Little Bits of History

Colombian Coke

Posted in History by patriciahysell on December 2, 2013
Pablo Escobar

Pablo Escobar

December 2, 1993: Pablo Escobar dies in a shoot out with members of the Search Bloc. Pablo began his criminal career at a young age, stealing tombstones and selling them to smugglers. As a teen, he moved up to stealing cars, and eventually moved on to trafficking in cocaine. The Columbian-based Medellín Cartel was headed by Pablo. First begun in the 1970s, it was founded by Juan David Ochea. The cartel grew to a peak income of $60 million per month. Their product was illegal and they were involved in other crimes as well, to protect the business.

Pablo was a ruthless drug lord with a hunger for power. Opponents were simply eliminated. He was responsible for the killing of 30 judges and 457 policemen. For a two month period, there were 20 murders per day attributed to Escobar. He was directly responsible for the murder of more than 4,000 people. He controlled a large part of the drug trade entering the US, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. Cocaine was first bought from Peru and Bolivia because Columbian coca was substandard. His market was said to reach as far as Asia.

By 1989, Forbes magazine listed Escobar as the 7th richest man in the world. He was taking in $30 billion annually and controlled 80% of the world’s cocaine market. While an enemy of governments, he was a hero to the Columbian poor, building sports arenas and handing out cash. The villagers, recipients of Escobar’s largesse, would serve as lookouts and alert him if authorities were in pursuit. Because of his ability to bribe and buy his way, a special force was created to track and capture him and his colleagues.

A special corps of Columbian police officers, called the Special Bloc, was assembled. Their objective was to stop the Cartel and capture Pablo Escobar – drug lord, smuggler, and murderer. They received training from the US 7th Special Forces Group. The US sent trainers and advisors along with the 1st Psychological Operations Battalion to support local police. They were joined by US Navy SEALs in an all out hunt for Escobar and his Cartel. Using radio triangulation, Escobar was located and trapped. His brother maintains Pablo committed suicide rather be captured. He was shot and killed and the Cartel was fragmented.

“He committed suicide, he did not get killed. During all the years they went after him, he would say to me every day that if he was really cornered without a way out, he would shoot himself through the ears and he shot himself through the ears.” – Roberto Escobar

“But I felt like Pablo Escobar felt like he was an honorable businessman. And when he killed people, I think he felt he did it because they were not honorable. That they were liars and were trying to cheat him. I don’t think he had a lot of respect for the politicians in Columbia at the time, so he had quite a lot of fun killing them.” – Cliff Curtis

“Nobody saves America by sniffing cocaine. Jiggling your knees blankeyed in the rain, when it snows in your nose you catch cold in your brain.” – Allen Ginsberg

“Why is there so much controversy about drug testing? I know plenty of guys who would be willing to test any drug they could come up with.” – George Carlin

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: Cocaine is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant. The plant is native to western South America. The psychoactive alkaloid contained in the leaves is of a low concentration (between 0.25 and 0.77%) which means that chewing the leaves or using them to make tea does not result in the intense high associated with manufactured cocaine. Cocaine molecules pass the blood-brain barrier (nature’s way to protect the brain) far more easily than most chemicals. It may be because it has high hydrophilic (likes water) and lipophilic (likes fat) efficiency. Inside the brain it acts as a serotonin-norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor. It also affects sodium channels and due to this can cause sudden cardiac death. It is a controlled substance internationally with the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs treaty regulating the sale and transport of the drug.

Also on this day: Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness – In 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency opens for business.
Power Run – In 1956, Fiedel Castro and Che Guevara arrived in Cuba.
Prayer – In 1763, the Touro Synagogue, the oldest surviving synagogue in the US, was dedicated.


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