On the second of December 1993 the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar was gunned down on a rooftop in Medellin Colombia. Only a few years earlier he was one of the most powerful and wealthy drug lords in history. The demise of Pablo Escobar was brought about by a combination of legal and illegal means. A Colombian police unit known as the Search Bloc, with help from specialised American military units, ran the legal search for Escobar. A vigilante group known as Los Pepes used brutal illegal tactics in order to aid the search for Escobar and exact revenge for the extreme violence perpetrated by him and the Medellin Cartel.
Pablo Escobar had modest beginnings to his criminal career, but his ...view middle of the document...
When dealing with government officials Escobar and his cartel employed the simple tactic of “plata o plomo” (silver or lead). This mean that the government official had two choices. They could either accept Escobar’s bribe or die. Pablo Escobar was not afraid of collateral damage when he fought the government. He killed a presidential candidate who did not line up with his interests in a plane bombing that killed all of the passengers. He also bombed the Administrative Departement of Security headquarters killing sixty seven people.
Pablo Escobar was fond of using car bombs to get his point across to the government as well. One bomb blast blamed on him killed twenty people and injured sixty eight. Another blast killed eleven people and injured one hundred. Pablo Escobar’s complete disregard for innocent victims bred a huge amount of public animosity towards the drug lord. It also struck fear into the hearts of his enemies.
Pablo Escobar used this fear to gain leverage with the Colombian government and make deals to benefit himself. In the 1980s, Colombia passed a law allowing for the extradition of Colombian criminals to the United States. This did not please the Colombian drug lords. If they were sent to the United States for trial they would have a much harder time bribing the judges. Escobar retaliated against this legislation with a violent campaign of bombing and murder. He finally struck a deal with the government where he turned himself in, stopped his war on the government, and discontinued his other criminal activities. In return Colombia made a ban on extradition, and allowed him to build his own personal prison. He built himself a mansion for a prison and he never ceased his criminal activities. Once the government decided to transfer Escobar to a real prison he easily escaped to avoid the move. He then vowed to resume his war on Colombia.
A group that was born out of the fear and hate that Pablo Escobar caused was Los Pepes, Perseguidos por Pablo Escobar (People Persecuted by Pablo Escobar). Los Pepes were a paramilitary group formed to fight Escobar. Los Pepes were made up of people who had been, in some way, harmed by Pablo Escobar. There were many relatives of his victims and former associates of Escobar involved with Los Pepes. The leaders of Los Pepes were Vicente Castaño, Carlos Castaño, Fidel Castaño, and Diego Murillo Bejarano (Don Berna). The Castaño brothers started Los Pepes after Escobar turned on them.
Los Pepes had many connections to the criminal world that aided them in their fight against Pablo Escobar. The members of Los Pepes that used to work for Escobar were able to offer invaluable information about the workings of the Medellin cartel. This allowed them to find their targets much more easily. Because of the agenda of Los Pepes, and their criminal nature, they were supported financially by the Medellin cartel’s primary rival, the Cali cartel.
Los Pepes used incredibly violent tactics to fight Pablo Escobar....