Pablo Escobar was considered to be the “King of Coke.” He was one of the most notorious drug lords in all of Colombian history. If you haven’t tuned into the Netflix original series, Narcos, you should be ashamed of yourself because you are really missing out. The show is hugely popular, and it gives a bird’s eye view into a maddening world. It is currently in its second season, and takes viewers through the life of Pablo Escobar and how he became the monster he’s known as today. It’s a must-see show that stars Maurice Compte, Boyd Holbrook and Wagner Moura. Pablo Escobar was a genius and employed various ways of getting cocaine into the US, such as soaking jeans in liquid cocaine and then shipping them through customs.
You get to see how he rose to the top to become a drug lord and the overwhelming fear he caused in many people. With very little effort it seemed he ruled a far-reaching and complicated drug trade and had no problem killing anyone that got in his way. He massacred thousands of people in his quest to rule the drug trade and eluded the DEA for many years. Pablo Escobar started from nothing. He was a poor man and in a few decades he eclipsed every other drug kingpin in history and grew to be one of the most powerful men in the world. Throughout his career as a drug lord, he committed many crimes, some more staggering than others. He devastated many lives and never once lost a night’s sleep over it.
Check out the list below to discover the most despicable acts committed by Pablo Escobar during his career as a drug lord.
15. He Had His Own Personal Hitmen
Men in Escobar’s position of authority never had to kill anyone themselves since they just ordered people to do it for them. Escobar’s right-hand man was called Popeye, and he had a lot of blood on his hands. In his career with Escobar, he killed over 300 people and ordered the deaths of 3,000 to ensure that Escobar’s reign of terror continued. Vasquez was another hitman employed by Escobar, and he was in charge of murder and torture. He was the man that tortured and killed a future presidential candidate that Pablo did not believe in. It was one of the first acts of crime that showed the world the real power of the Medellin Cartel that Pablo ran. It was one of many staggering acts of violence that Escobar unleashed in order to show the world he had no fear of them. He always needed to be in control of every situation.
14. He Killed His Competition
The demand for cocaine in the United States was astronomical in the ’70s and ’80s, but Escobar was not the type of businessman to want to share his profits with anyone. If he had all the power, he could become untouchable. There was a lot of money to be made, and he knew the empire he could build if he removed a few key players. It was Escobar’s goal to rise to the top, and he wanted to be the only show in town. In order to make that happen, Pablo took it upon himself to murder the original Medellin drug smuggler, Fabio Restrepo. From there he took over the men that once worked for Fabio and became the only drug lord in Colombia. It wasn’t until much later that a rival cartel came into the picture. It would be the first time that Pablo would be threatened to lose what he had built over decades.
13. Pablo Bombed The Colombian Congress Building
In 1989, there were many bloody corpses outside of the Colombian Congress building after a truck bomb went off. It was meant for the Administrative Department of Security, a gift sent by the Medellin cartel following Pablo Escobar’s orders. The attack occurred early in the morning around 7:30 am when a truck parked near the building blew up. Over 1,000 people were injured, and 52 died instantly on that fateful day. Escobar had a bomb that contained an estimated 500kg of dynamite, and when it went off it leveled several city blocks. Not only did it kill a lot of people, but it destroyed more than 300 commercial properties. It’s believed that the goal behind the bombing was to eliminate DAS director, Miguel Maza Marquez. Escobar wanted him assassinated, but he left the scene unharmed. 1989 was a big year for bombing by Pablo Escobar. He killed 12 judicial officials in January, and was responsible for the bombing of Avianca Flight 203 later on that year.
12. Fear Made Him Even More Of A Monster
Pablo Escobar feared more than anything that he would one day be extradited to the United States for his crimes. With the DEA and DAS involved in trying to bring him down, he worried that it would one day happen to him. It was the last thing that he wanted, and he often talked about going down in a blaze of glory if it ever came to that. He would rather die than be extradited since he knew that the United States would not go easy on him. Due to his mounting fear of extradition he unleashed many horrors unto Colombia in the hopes that the government would be too afraid to do anything about him. He wanted to avoid jail time in America so much that he even offered the Colombian government money to clear off their national debt. The last amount on record that he offered the government was $10 billion dollars.
