Episode #32 - Narco Mindset Podcast - Interview on the Talk of Shame Podcast - Part 2

Author: Dr. Jorge L. Valdés | | Categories: addiction , author , biography , cocaine , Colombia , crime , inspirational , Medellin , motivational , reform , rehab , speaker , CARTEL , CHRISTIAN , drugs , JORGEVALDESPHD , NARCO , NARCOMINDSET , prison


Episode #32

Narco Mindset Podcast

Interview on the Talk of Shame Podcast - Part 2

September 9, 2020

Host: Jorge Valdes Ph.D. - An Author, Speaker, Blogger, Mindset Coach, Podcaster, and YouTuber

Show Notes..

In the second half of the fascinating podcast with the former drug lord, Barry-John talk speaks to Jorge in-depth about Pablo Escobar, Griselda Blanco, El Chapo Guzman. They also speak about the relationships between organized crime groups in the US such as the Italian Mafia and the likes of the Colombian and Mexican drug cartels. Another topic is the shift in power in the narcotics trade between the Colombian and Mexican drug cartels and how these groups interact with each other today.

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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.

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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. My name is Dr. Jorge Valdes. Today, I want to share with you a two-part interview that I did on the Talk of Shame podcast. It was quite fascinating with my buddy in Ireland. I was very excited to do this episode for two reasons. Number one, because I love Irish whiskey. Number two, because it’s a pretty fascinating podcast. He asked some really hard questions about my old days in the cartel. He asked some questions about whether Griselda Blanco was more powerful than Pablo Escobar or whether they worked together. What was my opinion? Stay tuned. You will find all the answers on the Narco Mindset podcast.

Barry-John:       Welcome to episode number 30. We’re at 30, wow, of Talk of Shame podcast. My name is Barry-John, and this is part number two of the Jorge Valdes interview. For those of you who haven’t heard part one, make sure you listen to episode number 29. Jorge Valdes was the head of the Medellin Cartel. At one stage, he was the biggest drug dealer in the United States, which makes him pretty close to being one of the biggest drug dealers in the world. In part two, we’re going to talk a lot more about both Pablo Escobar and Griselda Blanco. We’re also going to talk about the relationship between let’s say the Medellin drug cartel and the likes of the Italian mafia, and other mafias within the United States.

                        We are also going to talk about El Chapo Guzman, and his trial, and the state of, I supposed, the Colombian cartels and the Mexican cartels, and how they actually interact to each other, whether they’re enemies or whether they’re business partners. So, it’s all very interesting. If you enjoy this content, make sure you hit that subscribe button now and make sure you follow on Instagram, @talkofshamepod. Enjoy this episode.

                        Going back to, I suppose, the narcotics industry. I know I touched on Griselda Blanco a little bit earlier on. It’s something I’ve said I always thought. Obviously, like you saw one thing in Cocaine Cowboys when she was obviously portrayed as a very big-time player. I don’t know how accurate that is. You’re going to know more than me on that. Say, the likes of herself and somebody like Pablo Escobar, would they have been partners or would they have been in competition with each other? How did that work, Jorge?

Jorge:               Okay. Let’s put it this way, the minute she went back to Colombia, he killed her immediately. 

Barry-John:       Yeah.

Jorge:               She was as ruthless as Pablo was. She was big in New York, not as big as they said. Again, the biggest people in the drug world, nobody knows about it. They were not out there flashing them in the people’s face. Now, she was big, I didn’t know her, so I cannot say anything about her. All I know is the comments from those that know her but yeah, she was big in the States.

                        The demand in the United States, it’s so much. Think about it, the United States consumes, what, 90% of the world’s production narcotics? The demand was so much that there was enough room for Pablo, Ochoas, Gacha, and Frank Jimenez, us. There was enormous demand. There was not one group that controlled anything like that. In the beginning, it was. That group that I represented, that group controlled 95% of all the cocaine.

Barry-John:       Then I suppose once the demand grew, it’s the same as anything else. You’re going to get other people involved, right?

