Jon Roberts, Smuggler in Cocaine Cowboys, Dies

Categories: News
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Jon Pernell Roberts, the megasmuggler featured in the documentary Cocaine Cowboys, has died at the age of 63.

Film company Rakontur's Billy Corben tweeted yesterday: "Just got word that Jon Roberts from Cocaine Cowboys passed away. Thankful he gave us the opportunity to tell his story." And the singer Akon, the old coke smuggler's unlikely friend, tweeted, "Rest in Peace to Jon Roberts! Original Cocaine Cowboy! A true brother! I will miss u man!"

Roberts suffered through a lengthy battle with cancer. He was married to a younger woman named Noemi and had an adolescent son from a previous marriage. By all accounts cantankerous and often evil -- in his recently published memoir, American Desperado, he admitted to one murder and alluded to several others -- Roberts at points eulogized himself in the book: "I'm going to suffer because of what I've done to people in life. Why would whoever controls the universe let me die peacefully in bed? I'm going to have a horrible, horrible death."

Originally from a Mafia-connected family in New York, Roberts served a tour in Vietnam. According to his memoir, he spent much of it skinning people alive. He made hundreds of millions of dollars smuggling cocaine for the Medellín Cartel into Miami in the '80s, and claimed to be a close crony of Pablo Escobar.

After being ratted out by smuggling partner Max Mermelstein, Roberts spent three years in prison. His sentence was short because he also cooperated with the government, he admitted in the memoir.

Released in 1995, he was sent back to prison two years later in an episode that was vintage Jon Roberts. Fort Lauderdale cops responded to a complaint he was stalking his ex-girlfriend. When they attempted to arrest him at gunpoint, he kicked the officers and ran two blocks with his arms handcuffed behind him, leaving a trail of hundred dollar bills. After being pepper-sprayed, he kicked out the back windows of squad cars and escaped -- twice. The officers eventually hogtied him in order to take him to jail.

He achieved a bizarre sort of celebrity after the 2006 release of Cocaine Cowboys. A Paramount Pictures film about his life, produced by Peter Berg and starring Mark Wahlberg, has been in pre-production for years.

A couple of years ago, I did two interviews with Roberts for a New Times story. When he decided the article might jeopardize his book and movie deals -- but was told we would publish it anyway -- he threatened everything but my death: "I have a book deal worth millions. You cost me that money, so help me, it's the last thing you ever do on this earth. I don't mean that physically."

Last night, I spoke to Roberts' smuggling partner and costar in Cocaine Cowboys, the laid-back and quirky Mickey Munday, with whom he had epic disagreements. The last time Munday saw Roberts, he recalls, was at a Miami restaurant with Peter Berg -- where the cancer-stricken old criminal vowed to kill Munday before he kicked the bucket: "Before I go, I'm going to get you."

"I told him: 'If I had a bucket list, I might put that blonde over there on it,'" Munday says. "'But not whacking somebody who's known me for 25 years.'"

"I always thought that he would beat this, I really did," Munday told me. "If anybody could, it was him, because he's the meanest son of a bitch I knew. If cancer could get to him it could get to anybody."

Munday later texted me, referring to Roberts' nemesis Mermelstein, who also died of cancer: "I hope Jon is kicking Max from one end of Hell to the other."

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48 comments
James Hurlbut
James Hurlbut

Jon didn't really have much of a chance what route in life he'd take. Growing up the son of a made-man and seeing the violence from such a young age sealed his personality and the lesson he absorbed was that violence is a good, useful tool in getting what you want. But Jon was no hypocrite. He knew he was an evil bastard and accepted it, hell--he relished it. I've known plenty of sociopaths in my wild, drug-fueled life but only a few that really enjoyed hurting other people. Jon was one of those. Its also very interesting how Jon basically relived his father's life. He ran around with a giant just as his father ran around with Mr. Tut--the black giant bodyguard he had. He left his son through death when his son was about the same age as he was when his dad got deported. There are many other similarities too As for anyone who's surprised he turned snitch to save his own ass--there is NO honor among thieves. Those who glorify a criminal lifestyle have no clue what it entails. These guys would give up their own mother to keep living the high life outta prison. Honor, integrity, character--these concepts mean nothing to savages like Jon Roberts. But what Jon did, he did damn well and I can appreciate excellence in whatever one chooses to do in life. My only wish is that he had enough sense to try to steer his son away from the life to break the cycle. It wouldn't surprise me one bit to learn he didn't though. After all, it served him quite well didn't it?

