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A drug lord, drug baron , kingpin or narcotrafficker is a high ranking crime boss who controls a sizable network of people involved in the illegal drug trade. Such figures are often difficult to bring to justice, as they are normally not directly in possession of something illegal, but are insulated from the actual trade in drugs by several layers of staff. The prosecution of drug lords is therefore usually the result of carefully planned infiltration into their networks, often using informants from within the organization.
Since the 1970s, research on organised crime leadership (and by extension, drug lords) has evolved, where once studies emphasised the importance of the leader's human capital (e.g. individual traits), it has now developed to focus upon the leader's social capital (e.g. information and resource brokers, social status, access to information).
This section may be too long and excessively detailed.
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).He is well known for his use of sophisticated tunnels—similar to the one located in Douglas, Arizona—to smuggle cocaine from Mexico into the United States in the early 1990s. In 1993, a 7.3-ton shipment of his cocaine, concealed in cans of chili peppers and destined for the United States, was seized in Tecate, Baja California. That same year he barely escaped an ambush by the Tijuana Cartel led by Ramon Arellano Felix and his gunmen. After being captured in Guatemala, he was jailed in 1993 and in 1995 he was moved to the maximum-security prison called Puente Grande, but paid his way out of prison and hid in a laundry van as it drove through the gates. On 22 February 2014, Guzmán was arrested again. He is considered a folk hero in the narcotics world, celebrated by musicians who write and perform a narcocorridos (drug ballads) extolling his exploits. For example, Los Traviezos recorded a ballad extolling his life on the run. In July 2015, Guzman escaped a second time from a maximum-security prison through a hole in a shower floor that led to a mile-long tunnel, ending at a nearby house. A large-scale manhunt ensued. On 8 January 2016, Guzmán was captured by the Mexican Marines.
William Jardine (24 February 1784 – 27 February 1843) was a Scottish physician-turned-drug (opium) lord.He also co-founded the Hong Kong-based conglomerate Jardine, Matheson & Co. In 1803, he became a surgeon's mate aboard the Brunswick belonging to the East India Company, and set sail for India. In May 1817, he abandoned medicine for drug trafficking. Jardine was a resident in China from 1820 to 1839. His early success in Canton (Guangzhou) as a commercial agent for drug (opium) merchants in India led to his admission in 1825 as a partner in Magniac & Co. In 1839, after Imperial Commissioner Lin Zexu destroyed 20,000 cases of opium that the British smuggled into China, Jardine arrived in London that September to press Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston for a forceful response.
Jorge Alberto Rodriguez, also known as Guty, is a notorious Puerto Rican drug lord from Cuba, who headed the 400 criminal organization, a dismantled secret cell of the Cali Cartel. Pulled into the drug trade at age 12, he left home at age 14 to begin working for his Father, Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela, who headed the Cali Cartel.[ citation needed ] Within six years he had made hundreds of millions[ clarification needed ] by shipping drugs from Colombia to nearly every U.S. state. He was one of the most ruthless international drug lords unknown to law enforcement or governments.[ citation needed ] During that time, the nation's[ clarification needed ] murder rate and cocaine-related hospital emergencies doubled.[ citation needed ] He was arrested in 1990 in Tallahassee, Florida and sentenced to a 25-year prison term for a number of federal violations. Following his conviction, Rodriguez continued to operate his illicit business from behind bars, importing as much as 12,500 kilograms (27,600 lb)[ clarification needed ] into the U.S. every month and ordering numerous murders of informants, witnesses, and law-enforcement officials in the U.S. and Colombia.[ citation needed ] He reigned and flourished while incarcerated until he was placed in court-ordered high-security isolation in 1994.
Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria (December 1, 1949 – December 2, 1993) was a Colombian drug overlord. Often referred to as the "World's Greatest Outlaw", Escobar was perhaps the most elusive cocaine trafficker to have ever existed.In 1989 Forbes magazine declared Escobar as the seventh-richest man in the world, with an estimated personal fortune of US$25 billion. In 1986, he attempted to enter Colombian politics. It is said that Pablo Escobar once burnt two million dollars in cash to keep his daughter warm while on the run.
