"I don't tell you how to fry your chickens, Gustavo. You should really leave matters of my organization's politics to me."
―Juan Bolsa[src]

Juan Bolsa was a high-level member of the Juárez drug cartel which the Salamanca family belongs to. It is Bolsa who orders Tortuga's execution by Marco and Leonel Salamanca, and later places his head on a booby-trapped tortoise for the DEA to find.

He is also the cartel's liaison with Gustavo Fring, and the one who arranges a meeting between Gus and the Salamanca Family (Marco, Leonel, and Hector) on the matter of Walter White.


Better Call Saul

Breaking Bad

Season 3

Juan Bolsa arranges a meeting between himself, Tio Salamanca, The Cousins and Gus. He tells Gus he will urge the Salamanca family to be patient, but advises that Gus risks losing the favor of the cartel if he does not finish his business with Walter quickly and that he cannot guarantee the Cousins will listen to reason. He has forbidden the Cousins to kill Hank Schrader, as the DEA is "off limits" ("I.F.T.").

After the ambush on Hank leaves one Cousin dead and another in the hospital, Bolsa is confined to his home as Mexican federales are watching him closely due to pressure from the American government. He suspects Gus of being responsible for the Cousins making a move on Hank, but cannot see the benefit to Gus as the pressure is delaying the drug shipments across the border. He promises that he will get the surviving Cousin, Leonel, the best lawyer possible and will get the truth of what happened.

Once Leonel suffers a cardiac arrest and dies due to being poisoned by Mike Ehrmantraut on orders from Gus, Bolsa calls and warns Gus that he is convinced he was involved in that death, promising he will survive the government's attention and pay Gus a visit afterwards. However, as he is speaking with Gus, gunshots are heard. Seeing his bodyguards getting killed, he attempts to make his escape. Opening his door, he is gunned down by an unseen assailant as Gus smiles on the other end of the line ("I See You").

Season 4

In a flashback, it is revealed that Juan Bolsa was present in the day Gus and his partner, Max Arciniega, made the first move trying to get in contact with the Juárez Cartel. The two are called to meet Bolsa, Tio and the head of the cartel, Don Eladio Vuente. Gus and Max try to convince them that their product is nothing like anything they ever sold, it is chemically superior. Juan Bolsa and Tio make fun of them, and then Don Eladio orders Tio to kill Max.

Bolsa and Tio hold Gus down, forcing him to look in the eyes of his deceased partner, while Don Eladio taunted Gus, telling him to stay away from the Cartel. This ended up being the reason why Gus plotted the murder of Juan Bolsa and The Cousins, to get revenge on what they did to him ("Hermanos").

Bolsa's death would later be avenged by his ally Hector who, with the aid of Walter White, suicide-bombs Gus, killing him.

Murders connected to Bolsa

  • Tortuga: Decapitated by The Cousins on Bolsa's orders.
  • DEA Field Agent: Blown to pieces by a bomb strapped to a tortoise by The Cousins on Bolsa's orders.


Gus: "Do I not run my own territory?"
Juan: "Of course you do. And I will advise them to be patient. But I recommend you finish your business with the man quickly. Or you risk losing the good graces of the cartel. That would not be wise. And those boys inside, I cannot guarantee that they will listen. They are...not like you and I."
―Juan Bolsa during his meeting with Gustavo Fring.[src]

Gustavo: "Juan, you sound like you're under a lot of stress. Maybe you should call me back when you're seeing things more clearly."
Juan Bolsa: "I see things clear enough. One DEA gets shot, all of Washington starts barking. The DF suddenly has to put on a big show and I wind up with federales in my rose bushes. And just for a while, appearances, politics... Are you still there, Gustavo?"
Gustavo: "Yes, I'm here."
Juan Bolsa: "I'll weather this. I always do. My brother is a police chief. I got connections. They'll get me through. And when I get proof and the others find out what you've done, maybe we come pay you a visit. Maybe—"
―Gus and Juan's phone conversation, shortly before Juan is gunned down on sight. Gus, hearing this on the phone, smiles, breaks apart the phone and throws it away.[src]


Breaking Bad

Episodes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4
Season 5A
Season 5B

Better Call Saul

Episodes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Season 1                    
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4
Season 5


  • Javier Grajeda and Bryan Cranston were once roommates. They met while starring in an episode of the TV show Cover Up. Bryan Cranston's character was a serial killer who killed Javier Grajeda's detective character.[1]
  • The literal translation of his name into English is "John Sack". "Johnny Sack" was a character on The Sopranos.
    • "Johnny Sack" acted as an intermediary between the Lupertazzi family in New York and the DiMeo family in New Jersey, much as Juan Bolsa acted as an intermediary between the Juárez Cartel and Gustavo Fring's empire north of the border.





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