Into Drug Cartels, Stories of Redemption, Faith, and Netflix's Cocaine Cowboys?
If you're into all these topics, you should give episode 164 a listen where Roman spoke with on of the founding members of Colombia's Medellin Drug Cartel Dr. Jorge Valdes and discussed his story of redemption.
The Miami drug scene in the 1980s was associated with status and wealth. Cocaine flooded into the US from Columbia and more famously from the Medellin Drug Cartel.
Dr. Jorge Valdes didn't come from a life of crime, but was a great straight as an arrow student that stumbled into it. Jorge at 19 became the youngest employee at the Federal Reserve Bank while also in school in the University of Miami. Jorge had his mind set on one goal; which was go to law school, graduate by 23, and become a millionaire by the age of 30.
His accounting professor happened to offer Jorge a job to work with his Spanish clients. The client Jorge was given was a little grocery store in Little Havana in 1976. He began doing their books but something was off. One day he saw a bag with 100k cash in it. As and accountant this didn't make sense to Jorge. Then the next two weeks he saw similar amounts as well. He finally went and asked the owners where this large amount of money was coming from a little corner store, and the owners said, "Jorge we're drug dealers."
After this they came to him and asked him if he could open foreign bank accounts for them. Jorge then started opening foreign back accounts for them. He thought no money laundering laws so no problem. Within the first 6 months Jorge was handling 50 million dollars a month. As time went on he was asked to handle North American operations, and was positioned to him as no one would know what Jorge was doing since he worked for the federal government.
At this point in 1977 he was importing 500-1000 kilos of cocaine a month and was making 1-3 million dollars.
And this is how Jorge's not so ordinary journey into becoming one of the founding members of Colombia's Medellin Drug Cartel unfolded and had him running North American operations out of Miami, Florida. Becoming one of the original Cocaine Kings of Miami.
After this the story got crazier when Jorge was approached by the government of Bolivia to be sold to directly. We spoke about how Jorge crash landed in the jungles of Panama, was arrested, bribed the attorney general of the country, how he was thrown into prison and tortured for 28 days, and arrested by Interpol for drug conspiracy.
Later we spoke about how he was sentenced to 15 years in person and how his daughter inspired his decision to change his life.
Jorge later hired a karate teacher that ended up telling him about God. After all this and not serving major time, he was arrested and spent 4 years in prison after leaving the cartel.
We spoke about what Jorge calls the Narco mindset and how it's helped him.
We then discussed how Jorge found God and how his life went from bad to worse. When you find God and give your life to Christ often times your life and struggles become exponentially greater.
Jorge talked about the war on drugs what it truly accomplished, RICO laws, how the US government started grouping drug groups together and calling them cartels so it would be easier to prosecute, and much more.
The overall take away was to not let a person's failures change their mindset.
It was a pleasure speaking to Jorge before he did interviews on Vlad TV, Valuetainment, and way before Cocaine Cowboys came out.
Be sure to check this episode out and other episodes of the podcast.