Mar 29, 2012

The government distributes 200 million pesos belonging to El Chapo

El Universal. More than 15 million dollars belonging to the Sinaloa Cartel, led by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, as well as jewelry and property seized by the Army in November of last year, will be distributed among federal agencies after the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR) labelled them abandoned to the federal government when no one claimed it as their rightful property.

The office issued the edict yesterday in the Official Journal of the Federation, which reports that the money - with the exchange rate now standing at 209,335,625 pesos - will be shared between the PGR, the Judicial Branch of the Federation, and the Ministry of Health.

The seizure of cash and property took place on November 18, 2011 in Tijuana, Baja California as part of Operation Zorro, in which a Grand Cherokee transporting the huge sum to a safe house of the Sinaloa Cartel was intercepted. The house was used as a center of financial operations for the criminal organization, reported the Ministry of National Defense (Sedena).

Although no one was arrested, the military seized 15 million 350 thousand U.S. dollars that were in three suitcases, along with jewelry, which will now become part of public funds for activities related to the administration of justice, fight against organized crime, and prevention and treatment programs for addicts.

According to the edict, the money and property was decreed abandoned after the 90 days required by law during which time someone can claim ownership of the resources and assets by establishing legal ownership. As this did not take place, in accordance with law, the cash and jewelry now belong to the federal government coffers, a measure taken because of preliminary investigation UEIORPIFAM/AP/308/2011.

Among the goods detailed in the document were 11 watches of various brands such as Cartier, one of which “encrusted diamonds on the face and bracelet” as well as one of the same brand made entirely of 18-carat gold.

In addition, there is a Rolex with gems, as well as pieces from Nautica, Burberry, and even a limited edition Frederique Constant Geneve watch, whose serial number is 1764, which, according to collectors, is assembled by hand, for which they are worth in the two thousand euro range.
Also abandoned to the government were eight rings made of different materials and of different designs, one of which had a horseshoe-shaped inlay, although the edict does not specify the type of gem used. Read more.

(Translation by Michael Kane, Americas Program)

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