Pablo Escobar

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This article is about the drug lord. For other uses, see Pablo Escobar (disambiguation).
This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Escobar and the second or maternal family name is Gaviria.
Pablo Escobar
Pablo Escobar Mug.jpg
A mugshot of Escobar taken in 1977 by the Medellín Control Agency.
Born Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria
(1949-12-01)December 1, 1949
Rionegro, Colombia
Died December 2, 1993(1993-12-02) (aged 44)
Medellín, Colombia
Other names
  • Don Pablo
  • El Padrino (The Godfather)
  • El Patrón (The Boss)
  • El Señor (The Lord)
  • El Mágico (The Magician)
  • El Pablito (little Pablo)
  • El Zar de la Cocaína
    (The Tsar of Cocaine)
Occupation Founder and head of the Medellín Cartel
Criminal penalty 5 years imprisonment[1]
Spouse(s) Maria Victoria Henao (1976–1993; his death)
Conviction(s) Drug trafficking and smuggling, assassinations, bombing, bribery, racket, rape

Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria (December 1, 1949 – December 2, 1993) was a Colombian drug lord and trafficker. His cartel, at the height of his career, supplied an estimated 80% of the cocaine smuggled into the United States.[2][3] Often called "The King of Cocaine", he was the wealthiest criminal in history, with an estimated known net worth of US $30 billion by the early 1990s.[4] He was also one of the 10 richest men in the world at his prime and lived in his self-built Hacienda Nápoles.[5]

Escobar was born in Rionegro, Colombia and grew up in nearby Medellín. After briefly studying at Universidad Autónoma Latinoamericana of Medellín, he left without a degree and began to engage in criminal activity that involved selling contraband cigarettes along with fake lottery tickets, and grand theft auto. In the 1970s he began to work for various contraband smugglers often kidnapping and holding people of interest for ransom. In 1975 Escobar began distributing powder cocaine himself and began the first smuggling routes into the United States. His infiltration to the drug market of the U.S. expanded exponentially due to the rising demand for cocaine, and by the 1980s it was estimated that 70 to 80 tons of cocaine were being shipped from Colombia to the U.S. on a monthly basis. His drug network was commonly known as the "Medellín Cartel" and often competed with rival cartels domestically and abroad resulting in high-rate massacres and the deaths of police officers, judges, locals and prominent politicians.

In 1982, Escobar was elected as an alternate member of the Chamber of Representatives of Colombia as part of the Colombian Liberal Party. Escobar was responsible for the construction of many hospitals, schools and churches in western Colombia, which gained him popularity inside the local Roman Catholic Church and the locals of the towns he frequented. However he was seen as an enemy of the Colombian and American governments and his political exploits resulted in Colombia becoming the murder capital of the world.[6] Escobar was shot and killed by Colombian National Police, in his hometown 24 hours after his 44th birthday.[7][8]

Early life[edit]

Medellín, Colombia, where Escobar grew up and began his drug distribution.

Pablo Escobar was born in Rionegro, in the Antioquia Department of Colombia, the third of seven children to Abel de Jesús Dari Escobar, a farmer, and Hermilda Gaviria, an elementary school teacher.[9] As a teenager on the streets of Medellín, he began his criminal career by allegedly stealing gravestones and sanding them down for resale to smugglers. His brother and accountant, Roberto Escobar, denies this, claiming that the gravestones came from cemetery owners whose clients had stopped paying for site care and that they had a relative who had a monuments business.[10] Pablo studied for a short time at the Universidad Autónoma Latinoamericana of Medellín, but left the University without obtaining a degree.[11]

Escobar eventually became involved in many criminal activities with Oscar Benel Aguirre — running petty street scams, selling contraband cigarettes and fake lottery tickets, and stealing cars.[citation needed] In the early 1970s, he was a thief and bodyguard, and allegedly made $100,000 by kidnapping and ransoming a Medellín executive before entering the drug trade.[12] His next step on the ladder was to become a millionaire by working for contraband smuggler Alvaro Prieto. Escobar's childhood ambition was to become a millionaire by the time he was 22.[13]

Criminal career[edit]

Cocaine distribution[edit]

Pablo Escobar and his cartel mainly operated in the mountainous regions of Colombia and exported from Rionegro and Medellín.