Jorge:               Right. Exactly.

Barry-John:       Pablo Escobar, which is obviously a household name, and everybody around the world knows who Pablo Escobar, like El Chapo Guzman, everyone knows who they are. I know that you had dealings with Pablo Escobar. How in contact with Pablo Escobar were you? Have you met him face to face? What kind of dealings did you have with him?

Jorge:               I brought in a lot of loads with him because one of the things that I always did, and actually, I learned it from the way I ran my businesses, and it’s this. I always believed that every employee is going to get a bonus. The question is, are you going to give it to them, or are they going to take it? For example, in my organization, I’m paying my employees $5000 a week, back in 1977. That’s a lot of money. That’s like $30,000 now but they’re collecting $80 million, and they know I’m making a million. Sooner or later, human greed will come in, and say, “Hey, it’s ridiculous.”

                        At the end of the month, I had a profit-sharing. “Hey, we made this much,” and I’d give them an extra bonus, $20,000 $30,000 apiece. They were super happy. So, that was maybe $150,000 less for me, $200,000. It didn’t matter but I didn’t have to worry about them. What happened was when Pablo then surfaced, I decided that if I’m going to bring in a load of let’s say 600 kilos, half of the load will belong to my partners and me, 300. Then the other 300 kilos, I would divide it 100 for Pablo, 100 for Gacha, and 100 for another guy. I would bring in enough for everybody because one of the things about Pablo, he was extremely jealous.

                        He killed this one guy, Frank Jimenez only over the fact that at a party, the guy said, “Hey, Pablo has got all the fame but I’ve got all the money.”

Barry-John:       Yeah, and he killed him.

Jorge:               Pablo killed him, and killed his whole family. So, that’s what I did.

Barry-John:       Wasn’t there something where... trust was obviously something, you’ve seen this in some movies like Blow or you’ve seen a lot of the ones where he features, and trust was something which was very important to Pablo Escobar. I remember hearing a story where he actually rang you, and he said, “Listen, Jorge,” something about charging people an insurance fee for bringing in loads into the States. Why was that?

Jorge:               I always told my employees, from day one, nobody dies for telling the truth. Nobody dies. Don’t ever lie about nothing, no matter how painful the truth is. As we’re going at it, I say, “We’ve brought in quite a few loads. Never lost one, ever.” He called me up, and said, “Hey, we’re going to charge insurance.” I was perplexed. We’re charging $7000 a kilo because even when he brought 100 kilos of his, it wasn’t all his. He’d let a friend bring 10, another five, and then he would charge them freight, and then make some of his come out for free, his freight, that we call, right?

                        At that time transportation was between $5000 and $7000 a kilo. He said, “I’m going to charge selling insurance for $10,000 a kilo.” I said, “Well, what do you mean?” He says, “So, let’s say that we lose a load, and someone gave me 50 kilos, but pay me the insurance, which is $10,000 total instead of $7000. Then what I do is, I return the cocaine back to them here. They lose nothing but time.” I’m like, “Why would we want to do that? We’ve never lost a load?” He’s like, “Because every third load, I’m going to say that we lost one.” I’m like, “What?” He said, “Yeah because number one, they’re not going to lose anything. Number two, then I’m going to have all the cocaine in Miami.”

                        At that time, cocaine in Colombia was $2000 a kilo. When we started, it was $18,000 to $21,000. In 1986, it was $2000 a kilo. He said, “I’m going to have those kilos in Miami at $2000, and all I’ve got to do is give it to them here, so I ended up bringing all this load with their cocaine literally.” I looked at him, I’m like, “Pablo, I’m sorry, I can’t participate in that.” He was shocked. Did I say why? I said, “Because it’s a lie. If I lie with you against somebody, what happens one day when somebody comes and gives you a lie about me, and you’re going to believe it?” Man, I’m going to tell you, brother, it was prophetic because I get a call one day from this guy who’s a hitman.

