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Monday, January 16, 2017

Last surviving Cocaine Cowboy to speak at Rotary

Mickey Munday
The guest speaker at this week's Coconut Grove Rotary luncheon is Mickey Munday, actor, writer and the "last surviving Cocaine Cowboy" from the Rakontur documentary, Cocaine Cowboy. The luncheon is on Thursday, January 19 at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club (2990 South Bayshore Drive) at 12:15 pm. The cost for lunch is $20.

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.

Please join the luncheon. RSVP at

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its too bad our society continues to glorify drug dealers. I wonder how many families lives were ruined by this guys business? Yes, he has served his "debt" to society, but why is he speaking? I doubt agencies need the help of a drug dealer from the 80's to teach them how to catch bad guys today. Maybe after this guest speaker you can get some current drug dealers to speak on their business and how they avoid capture and how they decimate their communities.
Here's an idea, lets honor the officer or officers who caught this guy and got him off the streets, or other officers who do honorable things.

January 17, 2017 8:33 AM  
Anonymous swlip said...

Agreed with the above comment. I'm not happy about the CGSC being used for this event, either.

January 17, 2017 11:38 AM  
Anonymous swlip said...

I sent the below email to the CGSC flag officers:

Dear Officers:

I understand that the club premises are available for use by various civic organizations, and that it is generally not our place to pass judgment on the organizers of events at our facility. However, it has come to my attention that on January 19 the club will be the venue for a luncheon hosted by the Coconut Grove Rotary Club at which the speaker will be former drug runner Mickey Munday.

No doubt, Mr. Munday is an interesting and colorful character, and his story is fascinating. However, he was the key logistics organizer for the Medellin drug cartel, whose activities wreaked havoc on Miami for years. Whether intended or not, having him as the keynote speaker at an event on club property implicates the club itself in what could easily be perceived as a glorification of his past. What signal does that send to our young people? To the community as a whole?

What would we say to people in the West Grove, who still have to deal with drug gang violence on a regular basis? What if someone were to accuse us of glorifying the drug trafficking activities of an elderly white male? Where does that lead us?

The Rotary Club has a right to hold this event, but I would ask that the club politely tell them to hold it somewhere other than our facility.


January 17, 2017 12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 8:33 this guy is a legand and way nicer than any miami cop.learn your facts before you speak.your the reason the grove is dead

January 17, 2017 1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Swilp.
And to the other Anon comment, I won't get into a back and forth with you so this will be my last comment; he may be a nice guy today and that's fine but we can do better than glorifying him for being a drug dealer, that's the point. Also, enough with the bashing of police. "Way nicer than any Miami cop." Not sure who you are but people who say things like that about cops are usually doing somethg they shouldn't be doing.

January 17, 2017 4:21 PM  

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