Pablo Escobar’s most trusted hitman, Jhon Jairo Velásquez Vásquez, AKA ‘Popeye’ is no longer with us.
After founding the narcoterrorist crime organization known as the Medellín Cartel in 1976, Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria nearly monopolized the cocaine trade throughout the entire western hemisphere in the 1980s and early 1990s. By the time of his death in 1993, Pablo Escobar had netted a total of $30 billion USD, equating to approximately $59 billion USD today. Now, Pablo Escobar’s most trusted hitman in Jhon Jairo Velásquez Vásquez, also simply known as ‘Popeye,’ has died at the age of 54-years-old due to complications with esophageal cancer early Thursday morning (Feb. 6).
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The contract killer who confessed to killing more than 300 people, including conspiracy to assassinate a former Colombian presidential candidate, spent over two decades in prison before being released in 2014. Eventually, Popeye Velásquez was recaptured just four years after being released on an entire slew of unrelated crimes including extortion. During his initial stint behind bars, Velásquez wrote a book entitled, Surviving Pablo Escobar: ‘Popeye’ The Hitman, 23 Years and 3 Months in Prison published in 2005.
According to prison officials, Velásquez was transferred to the National Cancer Institute in Bogota, Columbia after finding out about his cancer diagnosis on New Year’s (Dec. 31, 2019), before ultimately losing his life to stomach cancer, as reported by TMZ.
While other members of the Medellín Cartel empire have been meeting their demise, Pablo Escobar’s brother has been thriving. He’s been able to , , and .
Outside of prison, Popeye actually became a highly-popularized YouTube figure. The former assassin gained notoriety for his conservative views and regularly attacking Columbian politicians. Check out one of Jhon Jairo Velásquez Vásquez’s last tributes to Pablo Escobar in the video provided below.