“El Padrino’s Tranquilandia” (1989)
Amount Seized: 14 tons of cocaine
Value: $1 billion
Unfortunately not a Latino spinoff of Portlandia, Tranquilandia was the name of one of the largest cocaine processing laboratories in history, owned by history’s most infamous drug lord—Pablo Escobar. If you were blowing lines in the 1980s (read: everyone in the 80s), it probably came from him.
Tranquilandia was located deep in the unkempt jungles of Colombia and consisted of eight airstrips, had its own electrical grid and water supply, and housed 19 laboratories dedicated solely to the manufacturing of cocaine. It was like Disney Land, but for coke heads.
That is, until 1984, when DEA agents and the Colombian National Police raided the complex and shut it down. How did they find it so deep inside of Colombia’s dangerous jungles? By placing satellite tracking devices on tanks of ether purchased by an Escobar associate and tracking them back to the facility (obviously!).
At the end of the day, they confiscated over a billion dollars from Escobar. But when you’re spending over $1,000 a week on rubber bands just to wrap your stacks and stacks of money, does losing a billion of it really matter?