Although the specific claim — that all of these photos came from one bust — is false, the images have gone viral due to the emotional emphasis on “riches” and “guns” but the knee-jerk reaction masks the depth of the drug war that is taking place south of the border.
- 2007: PGR releases images of March raid that netted $207 million (WaPo, “the largest single drug cash seizure the world has ever seen.”)
- 2007: DOJ announces July arrest of Zhenli Ye Gon in Wheaton, MD, on July 23, 2007, and includes photo from PGR release. “Ye Gon is a fugitive of the Mexican government stemming from charges brought against him in that country.”
- 2008, October: Craving for big cats; new twist in Mexico’s drug wars; Columbian drugs gang captured along with private zoo
- 2008, November: Mexico seizes hundreds of drug-cartel weapons
- 2008, December: Mexico is the largest producer of methamphetamine for the U.S. market
- 2009: DOJ case against Ye Gon dismissed in August 2009; Miguel Angel Caro Quintero pled guilty to racketeering charges in October
- 2010, February: Ye Gon was still awaiting extradition to Mexico (WaPo)
- 2010, September: Major Mexican Drug Lord Arrested
Various forums/websites with some/all of these images:
|Home of a Mexican Drug Lord being raided||October 2008: Police officers patrol outside a home in the Desierto de los Leones neighborhood in Mexico City. Federal police arrested more than a dozen members of an alleged drug-trafficking ring in this upscale home, seizing weapons, vehicles and zoo animals. FOX News.|
|Yes, That is cash piled on that table in the background!||Undated EPA photo (per the credit in lower left) but probably 2007|
|Just a small collection of guns – these people are not really dangerous at all….||Appears to be an undated PGR photo|
|Yes, that is real gold on these guns!||Guns on display – Mexico Government – no date|
|Gold and Titanium 45 Calibre semi automatic pistols – they found 16 like this||Guns on display – Mexico Government – date July 2008|
|Go and kill in the name of the Lord my son! There was a matched pair of these found.||Guns on display – Mexico Government – no date|
|357 Magnum semi automatic with solid gold grips.||Gun apparently captured with money; no date but could possibly be November 2008 raid|
|This guy had a better gun collection that most legitimate museums do||Guns on display in Mexico City government building; no indication that this is from one raid|
|Just a quaint little villa in the hills – Drug money bought it all!||October 2008: Police officers patrol outside a home in the Desierto de los Leones neighborhood in Mexico City. Federal police arrested more than a dozen members of an alleged drug-trafficking ring in this upscale home, seizing weapons, vehicles and zoo animals. FOX News.|
|Man made cave and hot tub inside the home||Oct. 20 2008: A member of the press walks around an indoor pool in an upscale residential home in the Desierto de los Leones neighborhood in Mexico City. Federal police arrested more than a dozen members of an alleged drug-trafficking ring in this home, seizing weapons, vehicles and zoo animals. FOX News.|
|A collection of exotic animals – which were cared for in the grandest fashion by the way||October 2008: Black Jaguars, Mexico City Raid (USA Today)|
|8 Lions were on the property||October 2008: African Lion, Mexico City Raid (USA Today)|
|A very rare Tiger||October 2008: An albino tiger found at the house of the suspected drug syndicate.
Photo: AP (SMH)
|The back yard pool||Eleven Colombians, a US citizen, two Mexicans and an Uruguayan were detained during a raid in a sprawling house in Desierto de los Leones. (AP/Telegraph)|
|Exotic art collection – some of which was illegal to own – some stolen||Zhenli Ye Gon is Chinese. It is not clear if this is from his home (2007 raid) or the 2008 “zoo” raid.|
|More guns than you could ever imagine!||Guns on display – no date, no location|
|This pile of cash before it was counted was estimated to be approximately 18 Billion Dollars!
After it was counted it turned out to be a little more than 22 Billion Dollars!
|PGR image : 2007A photo from March 16, 2007, provided by Mexico’s attorney general’s office, shows the largest seizure of cash in the history of drug enforcement, more than $207 million seized at the home of Zhenli Ye Gon, a Chinese-Mexican businessman in Mexico City. (AP, WaPo 2008)|
|From another angle||PGR image : 2007|
|Guns were hidden all over the house, along with ample ammo, just in case of trouble.||PGR image : 2007|
|Stacks of cash were found in every nook and cranny…||PGR image : 2007|
|This case is filled with 100 dollar Bills estimated to be 1/2 a million dollars and no doubt headed out to make another drug by perhaps from the Columbians.||PGR image : 2007|
|18 plastic bins filled with 100 dollar bills were found…||PGR image : 2007|
|Another cabinet stack tight with cash – all 100’s.||PGR image : 2007|
|More 100’s||PGR image : 2007|
|Each of these stacks of 100’s holds 250,000 (a quarter of a million dollars)! They also had millions in Columbian money and Mexican Pesos although they preferred American dollars for the most part.||September 19, 2008. This is what $26 million in cash looks like: Giant cash haul seized in a Mexican drug raid (PGR image)|
|There were even stacks of Chinese Yen found in one closet.||September 19, 2008. This is what $26 million in cash looks like: Giant cash haul seized in a Mexican drug raid (AFP-Getty image)|
|More Gold machine guns and pistols – most were never fired, just held for collection value.||September 2009: Weapons, among other items including drugs, money and jewellery, seized during several anti-narcotics operations in Mexico are displayed during a news conference at the headquarters of the Attorney General in Mexico City. (Reuters)Weapons and munitions seized in several police operations against drug-trafficking in Mexico, are displayed at the Attorney General’s Office in Mexico City. (news.com.au)|
|They just burned it all down!||No date; no location|
|The money and valuables found in this one house alone, would be enough to pay for health insurance for every man woman and child in the USA for 12 years!There are believed to be approximately 27 more of these houses in Mexico alone not to mention the ones in other countries who are enriching themselves in the drug trade. These people have so much money, they make the Arab oil sheiks look like welfare recipients.
Their money can buy the best politicians, the best cops, the best judges, whatever they need they just throw down stacks of cash and it is theirs!
This is why the drug problem is so difficult to fight.
Do the math – this claim isn’t in the realm of possibility:
350 million people x $500/month (conservative) = $175 billion x 12 years = $2.1 trillion (but there aren’t billions or trillions in these pictures, there are millions)