Carlos Lehder, an original ‘cocaine cowboy,’ is out after serving a long prison sentence in the U.S. The former Medellin cartel kingpin and partner of Pablo Escobar and was a fan of John Lennon and Adolf Hitler, was released from a US prison on Monday and flew to a new home in Germany.
The notorious Colombian drug lord is now a free man. Carlos Lehder is one of the original “cocaine cowboys” and Pablo Escobar’s crime partner, according to a Miami source.
Described by the U.S. Department of Justice as “the Henry Ford of the cocaine industry,” Lehder co-founded Colombia’s infamous ‘Medellin Cartel” alongside Pablo Escobar, Jorge Ochoa and Jose Rodriguez Gacha in the 1970s.
He conspired with heads of state to corrupt entire country’s and open cocaine smuggling routes, he even bought his own Bahamian island, Norman’s Cay, and transforming it into an air and drug distribution center. At the height of its peak, Lehder and the Medellin Cartel smuggled 300 kilos of cocaine per day, and generating $20 billion a year.
Lehder was captured by the Colombian authorities at a farm, allegedly after a tip-off from Escobar, and extradited to the US, which was then leading a campaign against drug traffickers based in Colombia.
He was originally sentenced to 135 years plus life, but after agreeing to testify against former Panamanian dictator Gen. Manuel Noriega, he had his sentence reduced to 55 years.
Lehder’s lawyer says he caught a plane to his new home in Berlin, Germany on Monday, after being released from a Florida prison. He was being held there as part of the government’s witness protection program.
If you’ve seen “Narcos” on Netflix, you may have heard the name before. The show highlights Lehder as the co-founder of the Medellin cartel, which dominated the global cocaine trade in the 1980s.
He is a dual German-Colombia citizen. His lawyer says Lehder has no interest in returning to Colombia and German authorities helped him get settled in his new home.
Miami-based media studio Rakontur, the producers of the acclaimed documentaries ‘Cocaine Cowboys’ (2006), “Cocaine Cowboys 2” (2008) and “Cocaine Cowboys: Reloaded” (2014), “The Kings of Miami” and others, have completed production on “The Last of the Cocaine Cowboys,” a four-part documentary miniseries on Medellin Cartel co-founder Carlos Lehder.
The Last of the Cocaine Cowboys will offer exclusive access to Lehder in his first on-camera interviews in 32 years, the producers have over 35 hours of conversation with the former cartel leader, as well as footage and photos from his personal archive.
For the first time ever, he details his trajectory from private school kid, to car thief, to the top of the cocaine industry, and the crazy story of his first cocaine run in a truck through the Andes.
Lehder also discusses his early smuggling business with “Boston George” Jung, portrayed by Johnny Depp in the 2001 film, Blow; never-before-told tales of his partnership with Escobar, and Escobar’s obsession with gangster Al Capone.
Hi personal negotiations for cocaine trade routes with Panamanian strong-man Manuel Noriega, his experiences with the Castro Brothers in Cuba and his work with the Contras in Nicaragua; bribing Bahamian Prime Minister Lynden Pindling with $2 million a year and commanding a private army of enforcers, pilots, and boat captains at his own private island and airport; and the extraordinary circumstances of his release from prison, following his testimony against Noriega at the Panamanian dictator’s 1991 drug trial.
While it’s unclear at this point where the show will land, we hear that it’s currently being shopped to several high-profile streamers.