Last surviving Cocaine Cowboy to speak at Rotary
Mickey is an American former drug trafficker and former associate of Colombia's Medellin Cartel during the growth phase in cocaine trafficking, 1975–1985. Internationally renowned for his abilities to circumvent law enforcement's efforts to capture and arrest him by boat or airplane during Miami's cocaine epidemic, Munday was often referred to as the "MacGyver" of cocaine smugglers.
First Luther Campbell and now Mickey Munday, the Rotary Club is getting edgy these days.
Mickey was born and raised in Miami. His father, George "Sunny" Munday was a professional football player, who played four sesons in the NFL (with the New York Giants and Cleveland Indians). When Mickey was 13 years old, his father put him to work at the family-owned concrete business, M Block. There he learned how to manufacture and design concrete ventilation, benches, tables, fences, and stepping stones.
The sudden death of a close friend, in 1978, left Mickey responsible for removing unwanted contraband from his friend's warehouse before the man's grieving parents found it. Having thought it was only 2-10 pounds of marijuana, Mickey was shocked to discover 2,000 pounds of marijuana inside a locked room. After clearing out the room, Mickey gave the pot to a friend, who sold it and gave Mickey $165,000 from the sale. After careful consideration and extensive planning, Mickey purchased his first plane, a 680 Aero Commander and began transporting marijuana from South America to the US, devising methods of avoiding unwanted attention from law enforcement agencies along the way. In 1980, Max Mermelstein an American associate of the Medellin Cartel was introduced to Jon Roberts, who was in need of a direct supplier of cocaine into the United States. Mickey introduced Roberts to Rafael "Rafa" Cardona Salazar, a high-ranking member of the Medellin Cartel and Pablo Escobar's American connection.
Max Mermelstein was arrested in 1985 by Miami Police as a multi-kilo dealer, and was implicated by a California trafficker who gave information to the DEA in exchange for a lighter sentence. Mermelstein turned state's witness against the Medellin Cartel after his arrest and provided information that led to the subsequent raids on Mickey's properties on September 20, 1986. Mickey, a step ahead of law enforcement, had held agents at bay by opening the gas tank of a cocaine-laden plane and pointing a flare gun at several 55-gallon gasoline drums nearby. Federal agents were noted as saying it was a standoff, and Mickey escaped fleeing into the Florida swamps. Mickey managed to elude capture for several years until he was arrested in Richmond, Virginia. He was sentenced to 10 years in a federal correction facility and was released in December, 1999.
Mickey now makes his living as an actor, writer, speaker and storyteller. He also works occasionally as a resource for SOUTHCOM (US Military's Southern Command)'s research partnership with FIU. In that capacity, he has twice been invited to speak to members of such crime-fighting agencies as the DEA, the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Coast Guard, police, and armed forces, to share information helpful to counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism strategies.
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