The world’s richest gangsters and their net worth.
Even though we all managed to learn a bit about some of the world’s richest gangsters thanks to recent movies and TV shows, most of these productions only managed to scratch the surface when it comes to the complex personalities of these highly successful individuals.
Some of them played the system, others took advantage of growing drug markets, and some even carved their own drug empires from scratch, but the one thing that they had in common is that they were all very good at their “jobs.” They had charisma and confidence, and whether they chose to run their business through fear, respect or a combination of both, they managed to amass immense fortunes, some of which added up to billions of dollars.
Below you will find a top 20 regarding the richest gangsters of all time, including drug lords the likes of Pablo Escobar, Frank Lucas, El Chapo, and Al Capone.
Update: Frank Cali.
Frank Cali, otherwise known as Franky Boy or simply Frank, was one of the newest bosses of the Gambino Crime Family. Also described as an ambassador to Sicilian mobsters, Frank was incredibly influential and powerful, and he definitely managed to amass a considerable fortune in his lifetime. While Frank Cali’s official net worth is difficult to estimate due to the lack of information both online and offline, we do know that the Gambino family has been involved in numerous illegal activities that brought in millions or maybe even billions since its inception in 1910.
Born as Francesco Paolo Augusto Calì in New York on March 26, 1965, Frank Cali was the nephew-in-law of a Sicilian mobster named John Gambino. He was also the great-nephew of Giovanni Bonventre and Vito Bonventre, both of which were a part of the Bonnano crime family. In October 2012, he became the underboss of the Gambino family. Even though he was supposed to become the family’s new boss in 2013, he reportedly turned down the position, only to take it up later in 2015.
Frank Cali’s death.
Frank Cali was shot six times in the chest in front of his home by an unknown assailant. His demise is troubling, to say the least, as it reminds us of the troubling Mafia murders of the 1980s. He died at Staten Island University Hospital on March 13, 2019, at the age of 53. His murder might have been linked to the recent acquittal of Joseph Cammarano Jr., the acting boss of the Bonanno crime family. No arrests have been made at the time of writing, but we’ll update this section accordingly as we find out more.
20. Lucky Luciano ($4 million per year).
Lucky Luciano was quite successful in his prime, especially during the prohibition. He was born Salvatore Lucania on November 24, 1897, in Lercara Friddi, Sicily, Italy. He came to the United States with his family on April 1906, when he was just nine years old. Luciano had a knack for making money at a young age, as he eventually dropped out of school so that he may deliver hats for $7 per week.
As time went by, he began to think bigger, and he eventually started his own gang. He was also a member of the famous Five Points Gang, and during World War I, he was involved in pimping. That’s when he met Meyer Lansky, who became a very good friend and business partner. Some of his most notable achievements include becoming the father of modern organized crime in the United States, as he was responsible for founding the first Commission.
He was also the very first boss of the Genovese crime family, and he helped develop the notorious National Crime Syndicate. Even though he received a thirty-year prison sentence at one point, he was released with the help of Meyer Lansky and was deported to live as a free man outside of the US. Lucky Luciano died on January 26, 1962, in Naples, Italy.
It’s not easy to figure out the exact net worth of Lucky Luciano after all these years, but we can definitely put some pieces together. For instance, we know that by 1925, he was making more than $12 million per year. He was left with $4 million in his pocket after he was done bribing police members and politicians. To be fair, $4 million in 1925 had the same buying power as $58 million today, so we could say that Lucky Luciano was a very wealthy gangster for his time indeed.
19. Arnold Rothstein ($10 million).
Arnold Rothstein adopted a unique approach to his criminal activities that allowed him to stand out from other gangsters of his time. He became known as The Brain in his prime, and he transformed organized crime from a thuggish endeavor into a business that he ran like a corporation. Arnold Rothstein was born on January 17, 1882, in New York, and he made a fortune by organizing corruption in various athletic events.
He even conspired to fix the 1919 World Series. That’s how ambitious he was, but to be fair, his reach and influence were also enormous. He understood the benefits of doing business during the Prohibition, and he knew that if you gave people what they want, they’ll pay you handsomely for it. Even though he was incredibly successful and a very intelligent individual, Arnold refused to pay a debt from a fixed poker game, and this got him killed in 1928.
