drug king pin, Pablo Escobar. The writer examines the life of Escobar and the role he played in the criminal justice system as well as how organized crime may be different had Pablo Escobar not existed. There were five sources used to complete this paper.

The war on drugs is a worldwide effort. Drug pins and drug lords are constantly being sought out as the central factors of the drug deals that end up on the streets and the effort to curb those deals lead to a search for the king pin at the heart of the operation. One of the most notorious drug king pins in the world was Pablo Escobar. Escobar was well-known for his role in the worldwide effort to manufacture, distribute and profit from the sale of illegal drugs. Escobar was so immersed in the world of drug dealing that there was an international focus on the capture and prosecution of Escobar. Escobar died a decade ago but his name lives on in history as one of the most influential and notorious drug deal kingpins in history.

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When Pablo Escobar went down in a hail of bullets a decade ago the news was received as a blessing by drug enforcement agencies worldwide. It ended an era of drug terror, trouble and challenge that could only be thwarted by the death of its kingpin, Pablo Escobar (Fallen, 1993). With the vengeance that America is now hunting Saddam Hussein, the drug enforcement officials had vowed long and hard to take the drug lord down and show those who believed he was immortal that they were wrong. While he lived however he was an important centerpiece in the world of drug deals and manufacturing. In addition to the drug enforcement officials enjoying the news of Escobar’s death the citizens of his homeland Columbia agreed.

Because of a guy like him, the image that we project to the rest of the world is that we are bad people, that we are drug dealers” said Jairo Monsalve, who owns Rincon Caldense, a Colombian restaurant in Hackensack. “I think it was a great thing that happened down there (Fallen, 1993).”

Escobar is reputed to have been the cause of more than 7,000 deaths every year.

The [Medellin] organization was run like a corporation, with product managers and everything else,” said Ronald Brogan, a spokesman for the federal Drug Enforcement Agency in Newark (Fallen, 1993). “But in recent years management problems — Escobar’s own people turning on him — caused a decrease in productivity. So the Cali cartel moved in and took over the business [in New Jersey] (Fallen, 1993).”

At the time of Escobar’s death officials confiscated more than $10 million of cocaine in one of the kingpin’s warehouses, which is an indicator of how big and how powerful the man was in the drug world.


Escobar was a man who came from humble beginnings. He was born to a teacher and a peasant in 1949. He did not wait long to start dabbling in the life of crime when he stole tombstones as a child and sold them to smugglers from Panama. In 1970 he began his life as a cocaine drug dealer and kingpin (Luis, 1994).

Under his leadership large amounts of coca paste were purchased in Bolivia and Peru, processed and brought to the United States. Escobar collaborated with five or six other illegal entrepreneurs from the Medellin area on a partnership basis. In addition he profited from the business of other dealers and smugglers who used the infrastructure set up by Escobar and his partners (Luis, 1994).”

As he became more powerful he withdrew from the direct involvement of trafficking and instead concentrated on implementing an type of taxation system that he imposed on all criminals who operated within his territory.

Escobar was a man of high intelligence and he made sound financial decisions even though the decisions were based in a life of crime. “To a large extent, Escobar’s power rested on the purchased support of criminal groups that gave him a substantial capacity for the use of violence (Luis, 1994).”

As he gained financial power through the cocaine industry Escobar began investing in legitimate projects using the funds he gained illegally. He invested in real estate deals, stocks and other things that he believed would set him up for a life of luxury as he got to old to be powerful in the drug world. In addition to personal investments of legal nature he began to participate in his community by sponsoring soccer clubs and other sports teams. Through these and other moral looking gestures Escobar gained some popularity and some political clout including a seam in parliament.

The tables had turned when the origin of his wealth became an issue of public debate and the U.S. increased pressure on Colombia to extradite him (Luis, 1994).”

This is where his influence in politics and the world of organized crime came together and he worked to establish a no-extradition clause into the constitution of his nation.

The clause called for the refusal to extradite as well as provided amnesty to drug barons if they were willing to give up the drug trade careers they had built. This would have served Escobar well because he had used the illegally gained funds and power to fund legitimate projects such as real estate investments and political power. Those in power however, saw through his idea and knew it was a self serving attempt to get himself off the hook for his past activities and allow him to use the illegally gained funds to provide himself with a life of comfort.

The terror campaign initiated by Escobar claimed the lives of politicians, civil servants, journalists and ordinary citizens. It turned public opinion against him and caused a break-up of the alliance of drug traffickers. Eventually, Escobar and the shrinking number of his supporters were faced with a relentless campaign staged by government as well as by criminals. After one year in prison, where Escobar had sought refuge from assassins, followed by several more months on the run, he was shot to death by members of a special police unit in 1993(Luis, 1994).”


