Griselda Blanco, the Cocaine Godmother, was gunned down in front of a butcher shop in Medellín, Colombia on September 3, 2012. Since her initial indictments in New York City beginning in the early 1970s, Blanco has flitted in and out of the popular imagination. Tales of Blanco emerged first in police and court documents and newspapers. In more recent years, she could be found in nonfiction, docudramas, popular magazines, blogs, YouTube, and other media.
Like other high-level female drug traffickers, Blanco created important alliances with men, but differed from her peers due to her extensive use of violence. She employed it as an offensive tool against male competitors and even men who were employed by her or her clients. Violence served to demonstrate her power and to strike fear in the men that surrounded her. Her ruthlessness contributed to a growing gangster hagiography and titillation that continues to surround her and those men connected to her. This explains why her death brought new attention. Yet, Blanco’s story is another New York City organized crime tale with many twists and turns: changing criminal enterprises, licit and illicit work, lovers turned traitors, and police/criminal chases across continents.