Ladies and gentlemen, I'm Mayor Randy Christmas, of Miami, Florida.
The film you're about to see is a stunning expose based on fact.
It concerns a vicious attempt by organized crime to take over the entire state of Florida.
But for the alert and courageous work of Florida's law enforcement agencies and the integrity of its governmental administrations, this threat might have been made good.
I take this opportunity to issue a warning to the people of every state in the nation.
It could happen in your state.
We are dedicated here in Florida to the belief that it will never again happen to us.
[Roberts] My name is Jon Roberts.
I was born in New York.
I lost my father when I was nine.
My mother when I was 13.
My stepfather threw me out of the house when I was 13.
My sister tried to raise me, failed miserably because of me.
I went to see my uncle, and my uncle took me in.
First he had me collecting money because he was a loan shark.
So he put me with one of his guys who also happened to be the driver for Carlo Gambino.
And my uncle said, "Don't worry, this guy will take care of you."
Some guy owed my uncle money.
We kidnapped him, we threw him in an apartment, and the guy that I used to do it with me was strung out on heroin.
I said, "Look, I'm going home to sleep, you watch this guy."
Well, he ends up shooting up and OD-ing, so the guy he's watching just opens the door and walks into the street, because my friend's dead on the floor.
He ran to the police.
The police came, and you know, they got me and they put me in...
At that time they had a place called the Tombs in New York, which was one of the original jails.
And they came around to the Tombs and they made people offers.
If you go to Vietnam and you leave with an honorable discharge, your charges will be dropped.
I said, "Okay, that sounds like a good deal."
And I signed up for a year, and they interview you.
And they said, "Look, we're going to give you advanced training.
We're going to send you here and we're going to make you...
You can do some crazy things if you want in Vietnam."
And what it was for was, it was 101st Airborne, and I got to like it, because I had a bad mentality, and I ended up staying there 4 years.
I got blown out of a tree.
I got a metal plate in my head, and you know, I don't want to get into stories over there and shit like that, because everybody has a story, so...
And when you come back, and you can't do anything, it's like, what am I trained to do?
And I lost everything.
My uncle, he said to me, "You and I are going to make a lot of money together," and we opened a restaurant there.
Opened it? We bought it or took it from somebody, if I remember, back in my childhood.
And it was called Alice's Restaurant, and then we went into nightclubs and we opened about four or five nightclubs.
It became very big and we were doing really well.
One day they just came in, the police, and they told us that our partner, they had found him out on the Long Island expressway.
And he had been killed and he had like 11 bullet holes in him.
So, who knows what happened to him?
The best thing that I could think at that time was, "Just let me get away from all this heat," so I moved down here.
And started into the cocaine business.
[Buchanan] I think there's something about the location here.
It's at the end of the map, the bottom of the map, the jumping off place.
People who are running away from each other or from the law or from their own personal demons.
Eventually if they run long enough, they come here.
[man] The City of Miami area was very, very quiet, and it was just a very pleasant place to live.
[Roberts] Miami back then was the South.
It was like Alabama.
There was no money here, there were no big buildings.
Downtown was pretty barren.
Miami Beach, it was a lot of old people just sitting around in rocking chairs on South Beach waiting to die.
It was a whole different world down here back then.
[man] I'm an old South Florida boy, and one of the few that's that old, I was born here.
I was in the import business, doing some exporting, but mostly importing.
[Roberts] Back then the city was like a virgin city.
[man 1] South Florida was vulnerable to penetration by drug suppliers.
[man 2] Florida is a drug smuggler's paradise.
It was wide open back then.
It was wide open.
[man 1] 1200 miles of coastline, much of it remote, deserted, thousands of rivers and bays.
Nobody even knows how many islands offshore.
[man 2] The pirates operated here in the 1700s.
During the Civil War, gunrunners would run the Union blockade in from the Bahamas.
Rum runners used the same technique.
[Munday] This city has always had something coming in.
[man] In the 1960s, this was a jumping-off place for soldiers of fortune, who ran commando raids into Cuba.
Several dozen miles south-west of Miami is a military training camp located on 40 miles of Everglades swamp land for Cuban refugees who are planning to return to the island to fight.
These guys had been trained by the CIA, had gone into the fishing industry, and they were making a very good living.
The change in 1975 was precipitated by a lobster.
There was a law changed in the Bahamas which prohibited Cuban exiles based in Miami from fishing in Bahamian waters for the spiny lobster.
It put out of work tremendous amount of fishermen.
[man] Obedio Perez sold his gold watch and ring last week to feed his two children.
He expects the bank to foreclose on his boat before month's end.
Francisco Gado's boat is taking on water from lack of use.
He says it might sink before his next payment.
More than 1,000 other lobster fishermen, a majority of them Cuban exiles, have not left these docks in six weeks.
[Diaz] They had their boats, they had their knowledge, they had the training.
That's when we started seeing the mother lode method of transporting marijuana.
The fishermen were acting as intermediaries, and the go-fast boats would bring them into the coast.
At that time everybody in Florida was smuggling pot.
And you could drive in with a boat, stacked up, [Munday] ] pull up to the dock and unload it.
Nobody said a thing.
There was no defense of the border to speak of.
[woman] There were thousands of fishing boats in this area, hundreds of thousands of pleasure boats.
Many of them capable of the run to the Bahamas, with another ship on a marijuana delivery cruise out in the Gulf Stream.
[Munday] If they thought there was a problem, they'd just throw it overboard.
They would order 40,000 pounds and they'd send out 50,000.
And they'd only have enough boats to carry the 40 and they would throw the stuff away.
You could be out in a boat and find bales of marijuana floating.
The proverbial square grouper.
You would get guys who would go over, unload the ship, and they would get their dentist or their attorney or their doctor, because forevermore he could tell his grandchildren, "I was a smuggler."
[man] South Florida has become the drug smuggling capital of the United States.
No other place in the country even comes close.
The first marijuana trip we made, we found through a guy who was a fireman.
He had a twin engine plane called the Piper Aztec that he would fly to Colombia.
He offered us, if we would go down and pick up
1,000 pounds, $50,000.
I really wasn't thrilled about the amount of money it was, but I said, "Well, at least it gets our foot in the door."
And we did it. And it was a fiasco from one end to the other.
We ended up having to throw it all away.
They didn't have an alternate where we came back to.
There was a sentinel police officer sitting on the road that they wanted to land on.
They used a used airplane radio on an old battery, and they didn't realize the battery was dead.
From that trip, our very first trip, with all the problems, we took it as a lesson.
From then on in, we'd have one, two, three, four alternates.
I ran into some Jamaicans, went down to Jamaica, physically looked at the place.
For Jamaicans it was... The pot wasn't really good.
We made one trip, brought back 700 pounds, but this time we brought it back to our place.
People that I knew, they were all calling the ground crew.
They were all my friends, and the vehicles were mine.
I tried to control everything.
It got to the point where there was so much pot here that you couldn't sell it.
It was too cheap.
Got down, it was like $230 a pound, and what you had to pay for it, and you figured your expenses and everything, and the chances that you take, legally.
[man] Big seizures used to be measured in hundreds of pounds.
It is not unusual now to catch a ship with 30 or 40 tons of marijuana.
[Munday] For the same amount of money that you would make on 40,000 pounds, you could bring 1,000 pounds of cocaine and make the same amount if not more.
When they were sending, like, all this pot, they would send a few kilos of coke.
[man] As for marijuana, the police might be able to stop it. But as for cocaine, the police have no real answers.
[Roberts] In the beginning, it was very small.
[Munday] Because it was so expensive.
[Roberts] And they would bring them in a suitcase.
[man] In the last year, cocaine seizures have doubled.
More than a quarter of all cocaine seizures in the United States were at Miami International Airport.
While we were filming a routine day, agents got another one.
Five pounds of pure cocaine were hidden in the bag.
U.S. Customs said the seizure was worth more than
[Roberts] When I first came down here, I really had no idea what I was going to do, and I worked with a guy training dogs.
Agitating the dogs and letting the dogs hit a sleeve and bite me. And doing that, I met a Cuban man out in Hialeah, who became very notorious, very famous down here, and his name was Albert San Pedro.
He was in the drug business.
It was obvious. I got him a really bad dog.
His name was Sarge. He was a German Shepherd.
And this dog was crazy.
I mean, absolutely nuts.
And his stash was under the doghouse on the side of the house.
He would lift the doghouse up and he had a cement pad.
And in the cement pad he had a safe.
And this dog would sleep on this pad day and night.
And this was his way of stashing it.
Eventually he was my main supplier.
He would front me a quarter of a pound, and he would give me like three or four days.
And then I would go and bring him the money back.
[woman] Shortly after midnight, Hialeah businessman Alberto San Pedro was arrested again at his palatial home.
So far he stands accused of conspiracy to commit murder, drug dealing and corruption.
San Pedro brags he controls the majority of the Dade County Commission, its mayor and no less than 15 judges.
No mention was made by any of the council members or Mayor Raul Martinez of the San Pedro affair.
[man] There is no organized crime group that's going to challenge the Cubans.
In Miami, the Colombian drug organizations stepped into that market.
[man] Worried Colombian authorities say they are now seeing increased coca planting as Colombian traffickers try to take over all phases of cocaine production.
[Diaz] it was very clear to us that the Colombians were already getting involved in the distribution area here in the States.
The Colombians realized that they were giving up a large portion of the profit to people they really didn't have to give it up from.
They didn't need the Cuban as a middleman.
And they just bypassed the Cubans completely.
That toehold is what sprouted into the crazy 1980s here in Miami.
These people didn't have a pilot or plane.
They asked if we'd be interested, and I'm trying to be really, really, really careful.
You have to be careful of who you meet, who you talk to.
You might be the police officer on undercover, because that's really starting to roll at that time.
We set up an appointment to meet these people, and what I did was, I bought the most expensive portable tape recorder I could find.
And I went to a bunch of different locations.
And what I found was the best place of all was a bowling alley.
I mean, the noise, the people, the clanging.
The reason I'm doing this is, if I'm meeting somebody, and they're trying to record our conversation, I wanted to make sure there wasn't going to be much recorded.
And when we got to the place, I had three of my friends outside.
We all have radios.
There was no cell phones at that time.
There were, but they were like this big.
When we came out from after the meeting I told them that we'd have to make a decision and we'd get back to them.
And I had my friends follow the people home, just to make sure that they didn't go back to the DEA building, the FBI building, U.S. Customs or whatever. And then we sat on them for three days to make sure that they were who they said they were. These people that turned out to be Rafa and Max.
They threw a number at us that was more than agreeable.
$3,000 apiece or a kilo in your terms, and they wanted to move at least 400, a gross of $1.2 million.
I just transported.
I took it from them, gave it back to them.
Give me money, I'll go again.
I wasn't worried about them, because I had no intentions of ever stealing from them.
I had no intentions of ever cheating them.
All I wanted to do was make money.
And money we made.
Sunny and Rico at the same bar.
How lucky can a girl get?
[Mooney] My name's Toni Mooney.
I was born in Miami, Florida.
After I graduated high school, I met somebody named Shelton Archer, and he was a photographer.
And he came up to me and told me I should be a model.
He had a Limey accent.
He said he would like to photograph me at the airport.
He had a plane.
I ended up going with him to his plane in Lantana Airport, and he shot photographs of me.
Most models have to struggle, and I must say, because of Shelton, I had a fabulous, very beautiful apartment.
He went out and bought me a Mini Cooper.
I had a maid, everything.
Cash is a whole lot better than plastic, and Shelton always seemed to have plenty of it.
And if he didn't he went and got more.
He was a photographer.
I mean, he seemed like it to me.
Of course, it was a little strange he was living in Colombia.
Then he told me he had a job for me in Santo Domingo.
I didn't realize I was going to know him so well, but we had a plane crash.
The first leg of the trip, he woke me up and told me he wasn't sure if we were going to make it.
We ended up crash landing the plane.
We were there like, seven days.
We didn't have any water. We were licking condensation off the plane, and it was quite a mess.
Finally, the coastguard came and rescued us.
The Bahamians apparently had been looking for us, but once they found out Shelton's M.O., the Piper plane and all that, they just didn't go pick him up, because he had been convicted of drug smuggling there.
When they finally picked us up, they believed my story that I was just really catching a ride, and they let me go and they detained him.
I flew to Miami, and I was working on a shoot with a girl, and she told me that she had somebody for me to meet.
A friend of mine fixed me up with her.
He was a lawyer.
He was dating this really beautiful girl who was a model for Ford.
And he said, "You know, she's got a beautiful friend, and she lives in West Palm, but she works in New York, and I'd like to introduce you to her."
And that's how I met her.
Her and her boyfriend kept telling me, "Don't do this and don't drink in front of John and don't..."
You know, and I was like, "Whoa whoa whoa.
Wait a minute here. I don't even want to go."
And then we opened the door and there's this guy with this face, you know. He looks so mean, and actually I found out he wasn't.
He was a wonderful person.
I remember sleeping on the couch, and Jon bringing out blankets and covering me up.
The next morning I woke up.
I was on the couch.
He told me he'd like to take me to see his racehorses.
And I loved horses. I grew up with horses.
So I said, "Okay."
When I was growing up, it was just myself, my brother and my mother.
And Jon really put our family together in our eyes.
And we really adored him.
I mean, there wasn't anything he could do wrong.
It's like a dream, you know.
You can have anything you wanted.
Jon made everything all right.
He was a pretty magnanimous person back then.
Everything was hunky dory at home and everybody was happy and...
But then things changed when he met Shelton.
[Roberts] I was selling at that time.
The Cubans didn't have big supplies, so I had to search out other people.
This girl, who I happened to have been seeing, knew an English guy who was a pilot for these people from Medellin.
So she introduced me to him, and he said, "Well, I'm going to hook you up.
I can take you to these Colombians that I know, and this guy can give you whatever you want."
And I'd heard stories like that many times, so I just said, "Sure, whenever you're ready, let me know."
And we drove to Sunny Isles, Florida.
And we go into this house.
It was about five or six Colombians there, all like, loaded to bear.
When I say "loaded," they were strapped.
They had pistols, machine guns, and they were all standing around.
And at that point I realized this guy is serious.
This is for real. I meet this little guy, he can't be more than 5'4" or 5'5".
And he introduces himself and he says, "My name is Rafa."
And he's telling me, "I'll give you whatever you want.
And if you've got some money, I'll front you twice the amount of money that you come with."
And I said, "Well, you know, show me something."
He takes me in his back room, he pushes a button, and a whole wall opens up like this.
And I had never seen so much cocaine in my entire life, just sitting behind this wall.
I said, "Okay, I guess you can help me, man."
I said, "Give me a day and I'll put together the money, and I'll be back."
The next day I came, he had an American guy there, and he introduced this American.
He said, "This is my compadre.
I'm not in town a lot, but whatever it is you need, this is the man, he'll take care of you.
And don't worry about it.
And the man he introduced me to happened to be this man, Max Mermelstein.
Jon introduced me to Max.
I thought they were going to open a shoe store together or some story like that.
[Roberts] Rafa came to trust Max because Max was married to a Colombian woman.
She was the cousin of Pablo Escobar, the woman Max was married to.
So they had a bond with Max.
Max seemed like a very nice guy back then.
It seemed that way, anyway.
[Roberts] One Sunday, Max had a party out there, and I went out to his farm.
The next thing I know here comes this guy, and Max says, "This is my transportation guy.
You're going to work with him."
He's got like two ATCs, these three-wheelers, and he says, "Max, I brought your ATCs back."
And he takes them off the truck.
He says, "That one runs about 90 or 100 mph now.
That one over there runs around 80."
So Max says, "I'm telling you, these guys, these are the shit, man.
We don't have any more. This is who you'll work with."
So the guy introduces himself.
His name is Mickey Munday, and he's like a redneck from Florida, that's been here his whole life.
[Munday] I want to say I didn't like him.
The first time I meet Jon, he's driving this black Mercedes, two-door, that's got drug dealer written all over it.
He just looked like somebody that I don't want to have anything to do with.
I think he was okay.
He had a big race boat. He was involved in racing.
Do you remember the show MacGyver?
That's this guy.
He could do stuff that just was incredible.
And Max had me working with these guys, and he sent me to Colombia.
[man 1] Medellin, Colombia.
Right now there is little or no cocaine enforcement activity here.
[man 2] This city only has a population of about 50,000, yet there are about
50 airplanes parked at this airport.
[man 1] The dealers control much of the countryside.
[man 3] This town is completely dedicated to narcotics.
Rafa would introduce me to the people he was working with.
We met, you might say, the elite of the drug business from Colombia.
And it would be the Ochoas--
[man] Here lives a man believed to be one of the most powerful cocaine traffickers in the world:
This is his ranch, and he is treated as a hero here.
They were a huge name in Colombia.
There was no secret about them.
[man 1] Fabio Ochoa is considered by many as a godfather of the business.
[man 2] Some intelligence officials have charged that you and the members of your family are the biggest cocaine traffickers in the world.
