Griselda Blanco Restrepo, the infamous drug trafficker, was born in Cartagena, on the country’s north coast of Colombia, on 15th February 1943. In her later life she was popularly known as La Madrina or Godmother. Apart from that, she was also known as the Black Widow, the Cocaine Godmother and the Queen of Narco-Trafficking. When she was only three, her mother, Ana Lucía Restrepo, shifted to Medellin along with her. Raised by an abusive mother, Blanco turned to a life of crime at a very tender age. At the age of thirteen, she had become a pickpocket. Finally, at the age of 14, she ran away from home, to escape sexual assault from her mother’s boyfriend.
Soon, Blanco became involved with Colombia’s infamous Medellin Cartel, an organized network of drug suppliers and smugglers originating in the city of Medellin. As one of their agents, she helped to push Colombian cocaine throughout the United States, specifically to New York, Miami, and Southern California. It is said that, in comparison to other traffickers, members of the cartel could smuggle a larger quantity of cocaine into the United States using special undergarments, presumably designed and manufactured by Blanco.
In the mid-1970s, Blanco and her second husband Alberto Bravo immigrated to the US, settling in New York and within no time, established a massive narcotic ring throughout the country. However, in April 1975 Blanco was indicted along with more than 30 of her men, on federal drug conspiracy charges, after the authority intercepted a huge shipment of 150 kilos cocaine. The said investigation was termed ‘Operation Banshee’ and it was intimated to the law enforcement officers nationwide. To escape the imminent arrest, Blanco immediately left the country and fled to Colombia and bounced back in the late 1970s and settled in Miami.
Blanco’s return to the US from Colombia marked the beginning of the Miami drug war. 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”. In year 1984, Blanco’s initiated to use violence against her Miami competitors or any other person or group who willingly or unwillingly earned her displeasure. This prompted 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. However, she was arrested on 20th February 1985, by the agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, in her home and held without bail. Blanco’s trial took place in New York. She was found guilty of a drug conspiracy charge, but escaped murder charges, despite being accused of several Florida slayings. She received the maximum sentence of 15 years, according to the prevailing drug laws. While in prison, she continued to effectively run her cocaine business. In 1994, Blanco was transported back to Miami on three murder charges, though she had been named a suspect in more than 200 murders. Strangely, the case collapsed due to technicalities. In 2004, Blanco was released from prison and deported to Colombia.
In her private life, Blanco was openly bisexual. There are innumerable Court records which clearly indicate that she was a drug addict, who consumed vast quantities of ‘bazooka,’ and would force men and women at gunpoint to have sex before her, and had frequent bisexual orgies. During the late 1980s, her lifestyle took its toll. Blanco bloated, out of her wits and in poor health from decades of debauchery.
Blanco died at the age of 69. On the fateful night of September 3, 2012, she was murdered in her hometown of Medellin, Colombia. She was shot twice in her head, as she came out from the Cardiso Butcher shop on the corner of 29th Street, after having bought $150 worth of meat. It was reported that the middle-aged gunman climbed off the back of a motorbike outside the shop, pulled out his gun, shot Blanco twice in the head, and calmly walked back to his bike and disappeared into the city crowd.