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No, no! Salamanca did! Salamanca money! Salamanca blood!
Hector Salamanca arguing with Juan Bolsa moments before having the stroke.[src]

The Salamanca family, better known as The Salamancas, are a Mexican crime family notorious for being affiliated with The Cartel. Notable for being ruthless and dangerous, they live by the creed that "family is all" and believe in "blood for blood".

The earliest known history of the family began when Abuelita's son, Hector Salamanca, became a feared and respected Capo of The Cartel, and the rival of Gustavo Fring. Hector's nephew Lalo Salamanca joined his uncle as a fellow Capo and high-ranking member.

Hector’s nephew Tuco would become a drug kingpin in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and was a key distributor for the cartel. Hector’s other nephews Marco, and Leonel joined the Cartel as Prolific Hitmen and Enforcers respectively. Hector's grandson Joaquin would also join the Cartel as an high ranking enforcer for Don Eladio Vuente. A large part of the family would be wiped out by 2009, with Lalo, Tuco, Marco, Leonel, Joaquin, and Gonzo being killed. Hector killed himself in a suicide bombing that also killed Gus Fring. Thus the Salamanca family's once infamous name in the criminal underworld was no more.

History[]

"Sangre por sangre."
"Yes. That is the Salamanca way.
"
Gustavo Fring and Juan Bolsa[src]

The early history of the Salamanca family began when Abuelita Salamanca's son, Hector Salamanca, became a high-ranking Capo of the Cartel, alongside Eladio Vuente and Juan Bolsa. Hector claimed that the Salamanca family "built this whole business" with their money and blood ("Lantern"). At some point, Hector served 17 years in San Quentin prison, never revealing any information to the authorities ("Bit by a Dead Bee").

Salamanca Family

Hector Salamanca with three of his nephews (Tuco, Marco, and Leonel).

During the late 80s-early 90s, after his release from prison, Hector began grooming his young nephews to join the ranks of the cartel. Hector treated his nephews like they were his own sons. His nephews Marco and Leonel, were taught a harsh lesson when Hector attempted to drown Marco until Leonel punched his uncle hard enough for him to stop. Hector did this to teach them that "Family is all" ("One Minute").

His nephew Tuco would go on to be a key figure in the cartels operation north of the border, with Leonel and Marco becoming notorious hitmen and enforcers. In 2004, following Hector's stroke, his nephew Lalo Salamanca took over as the don of the family's drug organization. From 2004 to 2009, all Salamanca family members affiliated with the Cartel died; Lalo died in 2004 during a gunfight with Gus Fring, Tuco died in 2008 during a gunfight with Hank Schrader, Marco died in 2009 after being shot by Hank, Leonel died in 2009 after being poisoned by Mike Ehrmantraut, Joaquin died in 2009 during a gunfight with Jesse Pinkman, and Hector died in 2009 by blowing himself up during a meeting with Gus to kill him. All of these events eventually culminated with the extinction of the Salamanca bloodline.

Salamanca Family[]

(Note: this section lists members of the actual family)

Hector Salamanca[]

Cast bb 700x1000 hector-salamanca-lg

Hector Salamanca in 2009.

Hector Salamanca, also known as Don Hector, was the elderly don of the Salamanca drug organization and a high ranking capo for cartel boss Don Eladio Vuente. He was the son of Abuelita, the uncle of twins Marco and Leonel Salamanca, Tuco Salamanca, and Lalo Salamanca, and the grandfather of Joaquin Salamanca. He raised his nephews as if they were his own sons, and taught them that family is everything, and Hector lived by the creed himself. Though brutal, Hector was very loyal to his family and the cartel.

Lalo Salamanca[]

Lalo Salamanca 2004 infobox

Lalo Salamanca in 2004.

Eduardo "Lalo" Salamanca, also known as Don Eduardo, was a powerful and high-ranking Cartel Capo. He was the grandson of Abuelita and the nephew of Hector Salamanca. Lalo also had four cousins who were involved in criminal activities: Tuco, Marco, Leonel, and Joaquin. He was the one who succeeded his uncle as Don of the Salamanca drug organization after his stroke. Lalo was cheerful and charismatic, but vicious when the situation called for it.

Tuco Salamanca[]

Tuco Breaking Bad

Tuco Salamanca in 2008.

Tuco Salamanca was a drug kingpin and Cartel distributor. He was the grandson of Abuelita and the nephew of Hector Salamanca. Tuco also had four cousins who were involved in criminal activities: Lalo, Marco, Leonel, and Joaquin. Tuco also had a sister, who was married to his brother-in-law Gonzo. He was the founder of the Salamanca's street dealing operations in New Mexico. Tuco was known for his psychotic and unpredictable personality, being prone to violent outbursts which are often amplified by his drug use.

The Cousins (Marco and Leonel Salamanca)[]

Cast bb 800x600 the-cousins

Marco and Leonel Salamanca in 2009.

