Trucks pulled up outside a Mexican orphanage on Children’s Day, one of the country’s most popular holidays. Men unloaded thousands of dollars worth of chicken, rice and milk, and boxes of brand-new dolls and toys. They also brought four big sheet cakes with a note drawn in icing: “For the children at Casa Hogar, from your friend Osiel Cardenas Guillen.”
The children were delighted. But authorities in Mexico and the United States expressed dismay at the thought of Cardenas, one of Mexico’s most notorious drug traffickers, ordering shipments of goodies from his cell in Mexico’s main maximum-security prison. Children in at least three other places along the U.S.-Mexico border received truckloads of bicycles and toys on Children’s Day, April 30, from Cardenas, jailed since his arrest last year. The former police officer also sent thousands of dollars for relief supplies to the border city of Piedras Negras in April after floods that killed more than 30 people.