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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 Americanmarker city of Miami, Floridamarker 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.


Cocaine Cowboys chronicles the development of the illegal drug trade in Miamimarker 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. Drug importers reveal several of the different methods used to import the drugs 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 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."


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

The film began appearing on Showtime on December 7, 2007.

A sequel, Cocaine Cowboys II: Hustlin' With The Godmother chronicles the life of Griselda Blanco. The film premiered at the CineVegas Film Festival June 20, 2008 and was released on DVD July 29, 2008. The film's original score was composed and performed by Honor Roll Music in their Miami studio.

An HBO television series inspired by Cocaine Cowboys is in the works, with Jerry Bruckheimer, Michael Bay, Alfred Spellman and Billy Corben serving as executive producers. It will chronicle the early days of cocaine trafficking in Miami, and is being produced by Warner Bros. Television, where Jerry Bruckheimer TV is based.

Cocaine Cowboys was also the name of a 1979 movie starring Jack Palance and featuring Andy Warhol.


  1. Showtime - Movies - Cocaine Cowboys - Main

External links

[[sv:Cocaine Cowboyz

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