MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Griselda Blanco is responsible for a time in Miami’s history most would want to forget.
“If she wanted you killed and their were innocent people around, well, sorry. I’m going to get you,” West Miami Police Chief Nelson Andreu said.
He spent years as a homicide detective chasing her and the bloody violent mess she left behind.
“She was a woman in a man’s world and she had to be more violent and more ruthless than her male counterparts in order to gain respect,” Andreu said. “In order to maintain that pinnacle that she was at. So I think that’s why she did it and it became second nature to her.”
Blanco, who was called “The Godmother,” had her hit man carry out so many murders they lost count. She even crafted a signature hit.
“It was very, very effective. Two guys on a motorcycle. That’s it.” Andreu said. In a twist of irony, that’s exactly how she died Monday in Medellin, Colombia. As she walked out of a butcher shop a motorcycle pulled up. The passenger shot her twice in the head. She died at the hospital. The gunmen got away.
Blanco is believed to be behind the notorious double murder at Dadeland Mall in 1979. The gunmen unloaded their weapons in a liquor store ratcheting up the drug war in the streets of Miami.
There were many innocent victims including the son of Jesus Castro. Andreu said that Castro refused to help one of Blanco’s sons who was in trouble.
“This was an offense that was punishable by death,” Andreu explained.
Castro hid for awhile but eventually Blanco’s hit man found him.
“They pulled up alongside of him when he was on Dixie Highway, South of Dadeland. He sees a van pull up next to his. The sliding door opens and there is three guys with machine guns shooting. He leans forward. The kid sitting on the armrest. It was a Toronado. Brand new Toronado. When he goes forward the kid gets hit twice in the face. (He) falls to the floor. He’s able to get away from them in traffic.”
Castro put his son in a bathtub of ice and held his hand all night. In the morning, he wrapped the boy in a blanket with his passport and dropped him at a local mosque. Castro apparently thought he was leaving the boy at the church he was baptized, but confused the address with another.
Many were amazed Blanco lived to be 69 years old.
“The only thing to be surprised about is that it didn’t happen sooner,” local filmmaker Billy Corben said.
He received notice of her death he says about an hour before the media picked up on it. The call came from a family member. Corben and his colleague Alfred Spellman documented the Godmother’s violent life in two movies called “Cocaine Cowboys.”
Click on the video below to watch the full interview with Chief Nelson Andreu.
The films include interviews from those investigating to those who carried out the hits. CBS4 reporter Al Sunshine is featured often as he reported from the front lines.
Blanco ended up going to prison for twenty years when the Feds caught up to her. She escaped the electric chair in Florida though following a sex scandal at the state attorney’s office that tainted the case.
“When you consider that she was the greatest, if not the greatest mass murder, in the history of Miami, she wound up serving less than 10 years in prison,” Corben recalled.
Two of her three sons were murdered the moment the United States deported them back to Colombia and many expected the same for Blanco.
Andreu explained “She hurt so many people. So many families. Killed so many people that we knew it was only a matter of time.”
There was a lot of talk she escaped to Argentina for awhile. According to Corben there was talk about sending her to Spain but in the end she stayed put.
“I can’t imagine a lot of countries are anxious to stamp Griselda Blanco’s passport.” Corben said.
Many were surprised that Blanco had moved back to her hometown of Medellin where she had many enemies.
“She was released from Florida prison and deported to Columbia in 2004 and she’s been living quietly, low key there in a comfortable home in what I have heard as described as the Bel Aire of Columbia,” Corben said. “A guard gated exclusive community.”
Blanco was 69. She is survived by one lone son who lives in Miami.
In a MySpace video he is seen proudly announcing, “My mother is Griselda Blanco and I’m the proud son of the queen of cocaine.”
Michael Corleone Sepulveda is named after the main character of the mafia movie The Godfather. Sunrise police busted him in 2011, just like his mother, for cocaine trafficking. He is currently awaiting trial on house arrest. He operates a company called The Blanco Group which works primarily in the music industry. Online, he appears to have quite the following on Facebook.
Andreu spent twenty plus years investigating homicides in Miami-Dade. He regards the Godmother, as the worst of the worst.
“I investigated several serial killers and I go around teaching about serial killers, but ruthlessness and not caring about innocent people, she tops the list by far. You know serial killers, they may target, but they target one person at a time,” Andreu said.
Andreu has written a fictional book called Dead Red. The novel revolves primarily around his homicide investigating experience. He said he is considering writing a book about the experience with the Godmother and the Cocaine Cowboy Era.
Billy Corben and his production company Rakontur is in the midst of revisiting Cocaine Cowboys in what they are calling a remix. One would expect this week’s developments will likely be featured in the film.
“It was certainly an extraordinary end to and extraordinary life. I think there is certainly more to be told,” Corben said.