Jhon Jairo Velazquez Vasquez alias ‘Popeye’ (April 15, 1962 – present)

One of Pablo Escobar top lieutenants and lead hitmen (sicarios) in the Medellin Cartel. He served 23 years in prison for terrorism, drug trafficking, conspiracy for terrorist purposes and murder, then was released on early parole. Popeye has openly admitted to killing over 300 people and being involved in the murders of 3,000. After prison, Popeye became and author and social media star with hundreds of thousands of followers. On social media his handle is ‘Popeye the Repentant’.

Pablo Escobar (1 December 1949 – 2 December 1993) 

One of the most notorious Columbian drug smugglers and a leader in the Medellin Cartel. Pablo Escobar famously declared war against the Colombian government to force them to stop extradition with the United States. Escobar succeeded in this after many assassinations and terrorist attacks. He surrendered to the Colombian government in 1991 and was sent to the prison LA Catedral, which Escobar had built for himself. He escaped roughly a year later and was a fugitive until he was killed on December 2, 1993 in a shoot out with Colombian authorities. At the height of his power Pablo Escobar was one of the richest men on Earth being featured on the first Forbes List in 1987. This thrust him into the public light and he continues to be a famous or infamous figure long after his death. 

Roberto de Jesus Escobar Gaviria alias ‘El Osito’ (January 13, 1947 - present)

The brother of Pablo Escobar and accountant for the Medellin Cartel. Roberto surrendered to authorities along with his brother in 1991, but also escaped and was on the run with Pablo roughly a year later. However a year later he surrendered to authorities once again at Pablo’s orders along with Popeye and Otto. He served over 10 years in prison for drug trafficking and smuggling. After his release Roberto founded Escobar Inc. in 2014 and has been working to bring a law suit against Netflix for their series ‘Narcos’ claiming unauthorized usage of content. 

Otoniel De Jesus Gonzalez alias ‘Otto’

A lieutenant of Pablo Escobar in the Medellin Cartel. Otto was imprisoned at La Catedral with Escobar, but escaped with his boss in 1992. However under the command of Escobar Otto turned himself in along with El Osito and Popeye in a year later. Otto served 8 years in prison for conspiracy to commit a crime and drug trafficking. He was released in August of 2001, but was killed in February of 2002.

Jorge Eliécer Gaitán  (January 23, 1903 – April 9, 1948)

A major figure in Colombian history and politics, Gaitan was the head of the populist liberal party, and the leading Presidential candidate in Colombia1948. However he was assassinated April 9, 1948 setting off over a decade of violence in Columbia called ‘La Violencia’.

Jorge Eliécer Gaitán  (January 23, 1903 – April 9, 1948) 

A popular and charismatic politician, Gaitan was the leader of the populist movement in Colombia. In the presidential election of 1948, Gaitan was the leading candidate, and favored to win the race. On April 9, 1948, while campaigning, he was assassinated. His killing ignited a massive wave of violence and political unrest, leading to a bitter 10 year civil war, better known as La Violencia. 

Servelión Velásquez     

Father of Jhon Jairo Velasquez Vasquez, alias “Popeye”

Aura Ofelia Vásquez     

Mother of Jhon Jairo Velasquez Vasquez, alias “Popeye”

Fernando Galeano Berrio

Fernando was a Colombian narco-trafficker from Medellin. He was a trusted associate of Pablo Escobar. PablO was Godfather to Galeano’s children. 

Jhon Jairo Arias Tascon alias “Pinina”  (b.1961 – d. 6/14/1990)

Pinina was one of Pablo Escobar’s most trusted lieutenant’s, and leader of the sicarios. Prior to his death, Pinina participated in almost every criminal and terrorist act carried out by the Cartel. He was killed in a shoot-out with police in 1990.

Rodrigo Rodríguez Pacheco

Chief customs officer of Barranquilla. Killed by assassins

Elsy Sofia

Colombian beauty queen and former mistresses of Pablo Escobar. During her affair with Pablo, Popeye worked for her as a driver and bodyguard. 

