Episode #3 - Narco Mindset Podcast - Dr. Valdes crosses a dangerous line?
NARCO MINDSET Podcast - Episode #3
What happens when Dr. Valdes crosses a dangerous line?
February 12, 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 this episode, Dr. Valdes continues the saga of how a young man who was the personification of the American Dream, one day crossed a line he swore he never would and suddenly becomes this powerful drug lord. What happened when Dr. Valdes made money his god? What happened when he crashed landed in Panama, was tortured for over twenty-some days to the point of passing blood every time he pissed. How quickly life takes a turn, and is it possible to undo that turn. How could I have been so miserable and desperate that I was willing to risk death by leaving the Cartel? After all, I had everything a person ever dreams of having wealth, power, and women. What would it be like to go from being a multi-millionaire for many years to suddenly not having a dollar to buy a candy bar?
Please click play to hear life-altering stories.
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TRANSCRIPTION OF EPISODE #2
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 Medellín Drug Cartel. From torture and multiple prison sentences to how he refocused his life onto 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. I am your host, Dr. Jorge Valdes, today with my co-host, Anthony Petrucci. Anthony, we finished the last episode with my airplane crash over the jungles of Panama. Believing that nothing could happen to me, here was this young kid who had a huge future, certainly not caring about anything. Couldn’t care less about people, friends, family. Nothing mattered. You know what, it’s funny, in life, it’s very easy to lose perspective of things. We have ways of justifying all of our actions that are convenient to our behavior. We never think about those consequences that are sure to come. You can clearly see it in today’s society.
Human beings have become very selfish. What is the byproduct of a selfish person? I tell people a lot of times when I go and speak at a prison, “Inmates, criminals are selfish people. They really don’t care about anybody or anything. All they care is about themselves.” Money had become my God to the point that when we crashed, I remember Harrold told me, “Take the flare gun.” First of all, we thought we were dead. When we realized we were not dead, he said, “Take the flare gun and just blow it up. Blow the plane up.” I looked at him and said, “Bullshit, there is 1.8 million reasons why I can’t blow that airplane up.” We get out of the plane, the police come. I know in Latin America where money would buy everything but the plane dove. We jumped out of the door, so there is no way for anyone to just walk into the airplane and check and see.
I said, “Listen, we were looking at some banana plantations and we had this crash-landing.” Because it was a crash-landing, he didn’t suspect anything. I said, “Can you take us to a hotel so I can make some phone calls to get someone to come fix the plane tomorrow, and I’ll go to Costa Rica where we were supposed to be going.” We had financed the campaign of the President of Costa Rica that time, so I knew I’d be safe there. But the truth of the matter, all I needed to have done is come clean with that police officer in that little town, given him $10,000, and we would have been scot-free.
He said, “All right, let me take your passports, and I’ll get them stamped.” I should have realized that that man had to call Panama City. It wasn’t in his office he was going to stamp them. We made arrangements to have someone come and pick us up. We said, “Screw the airplane.” Once we get the drugs out of it, well blow the airplane up, and we’ll head to Costa Rica, which is only 30 minutes away. They had arranged everything at the border, someone would be waiting for us, and we were going to be scot-free. We went to sleep that night, woke up the next morning, went to the police station to pick up our passports, and the gentleman, the head of the police in there says, “Can you follow me to this room?” When I went into the room, I just knew that it was over. There was something gut inside of me that told me something was wrong. He told me, “Wait in here.”
Thank God I had enough premonition to take three $100 bills and put them in my gums. I said, “If something happens, I’m going to need this money.” They were never going to find the money because I had a false bottom on my suitcase. About 10 minutes later, they came, they took our shirts off and they put us in front of all the cocaine. It was a big table. There was a US counsel, the head of the DEA in Panama and the head of the G2 for the country of Panama. I knew it was all over with. I said, “I need to talk to an attorney.”
One of the guards just slaps me in the face and says, “You are in Panama. This is Napoleonic Law. You’re guilty until you find yourself innocent.” They take us to a cell, and the following day, comes the Attorney General. I walked up to him and I said, “Sir, I don’t want to waste your time or mine. I need to ask you two questions. Number one, how much to buy the cocaine back, and number two, how much money to get out of here?” He looked at me and starts laughing and says, “Noriega sold the cocaine but 150,000 for you, 200,000 for the other three.” It was two pilots, Harrold and myself. I said, “Done, not a problem. You have the $250,000 here. Take this number, call them, give them this code and you’ll have the money here the next day.”
