The Murder of Noah Goldberg AKA ‘Medellin Paisa’

Posted on 02. Sep, 2012 by in colombia

Alternate Title: Colombian Sex Tourism Business Ends in Bloodshed

48-year-old US citizen Noah Goldberg was shot dead in May 2012, the second American killed in Medellin that year. Medellin is prone to violence, but I never felt unsafe during my three trips totaling over 6 weeks. I always wonder how these gringo killings go down. Botched robbery? Drunken argument?

And I always conclude that Medellin may not be as safe as it feels. However, there’s more to the Goldberg story. The newspapers mentioned that Goldberg ran a travel agency, but none reported that it catered to sex tourism. I only learned recently from an offhand comment from a reader email. I started researching the case and wound up going down the rabbit hole. Goldberg’s death was an international news story, and the public (myself included) concluded that his murder was random. The city of Medellin and greater Colombia undeservedly took the blame. However, random violence didn’t kill Noah Goldberg.

Goldberg offered services to sex tourists. He was well known on the sex tourism forums, CostaRicaTicas.com (CRT) and InternationalSexGuide.info (ISG). He offered discounts for CRT members – a paid membership focusing on Costa Rica. He had a reputation among the whoremongers (‘mongers’) as a shameless self-promoter. He worked out deals with hotels to create sex tourism travel packages. He got cuts from every angle. He was building and promoting a full-time sex tourism business with multiple revenue streams. He was immersed in the industry.

Before setting up shop in Medellin, Goldberg briefly worked in Latin America’s sex tourism capital, San Jose, Costa Rica. He quickly made enemies and relocated to Colombia. Much of this article uses less-than-concrete sources. However, this much has been established as fact:

  • Noah Goldberg ran Medellin Paisa Tours, a travel agency catering to sex tourism. He made enemies in Costa Rica and Colombia.
  • He was killed while with a client.
  • In addition to Medellin Paisa Tours, Goldberg had begun loaning money in Medellin.
  • He was killed by two gunmen who were drinking beer at an adjacent table. There were no words beforehand, no argument. There was no robbery. They stood up, produced pistols, and shot him twice – once in the head, once in the shoulder.

That’s been established. The rest of this article is based on anonymous witnesses, forum posts, etc.

Here’s a detailed testimonial of Goldberg’s services:

Medellin Paisa Tour Update:

After coming back from Santa Fe, we decided to extend our trip and see more of Medellin. There was a last-minute cancellation of a reservation in this penthouse in Castropol, Poblado…and Medellin Paisa hooked us up with a great deal. So we decided to stay for 3 more days, and our friend from Miami flew in and we stayed in this 5-br penthouse overlooking the city…incredible place, great deal, with views of the whole city. Party palace.

Got set up with a private chef…amazing Italian meal…we then sat in the group jacuzzi.

The more I saw there, the more I smiled. Friends and I were hooked up with amazing women…no bs, no clock-watchers, and not one time did any of them pick up their cell phones. Original deal was for 3 hours with them, and they stayed and partied with us all night. The girls left in the morning and thanked us for a good time.

To add icing to the cake, for our final night, Medellin Paisa kept talking about our “final surprise”. We all took naps in the afternoon and then went out for a nice seafood dinner somewhere off “La Setenta”. I had a delicious red snapper, my friends were all happy. When we asked what the surprise was, he kept smiling his devilish smile. At this point, it was just Medellin Paisa’s crew and our crew, which was all guys…we kept wondering when we were going to see some women.

When the surprise was finally unveiled, we were all pleasantly surprised…we were taken to this discrete, and very private after hours club.

The place was somewhere close to Estadio off one of the circles. We went up to the gate, and were welcomed in and escorted to the second floor, where there was a bar, a dance floor with a pole, and many lounge rooms. In the far back, is an outdoor terrace, where people were smoking cigarettes and talking. The management and staff clearly knew Medellin Paisa very well.

Everyone came up and gave him a kiss or shook his hand. We were given a bottle of aguardiente on the house, and escorted to a private lounge with couches and tables. It was a very relaxed atmosphere…we sat down, and immediately were greeted by 6 beautiful paisas who asked us if there was anything we needed. I ordered a beer for myself and friends, and was pleasantly surprised it only cost 3000 pesos/beer.

We watched some girls dance, the owner, a beautiful blonde paisa, came over and sat down to talk with us. We spent a couple hours just chatting and drinking with the women. No one ever asked us for anything…no pressure at all.

At 2:30 in the morning, I heard the doorbell ring, saw 4 taxi’s down on the street with women pouring out of them. About 15-20 women walked through the door, and we had the choice of women in the place. I chose a tall, black haired beauty from Baranquilla…rocked my world, and only for 70,000 pesos. She eventually came home with me.

I was surprised to see the sun rising…had no idea how much time had passed.

Lucky we still made our flight at 2 pm. The last night was definitely one of the most interesting nights of my life, still with a smile on my face as I type this.

See two more testimonials.

Clients could book an entire tour on the Medellin Paisa Tours website. His prices reflected up to a 50% markup on hotel rooms. He charged $65 USD for a taxi from the airport (which should never be more than 65,000 pesos). This is how Goldberg irked many in the mongers community, which organized to share information and benefit from collective knowledge. One monger published this sarcastic post, summing up the mongers’ criticisms of Goldberg:

I just spent a week in Medellin and I booked my trip thru Medellin Paisa. He had a car waiting for me at the airport for $65. Its okay that the actual rate is about $50, since I was informed that you could get kidnapped if you just grab any taxi.

The Lincoln Hotel was very good. They were kind to tell me that we Americans can not book direct and get the $60 rates because of some law there so we must book thru a third party and pay about 40% more.

Medellin Paisa introduced me to a few very nice ladies. I thought the $150 a night rate was high but they said it was fair. It was strange that no Colombian women give blowjobs, They all hate it.

I don not understand why I need to send them Western Union but, they are poor, so what the Hell.

Everyday I was informed of the multiple muggings all around town and the many hotel break ins.

I am glad I have a friend for life now. This was the best $5,000 vacation that I ever had.

