Géner García Molina, better known as “Jhon 40,” is the one who connects the cocaine that leaves southern Colombia with its buyers in Venezuela. If there is one example of the transformation the FARC’s structure due to its immersion in the drug trafficking business, it is Jhon 40.
The dissident went from being a young man with communist ideals and a badly placed faith in the insurgent struggle to becoming an extravagant drug lord who liked to buy luxury horses, only wore imported military clothing and handled billions of pesos a year. Because of this, Jhon 40 became one of the main objectives of the Colombian government in its fight against the guerrillas, and is currently one of the most important actors in international drug trafficking in southern Colombia.
Jhon 40 was born in the municipality of San Martín in the department of Meta on August 23, 1963. He is the grandson of Roque Molina, alias “El Diablo,” one of the peasants who took up arms in the 1960s with alias “Tirofijo” in Marquetalia in the department of Tolima.
His criminal career began in the 1980s when he joined the 31st Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC) after spending two years as secretary in the Communist Youth (Juventudes Comunista – JUCO). In the beginning, Jhon 40 used the name of Francisco Javier Builes to cover up his actions. But as he gained importance within the guerrilla organization, his real name came to light.
Shortly after joining the guerrillas, he learned the trade of drug trafficking thanks to Tomás Molina Caracas, alias “El Negro Acacio,” who by then was the FARC’s drug czar. In 2006, Jhon 40 was already considered one of Meta department’s drug lords. With extravagant clothes, jewelry and gold watches, luxurious vans and a satellite phone that never left his side, Jhon 40 was acquiring the characteristics of what would be the guerrilla’s most important drug lord. His power in the region was such that as commander of the 43rd Front, he was believed to move up to 100 tons of coca per year, receive billions of pesos for drug trafficking transactions and control almost 5,000 hectares of coca.
In 2006, the Colombian government, supported by the United States, implemented operation “Emperador,” which gathered 3,200 uniformed men in Meta with the sole objective of capturing Jhon 40.
The criminal power of Jhon 40 would increase in 2007, when Negro Acacio died after a military bombing. The FARC Secretariat ordered him to take control of the coca business in the south of the country. As a result, Jhon 40 went on to handle all of the drug trafficking in the departments of Meta and Guaviare, which not only increased his power within the FARC, but also increased his lack of discipline and excesses.
In 2008, the Colombian government bombed his camp, leaving him severely wounded and striking the structure of the 43rd Front. Due to this, in 2010 the FARC Secretariat carried out a “revolutionary trial” against John 40. He was accused of a growing lack of discipline, “bad” drug trafficking practices and weakening his front. The results of this war council weren’t clear, but some sources said that John 40 was under the direct orders of a member of the Secretariat. On the other hand, other sources indicated that there were no reprimands against the 43rd Front’s commander, and that he instead fled to Venezuela after the bombing.
Jhon 40 surfaced again in 2012 when men under his command clashed with the military in the jungles of the department of Guainía. That same year he was identified as having founded the “Acacio Medina” Front in the municipality of Maroa across the border in Venezuela.
With the beginning of the peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC Secretariat, Jhon 40 was considered the main financier of the Eastern Bloc, mainly due to his control over the commercialization of cocaine in Colombia’s border regions with Venezuela and Brazil, and his ties with drug traffickers from both countries.
By 2015, Jhon 40 was named as one of the commanders who would not participate in the FARC’s demobilization process. In fact, the National Anti-Narcotic and Money Laundering Directorate (Dirección Nacional de Antinarcóticos y Lavado de Activos) accused Jhon 40 of continued involvement in criminal activities in Meta.
His distancing from the peace process was confirmed in 2016, when he announced that he would not demobilize with the guerrillas. Soon after, the FARC Secretariat officially expelled him from their ranks along with four other commanders. By December of that year, the national authorities identified Jhon 40 as a high-value target, while Interpol issued a red alert against him.
Currently Jhon 40 seems to be in Venezuela and hidden in a border area near Colombia. He may have allied with remnants of the Acacio Medina Front and continued to control cocaine markets in Venezuela, as well as illegal coltan mining in Amazonas state.
When he belonged to the FARC, Jhon 40 controlled international cocaine shipment routes from Meta and Guaviare. He was in charge of relations with drug buyers in Colombia’s border regions with Brazil and Venezuela, who guaranteed them that at least 100 tons of cocaine would be trafficked per year. His profits were counted by the billions of pesos, making him one of the main economic suppliers of the FARC’s Eastern Bloc.
The power of Jhon 40 gave him the label of one of the FARC’s greatest drug lords. It was even said that he controlled his own town in the rural area of Meta department’s Puerto Rico municipality.
John 40 also meddled in different structures to launder dirty money from cocaine trafficking. He shaped a network of frontmen through which he bought estates and luxurious properties in the main capitals of the country, while he built bars, hotels and clubs in Meta with drug money.
With the demobilization of the FARC, Jhon 40 is involved in the trade of Colombian cocaine in Venezuela through alliances with drug trafficking groups in that country. Although, considering the role that Jhon 40 had when he belonged to the FARC, he could also control the sale of Colombian cocaine on the border with Brazil.
Finally, he is said to have continued being part of the dissident structure of the Acacio Medina Front.
When Jhon 40 commanded the 43rd Front, he controlled Meta department. Currently, his whereabouts are not known with any degree of certainty. Colombian military intelligence places him outside the country in Venezuela, where they believe he operates on the border between Venezuela’s Amazonas state and Colombia’s Guaviare department.
Allies and Enemies
Jhon 40 has alliances with the FARC’s dissident 1st Front and its commander “Iván Mordisco” and alias “Gentil Duarte,” with the intention of maintaining the constant flow of cocaine from Guaviare to ensure its transit through Venezuela. He also has alliances with alias “Giovanni Chuspas,” the former 16th Front commander and who would be helping him move within Venezuela, and with Miguel Díaz Sanmartín, alias “Julián Chollo,” the former middle commander of the Frente Acacio Medina and who was appointed to work with Jhon 40 to control a dissident front in Venezuela’s Amazonas state.
If one takes into account the recent history of Jhon 40, it’s safe to say that his role will include international drug trafficking. In the current post-peace agreement period, he does not seem to have the power to control drug trafficking routes in Colombia. However, he does have knowledge and alliances with drug traffickers in Brazil and Venezuela, which places him at the last link in the drug trafficking chain and puts him in charge of selling the drug abroad. Due to this, the importance of Jhon 40 could increase rapidly within the criminal and drug trafficking landscape in Colombia’s border regions with Venezuela and Brazil.
“El Pueblo de Jhon 40” El Tiempo. September 3, 2003
“El capo de las FARC” Semana. June 2, 2006
“La cadena del narcotráfico de las disidencias del sur” La Silla Vacía. August 17, 2017
“Alleged ELN Members Captured in Venezuela” InSight Crime. May 2, 2017
“Bandas de exfarc trabajan unidas en los Llanos” Semana. July 27, 2017
“Los corridos del capo de la guerrilla” El Espectador. PMay 2, 2009
“Circular roja de Interpol contra ‘John 40’ y ‘Gentil Duarte’ disidentes de FARC” Caracol Noticias. December 14, 2016.