The violent crimes of Pablo Escobar are the stuff of legend, memorialized in the Netflix series Narcos and films like Escobar: Paradise Lost. The brutal reality is that thousands of innocent lives were lost under the orders of Escobar and his associates.
Escobar stopped at nothing in his pursuit of power and fortune. He took lives seemingly without caring about the consequences, gaining enemy after enemy on his way to becoming one of the biggest drug kingpins of all time. These Pablo Escobar facts tell the story of the chaos he spread throughout Colombia and beyond - and help explain why he's still talked about to this day.
The more unstable Colombia grew, the easier it made business for Escobar. To destabilize the police system as much as possible, Escobar began offering his hit men around $650 for each police officer they took out. By the end of 1993, an estimated 550 officers had lost their lives to this series of bounties.
Jaime Ramírez Gómez, head of Colombia's narcotics unit, was shot while driving with his family the day before he was scheduled to testify against Escobar. He had gained fame for his role as the man behind what was then the largest cocaine bust in history in 1984.
Jhon Jairo Velásquez, better known as "Popeye" for his prominent jaw, was one of Escobar's most loyal and ruthless associates. He became affiliated with the drug lord after leaving the police academy in Colombia. He claims to have taken almost 300 lives and says he arranged the deaths of up to 3,000 others. He expresses little remorse for any of them.
By the time of his arrest, Popeye had established a fearsome reputation for using frightful techniques. He even killed his girlfriend minutes after discovering she was talking to the DEA.
Popeye served 22 years in Colombian prison before walking free. He was arrested again for extortion in May 2018.
During a party at Escobar's home, one of his servants was caught stealing silverware. In response, the drug lord had the man tied up and drowned in his swimming pool while all the guests watched.
Escobar also told his lover Virginia Vallejo about an ex-girlfriend who became pregnant by another man. Escobar had her kidnapped and subjected to a forced abortion.
Though many called Escobar a patron of the people, he apparently considered the civilian populace expendable. There is perhaps no better example of this than when, in 1989, Escobar's men planted a bomb on board Avianca Flight 203. The explosion killed all 107 passengers, all because Escobar thought rivals or informants might be on board.
But Escobar's plan backfired. The explosion killed two American citizens and provoked the Bush administration to go after Escobar.