When these criticisms were leveled, Goldberg often mocked and insulted the members. Here’s a senior monger admonishing him:

CRT members can be tough and demanding with their service providers. Fortunately, the successful CRT sponsors live and breath customer service, have very thick skin and offer decent value for their goods or services. You can learn alot from the gulch business owners who address issues and complaints on here. They listen to the feedback from the guys on here and make adjustments accordingly without feeling hurt and throwing insults at potential customers. If a provider offers a decent product, the positive posts you read on here are just the tip of the iceberg… the meaningful, market-capturing kudos are spread via word of mouth & private conversations. Maybe, it’s time to step back and re-evaluate if your business model is not working as planned. Your business should give your customers the product they want at a price that is “fair and reasonable”. Good luck…

Goldberg was known to emphasize the danger in Colombia and drop scopolamine warnings. This is not uncommon among legit, non-sex tour guides I know in Colombia. I’ve never seen anyone do it to the extent he did, but some gringo tour guides exaggerate the danger to justify taking personalized tours. And scopolamine should be on the radar of gringos visiting Colombia, especially if they’re going to be partying with prostitutes.

Here are selections showing Goldberg’s emphasis on the security element in his services:

There are many places in Medellin that are not for the faint-of-heart. The trick is to be discrete!! Todo es Muy Discreto en Medallo.

For example, despite what he says, this Club is not for a guy like Bbrocs who speaks absolutely no Spanish & must rely on his right-hand-man to act as translator & protector. If you offend the wrong person you may be on your last trip to Medallo!!

But the members on this Board seemed to express a true interest in visiting this type of Club (there are many more of these types of underground clubs in Medallo). It can be a lot of fun if you have the street smarts & know how to talk the talk!!

I have brought many friends to this Club & they have had a fantastic time! Take a look at the Trip Report by Kansas Cowboy on the first page in this ever-expanding thread. He & his crew had an amazing evening!!

Medellin can be a dangerous place but the owner of this Club is a wonderful woman (Her name is Kate La Gata) who has expressed an interest in entertaining foreigners. I always feel more than welcome in her Casa.

Just remember that the Narcos like to share their chicas. If a fellow guest expresses an interest in your chica de noche I would suggest that you offer to share…In return they will share their chicas with you!!

I don´t just provide translator services. I have a five man crew of guides and we watch the back of our clients (I know the owners & security at the Club as well).

But at the same time I would never bring a loud-mouth client to this Club (Wink-Wink). It would only be a headache for everyone involved!!

The point I was trying to make regarding Bbrocs is that, whether you speak Spanish or not, if you don´t know ´PEOPLE´down here in Medallo you put yourself at some risk.

I don´t have a corner on this market (knowing People) but I take my guide responsibilities seriously & would never put a client/friend at risk. If a client wants to take a Walk on the Wildside an important part of our job is to make sure that they can focus on enjoying themselves & not have to worry about anything. If a situation arises where it becomes unsafe for our clients, myself & my crew of guides will firmly suggest that it is time to move on. Our job is to anticipate any type of trouble before it even happens. Being a good Brujo is part of what we are all about!!

Once again, I would strongly advise that you only visit this type of Casa if you are capable of reading the eyes of people (i.e you have street-smarts). Just relying on a translator can get you in a lot of trouble. Many Colombians would never consider frequenting this type of Casa.

As they say down here in PaisaLandia….

Usted tiene que leer los ojos de la gente!!

Let´s wait to see & hear from the CRT Membership what kind of experiences they have at the Club. If there is a positive response from both the CRT Membership as well as the owner/staff of the Club I will be happy to include the addresses of other locations. I am being a little bit cautious because I am not completely confident that CRT members can go to a place like this without a proper escort. Perhaps, Jimmy will volunteer to be our test case! If he survives the experience it will prove that almost anyone can go to this type of Club!

To answer your question: The Club is both eat-in & take-out. There is no bar fine involved! But the Club has certain chicas that are on staff & these chicas are not allowed to leave with a client. But at the same time many chicas just show up to party (usually after 2 am) & are free to leave with a potential client, or rent one of the rooms for a private party. Generally the rates for a chica and room are only $70,000. pesos for an hour but I don´t want to commit to this price quote because it can depend on the chica & the type of customer (i.e. YMMV). Also please remember that many of these chicas have never met/nor been with a gringo before. They are Narco Party Girls but you need to be very careful with them if you decide to leave with one of them. I would suggest that for first encounters that you party in the club & rent one of the rooms.

One more bit of advice:

This is not the kind of Casa where you just pop-in to take a look at the menu like other Casas in El Centro! The etiquette is that you come in….they show you to a lounge area…you buy a drink (Only $4,000 pesos for a beer) & other optional party favors…and then you invite the chicas in to your lounge area to party with you….If you want to just pop-in for 5 minutes I seriously doubt that they will ever let you back in through the front door ever again. They also might suspect you of being a DEA agent or some other type of police officer! LOL!

Just remember that this is an underground type of Club. There are rules that must be followed, and these rules are not written down!

That is why I strongly suggest that if you frequent a club like this that you go with someone who has experience dealing with this form of Paisa Entertainment. It is highly unlikely that you will see other Gringos in this type of Club!

He was eventually banned from CostaRicaTicas, so he migrated to InternationalSexGuide. From ISG, here’s Goldberg attacking another brothel tour guide:

Thank God I am not Colombia Jake. Most of his clients seem to get Drugged these days if the rumors are true. Unlike Jake I am fluent in English, Spanish, French & Hebrew!

I am not on steroids, just living the dream in PaisaLandia! I know Medallo in a way that most Gringos will never know the City of Eternal Spring.

Don’t be jealous, because I love to share my knowledge. LOL! Maybe I will throw you a bone just like I have done for TweedleD & Legal Tender. Assuming you will be nice & sweet to me! LOL!

If I come across as if I am on steroids it is only because I provide a very special VIP Concierge service to my clients and that is why I am almost completely booked for the next 5 months.

Colombia Jake is scrounging for clients at the Poblado Metro station. LOL! While I deal in geishas and offer tours of the surrounding pueblos & comunas.

I know Jake & I would never consider him a friend but he aint a bad guy! No! Really!

Before the next two posts, an anecdote about this industry. I once met an American in Bogota on business who had gone to an upscale brothel. His tab was well over $1,000 USD, and he and his buddies were still partying when he was summoned by the manager. My acquaintance brought his translator and sat with the manager’s entourage. After the manager spoke, the translator told my acquaintance to thank the manager for letting him drink with him. The translator helped my acquaintance in saying the words to thank the manager for letting him drink at his brothel.