                        Thank God I knew him. Victor was the guy’s name. I knew him very, very well because he worked for the guy that Pablo killed. I did him a lot of favor when they killed his boss. He says, “I have a contract on you. I was sent here by Pablo to kill you.” I’m like, “What?” He says, “I came because I have so much respect for you, and I know this is a mistake.” Anyway, long story, we call Pablo. What happened was that I was bringing a load through Juarez, Mexico, and there was an operation going on in Juarez, so the pilots shifted the load to the outside of Houston. Well, it happened to be a farm that Pablo owned, and he was preparing to use it because you buy a farm, you put a strip, you don’t bring your load immediately. You start bringing airplanes from Mexico, from other parts of the Americas so that people get used to it before you bring in that.

                        When that guy got caught, he said that I authorized him to use it. I didn’t even know the guy. I didn’t even know that that strip belonged to Pablo. They put him on the phone, and I’m like, “First and foremost, you know that I don’t lie. You know that. Number two, I did not know that was your strip. Number three, think about it. If I had known it was, I would have asked you for it, and you would have given it to me because I give you mine.” He’s like, “Sorry,” and hung up the phone. That was the end of it. Had I participated in that lie with him-

Barry-John:       Then he’s going to think you’re a liar.

Jorge:               Yeah. Exactly.

Barry-John:       Now I get it. Another thing that I always wondered is, obviously, you were working at the top of the drugs game in the west, which is the top of the world’s drugs game, Jorge. At the peak of your time, it would have also probably been around the peak of saying the five families, the Italian mafia. They would have been, like a lot of them try to say that they weren’t dealing in the narcotics trade, which is, I think, pretty much known to be bullshit. Would the cartels like the Colombian cartels, would they be dealing directly with the likes of a local mafia-like the New York five families, and mafias like the Russian mafia? What would their relationship be like there? 

Jorge:               When I went to prison, I don’t know what happened. I’ve heard some old mafia figures talk about how they were involved in narcotics heavily. I don’t know that to be true or not. I know during my time, we didn’t deal with them at all. Our clients were mostly people in Miami or Cubans. In LA were Americans that were tied into the entertainment industry. That was our two biggest markets. Now, some of our people in Miami sold to New York, California, but I don’t know if they sold to any big mafia boss or anything like that. I know one time I was asked by one to trade in cocaine for heroin because they did control the heroin trade in the ‘60s and early on.

                        I refused. I said, “Look, I respect what you do, but I don’t get involved in a crime that kills children.” I was 21, 22, and I walked away. Whether they respected what I said or not, I don’t know. I know we had no fear of them. I know that they had a lot of assassins but I make a phone call and I have a thousand in Colombia [crosstalk 00:13:59] America. 

Barry-John:       Yeah, exactly. I would have thought that the cartels are bigger than-

Jorge:               The thing with the American mafia, and I have a lot of respect because some of my closest friends in prison were big in the mob Italian. Italians and Cubans have always gotten along very, very well. I had tremendous respect. I love Italy, and I have respect for everybody. One of the things with them is that we knew who they all were. You know their house. You know where they lived, who they are. Nobody knew who we were. If I’d make a phone call, and we had 500 trigger men, they don’t know where we are. I can go to Colombia and have 500 Colombians that no one knew killing every Italian that walked around.

                        Now, I’m not saying we were more powerful and they were not. I had a lot of respect for them, and I respect those that are now talking publicly about it in their lives. I had no dealings at all. My group, I know until 1979 when I went to prison, we had not sold one gram to any member of the mafia or the Cosa Nostra or whatever.

Barry-John:       That’s interesting. I suppose-

Jorge:               Not because we had anything against them. We just simply were not approached by ... when I was approached, it wasn’t about buying from us. When I was approached, it was about trading for a heroine that I didn’t want to get involved with. Had I been approached, most likely ... I don’t know, it’s a hard call.

