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Incredible facts and figures about drug lord Pablo Escobar's crime empire

Photos logoPhotos 30/12/2018

Popular Netflix series “Narcos” (2015-) explores the rise and fall of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. Check out some interesting facts and figures about one of the wealthiest and most dangerous narcotics kingpins of all time. 

(Pictured below, L-R) Pablo Escobar; Wagner Moura (R) as Escobar in "Narcos"

© Sipa Press/Rex Shutterstock; Netflix/Everett/REX/Shutterstock

• Starting as a petty thief, Escobar used to steal cars and smuggle contraband cigarettes to earn money. In the early 1970s, he allegedly made $100,000 by kidnapping an executive based in the Colombian city of Medellín.

• During the peak of its operations, Escobar's infamous Medellín cartel made a reported $420 million every week. The cartel spent $2,500 on rubber bands alone; these were used to wrap the stacks of cash.

• In the ‘80s, the cartel was believed responsible for 80 percent of all the cocaine in the world… and smuggled a massive 15 tons of the drug into the U.S. every day!

© robertharding/Rex Images

• Roberto Escobar (pictured), Pablo's brother and the cartel accountant, claims the family had so much money hidden across the country they literally had no idea what to do with the fortune. In his book, The Accountant’s Story: Inside the violent world of the Medellín cartel, he writes: “Pablo was earning so much that each year we would write off 10 percent of the money because the rats would eat it ins storage and or it would be damaged by water or lost.”

• In another of his books, Escobar: The Inside Story of Pablo Escobar, the World’s Most Powerful Criminal, he claimed the cartel’s biggest ever U.S. shipment weighed 51,000 pounds (23,133 kilograms).

• Sometimes called the “King of Cocaine,” Escobar was, quite incredibly, ranked on Forbes’ list of international billionaires every year from 1987 to 1993. His personal fortune was once valued at $30 billion, although such estimates are understandably untrustworthy.

© Scott Dalton/Bloomberg

• He poured part of his fortune into the expansive and expensive Hacienda Nápoles (pictured). Located eight miles (13 kilometers) from the town of Puerto Triunfo and 152 miles (245 kilometers) from the capital city of Bogotá, Escobar envisioned this 7.7 square mile (20 square kilometers) estate as a Garden of Eden. He even had his own private zoo – with elephants, giraffes, buffalo, camels and lions. After his death, the estate was converted into a theme park.

• Escobar was so powerful and influential that when charged with the assassination of a politician, he struck a deal with the Colombian government. The deal allowed him to remain within a luxurious prison he built for himself. La Catedral (The Cathedral) had a soccer pitch and a Jacuzzi, among other accessories, and no law enforcement authority was allowed within three miles (4.8 kilometers).

• Despite the violence and brutality that filled his life, Escobar was looked on favorably by parts of the Colombian public. The drug lord commanded considerable loyalty from the poorer sections of the society, for whom he sponsored soccer teams and built hospitals, churches, schools and homes.

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