- This article is about the character. For the third episode of the first season of Better Call Saul, see Nacho.
We got hit the other day. A truck headed south got hijacked. Someone stole a quarter of a million. Now Hector's flippin' out, lookin' for who did it. Thing is... I think it was you. They left the driver hog-tied, not a mark on him. Anyone in the game woulda capped him without a second thought. But this driver? He's still breathin'. I thought to myself, who's the guy who'll rip off a couple hundred thousand in drug money and leave a witness? Who's the guy who won't pull the trigger? You. I'm not here to squeeze you. You wanna rip off the cartel, that's your business. But here's the thing. I'm picking up that driver, Hector's orders. We're gonna see what he knows, and if he knows you, that's bad for both of us.
|― Nacho explaining the situation to Mike.|
While not yet a kingpin himself, Nacho is bright and has the ear of his terrifying boss. Nacho hires Jimmy as his lawyer after being introduced to him by Tuco during 2002. He secretly begins working with Mike Ehrmantraut later on. He admires Mike's calm and calculated way of business, compared to Tuco's impulsive and insane way of working.
After Tuco is arrested, Hector takes his position. Serving as a worthy head at first, Hector turns his attention towards using Manuel Varga's store as a front. This prompts Nacho to orchestrate Hector's stroke, and becoming a temporary boss before Lalo arrived. He was blackmailed by Gustavo Fring into becoming a middle man and an informant, forced into multiple tasks against the Salamanca family.
- 1 History
- 2 Personality
- 3 Deaths
- 4 Quotes
- 5 Appearances
- 6 Trivia
- 7 Videos
- 8 External links
Nacho Varga is the son of Manuel Varga and works with him at his upholstery store. However, Nacho is also close friends to the powerful drug dealer Tuco Salamanca and one of his most trusted men. Nacho helps Tuco run his illegal operations in Albuquerque by serving as one of his enforcers.
Better Call Saul
When Tuco captures Jimmy McGill and the twins Cal and Lars Lindholm for trying to scam Tuco's grandmother, he asks Nacho, Gonzo and No-Doze to take them into the desert, where they try to find out who they are. Jimmy tries to explain that Tuco's grandmother wasn't the original victim of the scam, but the couple Betsy and Craig Kettleman, who had stolen millions from the government. Jimmy is a lawyer and was trying to get the couple to hire him, however, the twins ended up confusing Tuco's grandmother's car for Betsy's instead. At first, Tuco doesn't believe Jimmy and even threatens to cut off his fingers using pliers, but Nacho takes over the interrogation and convinces Tuco that murdering a lawyer would raise too many questions. Tuco decides to let Jimmy go.
Sometime after the desert confrontation, Nacho meets with Jimmy in his small office. Nacho is interested in the Kettleman's story and wants Jimmy to help him rip them off. Jimmy declines his offer, asserting himself as a lawyer, not a criminal. Nacho gives him his phone number and says that now Jimmy is "in the game". ("").
Now aware of Nacho's plans, Jimmy tries to make an anonymous call to warn the Kettlemans that they are in danger. Concerned, the Kettlemans look outside their house and sees Nacho's parked van. The next day, the Kettlemans are nowhere to be found while their house is left ransacked. Nacho is arrested after being denounced by a neighbor who saw his van parked outside the Kettleman's house. The police search his van, finding blood on the floor (belonging to Lars and Cal from their previous encounter).
The police find Jimmy, who had been trying to communicate with Nacho over the disappearance of the Kettlemans, and escorts him to the station, where he discusses the case with Nacho. Nacho maintains his innocence, admitting that he had performed surveillance on the Kettleman home, but did not kidnap them. Nacho warns Jimmy that if he does not get the charges dropped against him the police might uncover his connections to Tuco's criminal organization, which would result in Jimmy's death. Terrified, Jimmy goes to try to fix the issue. ("").
