Pablo was involved in many criminal activities — running petty street scams, selling contraband cigarettes and fake lottery tickets, and stealing cars. In theearly 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 tobecome a millionaire by working for the multi-millionaire contraband smuggler Alvaro Prieto. Pablo's childhood ambition was to become a millionaire by the time he was 22.
Rise to power
In TheAccountant's Story, Pablo's brother, Roberto Escobar, discusses how Pablo rose from poverty and obscurity to become one of the wealthiest men in the world. At the height of its power, the Medellíndrug cartel was smuggling 15 tons of cocaine a day, worth more than half a billion dollars, into the United States. According to Roberto, Pablo's accountant, he and his brother's operation spent $2500 amonth just purchasing rubber bands to wrap the stacks of cash—and since they had more illegal money than they could deposit in the banks, they stored the bricks of cash in their warehouses, annuallywriting off 10% as "spoilage" when the rats crept in at night and nibbled on the hundred dollar bills.
In 1975, Escobar started developing his cocaine operation. He even flew a plane himself...