The Miami Vice episode "Out Where the Buses Don't Run" (S02E03) is centered around deranged ex-detective Hank Weldon's hunt for the mysterious Tony Arcaro, who is described by him as

Mr. founding father of cocaine in Miami, Mr. start of the business in 1962, the invisible man.

While Hank Weldon is surely not the most reliable of sources, Tony Arcaro seems to have been some kind of legend or even pioneer of cocaine business in Miami, having started it back in 1962 and actively shaped it until his disappearance after being freed from court in 1979 (having actually been killed by Hank himself, as we learn 6 years later).

I thus wonder if the character of Tony Arcaro is based on some particular real historical figure in Miami's drug business.

  • historical-accuracy might not be the most fitting tag, though.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 0:23

2 Answers 2


There are no historical records of a single “godfather” of the South Florida drug scene; nor are there any historical records of such a person disappearing in the manner that Tony Acaro did in the show. The character seems to have been a composite of many different drug kingpins and assorted wrongdoers as were most of the antagonists on the series.


I agree with Mistah Mix that it's probably not based on one person. I saw a documentary called Cocaine-Cowboys a few years ago. It seems like he was a composite of some of those people. I haven't seen Miami Vice in a very long time so I can't say for sure, but if you read about Jon Roberts, Mickey Munday and Pablo Escobar you might see some similarities. According to The Telegraph newspaper, Mickey Monday and Pablo Escobar were inspiring force behind the series itself...source

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