Episode #1 - Narco Mindset Podcast - College Years
NARCO MINDSET Podcast - Episode #1
Jorge Valdes' childhood to his college years
February 1, 2020
The Host: Jorge Valdes Ph.D. An Author, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and You Tuber
Co-Host: Anthony Petrucci
Narco Mindset is an enlightening, informative, effortlessly entertaining podcast. It contains compelling RAW storytelling and intellectually honest talk about life. We will be delving into life challenges, life miracles, life recovery, and life opportunities. It illuminates a new generation on the power and the impact of a positive mindset.
In episode one, Dr. Valdes details his early childhood, starting when he was ten-years-old and leaving Cuba — deciding that there was no God and that God would be who Dr. Valdes created the day he achieved great wealth and power. He shares how a young kid who became the youngest employee at the Federal Reserve of Miami at the age of seventeen. Dr. Valdes was a clean and honest young man, never drinking or doing drugs, working full-time, and going to the University of Miami full-time on his way to law school. Suddenly gets enticed by a group of Colombian businessmen who made his an offer he chose not to ignore. What happened when Dr. Valdes crossed a line, he swore he never would? How does a young, clean-cut kid, who never drank alcohol or did any drugs; who was the American dream in six short terms become American nightmare?
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TRANSCRIPTION OF EPISODE #1
Intro: Before we watched TV shows and movies on Narcos, and even before Pablo Escobar’s rise to fame, there was one man who was the ultimate Narco. He lived the Narco life of greed, money and power, but found a way to reclaim his life, and use his astonishing experiences to empower others to live a life of hope, meaning and redemption. Welcome to the Narco Mindset podcast where Dr. Jorge Valdes shares his journey through life before and after the Medellin Drug Cartel.
From torture and multiple prison sentences to how he refocused his life on to a path of principles learned as a Narco, it’s time to share that raw truth with you right here on the Narco Mindset podcast with your host, Dr. Jorge Valdes.
Jorge: Welcome to the Narco Mindset podcast. My name is Dr. Jorge Valdes, and I am very, very excited to take you through this journey for the next three episodes. I am here with my co-host, Anthony Petrucci. Anthony, we’ve been planning this for a long time. Finally, a day has come.
Anthony: Yes, it’s finally here, and listeners are in for a treat today because you’re going to start telling your story as a Narco. What happened when you were a leader in the biggest drug cartel in the world? What came before it, and then what happened after you got out of the cartel, and lived to tell about it? After listening to this episode and the next couple of episodes, people are really going to have a good sense of who you are, Jorge.
Jorge: You know, Anthony, it’s an honor for me to do this podcast. I’ve really been praying about it a lot, and I’ve really been thinking a lot about what is the purpose? I was extremely happy being retired, just living the life of a dad. So, what happened in my life that made me come back and then start speaking again? We’ve published three books in the last four months, and writing again. What drove me to that point? Basically, two things. Number one, it was a wife that was praying that I did not let my life go to waste, and then I did an event in Houston that really, really challenged me.
I really didn’t even want to do it, it was just a matter of fact that I asked this priest to do me a favor, and do a mass for a ... we built the only Catholic chapel inside a United States prison at Angola. Every December 12th, we go there to celebrate that day. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult for me to get a priest. I finally got one, he came, did the mass, convicted me that I needed to do him a favor in return. I went and did an event in Houston that challenged my life again.
When I speak, one of the things that I tell people is, I start off by a story. There are two kids. To start out, they’re both immigrant children, they both come from Cuba, and they both come to America. One decides to be an honor student, works for the federal government, goes on and has a tremendous career than has a conversion, becomes a scholar, teaches at a prestigious university, and goes on with a wonderful life. The other young immigrant kid also comes from Cuba at the same age, and he also starts out on the right path. Did not do drugs, didn’t smoke, didn’t drink, but all of a sudden, something happened in his life where he goes from being this amazing, young, clean-cut kid to becoming US head of all operations for a group that became the Medellin Drug Cartel.
