Two key characters of Miami drug lore are headed back into the limelight with a book and a one-hour TV special on ESPN2 set to air Aug. 22.
The story highlighted is that of famed former Drug Enforcement Agency special agent Kevin Pedersen and former drug kingpin Alex DeCubas.
The men co-captained the 1976 Miami Palmetto Senior High School wrestling team to national prominence and several state championships before moving into opposite sides of the drug war.
Pedersen went on to an exemplary career in law enforcement during which he took down dozens of “Scarface” wannabes while DeCubas, who could have competed for a spot on the U.S. Olympic squad, started out beating up Miami’s drug dealers to steal their stash.
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From low-level thug, DeCubas eventually graduated to moving a half billion dollars worth of Colombian cocaine into the United States.
The unlikely friendship was profiled in a 1997 cover piece in Tropic magazine, the Miami Herald’s award-winning Sunday supplement that folded in 1998.
At that time, DeCubas was at the receiving end of several federal indictments. He was convicted in 2004.
That was then, and this is now.
These days, Pedersen is a retiree from the federal anti-drugs force who spends his ample free time coaching wrestling at Westminster Christian High School in Palmetto Bay.
And DeCubas is enjoying his fourth year out of federal custody after serving just a fraction of his original 30-year drug smuggling sentence.
He was released June 14, 2012, after allegedly ratting out a major British importer of illegal drugs and got his sentence reduced to less than a third.
Now in their late 50s, Pedersen and DeCubas have rekindled their friendship. Pedersen is hoping he can get DeCubas on the Westminster coaching staff as a volunteer — something that caught the attention of ESPN and Miami writer Chuck Malkus, author of the definitive tome about the unraveling of former Fort Lauderdale lawyer Scott Rothstein.
Malkus’ new book about the duo, “Sworn Enemies,” is due out early next year, and a screenplay inspired by the book is being shopped to Hollywood movie companies.
“As youngsters, Pedersen and DeCubas were attached at the hip,” Malkus says. “But since Pedersen was the smaller kid, he was always protected by his heavyweight friend DeCubas.
“The protector, however, turned protagonist.”