"Pablo Escobar said to me: ‘One shot to the head isn’t enough. It has to be two shots, just above the eyes.’"
Jhon Velásquez, nicknamed “Popeye,” is sitting on a white plastic chair in the prison yard. “You can survive one shot, but never two. I cut up the bodies and threw them in the river. Or I just left them there. I often drove through Medellín, where I kidnapped and raped women. Then I shot them and threw them in the trash.”
Three guards are standing next to him. He is the only prisoner in the giant building. The watchtower, the security door systems, the surveillance cameras — it’s all for him. The warden of the Cómbita maximum-security prison, a three-hour drive northeast of the Colombian capital Bogotá, has given Popeye one hour to tell his story.
The experience is like opening a door into hell.
Popeye was the right-hand man of Pablo Escobar, head of Colombia’s Medellín cartel. Until his death in 1993, Escobar was the most powerful drug lord in the world. He industrialized cocaine production, controlled 80 percent of the global cocaine trade and became one of the richest people on the planet. The cartel ordered the killings of 30 judges, about 450 police officers and many more civilians. As Escobar’s head of security, Popeye was an expert at kidnapping, torture and murder. […]
"I’ve killed about 250 people, and I cut many of them into pieces. But I don’t know exactly how many," Popeye says. "Only psychopaths count their kills."
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