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Gustavo Falcon,the last of Miami’s ‘cocaine cowboys’ pleads guilty to cocaine smuggling conspiracy

February 3, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Gustavo Falcon,the last of Miami’s ‘cocaine cowboys’ pleads guilty to cocaine smuggling conspiracy Cocaine Cowboys (left t right): Willie Falcon, Gustavo Falcon, and Sal Magluta

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Gustavo Falcon, considered to be the last of the “cocaine cowboys” from the ‘Miami Vice’ era entered a guilty plea to drug charges on Thursday, concluding an infamous chapter in the city’s criminal history.

Falcon, who was on the lam for 26 years, was finally apprehended while biking through a quiet suburb in Florida last April. He pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring to distribute cocaine.

The 56-year-old could be sentenced to up to 14 years behind bars pending approval from U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno, Local News10 reported.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.

“It’s a guess what a judge is going to do, including this one,” Moreno said at a Miami hearing. “There’s no guarantee what I’m going to do.”

Gustavo Falcon, who is also known by the nickname “Taby,” went missing in 1991 when he was indicted along with his older brother, Miami cocaine kingpin Augusto “Willie” Falcon and his partner Salvador Magluta.

Cocaine Cowboy’ Gustavo Falcon, Captured After 26 Years, Pleads Guilty Thursday

Prosecutors said the group smuggled approximately 75 tons of cocaine into the U.S. and made about $2 billion during the hyper-violent times of the 1980s.

Falcon was taken into custody with his wife, Amelia, by U.S. Marshals in April in a quiet community outside of Orlando, where he was living under the alias, Luis Reiss.

Prosecutors consented to the plea deal not to indict her or the couple’s two children, who could have been charged with hiding a fugitive or obstruction of justice for failing to reveal his whereabouts to officials.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Clark outlined what prosecutors believe they could prove if Falcon chose to go to trial.

Much of his work in the organization involved keeping transaction ledgers, finding stash houses for drugs across South Florida, and setting up tractor-trailer loads of cocaine to be moved from California to Miami.

However, the statement did not link Falcon to any violent crimes.

Clark referred to the Falcon-Magluta group as “an extremely prolific cocaine trafficking organization.”

One record that was linked to Falcon detailed drug transactions between 1990 and 1991 that made the group over $142 million.

The judge asked Falcon, who was in chains if he agreed with everything the prosecutor said.

“Yes, your honor,” he responded and then said “guilty” when the judge asked what his plea was.

“Are you sure?” Moreno said.

“I am, your honor,” Falcon replied.

The judge set Falcon’s sentencing for April to allow for investigations into what he did as a fugitive, his assets, and any other determinants that might affect the ruling.

Falcon is the 10th and last defendant to face justice in the case, which was one of the more dramatic among many trafficking cases when Miami was the chaotic hub of the country’s cocaine enterprise.

Augusto Falcon and Magluta were acquitted at their trial in 1996, but it was later revealed that the two had paid off witnesses and at least one member of the jury with a bribe of $400,000.

Magluta faced trial a second time in 2002 and was found guilty of drug money-laundering, and was hit with a 205-year prison sentence that was later decreased to 195 years.

Augusto Falcon accepted a plea deal in 2003 and was sentenced to 20 years, but has since been released and faces deportation to his native Cuba.

Gustavo Falcon told Moreno he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in the 1980s, but the judge said he also could be deported after finishing his sentence if it’s learned that he didn’t reveal criminal activity on his citizenship documents.

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