Barry-John:       Do you think that’s changed now, Jorge? Do you think like say, for instance... my next question was going to be the power change between the Colombian cartels in the ‘70s and ‘80s and even the ‘90s, and then it’s starts going into the Mexican cartels and the power shift there. Do you think now the Mexican cartels would be dealing with groups like that because, obviously, cocaine has very much become the fashion drug, and it’s been done a lot more, and you’ve had the explosion of crack cocaine in certain societies in the US as well, you know?

Jorge:               Yeah. I would imagine that they are, for one reason, I don’t know [inaudible 00:16:32], I never knew him but I know a lot of people that know El Chapo is the only man to have distribution in every continent of the world. I don’t know if the mafia today is what it used to be.

Barry-John:       No. It doesn’t really seem to be-

Jorge:               From the YouTube interviews that I have seen of some of the members of the Gambino family and stuff like that, in the old days, people die and not talk. Now, everybody talks. Is it [crosstalk 00:17:08].

Barry-John:       Different generations.

Jorge:               The bosses would die without talking from what I hear. I don’t have personal knowledge of it. All the bosses talk now because of the RICO laws. The RICO laws really messed everything up. Listen, when you’re looking at spending the rest of your life in jail, and the thing about it was, I knew that when I went to prison, it was 15 years. I knew that the people that I was standing up for were going to betray me but I did it because it was my code. I didn’t want my children to ever turn back on someone because of something their father did.

                        I’ve lived my whole life in a manner that if one my kids meets someone that knows me, they’ll say, “Man, your father was loud. Your father was obnoxious.” Anything in the world but in the end, they better say, “Your father was a man of honor.”

Barry-John:       A man of principle and honor. Yeah. It’s important. I think it’s a generational thing, and I think a lot of that has gone, not just in organized crime. I think that’s across the board unfortunately where I think that kind of an old school attitude, it’s just not there as much anymore, is there?

Jorge:               I just listened to an interview with this guy that was the most wanted by the Secret Service. He had all these mortgage scams, and he’s like, “I ratted everybody out.” In my old days, man, to be called a rat was the most horrific thing a human being could be. I ratted on people in my cell. If you’re arrested today, and you know that who you’re standing quiet for, the minute he gets a chance if she gets a chance, will turn on you, I don’t know what would happen. I’m glad I’m from the old world, man.

Barry-John:       Different times. With the Colombian cartels and the shift in the kind of... I supposed the shift in priority where you see all the [inaudible 00:19:12], Sinaloa cartel, the Gulf cartel in Mexico, and it seems like that seems to be where the real... where the Colombians in your time were the biggest in the narcotics trade. Why did that happen, and a follow-up question to that would be, the Colombian cartels and the Mexican cartels, are they working hand-in-hand, or are they rivals? What way does that relationship look, Jorge?

Jorge:               I think that they’re working hand-in-hand. It was an easy explanation for what happened. I saw it coming. When things became very difficult to smuggle directly to the US. Think about it, when I started in ’76, we’re bringing big, old loads direct to Miami International airport. Then we’re landing airplanes in my ranch left and right. Then they shipped it to the islands. Then when all that became really difficult, Mexico was the logical point. Why? Because there are thousands of miles of Mexican border with the US. For a long time, all Mexico did was transported for the Colombians. But like human nature, like everything else, if I’m the one that’s making you super-rich, because there’s only X amount I’m going to get paid for transportation.

                        I can make three times as much if I own the product, or if I sell the product. That’s human nature that transitioned. The Mexicans are very, very smart. When I see the government talking about building a wall to stop drug traffic, I crack up, man. I’m like, it’s the biggest joke in the world. Now, build a wall to stop human trafficking, I’ll go for that because that’s horrific. Who the hell thinks that massive loads of cocaine are coming across the border by someone jumping a freaking wall? Come on, man. Listen, they have submarines. They have semis with very, very concealed compartments. We had ways of transporting that you can put 100 dogs right on top of the cocaine, and not smell it, and you can’t find it.

