How to Become a Mob Boss (2023) s01e06 Episode Script

Break the Mold

[narrator] By revealing this playbook,
I've shown you how to reach
the top of the food chain,
create a bulletproof business plan,
terrorize your enemies,
and stay one step ahead
of the authorities.
I've even shown you what not to do.
For your final lesson,
it's time to scale up your ambitions
and find out just how powerful
a mob boss can become.
[woman] The best mob bosses
spread their tentacles
into every aspect of society
so that they can eliminate
any obstacles to their criminal activity.
[narrator] No criminal pioneer
rode his influence to greater heights,
or with as much deadly precision,
as the cocaine king of Colombia,
Pablo Escobar,
who mastered every page of the playbook
and even added
some final chapters of his own.
He had political power,
he was a hero within his community
[in Spanish] A very special greeting
[Michael]he was ruthless
with his enemies,
very Machiavellian,
and he was a good business guy.
You don't make 30 billion by accident.
[crowd cheering]
[narrator] Follow Escobar's lead,
and you too can become
the best in your class
by learning how to win friends
and influence everything.
[theme music playing]
[narrator] Pablo Escobar rose
from the streets of Medellín, Colombia
to become the head
of the largest drug syndicate in history,
with an entire nation under his thumb.
He was a mob boss. He was a terrorist.
He was a criminal mastermind,
and he was really a global entrepreneur.
[narrator] But before we outline
how Pablo made such a killing,
here's a few key details
about his first steps
on his path from pawn to kingpin.
[spectators cheering]
[announcer in Spanish]
Long live Pablo Escobar Gaviria!
Escobar wanted to make
a million Colombian pesos
by the time he was 30.
[in Spanish] His mother
was a school teacher.
His father was a farmer
who worked on a farm.
They had no economic resources.
[narrator in English]
By the time Pablo was a teen,
he was already showing
his entrepreneurial flair.
Escobar became a player
in a pretty big
cigarette smuggling operation.
Basically expanding it
and making more money for his boss.
This sets him up to later be able to build
his own empire as a drug trafficker.
Pablo Escobar saw the other traffickers
making money off cocaine.
The profit margins were so much higher
with cocaine than they were marijuana.
Basically, to get that kilo
of cocaine to the United States,
we're talking $5,000 per kilo.
If your return on that pure kilo
of cocaine is $80,000
I'm not an Economics major,
but even I can realize that
that's a fantastic return
on your investment.
[Asha] In 1975, Pablo Escobar
was a low-level drug trafficker
that nobody had ever heard of.
[Steve] An opportunity comes along
where an individual named Restrepo
needed someone to help him
complete a drug deal in Medellín.
So Pablo helps with the drug deal.
[Asha] Two months later,
Fabio Restrepo was murdered.
Reportedly, Escobar
ordered the assassination.
And then Escobar
takes over his organization
and basically tells his entire operation
that they're working for him.
That's a boss move.
[narrator] But Pablo Escobar's ambitions
went beyond running
a local drug trafficking operation.
He wanted to change the game.
Pablo Escobar wanted to rule Colombia.
[narrator] To do that,
he'd need to radically expand
his sphere of influence,
starting with any criminal leader's
most consistent adversary.
For an ambitious mob boss on the rise,
local police can be
a real thorn in your side.
But we all know even the straightest cops
can be tempted by the right offer.
Having corrupt cops on your payroll
is an excellent thing for a mob boss.
It gives you more control
in the neighborhoods
and over your business.
So, when you have cops
in your pocket and you're paying them,
there's nothing better than that.
[narrator] As Medellín's
top cocaine dealer,
Pablo knew the value
of getting the law on his side.
Especially since he was eyeing
a risky move to increase his power.
As Pablo became more involved
in the cocaine business,
he realized the additional profits
he could make
by manufacturing his own cocaine.
He said, "Let's invest money
in making these cocaine laboratories."
[narrator] But Pablo faced a problem
when it came to transporting his product.
In the mid-'70s,
the Colombian national police
had the responsibility
of going after the drug traffickers.
The Colombian police set up roadblocks
on main routes
being traveled throughout Colombia.
If you don't have an attitude
that makes you persuasive,
maybe with cash in your hand,
you're probably gonna be arrested
at those roadblocks for smuggling.
[narrator] Pablo had the right attitude
and more importantly, cash to spare.
But in 1970s Colombia,
not all law enforcement organizations
played by the same rules.
One night, Escobar and his men
are heading back to Medellín
from a supply run to Ecuador
when they run into an unexpected delay.
