5 Unbelievable, But True, Facts About Drug King Pablo Escobar
One of the wildest stories coming out of the 1980s was the rise of Pablo Escobar to the top of the global cocaine trade. Anyone who lived in that era knows that the drug became a popular choice on American streets, in suburban homes and at Wall Street businesses. What most do not know is that Escobar had a hand in almost every facet of this illegal industry.
Escobar’s mighty empire was beyond the law, allowing him to enjoy one of the most ludicrous lifestyles imaginable. To help readers get an idea just how big this narcotrafficking business was, here are five surprising true facts about Pablo Escobar that most find unbelievable.
1. He Built His Own Luxurious Prison
On the run from both Colombian and American authorities, Escobar decided to turn himself in. The fear that he had most was having to spend time in a prison in North America. Escobar used his considerable influence to receive permission to create a prison mansion, known as La Catedral, in which he chose his fellow inmates and had virtually unlimited visitors. His family lived next door to him.
2. He Burned Over $2 Million in One Night
When he learned that his daughter was cold one night, while, on the run from the police, Escobar took action. He had his underlings burn over $2 million to build a fire to keep his beloved daughter warm.
3. He Wasted $500 Million Per Year
The narco business can be quite lucrative. Escobar had so much cash, the preferred method of payment, that he found it impossible to hide it all. In the end, he had to resort to less than conventional ways of stashing illegal cash, meaning putting it in mattresses and under sofa cushions. Some went in fields, where it was susceptible to mold and varmints. Much of this money would never be recovered.
4. He Controlled Most of the Global Cocaine Business
Experts estimate that Escobar was responsible for at least 80 percent of all cocaine smuggled in the 1980s. Almost every bit of white powder on American streets came through his smuggling channels. For his so-called business acumen, Escobar earned around $60 million per day.
5. He Dominated the Other Colombian Cartels
It is difficult to organize an illegal enterprise because the other participants are criminals. These types tend to have problems with authority. Yet, Escobar, known for canny smuggling ability, dominated the other cartels. Dependent on his transportation arrangements, the outside cartels gave him up to 35 percent of their profits in the 1980s.
Is Pablo Escobar a Hero?
People tend to pull for the perceived underdog. Escobar, a poor man who rose to prominence by outsmarting the law, was extremely popular among the masses. Is he worthy of folk hero status, for his many programs to uplift the poor of Colombia, or a villain, for his smuggling operation?