Gustavo Gaviria (December 25, 1946 – August 11, 1990)

Pablo’s first cousin, partner, and close confidant. Known for keeping a low profile, Gustavo began working with Pablo in the early 1970’s. The two worked side by side, building their business in the cocaine trade. Early on Gustavo displayed a keen understanding for managing money. While Pablo became the face of the organization, many consider Gustavo, the financial head of the Medellin Cartel. Gustavo was killed in 1990. Shortly after Pablo surrendered to Colombian authorities. 

Richard Nixon (January 9, 1913-April 22, 1994)

37th President of the United States, from 1969 to 1974 (resigned). In 1973 President Nixon established the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), to be tasked with fighting the War on Drugs. 

Ronald Reagan (February 6, 1911- June 5, 2004)

40th President of the United States, From 1981 to 1989. In 1982 Reagan declared a War on Drugs in an effort to combat the rising levels of cocaine addiction and crack epidemic in the US. In 1986 he signed a drug enforcement bill that gave 1.7 billion dollars to help fight the War on Drugs. 

Nancy Reagan

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan was a staunch supporter of the War on Drugs. She became a public face of the administration’s anti-drug message. She toured numerous cities throughout the country delivering a “just say no” campaign. She appeared on television with her husband in a famous “anti-drug” message to the nation. 

Rodrigo Lara Bonilla (August 11, 1946 – April 30, 1984)

Rodrigo was a lawyer and Colombian politician. A co-founder of the Neuvo Liberalissimo Party (New Liberalism Party) along with Luis Carlos Galan. Lara was appointed Colombia’s Minister of Justice in August 1983. He began investigating Pablo Escobar in connection to the drug cartels and was assassinated in 1984. 

Enrique “Kiki” Camerena (July 26, 1947– February 9, 1985)

Camerena was a former U.S. Marine and undercover DEA agent working in Mexico. On February 7, 1985, during an undercover assignment, his cover was blown, and he was tortured and killed by Mexican drug cartel members working for drug lord Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo. His murder was the catalyst for ramping up the war against drugs in the U.S.

Jose Gonazlo Rodriguez-Gacha alias “El Mexicano” (May 14, 1947 – Dec 15, 1989)

Rodriquez-Gacha was one of the leaders of the Medellin Cartel. Originally, an emerald smuggler, who transitioned into the lucrative cocaine business. He eventually became partners with Pablo Escobar and a capo of the Medellin Cartel. He was active participant in several assassination and terrorist plots. In 1989, Rodriguez-Gacha was killed along with his son, during a shoot-out with police just outside of Cartagena. 

Jorge Luis Ochoa-Vasquez (September 30, 1950 - present)

The middle son of Don Fabio Ochoa, Jorge Luis was one of the leaders of the Medellin Cartel.  He along with his two-brother’s helped establish  the Medellin Cartel. Jorge Luis along with his brothers surrendered to Colombian authorities in January 1991 and served 5 years and 6 moths for drug trafficking before he was released in July 1996.

Juan David Ochoa-Vasquez (1949 – 25 July 2013)

The oldest son of Don Fabio Ochoa, Juan David was one of the leaders of the Medellin Cartel. Juan David along with his brothers surrendered to Colombian authorities in January 1991 and served 5 years before he was released in January 1996. Juan David died of a heart attack in July 2013.

Fabio Ochoa-Vasquez (May 2, 1957 - present)

The third and youngest son of Don Fabio Ochoa, and capo of the Medellin Cartel. Fabio Jr. surrendered to Colombian authorities in January 1991. Eight years after his release, he was arrested again, and accused of contributing knowledge and receiving payments for cocaine shipments. A year and half later, in September of 2001, Fabio Jr. was extradited to the United States. In 2003 he was convicted of trafficking, conspiracy and distribution of cocaine in the U.S. He was sentenced to 30 years in a U.S. federal prison. He is currently incarcerated in the United States Federal Prison in Jesup, Ga. 

Don Fabio Ochoa Restrepo (1923–2002)

Father of Jorge Luis, Juan David, and Fabio Jr. Restrepo Ochoa. Don Fabio was the patriarch of the notorious Ochoa clan. Fabio Sr. was a well-known rancher and horse breeder in Colombia before his sons involvement in narco trafficking. Don Fabio’s involvement in the cartel is unclear. 

Fabio Restrepo Ochoa

The uncle of Jorge Luis, Juan David, and Fabio Jr. Restrepo Ochoa was a successful Pisa smuggler working in Miami. Jorge Luis worked for him in Miami until the DEA arrested Restrepo Ochoa.

