Drug queenpin Griselda Blanco ruled over Miami, Florida, in the 1970s and 1980s with the help of her lieutenant, Jorge Ayala. Trusting the hitman to carry out some of her most nefarious requests, Griselda valued Jorge as a trusted ally before he turned against her in the early 1990s. While Griselda herself met a violent fate, Jorge – who is played by Martín Rodríguez in the Netflix series Griselda – has been behind bars for decades. 

Who Is Jorge Ayala? 

Jorge Ayala was born in Colombia, but grew up in Chicago, working as a mechanic in his early years. However, he began a lucrative side hustle – smuggling immigrants into the United States, proving to himself at a young age that he had the mind for illegal activity. By the late 1970s, Jorge started smuggling guns from Chicago to Miami, the city that Griselda was taking over thanks to her prominent position in the cocaine business. 

What Did Jorge Ayala Do for Griselda Blanco? 

Jorge essentially became Griselda’s right hand, often carrying out the dirty work she ordered. Notably, Jorge was behind the killing of one of Griselda’s husbands Darío Sepúlveda. He additionally killed drug dealers Alfredo and Grizel Lorenzo, as well as the 2-year-old son of former enforcer Jesus “Chacho” Castro. 

“At first [Blanco] was real mad ’cause we missed the father,” Jorge told police of the child’s death, according to The Columbus Dispatch. “But when she heard we had gotten the son by accident, she said she was glad, that they were even.”

What Happened Between Jorge Ayala and Griselda Blanco? 

While Jorge and Griselda worked together to carry out nefarious acts amid her control of Miami’s cocaine underworld, the drug queenpin was eventually tracked down by authorities. After her arrest in 1985 and subsequent imprisonment, police went after Jorge. Due to his street name “Riverita,” however, their efforts took much longer than expected.  

“We were looking for a hit man named Riverita,” police captain Nelson Andreu explained to the Miami New Times in 2005. “We’d been looking for this guy we only knew as Riverita for a while. We assumed he probably was named Rivera or Rivero and the nickname was based on that.”

By 1993, authorities got a crack in the case, tracking Jorge down due to his involvement with a Chicago bank job. Once in custody, police put two and two together, realizing that they had Griselda’s right-hand man in their midst. Knowing that he was possibly facing the death penalty for his life of crime, Jorge struck a deal with prosecutors – he would flip on Griselda in exchange for his life. 

Things looked bad for Griselda, until they didn’t. As prosecutors were putting a case together against the drug lord, secretaries in the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office were found out for having phone sex with Jorge. While the three secretaries were promptly fired, the case against Griselda – and the investigation and Jorge’s credibility as a witness – quickly crumbled. 

Griselda was released from prison in 2004, and was assassinated in Colombia in 2012. Jorge, meanwhile, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years. Any attempt at an appeal has not been successful for him as of publication. 

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