I know nothing of lies being told.
This doesn't interest me.
I am well known by all the horse breeders in the world.
My life has been honorable, and I can tip my hat.
[Munday] This was Pablo Escobar.
[man] Mr. Escobar by any measure, has to be considered the John Dillinger of the cocaine trade in Colombia.
[Munday] And this is Carlos Lehder.
[man 1] Carlos Lehder is wanted by the U.S. authorities for drug trafficking.
[man 2] He stated cocaine was the atomic bomb and he was going to drop it on America.
[man 3] The cocaine traffickers have more power and money than the government.
You make it sound like they had an office the size of this with computers and they got 40 secretaries.
It's just a bunch of bums down there.
[Roberts] Most of these Colombians came from really poor, poor families. And when everybody in this country got into cocaine, it was just like they struck gold.
The Beverly Hillbillies, that's basically what it was.
The Colombians have farms, fincas they call them, just filled with cocaine down there, because they just kept producing it.
They call this the Valley of Orchids.
Flowers are a principal export.
So is cocaine.
More than 20 tons a year.
For this valley is the cocaine capital of the world.
[Roberts] And it was a whole process.
It was like a factory working.
Campesinos - peasant farmers - support their families by processing the leaves into coca paste.
It was a matter of survival.
I mean, there were no other crops that would grow in that environment, and at that altitude in those mountains.
[man 1] The farmer lives off the coca plant, and without it, there is no point in living.
[man 2] Without coca, we would have to die.
[man 3] The coca paste is then taken to processing labs to be made into cocaine.
One popular route is this one, along the Amazon River.
And in going down the river in a longboat, the guys in the boat would stand up, and they would hold the bags of cocaine, and I remember them shouting, "Coca-roca."
And showing it off right there.
This is what we have.
[man] There are just too many coca fields, too much money, and too many traffickers.
[Munday] At first I thought it was all their stuff.
But once you get to the point where you're unpackaging it, they're all marked different.
It didn't all belong to somebody.
Maybe 50 belonged to this guy, 10 to that guy, 5 to this guy.
They would all pool their stuff and send it up.
Going down the freight yard, when you get the train full, then you leave, you know.
That's what they were doing.
[man] The ships and planes that smuggle it in come to Miami, and then the coke spreads all over the Eastern United States.
[Munday] We bought some property in Lakeland, built two runways there, put up a couple of barns that were really hangars. They looked like barns, but when you'd open up the hayloft door, you would see that it was shaped to the tail of an airplane door.
I would use a five, six, eight-year-old family car.
[Roberts] And we would load 300 pieces.
And we would put air shocks on the car, so that the car wouldn't fall to the ground.
And we would use a tow truck to tow the vehicle back.
[Roberts] They would bring them into Miami.
I personally liked to go when there was a big moon up.
I call them the "Smuggler's Moon."
The moon sitting right there, and it's real big, because we landed with no lights.
There was a night, looking at an alternate, where I watched some guys come in off Route 27.
They didn't know I'm there.
I'm listening to everything they say.
I have night scopes and goggles. I'm watching, and I could have been the man to seize them.
They came in, and there was a ball of fire.
I thought it was like an atomic bomb.
I've never seen a flash.
If you took a flash camera, went right up to your face and went click, it would not have been as bright.
It blinded me because the nights go bloons.
And the guy's on the radio, "Oh, my God. Oh, my God.
We're dying, we're dead," and then boom!
Right in front of me, [MIMICS PLANE] it was one of these things.
It was an avo.
They didn't know they'd put the power wire up since the last time they'd been out there.
He hit it with the top of the nose, went over the top of the airplane, took all the antennas off and chopped the tail right off.
And his friends all hauled ass.
And so did he, and left a little thing in the plane that I took.
A whole lot of little things.
It was a rather worthwhile night, for all I did was go out there to look for an alternate.
[Roberts] Mickey's operation was a very sound, very good operation, although it was limited.
[Munday] They wanted us to go more often.
Bigger airplane or something.
And that's when we purchased a Cessna Conquest.
We paid $980,000 for it.
How do you like that? You try that one today.
We'd made one trip with it.
[Roberts] Sometimes you just get bored, I guess.
In that particular trip, I went up there, not to unload it or put it on the truck.
We were just hanging out.
[Munday] The pilot knew he was going to have a problem when he could see the lights out of Tampa on the horizon, which meant he was too high.
If he could see the lights of Tampa, that meant that they could see him with radar.
[Roberts] Next thing I know, wham.
These cars start flying by. Police cars.
Here comes a chase plane.
[Munday] First they were chasing him with the military airplanes.
Here come my guys, who had the cars up there, flying into the restaurant, "What's up, what's up?"
"We got to get out of here, we got to get out of here."
[Munday] And the military realized that it wasn't a threat, and by then they'd called in the U.S. Customs.
[Roberts] Cops are everywhere, all over this stuff.
Everybody is going to go out the door.
You don't throw nothing away.
You throw everything away.
First the co-pilot would go out.
Fifteen, 20 minutes later, the pilot would go out and would leave the plane on autopilot and give it to the Bermuda Triangle.
And nobody believed that I lost the load, and I said, "I lost it, man. These guys will tell you I lost it."
And he said, "Well, why isn't it in the paper?
Show us the article in the paper."
You know what I mean?
When it first happened, of course, they don't.
There's nothing in the newspaper.
And you needed to bring them proof, but I couldn't prove it.
I had no way to prove it.
Man, they came flying to my house with machine guns and cruise killers.
[Mooney] I remember my brother and I were out on the porch, and these two guys drove up.
Rafa came. They get out of the car with guns.
[Roberts] "You fucked us. You took our load."
And of course me, I go right over, get in his face and start screaming, "Get off my property, blah, blah, blah."
Colombians were actually afraid of this woman.
[Mooney] Next thing I know, Jon comes out of the house, my brother comes out of the house, and they both have weapons drawn.
And standing there with a laser shotgun and--
She didn't give a shit who came.
Rafa could bring six, seven guys.
And she was a big girl and Rafa was only like 5'5", and she was looking down at him, screaming and screaming.
Of course, there I am, screaming.
"You ain't coming in my house today."
It looked like they were going to have a gun battle right there.
"What are you, crazy?
For this amount, why would I take your load?"
I could have ripped them off, but I didn't do it.
"Are you nuts? I'm working tomorrow.
I'm doing 1,000 tomorrow.
Why wouldn't I take your 1,000?"
Five hundred kilos compared to what I'm bringing every week.
It just wasn't worth it.
[Munday] it wasn't until the next day, and then I started reading about all the stuff being found.
[Roberts] And that's the proof with the paper, because when you hand them the article, "480 kilos Busted in Yeehaw Junction."
And of course they realized that we weren't stealing it.
Okay, here's my 480 kilos.
We have to get rid of it.
"It's not our problem, it's your problem."
But without the paper you had no proof.
Unfortunately, we lost a $1 million airplane and they lost whatever it cost them for their part, so they write it off.
And we wrote it off too.
[Roberts] Rafa was crazy like that, and I guess it was because he did so much coke he would get paranoid.
He was just a little guy that was kind of crazy, and you had to be a little leery of him because he would get high.
He'd smoke the shit.
He would take like half of the tobacco of the cigarette, put cocaine in it, a little tobacco back in, and smoke it.
One time, a trip was on for Saturday, and some kind of problem had come up and I needed one more day.
Max was out of town, so I get to Max's house, and I go on into the dining room.
Rafa is there, sitting at the head of the dining room table.
I thought it was marijuana, but it turned out not to be.
A circle about this big and about that high.
And he's using like a credit card or something to keep it in shape.
What it is is tobacco from a cigarette.
There has been so many cigarettes that he actually has a pile of tobacco this big.
And he's had that much to smoke that there's that much tobacco.
And I'm going, whoa!
And he's like, drooling. And the people there are all scared to death of him, because he could say something and somebody would be history, and I go, and I go... And I don't speak Spanish, and I've got to try to tell this guy who was higher than a kite, that we needed one more day.
I ended up having to get Max's son, which I really didn't want to do, because the kid was only like, 14 years old, to translate for me, and then make sure that somebody there would call, because I don't want to send my plane the next day and there's nobody there.
But he was in one of his binges.
And those who knew had to be afraid of him.
It's amazing. Here was a guy who made so much money...
Rafa really controlled almost every kilo of coke that came into this country through the people from Medellin.
There was nobody higher than him for the Medellin Cartel in this country.
He was a little Napoleon.
I often wondered how much money somebody who had been fairly sharp could have possibly made, instead of some guy who was a drug addict.
Mickey then started to do air drops.
I built me a small boat factory to play with, and we decided to do Colombia up to the Bahamas, air drop it to boats.
[Roberts] And they had beacons that they would drop, and they would be able to know exactly where the load was, because there would be a frequency that would send back to where it was.
The middle console would open up.
They'd put holes in the middle of the boat, and you would fill them up.
[Munday] And then bring it in with boats.
Sometimes I would run what we call the front door.
The front door would be the entrance at Haulover.
We would call it a front door.
You can't say, "Why are you coming in Haulover?
We say, "You're coming in the front door."
It's a code of sorts.
At the Haulover Inlet, I rented an apartment on the 12th floor in the north-east corner called the Harbour House, which has a spectacular view of the inlet.
And I put a young lady there, and I paid her to live there, paid for the apartment. And whenever we did a trip...
She has an unbelievable set of binoculars, and of course she has a radio.
When you got inside the Haulover, there was another boat. And the guy in that was a policeman that I grew up with, so he could listen to the police radios too.
But I told him, I said, "Take your family, go fishing, have a good time.
People get used to seeing you there, just like a sand bar that you can go swimming on.
It's a whole lot of fun."
And he's of course looking.
He'd go north on the inter-coastal.
About half way up around the corner there'd be another little boat fishing there.
He was the burner.
If there was ever a problem, they would burn the boat.
And everybody would call and say there was children in the water.
The police have this thing... Something like that.
They drop everything, and this is an emergency.
And that would suck anything if we thought there was a problem.
Fortunately, I never had to use this guy.
I never had a problem.
From there, we were going up to the entrance to Maule Lake Marina, which is about a quarter mile north of there.
On the corner, there was another friend of mine who had a tire store.
He's sitting there fishing.
So he can see up and down the inter-coastal, and on the canal going back into Maule Lake Marina.
I paid these guys. "Go fishing, have a good time."
When they got into Maule Lake Marina, I had a sport fishing boat that I'd taken in on trade.
I had several slips that I rented.
I parked the boat there, and I or somebody would spend the night and watch the boat.
If nobody bothered the boat, then the next day my tow truck would show up, with a work order, and a trailer.
He load the boat on the trailer, and he would take it to the warehouse.
The boat would go in there, because I owned the warehouse, the warehouse, the warehouse, the warehouse.
I didn't have to worry about anybody seeing me, because I owned it all.
And then we would go in the back, open up the compartment, and load the stuff into the cars.
I spent money. Nobody else would do this.
These guys came in, and they would go to a boat rent, because it didn't cost them nothing, and then they'd be caught at the boat rent.
What are you doing? Where are you coming from?
"You know, well, I'm just out fishing."
And they'd have a bottle of Coca-Cola that said, "bottled in Nassau." I mean, dumb.
To make sure that there were no dogs, I would take some marijuana or some cocaine, and I would put it in the blender with a little alcohol and just leave the blender on for an hour, until there was nothing.
I would wear out blenders doing this.
And then I would mix it with a little bit of kerosene and put it in one of those spray like weed bottles or bug bottles.
The idea was to spray like, the concrete thing around the telephone pole, or the big tire that was on the tow motor.
Things where, if the dog alerted to it, there's no way there could be any drugs.
The dog would go alert to a tree or to an old tire that's sitting there.
I tried to tell Max every dollar bill that ever came to Colombia, they should have sprayed it, so that every piece of money had cocaine on it.
Every airplane that came down there, every piece of freight that went out and needs to go in, they hire somebody to supposedly spray for bugs.
So everything that came out of Colombia would alert, and that would be the end of the dogs.
And the drugs were everywhere.
[man] Millions of Americans use the illicit drugs.
[Roberts] Everybody started using cocaine.
Cocaine was the in thing back then.
It was a chichi thing to do.
[man 1] It was really done.
[man 2] Every day about 5,000 take their first dose or toot.
As many as five million snort, shoot or smoke cocaine every month.
[man 4] The American public thinks it's neat.
[man 5] It's a very, very seductive drug.
It's almost like a woman.
It is probably the closest thing one can have to an orgasm.
[man 1] It's exciting.
You can just stand still and go 90 mph.
[man 2] We're analyzing cocaine samples now that were purchased for $50 to $100 per gram that are 95% pure.
The death rate in Dade County at about two per week from cocaine.
[man 3] Each month brings new efforts to fight the white line fever that spread from Miami to Denver to San Francisco.
[man 4] Cocaine seizures in Florida are up 700%--
--one of the biggest and most controversial drug investigations ever in South Florida.
[woman] Customs seized an Avianca 747 at dawn at Miami International.
The daily flight, having just arrived from Bogota.
2,500 pounds of cocaine hidden in cut flowers.
[man 1] We went from having cases of a kilo or two kilos of cocaine, to 1,000 kilos, which is a ton of cocaine, to 10,000 kilos, which is 10 tons of cocaine.
[man 2] There were boxes of it. 3,600 pounds of cocaine.
Drug enforcement agents said it was worth
$950 million on the street.
The shipment was bound from Medellin, Colombia, the cocaine export capital of the world.
Shipped aboard this Tampa Colombia Airlines jet.
Customs agents were called to the scene, shotguns ready, fearing that the cocaine smugglers might still try to take the drugs by force.
The regional commissioner of customs, Robert Batard, said, "Somebody is going to die for this."
It is a big cocaine bust, certainly the biggest in the history of the United States.
Every case was bigger than the last one, and a new record.
[man] I remember the days I'd bring into the office an ounce of cocaine, and four or five agents would gather around the table and say, "Look how much dope is in there."
Right now, we seize 1,500 pounds, 2,000 pounds, and it's just one more case.
[woman] The demand for cocaine in the U.S. is seemingly insatiable.
[Burstyn] When I first arrived here, we had businesses like t-shirt shops on the beach, where you could buy suntan oil or little stuffed alligators.
Then suddenly, Mayor's Jewelers becomes the largest seller of Rolexes on earth.
[woman] The economy skyrocketed.
[man] And that's very, very hard to understand on any basis, except that you have this enormous inflow from Colombia of drugs that are paid for and wholesaled in the Miami area.
[man 1] They call it dirty money, and there's plenty of it in the drug business.
[man 2] It's what that cocaine money is buying besides drugs that is having the most impact on South Florida.
[Munday] People went out and partied.
[Burstyn] That spawned a huge nightlife industry.
Women wore phenomenal clothes, and there were some really awesome nightclubs.
[Burstyn] With cocaine, you have unlimited hours to party.
So we had some incredible nightclubs built inside hotels.
The full service 48 hour package.
[Roberts] The Jockey Club, Turnberry, the Palm Bay Club, the Cricket Club.
[Burstyn] You'd walk into the clubs and you'd see people with diamond rings, Rolexes, multiple bottles of $500 wines and champagnes at the tables.
We would be outrageous. You know, who cared?
Do you know what I mean?
Like, you do anything you want to do.
For example, if we wanted to go to dinner, at that time The Forge was the best restaurant here.
I used to play jokes, like there'd be a guy at another the table. And I'd see him drinking a bottle of champagne, and maybe he didn't have Dom or maybe he had something else.
I'd send the most expensive bottle of champagne, and tell the waiter, "Go bring him this bottle of champagne."
These guys would be looking around like, "Where's the champagne coming from?"
And I'd do it to two or three different tables.
It was like, "Who cares? It's $1,000 or something."
And all these guys go like, "What the hell's going on here?
How is this guy up here sending all this shit around?"
But the best of all clubs was definitely The Mutiny in Coconut Grove.
It catered almost exclusively to the drug traffic.
If you were a prostitute, you were in prostitute heaven at The Mutiny.
There's nothing wrong with chasing young women.
[Burstyn] It was like sailors coming into port, except instead of just shore money, these sailors had $50,000, $100,000 in their pockets at all times.
They didn't believe in credit cards.
They were turning over 200 rooms in 5-hour increments, 24 hours a day.
Multiple visits every day by the Miami Police Department.
Of course, there weren't a lot of arrests.
The most frightening part of the cocaine...
A dilemma that we have...
The amount of that illegal money.
Those billions of dollars in profits that are being channeled into legitimate businesses.
Civic leaders openly recognized the community has a fix, if you will, on the legitimate goods and services that cash from the drug industry is buying.
Oh, yeah. I love to go shopping.
The most shopping I did was at Keeneland's.
I bought racehorses.
[Roberts] My biggest thing was the horses.
[Mooney] Instead of dropping $10,000, $20,000 shopping, we dropped $100,000 on a horse.
[Roberts] I had 40, 50 horses at a time. Racehorses.
