How Much Money Would Pablo Escobar Be Worth Today?

Pablo Escobar is no-longer-living proof of just how bizarre humans are about amassing wealth and power. It's not just that Escobar made a figurative killing selling nose candy or that he literally killed a bunch of people along the way. He also illustrates society's collective addiction to status and the weird way that even criminally rich people are somewhat idolized.

Just look at this 2015 description by Business Insider: "Despite his humble origins, Pablo Escobar became the leader of the Medellín cartel, which was responsible for 80% of the global cocaine market." Granted, the man who would be "King of Cocaine" was "the son of a poor Colombian farmer" before becoming a billionaire. But Business Insider almost makes him sound like the Horatio Alger of drug lords, an inspiring example of rags-to-riches success with perhaps a smattering of murder. Similarly, in 2018, Newsweek compared Escobar's wealth to that of cocaine kingpin Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, as if it matters which brutal murderer was better at illegal drug trafficking.

With all of that in mind, we're here to perpetuate that very weirdness by delving into Escobar's wealth, his estimated worth when he died, and how much that money would be worth today. 

As we look at Escobar's enormous fortune, it's important to issue a few caveats, the biggest of which is that drug lords work in mysterious ways because their enterprise is illegal. So there's no way to be certain about Pablo Escobar's earnings. Moreover, because he couldn't just put all his cash in banks like a normal person, he resorted to storing it in warehouses, cartel members' houses, and farming fields. Some of that money was eaten by rats or destroyed in water, forcing the drug lord to write off an estimated 10 percent of his assets annually. 

Even with dirty rats eating his dirty dough, Escobar was filthy rich. In his heyday, he smuggled 15 tons of cocaine into the U.S. daily. While hiding from authorities, he had so much cash on hand that he physically burned $2 million when his daughter became hypothermic. The man even owned a personal zoo that's now notorious for copulating hippos that have the potential to be deadly — though probably not as deadly as Pablo Escobar, who killed as many as 7,000 people during his life, per CBS

Escobar met his own violent demise in 1993 when he was fatally shot amid a failed attempt to escape his hideaway. Taken out in dramatic fashion while scurrying across a rooftop, Escobar was worth as much as $30 billion when he died. According to the Dollar Times, that would amount to over $53 billion in 2019.