By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
They partied and they really partied hard. I mean, you have no idea what these guys would go through. I'm saying, "You guys are going to go out and play football?"
"Yeah, and we're going to win."
They went out and won, you know. Didn't affect them.
The popularity, it began to shoot up. Everybody who before was doing these pot things was now into doing cocaine. You just couldn't get enough cocaine. The people I was dealing with had a limited supply, and as the people I was selling to expanded their business, I couldn't get enough. You know, one guy would say, "I want 15 kilos or 20 kilos or 25 kilos," and I could only give him 10. I could sell 100 kilos a week easily.
In 1979 Roberts began dating Toni Mooney, a former Ford model. He bought her a red Porsche after three months. She introduced him to Mickey Munday, a pilot with direct connections to the boys from Medellín.
So the guy introduces himself. His name is Mickey Munday, and he's like a redneck who's been in Florida his whole life. I told him I outgrew the Cubans and it became a necessity to find a Colombian that could supply the large amounts that were needed.
He said, "Well, I'm going to hook you up. I'll take you to some Colombians I know and they can give you whatever you want."
I'd heard stories like that many times, so I just said, "Sure. Whenever you're ready, let me know."
We drove to Sunny Isles, Florida, and we go into this house, and it was about five or six Colombians there all, like, loaded to bear. When I say loaded, they were strapped. They had pistols, machine guns. And they were all standing around.
At that point I realized this guy is serious. This is for real, because people don't just stand around like that. I meet this little guy. His name is Rafa and he's telling me: "I'll give you whatever you want...."
I said, "Well, you know, show me something."
He takes me in this back room and presses a button and a whole wall opens up. I had never seen so much cocaine in my entire life, just sitting behind this wall.
I said, "Okay, I guess you can help me, man. Give me a day to put together the money and I'll be back."
The next day I came, he had this American guy there and he introduces the American and says, "This is my compadre. You know I'm not in town a lot, but whatever it is you need, he'll take care of it. Don't worry about it he's a hundred percent."
The American was Max Mermelstein. He became a government informant after being arrested in 1985. He is one of the most important informants ever used to bring down key figures in the Medellín cartel.
Max was, at the time I thought, a very good person, a trusted person. In the beginning, it was 75 to 100 kilos a week. When you bring somebody a million dollars a week, a bond grows between people. Max said, "I want you to do my end of the business going to Colombia, arranging the trips. You're going to make much more and you can continue to supply whoever you want."
Max sent me to Colombia. I would hook up with Rafa and he would introduce me to the people he was working with. It would be the Ochoas, people that you read about in books. Rafa was like a lieutenant. Rafa really controlled almost every kilo of coke that came into this country from Medellín. He had many soldiers that would work for him. He had accountants, lawyers.
We worked with shortwave radios at the time. We had antennas that would come up out of the ground. That's how we would set up the trips. We would send the plane down there. The plane would land and you'd spend the night. Next day they'd be loaded. [After the planes landed,] we would load 300 pieces and put air shocks on the car so that the car wouldn't fall to the ground. We had a towing company that we formed [to haul cars loaded with coke]. We'd have a caravan, one car in front and one behind. We did that six, seven years and never had a problem at all.
I had different stash houses in Miami. I used normal people, working people who wanted extra money. I would pull in the garage with these cars, I would take the product out. I would count it, make sure everything was there. Each product was marked with a marking. Maybe 300 would have bicycles and 200 would have eyeglasses.
Each one went to a certain group. There was three, four different groups. I would have guys driving the cars to, say, a Denny's or Uncle Tom's Ribs. Whoever drove the car there would go inside and there would be a Colombian there, and [the driver] would hand him the keys. It was always delivered to Colombians because they had brought their own Colombians over here to sell it and that was it....