How did Pablo Escobar become so rich? What is Pablo Escobar’s net worth? All about the cocaine kingpin, Pablo Escoba that every fan should know.
With the rave reviews about Narcos on Netflix, it seems as if there is a drastic increase in the number of people wanting to know more about the enigmatic drug dealer, Pablo Escobar.
If you have been living under a rock or were born after the 90s, Escobar, at one point was the biggest drug dealer in the world.
Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria was a Colombian drug lord, drug trafficker, and narcoterrorist who was the founder and sole leader of the Medellín Cartel. He eventually controlled over 80 percent of the cocaine shipped to the U.S., earning him the rank of one of Forbes Magazine’s 10 wealthiest people in the world.
Dubbed “The King of Cocaine,” Escobar is the wealthiest criminal in history, having amassed an estimated net worth of US$30 billion by the time of his death—equivalent to $64 billion as of 2021—while his drug cartel monopolized the cocaine trade into the United States in the 1980s and early 1990s.
He sold a lot of drugs, made mountains of money, and was pretty ruthless.
When you hear about the life that Pablo Escobar lived, it almost seems as if it was a movie. This is why The Vibely has gathered these 33 Outrageous Facts About Pablo Escobar, some of them sound downright insane.
1. Pablo Escobar Grew Up Poor
Pablo was born Dec 11th, 1949 to Abel de Jesús Dari Escobar, who was a farmer, and Hermilda Gaviria, an elementary school teacher. His mother had 7 children and at times money was hard to come by. Pablo saw the struggle that his mother had and at the mere age of 5 years old, Pablo told his mother “mom, wait until I grew up, I will give you everything.”
2. His Life of Crime Started in his Teens
As a teenager on the streets of Medellín, Colombia, Pablo started his criminal career by going to cemeteries and stealing gravestones. He would then sand them down and resell them to smugglers in Panama.
3. He Then Moved on to More Serious Crime
As he grew older, Escobar got involved in more serious criminal activities. These would include petty street scams, selling fake lottery tickets, selling contraband cigarettes, and also stealing automobiles.
4. His First Big Payday Was a Kidnapping
Before he made the big step into the drug business, he kidnapped and ransomed a Medellín executive for $100,000.
5. At the Start of His Cocaine Operation, He Flew Drugs Into the United States Himself
With the drug operation just starting up, Escobar would fly planes himself between Colombia and Panama, along the drug smuggling routes into the United States. The first plane he used was decommissioned and he hung it above the gate to his ranch at Hacienda Napoles.
6. Drugs Were Brought Into The U.S. in Plane Tires
With Pablo increasing the amount of cocaine he brought into the United States, he started moving the drugs in the tires of planes. A pilot could have a major payday of $500,000 per flight, depending on how much coke he could bring into the country.
7. The First Time he got Arrested he Made the Case Disappear
The first time Pablo got arrested he unsuccessfully tried to bribe the Medellín judges who were building a case against him. After many months of legal wrangling, Pablo took matters into his own hands and had the two arresting officers killed and the case was dropped. This was the start of how Escobar dealt with the authorities. He would either bribe them or kill them.
8. He Imported the Majority of Cocaine to the United States in the 80s
At the height of his power, Escobar brought 80% of cocaine into the United States. Four out of five people who snorted cocaine in the 1980s, were snorting Escobar coke.
9. He Smuggled in 15 Tons of Cocaine Daily to the United States
15 tons of cocaine were smuggled into the United States on a daily basis, this was the equivalent of 3-4 large adult elephants. Escobar would also buy Boeing 727s, strip out all the passenger seats and fly up to 10 tons per flight into the U.S.
10. He Made A Lot of Money
With the amount of cocaine coming into the U.S., Pablo was making around $60 million per day, $420 million a week, $1.8 billion a month, and roughly $22 billion in a year.
11. They Spent $4,000 a Month on Rubber bands for Cash
In the book, The Accountant’s Story: Inside the Violent World of the Medellín Cartel, Pablo’s brother, Roberto, indicated that he and his brother’s operation spent $1000 per week purchasing rubber bands, which were used to wrap the stacks of cash. Think about how cheap rubber bands are and the fact that they used $4,000 a month to purchase, means they had A LOT of money.
12. $2.2 Billion Had to Be Written Off Yearly Due to Rats
Pablo generated so much money, he began storing most of it in warehouses. Ten percent had to be written off yearly due to “spoilage”. That spoilage would be rats who would come into the warehouse at night and nibble on the thousands of hundred dollar bills.
