Last week, we reported on the property of cocaine queenpen Griselda Blanco being seized by federal authorities. She was a well-propertied woman with hundreds of mansions, farms, commercial buildings and more. You can only get that being filthy rich. We’ve compiled a list of some of the billionaires produced by crime. Check them out below:
Griselda Blanco ($2 billion)
Why not start with Ms. Blanco? As you very well may know, “The Godmother” made her fortune by funneling tons of cocaine into the United States, particularly Miami. She was doing her thing with the white even before Pablo Escobar made his name known. At one point, she was making $80 million a month. To run a successful drug business, bodies must be dropped, and Blanco did just that. She was responsible for hundreds of drug-related murders in Miami. Griselda Blanco was ruthless, even killing two of her husbands, which earned her the nickname “The Black Widow.” She served only ten years in U.S. prison before being deported to her native Colombia in 2012. That same year, she was machine-gunned to death in a motorcycle drive-by as she entered a butcher’s market.
Pablo Escobar ($30 billion)
Now that we’ve heard from “The Godmother,” let’s take a look at “El Padrino,” or “The Godfather,” Pablo Escobar. His story is currently being retold on Netflix series Narcos. He imported tons upon tons of cocaine into the United States through his Medellin Cartel, and shed blood to keep the business going. He ordered the assassinations of politicians, police officers and journalists in his quest for dominion, even blowing up an entire airplane. He was a hero to many in Colombia, having built schools, sports fields and housing developments for the poor. He was even elected into the Colombian congress, though that was short-lived. In an unprecedented move, he built his own, luxury prison after negotiations with the government, though he escaped. He became a target of the United States government’s “War on Drugs,” and was eventually killed by U.S. trained Colombian forces in 1993.
Al Capone ($1.3 billion)
Yes, there were American criminals who made it to billionaire-status. Al Capone rose through the ranks of organized crime to become boss of everything in Chicago by his mid-20s. During Prohibition, Capone oversaw various criminal enterprises, such as illegal alcohol, prostitution and gambling, making $100 million per year. He, too, spilled plenty of blood, his most famous execution being the grizzly St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. He would bribe police officials, judges and even Chicago’s mayor. He couldn’t keep the IRS off his back, though. They came for him in 1932 and convicted him on charges of tax evasion. He was sentenced to 11 years. He died from complications due to syphilis after his release.
Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno (multi-billionaire)
Salerno was a member of La Cosa Nostra to make billions. He was the boss of the Genovese crime family and ran rackets in gambling (numbers) and drugs in his native East Harlem. He came up under Charles “Lucky” Luciano. When other Italian mobsters moved out of Harlem after the influx of Latinos and Blacks, Salerno stayed and his empire grew. Headquartered at the Palma Boys Social Club in East Harlem, Salerno made $50 million per year through his numbers racket. In 1985, he and eight other bosses were indicted in the Mafia Commission Trial. He was convicted on RICO charges and sentenced to 100 years in federal prison. Diabetes and prostate cancer are the said causes of his death behind bars.
Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera ($5 billion)
Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past few years, you’ve definitely heard of El Chapo. Coming from meager beginnings in Mexico, El Chapo runs a multi-billion dollar international drug business. He supplies the world with cocaine, heroin and marijuana through his Sinaloa Cartel, and rules with impunity. He made two Forbes lists: “1,000 Wealthiest People In The World” and “60 Most Powerful People In The World.” His wealth and power are the reasons for both of his escapes from maximum security prisons in Mexico. He is currently on the run from the feds.
Amado Carillo Fuentes ($25 billion)
Before El Chapo, there was Amado Carillo Fuentes, reputed leader of Mexico’s Juarez Cartel. He got to this position by killing his predecessor Rafael Aguilar Guajardo. Known as “Lord of the Skies,” Fuentes used his private fleet of planes to fly Colombian cocaine into Mexico. At the time, he was exporting more cocaine into the United States than anyone else. In the months before his death, Fuentes was making multi-ton shipments of cocaine into Manhattan. Though he was known as a low-key, sophisticated gangster, the feds wanted him. To evade the law, he underwent plastic surgery to his face and liposuction, however, he died during the process. The two physicians who performed his surgery were found dead, encased in drums of concrete.
Dawood Ibrahim ($6.7 billion)
Though many on this list can be deemed terrorists for the violence that they ordered, Dawood Ibrahim is the only one on any actual terrorist list. He is on Interpol’s most wanted list and continues to be a threat. He rose to prominence as a gold smuggler and extortionist in India. He is the leader of Mumbai crime syndicate D-Company, and is believed to have links to al-Qaeda. He is accused of orchestrating the 1993 terrorist bombings in Bombay.
Kenichi Shinoda (multi-billionaire)
Kenichi Shinoda is “kumicho” (kingpin) of the Yamaguchi-gumi, the largest sect of Japan’s yakuza crime syndicate. Though the 40,000 member gang is said to be having internal issues, and might split, it is rumored that Shinoda is making billions every year through from extortion, gambling, prostitution, arms and drug trafficking, and real estate and construction kickback schemes. He spent 13 years in prison after being convicted of murdering a rival boss with a katana sword in the early 1970’s. Shortly after being named kumicho in 2005, he sentenced to six years in prison for gun possession, after an appeal for a 1997 conviction was rejected. He was released eight months early.