Carlos Lehder Rivas (September 7, 1949 - present)

Lehder was one of the bosses of the Medellin Cartel. Lehder was captured and extradited to the U.S. in 1987 where he was sentenced to life without parole, plus an additional 135 years. Lehder’s conviction showed the other Medellin Cartel members what would happen if they were extradited to the U.S. In 1992, Lehder’s sentence was reduced to 55 years, due to his testimony in another case. Lehder is still serving his sentence in a US federal prison.

George Jung (B. August 6, 1942 -) 

An associate of Carlos Lehder Rivas they met in jail in the U.S. Jung taught Rivas about smuggling and money laundering. After release Jung joined Rivas and the Medellin Cartel as a smuggler. 


A Colombian Marxist militant group with suspected ties to Pablo Escobar.

Cali Cartel

Another drug cartel based in the Colombian city of Cali. The Cali Cartel was headed by the brothers Gilberto Rodriquez Orejuela and Miguel Rodriquez Orjuela. Eventually, they become an enemy of the Medellin Cartel. While Escobar fought the Colombian government, he was also at war with the Cali Cartel. The Cali Cartel helped found the paramilitary group, “Los Pepes”, whose main objective was to hunt down Pablo Escobar. 

George Herbert Walker Bush (June 12, 1924 – Present)

41st President of the United States, from 1989 to 1993. During his eight-year tenure as Vice President, Bush headed the Reagan administration’s task force on the War on Drugs. George H.W. Bush was an enemy of Pablo Escobar, primarily because of America’s continued War on Drugs. On February 14, 1990, to show solidarity in the fight against narco-trafficking, President Bush, along with Colombian President Virgilio Barco, and the Presidents of Bolivia and Peru attended the Cartagena Drug Summit in Cartagena, Colombia. 

Guillermo Oswaldo Santana (b.-d.-unknown) 

Mid-level Medellin Cartel terrorist (sicario) captured in Bogota on February 12, 1990. 

Adler Berriman "Barry" Seal (July 16, 1939 – February 19, 1986)

Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Seal was a former airline pilot turned drug smuggler for the Medellin Cartel. He was convicted of drug smuggling in Florida but worked out a deal with the DEA to avoid prison. Seal became a DEA informant against the Medellin Cartel and Pablo Escobar. When Escobar discovered Seal worked with the Feds, he had Seal assassinated in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  

Gabriel Garcia Marquez (6 March 1927 – 17 April 2014)

Born in Aracataca, Colombia, Garcia Marquez is considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century and perhaps the greatest Spanish language author since Cervantes. Known affectionately to Colombian’s as “Gabo”, he is best known for his novels, “One Hundred Years of Solitude”,  “The Autumn of the Patriarch”, and “Love in the Time of Cholera”. He is widely recognized for his unique style of writing called “magical realism”. He won the Nobel prize for literature in 1982. Garcia Marquez had a very close friendship with Cuba’s Fidel Castro. 

Fidel Castro (13 August 1926 – 25 November 2016)

The former leader of Cuba (Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 and President from 1976 to 2008). In 1956, Castro along with his younger brother, Raul, and the Argentinian born, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, led a revolution against the autocratic government of Fulgencio Batista. In 1959, forces lead by Castro toppled the Batista government. Once in power, he turned Cuba into a one-party, socialist state under Communist Party rule. He remained in power over 50 years and was the longest-serving non-royal head of state in the 20th and 21st centuries. Fidel Castro was considered an enemy by the US government. While in Power the US maintained an economic embargo against Cuba in an unsuccessful effort to weaken the Castro regime. In the eyes of Pablo Escobar, Fidel Castro was an ally because both were at odds with the US government.

Raúl Castro (3 June 1931- present)

Raul Castro is a former President of Cuba serving from 2008 – 2018. He currently serves as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba which is the most senior position in the socialist state. He succeeded his brother, Fidel Castro, in April 2011. During Fidel’s presidency Raul served as the vice president of Cuba. Raul was his brother, Fidel’s, second in command. While  testifying at the trial of General Manuel Noriega, Carlos Leheder stated that he personally met with Raul Castro on behalf of the Medellin Cartel, where he brokered a deal to use Cuba as a transship point for cocaine shipments bound for the US. 

