Top Colombian drug hitman `Popeye` is freed
Bogota: The head of Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar`s hitmen, a confessed murderer nicknamed "Popeye," was released from prison Tuesday after helping prosecutors convict a former justice minister.
John Jairo Velasquez Vasquez has confessed to killing 300 people and organizing the killings of 3,000 others, but walked free from the Combita high-security prison in central Colombia after completing 22 years of his 30-year sentence for murder, police and judicial sources said.
The hitman was convicted for the murder of presidential hopeful Luis Carlos Galan in 1989, but won release by turning state`s witness against former justice minister Alberto Santofimio, a rival candidate in the 1990 presidential election who was convicted of ordering Galan`s killing.
Galan, who took a hard line against the country`s powerful drug cartels and was the favorite to win the election, was shot dead in a public square in a town outside Bogota as he prepared to give a speech.
The assassination was carried out by gunmen loyal to Escobar, the blood-soaked founder of the Medellin cartel.
Now aged 52, "Popeye" Velasquez has confessed in numerous media interviews to crimes ranging from kidnapping former president Andres Pastrana to murdering his own girlfriend, all on his late boss` orders.
He was granted "conditional release... for a trial period of 52 months and 22.7 days," said a judicial order seen by AFP.
Television news cameras were not immediately able to get a clear shot of him during his release.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Zee Media Exclusive: Kangana, Madhavan talk about their film 'Tanu Weds Manu Returns'
- DNA: Harmful chemicals found in Maggi, Nestle India still in denial mode
- CM Kejriwal shortlists 39 'unwanted' IAS officers in Delhi
- Rajasthan: Gujjars revive reservation agitation, block rail track
- DNA: Modi-led NDA govt's hits and misses in one year
- Zee Media Exclusive interview with Congress leader Kamal Nath
- J Jayalalithaa sworn-in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
- Mumbai: One injured in shootout at Film City
- ISIS to buy first nuclear weapon from Pak?
- Mumbai: CCTV captures assailant with gun at Film City
- Dr Subhash Chandra Show: Aspiring for more than what you have!
- BJP now central pole of Indian politics: Arun Jaitley
- Zee Media Exclusive chat with 'Tanu Weds Manu Returns' cast Kangana, Madhavan
- Maharashtra FDA sends Maggi noodles for lab testing
- Mathura SSP receives death threat letter, message for PM Modi
- IPL 2015, Qualifier 2: CSK vs RCB - As it happened...
- India to soon have its own space shuttle!
- PM Narendra Modi graces Digvijay Singh's son wedding reception
- Rahul Gandhi to pressurise govt to act on one-rank-one-pension issue
- Goa Board SSC Exam Results 2015 announced
- ISIS close to buying nuclear weapon from Pakistan?
- Manohar Parrikar visits forward areas along LoC, reviews security situation
- Businessman shot next to Amitabh Bachchan's shooting location in Mumbai Film City
- There will be no delay in appointing CIC, CVC: Jitendra Singh
- Credibility of Prime Minister's Office restored by BJP, says Arun Jaitley
- ISIS justifies raping slave girls, says Michelle Obama is 'worth $40'
- LIVE SCORE: 1st Test, Day 2 - England vs New Zealand
- Arvind Kejriwal to highlight AAP govt's 100 days work on Monday