                        Now, they got more sophisticated. You fly at a low altitude, and you come from that border in Mexico, and you come to all kinds of strips in the US. Then corruption. If you’re a border agent, and you’re getting paid $50,000... Remember something, this was a theory we had. Everybody has a friend, and every friend has a friend. You’re a border agent, I know you are, and you’re making 50 grand a year. One of your best friends is a good friend of mine. I go through him, I say, “Look, tell your friend that I’m going to give him $50,000 for doing just this, not search that semi very hard.” He’s not even going to [inaudible 00:22:15]. He’s not carrying the cocaine, touching the cocaine. They can’t exhaustively search every vehicle that comes across the border.

Barry-John:       Just thousands of vehicles coming in every day in Tijuana, and Juarez.

Jorge:               Exactly. When they say that, I laugh because yes, you might stop illegal immigrants but when a person is hungry enough, he doesn’t give a shit how big a wall is, he’s going to climb that wall. Don’t use that you’re stopping drug dealing because the war on drugs is the biggest joke in the world. Cocaine is 15% of all drug overdoses in America, and that’s too much. That’s where we spend 90% of billions and billions over a span of 40 years with zero impact. Why are we not going after big pharma that 65% of all the drug overdoses in America?

Barry-John:       Exactly. Yeah.

Jorge:               What happened now when quarantine was opened? Drug companies, pharmacies. Now they can deliver to your house.

Barry-John:       Look at the big Purdue Pharma scandal. It’s crazy.

Jorge:               Yeah. Pharma has a lot of power. As long as it costs a billion dollars to run for president, and three, four hundred million to run for senate, where is that going to come from? $10 donations? Give me a [crosstalk 00:23:36]. If in 1977, we were spending a million dollars a month in corruption, how much do you think that drug cartels are spending now? How many politicians do you think are on the payroll?

Barry-John:       I know, yeah. It’s scary. It seems that the drug situation is getting worse. It hasn’t improved, it’s getting worse. More people are doing drugs than back in say, your generation, I would have thought.

Jorge:               Because they don’t want to stop it. That’s the problem. People think they want to stop it, they don’t. The problem is that most Americans don’t give a damn because we’re ignorant, because we think it’s not affecting us. First of all, tell yourself, all that drug money, and that drug war is your taxpayer’s dollars that can be used to provide healthcare for people suffering in America without healthcare. That can be used to equal the balance where 85% of Americans have less than $400 in saving. We have the greatest unemployment history and the highest stock market. Use your common sense.

                        They don’t want to stop that. It all started with Nixon. Nixon had it right at the beginning. When Nixon declared war on drugs, he went after creating the methadone clinics in New York. Nixon stopped the heroin trade. When Reagan came aboard, and said, “We’re going after the dealers,” we started applauding. We’re like, “Good deal, man. You’re not going to catch us, number one. Just leave our customers alone.” That’s the problem. [Crosstalk 00:25:21] address the demand. 

Barry-John:       Yeah. One of the big things that I’ve kind of noticed, and obviously, I’m looking from afar. When you’re looking at, say, in the Pablo Escobar era in Colombia, that was very similar to what’s happening in Mexico now where there was extreme violence and it was making worldwide news, and just the whole shock of it all whereas I think... and I’m just looking from afar, and I might be wrong in this but looking at, say, Colombia now, it seems that the cartels that are operating now have learned a lesson from that. Whereas now all of the spotlights is on Mexico, the Colombian cartels, you never really hear anything about them. They’re definitely still there producing [crosstalk 00:26:13]. They seem to have learned a lesson in the fact that they’re flying under the radar no, you know?

Jorge:               Colombians are very, very smart, yeah. The thing about it was interesting with the Mexican cartels is that the violence, which was different from Pablo’s. A lot of innocent people died with Pablo’s reign. Bombs, the entire Supreme Court Justice building blew up. Airplanes blew up. The Mexican cartels are killing each other. That doesn’t mean there’s not an innocent person here or there but in reality, 95% of everyone dying from the Mexican cartel wars is them. Let them kill themselves.