13. Escobar Was one of the Top Billionaires in the World
In 1989, Forbes magazine placed Pablo Escobar as one of the richest people in the world. He was ranked as one of the top 227 billionaires in the world. They judged him to have a personal net worth of close to US$30 billion.
14. There is Millions of Dollars Buried in the Colombian Countryside
Escobar was bringing in millions of dollars a day. The amount was so staggering, they essentially ran out of space to store it. One ingenious way they could hide the money was by placing them inside drums and burying them around the Colombian countryside. Even after his death, many of the drums of money remain buried in or near other properties owned by Escobar in Colombia and other countries, including Mexico.
15. Escobar Lived by “Silver or Lead”
After his first arrest, Escobar relied on corruption and intimidation when dealing with the Colombian system. He had a very effective policy when dealing with law enforcement and the government. This policy was called “plata o plomo“, which means “silver or lead” (accept the money or face bullets”). This resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people which included government officials, policemen, and civilians.
16. He Killed A Lot of People
Pablo was responsible for the deaths of over 3,000 people. He had hitmen kill whoever got in his way. Escobar was in some way responsible for the deaths of three Colombian presidential candidates, a Justice Minister, an attorney general, over 200 judges, more than 1,000 police, dozens of journalists, and countless ordinary citizens.
17. He Blew Up an Airline
In his attempt to kill presidential candidate César Gaviria Trujillo, Pablo Escobar left instructions for his men to plant a bomb on Avianca Airlines 203. The bomb went off while the plane was in mid-flight and this resulted in the death of one hundred and ten people, including two Americans.
18. He Had Many Nicknames
Escobar had many different nicknames during his life. People would often refer to him as Don Pablo, El Doctor (The Doctor), El Mágico (The Magician), El Padrino (The Godfather), El Patrón (The Boss), El Señor (The Lord), El Zar de la Cocaína (The Tsar of Cocaine)
19. His Favorite Song Was “Si Yo Fuera Rico”
Pablo’s favorite song was “Si Yo Fuera Rico” (If I was a rich man)
If that song sounds super familiar, it was redone by Gwen Stefani and Eve for their hit song “Rich Girl”.
20. He Bought His Way Into the Colombian Congress
Pablo Escobar had so much money, he decided that as a way to legitimize himself, he would buy his way into Colombian politics. He supported a political party, was elected, and held the position of a congressman. With his new title, he was given automatic judicial immunity. This meant that Pablo could no longer be prosecuted for crimes under Colombian law. Because of his political appointment, he was entitled to a diplomatic visa. This allowed him to take trips to the United States and he was able to enjoy mansions he had bought in Miami for the first time.
21. Pablo Married His Wife When She Was 15 Years Old
When he was 25, Escobar fell in love with his best friend’s sister, Maria Victoria, who was only 13 at the time. A few years later they got married. At that time, Pablo was 27 and Maria was 15 years old. They went on to have two children together: Juan Pablo and Manuela.
22. His Daughter Wanted a Unicorn & Pablo Made it Happen
When Escobar’s daughter Manuela wanted a unicorn, he made the impossible possible. He bought her a horse and from there he stapled a cone to its head, as well as wings on the back. The horse later died from an infection.
23. He Controlled His Mistresses
Pablo loved his daughter so much that he forced one of his mistresses to have an abortion when she became pregnant. The reason for that act is that he promised his daughter that she would be the last of his bloodline.
24. He Loved Strange Entertainment With Beauty Queens
Pablo loved to entertain his closest friends and he would hire a bunch of beauty queens for a night of entertainment. The women would get naked and run to an expensive sports car, where the winner got to keep it. Sometimes the beauty queens would do humiliating things such as shaving their heads, swallowing insects, or engaging in naked tree-climbing contests.
25. He Was Seen as Robin Hood
Pablo spent a portion of his money helping the poor in Medellin. He was responsible for constructing many schools, churches, and hospitals. He would also distribute money and do other civil activities for those who did not have it. He was seen as a hero to the poor and many compared him to Robin Hood.
26. Escobar Created and Lived in a Luxurious Estate Called Hacienda Nápoles
In 1979, Escobar constructed a lavish country estate (Hacienda Los Nápoles) on a 7,400-acre ranch. The land for the ranch cost him $63 million.
This home was extremely extravagant and Escobar employed over 700 servants to keep it maintained and running. At Hacienda Napoles you could find billiard tables, pinball machines, bars, TVs, and jukeboxes. There was also a private bullfighting ring, six swimming pools, and lakes where people could jet ski. The biggest highlight was Escobar’s own personal zoo. This zoo contained hundreds of exotic animals from lions, elephants, rhinoceroses, zebras, camels, gazelles, buffaloes, hippos, and ostriches.
