Exotic animals, cattle, luxury cars, chandeliers, gold-plated fittings, stuffed animals, swimming pools and artificial lakes were all found in seizures of properties linked to the Familia Michoacana cartel in México state, justice officials announced on Sunday.
At least four properties were seized in seven simultaneous operations by security forces and other officials in Tlatlaya and Amatepec, neighboring municipalities 150 kilometers south of Toluca.
Three people were arrested in the seizure of a two-hectare residential ranch in Amatepec with 145 animals living on the property. Searchers found a home with 14 bedrooms, two artificial lakes and luxury vehicles. Another 3.5-hectare ranch in Amatepec had a bullring and cattle-raising facilities.
In photos of the properties posted by the state Attorney General’s Office on social media, a chapel can be seen as well as stuffed birds, stuffed deer and a stuffed tiger, among other taxidermy, as well as a box of herbs resembling marijuana.
The animals seized included 70 cattle, 30 goats, 40 poultry, three horses and two peacocks. The seized vehicles included two SUVs, six all-terrain vehicles and a scooter.
State officials said the seizures would limit the operational capacity of criminal groups in the region as the properties were used as safe houses and vacation homes by cartel members.
Cartel properties seized by security forces often reappear in government raffles. In one raffle in September, the houses of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, former boss of the Sinaloa Cartel, and Amado Carrillo Fuentes of the Juárez Cartel were awarded as prizes.
Security forces in high crime México state have turned up results this month. On Friday, they performed a drugs bust at a property in Tultepec. At least two people with links to organized crime were arrested earlier last week and seven more alleged cartel members were charged.