Sure enough, next day, the money came. He went ahead, took it, and the day after, he came to see us. He said, “I’m going to transfer you to the City of Panama. I’m going to drop the case, tell them that it was an accident, that you didn’t know what was inside the airplanes, you thought that you were dealing guns with the Sandinistas. We had no jurisdiction over you. So, I’m going to let you go but we’ll take you inside the office of the DEA, and they’re going to interrogate you, and you’ve just got to keep to your story that I’m telling you, and the next day, you are going to go home to Costa Rica.” I’m like, “Perfect, not a problem.”
I go back to the cell and tell my guys, “Hey guys, I worked out a deal.” The mistake I made was I told them that I’d just bribed the Attorney General. I said, “Look, they are going to take us to the City of Panama, they are going to rough us up, stick to your story, we’ll go home the next day.” Sure enough, three days later they come. They put us in an airplane, they took us to Panama City, and took us to the G2 head offices and there was the DEA. They lined us up against the wall, and all of a sudden, they open up our door, and they bring in this kid, literally naked, probably weighing about 80-90 pounds, 5’2”, handcuffed to his hands and his feet. They throw him on the floor face down, enter the broom right in his rectum. Blood splattered all over the place. It was the most disgusting thing you can ever imagine. He passed out. I don’t know if they killed him or not.
They dragged him out, blood all over the floor and the head of the G2 comes right next to me and said, “Big boy, we only caught him with 30 pounds of marijuana. Imagine you with more than 100 kilos of cocaine.” I looked at him and said, “Listen, I don’t know anything about that cocaine, I don’t give a shit what that kid did. My case is different.” Still thinking, we are going to stick to the story, we are going to go home. Then the pilot breaks weak. Big old 6’5”, George, pilot, he starts crying. He’s like, “No, yeah, I’ll tell the truth, I’ll tell the truth.” Once I heard that, it was over with. They took him, they took the two pilots into another room. We never saw them again. The worst part was not that he told them that I was a drug dealer, what really made things worse was that he told them I had bribed the Attorney General. The only guy that could save me now was in hot water.
They took us to a dungeon, and for the next twenty-somewhat days, completely naked, handcuffed to feet and arms. They beat us two and three times a day till we would pass out. No food. The only water was some water that would drip out of a pipe in the ceiling and it was dirty, it had bugs, the floor was just filthy with nothing but blood and shit and piss all over it. We tried to pass out underneath the water because we never knew when they would open the water, and that was the only thing that we would get. One time, they came in, they said they were going to set us on fire. Instead of setting us on fire, they took a cattle prod and applied it to my testicles, and I don’t know how high I jumped, but somewhere up there in that distance, I passed out.
I remember I had a vision one of those times that I was out, and the vision was that I was shaving. My son, this time in my vision was like seven years old, in reality, he was six months old, was coming up to me, he was crying. I’m like, “Georgie, why are you crying?” He said, “Dad, because all my friends say that my father is not a man.” I started weeping in my state of sub-consciousness, and I said that day, “I’m going to die in this fucking prison, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let these people break me. I’m going to do everything I can for them to kill me, but they're not going to break me.”
You know, the mental torture is worse than physical torture. Your body gets to a point where it doesn’t take any more pain. Eventually, I threatened one of the guys to tell Noriega that if he didn’t kill me, I was going to rape his family right in front of him, and his wife and kids, and just a bunch of horrors. I wanted to do whatever I could to reach someone to that tipping point where they would just go ahead and say, “Screw you,” and kill me. Well, Noriega came three days later, and he looked at me and said, “Why are you mad at me? I’m not the one that told on you, it was your pilot.” I had nothing to say. He looked at me and said, “Look, you paid the wrong guy. $250,000, and now you will all be out of here tomorrow or the day after I get the money.” Again, we went through the same routine.
