Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Expo Plaza Hotel in Guadalajara partially collapses; none injured

A suburban Guadalajara hotel property once owned by a man considered to be Mexico’s first cocaine kingpin suffered a structural collapse on Thursday.

Fortunately, there were no injuries when the roof of the Expo Plaza Hotel’s parking lot entrance came crashing down. Only a pickup truck parked in the area was caught in the rubble. 

Wear and tear caused the roof of the Expo Plaza Hotel’s parking lot entrance to collapse on Thursday. (booking.com)

Firefighters with Jalisco’s civil protection unit reviewed the collapse and made an initial determination that the causes were wear and tear, weight overload and humidity. 

The hotel is located in Zapopan, Jalisco, a city of approximately 1.25 million people in the Guadalajara metropolitan area.

It previously operated as the Motor Hotel Américas, owned by Guadalajara Cartel founder Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, reportedly from 1980 until his arrest in 1989. The native of Culiacán, Sinaloa, known as “The Godfather” and “El Jefe de Jefes” (The Boss of Bosses), is now 77 and reportedly suffering from various health problems as he serves out a 40-year prison sentence.

His cartel controlled much of the drug traffic moving through Mexico in the 1980s, and he was convicted for involvement in the 1985 murder of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena Salazar.

His portrayal in the Netflix series “Narcos: Mexico” included how he used hotels to front his illicit activities. The Motor Hotel Américas was his first property, and according to the newspaper El Financiero, “There are indications that the place was the scene of Guadalajara Cartel operations, such as murders and other violent events.”

The new iteration of the hotel opened in 2011, in the Paseos del Sol neighborhood of Zapopan, right across the street from the Plaza del Sol shopping center where Guadalajara’s first Pizza Hut opened in 1969.

After the collapse of the roof, the hotel suspended its normal activities, guests were evacuated and the perimeter was secured as a preventive measure.

With reports from El Financiero and Proceso

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