Info on the life and times of dangerous Columbian drug lord Griselda Blanco.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Miami was transformed from a quiet and reserved town that was primarily populated by elderly people enjoying retirement in their twilight years, to the cocaine capital of the world. How exactly did this relaxing and sleepy town undergo such a drastic change in climate?
It all started with what would eventually be referred to as the “Cocaine Wars,” which is not only considered to be a dark stain on Miami’s history, but also the inspiration behind The Cocaine Cowboys documentary series. One woman was at the forefront of every battleground. Her name was Griselda Blanco.
Outwardly, she seemed like your average homely, friendly, and unassuming grandmother-type. On the inside, however, this woman had a murderous and sinister nature that would eventually turn her into one of the most revered drug linchpins in the world. Keep reading to learn more about this ruthless Colombian drug lord who ruled and terrorized the streets of Miami for more than two decades.
Who Is Griselda Blanco?
Aptly nicknamed “the Cocaine Godmother” during her prime drug smuggling years, Griselda Blanco is one of the few famous Colombian drug lords alongside the likes of Pablo Escobar, who’s credited for inciting the Cocaine Wars that plagued Miami from the 1970s until the end of the 1980s.
Alternatively referred to as the Miami Drug Wars, this period was a time of total chaos and turmoil throughout Miami, as the Medellin Cartel controlled most of the city through various illegal tactics, including bribing local officials and smuggling in millions of dollars worth of cocaine. As a result, the city experienced a substantial economic upturn, helmed almost entirely by Griselda Blanco.
As a woman with absolutely no shred of moral fiber, Blanco had no qualms about employing absolutely any means necessary in order to further her business ventures. She killed anyone who got in her way, including her husbands. Eventually, she accumulated a great deal of powerful enemies and this led to her untimely downfall in a very unexpected way.
Griselda Blanco’s Personal Life
Growing up in the slums of Colombia, Griselda Blanco was pretty much born into a life of crime. From a young age, she already mastered the arts of pickpocketing and prostitution.
At the age of 11, she kidnapped a toddler boy from a wealthier neighboring town and held him captive, demanding the family pay her a ransom in exchange for his release. When the family refused, she shot the boy point blank in the head, killing him instantly.
By the age of 14, Blanco fled from her home in Medellin, Colombia to escape the physical and sexual abuse she faced at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend. Vying to never let another man control or take advantage of her in such a way again, coupled with a total lack of parental guidance, Blanco demonstrated the same vicious temperaments in her three marriages as she did in her business dealings.
Not much is known about Griselda Blanco’s parents, but her decision to incorporate her sons into her business is a good indication of the destructive influence her childhood had on the rest of her life.
Griselda Blanco’s Husbands
Aside from “the Cocaine Godmother,” Griselda Blanco also rightfully earned the following nicknames: “La Madrina,” “the Queen of Narco-Trafficking,” and “the Black Widow.” The last one is in reference to the fact all three of her husbands were killed as a direct result of their association to Blanco and her drug empire.
It was her second husband, Alberto Bravo, with whom she immigrated to New York in the 1970s and established the beginnings of her cocaine smuggling business. Blanco killed him and several bodyguards in the parking lot of a nightclub because she discovered he’d been stealing money from their business. She fled back to Colombia before she could be arrested and returned to the United States to revamp her enterprise in Miami.
Blanco ordered the murder of her third husband, Dario Sepúlveda, in 1983 after he left her and returned to Colombia, taking their only son, Michael, with him.
Blanco also had three sons with her first husband, Carlos Trujillo, but not much is known about him. All of her children were essentially raised to work within the family industry and the majority of them died young as a result.
When and Why Was Griselda Blanco Arrested?
It’s estimated that Griselda Blanco was responsible for well over 250 murders in her lifetime, but she was never actually convicted for any of them. In 1985, she was arrested on drug charges by the DEA without bail and sentenced to 10 years in prison. During her time in prison, Blanco continued to oversee her drug business. Even though she was accused of three murders with hard evidence, the case eventually fell through due to an alleged phone sex scandal that involved the key witness and female secretaries who worked in the district attorney’s office.
Griselda was released from prison in 2004 and deported to her hometown of Medellin, Colombia, where she would be die just eight years later.
How and When Did Griselda Blanco Die?
Griselda Blanco died in the same violent and bloody manner in which she lived her life. She was visiting a butcher shop in Cardiso, Colombia on September 3, 2012 when she was fatally shot two times in the head by a man on a motorcycle. He walked into the store, killed her, and then casually walked away. Blanco was 69 when she died.