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News Link • Drug War

Narquitectura: Inside the Fortified Palaces of Mexico’s Drug Lords

•, By Robert Beckhusen

A gangster lives a fast, dangerous life — especially Mexico's brutal narco-chieftains. Just look at their houses. With the prospect of death never far away and plenty of money to burn, it makes sense to spend lavishly on a mansion — especially a fortified one. The locals have a term for the style: narquitectura.

Some are built like castles, intended to express authority and feature lavish interiors and pens of exotic pets. Others are tucked into tony, upper-income neighborhoods, making their gaudiness less conspicuous. But a gangster's house, no matter where it is, is going to be ostentatious and idiosyncratic. Some house are simply way too big, with furnishings seemingly chosen at random and in an apparent hurry. Damien Cave, a reporter for The New York Times, wrote that the mansions look they were built and decorated "as if on a shopping spree with a deadline imposed by a dangerous profession."

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