Who Is Griselda Blanco, the Woman at the Center of Netflix's 'Griselda'?

sofia vergara as griselda blanco in 'griselda'
Who is Griselda Blanco, and Where is She Now?Netflix

Babe, wake up. Sofia Vergara is back. Just in time for mob boss wife season – IYKYK – Vergara is starring in Netflix’s new series Griselda, which tells the story of Griselda Blanco, an infamous Colombian drug lord. It is through gritted teeth that we fight the urge to say “girlboss,” as we support womens’ rights (and wrongs).

The new crime series, which lands on Netflix on January 25, comes from the Narcos creative team – so you know it’s going to be good. Before we dive into the series (and reignite our collection obsession with Sofia Vergara), let’s talk about the woman of the hour, Griselda Blanco.

Who Is Griselda Blanco?

Known as “the Black Widow” and “Cocaine Godmother,” Griselda Blanco rose to power in 1970s Miami as a member of the Medellín Cartel – allegedly. If you’re not caught up on the inner workings of the cartel, allow us to SparkNote it for you. The Medellín Cartel was led by Pablo Escobar, whose history was depicted in the series Narcos, which is also streaming on Netflix.

Blanco was born in Cartagena, Colombia and moved to Medellín as a young child, introducing her to the world of crime before she learned to ride a bike. Her early life was not a shiny one. Blanco was sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriend, pushing her to run away at the age of 19 and submit to a life of petty crime to get by. Much is alleged about Blanco’s early years, including a claim from her former flame that she allegedly kidnapped, ransomed, and shot a child at the age of 11.

Blanco immigrated to the United States with fraudulent papers in 1964 and set up her first US-based drug operation in Queens, New York. By 1975, she was indicted on federal drug conspiracy charges and fled back to Colombia, only to return to Miami a few years later.

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Like any good crime boss, her presence was marked by many unclaimed and un-investigated crimes. Upon her return to Miami, there was a spike in local homicides by the hundreds, sparking the Miami Drug War, also known as the Cocaine Cowboy Wars. Her drug distribution network generated upwards of $80 million per month and led to the creation of an anti-drug tactical unit in Miami.

By 1985, Blanco was arrested for reasons we need not explain further, and she was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison. While in prison, she was charged with additional murders, which she organized with a trusted hitman from behind bars.

In 2004, Blanco was released from prison and deported to Medellín, largely due to the health problems she suffered as a life-long smoker.

Where is Griselda Blanco Now?

The only place we’ll be seeing the “Cocaine Godmother” is on our screens, in the form of Hollywood’s most beautiful actress. Blanco was assassinated in September of 2012 at the age of 69. On the day of her death, Blanco visited a butcher shop in Medellín with her pregnant daughter-in-law and was shot twice by an assassin on a motorcycle upon exiting the shop. A strangely poetic death in Cartel Land, this style of assassination was one that Blanco was often credited with ordering in Miami during her peak of power.

In the years preceding her death, Blanco led a quiet life, became a born-again Christian, and stayed away from crime. Still, she is remembered as one of the most notorious drug lords in recent history, and the latest to be immortalized on screen. The role will be quite a departure for our girl Sofia, but if anyone can swing it, she can.

Watch 'Griselda' on Netflix

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