Drug lords are those individuals who have risen to the top of the criminal underworld by taking advantage of the lucrative profits that can be made from the illegal drug trade. They are some of the most notorious figures in history, responsible for untold amounts of violence, corruption, and trafficking. But, despite their sinister reputations, many of them have also become incredibly wealthy. Here are the ten richest drug lords of all time.
10- El Chapo
Net Worth: $3 billion
If you’re looking for a notorious criminal mastermind, look no further than Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. His story is one of rags to riches, from humble beginnings in rural Mexico to becoming one of the world’s most powerful drug lords.He has been the subject of numerous books and movies, and his influence continues to be felt long after his incarceration.
El Chapo was born in the small town of Badiraguato, Mexico, in 1954. His parents were poor farmers, and he was one of seven children. He started working in the drug trade early in life, first as a small-time marijuana grower and trafficker. Over time he worked his way up in the drug world, eventually becoming head of the Sinaloa Cartel. He was known for his ruthlessness, as well as his cunning and intelligence. He was also able to use his wealth and power to bribe officials and police, allowing him to further expand his reach.
El Chapo was responsible for smuggling billions of dollars worth of drugs into the United States and other countries. He also became known for his elaborate tunnels and escape routes. In 2016, he was finally captured and extradited to the United States, where he was sentenced to life in prison.
9- Carlos Lehder
Net Worth: $3 billion
Carlos Lehder became a major figure in the notorious Medellin Cartel. Born in 1949 in Colombia, Lehder was raised in a middle-class family. His early years were marked by a rebellion against authority, and he was expelled from several schools. In his late teens, Lehder began to get involved in drug trafficking, eventually becoming the right-hand man of cartel leader Pablo Escobar and helping to build the cartel’s powerful international drug trafficking network.
Lehder was known for his eccentric and flamboyant lifestyle. He was a fan of the Grateful Dead, and would often throw lavish parties for drug traffickers and celebrities.He also had a passion for fast cars and for collecting vintage aircraft, which he used to smuggle cocaine into the United States.He even built a private airstrip on an island off the coast of Colombia, which he used to smuggle drugs around the world.
Despite his flamboyant lifestyle, Lehder was a ruthless and cunning drug trafficker. He used a variety of techniques to evade law enforcement, including bribing government officials, operating in remote areas, and using small aircraft to move drugs quickly. He also employed a network of corrupt pilots, mechanics, and businessmen to help him run his operation.
Lehder was eventually arrested in 1987 and extradited to the United States. He was sentenced to life in prison, but was released early in 2020 after serving 33 years. Though his whereabouts are currently unknown, Lehder’s legacy as a major drug lord lives on. He is remembered as a master of evasion and a symbol of the power and influence of the drug cartels.
8- Orejuela Bros
Net Worth: $3.39 billion
The Orejuela brothers, Gilberto and Miguel, were two of the most powerful drug lords in the world. Born in Medellin, Colombia, their cartel was responsible for much of the cocaine that flooded the United States in the 1990s.They were believed to be responsible for the majority of the cocaine smuggled into the US from Colombia, with an estimated annual turnover of US$8 billion.
The brothers’ rise to power began in the late 1970s when they started controlling the government-run Medellin cartel. The cartel was responsible for smuggling drugs into the US, and the brothers soon became very wealthy and powerful. By the 1990s they had established a sprawling empire that included a fleet of planes and boats, a network of laboratories and distribution points across Latin America and the Caribbean, and a network of corrupt government officials around the world.
The Orejuela brothers were also known for their ruthlessness, as they eliminated anyone who dared to challenge their authority. They were also believed to be responsible for the murders of many people, including Colombian presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan in 1989.
The brothers were eventually arrested in 1995 and extradited to the US in 2004. They pled guilty to drug trafficking and money laundering and were sentenced to 30 years in prison. The brothers were released in 2012 and are now living in Colombia, where they remain powerful figures in the drug trade.
7- Roberto Suárez Gómez
Net Worth: $5 billion
also known as El Rey de la Cocaína (The King of Cocaine), was one of the most notorious drug traffickers of the late 20th century. He was born in Orinoca, Bolivia and became involved in the cocaine trade in the early 1970s. He was the first of the Latin American drug lords to establish a global network of drug distribution, and he is credited with pioneering the use of aircraft to smuggle drugs. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Suárez Gómez amassed incredible wealth and power as the leader of Bolivia’s cocaine industry.
He used his wealth to fund lavish lifestyles for himself and his family, and he became a powerful political figure in Bolivia.He was eventually arrested in 1984 and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He was released in 1996, but he was forced to live in exile in Brazil until his death in 2000.
Although Suárez Gómez was known as the King of Cocaine, his life and legacy are much more complex than the nickname implies.He is often portrayed as a ruthless criminal, but there is evidence to suggest that he was also a savvy businessman and a generous philanthropist.He was known to have donated large sums of money to local charities and to have built several schools and hospitals in Bolivia.
6- Khun Sa
Net Worth: $5.6 billion
Khun Sa was a Burmese drug lord who rose to prominence in the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia in the 1970s and 1980s.His name is synonymous with the drug trade in the region, and he was the leader of the Shan United Army which controlled a significant portion of the opium trade in the area.
Khun Sa was born Chang Ch’ing-yang to a Chinese father and a Burmese mother in 1933. His parents were poor, and at the age of 11 he left home to join the Shan United Army, a guerilla group fighting for the autonomy of the Shan people in the region.Khun Sa rose quickly through the ranks and eventually became the leader of the group, which came to control a large portion of the opium trade in the Golden Triangle.
Khun Sa was a well-known figure in the drug trade and was even referred to as the “Opium King”. He controlled a vast network of drugs and people, and was known to be ruthless in dealing with his enemies. He was also a shrewd negotiator and was able to broker deals with both governments and drug traffickers.
