Two former CIA agents have purportedly discovered the whereabouts a sunken submarine used by late drug kingpin Pablo Escobar’s Medellín Cartel to smuggle cocaine from Colombia to Puerto Rico.
In footage shot for Discovery UK, the two ex-CIA agents - Doug Laux and Ben Smith – are exploring the waters off Colombia’s Caribbean coast after receiving a tip that one of Escobar’s cocaine-filled submarines went down there.
While the clip of the divers shows them digging up nothing more than a metal box, the two former agents believe that the shifting seabed and frequent hurricanes that wrack the region could have moved or obscured the wreckage.
“There are historical reports that suggest that narcos when confronted by the Navy or the Coast Guard dumped all the money and drugs overboard and fled,” Smith said in a clip posted on YouTube. “Maybe it isn’t a submarine but I can’t overlook the possibility that it could be one of those things.”
Smith added: “I think it’s worth the time to go check it out.”
While he started as a smalltime criminal stealing cars and selling contraband cigarettes, Escobar moved into the cocaine trade in the 1970s and by the middle of the 1980s had become the richest – and most notorious – drug capo in the world, with his Medellín Cartel bringing in a purported $22 billion a year and Forbes Magazine listing him as the world’s seventh richest person in 1989.
Deep political divides, a weak central government, rampant corruption and a decades-long civil uprising by left-wing guerrillas, all stretched Colombia’s lawmakers and military forces thin. Paired with the advent of the transnational drug trade, it was like a perfect storm to empower Escobar’s Medellín cartel to flourish.
Escobar was also a Robin Hood figure is his hometown of Medellín as he built housing projects for the poor, soccer fields and other infrastructure projects. Escobar was so popular in the country that he was even elected to the Colombian Congress – a move that helped him avoid extradition to the United States.
The law eventually caught up with Escobar when he was gunned down on a Medellín rooftop in 1993 during a joint U.S.-Colombian operation.
While the death El Patrón saw his drug trafficking organization go into a tailspin as turf wars broke out for control over the organization and its splinter groups with high levels of violence not abating until at least the early 2000s, what happened to Escobar’s fortune still remains a mystery.
In 2009, $8 million was discovered in a hidden complex deep in the Colombian jungle, but that is only a small amount of Escobar’s purported $70 billion fortune that still remains at large.