Before Pablo Escobar and El Chapo, there was The Black Widow. Griselda Blanco was a Colombian drug lord who helped bring the cocaine trade to Miami, earning her the title of La Madrina or The Cocaine Godmother. She was most active in the 1970s and '80s, and is considered to be the most powerful Colombian drug queen — which is why Lifetime decided to reenact her life for the upcoming TV movie, Cocaine Godmother: The Griselda Blanco Story, starring Academy and Tony Award-winning actress Catherine Zeta-Jones. Keep reading to find out more about the Queen of Narco-Trafficking!
She got involved with crime at a young age.
Griselda was born in the shantytown of Cartagena on the north coast of Colombia, but she and her mother moved to the city of Medellín when Griselda was three years old. By the time she became a preteen, she was already committing petty crimes like pickpocketing, but quickly graduated to more serious offenses. At just 11 years old, Griselda kidnapped a 10-year-old boy from a wealthy family and held him hostage for ransom. She didn't act alone — a group of children her age were also part of the plot — but when the boy's family refused to pay, the other kids gave Griselda a gun and dared her to shoot him between the eyes, according to Maxim. That's how she committed the first out of an estimated 200 murders.
She was sexually abused as a child.
Griselda suffered from sexual abuse at the hands of her mother's boyfriend until she ran away from home at 14, according to the Huffington Post.
Griselda was accused of killing her three husbands.
She met her first husband, Carlos Trujillo, when she was 13 years old. After falling in love with the street hustler, they had three sons together — Dixon, Uber, and Osvaldo. But they divorced by the 1960s, and she allegedly killed him in the '70s over a drug-related business dispute.
Her second husband was Alberto Bravo, who also helped run her cocaine empire. In the 1970s, the couple immigrated to the United States and lived in Queens, NY, where they started trafficking cocaine until Griselda was indicted on federal drug conspiracy charges in 1975. That same year, Griselda and Alberto got into an argument about millions of dollars that had gone missing from the drug cartel and it resulted in a shoot-out between the two, according to The Guardian. Griselda pulled out a pistol and Alberto pulled out an Uzi, but he died from injuries he sustained. Griselda eventually recovered after being shot once in the stomach.
She fled to Colombia to avoid being arrested, but returned to the United States in the late '70s and settled in Miami, which is where she met third husband Darío Sepúlveda. They welcomed a son named Michael Corleone together, but Darío left her in 1983, and took their child with him to Colombia. Griselda allegedly sent fake cops to intercept their trip, and they shot Darío, according to the Miami New Times. Michael was returned to his mother's custody.
She was assasinated in 2012.
Griselda was arrested in 1985 by DEA agents, who followed her after she fled Miami. She was tried and convicted on one count of conspiracy to manufacture, import into the United States, and distribute cocaine, according to Biography. She was sentenced to 15 years in prison, and in 1994, she was transported to Miami where she faced three murder charges. She took a plea deal, and was sentenced to an additional 10 years, serving a total of 19 years in prison.
After she was released in 2004, she was deported back to Colombia where she lived until her death on Sept. 3, 2012. She was shot twice in the head by two men on motorcycles as she was leaving a butcher shop in Medellín.