A rusty, old Volkswagen Beetle was the star of the government’s latest auction of assets seized from criminal organizations, selling for more than seven times its starting price.
The 1995 vocho, which had punctured tires and no side mirrors among other defects, sold for 20,000 pesos (US $1,035) at Sunday’s auction in Mexico City after going on the block at 2,799 pesos.
The 615% increase on the starting price was higher than that recorded for any other asset sold. Despite that result, the auction wasn’t anywhere near as successful as the government had hoped.
Sales of assets brought in a total of 16.2 million pesos (US $838,500), less than half the target amount of 32.5 million.
Six homes formerly owned by convicted drug trafficker Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán went under the hammer but only three of them sold, bringing in revenue of 4.35 million pesos.
Ricardo Rodríguez, director of the Institute to Return Stolen Goods to the People, rejected any suggestion that the other homes failed to sell due to fear on the part of potential purchasers.
All three of El Chapo’s properties that did sell are in Culiacán, Sinaloa. In addition to the homes, the purchasers will take possession of their contents.
A home once occupied by Guzmán’s second wife, Griselda López, failed to sell, after going on the block at just over 11.2 million pesos.
The most lucrative sale at the auction held at the former presidential residence, Los Pinos, was that of a home in Los Cabos, Baja California Sur. Formerly owned by Tijuana Cartel leader Francisco Javier Arellano Félix, the luxury beachfront property sold for 6.25 million pesos (US $323,000).
All 24 vehicles on offer sold, including a 2012 Mercedes Benz coupé that went for 810,000 pesos, more than four times its starting price, and a 2002 Chevrolet Corvette that attracted a winning bid of 165,000 pesos, 515% above the reserve price.
An 18-carat gold watch encrusted with 60 sapphires sold for 343,950 pesos, 50% less than its actual value. All told, 37 of the 45 lots on offer were cleared but neither of two cargo ships was sold.
The funds raised at the auction, the fifth of its kind held by the government, will be used to buy musical instruments for children in Oaxaca who play in bands.