One to hit the market that is creating the sniff of an auction for film and TV rights: The Last Kilo: Willie Falcon and the Cocaine Era That Seduced America. The book proposal is about to hit the market through Verve, and it is written by T.J. English. His previous work, The Corporation: The Epic Story of the Cuban-American Underworld, sold to Paramount in a seven-figure deal with Benicio Del Toro attached to star and Appian Way producing.
The Last Kilo tells the story of Augusto “Willie” Falcon, who, along with partner Sal Magluta and a crew known as Los Muchachos, became the biggest cocaine smugglers in American history — more than $20 billion worth in a two-decade run. The book is based on exclusive interviews with Falcon, who, after serving a 27-year prison term, is currently living under an assumed name in an undisclosed country — to be revealed for the first time in the book.
The author also has secured access to Falcon’s closest associates including former cocaine partners in Colombia, where Willie and Sal established their empire by first partnering with Pablo Escobar and other international narco kingpins. Willie and Sal became known as the most notorious examples of the Miami Vice era. Famous for their award-winning powerboat racing team, their lavish parties on yachts, hotels and casinos across the country, their mountains of recreational yeyo (cocaine), beautiful women and celebrity fanboys, they were Miami’s answer to the crime reign of Chicago’s Al Capone.
Per the book, Falcon was at the eye of the storm, from his early efforts to overthrow and kill Cuban dictator Fidel Castro – when Willie got his start in smuggling cocaine to help the CIA raise money to acquire weapons during the Iran-Contra Affair – to becoming a coke kingpin whose innovations in importation and distribution changed that scurrilous game.
Falcon and his partners were the first U.S. smugglers to purchase product directly from the Medellin cartel, and the first to transport thousands of kilos by air, sea and land. When U.S. Customs shut down their route through the Bahamas (where they owned the government and military), they were the first to ship Colombian cocaine through Mexico, where they opened smuggling routes after meeting with and paying off high-ranking officials in the Mexican military as well as partnering with Felix Gallardo of the Guadalajara Cartel.
These two young Cuban exiles – high school dropouts – were among the first to launder their massive profits through banks in Panama, using as their private banker President Manuel Noriega’s lawyer – until Noriega was deposed by the U.S. government and their private money-launderer succeeded Noriega as president.
Falcon and Los Muchachos also are the subject of Billy Corben’s forthcoming documentary series Cocaine Cowboys: The Kings of Miami, which premieres August 4 on Netflix. Falcon and other Los Muchachos sources did not participate in that project. The Last Kilo is currently in the proposal phase and will be shopped for screen shortly as a family saga in the vein of The Sopranos set in the era of Miami Vice.
The rights to the book are held by Exilium’s Jose Daniel Freixas and Tony Gonzalez, who were behind the 2016 auction for The Corporation. Exilium is repped by Verve and Matthew Bilinsky of Weinberg Gonser. Stay tuned.