The Story Of Carlos Lehder Medellín Cartel Co-Founder

Being a drug dealer, a drug baron or generally a criminal might look great on American television but it’s almost always a stressful lifestyle and most definitely always lead to a lifetime in jail or worse, death. However, despite the incredible life changing downsides to being a drug dealer, there are still those who have taken a walk on the wild side of the law, like Carlos Lehder who is almost as famous as the biggest drug boss of all time, Pablo Escobar.

Carlos Lehder shares a similar popularity profile with Pablo Escobar and the similarity is justified considering they both worked together in bringing drugs into the United States, along with another prominent name in the cartel mythology, George Jung.

Learn all there is to know about Carlos Lehder by reading below.

Carlos Lehder Biography

It is amazing how one of the most remarkable criminals in human history had a rather unimpressive background. One could say that is exactly the driving force of his criminal life. Carlos Lehder was born on the 7th of September 1949 in Armenia, Colombia to a German engineer named Willheim Lehder Rivas and a mother, Helena Rivas. He was born Carlos Enrique Lehder Rivas.

He started his life working for his parents in their business, a semi-legitimate used car business. Through this avenue, Carlos Lehder got his idea for his first criminal enterprise – selling stolen cars. His first act as a criminal involved him selling stolen cars, marijuana and smuggling of stolen cars between the United States and Canada.

Life as a Drug Dealer

When he was inevitably caught and thrown in prison for his first set of crimes, the concept of prison as a reformative place was lost on Carlos Lehder. While he was in prison at Danbury, Connecticut, he met George Jung and perfected a plan to take advantage of the burgeoning cocaine market in the United States. This plan took physical form after him and his new friend, George, was released from prison. They began to smuggle small quantities of cocaine into the United States before they made enough money to buy a plane and expand their business.

As revenue and profit increased, Carlos Lehder sought to create a haven of crime and pleasure for himself and through the use of his ill-gotten money and violence, acquired the island of Norman’s Cay for himself. Via this island, he conducted massive cocaine trafficking and business to amass wealth in the billions.

Unfortunately, the wealth from crime can only buy so much and Carlos Lehder met his doom and through the falling of each piece that ensured his success as a drug dealer, he was left exposed and was extradited to the United States in 1987 after fleeing to Colombia for safety.

He was subsequently sentenced to life in prison with an additional 135 years, thus ending the career of one of the pillars of the Medellin cartel.

Net Worth

Carlos Lehder
Carlos (Right) in a meeting with Pablo Escobar

Before he was eventually caught and thrown in prison, crime did pay for Carlos Lehder. In his heyday working with George Jung, trafficking drugs into the United States from Colombia, he was worth an estimated $2.7 billion. Today, it is difficult to say what he is worth; and if the net worth of his co-conspirator George is anything to go by, he is worth significantly less these days.

Family Life

Carlos Lehder grew up in a pretty modest family, his father was an engineer and his mother was a schoolteacher. There is no information on whether he was a single child.

As for his marital family, in between smuggling a massive amount of drugs and making life hell for many innocent people, Carlos Lehder fell in love with Yemel Nacel. Before the law came and took down their drug empire, the couple managed to give birth to and raise three children – two sons and one daughter named Monica Lehder. The identities of the two sons are not public information at this time.

Is He Gay?

There is nothing to suggest that Carlos Lehder is a gay man. While he was a free man, Carlos Lehder regularly partook in heterosexual relationships. Also, as mentioned above, he was married to a wife and had a heterosexual family.

Where is He Now?

As for where one might find Carlos Lehder these days, it is in a minimum-security prison in Florida where he is serving a life sentence with an additional 135 years. However, in 1992, his sentence was reduced to a total of 55 years after he testified against Manuel Noriega, a corrupt politician.

There have been rumours of him being released but every single one has been debunked by his presence in the prison where he only has access to television and email. He is however allowed to be visited by his family members.

Adeola Seun
Adeola Seun
Seun is a CCNA certified graduate of FUTA. He has been writing on various subjects that include finance, economics, celebrity net worth, lifestyle, biographies and politics for over 7 years, Other than writing, he enjoys movies, video games, and sports


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