27. He Feared Extradition
Pablo has wanted in the United States on drug charges and the Colombian government was willing to hand him over to the U.S. for extradition. Escobar feared extradition even more than dying. Because of this, he increased his policy of Plata o plomo (silver or lead) against those who dared to oppose him.
28. He Orchestrated the Raid on the Palace of Justice
The Palace of Justice (Similar to the U.S. Supreme Court) in Bogotá, Colombia was stormed by armed guerrillas. Documents related to the extradition of Pablo Escobar were destroyed in a fire that consumed the building. It is alleged that Pablo Escobar paid the guerrillas one million dollars to carry out the act. More than 100 people died in the raid almost half of the 25 Supreme Court Justices were killed.
29. He Built His Own Prison to House Himself
With the threat of being extradited hanging over his head, Escobar made a deal with the Colombian government that he would stop his policy of plata o plomo and surrender to the government. The terms of the deal would require Escobar to serve a maximum term of five years, and the Colombian government would not extradite him to the United States. Pablo agreed on this deal, but he would be the one to create his own luxurious private prison, La Catedral (The Cathedral). The prison would be built to Escobar’s specifications and he would also choose his own guards.
The prison was often called “Club Medellín,” or “Hotel Escobar,” because of its amenities. On the grounds of La Catedral, you would find a soccer field, jacuzzi, bar, a waterfall, and a giant dollhouse.
30. He Burned $2 Million to Keep His Daughter Warm
When Pablo was on the run, his daughter started suffering from hypothermia. As a way to keep his daughter warm, the drug dealer burned $2 million. The fire from the burned money was also used to prepare food.
31. Pablo’s Death
By late 1992, Pablo was a wanted man, not only by the Search Bloc, a special, US-trained Colombian task force, but also another group called “Los Pepes,” (“People Persecuted by Pablo Escobar“). Los Pepes were made up of family members of Escobar’s victims and they were mainly financed through his main rival, the Cali Cartel.
On December 2nd, 1993, Search Bloc was tipped off as to where Escobar was hiding and a shootout ensued. When the shootout ended, Pablo Escobar was dead. He had a gunshot in his leg, torso, and a fatal one in his ear. Many people believe that he committed suicide as he would have rather been captured dead than alive, while others say he was shot by a policeman.
32. Pablo Escobar’s Porsche 911 Race Car is Up For Sale
The vehicle, a 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.0 RSR IROC. Originally built for the 1974 International Race of Champions, this example was owned by Roger Penske and first raced by Emmerson Fittipaldi. The Formula 1 World Champion qualified the car in pole position, eventually finishing the event seventh. The vehicle was then sold to privateer racer John Tunstall who competed in the 24 Hours of Daytona and Sebring 12 Hour.
From there, Tunstall sold the car to Pablo Escobar, who took the car to Colombia. The famous drug lord raced the car, which wore Porsche 935 bodywork before it was brought back to the United States in the early 1990s. The car was then refitted with its original bodywork and was later given a full restoration, completed in 2010.
As far as vintage Porsche racecars go, one could do a lot worse than this example. Capable of endurance competition and fitted with its original racing spec 911/75 “high butterfly” 3.0-liter flat-six, it’s a vehicle near enough ready to head back out on track. The auction notes state that the car should be eligible for historic competition, albeit with a few safety-related upgrades made to suit. This likely involves items like seats and harnesses, which have expiration dates when used in competitive settings.
Overall, the interior appears in near-original condition, with beautiful analog gauges and vintage switchgear. Other nice 70s touches include the delicious deep-dish Fuchs alloy wheels and that gigantic spoiler on the rear.
However, given the current bid sits at $850,500 at the time of writing, it’s one example you probably don’t want to bin in the tire barriers in the heat of battle. The Drive report on Pablo Escobar’s car collection stated that the car sold at $875,000 at an auction in 2012, so that figure could climb higher yet.
33. Pablo Escobar car collection
The world’s largest drug dealer met a spectacular, bullet-riddled demise 22 years ago today. As you’d expect of a murderous cocaine czar, Pablo Escobar lived fast and aggressively. Luckily for avid collectors, Pablo was the seventh wealthiest man in the world and had ample scratch (he once burned $3 million in cash to keep his daughter warm) to globally source an impeccable fleet of wheels that embodied similar attributes. The dude put the car in the cartel.
The names of his cars then were: 1974 Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche 935V, 1978 Simca 1000, 1978 Renault 4, 1946 DeSoto, 1928 Cadillac V8 Town Sedan, Mercedes 190SL Roadster, Toyota Land Cruiser, 1964 Porsche 356, 1972 Mercedes S600 Pullman.