In January 2019, Santiago Meza Lopez was arrested by Mexican forces in the Baja Seasons Hotel in Ensenada. He was allegedly cooking seafood when the troops apprehended him and was too intoxicated to run. His crime? Well, let’s say that seafood wasn’t exactly his specialty. Meza has been dubbed ‘el Pozolero’, after the traditional Mexican meat and vegetable based stew, Pozole. Meza’s secret ingredient? Human bodies. That’s right, human corpses dissolved in tubs of acid – Breaking Bad style.
Santiago Meza Lopez, aka el Pozolero, began work with the Arellano Felix cartel in 1996.
He started off doing masonry work and taking care of the cartel’s horses. Eventually, he got caught up in the drug scene, converting into a dealer.
Before long, his loyalty and dedicated work ethic earned him the promotion to ‘drug office keeper’, in charge of the surveillance of the cartel’s drug depots around Tijuana, Mexico. At this point, the Arellano Feliz cartel was embroiled in a fierce war with the rival Sinaloa cartel.
The cartels were fighting over control for drug routes into the US, involving shoot-outs, kidnappings, assassinations and raids, which according to the Mexican Commission of Human Rights, cost the lives of over 24,000 people, too many of whom were innocent.
The cartels refer to the practice of dissolving a human body in acid as “making pozole“.