As we mentioned before, Rothstein was incredibly good at business, which allowed him to make a fortune over the years. In his prime, he was worth about $10 million, which would amount to about $130 million in today’s currency. Even though he wasn’t a billionaire, he probably would have become one if he lived longer.
18. John Gotti ($5 million to $20 million per year).
And another incredibly rich Italian-American gangster was John Gotti, who was born on October 27, 1940, in The Bronx, New York City. John Gotti grew up poor alongside his brothers, which prompted him to enter a life of crime at a very young age. One of his most noteworthy achievements as a young gangster was becoming a protégé of the Gambino family underboss named Aniello Dellacroce.
However, he soon started to fear for his life as the FBI indicted several members of his crew for selling drugs. He was afraid that Gambino boss Paul Castellano would try to kill him, so he decided to strike first. After he orchestrated Castellano’s death on December 1985, he became the boss of America’s most powerful crime syndicate at the time. He didn’t shy away from the cameras, and he even earned the nickname of the Dapper Don and Teflon Don after he was acquitted in three high-profile trials.
The FBI managed to convict him for good with the help of underboss Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano. John Gotti was sentenced to life in prison and died of throat cancer in 2002.
In his prime, John Gotti was making somewhere between $5 million to $20 million each year, especially while he was a Gambino boss. The information comes from Sammy Gravano himself, who worked closely with Gotti for several years. John’s criminal enterprise dealt in racketeering, prostitution, drugs, highjacking, loan sharking, extortion, and bookmarking. Considering that Gravano agreed to testify against him in 1991, Gotti had plenty of time to consolidate his fortune.
17. Mickey Cohen ($15 million).
From the 1930s through the 1960s, Mickey Cohen worked closely with the Italian American Mafia, which allowed him to become one of the most powerful and feared crime bosses in the world. He was also the boss of the Cohen crime family, and he earned the title of “King of Los Angeles” for a while. Mickey Cohen was born on September 4, 1913, in Brooklyn, New York, and he died on July 29, 1976, at 62 years of age.
In his teen years, he actually started boxing in illegal prizefights, and he even moved to Cleveland when he was 15 in order to pursue a legitimate boxing career. He won a few fights, and then he lost some, and he eventually became an enforcer for the Chicago Outfit. He worked with Bugsy Siegel in Los Angeles and even helped him in the failed Flamingo Hotel business. After Bugsy was killed off, Mickey reacted violently and tried to flush the assassins out but failed.
Mickey Cohen was violent in nature, but he wasn’t necessarily imposing, as he was only 5 ft 5 tall. His violent ways attracted the attention of criminals and law enforcement agencies alike, and he had to fend off multiple attempts on his life over the years. He even transformed his home into a fortress at some point and employed the services of a bodyguard named Johnny Stompanato.
Regarding his net worth, sources indicate that he had about $15 million to his name in his prime, but we find this figure to be quite underwhelming. Crime bosses made much more money in that time, and we’re willing to bet that Mickey Cohen was worth much more. However, with no way to prove his exact worth right now, we’ll just stick with what we know.
16. Nicky Barnes ($50 million).
Nicky Barnes was born in Harlem, New York on October 15, 1933. Harlem was his hometown, and also where he built his criminal enterprise, which eventually evolved into an international drug trafficking ring. One thing that put Nicky Barnes in the history books is the creation of The Council – a seven-man African-American organized crime syndicate that controlled a vast part of the heroin traffic in Harlem.
What’s ironic is that Nicky Barnes was instrumental in taking down The Council in 1983, as he became a federal informant in the end. He was released from prison in August 1988, and he’s been a free man ever since. In 2007, he released a book named Mr. Untouchable, as well as a DVD documentary that details his life.
At the peak of his game, Nicky was worth around $50 million. He set up numerous companies that served to protect his assets, particularly car dealerships. When the DEA discovered who was the true owner of those companies, they seized several impressive cars such as a Bentley, a Maserati, and several Cadillacs. These days, sources indicate that Nicky Barnes’ net worth is somewhere at around $500,000.
