Griselda Blanco: The Medellin Cartel Drug Lord Who Tried To Kidnap John F. Kennedy, Jr.

Griselda Blanco is one of the most legendary drug traffickers in Colombia. Born in 1943, Griselda Blanco began living a life of crime while still at a young age, and at just 11, she allegedly kidnapped a 2-year-old boy for ransom. And when the parents refused to send the money, she shot him in the head. Presently, Jennifer Lopez is reported to be working on a TV movie about Griselda Blanco being developed by HBO.

A member of the revered Medellin drug cartel, which was once led by Pablo Escobar, Griselda Blanco is said to have continued her drug trafficking endeavor even into her 60s. Some of the names she was tagged with during her criminal career included La Madrina, the Cocaine Godmother, the Black Widow, and Queen of Narco-Trafficking.

It is estimated that Griselda Blanco was involved in the deaths of up to 200 people in the ’70s and ’80s, when she was actively involved in bringing drugs from Colombia to Miami, New York, and Southern California. In 1975, a cocaine shipment of about 150 kilograms was intercepted by the authorities in Miami leading to to the indictment of Griselda Blanco and 30 other associates.

To avoid capture, Griselda Blanco fled to Colombia, but soon returned to the United States and settled in Miami. It is alleged that she continued with the trade and was responsible for dozens of shootings at the time in gang-related rivalry cases. She was allegedly able to evade the police dragnet till the mid-’80s when her luck ran out. Griselda Blanco was captured in 1985 in Irvine, California, and was sentenced to 15 years for conspiracy.

In 1994, however, her case experienced a new complication in her favor. Apparently, the main witness, Jorge “Rivi” Ayala, a hitman who had previously worked for her, had become romantically involved with an employee of the Florida State Attorney’s Office. This put his credibility into question. It is assumed that he deliberately complicated the case so as not to face retaliation from Griselda. Nevertheless, she pleaded guilty to three murders and was sentenced to 15 years in prison instead of 20.

Just delving a bit into the influence and power she wielded in her heyday, drug lords such as Pablo Escobar were apparently on her hit list. The following is an excerpt from the New York Post detailing this.

“She had an enemies list that included the DEA and cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar, whom she helped get his start in the drug business. Investigators linked her to the daytime 1979 submachine-gun attack at Dadeland Mall that shocked Miami. But her empire nearly crumbled when she allegedly ordered a hit on another drug trafficker, Jesus Castro, supposedly for an offense against one of her sons.

“Hit men missed the target, but killed Castro’s 2-year-old son. Detectives learned the details of the botched hit from Jorge ‘Rivi’ Ayala, a hit man who testified against Blanco. He told police that Blanco wanted Castro dead because he kicked her son in the buttocks.”

Although she was mad at the hitmen for missing Castro, Griselda Blanco was happy that they killed his son, which made them square. While behind bars, it is reported that Griselda Blanco came up with an elaborate plan to have John F. Kennedy, Jr. kidnapped in exchange for her freedom. It didn’t materialize and she ended up serving the full 20 years.

Following her release and deportation to Colombia, she is said to have led a quiet life. But in 2012, Griselda Blanco met her death when she was shot in the head by two gunmen on a motorcycle. Her murder is said to have striking similarities to the style her hitmen used to carry out assassinations – two gunmen on a motorcycle. She was estimated to have a net worth of about $2 billion, far less than Pablo Escobar’s $30 billion, who was also a member of the Medellin Cartel.

[Featured Image by Albert McCabe/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images]