Inside El Chapo’s final hideouts and escape houses

Real Estate

Blood splatters and bullet holes fill the concrete walls and escape tunnels of the hideouts once frequented by one of the world’s most notorious drug kingpins.

Vivid photographs show inside two safe houses that belonged to the drug lord and former Sinaloa Cartel leader, Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán, notoriously known as “El Chapo” (meaning “Shorty“).

And while one remains deserted with a haunted past, the other has taken on a new life.

The first home is in Los Mochis, a city in northern Sinaloa, the Mexican state where Guzmán spent his final days before being captured by Mexican marines and extradited to the United States. The second home in Culiacán, the capital of Sinaloa, was used by Guzmán as a safe house due to its winding escape tunnels.

But for a man with an estimated net worth of $12.6 billion, his houses were pretty destitute for the leader of a global drug-trafficking operation.

Longtime photographer Hans-Maximo Musielik, who has spent time on the scene of both properties, gave The Post an inside look at the derelict refuge used by one of the most dangerous drug traffickers responsible for killing up to 3,000 people in just one year of his nearly three-decade reign.

“Inside the home, everything was a mess,” Musielik told The Post, noting he witnessed “large coagulated pools of blood” firsthand.

While the first home is still abandoned, the second residence has a new owner, Musielik said. An unknown party scored the two-bedroom house in the Mexican National Lottery, but despite the good fortune, the winner is staying anonymous in fear of the cartel.

Photos capture the interiors of the two safe houses of Joaquín Guzmán, commonly known as “El Chapo.”
Reuters

Los Mochis: El Chapo’s final home

Los Mochis, Sinaloa. January 9th 2016: Corner view the safe house with street plate.
Corner view of the safe house with street plate in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, seen on Jan. 9, 2016.
Hans-Maximo Musielik
Mexican marines inside the home the night of El Chapo's capture.
Mexican marines inside the home on the night of El Chapo’s capture.
Hans-Maximo Musielik
Los Mochis, Sinaloa. January 9th 2016: Main entrance door of El Chapo´s safety house. A bullet ridden door is witness to the events of the previous morning.
The main entrance of El Chapo’s safe house. A bullet-ridden door is witness to the events of the previous morning.
Hans-Maximo Musielik
Drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted by marines to a helicopter at Mexico City's airport on January 8, 2016.
Drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán is escorted by marines to a helicopter at Mexico City’s airport on Jan. 8, 2016.
Hans-Maximo Musielik

On Jan. 8, 2016, Guzman was captured by two federal police officers in Los Mochis with his closest bodyguard after they stole a car to escape. Minutes before their arrest, both fled the safe house, located at Jiquilpan 1002 Street, after the special forces of the Mexican Navy Infantry raided the home in an operation called “Black Swan” (Cisne Negro).

Los Mochis, Sinaloa. January 9th 2016: Door number sign on the floor of one of the rooms in the first floor right next to the kitchen.
The door number sign on the floor of one of the rooms on the first floor right next to the kitchen.
Hans-Maximo Musielik
Los Mochis, Sinaloa. January 9th 2016: Main entrance and kitchen of the safe house after government searched through in the previous 24 hours.
The main entrance and kitchen of the safe house after government searched through in the previous 24 hours.
Hans-Maximo Musielik
Los Mochis, Sinaloa. January 9th 2016: Bullet shell next to underwear in a closet of one of the bedrooms in the second floor.
A bullet shell next to underwear in a closet of one of the bedrooms on the second floor.
Hans-Maximo Musielik
Los Mochis, Sinaloa. January 9th 2016: Glass wall inside a walk-in closet in the first-floor bedroom. Behind this hidden glass door is the secret access to the escape tunnel.
A glass wall inside a walk-in closet in the first-floor bedroom. Behind this hidden glass door is the secret access to the escape tunnel.
Hans-Maximo Musielik

Following his arrest, officers chose to take him to a motel room and entrench themselves there until backup arrived.

The two-story home is made up of three bedrooms with a living area on the second floor. There is another large room with what seemed to be a walk-in closet with glass walls. All of the bedrooms had beds in them. The first room on the first floor is believed to be Guzman’s bedroom, due to the proximity to the walk-in closet where a secret entrance was observed.

Los Mochis, Sinaloa. January 9th 2016: Bedroom at the ground floor.
The bedroom on the ground floor.
Hans-Maximo Musielik
Los Mochis, Sinaloa. January 9th 2016: Storm sewer manhole cover from which El Chapo and his body guard crawled out after escaping. This hole is about half a mile (840 meters) away from their safe house.
A storm sewer manhole cover from which El Chapo and his bodyguard crawled out after escaping. This hole is about half a mile (840 meters) away from their safe house.
Hans-Maximo Musielik
Los Mochis, Sinaloa. January 9th 2016: View of the secret tunnel inundated with some water. This tunnel was used by El Chapo to escape.
The view of the secret tunnel inundated with some water. This tunnel was used by El Chapo to escape.
Hans-Maximo Musielik
Los Mochis, Sinaloa. January 9th 2016: Inside the escape tunnel looking to the staircase that leads to the ground floor bedroom
Inside the escape tunnel looking to the staircase that leads to the ground floor bedroom
Hans-Maximo Musielik
Los Mochis, Sinaloa. January 9th 2016: Inside the escape tunnel looking to the steel door that would allow access to the city´s Storm Sewer network.
Inside the escape tunnel looking to the steel door that would allow access to the city´s Storm Sewer network.
Hans-Maximo Musielik
Los Mochis, Sinaloa. January 9th 2016: Behind the hidden Glass door. Stair case to the secret escape tunnel.
Behind the hidden glass door, a staircase to the secret escape tunnel.
Hans-Maximo Musielik

The photos and videos captured show several signs of the battle that took place that morning between Guzman’s gang and government officials.

