Things That Matter

With ‘El Chapo’ Behind Bars The Government Has Seized His House And Now They’re Putting Them Up For Auction

Some would say that interest rates are so low at the moment, that it’s a prime time to buy a house. But you know what’s an even better reason to check out what’s on the market? Three words: El Chapo house. That’s right, amigas. Now that the ex-leader of the Sinaloa Cartel is definitively stuck with a pretty hefty life sentence, his goods are up for sale. His house and worldly possessions, that is. Not the drugs and other contraband.

We should probably mention: it’s not just one house being auctioned, it’s six.

Credit: badirawood / Instagram

Imagine owning six houses. That’s definitely living the dream. Although, in Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán’s case, he was pretty much confined to his living quarters when he was on the run. Granted, we can make an educated guess that there’s probably only so much you can do, even in a super duper decked-out pad. Poor El Chapo had it pretty rough, what with having to hide from the authorities across six homes. Especially in this economy. Okay, okay, we can only get away with so much sarcasm.

Apparently bidding on the drug lord’s home in Calle Rio Humaya will start at $107,349.

Credit: revistalatitud21 / Instagram

But, don’t be fooled: not all of his houses are worth the same. It’s thought that, altogether, his collection of houses should fetch at least a staggering 19.5 million Mexican pesos – or, 1 million US dollars worth. Despite their impressive price tag, it’s worth noting that each of the properties also come fully furnished, sporting things such as television sets, washing and drying machines, microwaves and even exercise machines! That makes them a bargain, right?

And sure, they’re a bargain for anyone who’s watched too many Netflix true crime specials.

Apparently one of the homes is sporting a secret escape tunnel underneath a bathtub. The story behind this fateful tunnel is that the Mexican military had originally barged into El Chapo’s home in Culiacán, Sinaloa, in the early hours of a mid-February morning, back in 2004. The bathtub tunnel is credited with being the reason why El Chapo was able to escape the military’s clutches through an above ground drainage system. That is, until El Chapo was eventually captured, just one week after the raid.

Rumor has it that quite a few of the kingpin’s houses are connected by tunnels.

Credit: AsteroidBuzz / Pinterest

After all, tunneling seemed to be El Chapo’s favorite way to get around: he previously managed to escape from a Mexican prison in 2015 by tunneling out through a shower stall. Unfortunately, though, we’re yet to hear of any word about whether the laundry cart El Chapo used in his 2001 prison break is also included in any of the auctions.

All jokes aside, the real question is whether there will be a lot of interest in the properties, or not.

Credit: haberciyizkibiz / Instagram

And we’re not just talking about the price point. One of the homes was originally purchased by El Chapo for the mother of his son, Ovidio Guzmán López. While the property itself has some pretty substantial draws – we’re talking multiple bedrooms, and an outdoor backyard pool – it’s also connected to a guy who is still on the run, and is very much wanted by the United States. There’s a high chance he might not necessarily want to just let go of a three-storey home that’s worth over half a million dollars. Or other things like the two luxury ships and convoy pricey sports cars. You know, the Ford Mustangs, Jaguars, and Mercedes limousines.

And it may not entirely be up to Guzmán López. El Chapo’s kingpin status fell to his sons after his arrest.

Credit: the economist / Instagram

Word on the street has it that the Mexican government had arrested Guzmán López back in October, trying to deal a real blow to the cartels. However, the cartels retaliated by attacking a housing complex designed for military families. 14 people died during the shootouts, resulting in the government releasing Guzmán López to de-escalate the violence. With a reaction like that from the cartels over Guzmán López’s capture, it begs the question as to whether the sale of El Chapo’s homes may inspire copycat attacks during the auctions themselves, or on the new homeowners themselves.

Anyway, those daunting questions aside, here’s hoping that the Mexican government, who are responsible for the sale, see a proper payday from this series of El Chapo properties. The intention for the funds is to see them donated to a children’s music program based in the Mexican state of Oaxaca.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Smugglers Are Tagging U.S.-Bound Migrants With Color Coded Wristbands And Here’s Why

Things That Matter

Smugglers Are Tagging U.S.-Bound Migrants With Color Coded Wristbands And Here’s Why

As the United States experiences a so-called surge of people attempting to enter the U.S., human traffickers and smugglers are working double time as they try to capitalize on the increased movements.

Cartels and human traffickers have long run their smuggling operations like a legitimate business but they’ve only got more advanced in how they move people across the border region and one key tool: color-coded bracelets. These bracelets almost act as passports for migrants to safely cross a cartel’s territory without interference or threats of violence. But what do these bracelets mean and how are they fueling the problem of human trafficking?

Plastic bracelets are being used by cartels to identify migrants in their territory. 

U.S. border agents carried out nearly 100,000 apprehensions or rapid expulsions of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border in February, which is the highest monthly total since mid-2019. With the increase in people attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, cartels are managing this migration of people over their territory and trying to make money off the humanitarian crisis. 