That brothel is most likely a money-laundering operation for narcos. Any manager who wanted to run a legal, profitable brothel would be thanking a customer who spends over $1,000 in one night. However, this brothel doesn’t need to be a profit center. In fact, it may be able to launder more cocaine profit if it’s not. This money-laundering brothel manager  - probably not a powerful position within his organization – felt he was being shown up by the gringo with deep pockets, and decided to throw his weight around.

The point of this story is to illustrate who’s running many of the legal brothels – narcos. They don’t only run brothels, they launder money in a variety of industries: hotels, cell phones, anything. But money-laundering operations are especially popular in the sex industry. And they don’t announce to clients and tour guides that they’re money-hemorrhaging fronts for other operations. Keep that in mind when reading these next passages.

Here’s Goldberg talking bad about a hotel:

I had a client check into the Hotel Charlee 2 weeks ago. He was renting both of the Penthouses ($$). The major problem that we had was negotiating chicas fees. We thought that we had an agreement with the Charlee GM but at check out time my client faced a Chica fine of $100. Dollars per chica ($1, 000. Dollars). The problem was fixed but only after I contacted the Owner’s Rep in Miami. Be very careful with Hotel Charlee if you plan on bringing back Paisitas to your room because you may get hit with a severe penalty! Sorry! You might be happier at the Art Hotel. Also consider renting a Penthouse from Poblado Rentals.

Here’s an email he sent to a gringo hotel operator:

You know what….I have put lots of $$ in your pocket & you have thanked me but not kicked shit back to me & my crew….I will no longer be putting my clients with you guys….You have too many problems …..Sorry but you don’t seem to appreciate how much I have helped you & will continue to help you in the future….MONEY TALKS….Bullshit Walks……MY CLIENT in [unnamed hotel] still does not have a cell phone…try kicking your service levels up a notch!!

You phucked up big time & mi Brujo Negro taxista was ready to take you for a long ride!

Ciao.

El Brujo Loco!

It’s implied that Goldberg employed a taxista who was also a sicario – an assassin or ‘hit man’.

See that gringo’s business: luxury apartments in Medellin.

Here’s an email I received from someone who met him:

I met him briefly in the winter of 2010-2011. A mutual friend told me he was a nice guy, living in Medellin. I feel kind of bad now, I really didn’t know him well, but it seemed he was potentially treading on dangerous toes, and I didn’t really want to have anything to do with him. In reading other peoples comments, his mental illness was mentioned, and I noticed that he had violent mood changes, he once actually hit me with his fist on the side of the head when we were eating lunch, and then he made me loan him money for the lunch!

Yes about the hotels and “tours” (I was NOT a customer), but I know nothing about the money lending. I read about that in most of the articles about him, but I never heard about it.

At the time of his death, it had been over a year since I last saw him … I don’t really want anything to do with Noah, even after his death. It seems he had friends that cared about him, but I didn’t see the nice side of him. It hurt when he hit me on the head, and he was apparently just kidding. Not my kind of friend.

There’s no shortage of critical testimonials to Goldberg’s character. Here’s a reaction to his death:

I don’t mean to speak ill of the dead but if we can take a learning experience out of something horrible and enrich our own lives then he might not have died in vein. Threatening people over and over to send the motos, or emailing them that you’ll cut there throats over a difference of opinions, or bomb there red truck, or blow up stefs K*ds house. These are all the things he mumbled to myself and people I care about in my life. Anytime I called him on it he would cypher off some crap about PT Barnum, that and being in the Masad a secret Israeli force that one would never admit to being a member because it’s a secret organization

I would get bazaar lunatic emails from him at 3-4am while I was asleep. I wanted to like him, till he said something so dark, so bad I had to just give him radio silence

No one deserves to die but when you wish death on so many people it just takes one person to say, I’ll get him before he gets me not knowing whether it’s PT Barnum theatrics or it really is the truth. I’ll tell you one thing noah, didn’t scare me but I was petrified of his taxi guy he hung out with as late. He was a killer, his eyes were cold as ice, his stories petrified me. I cut all ties immediately. I miss the fun Noah, the other guy who threatened to blow up my car, my friends house, shoot my friend from a motorbike. No that guy got what he promised others, you don’t write or say those things in America nor any other country without maybe something coming back on you. In his barrio there was heavy mafia. He used to hang at their bar, all the time. He had to come off looking like a spy, a dea, they all knew him, but not in a good way. I am sorry for his death, he was like tony soprano, you want to like him but you really just can’t, a snake can or will bite you. Rest in peace

This is the most vile post on Goldberg:

Medellin Paisa aka “Noah goldberg” was a loud mouthed NYC jewish guido who allegedly scammed and screwed his way across costa rica. When the gig was up there, he bailed for Medellin, Colombia. He set up “paisa tours” which were nothing more than brothel tours for gringos. The only problem was his coke habit was so massive he resorted to extorting his clients. For example, if his tour was $100 for the day, he’d tell the client WRONG, you need to pay $400 or my “taxista” is going to take you for a long ride. (aka kill you). His taxi was an old school killer, so MP thought he was GANGSTA.

Conclusions

We’ve seen examples of Goldberg making death threats, badmouthing hotels, and badmouthing other operators online for anybody to see. It’s safe to assume he said worse in private. There are rumors he had beef with another American who was connected to narcos. He was loaning money – a murderous industry in Colombia. There are a million possible motives here. But it’s clear Goldberg wasn’t a victim of random violence. He was targeted and killed by hired assassins, which is evident from the details of the murder.

An anonymous friend with connections in the US government informed me that an unnamed American agency had a file on Goldberg prior to his death. When he was killed, they investigated in so far as to learn he wasn’t specifically targeted for being American. But beyond that, they won’t continue to investigate. They’ve closed his file.

So far Goldberg has been portrayed as a monster in this article. However, after hours of scouring sex tourism forums and reading emails from people who knew him, I got the impression he wasn’t always the guy portrayed in the excerpts. It seemed to me that he’d been sociable and friendly, but towards the end he spun out of control. This email from one of his friends captures that:

Noah was one of the coolest guys I have ever met. He was an articulate, educated guy although he had a tough demeanor. He was about 6 foot, 220 lbs … He loved Medellin and would take people on tours of all the sites. He taught his visitors how to ride the metro and showed them good local restaurants. He would take most of his visitors into his own neighborhood, Laureles/Estadio … He was well known for taking gringo tourists up to Santo Domingo on Sunday afternoons for rocking rumbas. He had absolutely no fear and told me that he frequently walked through some of the toughest Barrios, like Communa 13. He formed friendships with many poor barrio kids and families and helped some of them occasionally …

Noahs guide service really took off during 2012. He was typically booked out 2-3 months in advance. For guys who had the money, he would set them up with high-end girls and go to upscale restaurants. For most guys, he would set them up with one of his “crew” or take them to a casa.

