That Time Pablo Escobar Burned Over $1 Million in Cash to Keep his Daughter Suffering from Hypothermia

No one could ever imagine what it must have been like to be the richest criminal to have ever lived. That’s certainly a distinction that many criminals probably aspire to, and once when the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar lived, he had enough cash laying around to just do with it as he pleased. In the early 90s, it was estimated that he was making about $30 billion a year. That’s equivalent to roughly $56 billion a year today, and that’s certainly more than enough money for Escobar to use cash to keep his family warm—literally.

There was once a story about Escobar that could make you either gush or gasp the way that many stories about his life do. At one point while he was on the run, Escobar hid in the mountains of Colombia along with his wife Maria, his daughter Manuela, and his son Juan Pablo. During one night, Pablo realized that Manuela was beginning to suffer from hypothermia, so he did what any other father would’ve done but probably couldn’t. He kept his daughter warm by making a bonfire out of wads of American cash. He burned over two million in cash, according to the story, just to keep his daughter from getting sick any further and to prepare food for his family.

This story is retold by his son Juan Pablo, who later changed his name to Sebastian Marroquin after his father died 25 years ago. He has since moved to Argentina with his own family and has often retold many stories about his life and the life of his late father. Once he told about another story about how the drug lord bought an entire taxi transportation firm in order to keep an eye on any outsiders that are coming into Medellin. Marroquin also tells the story about how he had to be moved, along with his sister and mother, every 48 hours to one of 15 hideaways all over Medellin. This was always done while they were blindfolded, so they could never retrace their steps and report their locations if ever they were captured by torturers.

The theme for many of these stories revolve around a life of suspicion and mistrust that the Escobar family, particularly Pablo Escobar himself, lived through during his last remaining years. His reach was so widespread, as he rose to richness and infamy, that it became more and more impossible to trust the circles he was surrounded with, and many people wanted to be in his circle just so they can taste even a bit of the fortune the drug lord amassed in under two decades of criminal life.

There’s a lot of myth and mystery that surround the life of Pablo Escobar, and we all can’t help but be fascinated by such stories of grandiose proportions—whether they’re about his lavish lifestyle or the intricate plans he had to employ just to keep his family safe. Surely none of it mattered after the police shot him in 1993. Now, his life is no more than a collection of incredulous stories to the public, much like how they are just memories now to his remaining family.

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