After Jimmy found the Kettlemans, Nacho is released from police custody, who then discreetly accuses Jimmy of warning the Kettlemans before they went into hiding and that Jimmy will face "consequences". Jimmy rebuts by implying that he warned the family for the children's sake, and that any trouble Nacho got into he brought upon himself. ("")
Much later, Nacho is the contact who is buying pills from Pryce, with Mike Ehrmantraut serving as Pryce's bodyguard during the drug deal. When Pryce counts Nacho's money, he points out that he is short $20 from the price of the pills. Mike demands the agreed amount or the deal is off. Reluctant at first, Nacho coldly forks over the rest of the money and leaves with the pills. ("")
Nacho meets with Pryce to buy more pills from him, but this time, Mike is not present as Pryce's bodyguard, due to the both of them parting ways. While Pryce counts up Nacho's money, Nacho admires his new bright yellow Hummer H2 with red flames and uses Mike's absence to his advantage and steals Pryce's personal information from his auto registration, learning that Pryce's real name is Daniel Warmolt. Sometime later, Nacho breaks into Daniel's house and steals all of his drug money, as well as his personal baseball card collection. ("")
Being clueless on how to act as a criminal, Daniel calls the police to investigate the break-in. The two cops end up finding Daniel's secret area behind the sofa where he kept the drug money and eventually becomes a suspect. Mike gets worried that Daniel might get caught and snitch on the whole operation they had, so he confronts Nacho at the upholstery shop run by Nacho's father, where Mike pretends to be interested in reupholstering his car in order to get Nacho’s attention. When they’re alone, Mike informs him that he knows Nacho was behind the break-in at Daniel's house. He demands Nacho to give the cards back to Daniel so he won't get arrested, but Nacho shrugs it off. However, Mike has an ace up his sleeve: he threatens to reveal Nacho’s dealings with Daniel to Tuco. Since the pills deal is being conducted behind Tuco's back, it's clear that he won't be pleased if he finds out and might consider Nacho a traitor; Nacho gives in to Mike's demands. At their regular drug deal spot, Nacho gives Mike $10,000 and returns Daniel his baseball cards, but ends up taking his Hummer to his chop shop to be disassembled. He then declares that his business with Daniel is finished. ("")
When Mike requests more work from his crooked veterinarian, Caldera, he is given a job by a man who requested for Mike specifically. This is revealed to be Nacho, who meets with Mike at an abandoned warehouse and says, "There's a guy. And I need him to go away." ("") The next day, Mike and Nacho meet across the street from El Michoacáno, the restaurant where Tuco and Nacho regularly collect the money owed from dealers. Nacho wants Mike to kill Tuco in a drive-by type of execution and promises to pay him well. Nacho reveals a scar on his left shoulder and tells a story of when Tuco and him had a job together. Tuco started getting suspicious that one of their friends and associates, a man called Dog Paulsen, was ripping them off. Tuco shot Dog with a shotgun point-blank in the face while Nacho was behind him, lodging a piece of his skull into Nacho's shoulder. If Tuco were to find out that Nacho was working independently, he may have the same fate.
When Nacho meets Mike the next day at the abandoned warehouse, Mike says he won't kill Tuco but instead they should land him in prison. Back at the restaurant, Tuco and Nacho are following their usual routine of counting money from their dealers. They are finishing counting money from Domingo's sales and after he leaves, Mike, from across the street, calls the police, alerting them of a fight in the restaurant. From inside, Tuco and Nacho see Mike bump into Tuco's car, and Tuco angrily confronts him. As Mike and Tuco's fight escalates, a police siren is heard, prompting Nacho to take the money they collected and leave in his van. Nacho later meets a beaten and bruised Mike and gives him the money he earned. He then asks Mike why he went through so much for less money just to avoid killing Tuco, but receives no answer as Mike drives away, leaving him alone. ("")
