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Griselda Blanco
Griselda Blanco Medellin.jpg
Mugshot of Griselda Blanco, 1997
Born Griselda Blanco Restrepo
(1943-02-15)February 15, 1943
Cartagena, Colombia[1]
Died September 3, 2012(2012-09-03) (aged 69)
Medellín, Colombia
Cause of death Gunshot wounds
Nationality Colombian
Other names La Dama de la Mafia (The Lady of the Mafia)
The Godmother
The Black Widow
Net worth U.S $2 billion (2012 estimate)
Criminal charge Drug trafficking, murder
Criminal status Deceased
Spouse(s) Carlos Trujillo
Alberto Bravo
Darío Sepúlveda
Charles Cosby
Children 4
Parent(s) Ana Lucia Restrepo and Fernando Blanco

Griselda Blanco Restrepo[3] (February 15, 1943 – September 3, 2012), known as La Madrina, the Black Widow, the Cocaine Godmother and the Queen of Narco-Trafficking, was a Colombian drug lord of the Medellín Cartel and a pioneer in the Miami-based cocaine drug trade and underworld during the 1950s, all the way to the early 2000s. It has been estimated that she was responsible for up to 200 murders while transporting cocaine from Colombia to New York, Miami and Southern California.[4][5][6] She was shot and killed on September 19, 2012, at the age of 69.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Blanco was born in Cartagena, Colombia, on the country's north coast. She and her mother, Ana Lucía Restrepo,[7] moved to Medellín when she was three years old. It didn't take long for Blanco to begin living a life of crime. Blanco's former lover, Charles Cosby, recounted at the age of 11, Blanco allegedly kidnapped, attempted to ransom and eventually shot a child from an upscale flatland neighborhood near her own neighborhood.[1][8][9] Blanco had become a pickpocket before she even turned 13. To escape the sexual assaults from her mother's boyfriend, Blanco ran away from home at the age of 14 and resorted to looting in Medellín until the age of 20.[1][8]

Drug business[edit]

Blanco was a major figure in the history of the drug trade from Colombia to Miami Florida, and other states across the United States.

In the mid-1970s, Blanco and her second husband Alberto Bravo immigrated to the US settling in Queens, New York. They established a sizable cocaine business there, and in April 1975 Blanco was indicted on federal drug conspiracy charges along with 30 of her subordinates. She fled to Colombia before she could be arrested, but returned to the United States, settling in Miami in the late 1970s.

Miami drug war[edit]

Blanco's return to the US from Colombia more or less coincided with the beginning of very public violent conflicts that involved hundreds of murders and killings yearly among which were associated with the high crime epidemic that swept the City of Miami in the 1980s. Law enforcement's struggle to put an end to the influx of cocaine into Miami led to the creation of CENTAC 26 (Central Tactical Unit), a joint operation between Miami-Dade Police Department and DEA anti-drug operation.[10][11]

Blanco was involved in the drug-related violence known as the Miami Drug War or the Cocaine Cowboy Wars that plagued Miami in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This was a time when cocaine superseded marijuana trafficking.[12] It was the lawless and corrupt atmosphere, primarily created by Blanco's operations, that led to the gangsters being dubbed the "Cocaine Cowboys" and their violent way of doing business as the "Miami drug war".

Her distribution network, which spanned the United States, brought in US$80,000,000 per month.[1] Her violent business style brought government scrutiny to South Florida, leading to the demise of her organization and the free-wheeling, high-profile Miami drug scene of those times.

In 1984, Blanco's willingness to use violence against her Miami competitors or anyone else who displeased her, led her rivals to make repeated attempts to assassinate her. In an attempt to escape the hits that were called on her, she fled to California.

Arrest[edit]

On February 20, 1985, she was arrested by DEA agents in her home and held without bail. After her trial, Blanco was sentenced to more than a decade in jail.[13] While in prison, she continued to effectively run her cocaine business.