Escobar was a danger to the law enforcement side of the world. By the time he began to get boxed in he had already built a lot of political and civil popularity and influence through the things he had done. His involvement of the community and his activities to that end had caused him to be viewed as respectable though the world was also aware of how he had gained his money. He went to work trying to change the rules so that the organized crime world would not be threatened by extradition (Last, 1993). Escobar pushed to allow anyone who was willing to start living legitimate lives to do so without repercussions and penalties for their past behaviors. At the time he was pushing for this to occur he was responsible for a reported 20,000 plus deaths in several different nations (Last, 1993).

He used himself as the front line guinea pig to try and change the laws, which would have provided a tremendous loophole for those in organized crime.

Pablo Escobar, the notorious head of the Medellin drug cartel, turned Colombia into a blood-spattered battlefield to prevent his extradition to the United States. He promised to accept the verdict only of Colombian, not U.S., justice. Now, in a remarkable turn of events, the drug lord, who has been on the lam since July 1992, has offered to surrender – but only if the United States will guarantee the safety of his family. In a bizarre twist, Escobar now says he fears how Colombian justice will treat his wife and children. Pablo Escobar’s request reveals less about the state of Colombian justice and more about his own desperation. As one Colombian official noted (Last, 1993), “He’s completely cornered now. He’s seeking a final deal (Last, 1993).” But this time, the Colombian government should refuse to make any deals; and the United States was wise to deny Escobar’s request and to defer to the Colombian government (Last, 1993).”

Had he been successful drug lords worldwide would be able to live in Columbia and not fear reprisal. They could run their business from that nation and never have to face the consequences. With the current technological abilities of mankind it would be feasible today to run an entire drug dealing empire from there and not ever have to set foot in the U.S. Or anywhere else though the drugs would be in the U.S. The idea that Escobar presented would have single-handedly allowed drug kingpins to become rich through the death and corruption of millions then walk away with the illegally earned funds and start their lives over.

Escobar worked to try and get the law changed so that he could live a life of luxury using the funds he made in the cocaine trade. He was ready to retire from that life and live a life of legitimacy but the world was not going for it (Surrender, 1997). There were to many deaths and to much pain that he left in his wake and to excuse his behaviors would have been a slap in the face to those he hurt along the way to the top. If he had not been a kingpin in organized crime the world of organized crime would have been different in many ways. The first way was that he produced a path for the business end of cocaine trade. He had taxation system, a business system and many other things that he developed for the ability to run his career, but others could pick up on and emulate.

Escobar had really convinced himself that he was an upstanding citizen who deserved to be treated with respect. He wanted to be viewed as a pillar of the community and was angry that he was treated as the criminal that he was. When he went to prison he resented the treatment he received as well.

Escobar opposed having guards close by because his enemies could murder him in the prison. He opposed combined patrols because – his lawyers claimed – no military forces were permitted inside a jail, according to the Law on Prisons. He opposed cutting down the nearby forest because it would permit helicopter landings, and because he assumed a firing range was an area where prisoners would be the targets, until he was convinced that (Surrender, 1997), in military terms, a firing range is nothing more than a field with good visibility. And that, in fact, was the great advantage of the rehabilitation centre – for the government and for the prisoners – because from anywhere in the building, one had a clear view of the valley and the mountains, allowing more than enough time to respond to an attack (Surrender, 1997).

Then, at the last minute, the national director of Criminal Investigation wanted to build a fortified wall around the prison, in addition to the barbed-wire fence. Escobar was furious (Surrender, 1997).”

Escobar escaped prison and stayed free until his death in the shoot-out with drug enforcement officials.

Escobar believed his entire life that he was something special. He wanted to get to the top quickly and as a child decided he was not going to take the slow and steady path that law abiding citizens took. He began a life of crime, without regard to who he hurt and killed along the way (Fontaine, 2001). His eventual success in the community did not negate the means he used to gain that success however and when he tried to use his gained political popularity to change the constitution in a manner that would erase his past the public turned on him. He went to prison, escaped and died (Fontaine, 2001). Had Escobar not existed the business aspects of the drug world would not be as organized as it is. He was able to develop solid financial and business practices in an illegal world. He left mark in which is name will always be associated with the notorious drug lords of the world. Pablo Esobar wanted the good life, but he didn’t care who he hurt to get it.


Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1997). The surrender of Pablo Escobar., Independent pp 42,43,45,4.

Roger Fontaine (2001). What happened when U.S. forces went all out to capture drug., The Washington Times, pp B8.

Author not available (1993). PABLO ESCOBAR’S LAST STAND., St. Louis Post-Dispatch pp 02C.

JIM CONSOLI (1993). NO GRIEVING FOR FALLEN DRUG KINGPIN., The Record (Bergen County, NJ), pp a01.

Canon, Luis

Pablo Escobar: Leben und pltzlicher Tod des Kokainknigs

Pablo Escobar: Life and sudden death of the king of cocaine; original title: Pablo, The World Godfather of Cocaine) Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag, 1994 395 p. http://people.freenet.de/kvlampe/revcan02.htm

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