Griselda Blanco (1943–2012), known as the "Godmother of Cocaine", was a drug lord who operated between Miami and Colombia during the 1970s and 1980s. During the height of her operation, she smuggled nearly 1,600 kilograms (3,500 lb) of cocaine into the U.S. every month through a network in south Florida. She was noted for her ruthlessness and use of extreme violence, employing tactics such as publicly assassinating people in broad daylight, bayoneting a rival trafficker inside Miami International Airport, and inventing the drive-by motorcycle shooting execution method. It was estimated that she was responsible for the homicides of 200 people in Colombia, Florida, New York, and California. Arrested in 1985 for drug-trafficking charges, she was subsequently convicted and spent almost 20 years in a U.S. prison. She was killed by motorcycle hitmen in Colombia on 3 September 2012 as she was coming out of a butcher's shop.
Pablo Escobar started to buy cocaine from Roberto Suárez in the 1970s when he had just created the Medellín cartel.[ citation needed ] Suárez started building cocaine laboratories in the middle of the Bolivian Amazon jungle and in the zone of "Los Yungas" in the end of the 1960s and created the first cocaine cartel in Bolivia called "La Corporación".[ citation needed ] At first, the Medellin cartel bought cocaine at $8,000 per kilogram ($3,600/lb). La Corporación then sold cocaine-based paste to Colombian cartels, and they finished and distributed it in the east of the United States.[ citation needed ] The finished cocaine was sold directly to Mexican cartels for distribution in the west of the United States. Suárez received untold amounts of money, but as detectives and journalists discovered the corruption between Bolivia and the U.S., the empire Suárez built began to fall.[ citation needed ] Suárez was arrested by the DEA in 1988, and Escobar took over of the production and distribution of 80% of the world's cocaine.[ citation needed ]
Rick Ross (born January 28, 1960),a.k.a. "Freeway" Ricky Ross, is a convicted drug-trafficker best known for the drug empire he presided over in Los Angeles in the early 1980s. The nickname "Freeway" came from Ross growing up next to the 110 Harbor Freeway. During the height of his drug dealing, Ross was said to have made "$2 million in one day." According to the Oakland Tribune, "In the course of his rise, prosecutors estimate that Ross transported several tons of cocaine to New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, and made more than $600 million in the process."
In 1998, Ross was sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of purchasing more than 100 kilograms of cocaine from a federal agent during a sting operation. Ross became the subject of controversy later that year when a series of articles by journalist Gary Webb in the San Jose Mercury News revealed a connection between Ross's main cocaine source, Danilo Blandon, and the CIA as part of the Iran–Contra affair.Ross's case went before the federal court of appeals and his sentence was reduced to 20 years. He was later moved to a halfway house in March 2009 and released from custody on September 29, 2009.
In June 2014, Ross released his book, Freeway Rick Ross: The Untold Autobiography , co-written by crime-writer Cathy Scott.
For more than a decade, Panamanian Manuel Noriega was a highly paid CIA asset and collaborator, despite knowledge by U.S. drug authorities as early as 1971 that the general was heavily involved in drug trafficking and money laundering.[ citation needed ] Noriega facilitated "guns-for-drugs" flights for the Nicaraguan Contras, whom the U.S. were heavily supporting: providing protection and pilots, safe havens for drug cartel officials, and discreet banking facilities. He was arrested in 1990.
As the top drug-trafficker in Mexico, Amado Carrillo (1956–1997) was transporting four times more cocaine to the U.S. than any other trafficker, building a fortune of over $25 billion.[ citation needed ] He was called El Señor de Los Cielos ("The Lord of the Skies") for his use of over 22 private 727 jet airliners to transport Colombian cocaine to municipal airports and dirt airstrips around Mexico, including Juárez.[ citation needed ] In the months before his death, the DEA described Carrillo as the most-powerful drug trafficker of his era, and many analysts claimed profits neared $25 billion, making him one of the world's wealthiest men.[ citation needed ]
Arellano Felix was a Mexican drug trafficker linked to the Tijuana drug cartel (a.k.a. the Arellano-Félix Organization). [ citation needed ] On September 18, 1997, Arellano Félix was placed on the FBI's ten most-wanted list. In a sealed indictment in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, he was charged with conspiracy to import cocaine and marijuana.[ citation needed ]Arellano Félix was allegedly one of the most ruthless members of the cartel and was a suspect in various murders. He had been linked by Mexican police to the 1997 massacre of twelve members of a family outside of Ensenada, Baja California. The family was related to a drug dealer that had an unpaid debt to the Arellano Félix Cartel.
