South Florida's Most Notorious 'Cocaine Cowboys' - NBC 6 South Florida

South Florida's Most Notorious 'Cocaine Cowboys'

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Last 'Cocaine Cowboy' Arrested After 26 Years

    Authorities say they caught up with alleged "Cocaine Cowboy" Gustavo Falcon in Kissimmee, 26 years after he fled justice while his brother and another suspect were sent to prison.

    (Published Thursday, April 13, 2017)

    Wednesday's arrest of the man authorities described as "the last of the Cocaine Cowboys" solves one of the remaining mysteries of the notorious 1980s drug era that made some traffickers household names in South Florida.

    U.S. Marshals arrested 55-year-old Gustavo Falcon in the Orlando-Kissimmee area after he spent some 26 years on the run. He now sits in a jail in Osceola County, but he fared better than most of his fellow "Cocaine Cowboys," a name based off of a popular 2006 documentary of the traffickers.

    The Falcon Brothers and Sal Magluta

    Gustavo Falcon is the brother of renowned drug smuggler Augusto "Willie" Falcon who, along with Willie's partner Sal Magluta, were indicted in 1991 for trafficking cocaine on speedboats from Colombia to South Florida during the 1980s. Prosecutors said the group brought about $2 billion in cocaine into Miami.

    Last Member of 'Cocaine Cowboys' Caught After 26 Years

    [MI] Last Member of 'Cocaine Cowboys' Caught After 26 Years

    NBC 6's Julia Bagg has more after one of the most notorious drug dealers in Miami history was caught after over a quarter century on the run.

    (Published Thursday, April 13, 2017)

    Gustavo Falcon fled before his indictment but his brother was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2003 after making a deal with the government. Willie Falcon is scheduled to get out of prison in June.

    Magluta got the worst of the three with a 205-year sentence in federal prison.

    Cocaine Godmother

    Griselda Blanco, known as the Cocaine Godmother, was a part of the Medellin Cartel and one of the first Colombian women to traffic cocaine into the United States in the 1970s and 1980s.

    Blanco, who featured prominently in the "Cocaine Cowboys" documentaries, was a major figure in the violent Miami drug war in the 80s and served more than a decade in prison before she was released in 2004 and deported back to Colombia. Blanco was shot and killed in Colombia in 2012.

    Munday and Roberts

    Want to Spend a Night in Jail? It Just Takes $40

    [NATL] Want to Spend a Night in Jail? It Just Takes $40

    Want to spend the night in the slammer? Minnesota's Chisago County Sheriff's Office can help make it happen.

    The department is letting people stay overnight inside the new Public Safety Center to see the facility and help deputies train before inmates arrive. It just costs $40 per person.

    (Published Friday, April 27, 2018)

    Mickey Munday, who also became somewhat of a star after the release of "Cocaine Cowboys," was a drug smuggler for the Medellin Cartel and drug lord Pablo Escobar in the 1980s. Munday flew loads of drugs into South Florida from Colombia, and served nearly nine years in federal prison.

    Munday still lives in the Miami area, and even sat down with NBC 6 in 2013 to talk about his old smuggling days.

    Munday's associate Jon Roberts, who was also featured in the documentary, was a flashy drug trafficker who also worked for Escobar. Roberts served more than a decade in prison before his release in October 2000. He died of cancer in 2011 at age 63.

    The Hitman

    Jorge "Rivi" Ayala, a hitman for Blanco, was interviewed from prison for the "Cocaine Cowboys" documentary. He pleaded guilty in three killings in 1993, but is believed to be responsible for some three dozen murders during the 80s drug war.

    Ayala was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole after 25 years, but lost his most recent opportunity for parole. He's due for another parole hearing in 2019.

    The Informant

    Max Mermelstein was a high-ranking Medellin Cartel drug smuggler and associate of Munday and Roberts when he was arrested in 1985.

    Mermelstein, who was the only American in Escobar's inner circle, became an informant against the organization and went into the Federal Witness Protection Program after helping authorities crack down on the cartel's Miami operations.

    Mermelstein died from cancer in 2008 at age 65.

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