- Not to be confused with the real Juárez Cartel, this is a fictional cartel in the Breaking Bad universe.
The Juárez Cartel was a Mexican drug cartel based in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, across the border from El Paso, Texas.
The Juárez Cartel controlled one of the primary transportation routes for billions of dollars worth of illegal drug shipments annually entering the United States from Mexico. They were a ruthless and dangerous drug trafficking organization that had been known to decapitate their rivals, mutilate their corpses, and dump them in public in order to instill fear not only in the general public, but also in local law enforcement and their rivals.
In 1989, Gustavo Fring and his close friend Max Arciniega met with leading members of the cartel - Don Eladio, Don Hector Salamanca, and Juan Bolsa - to pitch their new methamphetamine product, disguised under the cover of their burgeoning chicken restaurant Los Pollos Hermanos ("Hermanos"). However, Hector Salamanca murdered Max in retaliation for cutting into their business. Thus began Gus's plotting of revenge on the cartel, an endeavor in which he was ultimately successful.
Gus Fring, Mike Ehrmantraut, and Jesse Pinkman travel to Mexico to meet with the cartel. They arrive at the cartel lab, and Jesse bluffs his way through his inability to synthesize phenylacetic acid (back in Gus's superlab, it comes in barrels with a bee), demands that the lab be scrubbed spotless, and then watches as a digital readout inches above 96 percent purity for his meth. The cartel is very pleased, with Gaff (a cartel sniper who also hijacked a Los Pollos Hermanos truck) saying "First of many!" - Jesse's first indication that the deal Gus made requires him to stay in Mexico.
Almost immediately, however, Mike relieves Jesse’s mind (and cements his loyalty) by saying “I promise you this—either we’re all going home or none of us are.” Gus’ plan is to poison the entire cartel household with some rare tequila (Zafiro Añejo) he offers to cartel kingpin Don Eladio as a gift; he even takes the first drink (after swallowing a couple of emetic pills earlier). When the party is in full swing, Gus excuses himself to go to the bathroom (with one of Eladio’s henchmen standing guard), where he throws up the poison and walks out to a poolside littered with the dead and dying.
With a last look of horror and outrage at Gus, Don Eladio dies, falls into the pool, and Mike pulls Don Eladio's necklace off the floating corpse. Having just garroted Gaff, Mike tells Jesse to grab a gun. After Gus shouts out a challenge to the compound to either get out and live or stay to fight and die, the three head for the hills. The pills Gus swallowed haven't rendered him completely immune to the poison's effects, however, and he doubles over in pain. Mike gets shot and Jesse returns fire at his assailant (later revealed to be Joaquin Salamanca), looking completely shocked when the man drops. Gus, Mike, and Jesse successfully rush away from the scene ("Salud").
The cartel was thrown into chaos, and a power vacuum emerged, following the mass poisoning of Don Eladio Vuente and the leading members of the organization. In its place, Gus' Drug Empire spreads its control of methamphetamine trade in the American Southwest.
- Don Eladio Vuente, boss
- Juan Bolsa
- Don Hector "Tio" Salamanca, former high-level capo
- Don Paco
- Don Cesar
- Don Renaldo
- Don Artuno
- Don Cisco
- Don Luis
- Don Escalada
- Max Arciniega (Killed by Hector "Tio" Salamanca on Don Eladio's orders)
- Dog Paulsen (Shot with a sawed-off shotgun by Tuco in 1998)
- Unnamed Mexican national (Killed by Tuco with a knife in 2003)
- No-Doze (Beaten to death by Tuco Salamanca in a fit of rage)
- Tortuga (Decapitated by the Cousins on Juan Bolsa's orders)
- Unnamed DEA agent (Blown up by a bomb set by the Cartel)
- Nine Mexican stowaways (Shot at close proximity by the Cousins)
- Unnamed coyote driver (Shot in the back while fleeing from the Cousins)
- Mrs. Peyketewa (Killed by the Cousins)
- Bobby Kee (Stricken in the back with an axe by Marco Salamanca)
- Unnamed man (Shot to death by Marco Salamanca)
- Los Pollos driver #1 (Shot to death by the Cartel)
- Los Pollos driver #2 (Shot to death by Gaff and two unnamed assassins)
- Two Los Pollos guards (Suffocated by exhaust by Gaff and two unnamed assassins)
- Unnamed henchman (Shot with a sniper rifle by Gaff)