Former Medellin Drug Trafficker Porras Dies at 62

By: Libardo Cardona - AP Writer
By: Libardo Cardona - AP Writer

BOGOTA (AP) - Evaristo Porras, a former high-flying Medellin cartel drug trafficker associated with Pablo Escobar in the 1980s, has died at age 62, reportedly in economic ruin.

Porras' death was confirmed by the Gaviria funeral home in Bogota, which said he was buried on Friday. It was first reported Tuesday by the Bogota newspaper El Tiempo.

"He died of a heart attack in his Bogota home literally broke" on March 3, the paper said, citing one of Porras' sons.

Porras controlled lucrative trafficking routes on Colombia's southeastern border with Peru in the 1980s when much partially processed cocaine was being flown in from the neighboring nation.

Living regally in the Amazon city of Leticia during the Medellin cartel's heyday, Porras built a likeness there of the mansion featured in the U.S. television series Dallas.

He first became known in 1983, when his signature appeared on a check that Escobar alleged was received by anti-drug crusader and then-Justice Minister Rodrigo Lara.

Lara was assassinated in 1984 on Escobar's orders and Porras was
arrested shortly thereafter and imprisoned on a drug-trafficking conviction. He was released in 2006 and tried in vain to recover some of his lost wealth.

A former cellmate of Porras, Gustavo Sastoque, told The Associated Press that Porras told him he had Parkinson's disease "and on top of that had a bad heart."

Porras once tried to commit suicide with an overdose of pills while in jail, Sastoque added in a telephone interview.

Escobar led one of the world's leading cocaine cartels from Colombia in the 1980s. He and his allies ordered the killings of politicians, judges, journalists, and hundreds of others who opposed them. He at one point offered a bounty of more than $4,000 for any police officer killed in Medellin, his hometown. More than 100 were slain.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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