At the peak of his power, infamous Medellín cartel boss Pablo Escobar brought in an estimated $US420 million a week in revenue, making him easily one of the wealthiest drug lords in history.
Known as the “king of cocaine”, Escobar’s wealth was 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 $US2.1 billion dollars, 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 mould wasn’t an issue.
According to a 2009 Don Juan magazine interview, Juan Pablo Escobar, Escobar’s only son who has since changed his name to Sebastian Marroquin, claimed that his father once torched $US2 million crisp banknotes in order to keep his family warm while they were on the run, The Telegraph reports.
While hiding or destroying the exorbitant amount of money was one issue, the brothers faced another much more elementary problem — neatly organising the banknotes.
According to Escobar, the cartel spent an estimated $US2,500 a month on rubber bands needed to hold stacks of bills together.
At the height of his power, Escobar’s cartel supplied 80% of the world’s cocaine and smuggled 15 tons of cocaine into the US per day.