                        On Pablo, it was different. Pablo was, he wanted to create terror in the country that the government would-

Barry-John:       Blowing up airplanes and stuff, yeah.

Jorge:               Right because what drives politicians? Public opinion, right? So, as long as the public is quiet, nobody can hear us, but when it gets to a point that people couldn’t go outside.

Barry-John:       I was just going to ask, what’s your opinion on the whole El Chapo trial? What was your opinion on that?

Jorge:               My opinion was that El Chapo was crazy. The thing about it and this happens with a lot of them. Going back to what I told you, the difference between a businessman and a drug dealer. El Chapo, the most wanted man in the world, just finished doing two states, every agent in America is doing, what the hell is he doing meeting with Sean Penn and Kate Castillo?

Barry-John:       Yeah. Crazy.

Jorge:               Come on, dude. Why are you not on an airplane to one of those countries that have no extradition? You’re going to live like a king. You can have a [inaudible 00:27:59].

Barry-John:       Yeah. I don’t think anyone really understood that one. I’ve heard a lot of people talking about [inaudible 00:28:05], it’s just like what was he thinking?

Jorge:               You know what, at one time, I wrote a paper when I was in prison, and I called it The Excitement of the Game but the Thrill of Defeat. I don’t know if you’ve heard the statistics that they said that six out of ten bank robbers get caught at the scene because they come back to the scene of the robbery?

Barry-John:       Yeah. I didn’t know that.

Jorge:               I think that to a lot of these people, the thrill, the big payoff, psychologically, is getting caught because otherwise, why? Think about why Pablo killed those two guys over nothing. Why all that greed when you have so much freaking money? How did the war start with the Cali cartel? The Cali cartel were the most decent people in the world. How did it start? Because of the Cali cartel, there was another hothead like Pablo, and Pablo taxed everybody. He’s fighting the war, extradition, that’s going to benefit everyone, [inaudible 00:29:10] so. So, let’s say that we don’t have to pay $100,000 a month. Everybody paid for it. One of them, Pacho Herrera of the Cali Cartel, from what I’ve been told, was late, or for whatever reason, thought that Pablo should go... I don’t know what it was.

                        Anyway, Pablo threatened him. He threatened him back, and there starts the whole war over nothing. Pablo, why does he have to run for congress when he’s making millions of dollars? It’s like these guys in this series that’s going to come out, Cocaine Cowboys. They worked for me at the beginning. They were dead broke. They were selling grams at a discotheque when I was bringing in thousands of kilos, and I gave them a chance.

                        Because one of them was my best friend, his father was my father’s best friend from birth. When I went to prison, and I realized I couldn’t run the operation from prison, I handed everything to him, and they became very powerful. What’s the first thing they started to do? They started to become world champion boat racers. Now, everyone knows that it costs a ton of money to run boats. How does a high school dropout justify the millions of dollars to run these boats that cost millions of dollars? One day, I said to the guy, I’m like “What are you doing, man? You’re not a freaking celebrity, you’re a drug dealer, man.” [Crosstalk 00:30:45].

Barry-John:       See, that’s the thing, where you’re putting in this... where people do that, and they’re driving all the flash cars and whatever. If you’re doing that, and you’re flaunting that in front of law enforcement, what do you think is going to happen?

Jorge:               Yeah. Look at John [inaudible 00:30:58], perfect example.

Barry-John:       Yeah, exactly.

Jorge:               Look at the old-time mobsters, nobody knew them.

Barry-John:       Yeah. 100%.

Jorge:               I sit back until I decided to come out and start talking. I sit back, and I hear all this stuff, and it’s like really? Nobody really knows who the big guys are. I can give you names that no one even knows. You never heard it one time. These people would do circles around Pablo Escobar. These people were multi-millionaires, owned coal mines, emerald mines. The biggest construction company in Colombia when Pablo Escobar was robbing tombstones.

Barry-John:       It’s crazy. Last two questions because you’ve been super generous with your time. One of the questions, this is kind of a general one but I know you’ve lived a crazy life, Jorge. I’d be interested to know, what’s the craziest experience that you had in your whole career in the narcotics industry?