Payroll
Payroll

Just got done reading Jon's book. An interesting life, for sure. One always wonders how this highly entrprenurial criminals would fare had they turned their undoubted skills and brains to legit businesses. I hazard it nots about the money to them, all about the game.

Guest
Guest

Jon was an OG to the fullest. We should all learn a thing or two about what having balls really means from this man. I wish I had gotten to meet you brother. RIP

Bollards
Bollards

The book is a must read. No doubt.

None
None

melissa roberts* not robertson

None
None

Melissa Robertson (can see her on cinnamonbunz). Two belonged together. Bastards robbed me 2 times. That's what you get for trusting them. I am glad Jon is dead.

Ebayby2003
Ebayby2003

Maybe all the doubters on here should read American Desperado. The coauthor has done research that pretty much backs up what Jon said as valid. Instead of looking at just the single criminals like him...check out all your dirty politicians and judges. They are STILL in office and still running your country. Idiots.

Ebayby2003
Ebayby2003

Maybe all the doubters on here should read American Desperado. The coauthor has done research that pretty much backs up what Jon said as valid. Instead of looking at just the single criminals like him...check out all your dirty politicians and judges. They are STILL in office and still running your country. Idiots.

Loving Cousin
Loving Cousin

Damn, I knew I would never see that $1,500.00 bucks I loaned him....

Lonnie laughlin
Lonnie laughlin

rip. mickey munday is the coolest may there be a movie.

Slobodan
Slobodan

R.I.P Jon.

Jon did many evil things, but the way he narated it through Cocaine Cowboys movie, I mean, you gotta love this guy's talking, sence of humor and appreciate the fact that he was aware of all things he done, since teenage years untill the end.Also, he was (unfortunately) right about that fact he had mentioned a few times, that evil is stronger then good. Unfotunately.

Mikoe Wozz
Mikoe Wozz

I am a 27 years old doctor,mature and beautiful. and now i am seeking a good man who can give me real love, so i got a sername Andromeda2002 on  Agedate.СòM, a nice and free place for younger women and older men,or older women and younger men, to interact with each other.Maybe you wanna check out or tell your friends. 

Lan
Lan

my friendis a 27 years old doctor,mature and beautiful. and now she is seeking a good man who can give her real love, so she got a sername Andromeda2002 on  Agedate.СòM, a nice and free place for younger women and older men,or older women and younger men, to interact with each other.Maybe you wanna check out or tell your friends.

CAMSHEEL
CAMSHEEL

Ok another drug dealer is dead/ That is good.

Lan
Lan

my friendis a 27 years old doctor,mature and beautiful. and now she is seeking a good man who can give her real love, so she got a sername Andromeda2002 on  Agedate.СòM, a nice and free place for younger women and older men,or older women and younger men, to interact with each other.Maybe you wanna check out or tell your friends.

Manuelbravochico
Manuelbravochico

RIP in Jon.You were a cowboy in the true sense of the word.Walhberg, make the dam movie already.

gotchaumuthaf@$#
gotchaumuthaf@$#

WTF what is so great about these men that have devasted thousands of lives by smuggling tons of cocaine into this country and some how they are now some cult hero fu#@ em all including the federal government

Techmaker
Techmaker

Jon is a great man, without him the story will not be effective as previous.

Milo
Milo

Jon was a great guy and I'm happy I got the pleasure to know him as a person. I miss you thank you for being you Jon. Rest In Peace. And for anyone who holds a negative comment save it, it means nothing because if Jon was alive he wouldn't give a FUK!!!