I visited him in February of this year. When I got there, I sensed a change in the guy. He was being a little too blunt and aggressive with me and the chicas we were with. I saw him at a party a few nights after I arrived and the guy was being a total asshole. He was drunk and coked out and being a total dick. I hung out with him a few more times that trip but I couldn’t understand why the guy was acting like an asshole. During my trip, Noah went on a 2-day coke bender with another expat.

One of my other buddies in Medellin told me that Noah was, in fact, in the money-lending business. Loan sharking! He was getting money from the Mafiosos and lending it out to Colombianos! He used the normal enforcement techniques and had his own “enforcers” to take care of business.

After I got back, he was becoming a really aggressive asshole on CRT, shitting on many different guys. He described how he was planning to use one of his moto assassins to kill someone who dissed him. He then started to threaten me after I made a comment. The guy was truly starting to scare people. He had a running feud with one guy named N2Techno on CRT. He began to openly threaten and bait this guy. He sent me a facebook message on how he was going to hunt down N2Techno when he got to town. He had a connection within the Colombian DEA who somehow got a copy of N2Techno’s arrest records back in the USA. He was a convicted sex offender and Noah posted N2′s arrest record on his facebook page.

At one point, he told me he was going to kill me and cut my heart out with a butter knife. Finally, CRT kicked Noah off the site. Noah emailed me how he was going to go to Costa Rica and kill the admin.

I had stopped communicating with Noah for about 3 weeks when I heard that he had been murdered. Myself and other guys have privately discussed what happened to Noah in great detail. Most of us are of the opinion that the murder was related to money laundering. He supposedly was having “collection problems” …

A college roommate said that Noah had a “mental illness” way back then and would frequently ”self medicate.” It is my belief that Noah was bipolar. When I first met him, he was grounded and cool. The last time I saw him he was spinning out of control. I think the cocaine was a major contributing factor in his condition.

Despite all the crap that went down, I really miss the guy. He was truly one of the coolest guys I ever met. The guy was leading a cool life (like you) and was fearless. Most of us pussies back in the USA could not/would not lead a life like his. I feel terrible that this happened to him.

Pictures

Here are screenshots of the Medellin Paisa Tours webpage and FB page.

The late Noah Goldberg:


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45 Responses to “The Murder of Noah Goldberg AKA ‘Medellin Paisa’”

  1. Dave

    02. Sep, 2012

    I just heard about his murder when I was visiting Medellin two weeks ago. From the account I heard, he was definitely targeted, but your post sheds a lot more light on what may have lead to it.

    Thanks for putting these kinds of reports together. I’m guessing it takes you a helluva long time!

  2. Jim

    02. Sep, 2012

    Well- there’s a lot that can be said about that- but what this really makes me think of is how relentlessly phony American culture is. Everybody is trying to put on a show about how cool they are, how tough, how connected, how slick. It’s like what chimpanzees or baboons do, running around and jumping up and down to impress the other monkeys.

    In New York this kind of behavior would get a chuckle, maybe with a roll of the eyes. Everybody in America knows the game, and even if people can see through it, which anybody not a complete idiot can, they give the person credit for playing the game. I went to Colombia last New Year’s Eve, and getting off the plane in Bogota I felt an incredible sense of relief. The phoniness of America is like a bad smog, and leaving it gives you an incredible sense of being able to breathe free. The “swagger”, the posing, the bullying that Americans think is so cool is pretty much absent everywhere else. The Moslem countries I have been to, strangely, seem to have it also.

    But Medellin is not New York. People are friendly, polite, courteous, and seem to pride themselves in behaving with class. People are relaxed and take life as it comes. Americans think this means it is peaceful and safe, but that is because they can’t see the danger. Colombians don’t think the ugliness of life needs to be on constant display, either as entertainment or in the spirit of “keepin’ it real”.

    I can see how this would be deeply offensive to many people. As I have said, prostitution and drug use are legal in Colombia; that doesn’t mean you do them openly and brashly. Catholics have a more realistic attitude about sin, and Catholic countries are more tolerant of this kind of behavior but discretion is expected.

    The guy who had Goldberg iced is probably polite, friendly, and dresses preppy. Goldberg probably thought he was a pussy. Oops.

  3. Twenty

    03. Sep, 2012

    Great piece.

    The thing about threatening to kill people is that sooner or later someone will believe you.

    In re: the politeness/(somewhat overstated) dangerousness of Colombia, my theory is that this is a variant on the old saying that “a heavily armed society is a polite society”. As it becomes more dangerous to offend people, less offense will be given.

    My impression of Medellin is that it’s nice and quiet. There’s a subtext of violence, but it’s hardly Somalia, and if you don’t go looking for trouble it’s only slightly more likely to find you there than in any major US city.

    If you do go looking for trouble among a people who’ve been fighting a low-grade civil war for the past 50 years, you’ll probably find it.

  4. Jimmy

    03. Sep, 2012

    Jesus, what a story.

    Dope, money, hookers. . All the food groups except guns.

    The aggresive New Yorker did not have the charm of The MIck that seems to have saved him from a similar high risk lifestyle.

    I will say a prayer for Noah. He was somebody’s baby.

  5. Matthew B

    03. Sep, 2012

    Damn! Coke binges, extorting gringos, taxista sicarios??!! Looks like this guy had a life expectancy of about 1 HOUR!! It’s like we say in texas, “you fuck with the bull, you get the horns”.

    Here’s another gringo killed in colombia a few years ago. Robert Marshall Vignola

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17893261/ns/world_news-americas/t/matchmaking-american-killed-colombia/#.UESHyNZmSGU

  6. Joseph

    03. Sep, 2012

    In doing your research did you not notice that Noah was addicted to using ellipsis. When he set up fake accounts to give himself positive reviews he would still use them but change the amount of dots he would use.

