Griselda Blanco, a ruthless, former drug kingpin made famous by the 2006 documentary Cocaine Cowboys, was gunned down by two assassins on motorcycles in her native Colombia, the Miami Herald reports.
Blanco, also known as the Cocaine Godmother, was leaving a butcher shop in Medellin, her hometown, when two gunmen on motorcycles pulled up and fired several shots into her. One of the gunmen shot two bullets into her head at point blank range. She was with her pregnant daughter-in-law, who left the attack unscathed.
Her death was confirmed by Colombia’s national police late Monday night. Ironically, she is credited with the style of of assassination that took her own life. Blanco was known for sending gunmen on motorcycles to kill off her enemies.
Blanco 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. She was deported to Colombia in 2004.
Given that Blanco had made so many enemies during her murderous career, some expected her to die far sooner.
“It’s surprising to all of us that she had not been killed sooner because she made a lot of enemies,” former Miami homicide detective Nelson Andreu, who investigated her, said late Monday. “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.”
Here is some background on Blanco, as reported by the Herald:
Blanco came to epitomize the “cocaine cowboy” bloodshed of the 1980s, when rival drug dealers brazenly ambushed rivals in public.
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 even had a Medellin lingerie shop custom design bras and girdles with special pockets to hold cocaine, a tool used by her drug mules flying to Miami.
She ran the organization with three of her four sons, two of whom were later assassinated in Colombia.
Blanco was known for her flamboyant lifestyle — one of her sons was named Michael Corleone, an homage to The Godfather movies. Three of her husbands also died in drug-related violence.
But it was her nasty temper and penchant for unyielding violence that drew the attention of law enforcement and the public.
Investigators linked her to the daytime 1979 submachine gun attack at Dadeland Mall that shocked Miami. Detectives conservatively estimated that she was behind about 40 homicides.
She was only convicted of three murders.
Blanco’s exploits were brought to the silver screen via the 2006 documentary Cocaine Cowboys that investigated Miami’s drug wars during the 1970s and 80s. Though she was locked up for nearly twenty years, Blanco reportedly held on to much of her wealth before her death.
Cocaine Cowboys co-director, Billy Corden, had this to say about Blanco’s killing:
“This is classic live-by-the-sword, die-by-the-sword,” Corben said Monday. “Or in this case, live-by-the-motorcycle-assassin, die-by-the-motorcycle assassin.”