Posted: September 3rd, 2013
Infamous criminal: Griselda Blanco
An infamous criminal can be described as one with a notoriously bad reputation due to their deeds. Griselda Blanco is one of the largest and infamous crime masterminds of all time in the American crime history (Streatfeild 45). She operated in one of the most ruthless ways imaginable. She was mainly involved in the drug trade consisting of mainly drugs such as cocaine, which was highly lucrative and still is quite lucrative for any criminal. She is remembered well due to her ruthless way of operating and the ability to escape the law enforcement agencies. She is said to have been responsible for the deaths of more than 500 people on a conservative estimate. She came to be known as the ‘Cocaine Queen’ or ‘la Madrina’ due to her vast control and influence in the cocaine drug trade.
Griselda Blanco was born on February 15 1943 on the northern coast of Colombia (LaSala 11). She later moved to Medellin when she was just at a tender age of three years old. She began her violent behavior at a tender age because of being battered by her abusive mother. At the age of eleven, she is said to have kidnapped and shot the child she had kidnapped from the neighboring areas of her slum neighborhood, as she tried to seek ransom. When she had attained adolescence, she had perfected several arts such as stealing and at one point; she was quite skilled at pick pocketing people. Due to the persistent violence at her home, she decided to leave her abusive mother and move elsewhere. She did not manage to finish her education, and at her preteen age, she had become a prostitute to be able to survive in the streets. She was a prostitute for quite some years before she eventually met her first husband in the line of her duties in Medellin.
She met Albert Bravo in the mid 1970’s who facilitated her emigration to the United States where they settled in Queens, New York. This would serve as a platform for the beginning of her expansive drug trade. With the aid of her husband, they both began a sizeable cocaine business, which only spanned for several years before she was indicted by the law enforcement agencies on charges of drug conspiracy with more than thirty of her subordinates. She managed to escape the authorities and fled to Colombia. This was because the case against her was the largest drug related case at that time in history. However, despite the warrants for her arrest still being in place, she managed to sneak back in the United States in the late 1970’s and went to Miami (LaSala 23).
Blanco was one of the forces behind the prominent killings that plagued Miami as gangs tried to establish control and outdo each other. This became to be known as the cocaine cowboy wars when cocaine became the most used illegal drug surpassing marijuana at that time. She had a strong distribution network across the United States, which raked in an average of $8 million a month. She was extremely ruthless in her operations that fueled the violence by other gangs because they saw her as a threat, and she also considered other gangs as threats to her operations. Thus, it became a battle for supremacy and control over the drug trade. Due to aggravated rates of murder and the many fruitless attempts to have her eliminated, she was prompted to move away from Florida to California (Smitten 17). The drug trade in Miami was estimated to be worth more than $ 21 billion. This is still evident with the presence of beautiful villas and condominiums and other luxurious establishments such as casinos, hotels and restaurants that are a predominant sight in Miami and the whole of Florida. In 1985, she was arrested by the authorities for and taken to court where she was sentenced to ten years in jail. After her release in 2004, her whereabouts were still a mystery. The cocaine cowboy wars had a solid impact on the American people and the cities she went to because of her ruthless and aggression in getting whatever she considered worth having.
When she came to America, she was among the first people to penetrate the drug market successfully in quite a short time, whereas she did not have any knowledge about the United States or even the language itself. She became highly influential in setting a precedent for drug trade amongst the immigrant population. In New York, the drug trade had not grown into a large-scale operation, but Blanco’s impulsiveness and aggression led to the growth that resulted in the seizure of her drug cache, which was considered as one of the largest during that point in time. This set the stage for more drug traders who were usually immigrants trying to make names for themselves and seek livings in a highly lucrative drug market.
Blanco also made the drug trade what it is today. Her ruthless and heartless way of trading set a precedent in the drug trade that is the norm in the world of drug trade. In the modern world, drug trade is characterized by the numerous mass murders. She operated in a way that anyone who dared oppose her was killed by her gang of cronies, who she had hired to do her dirty work. She managed to kill her three husbands, meaning she did not have any emotional connection with any of them. This also shows that she did not tolerate any form of competition or force of opposition. This is a regular characteristic of drug traders because they never establish emotional connection. This is fascinating because during her time in Colombia she was helped by her husband to immigrate to Queens, New York yet she did not spare his life despite of both being husband and wife (Smitten 20).
