George Graham

Marco and the Cocaine Cowboy

rubioThe media are aghast at Hillary’s speaking fees. Did you hear about it? She took $675,000 to enlighten the folks at Goldman Sachs! Oh the shame! Oh the horror!

Really guys?

You don’t seem too worried about Marco Rubio’s cocaine connection.

Yes, really. That clean-cut Marco (photo at right), with his neatly trimmed hair and boyish face, has a brother-in-law who was convicted of drug dealing.

Remember the “Cocaine Cowboys” movie? The one about those bloodthirsty drug dealers in Miami? Remember those Colombian gangsters who were so awash in cocaine money they buried bags of raw cash in their front yards?

Orlando Cicilia, the husband of Rubio’s older sister Barbara, was one of those guys!

This is not just an accusation. This is fact. Cicilia was convicted in a court of law and served 12 years in prison. According to Univision, Cicilia was linked to a “crime ring implicated in the death and dismemberment of a federal informant, as well as the bribing of several Miami police officers.”

Press reports say Cicilia was a close associate of cocaine kingpin Mario Tabraue, the model for Al Pacino’s Tony Montana in the movie “Scarface.”

So, I hear you asking, what has that got to do with Marco? He was only 16 at the time, and we would all be in trouble if we had to answer for our relatives’ transgressions.

But Cicilia was not just a relative, he was Marco’s mentor and pal. Later on, when he was an influential Florida politician, Marco pulled strings to get him a real estate license, and some sources suggest, may have helped get his 25-year prison sentence shortened. We’ll never know about that, though, as the court records were somehow “destroyed” when investigative reporters tried to get hold of them.

How close were they? Indeed, how close are they still? Here’s what the “Independent” web site has to say about that:

When Rubio’s Senate campaign was looking for office space, it was Cicilia, now a real estate agent, who helped to find a location, according to a friend. Cicilia has had no further troubles with the law, according to court records. Rubio, now 44, is close to Cicilia’s sons, Daniel and Orlando, the latter nicknamed “Landy”. They call Rubio “Tony,” an Americanised version of his middle name, Antonio. Rubio-affiliated PACs and his campaigns, including his presidential operation, have paid more than $130,000 to his nephews over the past decade, the bulk going to Landy Cicilia’s video and consulting companies….

On the night of Rubio’s 2010 Senate victory it was Landy Cicilia who drove Rubio to the elegant Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida, for his celebration. On stage that night, with confetti cascading down, music blaring and an audience looking on, a graying man stood behind Rubio: Orlando Cicilia…

Ys, that close. In fact:

Cicilia, now 58, and his wife live in Rubio’s childhood home with the senator’s mother, Oriales Rubio.

I know, we have to be careful of the “guilt by association” trap. But don’t you wonder about the relatives and associates of so many politicians – Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie, for example?

Or is it just speaking fees that get your motors revved up?

Click for more on Marco.

More on his finances.

About those speaking fees

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for