The Truth About Pablo Escobar's Hitman Popeye

As reported by CNN, on February 6th, 2020, Jhon Jairo Velásquez died at Bogotá, Colombia's National Institute of Cancer. The 54-year old Colombian native had been receiving treatment there for stomach cancer since late December of 2019.

Velásquez was better known to the public as Popeye, the nickname he received while serving in the Colombian National Army, which stuck with him through his more notable career working as a hitman for Pablo Escobar's Medellin Cartel. If you think Popeye himself was scary, imagine being the guy who said "I heard people used to call you Popeye. We're bringing that back" and then made the moniker stick to a contract killer. Colombian crime families seem like an intimidating professional environment is all we're saying.

Strong to the finish

Over the course of his career, Velásquez confessed to hundreds of murders, wiping out rivals, local politicians, and Colombian presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galán Sarmiento, the last of which led to his arrest and conviction in 1989. After serving the better part of a 30 year sentence, he was released in 2014, and soon began garnering a reputation as a YouTube personality, using the video streaming site "to show his reincorporation into society," according to CBS News. His channel racked up 1.2 million subscribers and featured vlogs of Velásquez's personal thoughts, as well as his day-to-day activities like chatting with his admirers and firing a beretta into a wall. He also used it as a platform to advertise his passion project, a feature film titled X-Sicario Professional, in which he played a hitman for a cartel. Of all Velasquez's myriad crimes, his overuse of the Michael Bay 360-degree hero shot may be the most egregious.

However, a scant four years after his release, Velásquez was back in prison, this time on charges of extortion for blackmailing former associates of Pablo Escobar. During his time in prison, he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer which metastasized and spread to his stomach, killing him.