If you haven’t yet viewed the latest Netflix original series Narcos, stop what you’re doing and pull out your laptop right now. The ten-episode series starring Wagner Moura, Maurice Compote and Boyd Holbrook details the rise of Pablo Escobar, the devastating Colombian man who ruled the world’s most complex and far-reaching drug trade—and killed thousands in the process. Escobar eclipses just about every drug kingpin in history. He started from nothing, and in as little as decades became one of the most powerful men in the world. Along the way, he did some truly staggering things:
At his extravagant estate in Puerto Triunfo, Escobar also built a private zoo filled with hippos, giraffes, elephants and other animals. Hippos still roam the grounds today.
Escobar was responsible for killing about 4,000 people, including an estimated 200 judges, 1,000 police workers, journalists and government officials.
Escobar’s Medellin Cartel was responsible for 80 percent of the cocaine that was sent to the United States
Before getting into the drug trade, Escobar sold stolen tombstones to smugglers and was also into the business of stealing cars.
Pablo Escobar was born in Rionegro, Colombia in 1949. HIs father was a farmer, and his mother was a schoolteacher.
In 1976, a 27 year old Pablo Escobar married Maria Victoria Henao Vellejo, who was then just 15
While the Escobar family was in hiding, Pablo’s daughter, Manuela, got sick. To keep her warm, Escobar burned about two million dollars
Pablo Escobar bought a Learjet specifically for flying his cash
Escobar is said to have smuggled cocaine into plane tires. Pending how much product pilots flew, they could earn as much as $500,000 per day.
In an attempt to change the laws of extradition, Escobar offered to pay Colombia’s debt – an estimated 10 billion dollars
Escobar spent around $2,500 a month on rubber bands used to hold his money
Escobar’s earnings peaked at an estimated 20 billion dollars
Escobar made the Forbes’ billionaires list of the world’s richest people seven years in a row beginning in 1987 and peaked at number seven in 1989
In the late 1980’s Colombian authorities seized some of Escobar’s enormous fleet, including 142 planes, 20 helicopters, 32 yachts, and 141 homes and offices
Escobar’s business was so big and so scrutinized that, in addition to planes, helicopters, cars, trucks, and boats, he even bought submarines for transporting his cocaine into the U.S
At the height of the drug trade, Escobar smuggled up to 15 tons of cocaine each day
Pablo Escobar’s support of the poor earned him the nickname “Robin Hood”
Other popular nicknames for Escobar were “Don Pablo” and “El Patron”
Among the possessions that authorities found in Escobar’s home was a Spanish translation of the self-help classic, The Power Of Positive Thinking.
About ten percent of Escobar’s earning were lost to spoilage. Rats likely consumed a bulk of those bills
Escobar’s luxury prison was referred to as “La Cathedral” (aka the Cathedral)
La Catedral housed a casino, a nightclub, and even a spa
Following his death, Escobar’s lavish Colombian estate was transformed into a theme park featuring animals, life sized dinosaur models, Escobar’s collection of classic cars and more
Pablo Escobar’s greatest fear was extradition. No matter what happened, he didn’t want to spend his final years in an American jail cell
Despite his horrific business dealings, Escobar did fund a number of programs to help Colombia’s poor residents. He gave money to churches and hospitals, established food programs, built parks and soccer stadiums, and created a barrio
Escobar used his extraordinary wealth and popularity to get himself elected to Colombia’s Congress
The biggest single cocaine shipment Escobar made to the United States weighed a whopping 51,000 pounds
Pablo Escobar was gunned down at the age of 44. Some people speculate that the wound was self inflicted.