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August 30, 2021

Pablo Escobar was the richest criminal in history. He had a peak net worth of about $30 billion and he created a massive criminal empire. At the height of its power, the Medellin Cartel was earning about $70 million a day, which is approximately $149.5 million adjusted for inflation. The cartel’s revenue reached $26 billion at its peak, which is about $55.5 billion adjusted for inflation. Escobar’s narcotics empire expanded rapidly in the 1970s and 1980s, but trouble arose in the early 1990s. Escobar managed to turn the Medellin Cartel into the world’s foremost drug smuggling operation by taking out rival gangs and gaining additional smuggling routes. As demand for narcotics in the United States grew, the Medellin Cartel’s operation expanded. Escobar and his crew moved from small planes to massive cargo jets. The Norman’s Cay smuggling route proved to be extremely profitable for the cartel, and Escobar even set up a transshipment point on the Bahamian Island. After purchasing the land, Escobar got to work building a massive operation. He built a 1-kilometer airstrip, a harbor, a hotel, houses, and even a refrigerated warehouse to store all of the cartel’s narcotics. The island quickly became an important stopover on the cartel’s most prominent smuggling route, and the cartel’s profits reached all-time highs soon after. Here’s a timeline of Escobar's wealth and criminal activity. This is how he became a billionaire and powerful drug lord. Escobar’s narcotics empire was so massive that we’ll likely never see anything like it ever again. Keep watching to learn more about Escobar and the Medellin Cartel.

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Written by: Max Power
Narrated by: Adam Newmark

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