Three days later, he got his $250,000. The next day, true to his word, he picked us up, took us to the airport, and here we are sitting waiting for a flight to Costa Rica when all of a sudden, about 30 Interpol agents picked us up like a sack of potatoes, and threw us on an airplane heading to Miami. We landed into Miami, went in front of the judge, and I was charged with heading the largest drug conspiracy in the history of America, responsible for over 95% of all the cocaine that came into America, and given the highest bond ever in America. Originally, they wanted $7 million, and they settled on $2 million. I was just 23 years old. I had just turned 23, February 28th, and this was April 29th.
I went to trial, hired the best, hot lawyer that money could buy. I went to trial. They ended up kidnapping the captain of the Bolivian Airforce, they brought him to the United States. When we went in trial, I spent over $2 million on the best lawyer that money could buy. The government offered me a deal for two years. I turned that down. I mean, I could have gone home at that time but I’m like, “You know what, I’m not going to plead guilty, I got these people beat.” When Miami could not turn an indictment, they took me to the Middle District of Georgia, and united me to the indictment that Harrold who was a fugitive, and had left four years earlier, had pending. I had never been to Macon in my life. I didn’t even know where the hell Macon was. Anyways, how can they do that? The best attorneys that money could buy said, “Hey, don’t worry, we have a venue, which is a constitutional right that you have to be tried in the district where you committed your offences. We’re going to go in there and tell them you're a drug dealer but they don’t have a right to try you here.
On the other hand, I hired this attorney who would become my lawyer forever, Alan Ross, to represent the captain of the Bolivian Airforce. He plays the poor little me with the wife crying and all of that deal. Well, the long story is that finally, after six weeks of trial, the jury throws the verdict: Jorge Valdes guilty on all counts, Oscar Nuñez, innocent. I’m like, “What? If this son of a bitch didn’t sell anything, what did I buy? I mean, you're accusing him of selling me the cocaine that was in that airplane. If he didn’t sell it, I couldn’t have bought it.”
I went to Tallahassee, and in Tallahassee, which they call the gladiator school, I stayed there for probably about two years. Eventually, we paid the designate officer, and they transferred me to Eglin Air Force Base. I remember the warden the day I got to Eglin Airforce Base, and he looked at me, and he was like, “I don’t know who the fuck you paid, but you don’t belong here, and I’m going to make sure I get you out of here soon.” I was like, “Sir, I didn’t pay anyone because I’m sure the federal officials don’t take bribes.” Little did he know that I had people bribed all the way up to the highest level of the United States government. Here’s the thing, money corrupts. Absolute money corrupts absolutely. At one time, we were spending over a million dollars a month in bribery. You know, prison didn’t change me.
When I went to prison, I thought I had a great time. I had people who were there to work for me. I had a blast. Eventually, I ended up meeting this girl that I decided that, you know what, she’s beautiful, we can have a good time, and I was working at that time in the base, so I invited her to come meet me the first date that I was at the detail in charge of the general’s court where we kept the equipment. I ended up make a nice, little office, bought a sofa and a couch. I was having a blast in prison. I’d get up early in the morning, and go out there, and get a big military truck, and just go around the prison. I’d meet my girlfriend sometimes at different places. I hated God at this time and I was such an atheist that I figured that the best place that I could meet here where no one would suspect was at the chapel. At the chapel, behind the alter, is where we would meet once a week and have sex. Did I have any remorse? Absolutely none.
Eventually, I bribed the officer at Eglin, and I bought him a brand-new, big-screen Sony TV, and he gave me a sticker like I was a family member of a general. I bought a brand-new commercial van, and my wife would come and pick me up every morning at 8:00, and take me. I’d bought an apartment five miles from the base, and I’d go out there and spend the whole day till lunch time when she would bring me back, and I would go back in for lunch. Then in the afternoon, I would just go round the base just having a good time. No remorse, no nothing. When I got out, I went back to the same thing that I started all over again. See, when I left, I’d given all operations to Sal and Willy. In exchange, they were supposed to save some money for me but the long of the story was that when I got out, there was no money.
