Mexico’s “Museum of Drugs,” buried up on the seventh floor of the Defence Ministry, isn’t open to the public.
The installation was designed as an educational tool for military personnel who have been tasked with fighting Mexico’s narco-trafficantes and organized crime networks. It explains the methods that drug traffickers use to get their product around and out of the country, as well as the strategies that the army employs to try and stop them.
this Museum represents just one aspect of narcoculture, the fashion, music and aesthetic that revels in gangster life. The exhibit has music CDs of narcocorridos, ballads that tell swashbuckling tales of drugs and guns. There is confiscated bullet- and knifeproof clothing, including a leather jacket worn by former Gulf cartel leader Osiel Cárdenas and made by Colombia's high-security tailor Miguel Caballero. A mannequin sports drug-lord attire, a pot-leaf belt buckle, gold bracelet and top-dollar cowboy boots that were especially popular in the 1990s. Today's kingpin doesn't dress like that anymore. "They're now more low-key," says Ayala. It's safer that way as President Felipe Calderón turns up the heat. Soon after taking office in December 2006, Calderón ordered tens of thousands of soldiers and special agents to try and crush the illicit business and its violence in Mexico's central and northern states.
But not all traffickers are so cautious. Narco bling on display includes a diamond-encrusted cell phone confiscated from Daniel Pérez Rojas, a founder of the Zetas, killers for the Gulf cartel responsible for beheadings and other gruesome acts throughout Mexico. And there's bling bang like gold-plated, initialed pistols featuring the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. A golden .38-caliber Colt revolver, once held by Sinaloa druglord Alfredo Beltrán, captured in 2008, is inscribed with the motto favored by the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata: "I'd rather die on my feet than always live on my knees."
Tags: narco culture, war on drugs, failed, narcomuseum, gold, weapons, drug smuggling
Location: Distrito Federal, Mexico (load item map)
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