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Police find tigers at Jalisco drug lair

March 4, 2013


Responding to an anonymous tip-off, state police officers discovered two Bengal tigers at an abandoned drug lab in northern Jalisco last week.

The tigers, along with several deer, were found at one of two properties raided in the municipality of Yahualica on Friday. The other property contained equipment and precursors chemicals for manufacturing synthetic drugs.

The police also discovered a camp with several tents and huts but the residents apparently fled into nearby ravines when they saw the officers approaching. No arrests were made and it is unclear which cartel the clandestine laboratory belonged to. The animals, reportedly in good health, were handed over to the federal Environment Agency (Semarnat).

Many drug kingpins have a penchant for exotic pets and in recent years Mexican authorities have closed down several “narco zoos” typically containing big cats, monkeys, serpents and exotic birds. Sermarnat usually hands such animals over to zoos, rescue centers or breeding facilities.

As shown in the iconic movie “Scarface,” exotic animal collections are considered a status symbol in the world of organized crime, with one of the most legendary collections belonging to infamous Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

Escobar kept elephants, giraffes, camels, zebras and lions, plus a number of hippos, which turned feral after his death in 1993 and continue to thrive in the Colombian jungle near his old estate.

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