“Make him an offer that he cannot refuse.” These were the immortal words used by one of the greatest actors of all time, Marlon Brando in the iconic film, “The God Father.” These words are symbolic of the gangsters we discuss today in this article.
They say, “Crime never pays,” but if you look at the net worth of the gangsters in this list, it can make you wonder, who on Earth made such as statement. Every country has its quota of drug dealers and gangsters. Maybe, South America should rule the roost in this particular category. We shall look at the top 13 richest gangsters who are alive today. We could have extended this list to include 20 gangsters, but seven of the top 20 gangsters have had their date with the Messenger of Death. However, as a matter of interest we shall include their names as well along with the position they would have held had they been alive and kicking today.
13. Frank Lucas: $52 million (Otherwise No 20)
They say that No. 13 is an unlucky number. However, it does not seem so for a certain Frank Lucas, a notorious American drug dealer. If you look at his resume, it reads, “Retired Drug Dealer.” One can wonder who gave him such as designation. Anyway, Frank Lucas was one of the most dangerous drug dealers of his time. He had a unique way of smuggling drugs into the US. He hid them inside the coffins of dead US soldiers. Having made a fortune of $52 million in drug trafficking, he spent only 12 years in prison. Maybe, you get a 6-month sentence for DUI. Seems a bit unfair, isn’t it?
12. Jose Figueroa Agosto: $100 million (Otherwise No 19)
The man who could perfectly personify the GTA computer game gangster, Jose Figueroa Agosto is at No 12 in this list. A very slippery gangster, he has escaped from prison several times. Belonging to Puerto Rico, he is in an undisclosed US jail now. One of the biggest drug dealers of all time, the courts sentenced him to a whopping 209 years in prison. However, he escaped and fled to the Dominican Republic. He continued his activities under a different identity before the Feds caught up with him in 2010. Do you know that Jose Agosto has hid his $ 100 million cash at a secret place? He has not shared the information with anyone. If you can find it, you can keep it as well.
11. George Jung: $100 million (Otherwise No 18)
At No. 11, we have George Jung, also known in the crime circles as Boston George for the simple reason that he belonged to Boston, Massachusetts. He is the person responsible for the presence of all the cocaine inside the USA. Arrested in 1984, he was in jail for about 30 years before becoming a free man in 2014. The noted maverick actor, Johnny Depp portrayed his role in the 2001 film, Blow. There are talks of producing a sequel to this film.
10. Nicky Barnes: $105 million (Otherwise No 17)
It is very common that the major drug lords start as petty criminals. A stint in jail strengthens their resolve to become a major player rather than reforming. Nicky Barnes is also one such gangster. At No 10 in this notorious list, Nicky Barnes became a reputed drug lord. A slippery customer, he knew where the weaknesses of the police lie. He continued to evade arrest thereby earning the nickname, Mr. Untouchable. He became such a menace that the US President Jimmy Carter had to intervene personally to order the DEA to arrest him. At the age of 81, he is making money telling his stories rather than selling drugs now.
9. Paul Lir Alexander: $170 million (Otherwise No 16)
You need a very cunning and ruthless brain to be a gangster. The No. 9 gangster in this list, Paul Lir Alexander aka El Parito Loco is certainly one crafty person. He amassed his millions by hoodwinking the police and using the Feds to eliminate fellow gangsters. Finally, the law caught up with him, sentenced him to 12 years in prison, and thereafter deported him to his home country, Brazil. The Brazilian police sentenced him for 42 years but he managed to give them the slip. He is still at large but is supposedly very active on Facebook.
8. Zhenli Ye Gon: $300 million (Otherwise No 15)
At No 8 on this list, Zhenli Ye Gon is the opposite of Nick Barnes in a way. Instead of peddling drugs on the street, he took the white-collar route by becoming an executive for a pharmaceutical company in Mexico. Using his Chinese contacts, he used to smuggle pseudoephedrine from China. It is tough to become rich in one country. This person has stashed his millions in four countries, US, Mexico, Europe, and Hong Kong. With a net worth of $ 300 million, he was a member of the Sinaloa Cartel.
7. Freeway Ricky Ross: $600 million (Otherwise No 13)
At No 7, we have the notorious Freeway Ricky Ross, the undisputed king of smuggling cocaine in the US in the 1980s. Arrested by the Feds in 1996 after a sting operation, he was prematurely released in 2009. An important member of the Iran-Contra hearings, he released a book highlighting his life story. In the meantime, he filed a suit against rapper Rick Ross for using his name. In fact, both of them have similar features that people often used to confuse the gangster for the rapper.