In The Accountant's Story, Roberto De Jesus Escobar Gaviria discusses the means by which Pablo rose from middle-class simplicity and obscurity to one of the world's wealthiest men. In 1975, Pablo started developing his cocaine operation. He even flew a plane himself several times, mainly between Colombia and Panama, along smuggling routes into the United States. When he later bought 15 new and bigger airplanes, including a Learjet and six helicopters, according to his son, a dear friend of Pablo died during the landing of an airplane. The friend died and the plane was destroyed. Pablo reconstructed the airplane from the scrap parts that were left and later hung it above the gate to his ranch at Hacienda Napoles. In May 1976, Escobar and several of his men were arrested and found in possession of 39 pounds (18 kg) of white paste after returning to Medellín with a heavy load from Ecuador. Initially, Pablo tried unsuccessfully to bribe the Medellín judges who were forming the case against him. Instead, after many months of legal wrangling, Pablo had the two arresting officers killed, and the case was dropped. Here he began his pattern of dealing with the authorities, by either bribing them or killing them.[14] Roberto Escobar maintains Pablo fell into the drug business simply because other types of contraband became too dangerous to traffic. There were no drug cartels then, and only a few drug barons, so there was plenty of business for everyone. In Peru, they bought the cocaine paste, which they then refined in a laboratory in a two-story house in Medellín. On his first trip, Pablo bought a paltry 13.5 kilos (30 pounds) of paste in what was to become the first step towards building his empire. At first, he smuggled the cocaine in old plane tires, and a pilot could earn as much as $500,000 per flight depending on how much he could smuggle.[15]

Rise to prominence[edit]

Powder cocaine was manufactured, packaged, and sold by Pablo Escobar and his associates, eventually being distributed to the U.S. drug market.

Soon, the demand for cocaine was skyrocketing in the United States, and Pablo organized more smuggling shipments, routes, and distribution networks in South Florida, California and other parts of the country. He and cartel co-founder Carlos Lehder worked together to develop a new trans-shipment point in the Bahamas, an island called Norman's Cay about 220 miles (350 km) southeast of the Florida coast. (According to his brother's account, Pablo did not purchase Norman's Cay; it was, instead, a sole venture of Carlos Lehder's.) Carlos and Robert Vesco purchased most of the land on the island, which included a 1 kilometre (3,300 ft) airstrip, a harbor, a hotel, houses, boats, and aircraft, and built a refrigerated warehouse to store the cocaine. From 1978 to 1982, this was used as a central smuggling route for the Medellín Cartel. With the enormous profits generated by this route, Escobar was soon able to purchase 7.7 square miles (20 km2) of land in Antioquia for several million dollars, on which he built his home, Hacienda Napoles. He created a zoo, a lake, and other diversions for his family and organization.[16]

Escobar's private estate, Hacienda Nápoles (Pictured: private bullring).

At one point, it was estimated that 70 to 80 tons of cocaine were being shipped from Colombia to the United States every month. In the mid-1980s, at the height of its power, Escobar's Medellín Cartel was shipping as much as 11 tons per flight in jetliners to the United States (the biggest load shipped by Pablo was 23,000 kilograms (51,000 lb) mixed with fish paste and shipped via boat, as confirmed by his brother in the book Escobar). Roberto Escobar also claimed that, in addition to using planes, Pablo employed two small submarines to transport the massive loads.[2]

Established drug network[edit]

In 1982, Escobar was elected as an alternate member of the Chamber of Representatives of Colombia as part of the Colombian Liberal Party.[17] In that capacity, he was the official representative of the Colombian government for the swearing-in of Felipe González in Spain.[citation needed]

Escobar quickly became known internationally as his drug network gained notoriety; the Medellín Cartel controlled a large portion of the drugs that entered the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Spain. The cocaine was produced with coca from Bolivia and Peru through other drug dealers, such as Roberto Suárez Goméz, since Colombian coca was initially of substandard quality, and demand for more and better cocaine increased. Escobar's cocaine reached many other countries in the Americas, and Europe through Spain; it was even rumored his network reached as far as Asia.