To me, it was fine. It was the biggest favor they ever did to me because I ended up going on my own, and not being with them, and paying for the consequences of some of the stuff that they’ve gone through. They are great people, I have great respect. They told me that they quit when I quit, and you know what, I’m going to believe that because if I don’t believe that they quit when I quit, then what I have to believe was that they betrayed me. If I believe that they betrayed me, I would just think they’re sorriest human beings that ever walked the earth. They went their way, I went my way, went back to same thing, just as miserable as before. Within no time at all, I was bringing in 500, 600 kilos.
I had met a guy in prison that was visiting another inmate there. I liked the guy a lot, and when I came out ... we called him the Arab because he looked like an Arab even though he was from Honduras. His name was Junior, and I said, “Look, Junior, you can handle everything for me. I’ll make you equal partners but I can’t be around the drugs because I’m on the parole.” You know, one day, something happened. I was jus starting to really feel miserable. I remember going to my mum’s house. Finally, my mother found out one day when she walked in there, and she saw literally stacks of cash all the way up to just about almost the ceiling. Before I got arrested, she thought I was just nothing but a businessman.
When she saw that, she left the house, didn’t talk to my father for a couple of weeks, finally came back, looked at me and said, “Son, what do you do?” I said, “Please, God.” “Well, you're my son.” She cooked me my favorite meal, and I thought things went back to normal. She went through the horrors of that trial, going in there and hearing the media and the prosecutor saying the most horrific things about her son. You know, never once did she ever tell me, “How or why did you do this to me?” Even though all she would say, “Son, if you go back to jail again, you're going to kill us.” I went to prison. My brother sacrificed his whole life for me. All those years I was in prison, he never missed bringing my parents to the visit room. Here I was thinking that my brother was a loser because I wanted him to get involved but he didn’t want nothing to do with it. I’m like, “You know what, he’s scared, and I can’t believe it. We came from the same mother and same father.”
It would take me years to realize that my brother was a genius. See, money did not drive him; family drove him. When money became my God, when money began to drive me, family meant nothing. I ended up really abandoning my brother who I love to death. The brother I grew up sharing the same tears, and the same bed, and the same pain. The brother who was always there for me. The brother who never missed one single visit to bring my parents. I ended up abandoning him. I remember him sending me a song, “I Miss the Lonely Years”. I hear that song till today. We went around, around, you know, just did not see what really meant things. I look back today, and my brother was also my giant. My father, my brother were my heroes. He sacrificed his life for me. I ask myself, “Would I do that for him? Would I have done that for him?” I know I would today but I don’t know if I would have done it back then, to be honest.
Things kept going. One day, I was supposed to go to California like I always went, and then that day, I remember, I got to the airport, I always had breakfast in the plane waiting for me. When I went to step into the airplane, I started to throw up, and I don’t know why. I didn’t eat anything. I just drank water and a juice. I was feeling great. I started to throw up. Suddenly, I had diarrhea. I ran into my office in the hangar of the airport. It was coming out both ends faster than I could figure it out. It went on for 15, 20 minutes. When I thought that was it, I let it out, there was nothing to let out.
I washed my face, I brushed my teeth, I went back to the airplane, and sure enough, when I went to take the first step, the same thing happened again. This time I told Eddy, “Listen, Eddy, I can’t go, man. You go and you tell them I’ll be there next week, but if I go there, I’m going to throw up all over that airplane.” Eddy looked at me, gave me a kiss and said, “Don’t worry boss, I’ll go.” I would never see him again. I never see him again because there was a contract on my life. They were waiting for me to get there and instead of me, it was Eddy, and they killed him. I remember being at the funeral, and his little daughter looking at me. I had baptized her six months earlier. She looked at me and she said, “Godfather, my daddy went to be with Jesus.” I looked at her, and it was the first time since I left Cuba that a tear came out of my eyes. Not even when I was laying on the floor of that Panama jail being beaten to death. I said to myself that day, “You know what, there’s no Jesus, and if there is, if we get up there, he doesn’t want us up there. We’re so bad that he’s going to look at us and say, ‘Hey, good for you, stay down there.’”
But more important, when would my little daughter, who was everything in my life, my Crystal, was a year old by that time, would look at somebody else and say, “Daddy went to be with Jesus,” and I would never see her again. All of a sudden, I realized that every day that I left my house, I remember thinking to myself, kiss my kids, and knowing that you know what, this is the last day that I’m coming home. Every day I woke up, there was a contract on my life. Such and such put a contact on your life. Hey, Jorge, such and such. I remember many times when I thought that the person that they were naming was pretty serious.
