Griselda Blanco

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"The Godmother" redirects here. For the biographical film based on Blanco's life, see The Godmother (film).
Griselda Blanco
Born (1943-02-15)February 15, 1943
Cartagena, Colombia[1]
Died September 3, 2012(2012-09-03) (aged 69)
Medellín, Colombia
Cause of death Murder, Gun shots
Other names La Dama de la Mafia (The Lady of the Mafia )
The Godmother
The Black Widow
Spouse(s) Carlos Trujillo
Children 4

Griselda Blanco (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 1970s and early 1980s. 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.[2][3][4]


Blanco was born in Cartagena, Colombia, on the country's north coast. She and her mother, Ana Lucía Restrepo,[5] moved to Medellín when she was three years old. Blanco's former lover, Charles Cosby, recounted how Blanco, at age 11, allegedly kidnapped, tried to ransom, and eventually shot a child from an upscale flatland neighborhood near her own slum neighborhood.[1][6]

Before reaching her teens she had become a pickpocket, and at the age of 14 she ran away from her mother's boyfriend who had raped her. Blanco resorted to stealing for a few years in Medellín,[1][6] until age 20. She married her first husband, Carlos Trujillo, and gave birth to three sons: Dixon, Uber, and Osvaldo.[1]

Blanco was openly[7] bisexual.[8][9]

Drug business[edit]

Blanco played a major role in the history of the drug trade in Miami and other cities across the United States.

In the mid-1970s, Blanco and her second husband Alberto Bravo emigrated 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, at that time the largest cocaine case in history. She fled to Colombia before she could be arrested, but in the late 1970s she returned to Miami.

Miami drug war[edit]

The return of Griselda Blanco to the US from Colombia caused the start of the Miami drug war.[1][6]

This violent conflict between cocaine traffickers was characterized for the high-profile crime epidemic that swept the city of Miami in the 1980s. The law enforcement struggle to stop it led to the creation of the CENTAC 26 (Central Tactical Unit), a joint Miami-Dade Police Department and DEA anti-drug operation.[10][11]

Blanco was involved in much of the gangland drug-related violence known as the Miami Drug War or the Cocaine Cowboy Wars that plagued Miami in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when cocaine supplanted marijuana.[12]

It was the lawless and corrupt atmosphere, primarily from 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 who displeased her, led her rivals to make repeated attempts to kill her. She moved to California to escape the assassination attempts.


On February 20, 1985, she was arrested by DEA agents in her home. Held without bail, Blanco was sentenced to more than a decade in jail.[13] She continued to run her cocaine business while in jail. By pressuring one of Blanco's lieutenants, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office obtained sufficient evidence to indict her for three murders. However, the case collapsed, largely due to technicalities, and Blanco was released from prison and deported to Colombia in 2004.[1] Before her death in 2012, she was last seen in Bogota Airport in May 2007.[1]


Blanco had four sons, three of whom were killed in Colombia after being deported following prison sentences in the United States. Blanco bore her youngest son, Michael Corleone Blanco by her lover Darío Sepúlveda; he left her in 1983, returning to Colombia, kidnapping Michael when he and Griselda disagreed over who would take custody. Blanco paid to have Sepúlveda assassinated in Colombia, and her son returned to her in Miami.[14] 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."[14] In the later years of her life, it is rumored that Blanco carried a clandestine, but passionate relationship with Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria. Several items in her later-found diary linked him with the nicknames "Coque de Mi Rey" and "Polla Blanca". [15]

In 2012 her last living child, Michael Corleone Blanco, was put under house arrest after a May arrest on two felony counts of cocaine trafficking and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine.[16]


On the night of September 3, 2012 Griselda Blanco died after having been shot twice in the head in a drive-by shooting by a motorcyclist in Medellín, Colombia.[17]

In popular culture[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).

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.[18]

Rapper Lil Kim has created an alter ego in tribute to Griselda called 'Kimmy Blanco'; the rap artist has featured this persona in her latest releases, including a song named "Kimmy Blanco".

Blanco played a significant role in Jon Roberts' book American Desperado (2011).[19]

Blanco played a minor role in Marlon James' book A Brief History of Seven Killings (2014).[20]

Griselda 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.

Gotham's Jada Pinkett Smith claims to have based her portrayal of Fish Mooney, a ruthless gang lord, on Blanco.[21]

A film titled The Godmother is currently in production, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones as Blanco.[22]

In Comedy Central's television series 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.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h 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. ^ "Griselda Blanco" at
  3. ^ "The life and death of 'cocaine godmother' Griselda Blanco" by The Miami Herald
  4. ^ 'Godmother of cocaine' shot dead in Colombia at The Guardian
  5. ^ Her mother's name (Spanish)
  6. ^ a b c 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. 
  7. ^ Substance Abuse in America: A Documentary and Reference Guide By James A. Swartz, p.193
  8. ^ Mistresses of mayhem: the book of women criminals by Francine Hornberger, p.32
  9. ^ The Mammoth Book of Gangs by James Morton
  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 Alvarado, Francisco (October 13, 2011). "Michael Corleone Blanco lives in the shadow of his cocaine-queen mother". Miami New Times. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  15. ^ Tom Jerry (September 30, 2013). "Me matan, Limon! -Patricio Rey y sus Redonditos de Ricota- INEDITO". Retrieved June 19, 2016 – via YouTube. 
  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. ^ Luscombe, Richard (September 4, 2012). "'Godmother of cocaine' shot dead in Colombia". The Guardian. Retrieved March 3, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Jacki-O Declares Everything Is Cool With Her And "The Godmother" Griselda Blanco". Hip-Hop Wired. 
  19. ^ Jon Roberts and Evan Wright (November 1, 2011). American Desperado. Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 0-307-45042-2. 
  20. ^ Marlon James (November 1, 2014). A Brief History of Seven Killings. Oneworld Publisher. ISBN 978-1594486005. 
  21. ^ Jacqueline Cutler (September 22, 2014). "'Gotham': Jada Pinkett Smith's Fish Mooney part Norma Desmond, part assassinated drug lord – Zap2it – News & Features". Zap2it. 
  22. ^ "On the Set for 6/29/15: Justin Lin Rolls Cameras on ‘Star Trek Beyond’, Emilia Clarke Wraps ‘Me Before You’". June 29, 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  23. ^ "The Godmother of Cocaine". September 8, 2015. Retrieved September 13, 2015. 


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