Former hit man for Pablo Escobar to be freed in Colombia

Killer admits having been involved in the deaths of 3,000 people.

Former hit man for Pablo Escobar to be freed in Colombia

World Bulletin / News Desk

A former contract killer previously in the employ of the notorious Medellin Cartel run by Pablo Escobar could be released Monday from a Colombian prison.

John Jairo Velásquez Vásquez, also known as Popeye, the feared leader of the gang of sicarios -- contract killers -- as they are called in Colombia, and who worked under the authority of the former godfather of international cocaine smuggling Pablo Escobar, has served 22 years of a more than 30-year sentence on charges related to terrorism, drug trafficking and homicide.

He is believed to have been directly responsible for about 3,000 murders and to have committed 300 himself, according to reports in the Colombian daily newspaper El Espectador.

“The judge ordered his conditional freedom on Friday. So, the District Attorney investigated to see if there were any further outstanding cases against John Jairo Velázquez Vázquez (alias Popeye) in Colombia which could impede his release, but nothing was found,” a court employee told the El Espectador.

Velázquez Vázquez’s release is not without controversy given that he was involved in the bombing of an Avianca airlines flight in 1989 that killed all 107 passengers, and the assassination of Colombian presidential hopeful Luis Carlos Galán in 1989.

“He has worked towards providing the truth all of these years. His declarations have resulted in arrests. A prison sentence for what Popeye did will never be enough, but Colombian law states that after serving a sentence, he has the right to have this reviewed and we cannot oppose this,” said Carlos Galan, one of the murdered politician’s sons, to Caracol Radio.

Velázquez Vázquez turned himself over to authorities in 1992 shortly before Escobar decided to do the same. When Escobar fled prison later that year, Popeye decided to remain in captivity and serve out his sentence.

The drug cartel run by Escobar and for which Velázquez Vázquez worked, was largely destroyed after the mafia boss’ death at the hands of security forces in the city of Medellin in December 1993.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Ağustos 2014, 10:21