She is a fascinating person because of the way she had disregard for the American laws. She did not care about being arrested by the authorities despite being wanted for arrests in New York where she had managed to escape before being arrested. How she managed to escape the arrests is still a mystery to everyone. However, there are possibilities that due to her vast resources she was able to have a spy working for her to alert her of any possibilities of being arrested. In addition, the American public and the world are still fascinated by her ability to thrive in a male dominated society. Her dominance may have been attributed to her disregard for the law and her ruthlessness in the conduct of the trade. Because she did not tolerate any competition, she was able to gain respect from other drug traders who eventually feared her, as they did not want to end up as other rivals who were murdered heartlessly. Blanco was a manipulative and controlling woman. She managed to use her husbands in getting into the drug trade and later killed them. She also had control of mercenaries who were at her disposal. It is fascinating how she was able to control very ruthless and heartless men who could have betrayed her at any time possible. Her influence on the people around her was immense and might be attributed by her character and her vast monetary resources from the drug trade (Streatfeild 23).
Blanco managed to survive an era that was dangerous. Even though she was the cause of most of the deaths in the Cocaine Cowboys era, she still had rivals who wanted to eliminate her. Before she ran away, she had committed her first murder at the age of eleven, a murder that was described as a child killing another child. The ability to kill at such a tender age is still unbelievable. What prompted her to commit such a heinous act is still ambiguous to the public and the world. Her behavior might be attributed to the abuse she faced while she was still young from her mother. At the age of twelve, she ventured into prostitution, what prompts such a young girl to venture into the prostitution without being forced into the trade is still beyond human comprehension. How she survives in the outside world is still beyond human comprehension for such a young girl without anyone to offer her the guidance and protection.
What fueled her hunger for power is still unclear to many people because she did not relent in her quest for more power and control of the drug trade. She went to great extents to achieve all the material wealth and power she exhibited (King, 21). However, she lost all this in her quest for more control and power as she recklessly murdered people in order to maintain the status quo, which saw that she was the sole provider of the drugs in the market. She managed to operate for a long time in Miami despite previous attempts to have her arrested in New York. She managed to conduct her business, yet the police and the authorities knew of the business she was conducting (LaSala 14).
She lived a very promiscuous life, and was famed for being bisexual and having several playboys who she later used as her mercenaries. This brings out the question as to whether she fancied men or women or more so, why was she promiscuous. Her disregard for her husbands shows that she was a dominating woman because she would not tolerate any form of being dominated; thus, she became ruthless to a point of killing her husbands. Her dominance spread such that she was able to control a bunch of hoodlums who acted as her agents in the streets .She remains one of the most conspicuous figures in the criminal world who had a very negative impact in the world as some criminals considered her as a mentor.
Thus, the mentees who enter into the drug view her actions as fit for the survival in the drug trade and they emulate what she did by being ruthless in conduct of the trade. This is evident by the numerous deaths that are instigated by the drug traders. When she was released fro prison and deported back to Colombia she vanished completely only with a single sighting of her at the Bogota Airport. How she vanished completely from the drug trade is still hard to comprehend with her enemies still in her pursuit to avenge what she did to them taking advantage of her vulnerability due to the lack of resources or the mercenaries that she had. Her influence continues to be felt across the world with powerful women in society being attributed to have the same character traits to enable them to live in a male dominated world that requires a lot of aggression to achieve ones goals and objectives. There has never been any other woman who has risen to the heights that she did in the drug trafficking world (Smitten 48).
King, Susan. “A look back at Miami’s vices: drugs, cash, killings”. Los Angeles Times. 30 Oct. 2006. 20-22. Print.
LaSala, Francine. Mistresses of Mayhem: The Book of Women Criminals. Indianapolis, IN: Alpha, 2002. Print.
Streatfeild, Dominic. Cocaine: An Unauthorized Biography. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2002. Print.
Smitten, Richard. The Godmother. New York: Pocket Books, 1990. Print.
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