Things That Matter

Mexico Is Putting Luxury Cars, Condos, And Land Seized From Real Life Narcos Up For Auction, Here’s What You Could Buy

Giant estates with swimming pools and escape tunnels, a ranch surrounded by acres of land, and a chic luxury apartment with a terrifying history were among the 27 properties Mexico had seized from drug traffickers and others auctioned on Sunday.

The government is seizing property and selling it at auction.

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The apartments auctioned on Sunday include one of a cartel leader who was killed there and disposed of by his brothers.

The government is also selling off land. The cheapest is a lot in Culiacán, Sinaloa, priced at about $11,200 USD, while the most expensive is the Rancho Los Tres García in Naucalpan, México state, priced at over $1.6 million USD. It was confiscated from convicted drug trafficker Carlos Montemayor, father-in-law of Edgar “La Barbie” Valdez Villarreal, after he was arrested in 2010.

According to Mexican media, the auction raised $56.6 million pesos (or about $3 million USD) of the 167m pesos predicted.

The Mexican President pledged that all the money raised from the auctions would go to benefit impoverished communities.

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According to Lopez-Obrador (AMLO), the proceeds from the auction of properties and land, which had been seized by previous governments, would go to aid marginalized communities in the poor and violent state of Guerrero.

“Buyers will know that in addition to acquiring a good deal, they will also be doing good, that is, they will be helping those who need support because of the situation of poverty and marginalization they suffer,” AMLO said Friday.

In one of his first acts in office, Lopez Obrador enforced an austerity plan.

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AMLO sold government-owned vehicles and even planned on selling the president’s brand new Boeing 787 jetliner. He also dismissed the Presidential Guard, which is tasked with protecting the president, and declined to move into Los Pinos – Mexico’s version of the White House – and instead lives in his private home.

In a similar auction at the end of May, Mexican authorities raised $1.5 million from the sales of 82 vehicles, including a Lamborghini and other assets seized from criminals and at least one former politician.

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The late-May auction saw 800 bidders, with the money raised going to two poor communities in the southern state of Oaxaca to improve roads and schools. Seventeen black, bulletproof Chevrolet Suburbans were also up for auction but it was the muscle cars and vintage VWs that got all the attention.

Reactions on Twitter were pretty mixed.

Credit: @BBCWorld / Twitter

A pretty common sentiment across Twitter was that people just wouldn’t feel safe moving into a home that had been seized from a former drug lord. I mean just think of all the risk that carries with it. Like that drug lord still has connections, still has friends – there are still people that are aware of its history. Maybe they’d show up wanting to take it for themselves at some point.

But everyone agreed that giving the proceeds of the auction to help the poor was the right move.

Credit: @BBCWorld / Twitter

Especially since the communities that will benefit from these proceeds are in violence plagued Guerrero state – a state that has suffered greatly because of the Drug War.

A 25-Year-Old Woman Was Murdered And Skinned, Then Mexican Newspapers Published Photos Of Her Body

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A 25-Year-Old Woman Was Murdered And Skinned, Then Mexican Newspapers Published Photos Of Her Body

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In Mexico, the recent brutal mutilation and slaying of a 25-year-old woman are spurning conversations about the country’s efforts to prevent femicide and laws that protect victims from the media.

On Sunday, Mexican authorities revealed that they had discovered the body of Ingrid Escamilla.

According to reports, Escamilla was found lifeless with her body skinned and many of her organs missing. At the scene, a 46-year-old man was also discovered alive. His body was covered in bloodstains and he was arrested.

As of this story wasn’t troubling enough, local tabloids and websites managed to bring more tragedy to the victim and her family by splashing leaked graphic photos and videos of the victim’s body. In a terribly crafted headline, one paper by the name of Pasala printed the photos on its front page with the headline “It was Cupid’s fault.” The headline is a reference to the fact that the man found at the scene was Escamilla’s husband.

According to leaked video footage from the arrest scene, Escamilla’s husband admitted to stabbing his wife after a heated argument in which she threatened to kill him. He then claimed to have skinned her body to eliminate evidence.

Mexic City’s mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, revealed that prosecutors will demand the maximum sentence against the alleged perpetrator.

