Pablo Escobar, you have probably been living under a rock if you are not familiar with this name. One of the most famous, or infamous, people of all time. Pablo Escobar explored the dark world to such an extent that he’s probably the only man that has touched the deepest point of the gangster and drug mafia.
At one point of time, he became one of the richest individuals in history! And if you’ve watched the Netflix series ‘Narcos’, you already know what an interesting man he was!
Interesting And Rare Facts About Pablo Eacobar
1. King Of Cocaine
Pablo Escobar earned the nickname “King Of Cocaine”. He was the sole leader of the Medellín Cartel, which he founded in 1976. The cartel soon monopolized the cocaine trade into the USA in the 1980s and 1990s. At its peak, the cartel was responsible for 80% of the cocaine sent to the US.
Escobar’s Drug business reached to such an enormous extent that he was smuggling 15 tons of Cocaine everyday at one point of time in his career. He even used to smuggle cocaine in Plane’s Tyres! The pilots could earn as much as $500,000, on the basis of how much product they were smuggling
2. Richest Criminal Ever
Pablo Escobar was the 7th richest man in the world at the height of his career. As a result of his huge drug business, he amassed a net worth of an estimated $30 billion in 1993, which is equivalent to $64 billion in 2021. He is still the richest criminal in history and nobody has ever come close to his reported $30 billion of wealth in the criminal world. His cartel was earning roughly $420 million in a week from their business of drugs.
Pablo appeared on the Forbes’ list of World’s Richest for seven straight years! Beginning from 1987 until his death in 1993, he was ranked by Forbes’ among the wealthiest men in the world. And in 1993, he reached his peak position, 7th, on the list.
3. Murders & Massacres
Despite the fact that he was one of the wealthiest people in history, he was a criminal. His wealth had come from heinous crimes and the biggest drug business in the world. Under his drug reign, Columbia came to be called the ‘Murder Capital Of The World’. The country witnessed a total of 25,100 violent deaths in 1991 and 27,100 in 1992.
Pablo Escobar followed a “plata o plomo,” way of solving his problems, meaning “silver” (bribes) or “lead” (bullets). He was responsible for the deaths of as many as 4000 individuals, including numerous police officers, judges, government officials and journalists.
The most famous tale of an example of atrocious murders by Pablo and his cartel is that in 1989, the cartel was blamed for detonating a bomb on a plane on the basis of the information that an alleged informant was travelling in it. It resulted in deaths of over 100 people.
4. Hacienda Nápoles, Fleet Of Planes And Submarines
Hacienda Nápoles was the name of the luxurious empire, the estate built and owned by Pablo Escobar in Puerto Triunfo, Antioquia Department, Colombia. It is situated approximately 150 km east of Medellín. It was spread in an enormous 7000-acre of land. Reportedly, it cost around $63 million and came with a built-in soccer field, dinosaur statues, artificial lakes, a bullfighting arena, an airstrip, and a tennis court. It also had a mammoth and other prehistoric animal structures made where children could play on the top. It also featured a huge hand structure.
The ranch also boasted a large collection of old and luxury cars and bikes, a private airport, a bullring, and even a kart-racing track.
After Pablo’s death in 1993, his family got into a legal tussle with the Colombian government regarding the property. The government won and the whole property was confiscated. Even Pablo’s burned private car collection was confiscated by the government.
By November 2006, ownership of the whole property had passed to the Colombian government and it was valued at roughly $2.23 million. Many of the private buildings were demolished and used for other purposes.
While many rich men boast of huge car collections, they are little to no match for Pablo Escobar. In the late 1980s, the government seized some of Escobar’s enormous fleet. The seized fleet included 142 planes, 20 helicopters, 32 yachts and 141 homes & offices. And this is not even near to the numbers that the man really owned.
In addition to huge numbers of cars, planes, choppers, trucks, boats, it also included 2 submarines! The submarines were used for drug smuggling.
5. Zoo At Estate
Hacienda Nápoles also featured a private zoo of Pablo Escobar that included many kinds of animals from different continents such as antelope, elephants, exotic birds, giraffes, hippopotamuses, ostriches, and ponies.
After the property’s ownership moved to the government after Pablo’s death, the government found out that the cost of maintenance of Pablo’s animals was too expensive! So it was decided that most of the animals would be donated to Colombian and international zoos. The hacienda’s zoo as of February 2019 hosts bison, a rare goat, one ostrich, and zebras.
After Pablo’s death, many of the hippos became feral and caused a lot of trouble to the citizens nearby, damaging their crops and even being responsible for various attacks. By 2011, there were at least 30 wild hippos roaming in the countryside. There are also reportedly 40 hippopotamuses living on the grounds of the hacienda itself. As of June 2014, the park’s mascot, a live female hippo named “Vanessa” still remains at the site and responds to its name.
6. Private Life
In 1976, Pablo Escobar was married to Maria Victoria Henao. At the time of their marriage, Pablo Escobar was 26 years old while Henao was just 15. Their relationship was not approved by Henao’s family because Pablo was considered socially ‘inferior’ by them. The pair then eloped! They had two children together, Juan Pablo (now Sebastián Marroquín) and Manuela.
It has also been rumoured that Pablo Escobar slept with countless other women apart from his wife. He built a “Bachelor’s Pad” so as to meet his mistress right under his wife, Henao’s nose without her having any awareness about it.
In 2007, a book called ‘Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar’ was published by a journalist Virginia Vallejo. She was romantically involved in a relationship with Pablo Escobar from 1983 to 1987. The book led to the reopening of the cases of the Palace of Justice siege (1985), and the assassination of the presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galán (1989). The book also spoke of the connections of Pablo Escobar with high-profile politicians, Presidents, Dictators and famous personalities.