Plata o plomo[edit]

Corruption and intimidation characterized Escobar's dealings with the Colombian system. He had an effective, inescapable policy in dealing with law enforcement and the government, referred to as "plata o plomo" (literally "silver or lead", colloquially "[accept] money or [face] bullets"). Its execution resulted in the deaths of hundreds of individuals, including civilians, policemen and state officials. At the same time, Escobar bribed countless government officials, judges and other politicians. Escobar was allegedly responsible for the 1989 murder of Colombian presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galán, one of three assassinated candidates who were all competing in the same election, as well as the bombing of Avianca Flight 203 and the DAS Building bombing in Bogotá in 1989. The Medellín Cartel was also involved in a deadly drug war with its primary rival, the Cali Cartel, for most of its existence.[citation needed]

Palace of Justice siege[edit]

Escobar was held directly responsible for the 1985 storming of the Colombian Supreme Court by various media publications.

It is alleged that Escobar backed the 1985 storming of the Colombian Supreme Court by left-wing guerrillas from the 19th of April Movement, also known as M-19, which resulted in the murder of half the judges on the court. Some of these claims were included in a late 2006 report by a Truth Commission of three judges of the current Supreme Court. One of those who discusses the attack is Jhon Jairo Velásquez, aka "Popeye",[18] a former Escobar hitman. At the time of the siege, the Supreme Court was studying the constitutionality of Colombia's extradition treaty with the U.S.[19] Roberto Escobar stated in his book that indeed the M-19 were paid to break into the Palace of Justice and burn all papers and files on Los Extraditables — the group of cocaine smugglers who were under threat of being extradited to the US by their Colombian government. But the plan backfired and hostages were taken for negotiation of their release, so Los Extraditables were not directly responsible for the actions of the M-19.[citation needed]

Height of power[edit]

Escobar's cartel smuggled cocaine in packaged blocks by hiding them in various machinery and often integrated them into cars, submarines, planes and boats.

During the height of its operations, the cartel brought in more than $70 million per day (making roughly $22 billion in a year).[citation needed] Smuggling fifteen tons of cocaine per day, worth more than half a billion dollars, into the United States, the operation spent $1000 per week purchasing rubber bands to wrap the stacks of cash, storing most of it in their warehouses. Ten percent had to be written off per year because of "spoilage" by rats that crept in at night and nibbled on the hundred dollar bills.[13]

Pablo Escobar said that the essence of the cocaine business was "Simple: you bribe someone here, you bribe someone there, and you pay a friendly banker to help you bring the money back."[20] In 1989, Forbes magazine estimated Escobar to be one of 227 billionaires in the world with a personal net worth of close to US$3 billion [21] while his Medellín Cartel controlled 80% of the global cocaine market.[22] It is commonly believed that Escobar was the principal financier behind Medellín's Atlético Nacional who won South America's most prestigious football tournament, the Copa Libertadores, in 1989.[23]

While seen as an enemy of the United States and Colombian governments, Escobar was a hero to many in Medellín (especially the poor people); he was a natural at public relations and he worked to create goodwill among the poor people of Colombia. A lifelong sports fan, he was credited with building football fields and multi-sports courts, as well as sponsoring children's football teams.[13] Escobar was responsible for the construction of many hospitals, schools and churches in western Colombia, which gained him popularity inside the local Roman Catholic Church.[24][page needed] He worked hard to cultivate his Robin Hood image, and frequently distributed money through housing projects and other civic activities, which gained him notable popularity among the poor. The population of Medellín often helped Escobar by serving as lookouts, hiding information from the authorities, or doing whatever else they could to protect him. At the height of his power, drug traffickers from Medellín and other areas were handing over between 20% and 35% of their Colombian cocaine-related profits to Escobar, because he was the one who shipped the cocaine successfully to the US.[citation needed]

The Colombian cartels' continuing struggles to maintain supremacy resulted in Colombia quickly becoming the world's murder capital with 25,100 violent deaths in 1991 and 27,100 in 1992.[25] This increased murder rate was fueled by Escobar's giving money to his hitmen as a reward for killing police officers, over 600 of whom died as a result.[6]

La Catedral prison[edit]

Main article: La Catedral

After the assassination of Luis Carlos Galán, the administration of César Gaviria moved against Escobar and the drug cartels. Eventually, the government negotiated with Escobar, convincing him to surrender and cease all criminal activity in exchange for a reduced sentence and preferential treatment during his captivity.

