Monday, October 25

The lottery of the house from which El Chapo ran away

Apparently, as they would say in Mexico: the house has “no joke.” A white facade with a black grille, from which palm trees appear. One floor, two bedrooms, living room, dining room, garage. “Seven minutes from the Culiacán park,” reads the dilapidated government announcement that has tried to auction it off for years. The price: 3,830,000 pesos (about 163,500 euros). And although neither the blurry photo nor the name, Casa en Culiacán, manage to capture the attention of a potential buyer, what is really interesting is the history behind those walls. It was at this address that on February 16, 2014, the then powerful drug lord, Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán, fought the Mexican Navy. While the sailors tried to break the reinforced door, the narco fled there with his lover through a secret passage. The value of this home is hidden in the bathtub.

The Institute to Give Back to the People the Stolen (Indep), an institution that already existed to auction the goods seized from criminals, but which changed its name with the desire of Andrés Manuel López Obrador to publicize the fight against corruption, has announced a new raffle in which dozens of houses, luxury items and even a box will be offered at the Azteca Stadium until 2065, in a National Lottery draw scheduled for September 15, Independence Day. After the bizarre story with the presidential plane lottery that nobody finally acquired, the president redoubled the bet with a number of properties that total 250 million pesos (more than 10 and a half million euros), the majority seized from drug traffickers and corrupt officials.

For a 250-peso ticket, you can live in the house where El Chapo ran away. Sit on the sofa and imagine, without the need for Netflix, that you are inside one of the chapters of Narcos. Also, if you are lucky, you can acquire another property with a less gruesome history, but with more zeros: a huge mansion where its original owner, Amado Carrillo, nicknamed El Señor de los Cielos, who in the nineties brought together the largest fleet of planes that He watered Colombian cocaine on US airfields, rested and organized parties in a luxurious area in the south of the capital, El Pedregal.

The heated pool of Amado Carrillo's house in El Pedregal, Mexico City.
The heated pool of Amado Carrillo’s house in El Pedregal, Mexico City.GOVERNMENT OF MEXICO

The house in Culiacán was the beginning of the end of the criminal empire of the most feared man in Mexico. Since his first escape in 2001, from the Puente Grande (Jalisco) prison in a laundry cart, according to the official version, El Chapo had spent 13 years in search and capture. Always close to his lands in Sinaloa, guarded by his people and backed by the security of being the highest representative of the most powerful drug empire in the world. The Government of Enrique Peña Nieto proposed to end him in early 2014. And in February of that year the Mexican Navy in collaboration with the United States Anti-Drug Agency (DEA) launched a mega operation to capture the public enemy of the country. They were hot on his heels.

By then, it was estimated that El Chapo had already drilled a large part of the northern border. In Baja California, Sonora and Chihuahua alone, the DEA attributed a hundred drug galleries to its organization. But they did not have the secret tunnel under the bathtub of the Culiacán house, which the Mexican government will auction in September. While the Navy commandos frantically tried to break down the hydraulic armor door, Guzmán Loera activated the escape mechanism: he activated a spring that raised the bathtub and he slipped down a metal corridor that led to the sewers. Like that one, seven of his houses in Culiacán were connected by this underground network.

That night, according to the newspaper The universalEl Chapo was not alone, he fled with one of his lovers, Lucero Sánchez, known since then as La Chapodiputada. The drug lord was finally detained a few days later, on February 22 of that year, in apartment 401 of the Miramar Condominium, in front of the Mazatlán boardwalk, on the Sinaloa coast. So he was with his wife and twin daughters. It was 6:50 a.m. Along with a pink suitcase, a bottle of shampoo and a pile of scattered clothes, the delinquent of the century had fallen. He would escape again in 2015 from a maximum security prison until he was finally arrested in 2016 and extradited to the United States in 2017.

The incidents with the one who was the youngest deputy in the history of Sinaloa did not end at the Culiacán home, a year after the narco escaped from the maximum security prison of El Altiplano and buried the credibility of the Government of Peña Nieto, the official reconstruction of his last hours in freedom specified that he spent Christmas Eve 2015 with his wife, the beauty queen and influence —Now detained in the United States— Emma Coronel, but only a few days later, and with the entire State focused on capturing him, on New Year’s Eve she found a place to celebrate the new year with Lucero Sánchez.

A drug mansion and a box in the Azteca

The stage of the Azteca Stadium that will be raffled in September.
The stage of the Azteca Stadium that will be raffled in September.

The house of another of the drug lords is one of the crown jewels of the raffle. The El Señor de los Cielos mansion is located in the luxury residential area in the south of the capital of Mexico and has more than 3,000 square meters. Although Amado Carrillo managed drug control to the United States from Ciudad Juárez (Chihuahua), it is estimated that he owned dozens of houses and mansions on both sides of the border. The one that anyone can obtain in September is valued at 77,260,000 pesos (about three million euros).

The land requisitioned 20 years ago also has a heated pool, nine rooms, a playhouse for children, saunas, jacuzzis and a wine cellar. Also, whoever was the kingpin of the Juárez cartel and who died in a fateful and mysterious surgical intervention, had his own party room in this same condominium.

Another of the big prizes of the National Lottery is an exclusive box in the Azteca Stadium, home of the América club, which can be enjoyed until 2065 and has a value of 20 million pesos (almost one million euros). The place was bought by the government of the then president Miguel de la Madrid, in 1984, and was in the name of some directors of Forecasts of the National Lottery for the use and enjoyment of the presidency and his friends. “Since it is not the function of Forecasts to buy boxes for the use of officials, and following the same line of the president of no to corruption, it was decided that this box had to be raffled,” said the general director of the Lottery, Margarita González Saravia at a press conference.

Raffle ticket
Raffle ticket “Great special draw 248” that will take place on September 15 through the National Lottery.

The space has 20 seats, in addition to a private bathroom, kitchen and four parking spaces. According to information from The universalIt was in this corner of the temple of Mexican soccer where, at the World Cup in Mexico 86, Diego Armando Maradona received from the hands of then-president Miguel de la Madrid the cup that recognized Argentina as champion.

In total, 22 properties will be raffled, which in addition to those mentioned, also include more houses, land and ranches in Acapulco, Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo, in the State of Guerrero; León and Silao, in Guanajuato; Tlajomulco (Jalisco); as well as in Ensenada, Baja California, and in the Coyoacán and Benito Juárez mayors, in Mexico City. The authorities have indicated that “if there are foreigners with winning tickets, they will not be able to become creditors of the properties that are located in the border areas, beaches and coasts of the country, in accordance with the applicable legislation.” In the event that a foreigner is the winner of one of these properties, the value of the prize would be awarded in cash.

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