Pablo Escobar was born in 1949 and was the son of a peasant framer and a school teacher in Medellin, Colombia, As a young boy, Pablo was expelled from school and drifted into petty crimes during a very violent period of history for Colombia, Pablo got his start in cocaine when he would deliver cocoa paste from the Andean Mountains to the laboratories in Medellin. He was caught once during this period but the charges were dropped on a technicality.
By the age of 26, Pablo made the transition from drug courier to drug smuggler. At that time, cocaine was worth $35,000 a kilo and a small plane carrying only a minimal amount could make big money. This began the rise of "El Patron" or The Boss. Soon by the age of 30, Pablo had made enough money from smuggling drugs into the United States that he purchased the Hacienda Napoles for $63 million and owned his own helicopter, a private zoo, and thousands of acres of land spread throughout Colombia.
Pablo and his close associates thought of themselves as the new Al Capone because what he did eventually became legal after prohibition. Pablo and his friends seriously believed that what they were doing was not illegal and one day it would become legal and their money and enterprises would be legitimized. Pablo even owned a car of Al Caponeķs.
Pabloķs planes loaded with cocaine had an astonishing success rate and the gauntlet of U.S. Customs planes only detected one in a hundred. These planes were smuggling about 400 kilos of cocaine a trip and one flight could net his cartel $10 million. The planes would land at remote airstrips or would drop the cargo in remote waterways were high-powered speed boats would rush and pick up the merchandise.
By the age of 32, Pablo was earning a half a million dollars a day. One problem he had was competition in Medellin. His biggest three competitors were the three Ochoa Brothers. The question for Pablo was to cooperate or compete. Pablo decided to cooperate and soon these loose business organization merged into one organization and began to work together cooperatively. They began to mix shipments up so there were three groups in one shipment thus displacing some of the cost when the shipment were intercepted. This new diversified group became known as the Medellin Cartel and split up the U.S. market with its competitors in the Colombian city of Cali, the Cali Cartel.
Soon the new cartel was running five flights a week into the United States and Escobar personally was making a million dollars a day. With his money, he purchased a soccer field and sponsored a soccer team. He set up social programs for poor people and hired poor people to do construction, to run business for him, and to teach in the local schools. At that time, he was doing more for the people of Medellin than the local federal government was doing. With his new power base, Escobar set his sights even higher.
Pablo decided in 1982 to run in the Congressional election and was elected as a substitute congressman. In a highly publicized debate, senior congress member Rodrigo Lara Bonilla chastised the Congress for allowing the illegal drug trafficking trade to enter the federal government. He claimed Colombia could never reform as long as the drug traffickers held power in office. Pablo was soon forced to step down from Congress and on April 30, 1984; Bonilla was assassinated in retaliation for his comments.
This assassination caused the President of Colombia, Belisario Betancur to fight the illegal drug industry even more aggressively that ultimately led to his assassination as well during a political rally in Bogot·, the capital of Colombia. Pablo reign of terror did not end there as he soon exploded a bomb outside police headquarters, which killed 63 and wounded 600. On November 27th, 1989, an Avianca jet blew up in mid-air killing all 107 passengers and crew. These events led to the introduction of a new word into the vocabulary: Narco-Terrorism.
With the heat on Pablo and his family ever more in danger, Pablo began secret negotiations with the government and struck a deal that would allow him to build his own prison, La Catedral, otherwise known as "Club Medellin." His "prison" had a jacuzzi, a discothĖque, and a spacious living room. He would have visitors come and go as he pleased but on one occasion, Pablo had three men executed inside the compound. After the new president heard of this, he dispatched the military to arrest Pablo and send him to a normal prison.
Pablo escaped before they arrived which sparked off a 17-month manhunt. On December 2nd, 1993, Pablo called his son Juan Pablo and the police were able to pinpoint his location and went to arrest him. Pablo tried to escape with a barrage of gunfire but was ultimately shot dead by the police.