    “This email from one of his friends captures that:

    Noah was one of the coolest guys I have ever met. He was an articulate, educated guy although he had a tough demeanor. He was about 6 foot, 220 lbs … He loved Medellin and would take people on tours of all the sites. He taught his visitors how to ride the metro and showed them good local restaurants. He would take most of his visitors into his own neighborhood, Laureles/Estadio … He was well known for taking gringo tourists up to Santo Domingo on Sunday afternoons for rocking rumbas. He had absolutely no fear and told me that he frequently walked through some of the toughest Barrios, like Communa 13. He formed friendships with many poor barrio kids and families and helped some of them occasionally …”

  7. Colin

    03. Sep, 2012

    @ Jimmy – Charm is one factor. A 2nd is that The Mick never tried to be a gangster. He was happy to get drunk with mafia friends and chase women. He never wanted any more than that. He never ‘put money on the street’, never organized a ‘crew’, etc. He was just an English teacher. And a 3rd factor is that The Mick did four years in La Modelo, which any mafioso would know, so he was never suspected to be working with authorities. He even killed another inmate while locked up.

    @ Matthew – To be a successful gangster in Colombia – and especially Medellin – I think you would have to have killed someone by the age of 16. Otherwise, you’re just not going to make it – especially not the kind of money a gringo would be happy with.

    Interesting story on that Vignola fella. The article says he owed money. So, cased closed! That’s the surest way to get it in Colombia.

    @ joseph – That email was sent directly to me from a long time reader, and it came just a few days ago. I put those dots in to skip over sections of the email I deemed unnecessary. But yes, I suspect at least one of the testimonials on CRT to have been inked by Goldberg.

  8. Anonymous

    03. Sep, 2012

    Colin,
    Interesting and entertaining speculation on Noah’s death… but you must not have dug deep enough to discover the real cause of his death, it’s TMPFN which stands for The Medellin Paisa Facebook Network which aggressively ‘friend’d’ young women in Medellin which were promoted to gringo clients as available women in the sex tourism business. Colombian women will accept “facebook friends” from complete strangers, sooner or later they may discover that they have been included in a gringo network, or worse, they’re jealous novios are on to the game and not too happy about their sweet paisita is being sold on The Medellin Paisa Facebook Network as a puta.

  9. Rubio

    03. Sep, 2012

    1) anybody who has ever actually killed someone or had someone killed NEVER talks about it beforehand. That’s the worst lack of discipline.

    2) it’s funny because one of my best friend’s ever had a cousin who WAS working with the DEA and got killed the same week, (somebody blew his cover) it looks like they were cleaning house in MDE that week!

  10. Colin

    03. Sep, 2012

    @ Anonymous – a million motives out there …

    @ Rubio – re: don’t talk about it beforehand – NO SHIT?

  11. Ronaldo

    03. Sep, 2012

    GENTLEMEN (and y’all hip hip ladies out there, what?!?) please allow me to pontificate and extrapolate upon the discussion at hand. I’m a lawyer by trade (on the good side) but nevertheless… brevity is never my strong suit, especially on no sleep, massive amounts of red bull and vodka, a wife with smaller then average tits (god i love em but y’all should really meet Jen holy shit titties!!)). but alas, I digress… SO…
    COLIN: first of all let me say this: it takes a fuckin’ strong man to hold a mirror up like this. what? too much?> O.T.L.? whatever, call em like i see em. not saying nothing, but his story sounds just kinda maybe like it may possibly be a bit like yours..maybe? a bit? ok maybe not… but you get my drift? To wit: an american gringo off the plane in S.A. decides to move down, gets fucked up, (is really smart… maybe TOO smart) drinks!, bitches! and more drinks! and more “women!” (sorry ladies). [no no sorry Colin you’re a married man now! (as am I) but something tells me you’re the rare type like me who tells the goddamn truth to his wife (i mean ya know, for the most part i.e. not about extras but how LIFE works) but again, I digress, d’oh!
    SO SEE I’VE BEEN to CO. exactly ONE TIME. but speaking from that vasty too limited “experience” (quotes INCluded) heres my piece? (peace?*): but wait, oh yeah, this paragraph is devoted to all the NON-gay love I have for colin (and his hot hot hot new latin wife, HA!, full swap? dude? fb me, buddy! my girls’ kim’s smokin….hot) and yeah, not that you’re at all like this fuckimng motherfucker. I’ve never met you but i feel what i will call a goddamn kinship with you Colin! (i know sounds gay doesn’t it) but seriously and no fucking around, and all hangups aside haha ; ) you da bomb, man, mad fuckin respect for you and i will goddam tear you off the wagon if you;re not drinking when my wife and i get to peru. (seriously) well i’ve lost so much track now but here’s me diving for the end zone, (and now I’m preaching to ALL of you fuckers AND Colin:
    this asshole did a real disservice to all of us. Who likes to party? people who reading this for one! and as such, i expect a lot out of you. DOnt rip me off. don’t pretend you’re not ripping me off when you (obviously) are. Give me a fair chance, fuck ripping off foreigners, this guy got what he deserved and while I’m not god and my opinion may be minuscule, let me say this one thing ” WHERE THERES SMOKE THERE’S FIRE” whatever think what y’all will, its not just about pussy and party’ but i really don’t give a fuck, the reason i write is cause this asshole sounds like a real class-A type go guy, kind of d-bag you really want in your corner right? oh hell no. fuck him and any other assholes who make an honest living slinging latin titties to white guys. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel man! just don’t be a dick and i won’t have to start saving money to start a fucking vendetta against you nd all other dicknoses who need a lesson.
    colin, hope we get to meet ya sooner then later someday soon, and fuck this douchebag, wtf right? guy was a dick right??

  12. Ronaldo

    03. Sep, 2012

    @ colin @ rubio no shit no shit! ha

  13. anonymous

    03. Sep, 2012

    Wow, amazing article, very well done. I knew him, he scared the FUCK out of me within the first few hours, and I distanced myself as soon as possible, without seeming to offend. I knew he would die like he died, and wanted to be nowhere near when that happened. I could not figure out how he got the balls to be acting the way he was acting, in the place that he was. I met the taxi guy, too. Noah was a loudmouth bully, even directing his local tienda owner on how to run his business, and not being very nice about it !

    The night I met him, he invited me to some of the local product, which was in the other room. The next day, he told me I had done the whole pile, mentioned an outrageous quantity, and told me that I “owed” him that much, and made me pay for a delivery!

