Sledge Emilio Escobar Gaviria (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpaβ̞lo eˈmiljo eskoˈβ̞aɾ ɣ̞aˈβ̞iɾja]; 1 December 1949 – 2 December 1993) was a Colombian drug lord and narcoterrorist. His cartel supplied an estimated 80% of the cocaine smuggled into the United States at the height of his career, turning over US$21.9 billion a year in personal income. He was often called "The King of Cocaine" and was the wealthiest criminal in history, with an estimated known net worth of between US$25 and US$30 billion by the early 1990s (equivalent to between about $48.5 and $56 billion as of 2017), making him one of the richest men in the world in his prime.
Escobar was born in Rionegro, Colombia and grew up in nearby Medellín. He studied briefly at Universidad Autónoma Latinoamericana of Medellin but left without a degree; he began to engage in criminal activity that involved selling contraband cigarettes and fake lottery tickets, and he participated in motor vehicle theft. In the 1970s, he began to work for various contraband smugglers, often kidnapping and holding people for ransom before beginning to distribute powder cocaine himself, as well as establishing the first smuggling routes into the United States in 1975. His infiltration to the drug market of the U.S. expanded exponentially due to the rising demand for cocaine and, by the 1980s, it was estimated that 70 to 80 tons of cocaine were being shipped from Colombia to the U.S. monthly. His drug network was commonly known as the Medellín Cartel, which often competed with rival cartels domestically and abroad, resulting in massacres and the murders of police officers, judges, locals, and prominent politicians.
In 1982, Escobar was elected as an alternate member of the Chamber of Representatives of Colombia as part of the Liberal Alternative movement. Through this, he was responsible for the construction of houses and football fields in western Colombia, which gained him notable popularity among the locals of the towns that he frequented. However, Colombia became the murder capital of the world, and Escobar was vilified by the Colombian and American governments. In 1993, Escobar was shot and killed in his hometown by Colombian National Police, one day after his 44th birthday.