At his highest, notorious Medellln cartel leader Pablo Escobar pulled in an incredible $420 million in sales every week, comfortably making him one of the richest drug lords in history.
According to Roberto Escobar, the drug cartel chief accountant and the kingpin’s brother, in his book “The Accountant’s Story: Inside the brutal life of the Medelln cartel,” Escobar’s money was so vast that he stashed stacks of cash in Colombian farming areas, dilapidated factories, and the walls of cartel members’ residences. “Pablo was making so much money that we had to write off 10% of it every year because the rats ate it in storage or it was destroyed by water or lost,” Escobar wrote.
Here are 10 other incidents that reveal the absurdity of Pablo Escobar's wealth:
- The Forbes-Billionaire’s list: From 1987 to 1993, Escobar was on Forbes’ list of global billionaires for seven years in a row. He was ranked as the world’s seventh-richest man in 1989.
- The OG cocaine supplier: Pablo Escobar supplied 80% of the world’s cocaine by the end of the 1980s…
- Per-day cocaine quota for the US: The Medellin smuggled some 15 tonnes of cocaine into the United States every day, most of it over the Florida coast.
- Losses in billions: Per month, the “king of cocaine” taken into account in a $2.1 billion fall in earnings, but it didn’t seem to matter.
- Rubber Bands: Per month, the notorious drug lord spent $2,500 on rubber bands. Although hiding or losing the vast sums of money was one thing, the brothers still had to deal with a much more basic issue: neatly sorting the banknotes.
- Burning Money: He once used $2 million to fuel the fire when his daughter was cold. Manuela Escobar, Escobar’s daughter, became hypothermic when the family was hiding in the Medellin mountains. To keep her warm, Escobar set fire to $2 million in crisp banknotes.
- The Robinhood: After giving out money to the needy, constructing shelters for the homeless, creating 70 community soccer fields, and constructing a zoo, he was dubbed “Robin Hood.”
- La Catedral: He made a bargain with Colombia to be jailed, but only in a luxurious prison he designed and called “la Catedral,” which translates to “cathedral.”
- Mansion’s Wall: In 2020, Nicolás Escobar, Pablo Escobar’s nephew, told Colombian media that he discovered a plastic bag containing $18 million (£14 million) concealed in the wall of one of his uncle’s homes.
- The Swish jungle property: Escobar designed a lavish 20-square-kilometre estate for his family and friends, and he went a little crazy with the amenities. Two helicopter landing pads, over 1,500 staff, ten homes, three zoos, full-size football grounds, 27 artificial dams, life-sized dinosaur sculptures (plural), and a gas station were all part of the complex.
Pablo Escobar was killed in a shootout on December 2, 1993, sixteen months after his escape from La Catedral. It’s never been established who fired the last shot into his ear, or whether it was fired during the gunfight or as part of a potential execution. Then came the demise of Escobar’s lavish empire.