I went from pub landlord to SAS hitman sent to kill Pablo Escobar – as I bled out, I thought ‘what the f*** am I doing'

I went from pub landlord to SAS hitman sent to kill Pablo Escobar – as I bled out, I thought ‘what the f*** am I doing'


A FORMER pub landlord who went on to join the SAS has revealed how he joined a task force to kill the Colombian cocaine kingpin, Pablo Escobar.

Peter McAleese was tasked with leading a team to take out the drugs' baron, only for disaster to strike.

Speaking in an interview on the James English podcast, McAleese revealed how he was part of a crack team that offered $1 million for the Medellin cartel boss' head.

“We flew straight to Colombia and met up with a guy called Jorge Salcedo and he briefed us on what was happening," the 79-year-old said.

"We went to see two businessmen who, in reality, were part of the Cali cartel.”

McAleese told how Salcedo, who was part of the rival Colombian drug gang the Cali cartel, was coordinating the attack and he wanted to recruit a team to carry it out.

Peter was the first person he had asked.

Worth more than £40billion, Escobar was the wealthiest criminal in history.

At the height of his powers, he was smuggling 15 tons of cocaine per DAY. Rival cartels were kept at bay with the bullet and the bomb.

"There was an ongoing battle between the Cali cartel and the Medellin cartel and they just wanted Pablo out of the way because he was gunning for them because he wanted the complete show," the ex-SAS soldier said.

"There was also army involvement in that Jorge Salcido was a colonel in the army.

"The intelligence side of the army wanted the two cartels finished and thought they'd get them battling with one another, they might wipe each other out."

After training in a mock-up football pitch of Escobar’s security, the team moved to a live firing training camp in the jungle, before setting off to kill the infamous criminal.

"We did a couple of live rehearsals, wearing all the kit that we’d wear on the target, carrying the weapons we would use on the target, fire and ammunition that we would use," the former soldier explained.

"We just practised and practised and then we got it right.

"So, then it was just a case of getting up every day, warming up and doing a bit of shooting before the strike."

Despite being only 12-strong, Peter said he did not fear the mission.

“A lot of his bodyguards and security guys were just guys that ran about with a magazine in their belt and carrying an Uzi or some sub-machine gun.

"We went in there carrying enough ammunition to kill the best part of 3,000 men.

"We were tooled up to the eyeballs, plus the fact that we had a helicopter gunship, which we thought would level it all down.

"The confidence was on our side, it was never doubted by any of the men."

However, it wasn’t all plain sailing.

One member, who left the group, betrayed them by interviewing with the press despite promising not to.

He informed the media about the strike, but he was unaware of who the target was, only Peter and one other person knew that information.

Another misfortune occurred whilst the team travelled towards their final mission.

Supposedly, members of the army and police force were on Escobar’s payroll which meant the helicopter had to fly low to dodge their radars.

Unfortunately, this resulted in the helicopter crashing, killing the pilot.

McAleese survived the plane crash but suffered from several broken ribs.

"The pain was f***ing excruciating. I started thinking what the f*** am I doing here, how did it get myself into this s***?”

The following day, the Scotsman heard voices approaching him and was unsure if they were “good guys or bad guys” as all he heard was a group of men speaking Spanish.

“I went, how do I handle this? I said 'if the bad guys get me, they will make my death very painful. So, I took a grenade and pulled the pinout, then grabbed a sub-machine gun and held it in one hand.

"The guys came up closer and closer; they didn't see me and I stuck the machine gun in his stomach."

Luckily it turned out to be Peter’s friends.

After an 8-hour trip down from the mountains strapped to a tree, he managed to reach safety.

Not backing down, Peter was determined to finish the mission once and for all. However, the team never made it back to Escobar's base.

The police and the army had picked up, there were all sorts of accusations getting made as to who was behind it.

"They just said 'I think we'd better let you go', so we came back to the UK.

"I don't know how I felt about it. I was just glad to get back."

Glaswegian McAleese, served with Britain’s Parachute Regiment, the SAS, Rhodesia’s SAS and the South African Defence Force.

As well as battling drug barons in Columbia, he trained bodyguards in Moscow and has taken on security work in Algeria and Iraq. 

The divorced dad-of-three once ran the appropriately named The Gunmakers Arms pub in Birmingham.

Pablo Escobar was eventually killed in an operation by the Colombian National Police in 1993, just one day after his 44th birthday.

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