Pablo knows the drill,
but he's not dealing
with the regular cops.
It's the Colombian
secret police known as DAS.
[Javier] There was an agency
in Colombia called DAS.
Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad.
DAS was like the FBI.
They did a lot of intelligence work.
[narrator] The agents knew
Pablo was coming
and quickly discovered
39 kilos of raw coca paste
inside the truck's spare tire.
They've got him dead to rights.
Pablo offers his usual bribe,
but the DAS agents
aren't so easily bought off.
They arrest Pablo for trafficking.
Fortunately, Escobar
still has options to regain his freedom.
He arranges for a gift to be sent
to the judge overseeing his case.
The judge appreciates the gesture
and shows it.
As for those stubborn DAS agents
who refused to bow to Pablo's influence
[narrator] they become an example
of what happens
when you don't accept
Pablo Escobar's generosity.
From then on, all officers who cross
Pablo's path will have a simple choice.
[narrator in Spanish] Plata
[gun cocks] o plomo.
[Asha] Plata o plomo,
it means silver or lead.
You can either take money,
or you can take a bullet.
It was an offer that no one could refuse.
[narrator] Leaning on law enforcement
is a start,
but the next phase
of your influence campaign
means getting another
troublesome group onto your side,
the competition.
[bell dings]
How do you turn
potential enemies into allies?
They say if you want to go fast, go alone.
But if you want to go far, go as a team.
Because together everyone achieves more.
Mob bosses have to have
strategic alliances with other mob bosses
'cause they're all working
for that same successful outcome, right?
To make money.
There's plenty of money
out there to be made,
but if I claim this, and he claims this,
and we start shooting at each other,
nobody gets anything.
You just have a lot of dead people.
[narrator] That's how
these criminal supergroups were born.
Sicilian mob boss Gaetano Badalamenti
partnered with the American Mafia
to traffic heroin stateside.
The operation was nicknamed
The Pizza Connection,
because the drugs were moved
through New York pizza parlors.
The human trafficking
ringleader known as Sister Ping,
who grew a $40 million empire
smuggling Chinese migrants into the US,
paid her former rivals,
the Fuk Ching gang,
close to a million dollars
to assist with her operation
and terrorized those who refused to pay.
While Lucky Luciano,
Bugsy Siegel, and Meyer Lansky
merged their Italian
and Jewish gangs during Prohibition
to form what they called The Syndicate.
The first American multi-ethnic mob.
Now that's progressive thinking.
As Pablo's ambitions grew,
he had reasons to explore
constructive collaboration.
[Asha] The cocaine trade
was a competitive market
in Colombia when it started.
You had a number of different players
competing for the market share.
[Steve] All these drug traffickers
are doing their own thing,
that they're having to create
their own sources to secure the chemicals,
which is a challenge because
where do you get your chemicals from?
There's only so many
chemical companies in the world.
[narrator] Were they still making money?
Oh yes.
But Pablo and his fellow narcos
were about to face a crisis
that would change everything.
Throughout Colombia, insurgent groups
begin kidnapping wealthy citizens
and holding them for ransom.
It's a most profitable racket,
and for those who don't pay, a deadly one.
Before long, they start coming
for the drug tycoons and their families.
Marta Ochoa, younger sister
of top traffickers, the Ochoa brothers,
is abducted off her college campus
by members of the Marxist
guerrilla faction M-19.
They demand millions for her safe return.
In response, Pablo and the Ochoas
decide to convene a summit
of Colombia's top traffickers.
[indistinct chatter]
As the drug lords gather, Pablo insists
that no more ransoms be paid.
Instead, they should join forces
to fund their own private army
with a catchy title.
M.A.S. Muerte a Los Secuestradores.
In other words, death to the people
who are kidnapping for ransom.
[narrator] The price to join?
A mere two million pesos, around $33,000.
And ten hitmen each.
Within days of forming,
M.A.S. starts hunting.
They slaughter
more than 100 suspected kidnappers
across the country
until Marta Ochoa's abductors
finally get the message.
What began as a tactical partnership
would soon deepen
as these unlikely collaborators
decide to create a more lasting alliance,
which the world will come to know
as the Medellín drug cartel.
[people clapping]
[Steve] So they all brought in
different things to the table
to share amongst each other.
That's when their profits
really started to grow.
They became much, much more powerful
as a group than they were individually.
By the late '80s, early '90s,
the Medellín cartel was responsible
for 80% of the cocaine
that was reaching the world.
