NewsCrime Desk

Narco molls: Rise of the ruthless cocaine queens

Claudia Ochoa Felix
Claudia Ochoa Felix

Latino superstar Jennifer Lopez is set to bring the life of the ultimate cocaine godmother to the big screen in a new biopic that had A-listers queuing up for the coveted role of the planet’s deadliest female.

Known the Queen of Cocaine, the Black Widow or simply La Madrina – the Godmother – 69-year-old Griselda Blanco fittingly died in a hail of gunfire in a drive-by shooting by motorcycle-riding assassins in her native Colombia in September 2012.

It could have been a scripted end to the life of the matriarch – thought to be responsible for ordering more than 40 murders.

“It’s surprising to all of us that she had not been killed sooner because she made a lot of enemies,” said ex-Miami homicide detective Nelson Andreu, who had been an investigator into Blanco’s case.

“When you kill so many and hurt so many people like she did, it’s only a matter of time before they find you and try to even the score.”

South America – the home of narcotics – has produced two of the world’s deadliest drug queens; Colombia’s Griselda Blanco and her successor, Claudia Ochoa from Mexico, known as the Kim Kardashian of drug cartels.

Former prostitute Griselda Blanco bizarrely blurred the lines between reality and fantasy during her decades at the helm of Miami’s most feared drug cartel.

She once reportedly bought diamonds from Argentina’s Eva Peron and developed a love of The Godfather movies – even calling her youngest son Michael Corleone Sepúlveda.

The blonde Colombian built an empire so large, it’s said she inspired the character of Tony Montana from Scarface and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Gotham character, Fish Mooney.

Griselda Blanco

Her most heinous crime was the murder of a two-year-old boy called Johnny who was hit by a bullet while riding in the car of his father, Jesus Castro, who had been ordered dead by the grandmother when he refused to carry out a favour for one of her sons.

Before the rise of Pablo Escobar, there was Griselda Blanco who turned Miami into a murder capital during the ’80s, allegedly ordering dozens killed during her rise to power as one of the biggest drug traffickers in the western hemisphere.

She pioneered the drug pipelines still being used today in the modern illicit drug industry along with using Mafia-style tactics against rival traffickers which laid the template for much of the drug violence that followed.

Three of her husbands were killed in drug-related violence, one of them reportedly by her own hand, earning her the Black Widow tag.

Her extraordinary life first came to the public attention in the documentary Cocaine Cowboys 2, when her former lover Charles Cosby spilled on his astonishing liaison with the Colombian matriarch.

The small-time coke dealer from California was afforded with an audience with Griselda when he sent her a fan letter while she was serving time in a nearby federal prison.

Six months later, Cosby was a multi-millionaire, Blanco’s lover, and the head of her $40m-a-year cocaine business.

Born in 1943 in the slums near Cartagena in Colombia, she showed her ruthless streak at the tender of 11 by kidnapping and murdering the son of a wealthy Medellin, according to one biography. To survive the slums, she turned to pickpocketing and prostitution but soon moved on from petty crime when she met trafficker Carlos Trujillo, who smuggled immigrants across the border.

They married and had three children but after their divorce she allegedly later had him murdered over a drug dispute

Jennifer Lopez is set to play the role of the Queen of Cocaine on screen

Her second husband, Alberto Bravo, introduced her to cocaine dealing and when the couple moved to New York in the ’70s they cut into the Mafia-controlled city with their direct access to the cocaine growers back in their native Colombia.

Their multi-million-dollar empire was busted in a sting called Operation Banshee in 1975 but the couple escaped back to Colombia, where she is alleged to have shot down her second husband in a drug dispute.

By the ’80s, she had evaded capture and was back on the west coast of the United States, this time running her cocaine into Miami.

At the height of her narco operation Blanco smuggled 3,400 pounds of coke per month into the United States by boat and plane. 

“People were so afraid of her that her reputation preceded her wherever she went,” Abreu said in the documentary Cocaine Cowboys 2, which featured Blanco’s story.

“Griselda was worse than any of the men that were involved in [the drug trade].”

Her downfall came in 1982 with the tragic death of two-year-old toddler Johnny Castro in his Dad’s car on their way to McDonald’s

Claudia Ochoa Felix

About a year later, Blanco allegedly ordered the killings of Alfred and Grizel Lorenzo, a married couple who also dealt cocaine in Miami in an execution carried out while their children watched TV in another room.Jorge Ayala, the Blanco lieutenant who headed the hit squad, refused to kill the children and later turned State witness on the Colombian godmother, agreeing to testify against her about the murders she had ordered.

Blanco, 69, spent nearly two decades behind bars in the United States for drug trafficking and three murders, including the 1982 slaying of the toddler.

She was deported in 2004 to Colombia, where she maintained a low profile until she was ironically gunned down in the motorcycle drive-by assassinations she had invented.

Her mantle as South America’s most notorious narcotics queen has been taken over by a woman known as the selfie queen of organised crime.

Claudia Ochoa Felix – who regularly poses in glamorous bikini-and-stilettos snaps on social media – heads the ruthless hit squad Los Ántrax.

The Kim Kardashian lookalike is known for posting provocative photographs of her champagne lifestyle to social media. In one, her sons are pictured lying on piles of cash while in others she is holds an assault rifle like a fashion accessory.

She is now reportedly head of Los Ántrax, the much-feared assassin wing of the Sinaloa Cartel – the Mexican drug cartel known as world’s most powerful drug-trafficking organisation.

She took over the reins after her boyfriend, former Los Ántrax boss Jose Rodrigo Arechiga Gamboa – known as El Chino – was arrested.

In the wake of her alleged appointment as the female boss of the feared Mexican drug cartel, she amassed more than 100,000 additional followers on social media.

The perfect 21st century embodiment of a narcotics queen bee.