Who is Griselda Blanco, the ‘Cocaine Grandmother’ and mother to Michael Blanco on Cartel Crew?

Michael Blanco from Cartel Crew posing with his mother, Griselda Blanco, the 'Cocaine Grandmother'
Michael Blanco of Cartel Crew with his mother, Griselda Blanco. Pic credit: VH1

Michael Blanco is one of the stars of VH1’s new docu-series Cartel Crew and he has some serious Cartel roots. He is the youngest son of Griselda Blanco, the notorious “Cocaine Grandmother” who is also known as the Black Widow.

Griselda Blanco has a string of nicknames tying her to the cartel world including the Queen of Norco-Trafficking as she was a Colombian drug lord tied to the Medellin Cartel.

Blanco is known for her role in the Miami drug trade of the 1950s. She was known for transporting cocaine from Colombia to New York and there are an estimated 200 murders that have been attributed to her.

Griselda Blanco was born in Cartegena, Colombia and moved to Medellin with her mother when she was just 3 years old. Her introduction into the cartel life came early with some claiming that she pulled off her first kidnapping of an affluent neighborhood kid when she was just `11 years old.

By 13, Blanco had become a pickpocket and when she turned 16 years old, she ran away from home to escape her mother’s abusive boyfriend.

In the 1970s, Griselda Blanco immigrated to the U.S. with her second husband, Alberto Bravo. They ended up in Queens, New York, where she began growing her cocaine business.

She was indicted in 1975 on federal drug conspiracy charges but returned to Colombia before she could be arrested. Griselda later came back to the U.S., this time settling in Miami.

It was Griselda Blanco’s arrival in Miami that is tied to the beginning of a drug and crime epidemic in Miami, Florida that began in the early 1980s and resulted in the murders of hundreds of people. She was a central figure in the Miami Drug War that spanned the 1980s.

According to estimates, Griselda Blanco’s U.S.-wide drug empire was bringing in $80 million per month. In 1984, she fled to California after multiple attempts by rival cartels to assassinate her.

Griselda Blanco died in 2012 in Medellin, Colombia at the age of 69 when a man on a motorbike stopped entered a butcher shop where Griselda was shopping, pulled out a gun and shot her before getting back on his bike and riding away.

Cartel Crew airs on Mondays at 9/8c on VH1.

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