A "body disposal expert" for a Mexican drug cartel was recently arrested in Tijuana.
Dubbed "El Pozolero" -- after a traditional Mexican stew of pork, hominy and chilies called pozole -- Santiago Meza Lopez has confessed to dissolving some 300 bodies in vats of caustic liquid.
After receiving each body, Lopez would fill a drum with water and two sacks of caustic soda, then heat the mixture over a fire. When it began boiling he would add the body. After cooking for eight hours, only teeth and nails would be left. Once the liquid had cooled, Lopez would burn the mixture with gasoline in a nearby empty lot.
For this, Lopez was paid $600 a week. A solid spot in Mexican folklore was never part of the bargain, but I imagine Lopez has earned that as well.
During his prison stay, stories will pass from one person to another, rumor and speculation added to each new telling. After Lopez's own death, his legend will only grow. I can imagine children whispering tales to one another about the terrible "pozolero" and his grisly concoctions. Parents might frighten their errant sons and daughters with threats that the stewmaker will come and take them away if they don't behave. Ultimately, anyone -- or anything -- that goes missing will be ascribed to the evil stewmaker.
Conversely, I can also imagine the popularity of pozole reaching record lows.