Goes to prison, suffers tortures. What happened? What’s the difference? What do both of these young immigrant kids have in common? I look around the room, and people wonder. Eventually, somebody sometimes figures out, at the end of the day, what they both have in common is that they’re both the same person. I speak to crowds all over the place. I ask a lot of parents when you’re sitting right there in front of you, and you’re looking at your 12, 13-year-old kid, and you’re thinking in your mind that only bad things happen to bad kids, that there’s nothing bad could happen to your kid.
Well, I’m going to tell you something. My mom identically said that. The difference also with my mom was, she was a very religious person. Christ became the center of our life from a young age. You can imagine the pain in my mother who left Cuba, a life of wealth, to come to the United States and work in a factory, suffer and go hungry to one day realize that her son is US head of all operations for a group that became the Medellin Drug Cartel. As I look back in my life, I tell it in three stages.
Stage number one is that day coming from Cuba. I remember it was October 11, 1966. Here I was in bed, went to bed the night before, had no idea what was going on in our home. Our mom never mentioned that something drastic was about to happen. All of a sudden, I remember her waking me up early in the morning and said, “Let’s go. Get dressed, we’re leaving.” I’m going like, “What, leaving what?” She’s like, “Yeah, we’re leaving Cuba, and we’re going to America.” I went to try and get some toys, and she’s like, “Jorge, no, no toys. Just the clothes that you have on, a belt, a pair of shoes, and a sock.”
Can you imagine all of a sudden I’m in shock? Why are we leaving? Why are we leaving our friends, why are we leaving our toys, why are we leaving everything that means anything to us? We headed to the airport and then something drastically happened. I remember sitting there with my brother who nine, and my sister who was five, and I see my mother and father crying. My mother just arguing with my father as they were coming towards us, and then she comes up to where I am, tears in his eyes, grabs my hand, and says, “Jorge, take your brother and sister to Miami. I’ll see you one day, son. God will go with you.”
I’m here to tell you, at that moment in time, my father, who never wanted to come, said, “If you’re not going, I’m not coming.” They had made an error in her passport and said she could not leave. Literally, my world just got shattered at that moment because as I looked at my world, and all of a sudden, I’m like, “Hey, we’re leaving everything that means anything to us. How can this happen?” If our whole life was that God is in the center of our life, here we are in Miami, 11 of us sleeping in a one-bedroom apartment, writing down on a piece of paper what time we’re going to get up in the morning and take a piss because the truth, it was 11 people in one bathroom, and all of a sudden realizing that we don’t even have money to eat. Literally no money to eat.
I remember in the morning, my dad used to make us two raw eggs with this powdery milk the government gave him, and that’s it. That’s all the food that we would have. So, that day became the first of climactic moments in my life where I make a decision. There is no God. God is not real. My mother is crazy. I should have listened to Fidel when he was telling us that God is only for weak people that need some type of an imaginary being or an imaginary belief to find answers because they’re just weak.
Well, by no means was Jorge Valdes weak. That moment, there’s no God. All of a sudden, I remember, I was in school, and my brother and I used to fight kids. We felt like we were Robin Hood. We looked at the kids that were a little overweight, that happens in America. We would just take their lunch money. I remember Brother Timothy who was the principal one day saying, “Jorge, you keep taking kids’ lunch money. I’m going to whoop your ass.” I remember he’d take out a big, old ruler and just whoop us with it. I was just hoping he didn’t tell my parents, but then I looked at him, and he says, “Are you going to do it again?” I said, “Brother Timothy, I’m not going to lie to you. Yes, I’m going to do it again.”
“Why?” I said, “Because your ass whooping, it feels less painful than going all day long with no food in my stomach.” I remember at him looking, and smiling, and said, “Look, if they’re stupid and weak enough to let you take their money, just go ahead and take it.” I went like that. Then my whole life was about getting rich. My whole life was, what do I need to do? I’m going to work hard, sacrifice whatever it takes because the day I make money, I’m going to be somebody. I remember the second day, we had just been here from Cuba, and my cousin came over, and he had this beautiful candy apple red GTO with a white interior.
This is 1966. I looked at the car, and the first thought that went through my mind is, “Man, my cousin has only been here four years, and he already has this beautiful car? You know what, one day, I’m going to have a car just like that or better.” I continue my life in that manner. I decided I was going to continue to work hard. I remember another interesting story that was funny was, one day, I come home from school, and tell my father that I discovered that this friend of mine, George Bustillo has got food stamps.”
