Griselda Blanco, ‘Queen of Cocaine’ killed in Colombia
(CNN) An elderly woman who was known as Colombia’s “Queen of Cocaine” was gunned down in the northwestern city of Medellin, police said Tuesday.
Griselda Blanco, 69, was killed by two bullets at close range — a violent end not unlike the ones that authorities say she ordered during her prime in the 1970s and 1980s.
Witnesses heard the roar of a motorcycle and two gunshots Monday afternoon, Medellin police spokesman Diego Chavarria said. By the time authorities arrived at the scene in Belen, a residential neighborhood in Medellin, they found Blanco lying on the ground in a pool of blood.
Blanco, also known as “the godmother” and “mafia’s mother,” gained notoriety in the 1970s and ’80s when, authorities say, she was responsible for shipping multi-ton shipments of cocaine from Colombia to Miami. She was also the mastermind, investigators say, of countless murders. She was also linked to drug lord Pablo Escobar.
In 1975, Blanco was charged in Miami with conspiring to manufacture, smuggle and distribute cocaine in the United States. For the next decade, she lived in Colombia, using false names and documents to hide from authorities. The Drug Enforcement Administration arrested Blanco in Irvine, California, in 1985. She was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison.
But prosecutors were not done with her. Blanco was charged in 1994 with ordering three murders in the Miami area. The killings — including that of 3-year-old Johnny Castro, who was shot while riding in a car with his targeted father — happened in 1982.
Talking about her case at the time she was charged, Al Singleton, a sergeant with the Metro Dade Police Department, said police believed Blanco was responsible for dozens of murders in the Miami area.
“If she was not one of the most prolific traffickers in the Miami area, she clearly was one of the most violent. We’ve got her, conservatively, estimating her to be involved in at least 40 homicides between Miami, Queens and Broward County,” he said at the time.
After serving her sentence, Blanco was deported to her native Colombia in 2004, where she apparently lived a quiet life. Local media reported that she was gunned down as she was leaving a butcher shop with a pregnant daughter-in-law, who was not injured.
According to a report by CNN affiliate Caracol TV, Blanco was the mother of four children. One of them is still serving a sentence for drug trafficking in the United States, and two were murdered. The fourth lives in Colombia.
Cocaine Cowboys Film Description:
In the early ’80s, a new business emerged in Miami, FL, that changed the face of the city forever. That business was cocaine smuggling; as America developed a growing appetite for the drug, Colombian suppliers found that Miami was a good place to bring it into the United States, and a new breed of outlaws were more than happy to face the risks of importing cocaine in exchange for the massive profits to be made. At one time, cocaine runners were making so much money that the city’s banks were running out of room to store the cash, and smugglers were developing new ways to move the product, from floating tanks with radio tracking devices dropped into the ocean to cars stashed with drugs so well-connected drivers with tow trucks could haul them away and abandon them if necessary. The profits from Miami’s cocaine explosion helped to transform the city into a major American playground, but it also brought a criminal element interested in more than just dealing drugs, as bloody reprisals between competing gangs of smugglers became commonplace, and hitmen began working overtime to keep up with the demand for revenge. Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman are a pair of Miami-based filmmakers who were able persuade a number of key figures from Miami’s ’80s cocaine trade to speak on-camera about their exploits, as well as law enforcement officials who struggled to keep up with them. The result was Cocaine Cowboys, a true-life thriller about the underworld culture that helped spawn the film Scarface and the television series Miami Vice.