You know what they cost a month to feed?
$50,000 a mo-- Just for the horses, just to feed them.
Forget about the guys that took care of them.
[Mooney] I remember my first time I went to Keeneland's, we took a Learjet up there, my girlfriend and I.
Jon said he was going to get my credit okayed there.
"Toni, no problem. You're Jon's girl.
Whatever you want. Will a million be okay?"
And I was like...
And you know, if you wanted to send your kid to college, no one cared if you paid cash.
[Munday] There wasn't a problem with spending cash.
[woman] There are other signs of changes.
Buyers are putting more cash down on a car.
And they notice payment that's more likely to be in cash now instead of by credit card.
[Roberts] I had a turbo Porsche.
I had a Mercedes back then, the 6.9 was the hot car.
You know the old Mercedes, the gull wings where the doors open in the air?
I put $200,000 into that car and never drove it one day.
I had three Cigarettes hanging in the backyard.
I had mountain lions living in my house, and I had a full time carpenter, I had a full time mechanic for my boats.
I had a mechanic for my helicopter, I had a pilot to fly the helicopter.
And I used to gamble.
I would sit on a weekend and I'd bet $100,000 on a football game.
And I had a guy who used to come every Monday to my house, and he'd know if I won or lost, because his job was to go around the house to see what was broken, the walls, the TVs, and just fix everything.
And that was all he'd do. It didn't matter, though.
It was never like, "Oh, oh, I don't have enough money to buy this."
How could that be?
[man 1] it is estimated that more than $80 billion filters through the underground economy each year.
Money the IRS might never see.
[man 2] Look at the homes.
Look at the yachts.
Look at the cars.
Look at the jewelry sales.
And I think you'll find that Scarf ace is not a myth at all.
The old days when Jesse James would rob a bank in Oklahoma, he'd get on his horse and ride to Kansas and stay there for eight years. But not here.
Here, somebody made a score, get a Rolex, buy a Ferrari, build a big house.
I had a house, and it must have been worth half a million dollars back then.
[Mooney] The property was very beautiful.
[Roberts] I think I had ten acres.
[Mooney] Automatic gates.
Five acres was unbuilt on, the other five was where the house was.
One side a guest house, one side a maid's quarters.
We put in a huge waterfall.
And then I found the security guy, and he came out and he decided to put cameras.
Little birdhouses with cameras on every inch of the property.
And then he said, "Well, we can even go a step further."
In each corner of the house, I had tear gas launchers.
There were holes in the house and you could shoot.
It would shoot out into the cars from each corner of the house.
And I had like a remote control.
You pushed a button and all the powder goes all over the whole yard.
And I remember when we tested the first one, it sent up a cloud. It looked like Hiroshima.
All my dogs and cats were sick for like a day, and it worked.
[man] Real estate is an increasingly popular way to hide money.
Launderers pay cash and don't argue about the price.
I started buying property all over the place.
I bought property in Lion Country Safari, Wellington, Delray Beach.
[Burstyn] Tens of thousands of properties purchased by drug dealers.
[Munday] A couple of houses.
[Roberts] We bought a boat company.
[Munday] Property where the boat shop was at.
[Roberts] We bought apartments.
[Munday] Lots of warehouse space.
[Roberts] We bought 480 acres of land up in Tampa.
[Munday] A great deal of real estate.
[Kimball] If you were to go and buy a million dollars worth of land in some remote county in Florida, nobody at Internal Revenue would receive any report that you made this transaction.
[Roberts] We bought one other building so we could make it a radio room.
[Burstyn] Drug dealers would come in and buy 8, 10, 15 houses.
[Munday] In one place in South Miami, I owned practically the whole neighborhood.
I had $24 million in real estate.
Not only are millions of Americans addicted to drugs, many banks are addicted to drug money.
Cocaine trafficking and the money, the money, almost ruined any morality in this community.
[man] When you're dealing with hundreds of millions of dollars, it's hard to keep the government from noticing.
So drug profiteers need to find a way to turn their dirty money into clean, non-traceable dollars.
It's called money laundering.
There are various estimates about the amount of money being laundered through Florida.
And right now we could say there's probably over $20 billion being utilized in the Florida banks as illegal drug money.
Have you ever seen a city with so many banks?
Are you going to tell me there's that kind of industry and business in this city?
Please, come on.
[man] Banks popped up almost overnight, along the stretch of road named the Brickell Avenue.
Drug traffickers in the Miami area try to set up their own banks.
[man 1] You usually need a cooperative bank officer willing to take a bribe.
[man 2] South East First National, biggest in the state.
A number of branch employees are suspected of taking bribes to help drug dealers.
[man 3] In South Florida it was no problem, because bankers were a dime a dozen.
Bank presidents were in rooms for days counting currency.
[man 4] --six and yeah, this makes a thousand, right?
And taking a bit off the top.
We created the market of banks charging 5% to convert cash into deposits.
I don't believe that has ever happened anywhere in this country before, and probably nowhere on earth.
[man] According to charges filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office, the gang deposited $70 million in the Landmark First National Bank.
Landmark Bank employee Delores Aaron is accused of helping the drug dealers hide the money in special accounts.
Two other bank employees were implicated in the scheme.
Of the $70 million allegedly put into the bank, only $6,000 has been recovered by the government.
Agents say this is a big case, but they also say it is just a drop in the bucket when compared to all the other drug money schemes they suspect are underway in South Florida.
Miami has become the Wall Street of the cocaine trade.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Miami had a cash excess of $4.5 billion, and literally no place to store it.
It had to be distributed to other banks across the country.
Cash is still being shipped out weekly.
The surplus cash in the Miami area constitutes half of all the cash, surplus cash, in the entire country.
[man] Even the law itself has been compromised by the incredible profits.
Everybody had a price.
[man] You can't have major operations like this without the corruption of police.
[Roberts] I happen to notice this lieutenant that worked in North Bay Village.
I approached him one day and I said, "Listen, I want to unload some boats behind the North Bay Village Police Department.
Do you think we've got any problem doing that?"
And he was wide open to the idea.
He even went to the point where he said, "I'll tell you what, we'll have two patrol cars and we'll throw it in the back of the patrol cars and drive it wherever you want."
And he got two or three guys in the police department.
They put up crime scene tapes, and we'd have trucks backed up to the water, and then they'd throw the shit in.
"See you later, man." And they just waved good-bye.
[woman] Two North Bay Village sergeants and a corporal, Officer of the Year Sergeant William Risk, Sergeant Fernando Ganden, and Corporal George Stephaloras, face drug conspiracy charges.
[Buchanan] Some policemen with their red Porsches would crash in a one car accident and they'd be found to have cocaine in their systems.
Early this morning, a Miami officer was involved in a high-speed chase.
When the Metro car tried to stop the vehicle, the Porsche accelerated and outran it.
The Porsche was traveling at least 100 mph.
The driver then got out of the car and told police that he too was a police officer with the City of Miami.
Police found $1,180 in $20 bills under his seat.
The department's internal security will undoubtedly be looking into why this officer was running from other police, and what he was doing with all that money in the car.
And indeed, there are probably countless more police officers that didn't get caught.
The entire criminal justice system was riddled with bribery.
There is now no bigger business in Miami than the drug business, bringing with it international intrigue, uncontrolled violence, corruption, and what appears to be a breakdown in law enforcement.
[Burstyn] When you couple police corruption to corruption of lawyers and corruption of judges, you have no law.
My first real exposure to, I guess, the drug world.
Within months of getting in homicide, I realized that about a dozen of my peers in the homicide bureau are under investigation by the FBI.
The FBI says it has prosecutable evidence that members of the Dade County Homicide Squad are partners with the dope dealers.
When I arrived in homicide, it was the tail end of the cocaine cops.
This was a group of homicide detectives who had been involved with a human narcotics distributor by the name of Mario Escandar.
Seven Dade County homicide detectives have been subpoenaed today by a Federal Grand Jury--
For the homicide bureau itself it was just devastating.
I mean, all of a sudden, your entire top level of experienced personnel are going to jail.
The cocaine cops raises a number of chilling questions about Dade County law enforcement.
These folks who got indicted were the most experienced homicide investigators.
So all of a sudden, we became the senior detectives in the bureau, and that is what you call real on-the-job training.
I met Al Singleton when I came up to homicide.
Singleton always wrote about the rest of the detectives there, and he was in a squad.
They had a special squad for a short period of time, called the Specialized Homicide Investigation Team.
A S.H.l.T. squad. it was a special homicide investigative team.
It was assigned to work these Latin drug cases.
There were a lot of dead bodies that were young Hispanic, young Latinos--
And then what really said to me that we were in a different time, was Dadeland.
[man 1] The first public shot in the cocaine wars.
[man 2] July of 1979 at Miami's busy Dadeland Mall shopping center.
[Buchanan] It was like high noon in the busiest shopping center in Dade County.
[man 2] At 2:30 in the afternoon--
[Davis] And here's this big truck, party time truck. It pulls in.
Nobody would pay any attention to that.
These fellows get out. They go into a liquor store.
The next thing you know, there's a bit shootout going on.
[man] Several Colombian assassins fired machine guns and other weapons into a liquor store, killing narcotics dealer Herman Jimenez and his bodyguard.
Also wounded were the store clerk and a stock boy.
[Buchanan] The assistant medical examiner came.
I asked him how many times the chief target had been shot, and he said, "I stopped counting. He's like Swiss cheese."
[woman] The gunmen fled the liquor store, still firing at cars and shoppers.
[man 1] And they sprayed the entire parking lot of that mall.
[man 2] They said, "Someone out there has got a shotgun and they're shooting."
You could hear shots like popguns.
[man 3] And then they flee and they leave this truck behind.
[Singleton] A secondary scene, which is where I was assigned to, is what has become known as the war wagon.
[man] The war wagon left behind by the machine gun wielding killers.
This truck is a floating armory.
[woman] Police found the van fully equipped with guns, bullet proof vests and ammunition.
[man] Metro police don't have a vehicle equipped like this one.
[woman] The van was marked "Happy Time Complete Party Supply".
Officers say the name of the firm and the phone number are fictitious.
When I saw the war wagon, when I saw the amount of weapons that were there, when I saw the amount of preparation, that said to me we were in a different game.
[man] Detectives say the war started on April 23rd, a gun battle broke out between the occupants of two cars, racing around south Dade.
Two cars are shooting it out, and then the police cars gets involved and they start shooting at the police car. The car crashes.
These people, before they got here a few weeks ago, were probably riding horses in the mountains of Colombia shooting at each other. And now they were in these expensive new cars shooting it out on the turnpike.
[man 1] The Black Audi pictured here was owned by German Panesso.
Inside the trunk, police found the body of Amy Suskin, another top figure in a Colombian drug family.
Police say Suskin was killed in retaliation for the murder of Panesso's maid.
Metro police say the war is still on.
[man 2] Every day in 1980, police say has become just another day in Dade's city.
The rate of killing here is accelerating faster than any other area in the nation.
The efficient work of a gang the police called the Cocaine Cowboys.
[Munday] --as they call them The Cocaine Cowboys--
[man 1] For some reason, American society has always had this fascination with the free-wheeling, high-sticking, gun-toting outlaw.
The cocaine cowboys are as romantic as they are deadly.
[man 2] Cocaine has always been, always been a violent business.
[man 3] The rip-offs are becoming part of their job hazard so to speak.
If someone steals 50 pounds of marijuana, that's a $10,000 deal.
But when someone doesn't pay for 20 kilos of cocaine at $50,000 a kilo, you're talking about $1 million deal.
[man] They will hesitate at nothing to fire on people if even suspect they were gonna try to rip them off.
They were so many shootouts in Miami.
Numerous machine guns are on the highways, the turnpike, US1, residential streets.
[man] In broad daylight on Dade County's crowded Palmetto Expressway, a suspected drug dealer has just been shot by machine gun wielding assassins.
This looks like one of those scenes you might see in Vietnam, you know.
[Potter] Unlike other crime groups, the Colombians will shoot family members, and will fire into crowded places.
Poor people that were standing there and kids, anybody would just get chopped up.
[Buchanan] They just would kill everybody in sight.
[Potter] Beleaguered South Florida law enforcers said that Colombian assassins don't seem to care if there are innocent victims, as they bring to Miami a type of violence it has never seen before.
Near the Miami stadium, a 3-year-old boy was shot and paralyzed when assassins killed his father.
A 14-year-old girl was murdered.
At high noon, a Colombian cocaine dealer was shot in a crowded pizza parlor after the killers ordered lunch.
When they found a young Hispanic person dead the police automatically assumed it was cocaine related.
Sometimes you'd read in the paper, wow, you know, like I know this guy.
You know, he's like got murdered or he got arrested for it.
[man 1] More and more Colombian traffickers bring their incredible brand of violence here.
We have had kidnappings and machine gun murders in broad daylight.
[man 2] It was just unbelievable.
You hear the shots, but they miss him, and they got this one.
[man 3] All of a sudden, I heard a number of shots about 10 or 12.
And I was just out walking my dogs.
And all of a sudden I heard all this shooting going on.
The shots woke me up.
And I heard the bullets over my head, and I hit the ground.
That's the kind of stuff you see on television.
You don't see it in real life.
[man] Four shots in broad daylight in full view of several stunned witnesses.
But this was real life. That was really going on.
[Buchanan] At the Doral, the beach police had an undercover drug buy going on.
Five people were shot, including their own informant.
They shot their own informant by mistake.
Gunfire, wounded bodies, people screaming and the people at the Doral did not panic.
A lot of them thought they were just filming Miami Vice.
[man] Police usually have no idea who the Colombians are.
They all had half a dozen identities.
The criminals use an astounding number of false IDs and aliases.
And a lot of these Colombians claim to be from Puerto Rico, but they couldn't spell it.
[man] invariably they are here with phony ID, frequently posing as Puerto Ricans.
Sometimes detectives can't even identify the victims.
Traditionally, the homicide investigators' hardest case to solve is the "who done it."
In Miami we had, "who is it?"
It's very hard to find out who killed somebody if you don't know who got killed.
Of course, if you happen to be illegal coming in across the border, fingerprints don't help you much because there's no records.
[man] Police also have a hard time enticing witnesses and informants to work with them.
I don't have any idea what's happened.
They may not be able to say very much in English but they'll know how to say, "I want an attorney" or "I don't know."
We're dealing with crimes which have international repercussions and for which the men that work at local police department in the United States are not trained to deal.
[man] Four bodies left in the trunk of a Chevrolet.
One of the victims was an informant for the DEA.
All of the victims had been tortured.
[Buchanan] People that say Miami was on the ragged edge of anarchy were probably right.
And I know that in many ways I contributed to it.
Many people would have been a lot happier if Arthur McDuffie had remained a traffic statistic.
[man] He was a black insurance man named Arthur McDuffie.
And he died after an altercation with Metro Dade Police.
The officers involved were charged with a cover up of the incident only to be found...
[woman] Not guilty.
So say we all--
[man 1] What happened after that is history.
Three days of riots, 18 people dead.
[man 2] We are human beings, and we want to be treated like human beings.
And then came the Mariel boatlift.
[man] The trauma of the Mariel boatlift is one of the most dramatic influxes of immigrants in such a short period of time in one place in American history.
The first boat arrived on April 21st, 1980.
The Carter administration met the crisis with confusion.
[woman] On May 5, shortly after President Carter's
"open arms, open heart" statement, 71 Cuban-Americans obtained a U.S. customs clearance for the freighter Red Diamond to sail to Mariel, Cuba.
[man 1] The Carter administration said the Cubans were welcomed, that we might be able to handle 3,500 of them.
The result was, they came unhindered, night and day.
[man 2] They are called Marielitos.
As they left Cuba, Castro called them "escoria," which means "scum."
[man 3] Fidel Castro himself publicly stated, "I have flushed the toilets of Cuba on the United States."
He bragged about it.
[man 4] With one full swoop, Castro rid Cuba of thousands and thousands of undesirables.
[Buchanan] For all of the decent, hardworking refugees who came here to make new lives, there were also the deadliest, most ruthless criminals that have ever been unleashed on any country in the world.
[man] There are among those people murderers, rapists, child molesters, dangerous individuals.
We first noticed it with their shoes.
The kind issued by Cuban prisons.
There was a prison on the Isle of Pines that had 2,000 hardcore prisoners.
One week later, there were only about 20 prisoners left in that prison.
What about the rest?
They were walking on the streets of Miami.
[Buchanan] Wouldn't it be nice if we could take everybody off death row, everybody in prisons and jails and mental institutions for the criminally insane and send them all off to some nice place where they'll be welcomed by some unsuspecting community?
[man] Castro put a good one over on us.
There are a lot of criminals who came over in the Mariel boatlift.
I have never seen people like that in my life in Cuba.
They do not respect anything.
They do not respect law and order, they do not respect kindness.
You know, they were public enemy number one in Cuba.
Guys who were violent criminals under a communist regime in which it was not easy to be criminal, when they came here then they became super criminals.
