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Escobar's Hitman

Former drug-gang killer, now loved and loathed in Colombia

John Jairo Velásquez Vásquez, a.k.a. ‘Popeye’ is something of a local hero to many in the Colombian city of Medellin. He’s stopped in the streets and asked for autographs and selfies. His celebrity is undiminished after spending 23 years in jail. 

Escobar's hitman Popeye
John Jairo Velasquez, better known as ‘Popeye’, Pablo Escobar’s former hitman shows off a tattoo that says “Mafia’s general” as he poses for a picture with locals in the city of Medellin.

In the heyday of the infamous Medellin drug cartel, he worked for Pablo Escobar as a hit-man, he still says he enjoyed the job in which he tortured and murdered literally hundreds and so, not everyone sees him as a hero.

Popeye meets Rosalba Barrientos
John Jairo Velasquez, better known as ‘Popeye’ meets former police officer, Rosalba Barrientos, who lost her hand in an explosion organised by the Medellin cartel.

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