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Jorge Luis Ochoa

It was the scene of any Sunday. The lord of the house at the head of the table receiving the careful attention of his children who began to serve, filling each plate with food while he gave orders and put order in the bustling group of children scattered along the table .

Jorge was the most restless, the most talkative and the one who was most scolded because of the accusations of his brothers. Jorge dreamed big, he dreamed about going to the United States to make money, so that his mother could stop cooking in those exhausting working days in the restaurant owned by the family.

Jorge Luis OchoaJorge Luis Ochoa Vásquez was born on September 30, 1950 in Medellín, Colombia. He was one of the main leaders of the Medellín Cartel with his brothers Juan David and Fabio.

He was imprisoned a total of three times, the first time in Spain and the next two in Colombia.

After serving a five-year sentence, he was released on July 5, 1996. He is currently free and owes nothing to justice.

Jorge Luis Ochoa Family

The character came from an illustrious family. His great-grandfather, Abelardo Ochoa, was honored in 1932 by Darío Echandia with the “Cruz of Boyacá” for his collaboration in the organization of the first cattle fair in Medellín.

A great-uncle, Fidel Ochoa Vélez, founded the School of Veterinary Medicine of Bogota and Antioquia of which he was appointed Lifetime Dean.

Ochoa's brothers
From left to right, Martha Ochoa, Jorge Luis Ochoa and Juan David Ochoa

His grandfather, Tulio Ochoa, followed the family tradition of breeding paso fino horses that later passed to his son, Fabio Ochoa, Jorge’s father who dedicated himself to raising paso fino horses while crossing both the country where he was born and its neighbors Ecuador and Venezuela besides the very United States, carrying extraordinary individuals born in his properties and trained by him personally.

With this ascendancy of eminent persons, recognized by the community, dedicated to education, entrepreneurship and the art of training paso fino horses; everybody in Medellín wondered how it was possible for Jorge Luis Ochoa to follow a career where he broke the law.

Early Life of Jorge Luis Ochoa

Jorge made his first trip to the country in the North in his scarce 14 years old and the experience was shocking to him. It was superior than what he imagined, reason why he decided that one day he would live in that country, concretely in Texas, the State of the Solitary Star.

He succeeded and in an extreme way, to the point of being requested by the justice of that country that he came to admire so much, to be accountable for his achievements in the service of organized crime and to spend a few years under his shelter.

Jorge Ochoa and brothers
Fabio, Jorge y Juan David Ochoa

Jorge Luis worked in Texas as a paso fino horse rider, then he moved to Miami, where he manages to see a new opportunity for a more profitable activity. From there, he begins his spectacular criminal career in the sector that would make him famous internationally: Drug trafficking.

How did Jorge Luis Ochoa Start in Drug Trafficking?

Jorge was a pioneer in this activity. By the time he was in Miami, marijuana was the one that dominated the market, hardly anyone trafficked with cocaine.

Jorge begins to traffic with the white powder by chance, thanks to a friend who was already doing it, and together they start a small business that step by step was growing due to the high demand that there was. The first shipment he sent to the United States was about 20 kilograms.

According to the business magazine, Forbes, he amassed a fortune not less than 2 billion dollars with the collaboration of his brother Fabio, based on the dominance of 80% of the United States market.

Jorge Ochoa is Involved in the Coca-gate

When the cocagate was uncovered, his name came from the lips of the then US Senator John Kerry, who in an investigation opened by the Congress mentioned it, affirming that the CIA sent armament to the irregular army that from Honduras attacked Nicaragua, that was governed by the Sandinista Front of National Liberation and when the plane returned, it carried cargoes of cocaine owned by Jorge Luis Ochoa.

All this was denied by Ochoa himself in an interview.

AKA Popeye Accuses Him of Various Crimes

In addition to being the creator of the distribution network of the alkaloid, he is pointed out by a protected witness of the Colombian justice, named John Jairo Velásquez aka Popeye, to be the master mind of the import to Colombia of ETA members, with the purpose of learning and adopting their techniques for the placement of remote-controlled explosives that were the main instrument of Pablo Escobar Gaviria in the war he declared to the Colombian state.

Popeye accuses Jorge Ochoa
John Jairo Velásquez

The accuser also attributed him the participation in the assassination of the Director of “El Espectador” Guillermo Cano, presidential candidate by the Liberal party Luis Carlos Galán, kidnapping of the candidate for mayor of Bogotá, Andrés Pastrana Arango, the bombing of Avianca flight 203 and the murder of more than 500 policemen at the service of the city of Medellín.

¿How many times was Jorge Luis Ochoa arrested?

Jorge Ochoa was behind bars three times.

The First One

The first time he fell into the hands of justice, it was in November 1984, he was with another drug lord, Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela. He was arrested by the Spanish authorities at the request of the DEA, who suspected that the narcos were in the European country.

Ochoa had fled to Madrid with his wife María Lía Posada Echeverri in June of the same year, seeking peace after the pressure exerted by the Colombian state against him and the other members of the Medellín Cartel for the death of the Minister of Justice Lara Bonilla.

The United States, having evidence against both, they ask to the Spanish government to extradite them, however, both cartels the Medellín and Cali gather 30 million dollars to pay bribes and so, after 18 months the two drug lords are sent back to Colombia.

Already in Colombia, Ochoa was accused of smuggling bullfighting. He was sentenced to one year and eight months in prison, of which he did not pay a single day since he was released on bail on condition that he would appear every 15 days in court. For obvious reasons he never showed up.

Pedro Motoa
Escene from Escobar, The Drug Lord, when Jorge Ochoa or Pedro Motoa in the series is arrested

The Second One

The second one occurred also in November, but in 1987, in a place in the “Valle del Cauca” when authorities in the service of the Medellin Cartel detained him. The Cali lords also had the help of an old and spiteful partner of the Medellin Cartel called Rafael Cardona Salazar, who would not survive long after his betrayal.

The request for extradition to the United States could not be prosecuted for the absence of a legal arrest warrant and the commission of other crimes in Colombia that complicated that possibility, in addition to the real threat of the loyal Pablo Escobar, who lobbied very actively to avoid the traumatic process to his beloved boss, reason why Mr. Ochoa spent hardly 27 days behind the bars.

The Third One

The third one occurred on January 15, 1991, but this time of his own free will after he surrender himslef, after a process of negotiation that included the issuance of a presidential decree, prohibiting his extradition to the feared United States.

A criminal court sentenced him to jail for a period of 8 years and 4 months which was reduced substantially to 5 years, 5 months and 21 days for a series of procedural benefits that were awarded to him.

¿What is Jorge Luis Ochoa doing Nowadays?

At present, Jorge is dedicated to the purchase and sale of cattle and he is the only one of the Medellin Cartel leaders that is neither prisoner nor dead.

Jorge Luis Ochoa AKA Pedro Motoa

Jorge Ochoa does not escape being represented in television series:

  • In the series Narcos of Netflix, his personage is carried out by André Mattos.
  • In Escobar, The Drug Lord, he appears under the aka Pedro Motoa and the actor who plays him, it is Joavany Álvarez.