Cocaine is still a serious drug problem in America, but it seems that crystal meth has taken over in the 21st Century along with the opioid overdoses as well as use of ecstasy or molly.
Cocaine and crack cocaine seems to be a 20th Century remnants of the failed War on Drugs. In the last 20-25 years, numerous movies and TV shows have explored the period in the 1970s and 1980s which begs a question to anyone who was born in the 1990s: Was it that bad?
Of course, it was.
Movies like Blow, Traffic, American Made and TV shows such as Snowfall and Narcos explore the cocaine business and how it was allowed, somewhat by our own government, to get out of hand so fast.
After President Nixon died in 1994, one of his aides John Ehrlichman came out and said Nixon had started the War on Drugs in attempt to go after African-Americans and non-whites who were using cannabis and other recreational drugs. And it led to another problem the Nixon Administration and middle America had anticipated that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
Many people using and selling the drugs were WASP from the suburbs. And people being sent to prison were hooking up with others involved in the cocaine business and just like in Blow, it was a perfect marriage of drug runners. I think it was Charlie Sheen who said people go to rehab to learn trade secrets rather than how to get clean.
That being said, if you’re expecting a six-part series with Cocaine Cowboys: The Kings of Miami about how the drug kingpins of Miami ran cocaine through this era, it’s not there. I mean all the fanciness of their exploits are in the series. But if you’ve seen the above mentioned movies and TV shows, along with Scarface, you know what to expect.
This is more about the long attempts by the federal government to bring Willy Falcon and Sal Malguta, two Cuban exiles, to justice by any means necessary despite setbacks involving jury tampering and failed attempts to get plea deals. Many of those involved in the business are interviewed except Falcon and Malguta.
Cocaine Cowboys is an appropriate title because the cowboy brings up a myth of an era that really never existed. Most true cowboys spent long days, shoveling cow manure, herding livestock and being alone on cattle drives. They probably drank hard and probably died young and in pain.
It wasn’t until Buffalo Bill and old black and white silent era movies that built cowboys up as these great heroic figures. But cowboy is also a disambiguous word because it also refers to bad people.
What level of good and bad is based on a certain point of view?
In some ways, it was the drug users that needed their fix so all the dealers did was fill a supply? Well, they also did a lot of other bad things, such as kill people, government officials and witnesses mostly, but even a few people were killed just by association.
I noticed instead of horses, there’s much footage of those involved in the business racing jet boats. If you’re in an area covered by water on the the east, west and south, the jet boats are the horses these cowboys rode.
Over the 1990s and into the early 2000s, the U.S. government did everything they could despite the acquittals and other more serious charges being dismissed. You almost wonder if it was payback to the government which set up agencies to directly target a certain demographic to be losing when that demographic was asked to serve on juries. It was a double-edge sword.
One of the most interesting tidbits in use when a federal prosecutor visits a strip club after losing a big case and gets drunk, resulting in him biting a young woman during a lap dance.
It’s a crazy series and sometimes gets a little repetitive, but unlike other Netflix docuseries, it doesn’t get boring and meander along to come to no conclusion.
The cocaine business rose to excess in the 1980s and it was the drug of the decade as “nothing exceeds like excess” as the line goes from Scarface.