By pressuring one of Blanco's lieutenants, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office obtained sufficient evidence to indict Blanco for three murders. However, the case collapsed due to technicalities relating to a telephone-sex scandal between the star witness and female secretaries in the DA's office. In 2004, Blanco was released from prison and deported to Medellin, Colombia.[1] Before her death in 2012, the last sighting of Blanco was in May 2007 at the Bogota Airport.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Blanco's first husband was Carlos Trujillo. Together they had three sons, Dixon, Uber, and Osvaldo,[1] all of them poorly educated,[14] and all of whom were killed in Colombia after being deported following prison sentences in the United States.[15]

Her second husband was Alberto Bravo. In 1975, Blanco confronted Bravo, who was also her business partner, in a Bogotá nightclub parking lot about millions of dollars missing from the profits of the cartel they'd built together. The Guardian reports: "Blanco, then 32, pulled out a pistol, Bravo responded by producing an Uzi submachine gun and after a blazing gun battle he and six bodyguards lay dead. Blanco, who suffered only a minor gunshot wound to the stomach, recovered and soon afterwards moved to Miami, where her body count – and reputation for ruthlessness – continued to climb."[6]

Blanco had her youngest son, Michael Corleone Blanco, with her third husband, Darío Sepúlveda.[6] Sepúlveda left her in 1983, returned to Colombia, and kidnapped Michael when he and Blanco disagreed over who would take custody. Blanco paid to have Sepúlveda assassinated in Colombia, and her son returned to her in Miami.[15]

According to the Miami New Times, "Michael's father and older siblings were all killed before he reached adulthood. His mom was in prison for most of his childhood and teenage years, and he was raised by his maternal grandmother and legal guardians."[15] In 2012, Michael was put under house arrest after a May arrest on two felony counts of cocaine trafficking and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine.[16]

Blanco was openly bisexual.[17][18][19] According to The New York Post, "Court records show Blanco was a drug addict who consumed vast quantities of 'bazooka,' a potent form of smokeable, unrefined cocaine," "would force men and women to have sex at gunpoint, and had frequent bisexual orgies." Her "favorite possessions included an emerald and gold MAC 10 machine pistol, Eva Peron’s pearls and a tea set once used by the Queen of England." The report continues: "In court, it was revealed that Blanco killed three former husbands as well as strippers, business rivals – and innocent bystanders, including a 4-year-old boy."[14][6]

According to her youngest son Michael, Blanco became a born-again Christian.[20]

Health[edit]

In the late 1980s, her lifestyle caught up to her: "Blanco - bloated and in poor health from decades of debauchery – turned over day-to-day management of her business to three of her sons, and tried to retire to suburban Irvine, Calif." In June 2002, the 56-year-old was in "frail health and had already had one heart attack while in prison."[14]

Death[edit]

On the night of September 3, 2012, Blanco died after having been shot twice in the head by a motorcyclist in Medellín, Colombia.[21] She was shot at Cardiso butcher shop on the corner of 29th Street, after having bought $150 worth of meat; the middle-aged gunman climbed off the back of a motorbike outside the shop, entered, pulled out a gun, and shot Blanco twice in the head before calmly walking back to his bike and disappearing into the city.[22] She was 69.[6]

In popular culture[edit]

Fashion[edit]

Buffalo, New York artists Westside Gunn and Conway use Blanco's name in their label, Griselda by Fashion Rebels, abbreviated as GxFR.[23]

Films[edit]

Blanco features prominently in the documentary films Cocaine Cowboys (2006) and Cocaine Cowboys 2 (2008; also written as Cocaine Cowboys II: Hustlin' With the Godmother).

An, as of yet, unreleased film titled The Godmother is currently in production, starring Catalina Sandino Morena as Blanco.[24]

HBO is developing a film with Jennifer Lopez attached to play the notorious drug lord. The film focuses on “The Cocaine Godmother”'s rise and fall.[25]

Catherine Zeta-Jones filmed Cocaine Godmother, a television biopic on drug lord Griselda Blanco, which premiered in 2018 on Lifetime.[26][27]

Music[edit]

Rapper The Game mentions Griselda Blanco in his song "See No Evil" featuring Kendrick Lamar and Tank.

Rapper Rick Ross mentions Blanco in a feature on Meek Mill's song Believe It.

