Carlos Lehder - Colombian Men, Career and Family

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Carlos Lehder's Personal Details

Carlos Lehder is a former Colombian drug lord who is currently imprisoned in United States

InformationDetail
BirthdaySeptember 7, 1949
NationalityColombian
FamousColombian Men, Criminals, Drug Lords
Known asCarlos Enrique Lehder Rivas
Childrens Monica Lehder
Birth PlaceArmenia, Colombia
GenderMale
FatherWillheim Lehder Rivas
MotherHelena Rivas
Sun SignVirgo
Born inArmenia, Colombia
Famous asDrug Lord

// Famous Colombian Men

Carlos Lehder's photo

Who is Carlos Lehder?

Carlos Lehder is a former Colombian drug lord who is currently imprisoned in United States. Lehder’s involvement in criminal activities started early on. When his father started selling used cars, Lehder gave his criminal touch to the business by selling stolen cars. It was while serving a sentence for car theft prison that Lehder was struck with the idea of drug trafficking. His ultimate scheme was to revolutionize the cocaine trade by transporting the drug to the United States, using small aircraft. Together, with Jung, a fellow prison inmate, Lehder formed the roots of what would become a magnanimously huge cocaine empire. He founded Medellin Cartel, a ruthless, highly organized Colombian drug cartel that operated with the sole objective of managing drug trafficking operations. He also founded a political party that forced Colombia to abrogate extradition. However, just as they say that there is no crime in the world that can exist for long; Lehder’s scandalous, illicit and immoral outings also timed out when Colombian government took a firm stand against drug dealers and traffickers! Carlos Lehder was arrested and imprisoned in United States prison and is currently serving his sentence.

// Famous Drug Lords

Childhood & Early Life

Carlos Lehder was born on September 7, 1949 in Armenia, Colombia in to a German-Colombian family. His father was a German engineer while his mother was a Colombian school teacher.

Early on, the family resided in the Medellin area. They had a semi-legally approved used car business. It was during this time that Lehder first got involved in criminal acts. He started stealing cars and supplying it to his father who sold them as used cars.

Later Life

By the time Carlos Lehder became an adult, he had immersed himself completely into criminal activities. Starting off as a stolen car dealer, he then progressed to becoming a marijuana dealer and a smuggler of stolen cars between US and Canada.

Lehder’s car theft business got him into a prison in Danbury, Connecticut. It was while serving his sentence that he decided to start dealing in cocaine. By then, drug addiction in America had caught up with the youth as more and more people demanded the drug. He struck a deal with his prison inmate George Jung, a former marijuana dealer, as his future partner in cocaine business.

Instead of repenting for his mistake, Lehder updated himself with all the necessary information required for starting his cocaine business. He learned tricks of money laundering and smuggling and also trained himself with the skills required for cocaine transport. He spend hours questioning inmates and taking down notes. He filed all the information for further use.

After their release, Carlos Lehder and Jung started off with small traditional drug smuggling. Though their ultimate aim was to revolutionize the cocaine trade by transporting it to the American soil, they could realize it only through small steps.

The duo’s first successful cocaine transportation was realized when two young women who were on paid holiday to Antigua brought the drug to the country in their suitcase. The trick paid off and both the women indulged in too many holidays to help Lehder and Jung have enough to buy an aeroplane.

Instead of buying an aeroplane, Lehder used stolen aeroplane for his budding cocaine empire. He hired a professional pilot who transported the drug into US via Bahamas. In no time, he build on his financial resources, bribed Bahamian government officials for political and judicial protection and started building connection and trust with Colombian suppliers.

Up until the 1970s, all looked hale and hearty for the Lehder-Jung partnership. But soon however, it began to swerve, thanks to Lehder’s secret scheming of securing a personal island in Bahamas and turning it into the his fledgling empire’s headquarters.

Norman Cay, the island that Carlos Lehder eyed upon, had about 100 private homes, a yacht club, a marina and an air strip. To evacuate the island, he started torturing the residents to the point of making them leave it, either forcefully or through bribery. The efforts finally paid off as Norman Cay came under the control of Lehder. It served as his privately owned lawless paradise.

During the time Lehder was directing his resources to take control of Norman Cay, he forced Jung out of the partnership. He then found a new partner in international criminal financier Robert Vesco. By 1978, Lehder had turned Cay into a drug smuggling hub. He made it his tropical hideaway and a playground for his drug deals.

Lehder and his associates flew cocaine in from Colombia by jet and then reloaded it into the small aircraft that then distributed it to locations in Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas. Lehder received 1 kilo out of every 4 that was transported through Norman's Cay.

For the smooth running of the cocaine transportation, Lehder built a 3,300-foot runway protected by radar, bodyguards, and Doberman attack dogs. Every day, almost 300 kg of cocaine would arrive on the island daily. His personal wealth rose to billion dollars.

He expanded his territory by making his mark in the political arena as well. He founded the National Latino Movement which managed three congressional seats and popularized itself by making speeches against extradition.

The assassination of the then-Colombian Minister of Justice, Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, by another Colombian drug lord, Pablo Escobar, marked the beginning of the end of Carlos Lehder’s drug cartel.

After the assassination, the then Colombian President, Belisario Betancur, revised his previous policy and announced his willingness to extradite Colombian drug lords to United States. Lehder, who by then had become a big name in the drug industry, featured in the top of the crackdown list.

