Jennifer Lopez to Play the Infamous ‘Cocaine Godmother’ on HBO
It was recently announced that Jennifer Lopez will portray Griselda Blanco, the Colombian drug baroness, in an upcoming HBO film. We explore the life and ultimate demise of the infamous ‘Cocaine Godmother’.
News has broken that Jennifer Lopez has been cast to play Griselda Blanco – the Colombian drug baroness who was active during the 1970s and 80s – in an upcoming feature film on HBO. Known for her ruthless behaviour, ongoing cocaine addiction and ability to evade charges, Blanco is one of the most infamous drug kingpins in history.
The Cocaine Godmother rose to prominence as a drug lord of the Medellín Cartel. Griselda Blanco’s life story is a rags to riches tale of heinous proportions. She rose from Cartagena to become one of the most influential criminals of the 20th century. By the time her reign ended, she had killed an estimated 200 people and pioneered the Miami-based cocaine drug trade.
In a statement released following the announcement that she would be playing the so-called ‘Cocaine Godmother’, Lopez said, “I’ve been fascinated by the life of this corrupt and complicated woman for many years. felt like the perfect fit for finally bringing Griselda’s story to life.”
How a Poor Girl from the Slums Came to Rule the Cocaine Drug Trade
Blanco was born in Cartagena in 1943. She and her mother moved to Medellín when she was three years old, and this is the place she considered home for the rest of her life. She was very young when she began her life of crime.
By the age of 11, she had joined a gang and began pickpocketing. This was around the time when Blanco committed her first murder. It is said that she kidnapped a child from a wealthy family in an upscale neighbourhood close to the slum where she grew up. She allegedly shot the child after failing to secure a ransom. Around this time, she also began using drugs and resorting to prostitution – all at an alarmingly early age.
In the 1970s, she moved to Miami with her second husband and began importing cocaine. She fled to Colombia when she was indicted on drug conspiracy charges before returning to Miami relatively quickly. It was during her brief return to Colombia that people began calling her the ‘Cocaine Godmother’. As her underground import business grew, her operations began bringing in US$80 million per month.
More Than the Godmother of Coke
Blanco was less than ‘godmotherly’ during her reign as the first Colombian drug lord. She was perhaps more aptly referred to as ‘The Black Widow’ by some who had dealings with her. This was a direct reference to the fates her lovers suffered.
Blanco allegedly murdered her first lover as a teenager. Then years after divorcing her first husband, sources close to her say she had him killed. She later shot her second husband who had moved to Miami with her and was instrumental in helping her set up operations there. Another husband of hers was murdered in 1983 – presumably at Blanco’s command.
Griselda Blanco: “She Didn’t Have the DNA for Sympathy.”
According to investigative journalist Gerald Posner, Griselda Blanco “didn’t have the DNA for sympathy.” Posner was a controversial journalist, to say the least. However, there is no question that her reign of terror was characterised by extreme ruthlessness.
Here are some of the more disturbing, alleged details of her life:
- She named her first son ‘Michael Corleone’, in tribute to The Godfather film series.
- She was addicted to a form of unrefined smokeable cocaine.
- She had a tea set that once belonged to Queen Elizabeth before it was smuggled out of Buckingham Palace.
- She frequently staged orgies and sometimes forced people to have sex with each other at gunpoint.
Some of the above are almost surely rumours that amount to little more than urban myth. However, details like the above combined with her Blanco’s murder count of between 30 and 200 people leave no question that she had little concern for the life and welfare of others.
How Did Griselda Blanco Die?
In a sense, the Cocaine Godmother’s death was a reflection of her life. As with so many cartel leaders, the authorities had difficulty making charges stick. She was eventually convicted of three murders and drug charges, and ended up serving 13 years in federal prison. However, the story takes a predictably frustrating turn from there.
Blanco was handed over to Florida authorities after serving 13 years, and everyone assumed that she was bound for death row. However, the primary witness in the case was one of Blanco’s hitmen. It came to light that he had been having phone sex with secretaries for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.
This unexpected detail dealt a severe blow to the case. Three secretaries were fired, and a high-ranking prosecutor resigned. Blanco made a plea deal and received three consecutive 20-year sentences, but only ended up serving a small portion of these. She was deported back to Colombia in 2004. Eight years later, Blanco was shot and killed by two gunmen on a motorcycle outside of a butcher’s shop. This was a drive-by-shooting tactic that she was said to have created earlier in her career.
Overcoming the Perils of Cocaine Addiction
Blanco was addicted to some form of cocaine for much of her life. Regardless of whether this was a symptom or cause of her ruthless nature, there is no question that the addiction fuelled her downward spiral. She was a user for most of her life, and ultimately became a victim of the same murderous tactics she had employed throughout.
It is important to understand that cocaine is a highly addictive substance, second only to methamphetamines in terms of the psychological dependence it creates. Successful treatment must be ongoing and requires outpatient care to ensure that the person suffering from addiction can leave this dangerous substance behind.
If you or someone you know is suffering from an addiction to cocaine or any other substance, the best thing to do for everyone involved is to seek treatment. You can find out more about the perils of cocaine here on the Stop Cocaine website, along with information on how to treat cocaine addiction.