He had just come from Cuba a year before us, and I said, “He eats lunch, he takes a sandwich and a fruit and a drink, and he says because his parents get food stamps, and they go to the grocery store and exchange their food stamp for groceries. Have you heard about that, dad?” My dad very serious, very stoic, he looked at me and said, “Yes.” Then I said, “Dad, how come we don’t get food stamps?” He said, “Jorge, food stamp is for poor people, and you must understand something, poor people that get help from the government will remain poor all their lives. Government assistance is for those that really are incapable. That they’re handicapped or really have an illness that they’re incapable of providing for themselves, but I see you’ve got two legs, son.”
So, he points a finger on my chest, and he says, “You get up early in the morning, and you figure out how to help feed your family.” I was 10 years old. I look back today, and that day, my childhood ended. At the age of 10, I became a man, and I did. I was real skinny. I remember delivering newspapers in the morning, coming home from school, washing cars, cutting grass, doing whatever I had to do to make money, and give my parents every penny I earned because I didn’t want to be poor. If poor depended upon me overcoming and working and contributing, well, I would do whatever I could.
It didn’t matter that I was 10. See, I never looked at my life and said, “I’m 10, what can I do?” Or, “I can’t do this.” My entire life has had one mindset that I highlight in the book called Narco Mindset. My whole mindset is not that I can’t do something, but how do I do that because I am convinced that if someone has done something in this world, I can do it too, but I’m going to have to work harder, I’m going to have to work longer, I’m going to have to sacrifice more, but there’s nothing that someone has done that I can’t do. That’s how I live my life.
Three years later in Miami, not being able to eat, the Refugee Department resettled us in New Jersey. We had a cousin there that lived in Union City, New Jersey, and as typical of all Cubans, all Cuban immigrants, one of the things that we all had in common was whenever someone came from Cuba, we’d let him live in our house. They didn’t have to pay rent, they didn’t have to buy food. They lived there for free for three months. The understanding among all Cubans was, I do that for one Cuban and then another Cuban is going to do it for me.
So, after three months of living with our cousins, we ended up moving into a neighborhood that I call Vietnam. It was Georgia City, and I’m talking about Georgia City was the ghetto of all ghettos. Well, our building was Vietnam because it was the corner of four bars. Every night, there will be a shootout in that bar. We ended up getting three months free of rent because when we walked into the apartment, it had shit all over the walls, people had peed in the floors, so the landlord said, “Hey if you clean it up, you get free rent.” Well, my parents who did not care about working decided, “Hey, you know what, that’s wonderful for us.”
That was a lesson for me because here’s something that’s interesting. My mother was literally born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Dad was a famous general in Maceo army that liberated Cuba from Spain, and my mother was born when he was older. She always had everything. My mother used to travel to New York, she had a boyfriend who played for the New York Yankees, so she spoke perfect English. She went to [inaudible 00:10:23] Havana when hardly any woman ever went to school and got a degree as a school teacher. Then, my father, he was different. He was born very, very poor but at the age of 13, he went to work in a café, and in that café, there was this young man that used to come every day.
This young man, Oscar, was 18, and Oscar was the son of the richest man in Cuba. A man that used to print the money for the government. He had come from Spain in the late 1800s and built the biggest mansion that there was in Havana. He founded the Havana Yacht Club, Pony Club, a very, very wealthy guy. He saw that my father was a hustler. My father was real, real fast, and even though he dropped out of high school, my father was a genius because he read constantly without seizing. When my father was about 21 years old, Oscar approached him and said, “Hey, [inaudible 00:11:06], how would you like to come and open a business with me?” Apparently, his parents were harassing him to do something, and he did with my dad.
They opened a sawmill, and my father became very, very wealthy. So, they left Cuba, we had a car for ... every kid had a chauffeur, we had a gorgeous home, we lacked absolutely nothing. All of a sudden, my dad is coming to the US to clean toilets for JCPenney. My mother is coming, and she’s working in the tomato fields because she wants to be there when her children wake up and when her children go to bed.