    I met the black taxi guy, he truly was a scary motherfucker. Noah said he liked to “build soldiers”, and the black guy was sort of on guard in the hammock outside his door. Noah also threatened to kill a friend of mine who had not shown proper “respect”, he used phrases like “nothing like a roll of duct tape, a white plastic chair, and can of gasoline to change somebody’s mind”. I got away from him as fast as I possibly could, without pissing him off.

    I just could not figure out how he thought he could set up as a mafioso type in Medellin, and I knew he would get killed, just a matter of time. I have green eyes, which he informed me gave me special powers in Colombia, “Ojos de Brujo”, and nobody could ever harm me. My Spanish is better than his was, and he actually told me he wanted me as his “consigliere”, because of my eyes. The guy was SCARY !!

    Almost a movie script in here someplace…

  14. Andrew Meyer

    03. Sep, 2012

    Very well done. I really like the investigative journalism and you’re in an interesting part of the world to do it.

    Thanks, in advance, for what you’re going to write in the future.

    Andy

  15. T-roy

    03. Sep, 2012

    You know I think I ran into this guy at Santa Domingo when out photographing one day. Me and another guy were finishing up from a day with a local news crew who were covering my street photography work in Medellin. This was what they made that day: http://foggodyssey.com/2012/05/25/i-made-it-on-the-colombian-news-baby/

    My friend and I stopped off at a small place on the colorful street just before the metro having a drink when he sat down with 2 other gringos. He heard us talking English and chimed in on our conversation. I thought it was strange who he was with vs himself but didn’t think much of it (it just didn’t fit in my mind. Will say though, the 2 people with him were a younger British couple, which was why it didn’t look right at first or make any sense to me as it seemed to me he was guiding them around and wasn’t family or anything.).

    Anyways, when he said he knew the area and been in Medellin for a while I said a few names to him of some people i knew and he just went on-and-on about how they didn’t know sh*t or were clueless to Colombia exc exc. I remember my friend (who is Colombian American) looking at me and giving me the “What’s up with this guy?” look. I just chalked it up as another a-hole who thought he knew everything (plenty of those in Medellin). He bad mouthed anyone I knew and to be honest they were descent people who were VERY established in Medellin… I remember thinking “why is he acting so jealous about these people?”. And I will say after talking with him for 5min that I knew then that I didn’t want anything to do with this guy. Makes a WHOLE lot more sense now.

  16. asdfsdf

    04. Sep, 2012

    Let me get this straight. There’s someone out there who flushed $5000 down the toilet on a weekend in Colombia, where he got a few drinks and a hooker, and he went home feeling like the big winner? Seriously, the USA is the only country in the world with the toxic combo of loneliness, stupid, cash, illiteracy, mono-linguism, and puritanical, no fun culture where that would even be possible. Five effin’ grand? Who are these awful people on these horrifying message boards? I went to Peru for a month once and climbed some mountains and worked on my Spanish. Guess I didn’t realize how much fun I was missing out on, huh? Yeah right. We live in a sick country, admit it.

  17. J.R.

    04. Sep, 2012

    Good job Colin. Very well written and nice to see you using disclaimers. There is always more to the story. However, whenever i visit foreign lands I always try to stay as far away from “estranjos” as possible. Try to stick with locals for advice. Ok., maybe i would take your advice about Bogota, because I know you have a unique experience there, but even with you I would be more cautious than with a local i knew and trusted. No offence. I am amazed with some of the comments you reprinted from some of his customers. Most of these people seem like they are destined for trouble when travelling and should just stay home.

  18. Bbrocs

    05. Sep, 2012

    The author got a few facts wrong. He quoted me I wish he would have contacted me first. Non truths

    1)story about the 5 bedroom in castropol with chef. I am the only one that owns a five bedroom there and he didn’t use my apartment that night. He wrote it that way to promote his business. How do I know castropol is a very small area basically two streets.
    2)Kansas City cowboy was made up by Noah again to promote his business on CRT.
    3)that after hours club doesn’t exist again a lie by him to promote his business. Ask yourself what after hour club would have 3,000 peso beers. Any one I ever been to was on the high side due to it being open illegally late at night and to employ safety they had to charge more. What paisa’s girls all show up at the same time 3 cabs all at same time. Come on.

    I knew Noah well. We made money together and before his death I cut him loose for his bi-polar behavior was way to much for me to handle. I witness him in santo Domingo run around helping the poor. He had a great side but his bad side made him impossible to deal with. He told me he made my business he was jealous of everyone. He threatened to harm my close friends. I miss him but he got what he deserved.

  19. Robert Jorge

    05. Sep, 2012

    @Bbrocs – I know of after hour club(s) off of 33 and 70 that are pretty much as described. I only drink beer, and there was a place that served 3mil beer. And girls would come in around/after 2am by the taxi load. I saw it personally. Not trying to argue, but that story certainly doesn’t seem ‘made up’ to me.

  20. Colin

    05. Sep, 2012

    JR – But I’ve been to those spots in Medellin which Goldberg advised only going with a guide- specifically La Manzana and that shady red light district a few blocks from Parque Berrio. The vast majority of locals – especially any you’d meet in Gringolandia – wouldn’t go to any of those places. While it’s true something fucked up can happen easily, I’ve found locals exaggerate the danger from Peru to Colombia. So you definitely lose out on the experience if you’re only carted around by the rich nationals – something I learned from my trip to Brazil.

    Then again, if I wind up dead someday, I stand corrected :)

    Bbrocs – thanks for confirming the fake testimonials. I suspected that was the case. Amazing to think of that guy as Ivy League!

  21. Bbrocs

    05. Sep, 2012

    Ok Robert I stand corrected on the after hours club. I never went there with him. I kind of wish I did. I just been here awhile and paisa chicks all seem to arrive at different times. I thought it was BS like some of his other stories.

  22. Colin

    06. Sep, 2012

    Bbrocs – You’re actually right on this one. 3000 pesos / beer is only at places like La Manzana or that raunchy area by Parque Berrio. But a place with: a dance floor with a pole, lounge rooms, outdoor terrace, a bottle of aguardiente on the house, a private lounge, couches … Couches??? In Bogota these kind of places charge at least 20,000 pesos / beer.

