Mexican lottery winners scoop drug lord homes

Mexico City (AFP) –


A house where drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman narrowly avoided arrest was scooped by a mystery winner in a special lottery held by the Mexican government on Wednesday.

The home in Culiacan in the northwestern state of Sinaloa was among 20 impounded properties raffled off in a National Lottery grand draw.

The winning ticket number for the house of the former cartel kingpin serving a life sentence in a US prison was 1,438,619, but the new owner's identity was kept a secret.

Guzman escaped a manhunt in 2014 through the underground drainage system of the house, worth an estimated $184,000, but was captured six days later.

He was sent to a top security prison in 2015, but again escaped.

The elusive head of the notorious Sinaloa cartel was finally arrested in 2016 and extradited the following year to the United States.

The other prizes included a Mexico City mansion that belonged to former Juarez cartel leader Amado Carrillo Fuentes said to be worth about $3.8 million.

Known as "The Lord of the Skies," he was considered one of Latin America's biggest drug traffickers until he died during plastic surgery in Mexico City in 1997.

The raffle's aim was to turn "onerous properties with heavy maintenance costs" into "a tangible benefit for society," said Ernesto Prieto, head of the body responsible for managing seized properties.

A box at Mexico City's legendary Azteca Stadium where the 1970 and 1986 World Cup finals were played was scooped by a lucky winner in the capital.

The money raised will go to athletes who participated in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games, the government said.