If you watched either of Billy Corben’s two ludicrously entertaining Cocaine Cowboys documentaries, 2006’s Cocaine Cowboys or 2008’s Cocaine Cowboys 2: Hustlin’ with the Godmother, you know the only real continuity between them, besides both being about cocaine (one set in eighties Miami, the other in nineties Oakland), was the Black Widow, Griselda Blanco. She was depicted as a ruthless killer who would do things like order assassinations in the middle of crowded shopping malls. She’s suspected in
Griselda Blanco, the drug kingpin known for her blood-soaked style of street vengeance during Miami’s “cocaine cowboys” era of the ’70s and ’80s, was shot to death in Medellin by a motorcycle-riding assassin Monday.
Blanco, 69, spent nearly two decades behind bars in the United States for drug trafficking and three murders, including the 1982 slaying of a 2-year-old boy in Miami.
Colombia’s national police confirmed her slaying late Monday. According to Colombian press reports, two gunmen on motorcycles pulled up to Blanco as she walked out of a butcher shop in Medellin, her hometown. One man pumped two bullets into her head, according to El Colombiano newspaper. It was the sort of death many had predicted for her: Blanco has been credited with inventing the idea of the “motorcycle assassin” who rode by victims and sprayed them with bullets.
The former kingpin was with a pregnant daughter-in-law, who was uninjured. According to El Colombiano, the woman told police that Blanco was no longer involved in organized crime and that she was hoping to live off the sales of several properties she owned.
Raised in the slums of Medellin, she began her criminal career as a pickpocket, eventually commanding an empire that reportedly shipped 3,400 pounds of cocaine per month, by boat and plane. She was considered a Colombian pioneer in drug smuggling to the United States, a precursor to the larger cartels that dominated in the 1980s.
She ran the organization with her three of her four sons, two of whom were later assassinated in Colombia.
She had been arrested in 1985 in a cocaine trafficking case in New York. Ultimately, she served 13 years in federal custody before she was handed over to Florida authorities.
Blanco seemed destined for Florida’s Death Row — but the prosecution’s murders case was dealt a severe blow.
The reason: Ayala — the case’s chief witness — engaged in phone sex with secretaries from the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. After an investigation, three secretaries were fired and a veteran prosecutor resigned.
Special prosecutors from Orlando took over the case, and Blanco cut a plea deal in 1998.
Blanco was sentenced to three concurrent 20-year sentences, of which she had to serve only about one-third because of guidelines in effect at the time of the murders. Even on her return to Colombia, she was believed to have held onto immense wealth. [MiamiHerald]
She also famously named her one surviving son “Michael Corleone,” proving that not even Colombian cocaine dealers in Miami like Scarface better than Godfather.