I remember calling Manuel and asking permission so I could take them out. I’m like, “Manuel,” and he’s like, “No.” He said, “Son, we can make a million dollars any time we want. We just cannot bring a life back.” I said, “Manuel, it’s not about making a million dollars, this son of a bitch wants to kill me. I can take him out quick. I got 100 times more power than he does.” He’s like, “No. If you're honest, and if you're a man of integrity, God will take care of you.” I said, “Manuel, we’re fucking drug dealers, man. God doesn’t take care of drug dealers. By the way, I don’t believe there’s a God. Let me take care of it.” He refused. It wasn’t that I was a killer, it was just the fact that, listen, someone wants to kill me, and self-preservation taught me I can take him out.
I thank God I never crossed that one line because I know that some of the people that did, they're just not around to tell about it. I remember there was this guy also, a friend of mine named Lazlo. He used to be an old pot smuggler, and at this time, I owned the best quarter horse in the world. I was starting to breed horses, and I wanted to become the best ranch in the country. I started to turn all of my ranch into orange groves. I was starting to open up businesses because I was like, I’m not going to stay in this long. I started to open up businesses. I started making millions of dollars. I remember Lazlo coming, and I’m like, “Lazlo, how did you get out?” He had 10 mares that he would bring every year to breed to my horse. He looked at me and he was like, “Hey, Jorge, you know what, it’s like being pregnant, son.” He said, “You’re either pregnant or you're not. You're either in or you're out.” I laughed, and I brushed it off, and I went on.
Two months later, the third moment in my life, the third cataclysmic moment in my life would occur. Whenever I have my daughter, I would never have anybody around me. She was already with me the week before, so this weekend I had no visit. I was living in this enormous mansion, so I was partying. I had some movie stars with me. It was about 11:00 at night, and I get a call from the gate and it’s the guard. He’s like, “Hey, your daughter is at the gate. Your ex-wife dropped her off.” I’m like, “I’m not even supposed to see her this weekend.” Well, lo and behold, I tell the guards, “Bring her over to the house.” I tell the nanny that used to take care of her, I say, “Make sure she doesn’t get out of her room.”
She went to her room and she was asleep. I said, “I’ll have breakfast with her in the morning, and I went back to my party. At about 2:00 in the morning, I still would bet a million dollars to anyone that could get within a hundred feet of me, within 10 feet of me, she starts knocking on my door, and it would shock me. Suddenly like, “Daddy, Crystal.” I’m like, “This is my baby girl.” She’s out there knocking and crying, trying to get into the room with me because she slept with me, and I couldn’t open the door. I felt filthy. For the first time in my life, I felt filthy, I felt corrupt, and I told the girl that was in the room, I said, “Go out the window.” They left out the window.
I went in the shower to wash off the filth off of me, and then I went into bed, and I was shaking. When I thought that she had gone to bed, I opened the door, and she was by the floor. She was crying. I said to myself, “What the hell has my life happened?” I picked her up, I hugged her, I brought her into bed with me, and I said, “This day my life would change.” See, I didn’t know how to change. I didn’t know what change meant, but I knew this, man, if I’m going north, I’m going to go south; if I’m going east, I’m going to go west. The first thing I could remember was calling my mother, and telling my mother, “I’m finished.” I remember my mother talking to my father and saying, “Bebo, Jesus answered my prayers.” I’m like, “What Jesus? It is not about Jesus, mum. It’s Crystal!” Then I hang up the phone.
You see, I knew that the moment I told them that I was out, I’d probably have less than six months to live. We didn’t have a very good retirement plan in the cartel. I remember calling Mani and telling him in our code that I was done. I remember him saying, “Go with God, son.” He also retired the day I retired. You know, I went ahead realizing that my desperation and that emptiness for meaning and that hunger to be somebody, to be happy, to be content, was so big. The fact that I could not understand it, I had everything society told me would make me happy. I had a million dollars’ worth of cars. I lived in a $20-million ranch. I had a million-dollar beach home, a million-dollar ski home, yachts, jets. I had everything a man could want. I was young. I had gorgeous women around me all the time. What else is there to life? Little did I realize later on that I would find meaning, but it would be a long, long time.
