Pablo Escobar was the quintessential drug lord. It is estimated that at the height of his career - if you can call it that - Escobar brought in $420 million a week through drug trafficking and other illegal and morally questionable activities. Escobar achieved such great wealth through his dealings that it is said he lost $2.1 billion (you read that right) every year and didn’t even feel it.
The Search Bloc finally captured and killed Escobar on December 2nd, 1993, well over 20 years ago. However, the Colombian drug lord's legend lives on. The world remains fascinated with this complex and difficult character, who is said to have created as much joy through his charitable donations as he did misery through his gang activities. People turn to anecdotes and biographies in order to gain an idea of what day-to-day life was like for Pablo Escobar. In recent years, the Netflix series Narcos has brought his story to a larger audience and created a surge of interested in him.
While these accounts of Escobar's colorful life are no doubt key to understanding him, if we are to really comprehend what his life was like, we’re going to need to turn to photographs of the man himself. Such as these ones.
Here are 17 photos of Pablo Escobar that pretty much sum up his whole life.
17 The End
Okay, you should probably look away right now if you’re squeamish. I know it might seem a little weird to kick off an article about pictures which sum up Pablo Escobar’s life with one of his dead corpse, but I feel like it’s going to be an elephant in the room, so let’s get it out of the way now and we can enjoy ourselves.
In this pretty infamous and equally tasteless photograph, we see the Search Bloc pose proudly over Escobar’s likely still-warm corpse. The killing of Pablo Escobar on the 2nd December 1993 brought to an end a manhunt which lasted for over a year and cost hundreds upon millions of dollars, so in a sort of weird, twisted way, you can understand why the Search Bloc were so happy to finally bring Escobar down.
16 In The Stands
Being a drug lord is hard, stressful work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take an afternoon off to enjoy some time with your friends and family. In this photograph, we see Pablo Escobar enjoying himself in the crowd at a bullfight in 1984 Medellin. Escobar, like the rest of the crowd, has turned his head in the direction of the action and watches with great interest.
The crowd seems to be more interested in whatever is going on before them than they are in the activities of Pablo Escobar. For this reason, it is safe to assume that they were unaware the world’s premier drug lord was sitting among them. Either that or they just didn’t care.
15 The Wild West
This picture looks an awful lot like one of those novelty photos you get at a town fair and it speaks volumes about Pablo Escobar’s life and personality that I’m not entirely sure if it is a novelty photo or not.
God only knows what was going through Pablo Escobar’s head as he stood before that camera, dressed like a colonel from a Laurel and Hardy film. While operating a gun under the influence of alcohol is obviously ill-advised, Pablo Escobar doesn’t look like he has any scruples about doing so as he and his buddy proudly display a gun each and a bottle of whiskey between them. It’s unclear exactly who developed this photo, but you can assume they were either murdered immediately afterwards or given a significant amount of money to keep quiet.
14 Friends Will Be Friends
As the old saying goes, no man is an island who has friends. Everybody needs some friends, even notorious drug lords, as is proven by this picture. Here, we can see Pablo Escobar with a smile spread across his face as he sits with the several sweaty, half-naked Colombian men who made up his notorious entourage.
All of the men are smiling and laughing while several empty bottles of alcohol rest on the table in the middle of the group. Because of the poor quality of the photograph, it’s hard to say exactly what the men were drinking when this picture was taken, but it’s almost certain it was very expensive and probably accompanied by a variety of different drugs and a variety of different women.
As a drug lord and multi-billionaire, Pablo Escobar was obliged to live a crazy life. Of course, Escobar had no problem living fast, as this photo proves. Here, we see everybody’s favorite drug dealer standing next to a Porsche racing car at what looks to be some kind of moto event. Unlike a lot of the photos on this list, it does not seem Pablo was aware this was being taken.
This is unusual as due to his status as an internationally wanted man, Pablo was very careful about which pictures he posed for and was generally aware of it whenever he was in the presence of a camera. Here, however, he seems to be more concerned with his car and the day’s event than protecting his identity.
12 Family Is Everything
Pablo Escobar is well-known for the emphasis he put on family and the importance of spending time with your loved ones. Well, that and selling billions of dollars worth of drugs and continuously evading capture while doing so. Thankfully, it is the former which is the focus of this photograph.
It shows a softer-side of the notorious drug lord as he poses with his son at a gathering of the Escobars. While Pablo Escobar was never exactly the picture of health, he looks particularly poor in this picture. He has gained a significant amount of weight, likely as a result of the stress of being a wanted man. Being around copious amounts of drugs and alcohol on a daily basis probably didn’t help either.
My childhood best friend used to have a picture in his living room of his father riding an elephant in Africa. I was always told that his dad fixed washing machines for a living, but now I’m beginning to suspect he might have been a Colombian drug dealer. Pablo Escobar filled his home with exotic animals such as elephants and hippos, possibly out of a genuine fondness for the creatures but more than likely purely because they were an outrageous symbol of his outrageous wealth.
This picture shows Escobar riding one of his prized elephants while his family stare at the camera, unimpressed and waiting for their turn. You can’t help but wonder if at least a portion of Escobar’s net worth came from charging his neighbors several hundred dollars to ride his elephant, a la Homer Simpson.
10 Front Page News
Most of us manage to get our face in the newspaper at some point. When we do, many of us choose to cut the article with our name out and place it in a scrapbook so we can keep it forever. It is unlikely Pablo Escobar did so with this newspaper article. Then again, he’d been in the paper so often by this point that it probably no longer interested him.
This newspaper clipping is an article detailing one of Escobar’s many escapes from police. It tells of his spectacular escape from jail and how he used to a firearm to “blast” those who dared to stand in his way. To drive home just how ballsy Pablo Escobar was, this article notes that the drug lord escaped prison and fired shots all while mocking authorities over the phone.
