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Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria (December 1, 1949 – December 2, 1993) was a Colombian drug lord. Often referred to as the "World's Greatest Outlaw", he was the most elusive cocaine trafficker ever to have lived. He is regarded as the richest and most successful criminal in world history. Some other sources state that he was the second richest criminal ever, after Amado Carrillo Fuentes. In 1989, Forbes magazine declared Escobar as the seventh richest man in the world, with an estimated personal fortune of US $25 billion. He owned innumerable luxury residences and automobiles and, in 1986, he attempted to enter Colombian politics, even offering to pay off the nation's US $10 billion national debt. It is said that Escobar once burned US$ 2 million in cash just to keep his daughter warm while on the run.

Escobar was born in the village of Rionegro in Antioquia, Colombia, the third of seven children to Abel de Jesus Escobar, a peasant, and Hemilda Gaviria, an elementary school teacher. Pablo and his family resided in an adobe hut that had no electricity but had running water. Pablo and his brother were once sent home from school because Pablo had no shoes and no money to buy them. Escobar studied political science at a nearby university but was forced to drop out when he could not afford to pay the required fees. This was when he began his criminal career, allegedly stealing gravestones and sanding them down for resale to smugglers. His brother, Roberto Escobar, refutes 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 legitimate monuments business. He studied for a short time at the University of Antioquia.

After this alleged hustling business, Pablo started doing whatever else he could to make money — from running petty street scams with his gang to selling contraband cigarettes and fake lottery tickets. He even conned people out of their cash when they would leave the bank. By the time he was 20, he was already an accomplished car thief. In the early 1970s, he was a thief and bodyguard, and he made a quick $100,000 on the side 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 the multi-millionaire contraband smuggler, Alvaro Prieto. Through his dedication and guile, Pablo became a millionaire by the time he was 22.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Pablo Escobar."
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