Gerardo “Kiko” Moncada

Kiko Moncada was a member of the Medellin Cartel. Pablo Escobar appointed Moncada and Fernando Galeano to run his operation on the outside, while he was inside La Catedral Prison. Several months later, Escobar suspected Moncada and Galeano of stealing money from him. Eventually Escobar summoned the two men to a meeting at La Catedral where their fates were already sealed. 

Enrique Parejo Gonzalez 

Gonzalez was appointed Minister of Justice by former Columbian President Belisario Betancur to replace Rodrigo Lara Bonilla who had been assassinated by Escobar. After receiving numerous death threats, he resigned as Justice Minister and was appointed Columbia’s ambassador to Hungary, as a means to get him out of Colombia. While living in Hungary, an assassination attempt was carried out by the Medellin Cartel,  nearly killing him. 

Amado Carillo Fuentes (December 17, 1956 – July 4, 1997)

Fuentes was leader of the Juarez Cartel, a Mexican drug cartel, and business associate of Pablo Escobar. Fuentes was known as “The Lord of the Skies” due to the large fleet of jets he used to smuggle drugs from Columbia to Mexico and the US, as well as ferry laundered cash back to Colombia. In addition to working with the Medellin Cartel, he also worked for the Cali Cartel. Carillo Fuentes died in 1997 during a surgery to alter his face. 

Federico Gutierrez

The mayor of Medellin, Colombia (January 2016 – present)

Mauricio Builles

An award-winning journalist and professor of Journalism at EAFIT, a prestigious university in Medellin. 

Juliana Uribe

EAFIT Student and contributor to the Narcotour Project (

Carolina Restrepo

EAFIT Student and contributor to the Narcotour Project (

Angie Rivera 

EAFIT Student and contributor to the Narcotour Project (

Andres Pastrana Arango (August 17, 1954 - present)

The 30th President of Colombia (1998 to 2002) and son of Misael Eduardo Pastrana Borrero, a former President of Colombia (1970 to 1974). Andres Pastrana was a journalist turned politician who was kidnapped by the Medellin Cartel on January 18, 1988. Following his kidnapping and subsequent rescue Pastrana won the election and became the Mayor of Bogota, paving the way for his meteoric rise in Colombian Politics. He has been called the “Colombian Ronald Reagan”. 

Misael Eduardo Pastrana Borrero (14 November 1923 – 21 August 1997)

The 23rd President of Colombia (1970 to 1974) and father of Andres Pastrana Arango.

Virgilio Barco Vargas (17 September 1921 – 20 May 1997)

The 27th President of Colombia (1986 to 1990). Virgilio Barco Vargas began his career in politics in 1943 as a city councilor. He served numerous Political positions in his career including Mayor of Bogota, Congressman, Senator and the Colombian Ambassador to Great Britain and The United States. As President of Colombia, Virgilio Barco took a hard stance against narcotraffickers. He worked closely with President Bush (41) to combat drug smuggling to the US. 

Los Extraditables

An organization founded in the 1980s, by members of the Medellin Cartel for the purpose of persuading the Colombian government into banning. While initially they went about this by non-violent means they quickly moved onto the more tried and true methods of murder, kidnapping, and terrorist attacks in an effort to force the government’s hand. Their motto was "We prefer a grave in Colombia to a prison in the United States." 

Carlos Mauro Hoyos (July 26, 1939 - January 25, 1988)

Carlos Mauro Hoyos was considered one of the toughest government officials in the war against trafficking. He began his legal career specializing in constitutional law and worked for the Judiciary of Colombia. He served in congress, and as a municipal judge and councilman in El Retiro, Antioquia. On September 17, 1987, he became the General Inspector of the nation. On January 25, 1988, Hoyos was kidnapped by the Medellin Cartel on the way to the Medellin airport. Later that same day, acting on orders from Pablo Escobar, Popeye executed Mauro Hoyos.

