Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria (1 December 1949 – 2 December 1993) was a notorious Colombian drug lord whose cartel, at the height of his career, supplied an estimated 80% of the cocaine smuggled into the United States. Often called “The King of Cocaine”, he was the wealthiest criminal in history, with an estimated known net worth of US $30 billion by the early 1990s. He was also one of the 10 richest men in the world at his prime. Escobar was shot and killed by Colombian National Police.
Pablo Escobar was born in Rionegro, in the Antioquia Department of Colombia, the third of seven children to Abel de Jesús Dari Escobar, a farmer, and Hermilda Gaviria, an elementary school teacher. As a teenager on the streets of Medellín, he began his criminal career by allegedly stealing gravestones and sanding them down for resale to smugglers. His brother and accountant, Roberto Escobar, denies this, claiming that the gravestones came from cemetery owners whose clients had stopped paying for site care and that they had a relative who had a monuments business. Pablo studied for a short time at the Universidad Autónoma Latinoamericana of Medellín, but left the University without obtaining a degree.
Escobar eventually became involved in many criminal activities with Oscar Benel Aguirre — running petty street scams, selling contraband cigarettes and fake lottery tickets, and stealing cars. In the early 1970s, he was a thief and bodyguard, and allegedly made $100,000 by kidnapping and ransoming a Medellín executive before entering the drug trade. His next step on the ladder was to become a millionaire by working for contraband smuggler Alvaro Prieto. Escobar’s childhood ambition was to become a millionaire by the time he was 22.