A safe house once belonging to former Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán is now being offered as a national lottery prize in a bizarre twist.
It is the same house the then-head of the Sinaloa cartel fled to in 2014 to hide from authorities. Once alerted, he escaped through a hole under the bathtub to reach back tunnels and canals. His freedom was short-lived after he was captured a few days later in Mazatlan.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador had been in talks about offering seized properties to the national lottery – but there was no mention of the history of this two-bedroom home, said to be worth $183,000. Speaking about the upcoming lottery prizes, the president described the house in very few words as having a black fence and within minutes to a nearby park.
The safe house had been abandoned for years and suffered damage due to searches and investigations carried out by marines in an attempt to catch the drug lord. This prompted Mexico’s Institute to Return Stolen Goods to the People (INDEP) to make minor renovations to El Chapo’s former house – starting with removing surveillance cameras that covered every angle.
They freshened it up with white paint and, of course, covered the former drug kingpin’s escape route with a concrete slab.
Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter, The Viral Democracy
INDEP’s website lists the 2,800 square feet property as “Casa en Culiacán”, located in a neighborhood called Libertad, or ironically “Freedom” – since Guzmán is now serving a life sentence in a US jail for drug trafficking.
Tickets for the lottery cost approximately $12.50 and the winner will be announced the day before Mexico’s Independence Day on September 15.