Cocaine Cowboys

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Cocaine Cowboys
Cocainecowboys promo cover.jpg
Directed by Billy Corben
Produced by Alfred Spellman
Billy Corben
David Cypkin
Starring Jon Roberts
Mickey Munday
Jorge "Rivi" Ayala
Music by Jan Hammer
Cinematography Armando Salas
Edited by Billy Corben
David Cypkin
Distributed by Magnolia Pictures
Release dates US April 26, 2006 (Tribeca Film Festival)
October 27, 2006 (limited)
Running time 116 min.
Country United States
Language English

Cocaine Cowboys is a 2006 documentary film directed by Billy Corben and produced by Alfred Spellman and Billy Corben through their Miami-based media studio Rakontur. The film explores the rise of cocaine and resulting crime epidemic that swept the American city of Miami, Florida, in the 1970s and 1980s. The producers of Cocaine Cowboys use interviews with law enforcement, journalists, lawyers, former drug smugglers and gang members to provide a first-hand perspective of the Miami drug war.

Synopsis[edit]

Cocaine Cowboys chronicles the development of the illegal drug trade in Miami during the 1970s and 1980s with interviews of both law enforcement and organized crime leaders, in addition to news footage from the era. The film reveals that in the 1960s and early 1970s, marijuana was the primary import drug into the region. During the 1970s, marijuana imports were replaced by the much more lucrative cocaine imports; as more cocaine was smuggled into the United States, the price dropped, allowing it to turn "blue collar," and be available to a wider market. Drug importers reveal several of the different methods used to import the drug into Florida.

The primary methods used to import the narcotics were by boat or by air. The drug importers also reveal the complexity of their methods of importation. The logistics involved with the importation included the purchase and financing of legitimate businesses to provide cover for illegal operations, the use of sophisticated electronic homing devices, and other elaborate transportation schemes. The film also discusses how importers sometimes had difficulty storing all the money they made, resulting in them setting up a relationship with Noriega in Panama, as well as buying up entire neighborhoods of houses, putting money into infrastructure, as well as side projects, such as race horses.

The distribution networks were also highly elaborate, and many people were involved locally and nationally in the consumption of the imported cocaine. Importers reveal that condominiums were purchased near particular ocean waterways to provide a monitoring post for Coast Guard and local police patrol boats. Importers reveal the use of high-tech radio monitoring equipment used to monitor the radio frequencies of Federal, State, and local authorities in order to warn incoming boats and airplanes.

The film reveals that much of the economic growth which took place in Miami during this time period was a benefit of the drug trade. As members of the drug trade made immense amounts of money, this money flowed in large amounts into legitimate businesses. As a result, drug money indirectly financed the construction of many of the modern high-rise buildings in southern Florida. Later, when law enforcement pressure drove many major players out of the picture, many high-end stores and businesses closed because of plummeting sales.

Also documented in the film is the gangland violence associated with the trade. The interviewees in the film argue that Griselda Blanco, an infamous crime family matriarch, played a major role in the history of the drug trade in Miami and other cities across America. It was the lawless and corrupt atmosphere, primarily from Blanco's operations, that led to the gangsters being dubbed the "Cocaine Cowboys".

Distribution[edit]

The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2006, and distribution rights to the film in English speaking territories were licensed to Magnolia Pictures. The film opened in U.S. theaters with a limited release on October 27, 2006. Jan Hammer composed and performed the film's original score.

Related media[edit]

The film began appearing on Showtime on December 7, 2007.[1]

Legacy[edit]

The drug trafficking ring, writes Telegraph reporter Jacqui Goddard: "turned 1980s Miami into the most violent city since Prohibition-era Chicago – inspiring the television series Miami Vice and the movie Scarface" (1983).[2]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Showtime – Movies – Cocaine Cowboys – Main
  2. ^ Jacqui Goddard, Miami (23 Feb 2013). "Mickey Munday: Tales from the last 'Cocaine Cowboy' standing". The Daily Telegraph (London). 

External links[edit]