How Many People Did Griselda Blanco Kill?

In Netflix’s crime drama series ‘Griselda,’ Griselda Blanco is a ruthless murderer who sends her men to kill a father and mother in front of their baby child. She orders the hit to ensure her position and authority in the Miami drug scene. When her former bodyguard Chucho, someone who has been with her ever since she was a nobody, displeases her, Griselda sends her top hitman to kill him. In reality, the exact number of deaths she was responsible for is undetermined. Having said that, both Colombian and United States officials agree that she was behind the murders of several!

Griselda Blanco’s Victims

According to ABC News, detectives who investigated Griselda Blanco in the United States estimated that she was responsible for up to 40 murders in the country. In Colombia, the officials suspect that she ordered the deaths of at least 250 individuals, making the total alleged count ten short of 300 people. However, she was convicted only for three counts of second-degree murder. After getting arrested, she pleaded guilty to the murders and was sentenced to twenty years in prison.

Two of the three murders were of brothers Alfredo and Grizel Lorenzo. “When drug dealers Alfredo and Grizel Lorenzo were late settling their account of $250,000 over the purchase of five kilos of cocaine, […] she [Griselda] sent [Rivi] Ayala, Miguel Perez, and Carlos Venegas to kill them as an example to others. They found them watching television with their two young daughters. They shot Alfredo where he was and Grizel was chased around the house before she was killed,” James Morton wrote in his book ‘The Mammoth Book of Gangs.’

The third charge concerned the murder of Johnny Castro, the son of Griselda’s former enforcer Jesus “Chucho” Castro. Griselda allegedly wanted Jesus dead because he refused to help one of the former’s children. Her top hitman Jorge “Rivi” Ayala-Rivera was asked to kill the man. Despite his best efforts, Rivi and his men missed Jesus and accidentally killed Johnny. “At first she [Griselda] was real mad ‘cause we missed the father. But when she heard we had gotten the son by accident, she said she was glad – that they were even,” Rivi later told the police.

Griselda was infamous as the “Black Widow” because it is widely believed that she killed all three of her husbands. “She [Griselda] had them all killed — all her husbands and lovers – until she became top dog. She bragged to me that she had personally killed her lover, Alberto Bravo,” Max Mermelstein, who worked for the infamous Medellín Cartel, told the Sun Sentinel. Bravo was her second husband. After his death, she married Darío Sepúlveda, with whom she had her fourth child, Michael Corleone Blanco. Darío was killed by a group of men who were dressed as cops.

According to Max, Griselda was behind Darío’s murder as well. “The cops asked Dario to get out of the car. He got out and they handcuffed him, but he started to run. The cops opened fire and shot Dario right in front of the kid [Michael]. […] The execution was done on the orders of Michael’s mother,” Max added. The informant also claimed that Griselda was the one behind the death of Marta Ochoa, a relative of the Ochoa Brothers, two of the founders of the Medellín Cartel. “Griselda had Marta killed for the $1.8 million that Griselda owed her,” he said in the same interview.

The murders of Colombian drug trafficker German Jimenez Panesso and his bodyguard Juan Carlos Hernandez, which eventually became a significant part of Miami drug wars as the “Dadeland Mall Massacre,” were also traced back to Griselda. “Blanco owed Jimenez a lot of money for cocaine, and she had a habit of paying her debts with bullets,” reads Guy Gugliotta and Jeff Leen’s ‘Kings of Cocaine: Inside the Medellín Cartel – An Astonishing True Story of Murder, Money and International Corruption.’

According to the former DEA agent Bob Palombo, Griselda even had an army of murderers. “Griselda loved killings. Bodies lined the streets of Miami as a result of her feuds. She gathered around her a group of henchmen known as the Pistoleros. Initiation into the group was earned by killing someone and cutting off a body part as proof of the deed. It is said that one of the Pistoleros assassinated a rival by riding up to him on a motorcycle and shooting him point-blank,” Palombo told The Independent.

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