The Times-Delta/Advance-Register investigates after getting a reader complaint about the notorious international criminal.
On Tuesday, the Times-Delta/Advance-Register got a hot news tip: Notorious Mexican drug cartel lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was hanging out in a Tulare restaurant.
Or at least a pretty good likeness of him.
“There’s a mural of him,” the anonymous caller said. “I don’t think it’s right to glorify a bloodthirsty criminal like him. The paper should look into it. The city should do something about it.”
Look into it we did.
Located in a corner of a large banquet hall inside Tulare’s Puerto Vallarta restaurant, a portrait depicting Guzman wearing a tan jacket after being captured by Mexican military forces is visible as customers enter the restaurant.
“People come out and, after seeing it, take photos of it and with it,” said Elena Avila, the restaurant’s manager.
The portrait isn’t intended to glorify the notorious drug dealer, but because “El Chapo” is a well-known public figure, Avila said.
“The restaurant is designed to look like a Mexican hacienda,” she said. “It may remind some customers of visiting a restaurant in Mexico.”
The portrait of “El Chapo” is just one piece of eclectic art that adorns the walls at the restaurant.
Other pop culture figures include Greta Garbo, Linda Ronstadt, Michael Jackson, Marylyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra from north of the border.
South of the border icons includes recently-retired rancheras singer Vicente Fernandez, actor and singer from Mexico’s “Golden Age” Jorge Negrete, actress Maria Felix, boleros singer Javier Solis and revolutionary figure Pancho Villa, among others.
Sinatra is depicted wearing a suit-and-tie ensemble leaning against a street light with a broad smile, showing a jovial face.
“That’s the prettiest one,” Avila said.
According to authorities, “El Chapo,” Spanish slang for “shorty,” was the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, a drug transporting and trafficking outfit based in northwestern Mexico. In 2010, Forbes Magazine named him among the wealthiest men in the world.
The subject of songs and even a soap opera, “El Chapo” twice escaped custody from Mexican prisons.
Currently being held in the United States, “El Chapo” was most recently arrested nearly two years ago following a shootout with Mexican authorities on Jan. 8, 2016.
He had exported more drugs to the United States than anyone else, the Washington Post reported at that time.
But back to the anonymous complaint call. If the concerned citizen is waiting for the city to “do something” about the “El Chapo” mural, he’s going to have a long wait.
Mel Meleka, Tulare’s principal planner, said the restaurant is free to display any wall art inside the building, including the “El Chapo” rendition.
“If it is inside, it may not be our jurisdiction,” he said. “If it’s outside, it is ours.”
On the outside of the business, the restaurant named after the Mexican tourist destination in the state of Jalisco also shows quite a bit of flair.
Paintings on the walls show large renditions of marine life, including a swordfish and a lobster. The restaurant specializes in seafood entrees.
Meleka said a city permit is needed to have the murals on the outside walls.
Mica - I guess it's no stranger than a resturant with Al Capone, etc...
Located near Bakersfield, CA for the BB members in the area.
Re: Drug lord El Chapo hangs out in Tulare restaurant
Alot of people here in the central valley think of him as a hero. There are a heck of alot of poor people in the valley and a robin hood type figure who sticks it to the man whether true or not, is gonna gain more respect than false authority. Probably half our economy is based on dope. There was no recovery from 2008s recess/depression here. Dope filled the hole for many.
No-one here is gonna put a mural up of EPN!
I would check it out, but i much prefer our taco trucks at the remate, to brick and mortar restaurants.