The DEA agents who hunted down Pablo Escobar have hit out at the way the late cartel boss is romanticised in popular culture.
Steve Murphy and Javier Pena, who were immortalised in the Netflix series Narcos, lost friends and colleagues during their time in Colombia at the hands of the so-called ‘king of cocaine’.
"We saw first-hand what Pablo Escobar was doing", Pena tells LADbible. "It was personal. We lost a lot of friends. I lost a couple of good guys."
Murphy adds: "It p*sses me off. It's not a fun thing going and telling someone that somebody they love has been wounded or killed.”
While Pena concedes that Escobar "did have charisma," he points to the multiple car bombs that killed many innocent people throughout the cartel boss’s reign of terror.
"You'd get hurt by being at the wrong place at the wrong time. The restaurants and the car bombs... he was targeting the busiest places."
It's almost impossible to know the number of people who died directly or indirectly on the orders of Escobar; such atrocities as the Avianca Flight 203 bomb killed 107 people on the plane, while a further three people on the ground were killed by falling debris.
Murphy and Pena had previously estimated the number of murders to be anywhere up to 15,000 but, as Pena points out: “One of his sicarios (hitmen), Popeye, said the number is closer to 50,000 people. Steve and I call him a mass murderer.”
Both men say that there is a high level of misinformation about Escobar, which has contributed to his unwarranted legacy as a ‘man of the people’.
The pair now travel the world touring a show telling the truth about the infamous drug lord and his crimes.
"We want the world to know the truth," Murphy says. "Pablo's son is on the speaking circuit, and he's probably got a bigger following than we do. He's created this myth about how his father died – we know how his father died. We were there."
Escobar was shot and killed by the Columbian National Guard the day after his 44th birthday on 2 December 1993. Murphy and Pena were lead investigators during the manhunt with Muphy one of the first on the scene on the rooftop where his body lay.
But Juan Pablo Escobar Henao, who has changed his name to Sebastián Marroquín after moving to Argentina with his mother and sister, has claimed that his father took his own life.
You can find out more about Steve Murphy and Javier Pena at DEANarcos.com
Featured Image Credit: PA Images / Alamy Steve Murphy & Javier Pena