Top 10 Craziest Things Pablo Escobar Has Done

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Top 10 Craziest Things Pablo Escobar Has Done

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
Saying that Pablo Escobar and the Medellín Cartel were not to be trifled with would be serious understatement. For this list, we'll be looking at the craziest crimes the cartel leader committed. Our countdown includes Kidnapping Powerful People, Destroying Avianca Flight 203, Supporting M-19, and more!
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Top 10 Most Insane/Violent Things Pablo Escobar Ever Did


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 most insane and violent things Pablo Escobar ever did.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the craziest crimes the cartel leader committed.

Which of these things do you find the most insane? Let us know in the comments below!

#10: Kidnapping Powerful People

Pablo Escobar may not have personally snatched people from the streets, but he was the one pulling the strings. The Medellín Cartel he led was well known for kidnapping prominent individuals such as politicians, journalists, and children. In January 1990, the Cartel kidnapped the son of the Colombian president’s adviser. The kidnapping was ordered by Escobar to retaliate against the President’s recent crackdown on drugs. Just a few months later, numerous people were kidnapped under Escobar’s orders. Future Minister for Education Maruja Pachón Castro and journalists Francisco Santos Calderón and Diana Turbay were all held hostage. Unfortunately, Turbay tragically died while the police were trying to rescue her.

#9: Relying on a Notorious Hitman

Jhon Jairo Velásquez, who went by the nickname Popeye, was a prominent hitman who worked with the Medellín Cartel. While he was doing jobs for them, he was forced to assassinate his lover, (and Escobar’s ex-lover), Wendy Chavarriaga Gil. Popeye eventually admitted to killing over 250 people before he surrendered to the police in 1992. He was also responsible for the aforementioned kidnapping of Francisco Santos Calderón. Popeye served 22 years in prison for his numerous crimes that ranged from murder to helping plant a bomb. After his release in 2014, Velásquez published a book, appeared in “Narcos”, and became a YouTube personality. He was eventually sent to jail again and died of esophageal cancer in 2020.

#8: Assassinating His Own Allies & Employees

Even those close to Pablo Escobar had reason to fear him. As we touched on before, he personally ordered the death of his ex-lover, Wendy Chavarriaga Gil. But his romantic interests weren’t the only ones that faced Escaobar’s ire. A waiter was once caught stealing silverware from Escobar’s home. In retaliation, the cartel leader had the employee drowned in the swimming pool. He also killed associates Gerardo Moncada and Fernando Galeano after accusing them of stealing money. Escobar’s paranoia and brutality eventually grew so bad that his allies turned against him and joined a vigilante group called Los Pepes. Financed by the Cali Cartel, the group aimed to eliminate Escobar and his operations.

#7: Forcing a Woman to Terminate Her Pregnancy

For six years throughout the 1980s, a TV reporter named Virginia Vellejo was romantically linked to Escobar. And despite falling for the powerful man, she later called him a “monster”. Vellejo began to disassociate from Escobar after he told her a particularly heinous and chilling story. One of his former lovers, believed to be the aforementioned Wendy Chavarriaga Gil, became pregnant without his approval. In retaliation, Escobar had this woman kidnapped by four associates and taken to a veterinarian to forcefully terminate the pregnancy. The abortion was allegedly performed without anesthetic, before Escobar ordered her death. This action prompted Vallejo to contact the authorities just six days before the cartel leader met his end.

#6: Being Connected to Luis Carlos Galán’s Murder

Presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galán was a very public opponent of both the Medellín Cartel and Pablo Escobar. In addition to denouncing them in campaign speeches, Galan aimed to support an extradition treaty that would see Cartel members extradited to the US to face punishment. The Cartel was extremely unhappy with his words, and they repeatedly sent him death threats. They even threatened to go after his children if he didn’t stop. While campaigning, Galán was explicitly warned by the authorities not to visit the town of Soacha. But he went ahead anyway. Galán was subsequently gunned down in front of 10,000 people while walking on stage to give a speech.

#5: Supporting M-19

On November 6, 1985, members of guerilla group M-19 besieged the Palace of Justice in Bogotá, which houses the Supreme Court of Colombia. The Colombian military stormed the Palace in an attempt to rescue the hostages. By the end of the ordeal, much of the building had been destroyed and over 100 people were dead, including 43 civilians and 11 Supreme Court Justices. The siege has not been officially linked to the Medellín Cartel. But some have claimed otherwise. Escobar’s own son claims that his father paid the guerilla organization $1 million to support their cause. This was verified by Esocbar’s ex-lover Virginia Vellejo, who testified in court that Escobar had personally financed the group so they could steal important files from the Supreme Court.

#4: Destroying Avianca Flight 203

On November 27, 1989, Avianca Flight 203 was flying from Bogotá to Cali with 107 people on board. Believing that presidential candidate César Gaviria would be one of the passengers, Escoboar plotted to blow up the plane. It’s said that one of his associates boarded the plane with plastic explosives and sat above the fuel tank to cause a massive explosion. The plane exploded, killing everyone on board, and the raining debris killed a further three civilians on the ground. But Escobar later discovered that Gaviria was never on board that plane. Gaviria subsequently became President. And after two Americans died in the bombing, President George Bush Sr.’s adminstration became invested in stopping Escobar.

#3: A Series of Horrific Bombings

Amidst increasing fears of extradition to the United States, the Medellín Cartel and their associates created an organization known as The Extraditables. Their aim was mainly to ban extradition. The group began its life publishing ads in newspapers and corrupting politicians. But their actions eventually escalated into horrific violence. This included a brutal reign of terror that saw the Extraditables and Cartel members setting off numerous bombs in 1990. The year prior, the Medellín Cartel planted a bomb outside the headquarters of the Administrative Department of Security. This detonation leveled fourteen city blocks. When the dust settled, 63 people were dead and over 2,000 were injured. This bombing came just nine days after that of Avianca Flight 203.

#2: Police Officer Bounty

The authorities were incredibly interested in Pablo Escobar, his Cartel, and his terrorist acts. Unfortunately, many within the police force were in Escobar’s deep pockets. Many other officers outside his payroll were routinely murdered. Escobar offered the equivalent of $700 in today’s American currency as a bonus to his hitmen for each police officer they assassinated. Unfortunately, the people under his employ really went after this incentive. It’s estimated that nearly 600 police officers met their demise at the hands of Escobar’s hitmen. Knowing that the cartel leader was willing to pay out these incentives shows how morally bankrupt he was.

#1: Thousands of Deaths

It’s unclear just how many people died at the hands of Pablo Escobar and his Cartel. With that said, estimates have placed the number between 4,000 and 5,000 fatalities. This staggering statistic came about through all the means we mentioned. He ordered assassinations, incentivized eliminating police officers, and permitted numerous bombings. At one time, Escobar’s reign made Medellín, the cartel’s home base, one of the world’s most violent cities. After Escobar’s death in 1991, crime rates in the city began to fall. Medellín was finally free of one of the most dangerous men in modern history.
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