“I’m a decent man who exports flowers.”

–Pablo Escobar

After the release of Netflix’s show, Narcos, many are well acquainted with the story of the notorious Pablo Escobar. Called ‘Robin Hood’ by the people of Columbia, those whom he fed, housed and clothed, Pablo was perhaps the greatest drug lord the world has ever seen. Within a few short years he was able to expand his cartel making him the largest exporter of cocaine by the 1980s, 80 percent of which was bought by the United States. He believed crime to be the path towards being an individual in the position of legitimate, unquestionable power. He came up with innovative ways to export cocaine; he would smuggle it into plane tires and depending on how much product the pilots flew would often make over 500,000 dollars per day. He even bought submarines that would allow him easy transport to the US.

His trade grew so profitable that he even made the world’s richest people list seven times in a row and when faced with extradition, offered to pay off all of Columbia’s debt which was estimated to be 10 billion dollars at the time. However,his business was as ruthless as it was lucrative. He alone is said to be responsible for killing around 4000 people including judges, police officers, journalists and government officials. The effects of the drug epidemic that spread during his time are still seen today as majority of the funds for the production of the cocaine come from the US which continues to be the largest consumer and thus placing the US drug market at a 200 to 750 billion dollars per year. Globally, the popularity that Pablo gave to the drug market could be held responsible for the issue of increased drug usage in modern times.