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3 Drug Lords Who Attained Celebrity Status

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

Given the social history of the United States, it is not surprising that American culture glorifies criminals, not just at home, but all over the world. After all, our earliest intellectuals were proponents of civil disobedience and actually broke the law to found the country.

Throughout history, there have been criminals that have captured the imaginations of the American people, reaching superstar levels of fandom. Whether it was Bonnie and Clyde, Al Capone, or the ever so secretive Carlo Gambino, it is hard to deny that these individuals have been glorified and idolized.

Below, you'll find a list of 3 such famous, or better yet, infamous, drug lords, and where you can see their glorified story dramatized.

1. El Chapo

Currently facing criminal charges in New York for drug trafficking, firearms, and conspiracy charges, El Chapo, AKA Joaquin Guzman, of Mexico, has recently been thrust into the limelight again. El Chapo attained the status as the leading drug trafficker to of all time, worldwide, before being arrested. Apart from the obscene wealth El Chapo was able to accumulate via the drug trade, he achieved much notoriety after escaping from prison, not once, but twice. The first time in 2001, and then again in 2016.

El Chapo's story is set to be released on Netflix sometime this year, after debuting on Univision in April.

2. Pablo Escobar

Before El Chapo reached infamy, Pablo Escobar, of Colombia, was regarded as the most successful drug trafficker of all time. Unlike El Chapo who trafficked a variety of different kinds of drugs, Escobar only dealt in cocaine. However, he was able to attain a net worth of nearly $30 billion by the early 1990s. While Escobar faced much legal scrutiny at home in Colombia and by US and international authorities, he evaded prosecution until he was murdered at the age of 44 in 1993. He achieved superstar status after being elected to the government and spending much money to build infrastructure like hospitals and schools.

The Netflix series Narcos details the life of Pablo Escobar.

3. Frank Lucas

At this point, probably better known as Denzel Washington's character from the movie American Gangster, Frank Lucas imported heroin from Asia into the US in the coffins of dead soldiers. For committing such a heinous crime, he was basically given a life sentence in 1976. However, he was released into witness protection after providing help to drug enforcement officers.

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