Cocaine cowboys Miami
Before Breaking Bad, Narcos and all the other thrillers, telenovelas and docuseries about traffickers clogging up your Netflix queue, there was Cocaine Cowboys. Director Billy Corben’s lucid and sensational 2006 documentary about the Miami drug trade during the 80s became a cult classic and a foundational reference point for all the narco-content that came after.
The doc even spawned its own small franchise, with two sequels (2008’s Cocaine Cowboys 2 and 2014’s Cocaine Cowboys: Reloaded) that dug deeper into the war stories of law enforcement, lawyers, journalists, smugglers and assassins. Now Corben and his producing partner Alfred Spellman are returning to the bottomless well for a new six-part docuseries arriving on Netflix.
Cocaine Cowboys: The Kings of Miami zeroes in on Willy Falcon and Sal Magluta, or “Los Muchachos”, as the billionaire Cubans came to be known. They were dominant but unassuming figures in the Miami drug trade accused of importing 75 tons of cocaine into Miami. They didn’t have the violent reputation of someone like Griselda Blanco, who was featured prominently in the Cocaine Cowboys trilogy. Instead, Falcon and Magluta largely kept off law enforcement’s radar until they were arrested in 1991. But that wasn’t the end of their story. They continuously evaded convictions and sentencing for at least a decade because of how much influence they exerted over Miami’s business, political and legal institutions.
Falcon and Magluta were also a curious structuring absence in the original Cocaine Cowboys, leaving audiences from Miami who were familiar with the headlines at the time wondering why their story wasn’t being told. It wasn’t for lack of trying.