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Let me get this straight: I steal your dope. I, beat the PISS out of your mule boy! And then you walk in here and bring me more meth? Woo, that's a brilliant plan, ese!
~ Tuco Salamanca

Tuco Salamanca is the main antagonist of the second half of Season 1 and the beginning of Season 2 of Breaking Bad, and a minor antagonist in the spin-off series Better Call Saul of season 1 and season 2. He was a psychotic Mexican drug kingpin who briefly became Walter and Jesse's meth distributor.

He is unpredictable and prone to violent outbursts, but surprisingly respects Walter because of his superior product, intelligence, business style, and guts.

He was portrayed by Raymond Cruz.

Biography

Early life

Tuco Salamanca was the nephew of a powerful drug lord by the name of Hector Salamanca. He was always prone to fits of rage due to his drug addiction which installed fears in his own men-even once letting it get to him to the point of causing him to shoot one of his associates, Dawg Paulson, to death in 1998. Despite his ruthless nature, he did learn the value of family from his uncle.

Better Call Saul

Tuco was making tacos for his grandma when she arrives home with two twin brothers who  were berating her for "hitting" one of the twins with her car and driving away. In reality, this was due to a scam gone wrong that was devised by Jimmy McGill. Once they insult his grandma, he has her go upstairs, telling her he'll handle them. Enraged at them for insulting her, he knocks them both out with her cane, ties them up and locks them in the garage. Once Jimmy arrives at his house, Tuco takes him at gun point into the living room. Jimmy manages to convince Tuco to let them go, however one of the twins, not knowing he was planning to do so, panics and tells him it was the lawyer's idea to scam him. Angry and confused, he calls his body guards, No-Doze and Gonzo, as well as his right hand man, Nacho Varga, to meet with him. They meet in the dessert, where Tuco also brings a tied up and gagged Jimmy, as well as the twins, to interrogate him. Jimmy tells him he is a lawyer and he did plan on having the twins scam someone so she would let him represent her, by pretending to get hit by her car as he driving, but the twins mistook his grandma's car for hers due to them looking alike. Tuco is unconvinced and threatens to cut fingers off. Panicking, Jimmy lies and tells him he's a undercover cop. Nacho is unconvinced and manages to get Jimmy to tell them that he is indeed a lawyer and lied about being a cop because they scared him into doing so.

Nacho gets Tuco to let Jimmy go due to the risk of killing a lawyer, but Tuco still intends to kill the twins as revenge for insulting his grandma. However, with Jimmy's smooth words and lawyer skills, he convinces Tuco to break their legs instead of killing them, to which he does.

Nacho eventually becomes nervous about Tuco's unpredictability, so he and Mike Ehrmantraut devise a plan to get him arrested. After their meeting with Krazy-8 at his uncle's restaurant Mike drives over and bumps his car. Angry about this, Tuco demands that Mike pay him. Mike refuses, so Tuco pulls a gun on him. Unbeknownst to Tuco, Mike had called the cops earlier in preparation for this. Once they arrive, Nacho leaves and Mike manages to disarm Tuco and get him to beat him up infront of the cops. He is then arrested and sentenced to jail for 8 years. However Hector manages to get his jail time reduced by threatening Mike to convince the police it wasn't Tuco's gun they found. Tuco is later put in solitary confinement for stabbing another prisoner to death and assaulting one of the guards.

Breaking Bad

After Tuco gets out of jail and his uncle is paralyzed from a heart attack, he takes Krazy-8's place as the main distributor after the former's death by the hands of Walter White-also taking care of his uncle at his house. When Walt's partner, Jesse Pinkman, tries to find a distributor for Walt's meth, he meets with Tuco. Tuco is immeidately impressed with the meth but refuses to pay Jesse right away. Jesse does not take kindly to this so he threatens to take the meth away unless Tuco pays him now. Therefore, Tuco assaults Jesse and steals the meth. Walter decides to confront Tuco, so he arrives to Tuco’s headquarter with a bag of fulminated mercury. Walt demands $50000 for stealing his meth and assaulting his partner, to which Tuco insults him for thinking he does a dumb move by trying to confront him an bringing more meth, to which Walt responds by picking up a bit of the fulminated mercury and throwing it to the floor, causing an immense explosion. Tuco agrees to pay the money after this threat, showing some respect for Walt in the process and agreeing to be their distributor. During his first meeting with both Walt and Jesse at a junkyard, Walt is low on product but convinces Tuco to give them the full payment, stating that he will have more by their next meeting. Tuco is annoyed by this, but decides to pay them anyways. During their next meeting, Tuco gets a does of Walt's new blue meth, and is once again impressed by the product. However, No-Doze inadvertently insults Tuco as well as their new business partners so Tuco, now high on the crystal, beats him to death. After he recovers, he tries to force Walt and Jesse to revive him, but to no avail. Tuco has Gonzo hide the body in the junkyard.

After Gonzo dies in an accident while checking on No-Doze's body, Walt and Jesse suspect Tuco. Thinking they are in danger, they devise a plan to poison him with ricin. However he kidnaps them, planning to take them out of the country to produce more meth once his twin cousins Marco and Leonel Salamanca, arrive to pick them up so he can avoid getting caught by the DEA. Walter tries to poison Tuco but Hector sees, and despite being paralyzed is able to stop Tuco from taking the poison. Tuco and Walter then fight and Tuco is shot but survives. However, Tuco is then found by Walter's brother-in-law Hank Schrader. The tow engage in a gun fight and Tuco is shot dead.

Asa result of Tuco's death, his cousins arrived to kill Walt and Hank, but only succeeded in crippling the latter while Marco was killed in self-defense, Leonel was crippled and poisoned in the hospital by Mike.

Personality

... You're an insane, degenerate piece of filth and you deserve to die!
~ Walter White to Tuco.
Tuco is insane, violent, dangerous, and manipulative. His unpredictability, psychotic outbursts, sudden mood swings, love for drugs and ruthlessness terrify most people around him. He killed his own man No-Doze simply because he finished his sentence with his own hands and showed no remorse over it, and actually proudly displayed his bruised knuckles to Walter and Jesse after doing the deed. He also shot at cows from his uncle's house with a semi automatic rifle, showing sadistic glee in doing so.

Tuco seems to admire guts and does have scarce good qualities. He was impressed when Walter White demanded money by himself after he had just hospitalized Jesse and continued to gain more respect for Heisenburg because of the quality of his product. He is also very affectionate and loyal for some people. He looks after his uncle, Hector Salamanca, as well feeds and houses him. He was also outraged when he thought his partner, Gonzo, betrayed him by going to the police as he states he "trusted him like a brother".

Tuco seems to have no idea or understand the importance and value of family-despite deeply caring for his own. After kidnapping Walter and Jesse he proposes to go in to the meth trade together and when Walter says he can't leave his family Tuco replies "you can get a new one". Also when coming to terms with Gonzo's apparent betrayal, he screams to the two of them that they can "never trust the people they love".

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            BreakingBadLogo Villains

Walter White | Krazy-8 | Emilio Koyama | Joaquin Salamanca | Tuco Salamanca | Don Eladio | No-Doze | Nacho Varga | Saul Goodman | Kenny | Gustavo Fring | Neil Kandy | Casey | Mike Ehrmantraut | Marco and Leonel Salamanca | Hector Salamanca | Lydia Rodarte-Quayle | Tyrus Kitt | Jack Welker | Todd Alquist | Jesse Pinkman | Rival Dealers

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