Carlos Lehder’s downfall started when American investigative journalist, Brian Ross, exposed Lehder’s blatant bribing of Bahamian officials and the unauthorized activities on Norman's Cay. In his report on September 1983 in NBC, he made public the corruption of Bahamian government leaders.

Ross’ report esulted in dire consequences for Lehder – he could not return to Norman Cay. His bank accounts were seized and so were his property and possessions. Once a billionaire, he was reduced to being a bankrupt. He went on a run in the jungle where he got sick with fever.

Just when everything seemed dimed out for Lehder, Pablo Escobar came to his rescue. He sent a helicopter for Lehder and brought him back to Medellín, where he provided medical attention. When Lehder was fully recovered Escobar hired him as a bodyguard.

Carlos Lehder wanted to rebuild his fortune. He had established a farm in Colombia. According to sources, one of his new employees informed the police of his location. As per the other report, members of the Medellín Cartel were not happy to have Lehder by their side. They believed he would jeopardize their cocaine empire. Consequently to throw him out, Escobar himself provided Lehder's whereabouts to the police, leading to his capture.

Personal Life & Legacy

In 1987, Carlos Lehder was extradited to the United States. He was tried and sentenced to life without parole, plus an additional 135 years. In 1992, however, in exchange for Lehder's testimony against Manuel Noriega, his sentence was reduced to a total of 55 years.

In 1995, there were rumours of Lehder being set free. However, they were all shunned down by his brother who stated that there has been a change of prison. He was held in WITSEC, the US Bureau of Prisons’ version of the federal Witness Protection Program.

On July 22, 2005, he appeared in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit to contest his sentence. Lehder argued that the US had violated the cooperation agreement he had entered into with the Attorney's Office. In May 2007, he requested the Colombian Supreme Court to order the Colombian government to request his release from the United States due to this violation.

In May 2008, a habeas corpus petition was filed by Lehder’s lawyer. Currently, Lehder is imprisoned in a minimum security prison in Florida, where he is frequently visited by his family members. He has access to TV and to emails

On June 24 2015, Carlos Lehder wrote a letter to then President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos, requesting the latter’s mediation so as to be allowed to return to Colombia.

// Famous Criminals

Carlos Lehder biography timelines

  • // 7th Sep 1949
    Carlos Lehder was born on September 7, 1949 in Armenia, Colombia in to a German-Colombian family. His father was a German engineer while his mother was a Colombian school teacher.
  • // 1970
    Up until the 1970s, all looked hale and hearty for the Lehder-Jung partnership. But soon however, it began to swerve, thanks to Lehder’s secret scheming of securing a personal island in Bahamas and turning it into the his fledgling empire’s headquarters.
  • // 1978
    During the time Lehder was directing his resources to take control of Norman Cay, he forced Jung out of the partnership. He then found a new partner in international criminal financier Robert Vesco. By 1978, Lehder had turned Cay into a drug smuggling hub. He made it his tropical hideaway and a playground for his drug deals.
  • // Sep 1983
    Carlos Lehder’s downfall started when American investigative journalist, Brian Ross, exposed Lehder’s blatant bribing of Bahamian officials and the unauthorized activities on Norman's Cay. In his report on September 1983 in NBC, he made public the corruption of Bahamian government leaders.
  • // 1987 To 1992
    In 1987, Carlos Lehder was extradited to the United States. He was tried and sentenced to life without parole, plus an additional 135 years. In 1992, however, in exchange for Lehder's testimony against Manuel Noriega, his sentence was reduced to a total of 55 years.
  • // 1995
    In 1995, there were rumours of Lehder being set free. However, they were all shunned down by his brother who stated that there has been a change of prison. He was held in WITSEC, the US Bureau of Prisons’ version of the federal Witness Protection Program.
  • // 22nd Jul 2005 To May 2007
    On July 22, 2005, he appeared in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit to contest his sentence. Lehder argued that the US had violated the cooperation agreement he had entered into with the Attorney's Office. In May 2007, he requested the Colombian Supreme Court to order the Colombian government to request his release from the United States due to this violation.
  • // May 2008
    In May 2008, a habeas corpus petition was filed by Lehder’s lawyer. Currently, Lehder is imprisoned in a minimum security prison in Florida, where he is frequently visited by his family members. He has access to TV and to emails
  • // 24th Jun 2015
    On June 24 2015, Carlos Lehder wrote a letter to then President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos, requesting the latter’s mediation so as to be allowed to return to Colombia.

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Carlos Lehder's FAQ

  • What is Carlos Lehder birthday?

    Carlos Lehder was born at 1949-09-07

  • Where is Carlos Lehder's birth place?

    Carlos Lehder was born in Armenia, Colombia

  • What is Carlos Lehder nationalities?

    Carlos Lehder's nationalities is Colombian

  • Who is Carlos Lehder childrens?

    Carlos Lehder's childrens is Monica Lehder

  • Who is Carlos Lehder's father?

    Carlos Lehder's father is Willheim Lehder Rivas

  • Who is Carlos Lehder's mother?

    Carlos Lehder's mother is Helena Rivas

  • What is Carlos Lehder's sun sign?

    Carlos Lehder is Virgo

  • How famous is Carlos Lehder?

    Carlos Lehder is famouse as Drug Lord