Drug Lords' Bling Dazzles Mexican Agency

By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2009 7:59 AM CDT
An army officer shows a seized handgun customized with an engraving in the butt grip of Mexico's patron saint, Our Lady of Guadalupe.   (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
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(Newser) – Amid the ongoing drug wars in Mexico, one small branch of the country's finance ministry has a special job: selling off the jewel-encrusted pistols, armor-plated Hummers, and even wild panthers and lions seized from dealers' bling-tastic mansions. "You realize that the mansions in movies like Scarface aren't exaggerations," one official tells the Wall Street Journal. "The real thing can be more amazing."

The agency recently took control of a chalet-style compound complete with an underground hot tub complex, a menagerie of tigers and a gorilla, and a disco equipped with a stripper pole. Officials in Mexico City have to take care of a wildly broad variety of assets, including a Boeing aircraft and frozen sharks stuffed with cocaine in a matter of days. But the feds express little amusement at their finds. "I don't like seeing kidnappers' houses," said one, after seizing a house with a mural depicting Jesus as a horrifying ghoul.