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Mickey Munday
Mickey Munday
C. Stiles

Escobar's "Cocaine Cowboy" Mickey Munday Convicted for Smuggling Stolen Cars

Apparently, living off his fame as an '80s Miami cocaine smuggler tied to Pablo Escobar's Medellín Cartel wasn't quite enough for Michael "Mickey" Munday. One of the Magic City's most colorful characters and a man who hosts film events and parties all over town, he was found guilty today of smuggling cars for an enormous auto-theft ring.

According to court documents, a federal jury convicted Munday of five felony counts of mail fraud and one felony count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Each carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison — so it's possible the 72-year-old will live out the rest of his life in jail. His sentencing hearing has been set for March 29. Prosecutors said the theft and fraud ring stole cars, smuggled them, and then re-sold them using fake paperwork. Munday was in charge of smuggling the cars into Florida.

Munday was one of the central characters in Miami filmmakers Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman's famed 2006 documentary, Cocaine Cowboys, frequently hailed as the best true-life account of Miami's insane drug wars in the '70s and '80s. He grew up the son of an NFL player and briefly worked for his dad's concrete-block company before realizing that selling weed was a lot more fun. He then met Max Mermelstein, the Medellín Cartel's point man in Miami, who helped Munday fly more than $2 billion worth of cocaine (more than ten tons) into Florida in a small Cessna plane.

Munday later pleaded guilty to a laundry list of drug charges. He spent roughly a decade in prison in the 1990s. He later recounted his days dodging bullets and federal agents to Corben, who effectively turned Munday into a minor star.

Mickey Munday in Cocaine Cowboys.EXPAND
Mickey Munday in Cocaine Cowboys.
Magnolia Pictures

Munday spent the 12 years after the documentary's release hobnobbing around Miami's party, club, and event circuit. In a 2010 profile centered on Munday's local fame, New Times wrote that he'd "entered that weird world of celebrity where you have no day job, rappers name themselves after you, and strangers in Italy want to be your Facebook friend." When New Times reporter Gus Garcia-Roberts interviewed Munday in a local restaurant, the owner recognized Munday and brought him a free plate of milk and cookies.

Such has been Munday's life for a decade: He held a Scarface-themed birthday bash at Miami's iconic punk venue Churchill's Pub. He recorded a spoken-word CD filled with his best cocaine-smuggling anecdotes. He hung out at Steve's Pizza with reporters from Vice News.

And apparently all the while, he was helping a car-theft ring smuggle cars into the United States.

Munday's indictment and arrest last May made national headlines: Federal prosecutors said he and a group of other defendants stole more than 150 cars using fake paperwork, making a neat $1.7 million from 2008 to 2015. Throughout the trial, Munday claimed he had no idea the cars were stolen, but according to the Associated Press, his codefendants did him in. Multiple other members of the ring pleaded guilty and testified that Munday was in charge of smuggling the cars from Missouri and other states into Florida and keeping them hidden until they could be sold or loaded off somewhere safe.

Prosecutors say that the ring was called the "hokey-doke scheme" and that Munday's past life as a drug smuggler for Escobar's crew made him a perfect fit to sneak stolen cars into Florida.

"He knew exactly what he was doing," federal prosecutors reportedly said during closing arguments.

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