Cocaine, money and real estate. It was the holy trinity worshiped by Miami’s high rollers from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. And the dads were a couple of high school dropouts in Miami named Augusto Guillermo Falcon and Salvador Magluta, who were known simply as Willie and Sal or los muchachos (boys).
The link between drug trafficking, laundering of money and real estate is one of the main themes in Cocaine Cowboys: Kings of Miami, a recently released six-part Netflix documentary series from director Billy Corben that chronicles the rise and fall of the Falcon and Magluta.
According to the federal government, Falcon and Magluta ran a huge $ 2.1 billion drug empire that transported 75 tons of cocaine to the United States from 1978 to 1991. In pursuit of Falcon and Magluta, the feds confiscated more than $ 16 million in real estate.
Some of these properties appear sporadically in documentaries about the Falcon and Maglut, who used family members as cover for their real estate deals.
Brickell Key Miami condos
In the series, Falcon and Maglut’s subordinate Pedro “Pegie” Rosello recalled that Sal owned a penthouse on Brickell Key… Their nickname is a tribute to the popular 1983 film starring Al Pacino about a fictional Cuban-born cocaine baron. “We used to call it ‘Scarface,’” Rosello said. “So we went out to a party and Sal gave us an extra key. After the club we went to hang out at Scarface. “
According to court documents and old press releases, the feds took over two penthouses at Brickell Key One, 520 Brickell Key Drive. Built in 1982, it was the first residential building built Swire Properties on an artificial island.
One 2,800 square foot penthouse with five bedrooms and four bathrooms was worth $ 435,000 when it was confiscated by the feds. It sold for $ 585,000 in 2003 and has sold five more times, most recently in 2020 for $ 398,000.
Another 3,000 square foot apartment with three bedrooms and four bathrooms was priced at $ 455,000. The penthouse was bought at auction for $ 163,000 in 1999 by Thomas Exxon, chairman of the board of national mortgage company Franklin Credit Management Corp., who later transferred the ownership to his ex-wife.
Mutiny Hotel, Coconut Grove
The Mutiny Hotel, a Coconut Grove establishment, included an infamous member-only club where music icons such as Rick James, George Michael and other celebrities mingled with Miami’s top cocaine dealers. Dubbed Studio 54 Miami. Mutiny It is a 12-story ode to decadence designed and owned by Burton Goldberg, who at the time was known as the city’s “Hugh Hefner”.
Falcon, Magluta and his crew were members of the charter, making multimillion-dollar deals over dinner, drinks and endless bangs. They also rented coke orgy rooms.
In Kings of Miami, Ralph “Cabeza” Linero, who served eight years in prison for his role in transporting supplies for Falcon and Magluta, described Mutiny as the “Wall Street of the 80s cocaine business.”
Linero said that when Los Muchachos and their team wanted other drug dealers who were throwing parties at the club to know they had cocaine to sell, they put a Burger King cardboard baby crown on the table. “It was a sign to everyone in the club, ‘Hey, we have material, let’s talk,’” he said in the documentary series.
As the era of the Cocaine Cowboys declined, so did The Mutiny’s stash. Goldberg sold the property at 2951 South Bayshore Drive for $ 17 million in 1984 and moved to California six years later to become an alternative medicine guru.
Mutiny’s new owners staggered and lost the legendary property to foreclosures in 1986. Ten years later, a developer from Miami Ricardo Dunin bought the hotel in 1996 and converted it into condominium hotel which is now owned by individual investors and operator Provident Hotels and Resorts.
La Gorce Island, Miami Beach
On October 17, 1991, local, state and federal law enforcement agents raided a white two-story house on La Gorce island in Miami Beach, where Magluta and several of his associates were detained. On the same day, Falcon was taken to a mansion in Fort Lauderdale, where he was hiding. Criminals found themselves on the run after federal charges were brought against them and their members of cocaine trafficking.
In the second episode of the Netflix series, Rosello reveals that he snapped Maglut and provided investigators with his location, a waterfront property at 98 East La Gorce Circle.
