'Cocaine Cowboy' Arrested After 26 Years on the Lam

Gustavo Falcon disappeared before being indicted for drug smuggling
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2017 4:08 PM CDT
Last 'Cocaine Cowboy' Lands in the Pokey
Gustavo Falcon   (Orange County Corrections via AP)

The "last of the Cocaine Cowboys"—on the lam for almost exactly 26 years—was finally arrested Wednesday while on a 40-mile bike ride with his wife, the Miami Herald reports. During South Florida's "Miami Vice era," Gustavo Falcon allegedly helped his brother, kingpin Augusto Falcon, smuggle tons of cocaine into the US via speedboat, according to the AP. The so-called Cocaine Cowboys, apparently unworried about drawing attention to themselves, lived large in fast cars and oceanfront mansions. Gustavo Falcon disappeared in 1991, just before indictments that would land his brother in prison. A warrant was issued for his arrest on April 10 of that year, NBC News reports.

Twenty-six years and two days later, Falcon and his wife were stopped at an intersection on their bikes when they were confronted by a gaggle of armed US marshals. Falcon, 55, was arrested without incident. "Nobody thought he was in the United States," says Barry Golden, a spokesperson for the US Marshals Service, which believed Falcon was living out his days in Mexico or Colombia. Instead, he was renting a forgettable home in a suburb near Disney World. Authorities were tipped off by a fake driver's license used by Falcon during a 2013 car accident. "We figured this all out a month ago," Golden says. Falcon is facing charges of conspiracy to import cocaine. His brother, the former kingpin, is scheduled to be released from prison in June. (More drug smuggling stories.)

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