Given his track record with selling shady merchandise, it shouldn’t come as much of a shock to learn that Roberto Escobar’s latest product isn’t entirely legitimate. Having ditched the cocaine trade, the brother of former drug kingpin Pablo Escobar is now peddling his own line of smartphones, including a new handset that is just a Samsung Galaxy Fold with some gold-colored foil stuck across the logo.
Escobar Inc launched its first foldable phone – called the Escobar Fold 1 – in December of last year, although the company was rumbled when consumers immediately noticed that the model was just a rebranded Royole FlexPai.
Undeterred by their inability to fool anyone, the company announced the launch of the Escobar Fold 2 last month. Available exclusively through the Escobar Inc website and with an initial production run of 200,000, the phone was recently reviewed by YouTuber Marques Brownlee, who was able to peel away the gold sticker to reveal the Samsung logo hidden beneath it.
“From using the phone just for a little bit, it's pretty clear this appears to be a legit Samsung Galaxy Fold,” explained Brownlee in his video.
Roberto Escobar – whose biography on the company’s website describes him as the “former accountant and chief of assassinations of the Medellin Cartel” – released a statement announcing the release of the phone, in which he states: “My goal is to become the overstock kingpin of electronical devices this year. All these factories simply have too much technology laying around, nobody is buying anything in China from secondary factories. We cut the prices and give clients direct discounts under the Escobar brand umbrella.”
This, he says, is how Escobar Inc is able to sell its handset for just $399, while Samsung sells its folding smartphone for around four times as much.
However, after explaining how the company initially took his money without ever sending him a phone, Brownlee has some other thoughts regarding how Escobar Inc is able to sell on these disguised Samsung Galaxy Folds for such a low price.
"My theory is that they are going through orders, finding the names of YouTubers or people in tech media or people they think will talk about the phone if they get it and shipping those and just not shipping the rest,” he said.
Despite its dependence on the South Korean manufacturer, Escobar Inc has gone big on the anti-Samsung messaging, describing the Escobar Fold 2 as “The Real Samsung Killer”, while also releasing a video called RIP Samsung, which shows scantily clad women smashing Samsung products with a sledgehammer.
Unsurprisingly, Roberto Escobar has form when it comes to trying to rip off other people’s products. Last year, he launched a rebranded version of Elon Musk’s Not A Flamethrower, claiming he had invented it first. He even threatened to sue the SpaceX founder if he didn’t pay him $100 million for stealing his idea.
Before reinventing himself as a tech entrepreneur, Roberto Escobar was a key figure within the Medellin Cartel that caused unprecedented bloodshed in Colombia until its leader, Pablo Escobar, died in a shootout with police in 1993.