11. He Will Do Anything To Get His Man
When Pablo Escobar wants to remove someone he goes to any length to do so. In 1989, he killed 110 people on an Avianca flight. He didn’t think for a moment about anyone else because he was so focused on power and greed while trying to take Cesar Gaviria, a presidential hopeful. At that point in Escobar’s criminal career, he was practically untouchable. The DAS and the DEA knew they had to take him down. Pablo was invincible and had become more powerful than the Colombian government. He became so powerful that the government knew he needed to die. Plans were made by the government, and decisions had to be made on whether it would be more effective to have him killed instead of bringing him to justice.
10. His Most Trusted Hitman Vasquez
Pablo Escobar had many hitmen that he employed to carry out his atrocities on his country. A man named “Popeye” Vasquez was one of his main men, a most trusted hitman. Under Pablo’s orders, Vasquez was responsible for many killings over the years. He was known as a torturer, and when Pablo wanted something done, he sent Vasquez. After he kidnapped a Colombian president, he also tortured him as well as many vice-presidents. He killed an Attorney General as well as Colombian presidential candidate, Luis Carlos Galan. It was the only killing he was ever convicted for, even though he was known to have killed over 250 people, including his girlfriend with his own hands and detonated over 250 car bombs. Vasquez has stated that he feels no guilt over the killings as he was only following his boss’s orders. “I’m also a victim of Escobar. I was not responsible for the assassinations.”
9. He Stole Tombstones
Selling tombstones is easily one of the most despicable acts someone can do, but for Pablo Escobar, it was just another way to get a payday. Pablo was never worried about what people thought, even as a young man he knew how to make a buck and get whatever he wanted. Before his reign of terror throughout Colombia, Pablo Escobar used to sell stolen tombstones. He didn’t care that they belonged to loved ones who would be devastated to find out they were missing. As if being a murderer and a drug lord wasn’t bad enough, Pablo, as a student, used to steal tombstones from the local graveyards and sell them to Panamanian smugglers. He would take the tombstones and sandblast the names off of them before selling them. Pablo was determined to do anything to make money, even from a young age. He had a great mind for business and didn’t let moral issues hinder him in any way.
8. He Married A 13-Year Old Girl
People don’t think too much about Pablo’s wife, even though she stuck with him through all the killings and the long absences. The stories are always about Pablo that you don’t consider what his wife must have gone through. She must have spent her younger years living in fear that her husband would either be killed or be taken to jail. But what many people don’t know is that when Pablo married his wife in 1976, he was 27-years-old, while she was only 13. They were married for two years when she gave birth to their only son at the age of 15. In most countries that would be considered statutory rape or pedophilia but for Pablo it was just another way he took anything that he wanted. Although he spent their entire marriage cheating on his wife with multiple women, she stayed with him the entire time, ever the loyal wife.
7. He Made A Habit Of Kidnapping
Kidnapping was not a tall order for Pablo Escobar, in fact, during his career as a drug lord he ordered his hitmen to kidnap many people in his quest for power. He got his knack for kidnapping much sooner than his days as a drug lord. He had no moral code, so if he found a way to make a quick buck he would do whatever it took. In the early ’70s before his reign in Colombia, Pablo Escobar worked as a thief and a bodyguard. He stole whatever he could to sell it, as he planned on being a millionaire by the time he was 22-years-old. He once kidnapped and ransomed off a Medellin executive for a whopping $100,000. It would be nothing compared to the massive wealth he would amass as a drug lord. Yet back in his younger days, however, he had no problem with dabbling in kidnapping to ensure that his pocketbook would grow.
