There are so many ways to get rich if you’re gutsy enough. You can be a top finance executive who has shady deals under the table, or you can sign your family up for a reality show after releasing a not so family-friendly video. Then there are those rare ones who just went for it and didn’t care about who they’d run over in the process. Those people are drug lords.
Drugs are bad, and they’re hella expensive because of all of the logistics. It’s hard being a drug kingpin, and it’s much harder (but utterly fascinating for the audience) to get caught. I mean, these people are so damn cautious, they have rooms full of cold, hard cash in their mansions because they don’t want to raise suspicion by keeping it in a bank account. What about security? Well, aside from their own army decked out in military grade armor and guns, they have pet cats roaming the vicinity. Oh, sorry, not that kind of cat. We’re talking lions, panthers, and white tigers. Not so eager to play with kitty now, are you?
Back in February 2014, a Mexican drug lord named Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman had one of his compounds raided. Being the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, this guy’s not just anybody. He can have your head chopped off just because you’re breathing the same air as him! Now that the coast is clear, let’s check out what the police found inside this man’s home. Yep, we’re free to pry without getting shot at! Hurray!
10 – Hot Tub In A Man-Made Cave
An extensive underground network of tunnels and safe houses were discovered under the well-guarded compound, including rooms that were built directly off of the city’s sewage tunnels. A notorious cartel leader needs some time to relax in a safe place, and what better way than in your own underground man-made cave including a hot tub. However, you might run into some problems sharing a hot tub with the sewage department.
Hot tubs are pretty luxurious as it is, but when you build one underground that nobody else can see or get access to, that is truly VIP. Imagine the Grotto from the Playboy Mansion, and then put it completely underground. You can probably safely assume that there were some R-rated activities taking place in the underground hot tub cave.
9- Stolen Art
8 – Black Panthers
The title might be a little misleading since it sounds like Guzman had a personal collection of those that were involved in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s, but these were actual black panthers. As part of his personal zoo, Guzman kept a large collection of big cats, a variety of which you can’t find at most major zoos in the world. These large cats are incredibly hard to find in the wild, and even harder to tame.
The black panthers were discovered in good health and apparently were well fed, one could only guess with who… not that I’m one for wild speculation! Guzman might not be the straightest shooter in the world, but it’s a good thing that he was taking care of his cats. The fact that they didn’t rip him to shreds is also nothing short of a miracle. Somehow, Guzman and his men managed to pull off the rare double feat and even took PETA-approved care of them.
7 – Exotic Animals Seized
With more exotic animals than almost any zoo in the world, the cartel kingpin seemed to favor big cats, keeping two black panthers, a very rare white tiger, and eight lions. If Siegfried and Roy taught us anything, it’s that owning a large jungle cat can be very dangerous, especially a white one. Guzman’s animals must have been well trained, and we have to admit that it would be awesome to have your own zoo at home. There’s probably better ways of going about it than running a drug cartel, though.
We have already looked at one billionaire that has his own zoo of Penguins, but that was OK’d by the government, unlike the exotic animals that were ripped from the wild. Guzman had no limits to what he wanted, living or dead. Luckily, he liked to keep the animals alive instead of torturing them like one might expect.
6 – The Grounds
To infiltrate the grounds, Mexican police used the highest technology available. They were able to scan the property by air with infrared scanners that revealed the exact location of anyone inside the compound by tracking their body heat. Wisely, they made sure to wait until everything was quiet and everyone appeared to be sleeping before commencing the raid.
Those scanners don’t come cheap, so that should give you an idea of how much the government wanted to get inside of this compound.
The grounds that Guzman’s home were on were massive, so it was hard to get an idea of where the safest routes were without infrared technology. If the police ever have to use this technology on you and your home, you can bet that you won’t be getting out of jail anytime soon, and you wouldn’t be returning to a house as nice as Guzman’s, that’s for sure.
5 – More Money Floating Around
Mexican special police thought they discovered a big haul of cash when they found $500,000 in American dollars and Chinese Yuan stuffed in a briefcase in a closet. Drugs are an international game for the cartel, so having currencies for multiple countries is key. It also leaves a traceable path back to the dealer, which might be why Guzman was caught in the first place.
When you have that much money just lying around, that’s a red flag for authorities that drugs are involved.
If you have a mansion with that kind of money, you might be able to argue that it is your own, but when it is in that many different currencies, it’s a hard sell to the judge. It was a dead giveaway what Guzman was doing (as if the Mexican government didn’t already know, but the evidence was nice). $500k is no small potatoes, but nothing could have prepared them for what they found next!
4 – Hidden Cash
Even experienced members of the Mexican police force had never come across anything like this! The single largest cash seizure in all of world history, $207 million was found hidden away in a well guarded room inside the compound. Money was found literally everywhere, stuffed inside the walls, and even floors.
Have you ever moved into a new house and secretly hoped that one of the previous tenants hid some treasure within the walls or the floorboards?
If you move into Guzman’s old house, you might be able to find a few bucks that the police didn’t find, but nowhere near the original $200+ million that used to be there. You know that feeling you get when you find a $20 bill in your pants pocket that you haven’t worn in months? Imagine doing that a million times over if you are a police officer.
3 – Weapons Collection
Of course you’d expect to find weapons, but Guzman took that to the next level too. His collection of thousands of handguns and assault rifles would put museums to shame, including a wide variety of solid gold handguns to go full Bond villain. Whether they can kill somebody in one shot like in the game “Goldeneye” for the Nintendo 64 remains to be seen, but we can imagine that it has to be pretty lethal.
Don’t shoot one in real life, please.
With enough weapons to supply a small army (which Guzman basically had in the form of men working for him), the evidence was too obvious for him to get away clean from the government this time around. Some of these arms were for sale to international groups, but with the store getting shut down earlier than expected, the guns are now property of the Mexican government, which is much better than in Guzman’s hands.
2 – Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman
With a $5 million bounty on his head from the American government, and $2 million by the Mexicans, both countries were happy to have finally brought Guzman’s reign to an end. It takes a lot of bad things to get a bounty placed on you of that size. It’s pretty much the equivalent of getting five wanted stars in “Grand Theft Auto”. Guzman was truly the biggest gangster in the world when he was arrested, and he earned the title by being ruthless. Due to his involvement in drug trafficking and other cartel activities, he was also one of the wealthiest citizens in all of Mexico.
1 – A Drug Lord’s Hideaway
Even though he was on the run for 14 years, since 2001, when police managed to catch up with him, Guzman was able to establish himself as a powerful cartel leader, amassing an amazing fortune, before it all came crashing down around him in February 2014.
Arrested without incident with an AK-47 in his hands, he went out without a fight or single bullet being fired. He now awaits sentencing for his crimes.
When a raid like this one goes down, it usually doesn’t end as civilly as this. It is especially surprising that someone like Guzman was willing to turn himself in, but maybe he thought that he could get a lesser sentence if no authorities were hurt in the raid process.
That’s probably not going to be the case, but hey, it’s wishful thinking. So which part of Guzman’s property did you find most impressive, and would you be willing to risk it all to live in a place like that?