Law and Crime

The cocaine crisis brought with it a series of violence and crime in Miami and the rest of South Florida. As the profit from cocaine increased during the 1970s and 1980s, competing gangs and cartels aggressively attempted to control the trade, making enemies during these ventures. Cartels would resort to murder to eliminate competition and enemies.


By 1979, the cocaine epidemic had grown unstable. The Dadeland Massacre marked the growing violence in the cocaine trade. Two colombian assassins murdered narcotics dealer German Jimenez along with his body guard at a Crowns Liquor store in Dadeland Mall. As the assassins exitted the crime scene, the unthinkable happened, they began to shoot at the public.

Cocaine Cowboys Reloaded: The Dadeland Mall Massacre 7/11/1979  (2:44)

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The Most Dangerous City in the US

When the FBI issued its annual list for top ten most crime-ridden cities in the nation in 1981; Miami was first, West Palm Beach was fifth, and Fort Lauderdale was eighth.


Miami had the nation’s highest murder rate in 1981 (70 per 100,000 residents). 


When incidents occurred, police would not arrive at the scene until after the damage was inflicted. The people of South Florida began to feel unsafe. This led to the rapid increase in purchases or weapons. By arming themselves. people felt like they'd be safer. During 1976-1981, over 220,000 guns had been sold in the Dade-County Area, an average more than 7 per household. The lack of power in police to handle the issue led to this drmatic rise in weapons. 


Yearly Homicide Rate:

The following statistics demonstrate the amount of homicides believed to be connected to narcotrafficking per year.


1976: 104 

1979: 367 

1980: 573

1981: 621


Within five years, the amount of homicides in Miami multiplied by nearly six times its original amount

Scarface - Say Hello To My Little Friend (0:22)


\This famous scene from Scarface (1983) demonstrates some of the violence persistent with the cocaine trade



Cocaine Cowboys. Directed by Billy Corben. Performed by Jon Roberts, Mickey Munday. Miami: Rakontur, 2006. DVD.


Kelly, James. "South Florida: Trouble in Paradise." Time. November 23, 1981.,3.3009,922693,00.html


Sanders, Beth Duff. "3 Linked To Mall Slayings 1979 Dadeland Killings Unsolved." 3 Linked To Mall Slayings 1979 Dadeland Killings Unsolved. SunSentinel, 19 May 1990



"Cocaine Cowboys, the Worlds Deadliest Criminals." Digital image. The Miami Herald.


"Miami Drug Wars | Flashback Miami." Digital image. Flashback Miami. September 10, 2014.