[man] They have been described by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons as among the most dangerous criminals he's ever dealt with in his 23 years in corrections.
We're dealing with a serious problem here.
And consequently our homicide rate doubled that year.
I knew we were in deep trouble.
[man] When the refugees were pouring in, the crime rate shot up 89%.
[Buchanan] The crime rate soared, women were being snatched off the street, raped and murdered.
[man 1] In 1978, the city had 15 reported rapes.
But in the first seven months of this year, the figure has reached 59.
90% of the persons arrested in those cases were refugees.
[man 2] Murder remains the number one cause of death among Mariel refugees.
It amounts to roughly about 48% of our homicides.
[Buchanan] People were being gunned down in bars just to see who is more macho.
Two men argued over a lawnmower repair job and in the classic Wild West Matt Dillon tradition, one man challenged the other to a gun draw.
Cars were careening through the streets looking for the hospital because they had two or three wounded people in the backseat.
[man] Mrs. Louise Thompson lost her 17-year-old son Michael as he refused to give a stranger the end of his cigarette.
In return, he got shot with a .357 Magnum.
And they would see a car they liked, and they'd kill whoever was in it and take the car.
[man 1] The man who rammed several metro police cars yesterday injuring one officer before he died was identified today as a recent Cuban refugee from the Mariel sealift.
[man 2] Many of the Mariels who left Cuban jails worshiped the African idol Xango.
They feel Xango rescued them from Castro's prisons.
And others still relying on pagan rituals called Santeria before they commit their crimes.
Buying potions in shops called Botanicas, potions they believe will protect them from police and make them invulnerable to bullets.
[Buchanan]The police didn't know about Santeria.
They would go to a house on some routine call and they find a cauldron with human leg bones sticking out of it and human skulls.
Even the dead aren't safe in Miami.
[man] It's now a community is straining to cope with the influx of more than 100,000 Cuban refugees.
We don't have resources for the refugees right now.
We definitely have no monies for regional social services.
We don't have any resources.
And there was not a single soul at the federal level or in the judicial level who appreciates the fact that the system we have in this country is set up for human beings, not for people who are not even members of the human race.
[man] So the Freedom boatlift is ending in controversy.
There are those that say it's been a needless burden on our country and it should have been stopped long ago.
[woman] Why should one community in the entire country pay for the federal government's error in judgment?
The state of Florida has no navy, no air force, no immigration service, no customs unit, no radar, no CIA, no foreign service to deal with foreign countries.
The state has no way to prevent such new arrivals nor a way of returning them from whence they came.
Jimmy Carter has six more weeks to serve as president.
He has been big on human rights.
To protect the human rights of the people of Miami, he still has time to arrange an exodus back to Cuba for these undesirable Cubans.
Airlift them to our naval base at Guantanamo, open the gate, and let these Cubans be returned to their sender.
Good night. May the good news be yours.
We have narcotics related homicide, then we have Mariel related homicide, and then we have these riots.
That just created the perfect storm for a homicide investigator.
Dade County has suddenly become the murder capital of the United States.
Dade County, Florida, has recorded more than 560 homicides in 1980.
[Davis] In no time at all, we had bodies on the floor, we had them stacked up. It was a disgrace.
Well, it's pretty bad. In fact, it's probably the worst I've ever seen.
We rented a refrigerated truck.
They had rented this refrigerated trailer truck from Burger King for the overflow of bodies.
It already had 27 bodies in it that had come in that day.
[man] South Floridians are now buying guns and owning more guns than ever before.
[Burstyn] We had huge expansion of gun ranges.
For a relatively small community, we had 60 or 70 gun ranges.
I certainly never traveled anywhere in Dade County without being armed.
There's no question about that.
I always had a gun.
I wouldn't sleep well without one.
I've had a couple of the Dade County circuit judges attend my course.
One of the judges wanted the firearm under the bench.
Civilians are killing as many suspected criminals as the police are.
[man] Citizens have killed 30 of the 43 felons killed in the act of a crime.
For South Florida a spiraling trend called "justifiable homicide."
Move or stay and fight. Is that it? Basically right.
Violence is being answered with violence.
[man] From the housewife to the businessman, cocaine cowboy, and even the attendant on the corner pumping gas, we are all living in an armed camp.
It was really dangerous to be on the street.
I wouldn't go out by myself at night if you paid me.
[man] ls the public adequately protected right now?
No. I mean, that's obvious. We cannot control crime.
How many good old fashioned who-done-its have you solved this year?
Probably not more than four.
We've had had no success whatsoever to date closing a Columbian murder.
We are totally overwhelmed, outmanned, outgunned, out-financed.
And it's just shoveling sand against the tide.
Dade County is losing. Miami is losing.
Right now, no question, hands down, they are definitely winning the war.
[woman] We're losing the battle.
I mean, we're just flat out losing.
[man] There was an article that appeared in Time Magazine, "Paradise Lost," about Miami.
It recites the problems that plague South Florida.
Crime, drugs, refugees.
[Singleton] The Paradise Lost Time cover seemed to kind of define Miami as the most violent city in the nation at the time. And it was.
And as Miami got slammed by the media, tourism dried up.
[man 1] And everybody thought Miami is finished.
[man 2] The bottom-line has been the scaring way of businessmen and investors.
[man 3] Business is bad and as long as new stories continue to stream out of Miami about crime and refugees, it won't get any better.
With all this going on in South Dade, what are the police doing about it?
I wrote up the concept paper for CENTAC, sometime around December of 1980.
CENTAC stands for Central Tactical Unit.
[man] CENTAC which combines the efforts of a drug enforcement administration, metro homicide and organized crime bureau units.
That brought together the monies, resources of the federal government, of DEA and customs, with the knowledge of local law enforcement and state agencies.
There is a publication from DEA that brings CENTAC back to "The Untouchables."
"The Untouchables" was a CENTAC of its time.
That kind of aura gave the officers in CENTAC that feeling of being elite within an elite.
[man 1] It was the earliest Miami police taskforce.
[man 2] Raul Diaz was the Lieutenant in charge of CENTAC.
When the opportunity for CENTAC came around, first I asked Al.
He was Lieutenant at the time and I worked for him.
My relationship with Al was special.
An outstanding homicide investigator.
He's a cop's cop. He's a solid cop.
And it was someone who had no idea what the hell was going out there in narcotics.
[Singleton] He became my mentor.
Best way to describe Raul is very innovative investigator.
I'll let it go with that.
[Buchanan] He felt the pulse beat of the streets.
He knew what was going on.
His strength was knowing people and dealing with informants.
[Diaz] We would talk to them in a language that they understood.
"You come here and you do these things, we're going to arrest you, or we're going to kill you, or we're going to make your life a living hell... unless you talk to us and cooperate."
It's all in the delivery, if you will.
And not the physical delivery, verbal delivery.
They were among the busiest people in Dade County.
Al Singleton and the CENTAC team.
[woman] The purpose of CENTAC is to solve drug related homicides involving Latins.
[Diaz] The goal of CENTAC 26 was to get rid... of those people who were actually participating in the homicides and those who were ordering these murders.
The top people... Most of the people responsible, we never get.
[Diaz] We came up with a list of about 20 people.
And what we did was target these 20 people.
This place had no lack of Latin career criminals.
Our number one person was Amilcar Rodriguez.
And the reason for that was because he was a suspect in about 20 homicides. And in three days, we had our number one target.
[man] Their biggest catch so far is Rafael Leon Rodriguez, known as Amilcar.
He is an alleged cocaine distributor for five Colombian families.
Amilcar is charged with a double murder in Dade County, and is accused of trying to kill police on two occasions.
The arrest of Amilcar was essentially based upon informant information that Raul Diaz had prior to the homicide.
We found out that he was known by several names.
As we started showing his photographs to people in the street, we came up with something like 14 or 15 aliases.
This man had a MAC-10, MAC-11, a Smith and Wesson model 59. This guy had 148 rounds.
[man] The Columbian assassins are partial to the MAC-10 machine gun.
The MAC-10 fires in bursts of 16 bullets a second.
[Kaye] They all have guns. They all carry guns: automatic pistols, 14 shot clip.
My homicide detectives had 72 rounds among all 12 of them.
[man] And here you're expecting the policeman to go in and do his job and he's carrying a shot revolver.
It was decided that since we were going to be facing these folks, that homicide should be allowed to carry semiautomatics.
Horse shit. We'll take it one step beyond.
Let's get authorized for machine guns.
So CENTAC, when we went operational, we had machine guns.
[man] I was born in Cali, Colombia, July 5, 1957.
I arrived in the United States, you know, July 5, 1969.
I was known as a car thief.
One of the biggest car thieves in Chicago and then, after the 80s', I was known to be an assassin for the Cartel.
I went to Chicago to live with my father.
He worked for General Motors.
I went to a Catholic school, where I learned English at.
I was a mechanic, with my dad.
That's where I learned how to break into cars.
I just started with a group of guys and we started stealing cars, selling them to chop shops.
Between $200 and $500 a car.
We used to steal five, six, a night. It was three of us.
So we were making good money. Better than working for my dad.
We were in the restaurant eating breakfast, and three Colombians came in.
One was Cruz Gonzalez, and he asked, "Who was favorita?"
We asked him why. What he was looking for.
He said, "I'm looking for the guy who stole my car."
So I just told him, I said, "I'm that guy you're looking for. I'm Rivi."
He says, "You stole my car, and I want my car back."
I said, "You can't have it back unless you gave me $500, because it belongs to me now." He started laughing.
And he said, "You got some balls, you know that?"
I said, "Yeah, I heard that before."
And he asked me if I'd ever been to Florida.
I said, "Yeah, a couple of times."
He asks me if I've been to Miami. I said, "Yeah, with my dad."
He asks me, if I could drive a truck for him to Florida.
I said, "Sure. Do I get paid?" He said, "Yeah" that he would pay me
$5000 if I drive the truck. Told him "Yeah, no problem."
He asked me if I had a driver's license, I said, "Yeah, I got six of them."
And we drove the truck. We're driving smoking weed all the way down.
And we stopped halfway because I got curious what was in the box. It was full of boxes.
We pull over, and I opened one of the boxes, and it was full of guns, used guns.
Shotguns, revolvers, automatic pistols.
So for now, we just started driving at speed limit.
When I got to Miami, they paid us and he says, "Look, I got some things going.
Maybe you guys could, you know, work for me and make some more money in Miami.
If you could stay at Miami." I told him, "Doing what?"
He said, "Just delivering dope and picking up money.
Maybe once in a while push somebody around."
We decided to stay for a couple of weeks.
So when he told me just to watch one of his stash houses, that was the first time we were working with people that were in the drug business. But later on they were pussy cats.
After we learned our own... the trade and we learned how to use guns and we met different people, they were nobody.
They were pussy cats, boy scouts.
Cruz had an ex-military, an old man.
As soon as I met him, I liked the guy.
And he started telling me he was in the military for so many years and he was a demolition expert.
So I started asking him a lot of questions about explosives, and automatic weapons.
So I went into the next room and got one. it was a MAC-10.
I said I want to know how to take it apart, clean it.
We started going to the Everglades, shooting our machine guns.
I learned. I got pretty good at all this.
From the first day I had a MAC-11 in my hand, I knew that was my favorite choice of weapon.
Then he says, "You want to learn how to use explosives?"
I said, "Yeah." He said, "You got good nerves?"
I said, "Pretty steady."
He says, "We have some dynamite coming from Texas in a few days, I'm gonna teach you how to make bombs."
The next day the dynamite arrived with the detonators.
He took four sticks of dynamite and detonators.
He started just going through it, you know, basically showing me how to do it.
About two hours later, he says, "Can you build one?"
I said, "I think so." So I did.
I said, "The only thing that it needs is just to plug it to the battery and to the timer."
He said, "Can you do that?"
You know, I mean, my kids are sleeping.
In the next room, my wife. And he went, "Just try me."
I said, "Sure, how much time do you want out of it?"
He said, "About 30 seconds. Go ahead."
And I did. We let the clock run.
He was sitting in front of me.
About 10 seconds went by, 15...
He says, "You know in another 10 seconds it's gonna go off."
I said, "I know. Do you want me to shut it off, or you want to shut it off?
So he smiled, and he put a plug on it.
Then he says, "You're good at it.
Just make sure that when you're doing it, don't be on drugs, don't drink because you'll blow your kids up."
A couple weeks went by and we were in a night club, in Miami.
Flaco came in.
He says, "Look, you know, we need to get out of here, because there's going to be a hit here.
You need to get you people out. Those people on your right...
And six Colombians laughing and drinking fire water.
You want to spray that table. The whole table.
And I said, "All right, I appreciate it. I said "Let me get my guys."
I went back to bathroom, and I told him, I said, "We got to go.
There's going to be a shootout here." He says, "Just give me a minute."
I walked out. Well, during that time, Venegas had stopped at the same table, by accident, and told the guys to leave because there was gonna be a shootout.
So he screwed up the hit. It was just an accident.
I found out he knew one of the guys at the table, so he was just looking out for his friend, told him to leave because it was going to be a shooting.
I was outside. Venegas came out.
Behind Venegas everybody is coming.
They started pushing each other out.
Flaco came on his motorcycle. He was really pissed off.
He said, "You guys fucked everything up.
I should have never told you nothing."
I said, "Yeah, we did it, man, you know, it was an accident."
He says, "Well, you're in trouble, man, you know you're in trouble with my boss.
The boss wants to meet you." I said, "No problem."
So we get in the car, we got on I-95...
And on the way, I'm telling him, I said, "These people aren't gonna kill me, are they?
He says, "I don't know, I don't make no guarantees, man."
We have fucked something up here.
I mean, they talk about killing six people.
So you know there ain't no pussies here.
So we drove to a Holiday Inn on I-95, in Miami.
I looked, and four guys got out of a car.
I Said, "Oh, is that them?"
He said, "That's them, that's part of them.
That's more to your left."
And I look, and there was four other guys on the other side, getting off the car.
I approached the older guy who was there.
He says, "Are you Rivi?" I said, "Yes, I am."
He says, "Come with me."
I got on back of a car, and in the backseat there was a lady.
And she asked me. She said, "You the one who fucked up the hit last night?"
And I said, "In a way I did."
And she told me, "I'd been after these people for months, and this is only the first time that we got sight on them."
And that I had fucked it up.
She says, "Well, I'll tell you what.
You find them and we call it even.
I'm interested in the two brothers.
The other four we were just gonna hit because they were sitting at the table."
I said, "You were gonna kill four other people just to kill two?"
She said, "That's the way I do my things:
Get everybody out of the way."
I said, "Wouldn't it be easier just to kill two?"
She said, "No, it would have been easier to kill all six of them.
Spray the whole table instead of walking up to one a piece."
That surprised me, you know.
I mean she's talking to murder like...
So I told her, I said, "Just give me a week, I'll find these people."
So when we got back to the hotel, I told the guys what happened, and Venegas was there.
And I said, "What happened?" I said, "Look, we're in deep shit with this lady.
If we don't find this people, we're gonna have to haul ass.
Because they're gonna come after, they told me in so many words."
He said, "He's a friend of mine, I know him."
I said, "You know him? So you can get a hold him?" He said, "Yeah."
I said, "if you can get a hold of him, then we got this under control."
He said, "Yeah, we can get hold of them.
One, the older one."
I said, "That's what we need, one.
To hell with the other one."
I said "Do this. Let's go to a pay phone and beep him, and set up a meeting for tonight.
And we're gonna kidnap his ass And we're gonna turn it over to this other people."
He beeped and the guy answered.
He set up a meeting at the Ramada Inn back parking lot.
He told him that we had some guns and some explosives for sale.
Sure enough the guy came in.
By 8 o'clock, it was already dark.
He's talking, laughing with Venegas.
I'm behind a tree. And Venegas opened the trunk, I came out behind the tree, I put a gun in his ribs, "I've been looking for you."
So the guy says, "I owe you nothing."
I said, "No, you don't. Someone else needs you.
There's a lady looking for you.
Her name is Griselda Blanco." He turned white.
He said, "You want me to meet her in couple of hours?"
He started shaking.
So about an hour later, they arrived. They took him.
The next day I'm at home. It's 4 o'clock in the afternoon.
She comes to my house. My wife was frying fish, so she just knocks and comes in like she owns the house.
She says I love fish, so I told my wife to fry her fish.
She's eating, telling me how they killed this guy and chopped him up into little pieces while we were having dinner.
I said, "What are you talking about? You shot this guy?"
She said, "Yeah, I shot him.
And then Tulio and Cubamba cut him up and put him in a small box, and wrapped him up like a gift with a little bow on top, and we left it a couple blocks from here, on the Turnpike."
I said, "In my neighborhood?"
She said, "Yeah, we were heading south to come and visit you, so we figured it was a good spot to drop him off.
We dropped him off in Turnpike."
I said, "You guys usually do that?"
She said, "Yeah." She likes it.
She likes us to cut people up and just throw them like that.