Even though Mike's plans to get Tuco arrested worked, only more problems arose for Nacho. Don Hector Salamanca, Tuco's uncle and a powerful leader from the mexican cartel, takes over the Salamanca business in Albuquerque and Nacho is forced to continue working for them. Don Hector starts intimidating Mike into telling the police that the gun found on Mike and Tuco's fight scene was actually Mike's, as this could potentially reduce Tuco's jail time. After receiving many threats at his house and later one to his family, Mike agrees to meet Don Hector, the Cousins, Arturo and Nacho at Hector's ice cream shop. Nacho pats down Mike before letting him in, sitting behind Mike as he talks with Hector about the deal to get Tuco less jail time. Later that night, Nacho arrives at Mike's house to deliver the money decided upon on the deal. Mike splits the pay with Nacho to make up for their failure on the job to take out Tuco. ("")
Nacho calls Mike to a meeting, confronting him about an attack on a driver, Ximenez Lecerda, for the cartel with a quarter-million stolen, that he figured had to have been done by Mike. Nacho is in charge of seeing what Ximenez knows, and Nacho is worried that if he knows anything about Mike, it'll be bad for not just Mike, but Nacho himself as well. He eventually realized that Mike was trying to draw police attention to Hector's operation, after Mike asks why it wasn't on the news, and Nacho takes extreme offense to it. Nacho reveals that Hector killed a passing civilian that drove by the scene and freed the driver. He then leaves an unsettled Mike alone, and drives off. ("") On Hector's orders, Nacho and Arturo drive the van to a desolate location with Ximenez tied up in the back. Unknown to them, Mike is following closely behind, planning to kill Don Hector with a sniper rifle. Nacho is later seen at the same desolate locations, following closely to Hector, as Arturo and the Cousins gets ready to execute Ximenez. Nacho unintentionally blocks the line of sight of Mike, who is waiting far away to take the shot. ("")
At the restaurant, Nacho continues his routine of counting money from dealers, but with Don Hector himself monitoring the transactions. When Domingo comes up short on his payment, Hector forces Nacho to beat him up and teach him a lesson. Nacho begins to grow disillusioned. As part of Gustavo Fring's agreement with Hector, Gus' men hand over a portion of his smuggled drugs to Nacho, who insists on taking one more package than was agreed to. Gus orders his henchmen to allow Nacho to take the extra portion. Hector ordered Nacho to do this because he wanted to see Gus' reaction, but he was disappointed on the results. Knowing that using the chicken trucks is only a temporary measure, Hector wants a new smuggling route and decides to use Nacho's father's upholstery business as a front over Nacho's objections. The conversation is interrupted when Hector finds out that Tuco has stabbed another prisoner in jail and then assaulted a police officer, he has now been placed in solitary confinement. Hector gets furious at this as Tuco will now serve more time than he should've, Hector starts having a coughing attack and takes his heart medication to calm down, but accidentally drops one of the capsules, which Nacho steals without him noticing. ("")
Nacho approaches Pryce with the pill stolen from Hector and offers to pay Pryce to obtain copies of the capsules with no medication. At a meeting with Pryce and Mike, Mike learns the full story about Hector's desire to force Nacho's father into the drug trade and the plan to replace Hector's medication with fake pills. Mike agrees not to interfere, but advises Nacho to switch the pills back after Hector dies so they cannot be traced back to him. He then requests from Nacho the location of the burial site of the citizen Hector murdered early on. ("")
Nacho fills the fake capsules with ibuprofen which he plans on slipping into Hector's coat pocket; not only would Hector be deprived of the medication he needs, but ibuprofen actually increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. The following day, at the El Michoacáno restaurant, which has become incredibly hot and moist thanks to Nacho who secretly damaged the restaurant's air cooling unit the night before, Nacho does his daily transactions with the dealers, starting with Domingo. As Nacho counts Domingo's money, Hector removes his coat, allowing Nacho the perfect opportunity to execute his plan. Nacho pretends to scrutinize one of the dollar bills in Domingo's stack, claiming that it looks "funny". Hector asks him to come over so he can scrutinize it. As Hector examines the bill, Nacho quickly removes Hector's pill bottle from his coat, before proceeding to "accidentally" drop it and the money on the ground. Once he gathers the money, Nacho returns to his seat, carefully keeping the pill bottle on his lap, while he counts the next dealer's money. Once the dealer is gone, Nacho carefully switches Hector's real pills with the doctored ones. While Nacho proceeds to get Hector more coffee, he successfully tosses the bottle of the doctored capsules into Hector's coat pocket. ("")