7. La Catedral
La Catedral was the name of the lavish prison built on the orders of Pablo Escobar. In 1991, Pablo reached an agreement with the Colombian Government. According to the agreement, Pablo would surrender to the authorities and serve a full term of 5 years in prison and in return, the government would not extradite him to the United States.
This agreement resulted in the construction of La Catedral, the self-built prison Escobar would live in. The place cannot even be described as a prison in the truest sense. It featured a football pitch, giant doll house, bar, jacuzzi and waterfall. It even featured a telescope that allowed Escobar to look down onto the city of Medellín to his daughter’s residence while talking on the phone with her.
Even the guards that would guard him, were chosen by Pablo Escobar himself. However, the government decided to move him into a standard prison when he tortured and murdered 4 of his liuetenants within the La Catedral. Pablo refused and went on the run. It is rumoured that he simply walked out of the back gate while the Colombian Army surrounded the prison.
So, a 600-man unit force, trained by the US Delta Force was employed to catch Pablo.
After a 16-month search led by ‘Search Bloc’ that cost several million of dollars, Pablo Escobar finally died. There is a huge controversy surrounding if Pablo was killed by the force or he shot himself and committed suicide. It is not even sure if Pablo was shot in a gunfight or an execution by the task force.
On 2 December, 1993, Pablo celebrated his 44th birthday and just one day after, his hideout in Medellín was discovered. Escobar and one of the bodyguards rushed to the roof and indulged in a gunfight with the force ultimately ending Pablo’s life. The biggest criminal in history, finally lay still on the ground.
His funeral was reportedly attended by 25,000 people.
9. Fear Of Extradition
Pablo Escobar once said that he “would rather have a grave in Colombia than a jail cell in the U.S.”. If there was one thing the greatest drug lord in history feared, it was extradition to the USA. His fear of extradition was so big that he once agreed to pay off Colombia’s debt, which reached a massive $10 billion, in return for changing the extradition laws of the state.
10. Burnt Money To Keep His Daughter Warm
Pablo Escobar loved his daughter Manuela. She was his daughter from Henao, the 15-year-old he had eloped with. Their other child, Juan Escobar (now Sebastian Marroquin) revealed in an interview that once their family were in a hideout in the Medellín mountainside and Manuela became hypothermic.
Unable to find a solution for it, Pablo Escobar burnt about $2 million to keep Manuela and the family warm! Burning crisp banknotes worth $2 million just to keep his family warm, this man was out-of-the-world!
Pablo Escobar’s legacy remains controversial to date! While many hold him responsible for the murders of thousands of innocents and the worst criminal in history, many Colombians viewed him as a superhero. He was considered a ‘Robin-hood’ by the people of Colombia as he provided many amenities to the poor. He was never reluctant to help the poor and earned the tag of ‘Robin-hood’.
He also put a large amount of his fortune in building schools, hospitals, housing for the poor, sports fields and various other developments that helped the poor. The poor section of Colombia was alienated for years from the political and social system of the country and that paved a way for a superhero, a Robin-hood like figure, Pablo Escobar to rise to power and redistribute the wealth. His legacy can be well understood by the fact that 25,000 people attended his funeral.
12. $2,500 On Rubber Bands
It is reported that the Medellín Cartel spent over $2,500 every month on just rubber bands to hold the money with them. Since the money was largely gained through their drug smuggling business and other related illegal activities, it was kept secret.
It was earlier considered a myth, but was confirmed by Pablo’s brother, Roberto, that Pablo and the other cartel members spent about $2,500 on just buying rubber bands to hold the massive amounts of money.
13. Secret From Family
Pablo Escobar kept the information regarding his hideouts and passages secret even from his family. Pablo’s family was blindfolded and relocated every 48 hours between 15 different hideaways throughout the city of Medellín.
When the family would reach a new hideout, they were asked to closely examine the whole area in fine detail in order to know if they recognized the area. If they found any detail familiar, the place would be eliminated as a future hideout and the family immediately relocated to a new spot.
This was because Escobar did not want even his family to know about his passages and hideouts as in the case when they would be interrogated by the police or even tortured by the Police, they will not be able to reveal any information.
14. Wished To Become President
Pablo Escobar was not settled with the title of “King Of Cocaine”. He wanted more power and wished to become the President Of Colombia! This was revealed by Pablo’s widow, Henao in her memoir. It was yet another way of him saving himself from extradition to the USA.
Pablo’s political career had even escalated in 1982. In the Colombian Parliamentary Elections of 1982, Pablo was elected as a member of the Chamber of Representatives from the Liberal Party. He was an alternate member, a stand-in for another guy’s seat.
His political ambitions were however, crushed by Justice Minister, Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, who, in an open speech called Pablo a drug trafficker. Escobar had to step down from the seat and Bonilla was later gunned down in a motorcycle drive.
15. Billions Of Spoilage Every Year
The Biggest problem with Escobar’s ever-flowing wealth was that it was all gained from illegal activities. In addition to spending $2,500 every month for rubber bands to keep the money together, the Medellín Cartel wrote off an estimated $2.1 billion as spoilage every year! The money was lost due to the rats creeping in and nibbling on the notes and some of the spoilage was just simply lost.
This was the larger-than-life of the most infamous criminal in World History, Pablo Escobar. Many documents related to Pablo Escobar, his Cartel, his role in various activities still remain controversial or simply unknown.