The hit Netflix TV show ‘Narcos’ has made Pablo Escobar a household name once again. But, what ever happened to his loyal wife? Today we learn about the little known Maria Victoria Escobar.
You would be forgiven for thinking you were reading the script for the next film in The Godfather Trilogy, when you read about the life and times of Pablo Escobar’s wife, Maria Victoria Henao. A tale with more drama than your favourite mafia movie, read on for this jaw-dropping tale of a good girl gone bad.
Maria Victoria Henao (now living under the alias of Maria Isabel Santos Caballero) was only thirteen when she fell in love with Pablo Escobar, a friend of her brother. With Pablo ten years older than Maria, her parents were not happy when they fell in love and decided to get married, but after two years together, they gave their consent.
Born in Columbia in 1961, Maria Henao had no idea that she was marrying the godfather of Columbia when she married Pablo Escobar. Also known as the King of Cocaine, Pablo Escobar was thought to have been behind most of the cocaine that made its way around the world between 1970 and 1980, and was the richest criminal the world has ever seen.
When he died in 1993, he is believed to have amassed $30 billion dollars through his many criminal activities.
According to businessinsider.com, Pablo ‘was one of the world’s wealthiest men’, ‘responsible for 80% of the global cocaine market’. He ‘brought in an estimated $420 million a week in revenue, making him one of the wealthiest drug lords ever’.
In the beginning, Maria was unaware that her husband was a drug lord and head of the Medellin Cartel. Like many mafia leaders before and after him, he had the support of lots of people in the community and is credited for various community developments during his time in government, although murder rates quickly spun out really of control.
Married for seventeen years, it was a while before Maria had to face up to the fact that her husband wasn’t quite the successful businessman that he had led her to believe. Still, he was said to be passionate about his family, although he did have many affairs. The couple had two children: a son, Juan Pablo and a daughter, Manuela.
As shocking as all of this is, we are actually here to find out about Marie, so if you have further need to satisfy your curiosity about Pablo, check out these Top 10 Pablo Escobar facts by watchmojo.com on Youtube:
Back to Mrs Escobar.
Living as the wife of a notorious mafia boss can’t have been easy, despite the nice house, car and all the other glossy things that billions of dollars can buy. Whatever her old life was like, when Pablo was finally located and shot in 1993, Maria had to develop some survival skills of her own.
In a dangerous position at home, Maria bought the whole floor of a hotel, and lived there with her family and security protection from the government, for a while.
Desperately needing to escape from rival mafia gangs in Columbia, and under pressure from enemy cartels, Maria could not find a country willing to take her and her children in.
Thus, Pablo’s wife, son and daughter, lived like nomads, moving from country to country. Eventually Maria made her way to Argentina in 1994, on the pretext of a holiday from Mozambique where she had finally been given permission to live (although she only stayed for a few weeks).
If this was the end of the story, it would have been thrilling enough, however, consider the previous part film one – because there is still more story to be told.
Here’s the rest:
One would assume that her husband’s resourcefulness has rubbed off on Maria, because before she left Mozambique she changed her name to: Maria Isabel Santos Caballero, her son’s to Juan Sebastian Marroquin Santos and her daughter’s to Juana Manuela Marroquin Santos.
The holiday in Argentina never ended. Maria still lives in Argentina today with her son.
However, things have remained rather eventful:
For a few years, Maria reinvented herself as a designer and business woman. Then in 1999, five years into their new life, Maria and Juan, her son were arrested on suspicion of money laundering linked to the sale of drugs.
However, the authorities could not gather enough evidence to convict them, so Escobar’s wife and son were released after spending a substantial amount of time awaiting trial.
Fast forward nineteen years, and things had come full circle. In 2018, Maria and her son were arrested for money laundering again, this time there was enough evidence for the case to go to trial.
Escobar’s wife and son currently stand accused of laundering millions of dollars connected to the sale of drugs for notorious Colombian mafia boss, Jose Piedrahita.
With Argentina well known for its drawn out legal processes, the case is expected to take some time. In the meantime, the dailymail.com reports that both have been ‘stripped of $1 million each’
As if that wasn’t enough drama for one family, the life of Pablo Escobar has been turned into a hit series on Netflix, called Narcos. Additionally, in 2014 Juan released a best-selling book about his dad, entitled ‘My Father’, under his real name.
What will happen next in Maria’s epic journey, remains unclear. What is certain, is that the real Maria Escobar remains as complex and mysterious as her husband, as well as the remains of his money – which are still rumoured to be hidden somewhere.
Who is the real Maria Escobar?
Is there more to this gangster’s wife than she would lead us to believe? Designer or money launderer- who knows? One thing that we can be sure of, is that this is not the last we will hear of Mrs Escobar. Truly a thrilling tale of a good girl- gone bad.
Just how much – remains to be seen.
What do you think of Maria Escobar – hunted victim or cunning criminal? Mafia mum or a struggling single mother trying to find a way to survive? Tell us what you think of this intriguing woman down below in the comments section.
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By Colombian National Police – Colombia National Registry; Colombian National Police, Public Domain, Link