  23. Ryan

    06. Sep, 2012

    @Bbrocs: “.. but he got what he deserved…” I guess his girlfriend, family and friends also deserve the pain.. rigth? ohh wait.. I tough you were his friend too..I saw you having drinks with him at poblado… if these were the kind of friends he had..I understand why he was murdered..with friends like that who needs enemies… and you admit he had a mental problem.. I guess you opnion is better is dead than try to help him. I knew his girlfriend and I show her this… no just is dealing with her lost but with the terrible comments from people like you and people who didn´t know him but have a strong opinion about him.. all of you should know that you don´t need to do to much to be killed in Medellin.. the fact that this happened to him doesn´t mean he deserved it… I knew him better than many of you.. at least try to be more informated when it comes to give an opinion. There are family and friends who miss him… show some respect. I know he made mistakes and had some problems… but he was a good person… he just was facing a difficult stage. Finally I want to make clear that as Bbrocs said there are some wrong facts… to read the news and comments from people in internet is not investigation.. some are true but some aren´t.

  24. Twenty

    06. Sep, 2012

    @Ryan

    I knew him better than many of you …

    Will you confirm that he was in the habit of threatening to kill people? Did he, in fact, employ a sicario taxista? Was he loansharking? Or would you contradict those accounts?

  25. Bbrocs

    07. Sep, 2012

    Ryan, you’re way out of line. I tried to be his friend, but he kept going to these dark places threatening everyone I knew over jealousy and his other inner demons. Who are you to question my friendship? Every word I have written was the truth. Why didn’t you step up and save him? His parents cut him off. They didn’t want anything to do with him since his Costa Rica days. They had not talked in years, why do you think he was buried in Colombia? They cut him off for drugging and whoring. I don’t know anything about loan sharking. It seems strange since he always needed to borrow money from me and repay it a few days later. Yes Ryan I knew him better then you, and he threatened to kill me and Ruben several times with that taxi guy. How many times did he threaten you? Thanks for assuming it was friends like me that did him in, when you seem to know very little.

  26. Ryan

    08. Sep, 2012

    Bbrocs.. Im not denying the bad things he did..and Im sorry if I expres myself in the wrong way..I didn´t want to suggest you are a bad person. The only thing that I want to say is..the guy is dead..he died in a horrible way.that is enough punishment… I don´t get what is the point to keep talking bad things about him.is just I felt bad because Im very close to is girlfriend and she was ok but then she read this and she also told me that you saw her on poblado and you were hiding from her and she was surprised..she doesn´t understand why that… so all things are affecting her and it is not her fault what he did. By the way.you are very bad informed..Noah use to talk with his mother two or more times at week..I was nex to him when they talked..and also with his father and brother…. his mom was coming to visit him in june fifth and when he died she move her trip to jun first and stayed with Monica.. and Noah wasn´t buried here..he was taken for his family to Boston where his brother lives and he was cremated there..the ashes were split and put in different places including Medellin. You shouln´t believe everything that you read in internet. Anyway, this is the last time that I write here..I don´t see the point to argue about a dead person..yes he dmade mistakes.yes his behavior was turning angerous..and I had problems with him too… please just let him rest in peace, if you don´t do it for him.do it for the people who loved him.

  27. Bbrocs

    08. Sep, 2012

    Ryan is Monica. The English is there but it’s not of someone living in America. I just saw the Ryan that I know that knew him and he had the best poker face or it wasn’t him. Monica I am going to let it go. These articles bring it back over and over again. Best to you. I never hid from you I have nothing to hide from you about so I don get that. I stopped talking to him so I stopped talking to you, because it was to weird. Find someone and be happy.

  28. Samuel

    10. Sep, 2012

    fascinating post, amigo. Took me a while to read through it but I made it a point.

    This guy, in the end, seems to be an example of what sort of ex-pat to NOT be. It’s bad enough to mix with rough crowds in the U.S. In Colombia, the risk is far greater. Hard to understand why the guy never had any gut-check moments of chilling out or showing some caution.

    Which leads to my last point- cocaine is a hell of a drug.

  29. Rawley

    11. Sep, 2012

    Fuck it..you live by the Sword and you guys know the rest.

    You go around as a foreigner and run something that may or may not be in close association with serious organized crime and you run the risk of getting into trouble. Add to that, this fat ass threatening people? Who the fuck did he think he was..Myer Lansky?

    You act like that and its only a matter of time before something bad happens to you. In Colombia apparently that is being shot and killed. In the USA this dude probably would have just been beaten up and scared 1st (which no doubt would have probably worked) but in South America if you start in with the threats of your sicario Taxista , then you’ve pretty much thrown down the gauntlet.

  30. Rawley

    11. Sep, 2012

    @Jim – You’re right..but I would not say that its ALL Americans. I would say that some folks from NYC is more likely to have that aggressive kind of shitty blabber mouth and especially when they are abroad. Really the North East are very aggressive with body language and words..(NYC and Boston are the two largest offenders – coincidentally places wtih little to no gun ownership outside of criminal elements of course)

    @ Twenty – The above applies to what you are suggesting. I have ONLY had problems, threats and physical confrontations in places with little or no guns at all. Some of these people are def more willing to throw that punch since they have never but never heard of any of their friends being shot at . Now go to Texas and while people are friendlier, you can bet that a good % of the guys there are not only nice but probably have a gun or two out in their truck which they will be justified in using if you and a few buddies jump on them.

  31. Colin

    12. Sep, 2012

    @ Rawley & Samuel – that’s true about gut check moments in US vs. Colombia. In the US people are more direct, hence in tough guy environments they’re more likely to “pull your card” or slap you around. In Colombia it’s all smiles to your face, knife in the back. I imagine there was even less warning if people had a genuine fear of Goldberg’s sicario taxista.

  32. Rich

    15. Sep, 2012

    Noah did burn his bridges in Costa Rica. He always seemed to be looking to make out on some type of scam or other. He lived for a while in Mal Pais, which is on the coast, but he would come up to San Jose fairly often to hang out and party.

    San Jose was where I met him. He told me he was involved in some real estate deals on the coast, he owned and was selling land down there, he was getting investors together for some type of housing project, and a bunch of that type of stuff. Complete bullshit.

    I think the main issue with him in Costa Rica that resulted in him leaving was that he was a deadbeat. He borrowed money from people and didn’t pay it back and he ran up bills wherever he could and didn’t pay them. One of the last things he did before he left Costa Rica was run up a several thousand dollar bill at one of the most popular monger hotels in San Jose and then took off without paying. He had an old car that he left behind that the hotel owner ended up selling but he still got beat out of a bunch of money. He owed quite a few other people money also. I think he figured it was best to move on at that point as he had no intention of ever paying anyone back.