I walked away that day, changed my life completely. At this time now, I could not go out of my house very much because I couldn’t afford the $30,000-$40,000 in security that I was paying. I moved out of Miami, moved into my ranch, and I left Miami, the city that I thought the sun would rise and fall, the city that I loved more than anything in this world. I didn’t go back for years because I realized one thing; change has to be drastic, and unfortunately, it has to be painful. I knew one thing; if I kept where I was going, there was nothing but more and more destruction. There was nothing else that I could acquire. I decided to hire this guy to teach me karate because I had done karate as a young man, and I built this beautiful karate studio at the ranch. I remember the first time he comes. He looks at me, and he says, “Young man, I’m going to teach you about the sword.” Man, was I happy. I was 32 years old at that time. I was just full of life and I was like, “Man, I love weapons. Here comes this guy, and he’s going to teach me about the sword.”
Well, lo and behold, I put on my uniform, and when I turn around, he’s got a Bible in his hands. I’m like, “Dude, first of all, I don’t believe in the fucking book. I don’t believe in God. Number two, I am paying you a lot of money to teach me karate, so you take that sword home, and bring the real sword tomorrow.” Well, he was the first man in many, many years in my life that had the guts to come up to me where I could smell his breath, and say, “Young man, what I got to give, you’ve got no money to pay.” Well, let me tell you something, out of instinct, I reached for the back of my pants, I realized I didn’t have a gun. Again, remember, I told you I was an accountant. I was a very logical guy. I’m like, this guy is a 7th degree black belt. He’s going to begin to introduce Jesus by kicking his ass into me. I’m like, “No, no, hold on buddy. Don’t get excited. Look, I’ve got a steam room. After our lesson, it takes about 10 minutes for the steam room to heat up, if you want to, you can read to me, waste your time. But I’m going to tell you something, it means nothing to me.”
He did for years. He did that for three years. There’s got to be something wrong with this guy. He introduces me to his wife. They had been married for 25 years, and she’s 40 years old and Japanese. When he tells me how beautiful she is, I’m thinking wow, what a gorgeous oriental. This woman has got to be like a knock out because I don’t talk that way about my supermodels and they are supermodels. I remember when I met her, I’m like, “This son of a bitch is sick. This woman is nothing.” Now I look at her, she’s just a gorgeous woman but then ... see, in life, it doesn’t matter how you look at life. What’s important is for you to tell yourself, “What lenses am I looking at things through?” Back then, I was looking at women, people through the lens of materialism. Through the lens of society. You're gorgeous, you must satisfy me. If you're not, you can’t. Over 20? You're a has-been.
It was all screwed up. I’m like, “How can this guy be happy?” He kept coming, constantly, for three years. People always ask me, “Hey, what did that dude say to change your life?” I say, “I’ll be honest with you, not a damn thing.” The truth of the matter was that every time he was preaching to me, I was getting over the ass-whooping he’d just given me for two hours that I didn’t even have time to think about it. I said, “But I’ll tell you what, he changed me. It was everything that he did.” The world that he lived in, so little, with nothing, full of happiness and joy. I kept asking him, “Three years, we had a great relationship. Tim, really, be honest with me. What makes you happy?” The only thing that he would tell me was, “You know, Jorge, the source of my joy is that I have an intimate relationship with this guy named Jesus.”
That was so weird to me because I was like, “How can he have a relationship with someone that we don’t know if he was real or not?” I mean, I can’t have a relationship with thousands of people around me, and this guy is talking about he has a relationship with this fictional character. He kept on and he kept on, and it was intriguing to me. It was just until recently, we are talking about back in 1988, ’89, ’90. We’re talking about 30 years ago. I look at him, and I realize, you know what, he never asked me to convert. He never asked me to give my life to Christ or go to church with them. I realized that you know, that’s what my life is really all about. I made no beefs about it. I’m not a Christian speaker or author. I am an author, I am a speaker that is a very, very committed Christian.
