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One of Colombia’s most feared drug cartel assassins has walked free after serving 22 years in jail for scores of murders ordered by the notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar during the cocaine trafficking heyday of the 1980s. Jhon Jairo Velasquez, known by his alias Popeye, was released early from the high security Combita prison in central Boyaca after completing about three-fifths of his sentence and receiving a reduction for studying and good behaviour. He left the prison heavily guarded by state-provided protection.

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