If you've been scheming and think you might be able to take the world of drug dealing by storm, you may want to consider what's been going through the minds of some former drug kingpins following their demise. A few are no longer living today, if that tells you anything about being careful with illegal substances, so we'll summon their spirits and see if drugs were really worth it in the end. We'll talk to the others about their experiences becoming famous and being jailed.
1. Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria
He was perhaps one of the most notorious drug lords of all time. Ruling the Medellin Cartel, he dealt cocaine day and night, never giving up on his drug dealing dreams. Let's speak with his ghost. "Ooooh, spirit of Pablo, what compelled you to take up cocaine dealing and was it worth your life?"
Spirit of Pablo: "I hear that after my fateful passing, the cocaine market was captured by Cali Cartel, the Medallin Cartel's biggest, baddest rival. In the end, they served the same sentence I did. It's always an eye for an eye for us dealers. Drugs or no drugs, they got what they deserved for trying to steal my fame. My life, though, my precious life…"
2. Amado Carrillo Fuentes
He built a fortune through drug dealing, transporting cocaine to airports all over Mexico by way of more than twenty-two private jets. Worth more than $25 billion, he was one of the world's wealthiest men, but that money's all gone with him to his grave. Ghost Amado, speak to us about this conundrum, if you please.
Spirit of Amado: "I was the top drug trafficker in Mexico, El Señor de los Cielos, 'The Lord of the Skies.' Being known for a notorious life isn't all it's made out to be, though. What's one to do with all that money if he is dead?"
3. Former Dutch drug lord Klaas Bruinsma
Known as "the minister" due his black clothing and "the tall one" because of his height. He had been fooling around with Wisse Smit, who at that point was engaged to the heir of the Dutch throne, Prince Friso. We wonder if Klaas feels any guilt at all for changing the prince's royal fate.
Spirit of Klaas: "Not only did I lose my dignity through drugs; I lost my life. Shot, like that, and it was all taken from me—all for money, all for drugs. My doings even denied a true prince his throne. Looking back, dealing drugs isn't worth all that."
4. Frank Lucas
A former king of organized crime, Frank Lucas dealt loads of heroin in Harlem in the late 1960s and early 1970s. His fate may be the most interesting of the five former drug kingpins we've picked, as a movie was made of his career—2007's American Gangster.
Lucas: "Smuggling heroin in the caskets of dead American servicemen—what a reason to be famous! Some didn't believe me, but it happened; I swear. It's weird to be portrayed like that in a movie, though, you know? I kind of wish I'd laid low on dealing, or even laid off the drugs."
5. Osiel Cárdenas Guillén
Also hailing from Mexico, Osiel Cárdenas Guillén was the Gulf Cartel's symbolic leader. He rose to the top of the drug dealing world by killing his business partner Chava Gómez, earning himself the nickname "el Mata Amigos," which means the Friend-Killer. It was only a few years later that he was captured and thrown in a top-security prison. Some think he may still control the Gulf Cartel, but let's let the man speak for himself.
Osiel: "I'm as good as dead in this jail. I may still be considered a leader, but no one is a true leader behind bars. You're better off steering away from the notorious life… there's no real fame behind bars. I'm just a name no one trusts now."
Well, there you have it—oh, the pain! Poor Pablo isn't too happy, it seems, and Amado surely isn't resting in peace while rolling in all those coins. You might be shot like Klaas or become famous for a bad reason like Lucas. And unless you're a friend killer like Osiel, you're better off laying low from dealing illegal substances. Given this interview with five former drug kingpins, drug dealing is not really all it's made out to be—and it's certainly not worth your life or spending the rest of it in jail.
If you or someone you love is wrestling with addiction, talk to someone who can point you in the right direction: 1-800-928-9139.