An anonymous Medellin man has bought a diamond-encrusted watch once owned by notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar, as part of a government auction of two decades worth of goods seized from drug traffickers.
The watch, valued at $70,000, was just one of the items to feature in the first auction run by Colombia’s National Narcotics Division (DNE).
The Guardian newspaper reports that the Escobar Rolex buyer says he’s likely to erase the past of the things he bought at the auction and claims that he will melt down most of it to make new jewels.
“I don’t like where these things came from,” he says, referring to the jewels’ narco past. “For me it’s just an investment.”
Escobar was killed by police in December 1993 at his home in Envigado, a suburb of Medellin. According to official estimates, Escobar’s Medellin cartel perpetrated 4,000 murders throughout the eighties and nineties.
This first DNE auction featured a collection of 131 vehicles and more than 10,000 different items, including old furniture and even ponies, but the total was only expected to amount to about $1 million.
One of the reasons for the relatively small amount garnered from the auction is that it has taken years or even decades to dispose of some of the goods, depreciating their value further.
It also makes it less likely that the goods seized will actually end up going to auction – pieces had more of a chance to disappear or to be replaced with fakes in the intervening years.
The government has pledged to streamline procedures and shorten the time between seizure and auction to a maximum of 18 months.
The next auction starts in Barranquilla on Wednesday and runs for two days.
- DNE prepara el gran ‘narcobodegazo’ (El Spectador)
- Una venta de garaje para los tesoros del narco (Terra Peru)
- Escobar’s Rolex and other items seized from Colombia’s drug lords are sold (Guardian UK)