One of the most iconic films of the 1980s, Scarface depicts the violent (and profane) rise and fall of Cuban immigrant Tony Montana. Through the use of drugs, coercion and betrayal, Montana becomes the most powerful drug lord in the US before he is taken down in a blaze of glory. Definitely not for children.
Drug lord Tirso Martinez Sanchez of Mexico’s Guanajuato state was recently apprehended by Mexican authorities, and in the aftermath of his capture it became staggeringly clear that he made a point of emulating Tony Montana’s lifestyle of power and excess—though thankfully for him his story hasn’t had a similarly bloody end. According to BBC News, Martinez Sanchez imported, trafficked and distributed cocaine for various gangs, and was so sought after by authorities that the US State Department had offered $5 million for his capture.
Anyone who’s watched the final season of Breaking Bad will remember the stark image of the sheer amount of money Walter White had amassed during his catastrophic tenure as a drug manufacturer and distributor. But as sobering as Walt’s financial gains might have been, they have nothing on the richest this real life drug baron accumulated during his reign.
Consider the above image, the ultimate in those “how many jelly beans are in this jar?” guessing games (though even if you’re right on the mark you won’t get to keep the money, seeing as it’s evidence).
And of course, what well-to-do drug lord wouldn’t have an absolutely terrifying quantity of illegal narcotics in their fortress?
Mr Martinez Sanchez is suspected of smuggling over 76 tonnes of cocaine from Colombia into the United States between 2000 and 2003.
Mr. Martinez Sanchez’s life of excess wasn’t restricted merely to drugs and money. Authorities found the equivalent of a militia’s armoury in his compound, ranging from handguns to fully automatic assault rifles like what appears to be this gold-played AK-74su below.
It’s difficult to ascertain exactly how much this rifle would cost, though one could imagine that it was well within Martinez Sanchez’s price range, given the sheer amount of cash in his possession.
However the gold-plated Desert Eagles in his personal collection would have put him out roughly $2,150 each. Regardless of cost, these custom-made guns would have to be the most extravagant items in Martinez Sanchez’ collection—
Never mind. Until recently, Tirso Martinez Sanchez had his own personal lion. While a feline hierarchy hasn’t been scientifically established, this drug lord’s pet lioness likely outranks Tony Montana’s pet tiger. Not that it matters because Martinez Sanchez also had a pet tiger.
As well as at least a couple panthers because if you have that much money why not.
(And yes, it would make more sense, poetically, for Martinez Sanchez to have bears instead of panthers but anyone who has seen Grizzly Man knows you do not screw around with bears.)
Just to put things in perspective, a lion cub alone could cost $2,500, though given the less-than-savoury nature of Mr. Martinez Sanchez’s income it’s fair to guess he had to pay even more in order to purchase it through less than legal means.
Of course, if we’re going to catalogue a drug lord’s assets it makes sense to get a glimpse of his house, which looks more luxurious than some high-priced hotels.
So, does crime pay? Most certainly, but if Tirso Martinez Sanchez’s story is any indication, the law is going to catch up with you at some point. Like Tony Montana, the world was his. But not anymore.