So, my parents became my giants. My parents became my greatest role model because if they could do that, if they could sacrifice that then I realized the greatest sin in the world to me was not being able to provide for your family. So, whatever it took, I was going to work. I started working ... when we came back from New Jersey, 1973, to Miami, a friend of my dad got me an interview with the Federal Reserve Bank, and I got a job working there. I was 17 years old, and the youngest employee in the Federal Reserve Bank.
I went to school, the University of Miami fulltime and worked fulltime. I can tell people what I did every day of my life literally for the next four years. I slept very, very little because I wanted to graduate with honors. See, I’ve lived all my life believing that, “Hey, to come in second place just means that you’re the first loser. You know what, I’m going to give it all I’ve got.” If you give it all you’ve got in this world then you realize that whatever happens, it just happens. The worst thing for any human being to live with, and for myself was that “what if”. What if I’d gotten that job? What if I had not lost that job? What if I had been responsible? What if I had been truthful, honorable? Those were the things that my dad instilled in us from the very, very early age.
Yeah, I got a great education at the University of Miami, but I want to tell you something, the greatest education of all, I got from my father. Why do I say that? Number one, because he was a very, very simple man. No money, foreign country at the age of 40 without speaking the language. My mother left behind. She didn’t come again until December of that year. My father would always look at my brother and me, and said, “Son, let me tell you something. In life, you have no control whether you’re rich or poor.” My brother and I would roll our eyes and say, “No kidding.” We figured that out pretty quickly.
He would say, “In life, you have no control whether you’re sick or healthy. Even more, in life, you have no control whether you’re dead or alive.” He says, “Son, the only thing that you have absolute control in this world is your word. Only can break it, only you can keep it.” I live like that my entire life. I live making sure that no matter whatever happened my life, whatever I did, I was not going to give the only thing I had absolute power of. That’s why at the age of 23, I laid on the floor of a Panamanian prison being tortured day and night to the point where I bled for five years because I was willing not to break my word.
It’s very interesting because we live in a world today that truth means absolutely nothing. It is sad because if truth means absolutely nothing, whatever is applicable at whatever time and place then the world has absolutely no meaning. If truth means nothing then what does it mean, to be honest? What does integrity mean? Truth is a foundation of who we are as human beings. We tell our children, don’t lie, but then we tell them when someone is calling them that we don’t want to talk to them, tell them, “Hey, I’m not here.” So, we’re constantly lying in front of our children then we expect them to tell us the truth.
We’ve got to set the example. We have to be the person that we want our children to become. We’ve got to realize that when our daughters look at us, chances are they’re going to marry someone that acts and talks just like us. The same thing our children, our sons will treat their wives the same way that I treat my wife. I continued, I lived that life very, very honest, working hard. At the age of 20, I was about to graduate from the University of Miami, and I remember my accounting professor, a guy named Jackson [inaudible 00:14:45], really, really good friend of mine.
He used to be a partner with Price and Waterhouse in Michigan. He moved to Miami, and he realized in Miami that he did not speak the language to heaven. You see, Anthony, I let people know real clearly, if you want to talk when you get to heaven, you better be learning how to speak Spanish because even for me, I’m even more convinced than anybody that Jesus was a Cuban. Anyway, I went ahead, and he said to me, “Hey, Jorge, if you do my clients who don’t speak any English, I’ll go ahead and give you a secretary, an office, and everything that you want to get started.”
It was a hard decision because here I was, I was so focused. I was going to work for the Federal Reserve Bank. I was going to graduate from Miami at the age of 20. I was going to graduate from law school by 24. I had six years to be a millionaire by 30. That was my goal. That’s what drove me. That’s what made me have the same life day in and day out. That’s what made me not date. That’s what made me live a very, very boring life because I was laser-focused on my goal. See, if you don’t have a goal in life to know where you’ve got to go in life, how are you going to get there? How are you going to develop that road map that’s going to teach you how to get to where you’re going to get?
So, I said to myself, “If I stay at the Federal Reserve Bank, it’s going to be a slow goal but if I open up my own practice, I’m in control of my own destiny.” For whatever reason, that is still to the day I look back in my life, and I wonder, what would have happened if I had stayed at the Federal Reserve Bank? Sometimes it’s painful because I think I could have become Fed chairman. I could have become a bank president, I could have become anything. I was the only employee at the Federal Reserve Bank that they paid to go to the University of Miami. Everybody else went to the state college.
