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Gustavo Gaviria

Gustavo GaviriaGustavo Gaviria, AKA “The Lion” was born on December 25, 1949, in Pereira, Colombia. He was one of Pablo Escobar’s most trusted man, the leader of the Medellin Cartel.

Gustavo Gaviria, apart from being the head of finance of the cartel, for his skills with numbers, with the organization and administration of money, and, principally responsible for the export of cocaine, he was Pablo’s cousin, with whom he had a very close relationship.

While Pablo Emilio Escobar was wasteful of money and agile with the revolver, Gustavo de Jesús Gaviria was extremely stingy, calculating and less skilled with weapons. So much so, that they were known as “Pablo Blood” and “Gustavo Money”, and when they visited the offices of the Medellin Cartel, located in the upper part of the town of Los Lagos, the initial question of the henchmen was: “¿Lead or silver?“, In order to determine who the subject of the conversation would be, Pablo or Gustavo.

Beginnings of Gustavo Gaviria in the Delinquency

Both (Gustavo and Pablo), begin their criminal career by stealing gravestones in cemeteries and re-recording them, to be sold as new, robbing banks, and making hired killers in the early and mid-’70s.

One of their first job was the kidnapping and homicide of Mr. Diego Echavarría Misas, one of the most powerful and millionaire industrialists in the city of Medellín and owner of the textile branch company Coltejer.

Gustavo Gaviria and Drug Trafficking

Gustavo Gaviria was a great connoisseur of the international drug trafficking routes of cocaine. He began along with his cousin taking the drug from Peru to Colombia, soon to be sent to the United States.

Gustavo Gaviria with Pablo Escobar
Gustavo Gaviria with Pablo Escobar

On one occasion, one of the cargoes was discovered in the municipality of Itagui. Both Pablo Emilio Escobar and Gustavo de Jesús Gaviria were imprisoned for this fact in a penitentiary center in Pasto, Nariño. Only a couple of months later they both left free, after paying a high sum of money to the judge who followed their case.

From that moment they would build their own laboratories in Colombia, bringing the coca paste from Ecuador and Peru. Later they would meet the Ochoa brothers, Carlos Lehder and Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha and found the Medellín Cartel.

Gustavo Gaviria’s Fortune and Luxuries

His closest lieutenants say that his fortune was much greater than Escobar’s one, since Gustavo Gaviria’s investments were in works of art, properties in Medellin, like the “Hacienda Napoles”, shared in 50% with his cousin , diamonds, luxury cars, planes, helicopters and bank accounts abroad, in countries like Switzerland.

Gustavo Gaviria posing as a gangster with his cousin Pablo in the 1980s
Gustavo Gaviria posing as a gangster with his cousin Pablo in the 1980s

He was addicted to smoking, fond of traveling to Europe, as long as he was not persecuted by any security force. He was also a good driver of high-speed cars, including the Renault 4, with which he competed, and, in addition, he was an admirer and taster of fine wines.

¿How Did Gustavo Gaviria Die?

Gustavo de Jesús Gaviria Rivero was killed by members of the elite brigade, or also known as the “Search Block” of the Colombian National Police, on August 11, 1990, when he was 40 years old. He was turned in by one of his men, in order to collect the reward that was offered for him.

He was shot down after being dynamited one of the doors of the house by the police, and resist for a few hours in a confrontation with handguns.

gustavo gaviria with his son andres mateo
Gustavo Gaviria with his son Andres Mateo

¿His refuge? A bunker in a residential area, protected with thick concrete walls, armored glass and the strictest surveillance with security controlled by cameras, but without any bodyguards. This is reviewed by the newspaper El País, in its International section, two days after the event.

According to “AKA Popeye”, Pablo Escobar did not cry for his cousin’s death, because at the moment of his execution, on his knees he begged not to be killed, he cowered in the moment where he had to be a lion.

¿Where is Gustavo Gaviria buried?

His body is buried in the cemetery “Monte Sacro” in Medellín, where he is with his brother, José Luis Gaviria Rivero, a man not linked to the cartel, murdered without justification by the Colombian national police on February 2, 1993, and, with his son, Gustavo “Gustavito” Gaviria Restrepo, who was murdered on the same day as Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria, on December 2, 1993.

“Gustavito” inherited the administration of all the assets of his father, but without the same success as he for the handling of the goods.

In the same cemetery, there is, just fifteen meters away, the tomb of “The Boss”, who was his confidant and inseparable companion during his adventures in the world of drug trafficking.