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Accused ‘Cocaine Cowboy’ Fugitive Brought Back To Miami

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The last of Miami’s fabled “Cocaine Cowboys”, taken into custody March 12, 2017 in Orlando after 26 years on the run, is back in Miami.

Gustavo Falcon was transferred from the Orange County jail in Orlando to the Federal Detention Center in Miami on Monday, according to U.S. Marshal Barry Golden.

Falcon, 55, is scheduled to make his initial appearance in federal magistrate court Tuesday afternoon in downtown Miami facing charges of conspiracy to import cocaine into the U.S.

Falcon was indicted in 1991 along with his infamous drug kingpin brother Augusto “Willie” Falcon, and his co-defendant Sal Magluta.

Federal authorities originally accused the Falcon-Magluta organization of smuggling 75 tons of cocaine, worth more than $2 billion, into the United States between 1978 and 1991.

Willy Falcon and Magluta were convicted in what was Miami’s biggest drug smuggling case and are both currently in federal prison.

While Willie Falcon and Magluta were found guilty, it took two trials because jurors were bribed in the first one.

Gustavo Falcon, nicknamed “Taby,” vanished and was a fugitive ever since.

Filmmaker Billy Corben featured him in the documentary ‘Cocaine Cowboys.’

“He fled but he didn’t flee alone,” said Corben. “He fled with his wife, his son and his daughter. So this family of four literally disappeared.”

He had been rumored to be living in Cuba, but he was arrested March 12th in a joint operation involving U.S. Marshals from Miami and Orlando.

CBS4’s Jim DeFede was the first to report that Falcon had just returned from a bicycle ride with his wife when he was taken into custody. He had been living there with his wife and their two grown children, using fake identities.

According to the U.S. Marshals Service, the Falcons’ went by the names of Luis Reiss and Maria Reiss.

The Marshals caught a break in 2013 when Gustavo Falcon got into a car accident in the Orlando area and used his fake ID with a Hialeah address. That led the Marshals to trace him to his South Florida history.

Both Falcon and his wife had also obtained fraudulent social security cards under the fake names to hide their true identities.

“He had obtained a fraudulent Florida driver’s license under the name Luis Reiss,” said U.S. Marshal Inspector Barry Golden. “And he maintained that his name was Luis Reiss. Until the Deputy Marshals told him, look we’re gonna go fingerprint you. It’s just a matter of time, we’re gonna find out who you really are. At that point in time, he admitted his name was Gustavo Falcon.”

Related: Neighbor Calls Takedown Of ‘Cocaine Cowboy’ ‘Pretty Exciting’

Gustavo Falcon and his family had been renting a Kissimmee home, which the Marshals had under surveillance.

After his arrest, Falcon told authorities he had been living in the Orlando area since 2009 and in the rental house since 2012. It’s not clear where he was during all the other years, but officials say it’s believed he was living overseas for some of that time. Authorities said they did not know if Falcon had a job. His wife was not arrested.

Falcon was last seen in South Florida in 1991 shortly before his indictment.

Magluta, now 62, was convicted of drug-related money laundering in 2002 and sentenced to 205 years in prison. That was reduced to 195 years in 2006.

Willie Falcon, now 61, accepted a plea deal in 2003 on similar charges. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison and is scheduled for release from a Kentucky facility on June 17.

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