Ismael Zambada García is a drug smuggler in Mexico. 1" and said the fugitive has become more powerful as his fellow kingpins have fallen, including one who was allegedly killed on Zambada's orders.[ citation needed ]Mexico's top anti-drug prosecutor, José Santiago Vasconcelos, called Zambada "drug dealer No.
Klaas Bruinsma (1953–1991) was a major Dutch drug lord, shot to death by mafia member and former police officer Martin Hoogland.[ citation needed ] Bruinsma was known as "De Lange" ("the tall one") and as "De Dominee" ("the preacher") because of his black clothing and his habit of lecturing others.[ citation needed ]
Marcos Arturo Beltrán Leyva (September 27, 1961 – December 16, 2009) was the leader of the Mexican drug-trafficking organization known as the Beltrán-Leyva Cartel, which is headed by the Beltrán Leyva brothers: Marcos Arturo, Carlos, Alfredo and Héctor.The cartel was engaged in cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamine production, transportation, and wholesaling. It controlled numerous drug-trafficking corridors into the United States. and was also responsible for human smuggling, money laundering, extortion, kidnapping, murder, contract killing, torture, gun-running, and other acts of violence in Mexico. The organization was connected with the assassinations of numerous Mexican law-enforcement officials.
Frank Lucas is a former heroin dealer and organized crime boss who operated in Harlem, New York during the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was known for cutting out middlemen in the drug trade and buying heroin directly from his source in the Golden Triangle. Lucas boasted that he smuggled heroin using the coffins of dead American servicemen,but this claim is denied by his South Asian associate, Leslie "Ike" Atkinson. His career was dramatized in the 2007 feature film American Gangster starring Denzel Washington.
Leroy Antonio "Nicky" Barnes (born October 15, 1933) is a former drug lord and crime boss of the notorious African-American crime organization known as The Council, which controlled the heroin trade in Harlem, New York during the 1970s.In 2007 he released a book, Mr Untouchable, written with Tom Folsom, and a documentary DVD of the same name, about his life. In the 2007 film American Gangster , Barnes is portrayed by Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Zhenli Ye Gon (traditional Chinese: 葉真理;born January 31, 1963, Shanghai, People's Republic of China) is a Mexican businessman of Chinese origin accused of trafficking pseudoephedrine into Mexico from Asia. At the time of his arrest, he had $207 million cash and 18 million Mexican pesos in his house. He claimed that he was forced by Javier Lozano Alarcón, putatively identified as the Secretary of Labor, to keep it at his home and that this money would be used during Felipe Calderón's presidential campaign in 2006. He is the legal representative of Unimed Pharm Chem México. The charges against him were dismissed with prejudice in August 2009 as a result of the efforts of his attorneys, Manuel J. Retureta and A. Eduardo Balarezo.
Michael Christopher Coke (born 13 March 1969), [ citation needed ] "Dudus" served as the de facto leader of Tivoli Gardens in the city of Kingston; prior to his 2010 capture Jamaican police were unable to enter this neighborhood without community consent.a.k.a. Dudus, is a Jamaican drug lord and the leader of the Shower Posse gang. He is the youngest son of drug lord Lester Lloyd Coke whose extradition had also, prior to his 1992 death in a Jamaican prison cell, been requested by the U.S. Until the younger Coke's handover to U.S. forces on 24 June 2010,
The son of a prominent drug lord, Coke grew up wealthy, going to school with children of the country's political elite.[ citation needed ] Ruling the gang where his father left off, he became a leader in the community of Tivoli Gardens, distributing money to the area's poor, creating employment, and setting up community centers.
In 2009, the U.S. began requesting his extradition, and in May 2010, a recalcitrant Government of Jamaica issued a warrant.That same month the government took steps to capture Coke. In a run-up to Coke's arrest, more than 70 people–all but one of them civilians–died in a 24 May 2010 raid of Tivoli Gardens. He was arrested at a Jamaican checkpoint on 22 June 2010.
Demetrius Flenory is known as one of the co-founders of the Black Mafia Family, a Detroit-based drug-trafficking organization involving the large-scale distribution of cocaine throughout the U.S. from 1990 to 2005.There are currently plans to produce a film based upon his career.