15. Frank Lucas ($52 million).
American former heroin dealer Frank Lucas operated in Harlem in the late 1960s and early 1970s. What made him one of the most successful drug dealers of all time is that he had a habit of cutting out middlemen and purchasing heroin directly from his own source in the Golden Triangle. His life sparked so much interest that Universal Pictures eventually made a film about it starring Denzel Washington. The movie was fittingly named American Gangster, and it received mostly positive feedback after its release.
To be clear, Frank Lucas was quite ingenious when it comes to his criminal enterprise. He traveled to Thailand where he met Leslie “Ike” Atkinson, and they both decided to ship heroin into the US and sell it on the street. Even though Frank Lucas boasted that he smuggled heroin using the coffins of dead American soldiers, his associate Leslie “Ike” Atkinson eventually disputed this claim.
As with most mobsters, Frank Lucas wanted to be both feared and respected, and he hoped to achieve notoriety with these outlandish claims. When it comes to money, he also said that he wanted to be “Donald Trump rich,” and he definitely achieved his goal for a while. He also claimed that he was making as much as $1 million per day selling drugs on 116th Street, but this was actually an exaggeration.
Down to the matter at hand, the net worth of Frank Lucas is estimated at around $52 million, which is enormous even for today’s standards. However, compared to the kingpins that follow up on our list, he looks more like a rookie.
Most of his money was kept in accounts in the Cayman Islands. What did he do with the money? He bought various properties such as office buildings in Detroit, and apartments in Miami. In the mid-1970s, when he was arrested, all of his assets were seized.
14. Joseph Kennedy Sr. ($300 million).
Even though he’s not the most notorious gangster in the world, or maybe not even a gangster in the true sense of the word, Joseph Kennedy Sr. was surrounded by conspiracies. Some of these rumors suggest that he tipped off voters, others indicate that he employed gangsters to scare off politicians, while other sources claim that he rigged elections.
At any rate, most politicians are surrounded by such rumors, but what we do know is that Kennedy was initially a stock market and commodity investor that knew how to invest his profits wisely. He invested in real estate and in other business ventures, and he was even an ambassador to Britain for a couple of years.
Most importantly, however, is that he allegedly became a bootlegger affiliated with the New York and Chicago underworlds. That’s probably how he managed to earn a net worth of $300 million in his prime. It’s worth noting that several mobsters bragged about working with Kennedy Sr, including Frank Costello. While modern-day scholars dispute the claims, some still believe that Joseph Kennedy Sr was a gangster in his own right.
In our modern days, Joseph Kennedy’s net worth would vary between $1.74 billion and $3.49 billion. He was between the ninth and sixteenth richest people in the United States according to Fortune Magazine.
13. Meyer Lanksy ($300 million?).
Meyer Lansky came to the United States all the way from Poland, and he really pulled himself up by his bootstraps. He made a killing from gambling, and he eventually joined up with Charles “Lucky” Luciano and Ben “Bugsy” Siegel in order to run the Murder Inc. organized crime mob. Now that’s a catchy name!
Meyer Lansky was born Meier Suchowlański on July 4, 1902, and he was also known as the Mob’s Accountant. He created his gambling empire in association with the Jewish Mob, and he was also incredibly influential within the Italian-American Mafia.
Some believe that he owned percentages in various casinos from Cuba, Las Vegas, London, and The Bahamas. Nobody really knows how far his reach was during those days, mainly because he denied many of the accusations brought before him. After more than 50 years of illegal activities, Lansky was only found guilty of illegal gambling. After he was indicted for tax evasion, Lansky went off to Israel, but he eventually returned to the U.S. to face those charges, and he was even acquitted in 1974.
When it comes to his net worth, however, things get a bit tricky. You see, in 1967, Meyer Lansky’s estimated worth was around $300 million, which would amount to a little more than $2 billion today. Still, at the time of his death, his family found out that his estate was only worth about $57,000, which is about $134,000 adjusted for inflation.
12. Nucky (Thompson) Johnson ($500 million).
Nucky Johnson was one of the most influential people of his time, particularly in Atlantic City. He was a New Jersey political boss that dominated the criminal underworld of the city for about 30 years between 1911 and 1941. However, what sets him apart from some of the other gangsters on our list is that he made it appear as if his dealings were legitimate. Indeed, Nucky had a very deep political reach, as he occupied the position of Sheriff of Atlantic County, New Jersey.
