19 Facts About The Real Griselda Blanco, AKA "The Godmother," That You Probably Don't Know

If you've been on Netflix in the past few days, you've probably noticed that there's a new #1 show in the US. Griselda is the latest based on a true story crime series that everyone is talking about.

Griselda sitting at an outdoor table in a scene from the show
Netflix / Everett Collection

Starring Sofía Vergara, Griselda tells the story of Griselda Blanco (Vergara), an ambitious Colombian businesswoman and mother who created one of the most profitable cocaine cartels in history.

A closeup of Sofía Vergara as Griselda in a scene from "Griselda"
Netflix / Everett Collection

The series explores Griselda fleeing Colombia for Miami with her three sons and how she sets up her business. Ultimately, arrests, murder, lies, and more catch up to Griselda as she tries to hold on to the empire she's created.

A closeup of Sofía Vergara as Griselda in a scene from "Griselda"

So because Griselda is based on a real person and her story, here are 19 facts about her and everything that happened during the rise and fall of Griselda's business:

There are obviously major spoilers ahead for Griselda on Netflix.

1.First, it is reported that Griselda Blanco and her husband and business partner Alberto Bravo had moved hundreds of kilos of cocaine in the US and employed close to 1,500 dealers while operating out of NYC.

Griselda and Alberto talking to each other in a scene from "Griselda"

2.In 1975, Griselda reportedly returned to Colombia having found that "millions in profits had gone missing," and she blamed her husband. Similar to what is shown in the series, Griselda apparently shot and killed Alberto, and she left with only a wound to her stomach.

Alberto lying dead in the street in a scene from "Griselda"

3.Griselda earned the nickname "Black Widow" because she reportedly had been responsible for the deaths of her husbands. Alongside Alberto, Griselda was also linked to the death of her first husband Carlos Trujillo, whom she apparently had murdered over a "business dispute."

She was never formally charged with the death of Carlos.

She was never formally charged with the death of Carlos.


4.She also really had the nickname "The Godmother," due to her ruthless tactics. According to Jorge "Rivi" Ayala, who is depicted in the series, Griselda "liked to be at war. Every day she'd say, 'We've got to get so-and-so.'"

Griselda saying "Do it" after being told "Witness has a wife and a baby here"

"The first rule of drug dealing is to keep your nose out of the product, but the Godmother was never one for self-control," he added.


5.Griselda's operation in Miami led to her apparently smuggling "more than three tons of cocaine into the United States annually. This also led to her yielding close to $80 million per month."

Pallets of cocaine shown in a scene from the show

6.Griselda reportedly opened up a lingerie factory in Colombia, specifically so the pieces could be made to include compartments and pockets for smuggling drugs, according to Vice.

A bag of cocaine being sewn into lingerie in a scene from "Griselda"

As seen in the Netflix show, Griselda reportedly used women's bras to smuggle her product from Colombia to Miami.


7.According to the documentary Cocaine Cowboys, the "first homicide of note" Griselda was "involved in" while living in Miami was Dadeland, which is when a hitmen crew entered a liquor store and opened fire in July 1979 notably killing German Jimenez Panesso and his bodyguard.

The hitmen entering and shooting up the liquor store in a scene from "Griselda"

8.Jorge "Rivi" Ayala was really Griselda's right-hand henchmen and did kill Jesus Castro's 2-year-old son while pursuing him. In the documentary Cocaine Cowboys, Rivi explained how Johnny was in the backseat sleeping when he was shot and killed. "If I would have seen [him], I would've never touched that car," Rivi said.

A man pointing a gun out the window of a car in a scene from "Griselda"

9.June Hawkins is a real person, who was a Miami-Dade police department intelligence analyst who worked to help build a case against Griselda. For a long time, her instrumental involvement in the case was minimized, until the Griselda creators started to research more about Griselda and learned about June.

A closeup of June in a scene from "Griselda"

10.The car chase involving June Hawkins and Rafael "Amilcar" Rodriguez really happened, and it lasted a few days, according to June. While working with the phone company, they were able to pinpoint Amilcar's location. After running, commandeering a car, and more, June and Raul Diaz eventually caught him "in a laundromat hiding behind a [washing] machine."

The car chase

11.Griselda married Dario Sepúlveda in 1978, and they had one son together, Michael Corleone Blanco, who is named after the famous The Godfather character. According to Vice, she reportedly had eight women killed because she thought they might've slept with Dario.

Griselda saying "You did it to yourself, Dario"

12.Griselda's three eldest sons — Dixon, Uber, and Osvaldo — were reportedly all killed, but unlike the series, it's unclear how it happened. For a while, it was believed that only Uber and Osvaldo had died, with Billy Corben, who directed Cocaine Cowboys, writing at the time of Griselda's death that she was survived by her sons Dixon and Michael, with Dixon living in Colombia.

Griselda sitting on a balcony with her sons in a scene from the show

13.As shown in Griselda, the Washington Post did report that Osvaldo was killed in a Colombian nightclub in 1992. His death came after reports that Osvaldo and Dixon had become good friends with Rayful Edmond III, who was sent to prison for life "for running [Washington, DC's] largest ever cocaine operation." The trio shared a cellblock together.

Griselda being told her son Dixon was shot while walking to his car in a scene from the show

As reported by the Washington Post, the "three quickly became friends," and prior to prison they were "among the largest cocaine dealers in the nation."


14.Jorge "Rivi" Ayala pled guilty to three murders in 1993, but according to NBC News Miami, he was likely "responsible for some three dozen murders during the '80s drug war." He was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole, but he was denied parole in 2013.

Jorge Ayala in jail

To this day, he's still considered one of the most notorious "Cocaine Cowboys."

Magnolia Pictures

15.Jorge "Rivi" Ayala was really involved in the phone sex scandal, which saw several Miami-Dade state attorney's office secretaries allegedly having phone sex with Rivi while he was in prison. At the time, Rivi was said to be "a key prosecution witness" for the case against Griselda.

Rivi on the phone in prison in a scene from the show

Due to the secretaries having "access to prosecutors' files," the investigators were worried that the case against Griselda could be "compromised." Chief Assistant Michael Banks stepped down as the agency's head of the major crimes unit, too.


16.In 1984, Griselda moved her operation to California per the documentary Cocaine Cowboys. The documentary states that the "homicide rate went down" in the mid-'80s in Miami, which could be linked to Griselda leaving.

Griselda sitting on the beach in a scene from the show

"I was happy to leave Miami because I knew all of this heat that was around me," Jorge "Rivi" Ayala said in the documentary. He added, "I knew it was just a matter of time before they came after us." In order to get product to California, she befriended Marta Ochoa, going around the Ochoas.


17.DEA agent Bob Palumbo eventually caught Griselda in 1985. She was charged with conspiring to manufacture, import, and distribute cocaine and was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison for her original drug trafficking indictment.

Closeup of Griselda Blanco

18.In 1998, Griselda pled guilty to three counts of second-degree murder and was "sentenced to serve three concurrent 20-year sentences." However, in 2004, she was deported to Colombia.

Griselda on the phone in prison

19.And finally, in 2012, Griselda was "gunned down" in Medellín, Colombia, according to NBC News. She was reportedly shot and killed by "a motorcycle-riding assassin," which was also the technique she and her hitmen reportedly used to carry out murders.

"Cocaine Godmother" gunned down