Story By: Juan Mayes, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
Drug lord Pablo Escobar’s former hitman Jhon Jairo ‘Popeye’ Velazquez has asked to be placed under house arrest after he was reportedly diagnosed with stomach cancer and given three months to live.
The former Colombian hitman, commonly known as ‘Popeye’, made the request after reports he was diagnosed with stomach cancer surfaced.
Local media report if Velazquez were to receive treatment, he would have six months to live, however, failure to receive the proper treatment and medicine would give the former hitman three months to live.
Velazquez was reportedly taken to a health centre, where he was guarded by members of the Colombian Penitentiary and Prison Institute (Inpece), for the second time in three months.
According to Colombian newspaper ‘EL Heraldo’, Velazquez had blood samples taken to test his sugar levels as his health continues to deteriorate.
Velazquez’s lawyer Andres Villega spoke with local media as they waited for the results.
Despite reports of the former hitman’s cancer diagnosis, Villega said: “Neither John Jairo nor I have informed on what the illness is.
“I think it is strange that the media is leaking information on the illness when nothing has been publicly stated.”
Velazquez was in prison between 1993 and 2014. His sentence was reduced after being a key witness in linking many cases to his former boss Escobar following his death in December 1993.
He was detained again in May 2018 following accusations of extortion, threatening behaviour and conspiracy to commit a crime which led to his provisional detention at the maximum-security Valledupar prison in the northern Colombian department of Cesar.
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