Pablo Escobar’s most-feared hitman ‘Popeye’ has now been hospitalised after being diagnosed with cancer causing his latest trial to be delayed.
Jhon Jairo Velasquez Vasquez, alias Popeye, had been called to attend his trial in the Second Penal Court of Medellin via video conference from the prison he is jailed in but the trial was delayed as he has been hospitalised.
The trial against Velazquez Vazquez, who was the head of Pablo Escobar’s hitmen, on suspicion of blackmailing and loitering with conspiracy to commit a crime, had been set for October with the former hitman taking part via a video conference from the Valledupar maximum-security prison, known as La Tramacua.
However, his lawyer Andres Villegas said the suspect had been hospitalised with unspecified “health issues” and added “the court contacted the prison and it was informed that he was not there”.
The trial will take place at a later date when the suspect has recovered, according to reports.
The hospitalisation comes after the ‘Popeye’ was reportedly diagnosed with stomach cancer and his defence have asked for him to be placed under house arrest because of his condition.
Velazquez Vazquez was in prison between 1993 and 2014. His sentence was reduced after he was 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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