Pablo Escobar was many things, but mostly the Cocaine King, head of the notorious Medellin Cartel from Colombia. He was also a brutal killer, the authorities' worst enemy, the richest drug lord in the 1980's, all while praised by the poor people, gaining the Robin Hood nickname. Therefore, Pablo Escobar was an intriguing person, loved by the masses, and the major headache to law officers even beyond Colombian borders. His rise and fall has been portrayed in many movies and TV shows, including Narcos by Netflix, so we highly recommend watching it. Let's take a closer look at the top ten facts about Pablo Escobar's exciting life.
10. Cocaine Trafficking And Money
Pablo Escobar started drug trafficking in the 1970s, eventually smuggling over 15 tons of cocaine daily into the United States. This means he earned over $420 million a week, as his total net worth was estimated over $30 billion!
Allegedly, he stashed money all over Colombia, putting it in walls, in the fields, in graves, you name it! However, some of the cash has been found over the years, yet much of it remains hidden to this day. The fun fact is that large amounts of his capital have been eaten by rats or ruined by flood or fire. Yet, he didn't care, as he had a lot of it.
9. Smuggling Operations
At an early age, Escobar decided to be successful. First, he started as a minor criminal and became a marijuana smuggler. After developing routes for his business, Pablo soon realized that cocaine is the future. So like every great entrepreneur, he seized the opportunity and started to smuggle cocaine.
Soon he had all the network covered using the small planes to ship the drugs into the USA. First, they started with one aircraft, later expanding to fifteen bigger airplanes and six helicopters. As the planes were on DEA's radars, they began to drop the cargo from the aircraft in international waters using speedboats and subs to smuggle it further to the USA. Moreover, he bought a Learjet just to fly his money to Colombia.
8. Loving Father
Although his reputation preceded him in all life segments, privately, he was a devoted son and a father of two, having a son and a daughter. Hence, many say he was a loving husband, while others disagree as he had mistresses.
Nevertheless, he did his best to keep his family safe and protected while spoiling them with a lavish lifestyle. During their hideout in the jungle, he allegedly made a fire using $2 million to heat his daughter, who had a fever.
Pablo had a lot of money, and he knew how to spend it. Although he invested a lot of it for bribing the police and smuggling operations, he had a passion for material stuff. Yes, he owned many planes, but they were used for business. Still, he bought cars for himself, as he enjoyed them so much.
Moreover, he was a bit extravagant and owned several residences and safe houses. Among them, the largest property was Hacienda Nápoles, just 90 miles from Medellin. This was a home for him and his family, so it's not strange that he even had a ZOO. Also, he owned a Caribbean retreat called Isla Grande, the astonishing complex abandoned after his death and turned to ruins.
6. Loved By The People
Although Escobar undoubtedly was a criminal and a murderer personally responsible for thousands of deaths, he was loved by people. He represented a Robin Hood-like figure, sharing his fortune with the poor ones. Pablo built hospitals, schools, and housing projects for the underprivileged.
Moreover, he was a sports fan, so he built soccer courts and sponsored children's soccer teams. Furthermore, he supported Medellin's soccer team Atlético Nacional who won the Copa Libertadores – South America's most prestigious tournament. One of his famous friends was legendary goalie Rene Higuita, who later spent months in jail because of it. Therefore, he was well-liked by the people, as they often helped him when he was running from the law. After his death, more than 25,000 people came to his funeral.
Pablo Escobar entered politics at some point, as he had "modest" wishes to become the president of Colombia. However, he started by being elected to Congress in 1982 as an alternate member. Still, one brave man - Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, the Justice Minister, publicly accused him of drug trafficking.
Pablo had to step down, but his retaliation was severe as he ordered the assassination of Bonilla. Later on, during the election in 1989, candidate Luis Galan promised to extradite Pablo Escobar after he was elected. Since Pablo didn't like that statement, he offered $500,000 for the hit. Galan was killed in front of 10,000 people while he made a speech.
4. Time In Jail
Reading about Escobar, watching the movies or TV shows, we came to one conclusion - the man had a sense of humor and a lot of guts. How else could we explain La Cathedral? In 1991 Pablo negotiated with Colombian authorities to surrender himself for a shorter sentence. However, Escobar had his conditions, as he created La Catedral, the prison for serving his punishment.
Escobar built his jail on top of the hill so he could watch over his family. He had a soccer pitch, a jacuzzi, a waterfall, a luxurious suite, a telephone, fax, and much more. Moreover, the guards were hand-picked by Pablo.
During his time served in La Catedral prison, Pablo got the information that the public was aware of his jail mockery. Hence, authorities decided to move him to a regular, highly guarded prison, but Escobar didn't like that and fled.
Chase for Escobar lasted for 16 months, and the USA sent their workforce to help capture the fugitive. Among the officers were DEA agents Steve Murphy and Javier F. Peña, who were on Escobar's case from the start. Peña and Murphy were on Pablo's radar as well, as he put the reward of $300,000 for their assassination. Interestingly, even the future US president Joe Biden had a role in the war against Escobar.
After a long time hiding, Escobar died in a shootout with the authorities on December 2, 1993, at age 44. The electronic surveillance team caught Pablo's cell phone call and tracked it to Medellin's middle-class neighborhood. As the agents raided the house, Escobar and his bodyguard tried to escape over the roofs. They were caught in a crossfire with the officer, so both ended up dead.
However, Pablo was shot in the leg, chest, while it was never determined who fired the fatal gunshot through the ear. Hence, there were rumors that the bullet to the head was an execution, yet some claim that Pablo committed suicide. Nevertheless, his death brought joy to some people, but Medellin's poor residents mourned him, as he was a hero to them.
1. Strange Legacy
Although Escobar's legacy was the notorious killer and a drug trafficker, he also was a martyr to the people he helped. Yet, they have one more thing to remember him by. One of the strangest legacies by Pablo Escobar certainly are hippopotamuses. In the late 1980’s Pablo acquired four hippos for his private ZOO at Hacienda Nápoles. After Escobar's death, authorities relocated many animals, but the hippos were a bit complicated to move, so they stayed.
Nevertheless, left on their own, the animals adapted and started to breed, so their population reached 90-120 individuals. As a result, the hippos are a potential danger to the local fishermen and animals. Furthermore, they could endanger the Magdalena River basin's ecosystem, which they inhabit.
To conclude our top ten list, Pablo Escobar was and still remains one of the most successful Drug King's. No one can argue that he was a killer and horrific person. However, Escobar had some unselfish acts, so he will remain a hero to some of Medellin's neighborhoods.
What was your favorite movie or a TV show inspired by Escobar's life? Please write to us in the comment section, as we would love to hear your thoughts.