“Femicide is an absolutely condemnable crime. It is appalling when hatred reaches extremes like in the case of Ingrid Escamilla,” Sheinbaum wrote in a tweet according to CNN. According to reports, Mexico broke records in 2018 when its homicide record reached over 33,000 people that year.

The publication of Escamilla’s mutilated body has sparked discussions regarding the way in which reports about violence against women are handled.

Women’s rights organizations have lambasted the papers that originally published photos of Escamilla’s body and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador also expressed criticism of the media’s response to the brutal slaying.

In a press conference on Thursday, President López Obrador expressed his determination to find and punish anyone responsible for the image leaks. “This is a crime, that needs to be punished, whoever it is,” he stated.

Conservationists At Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Reserve Are Being Murdered And Investigators Aren’t Sure Why

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Conservationists At Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Reserve Are Being Murdered And Investigators Aren’t Sure Why

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Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Reserve is one of the world’s most famous wildlife hotspots. Hundreds of thousands come each year to view the annual migration of millions of beautiful butterflies that call Mexico’s Michoacan state home during the winter.

However, this iconic and majestic habitat for one of the world’s most endangered animals is now the backdrop for a dramatic murder mystery that is unfolding in international headlines. Two conservationists have been discovered dead just days apart and investigators still aren’t sure why.

A second victim has been pronounced killed by authorities in Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly reserve.

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One of the world’s most beautiful wildlife spots is now the backdrop for a dramatic double murder after two nature activists are discovered dead at Mexico’s El Rosario monarch butterfly sanctuary.

The deaths of Homero Gomez Gonzalez, manager of the butterfly reserve, and Raul Hernandez Romero, a tour guide at the sanctuary, have sent shockwaves across the world of wildlife conservation.

Hernandez Romero’s body was discovered on Saturday near the highest point of the mountainous sanctuary, which sits 9,000 feet above sea level in the state of Michoacan, about 130 miles west of Mexico City, according to a statement from the Michoacan state prosecutor’s office. Hernandez Romero’s family reported him missing on Friday, officials said.

The new victim was found just days after the first victim’s body was found after being missing for 16 days.

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Authorities discovered his body about three days after the Hernandez Romero’s body was found in a pond near the Central Mexico town of El Soldado, prosecutors said.

An autopsy performed in the presence of State Human Rights Commission representatives determined Gomez Gonzalez died from “mechanical asphyxiation” after suffering head trauma and being submerged in water.

Gomez Gonzalez, whose family reported him missing two weeks ago, was one of the region’s most prominent conservation activists and a vocal defender of the monarch butterflies. He had launched a campaign against illegal logging that threatens the butterflies nesting grounds.

Although petty crime and theft is common in these parts of Mexico, authorities don’t believe this to be the case in Gonzalez’s death. He was found with about $9,000 pesos (or about $500 USD) on him when his body was discovered.

Mexico’s Monarch butterfly preserve is a UNESCO Biosphere reserve that draws hundreds of thousands of tourists each year.

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Each winter, millions of monarch butterflies make their home at the El Rosario reserve in Mexico — one of the best places in the world to see them. Local guides lead tourists up the mountainside on foot and horseback to where the monarchs cluster in fir and pine trees. Their bright orange wings flit amid the mild weather of Michoacán, and signs ask for silence as visitors enter the nesting areas.

The El Rosario sanctuary is part of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, which was enshrined as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008, calling the overwintering concentration of butterflies there “a superlative natural phenomenon.” It noted that more than half of overwintering colonies of the monarch butterfly’s eastern population are found in these specific areas of Mexico.

But the same forests that draw butterflies to migrate thousands of miles each winter are under threat from illegal logging and clandestine avocado farms.

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Officials in the state of Michoacán said they were unsure if the two deaths were linked – or related to the men’s work in the butterfly reserve. The state has seen a rising tide of violence in recent years, and the region around the monarch butterfly reserve has been rife with illegal logging, despite a ban imposed to protect the monarchs, which winter in the pine- and fir-covered hills.

Some illegal clearcutting is also carried out to allow for the planting of avocado orchards – one of Mexico’s most lucrative crops and an important part of Michoacán’s economy.

The deaths again called attention to the disturbing trend in Mexico of environmental defenders being killed as they come into conflict with developers or local crime groups, who often have political and police protection.