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A Closer Look at the 'Narquitecture' of Mexico's Drug Lords

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Following up on a January New York Times story detailing the over-the-top palaces of Mexico's accused drug lords, today Wired offers a closer look at the crumbling state of a few such properties. While "a knockoff of Picasso's 'Guernica'" may not be common to all, Robert Beckhusen writes, "Walls or gates are a must," and they "resemble command centers as much as homes, including business-like meeting rooms and advanced security systems." And much like their fellow criminals—German Internet fraudster Kim Dotcom or jailed mafioso Nicola Schiavone, say—Mexican narco-chieftains tend toward the the lavish: "no matter where it is, is going to be ostentatious and idiosyncratic." Here now, the best details:

5. "His vanity was reflected in this oversized mansion, named 'The Palace of a Thousand and One Nights' after the Middle Eastern folk tales. Estimated to be worth $5 million, the mansion now sits abandoned and covered in graffiti in the posh Colonia Pitic neighborhood in the northwestern Mexican city of Hermosillo."

4. "The gang leader, who went by the name 'The Seagull,' also kept exotic animals. On the premises were cages housing exotic cats ranging from lions, tigers to panthers. Oh, he also had a hippo and two crocodiles."

3. "No drug lord mansion is complete without an underground pool, we suppose."

2. "'The King' Zambada, a Sinaloa Cartel boss whose ranch was raided in 2008, was known for keeping more than 200 animals, including ostriches and peacocks.

1. "Months before Heriberto Lazcano was killed by the Mexican marines, reports circulated that the Zetas boss had constructed a grand modernist tomb for himself in the central Mexican state of Hidalgo." Per the local news, the structure features two wooden doors with cut-crystal detailing.

· The "Narquitecture" of Mexico's Super-Wealthy Drug Kingpins [Curbed National]
· Here Now, the Craziest Details About Kim Dotcom's Mansion [Curbed National]
· Narquitectura: Inside the Fortified Palaces of Mexico's Drug Lords [Wired]