Griselda Blanco, a ruthless drug smuggler known as the “Godmother of Cocaine” who was jailed in the U.S. for three chilling murders, has been shot dead by a motorcycle-riding hitman.
Griselda Blanco, 69, was believed to have ordered dozens of executions during the notorious “cocaine cowboys” era of the 1970s and 80s in Miami.
In a grim irony, the mode of her killing was eerily similar to the brutal drive-by killings she herself introduced to slaughter her enemies.
Although she was suspected of murdering many more, the Colombian was eventually convicted of three killings in 1985, including that of a two-year-old boy, for which she served nearly 20 years behind bars.
In 2004, Griselda Blanco was deported to her native country and maintained a low profile in her hometown of Medellin.
According to Columbian press reports, Griselda Blanco was walking out of a butcher’s shop yesterday when two gunmen on motorbikes pulled up before one pumped two bullets into her head.
For a woman who had been credited with inventing the notion of a “motorcycle assassin”, the manner of her death came as no surprise to many, it was reported in The Miami Herald.
Nelson Andreu, a former Miami homicide detective who had investigated her, said: “It’s surprising to all of us that she had not been killed sooner because she made a lot of enemies.
“When you kill so many and hurt so many people like she did, it’s only a matter of time before they find you and try to even the score.”
Brought up in the slums of Medellin, Griselda Blanco went from a simple pickpocket to command an empire that shipped an estimated 3,400 lbs of cocaine a month.
Griselda Blanco also symbolized the blood-soaked era of the 1970s and 80s when gangs would ambush their rivals in public, leading to her cartel being dubbed the “Cocaine Cowboys”.
She ran the empire with three of her sons, two of whom were later assassinated in Columbia, while three of her husbands have also been killed in drug-related violence.
Known for her flamboyant lifestyle, Griselda Blanco named one of her sons Michael Corleone in tribute to The Godfather movies.
Griselda Blanco’s exploits were also popularized in the 2006 documentary Cocaine Cowboys, which explored the rise of the drug in Miami during the 1970s and 80s which inspired the films Scarface and Miami Vice.
Interviewees argue that Griselda Blanco played a major role in the history of the drug trade in the city and other areas across America.
Detectives believe Griselda Blanco was behind at least 40 murders and maybe even as many as 240, but could only link her to three.
Two of them, drug dealers Alfredo and Grizel Lorenzo, were shot at their South Miami house after failing to pay $250,000 for 5 kg of cocaine.
Griselda Blanco was also convicted of ordering a shooting that led to the death of two-year-old Johnny Castro, who was shot twice in the head as he drove in the car with his father, Jesus “Chucho” Castro.
She was fully expected to end up on Florida’s Death Row.
But she was able to cut a plea deal after the prosecution’s case suffered a major setback when a chief witness was caught engaging in phone sex with secretaries from the attorney’s office.
Griselda Blanco later entered into a bargain with new prosecutors and was given three 20-year sentences in 1985. She only served a third of that time.