Here’s How Many People Pablo Escobar’s Personal Hitman Has Killed
John Jairo Velasquez, also known as “Popeye”, was Pablo Escobar’s hitman since the age of 17. Over the years, he has killed thousands of people for the Colombian drug lord. Recently, Velasquez gave a rare interview in the Sunday Mirror where he explained that he was killing people out of fun, not for the millions of dollars Escobar gave him.
Velasquez admitted to more than 300 murders and orchestrating more than 3000. He masterminded around 200 car bombings during Escobar’s war against rival cartels, and had a hand in many kidnappings, like the one of Attorney General Carlos Mauro Hoyos in 1998. He even revealed that the politician was killed by his hand!
Popeye felt no remorse at the time, and followed Escobar’s orders easily. I was a professional killer,” he said.“Whenever I took a life, I didn’t feel anything. Not shame, not sadness, not happiness, it was simply like a day at the office carrying out Don Pablo’s orders. Killing was too easy. I was in a war and they were killing my family, my friends and my colleagues. I found them beheaded and with hands and limbs cut off.
They put my friends alive in the incinerators, they were throwing them from helicopters from more than 1,000ft in the rainforest. I found my friends with their knees, teeth and brain drilled.”
Velasquez met Pablo Escobar at the young age of 17 after dropping out of the Colombian police school. He was first hired as a bodyguard to one of the drug lord’s mistresses, and kept when Escobar moved on from her. “When I first met Escobar it was like I had seen a God. He had this huge presence, like an aura around him. The day I looked in Pablo Escobar’s eyes I knew there and then I would die for him if need be,” Popeye recalls.
He surrendered to the authorities in 1992 before Escobar was tracked down and killed. Velasquez spent 22 years in prison for killing Luis Carlos Galan in 1989, who was a presidential candidate. He was released from prison 2 years ago. And, although he now feels some remorse, he says that his victims died in a war. He refuses to be called a murderer and claims that he too was victim of Don Pablo.
“I was not responsible for the assassinations. I was a professional killer and nowadays I have reconsidered it. I am a repented and reformed man. If possible I am looking for reintegration back into society. I am still capable of killing but unless I am cornered I hope I will never have to do it again,” Escobar’s favorite hitman says.