The house from which he fled Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán In 2014, when the Navy and the DEA had it surrounded in Culiacán, it underwent some changes to be included in the raffle prizes promoted by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador for the Independence Day of Mexico.
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The tub duct that led to the tunnel through which “El Chapo” fled was closed and the cameras that monitored all the exterior angles were eliminated.
The Associated Press had access to the property, which was never in its name, and which completely remodeled the Institute to Give Back to the People the Stolen (INDEP), which concentrates the assets seized from criminals.
The walls of the facade and the interior were painted white, the blacksmithing of doors and windows in dark brown, the entire property was cleaned, the kitchen, closets, bathrooms and air conditioners were maintained and the small garden was renovated. access to the property. And the main thing: a concrete slab covers the site where the bathtub that connected to the tunnel used to be.
The property was left habitable after years of neglect and damage in the Navy’s registration operation in February 2014.
INDEP officials were the first to be surprised by the attraction of the house, which is not luxurious, does not have a pool and lacks the ostentation that in Sinaloa characterizes the properties of drug traffickers.
The residents of “El Chapo” did not even know who lived in the house with number 1811 of the Constituent Street Emiliano C. García in an old neighborhood of Culiacán called Libertad and founded more than half a century ago in the few mountains that the city has.
“We don’t know anything, we never knew who lived there, we didn’t see anyone,” said one of the few neighbors who looked out onto the street. They don’t want to talk about “El Chapo” anymore, too many journalists have visited the site in these years and feel upset when being questioned.
The famous house is at a strategic point for the pretensions of the previous inhabitants: there is only one adjoining house on the left and on the other side there is a canal that connected the bathtub for possible escape through the long canals that the city built to run the water of the rains, very frequent between July and September. There are no neighbors in front either.
“El Chapo” did not have to make a tunnel to escape from the house, it was already part of the rainwater network that the city built to prevent flooding. There are hundreds of kilometers throughout Culiacán that in turn discharge the waters into canals and rivers. Other houses that were raided by the Mexican armed forces had similar devices for an eventual escape.
Since its construction, the house stood out from the others in the neighborhood. Neither then nor now did it go unnoticed. Occasionally cars would arrive, hiding in a small garage with a large gate that made it difficult to see inside while the cameras pointed to the street.
In the early morning of February 17, 2014, the neighborhood was besieged by gray trucks from the Mexican Navy and soldiers blocked the street. There was no doubt that it was the house of which no one knew the inhabitants.
But “El Chapo” was not captured. From the bathtub he fled through the rain channels, according to some accounts. However, in the trial against him in New York there were testimonies found that indicated that in none of the five houses raided in Culiacán that day was “El Chapo” found.
The truth is that five days later, on February 22, 2014, the world’s most wanted drug lord was arrested in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, 200 kilometers south of the house now in the Independence Day raffle. “El Chapo” was arrested in an apartment facing the Pacific where he was with his wife, Emma Coronel, and the couple’s twin daughters.
According to the public valuation of INDEP, the house has a value of 3.6 million pesos (about 183,000 dollars). There are 395 square meters of land – a little less than a basketball court – and 261 square meters of construction. It has five bedrooms, two bathrooms, a garage, and two patios.
Last year the house was included in an auction promoted by INDEP. But no one bid and the house did not sell. It is now included among the prizes in kind for the National Lottery’s largest draw.
Far from the house, in the center of Culiacán, Ignacio Mariscal supports the raffle although he does not know what the destination of the house will be. “Those houses were of no use to anyone, those people had them. I see it perfectly well, because it is to help people in need ”.
Nor does Serapio N. know that President López Obrador announced that what was generated by the raffle will be to support the athletes who participated in the Olympic Games in Tokyo. “I hope they would get that help to the people who really need it,” he said of the damage to many homes in Culiacán caused by heavy rains from Hurricane Nora that hit the area three weeks ago.
According to the criteria of