“What if I win Chapo’s house?”, we fantasized about a Mexican friend after telling her that he was determined to pay the $ 250 Mexican pesos –about $ 12.50 dollars– to participate in the National Lottery drawHe from Mexico that this year had among the jackpots a house owned by drug lord Joaquín Guzmán Loera.
Every September 16 at dawn Mexico celebrates its Independence shout, the homeland date where it is remembered as on that day, but in 1810, when the priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla summoned the town of Dolores to rise up in arms against the rule of the Spanish.
There are three clear indicators that anticipate the arrival of the Cry of Independence among those of us who live in Mexico City: the streets full of Mexican flags with people wearing those same colors, typical food dishes like the chiles en Nogada and the draw of the independence lottery. Yes, you read that correctly, a raffle organized by the Government is the one prior to a night of festivities.
This is not only my first year as a “chilango” – that’s what the natives of Mexico City are called but also those who live there – but it’s also my first time playing in a lottery. But the opportunity is tempting: 22 prizes totaling 250 million Mexican pesos –Equal to $ 12,585,842 dollars– some in cash, others in kind: among them, a house of Chapo Guzmán.
This type of raffle began in 2020 when the president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) announced that he would raffle the presidential plane acquired at the time by his predecessor Felipe Calderón. Given the many frustrated attempts to sell it, the possibility of circumventing it arose.
Later, the Government would change its mind and instead of raffling the plane, it would award 100 prizes, the total amount of which would be equal to the value of the plane. The success was resounding and that is why this year it was repeated but with houses, land and even a box at the Azteca Stadium as prizes. Proceeds will be used to support athletes who participated in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The house of Chapo Guzmán
Returning to the fantasy of winning the house of the drug lord, my friend reflected: “I don’t think Chapo likes it”. And it is that these prizes offered by the Government are assets that were taken from criminals through the Institute to Give Back to the People the Stolen (Indep).
This year the house of El Chapo Guzmán is one of the main attractions. Located in CuliacanIt was one of the many properties that the narco leader owned in the area. It was in 2014 – after 13 years of his first escape – that the DEA, the US anti-drug agency and the government of Enrique Peña Nieto they planned his capture in this particular address.
But of course, catching El Chapo was not an easy task. When the agents were already a few steps away and were trying to break down the armored door of the place, the powerful drug trafficker went to the bathroom and activated a device that raised the bathtub and exposed a secret tunnel that would allow it to escape down the drain and thus reach any of its other properties.
But Guzmán’s house is not the only drug-dealing property that could be won. The mansion of Amado Carrillo, known as The Lord of the heavens, was another of the 22 awards. Recovered 20 years ago, the luxurious home has more than 3,000 square meters in the south of Mexico City and is valued at 77,260,000 Mexican pesos – about $ 3,888,688 dollars–.
It is curious that El Señor de los Cielos also had his properties in Buenos Aires, which he bought after his passage at the end of the 90s and that after his death – in the middle of a particular cosmetic surgery – they were seized by the Argentine government and later auctioned.
Does luck work for a beginner?
On the same Wednesday 15 and two hours after the draw – which took place at 4:00 p.m. in Mexico – I went looking for myself “a bit“, as the raffle ticket is called.
“I want to buy my a bit of the Independence Lottery. Where can I get it? “I asked the security of the complex where I live. He looked at me in amazement but couldn’t answer. So I decided to just go out and see what I came across.
You might as well have checked out the official lottery site where the over 12 thousand positions throughout the country or even having bought it online where sites like TuLoteroMX, Cachito Electrónica and C Millonario sell the numbers for those who cannot or want to leave the comfort of their home. But of course, it is a good excuse to once again walk the streets bathed in colors.
I didn’t need to walk more than two blocks to find the first lottery agency. Mexico, like Argentina, have a deep-rooted gambling culture and it is common to find this type of business where the bills full of zeros hang. “Do you have tickets for the Independence raffle?” I asked. On the other side of the glass they announce that he had no more left. Keep looking.
A few meters away, in a corner, a man yells next to a stall like the newspaper ones, “It’s today, it’s today The last tickets remain for the independence raffle“. I was already closer to my” little piece “of home.” This year there are fewer people than in other years, but it is still one of our most important raffles, “says the seller who shows the hanging tickets that he has left.
The chosen number is 1.810.162. I already have in my hands a small envelope containing one of the two million tickets that will participate. It only remains to wait. The place chosen to wait for the results is a few meters from where I made my purchase, in front of the El Moro building. This is one of the first skyscrapers inaugurated in 1946 and today it is the headquarters of the National Lottery offices.
“Last year our company bought tickets for all the employees,” says Liz, a colleague from a Mexican media outlet. “None of us won but we were close,” he adds.
Finally the moment arrived: the screaming kids they announced the numbers and the 22 winning tickets. Ticket number 832,442, purchased in the capital, was the winner of the top prize in the National Lottery draw for Mexico’s Independence Day: a box in the Aztec State worth a million dollars.
My “little piece” got nothing. I was 371,543 numbers from El Chapo’s house and 57,559 from gaining a 342 m2 piece of land in Ensenada, Baja California. There will be no drug house or box at the Azteca Stadium for me.
It is true that El Chapo’s house it already has new owners. The winning number was 1,438,619, the “screamers” sang.
The mansion of “The Lord of the Skies” was taken by ticket 287,961.