Nelson Hernandez was born in Colombia to a family of African descent, and he was an associate of Pablo Escobar since the late 1970s, working as one of his bodyguards and sicarios (hitmen). Blackie was a lifelong follower of Escobar, and he was trusted enough to stay with Escobar's family at times. In 1992, he helped his boss in the execution of the treacherous Gerardo Moncada with assistance from Velasco, and Blackie and Velasco beat him to death and dismembered him. Later in 1992, Los Pepes murdered his girlfriend and his father-in-law at their house in Medellin after they denied knowledge of where Blackie was, one of the many brutal attacks carried out by the government-sanctioned death squad. Blackie was most important to Escobar when he carried out the 1993 Bogota shopping center bombing, planting 220 lbs of C4 plastic explosives in a car parked in a downtown shopping center. The bombing left over 20 dead and 70 wounded, and Hernandez apologized to God while watching television footage of the aftermath of the attack. Hernandez, sensing that Escobar was going crazy, lied about seeing his wife Maria Henao and their daughter Manuela in a hotel window in order to prevent Escobar from forcing him to stay put until he saw them. However, he was arrested by police as he left the payphone, and he was interrogated by the DEA. Rather than be hanged for the bombing, he gave Agent Javier Pena and Agent Steve Murphy details on Juan Diego Diaz, leading to the Search Bloc raid on Montecasino.