What I write is not intended or what I say or what this podcast is going to be is not intended to convert anyone, to save anyone. I’m not your savior. I am not your God. I didn’t die for you so I can’t save you, and I can’t convert you. all I am to do is to tell my story. My life. My story has an intricate part over Jesus that will change me and radically transform me, but I’m not here to tell you that’s what you’ve got to do. I’m just here to say let me just share with you my story. You know, if sometimes the shoe fits, wear it. if not, just get another damn pair of shoes. Well, he preached to me.
In July 1, 1990, my divorce with my ex-wife was final. She’s dragging my baby girl out of the ranch. I’m sitting there, and I’m just devastated. My world is just coming crashing to an end. I couldn’t give a shit if someone just killed me at that moment. I ran into my room, and I remember exactly the words that morning. I got on my knees and I said, “Jesus, I don’t know if you are real or not. If you are, you're probably looking at me saying, ‘Jorge, you are so freaking bad, I don’t want you up here.’” I said, “But if you are, I want what Tim has got, and whatever he’s got, my money can’t buy; my money can’t buy anything. Change me or kill me.” Christians say that hey, when you give your life to Christ, bells sound in heaven and stuff like that. Well, they must not sound for Cubans because I didn’t hear a damn thing.
Suddenly, I just did realize that I was becoming conscious of things. I didn’t have a conscience before. I could see someone being cut to pieces and didn’t give a damn. I would say, “Hey, you know what, you don’t deserve to breathe the air that we breathe.” It’s the world that we live in. We don’t give a shit about anybody. One of the things that we did in the cartel, see, we were supposed to be the bad guys, and we were. But guess what, man, the bad guys built houses for poor people. The bad guys helped anyone that was in need. We live in a world today, we don’t do shit for anybody. If somebody can do something for us, we are not going to do that for them. I asked myself, “Who was the bad guy?” Was Pablo Escobar the bad guy? I mean, he built, and we all built, but he added 500,000 houses, built hospitals, soccer fields. Yeah, he did horrible things. He was a murderer, and it’s unforgivable what he’s done, and by no means do I ever say that he was a good guy. What I do say is that to those people that the fed, he was God. You know, he was like, “I’m anti-bullshit.”
I’m not here to judge anybody. I tell people I am pro-life but I’m pro all life. I’m not pro an unborn baby. I’m pro that immigrant woman that has to cross rivers to come to America so she can give an opportunity to her family. I’m pro that woman who feels that the only choice to her problem, the only answer to her problem because she’s pregnant is to commit an abortion. I don’t want to be her. I don’t want to put myself in her shoes. I just pray that there’ll be people there that would say, “No, listen, there’s a better way out.” I’m pro those orphans. I’m pro those homeless kids in America, the richest country in the world. I’m pro those one out of five children that go hungry in the country where we are all suffering from tremendous obesity. How hypocritical are we? We’re pro-life but we are also pro the death sentence. I heard from them, I said, “Oh, a tooth for a tooth, and an eye for an eye.” I said, “Listen, I don’t hear that shit because that same verses also say don’t eat pork. I’m a Cuban, I’ve got to eat pork. I just go by what this crazy Jew walking around the streets of Jerusalem said, ‘Hey, only I give life. Only I take life.’”
See, this is the problem why a lot of people don’t like us Christians. We just don’t walk the walk and talk the talk. We’re good at talking. I’m not talking about all this. I have amazing friends that are godly people but I guarantee you that most people have a problem with Christians. They don’t have a problem with Jesus, they have a problem with Christians. Gandhi said, “Jesus, I love. Christians, I have a hard time with.” We are the only Bible someone might ever see. How are we to live our lives? We tell our children that God is father and then we show them the shittiest father in the world. Sixty-something percent of our children are growing up without a father. A mother struggling with two jobs, can’t help but abandoning her child. It’s a vicious cycle. We’re so good at judging others but we’re so bad about being honest, transparent and coming clean. That day, I decided I was going to change my life drastically.