Declaring an end to a series of previous violent acts meant to pressure authorities and public opinion, Escobar surrendered to Colombian authorities in 1991. Before he gave himself up, the extradition of Colombian citizens had been prohibited by the newly approved Colombian Constitution of 1991; this was controversial, as it was suspected that Escobar and other drug lords had influenced members of the Constituent Assembly. Escobar was confined in what became his own luxurious private prison, La Catedral. Accounts of Escobar's continued criminal activities while in prison began to surface in the media. When the government found out that Escobar was still operating his drug business from within La Catedral, it attempted to move him to a more conventional jail on 22 July 1992. Escobar's influence allowed him to discover the plan in advance and make a well-timed escape.[26] He was still worried that he could be extradited to the United States.

Search Bloc and Los Pepes[edit]

Main articles: Los Pepes and Search Bloc

In 1992, the United States Joint Special Operations Command (consisting of members of USN DEVGRU and Delta Force) and Centra Spike joined the manhunt for Escobar. They trained and advised a special Colombian police task force known as the Search Bloc, which had been created to locate Escobar. Later, as the conflict between Escobar and the United States and Colombian governments dragged on and the numbers of his enemies grew, a vigilante group known as Los Pepes (Los Perseguidos por Pablo Escobar, "People Persecuted by Pablo Escobar") was financed by his rivals and former associates, including the Cali Cartel and right-wing paramilitaries led by Carlos Castaño, who would later fund the Peasant Self-Defense Forces of Córdoba and Urabá. Los Pepes carried out a bloody campaign fueled by vengeance in which more than 300 of Escobar's associates and relatives were slain and large amounts of his cartel's property were destroyed.

Members of the Search Bloc, and also of Colombian and United States intelligence agencies, in their efforts to find and punish Escobar, either colluded with Los Pepes or moonlighted as both Search Bloc and Los Pepes simultaneously. This coordination was allegedly conducted mainly through the sharing of intelligence in order to allow Los Pepes to bring down Escobar and his few remaining allies, but there are reports that some individual Search Bloc members directly participated in missions of the Los Pepes death squads.[24][page needed] One of the leaders of Los Pepes was Diego Murillo Bejarano (also known as "Don Berna"), a former Medellín Cartel associate who became a drug kingpin and eventually emerged as a leader of one of the most powerful factions within the AUC.

Death and aftermath[edit]

Members of Colonel Hugo Martínez's Search Bloc celebrate over Pablo Escobar's body on 2 December 1993. His death ended a 15-month search effort that cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

The war against Pablo Escobar ended on 2 December 1993, amid another of Escobar's attempts to elude the Search Bloc. Using radio triangulation technology, a Colombian electronic surveillance team, led by Brigadier Hugo Martínez,[27] found him hiding in a middle-class barrio in Medellín. With authorities closing in, a firefight with Escobar and his bodyguard, Alvaro de Jesús Agudelo (a.k.a. "El Limón"), ensued. The two fugitives attempted to escape by running across the roofs of adjoining houses to reach a back street, but both were shot and killed by Colombian National Police.[7] Escobar suffered gunshots to the leg and torso, and a fatal gunshot through the ear. It has never been proven who actually fired the final shot into his head, or determined whether this shot was made during the gunfight or as part of a possible execution, and there is wide speculation about the subject. Some of Escobar's relatives believe that he could have committed suicide.[8][28] His two brothers, Roberto Escobar and Fernando Sánchez Arellano, believe that he shot himself through the ears: "He committed suicide, he did not get killed. During all the years they went after him, he would say to me every day that if he was really cornered without a way out, he would shoot himself through the ears."[29]

