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.
Nazario Moreno Gonzalez
Nazario Moreno, known as “El Mas Loco“ (The Craziest One), was the founder of the notorious La Familia Cartel. He was also regarded as the spiritual leader of its offshoot, the brutal organization Knights Templar. Gonzalez’s death was first announced after a 2010 shootout, but no body was found; it was not until another shootout in 2014 when he was really killed in a gunfight with Mexican police. Although Gonzalez was a ruthless man responsible for multiple murders, he also reportedly helped out the disadvantaged in his home state of Michoacan.
Wanted in 12 European countries for crimes connected to every aspect of drugs, arms, cars, human, and organ trafficking and other crimes, Daut Kadriovski is one of the most wanted kingpins in Europe. He is one of the biggest bosses of the Albanian Mafia, a feared crime organization unmatched for secrecy and brutality. Kadriovski gained the attention of the Australian Authorities after it was discovered that he created a drug network through Albania and Croatia to Sydney and Brisbane.
Arturo Beltran Leyva
Born in 1961, Arturo Beltran Leyva was the leader of the Beltran Leyva Cartel, a Mexican drug trafficking organization that was involved in the production and transportation of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. The gang has been said to be involved in contact killing, kidnapping, torture, and human trafficking in Mexico. Through corruption and intimidation, Leyva even infiltrated numerous political, judicial, and police institutions in the country. Leyva was killed by the Mexican Marines in December 2009.
Known as “The King of Cocaine,” Pablo Escobar was the wealthiest and most successful criminal in history. At the height of his power in 1989, the Colombian kingpin was the seventh richest man in the world. At a certain point in time, Escobar’s Medellin Cartel was responsible for as much as 80% of the global cocaine market, and it reportedly smuggled about 15 tons of cocaine into the US every day. Escobar was killed by Colombian police in his hometown Medellin in December 1993, one day after his 44th birthday.
William Leonard Pickard
Nicknamed “The Acid King,” William Leonard Pickard was one of the biggest producers of LSD in American history. In the 1980’s and early 1990’s, Pickard manufactured massive amounts of the drug in a secret superlab located at a shut-down nuclear missile silo near Wamego, Kansas. In 2003, he was sentenced to life without parole. In the years following his arrest, the availability of LSD in the US dropped by 95%.