Inside the wild life of sex-crazed husband-murdering drug dealer played by Sofia Vergara in new Netflix series Griselda

Inside the wild life of sex-crazed husband-murdering drug dealer played by Sofia Vergara in new Netflix series Griselda

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WHEN FBI agents swarmed a modest bungalow in a quiet suburb, they were shocked to find a diminutive woman sitting up in bed reading the Bible.

She looked the picture of innocence, telling officers she was called Betty and that it must be a case of mistaken identity.


Sofia Vergara in new Netflix show Griselda[/caption]

Griselda Blanco, nicknamed the Cocaine Godmother, in a 1985 prison shot

Sofia Vergara will take on the role of Griselda in a Netflix series out in January 2024[/caption]

But the FBI had finally nailed the face behind a £1.5billion drugs empire — Griselda Blanco, nicknamed the Cocaine Godmother.

Proudly labelling herself the “baddest bitch to ever take a breath of life”, Griselda was responsible for 250 contract killings in a bloody reign of terror across Miami, the youngest victim just two years old.

She was behind the deaths of her three husbands and was not afraid to get her hands dirty either, shooting rivals in the face.

One associate said: “She ordered death the way other people order pizza.”

Yet some of Hollywood’s most glamorous actresses have lined up to play the ruthless crime boss.

Catherine Zeta-Jones depicted her in 2018 TV biopic Cocaine Godmother.

Jennifer Lopez will soon star as her in the movie The Godmother.

And Modern Family actress Sofia Vergara will take on the role in a Netflix series out in January 2024.

Called Griselda, it has been created by the same team behind drug show Narcos and saw Sofia, 51, spend two hours in make-up every day to be transformed into the grisly gangster.

The actress has previously told how she is fascinated by Griselda, who used an army of Colombian hitmen, dubbed the Cocaine Cowboys, to keep control of the Miami drugs scene.

She said: “Griselda caught my attention because she was a woman with many layers.

“She wasn’t just a drug dealer. She was also a mother, a wife and a monster, all at the same time.”

Griselda was no stranger to violence from an early age.

Born in 1943, she was raised in a Colombian slum by her alcoholic prostitute mother, who beat her.

It is said she made her first kill aged 11, after she helped kidnap a ten-year-old boy from a wealthy family and shot him dead when the ransom threat was not taken seriously.

During her teens she became a prostitute and a pickpocket.

Gold-plated machine gun

She left home aged 13 to live with pimp Carlos Trujillo. They married and had three children — Dixon, Uber and Osvaldo — by the time she was 21.

All three would later be murdered in Colombia after serving jail time in the US.

It is claimed the young mother killed Carlos over a business dispute, and she quickly moved on to wed cocaine trafficker Alberto Bravo.

They moved from Colombia to New York in the late 1960s, where they started importing cocaine thanks to Griselda’s connections with drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.

The pair used their clothing business as cover, even manufacturing a line of special bras, knickers and corsets to hide coke in.

Within a few years the couple had wiped out their Italian drug dealer rivals through a series of killings, and by the mid-1970s they employed 1,500 dealers.

But ever-restless Griselda started dabbling in her own merchandise and was soon hooked on basuco, a raw form of smokeable cocaine.

In 1975 the couple got wind that the FBI were on to them and Griselda fled America to Colombia on her private jet.

A few months later she summoned Alberto to join her.

They met in a car park, where she accused him of fleecing millions from their operation.

Catherine Zeta-Jones as Griselda in another TV biopic in 2018
Michael Corleone Blanco as a boy with Griselda

He barely had time to protest before she pulled a pistol from her ostrich-skin boot and shot him.

He managed to hit her with one shot from a machine gun before dying in a pool of blood.

The murder of her second husband helped cement another of her nicknames — the Black Widow.

Griselda remained in Colombia for three years and during that time met her third husband, Dario Sepulveda, a well-known bank robber.

By the late 1970s her features were so ravaged by drug use that the couple were able to move to Miami undetected by the authorities.

They had one child, Michael Corleone Blanco, now 45, named after the character played by Al Pacino in 1972’s The Godfather.

Once in Miami they worked on cornering the drug market again.

The body count in the city rose steeply — and cops once had to hire a refrigerated van from Burger King to store the dead.

Griselda was so ruthless she even insisted her hired assassins kill child witnesses.

Kill child witnesses

By the early 1980s she was smuggling 3,400lb of coke into America, raking in £63MILLION A MONTH.

The devastation left behind became the inspiration for the TV cop show Miami Vice.

With her riches, Griselda owned a mansion in California and a penthouse in Florida.

She dressed in diamonds that once belonged to Eva Peron, the first lady of Argentina, and drank from a fine bone China tea set used by the Queen.

One of her most prized possessions was a gold-plated, emerald-studded submachine gun.

But all was not well in her marriage to Sepulveda.

She had eight strippers murdered because she believed they were sleeping with him.

He left her in 1983, taking their young son back to Colombia.

Griselda soon had him executed by gunmen as he sat in his car with Michael next to him.

By the mid-1980s Griselda was losing her grip on the drugs trade and had a £3.5million bounty on her head from a rival gang.

‘Visibly shaken’

In 1985 she fled to Irvine, in California, where she lived in a modest bungalow on a quiet residential street.

The FBI tracked her down there a few months later.

Lead agent Bob Palombo later said he was so mesmerised by his target and had spent so long chasing her that he bent down and kissed her cheek before arresting her.

He said: “She didn’t kiss me, I can only think what she would have liked to do.”

Agent Palombo added that Griselda was “nonchalant” about her arrest — until the police car neared the courthouse in Los Angeles, when she became “visibly shaken”.

He added: “She was shaking and she grabbed my arm and she threw up on my shoulder.

She knew the proverbial s**t had hit the fan.”

Griselda was convicted of drug offences in 1986 and sentenced to 15 years.

Inside prison she called herself a born-again Christian yet she carried on running her drugs empire, even dreaming up a failed scheme to kidnap John-John Kennedy, the son of former US President JFK.

In 1998, while still in jail, she pleaded guilty to three counts of second degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years, to run concurrently.

In 2004, after 18 years inside, she was released and deported to Medellin, Colombia, where she lived a quiet life for eight years — before her enemies finally had their revenge.

She was shot dead outside a butcher shop by a motorbike assassin in September 2012.

As film-makers recreate her life, actress Sofia insists Griselda will not be glorified in the new series.

She said: “The intention is not to show drug trafficking, it is to show the story.

“And that was what we tried to do with Griselda — portray the woman within such a horrible business and how it transformed her.”

Whether the many, many families of Griselda’s victims will see it that way remains to be seen.

Surviving son Michael with wife Marie

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