Many cartels have implemented a color-coded bracelet system that identifies those migrants who have paid for permission to cross their territory. In the Rio Grande Valley sector, Border Patrol agents have recently encountered immigrants wearing the bracelets during several apprehensions, Matthew Dyman, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, told Reuters.

The “information on the bracelets represents a multitude of data that is used by smuggling organizations, such as payment status or affiliation with smuggling groups,” Dyman said.

The color-coded system isn’t totally understood.

Credit: ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images

Migrants can pay thousands of dollars for the journey to the United States and human smugglers have to pay off drug cartels to move people through parts of Mexico. This is a money-making operation and cartels want to pay close attention to who has paid. The bracelets may just be a new way to keep track.

Criminal groups operating in northern Mexico, however, have long used systems to log which migrants have already paid for the right to be in gang-controlled territory, as well as for the right to cross the border into the United States, according to migration experts. In fact, in 2019, smugglers kept tabs on rapidly arriving Central American migrants by double checking the names and IDs of migrants before they got off the bus to make sure they had paid. 

One man, a migrant in Reynosa – across the border from McAllen, Texas – who declined to give his name for fear of retaliation, showed Reuters a picture of a purple wristband he was wearing. He told them that he had paid $500 to a criminal group in the city after he arrived from Honduras to ensure that he wasn’t kidnapped or extorted. He said once migrants or their smugglers have paid for the right to cross the river, which is also controlled by criminal groups, they receive another bracelet.

“This way we’re not in danger, neither us nor the ‘coyote,’” he told Reuters.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

It’s No Surprise El Chapo’s Wife Is In Jail, Her TikTok Was A Look Inside #CartelLife

Things That Matter

It’s No Surprise El Chapo’s Wife Is In Jail, Her TikTok Was A Look Inside #CartelLife

The recent arrest of Emma Coronel Aispuro – the wife of drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzman – follows a telenovela-style life that straddled hyper-violent Mexican cartels, fame and motherhood. And it’s a life that Coronel shared with her thousands of followers on social media platforms like TikTok. Here Emma Coronel tik tok

The former beauty queen used social media to give her fans a peek into the luxurious life she lived and helped birth the large #CartelLife movement that is booming on apps like TikTok.

Parties, TikTok and Reality Shows: the luxuries of Emma Coronel.

Although Emma Coronel Aispuro is now in the news for her recent arrest in the U.S., she was all about flaunting her larger than life and luxurious lifestyle. She has long stood out for sharing her life of luxury on social media, and many of her videos went viral for her dancing and singing.

Since being arrested and brought up on charges related to drug trafficking, Coronel now faces a minimum sentence of 10 years behind bars and even life imprisonment, in addition to an eventual $10 million fine, should she be found guilty of the charges.

But before being placed in a maximum security prison, Coronel was a social media influencer that helped bring the world into the #CartelLife.

Coronel’s social media life was a window into the world of Mexican drug cartels.

emma coronel tik tok

In 2018, Coronel decorated her home to mimic that of everyone’s beloved Barbie, in order to celebrate the birthday of her daughters. At the meeting there were even rides, inflatables and an incredible spread of all kinds.

Then, on her own birthday, images of her celebration went viral where she posed with some friends near a pool, as well as a table decorated as white candles.

In 2019, Coronel tried to launch her own clothing brand, inspired by her husband’s nickname. The company “El Chapo Guzmán JGL LLC”, would focus on wallets, sweatshirts, blouses and pants, among other items, but it failed to take off.

She even appeared on a VH1 show to share just how “normal” she was.

Emma Coronel has also participated in the reality show “Cartel Crew”, produced by the VH1 channel, where she spoke about the disadvantages of being the wife of a drug trafficker, since she says that she is judged by the people who don’t truly know her.

“It is very unfortunate that they judge us without knowing us. It’s hard because sometimes you want to do what you see everyone around you doing […] We are normal,” she said during her run on the show.

The son of El Chapo has also turned to TikTok to flaunt his millionaire lifestyle.

emma coronel tik tok

El Chapo’s wife isn’t the only one who has taken to social media to share her luxurious life. Jesus Alfredo Guzman, one of the drug lord’s sons, – who is already on US’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s most-wanted fugitive list – has also created a TikTok account and quickly amassed more than 15,000 followers.

So far, he’s only shared six videos but they reveal his luxurious and extravagant mansion, which includes an indoor movie theatre and a swimming pool decorated with pillars and fountains.

Although it cannot be confirmed that it is officially the account of Jesús Alfredo, the profile appears to indicate that it could be an authentic. He also spares no details on his fleet of supercars, including three Rolls-Royces, an Audi R8, a white Bentley, and an azure blue Lamborghini.

The clips are all set to narcocorridos, a controversial ballad-style music with lyrics that speak approvingly of illegal activities, mainly drug trafficking.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com