5 Shocking Facts You Didn't Know About Pablo Escobar

On Dec 2, 1993, Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was killed in a shootout with Colombian security forces in Medellin.  Here are five things you probably didn’t know about the king of cocaine and his amazing life...

He Lost 10% of His Fortune Because of Rats # Image source: WikiCommons Due to his massive amounts of money, and the effort it took to transport it, he stored piles of it in local warehouses. During the height of its operations, the Medellín Cartel brought in more than US $70 million per day (roughly $26 billion in a year). Smuggling 15 tons of cocaine per day, worth more than half a billion dollars, into the United States, the cartel spent over US $1,000 per week purchasing rubber bands to wrap the stacks of cash, storing most of it in their warehouses. Ten percent (10%) of the cash had to be written off per year because of "spoilage", due to rats creeping in and nibbling on the bills they could reach.  He’s believed to have lost about $2 billion to rats chewing up the bills.


The Drug King Had a Handle on Logistics That Would Have Shamed UPS Authorities in Colombia managed to seize some of the fleet and properties used by Escobar in his cocaine operation. In addition to 141 offices and homes, they confiscated 142 airplanes, 32 yachts, and 20 helicopters. He also had two submarines to transport cocaine to the United States, estimated to have carried up to 30,000 pounds of the white powder each day to American shores. The largest submarine shipment weighed 51,000 pounds.


He Appeared on the Forbes Billionaire List Multiple Times # Image source: WikiCommons Forbes first published its billionaires' list in 1987, and Escobar was included among the world’s top 100 super rich. Escobar and his Medellin cartel were rolling in so much money that in 1984, they offered to pay off Colombia’s national debt in return for immunity from prosecution. Escobar made the Forbes list each year seven years in a row, and in 1989, was listed as the 7th wealthiest billionaire in the world.

He Lived Like Royalty In addition to his 7,000-acre estate that cost around $63 million to construct, Escobar owned many large homes. In addition to the home, his estate had artificial lakes, an airstrip, a soccer field, a bullfighting arena, and grounds decorated with giant dinosaur statues. He also constructed his own private zoo that housed around 200 animals, including giraffes, elephants, zebras, camels, and more that were smuggled into Colombia using his drug planes.

Escobar Built His Own Prison Escobar contacted Colombian authorities in 1991, offering to surrender with one caveat—he wanted to construct the prison that would hold him. Surprisingly, they agreed, and he built a facility that included a waterfall, nightclub, soccer field, and sauna, along with phones, fax machines, and computers. Acting as the usual bad guy and killing two members of the cartel while at his private prison, he was to be transferred elsewhere when he escaped, however, he was discovered and killed the day after his 44th birthday in 1993.

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