Soon after Escobar's death and the subsequent fragmentation of the Medellín Cartel, the cocaine market became dominated by the rival Cali Cartel until the mid-1990s when its leaders, too, were either killed or captured by the Colombian government. The Robin Hood image that Escobar had cultivated maintained a lasting influence in Medellín. Many there, especially many of the city's poor whom Escobar had aided while he was alive, mourned his death. About 25,000 were present for his burial.[30]

Virginia Vallejo's testimony[edit]

On 4 July 2006, Virginia Vallejo, a television anchorwoman who was romantically involved with Escobar from 1983 to 1987, offered to the Colombian Attorney General Mario Germán Iguarán Arana her testimony in the trial against former Senator Alberto Santofimio, accused of conspiracy in the 1989 assassination of presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galán. Iguarán acknowledged that, although Vallejo contacted his office on 4 July the judge had decided to close the trial on 9 July several weeks before the prospective closing date and, in Iguarán's opinion, "too soon".[31]

On 16 July 2006, Vallejo was taken to the United States in a special Drug Enforcement Administration flight.[32] According to the American Embassy in Bogotá, this was done for "safety and security reasons" because Vallejo's cooperation was needed in high-profile criminal cases.[33] On 24 July 2006, a video in which Vallejo accused former Senator Alberto Santofimio of instigating Escobar, in her presence, to eliminate presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galán was aired on Colombian television. In 2007, Vallejo published her book Amando a Pablo, odiando a Escobar[34] (Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar),[35] wherein she describes her relationship with the drug lord during the early years of the cocaine boom and his charity projects for the poor, when he was a deputy congressman. She gives her account of Escobar's relationship with Caribbean governments and dictators and his role in the birth of the M.A.S. (Death to Kidnappers) and Los Extraditables. Vallejo also gives her account of numerous incidents throughout Escobar's political and criminal career, such as the assassination of Justice Minister Rodrigo Lara in 1984, her lover's feud with the Cali Cartel, and the era of narcoterrorism that began after the couple's farewell in September 1987.

Role in the Palace of Justice siege[edit]

Among Escobar's biographers, only Vallejo has given a detailed explanation of his role in the 1985 Palace of Justice siege and the atrocities that took place before, during, and after that tragedy. The journalist stated that Escobar financed the operation, committed by the rebel M-19 group, but she blamed the army for the killings of the Supreme Court Justices and the M-19 members detained after the coup. In 2008, she was asked to testify in the reopened Palace case,[36] and in 2009 most of the events that she had described in her book and testimonial were confirmed by the Commission of Truth.[37] In 2010 and 2011, a high-ranking former colonel [38] and a former general [39] were sentenced to 30 and 35 years in prison for the forced disappearance of the detained after the siege.

In August 2009, Vallejo testified in the case of Luis Carlos Galán's assassination, which had also been reopened.[40] She also accused several politicians, including Colombian presidents Alfonso López Michelsen, Ernesto Samper, and Álvaro Uribe, of having links to the drug cartels. Uribe denied Vallejo's allegations.[41] On 3 June 2010, Vallejo was granted political asylum in the United States of America.

Personal life[edit]

In March 1976 at the age of 27, Escobar married Maria Victoria, who was 15 years old. Together they had two children: Juan Pablo (now Juan Sebastián Marroquín Santos) and Manuela. Escobar created and lived in a luxurious estate called Hacienda Nápoles and had planned to construct a Greek-style citadel near it. Construction of the citadel was started but never finished. After Pablo's death, the ranch, the zoo and the citadel were expropriated by the government and given to low-income families in the 1990s under a law called extinción de dominio (domain extinction). The property has been converted into a theme park surrounded by 4 luxury hotels overlooking the zoo and tropical park installation.[42]


