HomeColombiaLeider Johani Noscue, alias 'Mayimbú'
COLOMBIA

Leider Johani Noscue, alias 'Mayimbú'

COLOMBIA PERSONALITIES / 8 NOV 2019 BY INSIGHT CRIME EN

Leider Johani Noscue, known by his alias 'Mayimbú,' was one of the highest-value military targets in Colombia, based in the western department of Cauca. 

Noscue rose rapidly as a leader of the ex-FARC Mafia since leaving the peace process between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - FARC) and the government, to become the head of the dissident Jaime Martínez Mobile Column focused on international drug trafficking. 

He was estimated to have around 100 armed men under his charge in the municipalities of Suárez, Corinto and Toribio, in Cauca, a crucial area for marijuana crops and an important drug trafficking throughpoint. He was killed in June 2022 during a raid on his stronghold in the town of Suárez.

History

Mayimbú joined the FARC in 2003 when he was just a boy and died at the age of 31. He was reportedly of Indigenous origin and was born in the municipality of Toribio in Cauca.

He was trained by Edgar López Gómez, alias “Pacho Chino,” ex-leader of the FARC’s Sixth Front. He then began to make a reputation for himself, based on his involvement in a series of murders and violent kidnappings. 

His role in the guerrilla appears to have mostly consisted of gathering intelligence with urban areas and providing logistical support. On January 4, 2011, he was captured in Santander de Quilichao. He was charged with rebellion but managed to escape later that year.

He was captured again in 2014, but returned to freedom at the end of 2017 after taking advantage of the amnesty program offered by Colombia's Special Jurisdiction for Peace (Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz - JEP).

He commanded the Javier Martínez Mobile Column from 2018 to 2021, with the goal of uniting and leading ex-FARC dissidents in Cauca. Defense Minister Guillermo Botero confirmed that Mayimbú has ordered the murders of members of Indigenous communities in this department, such as that of indigenous governor Edwin Dagua Ipia in December 2018.

In September 2019, Karina García Sierra, a mayoral candidate in the community of Suárez, was found dead in a van along with several other occupants, including her mother. She had reportedly received threats and that she had been forced into meetings with Mayimbú in order to present her government plan.

Initially, the Javier Martínez Mobile Column denied responsibility for the hit, a version of the story supported by an alleged pamphlet from the non-existent Sinaloa New Generation Cartel which claimed responsibility for the massacre. However, the pamphlet turned out to be fake, and the hoax has been blamed on Mayimbú. 

Mayimbú's men also repeatedly clashed in recent years with the Popular Liberation Army (Ejército Popular de Liberación - EPL) over the control of marijuana revenues in Cauca.

This confrontation began to form as both groups sought to control the Golden Triangle, located between the municipalities of Corinto, Miranda and Caloto and one of Colombia's best marijuana production areas. 

Prior to his death in June 2022, the government was offering a reward of 150 million pesos ($45,000) for information leading to Mayimbú’s capture.

Criminal Activity

Mayimbú set himself up as a strongman in Cauca's marijuana-producing region of Corinto, Miranda and Caloto.

Mayimbú had a criminal record that stretched to at least 15 murders, as well as kidnappings and terrorist attacks. In 2014, for example, he participated in the kidnappings of the daughter of a member of the public security forces and of two businessmen in the north of Cauca. 

Likewise, authorities have dismantled several illegal gold mines in the municipality of López de Micay that were under the control of the Jaime Martínez Column. More than a kilogram of gold was extracted every month in these illegal mines, generating close to 1.5 billion pesos ($440,000) annually. 

But the incident that brought Mayimbú to the forefront of Colombia's criminal landscape was the murder of Suárez’s mayoral candidate, Karina García, in September 2019.

Geography

Mayimbú first started to establish his influence in Toribio, Cauca, in 2010, when he claimed responsibility for the murder of two soldiers. He also participated in the kidnapping of three individuals in the municipalities of Guachené and Puerto Tejada, in northern Cauca.

Mayimbú controlled the Golden Triangle of Marijuana, made up of the municipalities of Corinto, Miranda and Caloto, where he waged war against the EPL for control of the region, which he seemed to have won.

Along with the pamphlet announcing the creation of the Jaime Martínez column, the group territorially divided northern Cauca. Its central mountain range has remained in the hands of the dissidents of the Dagoberto Ramos Mobile Column, with whom Mayimbú's group has had no conflicts, and the Jaime Martínez Column, which is concentrated in the Naya region. This location allowed Mayimbú to expand his territory into the municipalities of Suárez, Morales, Buenos Aires, Santander de Quilichao and López de Micay.

In recent years, their actions also expanded to Valle del Cauca, where they settled in Buenaventura, Dagua and Jamundí.

Allies and Enemies

Within the FARC, Mayimbú was trained by Édgar López Gómez, alias “Pacho Chino,” the former commander of the FARC’s 6th Front. There are also unconfirmed reports that his brother was a member of the FARC dissidence, before being arrested for extorting merchants in northern Cauca in May 2018.

The main regional enemy of the Jaime Martínez Mobile Column has traditionally been the EPL, although there no recent information indicating the presence of this group in the territory and the National Liberation Army (Ejército Nacional de Liberación - ELN). Nevertheless, Mayimbú's group forced its rivals to draw back in sectors such as Timba, Buenos Aires and Jamundí, freeing itself of confrontations with the ELN.

Perspective

Mayimbú was a considerable force within the ex-FARC Mafia, especially because he was able to point to more recent criminal feats after the demobilization, without needing to fall back on a significant track record within the FARC.

Under Mayimbú, the Jaime Martínez Mobile Column was among the FARC dissidents that have prioritized criminal economies over any link to the FARC's political or social interests. Mayimbú was akin to leaders such as Walter Patricio Arizala, alias “Guacho," the former commander of the dissident Oliver Sinisterra Front who terrorized the department of Nariño up until his death in December 2018.

Mayimbú was one of the winners of the criminal chess game in northern Cauca, but he also quickly becoming a high-value target for authorities. After his death, it remains uncertain who will take the reins of the dissidents in the area or if there is a real risk of fragmentation.

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