Guest
Guest

datingpoz...C óM --The best, most trusted and largest dating site for black people who with STD in the world! There will be lots of potential soulmates . The site offers live STD counseling, STD questions and answer,member verification (age, income, etc), member blogs, chatting services and more.

Nicodemo
Nicodemo

I, for one, am terribly perturbed by the ever-slipping standards of the criminal community. Back in my day a rat was the lowest of the low, a thing to be avoided or ridiculed at best(and I've never done more than steal a couple candy bars and go a few miles over the speed limit). Then there's Akon over here playing best buddy with a sociopathic braggart that rolled on all of his co-conspirators for a lighter sentence. Just dreadful.

Then again, what do you expect from a community of wannabes whose life's ambition is to rob a few liquor stores or deal a few ounces of crack, squeeze off a few rounds above the heads of their rivals, roll on their friends for a reduced sentence, and then get a movie or record deal for it?

Vengtoo
Vengtoo

Dude that was like one of the bexst movies of all time.www.Total-Privacy dot US

Cane
Cane

And the singer Akon, the old coke smuggler's unlikely friend, tweeted, "Rest in Peace to Jon Roberts! Original Cocaine Cowboy! A true brother! I will miss u man!"LOL at Akon still trying to bolster his street cred!  After exaggerating his own "being locked up story"; now he is tweeting a message as if Akon and Jon did business together or something.  Laughable and shameful!!!!

miamiarh
miamiarh

Good riddance! One less SC%MBAG!

Cletis Speech
Cletis Speech

I don't know if the world is better without Jon in it, he was definitely an evil guy... still gonna miss hearin news about him and his antics. And man, could Jon tell a story...     RIP JR 

BlogNostics Jessica Brant
BlogNostics Jessica Brant

Haha good riddance John. Long live Mickey Munday.

Priceless quote from Mickey. Gotta live it.

Jessica Brant

Duncancynthia
Duncancynthia

I will charge him and all of his associated with the Death of My Father right down to the Rapper Akon,Mark Walhberg and every scumbag alive that he was associated with. And I Can.

Duncancynthia
Duncancynthia

I just found out he killed my Father after 36 years. When I find his remains he will die a death like he never imagined.  

smokepotallday420
smokepotallday420 topcommenter

Sucks for you bitchass. He wiped his ass with 1500 bucks dude

Andrewmirmelli
Andrewmirmelli

I knew Jon for 15 years and while I hope he finds the peace in death that he never found in life, I must admit a sense of relief. I always feared for my life when I was with Jon, because despite everything we experienced and all the years I knew that Jon was a time bomb waiting to go off on a dime and that my life was therefore always in jeopardy as long as Jon was above ground.

Farewell old friend.

Powersjohnson
Powersjohnson

I'm with you these are evil men who ruin life's not something I'd say helped our society and I don't think heaven opened the gates either my Hero's are the ones who save lives and live for others but I'm glad someone said it

None
None

Jon was mean bastard who didn't have problem pretending he is helping you and then stab you in your back. Bastard. One good thing came out of knowing him, and that's don't trust anyone.

Neurosys0
Neurosys0

Yeah we know he wouldnt. He's was the lowest form of life imaginable. You obviously didn't know him. I'm just happy, since my coming home from a prison sentence that piece of shit was responsible for - he died slow and painful. As for you, feel free to get cancer and die slow along with him.

Brecciabreccia
Brecciabreccia

Nicodemo, look up the definition of sociopath in your "sociopathic braggert."Of course these guys would roll on each other to avoid longer prison sentences. 

Guest
Guest

Actually Akon and Jon were very close friends. Try knowing shit before you blog about it. Fucking looser. What the fuck to you think Akon was before he was a singer. Do you listen to his songs. Jack ass!!!

Neurosys0
Neurosys0

Stories being the key word. Good riddance to garbage.

Mark
Mark

Farewell old friend.  please connecct me: 13108789095 or mark@mmws.us

Edward
Edward

 The banks in Miami were smiling, so were the mayors and every jewelery store on every Miami corner, turns out all of society, not just these men were evil.

Jeb
Jeb

I just took a steamy Jon and wiped my Akon

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