Griselda Blanco doesn’t at first appear to be your typical megalomaniacal drug baron. In fact, she looks like she could be someone’s eccentric auntie. But appearances can be deceptive. After all, Blanco was one of the most ruthless crime lords ever known. She was, for instance, potentially responsible for the deaths of more than 200 people and for flooding both New York and Miami with cocaine. Her ruthless ascent to power reads like something straight from Machiavelli.
Blanco was born in 1943 and grew up in a poor area near Colombia’s port city of Cartagena. And these were mean streets indeed. In fact, murder was reportedly so common in this area that grave-digging was a favorite pastime of local children. But even considering this gruesome activity, the young Blanco displayed an aptitude for violence that surpassed her peers.
A case in point? When Blanco was only 11 years old, she and her friends kidnapped a 10-year-old boy from a well-off area of town. Then, when the ransom money for the boy did not come, Blanco reportedly shot him in the forehead. After that, she took to robbery and prostitution. And from there, she migrated easily into organized crime at around the age of 13. Furthermore, it was here that she met one Carlos Trujillo.