Cat With Gang Tattoos Rescued From Mexican Prison, Up For Adoption

On Jan. 1, the inmates in one of Mexico’s most notorious prisons celebrated the New Year by starting a riot.

Ten prison guards and seven inmates lost their lives in the violent chaos, and thirty inmates escaped the CERESO 3 prison, according to press reports from Mexico.

When authorities finally regained control — an effort that required the military, national guard and local cops — they conducted a sweep of the facility for contraband and weapons, and that’s when a police K9 unit found a cat wandering the dangerous grounds by himself.

Dubbed “the gangster gato” by the local press — he doesn’t yet have a real name — the feline was taken into the care of Juarez’s Department of Animal Welfare for the Rescue and Adoption of Pets while police complete their investigation.

The cat, who reportedly belonged to the late Los Mexicles gang leader, is in good health. Credit: Juarez Animal Control

He’s an Egyptian, a breed that commands up to $2,000, and reportedly belonged to Ernesto Alfredo Piñon de la Cruz, aka “El Nato,” the former leader of the Sinaloa cartel-aligned Los Mexicles gang. Cruz was the alleged “mastermind” of the escape who died on Jan. 5 when police caught up to him. He didn’t go quietly and died in the resulting shootout.

Although it may be difficult for Americans and others to imagine how prisoners could keep pets, stories about the subsequent raid and sweep say authorities found “VIP cells” stocked with amenities like space heaters, air conditioners, personal washing machines and various other electronics. The Chihuahua State Human Rights Commission and other NGOs had previously warned that the inmates were “practically running the prison,” and that guards there didn’t have the manpower or will to crack down on illegal activity in the cell blocks.

Gang leaders and others who had power were able to set up their cells like lounges, with couches, plasma TVs, video game consoles, stereos and card tables. One had a pet snake in a terrarium, and several kept safes full of cash they’d use to pay for items smuggled in through a secret entrance. There was even a mechanical bull to amuse the inmates and help them kill time.

In all, authorities seized more than 2,800 pieces of contraband, according to reports.

“The privileges are over,” Chihuahua Gov. Maru Campos said earlier this month as authorities showed some of the contraband and weapons they’d seized to reporters.

The cat is in good health, staff at the Juarez Department of Animal Welfare say. He’ll always carry scars from his time in CERESO 3, unfortunately, because the Mexicles tattooed him with the gang’s logo and an associated slogan, “Hecho en Mexico,” or “Made in Mexico.”

Despite living in such chaotic and dangerous conditions, “the cat is very sociable, and is in great shape, with no infections,” said Cesar Rene Diaz, a Juarez official.

The city is taking applications for adoption and a committee of Juarez officials will make the final decision on who gets to give the kitty a forever home. Government officials and their relatives are barred from applying to adopt the cat.

14 thoughts on “Cat With Gang Tattoos Rescued From Mexican Prison, Up For Adoption”

      1. Nope. Not id tattoos. Tattoos to make them seem special. Rarely on cats but on dogs. Rich people do it as a sign of status i guess. If i find an article i will try to give as much info as possible.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I know back in 1996 Charlotte tattooed cats with an ID number free of charge after the cat and probably dogs too were spayed or otherwise fixed. The animal was still under from the procedure so they felt nothing and it didn’t cost anything compared to the cost of the tags that go under the skin. I would hope that people that are having animals tattooed as a status symbol are having them put under so they don’t feel the pain of getting it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My guess is any painkillers available in a Juarez prison would have been narcotics, used recreationally and reserved for people, but I don’t know for sure.

        I saw a video once of some lunatics tattooing a pet long-tailed macaque in a tattoo parlor in Thailand. The monkey, who was probably two or three years old, was unnaturally calm, so who knows what they gave him. They’re brutal to primates in that part of the world, treating them like vermin.


  1. This confirms the fact that Evil exists, there is no doubt that the majority does not want these people in the gene pool – from what you say many are no longer in the pool which is a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Juarez animal control people said he’d been abused, but it’s possible they meant the tattoos. Hitler was an animal lover, so I suppose it’s possible a cartel boss would take care of a cat.


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