Who was Griselda Blanco, the Drug Lord? Sofia Vergara will tell the story of the drug lord in a new Netflix series


La Madrina was her name, which meant “the Black Widow” and “the queen of Cocaine.” Regardless of what you called her, all agreed that Griselda Blanco was one of the most ruthless drug kingpins the world has ever seen. And though she went by many names, Blanco was one of a kind.

A new Netflix series will explore Blanco’s personal life. “Griselda,” with Sofia Vergara in the titular role and serving as executive producer alongside the team behind “Narcos.” 

Vergara’s work will be the second telling of Blanco’s story. Blanco was played by Catherine Zeta Jones. “Cocaine Godmother,”This series premiered on Lifetime U.S. in 2018 And while Jennifer Lopez has been attached to a project on the drug kingpin’s life for HBO, Entertainment Weekly reported.

Her story was also featured in the 2006 documentary. “Cocaine Cowboys,”Its sequel “Cocaine Cowboys 2: Hustlin’ with The Godmother.”

The Gangster was also mentioned in several hip-hop tracks, including Drake, NBA Youngboy and The Game.

At its core, though, Blanco’s story is not one of a pop culture moment, but instead one of ruthless cruelty.

Who Was Griselda blanco?

Blanco was a Colombian girl who was born in Cartagena (Colombia) on February 15, 1943. Blanco was allegedly forced to sex at a young age and later turned to crime.

While still a child herself, Blanco allegedly kidnapped an 11-year-old boy. According to reports Blanco murdered the child after his family refused to pay her ransom. Britannica.

As a teenager, she was married to a gangster. They had three children. After the couple divorced, Blanco was found murdered. Many suspected Blanco to have killed him, Britannica reported.

By the 1970s, she married fellow gangster Alberto Bravo. Bravo introduced her to Colombia’s notorious Medellín Cartel, whose most famous leaders were Fabio Ochoa and Pablo Escobar, according to Biography.

Blanco helped traffic cocaine in her underwear from Colombia to cities in the United States including New York, Los Angeles and later Miami, where she would become a key crime figure, officials said.

Blanco’s and Bravo’s frequent trips eventually attracted the attention the U.S Government in the so-called “American Government” “Operation Banshee.” Blanco and Bravo were living in Queens, New York, when the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) intercepted a reported 150 kilograms of cocaine from Blanco. She and 30 others were indicted on federal drug conspiracy charges as a result, Biography reported.

But by then, Blanco had already fled to Colombia, where she killed Bravo in a shoot out after beginning to suspect him of stealing money, Britannica reported.

She is said to have remarried after having her third husband killed. This earned her the nickname “The Monkey.” “the Black Widow.”

Griselda Blanco: Scarier Than Scarface

By the late 1970s, Blanco had snuck back into the U.S. and seized control of the drug trade in Miami-Dade County, Florida. This would eventually lead to the “Cocaine Cowboy” wars of the 1970s and 1980s, where rival gangs would shoot it out in the streets for control of the drug trade.

At the same time, investigators in the U.S. had linked Blanco to dozens of murders and crimes, including a shooting in broad daylight between rivals at Miami’s Dadeland Mall in 1979.

But somehow, Blanco managed to evade authorities in South Florida, all while living a life not dissimilar to Al Pacino’s character Tony Montana in “Scarface.” As Miami became a hotbed for crime, Blanco became the most feared and respected gangster in “Magic City.”

Blanco’s reign was so successful in Miami’s cocaine trade that Miami-Dade County’s former chief medical inspector, Dr. Joseph Davis, stated in “Cocaine Cowboys”A person would take out a dollar from their wallet and then withdraw it. “find cocaine on it.”

At one point, Blanco was believed to have imported $80 million in drugs per month, according to Miami New Times. Many people became violent as a result of the drug trade. Blanco is thought to have been responsible in as many as 200 killings.

Griselda Blanco’s Luck Runs Out  

Blanco eventually made her way to Southern California, but in February 1985, DEA agents arrested her while she was lying in bed in her Irvine home.

In 1986, she was convicted on one count of conspiracy. She was sentenced to 15 years in prison. There she found power among her fellow prisoners. 

In 1994, prosecutors in Miami-Dade County attempted to charge her with three cold case murders stemming back to the early 1980s, but the case unraveled after secretaries working in the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office allegedly had phone sex with the prosecution’s key witness, confessed cocaine ring hitman Jorge Ayala, According to the Associated Press, the incident was reported at that time. He also sent the women money orders in cash. 

Blanco pleaded guilty to the charges in 1998 and was sentenced to a shorter term. Six years later, Blanco was released and sent to Colombia where she is believed to have left behind her criminal past.

In 2012, she was killed by a gunman on a motorcycle as she left a butcher shop in Medellín. She was 69.

Her grave outside Medellín has become a popular tourist destination.

Griselda Blanco's Grave in Colombia. – Getty Images