Jorge:               In late ’78, I get approached by the Bolivian government where they want to deal directly with me. We’re paying $18,000, $20,000 a kilo in Colombia. It was $10.000 in Bolivia, and they were willing to give me one on credit versus... for every kilo I bought, they give me one on credit. I’m buying them for half the price but I’m getting twice as much. Literally, we can make $7 million a month, two, three times a month. I go to Bolivia, I meet with them. I take them a million, $500,000, and when we’re getting ready to do the load, they say to me that my guy that’s down there says they betrayed you.

                        I’m like, “What are you talking about?” He said, “The only cocaine here is the one you bought. The one on credit is not here.” Now, I’m 23 years old. If you look at the picture in my book, I look like a nerd. I get on an airplane, and I go down there, and I’m meeting with this general who’s overthrown five governments. I look at him, I say, “If you fuck me, I’ll kill you.” He looked at me. Now, the guy next to me peed in his pants. He looked at me and said, “You’re either the craziest SOB I’ve ever met, or you’re the dumbest bastard. If you ever say that to me again, I’ll kill you.”

                        Now, it was so stupid to say that because here I am, a 23-year-old kid in the guy’s country where he’s overthrown presidents and governments. Who did not care about killing anybody? So, that was a crazy one. Another one was I get a call, and I’ll leave you with this thought because this is interesting that I just wrote it in my Narco Mindset Journal. People ask me about mindset, and I thought, hey, I devise this 12 weeks where you can build what I call the ultimate narco mindset. The one that has no fear. The one that survived prison. The one that built a multi-million dollar company.

I get a call about three O’clock in the morning from my right-hand guy. This is a time in Miami that was considered the deadliest city in the world. He went to go to his house, and when he went to go in, about three o'clock in the morning, he hears this rumbling. He was smart enough not to go inside his house. He ran behind his house to another set of houses and got into somebody’s house. He called me because these people now, they see that, they’re chasing him, and they’re knocking houses down with machine guns, looking for this guy. He tells me where he’s at, and I don’t think twice about I can send people to go get him. I’m a quarter of a mile from his house. I’m a quarter of a kilometer.

I had a Bronco at that time. One of the vehicles I had was a Bronco because I used to take that to my ranch. I get on the Bronco, three O’clock in the morning in Miami, and I’m driving on this sidewalk to get to this door. I’m talking to him on the cellphone to open the door where he gets in my car and we getaway. They shot us 28 times.

Barry-John:       They shot your car?

Jorge:               28 times.

Barry-John:       Jesus!

Jorge:               When we got off and looked at the car, it looked like a strainer but we didn’t have a scratch. I tell people, why I have no fear? Because I say that when my day comes, I’m Christian, so I believe the bible. The bible says my days are numbered. Now, that doesn’t mean I jump in front of a train, and as a Christian, if I live, I live for Christ, and if I die, I believe I’m going to be with him, and if I don’t, I lose nothing. I can’t lose. My job is not to preach religion or to teach people about converting or nothing. The guy that changed my life never asked me to go to church never asked me to become anything. My life is to tell people how the love of a Jewish carpenter transformed my life, the most hardened of all hearts.

                        Then I say, if the shoe fits, wear it. If it doesn’t, just buy another damn pair of shoes. Why I got the peace I got? Because I try to follow the teachings of this Jewish guy. People can hate Christianity, religion, but who the hell has got a problem with a guy that all he did was love the unlovable?

Barry-John:       You seem like you’re in a lot happier place now in your life. You seem like, obviously, you’re a family man. I was looking at something, and there was an interview with your wife, and your wife was saying that there was that Jorge Valdes, and I didn’t marry him. I married this guy, and this guy is like... You seem like you’ve completely reinvented... you lived the crazy life but you’re living a completely different life now, and you seem happy.

