American Desperado: My Life--From Mafia Soldier to Cocaine Cowboy to Secret Government Asset

By Jon Roberts, Evan Wright

In 2008 veteran journalist Evan Wright, acclaimed for his New York instances bestselling booklet Generation Kill and co-writer of the Emmy-winning HBO sequence it spawned, begun a sequence of conversations with super-criminal Jon Roberts, big name of the fabulously winning documentary Cocaine Cowboys.  Those conversations could final 3 years, in which time Wright got here to gain that Roberts was once even more than the de-facto “transportation leader” of the Medellin Cartel through the Nineteen Eighties, even more than a facilitator of a countrywide drug epidemic.  As Wright’s tape recorder whirred and Roberts unburdened himself of hundreds of jaw-dropping stories, it grew to become transparent that maybe not anyone in background had damaged such a lot of legislation with such willful abandon.
Roberts, in truth, looked to be a prodigy of illegal activity – yet one with a awesome self-awareness and a fierce wish to guard his son from following a similar path.
American Desperado is Roberts’ no-holds-barred account of being born into Mafia royalty, witnessing his first homicide on the age of 7, turning into a hunter-assassin in Vietnam, returning to ny to turn into -- at age 22 -- one of many city’s best nightclub impresarios, then touring to Miami the place in a couple of brief years he might upward push to turn into the Medellin Cartel’s premier smuggler.
But that’s simply half the tale. 
The roster of Roberts’ neighbors and friends reads like a Who’s Who of the latter half the twentieth century and comprises each person from Jimi Hendrix, Richard Pryor, and O.J. Simpson to Carlo Gambino, Meyer Lansky, and Manuel Noriega.
Nothing if now not colourful, Roberts surrounded himself with appealing ladies, drove his souped-up highway motor vehicle at a most sensible pace of one hundred eighty miles in step with hour, shared his mattress with a 200-pound cougar, and hired a 6”6” expert wrestler known as “The factor” as his bodyguard.  finally, Roberts grew to become so robust that he attracted the eye of the Republican Party’s management, used to be wooed by means of them, or even used to be co-opted by means of the CIA for which he performed its mystery agenda.
Scrupulously documented and relentlessly propulsive, this collaboration among a bloodhound journalist and some of the most audacious criminals ever is like no different crime ebook you’ve ever read.  Jon Roberts could be the merely felony who replaced the process American history. 

From the Hardcover edition.

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I named him Desperado simply because I observed myself in his eyes. —JON ROBERTS 1 APRIL 2008—MIAMI EVAN WRIGHT (E. W. ): in the course of a holiday within the warmth as opposed to Pistons video game at Miami’s American airways enviornment, an announcer informs the group “very unique big name” is in the home. “Ladies and gents, we've got Jon Roberts, Miami’s unique cocaine cowboy, with us this night. ” stay pictures of Roberts seated within the area splash onto the displays within the enviornment: a bodily healthy sixty-year-old with silver hair combed directly again. Unaware that he's being filmed, Roberts gazes expressionlessly. Deep-set eyes supply his face a wolfish, predatory visual appeal. lovers seated close to him stand with their camera-phones and take goal. Roberts notices his snapshot at the monitors and provides a pained okay-you-got-me grin. He places his arm on his eight-year-old son, Julian, seated beside him. Julian geese his head into his father’s shoulder yet peeks up, grinning, as cameras flash. His dad is the largest celebrity within the enviornment. Little greater than fifteen years previous Roberts used to be a fugitive. His face was once featured on FBI most-wanted posters at U. S. publish workplaces throughout North the US. He fled Miami after the U. S. executive categorised him as most sensible “American consultant” of the Medellín Drug Cartel and charged him with overseeing the importation of billions of greenbacks of cocaine. Roberts and a small band of yank companions had created a veritable FedEx of drug smuggling. They hired mystery airfields, listening posts to snoop on Coast safeguard communications, and complex homing beacons for monitoring cocaine shipped by way of sea that stymied the U. S. executive for almost a decade. That a part of Roberts’s story—and the outrageous lifestyles he led that epitomized the excesses of Miami’s cocaine-fueled growth of the 1980s—was instructed within the underground hit documentary Cocaine Cowboys, published in 2006. Key points of Roberts’s awesome felony lifestyles remained untold—his upward thrust in a strong long island Mafia extended family, the murders that triggered his exile to Miami, his involvement with a CIA professional that resulted in a mystery plea take care of the govt.. via all of it, he possessed an asset now not regular of admitted killers: appeal. a guy who did enterprise with Roberts in his ny Mafia days—and later joined the priesthood due to the experience—told me, “Jon used to be tremendous likable. He used to be enjoyable to be round. beneath that used to be someone able to very undesirable issues. he's an severe dichotomy of excellent and undesirable. he's a truly outdated tale, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. ” Roberts’s frankness approximately himself—usually mixed with a sly, sardonic humor—can be disarming. In a mobile name ahead of we met to debate telling his complete tale, he acknowledged, “I will be a sociopath. more often than not I’ve been in this earth I’ve had no regard for human existence. That’s been the main to my luck. ” I ARRIVE in South Florida the spring of 2008 to start interviewing Roberts for this e-book. He insists that I stick with him and his spouse, Noemi, and son, Julian, at their condominium in Hollywood, Florida.

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