Pablo Escobar's former Miami Beach home demolished

New owners say hidden safe, bag believed to have cocaine inside found at home

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – The Miami Beach home of former drug lord Pablo Escobar was demolished Tuesday.

Escobar purchased the waterfront property at 5860 N. Bay Road for $762,500 on March 20, 1980, although the paper deed obtained by Miami-Dade County property records shows that he paid just $10.

The property offers a picturesque view of Biscayne Bay and downtown Miami. It was purchased in 2014, and the flamingo-pink home was torn down to make room for the current owners' new house.

It might have seemed like a routine demolition, but it had the feel of an archeological dig. Treasure hunters from Orlando were hired by the owners to search the property for any hidden treasures that Escobar may have left behind.

Already, owners Jennifer Valoppi and Christian Berdouare have stumbled upon a few items.

Valoppi said construction workers found a safe hidden under the marble floor.

"Apparently, someone came in, probably in the middle of the night and probably by boat, we're told, and took a jackhammer to the floor and stole the safe," she told Local 10 News.

They also found a bag with powder in it. Berdouare believes that it was cocaine.

"The detective said (he was) 99 percent (sure) it was cocaine," Berdouare said.

Escobar was the head of the Medellin Cartel and is believed to have supplied the United States with 80 percent of the cocaine smuggled into the country. He was killed in a shootout with police in Colombia in 1993.

Berdouare said he feels a "great relief and very happy" now that the house is gone. He called it "a dark chapter in the city of Miami." Berdouare said he had been asked about turning the house into a museum, but he didn't want to "celebrate the criminals" by keeping it.

A former U.S. attorney involved in Escobar's indictment and a former DEA spokesman were there for the demolition.

"In 1980, he wasn't really big on anybody's radar," ex-DEA spokesman Jim Shedd said.

Former U.S. attorney Mark Schnapp said Escobar was part of a violent time in the South Florida drug trade.

"He actually blew up the equivalent of the FBI headquarters in Colombia," Schnapp said.

A film crew was also at the demolition for an upcoming documentary on Escobar.

About the Authors:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."