National Lottery: Mexico raffles the luxurious mansion of the Lord of the Skies

It has been a hideout for thugs, a set of filming, the headquarters of a foundation and now it is the biggest prize in the next drawing of the National Lottery of Mexico. A luxurious mansion of Amado Carrillo Fuentes, the drug trafficker known as The Lord of the heavens, will be raffled this Tuesday. The property of the former leader of the Juárez cartel is located in Jardines del Pedregal, an exclusive area south of Mexico City, has more than 3,400 square meters and is valued at more than 90 million pesos, around 4.5 million pesos. Dollars.

The two-story residence, with address at Calle de Cráter 525, has an indoor pool; a large garden; enough space to accommodate almost 30 cars; a bar with a personal cellar; nine rooms; six hot tubs; multiple closets and dressers; a huge kitchen; a steam room; a guardhouse; a library; a living room; a machine room; a washing area, and a life-size playhouse for children. The cost for each a bit, as lottery tickets are called in Mexico, is 200 pesos or 10 dollars. The plan of the organizers is to put three million numbers to compete for a bag of more than 300,000 prizes, a total of 391 million pesos.

The indoor pool, under a skylight and overlooking the garden, where the playhouse is located.
The indoor pool, under a skylight and overlooking the garden, where the playhouse is located.MX Presidency

“How would you like a house in Jardines del Pedregal?” reads an advertisement from the organizers of the draw. “I saw myself living there!” a woman replies enthusiastically. “Or you could sell it,” the narrator suggests. That has been one of the main headaches of the Government of Mexico. The property was auctioned in May 2020 by the Institute to Return the Stolen to the People, created during the Andrés Manuel López Obrador Administration to recover money from assets confiscated and recovered from organized crime and corrupt officials.

The authorities expected to get more than 53 million pesos for the house, but the best offer was just over 49.7 million. A mysterious man in a gray suit raised his paddle from him, to cheers from those in attendance. “I want 50 million, who said me?” asked the auctioneer in a frantic tone, who counted to three while waiting for other buyers. In the end, no one else wanted to pay more money.

The payment of the 49.7 million, however, never materialized. “Get the tiger raffle” is a saying that in Mexico is equivalent to getting a Fat almost no one wants to win. The property was secured in January 1995, two years before the death of Carrillo Fuentes, who fueled his criminal legend as the kingpin who dominated the air and had a fleet of small planes to transport huge quantities of drugs, which allowed him to amass a fortune of billions of dollars.

Although his main center of operations was in the border city of Ciudad Juárez, the Lord of the Skies had a trail of properties throughout the country. He was wanted by the authorities of Argentina, Colombia, the United States and Mexico. During the nineties, he underwent multiple cosmetic surgeries to outwit those who persecuted him and he died in 1997 in a hospital, in the umpteenth attempt to change his appearance. A television series about his life has accumulated seven seasons, is preparing the recording of an eighth and is an international success on the platforms of streaming.

The luxurious kitchen of the house that belonged to Amado Carrillo Fuentes.
The luxurious kitchen of the house that belonged to Amado Carrillo Fuentes.MX Presidency

The tiger raffle is not so much because of the mansion’s criminal past, but because of its enormous costs. Mexican authorities spend around $25,000 a year on surveillance services alone, according to a transparency request answered last year. The passage of time has left its mark on the photographs that promote the contest and announced the auction two years ago, and show that the Carrillo Fuentes mansion had better years. “All this is to support people, it is to win and help others,” López Obrador said at a conference a couple of weeks ago and announced that he was going to try to have new raffles. “There are many abandoned public goods in the different dependencies, goods that without maintenance are spoiled,” said the president.

The narco mansion is listed on the Internet as the former headquarters of a foundation that trained unemployed and disabled people to get a job. In 2003 it was rented for the filming of the movie man on fire (Man on Firein Latin America; The fire of revenge, in Spain), starring Denzel Washington, who plays a bodyguard who destroys half of Mexico City to rescue a nine-year-old girl (Dakota Fanning). The press spoke then that there were tunnels that connected the property with other houses in the area, a fact that has been excluded from the raffle promotions.

The facade of the house, in the Jardines del Pedregal area, south of Mexico City.
The facade of the house, in the Jardines del Pedregal area, south of Mexico City.MX Presidency

In this draw, 200 lots will also be distributed in Playa Espiritu, a failed tourist development in Sinaloa. The megaproject did not materialize and became a white elephant that cost more than 100 million dollars. The value of the land ranges between 40,000 and 65,000 dollars. “It was a fraud,” López Obrador said last October. His sales pitch at the time was not very encouraging. The president admitted that tourism development is not “in the most appropriate place” and that “no one wants to acquire it.” “It has a beach”, was one of the few flattering phrases that the president blurted out. There will also be 60 million pesos in cash prizes.

After being seized, loaned and auctioned, the Mexican Government hopes to finally get rid of the property and the house of the Lord of the Skies will finally have a new owner. The identity of the raffle winner, however, will not be revealed.

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