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Pablo Escobar

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Pablo Escobar is well known throughout the world as one of their greatest outlaws. He grew from obscurity to be the leading cocaine distributor in the world. He led an empire of terror, drugs, money, and violence. He was a gangster and outlaw in the ranks of icons such as Al Capone, Bonnie and Clyde, and John Gotti. He can only be understood by looking at the man’s early life, his rise to ultimate power, and the absolute necessity of ending his reign of terror by any means.

Pablo Escobar was born in 1949. His father was a peasant farmer and his mother was a school teacher. Pablo grew up in Envigado. Envigado was a suburb of the second largest city in Colombia, Medellin. Escobar’s childhood was in a very violent atmosphere. It was a rather brutal time in the consistently violent Colombian history. was growing up in a violent time in Colombia's violent history (Godfather). The period in which Escobar grew up in is known as “La Violencia”(meaning “the violence”) in Colombian History. At this time Colombia was involved in a political feud between the Liberals and Conservatives. Jorge Eliecer Gaitan was a leader of the Liberal group. He was assassinated on April 9, 1948. This act sparked riots, vandalism, and an overall state of panic. Colombian was thrown in to an unceasing state of rebellion and insurrection (Violencia).

In Escobar’s teenage years he was slowly getting into crime. He dropped out of school three months before graduation. He was soon drifting towards small time crime. Escobar had a certain quality about him that was probably the key to his rise to power. He was able to stay overly calm in situations that would frighten normal people (Bowden 17, 19). Pablo was had a great sense for ambition. He did not smoke cigarettes and he rarely drank alcohol. But according to his brother, Roberto, “He did enjoy weed, and his favorite beer: Heineken.” (Gangsters). It was always rumored that Pablo got his start in crime in a rather unconventional way. He and his gang would steal headstones from cemeteries, sandblasting them clean, and reselling them to the public. He actually got his start selling fake lottery tickets and conning people out of there money outside of banks. He then moved into stealing cars. Escobar would steal the cars and sell them to “chop shops”. He would often even drag people from behind the wheel of their car in broad daylight. Once he had made a name for himself stealing cars he began to try different forms of crime. He would offer protection to people so they would not get their car stolen. This way he was making money off of the cars he was stealing, and the cars he was not stealing. Escobar was now more than just a street thug, he was becoming a crime boss. Sometimes when a man owed him money he would kidnap them. He would then ransom them out. If the family did not pay he would kill them. He would even sometime kill them even if the ransom was paid. Pablo soon gained an asset that would lead him to his outlaw status (Bowden 19-20).

Diego Echavarria was a factory owner that was well respected in the high social societies but not well like in the lower class of Medellin. Echavarria was kidnapped and held ransom for fifty thousand dollars. The ransom was paid, but Echavarria was still beaten and strangled to death. Diego Echavarria�s murder was beneficial to Escobar and his gang in two ways, the fifty thousand dollar ransom and the social justice of it all. He was beginning to become a legend (Bowden 21).

He soon realized that he needed to expand into a market that was already booming in Colombia. He had already been introduced into the drug business by trafficking cocoa paste from where it was grown in the Andes Mountains, to the drug laboratories in Medellin. He would even race his cousin, Gustavo Gaviria, to see who could get there first. Whoever won the race was awarded the full purse. Escobar soon realized he needed to move up in the drug business. He made the change from small time courier, to smuggler (Godfather). When Escobar got news of a thriving cocaine-processing plant on his “turf” he made his way into the business (Bowden 22). At the time cocaine was worth thirty-five thousand dollars per kilo. A small plane could make big money (Godfather). Pablo contacted a man by the name of Jorge Ochoa. Pablo first met Jorge in Bogota when Escobar was racing cars. They were both fans of the sport (Jorge). Pablo contacted Jorge because he and his brother, Juan David, were working for one of the first Colombian cocaine chiefs, Fabio Restrepo. He wanted to sell Restrepo fourteen kilos of uncut cocaine. The Ochoa brothers were not impressed with this sale due to the small nature of it. However, the brothers would be impressed when just two months later Restrepo was murdered and Escobar was the new boss. It was never proven false or true if Escobar had anything to do with Restrepo’s death (Bowden 23).

Pablo Escobar was now leading the cocaine business in Colombia. The cocaine that was sold on the streets of the United States was a white powder called cocaine hydrochloride. At first the coca leaves were not grown in Colombia. Most of the coca leaves and paste were imported from neighboring countries like Bolivia and Peru. Escobar knew this was not the most efficient way to make money. He began to hand out the coca seeds to the peasants and encouraged them to grow the important crop (Drug).

In March 1976, Pablo Escobar married Maria Victoria Henao Vellejo. She was a very pretty, and very young girl. Pablo was twenty-six and Maria was fifteen. He had to buy a special dispensation from the bishop (Bowden 24). Pablo wasn’t always faithful to his wife. He was very fond of young girls and often committed adultery, however according to his brother, Maria “always stayed the love of his life” (Gangsters).

Instead of sending his cocaine in small packages, like he did in his younger days, Pablo was now dealing with very large shipments. Just two months after his marriage, Pablo was arrested after returning from a drug run in Ecuador. One of Escobar’s adversaries tipped off the DAS (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad). This was not the first time that Pablo had been arrested. He had been arrested a few times for small crimes as a youth. This was different. He was caught with thirty-nine kilos of cocaine, that is big league smuggling. His initial reaction was to try and bribe the judge. The judge was not easily corrupted. He turned the bribe down flat. Pablo researched the judges background and found that he had a brother that was a lawyer. The two did not get along at all and the brother chose to take the case. The judge changed his mind and took the bribe. After Escobar



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