1 Fort Lauderdale
News & Reviews
The brother of the notorious Cocaine Cowboy, Augusto “Willie” Falcon, was booked into an Orange County jail Wednesday night after 26 years on the lam stemming from his indictment in Miami federal court of smuggling tons of cocaine into the United States in the 1980s.
Gustavo Falcon, 55, also known as Taby, was booked into the Orlando jail at 6:24 p.m. Gustavo Falcon is scheduled to have his first appearance in Orlando federal court on Thursday, before his expected transfer to Miami.
Jim DeFede of CBS4, the Herald’s news partner, was reported the arrest.
“He is the last of the ‘Cocaine Cowboys,’” said Barry Golden, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Office in Miami.
The Marshals Office nabbed Gustavo Falcon and his wife, Amelia, at an intersection in Kissimmee after they had taken a 40-mile bike ride. Gustavo had obtained fake driver’s licenses for himself, his wife and their two grown children, using Miami addresses, Golden said..
They went by the name of Luis Reiss and Maria Reiss, he added.
The marshals got a break in 2013 when Gustavo got into a car accident, and used his fake ID with the Miami address. That led the Marshals to trace them to their South Florida history.
Gustavo and his family had been renting a home in the Kissimmee area, and the Marshals Office had it under surveillance. They had been living in the Orlando area since 1999, which Golden said surprised the Marshals because they had believed the family was in Mexico or Colombia all these years.
“We figured this all out a month ago,’’ Golden said. “We pulled their drivers’ licenses and saw it was the same Gustavo Falcon.’’
Gustavo, a well-known figure in local speedboat racing circles, was last seen in South Florida in 1991 shortly before his indictment.
“Willie” Falcon and his partner, Salvadore “Sal” Magluta, were among the legendary Cocaine Cowboys that were a colorful part of South Florida in the 1980s. They used their speedboats to haul billions of cocaine to the shores of Miami.
In 1991, a federal indictment charged the two Falcon brothers and Magluta, a Miami High classmate of Willie Falcon, with smuggling 75 tons of cocaine into the United States between 1978 and 1991. They all grew up in Miami as part of the Cuban American community.
In 1996, Willie Falcon and Magluta were acquitted of the charges after it was later discovered they bought off witnesses and at least one jury member.
In 2003, Willie Falcon struck a plea deal with Miami federal prosecutors on money-laundering charges and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He is scheduled to be released in June.
Magluta, on the other hand, was retried and convicted in 2002. He was sentenced to 205 years in prison, which was reduced in 2006 to 195 years.