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How a Staten Island man took down powerful drug kingpins

July 19, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
How a Staten Island man took down powerful drug kingpins

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In the 1980’s, Staten Island resident Robert Mazur was hired to launder over $100 million in illicit cash for a few the world’s biggest drug-trafficking organizations. Drug kingpins, who knew him as Bob Musella, looked at the man as if he was family.

However, what the lords of the underworld did not know was that Mazur was an undercover agent working for the United States government.

In an interview with the New York Post, Mazur, who is now in his 60s, said: “I got my high from obtaining information that nobody else could get.”

The federal agent’s takedowns resulted in over 100 indictments, fines, and seizures that exceeded $500 million, and over 3,000 pounds of cocaine confiscated. The agent’s exploits formed that basis of the motion picture, “The Infiltrator” which hits movie theaters on Wednesday.

Mazur and a fellow female agent, who posed as his hot fiancee, infiltrated high-ranking leaders of the South American drug cartels, as well as the bankers who assisted in laundering cash.

Mazur’s life as an undercover operative began when he started working for the IRS, saying that “the money side seemed to be the soft spot…for working our way through criminal organizations.”

The man later worked his way up to US customs, where he spent 18 months developing an alias and compiling an impressive portfolio of businesses. He told The Post, “it’s not good to put on an act; [people under investigation] see right through it. I lied as little as possible.”

Mazur was so good at his profession, he managed to deceive Gerardo Moncada’s lieutenant, who was better known as Pablo Escobar’s right-hand man. The pair met in Costa Rica after a fellow informant assisted Mazur into entering a low level of the cartel and eventually worked his way up the hierarchy.

The agent explained that the lieutenant “made it clear that we would be getting $20 million a month to launder. But it came with a consequence: possible death. He said that if things [got] messed up, my family and I would be killed.”

As portrayed in the upcoming movie, Mazur attended gatherings carrying a leather bag. Criminals recognized the bag as the container for their illegal banking records; however, they were unaware that he also was carrying a recording device.

Mazur was almost killed once when he met with a senior cartel advisor when the recorder fell out and “a nest of wires was sitting on top of the records.”

He managed to escape the close call and continued to work his way up the organized crime hierarchy. He even once traveled to Paris and laundered upwards of $100 million.

The entire time, “Musella” lived in his high-end home in Key Biscayne, Florida, where he flew around in his private jet, drove his Mercedes, and sported his expensive Rolex, all of which were goods that had been seized by the U.S. government.

Two years into his operation, Mazur, and his reported fiancee threw a wedding back in 1998. Among the attendees were drug cartel members along with corrupt bankers, while the other half consisted of undercover agents who posed as relatives and friends of the “couple.”

The criminals who were due to be arrested believed they were attending a prenuptial bachelor party where fellow agents “took them to a high-rise downtown and then, on different floors, executed the arrests,” says Mazur.

After the wedding, cartel organizations put a $500,000 price tag on Mazur’s head, prompting him to assume a third identity for years. Although things have since calmed down, Mazur remains cautious and vigilant.

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