Jhon Jairo Velásquez Vásquez Bio, Wiki
Jhon Jairo Velásquez Vásquez was a former hitman who was part of the criminal structure of the Medellin Cartel until his surrender to the Colombian justice system in 1992. He was better known as “Popeye”, had been hospitalized since December 31, 2019. He was captured on May 25, 2018, and since then served a sentence for the crimes of extortion and concert to commit crimes. The Colombian Public Prosecutor’s Office linked him with extortion groups in the city of Medellín. Velásquez also has a book, Surviving Pablo Escobar: ‘Popeye’ The Hitman 23 Years and 3 Months in Prison, published in 2005, and a YouTube channel, POPEYE_Arrepentido, with more than 1.2 million subscribers.
Age and Education
Velásquez attended the University of North Barranquilla. He entered the School of NCOs of the Colombian Navy and eventually transferring to the Police Cadet School General Santander, where he spent one semester. Later in life, while imprisoned, he also obtained 14 diplomas of various short courses. He has died at the age of 57.
John Jairo Vásquez Velásquez was born in 1962 in a small town in Antioquia, Yarumal, as the fourth of a middle-class marriage. He was called Popeye for his pronounced chin, which was operated among other surgeries that were already evident in the end. He was in the Navy and in the Police until one day he went to the Naples farm, Escobar’s estate.
In 2009, he told Don Juan magazine: One day an engineer friend told me to accompany him to a farm where he had to do a job. We went to the Naples farm and saw weapons, beautiful women and exotic animals and I thought: ‘this it’s mine’.
According to statements by members of the police, Popeye was one of the most difficult hitmen to capture.
They never managed to find him, but he went to jail in 1991 when Escobar negotiated his delivery with the government in exchange for a tailor-made prison, known as The Cathedral.
He was identified as one of the most important hitmen of the Medellin cartel. He confessed to 257 personal killings. He also admitted to arranging over 3000 killings. He helped plan the plane bombing that killed 110 people. In May 2018 Velasquez was arrested on charges of extortion and criminal conspiracy. It is claimed he was blackmailing former associates of Pablo Escobar Pantera who still control some of his assets.
Jhon Jairo Velásquez Vásquez Wife and Children
He was once in a relationship with Wendy Chavarriaga Gil, a former lover of his boss Pablo Escobar. They were lying in bed one day when the phone rang; on the other end was a recording of Wendy speaking with DEA agents. ‘Popeye’ was then given a choice: “love or death, money or lead (plata o plomo)”. Velásquez hung up the phone and shot Wendy fatally twice in the forehead, in a fit of rage.
In an interview, according to Popeye, Escobar was clear in his instructions, “you or her, do not hesitate a single second … plata o plomo, amor o Muerte. I’m waiting” As his main sicario (hitman) and Escobar’s right-hand man, “Popeye” performed the murder himself even though she was the woman he loved. Velásquez was loyal to Escobar until the King of Cocaine released him of his duties while on the run.
During the last years, his story was told in dozens of series, books and journalistic profiles that used his memories to build the character.
The confession of his crimes before the Colombian justice earned him penalties reductions because among them were crucial murders such as that of the presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galán, the journalist Guillermo Cano and the blasting of an Avianca plane in 1989 that left 110 dead.
That condition of a preferential witness reduced his sentences but forced him to be isolated for years and cost him dozens of torture and death attacks.
He used to say that the crime that cost him the most was that of Wendy Chavarriaga Gil, a lover of Escobar he had fallen in love with. But, apparently, he was an informant for the authorities.
How he became a celebrity
Popeye became a celebrity when, between 2010 and 2012, series and books appeared that popularized Escobar’s story. In the series “The Pattern of Evil,” 2012, Popeye is represented by a bloody character called “The Sailor.” Vasquez hurt to say that production fell short in terms of its real evil.
The journalist Rafael Poveda gave him a series of interviews, “Popeye’s confessions,” which today have hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.
In 2014, Popeye was released from prison and dedicated himself to commenting on news and taking advantage of his ability to tell stories on social networks.
His YouTube channel, Popeye Repent, went viral and he expressed his support for former president Álvaro Uribe and his criticism of Gustavo Petro, which earned him criminal complaints that almost returned him to jail.
Popeye wrote three books and a script for a series that has not been released.
Jhon Jairo Velásquez Vásquez has been admitted to hospital for a month, on December 23 2019, Velásquez was transferred for health reasons from the maximum-security prison of Valledupar to La Picota prison in Bogotá. On January 8 2020, it was announced that Velásquez suffered from terminal esophageal cancer and that he had at most a few months left to live. He died on February 6, 2020 in Bogota from cancer, he was 57 years old.