In the shadows, however, he was involved in racketeering, bootlegging, gambling, and prostitution. His bootlegging business was particularly lucrative in the Roaring Twenties when Atlantic City became known as THE place to go if you were looking to cut free from the prohibition.
Enoch Lewis Nucky Johnson died in 1968 at the age of 85, which means that he had plenty of time to enjoy his vast wealth and influence. Speaking of wealth, Nucky’s net worth is estimated at $500 million, which would amount to several billion in our times. In the highly acclaimed show Boardwalk Empire, Steve Buscemi plays a character named Nucky Thompson, which is based heavily on Nucky Johnson’s persona.
11. Bugsy Siegel ($500 million – $1 billion).
Bugsy Siegel definitely deserved a spot on our list, but finding out his net worth turned out to be incredibly difficult. First off, we’ll tell you a bit about his life and career, and we’ll try to put the pieces of the puzzle together in order to estimate his total fortune. Bugsy Siegel was an infamous American mobster that was born in Brooklyn, New York on February 28, 1906.
He became incredibly influential with the Jewish Mob, and he ran some of his operations in partnership with Meyer Lansky, who was also one of his closest friends. Bugsy Siegel was one of the founding members of Murder Inc., and he also engaged in bootlegging during the prohibition era, as that was an incredibly lucrative business at the time. Still, let’s not forget that he was a hitman and muscle during his earlier years, as he was an incredibly good shot and did not shy away from violence. He met his end at the young age of 41 when someone shot him dead at his girlfriend’s home in Virginia Hill.
Bugsy Siegel made his fortune by funding casinos. Actually, many attribute him with the creation of the famed Las Vegas strip, but some experts have disputed these claims. Siegel saw an opportunity in the Flamingo Hotel and took over its construction process after William R. Wilkerson ran out of funds. While no reliable information exists regarding Bugsy Siegel’s net worth, his bootlegging affairs and casino funding capabilities tell us that he was an incredibly rich individual, with a net worth somewhere between $500 and $1 billion.
(If you can provide an actual official figure regarding his wealth, don’t hesitate to share it with us so we can update the article accordingly.)
10. Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno ($1 billion).
What kind of a list would this be without a good old-fashioned mob boss? Well, Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno is one of the most successful gangsters that ever lived, and he made most of his money through the largest numbers racket operation in New York. This business brought in $50 million per year, and even though there aren’t any exact figures regarding his overall wealth, he managed to gather more than $1 billion.
Anthony Salerno was born on August 15, 1911, in East Harlem, New York, and he died on July 27, 1992, in Springfield, Missouri. Even as a young man, he was interested in illegal and morally-gray operations such as gambling, loansharking, and protection rackets, and he became involved with all of these through the Lucky Luciano family. Under the guidance of Michael “Trigger Mike” Coppola, Salerno became a member of the 116th Street Crew, and he quickly rose through the ranks while heading a numbers racket operation in Harlem that brought in $1 million per year.
By 1948, however, the authorities were breathing down Coppola’s neck, which forced to flee to Florida in order to avoid some murder charges. This meant that Salerno was now the leader of the 116th Street Crew. He remained one of the most powerful mobsters in America for the next 40 years, which is no small feat. Even though he was easily accessible and collaborated with many other gangsters, Anthony Salerno did not lead a particularly glamorous life. He never attended pretentious parties or nightclubs.
By the 1960s, he was making up to $50 million per year with his numbers racket operation in New York. In 1986, Fat Tony was the frontman for the Genovese crime family, and Fortune Magazine named him “America’s Top Gangster.”
9. Al Capone ($1.3 billion).
Alphonse Gabriel “Al” Capone is, hands down, one of the most famous gangsters in the world. He became immensely successful during American Prohibition, and he was the co-founder and boss of the Chicago Outfit. As with most gangsters, his reign did not last too long, but seven years were definitely enough to secure his fame forever. In these seven years, he made precious connections with other notorious gangsters such as Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky.