Don Hector and Gus meet at a remote location, flanked by their respective henchmen. Over a speakerphone, Hector communicates with Juan Bolsa, who tells him that Don Eladio is satisfied with the new "consolidated transportation method" of shipping drugs over the border, and wants the practice to continue using Gus's distribution network exclusively. Hector angrily smashes the phone, wanting to have his own distribution method instead of Gustavo's. Hector's heart problems act up again, leading him to open the vial containing Nacho's spiked pills. However, much to Nacho's dismay, the pills have no apparent effect. Later, Nacho visits his father to reveal to him that he's been working for Don Hector, and he will soon be coming to take control of Manuel's upholstery shop. Nacho pleads with his father to do what Hector wants and not do anything "stupid," meaning approaching the police. Manuel refuses and tells Nacho to get out of the house, which he obliges. ("")
Nacho takes Hector to his father's shop to show around how the operations work. Hector meets with Nacho's father and offers him some money upfront as a sign of friendship, but Nacho's father is an honest man and refuses to cooperate with criminals like the Salamancas, ordering Hector to leave his shop. This infuriates Hector, who tells Nacho that he doesn't trust his father anymore. Nacho feels desperate, as the pills apparently have no effect and his father is now running serious danger, so Nacho decides to take care of Hector himself. At night, he goes to Hector's warehouse to execute him, but is surprised to see that another cartel meeting with Gus and Juan Bolsa was about to take place. Bolsa informs Hector that Don Eladio is reinforcing his orders regarding Gus' operations. Hector grows enraged at the Don's orders and starts screaming at Bolsa and Gus that the Salamancas have worked hard for the cartel and even then they are treated like dogs. Hector starts having another attack in his infuriated state, he suffers great pain when he tries to take his medication - Nacho's spiked pills finally kick in. Hector suffers an apparent heart attack and collapses to the floor, Gus rushes in and performs CPR as Juan Bolsa flees. Hector survives and is taken to a hospital by ambulance while Gus rightly suspects Nacho's involvement. ("")
As Hector is taken away in an ambulance, Nacho tries to dispose of the fake medication by dropping them down a sewer. However, he is interrupted by Gus who informs him that Juan Bolsa needs to speak with them at the Los Pollos Hermanos Factory Farm. Nacho and Arturo are told by Bolsa that the Salamancas will retain their territory despite Hector's illness, and will carry on as before. Leaving the farm, Nacho drives to a bridge and throws the fake pills in the river. Unknown to him, he is being watched by Victor who has placed a tracker on his vehicle. ("")
Nacho tells his father that Hector will no longer be harassing him, and tells him that he is working on getting out of a life of crime. At the hospital, a new doctor begins treating Hector. Nacho and Arturo are encouraged to talk to Hector as part of the treatment. Nacho lies and tells him that he knows he will get past the stroke and be stronger than ever. Arriving at the Los Pollos Hermanos Factory Farm to collect their drug shipment, Nacho and Arturo find that Victor and Tyrus intend to only give them five packets rather than six. A stand-off follows and eventually, Victor relents and produces the sixth packet. On the way back to the car, the pair are ambushed by Gus and his men. Arturo is suffocated to death, and Gus makes it clear he knows what Nacho did to Hector. Gus tells him that the Salamancas do not know, and that from this moment on, Nacho is his man. ("")
Victor and Tyrus stage a scene to look like Arturo's car was ambushed by a rival gang to cover his murder by the hands of Gus. They first blow all the tires before shooting the car from the side a lot of times to make it look like a drive-by happened. Soon after, Arturo's corpse is placed on the driver's seat and shot in the head. To sell the illusion even more, Nacho sits on the passenger sit and allows Tyrus to shoot him in the shoulder. After Nacho leaves the car to make the call, Victor surprises him by shooting him in the stomach, Tyrus claims that they "gotta make it look real." Tyrus leaves Nacho a cell phone to call for help. Later that day, the Cousins arrive to investigate the scene and find Nacho suffering from blood loss and exposure. They question him about the attack and enlists the help of Dr. Caldera to save his life. Caldera tends to Nacho's wounds and gives him a blood transfusion from Marco. Caldera gives him advice on healing his injuries, and then tells him that he does not want to be involved in the cartel's business. ("")
