On July 28, 1990 (*some reports show July 26, but History.com shows July 28), Maximo Menendez fell into a coma (and later died) after consuming excessive amounts of cocaine. But it’show he consumed the cocaine that is noteworthy. Maximo was drinking a non-alcoholic malt– Pony Malta de Bavaria, to be specific–his mother had purchased at a local Sedanos. After drinking half a bottle, Maximo left for work where, shortly before convulsing, he remarked aloud that he thought his malt was poisoned. As it turned out, he was right.
Tests conducted later revealed that his bottle of Pony had lethal doses of liquid cocaine in it. What’s more, after pulling every other bottle off of local stores’ (and lunch trucks’) shelves, it was discovered that nearly another 50 bottles contained the same. Evidently, these Pony Malta beverages — manufactured in Columbia — were part of a botched cocaine smuggling operation. The plan was to retrieve those bottles out of the 1,000 bottle shipment once they hit USA soil and transform the cocaine from its liquid form back into powder.
Somewhat ironically, the two men who were later indicted for concocting this scheme were referred to in the federal grand jury’s indictment as “masterminds.” (One was awaiting a cocaine smuggling trial in New York at the time the Miami indictment was returned, unsurprisingly). Such is the story of the Miami Cocaine Pony on this day in Miami history.
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