Al Capone was born in New York City on January 17, 1899, and he died of pneumonia on January 25, 1947, at the age of 48 in Palm Island, Florida. He was born to Italian immigrants, he became a member of the Five Points Gang, and in his 20s, he was a bodyguard for Johnny Torrio. After a conflict with the North Side Gang, Torrio decided to retire and leave Capone at the head of his bootlegging operation. Al Capone brought the business to new heights and expanded it greatly.
How was Al Capone seen by the public?
Even though he was undoubtedly a criminal, and a ruthless one, the public widely regarded him as a modern-day “Robin Hood,” all thanks to his various charitable donations. His image quickly went downhill after the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre, during which many of his gang rivals were killed in broad daylight. After the incident, some newspapers even painted him as “Public Enemy No.1.” Federal agents took matters into their own hands as well, and they decided to arrest him on tax evasion charges.
He was arrested by FBI agents on March 27, 1929, but it wasn’t until May 1932 that he was finally sent to the Atlanta U.S. Penitentiary. He was 33 at the time, but he was already suffering from various diseases, as well as cocaine withdrawal. After being moved to Alcatraz, he was eventually paroled on November 16, 1939. Today, his final resting place is at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois, U.S.
Of course, it’s hard to assess the personal finance of such a notorious figure after all these years. However, over the course of his life, Al Capone managed to amass a net worth of $1.3 billion. Throughout his career, many believe that he employed up to 600 individuals in order to protect his assets from rival gangs. Clearly, staying on top required plenty of cash flow, but personal finance was never Al Capone’s problem, as he was an incredibly well-accomplished businessman.
8. Griselda Blanco ($2 billion).
Griselda Blanco was a woman that you did not want to mess with. Also known as the Black Widow, La Madrina, the Queen of Narco-Trafficking or the Cocaine Godmother, she was a fierce Colombian drug lord of the Medellin Cartel during the 1970s and 1980s. Reports indicate that she was responsible for up to 200 murders during her transports of cocaine from Colombia to Miami and New York.
Griselda was born on February 15, 1943, in Cartagena, Colombia, and she moved with her mother Ana Lucía Restrepo to Medellin when she was just 3 years old. She was a bit of a “troublemaker” at a young age, at least according to her former lover, Charles Cosby. He said that Blanco allegedly kidnapped and attempted to ransom a child from an upscale neighborhood at the age of 11. She eventually shot the child. She also became a pickpocket by the age of 13, and she ran away from home at 16 in order to escape the advances of her mother’s boyfriend.
Griselda looted in Medellin until she was 20, but she eventually moved to Queens, New York with her second husband Alberto Bravo. They both established a cocaine empire there, but the business didn’t last long. In April 1975 Blanco was indicted on federal drug conspiracy charges, which forced to flee back to Colombia. She later returned to Miami in the late 1970s, and that’s about the same time that the murders started to happen.
She took on a major role in the Miami Drug War or the Cocaine Cowboy Wars, and her distribution network was bringing in $80 million per month at peak efficiency. Eventually, due to her ruthless nature, many other gangsters decided to end her life, and she was the target of many assassination attempts throughout the years. Finally, in 2012, she was shot in the head twice by a motorcyclist in Medellin, Colombia.
Modern-day media portrayed Griselda Blanco in various documentaries, but you’ll probably want to see the upcoming Godmother film, in which she will be portrayed by none other than Catherine Zeta-Jones. When it comes to riches, Blanco managed to amass about $2 billion during her “career.”
7. Carlos Lehder ($2.7 billion).
As one of the original founders of the Colombian Medellín Cartel, Carlos Lehder eventually became so rich that he managed to buy his own island in the Bahamas, and he even offered to pay Colombia’s national debt twice. In his early days, he started off on a criminal path by supplying his parents’ used car dealership with stolen vehicles from the US. He was also a marijuana dealer and a very successful cocaine distributor.
Carlos Lehder was the founder of the “Muerte a Secuestradores” (“MAS”) paramilitary group, which focused on retaliation against the kidnappings of cartel members or their family members. He also founded the National Latin Movement, which focused on forcing the Colombian government to cancel its extradition treaty with the United States.
