Miami, FL has gained a reputation as a crime hot spot. Lately, it seems to be considered the misfit of the Sunshine State. But how did Miami get such a bad rap? To answer that question, Scott Cooper Miami CEO, says we must go back to 1979. This was the start of the Miami drug wars and the event that dubbed Miami the “Drug Capital of the world.”
The Beginning On Wednesday, July 11, 1979, Miami, FL was rocked when a shooting at Dadeland Mall in broad daylight resulted in two fatalities and multiple injuries. Three “hitters” linked to the Medellin Cartel took shots on two rival drug dealers at the Crown Liquor Store to mark territory. The shooters shot clerks within the liquor store as well as other bystanders as they exited into the parking lot. This shooting was actually ordered by Griselda Blanco, also known as the Godmother or Queen of Cocaine, also known as Black Widow due to all three of her husbands meeting similar ends with bullets. Throughout the 1980s, it’s been estimated that Blanco ordered the deaths of over 230 competitors and smuggled more than three tons of cocaine annally into the US. The Dadeland Mall shooting led to a slew of similar grisly murders in Miami throughout the 1980s and the reign of the “Cocaine Cowboys,” as drug dealers were dubbed by police, began.
The Aftermath Throughout 1980, the Miami-Dade area had a record of just over 560 murders. In 1981 they beat that record with 621. The body count was so high, the Miami-Dade morgue couldn’t keep up. This forced the medical examiner’s office to rent a refrigerated truck for bodies! The truck was actually used until 1988, when the morgue moved to a larger location. While Miami is still commonly known as the “Drug Capital of the world” due to turf wars between drug dealers. This continues to this day! But, based on more recent homicide rates, the threat of violent crimes seems to be decreasing. In fact, over the past three years, the numbers have dropped by about 75% says Scott Cooper Miami. Or more compared to the near 300 murders that took place each year during the 1980s. Paradise may have been lost, but maybe not for much longer.