Guest Author - Vance R. Rowe
Griselda Blanco was the queen of the cocaine trade in Miami, Florida during the 1970's and 1980's. She was a drug lord; the drug lord of the infamous Medellin Cartel in Miami. In the late 1970's and early 1980's, cocaine had taken over as the number one drug, pushing marijuana to second, and Griselda Blanco was a big part of that. The cocaine wars of this time became infamously known as the Cocaine Cowboy Wars. The Cocaine Cowboys were the dubbed name of the gang led by Blanco against warring drug factions and the streets in Miami ran red with blood, during her tenure as drug lord.
Griselda Blanco first came to the United States in the mid-70's where she and her husband at that time, settled in Queens, New York. It was there that she began her foray into the cocaine business and made quite a living at it until her operation was ended by the United States government when Blanco was indicted on federal drug charges, along with about thirty subordinates. However, Griselda Blanco escaped back to Colombia before she could be arrested. A couple of years later, she returned to the United States, landing this time in Miami and became the “Godmother of the Medellin Cartel”. The Miami Drug Wars were very violent and very bloody into the early 1980's, when she soon fell out of favor with the cartel. In order not to pay for a shipment of cocaine, Griselda Blanco, allegedly ordered the murder of a young woman named Marta Ochoa. She was the niece of a leader in the Ochoa family of the Medellin Cartel. Marta Ochoa was delivering the cocaine to Griselda and she had the girl killed so she could tell the cartel that Marta never showed with the cocaine. Marta Ochoa's body was found on rural southern Florida road and a hit was ordered against Blanco by the Cartel.
In February of 1985, Griselda Blanco was finally arrested by Drug Enforcement agents, in her home. She was sentenced to more than ten years in prison. Prison didn't stop her from running her drug trade either. Finally, the DEA was able to pressure one of Blanco's high ranking members of her drug empire to turn on Blanco. With all of the evidence they had collected, the government had enough to indict Blanco on three different murder charges. However, technicalities had plagued the government's case and eventually Blanco was released and deported back to Colombia in 2004.
In September of 2012, Griselda Blanco met her end in Medellin, Colombia when she was killed in a drive-by shooting by someone on a motorcycle. Before this, Griselda Blanco was last publicly seen in 2007 in an airport in Bogota, Colombia.
In popular culture, Griselda Blanco is featured in 2006's documentary film, The Cocaine Cowboys and in 2008's, The Cocaine Cowboys II. There is also another film in production called The Godmother, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones as Griselda Blanco.