    Although Noah was very outgoing and could be a nice and fun guy to hang out with at times, those fun times were the minority. He had a very strong personality, kind of like what some people would think as the stereotype of a typical New Yorker. Quite frankly I tried to avoid the guy whenever I could. He was a total mooch, he was drunk most of the time, and if he could work you for drinks and cigarettes he was tough to get rid of. He would take advantage of anyone he could. I think people started to see him for who he was and it got harder and harder for him to get over on people, at least in San Jose. I never saw him again after he left Costa Rica.

    After I started going to Medellin about 4 years ago I heard that Noah had moved there and then I saw that he started advertising his tour services. I made a conscious effort to avoid him at all costs and really did not want anything to do with him. I did hear about him and his goings on pretty regularly from people that I know that live and visit there.

    One of the last things I heard, probably a week before he was killed was that he was going to be leaving Medellin because he had just sold some land he owned in Costa Rica for 250K. I’m sure that was total bullshit, but I wonder if he was trying to start that rumor to try to hold off someone he owed money to? Who knows? Although I feel bad that he was killed like that, no one that knew him was surprised. It was just the culmination of the path he had put himself on.

  33. NONAME

    20. Sep, 2012

    Damn. I moved to Guanajuato Mexico 3 years ago and definitely enjoyed the “freedom” met some interesting characters and had some “wild” nights but NOTHING like you guys in Medellin! Holy shit. Colombia seems like ANOTHER planet in terms of the “edge” that Latam countries normally have. Are their jobs in the financial sector/banking? I would love to chill and see what it’s like there.

  34. Esteban

    29. Sep, 2012

    @Rich – I saw pictures of the land and two homes that he developed near the coast in Costa Rica.

    He threatened to kill me too. But, I knew him when he was lucid and I really enjoyed meeting him and hanging with him. All of the stories may be true, but he could be a great guy, too. He took me to places that no other guide would have ever taken people and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the people in the poor barrios that he knew. He was a complex character but had redeeming features.

    Here is a video of him in Santo Domingo:

    http://youtu.be/DPeca6WxJZo

  35. Your Mother

    08. Nov, 2012

    Every single one of you are scumbags. You will all soon be with Noah licking Satan’s smegma covered scrotum.

  36. Randolf Flynt

    09. Nov, 2012

    What a bunch of judgmental assholes… The majority of you dirtbags came to Colombia to spend your time in whorehouses.. And you are now being critical one of your fellow bottom-dwellers. Every one of you lowlife trash deserve to have your ears cleaned with a lead Q-Tip.

  37. Your Mother

    09. Nov, 2012

    Thank you Randolf. You are a voice of reason amidst a sea sex-starved blowhards.

  38. zark

    02. Dec, 2012

    I knew Noah for many years in the states. He was a big-hearted, bipolar brother, and when not in the throes of his mental illness, was a great friend. Those of you who are tearing him down here — its just because when you wake up and look in the mirror, you see him staring back at you. Thank you, Colin, for filling in some of the blanks in an even-handed way. Rest in peace, my friend and may the dogs of hell lick your balls and bring you a cold one. FURTHUR!

  39. Maicol

    23. Dec, 2012

    I knew Noah from one trip to Medellin. Colin and Bbrocs give an accurate description. He had an obsession with “narcos” and sicarios. He had a cocaine jones. He lied a lot. He would aggressively attack, verbally over the internet, people who crossed him. The moral of the story is really not so much about Noah as about Medellin – life is cheap there. Noah made enemies, he got whacked. For anyone considering spending a lot of time in Medellin, the idea is to keep a low profile and don’t make enemies – the obvious that Noah ignored. RIP Noah.

  40. Colin

    27. Dec, 2012

    I just got a new story on Goldberg back in Medellin. I met a Colombian who knew Goldberg and the black taxi driver. He’s known and trusted among the expat community in Medellin. Once a gringo in New York was planning a retirement in Medellin, and gave this guy 50 million pesos (over $25,000) to hold until he arrived.

    Soon after receiving it, a prostitute friend of this gentleman told him a story. She told him Goldberg and his taxi driver took her aside for a conversation one night. They told her to get close to him and find out where the safe was, where he was hiding the 50 million pesos. If she got the info and they successfully robbed him, they would give her 2 million pesos. It scared her to death and she went straight to her friend to warn him.

  41. KonSrey

    10. Jan, 2013

    February 8th Suppose the time will come where people only chsooe their destinations based on places where a flock of travel bloggers once descended and blogged? I love this idea, but what happens when it becomes so common that people expect it? (like last month when a more intimate crew explored Brighton) Just a crazy thought passing through my mind Social media has certainly changed travel and I’m in the for the ride!

  42. cbayt

    14. Jan, 2013

    I went to high school with Noah Goldberg. We weren’t great friends, but knew each other well enough. He was a nice kid, a fun kid. Smart, too. He went to University of Pennsylvania out of high school, and seemed to be headed for a predictable, successful life. This is so bizarre to read for me, since I hadn’t spoken to him since then (1982). We were Facebook friends and I’d see all the pictures of beautiful young women he’d post, but didn’t realize he was doing sex tourism. He and I exchanged messages and he said he dealt with models. Maybe he was trying to keep up a more sanitized version of himself when talking with someone from his hometown. One thing – Englewood, Jersey, not New York. He wasn’t a “Jewish guido,” he was a typical suburban kid from an upper middle class family in a suburb. Looks like he transformed himself into something else along the way, but that’s not where he started.

  43. Bbrocs

    09. Feb, 2013

    Today my blackberry reminded me it would have been Noah’s birthday today, I’m going to have a few drinks tonight and remember the good times.

  44. Al

    18. May, 2013

    I spent two weeks in Medellin at the end of July and first week of August in 2011and never encountered any problem. Thanks to a recommendation, I stayed in Poblado. When folks like Noah G. engage in deals like your story mentioned, then one has to be watchful for enenmies or the competition. I wasn’t there for sex but to visit.

  45. Toolbag

    17. Aug, 2013

    Yep know who killed him and why, don’t get involved in something youcan’t controla nd borrow money you can’t repay in Medellin. Was a coke dealing sex tourist turd and deserved what he got, poeple just got tired of his shit.

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