How Pablo Escobar Was Able To Hide His Fortune From Police

Over the centuries, criminals have been trying to stay one step ahead of law enforcement to keep their ill-gotten money from being taken away from them. For example, pirates would bury treasure, sometimes leaving a map for others to find it. More recently, laundering money is a time-honored practice that combines drug money with legitimate funds to make it seem like the capital comes from a clean source (per Investopedia). Hence the name, money laundering. Indeed, this is a complex scheme where those involved are constantly in a cat-and-mouse scenario with law enforcement.

Pablo Escobar, one of history's most notorious drug kingpins before his death in 1993, was the head of the Medellin drug cartel, according to Biography. Over the course of the 1980s, he amassed a fortune that was in the neighborhood of $25 billion, per Britannica. The problem was that he was making so much money from his drug trade that he couldn't launder it quickly enough. So what did he do? 

No, he didn't hide his money offshore accounts away from prying eyes. Escobar literally hid his fortune all over his estate, among other places. 

Pablo Escobar went well beyond hiding money under a mattress

When it comes to tucking money away from the banks or the government, some people elect to store their funds under mattresses. Even if he had owned a mattress factory, that would have been difficult for Pablo Escobar to do, given the sheer amount of money he had. So he had to get creative and ended up breaking down walls, stashing large amounts of money inside, and resealing them. According to The Independent, Escobar's nephew found $18 million in the walls after his death.

The money was shrinkwrapped, but that didn't do enough to protect it from the elements, as well as the pests (like rodents) that would chew on the paper. This left some of the money unusable, but what's a few million out of billions, huh?  While some of Escobar's stash has been found, some think he also has funds hidden around Colombia. Nobody can tell where the locations are, as Escobar executed those who hid the money (via the Daily Mirror).  Perhaps one day, a modern-day Indiana Jones will discover the lost capital. Then again, given that some of the discovered caches were unusable, it might be best to just let the cash fade into history.