and kingpin Gustavo Fring.

Using a fried chicken fast-food restaurant chain Los Pollos Hermanos as a cover organization, Gus' empire controlled one of the primary transportation routes for billions of dollars worth of illegal crystal methamphetamine shipments annually in the Southwestern United States. The meth, given the street name "blue sky" for its blue color, was manufactured by Walter White and Gale Boetticher, who was later replaced by Jesse Pinkman.

Gus's operation was a ruthless and dangerous drug trafficking organization, but remained under the radar of the DEA due to Gus' friendship with George Merkert and Gus's public image as an anti-drug booster of law enforcement. The empire crumbled following Gus Fring's death ("Face Off"). Gus's death created a power vacuum which was eventually filled by Walter White.

History

4x8 Gus and Max

Gus and Max pitch their product to the Juárez Cartel in "Hermanos"

In 1989, Gustavo Fring and Max Arciniega pitched the idea of manufacturing and selling crystal methamphetamine to the Juárez Cartel. The cartel's leader Don Eladio Vuente didn't take kindly to Gus' underhanded way of arranging the meeting so he murdered Max to keep Gus under his thumb. ("Hermanos")

By 2008, Gus had arranged a financial partnership with Peter Schuler and Madrigal Electromotive GmbH to finance the meth trade as well as their cover business, fast food restaurant Los Pollos Hermanos. A large superlab was constructed under a laundromat owned by Madrigal where large quantities of crystal meth -- known on the street as Blue Sky -- could be produced on a weekly basis. Gale Boetticher was hired by Gus to design and oversee the construction and Walter White and Jesse Pinkman were later brought in to run the lab.

In 2009, a vengeful power play by Gus eradicated the entire Juárez Cartel and left Gus as the sole producer of meth in the American Southwest. ("Salud")

Downfall and aftermath

Gus' control over the meth distribution network did not last long as Gus was killed by Walter White ("Face Off"). Many of his henchmen and other people involved were killed in the fallout. The cartel's absence and Gus' death left an empty market for other meth manufactures to vie for control over. ("Madrigal")

Distribution

Los Pollos Hermanos TV Commercial02:33

Los Pollos Hermanos TV Commercial

Gus' distribution system from "Kafkaesque"

"[Gustavo Fring] spent twenty years building his own distribution. He had sixteen refrigerator trucks running its product."
Mike Ehrmantraut[src]

After the cooks would complete a shipment of Blue Sky the product would be weighed and bagged at the Los Pollos Hermanos factory farm outside of Albuquerque. The bags would then be submerged in Los Pollos ingredient tubs and marked with ultraviolet stamps. Los Pollos trucks would then deliver the tubs to different Los Pollos restaurants around the American Southwest where the drugs would be distributed to local dealers and sold to consumers. ("Kafkaesque")

Occasionally these trucks would be attacked by the rival Juárez Cartel so security forces were added to prevent loss. ("Bullet Points") Dead drops were made as an effort to keep ties severed between members of the organization. ("Shotgun")

DEA investigation

5x4 Fifty-One (07)

Hank and Gomez looking at the map of the extent of Gus' network ("Fifty-One")

The DEA's investigation of Gus' drug empire started as a witch hunt by Hank Schrader to find "Heisenberg", the man producing a high-quality blue-colored methamphetamine. When Walt began cooking for Gus, Hank's investigation led him to the apartment of Gale Boetticher which provided evidence that Los Pollos Hermanos, Gus Fring, and Madrigal Electromotive GmbH may somehow have been involved. ("Problem Dog") Hank's hunt eventually led him to the Los Pollos farm and Gomez to the laundromat. ("End Times")

Neither Hank's partner Steven Gomez nor supervisor George Merkert believed that Fring could be involved. ("Hermanos") Gus, however, was not happy with Hank's investigation so he ordered a hit on him, leading to Walter White's decision to murder Gus. ("Crawl Space") After Fring's death, Hank was vindicated after the discovery of the superlab. ("Live Free or Die") Although Gus' drug ring was shut down, Hank and Gomez continued to tie up the loose ends and were startled when Blue Sky made its way back on to the streets. Hank was ordered to abandon the investigation when he was offered the position of his office's ASAC. ("Fifty-One") Instead, Hank persued Mike Ehrmantraut and eventually caught a lucky break when they caught Dan Wachsberger, the man delivering the cash for Fring's incarcerated men's families. ("Say My Name") Before any of the ten inmates could reveal the identity of Heisenberg, they were all murdered, effectively putting a final nail in the coffin for the Fring Empire. ("Gliding Over All")

Empire figures

Episode-8-Gus-760

Gus Fring in "Hermanos"

"You don't think Gus Fring built his distribution network all by himself?"
Lydia Rodarte-Quayle[src]

Management & Finance

Box Cutter 02

Mike Ehrmantraut in "Box Cutter"

Enforcement

Box Cutter-gale-2

Gale Botticher in "Box Cutter"

Distribution

Manufacturing

Empire's Victims

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 September 1, 2012. DEA Evidence Board. AMC.

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