Escobar's widow, María Henao (now María Isabel Santos Caballero), son, Juan Pablo (now Juan Sebastián Marroquín Santos), and daughter, Manuela, fled Colombia in 1995 after failing to find a country that would grant them asylum.[43] Argentinian filmmaker Nicolas Entel's documentary Sins of My Father chronicles Marroquín's efforts to seek forgiveness from the sons of Rodrigo Lara, Colombia's justice minister in the early 1980s, who was assassinated in 1984, as well as from the sons of Luis Carlos Galán, the presidential candidate who was assassinated in 1989. The film was shown at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and premiered in the US on HBO, in October 2010.[44]

Pablo Escobar's body was exhumed on 28 October 2006 at the request of some of their relatives, in order to take a DNA sample to confirm the alleged paternity of an illegitimate child and remove all doubt about the identity of the body that had been buried next to his parents for 12 years.[45] A video of the moment was broadcast by RCN, a fact that angered Escobar's son, Juan Sebastián Marroquín, who accused his uncle, Roberto Escobar Gaviria, and cousin, Nicolas Escobar, of being "merchants of death".[46]

In media and depiction[edit]


Artist Fernando Botero, a native of Antioquia as was Escobar, portrayed Escobar's death in one of his paintings about the violence in Colombia.

Escobar has been the subject of several books, including the following:

Films and television[edit]

Escobar has also been the subject of numerous feature films, documentaries, and television shows, such as those listed below.


Two major feature films on the Colombian drug lord, Escobar (2009) and Killing Pablo (2011), were announced in 2007,[53] around the same time. Details about them, and additional films about Escobar, are listed below.

  • In the film Clear and Present Danger (1994), the fictional character Ernesto Escobedo (portrayed by Miguel Sandoval) was based on Escobar[54]
  • Blow (2001), is a George Jung biopic featuring Escobar (portrayed by Cliff Curtis) as a supporting character.
  • The film, Pablo, Angel o Demonio (2008; English title: Pablo, Angel or demon) by Jorge Granier, explores the mixed legacy of a man hailed in the Barrio as a saint while despised elsewhere as a demon. It is the highest-grossing documentary of all time in Colombia.[citation needed]
  • Escobar (2009) was delayed because of producer Oliver Stone's involvement with the George W. Bush biopic W. (2008). The release date of Escobar remains unconfirmed.[when?].[55] Regarding the film, Stone said: "This is a great project about a fascinating man who took on the system. I think I have to thank Scarface, and maybe even Ari Gold."[56]
  • Killing Pablo (2011), in development for several years and directed by Joe Carnahan, is based on Mark Bowden's 2001 book of the same title, which in turn is based on his 31-part Philadelphia Inquirer series of articles on the subject.[49][50] The cast was reported to include Christian Bale as Major Steve Jacoby and Venezuelan actor Édgar Ramírez as Escobar.[57][58] In December 2008, Bob Yari, producer of Killing Pablo, filed for bankruptcy.[59]
  • Escobar: Paradise Lost (2014). Benicio del Toro played Escobar
  • The Infiltrator (2016), based on the autobiography of the same name by Robert Mazur, a federal customs and excise agent who helped bust Pablo Escobar's money-laundering organization by using his alias.
  • John Leguizamo is to portray Escobar in the upcoming biopic El Patron, based on a screenplay by Matthew Aldrich.[60]
  • Animal Planet aired a documentary called Drug Kingpin Hippos that featured Escobar, although the real subject was one of his illegally imported hippopotami that was running amok.


