If you are into real estate and looking for a real fixer upper, check out these abandoned estates once belonging to some of Mexico’s most nasty criminals. The movies aren’t the only way we can see how infamous crime men truly reside. Over the past 6 years Mexico has seized over 114 million items belonging to incarcerated drug lords. Wanting no paper trail to their names of course, most dealers will walk into high end shops for jewelry, furniture, art, cars, exotic animals, etc., and order one of everything. Limited time and the risk of getting caught makes most of these estates look as if they were turned into a storage unit to hold anything gold, sparkling and symbolizing power. Many of the drug lords lived in extremely terrible conditions despite the luxurious first impression: the inside of some estates have been full of broken needles, trash, prostitutes and a family trying to live the life their loved one has chosen for them.
In the last decade the Mexican drug world has become much more ruthless. In 2007, the family home of Zhenli Ye Gon was seized and auctioned off piece by piece before he was incarcerated for smuggling methamphetamine in Mexico City. Photos taken afterward, some shown here, include photographs of his wife and children, drawings still hung on the walls, kid’s toys next to empty syringes, and a pistol on the coffee table. My question: how is it that one can bring their family, their children into a life of crime and put everyone surrounding them in such danger?
Professor Valenzuela, a sociologist, explains that the importance to a drug lord of having their children fall into the family business is huge, to make sure the smuggling continues. Imagine your mother or father handing you a gun at age 10 and saying, “this is your job now.”
Some of these old estates have been put to good use. The Juárez estate has a guitar-shaped pool and a castle as big as a house was built for only his daughter’s dolls. This estate has now been turned into a rehabilitation center for disabled youths, most of them gun shot victims. To take a grand estate and turn it into something for the community, provided it is a safe and secure environment, is the best turn around any once violent neighborhood could ask for.