Gustavo Falcon, the last cocaine cowboy during the Miami Vice era, who is a fugitive from justice 26 years, initially suspected of being in a foreign country such as Colombia or Mexico, but he was living in Orlando area with his family under fake names since the late 1990s.
The U.S. Marshals have been watching Gustavo Falcon rental home in Kissimmee, just south of Orlando last month. They spotted him with his wife as they went on a few miles bicycle ride on the morning of April 12, sometimes losing the couple, then finding them again because sunglasses and bike helmets made it difficult to identify the fugitive. Eventually, agents captured him at an intersection in the city. Miami Herald reported
The U.S. Marshals currently caught a break in the high-profile fugitive case after running fake names that last cocaine cowboy Gustavo Falcon had used through the years, said Barry Golden – U.S. Marshals spokesman. Agents compared them to names and addresses on Florida drivers license records and got a match with a bogus address he used in Hialeah.
Then they discovered that Falcon and his wife had been in a car accident in the Orlando area in 2013 when using fake IDs with Hialeah address. The authorities confirmed that he was using a false identity and focused the investigation on Kissimmee, where he had obtained the driver’s licenses. According to U.S. Attorney’s Office
“We used each database that we have,” said Golden, a deputy marshal. “The fake driver’s license showed a photo that looked much like Gustavo Falcon.” He had obtained fake driver’s licenses for himself, his wife and their two grown kids. The parents went by the names of Luis Andre Reiss and Maria Reiss. Additionally, he had got fraudulent social security number cards for all members of his family. They were renting a Kissimmee home on Cavendish Drive, which the agents had under security.
The 55-year-old Falcon, a younger brother of Augusto “Willie” Falcon and one-time partner with Salvador “Sal” Magluta, both legendary cocaine dealers during the Miami Vice era. He in custody at the Miami Federal Detention Center and was scheduled to have his first appearance in Miami federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman. Falcon indicted along with his older brother and Magluta back in 1991 on drug conspiracy, ownership and distribution charges.
But Gustavo disappeared instead of standing trial with “The Boys” the nickname for Willie and Sal, who beat the justice system by bribing three jurors to win acquittals in the 1990s. After that travesty, prosecutors would retry them on drug-related money laundering charges and send them to jail for decades.
The last cocaine cowboy Gustavo Falcon was last seen in Miami area shortly before he was indicted in 1991 on charges of conspiring to distribute and import 75 tons of cocaine worth around $2 billion with his older brother Willie, partner Magluta and other defendants between 1978 and 1991.
Willie and Sal, who dropped out of Miami High School, were acknowledged as kingpins among the legendary Cocaine Cowboys who turned Miami and South Florida into a deadly hub of drug trafficking in the 80s. They grew up in Miami Cuban-American neighborhood, used their racing speedboats to haul Colombian cocaine from the Caribbean to the shores of Florida.
The agent’s “criminal enterprise” case against Willie and Sal, who were accused not only of drugs trafficking but also hiring of Colombian hit men to kill former associates who snitched on them, seemed solid on all fronts. However, the high-profile Miami trial went terribly awry.
In 1996, the last cocaine cowboy Falcon and Magluta were acquitted of all drug trafficking charges, but there was a bad explanation for the surprising outcome that will soon surface after the trial. The U.S. attorney’s office and Federal Bureau of Investigation would discover that Falcon and Magluta had purchased off three jury members, including the foreman, to win their case. Prosecutors stepped up the investigation, targeting not only Falcon and Magluta but even more of the associates in their drug network, including members of the family and lawyers.
Magluta always recognized as the mastermind of the illegal organization and was retried and convicted of drug-related money laundering charges in 2002. Magluta was sentenced to 205 years in prison but was reduced to 195 years in 2006. After his partner retrial, Willie Falcon hit a plea deal in 2003 on similar money laundering charges with Miami federal prosecutors Michael Davis and Pat Sullivan. Falcon, sentenced to twenty years in prison and is scheduled to be released in June.