Prospective buyers at Sunday's narco-auction. Prospective buyers at Sunday's narco-auction.

Auction sells just 9 of 27 narco-properties, raises 57 million pesos

The event was expected to generate 167 million pesos but was deemed a success regardless

The federal government sold nine of 27 properties confiscated from narcotics traffickers and raised 57 million pesos (US $3 million), well short of the anticipated 167 million pesos (US $8.7 million) that was projected.

But head of the agency responsible insisted that the auction was in fact a success.

“In a property auction it would have been unprecedented to have sold everything,” Ricardo Rodríguez Vargas said. “We are in the normal range, or actually a little bit above normal for a property auction. What was not sold will be sold in future auctions.”

Among the narco-properties not sold were some of the most expensive and luxurious properties listed, which seemed directly proportional to the infamy of their previous owners.

These included:

• The luxury apartment in Cuernavaca, Morelos, where Arturo Beltrán Leyva, one of the founders of the Beltrán Leyva Cartel, was killed by marines in 2009, which was valued at 3.6 million pesos (US $188,000).

• The Naucalpan, México state, ranch of Carlos Montemayor González, also a Beltrán Leyva operator and father-in-law of infamous drug lord Édgar “La Barbie” Valdés Villarreal, valued at 32 million pesos.

• The 15.3-million-peso, Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, beach property of former Gulf Cartel leader Mario Armando Ramírez Treviño.

On the other hand, the government was able to sell the luxury Mexico City residence of Francisco Javier Arellano Félix, former leader of the Tijuana Cartel, for 14.3 million pesos, as well as the former home of Raydel López Uriarte, another Tijuana Cartel operator, in Rosarito, Baja California, for 1.1 million pesos.

Asked if he believed that the failure to more than three-quarters of the properties might be due to the nature of their former owners, Rodríguez Vargas replied, “No, no, that has nothing to do with it. Actually, the auction was a success.”

He added that nearly all proceeds will go towards some of the country’s poorest communities, located in the Guerrero mountains.

Next up is an auction of narco-jewelry confiscated from traffickers, with all proceeds benefiting the National Addictions Commission.

Source: Milenio (sp), Proceso (sp)

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