Carlos Ernesto Valencia Garcia (1944- August 16, 1989)

A Colombian court magistrate, assassinated by the Medellin Cartel on August 16, 1989. He was known as a courageous and tireless investigator, and a man of principles. Valencia Garcia was committed to social causes and outraged against violators of human rights. Despite threats against his family, Valencia Garcia remained committed to seeing justice served. He oversaw the indictment of Medellin Cartel capo, Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha for the murder of liberal politician, Jamie Pardo Leal.  Only hours before his assassination, he had ruled Pablo Escobar to stand trial for the assassination of El Espectador newspaper, editor-in-chief, Guillermo Cano in 1987. Valencia Garcia’s assassination sparked a crisis within the Colombian judicial system. He was 43 years old. 

Guillermo Cano Isaza (12 August 1925 – 17 December 1986)

Considered a giant in the world of Colombian journalism, Cano was the son of Fidel Cano Gutiérrez, the founder of the El Espectador newspaper. In 1952 he became the editor-in-chief of the paper. Cano, a staunch adversary of the cartels, published numerous articles and opinion pieces denouncing the drug traffickers. He was assassinated by the Medellin Cartel on December 17, 1986. In 1997, UNESCO created an annual prize bearing his name, the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, honoring a person or institution committed to outstanding work in defending the freedom of the press. In 2000 he was named one of International Press Institute's 50 World Press Freedom Heroes of the 20th century.

Colonel Waldemar Franklin Quintero (January 26, 1941 – August 18, 1989)

The commander of the Colombian National Police in Antioquia. Quintero was considered an enemy of the Medellin Cartel. He conducted multiple raids against the Cartel and the subsequent seizures of tons of cocaine and weapons. He thwarted an attempted assassination of Luiz Carlos Galan (Colombian Presidential candidate) in 1989. Franklin Quintero was assassinated by Medellin Cartel assassins, on the morning of August 18, 1989. He was 48 years old. 

Luis Carlos Galán Sarmiento (29 September 1943 – 18 August 1989)

Luis Carlos Galán Sarmiento began his career as a journalist. His entrance to politics began in 1970 after President Misael Pastrana appointed him Minister of Education. Galan was a member of the liberal party. He was eventually elected as a Senator from his native region of Santander. After feeling the need for reform, in 1979 he and three other colleagues, including Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, co-founded the New Liberalism party. He unsuccessfully ran for President in 1982, losing to Belisario Betancur. Despite the loss, the election helped his party gain national prominence. Galan was an outspoken opponent of drug trafficking and favored an extradition treaty with the United States. As a result, he found himself a target of organized crime syndicates in Colombia. Galan publicly declared himself the enemy of Medellin cartel capo’s, Pablo Escobar and Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha alias, “El Mexicano. In 1989, Galan ran again for President. This time he was the clear favorite, with an almost assured victory. On August 18, 1989. Galan was assassinated at a political rally near Bogota, in the town of Soacha, Cundinamarca, in front of thousands of onlookers. The assassination carried out by the Medellin Cartel, ignited a profound period of Cartel violence.  The killing of Galan would later reveal a bigger conspiracy involving not only the cartel but members of the Colombian political elite. 

Belisario Betancur Cuartas (4 February 1923 - present)

The 26th President of Colombia (1982 to 1986). He began his political career in 1945 and was a member of the conservative party. Betancur successfully ran against Luiz Carlos Galan, in the 1982 Presidential election. During his time as president he attempted peace talks with major guerrilla groups, however, these efforts were abandoned in 1985, shortly after the M19 attack on the Palace of Justice. 

Cesar Gaviria (March 31, 1947 - present)

The 28th President of Colombia (1990 to 1994). Gaviria was the running mate of Luiz Carlos Galan in the presidential election of 1989. After Galan’s murder, Gaviria became the New Liberalism party candidate for President. Three months after Galan’s murder, the Medellin Cartel carried out an assassination attempt on Gavira, by placing a bomb on an Avianca airlines flight from Bogota to Cali. Gaviria was scheduled to travel on the flight, but at the last minute his security changed his travel. The attack killed 107 individuals and further heighted the state of emergency in Colombia. Eventually Gaviria was elected President. During his time in office, Cartel kidnappings increased. His administration negotiated Pablo Escobar’s surrender and allowed him to be placed in La Catedral, the lavish prison constructed by Escobar himself. After the murders of Fernando Galeano and Gerardo Moncada, Gaviria ordered Escobar be transferred from La Catedral, leading to a standoff between Escobar and government troops. Escobar eventually escaped from La Catedral. Shortly after Escobar’s escape, Gaviria turned to the US for help with the hunt to capture or kill Escobar.

