Pablo Escobar, widely known as the king of cocaine, was one of the most famous billionaires in the late 1980s. From committing crimes such as selling contraband and counterfeit lottery tickets in his youth, he then ventured into drug smuggling. Eventually, he became the leader of a sophisticated drug cartel called the “Medellín Cartel”, which had its base in the city of Medellín, Colombia.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the cartel smuggled cocaine through several countries including Peru, Panama, Bolivia, the United States, Canada, and also Europe. They became particularly notorious for their activities in the United States, where they supplied cocaine to at least 85 percent of the country’s drug market and also 80 percent of the global cocaine market. As a result, they earned up to 60 million dollars a day in drug profits.
Escobar was not only notorious for drug smuggling, but also for being behind most of the murders in Colombia, as he was constantly in a bloody battle with rival cartels. After the world-famous drug baron gained popularity through his incessant criminal activities, he was put on the watch list of the Colombian and American law enforcement agencies. His movement was tracked, which led to him finally being caught the day after his 44th birthday – on 2 December 1993; the day he died in a shoot-out between him, his bodyguard, and the Colombian national police.
Who Was Pablo Escobar?
The notorious drug smuggler was the third child of his parents, Abel de Jesús Dari Escobar Echeverri and Hilda de Los Dolores Gaviria Berrío. He was born on 1 December 1949 in Rionegro, Antioquia, Colombia. His father worked as a farmer, while his mother taught in primary school. He grew up with his siblings in Medellín.
As far as his education is concerned, Pablo Escobar attended the Universidad Autónoma Latinoamericana in Medellín for a short time before he left school to plunge into real criminal life. Although it is said that he began criminal activities as a teenager by selling stolen tombstones to smugglers, his son Sebastían Marroquín believes that his father began his criminal career by selling fake high school diplomas.
Following his childhood ambition to accumulate COL$1 million by the age of 22, Pablo Escobar became involved in criminal activities such as car theft, cigarette smuggling, and kidnapping. The latter earned him $100,000 for each successful activity. By the time he was 26 years old, the drug lord had already accumulated about COL$100 million, fulfilling his childhood dream. Then he decided to expand his territory by becoming a drug smuggler and a leader of the notorious drug cartel The Medellín Cartel.
Why Was He Notorious?
Pablo Escobar began smuggling cocaine into the United States in 1975. He later founded The Medellín Cartel, which operated in the 1970s and 1980s. He then developed his cocaine operations by purchasing numerous aircraft, including helicopters and a Learjet, and by buying submarines. He continued to expand his distribution network, as his smuggling routes covered many countries, including Bolivia, Panama, Peru, and Canada.
He alone managed the highly organized activities of the drug cartel, which initially shipped between 70 and 80 tons of cocaine to the United States. At the height of their activities, they began shipping up to 15 tons of cocaine to the United States each day, with an estimated daily profit of over $70 million. By the end of the 1980s, Pablo Escobar had acquired a financial value of about $3 million, having been named one of the world’s 227 billionaires by Forbes in 1989. His drug network eventually grew rapidly, so that his drug cartel controlled 80 percent of the cocaine distributed worldwide.
Escobar also collected profits from drug dealers in Medellín and other parts of Colombia. This explains the amazing net worth of $30 billion (USD) he had at the time of his death, making him the richest criminal in history. He also had many possessions in Colombia and other countries. He was famous for building a state-of-the-art mansion, the Hacienda Nápoles, on a 7.7 square mile property in Antioquia.
In addition, Pablo Escobar also committed other crimes during his lifetime, such as murder. He is alleged to have ordered the assassination of Colombia’s top politician Luis Carlos Galán, the Minister of Justice Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, and the massacre of over 600 Colombian police officers and judges at the Colombian Supreme Court in 1985. More than that, he was the mastermind behind the bombing of the DAS building and Avianca Flight 203, as he and other rival cartels made Colombia the world capital of murder during that time.
What To Know Pablo Escobar’s Married Life
In 1976, at the age of 26, Pablo Escobar exchanged his vows with 15-year-old Maria Victoria Henao. Although the bride’s family was against the union, the two, who were head over heels in love, decided to get married. They had two children together: a son Juan Pablo Escobar (born on 24 February 1977) and a daughter Manuela Escobar (born in 1984).
During Pablo Escobar’s lifetime, he held his daughter in such high esteem that he was willing to do anything to make her happy. So on one of Manuela’s birthdays, the notorious drug smuggler fulfilled her birthday wish to have a unicorn (which only exists in fairy tales) by making a unicorn out of a horse. It is also said to have burned stacks of dollars worth $2 million when she suffered from hypothermia while fleeing on a mountain slope.
During his lifetime, Maria earned a good reputation through her loyalty and support of her husband despite his extramarital affairs. Escobar was known for having several lovers, including the popular Colombian journalist and author Virginia Vallejo. Although the drug baron committed many atrocities, Maria never left his side. She was still married to him at the time of his death.
Who Are His Family (Wife and Children) and Where Are They Now?
In contrast to the luxurious lifestyle that they led during Escobar’s lifetime, Maria Victoria Henao and her children faced a life of hardship because her husband’s assets were confiscated by the government after his death. Since the Colombian police and the rivals of the Escobar drug cartel were after them, she tried to seek refuge in several countries, but this obviously failed. She finally found her place of residence in Argentina, after a brief stay in other countries such as Mozambique, South Africa, Ecuador, Brazil, and Peru.
The widow of Pablo Escobar and his children lived on the run, constantly changing their names to hide their true identities. At present Maria is known as Maria Isabel Santos Caballero. Juan Pablo is now known as Sebastían Marroquín, while Manuela Juana is known as Manuela Marroquín Santos.
After her arrival in Argentina, Maria became a real estate agent. She was very successful in this business until one of her business partners found out her true identity and reported her to the police. Maria was then arrested and spent eighteen months behind bars, while she was under investigation for her involvement in her late husband’s drug dealing. She was later released because the authorities were unable to produce evidence for the alleged charges.
Escobar’s son, Sebastían, now works as a writer and architect. Among his remarkable publications are “Sins of My Father”, which was adapted into a documentary of the same name, and “Pablo Escobar: My Father”. He reportedly lives with his wife and children in North Carolina while his mother still lives in Argentina. Pablo Escobar’s daughter Manuela, on the other hand, has stayed out of the spotlight. She is supposed to work as an electrical engineer.
How Did Pablo Escobar Die?
In 1991, Pablo Escobar surrendered to the Colombian authorities after negotiating with the government. He was later imprisoned in the Cathedral, a private prison he had built for himself, with luxurious facilities such as a Jacuzzi, football pitch, and waterfall. Unable to stay away from criminal activities, the Colombian authorities planned to transfer him to a more conventional prison in July 1992.
But before that happened, the notorious drug dealer heard about the plan and escaped. His whereabouts were finally determined by the Colombian national police when he was found in Medellín. Together with his bodyguard Álvaro de Jesús Agudelo, Pablo Escobar was involved in a shoot-out with the police that led to his death on December 2, 1993. More than 25,000 people attended his funeral, since many in Medellín, especially the poor, saw in him a hero who built them houses and helped them equally financially.