Not much time later, Nacho takes a ride along with the Cousins. Nacho watches a silver Firebird enter the Espinosa compound. Gus plans to frame the Espinosas for the "attack" on Nacho and Arturo; Nacho had previously told the Cousins that they were ambushed by gunmen driving a Firebird. After watching the compound from afar, Nacho decides that the best course of action is to attack at night. He intends on calling Domingo and some other dealers who work for the Salamancas to assist them, but the Cousins ignore him and launch an assault on the compound immediately in broad daylight. After the twins walk inside the compound shooting and left Nacho alone in the car, he sees backup arriving and decides to help the Salamancas by killing one of the gangsters who has just arrived. He then walks inside the compound to find Leonel cornered by the gangsters who arrived as backup. Nacho tries to join in on the shootout, but his injuries from the ambush kick in and he isn't able to continue. Marco shows up just in time to save Leonel and kills the remaining gangsters. The Cousins manage to wipe out the Espinosas, recovering a packet of drugs that Gus had earlier delivered to the compound to sell the ruse. At night, Nacho reports the destruction of the Espinosas to Gus, and relays that the Cousins have gone south to lay low. Gus suggests that Nacho take some time to rest, as he still has a lot of work to do. Nacho goes to his father's home and asks him to let him stay there for some time. His father tries to get him to go to a hospital, but he refuses since it would not be safe. ("")
Several months later, Nacho is in command of the Salamanca turf in Albuquerque, most likely being manipulated by Gus. He took over Tuco and Hector's role of overseeing cash collections at El Michoacano, with Domingo being the middle man between him and the dealers. Domingo counts money from a bling-wearing drug dealer, who has come up short. Domingo initially allows the dealer to leave, but Nacho summons the dealer over to his table. Nacho tears off one of the dealer's earrings and warns him that, "What you owe, you owe with interest." After the dealer leaves, Domingo turns around to affirm Nacho's action, but Nacho asks why he didn't do it himself. Domingo acknowledges Nacho's hint, and right away another dealer enters the diner, while Nacho watches calmly. After dark, Nacho drives his new muscle car to his new upscale house, where two young women are inside watching TV. Without a word, Nacho gives them small bags of crack and retreats to his bedroom. There, he stashes his drug money in a safe in his closet. As he does so, Nacho looks at fake Manitoba ID cards for himself and his father, showing that he has an exit strategy.
Some days later, Nacho arrives back at the restaurant for another session of money collection, but is surprised when he enters the restaurant to see both Domingo and the restaurant owner sitting nervously near the front door. He notices there is someone else in the back kitchen cooking while listening to loud mexican music, so he walks over to investigate. Nacho greets the stranger and the man offers him what he's just finished cooking, mentioning that it's a secret family recipe. Nacho connects the dots and correctly assumes the man is a Salamanca. "I'm Eduardo, but you can call me Lalo," says the man. Nacho asks what he's doing there, and Lalo mentions that the Salamanca family sent him over to check how things are going, but reassures Nacho not to worry. As Lalo walks back to the restaurant to oversee the money collection, Nacho is left worried in the kitchen, as every time he takes down a Salamanca, another one shows up in his place. ("")
Lalo has Nacho drive him to Casa Tranquila, where Don Hector is living now bound to his wheelchair and unable to move or speak, Hector's only means for communication now is tapping his index finger for yes or no questions. With Nacho overseeing the conversation, Lalo addresses Hector, remembering an incident where the two of them burned down a hotel and tortured the proprietor for showing disrespect. Lalo goes on to say that he went back into the hotel as it was burning, and retrieved a souvenir that he has kept for years. He presents the souvenir to Hector as a gift: the bell from the hotel's front desk. Lalo ties the bell to the armrest of Hector's wheelchair, allowing him to ring it for the first time. The Salamancas tell Nacho to give them some privacy as they talk about "the Chilean." Later, Lalo has Nacho drive him to Los Pollos Hermanos. Gus greets them as Lalo enthusiastically compliments Gus for his chicken. Lalo is invited back into Gus' office while Gus gives Nacho a cold look, Nacho signals that it's not his fault. After talking to Gus in private, Lalo questions Nacho where Gus conducts his illegal operations, Nacho mentions the chicken farm outside of town and Lalo orders Nacho to drive him there. ("")
