Almost 20 years after his death, Pablo Escobar is still popular and referred to as one of the richest and most powerful drug lords to have ever walked the face of the earth. Many years after his death, the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico is still reigning supreme.
But did you know that in 1991 Escobar offered to turn himself in, to the authorities—if he was allowed to build his own prison? Yes. The man was so powerful and with so much money that he felt there was no prison good enough in the whole of Colombia to hold him.
Colombian officials agreed. Pablo Escobar then constructed a luxurious La Catedral. Not only did the facility include a nightclub, a sauna, a waterfall, and a soccer field; but it also had telephones, computers, and fax machines. It was an equivalent of a five-star hotel today.
Life was good for the cartel king at his own prison until he tortured and killed two cartel members at La Catedral, and officials decided to move him to a less-accommodating prison. Before he could be transferred, however, Escobar escaped, in July 1992.
After the escape of Pablo Escobar, the Colombian government, with the help of U.S. officials and rival drug traffickers—launched a massive manhunt for him. It was one of the largest operations ever mounted for one person in the history of the world.
On December 2, 1993, Escobar celebrated his 44th birthday, accompanied by a cake, wine, and marijuana. The next day, his hideout in Medellín was discovered by the authorities. All the military around the country was marshaled.
While Colombian forces stormed the building, Escobar and a bodyguard managed to get to the roof. A chase and gunfight ensued, and Escobar was fatally shot. Some, however, have speculated that Escobar took his own life. His name still rings bells to date.