Before The patron of evil, Narcos, Breaking bad and so many stories related to drug trafficking, there was a documentary that inspired all of them. Is called Cocaine cowboys (2006), and account how Miami becomes the cocaine capital of the United States from the early ’80s.
Fifteen years after the premiere of that film that became cult, director Billy Corben presents Cocaine Cowboys: The Kings of Miami, a six-part docuseries just released by Netflix about two of the most important – and elusive – drug traffickers in the nation’s history.
Cuban exiles Augusto “Willy” Falcon and Salvador “Sal” Magluta They were distributors for two of the largest cartels in Colombia. And they faced charges for smuggling 75 tons of cocaine into the United States during the 1980s.
“Willy” Falcon and “Sal” Magluta were celebrities and motor boating champions in the violent Miami of the ’80s.
Willy and Sal, friends from school and known to all as “the Boys”, dropped out of high school and built a two billion dollar empire that made them important Miami celebrities.
While police and other forces planned how to dismantle them, Willy and Sal – who were also popular motor boating champions – managed to deftly flee and dodge the pursuit for decades, before the search finally came to an end.
Through colorful interviews with those close to him, with his legal defense team, and with the police officers who were in charge of the raid, this documentary series offers a vivid portrait of the last “cocaine cowboys” in violent Miami which in those years was compared to the Wild West.
The Kings of Miami addresses Willy and Sal’s story and the judicial process following their arrest in 1991.
Unlike other productions, the starting point of The Kings of Miami -now available on Netflix- is the downfall of these drug traffickers; and focuses on the lengthy judicial process Falcon and Magluta faced after their arrest.
The documentary that became a saga
As with so many movies, Cocaine cowboys It went unnoticed by the general public in 2006, the year of its premiere. But managed to captivate a niche audience that over the years turned the documentary into a cult film.
Director Billy Corben gets interviewing dealers, smugglers and hired thugs – “survivors” of that era – who worked for Colombian drug lords and who turned the quiet Florida of the late ’70s and early’ 80s into a place of excess and violence.
The official poster for the docuseries on Miami’s latest “cocaine cowboys.”
Corben decided to delve into the stories behind that cartel war and created a documentary saga that had two sequels, Cocaine cowboys 2 (2008) and Cocaine Cowboys: Reloaded (2014), where testimonies from police, lawyers and journalists, among others, are added.
Now, together with his producing partner Alfred Spellman, he produces and directs for Netflix this documentary series that, instead of addressing characters with a violent reputation such as Griselda Blanco –“The godmother of cocaine”-, focuses on Falcon and Magluta, two “heroes” for the Miami community who did not appear in the original documentary.
The Cuban duo stayed off the radar of the police and the FBI until they were arrested in 1991.. They even managed to avoid convictions and sentences for at least ten years, due to the great influence they exerted on Miami businessmen, politicians and judges.