Yesterday, the web site Celebrity Net Worth released a study ranking the most wealthy drug dealers of all time.Despite the fact that the structure of criminal syndicates is evolving and the illicit activities they engage in is diversifying, eight of the top earners made their money in the drug trade.
Here’s the top 10:
All figures are adjusted for 2012 dollars.
10. Al Capone, $1.3 billion: One of the most renowned American gangsters was worth over a billion dollars at his death in 1947. Capone got his start smuggling liquor during prohibition, but eventually branched out to other illicit activities.
9. Griselda Blanco, $2 billion: The “Godmother of Cocaine,” is the only woman to make it to the top 10. She was gunned down last month in Medellin.
8. Carlos Lehder: $2.7 billion: Lehder, who has been in prison in the U.S. since 1987, is considered one of the founders of the Medellin Cartel. The movie “Blow” is loosely based on Lehder’s life.
7. The Orejuela Brothers, $3 billion: The brothers, who are both serving prison sentences in the U.S., founded the southern Colombian Cali Cartel, which “at its peak supplied 70 per cent of all the cocaine in The U.S. and 90 per cent of the cocaine in Europe,” according to Celebrity Net Worth.
6. Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha, $5 billion: Despite his $5 billion peak net worth, Gacha was the second-least wealthy founder of the Medellin cartel (all six made the list). He “pioneered the use of well placed Mexican ranches to smuggle drugs across the border.”
5. Khun Sa, $5 billion: Dubbed the “Opium King”, Khun Sa took an army of men into Burma during the 1960’s to cultivate opium in Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle. At its peak, Sa’s army had about 20,000 men, according to The Economist. He traded some of the largest quantities of pure heroin ever — at 90 per cent pure, the Drug Enforcement Administration referred to it as “the best in the business.” Sa was also was portrayed as the protagonists’ Southeast Asian heroin dealer in the film “American Gangster.”
4. The Ochoa Brothers, $6 billion: The three brothers, along with Pablo Escobar, were all included on Forbes’ first World’s Billionaires List in 1987. Jorge Ochoa turned himself in in 1991 and served a five year sentence. His brothers soon followed.
3. Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, $6.7 billion: The elusive Kaskar is India’s most wanted criminal. He heads the crime syndicate D-Company, and is wanted for — among other things — charges of counterfeiting and allegedly funding the Mumbai terrorist attacks in 1993 and 2008.
2. Amado Carrillo Fuentes, $25 billion: After assassinating his boss, Fuentes became the head of the Juarez Cartel. Before he mysteriously died during a botched plastic surgery, he was known as “Lord of the Skies” because he controlled a fleet of planes to help the Colombians smuggle their drugs into the United States.
1. Pablo Escobar, $30 billion: The infamous head of the Medellin cartel tops the list. If Escobar was included on the Forbes Billionaire rankings today, he’d be tied for seventh.
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