[man] CENTAC is also hoping to untangle the drug organizations of Griselda Blanco, a flamboyant woman nicknamed by the Colombian newspapers La Madrifia or Godmother.
[Singleton] Well, we can't say for sure exactly when she was in Miami.
Probably '78. We didn't know where, obviously, because she was a fugitive.
And we knew she was a multi-kilo dealer.
[Ayala] She was the biggest back then.
She was Godmother of the cocaine trade.
Bloody, dramatic, took no prisoners.
[man] She is suspected of up to 15 murders and now is in hiding.
[Singleton] 1979, '80, '81 and '82, those were the years where she did her killing in Dade County.
[Diaz] In the very, very Latino culture, it's not usual that a woman would be the head of her own organization.
So I figured that she had to have been one mean lady.
She's considered a very dangerous woman.
She will pull the trigger herself if given the chance.
[man] Police say Griselda Blanco began years ago as a bank robber, then entered the drug trade working and killing her way to the top.
The role of Griselda Blanco became very, very prominent in what we were calling the cocaine wars.
[Singleton] The first homicide of note that she was involved with was Dadeland, which of course was July of 1979.
Police believed the Dadeland shootout was simply payback for another incident, here on the Florida Turnpike.
The infamous highway shooting where people were going down the highway shooting at each other, those two killings are linked.
Three months before Dadeland, two carloads of Colombian traffickers got into a high speed machine gun shootout here.
When police finally stopped one of the two cars, they looked in the truck and found a body, handcuffed and strangled to death.
Police believe the victim, Jaime Susco, was ordered killed by German Jimenez, the man who died at Dadeland.
[man 1] There are many people who paid the price because they fell out of favor with Griselda Blanco.
There was an infamous case linked to her.
[man 2] Police suspect in November 1980 during morning rush hour traffic, near a Miami airport hotel, the Godmother's assassins killed a woman named Graciela Gomez.
Graciela Gomez ran afoul of the Godmother.
Not a good thing to do.
Grizelda was jealous of her, because she was an attractive young female.
[man] informants say Gomez had stolen some cocaine, and had a romantic fling with the Godmother's lover--
[Singleton] --It might have been something with--
Both fatal mistakes.
She was in a Corvette, northbound on Red road.
Stopped at a red light. Griselda's hitman, Cubamba, and this guy named Zapata, they were following her.
And she knew they were following her. She recognized them.
[man] As Gomez drove in her Corvette, shots were fired from a passing car.
The shots missed.
[Singleton] She got afraid, and she jumped out of her vehicle, went to a vehicle stopped in traffic in front of her, pleading for help.
This couple, man and wife, allowed her to get in the backseat of the vehicle, not knowing what was going on.
[man] As the astonished couple watched in horror, the assassin walked up to their passenger window, pushed them aside and fired point blank into the backseat.
Shot through the window, killing Graciela in the backseat of this couple's car.
[Potter] Then they walked back to their car.
They didn't run back to their car.
Witnesses said they walked back to their car.
[man] The couple meantime scrambled from the car to escape physical harm.
But there was an emotional toll.
[Hawkins] The wife felt the gun to the back of her head.
She came very close to death.
That's not the kind of thing that you expect at 7:30 in the morning to have to deal with.
I recall that the wife just never could really get over it.
I think they even relocated and moved out of Miami as a result of that.
It just showed how brazen these assassins were, and the traffickers were in Miami.
They thought they could do anything in the town.
And in many cases they did.
[man] The search for the assailants continues.
It is hoped fingerprints and eyewitness accounts will lead to the two men.
And they were like brazen, ha ha, you can't catch me.
It works in a way like the Wild West.
I guess that's why they call them Cocaine Cowboys.
[man] Bob Kaye, Dade County's chief prosecutor for homicide, has his own definition for a cocaine cowboy.
"He is a Colombian," Kaye says, "usually an illegal alien who is in South Florida either to smuggle drugs or to settle a score."
Police believe all of these people are in and out of Miami regularly.
I represented quite a bit of them.
They used to come in to my office, like they used to drive like a caravan of Mercedes Benz.
You know, people with guns... You know, you wonder...
They were like, like rolling probable cause on the street.
There was a rogue cast of characters involved with Griselda.
She had an army with her. She had Paco.
[Singleton] Paco Sepulveda.
Diego Sepulveda. [Ayala] Toto.
[Singleton] Carlos Venegas. Alonso Ayala.
[Ayala] Hugo. [Singleton] Guillermo Velazquez.
[Ayala] Cubamba. [Singleton] Manteco.
Diego Escobar. Oscar Mario. [Ayala] Jaime Bravo.
They would do whatever they were told to do but they were mainly enforcerslhitmen.
Riverito... He became Griselda's most favorite enforcer.
She had enemies. Some who owe her money, some who had kidnapped her kids in Colombia, some of them have flipped on her, ripped her off.
She don't forget or forgive. She will get you.
Sooner or later, she came after you.
The list was specific... the people that she wanted to get killed. All hits.
You know, it's a very long list, and it had a price for each person.
Oscar Piedrahita used to work for Griselda.
He used to be in charge all the exportation for her.
But one time came that he kidnapped one of her kids, Oswaldo, in Colombia.
And he demanded $5 million, cash, for returning her son.
I think she gave him $1 million dollars, and he released the kid.
Well, he disappeared. When I started working for her, she mentioned the guy, on the top five.
And she said, "if you ever find him, I want his ass, I want you to kill him."
And every day I used to read the newspaper.
And I'd read The Miami Herald and I came to the obituaries.
There was a little article about a kid who had drowned in a pool.
They were having a wake in their home on Miami Lakes and in the bottom of the article, it said Oscar Piedrahita, the father, and the address of the house.
I started thinking, "it's too easy."
So I got in my car, drove up, I called Griselda and said, "I think we need to talk."
I explained to her, and showed her the article.
It might be him, but I need somebody to show him to me if he's the right guy.
She said, "I got somebody who knows him really well."
About 5:30, 6 o'clock, we went to the address.
She's with me.
Dario is driving, she's on the passenger side and I'm in the backseat. We got three different cars.
Chicho is in one of them with Manteco.
He's the one that's going to point him out.
So we drive by and we see all these people outside the door, outside in the front lawn.
We went around the block and I got out of the car and I spoke to Manteco and Oscar and Chicho.
So they ask me, "How do you want to do this?"
I said, "it's real simple.
Everybody's crying, everybody's hurt, just pull up to the front and ask for him.
When he comes out, just hit him."
They double back and they go and park and--
Pull up in front of the house, and Chicho asks for him, There was a lady.
She said, "Yeah, hold on a second, let me get him."
He comes out a few minutes later.
He went around to the driveway. And when he did, Chicho's machine gun was out there, next to the car.
Everybody just was screaming...
And then we just went into I-26, and went home.
Made the newspaper front page and stuff.
[man] When assassins killed Oscar Piedrahita, they put more bullets in his garage door than they put in him.
It was sad the way he had to die, you know, at his son's wake.
But he chose that when he messed with this lady.
I could have got him later, 2 or 3 days later, but that's not that what she wanted.
It was kind of sad, you know, but business is business.
Miguel Perez and Nestor Garcia were dope dealers. They were partners.
Griselda's youngest kid, Oswaldo.
He fronted them some dope that was $250 an ounce I believe.
They start jerking him around, because they just thought that he was so young.
They didn't realized who was behind the kid, and they jerked him around.
Finally they just told him that they wouldn't pay him, to go fuck himself.
He just figured, "Well, fuck him, you know, he ain't gonna find me."
But he figured wrong.
Oswaldo went back to his mom and told her. I was at her house, when he was telling her the story.
Griselda told me, "Find him and kill him."
So I started questioning Oswaldo about it.
Tell me where you met this guy.
He says, "He told me that he works at a drug store."
"Where?" He said, "Somewhere in Kendall."
I said, "I get back within a few days."
So I grab a phone book.
I start to looking through all the drug stores in Kendall.
There's a whole bunch of them. There's just too many of them.
I went back to him.
I said, "Do you remember anything else about that drug store?"
He said, "Yes, it's near a police station."
So I went to a private investigator friend of mine.
And I asked him, "Do you know a drug store or a police station that is near a shopping center?"
He says, "There's one, you know, US-1 and 200th Street."
I said, "No, that's too far down."
He says, "There's another one on Kendall Drive, near the turnpike."
So I went to that one. This is the first one I went to.
It was 107th in Kendall Drive, and I saw the police station was right behind the drug store.
And it was a Cuban drug store.
I believed I was in the right track, so I went and got the kid.
I said, "Did you meet him near here?"
He said, "Yeah, I met him at the Chinese restaurant right there."
I said, "That's his drug store right there."
The next day we set up surveillance in the drug store...
All day, with the kid to show us him.
I was almost giving up, that it was the wrong store.
I was just getting in the car to leave.
I had a sniper rifle.
I was taking it apart. And then he says, "That's him right there." I said "Who?"
He said, "That BMW. That's him right there."
He pulled up in front of the drug store with two other guys.
So he went into the drug store.
I was telling him he had to come out.
Well, about a half an hour later he came out.
Then he started walking, football shorts.
It was an old Chevy Impala.
When he reached into his shorts pocket, and he took the key out and he turned his back on me, he must have been not even five yards away from me, where I was parked at.
I shot him in the back, sprayed him.
I just started shooting from the lower back all the way up to the head. Then I crossed him, from left to right. And then he dropped.
Well, nobody knows nothing, because I was shooting with a silencer.
But Toto, this idiot, pulls out a .45, and puts a bullet in the guy, but with no silencer.
I mean, we got a police station in the background.
The police station was right behind the drug store, so then we picked up a little heat there.
We made it off on Kendall Drive, going East.
We got out of the car, put a cover on the car. We switch cars.
[man] Approximately, 5 minutes after 3, the victim, identified as a Nestor Garcia went to get in a vehicle which was parked in the parking lot of a shopping center at Kendall Drive and 117th Avenue.
And there was a volley of shots fired at the car.
I start to think about the way I did it, you know.
It was just like run a tape in my mind.
A friend of mine came over, and he said, "Man, it's just business."
He said, "I know how you feel, I felt like that too the first time I did one but it will go away.
The second one, you won't feel like that."
Sol looked at him, "Are you sure?"
He says, "Trust me, I've done over 50."
And it stuck in my mind, it's just business.
From there it was just business.
[man] Nestor Garcia was killed in Kendall.
A couple months later they determined who his partner was. That was Miguel.
[Ayala] Miguel Perez heard that Nestor got killed.
He went into more hiding, because he knew he was next.
And the kid, he told me that if I was gonna find the other one, I said, "You have to give me some help here."
He said he didn't know where he lived.
So I only know that he owns a boutique.
I said, "Where?" He said, "The Omni."
Miguel had a shoe shop in the Omni shopping mall, in downtown Miami.
[woman] The Omni International shopping mall...
[man] Latins have made the plush Omni complex their unofficial headquarter.
[Ayala] First I went to the Omni. Everyday.
I had a description of Miguel Perez.
Something caught my attention in the boutique, and I walked in there.
There were three Cubans talking.
That's what caught my attention. The Spanish.
I went to a pay phone and I called the kid.
I said, "Describe this Miguel one more time."
He described him to the teeth, you know.
I said, "I think I found him."
He actually located him there.
Miguel Perez came out of the boutique, and went towards the elevator.
So there it is. Let's go.
We got into the elevators. He got into the elevator.
I was right behind him.
They were going to kill him in the Omni shopping mall itself.
I was gonna do him. I was gonna stab him with an ice pick.
I couldn't make no noise.
Even the silencer makes noise down there.
Somebody else got into the elevator.
It was a police officer.
So we went a couple floors up, and he walked into a restaurant.
When he came out, his bodyguards were with him, so we let him go.
He went to the parking lot. He got in the passenger side.
The bodyguard was driving. So we followed him up.
He got on the I-95 and then he turns into US-1.
We were right behind him.
There were three of us. Three cars.
Finally we came to US-1 and Le Jeune Road, 42nd avenue.
The light was green.
I thought we're gonna make the light, but I said, "Just wait.
If he gets stuck at the light, we'll hit him here."
This is the intersection of Le Jeune Road and US-1.
[Ayala] The problem was, when I crossed the street, to our right was a police car.
And we're looking, and we had no silencers.
I had a MAC-11 and the other guy had a MAC-10.
So we said we just got to do it without the silencer.
He had the real tinted windows, so we all rolled down at the same time.
[Singleton] They essentially machine gunned him to death, right near a rolling intersection.
And he died on the scene.
[Ayala] As soon as we fired, the light changed green, and everybody is looking.
And we just, like it was not our business, we just got in gear and drove like everybody else was driving.
A couple of blocks down we dump the car...
We jumped in another car, and went home.
A quiet residential area in Kendall tonight became the scene of a grizzly mass murder.
We received a call about 5:45 at the complaint desk.
An anonymous call indicating that there had been a homicide at this address.
They call it the Kendall Six.
Six people were killed in a town house.
[man] The bodies were found inside a newly built three bedroom town house here at Kings Court, a luxury residential community on Kendall Drive.
Four men, two women, The original target was Nicolado.
He was the cousin of another guy... They called him Chino.
They got killed at a home, in Miami Lakes, by Rafa.
And he was in a war, trying to bang his cousin.
So they put him on the list.
He didn't do anything to Griselda, but since her and Rafa were so close together, business associates, she made it her business.
[Singleton] It was her people who did it.
I'm convinced that Griselda had it done.
I don't know exactly who was present.
It turns out that when they went to their home, one of the guys that lived there, the night before, had a little party.
And there were five other people in the house.
There was an additional woman and an additional three men.
But once they were in there, there was no turning back.
In any case like that of the Kendall Six, the quad group or whatever, usually you have one intended victim.
You've got four, five people or two or three people that were just at the wrong place at the wrong time.
So everybody got killed. All six people.
I mean, the six people, they were tortured and killed, including like a maid.
That murder showed what police were worried about most.
And that in going after a target, the assassins are willing to take out everybody in the room.
That happened a lot in Colombia.
Now it was happening in Miami.
[man 1] The Medellin newspapers knew all about the victims, days before American law enforcers identified them.
[man 2] We do know that there are six victims.
Four Latin males in their 20s and 30s, and two Latin females in their 20s.
The police still have not released how the victims were killed.
The four guys got shot, and the two women got suffocated.
They wrapped them up with tape, so they suffocated.
And there was a baby that was left alive.
There was no harm done to the baby, but it was taken from the home, not to leave him there with the dead bodies.
I seem to recall that it was Rivi's sister that took care of that baby.
[woman] Detectives have few leads to the little boy police are identifying only as Andres.
At this point, the priority is attempting to find the child.
[Ayala] Well, it made big headlines.
[Casuso] Six people dead and a baby missing?
Yeah, that was like front page stuff.
We are hoping that if in fact he was abducted, as they realize that he's only 13 months old, that he can't identify them, that he can't talk--
I was contacted by someone about the problem, you know, the baby.
I told the person who called me, "if you get arrested with this baby, you're gonna get charged at least, at the minimum with kidnapping, if not the six homicides, because the baby was like the only clue they have."
[Graveline] Perhaps they'll drop him off somewhere safe, and we'll be able to at least get the safe return of the child.
The next day, there was a call from Colombia to the Miami police department, telling them where to find the baby.
They found him in a mall, sitting on a bench.
You know, that's also another crime that's never been solved.
[Ayala] I was getting ready to go to New York to do some work up there.
There was two cars in the driveway: a station wagon and a Corvette...
One of my Corvettes.
And I was loading my luggage into the station wagon to go to the airport.
And my son got into the car, in the station wagon, and opened the switch and put the lever down. And the car, the station wagon rolled over, and my daughter got caught between the two cars.
Broke her pelvis and ribs and legs and stuff, you know, I rushed my daughter to the hospital, and I called Griselda I couldn't make it to New York because of what happened.
Well, she said, "Don't worry about it."
"Oh, yeah", I said, "Well, you come to the hospital and they ask for insurance and all that shit?"
Back then I didn't have all the money that I wanted.
So I told Griselda. She said, "Don't worry about it.
You work for me.
When you work for me, this is all included."
It's just not the money, the help that she did, you know, I never forget that, you know.
I just liked the lady.
I was on my way to New York, and I got careless.
We had two machine guns, a Mac-10, a Mac-11, several guns with silencers.
We put everything in one suitcase.
I did this.
And we got to the airport, and they drop me off fine.
Chucho's wife went in with us and Chucho was carrying the suitcase, but it was pretty heavy.
You could tell it was heavy.
I went up to the counter and I spoke to the girl, told her that we have a reservation for a flight to La Guardia.
She went to pick up the suitcase. And it was so heavy, she's like, "Oh, my God, what's in here?"
I said, "Just clothes and books and stuff."
So she called somebody to get it, put it on the belt.
When the guy did, I looked at him and I had seen him when I walked in.
He was no airport worker. And I told Chucho, "We got to split up." The guy is a cop, the girl is a federal agent, and I don't see any more.
