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Mon Sep 10, 2018, 03:16 AM

The extraordinary criminal past of the Devon pilot who flew cocaine for Pablo Escobar

Barnes languishes in jail after an axe attack in 2016. But his astonishing exploits for the Medellin cartel could form the plot of a film

By Paul Greaves
14:09, 8 SEP 2018

As the plane carrying armed henchmen for a South American drugs cartel touched down in a moonlit farmer's field in Colombia and the shotguns were loaded, the former Devon schoolboy in the pilot seat asked himself "What the hell have I got myself himself into?"

The answer for Andrew Barnes was that he had become an unlikely character in highly dangerous tale of cocaine smuggling, crazed drugs lords, and the Medellin cartel with Pablo Escobar at its head.

. . .

It was the late 1970s. He was a fresh-faced 20-year-old. His associates needed a pilot to fly the new designer drug from Colombia to Florida. As the operation expanded so did the profits.

Astonishing amounts of money were made by the cartel bosses, chief among them Carlos Lehder, the co-founder of the Medellin drug cartel and associate of Pablo Escobar the richest criminal in history.


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