I’m not entirely sure if this has made it into TMZ’s notorious collection of celebrity mugshots, nor am I sure if it should. It’s hard to decide if Pablo Escobar is indeed a celebrity. That being said, he definitely deserves his own wing in the Celebrity Mugshot Hall of Fame. This particular mugshot of Escobar shows him flashing a cheeky grin to the camera, his jet black hair ruffled and some stubble spread across his face, a change to his usual mustache.
Escobar certainly doesn’t look like a man who is worried about spending time in jail and he certainly isn’t dressed for the occasion. Decked out in an obviously colorful, partially unbuttoned shirt, the drug lord looks as though he is planning to be out in time to return to his buddy’s party.
Pablo Escobar was never going to be considered the world’s sexiest man, but this picture shows the notorious drug lord could be surprisingly photogenic. In what I’m going to guess is a posed picture, we see Escobar perched on top of a jeep, looking utterly relaxed as he points towards something in the distance, looking not unlike a thrill-seeking captain commanding the direction of his ship.
In his hand, he holds a bottle of whatever it is drug dealing billionaires like to drink in order to keep dehydration at bay. If you were unfamiliar with Pablo Escobar, you could be forgiven for mistaking this picture to be part of the latest Coca-Cola advertising campaign. After all, is there anybody better suited to advertising coke than Pablo Escobar?
7 Come Get Some
Pablo Escobar had a rocky relationship with the United States of America, to say the least. His unstoppable drug machine was the bane of US law enforcement for years on end and the country spent millions attempting to bring him down. Most people in the drug lord’s position would have avoided America at all costs, especially the nation’s capital. Pablo Escobar, however, was not most people.
This picture may just be the best example of Escobar's unwavering courage (perhaps not the right word) as it shows him posing right outside the gates of the White House, home to the President of the United States since 1800.
They say a picture says a thousand words, though this picture seems to be screaming them as Escobar challenges the USA, and indeed the rest of the world, to come and get him.
6 Soccer Ball in Hand
It’s hard to imagine Pablo Escobar as a soccer coach, spending his Saturday mornings attempting to control a rowdy gang of easily distracted youths. However, this picture shows the Colombian drug lord looking pretty pleased with himself as he stands in front of a soccer team, a ball clasped firmly between his hands.
A spattering of mustached males in soccer uniforms can be seen either side of Coach Escobar, holding banners while looking a little bit unsure of what exactly is going on. One player, in particular, looks downright frightened to be standing right next to Escobar. The only person in slacks and a shirt, Escobar sticks out like a sore thumb, something which he had no problem with despite his status as one of the most wanted men in the world.
It is difficult to say for certain just what Pablo Escobar was doing when this picture was taken, so we are going to have to use our imagination. Knowing what we know about Escobar, it is possible that he was addressing a group, delivering a rousing speech to convince them that they could fit even more cocaine up their rear ends. Those behind him certainly seem to be buying into his encouraging words.
Because of the model of the microphone, however, the drug smuggler could easily be mistaken for a Vegas lounge singer, a crooner similar to Tony Bennett or Frank Sinatra. He has the dark, piercing eyes of an old Hollywood star and would not look out of place on the bedroom wall of a 14-year-old girl.
4 Family Photo
This is another picture which shows the family man that Pablo Escobar could be while not murdering people who dared muscle in on his drug dealing territory. The damaged photograph captures Escobar and his family, all wearing their Sunday best. It is interesting to note that the entire family is dressed in white, with the exception of Papa Pablo. Whether or not this was coincidental or a deliberate choice of outfit in order to symbolize Escobar's dark dealings is unknown.
In later years, Escobar’s son would admit to being aware of his father’s violent ways, though also being totally opposed to them. He even stated that he chose not to avenge his father’s death as he did not want to go down the same bloody path.
3 Mr. Congressman
As his empire grew, Escobar became more and more concerned with the affairs of Columbia. Fearful the country would sign an extradition treaty with the United States, the billionaire drug lord managed to get himself into Colombia's congress, where he could influence the dealings of the government.
This picture of Escobar was taken during his time in congress, which began in 1982. In 1984, however, Minister of Justice Rodrigo Lara Bonilla had enough of Pablo’s eccentric behavior and blatant abuse of power and had him removed from his position. Infuriated to have lost his place, Escobar had Bonilla killed. It's clear he isn't the person you want to piss off!
2 Hell’s Angel
Pablo Escobar had some pretty extravagant vehicles over the course of his life. In this article, we have shown pictures of him in a jeep, in a race car, and happily riding along on an elephant. Now, we can add this picture of Escobar sitting on a three-wheel motorcycle from Gulf. Here, the drug mule doesn’t seem to be anywhere near as comfortable as he was by his race car or on his elephant.
In fact, he looks a little bit worried that he might press the wrong button, causing the machine to suddenly take off with him in it. Yes, judging by the look on his face, Pablo Escobar had no idea how to drive this thing and probably jumped out of that seat the second he heard the shuttering of the camera.
1 Book ‘Em
We started this look at Pablo Escobar’s life with a picture of his freshly murdered corpse, so it seems only fair to end it with something from his younger years. This is a picture of Escobar’s arrest sheet following an arrest in the summer of 1971. The black and white image of Escobar, located just above his fingerprint, shows a much younger man than we have seen on this list.
He has not yet grown his trademark mustache and doesn’t quite have the confidence he would have after years of selling drugs and evading capture. He isn’t grinning from ear-to-ear as he would in later mugshots. In fact, the young Escobar looks a little bit perturbed by his present situation, maybe even a little bit unsure as to how he is going to get out of jail. Don't worry young Escobar, you figure it out.