House owned by ‘El Chapo’ in Culiacán will be put for auction

 “MX” for Borderland Beat

With a starting sale price of MXN$2.6 million (approximately US$117K), the Mexican federal government will put a house owned by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman for auction. This is the fourth time the government has tried to put the house for auction after it was seized from the drug lord in February 2014. The house is located on Emiliano García Street, Number 1811, in Libertad neighborhood in Culiacán, Sinaloa.

The event is organized by the Institute to Return Stolen Goods to the People (INDEP) and will take place in Los Pinos Cultural Center, what used to be the official residence and office of the President of Mexico. 307 assets, including El Chapo’s home, will be placed for auction. The other assets include an apartment in the State of Mexico, as well as multiple trucks, cars and motorcycles (they are not owned by El Chapo). The proceeds obtained in this event will be given the the municipality of Temozon, Yucatan.

Unlike other auctions done in the past, the INDEP will only allow 100 participants to enter  Los Pinos. They will have to wear a face mask and keep social distancing. Their temperatures will be monitored upon entrance. These measures are done to protect participants amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Other participants may join the auction online via Zoom or by calling in.

The value of the property increased after it was reduced to half during the last auction. It currently has a property value of exactly MXN$2,633,200. To participate in the auction, bidders have to deposit at least MXN$200,000. 

During the house’s first auction, the price of the house was at MXN$2.4 million. For the second auction, the house’s price went down to MXN$1.8 million before reducing again for the third auction to MXN$1.2 million. The house was seized during the manhunt that led to the arrest of El Chapo in 2014. 

Here’s the tunnel entrance hidden underneath the bathtub inside the house that El Chapo used to flee as the Mexican Marines and the DEA were coming to get him.

In the house they found plastic bananas stuffed with cocaine and plastic cucumbers stuffed with marijuana. Authorities also found weapons and ammunition. The house had a secret escape route beneath the bathtub that connected to Culiacan’s sewer system. El Chapo managed to escape using this tunnel on 16 February 2014 and was on the run for nearly a week before finally being apprehended on 22 February. The Mexican Navy was a few minutes shy from nabbing El Chapo when they broke into the house.

This is not the first time the Mexican government has auctioned houses owned by Mexican drug lords. In March of this year, a house owned by a Zetas money launderer linked to Zetas founder Omar Lórmendez Pitalúa (“El Pita”) was sold. The following month, a Mexico City mansion owned by the former Juarez Cartel leader Amado Carrillo Fuentes (“El Senor de los Cielos”) was put for auction.

Sources: Riodoce; INDEP