Cocaine Cowboys

While the streets of an average city seem to be safe and well-patrolled by the authorities, the true nature behind closed doors could ruin a city’s reputation in a heartbeat. In the 2006 documentary, Cocaine Cowboys, the well thought out and organized drug circles in the Miami area of Florida and Columbia become the scene of extraordinary violence that shocks the nation. In normal situations, homicides are considered to be abnormal, but for the people of Miami in the 1970’s and 1980’s, a homicide was a daily ritual for a residential neighborhood in the war zone.
The beginning of the documentary viewed the transition between two recreational drugs, marijuana and cocaine, as the chief drug trades between the southern tip of Florida and Latin America (primarily the Columbia and Cuba territories). The United States is the prime target of traffickers since the population was considered to be the largest consumers of prohibited substances, which it has been for the past several decades in the recent century.
Methods of transporting the substances across borders have become quite ingenious in their creativity. Coletta Youngers cites in her article, “traffickers have adapted quickly to drug control strategies, developing new methods and routes to circumvent detection” (128). This is quickly observed by the strategies developed by Jon Roberts and Mickey Munday, who were active transporters of cocaine in the height of trafficking. Roberts’ methods included owning several properties and willing participants to complete trades, while Munday preferred to fly his own plane up the west coast of Florida and using a towing truck to transport the drugs into the Miami area.
Another issue related to the cocaine drug trade, other than the massive amount of violence as a result of rival sources, was the abundance of law corruption from the patrol officers to lawyers. Stated in the documentary, cocaine was not for the common American in the beginning of the drug transition. The majority of the consumers of cocaine were middle and upper class citizens who were involved with influential careers. According to CIA documents, the United States’ government easily saw the benefits of utilizing illegal drug money as a way to finance their goals, such as the case of the Contras in Nicaragua. Drug money was a prime way of financing military and authority plans, since it would be collected without placing any unnecessary taxes on the population. An opinion that a politician would have using such corruption would be that the money would go to waste being held in evidence areas, such as when Oliver North desired to use confiscated money for the Contras.
As viewed in Bus 174, police authorities were once again being questioned by the public for their involvement in questionable areas. While the people recognized that drug dealers and traffickers were bad influences on society, corrupt police officers were worse because of their authority. Eventually, when the war between the Cocaine Cowboys was at its most dangerous, any man could be hired as a police officer, increasing in the potential of corruption. While the few proper officers were able to catch a majority of the corrupt officers, the trust between the common citizen and authorities has remained fragile of the decades.