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MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — A relic from South Florida’s bad boy days is nothing more than a pile rubble.
On Tuesday, a pink water front mansion in Miami Beach which was once owned by the 1980s Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was demolished.
Escobar, nicknamed “El Patrón” — The Boss — bought the property in March 1980 for $762,500, according to Miami-Dade County public records. The name Pablo Escobar is listed in a document transferring ownership of the property.
While it’s unclear whether Escobar ever spent any time in Miami Beach, his men likely used the property as a hideout and landing point for tons of cocaine.
The U.S. government seized the property in 1987 and in 1990 it was acquired by a private owner. The house, at 5860 North Bay Rd, has four bedrooms, six bathrooms, a pool and garage.
Escobar’s cocaine cartel fueled murderous drug wars in South Florida that left the streets littered with competing, dead dealers.
“There were so many murders at one time in what was then Dade County, that the morgue had to go hire freezer trucks from Burger King to put all the bodies in,” recalled former Drug Enforcement Agency Supervisor James Shedd as he spoke with CBS4 News Tuesday.
The Escobar drug machine was pervasive.
“I can remember walking into clubs in Coconut Grove and seeing dealers exchanging money and doing lines of coke on the tables,” recalled former Assistant United States Attorney Mark Schnapp. “One day, I’m seeing all these police cars and commotion by a freighter and I go down and they’re shooting an episode of “Miami Vice.” It turned out that same freighter, we seized the next day. It was full of cocaine.”
The former Escobar home is currently owned by Christian de Berdouare, who founded Chicken Kitchen, and his wife, journalist Jennifer Valoppi.
The couple bought the mansion in 2014 for $9.65 million. Their first order of business was to have it cleansed.
“After we bought the house my wife had one of the monsignors here to come and bless the house because she wanted all the bad energies to be removed,” de Bernouare said. “Actually, the monsignor said he felt that something very negative.”
The fire damaged mansion sat vacant for years. Before the demolition, de Berdouare had professional treasure hunters comb through it looking for traces from Escobar’s days.
Valoppi said a floor safe was once in the house but they have no idea what it contained.
“We have no idea because we didn’t even know it was here,” said Valoppi. “We have four workers that were working for my husband, and doing some things around the property, they all saw it, they all thought that we knew it was there and all we found was a hole.”
Holes punched in the walls indicate that someone may have been searching for valuable objects left behind by the drug traffickers, according to the treasure hunters.
While indicted numerous times, Escobar was never extradited from Colombia. In 1993, he was hunted down in a jungle and killed by the Colombian army.
De Berdouare said with the mansion gone, they can now build a bigger, more modern home.
CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report.