Crime

This time it took a K-9, not 134 shots from deputies, to bring down a cocaine cowboy

U.S. Marshals and Miami-Dade police captured Mario Gonzalez in the Redland Jan. 12, 2018. Gonzalez was a figure during Miami’s infamous Cocaine Cowboys era of the 1970s and ’80s who served time for drug charges and assault after a shootout with deputies at a Miami hotel near the airport in 1993.
U.S. Marshals and Miami-Dade police captured Mario Gonzalez in the Redland Jan. 12, 2018. Gonzalez was a figure during Miami’s infamous Cocaine Cowboys era of the 1970s and ’80s who served time for drug charges and assault after a shootout with deputies at a Miami hotel near the airport in 1993. Courtesy of WSVN

South Florida’s infamous Cocaine Cowboys never seem to fade away completely.

One of the Miami drug era’s most notorious convicts, Mario Gonzalez, made headlines again, this time for leading U.S. Marshals on an outlandish chase Friday night in a Southwest Miami-Dade neighborhood.

As in July 1993 — when Gonzalez, then 29, tried to run U.S. Marshals over with a Chevrolet Blazer and survived a hail of 134 bullets from deputies’ guns with only minor injuries — he was captured and arrested, officials told the Miami Herald.

This time, without the buckshot — although Gonzalez was carrying a semi-automatic gun in a bag, along with money, according to officers.

The latest arrest, Friday night, happened in a Redland neighborhood near Southwest 199th Avenue and 228th Street.

Gonzalez had spent the last four years on the run for various crimes after he was released from prison in 2014 for his conviction on drug and assault charges after the 1993 shootout with marshals at a hotel near Miami International Airport.

This time it took armored vehicles, two helicopters and more than 40 officers from various law enforcement agencies, including Miami-Dade police, to snag the one-time cocaine cowboy.

To elude officers, Gonzalez, who was living in Southwest Miami-Dade, hopped atop an ATV and sped off. But he lost control of the all-terrain vehicle and crashed into a fence, WSVN 7 reported.

He hid in a patch of bushes but was sniffed out by a K-9 that bit him.

In 1993, Gonzalez was wanted for drug smuggling, gun violations and other crimes in Florida and Puerto Rico. U.S. Marshals caught up with him at Miami Princess Hotel, near the airport at the time.

He tried to escape then by running over deputies with the Blazer. Upon his capture, police found a pipe bomb and a 9mm Glock semi-automatic handgun in the Blazer.

A Miami jury found Gonzalez guilty of assault, use of a pipe bomb in connection with the assault, possession of an unregistered firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

mickey munday
In this Aug. 11, 2016, photo, Mickey Munday talks to a reporter in Love Park in North Miami, Fla. Federal prosecutors want to use Munday’s past as a cocaine cowboy against him during an upcoming trial on charges of participating in an auto fraud ring. Alan Diaz AP

In other recent news involving cocaine cowboys, Michael “Mickey” Munday, who boasted of his wild days in 1980s Miami smuggling cocaine for the Colombian cartels in the popular “Cocaine Cowboys” documentary, was charged in connection with a fraud ring involving stolen cars. A U.S. judge ruled earlier this month that jurors would not be permitted to see the documentary film in full because it would be too “prejudicial.” They could see his social media tweets and interviews, though.

And that 2006 documentary, by Miami Beach filmmakers Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman, will serve as the basis for a new stage play in partnership with Miami New Drama artistic director Michel Hausmann. The theatrical adaptation, which received a $150,000 Knight Arts Challenge grant for New Drama to stage, is to bow at the Colony Theatre in spring 2019.

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