Latin America & Caribbean

Search of drug baron Pablo Escobar's mansion yields safe

Media captionDrug baron Pablo Escobar's Miami mansion demolished

Workers tearing down a Florida mansion which was once owned by the late Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar have found a hidden safe.

The new owners of the Miami mansion had hired professional treasure hunters to search the rubble.

They believe Escobar, who was one of the richest men in the world when he was killed by Colombian police, may have hidden cash and diamonds there.

The safe, which weighs 600kg (1,325lb), has not been opened yet.

'Holy grail'

A worker who was tearing down one of the last remaining walls of the waterfront house found the metal safe in the foundations.

The new owners of the house, Christian de Berdouare and his wife, Jennifer Valoppi, said they would take it somewhere safe and "open it shortly".

"For us, this is the holy grail," owner Christian de Berdouare told local media.

Escobar was known for keeping huge stashes of cash and jewels at his homes in Colombia.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The pink mansion was seized by the US government in 1987
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Mr de Berdouare bought the mansion without knowing its history

Workers had already found one safe in the house shortly after demolition work began, but it disappeared before anyone could examine it.

The couple said they bought the house without knowing of its history.

When they found out it had belonged to the infamous Colombian drug baron, they decided to make a documentary about its demolition and the search for hidden treasure within.

Pablo Escobar

Image caption Pablo Escobar is considered one of the most powerful drug lords of all times
  • Born in 1949 in Antioquia, Colombia, he became the leader of the powerful Medellin drugs cartel
  • During the cartel's heyday he was thought to be among the world's 10 richest people
  • Many of his properties had hidden stashes of cash and jewellery
  • His Medellin drugs cartel was accused of being behind up to 80% of all the cocaine shipped to the US
  • Killed on a Medellin rooftop during a shoot-out as he was trying to flee from the police on 2 December 1993

Escobar never lived there but Mr de Berdouare says the Colombian leader of the Medellin cartel did visit on occasion.

The pink mansion was seized by the US government in 1987 and sold to a private owner and later damaged in a fire.

Mr de Berdouare and Ms Valoppi plan to build a new house on its location.

The Miami mansion was built in 1948 with direct access to Biscayne Bay and views of the Miami skyline.

Miami was a key entry point for drugs flooding in from South America in the 1980s and many drug lords had mansions and luxury apartments in the city.

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