They are monopolizing
the cocaine business.
In other words, they're the ones
who are setting the price.
But the person who's always above
all these people? Pablo Escobar.
[narrator] And to the visionary
go the greatest rewards.
By the mid-1980s, Pablo Escobar
was making a million dollars a day.
[narrator] But when you're running
an illegal empire,
your growing bankroll is going
to draw ever more unwanted attention.
Our trusty playbook will show you
how to keep the wolves at bay
and expand your influence even further.
We all want that warm feeling
of being safe and protected.
That even goes for powerful mob bosses.
[Steve] High-level criminals understand
the benefit of having
public opinion behind them.
If you can get
that community support behind you,
people tend to maybe not look at the fact
that you're doing things that are illegal.
[man] The more public support
that a boss is able to garner,
the more he'll be able
to ultimately insulate himself.
[narrator] The first step in getting
the masses on your team?
Show your charitable side.
Like these guys.
New York City Mafia boss
Carlo Gambino's sons, Thomas and Joseph,
who reportedly made 70 million
from a trucking scam
in the Garment District,
gave over a million dollars
to help fund a children's cancer center,
which still bears
the family's name on one of its units.
After a devastating tsunami
struck Japan in 2011,
the yakuza,
under supreme kingpin Kenichi Shinoda,,
were among the first on the ground
delivering aid to devastated areas.
And the Colombo crime family's
notorious underboss William Cutolo
was a major benefactor of the National
Leukemia Research Association.
He even dressed up as Santa Claus
for its annual Christmas party.
Pablo Escobar's charm offensive
also benefited
from understanding his audience.
[in Spanish] Pablo Escobar came
from a humble background
and knew the needs of his people.
[Asha] The government was
only catering to the elites, and so,
Pablo Escobar was able to fill a gap
that the government wasn't filling,
providing services and things
that people needed at the ground level.
[narrator] Pablo's generosity
takes many forms.
His money helps build
roads and power lines,
roller rinks.
Even a 600-unit housing complex
for Medellín's neediest citizens,
christened Barrio de Pablo Escobar.
He creates a private zoo
with free admission,
featuring 200 exotic animals,
sponsors local soccer teams,
and constructs playing fields
all over the city with lights.
[crowd cheering]
Sometimes Pablo even suits up himself.
He hands out money
in the city's poorest neighborhoods,
often accompanied by Catholic priests.
He gives money to the church too.
[Asha] Pablo's community
saw him as a Robin Hood,
where he stole from the rich capitalists
and gave back to the poor.
And so, he was really seen as a hero
to the people in his own neighborhood.
What it ultimately meant was loyalty.
You know, people thought
Pablo Escobar was the good guy,
and the government people
were the bad guys.
When you have the will of the people
on your side, you're a winner.
That's how you beat government.
[narrator] But even when it seems
that your neighborhood is secure,
outside threats
can be another matter entirely.
Drugs are menacing our society.
They're threatening our values
and undercutting our institutions.
They're killing our children.
We want you to say no.
Knock drugs out of your life
by just saying no.
Just say no.
[newscaster] It's estimated
that about 96 tons of cocaine
were smuggled into the US last year.
We are indeed trying to do
everything government can do
to combat drug traffickers.
The Colombian government was under
a lot of pressure from the United States
to really crack down
on the drug traffickers.
[narrator] And that would lead
to a most troubling decision.
The United States and Colombia
signed this treaty that allowed
Colombian traffickers
to be extradited to the United States.
[narrator] Scary stuff, but not to worry.
The playbook will show you
how to capitalize
on your newfound popularity.
Politics. It's slow. It's messy.
But when you want
to influence public policy,
you have to go right to the source.
And if you're Pablo Escobar,
there's now one law
that matters above all.
[Asha] Pablo Escobar
was especially scared of extradition,
the possibility that he could be
forcibly transferred to the United States
where he would face
almost certain justice and jail time.
[narrator] Pablo needed to take
that scenario off the table.
Pablo Escobar realized
if he really wanted to change the laws,
the best way to do it was from the inside.
He ran as an alternate
for a congressional position
out of his district.
[in Spanish] The main ideology
of our movement is public spirit,
nationalism, social programs.
[narrator] And as for Pablo's
complicated backstory
Escobar carefully curated
his public profile.
He hired a PR person to make him seem
like a legitimate businessman,
to pay off journalists,
and basically wipe his past clean.
[Steve] He ran on the coattails
of a man named Ortega,
who was an incumbent, and had won.
