VIA| Although Pablo Escobar died 21 years ago his tumultuous story lives on. At the height of his career the notorious Colombian drug lord supplied around 80% of all the cocaine smuggled into the States. That is a shit load of coke!
His involvement in the drug trade brought him fame, power and riches with an estimated $30 billion fortune. He was living a pretty cushty life for a lot of his life, if you’re into that sort of thing. Today Escobar seems to be back in fashion, everyone is interested in his outrageous lifestyle and crazy escapades.
So here’s some facts to improve your knowledge of the man. A man who once burned $2 million pounds of cash just to keep his daughter warm during a night on the run.
1. Escobar started life as a poor farm boy who lived with his father, a farmer, and mother, a school teacher. Little did they know that he would grow up to become the King of Cocaine, leader of the infamous Medellin Cartel.
2. He started his criminal career early. When he was a teen he would roam the streets of Medellin, stealing tombstones, sandblasting the names and selling them on to smugglers in Panama.
3. In 1975 he began cocaine trafficking. The government referred to his inescapable and effective policy in dealing with the law as “Plata O Plomo” (literally “silver or lead” , which meant “accept money; or face bullets).
4. At the peak of the most notorious drug kingpin’s reign he was estimated to have been making near on $420 million a week. I bet he gave his daughter some cracking christmas presents (when he wasn’t on the run).
5. Bringing his yearly earnings to around $30 billion a year. Seriously back to the christmas presents, he could have bought her a castle or a country!
6. In 1979 Escobar was ranked the seventh richest man in Forbes’ list of international billionaires.
The top ten that year included Japan’s real estate baron, Yoshiaki Tsutsumi, Fiat’s Giovanni Agnelli and the Benetton family.
7. He had so much dough that he spent $2,500 a month on rubber bands to hold his cash together.
8. He smuggled cocaine into America using planes. The pilots could earn up to $500,000 a day for their efforts.
9. In the 1980s everyone was dying for a line and demand for cocaine skyrocketed. During this time Escobar’s cartel were smuggling 15-tons of the stuff into the States, equal to the weight of two African elephants. Now that’s a lot of coke.
10. Escobar’s personal Learjet could hold and transport $10 million worth of cash back from the U.S. to his home in Colombia.
11. Although being a drug lord and leader of an infamous cartel isn’t the most revered profession, Escobar was celebrated by the Columbian people.
12. Despite his horrific business dealings he was known to give money (which he had quite a lot of) to churches and hospitals, build parks and soccer stadiums and establish food programmes, which earned him the nickname ‘Robin Hood’.
13. He purchased a 20 square kilometre piece of land in the small north-western Columbian town of Puerto Triunfo. Here he built a multitude of things for his family, including a zoo and a lake.
14. But just before you start thinking he sounds like a top bloke, he also held drug fuelled parties there. Now the area is inhabited by refugees and hippos.
15. Escobar was responsible for the deaths of up to 4,000 people. Including members of the police force, court judges and journalists.
16. When the kingpin was forced to go on the run his daughter became sick with pneumonia. He burned $2 million of cash to keep her warm. Although it was no water off the back of a multibillionaire, it’s still a cracking story.
17. He revealed that his greatest fear was jail. He was once quoted saying, “I’d rather be in a grave in Columbia than a cell in the United States.”
18. His run-ins with the law came to an end in 1993 when he was gunned down at his aunt’s house. Escobar tried to escape police capture by fleeing to the rooftop with his bodyguard. Neither of them made it.
Well there you have it, everything you need to know about the King of Cocaine himself, Pablo Escobar.