Jorge:               Yeah because I tell people, “Listen, we all pay for the choices we make. There are choices and consequences but our past does not need to define our future.” We can reinvent ourselves. We can find hope. We can find redemption. Look at my wife. When I met my wife, I had been celibate for seven years. Now, a guy that I could not go to bed and have intercourse unless I was in bed with two or three women, for years. When I met my wife, and I realized that... she looked at me, and she said, “I want to tell you something. I’m poor.” I was very poor at that time too. “My father is a waiter. My mother cleans houses for a living. All I’ve got to give a man is what God has given me. If that’s the woman you’re looking for, fine.”

                        Somehow, it worked, our relationship but when we got engaged, and we dated for two years, celibate. Literally pure. You know what my prayer was for two years, God be my witness? “Lord, do you think I can have sex with just one woman? Can I have sex with this girl who’s a virgin, and never experience anything when all I’ve been doing having sex with porn actresses, with crazy women?” Today, I have six children. I just turned 64. I just celebrated my youngest daughter’s graduation. I had all my six kids here, four grandkids, two amazing in-laws, son-in-law, and a daughter-in-law. I live a good life, don’t get me wrong, but compared to the life I lived, I’m a pauper.  

Barry-John:       You know what? You look good. You only look [crosstalk 00:39:12].

Jorge:               It doesn’t matter because I live every day to make a difference in someone’s life. No one thinks about this. This is how I live my life. When the pages of history are written, will history ever remember your name? I don’t want history to remember my name because I was this drug dealer or I built a million-dollar business, no. I believe that history only remembers the name of those people that impact another life.

Barry-John:       Good deeds, yeah.

Jorge:               That’s why I hurt for those young African-Americans, those young Latino born in those [crosstalk 00:39:44].

Barry-John:       No, I feel you, I feel you.

Jorge:               It breaks my heart. One of the missions I do, all the proceeds of my book sales, all the proceeds of everything I do, I buy books to send to prison. This year alone, we have sent 20,000 books. Every book is read by 10 men, women, or children. So, over 200,000 people as of today, this year, we’ve sent hundreds before, have read a story of hope, a story of redemption. I get hundreds of letters saying how it has changed their lives. How they found the meaning they were looking for. That’s all I care about. So, when my day comes, don’t bother me, man. I didn’t think I’d live past 25. [Crosstalk 00:40:27] 40 years, brother. 40 years, that’s way past what I thought I’d live. 

Barry-John:       That’s good. Listen, we’ll finish on that. I can’t thank you enough for coming on. You’re a good guy. Really liked talking to you. Look, if you are ever in Ireland, I wasn’t joking. If you’re ever in Ireland-

Jorge:               You owe me some good Irish whiskey.

Barry-John:       I owe you some good Irish whiskey. Let’s do it. Thank you so much, and stay safe, Jorge, okay?

Jorge:               Stay in touch. Listen, have people come to my webpage. If they sign on to our community, they get a free copy of my book. That way, they can get an idea. Follow us. Like I said, at the end of the year, there’s going to be a big, big series of Cocaine Cowboys where they’re going to get the whole story. It’s going to be very powerful.

Barry-John:       Looking Forward to it. Can’t wait to see it. You’re a good man. Thanks, Jorge. Thanks, buddy.

Jorge:               God bless you. Bye bye.

Barry-John:       Bye bye.

                        Thank you again, Jorge Valdes. I really enjoyed talking to him. That was super interesting. You don’t get to speak to someone from the Medellin drug cartel, and one of the founding members, and somebody who worked so closely with Pablo Escobar every day. That was a bit surreal. Definitely a good guy, and very interesting. I enjoyed speaking with him.

Jorge:               I hope you have enjoyed this two-part episode of the Talk of Shame podcast. Part two gets a little more gritty. Again, if you enjoyed our podcast, please subscribe to it, and also share it with all your circle of friends. We’re trying to make a difference in the world. I need your help so that we can spread the word. Again, thank you so much for tuning in to the Narco Mindset podcast. I look forward to seeing you again next week on another episode of 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 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.