Imagine you were born in a poor family, in a poor city, in a poor country, and by the time you were 28 years old, you have so much money you can’t even count it. What do you do? You make your dreams come true.
In all the years I chased Escobar, I could count on one hand the times we almost had him. And each time, we forgot the two most important things we already knew about him: Close doesn’t count. And Pablo is never more dangerous than when you almost have him.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the narco world, it’s that life is more complicated than you think. Good and bad, they’re relative concepts.
In the United States, the Mafia makes witnesses disappear so they can’t testify in court. In Colombia, Pablo Escobar made the whole court disappear.
Back then, we were just finding out about the effects of cocaine on the human brain. We didn’t know much, but we knew it was some pretty powerful s***. Cocaine hijacks the pleasure centers in the brain. A rat will choose cocaine over food and water. It would choose cocaine over sleep, over sex, over life itself. The human brain isn’t quite the same as a rodent’s, unless we’re talking about cocaine.
All that time hunting him and just like that, I’m looking down at Pablo f*****g Escobar. For years I’d been building this son of a b**ch up in my head. What a monster he’d be. But here’s the thing. When you lay eyes on him, the devil’s a real letdown. Just a man. Beard grows if he doesn’t shave. Fat and shoeless.