  • In the HBO television series Entourage, actor Vincent Chase (played by Adrian Grenier) plays Escobar in a fictional film entitled Medellin.[when?]
  • In the NCIS episode "Deliverance" (2009), it is implied that NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs killed a Colombian drug lord in 1992–93 and was wounded in Colombia. It is not mentioned if the drug lord was Escobar, but it is strongly implied that it was either the killing of Escobar, or a similar situation.
  • One of ESPN's 30 for 30 series films, The Two Escobars (2010), by directors Jeff and Michael Zimbalist, looks back at Colombia's World Cup run in 1994 and the relationship between sports and the country's criminal gangs — notably the Medellín narcotics cartel run by Escobar. The other Escobar in the film title refers to former Colombian National Team defender Andrés Escobar (no relation to Pablo), who was shot and killed one month after conceding an own goal that cost Colombia the 1994 FIFA World Cup.[61]
  • A Colombian television series, Escobar, el Patrón del Mal (2012), with Escobar as the central character, is based on the book La parábola de Pablo, by Alonso Salazar.
  • Caracol TV produced a television series, Pablo Escobar: El Patrón del Mal (Pablo Escobar, The Boss Of Evil), which began airing on 28 May 2012 and stars Andrés Parra as Pablo Escobar, Mauricio Mejía as a young Pablo Escobar, and Juan Pablo Franco as Gen. Miguel Maza Marquez.[62]
  • RTI Producciones produced a television series for RCN TV, Tres Caínes, which began on 4 March 2013 and stars Juan Pablo Franco as Pablo Escobar, but his character was crictized for looking like a stereotype.
  • The RCN TV Spanish-language telenovela series Tres Caínes (2013) tells the story of the brothers Castaño Gil, with Juan Pablo Franco portraying Pablo Escobar.
  • A Netflix original television series depicting the story of Escobar, titled Narcos, was released on 28 August 2015, starring Brazilian actor Wagner Moura as Pablo.
  • In the season three episode "I See You" of Breaking Bad, Walter, Jr. explains to his father that he is reading a book about the search for Escobar given to him by his uncle Hank.


  • In the on-rails shooter game, Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles (2009), the main antagonist, Javier Hidalgo, seems to be based on Pablo Escobar. Both were drug lords, had a daughter called Manuela, possessed a personal militia, had a "mini" zoo of exotic animals (Escobar had a collection of African animals, and Javier had a "collection" of B.O.Ws (Bio Organic Weapons)), had the population under their control, and shared the same fate.
  • In the video game Scarface: The World Is Yours (2006), a random conversation with Tony Montana and a banker makes reference to Escobar, stating that Manuel Noriega stole Pablo's money and didn't pay the CIA their cut.
  • In the video games Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002) and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (2006), set in a fictional American city based on Miami, Florida, the international airport featured in both games is called 'Escobar International Airport'. This is most likely a satirical reference to the Colombian cocaine trade that saw a significant part of its success in Miami.


  • The second album of the Mexican-American grindcore metal band Brujeria, Raza Odiada, includes a song called "El Patron", inspired by Escobar.
  • Gucci Mane's song "Pablo", on the album Diary of a Trap God, mentions Pablo Escobar.[citation needed]
  • Rapper Nas often refers to himself as "Nas Escobar" where he raps about selling drugs and about enjoying a lifestyle similar to Pablo Escobar's. This can be heard often on his mafioso rap sophomore album It Was Written (1996).
  • Brazilian-American band Soulfly included a song about Escobar in their album Enslaved (2012), titled "Plata o Plomo".
  • Soulja Boy's song "Pablo Escobar", featured in the project King Soulja 4, is a direct reference to Pablo Escobar.[citation needed]
  • Figg Panamera's song "Came to See Pablo" hints at Escobar in the lyrics and also features his image on the album cover.[citation needed]
  • Lil Wayne referenced Pablo Escobar in his remix of "Hot Niggas", on his Sorry For the Wait 2 mixtape, stating his favorite subject was P.E. (Pablo Escobar).
  • The track "Free Your Turntable and Your Scratch Will Follow", from the DJ Cam album Underground Vibes, references Pablo Escobar.[citation needed]
  • In 2010, ZORBA began Pablo Escobar tours in Medellín to cater to the hundreds of tourists who visit his grave each year.[citation needed]
  • Underground hip hop group Group Home references Escobar in the song "Supa Star".[citation needed]
  • American rapper Pusha T referenced Pablo Escobar on the song "Untouchable".[citation needed]

There are also several narcocorridos (drug ballads) about Pablo Escobar; see list of songs about Pablo Escobar (Spanish).