Miguel Alfredo Maza Márquez (1937 – present)

Retired General and former director of the DAS. Maza Marquez was the intended target in the bombing of the DAS headquarters in Bogota. In 2016 Maza Marquez was implicated in the assassination of Luiz Carlos Galan and was sentenced to 30 years in prison for participating in the murder of Luiz Carlos Galan.

Victor Julio Cruz 

Luiz Carlos Galan’s long time chief security agent who was relieved of duty only 20 days before Galan was assassinated. After Galan’s death, Cruz continued working as a DAS security agent for various politicians including, Rafael Pardo and César Gaviria in the 1990 presidential campaign. 

Jacobo Alfonso Torregrosa Melo 

A DAS agent who took over as chief security agent for Luiz Carlos Galan replacing Victor Julio Cruz was reassigned. He was Galan chief security agent when Galan was assassinated by the Medellin Cartel. 


The Administrative Department of Security or in Spanish “Departmento Administrativo de Seguridad”. Formed July 18, 1960 and dissolved October 31, 2011 being replaced by the DNI, Dirección Nacional de Inteligencia, in English, the National Intelligence Directoate. The DAS was the security service agency of Colombia. In addition to state security, they were responsible for border and immigration services. The DAS’s headquarters in Bogota was bombed on December 6, 1989 by the Medellin Cartel. 

Carlos Mario Alzate Urquijo alias “El Arete”

The son of Roberto Escobar's wife, he was a close associate of Pablo Escobar and carried out terrorist attacks and assassinations for the Cartel. Linked by police intelligence to the attack on the DAS building and many other terrorist attacks. He turned himself in to the authorities in February 1993 and confessed to the attack on Avianca's plane, which occurred in November 1989. He was imprisoned from 1993-2001

Alvaro de Jesus Agudelo alias “Limon”

A trusted associate of both Pablo and Roberto Escobar. He was one of Pablo Escobar’s personal bodyguards during the last 8 months of the drug trafficker's life. He died with the capo in December 1993

Ivan Urdinola Grajales Alias “El Enano”

One of the leaders of the Norte del Valle Cartel, or North Valley Cartel. He was captured by Armed Forces of Colombia at his ranch and sentenced to 8 years in prison. Urdinola protected Popeye while they were in prison together. Shortly before his release, he was killed in prison. 

Mario Henao Vallejo 

The brother-in-law and close associate of Pablo Escobar. He controlled Escobar’s business in Magdalena Medio with his cousin Hernan Darío Henao alias HH. He was killed in a police operation to capture Escobar and one of the Ochoa brothers on November 23, 1989 at the El Oro farm in the municipality of Puerto Triunfo.

Jorge Velasquez alias “El Navegante”

Originally the chief of security for Medellin Cartel boss Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha (alias El Mexicano). Navegante eventually turned against Gacha, by informing the police of the location where the kingpin was hiding. Gacha, and his son were killed during the police raid. Shortly after the death of Gacha, Navegante joined the Cali Cartel.

Otoniel De Jesus Gonzalez Franco alias ‘Otto’

A lieutenant in the Medellin Cartel. Otto was with Pablo inside La Catedral, and broke out with him in 1992. Otto turned himself into authorities, along with Roberto Escobar and Popeye a year later. Otto served 8 years in prison for conspiracy to commit a crime and drug trafficking. He was released from prison in August of 2001, however, he was killed in February of 2002 after being gunned down by sicario’s whom authorities believe were attempting to settle an old score.

Diana Turbay Quintero (March 9, 1950 – January 25, 1991)

The daughter of Julio Cesar Turbay Ayala Colombia’s 25th President (1978–1982). Turbay was a well-known and respected journalist in Colombia who founded “Noticiero Cripton”, a television news station, and “Hoy Por Hoy” a weekly magazine. Turbay was kidnapped by the Medellin Cartel on August 30, 1990. She was a captive until January 25, 1991 when she was killed during an attempted police rescue operation. Shortly after Popeye’s release, Diana’s daughter, Maria Carolina Hoyos Turbay met face to face with Popeye. The encounter was later broadcast on Colombian news.