Marco and Leonel Salamanca, commonly known as The Cousins, were twin brothers, deadly enforcers, and prolific hitmen for Eladio Vuente's drug cartel. The two were grandsons of Abuelita and the nephews of Hector Salamanca. Marco and Leonel also had three cousins who were involved in criminal activities: Tuco, Lalo, and Joaquin. The Cousins' austere, mechanical physicality and virtually non-verbal interaction made them a fearsome presence and they killed without hesitation or emotion.

Joaquin Salamanca[]

Joaquin Salamanca - Salud

Joaquin Salamanca in 2009.

Joaquin Salamanca was an enforcer for the Cartel and one of Don Eladio's bodyguards. He was the great-grandson of Abuelita, the grandson of Hector Salamanca, and a relative of Tuco, Lalo, Marco, and Leonel. After the brutal ends of his cousins, Joaquin was the only member of the Salamanca family that was able to continue their legacy in the cartel.

"Abuelita"[]

Abuelita

"Abuelita" in 2002.

"Abuelita" (meaning grandma) is the mother of Hector Salamanca, as well as the grandmother of Tuco, Lalo, Marco, and Leonel, and the great-grandmother of Joaquin. She is one of the few members of the Salamanca family to not be part of the Cartel.

Gonzo[]

Gonzo

Gonzo in 2008.

Gonzalo, nicknamed "Gonzo”, is a Cartel lieutenant. He is a member of the Salamanca family as Tuco Salamanca's brother-in-law, being married to his sister, and is one of Tuco's most trusted lieutenants, alongside No-Doze and Nacho Varga. Unlike his brother-in-law, Gonzo is quiet and mostly polite.

Other Relatives[]

  • Tuco has an unseen sister, whom is married to his brother-in-law Gonzo.
  • The existence of Hector's grandson Joaquin confirms that Hector had at least one child.
  • With all of his nephews sharing his surname, it’s most likely Hector had three brothers whom each respectively fathered his nephews and niece.
  • In "Mijo", there are photos of other people in the background at Abuelita's house, with some being of children, though it’s unknown who they are, and what their relations to the family are.
  • In "Mijo”, In Abuelita's room, there are small mannequins with dresses for little girls, with a sewing kit nearby. It’s possible tuco and his Abuelita have child relatives whom she made those dresses for.
  • In "Rock and Hard Place" Kim Wexler is shown a picture of Lalo with two elderly women outside of his hacienda. It’s possible one of these women is his mother.

Salamanca Drug Organization[]

The Salamanca Drug Organization was a faction of the cartel founded in its early days by Don Hector Salamanca after he was promoted to the position of Capo by Don Eladio. They were largely based in Michoacán, Mexico, and had drug operations in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Hector mentored all of his nephews into the organization. Lalo Salamanca would grow up to become a high ranking capo, and the second in command of their organization. Tuco Salamanca would be put in charge of their street dealing operations in New Mexico. The twins Marco and Leonel Salamanca would become top hitmen and enforcers for both their family's organization, and the Cartel.

In 2003, Tuco was arrested for assaulting Mike Ehrmantraut, and Hector stepped up to run the operation until Tuco would be released. That year, Hector's ice cream company, which he used to launder money and drugs across the border, was raided by the DEA, thus shutting down his supply line north of the border. This would cause him to form a temporary deal with his rival and fellow cartel distributor Gustavo Fring to use his Los Pollos Hermanos trucks to bring his product over the north of the border.

The arrangement was a success, though Hector began making plans of using his lieutenant Nacho Varga's father's business to reestablish his own distribution line. However, Don Eladio was so happy with the arrangement with Fring, that he decided this should be the only route north of the border for security purposes. Hector was angered by this, and during a meeting with Juan Bolsa, he went into a rant of how his family built the cartel, and Eladio's poor treatment towards him. However, Nacho had swapped Hector’s heart medication for a placebo in order to protect his father from Hector, and Hector suffered a heart attack that rendered him an invalid.

Nacho then temporarily took over the operation in New Mexico, and Gus Fring blackmailed him into being his mole. Lalo soon came to help Nacho with running the operation, now being in charge of the Salamanca organization. Lalo would begin investigating Gus’ operation, including his secret construction plans of building a meth lab. However, Lalo would be arrested for murdering a TravelWire employee, though he eventually paid his bail and fled to Mexico, where he decided to put Nacho in as his second in command. However, Gus had sent a group of mercenaries to kill Lalo at his estate. Nacho opened a door for the mercenaries to enter the compound and fled, but Lalo would kill the assassins and stage the scene to look like he was killed by using a body double.

Nacho would eventually be apprehended, and later killed himself while being interrogated by Bolsa and the Salamancas. Lalo would plot to kill Gus and expose him as a traitor, however it would fail, and he was killed by Gus with his body buried underneath his new meth lab. With everyone else thinking Lalo died at his hacienda, Don Eladio dismissed Hector's claims that Gus betrayed them and that he killed Lalo. In order to settle the troubles between them, Don Eladio divided the New Mexico territory between the Salamancas and Gus Fring. The Salamanca’s still controlled the South Valley, but the north now belonged Fring.