Three months later, I was at a horse show in Springfield, Illinois, and I saw this federal agent come up to me early in the morning. My horse had won the class, and he’s like, “Are you Jorge Valdes?” I’m like, “Who’s asking?” He’s like, “You’re under arrest, US Marshals.” I was like, “What the heck? I haven’t done anything in almost four years.” I couldn’t understand what was going on. I thought it was some father of this girl that I had dated, and the father was really pissed off at me because she moved in with me, and I’m like, “Man, he made some shit up, and they are booking me up for that.”
Took me to jail in Springfield, Illinois. The next morning, they transferred me to Mobile, Alabama. When I got to Mobile, Alabama, my attorney, Alan Ross, was waiting for me. He says to me, “Jorge, I’ve got great news for you. You're going to walk.” I’m like, “I’m going to walk?” He said, “Yeah.” He says, “You won’t believe this. The government has very little evidence. The main witness against you just killed himself in an airplane using a DEA airplane while he was smuggling drugs.” I don’t know if that was true or not, but that is what he said to me. I remember looking at him and telling him the hardest thing I ever said, “Alan, you won’t believe what I’m about to tell you. You see, Alan, I can’t go in there and plead innocent.” He said, “Jorge, if you plead guilty, they're going to give you a life sentence.” I’m like, “A life sentence?”
He said, “Yeah.” He says, “Right after you got out, the law changed. When you were in the business, the most that they could give you is 15. Guess what, son, now it’s life, and the people that you were dealing with kept on dealing. In a continued criminal enterprise, you're just as guilty as the least person in the conspiracy.” I said, “Alan, here’s the deal. You won’t understand this. I’ve given my life to another Jew, and that Jew, I don’t hear from him. He is not telling me shit. Here you are, a good Jew, and you're telling me I’m going home. But I’m going to tell you something, if that Jew over there doesn’t change me and gives me a new life, I don’t give a damn where I die because I’ve been walking around life dead for years.” He said, “You want to go and come clean?” I said, “Yes.” I knew deep inside I had to testify against no one, all statute of limitation had run out.
I said, “Look, I’ve got to come clean with the government, with God, with my parents and my children. It’s the only way that I can start anew.” Anthony, so many nights I wonder, why did people want to be like me? Yes, I had all the power, money and women. Everything that a man would ever dream of. Everything that I thought would really make me happy. But deep down inside, when I looked at myself in the mirror every morning, I was a miserable human being. I just could not understand that I had to work so hard. I had sacrificed my life. I had taken chances no human being would ever take because I wanted to be somebody. I wanted to have something. If I was somebody, I mattered. If I was the kid that came from Cuba with no money like my dad, I was insignificant. I would do anything to become that person. To become someone of power.
Now I had it, so where do you go from here? I was so sure that everything I had would make me happy yet I was miserable. What was I willing to do to find that emptiness? That inner sense of corruption that would not leave me. What would it be like to go from a multi-millionaire, not have a dollar to buy a candy bar? Does life get immediately better once you change? You know, that’s one thing that I really always criticize those televangelists telling people, “Listen, if you get money, you're going to be happy. You're going to have all this.” God doesn’t work that way. Yeah, God might choose to do that, but what happens to those that do not? Then you know what happens?
I remember one time speaking in a big event in Chicago, and I had this grandma who came to me and she said, “Dr. Valdes, I just laid down in my bed, and I just wanted to die until I heard you today.” She said, “The reason I wanted to die was because all I ever did all my life was pray that God would protect my three grandchildren, but you know what Dr. Valdes, I lost all three of them to drive-by shootings. So, what was I to determine? I finally realized that hey, you know what, I’m so insignificant that God does not even listen to me. If God does not listen to me and my grandchildren are dead, why not just die? Change sometimes happens immediately. Good things happen. Other times it doesn’t.
You're going to hear how my life went from worse to worst. There are questions that I would find answers to. Many of the answers, not what I ever expected. What would it be like to go from being a multi-millionaire to not to have a dollar to buy a candy bar? I would find those answers in the next episode. Once again, I want to thank you so much for tuning in to the Narco Mindset podcast. If you liked this episode, please share it, subscribe and be part of our community. Remember, I will email a copy of my latest book, Narco Mindset: The Freedom Edition, to the first 3,000 subscribers. May God bless you, and see you again next episode.
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 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.
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 Medellín Drug Cartel. From torture and multiple prison sentences to how he refocused his life onto 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.