"Coque de Mi Rey"
The extent of Escobar’s crimes will never be fully known or verified. However, vast numbers of people were killed on his command. His particular way of handling any authorities questioning his actions was to bribe them or to kill them, or ‘plata o plomo’, Colombian slang for ‘money or bullets’.
Escobar was believed to have had Medellin drug lord Fabio Restrepo murdered in 1975, in order to take over full leadership of the Medellin Cartel. A decade later, in 1985, the Colombian Supreme Court was studying the constitutionality of Colombia’s extradition treaty with the United States. It was besieged by left-wing Colombian guerrillas from the 19th of April Movement (M-19) and half the court’s judges were murdered. Escobar was thought to have been responsible for this action but this was never proven.
The 1989 bombing of a Bogota security building was attributed to Escobar. A number of American intelligence reports claimed that Escobar‘s cartel was planning to kill President Bush Sr. with a bomb on his visit to Cartegena in 1989, which did not transpire.
In the early 1990s, Escobar reportedly had Luis Carlos Galan and two other Liberal Party candidates for Colombian president assassinated, as they posed a threat to everything Escobar upheld. A few months later, Escobar had a bomb planted on an aeroplane on which presidential candidate Csar Gaviria was travelling. Avianca Flight 203 was blown out of the sky, killing 110 people.
Escobar apparently caught one of his servants stealing some silverware and the man’s punishment was to be tied up before being thrown into the swimming pool whilst everyone present watched him drown. Throughout its existence, the Medellin Cartel fought its main rival, the Cartel de Cali, with unrelenting death on both sides. It was claimed that the Moncada brothers, business associates of Escobar, were murdered whilst visiting Escobar in his prison, La Catedral.
Included in the list of those killed by Escobar’s influence are many ordinary citizens, scores of journalists, over 1,000 police officers, more than 200 judges, an attorney general and a justice minister.