History’s 21 Richest Criminals

For every billionaire in the world that has made their money through honest work and long hours, there is another billionaire that made incredible amounts of money through violence, bootlegging, or drug trafficking. Here are 21 of the richest people to ever break the law:

“Freeway” Ricky Ross

“Freeway” Ricky Ross is known for being an author as well as a convicted drug trafficker. In the 1980s, Ross made his fortune buying and re-selling several metric tons of cocaine, earning a profit of $300 million in 7 years. Eventually brought down in a sting operation, Ross was sentenced to life in prison. Ross’s autobiography was released in 2014, and was received with critical praise due to its unsentimental look at his life and career.


Rafael Caro Quintero

Rafael Caro Quintero is the founder of the now-defunct Guadalajara cartel. After a series of kidnappings in which four people were eventually found dead, Quintero fled to Costa Rica, but was eventually arrested and extradited back to Mexico. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison, but the conviction was reluctantly overturned when it was discovered that he had been tried improperly. Quintero is currently a fugitive from the law, and is free to enjoy his $650 million in relative peace — for now.



Joaquin Guzman Loera

The head of the Sinaloa drug cartel, Joaquin Guzman Loera is known as “The Shorty” Guzman because of his short stature. He was the top drug kingpin of 2003, after the arrest of rival Osiel Cardenas. The Sinaloa cartel is known for smuggling not just cocaine, but also amphetamines, marijuana, MDMA, and heroin all over North America and Europe. He was captured in 2014. He is currently in prison, and most of his $1 billion in assets were seized.


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