Griselda Blanco Restrepo, the notorious drug trafficker, was born on 15 February 1943, in Cartagena, on the north coast of Colombia. Apart from nicknamed as the Black Widow, the Cocaine Godmother and the Queen of Narco-Trafficking, in her later life she was popularly known as La Madrina or Godmother and was responsible for up to 2000 murders while transporting cocaine from Colombia to USA.
When she was only three, her mother, Ana Lucía Restrepo, shifted to Medellin along with her. Raised by an abusive mother, Blanco gradually turned to a life of crime at a very tender age. She allegedly helped to kidnap a boy, when she was only 11 and as the family of the boy refused to pay the ransom, she fatally shot him. It was also alleged that by the age of thirteen, she became a pickpocket and a prostitute. Finally, at the age of sixteen, she ran away from home to escape sexual assault from her mother’s boyfriend, married a small-time criminal and had three children with him. Subsequently, they divorced and in the early 1970s, Blanco began a relationship with Alberto Bravo, a drug trafficker, whom she ultimately married. It was through Bravo that she became involved with Colombia's infamous Medellin Cartel, an organized network of drug suppliers and smugglers originating in the city of Medellin.
In the mid-1970s, Blanco and her second husband Alberto Bravo illegally immigrated to the US with fake papers, settled in New York and within no time, established a massive narcotic ring throughout the country. As one of their agents, she helped to push Colombian cocaine throughout the United States, specifically to New York, Miami and Southern California. Using special lingerie made with secret compartments to smuggle drugs, presumably designed and manufactured by Blanco, the pair created an extensive and highly profitable business operation.
However, in April 1975, after the authority intercepted a huge shipment of 150 kilos cocaine, Blanco was indicted along with more than 30 of her men, on federal drug conspiracy charges. The said investigation was termed ‘Operation Banshee’ and it was intimated to the law enforcement officers nationwide. To escape the imminent arrest, Blanco immediately left the country and fled to Colombia and bounced back in the late 1970s and settled in Miami. During that time, Griselda Blanco suspected that her husband was cheating her and was stealing money from their business. Their hot altercation led to a shoot-out between the two, which ended with the death of Bravo. Since that incident, Blanco was nicknamed the Black Widow.
That was the beginning of the Miami drug war, the age of lawlessness, violence and corrupt atmosphere, primarily created by Blanco's ruthless operations to eliminate her competitors led by the gangsters that came to be known as the Cocaine Cowboy Wars.
According to reports, it was Blanco, who ordered numerous murders, most of which were committed by gunmen on motorcycles, even in broad daylight, including a shoot-out at a local mall in 1979. Backed by such violence and bloodshed, Blanco became one of the topmost drug traffickers in the world and owner of huge property. It is estimated that, she smuggled more than three tons of cocaine into the United States annually, which amounts to around $80 million per month. Much later, Charles Cosby, one of her former lovers, claimed in an interview that, Blanco even planned to hire henchmen to kidnap John F. Kennedy Jr. and hold him for ransom in exchange for her freedom.
Her ruthless violence and astronomical wealth prompted her rivals to make repeated attempts to assassinate her. In an attempt to avoid any such incident, she fled for her life to California in 1984. However, on 20 February 1985, Griselda Blanco was arrested in her home, by the agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration and was held without bail. Her trial took place in New York and she was found guilty of a drug conspiracy charge. Strangely, despite being accused of several Florida slayings, she escaped the murder charges and received the maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. However, while in prison, she reportedly continued to run her cocaine business with the help of her son Michael Blanco. She was moved back to Miami in 1994, on three murder charges, though she had been named a suspect in more than 200 murders. But, the case collapsed due to technicalities. While in prison, she suffered a heart attack in 2002 and was ultimately released and deported to Colombia in 2004.
With millions in drug money at her disposal, Griselda used to lead a luxurious life. She was the proud owner of an invaluable set of pearls, which was once owned by the first lady of Argentina, Eva Peron and an expensive tea set once used by Queen Elizabeth II, of England. In her private life, Blanco was openly bisexual and had frequent bisexual orgies. According to innumerable Court records, she was also a drug addict, who consumed vast quantities of ‘bazooka’. She frequently liked to throw coke-fueled orgies, where she sometimes forced men and women to have sex at gunpoint. However, her reckless lifestyle finally took its toll and during the late 1980s, she bloated out of her wits and became in poor health from decades of debauchery.
At the age of 69, Griselda Blanco was killed by a middle-aged gunman in her hometown of Medellin, Colombia, on the night of 2 September 2012. While she was at a butcher shop on the corner of 29th Street, the unidentified man alighted from a motorbike, entered the shop and shot her twice, before calmly walking back to his bike and vanishing into the city crowd.