Currently incarcerated at the age of 67, Lehder testified against former Panamanian President Manuel Noriega in 1992 in order to receive a reduced sentence. As far as his fortune goes, his net worth adds up to $2.7 billion.
6. Jorge Luis Ochoa Vásquez ($3 billion).
Surely you must have heard about the infamous Medellin Cartel by now, but what you might not know is that it included many other rich and influential members apart from Pablo Escobar. For example, one of the cartel’s founding figures is Jorge Luis Ochoa Vásquez. Born on September 30, 1950, he is one of the famed Ochoa Brothers, who had a collective net worth of about $6 billion.
Even though the cartel encompassed highly influential members, John Jairo Velásquez (“Popeye”), one of Pablo Escobar’s main paid killers, argued in an interview that Jorge Luis was actually Escobar’s boss. In 1987, Forbes Magazine listed Jorge Luis Ochoa Vásquez as one of the twenty richest men in the world. His net worth was estimated at $3 billion at the time, which would amount to hundreds of billions of dollars in our times.
Jorge Luis Ochoa Vázquez is currently a free man. In 1990, he took Colombian President César Gaviria Trujillo up on his offer to surrender in order to serve a lower prison sentence in Colombia. He only spent 5 years in prison on a drug trafficking charge. It’s anyone’s guess how much money he has right now, but he’s definitely not poor by any measure.
5. Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera ($4 billion).
Turns out El Chapo’s quite a slippery guy, but before he managed to escape from prison, albeit briefly, he was one of the most powerful and brutal gangsters in Mexico, and maybe the world.
His real name is Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera, but he was nicknamed El Chapo due to his rather modest height of 1.68m. Even though he’s currently imprisoned at the age of 61, he’s still the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, and his drug empire was reportedly worth $5 billion at the peak of its productivity, which makes him one of the richest people in the world. As for the net worth of El Chapo himself, he was sitting somewhere at around $4 billion in 2016, though it’s anyone’s guess how much money he really has presently.
As for titles and nicknames, El Chapo was also known as the most powerful drug trafficker in the world according to the United States Department of the Treasury. Even the DEA saw him as the godfather of the drug world. In 2013, he became Public Enemy Number One in the eyes of the Chicago Crime Commission. Though he influenced the Chicago criminal network greatly at some point, there’s no evidence that El Chapo actually set foot in the city.
Apart from his immense net worth, what’s really impressive is that Guzman likely surpassed Pablo Escobar when it comes to reach and influence. There’s no way to measure this influence accurately, however, so you should take this information with a pinch of salt.
4. Dawood Ibrahim ($7 billion).
Dawood Ibrahim is a controversial figure, to say the least. He’s still alive and well, albeit in Pakistan, which is a bit far away from his hometown of Khed, Bombay State, India. Dawod is undoubtedly one of the richest people in the world right now, and probably the richest gangster alive, as Forbes estimated his net worth somewhere at around $6.7 billion in 2015. It’s anyone’s guess how much he’s really worth right now, but it’s probably safe to assume that he surpassed $7 billion.
Regarding his criminal “achievements,” Dawood Ibrahim is the main suspect for the 1993 Mumbai bomb attacks and the 26/11 terror attacks. He founded the incredibly notorious organized crime syndicate named D-Company back in the 1970s, and he officially received the designation of global terrorist in 2003. His D-Company is linked to several high-profile assassinations, but Dawood also used the organization to finance the Bollywood film industry.
The official reward for Dawood Ibrahim’s capture at the time of writing is $25 million, which goes to show how far the authorities would go just to capture this incredibly dangerous individual. Dawood Ibrahim has been a wanted criminal since the 1980s.
3. Semion Mogilevich ($10 billion).
You know, the Russians are very good at crime as well, as proven by the renowned Semion Mogilevich. Semion has been described by the FBI as the “most dangerous mobster in the world,” mainly because he is believed to control one of the world’s largest criminal empires. Mogilevich was actually born in Ukraine on June 30, 1946, but he lives in Moscow these days alongside his three children.
