Medellin can be a rough city sometimes. So much so that even Pablo Escobar's most notorious former hitman isn't safe from muggers.
On Monday, police in Colombia's second largest city reported that former narco hitman Jhon Jairo Velasquez was robbed at gunpoint as he drove by a shopping mall in the city's wealthy El Poblado district.
Medellin daily El Colombiano, citing the police report, says men on motorcycles approached Velasquez's car, pulled a gun, and robbed him of his Cartier sunglasses, a cellphone, and a golden bracelet.
Velasquez, who has confessed to more than 300 murders and is better known by his criminal alias "Popeye," expressed his outrage on Twitter.
“Medellin has overcome the time of great violence. But hordes of motorcyclists commit robberies. We have no mayor,” the retired hitman wrote.
Velasquez claims he was targeted for another robbery attempt in Medellin three months ago, and escaped by slamming his car into his assailants.
“I don't do that anymore, because I know it's illegal,” he tweeted.
Velasquez joined the Medellin cartel in the 1980s after a brief stint in the Colombian Navy, where he picked up his famous sobriquet. In 1992 he turned himself in and served 24 years in prison for terrorism, murder and kidnappings. But he was given a reduced sentence for helping Colombian police investigate drug routes and political assassination attempts.
Velasquez now has a popular YouTube channel called “Remorseful Popeye,” where he rants about Colombian politics. After Monday's robbery, he called on Colombia's next president to give citizens the right to bear arms.
Medellin Mayor Federico Gutierrez did not take kindly to Velasquez's twitter criticisms about crime in his city.
“It is disconcerting that someone who did so much harm give us lessons on morality nowadays,” Gutierrez tweeted Monday. “We are fighting against the criminal atmosphere that he helped to build.”
Manuel Rueda is a correspondent for Fusion, covering Mexico and South America. He travels from donkey festivals, to salsa clubs to steamy places with cartel activity.