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Mexico is giving away drug pin El Chapo’s safe house in national lottery

The house of former drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is being given away in a national lottery. The drug lord fled from the house in 2014 when Mexican marines had him surrounded. The house has undergone some changes recently as the Mexican government prepared to give it

The surveillance cameras that covered every angle of the modest home’s exterior were removed. And the hole under a bathtub that Guzman had slipped through to reach a network of tunnels was covered with a concrete slab.

In recent weeks, Mexico’s Institute to Return Stolen Goods to the People, known by its initials as INDEP, gave it a fresh coat of white paint inside and out and tiled over the spot in the bathroom where the tub and tunnel entry point had been.




President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been talking up the lottery of seized properties, but gave no mention to the history of this particular house. An expansive home in one of Mexico City’s swankiest neighborhoods and a private box at the famed Azteca Stadium have garnered more attention.

In recent weeks, Mexico’s Institute to Return Stolen Goods to the People, known by its initials as INDEP, gave it a fresh coat of white paint inside and out and tiled over the spot in the bathroom where the tub and tunnel entry point had been.

INDEP’s website lists it only as “Casa en Culiacan.” It’s about 2,800 square feet and located, perhaps appropriately, in a neighborhood called Libertad, or “Freedom.” The government values the two-bedroom home at $183,000.



The house had been abandoned for years and the marines did some damage when they searched it, so repairs were necessary.

Guzman escaped that time through the tunnels, but his freedom lasted only days. On Feb. 22, 2014, the marines descended again, this time in a condo on the coast in Mazatlan.

By that time, Guzman already had a reputation for daring escapes. He had slipped out of one of Mexico’s maximum-security prisons in 2001, allegedly in a laundry cart.

In July 2015, less than a year and half after his capture in Mazatlan, Guzman slipped through a tunnel dug up to the drain in his cell’s shower and rode a motorcycle on tracks laid through a tunnel to escape another maxium-security Mexican prison.

The marines captured him again six months later in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, where he had been holed up in another unremarkable home.

Guzman was extradited to the United States, tried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison in July 2019.

INDEP tried to auction off the home last year. It started the bidding at about $130,000. There were no takers. Now, Lopez Obrador is giving it away as part of the lottery. It’s the first time Mexico’s national lottery is giving away property. The proceeds are to go to Mexico’s Olympic athletes.

“This raffle is very important and I call on all the people, those who can help buying a ticket, or two or three,” Lopez Obrador said at his daily news conference last week.




In downtown Mexico City, lottery ticket vendors said sales have been good.