On December 2, 1993, Pablo Escobar, possibly the world’s wealthiest drug kingpin, attempted to escape a hideout in his home base of Medellin, Colombia, by scrambling across a neighboring rooftop.
Instead, he was gunned down, leaving behind a gruesome image: the world’s most powerful drug lord’s bloody corpse splayed across a tile roof in the city that had once been his safest redoubt.
It has long been believed that the other men in the photo are a squad of Colombian soldiers who finally brought Escobar to the justice he had evaded for so long.
Those troops, soldiers backed by the legitimacy of the state, may not have been responsible for the kingpin’s death, however, as indicated by accounts from rival traffickers and gang members, intelligence documents, and Escobar’s own family.
Who Was Pablo Escobar, And How Did He Become So Powerful?
The second largest city in Colombia, Medellin was where Escobar spent his formative years after his 1949 birth to a middle-class family in the northwestern region of the country. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Medelln Cartel in the 1970s; this was a highly organized drug trafficking ring that supplied about 80% of the cocaine sold in the United States at its peak.
According to Bruce Bagley, an expert on drug trafficking between the United States and Latin America and a professor of international studies at the University of Miami, the rise of the cartel was no accident. As a result of multiple causes, Medelln played a significant role.
It was in western Colombia, specifically in and around Medelln, that most of Colombia’s commerce took place. Bagley claims that this area “was the cradle of Colombian entrepreneurship.” “That does not refer exclusively to illegal behavior.”
As a business, Escobar’s cartel prioritized establishing stable supply lines to meet the demand in the United States. They ran an air fleet connecting Peru, where they grew the majority of their coca, and Colombia, where they processed the plant into a paste in laboratories. And they bought an island in the Bahamas, from which they shipped finished goods by speedboat to South Florida.
As business flourished, the Colombian government took notice. Escobar’s cartel responded to the pressure by instituting a “silver or lead” policy, wherein government officials and law enforcement had the option of accepting a bribe (silver) or being shot (lead).
Someone, or several someones, stole the money. Others, such as presidential candidates, supreme court judges, and hundreds of police officers, took the lead.
Bagley describes them as “quite ruthless.” A policy of extreme cruelty was simply part of their management style, as one former employee put it: “They’d go after you, they’d go after your family, they’d go after your grandmother, they’d go after your extended family.”
Who Really Wanted Pablo Escobar To Die?
Obtaining great wealth is accompanied by the inevitable development of antagonists. This is also true if you kill a lot of people. Escobar’s demise was guaranteed by the widespread publicity surrounding his violent tactics.
Escobar’s most vocal opponents in Colombia were members of the federal government, particularly the National Police. The police force formed a special unit with military training to track down and eliminate Escobar; this unit was known as the Bloque de Bsqueda (Search Bloc).
Los Pepes, a group of Colombians affected by Escobar’s violent reign, and the Cali Cartel, the Medelln Cartel’s main rival in the cocaine trade, both worked to bring Escobar down.
Bagley claims that “they put up billboards saying, ‘Don’t Dump Bodies Here,’ because they were dumping so many” along stretches of the Colombian highway system.
And the United States government itself, through agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), helped the Search Bloc in their pursuit of the cocaine kingpin. They tracked him down on December 2nd, 1993.
Is Pablo Escobar In Jail?
While the drug wars in Colombia were raging in the early 1990s, Escobar was shot and killed.
To avoid extradition to the United States, Escobar made a deal with the Colombian government in 1991, agreeing to serve a maximum of five years in a prison called La Catedral.
It was Escobar who commissioned the construction of La Catedral, a prison complex with amenities such as a football field, bar, jacuzzi, and waterfall.
The government ordered Escobar to be transferred to a regular prison after the torture and murder of four of his lieutenants in La Catedral.
After refusing and spending a year and a month behind bars, he managed to break out.
His alleged exit strategy consisted of strolling out the back door.
When He Was At His Peak, How Much Money Did Pablo Escobar make?
Escobar, who is estimated to be worth £24billion, has been included on Forbes’ billionaire’s list of the world’s richest people for seven consecutive years, beginning in 1987, and reaching a career-high of number seven in 1989.
Escobar’s business was so successful that he invested in two submarines to carry his cocaine to the United States, in addition to planes, helicopters, cars, trucks, and boats.
Numerous safes and jewelry vaults were tucked away in his properties.
Affectionately known as “Robin Hood,” his moniker was earned due to his generous spending on behalf of economically disadvantaged areas.
How Did Pablo Escobar Die?
On December 2, 1993, Pablo was shot and killed by police as he fled from them on a rooftop.
Sebatian Marroquin, the drug lord’s son, claims his father killed himself to prevent the kidnapping of his mother and siblings.
Though the government of Colombia celebrated his death, thousands showed up to his burial to express their sorrow at his passing.
Today, the drug lord’s legacy and sway are as strong as ever.
As time went on, “The Office,” also known as “La Oficina,” grew to become one of the largest criminal organizations in the country’s history.
Since then, La Oficina’s activities have expanded to include extortion, prostitution, and human trafficking in addition to the distribution of illegal drugs.
A sizeable sum of the drug lord’s wealth was acquired by the Colombian government after his death. His heirs were also coerced into signing over any remaining cash to the government. Money connected to his circle of friends was also frozen by the authorities.
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