[crowd cheering]
[Steve] Once the election was over,
Pablo goes strutting into Congress
just like he's a normal person.
[narrator] Besides the power
and prestige of his office,
Pablo's new position
came with some other handy perks.
[Asha] As a member of Congress,
Escobar enjoyed immunity
from criminal prosecution.
He got a diplomatic visa
to the United States
and was in a position
to impact Colombia's extradition treaty,
which he wanted to get rid of.
[narrator] However,
Pablo's grand ambitions
brought him face-to-face
with a formidable opponent.
Rodrigo Lara was the Minister of Justice
who had just been appointed
when Pablo Escobar
was elected to Congress.
He was a lifelong politician
and a staunch adversary
to the drug traffickers.
The minister knew who Pablo was.
He realized that Pablo was making
a mockery of their congressional system
by even being in the room.
[sinister music plays]
[narrator] On Pablo's first day
in Congress,
it's clear he doesn't fit in.
Rodrigo Lara is about to make things
even more uncomfortable.
He starts the session
and denounces
narcotrafficking's devastating effect
on Colombian society,
and then turns his attention to Pablo.
Lara unmasks
the new Congressman as a drug kingpin
and declares that Escobar
has been lying to the Congress
and the Colombian people.
Pablo continues to deny the allegations.
[in Spanish] From any point of view,
we are being slandered and attacked
for false information
and for harmful words
launched against us
by our political enemies.
[narrator] But after
a yearlong investigation,
Escobar is expelled from Congress.
[Asha] Not only does Escobar lose
any kind of immunity
from prosecution that he might have had,
any influence that he would
have had on Colombian drug policy,
but he's personally humiliated
and exposed.
[narrator] Pablo's attempt
to break into politics hit a wall.
But there's more than one way
to bend the government to your will.
And this next one isn't nearly as polite.
[narrator] When you're a man of means,
you can usually count on your money
to advance your interests.
I'm livin' the life, life ♪
Yeah, I'm livin' the life, life, life ♪
[narrator] And by the late 1980s,
few on Earth had greater means
than Pablo Escobar.
I got it made, made, made ♪
I'm doing it right, right, right ♪
[Steve] He's in the limelight.
He's got more money
than he knows what to do with.
He's one of the richest,
if not the richest criminal in the world.
And he doesn't want
to give any of that up.
[narrator] But a new crop of politicians
was looking to make their names
by promising to take Pablo
and his cartel colleagues down.
[Steve] There was an individual
named Luis Carlos Galán
that was running
for president of Colombia,
and his platform was pro-extradition
for the drug traffickers in Colombia.
His popularity rate was phenomenal.
[in Spanish] It arrived in our homeland
as it arrived in more than 60 countries
of the world.
[crowd cheering]
[narrator] If you're Pablo Escobar,
that's the last type of person
you can allow to run your country.
[crowd continues cheering]
[narrator] Time to exert
your influence more directly.
Galán is assassinated on Escobar's orders.
[narrator] But Galán's ideas
aren't as easy to snuff out.
For Escobar,
his problems haven't gone away
because Galán's chief of staff,
César Gaviria,
becomes the presidential candidate.
[newscaster 1] Gaviria was
also the only candidate
who promised to continue extraditing
some cartel leaders
to the United States for trial.
[narrator] Guess he didn't get
the message.
So, Pablo decides he'll take Gaviria out,
and he goes through the level
of getting intelligence
that César Gaviria is going to be
on the flight going from Bogotáto Cali.
Pablo decided to authorize
to put a bomb on the flight.
Plane takes off,
that bomb explodes in midair.
[newscaster 2] 107 are dead
in Colombia in a plane crash.
The plane went down minutes
after taking off from Bogotá.
It might have been a bomb,
and there is one claim
that drug dealers planted it.
[narrator] But there was one problem.
Gaviria did not travel.
[Steve] So 110 people died
simply because Pablo thought
one man was going to be on that plane.
[Javier] After the airline bomb
by Pablo Escobar,
people were starting to say this guy
needs to be locked up somewhere.
And this is where all the efforts
were now being focused
on finding Pablo Escobar.
[newscaster 3] Colombian police continue
to find and destroy hidden runways,
dismantle cocaine labs,
and search for Pablo Escobar,
head of the Medellín drug cartel.
[narrator] It may seem like
the walls were closing in,
but Pablo still had
one more card up his sleeve
to impose his will and secure his future.
