'Cocaine Cowboys' Griselda Blanco, Real-Life 'Female Tony Montana,' Gunned Down in Colombia

5:00 AM PST 09/05/2012 by Shirley Halperin

The cold-blooded drug lord -- and unequivocal star of the popular HBO documentary series -- led a reign of terror on Miami in the early 1980s.

Griselda Blanco, the real-life drug lord who reigned terror on Miami in the early 1980s, was killed in Medellin, Colombia on Monday. She was 69 years old and, according to The Miami Herald, was gunned down by an assassin on motorbike while buying meat at a local butcher. Blanco was shot twice in the head.

Known as La Madrina, the Cocaine Godmother"the Black Widow" (for allegedly killing her first two husbands) and the female Tony Montana, thanks to the popular 2006 HBO documentary Cocaine Cowboys, hers is essentially the true story of Scarface and Miami Vice, as the movie's DVD cover touts (see above). Trafficking some 300 kilos of the drug per month during the height of her operation, Blanco became a multi-millionaire several times over during her 40s and would go on to order dozens of murders in order to keep her place at the top of Miami's gangster heap.

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Arrested by DEA agents in 1985 and sentenced to almost two decades in a U.S. prison, she was later deported and, by reported accounts, lived a quiet life in Colombia's second-largest city, which has its own reputation as a favorite home-base for drug kingpins and cartels. 

Speaking to the Herald, a police spokesman said there was no evidence that Blanco, who had been in Medellin for about eight years, was still involved in drug smuggling. Offered a witness of the murder: "[The killer] was a professional ... It was vengeance from the past.” 

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Blanco, like many of her drug-pushing peers, undoubtedly had debts to pay, and while she hadn't been seen for some time (the last reported image is from 2007at the Bogota Airport), her son, symbolically named Michael Corleone Blanco, kept the family name alive through the legend of his mother, whether he wanted to or not. 

In a 2011 feature in the Miami New Times, the former heir apparent is said to have "hated the movie," which caused him to suffer from depression. A few months after the 2008 premiere of Cocaine Cowboys 2: Hustlin' With the Godmother, Michael Corleone Blanco appeared on popular Spanish talk show Christina to defend his mother's honor and painted a different picture of the matriarch. "My little old lady is someone who loves people," he said. "She has dedicated herself to God. She is a Christian. She lived through hell."

Twitter: @shirleyhalperin

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