While Guzman and his bodyguard escaped from the home, others resisted which bought them some time.

Los Mochis, Sinaloa. January 9th 2016: Bullet ridden wall over the staircase that leads to the second floor.
A bullet-ridden wall over the staircase that leads to the second floor.
Hans-Maximo Musielik
Los Mochis, Sinaloa. January 9th 2016: View of one of the larger rooms in the second floor.
A view of one of the larger rooms on the second floor.
Hans-Maximo Musielik
Los Mochis, Sinaloa. January 9th 2016: Second floor. bullet or grenade impact.
Bullet or grenade impact on the second floor.
Hans-Maximo Musielik
Los Mochis, Sinaloa. January 9th 2016: In one of the bathrooms a hair dye.
Hair dye and toothbrushes in one of the bathrooms.
Hans-Maximo Musielik

“National and international media were allowed to enter the safe house almost 24 hours after his arrest,” Musielik told The Post, noting that “one could imagine the last stand of some of Guzman’s men” judging by the scene.

The home still remains off the market today with low-level surveillance. Open court cases regarding the house are keeping the home from being sold or auctioned.

Los Mochis, Sinaloa. January 9th 2016: View of another bathroom
The view of another bathroom.
Hans-Maximo Musielik
Los Mochis, Sinaloa. January 9th 2016: On one of the beds in a second-floor bedroom were these rented DVD of the original 2011 version of the "Queen of the south" drama television series. The plot is about a woman of poor upbringings that becomes wealthy by building a drug empire.
On one of the beds in a second-floor bedroom, rented DVDs of the original 2011 version of the “Queen of the Aouth” television series. The plot is about a woman of poor upbringing that becomes wealthy by building a drug empire.
Los Mochis, Sinaloa. January 9th 2016: One of the Bedrooms in the upper floor.
One of the bedrooms on the upper floor.
Hans-Maximo Musielik
Los Mochis, Sinaloa. January 9th 2016: Wall full of bullet and grenade impacts in the second floor coming out of the staircase.
A wall full of bullet and grenade impacts on the second floor coming out of the staircase.
Hans-Maximo Musielik

Culiacan: El Chapo’s other safe house

In February 2014, Guzman was hiding out in a house in Culiacan, Mexico, but fled through back tunnels and canals as authorities hunted for him. He was caught a few days later in nearby Mazatlan.

That house has since been renovated.

Front view of one of El Chapo´s safe houses in the capital city of Sinaloa. A secret escape tunnel was built under the bathtub which was activated by some hydraulic mechanism that lifted it in an angle and allowed access to a hidden stair case that leads through a tunnel to the cities storm sewer. El Chapo escaped from this safe house on at least one occasion.
Front view of one of El Chapo’s safe houses in the capital city of Sinaloa. A secret escape tunnel was built under the bathtub which was activated by some hydraulic mechanism that lifted it at an angle and allowed access to a hidden staircase that leads through a tunnel to the cities storm sewer. El Chapo escaped from this safe house on at least one occasion.
Hans-Maximo Musielik
An abandoned sofa on a side street of one of El Chapo´s safe houses.
An abandoned sofa on a side street of one of El Chapo’s safe houses.
Hans-Maximo Musielik
Culiacán, Sin. 2015. Part of the Story sewage network to which el Chapo´s secret tunnel connected. Once he reached this point he had access to a large underground tunnel network which multiplied his chance of an escape.
Part of the sewage network to which El Chapo’s secret tunnel connected. Once he reached this point, he had access to a large underground tunnel network which multiplied his chance of an escape.
Hans-Maximo Musielik

Surveillance cameras that monitored everything around the perimeter of the home were removed, and the hole under a bathtub that connected to underground tunnels was covered up.

Last year, Mexico’s Institute to Return Stolen Goods to the People, known as INDEP, attempted to auction off the house with bidding starting at around $130,000, but there were no offers.

However, he two-bedroom home was raffled off by the government on Sept. 15, 2021, through the Mexican National Lottery. The price of a single lottery ticket was 250 Mexican pesos. Two million tickets were sold, but there are no details about who has come to own it, in fear of the stigma surrounding the property.

Part of the Story sewage network to which el Chapo´s secret tunnel connected. Once he reached this point he had access to a large underground tunnel network which multiplied his chance of an escape.
Part of the sewage network to which El Chapo’s secret tunnel connected.
Hans Maximo Musielik
. Metal stair case that leads to the underside of the bathtub. The two handles were used attached to it would serve to lower the bathtub once everybody was in the tunnel, so it would take time for the police to figure out their escape route. The bathtub activation mechanism was also hidden and was not clear to first sight.
A metal staircase that leads to the underside of the bathtub.
Hans-Maximo Musielik

When President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced the lottery for the home in June, he made no mention of who the last owner was or that it had ties to the drug cartel.

Obrador only mentioned it had a black fence and was seven minutes from a park.

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