Jesus Ruiz Henao: What I Learned From My Days In The Drug Trade

My Book Recommendation


I was in charge of a multinational cocaine business, a Colombian national who managed to become the first billion pounds cocaine cartel in the United Kingdom. That was a massive life experience where I learned many things.  For one thing, it’s astonishing to see how the power of money can corrupt government officials, no matter the country. Many bureaucrats are willing to help or even participate in the drug business without a second thought.

Another thing I learned was the importance and real value of family. Money means nothing when you cannot share time with your love ones. This is especially true when you lose your freedom and find out that you can’t buy back the moments you missed.

I have put my own life on the line many times with no fear, but now I know how important my life is. You can’t buy a second chance.

For many years, I ran an illegal business that had a similar structure to a legal business. I marvel at what I did. I had 20,000 people working for me at one time and ran a drug empire that extended from Colombia to Europe. And here I am – a person from a small village in the Colombian mountains who managed to learn and to acquire the skills and knowledge to run a large business and to negotiate deals involving massive quantities of money.

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Colombian mountains

Still, I would not do it again. While in prison I learned that I had caused the sadness of many others. I had many sleepless nights feeling the desperation of families, mothers and fathers for their loved ones addicted to drugs. I feel guilty for their despair. It was caused by my greed to make millions of pounds. Yet at the end of the day making all that money meant nothing. When I was arrested, the police confiscated the money.

I also learned that the War on Drugs is a failure. The government does nothing to help the addicted. They see illegal drugs as a criminal problem, not a health problem. In my heyday they called me “the Pablo Escobar of the UK drug trade.” Yet I have gone from the drug trade, but the problem of illicit drugs remains.

Learn more in Jesus’ true crime memoir THE REAL MR. BIG.

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