Former Colombian drug lord Evaristo Porras Ardila died last week of a heat attack, without a penny to his name. He was 62. Porras was one of Colombia’s original drug traffickers, from the generation of Pablo Escobar. He had a mansion modeled on the one from U.S. soap opera Dynasty (Escobar’s was based on the one from Scarface). He supposedly controlled the whole Amazon region in the southern part of Colombia, where his gang both produced coca paste and ferried it in by river from Peru, Ecuador, and Brazil.
Porras became a household name in Colombia in 1983 when he tried to frame hard-charging Security Minister Rodrigo Lara for taking bribes. Lara threw it back in the narcos’ faces by going after them even harder. Lara was murdered in 1984 by hitmen working for Escobar.
When Porras was arrested for drug trafficking in 1995, he had a panic attack and told authorities that if his face appeared in the media, he would kill himself. He was convicted and spent 20 years in prison. Colombian authorities confiscated US$4.2 million worth of assets from the man. His family claims that when he got out of prison in 2006, he was destitute:
The formerly powerful and feared narco was trying to get back the old Mauris Building (which has 18 apartments and three storefronts) located in Leticia, as well as an apartment on 127th Street in Bogota, where his wife – Luz Marina – lives, and where he died last Wednesday. “He didn’t even have anything to eat. Even though he won the lottery three times, they took everything from him,” said a family member.
That’s right, they say US$423,000 of his cash was from winning the lottery. Three times. For some reason, the government didn’t buy it. Despite his arrest and destitution, Porras’ family continued to control politics in his home turf until recently, with his brother Iván serving as mayor of the Leticia department from 2005 to 2007.
RIP, I guess.