February 7, 2020 – Notorious “Narcos” hit man Jhon (Popeye) Velasquez died of stomach cancer in Bogota, Colombia this week at 57. The one-time right-hand man and top enforcer for Pablo Escobar, the world’s most wanted drug kingpin of the 1980s and early 1990s, Velasquez did 22 years in prison for the assassination of Colombian presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan. Released in 2014, he became an internet sensation, attracting more than a million subscribers to his YouTube channel, before being arrested for extortion less than two years ago.
Escobar led the Medellin Cartel, responsible for flooding the United States with cocaine in the late 20th Century. Galvan was the favorite to become president in Escobar’s home country, campaigning on an anti-Narcos platform. Velasquez planned the hit on Galvan, assembling the team of shooters and letting them loose at a Galvan rally where they gunned the presidential hopeful on stage at a campaign rally. Escobar himself died in a hail of bullets in a 1993 rooftop shootout with Colombian and American military forces while on the run from authorities. His net worth at the time of death was close to 5 billion.
Nicknamed after the famous sailorman cartoon due to his time spent in the Colombian Navy, Popeye Velasquez rose up the ranks of the Medellin Cartel to where he was Escobar’s bodyguard and most trusted aid. Colombia officials estimate he was involved in 300 drug world-related homicides between 1982 and when he was finally jailed in 1992.
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