Pablo Escobar – The Cocaine Kingpin, the Godfather, the Tsar of Cocaine. There are many names associated with his legacy, but there are also many contradictions. A pillar of the Colombian community, he had sympathy for those he felt had been let down by the government. Yet the truth, as detailed by family members and those who spent years tirelessly attempting to hunt him down, tells a very different story, one of a cold-blooded assassin who stopped at nothing to make his billions. This is the real sinister legacy of Pablo Escobar that nobody should forget.
10 He Stole Tombstones To Make His First Fortune
For Escobar, business always came before morals, and that was a rule he stuck by from the very beginning. Born December 1, 1949, in Rionegro, Colombia, and raised in nearby Medellin, he was a child of an era known as La Violencia, during which there was much political unrest and poverty. Escobar wanted a different life for himself; it is said that one of his first illegal enterprises was robbing tombstones from local graveyards, sanding down the names, and selling them to Panamanian smugglers. Escobar stated that by the age of 22, he would be a millionaire—he never had a doubt.
In the early 1970s, Escobar had developed a versatile criminal career working as a thief and a bodyguard. But, like many up-and-coming drug lords, he desired to be a cartel leader, and much bloodshed had to take place to get him there.
9 He Used Hit Men To Do The Job
In order for Escobar to rise to the top of his game, he had to incite terror in both his colleagues and his competition. Rarely was there blood on his own hands; instead, he controlled a network of hit men. His top hit man was John Jairo Velasquez, also known as “Popeye.” One of Popeye’s most notable hits was the assassination of presidential hopeful and anti-drug-trafficking crusader Luis Carlos Galan in 1989. After Popeye was convicted for his role in that hit, he confessed to participating in around 300 murders and ordering some 3,000 others.
Popeye told Bocas magazine, “I had to kill a bus driver. The mother of a friend [of] Pablo Escobar was on his bus and he accelerated as she was getting off and she fell. He left her lying on the floor, he didn’t help and she died.” He added, “The guy asked Pablo Escobar to help him get his revenge. I found the [driver] and killed him. I didn’t feel anything. I haven’t lost any sleep over the acts I’ve committed.” In 1992, Popeye was sentenced to 52 years in prison, yet despite his staggering body count, he was paroled in 2014.