Diego Murillo Bejarano alias “Don Berna”

Don Berna was the former bodyguard and head of security for Medellin Cartel associate, Fernando Galeano. Shortly after Pablo Escobar murdered Galeano at La Catedral Prison, Don Berna joined forces with Los Pepes, the paramilitary group responsible for hunting down Pablo Escobar. In the aftermath of Escobar’s death, Don Berna managed to take control of La Oficina with the backing of Fidel and Carlos Castano, the founders of the Colombian paramilitary group, the AUC. (Autodefensas Unidas Colombia) United Self Defense Forces of Colombia. Profits from La Oficina’s cocaine smuggling operations benefitted the AUC. Don Berna became perhaps one of the most prolific crime figures in post-Escobar Colombia. In May 2005, he was arrested by Colombian police for his participation in the murder of a local politician. In 2008, Don Berna, along with 13 other paramilitary leaders were extradited to the United States. In 2009 Don Berna was sentenced to 31 years in U.S. federal prison.

La Officina De Envigado (The Office of Envigado) 

La Oficina de Envigado is a Medellin crime syndicate that was formed around 1980. It was created as collection and enforcement branch for Pablo Escobar’s organization. Following Escobar’s death Don Berna took command of La Oficina and expanded its association with AUC paramilitaries. Today La Oficina, is considered one of the biggest criminal organizations in Colombia. According to authorities, the group is primarily involved in transnational narcotics trafficking and money laundering, but also linked to arms shipments and extorsion racquets.  

Erickson Vargas Cardona alias “Sebastian”

Vargas Cardona began working for La Oficina by stealing cars and rose up through the organization quickly, and eventually became an assassin (or sicario).  Following Don Berna’s arrest and extradition to the U.S., La Oficina, became engaged in a power struggle over control of the outfit. Eventually, Vargas Cardona took control of La Oficina. In 2012 Vargas Cardona was arrested by Colombian authorities. In 2013, Vargas Cardona was extradited to the U.S., where he was convicted of conspiring to import cocaine. He is currently serving a sentence of 25 years in a U.S. federal prison. 

Juan Carlos Mesa Vallejo alias “Tom”

The alleged head of La Oficina De Envigado. On the evening of December 9th, 2017, Mesa was arrested while celebrating his 50th birthday at a resort just outside of Medellin. Prior to his capture, in 2014, Mesa was named on the “Clinton List” by US treasury department, as the leader of La Oficina. At the time of his capture, according to the US State Department, Mesa was wanted in Colombia “for conspiracy to commit aggravated murder while attempting to gain control of the Medellin drug/criminal underworld.” The U.S. Government had offered a 2 million dollar reward for his arrest and capture. In 2012 Mesa took control of La Oficina, following the arrest of Erickson Vargas Cardona alias “Sebastian”.

Federico Gutiérrez

The Mayor of Medellin. A native of Medellin, he was born in 1974. He studied civil engineering and management at the University of Medellín and political science at the Pontifical Bolivarian University. During his graduate studies, Gutiérrez was elected to the youth municipal council (in 1999) and served as municipal planning adviser, participating in the analysis of the city's development plan for the years 2001 to 2003. Gutiérrez was elected to the Medellín municipal city council in the 2003. In 2008 during his second term on the council, he became president of the municipal council. He was elected Mayor in 2015. A fierce critic of Popeye’s, Gutiérrez has been outspoken when it comes to the narrative of Medellin.  In 2018 he announced that Pablo Escobar’s former home would be torn down. 

Claudia Carrasquilla

National Director Against Organized Crime of the Attorney General's Office of Colombia.  (She is the chief prosecutor in Colombia, against organized crime) In June of 2017, Claudia Carrasquilla was appointed the National Prosecutor against Organized Crime. She was previously the director of the Sectional Prosecutor's Office of Medellín, where she stood out for her investigative work. Carrasquilla’s relentless pursuit to eradicate criminal enterprises in Medellin (and Colombia) has made her a target. In 2017 a bounty was placed on her head by several criminal outfits. As a prosecutor in Medellin, she oversaw the capture and prosecutions of several high level cartel members and buses.  A native of Medellin, she lived through the narco wars of the Medellin Cartel.