- Mexico’s president recently a “mega raffle” with 22 prizes valued at $12.5 million, the proceeds of which will be used for COVID-19 vaccines.
- Among the goods being given away are mansions that belonged to two of Mexico’s most well known cartel bosses: Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and Amado Carrillo Fuentes.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Ciudad Juarez, MEXICO – The million-dollar houses of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, formerly boss of the Sinaloa Cartel, and Amado Carrillo Fuentes, deceased boss of the Juárez Cartel, will pay for COVID-19 vaccines for Mexicans.
Mexican government recently announced it will hold a “mega raffle” on September 15 with 22 prizes and a total value of $12.5 million, including the two former drug lords’ seized mansions.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the money raised from the lottery will go “back to the people.”
“All of the money raised is going to be delivered to the people and help to buy [COVID-19] vaccines and medicines and to give away some scholarships” he said at his daily morning press conference on May 27.
The houses failed to sell when previously raffled by the Institute to Return Stolen Goods to the People, or Indep, which Lopez Obrador created to redistribute seized assets.
Carrillo Fuentes’ former residence is located in the exclusive Mexico City residential neighborhood of Jardines del Pedregal and is valued at about $4 million, according to Indep.
The property, seized more than 20 years ago, is over 32,000 square feet and has an indoor pool, nine bedrooms, several Jacuzzis and saunas, a wine cellar, and a party salon. According to the listing, Fuentes’ house is fully furnished.
El Chapo’s property is located in Culiacán, the capital of Sinaloa state on Mexico’s west coast and his cartel’s home turf. It was where Guzmán escaped arrest in February 2014 by using a secret tunnel under a bathtub. Public records don’t say if the tunnel is still there.
El Chapo’s house has two bedrooms, a living room, dining room, garage and a front garden, according to the public listing. Although more modest, it is valued at $200,000, a high price for Sinaloa’s real-estate market.
The lottery also includes a historic box at the Estadio Azteca, the iconic Mexico City stadium that holds over 87,500 people. The box has its own story: It is where then-President Miguel de la Madrid handed the World Cup trophy to Diego Maradona in 1986, crowning Argentina champion.
According to the listing, the stadium box is “in an excellent location” and has a 20-person capacity, a bathroom, and four parking spaces. The box is valued at $1 million and would be held until 2065.
In 2019, Mexico offered six other homes seized from Guzmán. Only three sold, bringing in a total of $227,844. One of them, the steel-enforced safe house where Guzmán sheltered after his first prison escape in 2001, went for $107,530.
The government held a similar raffle in September 2020 in which the top prize was the presidential jet, but the $130 million Boeing 787 Dreamliner failed to sell.
Lopez Obrador decided to hold another lottery where 100 winners would get $1 million in cash, but that also failed when only 30% of the tickets were sold. There have been no more attempts to sell the plane.
Drug lords’ mansions
Guzmán was one of the most notorious and elusive of Mexico’s drug kingpins until his final arrest in Mexico in 2016. He was extradited in 2017 and convicted in a US federal court in 2019 on 10 charges, receiving a life sentence in a US federal “supermax” prison.
In 2009, Forbes magazine ranked Guzmán at number 701 on its annual list of billionaires, with an estimated net worth of $1 billion. (A woman believed to be Guzmán’s eldest daughter has a fashion line called “El Chapo 701,” referring to his ranking.)
Guzmán owned six houses in Culiacan alone. Most are middle-class properties, but they all have one thing in common: a hydraulic system installed under the bathtub to lift the tub and provide access to the municipal sewage tunnels he used to escape.
He also owned an apartment in Mazatlán, Sinaloa’s most famous tourist beach. The property is part of the Miramar apartment complex and is where he was last captured. The complex became a tourist attraction and remains Mexican government property.
El Chapo also built a picturesque luxury hacienda for his mother, Consuelo Loera, in the town of Badiraguato in the mountains of Sinaloa, where Guzmán was born. The hacienda has four rooms, a large kitchen, and a small chapel in the back.
After a violent attack by a group believed to be Guzmán’s enemies in 2016, Consuelo Loera left the property, which remains abandoned.
Carrillo Fuentes – known as ‘El señor de los cielos,’ or “the lord of the skies,” for using planes to smuggle tons of drugs into the US – died 1997 during plastic surgery to change his appearance.
Many of Carrillo Fuentes’ properties have met the same fate that Guzmán’s now face. His more luxurious residences – among them a 2,000-square-foot apartment and a 6,000-acre ranch – were in Argentina, where he lived for a year in 1996.
In 2018, Argentina auctioned his three properties there, selling them for a total of $14 million.
He had several other properties in Mexico, including an arabesque-like mansion in Hermosillo, in the northern state of Sonora, and a luxurious mansion in southwestern Jalisco state; the latter was known as “Casa Versace” after the Italian brand established its first Mexican boutique in 1994.