El Chapo’s former safe house to be raffled off in Mexico

Joaquin El Chapo Guzman is escorted by marines as he is presented to the press on 22 February 2014

Mexican marines carry Guzmán who was arrested days after escaping from the house in Culiacán in 2014 (file photo)

A house from which drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán fled as security forces moved in to arrest him in 2014 will be raffled off in Mexico.

The home in Culiacán, in the state of Sinaloa, was the scene of one of Guzmán’s dramatic escapes, after he used a storm drain to evade a manhunt.

The two-bedroom property is worth about $184,000 (£133,000).

Guzmán, the infamous former leader of the Sinaloa cartel, is serving a life sentence in a US prison.

He was one of the biggest traffickers of drugs to the US and, in 2009, entered Forbes’ list of the world’s richest men at number 701, with an estimated worth of $1bn.

The house, which has a white facade and does not appear luxurious on the outside, will be raffled off by the government on 15 September, the day before Mexican Independence Day, the government said.

Guzmán, who escaped from a maximum-security prison in 2001, was tracked down to the safe house on 16 February 2014 by Mexican marines. After managing to flee through a tunnel under a bathtub that connected to the storm drain, he was arrested six days later in the city of Mazatlán, also in Sinaloa.

In 2015, he escaped from jail again, through a tunnel dug in the showers, but was recaptured six months later.

He was extradited to the US in 2017 and convicted, two years later, on numerous counts including the distribution of cocaine and heroin, illegal firearms possession and money laundering.

At his trial witnesses testified that he had buried a man alive and drugged and raped girls as young as 13.

The raffle will also include a mansion that belonged to former Juárez cartel leader Amado Carrillo in the exclusive area of El Pedregal in southern Mexico City. It is estimated to be worth about $3.8m.

In all, 22 properties will be raffled, with a total value of $12.5m.

In May, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the money raised would go “back to the people” and “help to buy [Covid-19] vaccines”.

The government held a similar raffle in 2020 in which the top prize was the presidential jet. But the specially outfitted Boeing 787 Dreamliner failed to sell, and became a source of mockery as people questioned what ordinary Mexicans could do with such an aircraft.

Click here to see the BBC interactive

Leave a Comment