Back at El Michoacano, Lalo keeps questioning both Nacho and Domingo about a man named Werner Ziegler and another man called Michael who works for Gus. Nacho feigns ignorance by saying he has no idea what he's talking about. Lalo then learns from Nacho and Domingo of a rumor that a competing drug gang has been "stepping on" the Salamanca family's business. Lalo decides to investigate, asking Nacho to show him the spot. They drive to a Salamanca hideout where packets of the cocaine from Gus's chicken farm are being kept for distribution. Nacho insists that there's nothing wrong, but Lalo inspects each packet and determines that some of them are not cartel product. In reality, Nacho was the one who mixed the cartel product with an inferior one on Gus' orders, as an attempt to stop Lalo's investigation. Alas, that plan eventually fails, as Lalo doesn't fall for it. ("")
Nacho is asleep at home with Jo in bed next to him. All of a sudden some men led by Tyrus and Victor burst into his house and before he can grab his gun or escape, they pin him down and bring him into a car. They bring him to a restaurant where his father is at. He insists that he's done everything he was asked, but Victor ignores him, grabs a gun and walks over to the restaurant while Nacho is held down at the car and watches helplessly. Gus enters the car and informs that Lalo Salamanca is a problem, Nacho says that he doesn't know anything other than what he's been questioned about: a secret construction project, a man named Werner Ziegler and Mike. Gus tells Nacho that he will have to find a way to earn Lalo's trust so he can sabotage the operation from the inside, and Nacho reluctantly promises that he'll get Lalo to rely on him, but he also tells Gus to leave his father alone as he has nothing to do with this. Gus gives Nacho a cold look and leaves the car, Tyrus gives Victor a signal and he leaves the restaurant as they drive Nacho back home.
The next day, Lalo and his men are sitting around at night playing poker. A nervous Nacho tries to make conversation with Lalo, but he gets coldly asked to stop talking. Lalo bluffs with 7+2 off-suit (worst possible hand) and raised, Domingo has pair 8s with an 8 on the table, giving him a triple 8. He knows he would win but folds to not insult Lalo. Lalo looks at his cards after showing his terrible hand and calls him crazy for folding, then calling him “Ocho Loco," (Spanish for Krazy-8) giving birth to his future criminal nickname. Domingo gets a call from one of the fifth street dealers saying there's a problem, so Nacho orders him to go and solve the issue.
However, Domingo is caught by the police while trying to get ten cocaine packets unstuck from a rain gutter. Lalo, Mouse, Arlo and Nacho sit in a car and survey the scene of the crime from a safe distance as police suit up to raid the stash house. Lalo asks if they were able to save any of the product before the cops came but Mouse said it's still in the house. Nacho, remembering Gus' request to gain Lalo's trust, boldly decides to take matters into his own hands by climbing on the roofs of an adjacent building, then jumping onto the building where the gang has their product stored. The others watch tensely (Lalo even eating a snack) as a SWAT team lines up outside the door and prepares to breach it. Nacho climbs in through the roof and salvages several bags of product before jumping out through a window just as the police swarm into the building. He surprises the gang members by coming back to the car and entering the passenger door unexpectedly; Lalo commends his actions, calling him a "badass". Back at El Michoacano, Lalo asks Nacho how long he's known "Krazy-8" and whether he's been inside jail before. Nacho replies that he's been family friends for a long time, and that Domingo has not been in jail but that he will keep his mouth shut. As Lalo stares at him, Nacho asks if he wants him to take care of it, but Lalo replies that he has something much better for Domingo in mind. Later that day on a street, Nacho and Blingy pull up a car next to Jimmy McGill—now working under the alias of Saul Goodman. Saul greets Nacho, as the two have not met for over two years, and Nacho orders him to get into the back of the car. Saul reluctantly gets in the car and they drive off. ("").
