Cocaine Cowboy

Two or three nights ago in San Juan I chatted with an old biker from south Florida. His name was Bud and he had no teeth unless you count some little metal barbs sticking out of his gums. We talked about motorcycles, beards, guns, ex-wives, and various other topics commonly discussed in Central America.

Bud enjoyed hearing about my plans to conduct business in Nicaragua and assured me he would not be capitalizing on my ideas. With his hand on my shoulder he reiterated that I need not worry. His plans were to go back home, buy cheap cigarettes on the reservation, spend not a small amount of time at the casino, then see what happens.

Last night I saw Bud again and this time he had teeth. I told him they looked nice, which they did. His best set of teeth was stolen along with some jewelry he was fond of wearing. We chatted about old cars – a ’62 Impala 409 he used to have, a ’67 Corvette 427, among others.

He told me Jeb Bush wouldn’t give him his guns back. “Back from what?” I joked. Maybe he thought it was funny too but he didn’t laugh a whole lot. I asked him if he still carries a firearm. He does. He made it clear it’s best to call first when visiting his home in the mountains. He no longer calls Florida home but I will refrain from saying more.

I thought this was as good a time as any to switch the conversation over to crime. “Have you seen the documentary, ‘Cocaine Cowboys?’ He just stared at me. “It makes the argument that the city of Miami was built on cocaine money.”

“Did you see my picture in the movie?” he said, not joking.

“No, I don’t believe I did.”

“Son, they used to call me ‘Cocaine Cowboy’ in south Florida.”


He said he got busted moving 12 kilos of cocaine on his motorcycle, his 4th run of the day. He did less than 2 months time, which I thought was light.

“Did you roll on anybody?” I asked.


He told me that shaved 15 years off his sentence. I asked him if he had to look over both shoulders when he walked out the door after that. “Nah. Them guys were all dead before I got out.”

We talked a little more and he told me nobody else down here knows this stuff. Then he said if i was police, FBI, or any other agency, he’d kill me. I told him I work for a non-profit and sure hope that doesn’t qualify as an ‘agency.’

Right after that, he introduced me to a few other folks and told them I was a real good guy.

By the way, his name’s not Bud.


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