What happened to the real Griselda Blanco?

  • "Griselda" is a Netflix series about real-life drug lord Griselda Blanco.

  • The series focuses on her time in Miami.

  • Blanco served jail time in the United States for her crimes, and was killed in Colombia in 2012.

Sofia Vergara takes on a career-defining role in "Griselda," a new Netflix series about the infamous drug lord Griselda Blanco.

Blanco was also known as the "godmother of cocaine," or simply "the godmother," due to her standing in the drug trade. The Netflix series focuses on one specific part of her life — the late 1970s and 1980s in Miami. Previously, her story was depicted in the documentary "Cocaine Cowboys" and the Lifetime film "Cocaine Godmother: The Griselda Blanco Story."

Blanco was a pivotal figure in the cocaine trade. The Miami Herald reported that she got her start picking pockets in her younger years before eventually selling marijuana after moving to New York. Finally, she pivoted to the easier-to-transport cocaine. Per the publication, she pioneered smuggling techniques that included, in one notable instance, a Medellīn, Colombia lingerie shop designing custom pieces with pockets to hold cocaine.

Vergara executive produces the fictionalized portrayal of Blanco's life, which features representations of her associates like Jorge "Rivi" Ayala. The series is now streaming on Netflix, but here's what happened to the drug lord in real life.

Blanco served jail time in the United States before her death

Blanco was named in a 1975 indictment charging her and 37 others with manufacturing, importing, and distributing cocaine in the United States. A warrant for Blanco's arrest was issued in May 1975, but she wasn't formally apprehended until February 1985.

After a trial, Blanco was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison in addition to a $25,000 fine. Thirteen years into her sentence, Blanco was transported to Florida to face murder charges, Time reported.

However, the Florida case was marred by scandal: a key witness, former hit man Jorge Ayala, had explicit conversations with secretaries over the phone, while a prosecutor resigned after he was accused of sexually harassing a secretary, though he denied the allegations.

According to The Guardian, Blanco was suspected of at minimum 40 murders in Florida. She was eventually only convicted of three, and per Time, her eventual deal led to her serving three 20-year sentences concurrently. Per the Miami Herald, she only served a third of those sentences before being deported to Colombia in 2004. There, per El Colombiano, she lived off the income from her rental properties.

Blanco was shot in Medellín, Colombia, in 2012

Blanco was fatally shot at age 69 in Medellín, Colombia, in 2012 by a motorcycle rider as she was walking out of a butcher shop. As The Guardian reported, it was a method that Blanco herself had pioneered.

"It's surprising to all of us that she had not been killed sooner because she made a lot of enemies," Nelson Andreu, an ex-homicide detective who investigated Blanco in Miami, told the Miami Herald after her death. "When you kill so many and hurt so many people like she did, it's only a matter of time before they find you and try to even the score."

Police told the Miami Herald after Blanco's death that Blanco was known to be living in Medellín since her deportation in 2004. However, at the time, there were no open investigations regarding her activities, and it didn't appear that she was involved in any drug trafficking operations.

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