Khun Sa was a controversial figure and was widely hated by some for his involvement in the drug trade. However, he was also admired by some for his ability to stand up to powerful governments. In the end, Khun Sa was arrested in 2007 for drug trafficking and died in exile in 2007.
5- Ochoa Brothers
Net Worth: $6.7 billion
Photo Credit: Chicago Tribune
The Ochoa brothers, Jorge and Fabio, have earned a notorious reputation as two of Colombia’s most successful and powerful drug dealers.From the early 1980s to the late 1990s, the brothers were in charge of the powerful drug cartel known as the Medellin Cartel, which was responsible for smuggling huge amounts of cocaine into the United States.
Headed by the notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar, the Ochoa brothers were responsible for the distribution of cocaine, which was estimated to be generating profits of up to $20 billion a year. With the help of their associates, the Ochoa brothers were able to build up an expansive network of smuggling operations, using aircraft, boats, and even submarines to transport their goods.
The Ochoa brothers were eventually captured and tried in the United States in 1991. They were found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in prison. However, they were released in 1996 after reaching a plea deal with the Colombian government.
The Ochoa brothers’ story has become legendary in the world of organized crime. They were the first major drug traffickers to become international celebrities, and their story has been depicted in popular culture, including the hit Netflix show Narcos.
4- Dawood Ibrahim
Net Worth: $7.57 billion
Dawood Ibrahim, also known as Sheikh Dawood Hassan, is a convicted Indian underworld don and drug dealer who has been on the run since 1993. He is believed to be living in Pakistan and is the leader of the crime syndicate D-Company. He is one of the most wanted criminals in India and is wanted for various crimes such as smuggling, extortion, money laundering and counterfeiting.
Dawood Ibrahim was born in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra in 1955. He was the son of a constable in the Mumbai Police. He started out as a petty criminal in Mumbai and soon rose to become one of the most influential underworld figures in India.
Dawood Ibrahim’s criminal career began in the 1980s when he and his gang members started taking control of the illegal activities in Mumbai. He was involved in smuggling gold and narcotics. He also extorted money from film producers and businessmen.He soon became the most powerful figure in the Mumbai underworld.
In 1993, Dawood Ibrahim was accused of masterminding the 1993 Bombay bombings, which killed over 250 people. He was also implicated in the murder of prominent underworld figure Karim Lala. He fled India and is believed to be living in Pakistan since then.
3- Semion Mogilevich
Net Worth: $10 billion
The mastermind behind many of the world’s most notorious criminal enterprises, Semion Mogilevich is an infamous figure in the world of organized crime.Born in Ukraine in 1946, Mogilevich rose to prominence in the 1990s as the leader of the Solntsevskaya Bratva, a powerful Russian criminal syndicate.He has been implicated in a wide range of criminal activities, including human trafficking, money laundering, tax fraud, and arms dealing. He allegedly has ties to numerous powerful political figures, and is believed to have amassed a multi-billion dollar fortune.
Mogilevich is notorious for his cunning and ruthlessness in the criminal underworld. He is credited with creating a vast network of criminal organizations and using them to launder money and facilitate illegal activities. He is also known for using his contacts in the Russian government to protect himself and his associates from prosecution. His organization is believed to have been involved in a number of high-profile financial crimes, including the Bank of New York scandal of the late 1990s.
Mogilevich is largely considered to be untouchable by law enforcement agencies around the world. He is believed to be living in Russia, where he is well-protected from prosecution by the country’s government. Despite his incredible wealth and power, he remains a shadowy figure in the criminal underworld, and his true motives remain a mystery.
2- Amado Carillo Fuentes
Net Worth: $28 billion
Photo Credit: Allthatsinteresting
Amado Carrillo Fuentes was a Mexican drug lord who rose to the top of the Juárez Cartel in the early 1990s. He was known as “Lord of the Skies” due to the large fleet of jets he used to transport drugs. He was also the brother of fellow drug trafficker Vicente Carrillo Fuentes.
Carrillo Fuentes gained notoriety for his role in the cocaine trade between Colombia and the United States. He was also known for using violence to expand his empire and control the drug trade in Mexico. He was also known to use bribes and intimidation to maintain his power.
Carrillo Fuentes was born in Sinaloa, Mexico in 1956. He grew up in an impoverished area and started working in the drug trade as a teenager. He quickly rose through the ranks of the drug trade and was eventually appointed the leader of the Juárez Cartel in the early 1990s.
Carrillo Fuentes was known for his ambition and ruthlessness. He was also known for his lavish lifestyle and extravagant spending. He was said to have owned a fleet of luxury cars, a private jet, and a large ranch in Mexico.
Carrillo Fuentes’ reign as the leader of the Juárez Cartel was short-lived, however. In 1997, he died during a plastic surgery operation to change his appearance. After his death, the cartel was taken over by his brother Vicente.
1- Pablo Escobar
Net Worth: $30 billion
Pablo Escobar, the notorious drug dealer of the 1980s, was one of the wealthiest criminals in history. Born in 1949 in Colombia, Escobar rose to power by creating the Medellín Cartel which became the most powerful drug trafficking organization in the world. The cartel was responsible for smuggling large amounts of cocaine into the United States, making Escobar a multi-billionaire.
Escobar’s wealth was estimated to be around $30 billion, making him one of the richest criminals in history. He used his wealth to purchase lavish properties, cars, boats, and planes. He also invested in legitimate businesses, including real estate, stock market, and even a soccer team.
Escobar was also known for his ruthlessness and penchant for violence. He was known for ordering the murders of those who opposed him, including government officials, journalists, and even innocent bystanders. His violent tactics led to his eventual downfall in 1993 when he was killed in a shootout with Colombian police.