Rapper Pusha-T mentions Griselda Blanco in his song "Pain".

Puertorican Rapper Farruko mentions Griselda in his song "Mala Mujer" featuring French Montana "Ella es mala, mas mala que el diablo, es como Griselda que es mas mala que Pablo" (She is bad, worse than the devil, she is like Griselda who is worse than Pablo)

Rapper Jacki-O released a mixtape entitled Griselda Blanco, La Madrina (2010) as an ode to Blanco's lifestyle and character. Griselda Blanco's son, Michael Blanco, later gave his blessing to promote the mixtape.[28]

Rapper Lil Kim created alter ego "Kimmy Blanco" as tribute to Blanco; Kim debuted this persona in her 2013 single of the same name.[29]

Rapper Nicki Minaj has made references to Blanco in multiple songs, including Fetty Wap's "Like A Star"[30] and Major Lazer's "Run Up".[31]

Migos rapper Quavo made reference to Blanco in the song "Portland" by Drake, from Drake's More Life album.[32]

Toronto Eastside rap duo Pengz and Two Two released the single "Griselda Blanco" in August 2017.[33]

Rapper Tech Nine references Griselda Blanco in a line off the song " Is you the Police". Released on the album "Tech Nine Collabos: Strange Reign 2017". The line is as follows "I am high profile, like Griseldas Dope file, why you think I'm aggy when you spoke trial, I'm ghost now".

Literature[edit]

Blanco played a minor role in Marlon James' book A Brief History of Seven Killings (2014).[34]

Blanco played a significant role in Jon Roberts' book American Desperado (2011).[35]

Television[edit]

In Comedy Central's Drunk History, season 3, episode 2 ("Miami"), Dan Harmon tells the story of the rise and fall of Blanco, starring Maya Rudolph (as Blanco), Horatio Sanz, and Joe Lo Truglio.[36]

Blanco is portrayed by Mexican actress Ana Serradilla in the Spanish-language telenovela La Viuda Negra (2014), an adaptation of the book La patrona de Pablo Escobar de José Guarnizo.

Burn Notice Season 1, Episode 7 has the character Concha Ramirez based on Blanco. Concha once shot a man in front of his daughter at her birthday party as Blanco is said to have done.

