What do Pablo Escobar, El Chapo, Frank Lucas, and the Griselda Blanco have in common?
Besides being some of the most infamous drug lords in history, they all made billions of dollars trafficking drugs. Here are the five most famous drug lords of all time, along with their estimated net worths.
Pablo Escobar is one of the most famous drug lords because of his cocaine empire. He was one of the biggest cocaine dealers in the world and his organization supplied 80% of the US market. He was so powerful that he killed a Colombian presidential candidate. He was also known for his violent streak – he reportedly blew up an airliner full of innocent people just to kill an informer who was on board.
“But what really made Pablo Escobar famous was his Robin Hood-like persona,” according to Crixeo, “The taking from the rich and giving to the poor, earning himself the nickname “El Patron.” In poverty-ridden Colombia, this made him a folk hero.”
The Netflix series Narcos tells Pablo Escobar’s story and has likely contributed to his notoriety. The show paints him as a man who was power-hungry and willing to do whatever it took to maintain his power. It also shows how his wealth affected those around him, both positively and negatively.
According to Forbes, Escobar had an estimated net worth of $30 billion at the height of his power – making him one of the richest men in history. In 1989, Forbes magazine ranked Escobar as the seventh-richest man in the world, and by 1992 he had shot up to number three.
But it’s not just narcotics that drove up Escobar’s net worth. He was also involved in a wide range of other criminal activities, from smuggling weapons to kidnappings and bombings. He even ran his own army at one point, which numbered in the thousands. All of this helped him earn the nickname “The King of Cocaine.”
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Frank Lucas is one of the most famous drug lords for a variety of reasons. He was one of the first major dealers to move products into the United States from overseas, he ran a successful and thriving operation in Harlem during the 1970s, and his story was famously adapted into the film American Gangster starring Denzel Washington.
“Lucas began his career working for a local drug dealer named Bumpy Johnson,” added Crixeo, “When Johnson passed away, Lucas saw an opportunity to take over his business and began smuggling heroin into the United States from Thailand via Laos on military planes. This new strategy allowed him to bypass traditional channels and sell purer heroin at a much cheaper price, which quickly made him very popular in Harlem.”
We also know that Lucas was once one of the richest drug dealers in Harlem, making an estimated $52 million per year from his illegal activity. If we assume that he maintained a similar level of income during his years as a drug kingpin, then his net worth would be even higher than our initial estimate.
Griselda Blanco was one of the most famous drug lords because she pioneered the use of violence and intimidation in the cocaine trade, and her story was made into a popular car movie. After being deported from the United States to Colombia in 1985, Blanco resumed her cocaine trafficking operations.
She employed a fleet of cars equipped with armor and bulletproof glass to avoid arrest, and she was known for carrying a gun in her handbag. “Her ruthlessness earned her the nickname “The Godmother,” and she is thought to have ordered more than 200 murders,” stated Crixeo. In 2004, she was shot dead by a motorcycle assassin.
It is estimated that Griselda Blanco had a net worth of $2 billion at the time of her death. This estimate is based on properties she owned, money she earned through drug trafficking, and royalties from the movie “Scarface”, which was inspired by her life.
Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman
There are several reasons why Joaquin El Chapo Guzman was one of the most famous drug lords. His colorful lifestyle and dramatic escapes from prison made him a media sensation, and his vast wealth and power made him a feared figure in Mexico and beyond. But perhaps the most important factor in his notoriety was his involvement in the international cocaine trade.
Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that can be very profitable to traffic, and Guzman was one of the biggest players in the business. He controlled much of the cocaine that entered the United States, making him responsible for supplying millions of addicts with their fix.
It’s estimated that El Chapo Guzman had a net worth of around $1 billion at the height of his drug-trafficking career. He was said to have owned a fleet of luxury cars, as well as properties across Mexico and even in the US. He also reportedly invested in a number of businesses, including a major film studio.
Amado Carrillo Fuentes
Amado Carrillo Fuentes was one of the most famous drug lords because he made a fortune smuggling cocaine into the United States. He got his start in the drug trade by smuggling marijuana from Mexico into the United States. But he eventually graduated to smuggling cocaine, which is much more profitable.
In addition to being a successful drug smuggler, Carrillo Fuentes was also a very ruthless and violent man. He was known for ordering the killings of anyone who dared cross him. He also had a lavish lifestyle and spent millions of dollars on cars, jewelry, and luxury homes. In 1997, he died while undergoing plastic surgery to change his appearance.
According to Forbes magazine, Amado Carrillo Fuentes was worth $25 billion at the time of his death in 1997. This makes him one of the richest drug lords in history.
Much of this wealth was amassed through his control of the Juárez cartel, which dominated drug trafficking along the Mexico-US border during the 1990s. After Carrillo’s death, the cartel fragmented and its share of the drug trafficking market declined significantly.