Often times, when we think about the Colombian drug cartel, we don't immediately picture a woman; especially not a woman running an entire drug ring of her own.
Enter Griselda Blanco; drug lord.
Nicknames: La Madrina, The Black Widow, The Godmother of Cocaine
Blanco was born in Cartagena Columbia on February 15, 1954. Her mother, Ana Lucia Restrepo, moved them from Cartagena to Medellin, Columbia when Blanco was 3 years old. Blanco's mother was abusive and their lack of money caused Blanco to turn to crime at a young age. When she was 11, Blanco allegedly kidnapped a young child from an affluent community that bordered the slum where she lived. She tried for ransom and eventually shot the kid. This incident was reported by a former lover of Blanco's, Charles Cosby.
When Blanco was barely a teenager she was pickpocketing for money. She ran away from home after being raped by her mother's boyfriend and continued to resort to stealing for a few years to survive.
By the time she was 20 she met her first husband, Carlos Trujillo and over the course of several years, gave birth to three sons; Osvaldo, Dixon and Uber.
By the early 1970's Blanco was already heavily involved with the infamous Medellin Drug Cartel. She helped them push cocaine into the United States; specifically Miami, New York, and Southern California. Blanco had reportedly created "special undergarments" that members of the cartel wore to hide the drugs.
By the mid-70s the already infamous drug trafficker, decided to move to New York with her second husband, Alberto Bravo, where they established a sizable narcotic ring. Not long after her move to New York she got pregnant with her 4th son, Michael by her lover, Dario Sepúlveda.
In 1975 after the police intercepted a shipment of cocaine; 150 kilos to be exact (the largest in history at the time), Blanco and 30 of her partners were indicted on federal drug conspiracy charges. Blanco fled back to Columbia before her trial, but by the late 1970s she returned to the States, settling in Miami.
Her return to Miami is what began the war between cocaine traffickers, causing a high-profile killing spree that washed over the city of Miami in the early 1980s. It was the lawless and violent atmosphere caused by Blanco's gangsters that eventually earned them the name "Cocaine Cowboys," and their vicious way of doing business was dubbed the, "Miami Drug War."
Over the course of the early 1980s, her business spanned the United States and was reportedly bringing in $80 million per month. As one would expect, Blanco's violent business practice had created a lot of enemies and she was constantly dodging attempts made to kill her. Eventually things got too dangerous and she decided to move to California.
During that time, Dario Sepúlveda kidnapped their son, Michael, after he and Blanco had gotten into a disagreement about who would be getting custody of the boy. Blanco paid to have Sepúlveda murdered and her son was returned to her in the States.
On February 20, 1985 Blanco's luck finally wore out. She was arrested by DEA agents in her home, held without bail, and after being returned to New York for trial, was sentenced to 15 years in prison. However, a few metal bars wouldn't hold Blanco back; she continued to run her cocaine business from jail.
In 1994 Blanco was transferred back to Miami where she would be facing multiple counts of murder. The Miami State Attorney's office was putting the heat on one of Blanco's lieutenants. In doing so, they were able to link her to three murders. Unfortunately for the MSA, technicalities caused the case to collapse. The man who was expected to be the star witness, notorious hitman, Jorge Ayala, had become romantically involved with a secretary in the Florida State Attorneys Office, causing prosecutors to question his credibility. Many speculated that, fearing for his life, he botched the case on purpose. Blanco was released from prison after having served 10 years. After her release in 2004, she was deported back to Columbia.
After keeping a low-profile for nearly 8 years, on the evening of September 12, 2014, Blanco was shot twice in head, while leaving a butcher shop in Medellin. The assassin was driving a motorcycle and wasn't caught.
It is estimated that Blanco was responsible for nearly 200 murders during her years as a drug lord. Her 3 eldest sons were each murdered after being deported back to Columbia after prison sentences of their own; all were involved in the family cocaine business. Her youngest son was raised by his grandmother (Ana Lucia). As of 2012 he was being held on house arrest after an arrest for cocaine trafficking and conspiracy to traffic cocaine.
Blanco's Infamy as been celebrated in many ways over the years; She was featured prominantly in the famous 2006 documentary "Cocaine Cowboys" and 2008, "Cocaine Cowboys 2: Hustlin' With the Godmother." In 2010, rapper Jackie-O released a mixtape called. "Griselda Blanco: La Madrina" as an ode to Blanco's character and lifestyle. Jada Pinkett Smith, who plays Fish Mooney on the hit TV series, Gotham, claims to have based her portrayal of Mooney (a ruthless drug Lord) on Griselda Blanco. Also, on the TV series, Drunk History, which airs on Comedy Central, Dan Horman tells the story of Blanco's rise and fall in season 3, episode 2. Maya Rudolph stars as Blanco. There is currently a movie being made about Blanco's life, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones. There's no word yet on when the movie is to be released.