Why was Tuco Salamanca willing to buy crystal meth from Walter 'Heisenberg' White & Jesse Pinkman?

I mean, obviously he was a distributor of crystal meth and they were manufacturers of some fine quality product. But surely his first thoughts must have been on his Uncle Hector and their mutual connections with the Juárez Cartel, who were presumably already smuggling crystal meth across the border into the US. Heck, his uncle killed Maximo Arciniega for the affront of Gustavo and Max 'distributing'1 on their turf, combined with maneuvering them into a meeting.

I'd have thought Tuco would have liked to take them out on first hearing they were manufacturing, or if he realized the quality of their product before doing so, smuggled them across the border into Mexico to teach the cartel cooks (then kill them).

1 I fully accept Max & Gus's claim that they only gave meth to cartel personnel in order to get a meet with the bosses. Having a cartel to distribute their product would have made their business venture slightly less profitable, but a whole lot easier & safer (with cartel henchman both distributing and enforcing against competitors and defaulters). Further the cartel could probably move a lot more meth in a day than Los Pollos Hermanos could in a month. A moderately lower profit off a much greater volume means bigger money in the end.

1 Answer 1


I think you must have noticed that their product was really really pure, which made it really strong and good.

Tuco must have thought that since their product was good, it would sell good, and he would earn more money.

He would continue to smuggle meth with his other partners, but a little more cash (that he would make from Walt and Jessie) must have come handy.

  • Yes but if he "smuggled them across the border into Mexico to teach the cartel cooks" he keeps the cartel happy while still getting the higher quality product (and without mad old guys coming into his headquarters packing explosives). I wouldn't have picked Tuco for someone who would 'cheat' his own family, which is what he'd be doing by buying crystal meth. from (effectively) their competitors. Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 17:42
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    When he buys their meth, they are not his competitors any more. They become his partners. Maybe that was another reason he bought it Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 18:05
  • With product that pure (and I believe still paying normal prices), he could step on it many many times over and still be higher quality than other stuff which means more dollars. Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 22:00

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