Mexico auctions drug lords’ properties to fund poor communities

Luxurious properties seized from drug cartel leaders have been sold at auction in Mexico City.

Houses with swimming pools and escape tunnels, a large ranch and an apartment where a cartel leader was killed were all up for sale.

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel López Obrador had pledged that profits from the auction would go towards those affected by drug gang violence.

But only nine of the 27 properties on offer actually sold.

According to Mexican media, the auction raised 56.6m pesos ($3m; £2.3m) of the 167m pesos predicted.

President López Obrador said that the money would help poor and marginalized communities in the violent state of Guerrero.

At the end of May, a similar auction raised $1.5m (£117m) by selling the homes and cars of criminals, including at least one former politician. A Lamborghini was among the items on sale.

Authorities said many more auctions would take place over the coming months.

Mr López Obrador, who was elected last year, has also promised to sell his presidential plane to fund efforts to curb illegal migration.

The Asset Management and Disposal Service (SAE) obtained 56.6 million pesos from an estimated starting price of some 167 million pesos , in the first real-time hammer sale of real estate, this Sunday at the Los Pinos Cultural Complex, “Above the historical average” for this type of events.

The general director of the SAE, Ricardo Rodríguez Vargas, explained that of the 27 properties offered only sold nine and the remaining 18 were declared deserted, but he hoped that in future auctions all real estate will be auctioned, as traditionally occurs in this type of commercial events.

“On whether it was successful or not, I could say that it was above the average of real estate auctions, that is, we are selling a quantity and a number of real estate that is above the average we have usually placed,” said Rodríguez Vargas .

The head of the agency, which next week will be transformed into the Institute to Return the Stolen People , said that this auction is different from the vehicle that was made on May 26, since the price of these properties was from 215 thousand pesos to 32 million pesos, which gives it a certain peculiarity .

Of the 56.6 million pesos obtained in this auction, 51.3 million pesos will be destined to poor communities in the state of Guerrero and the rest will be directed to the fund for the compensation of the victims’ damages.

“Today we are consolidating an instrument of the Mexican government, a new instrument, which are auctions with a social sense, ” the official said, specifying that prior to this hammer auction, the SAE submitted for sale the properties that are transferred to it through closed envelope or electronic auction.

Although only 66 bidders participated , who bought the bases to participate, less than previous events, highlighted the enthusiasm of citizens to participate in this event, because “today who bought a good, he did doing a good, as said Mr. President “Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

The head of the new Institute to Return the Stolen People pointed out that 51.3 million of the 56.6 million pesos collected in the auction will go to the poorest of the country, and with this the “first the poor” task is fulfilled.

He denied that the resources obtained in this commercial event, of only about 34 percent of the 167 million pesos estimated as exit prices, is due to the origin of the properties, since some of them belonged to drug traffickers and were transferred to the SAE to sale .

It would be something unprecedented in all real estate put on sale this Sunday had been placed, he said, as there are always some properties, but they manage to paddle in two or three subsequent processes.

“Experience tells us that what is not sold today is sold in the next. The process of this Sunday is something normal, of what was sold. I insist, an auction is not to be done in a single day, a project like this real estate is not to be sold in a single day, it will be sold soon “.

He assured that the amount of resources obtained was higher than what is historically obtained in similar processes, and the fact that some properties have not been sold “does not have much relationship” with the fact that some have belonged to drug traffickers.

Of the 27 properties auctioned, a mansion was sold that belonged to Francisco Javier Arellano Félix, alias “El Tigrillo” , located on Peñas 274 street, in Jardines del Pedregal, in Mexico City, at the same starting price of 14 million 313 thousand pesos.

However, the auctions of the exclusive department in Cuernavaca, Morelos, where almost 10 years ago they killed the drug trafficker Arturo Beltrán Leyva, nicknamed “El Barbas”, with a starting price of three million 580 thousand pesos, one of the ” attractive “of this commercial event.

There was also a farm owned by Carlos Montemayor, nicknamed “El Charro”, the father-in-law of the Mexican-American drug dealer Édgar Valdez Villarreal known as “La Barbie”, property identified as Rancho Los Tres García, in Naucalpan, state of Mexico, which had the largest exit price of the auction, of 32 million 91 thousand 533 pesos.

One of the buyers, Bertha Gómez, who acquired an apartment in Atizapán de Zaragoza, state of Mexico for one million 663 thousand pesos, considered the auctioned properties attractive and at a good price, but she expressed her fear for the origin of some of them, related with drug trafficking.

“There is no price and fear, retaliation,” added the owner of a motor transport company in Toluca, State of Mexico, who nevertheless invited citizens to participate in the auctions of the SAE, as the real estate “are at a good price”.

Luis Barrón Vázquez, legal advisor of investments in real estate, but who on this occasion did not make any purchase, denied that this was due to the fact that some properties come from organized crime.

“That does not influence, since they are real properties that have been seized for 20 or 30 years; in the case of those we are talking about, it is 12, 15 or 20 years, it is enough time “, he argued, stating that he did not make any purchase due to the deterioration of the properties for sale. 

Source: aristeguinoticias, el diario

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