Miami Drug War

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Miami Drug War
Part of War on Drugs
Date1970s - 1980s

 United States

Drug cartels

Commanders and leaders
United States Ronald Reagan Griselda Blanco
Pablo Escobar
Jorge Rivi Ayala
Mickey Munday
Barry Seal
Luis Fernando Arcila Mejia

The Miami Drug War was a series of armed conflicts in the 1970s and 1980s, centered in the Florida city of Miami, between the United States government and multiple drug cartels, primarily the Medellín Cartel.


The drug war was triggered by the 1979 Dadeland Mall shootout; in broad daylight, two gunmen of a Colombian drug gang entered and shot two men at a liquor store. The murderers were immediately dubbed "Cocaine Cowboys" by a police officer.[1] During this period, smuggling rings expanded and, in 1982, a seizure of $100 million worth of cocaine was found in Miami International Airport.

Miami soon became known as the "Drug Capital of the World" due to ensuing turf wars between drug lords.[2] One of the top leaders of drug trafficking in Miami was Colombian drug lord Griselda Blanco, who was a pioneer in cocaine trafficking and was responsible for more than 200 murders.[3] With the collapse of the Medellin Cartel and various other drug trafficking organizations, the drug war diminished.


  1. ^ "Miami drug wars - Flashback Miami". 10 September 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Miami "Dadeland Massacre" 1979: "The War On Drugs" Begins". 13 July 2008. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Murder of Miami's 'Cocaine Queen' Offers Teaching Moment - the narcosphere". Retrieved 9 April 2018.