25 Most Famous Drug Dealers Throughout History

A drug lord (also known as drug baron, kingpin, or narcotrafficker) is a person who controls a sizable network of people involved in illegal drug trade. Drug lords are usually very rich, ruthless, and powerful. They might also be extremely difficult to bring to justice. For today’s post, we compiled a list of the most notorious drug lords that have ever lived. If you want to know more about the ruthless and violent lives of the world’s richest drug lords, the biggest drug dealers who never got caught, and other notable narcotraffickers, check out this post with 25 Most Famous Drug Dealers Throughout History.

25

Frank Lucas

Frank LucasSource: biography.com

Our list of drug lords starts out with Frank Lucas, a former heroin dealer and organized crime boss who operated in Harlem during the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Lucas constructed a huge international drug empire that spanned from New York to South East Asia. He had collected millions in cash and property in several cities by the time he was busted in 1975. His criminal career was dramatized in the 2007 film “American Gangster” starring Denzel Washington.

24

Rick Ross

Rick RossSource: latimes.com

Born in 1960, Rick Ross is a convicted drug trafficker best known for the drug empire he established in Los Angeles in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. In 1996, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole; however, his sentence was reduced in 2005, and he was released in 2009. After the release, Ross went on speaking tours and talked to young people about his life in the drug trade. His life was documented in the 2015 film “Freeway: Crack in the System.”


23

Manuel Noriega

Manuel Noriega Source: mirror.co.uk

A military dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1989, Manuel Noriega was a prize CIA asset but was also involved in drug trafficking and money laundering. He was central to the plan to swap guns for drugs with the Nicaraguan Contras (whom the US was supporting). When the US invaded Panama in 1989, Noriega was eventually captured as a prisoner of war. He was convicted of drug trafficking, racketeering, and money laundering, and sentenced to 30 years in prison. In 2011, he was extradited back to Panama to serve the rest of his sentence.

22

Griselda Blanco

Griselda Blanco Source: biography.com

Not all drug kingpins are men. One of the most ruthless drug “queenpins” of all-time was Griselda Blanco, nicknamed “La Madrina,” or “The Black Widow.” Blanco was one of the key figures in the Medellín Cartel and has been credited with being a mentor to Pablo Escobar (see nr. 17), who would eventually become her enemy. It has been estimated that she was responsible for up to 200 murders while transporting cocaine from Colombia to the US.


21

Ismael Zambada Garcia

Ismael Zambada GarciaSource: news.vice.com

The leader of the feared Mexican Sinaloa Cartel, Ismael Zambada Garcia is one the biggest drug dealers in the world today. Nicknamed “El Mayo,” Zambada is a legendary figure in the Mexican underworld, who has reportedly never spent a day in prison. His cartel is known to traffic a wide range of narcotics, such as domestically produced heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine, while also providing transit for South American cocaine.



Photos: 25. Luigi Novi, 11.14.08FrankLucasByLuigiNovi, CC BY 3.0, 24. /\ \/\/ /\ via flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, 23-22. wikimedia commons (public domain), 21. en.wikimedia (Fair use: no free images available; illustrative purposes only), 20. alchetron.com (Fair use: no free images available; illustrative purposes only), 19. streetgangs.com, (Fair use: no free images available; illustrative purposes only), 18. internacional.elpais.com, (Fair use: no free images available; illustrative purposes only), 17. wikimedia commons (public domain), 16. Lbeck1945, William Leonard Pickard, CC BY-SA 4.0, 15. biography.com, (Fair use: no free images available; illustrative purposes only), 14. Lamont Coleman, Christopher-Dudus-Coke, CC BY-SA 3.0, 13-12. wikimedia commons (public domain), 11. en.wikimedia, (Fair use: no free images available; illustrative purposes only), 10. dailystar.co.uk, (Fair use: no free images available; illustrative purposes only), 9. animalpolitico.com, (Fair use: no free images available; illustrative purposes only), 8. latinone.com, (Fair use: no free images available; illustrative purposes only), 7. dutchprisons.wordpress.com, (Fair use: no free images available; illustrative purposes only), 6. listindiario.com, (Fair use: no free images available; illustrative purposes only), 5. Nish242, Curciojung-01, CC BY-SA 4.0, 4. US Department of State photo (public domain), 3. Stephen Rice, Khun Sa (cropped), CC BY-SA 3.0, 2. thequint.com, (Fair use: no free images available; illustrative purposes only), 1. wikimedia commons (public domain)

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