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Exclusive: Finding Escobar’s Millions reveals historical headquarters in cartel wars

Joe Toft
Former DEA chieftain Joe Toft recalls the fight against Pablo Escobar on Finding Escobar’s Millions

Tonight on Finding Escobar’s Millions, we head to the “hot place” — the ground central location where Colombian and American forces worked together to fight Pablo Escobar and his Medellin cocaine cartel.

The two countries’ law enforcement personnel joined forces to combat the growing political power Escobar wielded in the region.

Interspersed in a series of flashback photos, former CIA operatives Doug Laux and Ben Smith interview former DEA special agent Joe Toft, who was in charge of the Bogota office.

In 1993, Toft was integral in the eventual killing of Escobar, who was gunned down in a rooftop shootout with police.

Laux explains how before Escobar’s death, Toft would regularly attend funerals of people the drug kingpin had had killed, and so was “very happy” when he was eventually taken down.

The death of Pablo Escobar
The death of Pablo Escobar, after Joe Toft fought to bring him down

Toft, sharing how Escobar surveilled their every move, explains: “This was the hot place, it was like a fortress…it was difficult.” He adds: “We were always afraid that Escobar would put a bomb or something up here.”

In a 2003 interview on CNN, Toft said of Escobar: “He [Escobar] was a very significant trafficker. He also — his organization, the Medellin cartel — was basically in control of the country in Colombia for many, many years, intimidating the whole country to the point that the president himself of Colombia was afraid to act against him and the organization for fear of his life and the life of his loved ones.”

In an off-camera interview, Ben Smith explains the gravitas of the historical law enforcement headquarters.

He says: “Joe Toft, Stephan Javier, some other US government officials, were co-located with the Colombian national police in Search Bloc, and this is actually where the police planned most of their raids against his bed-down locations, met their sources in Pablo Escobar’s network.

“In December 1993 the law catches up with them and they kill him. It’s still the headquarters in fighting the local cartels. Their mission is still to hunt down cocaine fields and processing labs…so it’s an active headquarters in the fight against drugs.”

Watch our exclusive sneak peek of tonight’s Finding Escobar’s Millions below:

Finding Escobar’s Millions airs Fridays at 10/9c on Discovery.

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April is an accredited entertainment writer, interviewer and television critic. She is a current member of the Television Critics Association (TCA), Gay and Lesbian Entertainment... read more
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