After making billions and becoming
Colombia's most influential citizen,
Pablo Escobar now had
the Colombian authorities on his trail
[TV announcer speaking in Spanish]
[narrator] and a population
cheering for his capture.
He needed to shift the odds
back into his favor.
Violence is Escobar's bargaining chip.
It's the only leverage
that he has at this point,
and the only way that he thinks
he can bring the government to the table.
[siren wailing in distance]
Colombia's drug lords responded today
to the government's new get-tough policy.
They declared war on the government.
As the heat is turned up on Escobar,
everything becomes a target,
and basically Bogotábecomes a war zone.
Thousands and thousands
of innocent people were killed.
Then he placed leaflets at car bomb sites.
The extraditables. Los extraditables.
"I prefer a tomb in Colombia
to a jail cell in the United States."
And it was signed "the extraditables."
We knew "the extraditables"
was Pablo Escobar.
That was his calling card.
[narrator] It didn't take long
until Pablo's campaign bore fruit.
[Steve] You get this public opinion
mounting and growing,
going to the government to say,
"What are you gonna do about violence?"
"We've had enough of this.
How are you gonna keep us safe?"
[narrator] Fearing public revolt,
the government had no choice
but to offer Pablo a deal.
[Steve] President César Gaviria
came up with an idea
of the "self-surrender program."
And what that entailed was
you as a criminal come in
and agree to plead guilty
to one crime of your choosing.
And in exchange,
we will absolve you of every other crime
you've ever committed in your life,
to include murders.
This was primarily aimed at bringing in
or bringing down Pablo Escobar.
[narrator] The only thing better
than bringing the government to the table
is having them come on their knees.
[Javier] Pablo Escobar called up
the government of Colombia and said,
"I am willing to stop my bombing campaign,
and I am willing to self-surrender."
"However, I have certain conditions."
They said, "Okay. What is it you want?"
He said, "Well, first of all,
I'm gonna build my own prison."
"Because I need to know
that it's a place that I feel safe in."
And what did the government say? "Okay."
He said,
"Second of all, I need to handpick
all my fellow prisoners
because I got a lot of enemies."
"I've got to make sure there's not people
that would kill me while in prison."
And the government of Columbia said,
"I'm gonna hire my own prison guards."
"Don't worry about their salaries.
I'm gonna pay their salaries."
And the Colombian government said, "Okay."
On top of that, there were no stipulations
to take any of Pablo's assets.
"The big factor is
I need that extradition thing gone."
The government of Colombia said, "Okay."
It was the worst plea deal
in the history of law enforcement
in the entire history of the world.
Basically, Pablo Escobar had won,
and we had lost.
[narrator] But what about
that prison sentence?
The facility of his choice
is known as La Catedral.
[upbeat salsa music playing]
This prison has big-screen TVs,
a jacuzzi, a pool with a waterfall,
and all of the things that Escobar needs
to continue his business
safely inside walls with guards outside.
[music ends]
[narrator] And when after a year
at La Catedral,
the Colombian government
decided to renege on their deal
and transfer Escobar
to a less comfortable prison.
[guns firing]
Pablo's men took up arms,
and Escobar walked
right out the back door.
[newscaster 4] Hundreds of Army troops
scouring the countryside
for Colombia's most wanted man.
So far, Pablo Escobar has outfoxed them.
[narrator] Though he didn't stay
on the run forever,
the man who said he preferred death
in Colombia to prison in the US
ultimately got his wish.
Thanks to the Colombian police
and the American Drug Enforcement Agency.
[newscaster 5] Pablo Escobar died
as he had lived, violently.
His death may well be
the final blow to the Medellín cartel.
[narrator] By carving his unique path
through the playbook,
Pablo Escobar became
one of the 10 richest people in the world
with a reported net worth of $30 billion.
Who says crime doesn't pay?
[Michael] The mob mentality is this.
Anyone that hasn't took the oath
is a sucker.
Going into this business
you're gonna make money,
but we don't just kill people.
We see what the public wants,
and we give it to them.
At least the Mafia is not looking
to pull wool over everybody's eyes.
[narrator] Each of these criminal giants
took control of their own destiny
and achieved heights
most mortals can only dream of.
Mob bosses are so respected, so feared.
[narrator] If you're satisfied
with your current existence,
then maybe you're not cut out
for this sort of career change,
but let's be real.
It's plain and simple.
You want money, power, respect?
You want to be the boss.
[narrator] Couldn't we all use more
of the finer things in life?
I've given you the tools.
So, what are you waiting for?
[theme music playing]
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