Ride along with urban explorer Foantje to the former island estate of the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar. In ruins now, Escobar’s expansive property must have been grand in its heyday.
Escobar was arguably the most infamous of Colombia’s drug lords. At the height of his power, he controlled over 80 percent of the cocaine trade and had a personal net worth of over $3 billion. While the drug lord carefully cultivated a “Robin Hood” image among the citizens of Medellín by building churches, schools and soccer fields, he was in reality a bloodthirsty, ruthless man who murdered his rivals and any law enforcement officials he couldn’t bribe. After Escobar’s assassination of a presidential candidate, Colombian officials negotiated his surrender and imprisonment. However, this was no regular prison: It was built specifically for Escobar, and had all of the amenities of a luxury resort. When public outcry grew too much to ignore, it was decided that he would be moved to a regular prison. It was too late by then: Escobar leisurely “escaped” from his prison.
In the end, it took a combination of assets from the Colombian and American military, Colombian law enforcement and a “vigilante” group actually funded by rival drug lords to take Escobar down. He died in 1993 at the age of 44.
If you’re interested in learning more about Escobar, Black Hawk Down author Mark Bowden’s Killing Pablo is an excellent account of his rise and fall. A movie based on the book was announced several years ago, but the project has been in development hell ever since, so I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting to see it.
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