6. Rafael Caro Quintero: $650 million (Otherwise No 12)
You must have heard of the famous Guadalajara Cartel in Mexico. The gangster at No 6 on this list Rafael Caro Quintero is the creator of this cartel along with his brother. It can surprise you that drug dealing was his family business. Wanted by the Feds for various drug related crimes and murder, the courts sentenced him to 40 years in prison in 1985. Released prematurely in 2013, he did not mend his ways. However, he is at large today with Interpol sounding a red alert for him worldwide. Having a net worth of $ 650 million, he is still on the most wanted list in the US and Mexico.
5. Joaquin Guzman Loera: $1 billion (Otherwise No 11)
At No 5 on the list, we have Joaquin Guzman Loera, one time head of the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico. The Forbes magazine named him as the World’s Most Powerful Man in 2009. Arrested in 1993, he bribed the guards to allow him to escape in 2001. For a man of such high criminal credentials, it is a mystery why he did not think of this simple idea earlier. After being on the run for 13 years, the Mexican Government arrested him in 2014. He is in jail at present.
4. Carlos Lehder: $2.7 billion (Otherwise No 8)
You can trust the South American countries such as Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Columbia to be the fulcrum of the drug cartels. No wonder, President Donald Trump proposes to construct a wall on the US-Mexico border. At No 4, we have the Columbian Carlos Lehder, the founder member of the Medellin Cartel. At one point in time, he formed an excellent pair with George Jung. After his release from jail for a petty car theft, this pair sold enough cocaine to buy a stolen airplane. However, he ran out of luck with the Feds arresting him soon. He is still in jail somewhere in the US.
3. The Rodriguez Orejuela Brothers: $3 billion (Otherwise No 7)
Brothers in real life, they are partners in crime as well. At No 3, we have Gilberto and Miguel Rodriguez, the owners of the Cali Cartel. Starting with smuggling marijuana, they graduated to cocaine and were responsible for its presence all over Europe and the US. Arrested by the Columbian police in 1995, they were free for some time in 2002. The police caught up with them again and since then they are serving time in a US prison.
2. The Ochoa Brothers: $6 billion (Otherwise No 4)
Columbia is still notorious as the drug capital of the world. The presence of the Medellin Cartel has an important role to play in this. Members of this cartel, Jorge Luis, Juan David, and Fabio Ochoa form the deadly triumvirate, the Ochoa Brothers. Starting out as small restaurant owners, their rise to crime is through the illegal trafficking of drugs. Released from jail after serving their sentences, they are now living a reformed life in the US. Maybe, this might be the only occasion where we are seeing criminals mending their ways.
1. Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar: $6.7 billion (Otherwise No 3)
At No 1, we have India Enemy No 1, Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar. Son of a police constable from Mumbai, Dawood was into petty crime in his earlier days. He has been involved in a series of gang wars in Mumbai, India that saw several of his rivals as well as his own men killed. He became the undisputed King of the Mumbai Underworld. Wanted by the police in numerous crimes, he fled India to seek asylum in Pakistan. Naturally, they obliged. He started controlling the crime scene from Pakistan and the Middle East. You could see him in the VIP stands in Sharjah during the India-Pakistan cricket matches. Cricket and Bollywood female film stars were his weakness. He masterminded the Mumbai bomb blasts sitting in his hideout in Karachi, Pakistan. Today, the Interpol has sounded a red alert for him due to his alleged links with the Al-Qaeda. As long as he is in Pakistan, he is safe and sound. Having amassed a net worth of $ 6.7 billion, this son of a humble police constable is the No. 1 richest gangster alive.
We have used the word ‘richest gangster alive’ purposely in the case of Dawood Ibrahim because there are two more gangsters above him on the richest gangster list who have had their date with death. These are the names of seven gangsters, who are no longer alive but could have been in the Top 20 list had they been alive today.
07: Joseph P Kennedy Sr.(Father of former US President John F Kennedy ): $400 million (No. 14)
06: Al Capone: $ 1.3billion (No. 10)
05: Griselda Blanco (The Black Widow): $2 billion (No. 09)
04: Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha: $5 billion (No. 06)
03: Khun Sa: $5 billion (No. 05)
02: Amado Carillo Guentes: $25 billion (No. 2)
01: Pablo Escobar: $30 billion (No.1)
Legal or illegal, no one can take away the fact that these gangsters have amassed a huge amount of wealth. Of course, many of them had to pay a heavy price as well. At the same time, we have people like Paul Lir Alexander mocking at the world through his posts on Facebook. We also have criminals such as Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar enjoying state patronage in Pakistan. However, a time will come when these criminals will surely bite the dust. That day, we can say with our head held high, “Truth Alone Triumphs.”