So, I took that job, and the first client he gave me was a little grocery store in Miami. I would say that on a strip mall, probably 15 feet wide, maybe 20 feet wide by 40, 50 feet in depth. Just a little, bitty grocery store. I was supposed to go there every Monday to balance the books, and they would pay me $1000 a month. Man, you think about seeing heaven, I thought heaven for the first time in my life even though I didn’t believe in no heaven, really was there. It’s like $1000 a month. I had a great salary at the Federal Reserve Bank, and I think I made three times the minimum wage, and I was making $3 something an hour, roughly $130, $140 a week, so imagine $1000 for just a few hours every Monday morning.
I went to see that client that first Monday morning. When I entered the grocery store and I said hello to the owners, they took me to the back office, and they said, “Here’s what we bought in that shopping bag.” I looked at it, and there was $100,000. Think about it. Counted that thing three times, and I’m like, “$100,000, my God. How can this little, bitty grocery store make that much money?” See, I didn’t know anything about the bible. I didn’t know anything about how Jesus fed 5000 people with five fish and three loaves of bread, but I’m going to tell you something right here. If I had known that, I’d say, “Man, Jesus has absolutely nothing on those Colombians.”
They didn’t have the fish, they didn’t have the bread but they multiplied nothing into hundreds of thousands of dollars. I looked at the receipts and there was $800 worth of receipts. That’s all they had bought. Out of $800, how can they get $100,000? I was naïve. As I said, I’d never done anything. Literally, I was a nerd. So, I’m like, “Okay, I’m going to let it pass and then we’ll wait next week and see what happens. When I show up next week, I’ll be done.”
There was about $75,000, $80,000, and I was like, it’s impossible because this time, there was about $45, $50 worth of receipts. Literally, that grocery store sold nothing. I waited again, and then the third week when I saw $120,000, $125,000, I mean, that’s it, I’m done. I’m going from naïve and an idiot, wanting to give everyone the benefit of doubt too there’s something seriously wrong here. So, I called them. I remember sitting them down and saying, “Hey, [inaudible 00:18:27], let me explain something to you. You know, [inaudible 00:18:29], there’s a very basic accounting formula, and it works like this.” I knew the guy couldn’t read or write, so I’m thinking like I’m trying to explain this to a three-year-old.
I said, “You buy something for a dollar and then you sell it for two dollars, and your profit is one dollar. So, for example, the first week I was here, your receipts were $800. Let’s say you sold those things three times what you paid for, that’s $2400, but all of a sudden, there’s $100,000. The following week, it was even worse, and the third week, and this week. So, what’s going on?” He hesitated not one second to start laughing. Laughing in my face, and I’m like, man. I start turning red, I feel like an idiot. I said, “What is so funny?” He said, “Jorge, that’s not groceries that we sell, we sell cocaine. We’re drug dealers.”
Now, imagine the shock that I went through. All of a sudden, this young kid that had never done anything wrong in his life, worked for the Federal Reserve Bank, all the alcohol I ever drunk in my life was probably the equivalent of a teacup, all of a sudden finding out you’re working for drug dealers. It really bothered me a lot. It bothered me for about 20 seconds. 20 seconds because that’s how quickly we all are to be able to justify our actions. Immediately I said to myself, “Jorge, you’re an accountant. That’s what you were trained to do. You’re not breaking the law.” There were no money laundering laws at that time. “Whatever you do, you do.”
He said, “Look, Jorge, the thing is, we have currency restrictions in our country, so we can’t take the money down there, and we want to keep our money in US dollars. Now, we heard that you work for the government, do you know how to open a foreign bank account?” I thought for a minute, I said, “Yes, I know exactly how to open a foreign bank account. I know where you open them and I know what it takes.”
I knew that it would cost about 700 bucks plus the travel to go to a country like Grand Cayman or Tortola. [Inaudible 00:20:15] say, it cost about $10,000 for account plus the expenses. He didn’t hesitate for a minute. He said, “When can you open us three accounts?” I said, “Three accounts?” Again, I saw heaven open up, I saw angels cheering and the trumpets playing, and I’m like, “Next week.” They gave me $30,000, and I headed to Grand Cayman, and I remember opening my first three accounts. I made contact with a great law firm over there. I knew that that’s what they did in the Cayman from working at the Federal Reserve Bank because we had busted a guy that he had a ring where he owned various banks, and then he borrowed money from one bank to pay off the money he had stolen were some of the accounts of the people lending him the money, which was himself were number accounts in the Cayman.
