At the peak of his power, infamous Medellín cartel boss Pablo Escobar brought in an estimated $420 million a week in revenue, easily making him one of the wealthiest drug lords in history.
Escobar, known as the “king of cocaine,” saw his wealth grow so immense that he stashed piles of cash in Colombian farming fields, dilapidated warehouses, and in the walls of cartel members’ homes, according to Roberto Escobar, the cartel’s chief accountant and the kingpin’s brother, in his book, “The Accountant’s Story: Inside the violent world of the Medellín cartel.”
“Pablo was earning so much that each year we would write off 10% of the money because the rats would eat it in storage or it would be damaged by water or lost,” Escobar wrote.
That would be about $2.1 billion, given how much money he was reportedly making.
Escobar simply had more money than he knew to do with, and therefore haphazardly losing money to rodents and mold wasn’t an issue.
In a 2009 interview with Don Juan magazine, Escobar’s only son, Juan Pablo Escobar — who has since changed his name to Sebastian Marroquin — claimed that his father once torched $2 million in crisp banknotes in order to keep his family warm while they were on the run.
While hiding or destroying the exorbitant amount of money was one issue, the brothers faced another much more elementary problem — neatly organizing the banknotes.
According to Roberto Escobar, the cartel spent an estimated $2,500 a month on rubber bands needed to hold stacks of bills together.
At the height of his power, Pablo Escobar’s cartel supplied 80% of the world’s cocaine and smuggled 15 tons of cocaine into the US per day.