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‘Last of the Cocaine Cowboys’ arrested after 26 years on the lam

Gustavo Falcon

ORLANDO, Fla. — Gustavo Falcon, the brother of one of Miami’s most notorious 1980s drug traffickers, Augusto “Willie” Falcon, was arrested Wednesday night after evading authorities for 26 years.

Authorities were initially led to Gustavo Falcon’s whereabouts in March after discovering he had been using a fraudulent Florida driver’s license under an alias since 1997, US Marshals Senior Inspector Barry Golden told CNN.

Through the license, law enforcement officials discovered Gustavo, also known as “Tabby,” had been living in the Orlando area since 1999, and they traced him to a rental property in suburban Kissimmee. A team comprising local law enforcement and officials from the US Marshals Miami and Orlando offices, along with its Fugitive Task Force, had the property under surveillance for more than a month.

“He was the last of the Cocaine Cowboys,” Golden said late Wednesday night.

Golden told CNN that officials seized on an opportunity when they saw who they believed to be Falcon and his wife leave for a lengthy bike ride Wednesday afternoon. Marshals observed the couple ride for approximately 40 miles and when they were certain of the fugitive’s identity, they apprehended Falcon at an intersection near his home.

“We caught a break today,” Golden said. “It was a lot of hard work, and some luck, and it paid off.”

At the time of his capture, Falcon initially stuck with his alias from the fake license, but Golden said after a time, he admitted his identity. Falcon was arrested without incident and booked into the Orange County Jail Wednesday night.

Falcon, along with his brother Willie and his partner Salvador Magluta were indicted in 1991, charged with smuggling approximately 75 tons of cocaine into the United States over a 13-year period between 1978 and 1991, according to the federal indictment.

Willie and Magluta are both serving lengthy prison terms, but Gustavo had been on the lam since 1991. Golden told CNN that authorities initially believed that he fled to either Cuba or South America, until they discovered the fake driver’s license that led them to Orlando.