In the Federal Reserve Bank, we did some research and found out anybody could walk over there, hire a law firm and for 750 bucks, you’ve got yourself a number account. I went there, and I opened those three accounts, and from there, I started opening numerous other accounts then I started taking care of their money. I started figuring out a scheme of how I can trace based upon the knowledge I had, how I can set up accounts in the United States, transfer money to one account that would immediately split that money into two accounts, into two transfer to two different countries so at the end of the day, all the money would land in another account in another country because by now, I’m opening accounts in Tortola, Lichtenstein, in different countries like that.
So, I created this very, very intriguing web. I remember one day, there was this guy that used to come over all the time to the grocery store, real friendly guy. His name was Jaime. He did not speak English, couldn’t read or write himself but I remember, he had this beautiful BMW motorcycle and a super nice guy. He was always asking me about all kinds of things. He was always asking me how things worked and how did I open the money, how the government could not trace it, etcetera, etcetera. Then one day he says to me, “I want to introduce you to some friends of mine.” I said, “Sure.” He said, “They’re interested in opening a business in the United States, and they want to hire someone that can do everything from A-Z. They want to start importing bananas.”
I’m saying to myself, “Well, that’s pretty good. I’ll do a free stability study for them, charge them for that, and then go from there.” I’ll never forget that first day when I met Manuel Garces, who went on to become my godfather, who went on to become the guy that was the founding member of the group that became the Medellin Drug Cartel. He was an amazing guy. Very religious guy, honest, went to mass every day, family man and very, very professional. He came with three other guys, and he said, “We heard a lot about you, and we’re interested in opening this banana company. As a matter of fact, we’re interested in even buying a ship so that we can go ahead and pick up our own bananas and bring them here.”
All along I was so naïve, I thought these people legitimately wanted to become banana distributors. He said, “We’re looking for a point man, we’re looking for someone to do all the work for us, open up the entire infrastructure, and become the president. Would you be interested?” I looked at them, and I said, “Sure, I’ll be interested but that means I would have to leave my accounting practice, and if I have to do that, I want to be partners, and I have no money for capital. You’ll have to put up my part of it, and then also $6000 salary.”
They looked at me, and I thought they would hesitate, and just in a brief of a moment, the seed to what would end up changing my life forever was planted. They said, “Sure.” Shook my hand, and they left. My world started to change. I lived in a world where I had this friend of mine at the Federal Reserve Bank, all we would do is go to Wrestling Wednesdays in Miami Beach. I had no money to date. The girlfriend that I had, all I could do was take her to my beat-up Chevrolet Vega, and we would drive to Miami Beach, and see all those mansions. Sit there and just park the car and just watch all those Rolls Royce and exotic cars go by us.
I would look at her and say, “Nettie, you know what, I promise you, one day, we’re going to live in a house like that. One day, I’m going to own a car like that.” She believed that I would. She knew how hard I worked. I was a straight-A student, working fulltime and going to school fulltime. So, when I saw that opportunity come, I started to have different friends. I started making money, and then I entered into the circle of the rich and famous, my role models. Those people I wanted to be like, celebrities. People that I admired for so long. People that I thought were just happy, full of life. They had everything the world had to offer, and they meant something. They were somebody. I had nothing, I was a nobody.
So, I remember going to this party, and I saw something that would change my life, that would be the second cataclysmic moment in my life. I saw a federal judge that used to give people lots of time for any drug offense snorting cocaine. I said to myself, at the age of 10, there was no God. At the age of 20, there are no morals in America. Once we started opening the banana company, and we flew to California to look for a landing craft, it was one of those old navy boats that drew little water, literally came, pulled up to shore, and dropped a gate so that the Navy would be able to load up their equipment onto the boat.