So I just stood there, you know.
It's impossible they could get all of us.
So somebody is got to make it.
So I told Chucho, "You go left, I double-back, and Tulio, you go right."
So I grab the ticket and I turn around.
When I turn around, like when I hit the doors, she came up, with another guy.
She said she is with ATF.
She said, "You got to come with me."
I said, "For what, am I under arrest?"
She said, "Yeah, you are."
I was gonna run. There's nowhere to go, you know?
And I didn't have my gun with me either.
So I said, "All right, let's go."
So they put me in this room. I said, "What's the problem?"
And she says, "Your luggage."
There was a big table in front of me, and the suitcase is opened.
And they got Chucho in there too.
"Is that your suitcase?" I said, "No, ma'am, it's not mine."
Both the machine guns were out, and the clips were outside the machine guns, but the bullets were still in it.
I could've just gone for them.
They booked us there and then they took us to Brevard County jail.
Our bond was set at $150,000 each.
The next day Luis Casuso showed up.
He had a big reputation for representing Colombians.
[man] Colombian traffickers have so much money, they can easily make bond after being arrested.
The testimony that you heard is just basically a scare tactic to get the judge not to lower the bond.
[man] Cardona was freed on bond lowered to $1 million.
She and two sisters fled to Colombia and are now back in the cocaine business.
[Ayala] When he walked in, I already knew who he was.
And he said that he was here to represent both of us.
With the Colombians, you get paid in cash.
And there was always cash, 100 dollar bills.
And the amount depends on the case.
It's sort of like a myth in Dade County, you know, people walking in with like sacks of currency.
$1 million weighs about 20 pounds.
A shoe box, snicker bar...
Just wrap it up, like it was a gift, put it in the backseat.
Now you open it, count it in front of him, you're on your way.
Whatever he's got to do with that money, he does it.
And he used to come into my office and like put guns on my desk.
He knew pretty much what's going on.
I'm his lawyer, he's telling me about stuff that I really don't want to hear because, I mean, if he's trying to impress me...
He's not doing that.
Sometimes I asked him, "Have you seen so and so?"
And, "Well, are you're looking for him?"
I say, "Hell, yeah, I'm looking for him."
"No, I haven't seen him."
I don't want to hear about it, you know, I don't want to hear, "Oh, we killed this guy here, there," it was like, I used to cut him off, you know?
He said, "All right, you know, I want to put a motion to have this thrown out of court, but first I got to get you guys out."
We had a bonds man.
They had bought a house, and they were putting their house up as collateral, But only for one of us.
I said, "Look, no. We came in together, we leave together."
The bond man says, "I was ordered to get you out."
So I said, "Chucho, I'll be back for you.
I get you in a few days."
So I got out and I told Griselda, "I got to get Chucho out."
"But who is he?" I said, "He's my best friend."
"Well, it's on you.
You took him, you get him out."
I had that money, But I had that money laundering.
She wasn't paying his bond.
She was not getting him out, because he was not part of the crew yet. Not officially.
So he got pissed off.
So his wife... She was staying at our house most of the time with my wife.
And she was just talking crap, you know, making threats that if he wasn't out, she was gonna go to the FBI, and she was gonna snitch on everybody, and that she had a little book about all the killings that Griselda had ordered, and all the killings that I had done.
Well, I said, "You know what?
This is very delicate stuff, you know, keep your mouth shut and just chill out.
He's gonna come out.
If he don't come out, we'll break him out, but just chill out."
She said, "You tell your boss if you don't get my husband out by this week, I'm gonna go to the FBI."
I was keeping track of her already.
Anywhere she went, somebody would follow her.
If she got near a police station, she was gonna get it.
I went to Griselda, and I told her.
She said, "Well, you should have just killed her right there then."
I said, "Yeah, there was no other choice but to kill my best friend's wife."
I told her that Griselda wanted to talk to her. We went to a hotel.
We were at the bar drinking.
I couldn't just bring myself... To shoot her myself.
So I asked Oscar, you know, and some other guy, and they said, "No, man.
I ain't doing that."
We started to drive home.
Normally I usually drive, and I threw the keys to Oscar.
I said, "You drive, I'll get in the backseat."
Well, when she sees this she says, "What's up?
You're gonna get behind me so you can shoot me behind the head?" lsaid -. , No' no: “Q I just don't feel like driving."
She says, "Bullshit, I know you too well.
You don't let nobody drive.
I said, "Nothing's up."
She said, "Well, if you're gonna shoot, make sure you hit me right here behind the head."
So I said, "if you want, I'll drive."
She said, "No, don't worry about it. I ain't worried."
We got about a half a block from the house, and she was killed.
Her body was dumped near our home.
I go home and the car was full of blood and stuff.
The bullet went right through her forehead and came out the windshield.
So it was a mess.
So I put a cover on the car.
We always had covers for our cars.
The next morning, I got up, and I got a call from her.
I said, "it's done."
"All right." Chucho's been calling the house.
But I told my wife to tell him I wasn't at home.
So after 5:00, he called again, I answer the phone.
He asked me where was his wife at.
I said, "I don't know, I haven't seen her."
He said, "You sure you don't know where she is at?
I said, "No, I don't.
I saw her last night, she was going out somewhere."
Then he says, "I saw her on TV."
I said, "What?" He said, "I saw her on TV."
[man] At Coral Way and 132nd Avenue, the body of an unidentified woman was found near the roadway.
"You killed her!"
I said, "I don't know what are you talking about."
He says "You killed her, you did it."
He said, "I'll get with you."
That's the last time I heard of him.
Carlos Nossa, we called him Manteco, mantequilla, butter, because he was real white.
He had green eyes, looked American.
We were just like brothers.
Griselda didn't like him too much.
She used to comment that he was real greedy, that she didn't trust him too much.
That's one of the reason they never knew where she lived.
I was the only one that knew where she lived.
I was called that afternoon to her house.
Griselda said, "Were you at the Omni?
Did you run into somebody?"
I said, "Yeah, I did, I run into Cacheton."
Cacheton was one of her customers.
"And what did he say?"
"He had a really important job if I wanted, you know, a hit, a double hit, worth a lot of money, a lot of lot of money.
More than I'd ever made."
And she said, "Do you know if he talked to anybody else?"
I said, "I believe so.
I caught him talking to Manteco."
She said, "Well, guess what?
The hit that he wants you to do is me and Dario.
That's what he wants."
Probably he was in a lot of debt with Griselda.
And she said, "You got to take care of both of them.
If you cannot take care, let me know and I'll send my crew to do it.
Manteco was my best friend.
Kill my best friend.
To this day, I don't have no proof that Manteco really was gonna carry out the hit.
I doubt it very much, because I'm worried too much about friends.
But with her, all she needed was a doubt.
It was harsh especially with my daughter.
My stepdaughter, Lisa, she was 9, so she had a little more sense than other kids.
She'd see guns, she'd see guys coming to the house with guns, and she started asking questions.
It wasn't easy.
A lot of the money that I was making I was giving to my mother-in-law.
I set an account in Panama, and put money away for my kids, because I never thought I was coming to prison.
I figured I was gonna get killed.
That's what I used to go to bed every night thinking, "Maybe it's tomorrow.
I get into a shootout or I put my guard down and somebody's smarter than me and I get shot in back of the head, sitting in a restaurant..."
Which almost happened, several times.
That's why I used to live it to the fullest because it might be the last day.
Papo Mejia, he used to be an enforcer for Griselda.
Apparently he ripped her off, and he went on his own, and that's one thing that she didn't forget or forgive.
She was at war now.
[man] There is a feud going on right now that would put the Hatfield's and the McCoy's to shame.
[Ayala] She was losing a lot of people, so she asked me if I could get some more help.
She said, "Make sure that they know what did they get into.
Don't bring me two, like Manteco and Chucho."
I left that alone.
I said, "Yeah, I got a couple friends up there in Chicago, they're Marielitos."
They don't play around.
She said, "That's just what I need."
And I mean, they had a reputation, you know, very, very dangerous people.
One of them, Guillermo Foralis, they call him Pepe.
I talked to him and I said, "Why don't you fly down here?"
He came down, and I said, "You got more friends?"
He said, "Yeah, I got another one."
He sent me Miguel Perez.
"We were in prison together in Cuba.
And we did a lot of shit in Cuba."
I said "Well, you think he'd be able to kill somebody?"
He said, "Yeah, he's done it before."
This is a picture that was taken of him shortly after he arrived here in 1980 from the Mariel boatlift.
[Singleton] He just was a thug.
He was one of the scariest guys I've ever really encountered in my career.
He was more physically intimidating.
He was bigger than Rivi, stronger physically than Rivi.
He's the kind of guy that you look at, you think to yourself, you know, this guy could snap at any moment, and go off and probably just snap your neck.
I felt it would be fun that I had two more guys, two Marielitos and a Cuban and she said, "They are your crew and you're responsible for them."
[Singleton] Miguelito essentially worked for Rivi.
Once he got down here, he proved himself to be reliable and ruthless and they used him pretty much in everything they went on, Johnny Castor homicide...
[man 1] The victim is a 3-year-old, appears to be a Latin male with multiple gunshot wounds.
They were aiming for his father
[man 2] but missed, and they killed the child.
Shot, just because he happened to be sitting next to his father, who was Colombian and a target of some of the cocaine cowboys.
Miguelito was present for that.
[man] As well as the execution style murders of a man and woman 6 months later.
[Singleton] The Lorenzo double homicide, where the kids were left on the scene with dead parent bodies, and Miguelito was definitely present for that.
The fact that a baby would be left crawling on his mother's bloody body...
I can't think of anything more horrid than that, I really can't.
[woman] Miguel Perez, he is believed to have been involved in not only those murders, but another one at a soccer field in Miami Lakes.
[Buchanan] These soccer-field murders took place about a month apart.
The body was found right here within 15 yards.
His car was parked right in this lot.
Unknown Latin subject walked up to him in point blank range, shot him in the back of the head.
It's turned out to be Edgar Restrepo.
This was our second soccer field homicide in as many months.
They were commonly referred to as Pele 1 and Pele 2.
I thought that was kind of coarse, but just turned out to be another Griselda Blanco hit, as was the soccer field homicide a month prior.
Turns out both murders have been committed by Miguel Perez, Miguelito.
[Buchanan] Those out there at the scene of one, the policemen said, "Soccer fields are now an unsafe place to be."
But I think all of Miami was an unsafe place to be.
[man] Another was shot at the airport customs facility by a man on a motorcycle.
Two guys came on a motor scooter and shot him down.
So, you know, welcome to Miami.
[man] A third was murdered leaving at crowded department store.
[Singleton] The Octavio Mejia homicide, who was more commonly known as Monomica.
When Mejia left the shopping mall, they ambushed him. He was shot numerous times.
[man] Another suspected victim of Griselda Blanco and Paco Sepulveda.
[Singleton] The Marta Gomez kidnapping--
--shot her point blank in the back of her head.
But a little bit too low and she survived.
This is just one more, you know, skirmish in the Griselda Blanco-Mejia conflict.
[Ayala] The war was picking up again, and this time it was in Colombia.
[man] In Colombia, a lot of blood has been spilled in feuds between the drug families.
A war that has left over 100 dead, some of them, innocent bystanders.
There was a lot of killing going down there.
[man] Medellin, Colombia, where it is common to have up to
12 killings a day.
It is home for many of the assassins and victims, who end up in Miami.
[Ayala] I was in Colombia looking for Papo.
Rafico answered the phone, talked to somebody on the phone, then he says, "We know where he's at."
I said, "Who?" He says, "Papo.
It's about an hour from here."
So we got our weapons, got our cars...
We drove by the Aldo Cafe.
It was about ten of them, it was about ten of us.
We killed about three of them.
It went on for about an hour.
[man] Over the three-day Christmas holiday, there were 35 murders here.
In the outskirts of town, during a January weekend, the bodies of 11 murder victims were found in garbage cans.
I come back to Miami about 2 o'clock.
They want to see me in Miami Lakes.
It's really important.
So I get up there, Miami Lakes, to Max Mermelstein's wife's boutique, Cristina Fashions.
I walk in there. The whole group's there.
So I asked them what was going on.
She said that Papo Mejia was in the next flight to Miami, but behind, an hour difference.
"We were wondering if you could go get him at the airport."
I said, "No, not at the airport.
That's a suicide mission, I don't do suicide missions.
I'll get him outside."
And then she said, "No, I want him to get hit inside the airport."
I Said, "No."
She also offered me half a million dollars.
She reached under one of the tables, and hands me a bayonet, 16 inch bayonet.
I believe it was Max who bought it in one of the U.S. army stores.
It was all rusted, all old.
She wanted him stabbed to death, just because he's a pig and his nickname was The Pig, they wanted to kill like a pig.
I just went along.
I said, "Fine, but I ain't gonna go in there and do this."
So she said, "Well, we got somebody else that's gonna do it."
I said, "Who?" She said, "Miguel Perez."
I told Miguel, I said, "I want to go with you, I want to ride with you in the car to the airport.
I want to go to the airport with you.
Once we show you him, target, you're on your own."
[Singleton] The stabbing of Papo Mejia, Papo of course being an arch enemy of Griselda Blanco.
[Ayala] Papo Mejia got a cast from his knee to his ankle.
He was looking everywhere.
I guess he was looking for his enemies, he was looking for us.
[Buchanan] And as he walks out from customs, a man came up with a bayonet and bayoneted him several times.
It's insane, really, and obviously it turned out that way because he was caught.
We were in the car, was driving back with Dario, and I told him. I said, "I told you this from the beginning."
He said, "You think we should worry about Miguel talking?"
I said, "He ain't gonna talk, but he's in deep shit now."
[Singleton] I don't know of any other organization to be attributed to the number of homicides that go back to Griselda. I just don't.
The caseload and the cocaine wars was unbelievable.
I had never worked so hard in my life.
This is what keeps us going. Cuban coffee.
[man] Drug traffickers have more manpower and equipment than police.
[Singleton] And we were constantly going to scenes, constantly going to cases, constantly going to trial.
[man] They know they're fighting a losing battle because they don't have the personnel or equipment to stay on top of drug traffickers.
If they had asked me how many people you need?
I couldn't even tell them how many people I needed.
[man] There are just too many homicides and so few cops.
And many cops got fed up with it.
I've had it, I've had it.
I've been here 10 years, I've buried eight cops.
It's all right if somebody pulls gun on you and shoots you.
Everybody's all choked up for three days till they bury you, throw a bunch of dirt over you and let's go on.
[man] I plan on getting out in December.
I hit my 10 years and I'm gone.
And when I leave South Florida, I don't care if it breaks off and floats down to South America.
Because I really don't care anymore.
[Singleton] He said, "Screw this, I'm out of here," and he left.
[man] Twice the normal number of policemen have quit the Miami Police Department this year.
[Singleton] And there was a rush to hire cops to fill these vacancies.
[woman] Both Metro and Miami police departments are making a major push to fill the vacancies left in the wake of record resignation rates.
Metro has even hired an outside firm to help boost minority recruiting.
It used to be we just took the top of the barrel, now we're taking the entire barrel as far as applicants.
A lot of people got hired to be police officers that, under ordinary circumstances, would not have been hired.
Back in July of 1985, a triple homicide investigation began when three bodies were taken outside of the Jones Boat Yard, on the Miami River.
[woman] Three bodies floating in the Miami River, in what appeared to be an almost routine homicide.
Two nights prior, there was a boat right here being offloaded, 200 kilograms of cocaine.
Six uniformed individuals raided this boat, and there were six off loaders on the boat.
They all six jumped into the Miami River, where this Marina is.
Three of them survived, three of them didn't.
Three of them drowned, and they surfaced like 2 days later.
It didn't take long to determine they were involved in trafficking, them being Latin, being traffickers that became a CENTAC case within a week.
Back in 1985, a very common crime was robberies and rip-offs by police impersonators.
We assumed that was the case here.
That just some people bought some uniforms...
They're drug rip.
We got a telephone call from detective Louis Alberti that said he had a uniformed officer on his department that had information regarding this case.
So about 11 o'clock one evening, we went over there to speak with this officer, Armando Estrada.
It became very obvious, very quickly, that the information this officer was giving us was so obviously erroneous, that it was transparent that he was trying to throw us off.
It was at that point we both knew instinctively that we had a case of police corruption as opposed to police impersonators.
[woman] Allegations of unprecedented corruption within the Miami police department.
We experienced the largest police corruption crisis since the Serpico days up in New York.
[Singleton] We hated it.
The last thing you want to do is have to investigate other cops.
But it's got to be done, it's got to be done.
[woman] Seven police officers were arrested.
Some accused of causing the drownings on the river, ripping off drug dealers, plotting to kill or intimidate witnesses to their alleged crimes.
A few months later the scandal broke wide open.
Rudy Arias turned from defendant to informer, confessing his crimes and naming upwards of 60 other cops he claimed were also crooked.
[man] Two new indictments are expected this month in the River Cop's case.
And more indictments are expected after that.