  • Title of underground Los Angeles rapper Conejo's album "Colombian Cocaine" is a reference to Escobar. (21 May 2015)
  • Nigeria hiphop recording artist Olamide popularly know as Badoo reference Pablo Escobar in his new song titled "Abule Sowo".
  • Nigerian hip-hop recording artist Lil Kesh also made reference to Pablo Escobar in his album song "Cause Trouble" featuring Wale
  • The track "Unforgettable", from Hozay ft. Two Tungs in his album The Rhyme Cellar, references Pablo Escobar. [63]


  1. ^ David Hutt (25 September 2014). "Heroes and Villains: Pablo Escobar". 
  2. ^ a b "Pablo Escobar Gaviria – English Biography – Articles and Notes". Retrieved 2011-03-16. 
  3. ^ "Pablo Emilio Escobar 1949 – 1993 9 Billion USD – The business of crime – 5 'success' stories". 2011-01-17. Retrieved 2011-03-16. 
  4. ^ "Pablo Escobar". February 2016. 
  5. ^ "10 facts reveal the absurdity of Pablo Escobar's wealth". February 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Karl Penhaul (9 May 2003). "Drug kingpin's killer seeks Colombia office". The Boston Globe. 
  7. ^ a b "Decline of the Medellín Cartel and the Rise of the Cali Mafia". U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Retrieved 2010-02-13. 
  8. ^ a b "Familiares exhumaron cadáver de Pablo Escobar para verificar plenamente su identidad". El Tiempo. 
  9. ^ Marcela Grajales. "Pablo Escobar". Accents Magazine. Kean University. Retrieved 2010-02-13. 
  10. ^ "Escobar Seventh Richest Man in the World in 1990". Richest Archived from the original on 2010-12-06. Retrieved 2010-02-13. 
  11. ^ Salazar, Alonso. "Pablo Escobar, h el patrón del mal (La parábola de Pablo)". Google Livres. Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial USA, 2012. Retrieved 11 February 2015. 
  12. ^ "Colombian Druglord Trying To Turn Wealth Into Respect". Orlando Sentinel. 10 March 1991. Retrieved 2011-03-16. 
  13. ^ a b c Escobar, Roberto (2009). The Accountant's Story: Inside the Violent World of the Medellín Cartel. Grand Central Publishing. 
  14. ^ "Pablo Escobar – The Medellin Cartel". Retrieved 2011-03-16. 
  15. ^ "Amazing story of how Pablo Escobar came to be the richest crook in history". The Daily Record. 16 March 2009. Retrieved 2011-03-16. 
  16. ^ "The godfather of cocaine". Frontline. WGBH. 
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  25. ^ Inter-American Commission on Human Rights – Chapter II: The Violence Phenomenon
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  39. ^ "Colombian 1985 Supreme Court raid commander sentenced". BBC News. 
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  41. ^ Romero, Simon (3 October 2007). "Colombian Leader Disputes Claim of Tie to Cocaine Kingpin". The New York Times. p. 1. 
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  48. ^ Bowden, Mark (2002). Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw. Penguin Pub. 
  49. ^ a b "What is actor Christian Bale doing next?". Journal Now. 25 December 2008. Retrieved 17 January 2009. 
  50. ^ a b McNary, Dave (1 October 2007). "Yari fast-tracking Escobar biopic". Variety. Retrieved 29 November 2007. 
  51. ^ Escobar, Roberto (2009). ESCOBAR. Hodder & Stoughton. 
  52. ^ Mollison, James. The Memory of Pablo Escobar (First ed.). Chris Boot. ISBN 978-1905712069. 
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  54. ^ "Clear and Present Danger (1994)". IMDb. [unreliable source?]
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  56. ^ Fleming, Michael (8 October 2007). "Stone to produce another 'Escobar'". Variety. Retrieved 28 November 2007. 
  57. ^ "Venezuelan actor Edgar Ramirez to Play PABLO ESCOBAR". Poor But Happy. 
  58. ^ Faraci, Devin (14 August 2008). "Joe Carnahan Is Going to Be Killing a New Pablo, and We Know Who It Is". Chud. 
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  60. ^ "El Patron (2017)". IMDb. 12 September 2015. [unreliable source?]
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  63. ^

External links[edit]