A ruthless drug lord who pioneered Miami's "cocaine cowboys" era was shot in Medellin, Colombia, on Monday, 27 years after she had been forced to retire from the drug business.
Griselda Blanco, a world-famous cocaine trafficker living out her senior years in Colombia, was exiting a butcher shop in Medellin when a hit man riding a motorcycle fired two bullets at her head, according to local media reports.
It was an ironic twist of fate for the 69-year-old, who allegedly came up with the practice of placing mafia hit men on motorcycles during her days as a drug lord in Colombia and the United States.
Blanco pioneered Colombian cocaine exports to the United States, setting up her business a decade before the rise of Pablo Escobar and the Medellin Cartel.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Blanco, also known in Miami as the "cocaine godmother" and in Colombia as "la reina de la cocaina," commanded an empire that shipped up to 3,400 pounds of cocaine to the U.S. per month, the Miami Herald reports.
In 1985, Blanco was convicted for ordering three murders, including a shooting that resulted in the death of a two-year-old boy. She served a twenty-year prison sentence in the United States, and returned to Colombia in 2005, where she led a quiet lifestyle.
American detectives who investigated Blanco estimate that the cocaine queen was responsible for the deaths of up to 40 people in the United States, as well as dramatic incidents, like a 1979 shootout in Miami's Dadeland Mall.
Officials in Colombia suspect that Blanco ordered at least 250 murders in that country, and credit her for mentoring infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar.
Drug trafficking eased in Miami in the 1990s, after U.S. authorities cracked down on cocaine routes in the Caribbean, forcing traffickers to bring their product into the U.S. through the more porous border with Mexico.
But younger generations of Americans have come to know Blanco through the 2006 documentary Cocaine Cowboys.. Definitely worth seeing.