The River cops are trying to break down the door to make deals.
Rodolfo Arias has reportedly proved to be an excellent witness.
He has given information on dozens of other cops.
[woman] Eighteen former policemen charged, four becoming government witnesses, two going into hiding, eight pleading guilty either before or during their trials, one convicted, and another still facing trial.
In the meantime, 20 more former police officers are under investigation by Miami, Metro Dade or FBI agents, facing possible charges in either state or federal court.
The charges were unbelievable, shocking.
The most shocking case I had ever even heard of.
Murders, creative disposals of bodies, witness intimidation, laundering huge sums of money, extortion, drug dealing, hundreds of kilograms of cocaine...
And they were all police officers, who were accused of doing this.
There was no law and order whatsoever.
We have to start taking the war on drugs very seriously.
If we don't, we're gonna have something like domestic Vietnam, where we're either gonna fight the war and win it, or we're just gonna give up.
They're gonna wait until some senator's daughter or some congressmen's nephew gets kidnapped.
Because they think that he had something to do with passing some law that is not beneficial to them, and then what are we gonna do?
[Paula Hawkins] We need to have a great backlash at home, that the governments that are involved in drug trafficking, they should be sanctioned.
And we should all make a great effort to isolate them from the civilized world.
[Ayala] Paula Hawkins... She was making a lot of waves during the cocaine wars, when Reagan was down here with Bush.
Max started this, showing the paper to Griselda, about Paula Hawkins making the speeches about the drug trade and this and that.
We were at Max's house and Griselda's says, "I want to kill this bitch."
I said, "Who would that be?"
She said, "This bitch, Paula."
I said, "Paula Hawkins? She's a senator."
She said, "Yeah, I want you to kill her."
I said, "Me? No, I won't do that."
She says, "I'll pay you good." I said, "I don't care."
That's too much heat.
She gets killed... There ain't no place for us to hide once you kill the senator.
She asked me if it could be done. I said, "it could be done.
She's another person. It could be done."
She was gonna have a speech in New Orleans.
It was about 3 weeks away for this speech.
In Colombia, it's a normal thing everyday, but in the United States we had never discussed the killing of a president or senator... No. Or a judge.
Just lawyers. We talk about that every day.
Well, Max kept pushing.
"Yeah, you know, Rivi should do it.
Rivi is the guy, he's a good marksman, this and that..."
I started telling Griselda... I said, "if this is done, your business goes down the drain.
There's no place for you to hide, nowhere in the world.
They're gonna chase you for the rest of your life.
They're chasing you now, but this is nothing compared to what you'd get into.
Well, I talked to Griselda, I talked to Dario.
I got some sense into them, I said, "Leave this alone, it's not good for business."
I think this is one of the gravest problems facing us internally in the United States.
[man] You're gonna have to quit treating this national problem that we have here in this area, as a local problem, and put the resources and money and people and agents in here to cope with it.
They were getting fed up with especially Vice President Bush in Miami, and all that.
[Bush] For those that come in here with their automatic weapons and their Learjets and their boats all for petty cash, kind of cost of doing business because the profits are so big, put them away, find them, catch them, arrest them.
The town had enough, the federal government had enough.
They brought in the task forces, they brought in the cavalry.
They were bringing in the state troopers to patrol the streets in Miami.
[man] I would hope and pray that these people will get the maximum death penalty, to make an example to the rest of the drug culture that's happening around Florida, that we won't tolerate.
There should be no mercy on them.
[man 1] The Navy loaned two of its radar planes.
The Army has loaned helicopter gunships.
[man 2] The war is being waged in the Atlantic.
Ships and planes, part of Hat Trick, to stop drug trafficking.
Operation Hat Trick is the D-Day of our war on drugs.
[man 1] Military ships and aircraft with narcotics agents aboard tracked suspected smugglers.
[man 2] It's expected to please law enforcement officials.
They've been trying for a long time to get more help from the military in the war on drugs.
[man 3] Any smuggler who's going to enter the coast of the United States now, is now gonna be somewhat apprehensive that he may not make a go of it.
[Reagan] Arrests in the area covered by the task force are up 27%.
Drug seizures are up about 50%.
So there was just too much police, and a lot of heat on TV.
Since she had business in California too, I told Griselda, we should just leave for a while.
She said, "Yeah, that's a good idea, plus you know, we're opening up a new route to California."
Now that we know, you know, in hindsight that she left the area back in around 1984, clearly the homicide rate went down in that time period.
The efforts here by the drug task force has officials in other parts of the country say now they've got increased problems with drug smugglers, moving cocaine through other places, places away from Miami.
[woman] The Colombian network is spreading to Los Angeles, where police say cocaine seizures are bigger than ever.
Faced with the fact that the whole organization had relocated to California, and I'm a Miami agent, I had to convince my superiors that it was worthwhile for me to investigate a case in California.
You know, I said if I ever get her, I'm gonna give her a kiss on the cheek.
[Roberts] What Mickey brought was only part of it.
And I never would let Mickey know if I had anybody else working, because I did try other people also.
We were working with Barry Seal. He was another group.
[man] Barry had been a TWA pilot, and a Vietnam War pilot before that.
[Roberts] Barry was, out of everybody, the best pilot that I ever saw in my life.
[man] And he drifted into the Colombian cartel market as a delivering specialist.
And got himself involved in guns, money and drugs, through flights in and out of Managua, Nicaragua, where he enjoyed the protection of the president of Nicaragua.
Barry Seal had the most incredible operation I'd ever seen.
I'm not a drug smuggler.
I say, "Prove it."
[Roberts] Barry was fearless.
1,000, 1,500 kilos of coke was like a joke to him, and it was not a problem.
Barry worked out of Louisiana.
He'd work on the drop of a hat.
He didn't care. He'd get in his plane, and he'd go down there. And he'd throw 1,000 kilos on the plane, and he'd come back to Louisiana.
He landed at a regular airport. He had a warehouse.
They had ramps in the back that would open up, and you could drive vehicles into them.
You could put tons on these vehicles.
Barry got busted on a load, and didn't tell anybody.
He cut himself a deal, as a federal confidential informant.
They would let him go and they would install cameras on the inside of his plane. And they wanted him to film an actual loading, bring the coke back here, and the film back here.
And he agreed to do this.
The Army brought in the truckloads, the duffel bags full of cocaine.
And they were loaded on board the aircraft by the Cuban and Sandinista soldiers.
And he had some great shots.
[man] Barry Seal was able to snap pictures during the mission of a leading international cocaine trafficker, Sandinista government officials and soldiers, loading cocaine onto the plane.
Top Nicaraguan government officials are deeply involved in drug trafficking.
And on national TV, President Reagan held up this picture, and said, "Here's Pablo Escobar, loading a plane with cocaine."
[Reagan] This picture secretly taken at a military airfield outside Managua, shows Frederico Vaughan, a top aide to one of the nine commandantes, who rule Nicaragua, loading an aircraft with illegal narcotics bound for the United States.
The pictures were produced by Barry Seal.
[man 1] He has thus become the key witness in South Florida's most important drug case.
[man 2] Seal also told a President's commission on organized crime how easy it is to smuggle cocaine.
My initial experience was with marijuana, but I soon moved into cocaine because of its ease in handling, and its profit structure.
That's when the heat started to come to Escobar and to Ochoa.
Not from the Colombians.
The Colombians didn't give a god damn.
But this government who was giving Colombian money, started to put heat on them down there.
[man] Seal is already cooperating with drug agents in Miami, where he is a key witness in one of the most significant investigations in South Florida history.
Meantime, there are still unanswered questions in the Baton Rouge investigation.
[Burstyn] There was a judge out in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who just kind of didn't like the fact that a federal judge in Miami was going to be the final arbiter of Mr. Seal's fate.
A federal grand jury in Baton Rouge has been investigating Seal's activities for 15 months.
Today's indictment charged Seal with conspiracy to possess and distribute 462 pounds of cocaine, with a street value estimated at $168 million.
In return for Seal's cooperation, the Justice Department will allow him to plead guilty to the charges in today's indictment, and receive what amounts to a slap on the wrist.
I've reached exactly the type of settlement that I wanted to reach.
Whether they're happy or not, you'll have to ask them.
And despite numerous pleas, thatjudge in Louisiana refused to drop a 6-month house arrest order, which was a totally meaningless order in the scheme of things.
It was speculated that this judge knew, or should have known, that, by publicly ordering where this man had to show up and at what time he had to show up and leave, he was issuing a death warrant for him.
And certainly, that's what happened.
The exciting thing in life to me is to get into a life-threatening situation.
Now that's excitement.
The Colombians told Max, "This guy is a rat, and we got to take him out, because he is talking and telling everything on us."
Max came to me and Max said, "Look, the Colombians want to pay $250,000 to whack this guy and kill him.
I know your friends from New York . Get the guineas..."
They call them spaghetti boys...
"Get the spaghetti guys to come and whack Barry Seal."
I flew to New York, spoke to my uncle.
My uncle said, "Okay, I'll get you two guys tomorrow.
Take them down and show them where to go."
I called Max, I told Max, "Don't worry.
Everything is done, Max."
We spent about 2 days there in Louisiana.
We showed them where Barry Seal lived, the hangars where he worked at the airport...
We showed these guys everything.
The whole time I was there, not one time did I see Barry Seal.
About a week later, my friends told me, "Sorry, whoever whacks this guy, he's going to get caught.
He's walking with an entourage of government people.
There's no way you're gonna be able to whack this guy and not get caught."
Max went and told Rafa, and Rafa flew off the handle.
"That's it for you guys.
You guys ain't going to work any more because you can't knock this guy off," you know?
I had nobody else, what do you want me to do, go get some guys on the street to knock him off?
There's nothing I can do."
Max fell out of favor with the Colombians because he couldn't whack the guy.
Max tried to blame it on me.
For a while, the Colombians were really mad with me.
I mean, mad to the point where we didn't even work.
I was really afraid at that point, that I was gonna get whacked myself, because I couldn't do what they asked.
Rafa came to my house, and he came with Fabito Ochoa.
Fabito was my friend.
I hung out with him, we ran together.
And Fabito said, "Man, my family is really mad."
I Said, "Why?"
He said, "Can't you whack this guy for us?
You don't understand the problems he's gonna make."
And I said, "Fabito, whoever does it is gonna get caught.
There's no way that it's gonna be done, man.
If you're gonna do it, you're gonna have to get Indians to come from down there and I'm telling you upfront, they're going to jail for this."
When I told Fabito that, that was enough for him.
He went back there, and he smoothed it out with his family, and they decided with their own stupidity as always, "We'll take care of it ourselves."
And they did.
[man] Last night, Seal's luck ran out.
We was shot to death outside a Salvation Army halfway house in Baton Rouge, where he had been sentenced to spend the night for 6 months as part of his parole.
Seal had refused to enter the government's witness protection program.
The hit got farmed out to Kubaba who did of course go out to do the murder.
Four Indians... They put them on a plane, they took them to Louisiana, and they must have put a hundred holes in this guy outside the halfway house, and they got caught.
Five Colombians basically are caught fleeing from Barry Seal's homicide.
They stuck out like sore thumbs in Baton Rouge.
The FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency tonight are trying to learn who ordered the assassination of one of the government's most important informants in the war on drugs.
[Burstyn] He did have a federal judge in effect unwittingly facilitate the execution of a leading federal witness.
[man] Insofar as we've been able to ascertain, all the proper jurisprudence and legalities were carried out in the entire investigation concerning Mr. Seal and any involvement he may have had with--
[Burstyn] And there's been a lot of speculation about that because of Mr. Seal's involvement with the CIA and the Communist Nicaraguan effort, and what he knew, might have known.
And it certainly closed a major chapter in the cartel prosecutions.
The Drug Enforcement Administration believes Seal was assassinated to prevent him from testifying here in Miami, against a suspected high level Colombian trafficker, whom the U.S. is trying to extradite from Spain.
[Mooney] Max getting in trouble...
That was the beginning of the end.
Max had the bad experience with DeLorean, because he was the one that gave DeLorean the coke that DeLorean got busted with.
This past year, auto maker John DeLorean was arrested on drug trafficking charges.
DeLorean had said then he was trying to raise money to bail out his struggling company.
Local dealers say that DeLorean has become the Edsel of the '80s, and will sell only as a collector's item.
Max knew he had a problem.
He should have smoked it, but he didn't.
He didn't think it was coming to him.
How could he get away with it? He couldn't think that, you know, "Hey, I gave this guy 400 and some kilos, and these people are going down like flies, and I'm okay.
I'm the one that gave it to them. Nothing happened to me."
He had to know that there was a problem coming from that.
[Munday] And then they arrested him.
That was the last we saw of Max.
[Roberts] I got like millions of dollars buried in garbage bags in my lawn.
That night, I'm out there with a flashlight, digging up bags of money, because I'm afraid they're coming.
And I lived on the Everglades.
Ijumped in a canoe I had, with like, I'm not exact, $6 to $8 million, threw it in the canoe, paddled to the other side, and buried it in the Everglades, thinking they're coming to my house.
Nobody came. Nothing happened.
Nobody thought it was gonna be any problem.
Mickey and everybody said, "Well, I haven't seen any problems with the last plane that landed, you know?
Everything seemed to be fine."
I said, "Okay, well, then let's just keep going till we find out."
Jon said there was no reason to be worried.
We thought Jon was so smart.
That's really the truth of it.
I remember September 20 for the simple reason that I couldn't sleep.
At that particular night, I was working with Mickey and his crew.
And because I couldn't sleep, I decided that I would go to a radio room that we had set up here in Miami to monitor the incoming planes.
The last trip that we were on was to be the last trip.
We decided to get out at that point, because we had made enough money.
Why keep taking a chance, taking a chance?
Sooner or later, they're gonna win, you know, and they did.
It was a regular trip.
The only thing that was unusual, and that should have given it away, was it was real quiet on the radio.
Of course, they know that we listen to everything.
To tell you the truth, I looked around when I drove up because I was still paranoid for Max, and I saw nothing.
Nothing at all.
[Munday] Everything went as usual.
[Roberts] The plane landed, I was like, "Oh, man, another good trip.
I'm going home. I feel great."
[Munday] And as soon as the airplane landed and we went in the barn, they showed up in helicopters and all kinds of people jumped out with guns everywhere.
[Mooney] It was a simultaneous bust, Tampa with Miami.
[Roberts] They came in there, all in black, and with these night goggles and masks.
It was like, I said, "What? Am I back in Vietnam here?
This is nuts."
[Munday] I went out the back door--
--and what am I, gonna shoot it out with you guys--
--after a small confrontation with one of the guys.
"Get on the floor and shut up."
"Yeah, all right."
And they looked at me at first, and I'll never forget, "Roberts, what are you doing here?"
I said, "I guess I fucked up."
He said, "You fucked up, man.
We would have come to your house later.
But what are you doing, you made it easy for us."
I said, "I couldn't sleep, man."
He said, "Well, that's too bad."
And when I got downtown, I heard on the radio, "They are shooting. there's gunfire, bang...
There's all kinds of war."
I said, "What's going on here? Is this involving me?"
"That's your plane, that's your farm up there.
There's gunfire, they are shooting."
[Munday] They were running all over, they were shooting guns.
"Your friend is shooting at us."
"My friend?" "Mickey."
[Munday] I tried to burn the airplane.
Mickey had a flare gun. And around the plane, there were gasoline tanks, which were used to refuel the plane to get out of there.
[Munday] I pushed one over--
[Roberts] Well, Mickey wanted to escape, so he shot the flare gun.
[Munday] I hit the swamp.
And I watched the show all day long.
[Roberts] They couldn't find him.
And they were chasing him through the woods all night.
[Singleton] Max Mermelstein becomes a witness and wants to talk about, among other things, murders in Miami.
We're going to debrief this guy--
[Palombo] And quite frankly, at first, I didn't believe 75% of what he said.
It was just too outlandish.
I introduced myself, and he goes, "We have met before."
I go, "What are you talking about?
We never have met."
And he reminded me that we had gone to his house in Miami Lakes years prior seeking consent to search his house.
And he told us to go pound sand.
Yeah, it's a small world.
Can you state your name for the record, your full name?
[Mermelstein] Max Mermelstein.
Max rolled over on all of us.
[man] As I understand it, from 1981 to 1985, you worked full time for the cartel, and imported massive quantities of cocaine into the United States.
How much cocaine were you personally responsible for importing during that timeframe?
[Mermelstein] During that timeframe, between 55 and 56 tons of cocaine went through my hands.
Between 55 and 56 tons.
I told Jon. He didn't listen to me.
I told him from day 1, that Max was weak, that he will snitch on us later, you know, down the road.
That's why I wanted to kill him so bad.
But they wouldn't let me.
[Mermelstein] For the most part, I report directly to the Ochoa brothers.
Did you ever meet the Ochoa brothers?
[Mermelstein] Oh, yes, sir.
[man] And Escobar was the other name you mentioned.
[Mermelstein] Pablo Escobar, yes.
