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News Link • Drug War

Roberto Escobar on Colombia's Cocaine History...

•, Anthony Wile
While Roberto was becoming a world-class cyclist as a young man, eventually winning numerous national and international medals, coach of the Colombian national cycling team and opening his own bicycle factory, Pablo was embarking on a life of crime. From stealing tombstones in his youth and smuggling contraband, he eventually began smuggling cocaine paste from Peru into Colombia where it was processed. After taking over the existing operations of murdered drug lord Fabio Restrepo, the Medellin cartel's operations eventually expanded into exporting cocaine internationally, including into the US. Roberto reluctantly joined Pablo in the drug smuggling business – out of necessity, says Roberto – when the government began pursuing extended family members who were not involved in Pablo's business, even imprisoning Roberto's wife at one time. Roberto Escobar told the Irish Times in 2009, "I managed the telephones, the books. I never got involved in terrorism, or killings, and I criticised [Pablo] many times for that."

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