If you have ever fancied owning a house belonging to a former drug baron, then this could be your chance.
The Mexican government is holding a raffle to sell off ill-gotten assets, worth almost $25m, belonging to Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman and other former cartel leaders. “We are trying to return these assets to the community,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said of the raffle, which will take place on 15 September.
“Residences, aircraft, everything we can raffle for the development of the country and the well-being of the people, who are worried about their health, their education and for the construction of roads in marginalised communities,” he added.
Mexico has one of the highest death rates from Covid-19 in the world, with nearly 250,000 since the pandemic began, and the government has pledged to prioritise the purchase of vaccines using money from the two million tickets on sale.
One property, in the regional capital of Culiacan, was made famous as the site of a dramatic escape, when the former leader of the infamous Sinaloa Cartel escaped incoming security forces during a raid in 2014.
The mansion – disguised on the outside as a normal home includes secret tunnels built to help Guzman, who was once the most wanted man in the world second only to Osama bin Laden – to escape from law enforcement and rival cartel attacks.
Several other luxury homes confiscated by the Mexican government are also being made available as prizes. Tickets will cost $250 pesos – equivalent to almost £9. Other prizes include a luxury box at the Azteca national football stadium with a kitchen, space for 20 guests, complete with a lease that lasts until 2065 – valued at over $1m.
A $3.8m-dollar mansion in the south of Mexico City, which once belonged to leader of the Juarez Cartel ‘Lord of the Skies’ Amado Carrillo, is also on offer to those who enter. Carrillo, who worked closely with mythical Colombian figure Pablo Escobar, is credited as one of the first people to introduce the drug trade to Mexico.
Mexico has been selling assets seized during its brutal drug war for some years, but this is the first time the luxury accommodation has been made accessible at such a low price.