The Bounty For Pablo Escobar In 'Narcos' Was Sky High In Real Life

There wouldn't be a Netflix series about the life of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar if he'd led an average life, so making his death the big mystery of Season 2 is a brilliant idea. Also working well is the balance between reality and fiction — for every detail that's created, there's something that's true to Escobar's real life. For example, after an exciting episode detailing his prison escape, the Colombian government was done negotiating with the notorious criminal, and it's represented on the show with a televised statement by the president announcing that there will be no more compromises — and there was a bounty out for Pablo Escobar, as seen in Narcos. The TV president offers $1.4 million for anyone who has any information on Pablo's whereabouts.

That precise figure is accurate, but what's not included in that Narcos moment is that the US already had a $2 million reward in place, according to The Los Angeles Times, bringing the total possible reward for offering information about Pablo to $3.4 million. In order to incentivize possible informants, the US offered "any Colombian who came forward with information used in a trial would be allowed to move with his or her family to the United States and live in secrecy under the Department of Justice's witness protection program," reported the LAT. It seems no one ever took them up on the offer. However, Escobar did attempt to have his family protected in the US as he began to realize that he'd eventually be captured or killed, according to The New York Times.

As the season of Narcos continues, it should demonstrate how the government gets increasingly desperate to capture Escobar. And, in real life, that was reflected in an ever-increasing bounty on Escobar's head. By the time of his actual death, the bounty had reached $6.2 million, according to the Seattle Times. However, as the NYT reported, Escobar was eventually found and killed because of traced phone calls, and the bounty was never collected by any civilian. According to The Seattle Times, Escobar's bounty was eventually split between his victims' families, and Colombian president Cesar Gaviria also designated "Some money [...] to build housing for the security forces who hunted him down and killed him."

The period of time between Escobar's escape and his death was only about a year, but, even in that short time, he was such a sought-after fugitive that he was worth, literally, millions, just for giving a tip about where he was hiding or how to contact him. But it's likely the close relationship Escobar had with Colombia's poor, paired with the vengeful desire of fellow gangsters to kill him themselves that ultimately left the reward money unclaimed. Narcos may be leading up to Pablo's death in Season 2, but it will also show how Escobar's relationship with his countrymen is complicated — and how even the promise of millions alone wasn't enough to track him down.

Images: Juan Pablo Gutierrez/Netflix (2)