The 7 Most Notorious Drug Lords Of All Time

Meet the most dangerous men and women in the world of narcotics.

Drug lords
Drug lords The most notorious names in narcotics

If the success of Netflix drama Narcos has shown us anything, it’s that people are fascinated by the mysterious and murderous world of drugs trafficking.

The hit show brought us an in depth look at the most notorious drug lord of them all – Pablo Escobar. People were equally intrigued and horrified by the series, which gave an in-depth look at Escobar’s brutal and bloody rise to the top.

Now, a new biopic of Mexican drug lord El Chapo is on the way soon too, and loaded thought it would be the perfect time to bring you up to speed with the 7 most notorious drug lords of all time:


Frank Lucas

The inspiration behind Denzel Washington’s role in American Gangster, Frank Lucas was notorious for smuggling copious amounts of heroin to the US from South East Asia. He even bragged about bringing drugs back in the coffins of soldiers who died in the Vietnam war. He was eventually convicted to 70 years in prison in 1976.


El Chapo


The most infamous drug kingpin of recent times, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán gained notoriety as the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, which is responsible for smuggling enormous amounts of heroine, marijuana, cocaine and meth amphetamine into the US. Thought to be worth around $1billion, El Chapo is also known for his daring escapes from prison, having hidden in a laundry basket and constructed huge tunnels to avoid capture in the past.


Griselda Blanco

Griselda Blanco, nicknamed The Godmother, was known for being one of the most influential players in the Medellín Cartel, and for being an early mentor of Paulo Escobar. She first set up a smuggling operation after arriving in New York from Columbia in the 70s, but later moved to Miami, where she imported vast amounts of cocaine. Griselda gained a reputation for extreme violence and is thought to have ordered the deaths of up to 250 people, including one of her husbands, who she shot following a dispute over a drug deal. She once plotted to kidnap John F Kennedy Jr while in prison, before she was killed in a drive-by-shooting in 2012.


Curtis ‘Cocky’ Warren

Curtis ‘Cocky’ Warren was made Interpol’s Target One after becoming the UK’s most notorious drug lord during the 00s. The Liverpudlian was so wealthy at one point he even featured on the Sunday Times Rich List after amassing a fortune of £198m. He was later convicted of importing £1m of marijuana into Jersey, and is still serving time in prison.


Pablo Escobar

Pablo Escobar changed the face of his native Columbia forever, and he remains the most notorious drug kingpins of all time. Brilliantly portrayed by Wagner Moura in Narcos, Escobar was the seventh richest man in the world at the height of his powers. His Medellin cartel was responsible for over 5,000 deaths, and it was estimated to be responsible for 80% of the cocaine brought into the United States. He’s quite rightly remembered as the most infamous drug trafficker of all time.


Osiel Cardenas Guillen


Osiel Cadebas Guillen became known as the ‘friend killer’ after he murdered his associate Salvador Gómez to take charge of Mexico’s Gulf Cartel. He formed his own private army, and established himself as one of the world’s most notorious drug lords before he was eventually arrested in 2003 following a shootout with police. He’s due to be released in 2025.


Amado Carrillo Fuentes

Mexican cartel leader Amado Carrillo Fuentes goes down as one of the richest drug lords on the list, after boasting a net worth of around $25billion at his height. At one point, he was moving four times more cocaine than anyone else into the US, mainly through his huge fleet of jets. Fuentes passed away in 1997, after undergoing extensive plastic surgery to alter his appearance.

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