Nacho and Blingy take Saul into a warehouse where Lalo is working on his muscle car. Lalo and Nacho then explain to Saul that they need Domingo to confidentially report some drug money dead drops to the police - turns out that the dead drops belong to Gus' operation, it's Lalo's way to hit Gus hard. Saul is successful and later reports to Nacho and Lalo that not only Domingo released the information to two DEA agents, Hank and Gomez, but Domingo also became their personal snitch, giving Lalo a "direct hotline to the DEA" in case he needs it again. After Lalo departs, Saul questions Nacho about who they'd just set up, to which Nacho responds that it doesn't matter. Later at night, Nacho informs Gus about Domingo turning snitch. He withholds the names of the interrogating agents, as they are in the lawyer's hands. When Tyrus prepares to make a call to shut down the dead drops, Gus and Nacho stop him, Nacho reasoning that Lalo will know someone talked if the DEA doesn't find the money at the dead drops ("").
Nacho later meets with Gus, Mike and Victor in an abandoned train station. He is surprised to see Mike working for Gus and is concerned about him effectively "switching sides", but Mike assures him that the Salamancas won't find out. Nacho informs Gus that Domingo is still talking to the DEA and that Lalo will not stop "chipping away" at his business until he loses Don Eladio's trust. Gus tells Victor to promote low-level dealers who know little about the operation so that the arrests won't cause trouble. He then explains to Nacho that he will only report to Mike from now on. Before they leave, Nacho asks Mike for a word. He tells him what Gus's crew did to him after killing Arturo, to which Mike responds that he had already warned him about this back when he was planning to take down Hector, implying that whatever happened is Nacho's own fault. When Nacho mentions that Gus is threatening to kill his father, Mike promises to help him, but persists that they will have to get rid of Lalo first. ("")
Shortly after their meeting, Lalo is charged with killing TravelWire clerk Fred Whalen and goes to jail after Mike, posing as a private investigator, jogs a witness's memory about a car she saw on the day of the incident, the same car that Lalo drives (""). Lalo receives a phone in his jail cell and calls Nacho, ordering him to burn down a Los Pollos Hermanos restaurant. Nacho arranges another meeting with Mike and insists that he keeps his promise to get him and his father out of the game, now that Lalo is dealt with. Mike doesn't respond, instead he asks Nacho to give him the information he's withholding. After learning about Lalo's plans, Mike notes that Lalo is not yet "out of the picture" and leaves. Subsequently, Nacho and Gus vandalize an empty Los Pollos Hermanos restaurant in Los Lunas and blow it up to make it look like Nacho was following Lalo's orders. ("")
After Lalo is bailed out of jail, he is picked up by Nacho. Lalo asks Nacho to drop him off near the Mexican border the next day so that he can leave the country. Nacho informs Tyrus of this and asks him if Lalo is "done", but Tyrus just tells him to stay put. Nacho takes Lalo to Casa Tranquila to say goodbye to Hector and subsequently drops him off in the desert, specifically near the well where the bail money transfer took place (""). Nacho asks Lalo whether he should wait with him, but Lalo tells him to go. He praises Nacho for burning down the Pollos restaurant which he read about in the newspaper and promises him that they'll "do more" together. As a visibly relieved Nacho starts driving away, Lalo knocks on the car door window and tells him to take him back up the road. When Nacho asks him what they're looking for, he responds that he's wondering why they didn't come across Jimmy's car despite Jimmy telling him that it broke down somewhere on the road. Lalo finds the car in a ditch and has Nacho take him to Kim Wexler's apartment. After questioning Jimmy and Kim, he tells Nacho to drive back to Mexico, but to a different spot than the one before. ("")
Nacho travels with Lalo to his home in Mexico where Lalo prepares Nacho to meet Don Eladio for a promotion to running the cartel's operations in the US. Nacho receives a call from hitmen hired by Gus to unlock the back gate at 3:00am for them and then to get out. Nacho expresses concern about the innocent people who will get caught in the crossfire, but the hitmen just ignore his questions. Nacho is brought before Don Eladio who jokingly questions Nacho's sanity after learning that he is a friend of Tuco. Nacho explains his plan to expand the cartel's territory by targeting biker gangs and explains that he wants to be his own boss and not have to look over his shoulder constantly. Though Don Eladio points out that Nacho is in the wrong business for that, he likes and accepts Nacho's plans.