“I either collaborated or spent the rest of my life in prison,” Rosello said. “So I gave them Sal. I drew like a map. So they found La Gors. “
Inside the five-bedroom house that Magluta rented for $ 5,000 a month, agents found his wallet, as well as fake passports and a fake driver’s license with a photograph of Magluta, but only a small packet of cocaine. According to press reports, one of the men arrested along with Magluta told investigators the whereabouts of Sokol.
At the time, the property was owned by a couple named Isaac and Maria Benmurgui, who paid $ 240,000 for the house in 1978. It has changed hands four times since then, most recently in 2019 to a company run by a luxury home builder. Philip Harari…
Champlain Towers South, Surfside
In 1987, Rosello was a high-ranking lieutenant in the Falcon and Maglut empire who drove exotic cars and rented apartments in luxurious buildings. The Kings of Miami explores Rossello’s courtship of Alexia Echevarria of The Real Housewives of Miami. He brings her to his apartment, an apartment on the fifth floor Champlain Towers South, according to Cocaine Cowboys director Billy Corben, a seaside condominium in Surfside.
Now this hotel is known all over the world as a condominium, partially collapsed at the end of June, 98 people died.
In 1988, the federal government initiated civil proceedings to confiscate a 2-acre ranch with a five-bedroom home and adjoining stable at 12000 Southwest 49th Street. According to press reports, investigators alleged that Falcon and Magluta used the property as a communications base to coordinate their transport of cocaine by plane and boat. Magluta’s wife Isabelle and daughter-in-law Arlene Solis bought the ranch in 1980 for $ 190,000, records show. Five years later, an organization run by Magluta’s parents paid $ 233,000 for it.
While testifying in 1989, Isabelle Magluta confirmed her name, address and that Sal was her husband, but then she spoke out 59 times for the right not to testify against herself. A federal judge approved the arrest, and the ranch was auctioned for $ 300,000. After paying off the mortgage, the government set aside $ 192,000.
The ranch last sold for $ 2.1 million in 2004.
Apartment buildings in Fontainebleau
Falcon and Magluta weren’t just active shadow buyers of real estate in Miami. According to the feds, they were also developers. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Clark, who was on the team that chased Falcone and Magluta, said they used their fathers to act as presidents of construction companies that built apartment buildings in the Miami area.
Corporate records show that the fathers, Arsenio Falcón and Manuel Magluta, held senior positions at World Land Investments, Bright Construction Corp. and Ridgewood Development Corp. Among the projects built by these companies were three residential complexes, 40 apartments each, in the Fontainebleau area. unincorporated Miami-Dade near Miami International Airport, at 8401, 8425 and 8500 Northwest Eighth Street.
Each $ 3 million property was built with illegal drug proceeds, according to the U.S. government. Court documents show that the government established its own real estate management firm to operate the buildings shortly after their takeover. But despite collecting rent, the government allegedly refused to make any mortgage payments. The lender, Citibank, and Ridgewood Development, which owned the buildings, filed petitions requiring the government to pay all rent, profits and proceeds on outstanding mortgages.
In 1993, Citibank bought the residential complex at auction, and 10 years later, the property was sold to developers Hialeah. Marty Kapparos Jr. and Maurice Kion, who converted the apartments into condominiums.
Atlantis at Brickell, Miami
Another emergency site owned by Maglut in the Brickell area was an 11th floor apartment in a condominium tower that put Arquitectonica on the map. The Miami-based architecture firm designed the signature building at 2025 Brickell Avenue, known for its glass façade, primary color scheme and a five-story palm-tree courtyard in the center of the building. The element gives the impression that there is a square hole in the center of the building. The palm courtyard features a red spiral staircase, jacuzzi, and a palm tree that can be seen from ground level.
Completed in 1982, the 20-story, 96-unit luxury condominium is featured in the opening credits of the hit TV series Miami Police. According to government figures, Magluta’s apartment was valued at nearly $ 157,000 at the time of the takeover. It was last traded in 2013 at a price of $ 525,000.