The Salamanca organization itself was never the same after Lalo's death. Hector was in charge, and maintained his title of 'Don’, but couldn't lead it properly due to his condition, and The Twins started taking more of their orders from Bolsa. Tuco eventually was released from prison, and re-assumed control over his operation, becoming one of the Cartel's key distributors.

In 2008, Tuco entered a distribution deal with local meth cooks Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. One day during a deal with them, Tuco got high off their meth and beat his bodyguard No-Doze unconscious, which led to his death. The DEA would eventually find No-Doze's body, along with Tuco's brother-in-law Gonzo, whom attempted to move his body. They also found Tuco's fingerprint, and thus fingered him for No-Doze's murder. The DEA then raided Tuco's Cantina and arrested all of his men. Tuco then kidnapped Walter and Jesse, and brought them to Hector's cottage in the desert. He made plans of bringing Walter and Jesse to Mexico so they can cook 24/7 at the superlab. However, they escaped and Tuco was then killed in a shootout with DEA agent Hank Schrader.

Marco and Leonel traveled to New Mexico, seeking revenge against Walter for his part in Tuco's murder, as Bolsa told them that Schrader is off limits, due to being a DEA agent. Gus forbids them from doing at as he is in the middle of doing business with Walter. He eventually tells them to kill Schrader, with the excuse that New Mexico is his territory. The Twins go after Schrader, but Marco was shot in the head, and Leonel was crippled and later died in the hospital. Bolsa would later be killed when the Federales raided his hacienda. With the death of Tuco and the Twins, as well as the fall of their operations in New Mexico and the rise of Gus Fring, the Salamanca organization collapsed.

Hector would later avenge the downfall of his family and their organization when he killed himself and Fring in a suicide bombing.

Organization Figures[]

Business Fronts and Properties[]

Victims of the Salamancas[]

Howard dies

Howard Hamlin being murdered by Lalo Salamanca.

Deaths in the Family[]

  1. Lalo Salamanca (Shot and killed by Gustavo Fring)
  2. Gonzalo (Crushed by a car while moving No-Doze's body in a junkyard)
  3. Tuco Salamanca (Shot in the head by Hank Schrader, betrayed prior by Walter White and Jesse Pinkman)
  4. Marco Salamanca (Shot in the head by Hank Schrader, given the upper hand by a warning call placed by Gus)
  5. Leonel Salamanca (Poisoned by Mike Ehrmantraut, prior wounded by Hank Schrader, who was warned by Gus)
  6. Joaquin Salamanca (Shot by Jesse Pinkman during a firefight following Gus' poisoning of the Cartel's leadership)
  7. Hector Salamanca (Committed suicide using a pipe bomb made by Walter White, killing Gustavo Fring in the process)

Trivia[]

Lalo and The Cousins

Behind the scenes photo of Lalo Salamanca and The Cousins.

  • Hector and Lalo are the only Salamanca family members who were ever referred to as Dons, implying they're the highest ranked in their family.
    • They are also the only Salamanca family members to kill a main character.
  • Hector is the last member of the Salamanca family affiliated with the cartel who died. He is also the only one who died via suicide while his nephews and grandson were killed.
  • Lalo is the only Salamanca family member that Gustavo Fring killed directly, with Tuco and Marco being killed by Hank Schrader, Leonel being killed by Mike Ehrmantraut, Joaquin being killed by Jesse Pinkman, and Hector being killed by himself to murder Gus. While Gus did not kill Marco, Leonel, Joaquin, and Hector directly, he still played a part in the situations that led to their deaths.
    • This makes Tuco the only Salamanca family member that was killed in a situation that Gus had no involvement in.
    • Lalo is also the only person shown being killed by Gus with a gun. All of Gus' other murders are with box cutters, plastic bags and poison.
  • Lalo is the only member of the Salamanca family to be a main character. He was introduced in Season 4 of Better Call Saul as a side character, but was promoted to a series regular and main character in Seasons 5 and 6.
  • Tuco was the first person to use Blue Sky.
  • Tuco's death is the first of many firearm-related deaths featured onscreen during Breaking Bad.
  • The actors who play The Cousins, Daniel Moncada and Luis Moncada, are real life brothers, though they were born 3 years apart. Luis is the older brother.
  • In the Better Call Saul Insider Podcast, it's revealed that Joaquin is played by stuntman Gabriel Nunez. In the episode "Bad Choice Road" of Better Call Saul, he performs Lalo's stunt when the latter jumps into the ravine to inspect Jimmy McGill's car.
  • Abuelita is one of the few members of the Salamanca family to not be affiliated with the Cartel. She is also the only Salamanca family member whose fate is currently unknown, but is presumed dead. When Jimmy asks Lalo how his Abuelita was, Lalo does not reply and simply looks at Jimmy, despite his usual cheerful attitude, implying she was not well at the very least.
  • The Salamancas seem to only respect people who are able to impress them, such as when Mike told Hector that he'd be willing to die for 50,000$, or when Nacho took Lalo's drugs before the DEA could in a drug bust, or when Walter White bombed Tuco's Headquarters.
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