Last of 'cocaine cowboys' nabbed after 26 years on the run

14 April, 2017, 10:41 | Author: Michele Stevens
  • Gustavo Falcon 55 and his wife Amelia were arrested at an intersection in Kissimmee after coming back from a long bike ride

Jail records don't list an attorney for Falcon.

Deputy marshals arrested Falcon and his wife, Amelia, at an intersection near Orlando during their bike ride, said U.S. Marshals Service spokesman Barry Golden.

Falcon, 55, had been on the lam since 1991, when his older brother Augusto "Willie" Falcon and fellow drug kingpin Salvador "Sal" Magluta were indicted by a federal grand jury.

Federal authorities originally accused the Falcon-Magluta organization of smuggling 75 tons of cocaine, worth more than $2 billion, into the United States between 1978 and 1991.

No further information is immediately available. Augusto, however, disappeared after being charged and was not officially seen since 1991 until yesterday. His wife reportedly also had a fake I.D. They were going by the name Luis Reiss and Maria Reiss.

Authorities captured Falcon in Orlando after discovering he'd been using a fake Florida driver's license under an alias since 1997. Golden said they'd been living in the Orlando area since 1999, which surprised marshals who thought Gustavo Falcon was hiding out in Mexico or Colombia.

"We figured this all out a month ago, " Golden said.

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In the 1980s, the trio used their wealth to transport the drug on super fast speed boats from Colombian drug cartels.

"He was the last of the Cocaine Cowboys", Golden said. Gustavo Falcon fled before his indictment.

Despite facing decades in prison if they were convicted on the hefty charges they faced, Willy and Magluta were still living an expensive lifestyle that included a Lear jet, their powerboat racing team, Vail ski vacations, South Florida waterfront mansions and Las Vegas junkets.

Magluta was eventually sentenced to 205 years in prison, which was reduced to 195 years in 2006, according to the Miami Herald.

After his partner's retrial, Willie Falcon struck a plea deal in 2003 with Miami federal prosecutors Pat Sullivan and Michael Davis on similar money laundering charges.

His brother was arrested, but expected to be released later this year.

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