I made this video recently when I was in Culiacan, Sinaloa, where I walked the grounds of Jardines del Humaya, the cemetery that is the final resting place of dozens of legendary drug traffickers.
It looks like a mini-Beverly Hills. Some of the tombs have air conditioning, barbecue grills, sound systems, even bulletproof glass. A few are the size of a house or two near where I live.
Immigrant village cemetery, Michoacan
One had a long banner to a fallen, presumably murdered, brother, swearing to him, “There’s no truce.” (No hay tregua.)
I’ve seen much smaller versions of this in immigrant villages. One thing immigrants do with their dollars is build larger burial places. They do away with the iron crosses of their poverty and build themselves sepulchers with a statue of Jesus or the Virgin, maybe an open bible in stone.
But these are modest in comparison to the Jardines del Humaya.
Strange, excessive, lurid. I felt as if dropped into some foreign kingdom. These are the new Pharoahs.
I made this video with the help of my anonymous guide. I hope you like it. Feel free to subscribe to my Youtube channel – True Tales Video.
Esparragoza, 65, was within the very highest eschelon of the Sinaloa Cartel, though he assiduously avoided the spotlight.
His death is notable for that reason, but also because, as so rarely happens in the drug world, he died free and of natural causes.
The Cartel was already rocked a while back by the capture of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
Esparragoza apparently died attempting rise from a bed a couple weeks after an auto accident in which he injured his spinal column. So sources tell Rio Doce.
He was from the now-legendary county (municipio) of Badiraguato in Sinaloa, a place that has spawned many of the top Mexican drug cartel leaders, including Guzman. For a while he was the FBI’s second most wanted man, after Osama bin-Laden.
I’m just back from Mexico where I spent a few days in the town of Escuinapa.
Escuinapa is in Sinaloa – a state with a heavy burden caused by the drug war and the fearsome cartel that bears the state’s name.
Here’s a video I made with an alternative view of the area. (I’m loving working video for another kind of storytelling, though clearly I’m still a technical babe in arms. Feel free to subscribe to my video channel, True Tales Video.)
I spoke there at a tourism conclave.
It was great to return to Mexico these last few days. I hope to go back a lot more now that I’m no longer with the LA Times.
I was also in Mazatlan, also in Sinaloa, and a couple hours away. Mazatlan is my favorite Mexican resort town, largely because along with spectacular beaches, there’s actually a city with real life going on. Its Old Town is one of the nicest in all of Mexico, and it’s hard to beat the pulmonias (golf cart taxis) as a mode of transportation.
More from there later.
But I was very happy to help present the new book by my friend, Arturo Santamaria, the sociologist who introduced me to the topic of beauty queens in Mazatlan.
De Carnaval, Reinas y Narc0 is about how beauty queens, beauty contests and drug trafficking all work together in Mazatlan and in Sinaloa.