6. He Bribed Police Officials
It’s no surprise to think that someone in Pablo Escobar’s position would be bribing officials; it’s something that all powerful men know how to do. He tried to do the very same thing to government officials through his reign as a drug lord. In 1976, the same year he married his young bride, he was also arrested for drug possession. Luck happened to be on his side that day because he was able to bribe the arresting officers. As soon as the bribe went through the drug possession case collapsed around them. After that, it was customary for Pablo to bribe people around him. Sometimes it worked in his favor while other times it didn’t. But it worked so many times that it marked the beginning of a habit that stayed the course throughout his criminal career as a drug lord. Pablo learned that cops would turn a blind eye with a little money.
5. He Believed In Silver Or Lead
Pablo Escobar had a certain way of dealing with things: basically, it was either his way or the highway. If things didn’t go his way, then he did what he had to make sure that they did. He was intolerant when it came to people trying to ruin his fun or take him away from his career goals. Pablo’s approach to authorities was “plata o plomo” which means silver or lead. People took the silver, or they would get the lead. He always tried to bribe officials if he got in trouble but it didn’t always work. If he couldn’t bribe the officials, he would kill them. Throughout his career, he killed hundreds, probably thousands of police officers that weren’t willing to be bribed. All these officials were murdered on orders given by Escobar, and all they were doing was their job. Many families were destroyed because a rich man was determined to get even richer and more powerful.
4. He Had Incredible Influence
Pablo Escobar was a powerful man for a reason and his wealth amassed quickly because he controlled a lot of the drugs in the trade. He smuggled such a large quantity of drugs that he often had to buy bigger planes just to get them over to the United States. At the height of his drug trafficking career, he was responsible for bringing in 80 percent of the cocaine into the United States. This was why the DEA zeroed in on him, desperate to take him down. Without him in the picture, smuggling would almost disappear. The ’80s were a big decade for cocaine smuggling; it was a drug that was in high demand. Four out of five people who were snorting a line of cocaine were probably snorting from Pablo’s supply. It was because of his cocaine supply that Wall Street kept on trading as well as it did during that time.
3. He Put His Family Through Hell
When Pablo Escobar first rose to power, his family enjoyed a life of luxury. They had a fortune; money they would never be able to spend. Helicopters, a private zoo, a mansion, $500,000 in Christmas gifts, whatever his family wanted they got it. Yet at the height of Escobar’s career, the noose started tightening around his neck as the FBI came closer to catching him. Life became a lot less fun for his family once they started to go on the run. As officials searched for him, they had to travel from safe house to safe house. Although they had millions of dollars, they were starving to death while on the run. With all the money in the world, they couldn’t leave their home. Escobar was starting to learn that being a drug lord wasn’t all that he dreamed it was and he regretted putting his family through the hardship.
2. He Was No Robin Hood
Many people try to give some credit to Pablo Escobar because he often donated to the poor, through opening schools or community organizations. Yet, it was a common misconception to consider Escobar as a true humanitarian. It’s difficult to say he cared about the poor since he was the one to send a car bomb into a city square. He didn’t seem to care about all the innocent people he was about to kill, in his pursuit of just one single man. He was ruthless when it came to business, and killed anyone that got in his way. He used poor people as mere pawns to get whatever he wanted, and his donations were only ways he thought would appease the government and prevent him from being extradited. His terrible deeds and senseless killings outweighed any good that he did throughout his community. Pablo Escobar had no sense of morality, and his vile deeds proved that he was not a man of the people. What good he did was only to hide his real business of exploiting the people around him and murdering the masses.
1. He Killed A Lot Of People
Throughout Pablo Escobar’s career, he killed a lot of people. In fact, even the estimate is high although there is probably a lot more blood on his hands then we will ever know. His hitmen took care of most of his killings, especially when it came to detonating aircraft bombs or setting up car bombs. Throughout his career as a drug lord, Pablo was responsible for the deaths of 4,000 people, 1,000 police officials, journalists and government officials, as well as 200 judges. If there was a congressman or a government official that was trying to overthrow Escobar, he would set out to kill that person. He wanted to own the people in power and if he couldn’t then he would do what he could to assassinate them. He succeeded most times, though a few of them were lucky to get away. During Pablo Escobar’s career, he was truly a monster in business.