A Self-Styled Robin Hood

He is the man most wanted by drug-enforcement officials in Bolivia. Yet to some of his countrymen, Roberto Suarez Gomez, 53, sometimes known as the King of Cocaine, is a folk hero, portraying himself as a modern Robin Hood to Bolivians disillusioned by years of official corruption. In their book, Bolivia: Coca Cocaina, Authors Amado Canelas Orellana and Juan Carlos Canelas Zannier say that Suarez's popularity springs from the fact that his wealth originated "in the depravity of the Yanquis (drug abuse in the U.S.) and not in the robbing of the coffers of the state."

Indeed, Suarez is said to...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!