Jada Pinkett Smith used her as a model for her character Fish Mooney on Gotham

Blanco was also featured among the Deadly Women top 10 as #3 on the killer countdown.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Brown, Ethan (July 2008). "Searching for the Godmother of Crime". Maxim. Alpha Media Group: 94–98. ISSN 1092-9789. Archived from the original on June 14, 2010. Retrieved October 3, 2010. 
  2. ^ "'Cocaine Cowboys' Griselda Blanco, Real-Life 'Female Tony Montana,' Gunned Down in Colombia". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017-09-16. 
  3. ^ "Comienza extinción de dominio a bienes de Griselda Blanco en Antioquia - RCN Radio". RCN Radio (in Spanish). 2015-09-09. Retrieved 2017-05-29. 
  4. ^ "Griselda Blanco". Biography. 
  5. ^ "The life and death of 'cocaine godmother' Griselda Blanco". Miami Herald. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Luscombe, Richard (September 4, 2012). "'Godmother of cocaine' shot dead in Colombia (Griselda Blanco, who remained under suspicion for the deaths of all three of her husbands) also was associated with edinburghs top family the lynch family". The Guardian. 
  7. ^ "Her mother's name". Semana (in Spanish). 
  8. ^ a b Corben, Billy (director); Cosby, Charles (himself); Blanco, Griselda (herself) (July 29, 2008). Cocaine Cowboys 2: Hustlin' with the Godmother (DVD). Magnolia Home Entertainment. ASIN B00180R03Q. UPC 876964001366. Retrieved October 3, 2010. 
  9. ^ Cosby, Charles. "Charles Cosby: From Early Childhood to Cocaine and Hustlin'". The Blog Union. 
  10. ^ Gugliotta, Guy; Leen, Jeff (July 16, 2011). Kings of Cocaine: Inside the Medellín Cartel - An Astonishing True Story of Murder, Money and International Corruption. Garrett County Press. Retrieved June 19, 2016 – via Google Books. 
  11. ^ "Griselda Blanco: hasta nunca y gracias por la coca". VICE - España. Retrieved June 19, 2016. 
  12. ^ Corben, Billy (director); Roberts, Jon (actor); Sunshine, Al (actor); Burstyn, Sam (actor); Munday, Mickey (actor); Palumbo, Bob (actor) (January 23, 2007). Cocaine Cowboys (DVD). Magnolia Home Entertainment. ASIN B000KLQUUS. UPC 876964000635. Retrieved October 3, 2010. 
  13. ^ United States v. Griselda Blanco, 861 F.2d 773 (2d Cir. 1988)
  14. ^ a b c Lathem, Niles (June 8, 2000). "QUEENS NOW RULE WHERE KINGPINS ONCE REIGNED: WOMEN ARE RUNNING DRUG RINGS AFTER FALL OF COLOMBIAN CARTELS". New York Post. 
  15. ^ a b c Alvarado, Francisco (October 13, 2011). "Michael Corleone Blanco lives in the shadow of his cocaine-queen mother". Miami New Times. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  16. ^ Alvarado, Francisco (Sep 5, 2012). "Griselda Blanco's Son Michael Corleone Still Faces Cocaine Trafficking Charge in Miami". Miami New Times. Retrieved September 5, 2013. 
  17. ^ Swartz, James A. Substance Abuse in America: A Documentary and Reference Guide. p. 193. 
  18. ^ Hornberger, Francine. Mistresses of mayhem: the book of women criminals. p. 32. 
  19. ^ Morton, James. The Mammoth Book of Gangs. 
  20. ^ "'Cocaine Cowboys' Griselda Blanco, Real-Life 'Female Tony Montana,' Gunned Down in Colombia". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017-09-16. 
  21. ^ Luscombe, Richard (September 4, 2012). "'Godmother of cocaine' shot dead in Colombia". The Guardian. Retrieved March 3, 2014. 
  22. ^ Robles, Frances & Bargent, James (September 5, 2012). "The life and death of 'cocaine godmother' Griselda Blanco". Miami Herald. 
  23. ^ "HOME". griseldaxfr.com. Retrieved August 12, 2016. 
  24. ^ "On the Set for 6/29/15: Justin Lin Rolls Cameras on 'Star Trek Beyond', Emilia Clarke Wraps 'Me Before You'". ssninsider.com. June 29, 2015. Archived from the original on June 30, 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  25. ^ Wagmeister, Elizabeth (August 10, 2016). "Jennifer Lopez to Star as Drug Lord Griselda Blanco in HBO Film". Variety. Retrieved August 12, 2016. 
  26. ^ Evans, Greg (18 May 2017). "Lifetime Greenlights 'Cocaine Godmother' Starring Catherine Zeta-Jones". Deadline.com. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  27. ^ Brown, Scott (6 June 2017). "Hollywood North: Catherine Zeta-Jones filming 'Cocaine Godmother' in Vancouver". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  28. ^ "Jacki-O Declares Everything Is Cool With Her And "The Godmother" Griselda Blanco". Hip-Hop Wired. 
  29. ^ Fitzgerald, Trent. "Lil' Kim Premieres New Single, 'Hardcore 2K13′ Tracklist". The BoomBox. Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  30. ^ "Like A Star - Fetty Wap". Genius. Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  31. ^ "Run Up - Major Lazer". Genius. Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  32. ^ "Portland - Drake". Genius. Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  33. ^ Triple M (2017-08-17), Pengz x TwoTwo - Griselda Blanco (Official Video) (Prod. By JP Soundz), retrieved 2017-09-13 
  34. ^ James, Marlon (November 1, 2014). A Brief History of Seven Killings. Oneworld Publisher. ISBN 978-1594486005. 
  35. ^ Roberts, Jon & Wright, Evan (November 1, 2011). American Desperado. Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 0-307-45042-2. 
  36. ^ "The Godmother of Cocaine". Comedy Central. September 8, 2015. Retrieved September 13, 2015. 

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