We went out there, we saw a boat that we liked, and we purchased it. But now, all of a sudden, I start becoming friendly with these people, and they keep asking me, “You’re a brilliant young kid, you’re smart, you don’t have a traffic ticket, you’re clean-cut, you can make a lot of money handling all our US operations for us.” I go like, “Well, what do you mean by that?” He said, “All our cocaine distribution.” Listen, I was happy about opening a foreign bank account. I was happy opening this banana business but by no means was I going to be involved. First of all, I didn’t even know what the damn cocaine looked like.
So, I’m like, “No, you know what, it’s better for you guys that I stay legit. I’m handling your money.” Literally, at that time, I was handling many, many millions of dollars a month. Nothing like a year later when I became US head of that operation, and I was handling over 100 million dollars a month. They kept harassing me, and I’m like, “Man, how do I get rid of these people?” I went to California. So, we bought this ship, and we’re getting it all retrofitted, and we ended up having some problems with the people I had there. I decided I was going to go there and spend a month overseeing the installation of all the refrigeration equipment and all the different modification that we needed to do to the ship.
While I was out there, I met this guy, Mel, and he was the guy that was doing the refrigeration for us. He knew I played baseball when I was young, and he was like, “You want to come and be part of my softball team?” The minute I became part of his softball team, I was the star of the team, and we became pretty good friends. He would invite me over to his house for dinner all the time, and about two, three weeks working with us, he starts telling me, “Hey, Jorge, I know what that boat is going to be for, that boat is cocaine boat.” I’m like, “Mel, you’re full of shit. Listen, this is a banana boat. Do you think that I would be the president of a company that was going to bring in drugs?” Little did I know that I was already that.
He kept harassing me, and I’m like, “Man, I’ve got to get rid of this guy.” So, I remember one day, I thought I had this genius of an idea.
We’re going to go ahead and stop episode number one right here at this point, Anthony, and the listener is just going to have to stay tuned so that they can hear in the next episode, number two, what was that brilliant idea that I had in my mind that I thought was going to get me to stop these people from bothering me. Imagine, one group wanted me to sell them cocaine, this other group in Colombia that would eventually be known as the Medellin Drug Cartel wanted me to handle all operations in the United States. What did that mean? Can you imagine a 20-year-old kid, 1976, never done anything wrong in his life being in charge of a major drug network?
My God, I didn’t even know what cocaine looked like. So, as we finish this episode, Anthony, in episode one, just to summarize, I describe how those events at a young age, they end up defining your behavior for many years. Think about it, I was just a young, clean, 10-year-old kid from a wealthy family in Cuba, certainly not knowing anything, I’m woken up and told I’m going to Miami. Miami was supposed to be the place where my mother could raise us in a Christian home. Miami was supposed to be the place where we would encounter the American dream but yet my mother was left behind, we go live in a one-bedroom apartment, going hungry, writing down what time we were going to piss in the morning because 11 of us had to use one bathroom.
Suddenly, my cousin appeared in this gorgeous car, believe it or not, my new American dream that would dictate my life for many years to come is born. I realized that moment in time that I would never be anybody until I had gorgeous cars, I had mansions, women, and power. I believed that I would achieve all that still working hard until that day that I crossed that line. This is going to be one of the most important messages I bring to our listeners, is about crossing lines. As you will see in the next episode, you will hear how crossing one simple line that I had defined that I never would, my life will change, and I will go from being the American dream to America’s nightmare.
So, thank you so much for listening, I pray that you come back next week, episode number two, we’ll continue this saga of the story behind a story. How the Medellin Drug Cartel came to be. Who was there before Pablo Escobar? Who were the original Narcos? Have a wonderful week, and if you like this episode, please subscribe to my webpage, www.jorgevaldesphd.com. Great news, the first 3000 subscribers, I will email them a PDF of our newly published book, Narco Mindset: Freedom Edition. I think you’ll enjoy it, it’s a condensed form of my original book, and it just makes you think and wonder, what is my life all about?
Have a wonderful week, and thank you for tuning in to the Narco Mindset podcast.
Outro: We’ve come to the conclusion of this episode of the Narco Mindset podcast, but your path towards hope, meaning and redemption continues. For more information and resources to help you on your path towards finding a life built on integrity, honor and truth, head to www.jorgevaldesphd.com, and join our community. We appreciate you joining us for this episode, and look forward to helping you find your turning point right here on the Narco Mindset podcast.