Narco Zoo discovered in the Rio Grande Valley

Austin L. Skero, Deputy Chief Patrol Agent for the U.S. Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector announced on Twitter that Border Patrol agents had participated in the takedown of a pseudo-narco zoo in the Rio Grande Valley.

The discovery was made on March 25, when authorities executed a narcotics-related search warrant at a 5-acre property in Mercedes, Texas. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Sammy Parks told the San Antonio Express-News that no arrests have been made in connection with the ongoing investigation.

Austin Skero stated that a Bengal tiger, emus, llamas, porcupines, and a kinkajou were seized by authorities and turned over to Texas zoos for medical care and placement.

An Abridged History of Narco Zoos

Hacienda Nápoles was a luxurious estate built and owned by Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar (1949 - 1993) in Colombia, approximately 155 miles northwest of Bogotá. The estate included a Spanish colonial house, a sculpture park, and a complete zoo featuring elephants, giraffes, hippopotamuses, antelope, exotic birds, ostriches, and ponies.

Original home video produced in 1978 by Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. The final segment shows the zoo.

In September 2011, the Associated Press reported on the discovery in central Mexico of more than 200 animals on a 16-acre ranch surrounded by extravagant gardens and barns for purebred horses. The species ranged from squirrel monkeys and mules to peacocks and ostriches, and hundreds more animals were discovered on two related properties, many in opulent enclosures.

The ranch's owner was Jesus “The King” Zambada, brother of Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, leader of the Sinaloa Cartel. Just two days before “The King's” arrest, Mexican police had confiscated two tigers and two lions from a drug gang hideout on the outskirts of Mexico City.

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