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Last of the ‘Cocaine Cowboys’ sentenced to 11 years in prison after 26 years on the lam

April 27, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Last of the ‘Cocaine Cowboys’ sentenced to 11 years in prison after 26 years on the lam

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A fugitive who is considered to be the last of Miami ’s infamous Cocaine Cowboys was sentenced this week to 11 years behind bars after he was on the run for 26 years.

Gustavo Falcon, 56, who is known by the nickname “Taby,” played a pivotal role in one of the most significant drug trafficking operations of the violent 1980s smuggling era, WPTV reported.

He was a member of a gang that smuggled 75 tons of cocaine into the United States and made approximately $2 billion.

“That’s a lot of cocaine,” U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno said at Falcon’s sentencing. “It’s serious. He knows how serious it is.”

For almost three decades, Gustavo Falcon lived the normal life of a middle-aged suburban Orlando father.

In February, Falcon pleaded guilty to a charge of cocaine distribution.

He was apprehended last year, living under the identity “Luis Andre Rice,” in Kissimmee, floria., with his wife, Amelia.

U.S. Marshals arrested Falcon while he was on a bike riding with Amelia in a quiet town roughly 13 miles southeast of Disney World.

In an apologetic letter to the judge, Falcon said he went on the lam because he didn’t want to lose contact with his wife and two children, who are now adults.

Cocaine Cowboy’ Gustavo Falcon (left and right), who was apprehended after 26 years on the run was sentenced to 11 years in prison

“I convinced myself that it was better to leave with my wife and children,” he stated. “I was afraid if I went to prison, my wife would move on, and my children would grow up without a father.”

Falcon’s lawyer, Howard Srebnick, said that the man’s time as a fugitive forced him to live in seclusion, home-school his kids and live a “very mundane lifestyle.”

“He lived as a hunted man for 27 years [sic],” Srebnick said, who asked for a nine-year sentence.

“I’m not proud of being on the run for 26 years,” Falcon said to the judge in Miami. “That’s no way to live. I paid for it every day for 26 years.”

The judge said he did not deserve any benefit for the constraints he faced while on the run.

“It’s hard for me to consider a downward sentence for someone who enjoyed a quarter-century with his family,” Moreno stated, before issuing a sentence of 11 years, which is less than what prosecutors had requested.

“You have to pay for it,” the judge added.

Falcon went missing in 1991 when he was indicted along with his brother Augusto “Willie” Falcon, Salvatore “Sal” Magluta, and many others.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Clark said Falcon was the “right-hand man” to his brother. His jobs included maintaining transaction ledgers, collecting millions in cocaine profits, finding stash houses for drugs, and managing tractor-trailer loads of drugs to be transported from California to Florida.

“It was the most prolific smuggling operation we have found here in South Florida,” Clark stated.

Falcon, who is originally from Cuba, is the 10th and final defendant to face justice in the case.

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