The Dark True Story Of Griselda Blanco

We’ve never seen Sofia Vergara like this.

Sofia Vergara might be best known as the sassy matriarch of Modern Family, but her latest role couldn’t be more different.

In Griselda, Vergara takes on Griselda Blanco, a ruthless real-life Colombian drug lord of the seventies and eighties. The six-part series now streaming on Netflix is inspired by the grisly life of the notorious Miami cartel head, whose non-conventional ambitions saw her become one of the highest-earning – and deadliest – drug traffickers of her time. 

In addition to showing off her acting versatility, the series saw Vergara literally transformed for the role, with the help of a prosthetic nose, fake teeth, and figure-flattening pads.
Intrigued? Everything you need to know about the real life Griselda Blanco – including how faithful Griselda is to real events – below.

Who Was Griselda Blanco?

Griselda Blanco was born in Colombia in 1943.

According to Rolling Stone, Blanco’s foray into the world of crime began as a teenager when, after running away from home to escape her abusive mother, she began pickpocketing on the streets of Medellin, Colombia.

Years later, these petty crimes reportedly evolved into marijuana trafficking with her first husband, Carlos Turjillo. The pair had three children together but divorced in the 1960s, and Blanco moved to Queens, New York. Here, she met her second husband, Albert Bravo. Bravo was a cocaine smuggler for the Medellin Cartel and together, the couple masterminded a series of cocaine shipments into New York. Key to their vast operation was Blanco’s most infamous innovation: she had lingerie specially manufactured to include pockets used to conceal drugs. 

In 1976, their operation was intercepted, however police failed to arrest Blanco and Bravo, who had already fled to Colombia. Shortly after, Blanco fatally shot Bravo, then 32, believing he had stolen millions from their trafficking business. 

Blanco continued building her empire from Colombia for several years and, in 1978, married bank robber Dario Sepulveda. They had one son together. Per Rolling Stone, it was also around this time that Blanco began smuggling cocaine into Miami, and then relocated her family there. According to National Geographic, at its peak, Blanco’s Miami-based operation brought in $80 million of cocaine every month.

Image: Netflix

Why Was Griselda Blanco Famous?

In addition to running a drug trafficking empire, Griselda rose to notoriety for her violent tendencies. 

Arguably the most famous of her killings was the Dadeland Mall massacre in 1979, where, per National Geographic, Griselda allegedly ordered the killing of a cocaine dealer and his bodyguard in a liquor store at the popular mall in Miami.

In 1982, Griselda was allegedly involved in another murder, when she ordered the killing of her associate, Jesus Castro, but her hitmen mistakenly killed Catro’s two-year-old son instead.

The following year, she is suspected to have ordered the death of her third husband, Dario Sepúlveda, who was killed in front of their five-year-old son. 

According to National Geographic, Griselda is thought to have been involved in at least 40 murders throughout the United States throughout her reign.

Is Griselda Blanco Still Alive?

After years of dodging authorities, Blanco was eventually arrested in 1985, and sentenced to 15 years in prison. In 2004, she was deported to Colombia, where she lived in El Poblado, Medellín’s wealthiest neighborhood, for eight years.

In 2012, Blanco was fatally shot by an assasin on a motorcycle outside a butcher in Medellín. She was 69. Blanco is survived by her youngest son, Michael Corleone Blanco.

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