That night, Nacho attempts to sneak out as 3:00 approaches, only to find Lalo outside drinking. Lalo invites Nacho to join him and the two men talk briefly before Lalo agrees to let Nacho get better alcohol for them. In the kitchen, Nacho sets up a pan of oil on the stove to create smoke to draw Lalo into the kitchen. Once Lalo departs to deal with the smoke, Nacho manages to jimmy the lock on the back gate, lets in the hitmen and directs them to the kitchen while he makes his own escape. However, Lalo is able to defeat the hit-men, ordering the last one to inform Gus that the mission was successful. Lalo spots Nacho's untouched drink and appears to rightly assume he was involved in the attempted assassination which resulted in the deaths of everyone in Lalo's compound, something that Nacho had wanted to avoid. ("")
Nacho is briefly mentioned by Saul Goodman when he is kidnapped by Walter White and Jesse Pinkman on night of December 4, 2008. Saul mistakes Walt and Jesse for cartel members, speaking Spanish and asking them if they are working with someone named Lalo. Saul then quickly blames Nacho, calling him by his real name, Ignacio, for whatever he thinks the cartel is angry with him. ("")
Nacho is shown to be a highly intelligent, quiet, and somewhat reserved career criminal with dubious loyalty to the Juárez Cartel. Nacho is a capable criminal and leader, acting as a lieutenant to Tuco, Hector and Lalo Salamanca and proven his efficacy as as a criminal organizer and planner. Nacho is very perceptive as he easily deduced that Mike hit Hector's drug convoy and correctly guessed that Jimmy tipped off Betsy and Craig Kettleman about his plan to rob them.
While Nacho tries to avoid unnecessary casualties and performs his operations under the radar, he had no problem tricking the cousins into killing a rival gang to hide his work with Gus and planned to take control as Lalo’s lieutenant by orchestrating a gang war between rival factions and taking over their businesses once they were too weak to be a threat. While quick thinking and a capable criminal in his own right, Nacho can be short-sighted. He has betrayed three Salamancas and each time the former leader is replaced by an even more dangerous one. Moreover, because of Nacho's past duplicity, Gus refuses to trust him to do his bidding without the threat of violence to those he loves as Nacho is a man “who has betrayed all his previous masters” and not someone Gus is willing to trust.
Despite being a criminal and part of Hector's drug empire and later Gus's, Nacho is shown to deeply care about certain people, particularly his father, almost begging Hector to not involve him in his schemes, even going as far as to try and kill him once he said he didn't trust his father. He also let a woman and her child leave Los Pollos Hermanos when it was being invaded by Hector and his gang, showing he is noble. He was also shown to not be very talkative, opting to remain quiet most of the time.
Murders committed by Nacho
- 1 member of the Espinosa Gang: Shot twice in the torso by Nacho.
Murders connected to Nacho
- 21+ members of the Espinosa Gang: Shot by the Cousins after Nacho identified them as Arturo's killers on the orders of Gustavo Fring.
- Ciro: Shot by the hitmen Gus sent to kill Lalo after Nacho unlocked the gate for them.
- Miguel: Shot by the hitmen Gus sent to kill Lalo after Nacho unlocked the gate for them.
- Cecilio: Shot by the hitmen Gus sent to kill Lalo after Nacho unlocked the gate for them.
- Yolanda: Shot by the hitmen Gus sent to kill Lalo after Nacho unlocked the gate for them.
- "You get me out of here.. today.. or you're a dead man."
- ―Nacho Varga threatening Jimmy
- "Yeah, I'd cut the cute attitude right about now if I were you. [A beat] You ratted on me. There will be consequences."
- ―Nacho continues his bluster against Jimmy
- "You think I'd be caught dead driving that thing? It looks like a school bus for six-year-old pimps."
- ―Nacho chastising Daniel over his Humvee
- There might be a reference to this character in Saul's initial appearance on Breaking Bad. When Saul is held at gunpoint by Walt and Jesse, Saul (mistakenly thinking that people sent by a person named Lalo are holding him at gunpoint) says "it wasn't me, it was Ignacio."
- Since the name Nacho is short for Ignacio, it might be possible Saul talks about the same person. Peter Gould has hinted this is the same person.
- Nacho's vehicles include:
- Nacho never meets Chuck McGill, and so far has not yet met Kim Wexler or Howard Hamlin.
- Nacho's real Albuquerque phone number is 1-505-242-6087 which goes directly to his voicemail.