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Step Aside, King Tut! How Mexico’s Drug Lords Are Bringing the Good Life to the Afterlife

Maureen Meehan

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Many might call it macabre, but a new report has revealed that Mexico’s wealthiest drug lords are being buried in luxurious mausoleums with huge bedrooms, wireless internet, air conditioning, spiral staircases, conference rooms, home cinemas and gold-plated caskets.

The Jardines del Humaya cemetery in Culiacán, the capital of Sinaloa, is where many of the country’s most infamous cartels have buried their members. While the Sinaloa cartels worked together in the early years, the bitter and violent feuds that tore them apart in the late 2000s apparently did not prevent them from sharing this opulent “narco cemetery.”

These are some of the notable drug traffickers, reported by Mexico’s Milenio, who chose the Jardines del Humaya as their final resting place, and what goods they’ve taken with them.

Marcos Arturo Beltrán Leyva, founder of the Beltran Leyva Cartel after he and his three brothers split from the Sinaloa Cartel, is buried in a gold coffin in a castle-themed mausoleum said to be worth $700,000.

Known as the “Boss of the Bosses,” Beltrán and three of his guards were killed in 2009 in a battle with 200 Mexican Army troops. After the identity of one of the soldiers who died in the battle was revealed at his funeral, the cartel’s henchmen murdered his entire family as revenge for participation in the death of their boss. All four Beltrán brothers have been killed or captured.

Ignacio “Nacho” Coronel, a “quiet but ruthless” drug kingpin in the Sinaloa Cartel, was famous for having controlled the entire U.S. crystal meth market. He now rests in his half-million dollar mausoleum adorned with tequila bottles and a painting of Our Lady of Lourdes. His tomb has an integrated music system, which senses where visitors are and adjusts the volume accordingly. A state-of-the-art alarm system beams video of intruders directly to the smartphones of other Sinaloa Cartel bosses.

Ines “The Engineer” Calderon, known for his creative smuggling habits and for being one of the first to introduce cocaine and heroin to U.S. markets in the ’70s and ’80s, is in a dome-roofed mausoleum. An air-conditioned meeting hall, where floral decorations are changed every five days, still hosts top-level cartel meetings.

The “Engineer,” who began as a hired killer in Sinaloa, made it to the top of the U.S.’s Most Wanted List after torturing and killing DEA agent Enrique Camarena in 1985.

The Guzman family mausoleum complex, built by the infamous Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán who is currently in Mexican custody, is valued at $1.2 million. The two-story complex has five separate buildings, one for each of the Guzman brothers. El Chapo is the only one still alive.

Amado Carrillo Fuentes, one of the wealthiest criminals in history with an estimated net-worth of over $25 billion, died on the operating table in 1997 while undergoing liposuction and plastic surgery to alter his appearance. Known for murdering every prison guard he didn’t like, Carrillo was called “Lord of the Skies” because of the large fleet of jets he used to transport drugs and launder money. Carrillo’s neo-gothic tomb has a chapel that holds 50 people where his family holds religious services.

Hector Palma Salazar’s mausoleum—replete with a spiral staircase, banquet hall and bridal suite with 360-panoramic views—is inhabited by his wife, or what’s left of her. While Salazar was in jail, she ran off with one of her husband’s former partners who ended up chopping her head off and sending it back to Salazar, a method practiced by certain drug traffickers, including Salazar himself. Salazar is still alive and was recently transferred from a U.S. federal prison to Mexican authorities.

Then, there is Manuel Torres Felix, dubbed the “Crazy One,” for his unpredictable mood swings and extreme violence. His modest mausoleum (only $340,000) was built in the ancient Greek style with external columns. El Loco’s calling card was leaving the chopped up remains of his victims in their own car trunks.

The Humaya Jardines cemetery is in sharp juxtaposition to the poverty surrounding it. According to the 2014 Borgen Report, 45 percent of Mexicans live in poverty. Mexico’s most brutal drug traffickers are “resting in peace” in places most of their compatriots could never afford to live.

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