Were you a cool; hip and happening cat in the 80’s? You know, the one with the pastel colored suits, perhaps you had the ubiquitous Porsche and, the sweet mullet to go with your ever present vial of cocaine? No? Okay then let me be blunt. Did you ever do any cocaine in the 80’s? If so then you owe a big old hoop—Dee—doo thank you to a John Lennon super fan, Nazi-loving, half German-half Latino thug by the name of Carlos Enrique Lehder Rivas A. K. A. Carlos Lehder.
I know you want to show your gratitude to the man as he was responsible for 80% of the cocaine flowing in to the US back in the day, but good luck finding him.
The son of a German engineer and a school teacher, at age 18 he left Colombia for the Big Apple, he married and American woman, they later separated and no one knows her name or whereabouts. In order to help his father who ran a mildly successful garage, he began to send stolen car parts, and eventually he decided to rob the whole car, because why the hell not. He landed in Federal prison in Danbury Connecticut where—as luck would have it—he meet famous pot smuggler George Jung, who claimed that Carlos was always pestering him and other inmates about their tools of the trade, such as: money laundering, smuggling techniques, etc., etc., etc. All while taking copious notes.
Once out of the poky (On parole) Carlos and George got into the business of smuggling drugs into the US using a technique mastered by George whereby they would fly planes below the radar so as to avoid detection (It was the 80’s they didn’t have any fancy drones back then.)
In 1979-1980 Carlos along with another character by the name of Pablo Escobar founded the Medellin Cartel. Carlos set his sights on a little island in the Bahamas by the name of Norman’s Cay, by bribing island officials, by intimidating and in one instance- killing a local- he made it his base of operation and Party Central as it’s been reported that the parties would go on for days and days at a time, women were flown in from all over and the orgies would go on for days and days. Meanwhile the smuggling operation was a smashing success. Court papers indicate that his first shipment in 1982 racked in a $1 million dollars in profits for a measly two days’ work, by 1987 his net worth was worth an estimated $ 2.5 billion dollars. He offered to pay Colombia’s national debt—not once—but twice, if only they would agree to turn the nation into a narco estate, yep the guy had a huge ego and definitely a big fan of his own product.
But of course that kind of moola doesn’t just land on a criminal without a few assassinations along the way.
Although the US government never charge Carlos with any killings he, and his other cohorts are responsible for the killings of:
- A Colombian justice minister in 1984
- The 1985 attack on the Colombian court building which saw the deaths of 11justices and 84 other people.
- Two Colombian newspaper editors
- Twenty six other journalists, and
- The Colombian ambassador of Hungary in 1987
Add to that a long list of countless police officers informants plus a bunch of unaccounted government officials. All of this brought to you by a the man who commissioned a naked John Lennon statue with a bullet hole on it, had a deep love for Hitler to the point where he would add little swastikas to his cocaine packets saying that America and it’s imperialist culture would be brought down by marijuana, cocaine and pornography. He hated communism but was very tight with lefty guerrillas.
He was eventually captured, but it took the United States three years to extradite him from Colombia. His seven month trial ended in 1988 with a conviction for drug smuggling and other crimes, he got life in prison plus 35 years. Yep the government really, really wanted to make sure he would never ever do his bad deeds again (naughty boy that Carlos) But then…
Pineapple face, US backed, dictator par excellence and Medellin Cartel puppet Manuel Noriega got captured, and the US government needed informants to indict him. Apt pupil Carlos Lehder says “Hey I knoweth that charming fellow, I’ll testify for a reduced sentence.”
For his incoherent ‘testimony’ against his one-time employee, Carlos got himself into the Protection Witness program of the Bureau of Prisons, a speculation that the Justice Department refuses to acknowledge to this day. Others say that he got himself extradited—under the cover of darkness, of course—to Germany.
The fact remains though, that as of this writing; no one knows his whereabouts.
Don’t forget to remember the victims—Verge Le Noir.