Colombia: Former Pablo Escobar lead henchman goes free

What could possibly go wrong?

Pablo Escobar’s chief hit man was released from jail on Tuesday:

Colombians wary as former Escobar hitman gets ready to walk free from prison
“Popeye” has served 23 years after killing hundreds under reign of Medellín cartel chief
. The headline says hundreds, but

Popeye has coldly admitted that he ordered 3,000 people killed when his boss, the head of the Medellín cartel, was fighting the government to avoid extradition.
. . .
Velásquez Vásquez confessed that he ordered hundreds of car bomb attacks in all the country’s main cities, causing a wave of terror that Colombians are not likely to forget soon. Despite the pain he has caused, Popeye has shown a complete lack of contrition. In early 2013, he told the newspaper El Tiempo that ““if Pablo Escobar were born again, I would join him without a second thought.”

Bad through and through,

Velásquez joined the Medellín cartel at age 18, when “the boss” began asking him to commit murders. He soon climbed the rungs of the underworld ladder and featured prominently in the kidnapping of former president Andrés Pastrana when he was running for mayor of Bogotá. He also helped abduct former vice-president Francisco Santos when he was the editor of El Tiempoand was instrumental in the attack that blew up an Avianca airplane in mid-flight, killing 107 passengers.

He also killed his own girlfriend Wendy.

In addition to killing,

Popeye helped Escobar industrialize cocaine production, seize control 80 percent of the global cocaine trade, and become one of the richest people on the planet by kidnapping, torturing, and murdering hundreds of people who obstructed the Medellín cartel’s business.

And after 23 years he’s getting out?

The gang member benefited from term reductions through work and study schemes, and is reported to have paid $4,500 for access to parole.

He “paid $4,500 for access to parole”? Are you friggin’ kidding me?

Reportedly he’ll be under surveillance for good conduct for four years. He calculates the odds of his been killed after his release at 80%.

Popeye figures prominently in Mark Bowden’s book, Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World’s Greatest Outlaw, which I recommend.

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