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Griselda Blanco: The Untold Story of the Cocaine Godmother Behind Netflix’s Griselda Series

Griselda Blanco: The Untold Story of the Cocaine Godmother Behind Netflix's Griselda Series
Left: Griselda Blanco smiling in a photo from the 2006 ‘Cocaine Cowboys’; Right: Griselda Blanco’s official mugshot. Photo credits: AJ Pics/Alamy (left), Archive PL/Alamy (right).

Netflix’s new limited series, “Griselda,” delves into the gripping life of Griselda Blanco, the infamous Colombian cartel leader portrayed by Sofía Vergara. Here’s an in-depth look at the real-life “Cocaine Godmother” and the events that inspired the series.

Early Life and Criminal Beginnings:
Griselda Blanco, born on February 15, 1943, in Colombia, faced a tumultuous childhood. Abandoned by her father, she endured abuse from her mother, eventually turning to crime. At just 11, Blanco allegedly kidnapped and killed a boy when a ransom wasn’t paid. Her criminal journey continued with prostitution and pickpocketing, leading to her marriage at 13 to Carlos Trujillo, her first husband.

First Marriage and Move to the U.S.:
Blanco’s criminal empire expanded in the 1960s when she moved to New York with her second husband, Alberto Bravo. They ran a drug trafficking operation, with Blanco’s innovative approach of using a lingerie factory in Colombia to create garments with hidden pockets for smuggling cocaine. The couple faced legal trouble and returned to Colombia, where Blanco killed Bravo in a violent dispute.

Miami Empire and “Cocaine Cowboy” Wars:
In the late 1970s, Blanco, now in Miami, became a central figure in the “Cocaine Cowboy” wars. Known for her extreme violence, she married her third husband, Darío Sepúlveda, and expanded her drug empire. Blanco’s lifestyle was marked by opulence, orgies, and brutal acts, earning her the moniker “the Black Widow.” Sepúlveda’s assassination, allegedly orchestrated by Blanco, highlighted the internal strife within her family.

Arrest and Imprisonment:
After years on the run, Blanco was arrested in 1985 by DEA agent Bob Palombo. She was charged with conspiracy to manufacture, import, and distribute cocaine. In Florida, she faced additional charges, including three counts of first-degree murder. The case collapsed due to witness misconduct, and Blanco received a 20-year sentence for two murders, served concurrently with her existing 15-year federal sentence.

Release, Deportation, and Death:
Blanco was released in 2004 and deported to Colombia, where she lived under the radar. In 2012, at the age of 69, she was assassinated outside a butcher shop in Medellín by a masked gunman on a motorcycle. Blanco’s death marked the end of a reign that left a trail of violence and notoriety.

Legacy and Family:
Griselda Blanco’s sons, Dixon, Uber, and Osvaldo, followed her criminal path and died before her. Michael Corleone Blanco, her youngest son, distanced himself from the criminal life after her death. Michael, a reality TV star, owns the Pure Blanco lifestyle brand. He recently filed a lawsuit against Netflix and Sofía Vergara, claiming his work was stolen for the series.

Netflix’s “Griselda” Series:
Sofía Vergara’s portrayal of Griselda Blanco in the Netflix series captures the complexities of her character—mother, villain, lover, and killer. The show explores Blanco’s identity as a woman in a male-dominated world and delves into the intricacies of her criminal empire, providing viewers with a riveting and dramatic account of one of the most notorious figures in the history of drug trafficking.

Netflix’s six-part limited series “Griselda” (now streaming), starring Sofía Vergara (“Modern Family”) as Blanco, is a fictionalized account of the rise and fall of the “Godmother of Cocaine” during the violent drug wars in Miami in the 1970s and ’80s

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