[man] Pablo Escobar.
First piece of information you gave to government was that the Ochoa brothers and their organization had a contract that means they were offering money to kidnap andlor kill Barry Seal.
It was relayed to me directly by Fabio Ochoa Junior and Rafael Cardona, along with Pablo Escobar, personally, to either kidnap him or kill him.
I wasn't asked to do this. I was told to do this.
The government had no idea and, honest to God, if it wasn't for Max Mermelstein--
[Munday] --I don't think they would have ever caught us.
[man] He filled in the gaps.
[Roberts] They knew nothing of where the farm was.
They knew nothing of our trips. They knew nothing.
Max was like family.
I never figured he'd do what he did.
The came the next day and they busted our gate and seize the house.
[man] We were able to seize property in value of $130 million into Florida area.
[Roberts] And Max made the indictment against Mickey and me.
[Mooney] When I'm reading the indictments, I'm also just like, "Holy shit."
I didn't realize that he was actually working with the cartel.
I didn't know Rafael was in the cartel, I didn't know any of this.
I mean, I'm not saying I didn't know anything, I'm just saying that nobody realized the magnitude of what Jon was involved in.
You get on a trip when you're making so much money, that you were just so powerful that nothing was gonna--
It wasn't going to happen.
[Ayala] Everyday I talked to her, she said, "No, you know, you were wrong, he is not a rat."
I said, "He is working for the police.
That's why I'm not near you. Because you're going to go to jail, but I ain't going with you."
"Oh, come to Los Angeles." I said, "No.
I'm all right over here."
[Palombo] We located a small house that they had rented.
We knew that she was in the residence, so we covered the back and the front, and in we went.
I went upstairs and found her sitting in bed reading the Bible.
And I just walked up to her.
Obviously I had my weapon drawn.
She was pretty startled.
You would never think that she was a violent homicidal maniac.
I said, "Hola, Griselda."
And she said, "No Griselda. Me llamo Betty." lsaid -. , No' no, In And then I gave her a little kiss on the cheek, as I promised I would to the agents, many, many months earlier.
[man] Police are saying she may be responsible for as many as 200 murders.
They arrested her at home.
Days later, they arrested her kids.
Everything crumbled for real, you know?
I'm just looking now for myself.
Everybody is in prison, except me.
And they're looking for me now.
Around the 15th of December, I was just laying low.
Next thing my brother is knocking at the door.
He says, "The police are downstairs."
I said, "The police? What they want?"
He said, "They're downstairs."
I followed him downstairs. They had a four black flatbed trucks.
They were picking all my cars.
I had two Corvettes, a Porsche and a Supra.
They were picking them up, in the flatbed.
So I yelled to the guy.
I said, "What the fuck are you doing with my cars?"
When the guy turns, he's got a Windbreaker.
It said on the back, "Special Agent, DEA."
I said, "No, never mind. Don't worry about it.
They are not mine."
I went back inside the house.
I had a kilo and a half for my personal use.
So I flushed the kilo cocaine down the toilet.
I threw the silencer on my gun...
And I throw it over the water, because I live in the bay.
I put the gun back. It's a .45.
Also, one car they left behind. This one when I met my wife, and she had a Mazda. They didn't touch that car.
I said to my brother, "Let's just go and get arrested.
So we went down the elevator. We get out, it was dark.
Nobody around. So we got into the car...
I start driving. I ask my brother if some--
He said, "No, nobody is behind us."
We get to the airport. A cop pulls up.
He was a short guy, 5'6", you know? He screams my name.
"Jorge Ayala. You're under arrest."
I pretend I didn't hear him.
I keep on walking, but he's scared at that time.
They already know who I am.
He didn't wait for back up, he just wanted to be hero.
He screams again.
"You, with the red Windbreaker." So I turned.
I said, "Are you talking to me?"
He said, "Yeah, you, you're under arrest."
I said, "For what?"
He says, "We'll let you know later."
So I started laughing.
I said, "Go fuck yourself."
I ran, and the dog caught up with me.
They took us into custody to the county jail.
And ever since then, I've been in custody.
After Max cooperated, pilots started cooperating, ground crew guys started cooperating, and everybody was testifying and cutting deals to get less time.
I had now become the main focus because I was the one putting the coke on the plane for him.
They were going to give me like 30 years.
I mean, you didn't have to be a, a rocket scientist to figure out it's time to, you know, blow dodge and get the hell out of here and--
I went for a bond hearing and they said, "You're not getting a bond, forget about it." And that was that.
About a week later, Dick Gregory comes with two FBI agents: this guy Joe Walsh, who is heading up the case, and another agent.
And they said, "Look, we really want Munday."
Because he embarrassed them by shooting his flare off and all this other... and they think he was trying to kill him and everything.
So I said: "if you give me a bond, I'll help you get Mickey."
I go to Mickey's brother.
And I went without telling them that I was going.
I snuck out again in the disguise with another thing, and I tell Mickey's brother, "Listen to me, you got to work with me, I'm never going to lead them to Mickey, but they have to believe for the next month or two months that I'm going to get them Mickey, and you have to be able to work with me to do this because I need time to get all my shit together because I'm getting out of here.
And I'll help Mickey with whatever he needs."
Because Mickey needed papers.
He was a fugitive, and he knew I can get him papers.
"In a week I'll give you every thing, the documents you need so Mickey can live as a different person."
So Mickey's brother goes to Mickey and Mickey says, "Great."
"He knows you won't give him up. Let's do it."
[Munday] It took, may be a week or two weeks.
I mean, I'd to get myself settled in.
Fortunately, they showed my picture from the driver's license.
I'm funny looking, but that was really a bad picture.
Well, I had it arranged that I was going to meet Mickey's brother.
I made a phone call, with the FBI listening.
"Hey, what's up?
I'm going to meet you tomorrow over here at Denny's.
Okay, we'll meet at Denny's." So I meet him.
He knows they're following me and everything. And we talk.
And now I have a bug, and they're recording all this, and everything is going fine.
I go back to them. And this guy, "Good, you're working with us."
He says, "Well, I'm going to tell you.
I will find you wherever you are if you take off."
"Why would you think I'm gonna take off?"
"Because Max tells us that you're full of shit.
You're not going to cooperate, you're going to take off."
I'm thinking to myself, Max is finally doing something correct here, you know.
But I'm not going to tell them.
I dragged it on with meetings, and them following me, and following him to nowhere.
The last time they were going to get him, I said, "He is going to have his brother here, and you guys are going to get him."
And the plan that I had with Mickey's brother was to pull over and meet a guy who has the same description as Mickey, and when they met that guy, that's when everybody was going to close in.
It worked, man. They converged on Mickey's brother and this other poor guy, who didn't even know what was going on.
And they said, "You, we got you."
And I'm looking. And Joe Walsh, "That's not Mickey Munday."
And they went crazy, man. They came and they grab me.
I said, "What are you talking about?
I did everything I was supposed to do, and now how am I going to get Mickey for you?"
And that was a my way out, right?
That I try to cooperate but this is what happened.
And they said to me, "We should lock you up now."
I said, "Why? If I was going to take off, I would have taken off.
You guys told me you'd help me, I tried to help you.
My trial is coming in Tampa, I will be there for the first day in my trial."
I said, "You guys better help me."
First day of my trial came, I was history.
I left Dodge so quick, like three days before my trial.
I was in Colombia.
I had all the money in Panama, plus I had money in Colombia, and money wasn't a question.
So, they send a plane. I got on a plane.
I went to Colombia, and for about a week it was all right.
I lived on a farm out there, one of Rafael's farms.
It was great, I had servants, I had, you know, women, you know, whatever, great food, I had a cook.
And then all of a sudden, I remember waking up one morning, and they said, "Hurry up, get in the car."
We pulled out, and all of sudden I heard: [MIMICS GUNFIRE]
When I looked around, everywhere there were just government guys firing at the car.
And Rafael's guys are firing back at the government cars.
And we got out of there, and they took me to another farm.
And this went on for weeks.
It was when the American government put so much pressure on the Colombians, because they said, "We're not going to give you any more money" that they were trying to like, sort of make a half-ass attempt to crack down.
[man] Another law enforcement approach involves greater cooperation between American and Colombian authorities.
We need to get the State Department active in letting every country know where drugs are coming from, and that we're going to assess our relationship with them based on what they are doing to clean up those drugs.
[Roberts] And the war started in Colombia, and I went from one place to the next.
I finally told Mike, "I can't, this is crazy. I should have just stayed in jail."
Everyday there is a guns going off, machine guns.
I had friends in Mexico. And I went to Mexico and they told me, "You become a Mexican citizen and no problem, you'll live here."
So I lived there for while and that was great.
For some reason, the government had a bug up their ass.
The guy started with "The 10 Most Wanted of America."
They put a picture of me up, and they started offering everybody rewards to get me.
I knew that was the end of my time because, you know, they were offering money, and Mexicans didn't have anything.
And I knew it was only a matter of time.
They put me in this jail down there and gave me a chef, they give me three cells, they built refrigerators, they let me build the gym.
And I stayed there 11 months fighting the government and eventually obviously I lost and the government brought me back.
And we made a deal and they gave me 15 years, which to me was, you know, I thought, well, I thought, I was going to get five but, you know, it's a little bit of a dream.
And I remember the day he was, you know, sitting in the chair crying like a baby that he had to leave everything he loved.
[Roberts] I have nobody to blame but myself, nobody.
Time to go, you got to go.
[Burstyn] As drug merchants were being prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned, a remarkable thing happened.
The businesses that they frequented and supported started drying up and closing down.
All of the night clubs dried up, car dealerships started to go broke.
Jewelry shops, and that collapse created new opportunity.
The economy of Miami was kept together by speculators who had made a lot of money in the drug trades.
If you were a car dealer the sales went from
20 million a year to 60 million a year for 10 years, you've got an extra half a billion dollars kicking around.
Cocaine brought a lot of money to town.
[man] 92 multinational corporations have moved their South American headquarters to places like Coral Gables.
[Potter] I think what drew other Latin American investment here was the relative safety of the American banking system and this is the closest point in the United States to Latin America, so it became a banking center for that reason.
[man 1] They prefer South Florida as a place to spend, relax and to do business.
[man 2] Miami is trying to become an international city and it's broadening its economic base in international banking.
[man 3] Miami is in the middle of an explosion.
A lot of that money was cocaine money too, but I'm not sure that those two are linked as one following the other.
It built half the city.
It built the high-rises, it built the scrapes.
I'm going to work one day, and I come onto Interstate 95 which gives me a beautiful view of all of downtown Miami.
Look at this and we counted
22 construction cranes on the horizon, where we could see.
And I said, I wonder how much of this is drug money.
The drug trade saved Miami in a lot of ways.
If you look out at the skyline, a lot of this real estate was bought and paid for with drug money.
The drug trade certainly put Miami on the map.
[Singleton] There is probably no analogy to Miami in the '70s and '80s, other than maybe Chicago in roaring '20s.
The place took on a new cache.
And it's also Casablanca because you had international intrigue.
[Potter] It became a new Casablanca, kind of a place where you can come and be near danger but not get hurt.
[man] Suddenly Miami seems exotic, glamorous, even a trifle dangerous.
It just had everything.
[Potter] Along came the TV show Miami Vice.
The city leaders were mortified after the Colombian drug war and Mariel and all that.
But now there was going to be a TV show that could look at all that.
[man] The issue is tourists, and whether watching this show will make them less likely to visit Miami Beach in South Florida.
But what their TV show did actually was it glorified Miami.
No earth tones, everything was in magenta and aqua and beautiful colors and it made an attractive place to come and all of a sudden Miami became a top draw again.
We have seen a resurgence in tourists.
We've seen that change.
South Beach for example is undergoing a major change.
And modeling agencies setting up on South Beach, South Beach explodes as a destination.
In one of America's most famous and feted beach resorts, it is suddenly spring time again.
[man] Miami Beach is back.
Its broad wide sands a playground once again.
[woman] It's used to be just old people, bad neighborhood, it was a bad neighborhood.
And now it's so nice.
[Potter] And so in a very odd way over the years, it might have actually helped tourism.
This is a weird place in that regard.
[Buchanan] I think we could had a renaissance without so many people having to die for it.
I could have lived without it and so could a lot of other people have lived without the enormous contribution of money to this community.
It was too much collateral damage.
I still love Miami, but I think I love it more for what it was before the cocaine wars.
I mean, at what price is skyline?
How many people have to die for a shining skyline?
It wasn't worth it, too many people died for it.
CENTAC 26 was extremely successful and I think it was in its success that it found its end.
Well, Raul, he was CENTAC 26 and when he left, it was devastating.
I left CENTAC as a result of not one, but many investigations, in which I was a subject.
Involved in allegation of some type of impropriety with an informant.
I was placed under investigation by I guess every agency under the sun in Dade County, because of allegations that were made against me by people whom I have put in jail.
He was definitely the heart and soul of that squad, there's no question about that.
I was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in all the investigations.
You know, I was told that one of the main problems I had was that I had casted a shadow upwards.
I lost faith in the department and I left and I became a private investigator and you know, thank God, things have been very successful and I feel very good about it.
I came back here 'cause I had to come back, I had no choice.
And when I first got out, I'll never forget, I went into the Surf comber, and the first morning I woke up, I remember going to the beach.
I was laying there and here comes this girl out of the water and as she is walking out of the water, I see she's got no top on.
And you got to realize, I'm in jail now
11 years or something and I'm looking at this girl with no top on and I'm saying my God, I got scared, I ran back to the room and I wouldn't even come out of the room for like a day, I was so like, what happened, the whole world has changed here, you know.
You know, a lot of people I know that you know, they're not around anymore.
My friends that we grew up together, they're all dead.
They got killed.
[Munday] What I lost out of this thing was of course almost 9 years and I'm still on paper, still having to report in.
Do I regret anything?
Sure, we messed up a lot of people.
A lot of my friends because of the business we got into.
They lost a lot of time, went to jail.
I think the biggest thing that I've lost other than the time was when I-- went away as a fugitive, I met a really wonderful young woman.
And because of this I lost her.
I've never met anybody quite like her before.
And maybe one day I'll get lucky enough to find something but I don't know.
That was what I missed the most.
But then the other way to look at it was, I'd have never met her if I hadn't had this problem.
If I didn't have my son, you know, maybe I'd look to ways to screw the government again.
But now they're so far advanced in everything, you know, I don't want to go back to jail or so -- you know, it's a whole different trip now.
At the time it was an unbelievable adventure.
We did things that you couldn't even imagine that you could do.
We'd go and see.
It will take me a month to get all that shit back again but it's just not worth it.
Mr. Perez you have three counts of first degree murder.
A lot of these Mariel criminals that were arrested in the early and mid 1980s got sentenced to 10, 15, 20 years.
They're starting to get out now.
[Singleton] Given the right provocation, who knows what he might do again.
I get a call from a gentleman who wants me to polygraph somebody.
We meet a few days later and he says, "Are you Nelson Andrew, you used to be homicide detective.'
'And I'm yeah, he says, "You don't remember me?"
I don't know.
He says, "I just got out of jail, I did 15 years because of you.
I went to Miami I pleaded guilty to the three murders.
A life sentence on each case to be served concurrently.
I've been here ever since.
[Singleton] When he flipped and told us chapter and verse about all these different homicides and how she ordered them.
Then she was done.
She was essentially our John Gotti.
And Rivi was our Sammy "The Bull" Gravano.
There's certainly nobody more deserving of the death penalty than she is, she should be on death row.
But, I take a little bit of comfort in the fact that at least till I retire she will still be in prison.
I can't say for how much longer, but she will be still be in prison as long as I'm a cop.
[woman] Griselda Blanco, a, I should say was 69-year-old mother of four, seen here in one of her many, many mug shots as of yesterday she is dead.
Gunned down by a motorcycle riding assassin as she stepped out of a butcher shop in Medellin, Colombia.
She might have been behind as many as
200 executions in Miami, in New York, and in Irvine, California.
[Mooney] She had so many enemies, it's amazing she lasted as long as she did.
[woman] This morning Cocaine Cowboys hitman Jorge Ayala was back in court hoping to get his prison sentence reduced.
[man] The judge has denied us the ability to have a hearing on this issue as to whether or not the state attorneys office has reneged on its agreement to recommended parole for Jorge after 25 years in prison.
Commitments made to Mr. Ayala, have not followed through.
I don't know whether it's the notoriety, the Cocaine Cowboys, whatever it is, they are putting on Jorge, but he honored his agreement.
He put himself and his life and his family's life at risk by standing up to the Colombian cartels to testify against them back in the '80s and '90s.
And now that they're done with him, and because supposedly he made some phone calls or had some phone sex conversations with some state attorney secretaries.
Now they want to throw him to the wolves and let him die in prison, because of some phone calls that were made over 20 years ago.
You know, everybody needs to get over that.
Jorge deserves to get the benefit of the bargain.
He doesn't deserve to die in prison.
He's atoned for what he has done.