Responsible for 300 plus assassinationsand organisinganother3,000 homicides, Jhon Jairo Velásquez Vásquez was Pablo Escobar’s top assassin.
He recently explained two things that scare narcos like Escobar and Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán in an interview with Univision: “
Wanted” posters and extradition.
As one of the three surviving members of Escobar’s Medellín cartel, Vásquez, commonly referred to as “Popeye,” claimed that the “king of cocaine” once told him, “Popeye, we’re dead,” after seeing his face on a “Wanted” poster.
“The ‘Wanted’ poster is very dangerous for us as bandits because you go to a store to buy a drink and there’s your photo, someone sees it on TV and knows you are worth 10 million dollars,” Popeye
“Every minute that goes by is a minute of victory for El Chapo,” Popeye added.
Popeye added that narcos like Escobar and Guzmán are equally fearful of extradition.
In short, Escobar and Guzmán basically ran the prisons that held them.
Escobar designed his luxury prison, hand selected who was incarcerated with him, and hired the guards who worked in the jail. What’s more, Colombian authorities were not allowed with 3 miles of his complex.
While detained at Puente Grande Federal Prison, Guzmán was allowed to host his family for a vacation inside the prison grounds, held multiple parties for friends, and had female inmates brought to the all-male jail for his enjoyment, Mexican journalist Anable Hernandez said in an interview.
Therefore, extradition threatens powerful drug lords like Escobar and Guzmán because they would be cut off from their cartel business, families, and corrupt authorities willing to accept bribes.
In the words of Escobar, “better a grave in Colombia than a cell in the United States.”
Released from prison in August of last year, Popeye spent
23 years in six different Colombian prisons after he turned himself in to authorities in 1992.
Akin to Guzmán, Popeye also used custom-built escape tunnels and broke out of jail twice.
However, one of Popeye’s secret tunnels was already included in the construction of Escobar’s infamous prison, “La Catedral” whereas, Guzmán’s were later added to Mexico’s highest security prison Altiplano.
Popeye estimates that Guzmán’s escape cost at least $US50 million in bribes to authorites and prison staff since “at [Altiplano] they have sensors and cameras to prevent tunnels,” according to his interview with Univison.
Amid these charges, Mexico’s interior ministry has been accused of hiding a video with sounds of power tools and digging, proving that Guzmán’s planned escape was a dead giveaway.
“The video exists and is crucial in identifying the level of complicity in [El] Chapo’s escape,” secretary of the Mexican Congress’ Bicameral Committee on National Security, Sen. Alejandro Encinas, told EFE Agencia.
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