Jose Figueroa Agosto (born June 28, 1964), also known as "José David Figueroa Agosto", "Junior Capsula" and "the Don Pablo Escobar of the Caribbean", is a Puerto Rican drug trafficker.As the head of a major drug trafficking organization that made 90% of cocaine in Puerto Rico, Figueroa Agosto is considered to be one of the most dangerous drug lords of Puerto Rico. He was the most wanted fugitive in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Following the death of Pablo Escobar in 1993, significant changes occurred in the structure or drug trade, departing from massive cartels such as Juan David Ochoa's Medellín cartel. Drug lords have begun breaking the large cartels into much smaller organizations. In so doing, they decreased the number of people involved and shrank their role as targets—most likely in an attempt to avoid the fate of their predecessors. With newer technology, drug lords are able to manage their operations more effectively from behind the scenes, keeping themselves out of the spotlight and off the FBI and DEA wanted lists. These smaller cartels are slowly proving to be safer and more profitable for those involved.
Up until the demise of Pablo Escobar, in many instances, drug lords essentially ran the governments of the locations they controlled through bribery, and assassination. However, this way of controlling their operations is becoming less prevalent. One of the most-notorious examples of the treatment given to drug lords is in the incarceration of Escobar. Although Escobar was, after turning himself in, jailed for his participation in drug trafficking in Colombia, the "jail" in which he was captive was a million-dollar palace built with his own funds. Another famous crime lord who enjoyed lightened jail life was Al Capone, who continued to run his business from his jail cell, which contained tables, chairs, a bed, flowers, and paintings. For drug lords of the past, jail often served as a way to avoid further persecution.
In recent times, drug lords seldom control local and regional governments, having less influence over their surroundings and their ability to continue to run their businesses from jail.
Another trend that has been emerging in the last decade is a willingness of local authorities to cooperate with foreign nations, most notably the U.S., in an effort to apprehend and incarcerate drug lords. Recently, especially in the last five years,[ when? ] countries have been more willing to extradite their drug lords to face charges in other countries, an act that not only benefits them directly but also gives them favor with foreign governments. Mexico extradited 63 drug dealers to the U.S. in 2006. However, extradition may be prohibited if the person faces the death penalty.
Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria was a Colombian drug lord and narcoterrorist who was the founder and sole leader of the Medellín Cartel. Dubbed "The King of Cocaine," Escobar is the wealthiest criminal in history, having amassed an estimated net worth of US$30 billion by the time of his death—equivalent to $59 billion as of 2019—while his drug cartel monopolized the cocaine trade into the United States in the 1980s and 1990s.
Ramon Arellano Félix was a Mexican drug trafficker whom authorities linked to the Tijuana drug cartel.
Narcoterrorism is a term coined by former President Fernando Belaúnde Terry of Peru in 1983 when describing terrorist-type attacks against his nation's anti-narcotics police. In its original context, narcoterrorism is understood to mean the attempts of narcotics traffickers to influence the policies of a government or a society through violence and intimidation, and to hinder the enforcement of anti-drug laws by the systematic threat or use of such violence. Pablo Escobar's violence in his dealings with the Colombian government is probably one of the most known and best documented examples of narcoterrorism.
The Tijuana Cartel or Arellano-Félix Organization is a Mexican drug cartel based in Tijuana. The cartel once was described as "one of the biggest and most violent criminal groups in Mexico." However, since the 2006 Sinaloa Cartel incursion in Baja California and the fall of the Arellano-Félix brothers, the Tijuana Cartel has been reduced to a few cells. In 2016, the organization has become known as Cartel Tijuana Nueva Generación and has begun to align itself under the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, along with Beltrán Leyva Organization (BLO) to create an anti-Sinaloa alliance, in which the Jalisco New Generation Cartel heads, are creating a possible powershift in Mexico.
Ismael Zambada García is a Mexican suspected drug lord and leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, an international crime syndicate based in Sinaloa state, Mexico. Before he assumed leadership of the entire cartel, he served as the logistical coordinator for its Zambada-García faction, which has overseen the trafficking of cocaine and heroin into Chicago and other US cities by train, ship, jet, or narco-submarine.
The Cali Cartel was a drug cartel based in southern Colombia, around the city of Cali and the Valle del Cauca Department. Its founders were the brothers Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela and Miguel Rodríguez Orejuela, and José Santacruz Londoño. They broke away from Pablo Escobar and his Medellín associates in the late 1980s, when Hélmer Herrera joined what became a four-man executive board that ran the cartel.
