Leider Johani Noscue, alias ‘Mayimbú’

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

Noscue has risen 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 is 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. 

History

Mayimbú joined the FARC in 2003 when he was just a boy. While his exact age is unknown, he is thought to be no more than 30 years old. He is of indigenous origin and is originally from 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 has commanded the Javier Martínez Mobile Column since 2018, 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[1].

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 have 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. A current alliance between the two groups has been rumored but InSight Crime has been unable to confirm this. although there is no clarity around this statement. 

The government is currently offering a reward of 150 million pesos ($45,000) for information leading to Mayimbú’s capture.

Criminal Activity

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

Mayimbú has a criminal record that includes 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 has 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 the north of Cauca.

Mayimbú maintains control over the Golden Triangle of Marijuana, made up of the municipalities of Corinto, Miranda and Caloto, where he waged war with the EPL for control of the region. 

The creation of the dissident of the Jaime Martínez Mobile Column has essentially divided the territory of 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 is concentrated in the Naya region. This location has allowed Mayimbú to expand his territory into the municipalities of Suárez, Morales, Buenos Aires, Santander de Quilichao and López de Micay.

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 extortion in northern Cauca in May 2018.

It has also been reported that Mayimbú has maintained direct contact with Néstor Gregorio Vera Fernández, alias “Iván Mordisco.” Mordisco is a key ally of a senior commander in the ex-FARC mafia, Miguel Botache Santillana, alias “Gentil Duarte,” and an important part of his plan to reunite FARC dissidents into a single fighting force.

The main regional enemy of the Jaime Martínez Mobile Column has traditionally been the EPL, although the EPL has suffered from a loss of power after losing a war to the National Liberation Army (Ejército Nacional de Liberación – ELN) in Norte de Santander. Nevertheless, Mayimbú’s group has forced its rivals to draw back in sectors such as Timba, Buenos Aires and Jamundí, freeing itself of confrontations with the ELN. 

Perspective

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

His group is part of FARC dissidents who have prioritized criminal economies over any link to the FARC’s political struggles. Mayimbú is in the mold of leaders such as Walter Patricio Arizala, alias “Guacho,” the former commander of the dissident Oliver Sinisterra Front who terrorized the department of Nariño before being killed in December 2018. 

Due to this, Mayimbú could be one of the winners of the criminal chess game played in northern Cauca, quickly becoming a high-value target for authorities. And while unconfirmed, he could be seen as playing an important role in Gentil Duarte’s national plans for FARC reunification as he has territorial control, criminal revenue and military power in one of Colombia’s most important drug trafficking regions.  

[1] Semana, “La reunión citada por disidentes de las FARC a la que tuvieron que asistir candidatos de Suárez en el Cauca” September 4, 2019. Published: https://www.semana.com/nacion/articulo/la-reunion-citada-por-disidentes-de-las-FARC-a-la-que-tuvieron-que-asistir-candidatos-de-suarez-en-el-cauca/630493 

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