He is one of the few mob bosses on our list that isn’t currently dead or serving time in prison. Also known as Don Semyon and The Brainy Don, his main associates include the former mayor of Moscow, Yury Luzhkov, as well as the former head of Ukraine’s security, Leonid Derkach. What’s even more interesting is that according to Defector Alexander Litvinenko, he’s been good friends with Vladimir Putin since the 90s. The FBI has accused Semion Mogilevich of weapons trafficking, drug trafficking, prostitution, contract murders, and extortion on an international scale.
Now, an international crime boss is obviously rich beyond measure, and Semion certainly doesn’t disappoint. Sources indicate that he is worth $10 billion at the time of writing, and given his connections with the Solntsevskaya Bratva, we’re inclined to believe these reports. Russia is vast, and for a man in power, it can provide multiple illegal venture opportunities.
2. Amado Carrillo Fuentes ($25 billion).
After he somehow managed to assassinate the boss of the Juárez Cartel, Rafael Aguilar Guajardo, Amado Carrillo Fuentes took over and eventually became one of the wealthiest criminals in history. He was born on December 17, 1956, in Guamuchilito, Mexico, and he had six younger brothers as well as five younger sisters. He started off on the criminal pathway thanks to his uncle Ernesto, and as he became more and more influential, he brought his brothers into the fold, as well as his own son Vicente José Carrillo Leyva. Initially, he was a part of the Guadalajara Cartel, and he oversaw the cocaine shipments of his uncle, Don Neto.
He was also known as “El Señor de Los Cielos” (Lord of the Skies) because he owned an incredibly large fleet of jets that he used to transport his narcotics. He worked with Pablo Escobar and the Cali Cartel in order to smuggle drugs from Colombia to Mexico and the US. Amado Carrillo Fuentes also associated himself with El Chapo Joaquin Guzman Loera, the Beltran Leyva Organization, and the Arellano Felix family.
Fuentes died in 1997 at the rather young age of 40, but that’s because he died of complications while receiving facial plastic surgery and liposuction. Apparently, he died because of some medication he received or because of a faulty respirator. This didn’t matter much, however, as the doctors who performed these procedures were later found encased in concrete inside steel drums. Carillo received a fancy funeral in Guamuchilito, Sinaloa, in 1997. He died at the age of 40.
As for that wealth that we mentioned before, Amando Carrillo Fuentes has an estimated worth of $25 billion. In 2006, Governor Eduardo Bours attempted to tear down the drug lord’s mansion in Hermosillo, Sonora. Also known as “The Palace of a Thousand and One Nights”, the mansion is still up to this day, but nobody lives in it. Vicente Carrillo Leyva, Carillo’s son was also arrested in 2009 by Mexican authorities.
1. Pablo Escobar ($30 billion).
As the undisputed boss of the Medellín Cartel and the most recognizable figures in the cocaine trade, Pablo Escobar is one of the richest gangsters of all time, probably the richest. He specialized in the manufacturing and distribution of cocaine, and he even had political aspirations at some point. Even though he helped impoverished regions at first, and earned a lot of respect in the process, his following actions labeled him as a violent and power-hungry man.
Some of his most famous nicknames include The Magician, The Godfather, The Boss, The Lord, and The Tsar of Cocaine. While he managed to evade law enforcement with great success for several years, things changed after the assassination of Luis Carlos Galán. That’s when the administration of César Gaviria started to wage war against him personally and the drug cartel that he was leading. The administration achieved victory in some sense, but they couldn’t extradite him to the US, so they allowed him to serve time in his own luxurious prison, La Catedral. He eventually escaped from this prison, as the government planned to move him to an actual correctional institution.
Pablo Escobar was responsible for the bombing of a Bogota shopping area, and for the bombing of Avianca Airlines Flight 203. He was eventually shot and killed by Colombian forces helped by U.S. agents. In order to “commemorate” this, Fernando Botero created a famous painting named the Death of Pablo Escobar, which portrays his death. The painting also puts a fine point on the violence that gripped Colombia at the time.
Pablo Escobar’s legacy? Pure terror, the moniker of a notorious drug lord, and a net worth of $30 billion.
This concludes our comprehensive list of the world’s richest gangsters. It’s pretty clear that most of these individuals were horrible human beings. However, when it comes to making money, they were undoubtedly skilled beyond reproach.
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