El Chapo's Mexico hometown mulls drug-trafficking museum

MEXICO CITY, Nov 3 (Reuters) - The hometown of Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is considering housing a drug trafficking museum, its local mayor said in a video shared Thursday, in the hope of attracting tourists to the area.

The museum in the town of Badiraguato, in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, would tell the stories of various drug capos who were born in the heartland of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel, according to Mexican newspaper Reforma.

Badiraguato's mayor Jose Lopez reportedly earmarked close to $1 million for the project, according to Reforma.

"We can't deny our history," Lopez told national TV, adding the local government's priority was to encourage economic development in the region and that drug trafficking was an irrevocable part of the state's story.

A municipal official told Reuters the museum was under construction, though its subject matter had yet to be finalized.

News of the idea quickly sparked backlash on social media.

Sinaloa's governor Ruben Rocha Moya, who was born in Badiraguato, said on Twitter he "emphatically rejects" the idea of the museum in his hometown.

Lopez told journalist Joaquin Lopez-Doriga that town leaders would meet with museum specialists on Monday to discuss the project, emphasizing the theme had not been finalized.

Tomas Guevara, an expert on drug trafficking in Sinaloa, told Reuters the mayor's goal is not to defend but "to show the population the ravages" of the drug trade.

Guzman, 65, was convicted in New York in 2019 of trafficking billions of dollars of drugs to the United States and conspiring to murder enemies, stemming from his role as a leader of the Sinaloa Cartel.

He has been serving a life sentence at Colorado's Supermax, the most secure U.S. federal prison.

Reporting by Isabel Woodford, Raul Cortes and Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by Alistair Bell and Deepa Babington

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