The Medellín Cartel was a powerful and highly organized Colombian drug cartel and terrorist-type criminal organization originating in the city of Medellín, Colombia that was founded and led by Pablo Escobar. The drug cartel operated from 1972 to 1993 in Bolivia, Colombia, Panama, Central America, Peru, and the United States, as well as in Canada. At the height of its operations, the Medellín Cartel smuggled tons of cocaine each week into countries all over the world and brought in up to US$60 million daily in drug profits. For a time, the Medellín Cartel supplied at least 80% of the world's cocaine market.
Carlos Enrique Lehder Rivas is a German-Colombian former drug lord who was co-founder of the Medellín Cartel. He is currently imprisoned in the United States. Born in Armenia, Colombia, Lehder eventually ran a cocaine transport empire on Norman's Cay island, 210 miles (340 km) off the Florida coast in the central Bahamas.
Gilberto José Rodríguez Orejuela is a Colombian former drug lord, who once was one of the leaders of the Cali Cartel, based in the city of Cali.
The Norte del Valle Cartel, or North Valley Cartel, was a drug cartel that operated principally in the north of the Valle del Cauca department of Colombia. It rose to prominence during the second half of the 1990s, after the Cali and Medellín Cartels fragmented, and it was known as one of the most powerful organizations in the illegal drug trade. The drug cartel was led by the brothers Luis Enrique and Javier Antonio Calle Serna, alias "Los Comba", until its takedown in 2012 by the authorities of the United States.
Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, commonly referred to by his alias El Padrino, is a convicted Mexican drug lord who formed the Guadalajara Cartel in the 1970s and controlled almost all of the drug trafficking in Mexico and the corridors along the Mexico–United States border.
Eduardo Arellano Félix is a Mexican drug trafficker, brother of Benjamín, Ramón, Javier and sister Enedina, all drug traffickers. The Arellano-Félix Organization, also known as the Tijuana Cartel, has been responsible for countless murders and the smuggling of thousands of tons of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine for more than a decade. The DEA believes that the Arellano-Félix brothers were responsible for the numerous smuggling tunnels that were found in January 2006.
Miguel Ángel Rodríguez Orejuela is a Colombian drug lord, formerly one of the leaders of the Cali Cartel, based in the city of Cali. He is the younger brother of Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela. He married Miss Colombia 1974, Marta Lucía Echeverry.
José Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha, also known by the nickname El Mexicano, was a Colombian drug lord who was one of the leaders of the notorious Medellín Cartel along with the Ochoa Brothers and Pablo Escobar. At the height of his criminal career, Rodríguez was acknowledged as one of the world's most successful drug dealers. In 1988, Forbes magazine included him in their annual list of the world's billionaires.
Jorge Luis Ochoa Vásquez is a Colombian drug trafficker who was one of the key founding members of the notorious Medellín Cartel in the late 1970s. The cartel's key members were Pablo Escobar, Carlos Lehder, José Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha, Jorge Ochoa and his brothers Juan David and Fabio.
Rodrigo Lara Bonilla was a Colombian lawyer and politician, who served as Minister of Justice under President Belisario Betancur, and was assassinated by orders of Pablo Escobar because of his work as Minister in prosecuting cocaine traffickers mainly belonging to the Medellín Cartel.
Illegal drug trade in Colombia refers to a practice of Colombian criminal groups producing and distributing illegal drugs. Colombia has had four major drug trafficking cartels and several bandas criminales, or BACRIMs which eventually created a new social class and influenced several aspects of Colombian culture and politics.
The illegal drug trade in Panama includes trans-shipment of cocaine to the United States. The 1989 United States invasion of Panama to topple Dictator Manuel Noriega was justified in part by the need to combat drug trafficking. Noriega, the dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1989, had a relationship with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from the 1950s. More recently, Mexican cartels such as the Sinaloa Cartel have been active in Panama.
Benjamín Arellano Félix is a Mexican drug trafficker and former leader of the Mexican criminal organization known as the Tijuana Cartel or "Arellano-Félix Organization".
Drug barons of Colombia refer to some of the most notable drug lords which operate in illegal drug trafficking in Colombia. Several of them, notably Pablo Escobar, were long considered among the world's most dangerous and most wanted men by U.S. intelligence. "Ruthless and immensely powerful", several political leaders, such as President Virgilio Barco Vargas, became convinced that the drug lords were becoming so powerful that they could oust the formal government and run the country.