Griselda Blanco, the ‘cocaine godmother’ feared by Pablo Escobar

From the creators of ”Narcos,“ Netflix premiered a new series Thursday based on the life of Griselda Blanco, played by actress Sofia Vergara in her first role entirely in Spanish.

Griselda Blanco is in the news again. This time not for her crimes, but for a new Netflix series starring Sofia Vergara, "Griselda." Known as the "godmother of cocaine," she was the only person who, as the show assures, "Pablo Escobar feared." The Colombian drug trafficker is attributed with a total of 250 murders, as well as being a crucial member in the Medellin Cartel.

Her place of birth, however, is not entirely clear. The vast majority of experts say that Ana Griselda Blanco Restrepo was born in Cartagena de Indias, while others, recalls National Geographic, say she was born in Santa Marta. However, one disagrees that she was born in 1943, that years later her mother moved to Medellin and that she is a Colombian national.

Her criminal life began at the age of 11, when Blanco participated in the kidnapping of a child. Three years later, the young woman left her family home after being raped by her stepfather and married her first husband, Carlos Trujillo, with whom she had three children: Uber, Dixon and Osvaldo Trujillo Blanco.

With Trujillo, Griselda emigrated to the United States when she was 21 years old. It was there where, experts say, after her divorce, the woman had her ex-husband murdered. That is one of the reasons why the woman received the nickname "Black Widow" since her three husbands all ended up murdered, and she was a suspect in each of these cases.

Miami: The 'queen of cocaine' settles down

Her second husband, Alberto Bravo, was the one who introduced Griselda to the world of drug trafficking. Together with Bravo, Blanco designed a route by which they managed to get the cocaine from Colombia to the United States, always hidden in secret compartments inside the underwear of young women.

In 1970, Blanco and Bravo moved to Miami, then considered a lawless city. There they formed a intricate drug trafficking network and amassed a large fortune in the process, in part because there was no agency to combat the entry of drugs into the country. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was founded in 1973, partly due to Griselda Blanco's criminal activity.

In the following five years, the Colombian woman made up to $80 million a month, becoming one of the richest women of the ‘70s and ‘80s and earning the nicknames of the "Boss," the "Queen," or the "Godmother" of cocaine. Meanwhile, Blanco continued to order assassinations, even popularizing a practice where a man on a motorcycle would execute the victim.

Griselda Blanco returns to Colombia

However, that did not prevent her from continuing to take care of her three children, who would soon be joined by a fourth, Michael Corleone Sepúlveda Blanco, from her third marriage to Darío Sepúlveda.

With them she returned to Colombia in 1975, just before the DEA could arrest her for her criminal activities after gathering sufficient evidence against her. In her native country, Blanco began to maintain contact with Pablo Escobar, founder of the Medellín cartel, with whom she collaborated to create a trafficking network between Colombia and Miami.

She returned to Miami in the late 1970s, where she discovered that, during her absence, other major criminals had taken her place. She, however, quickly regains power in part thanks to her relationship with Escobar. With him, she continued to smuggle drugs into the United States, prompting the DEA to come after her again.

The agency managed to arrest her in Irving, Calif., in 1985. After this, recalls Elle, Griselda Blanco was sentenced to 15 years in prison, which was extended as the various murders ordered by the Colombian woman were discovered. The death penalty was even requested, but when she pleaded guilty, her sentence was reduced.

In 2002, Griselda Blanco suffered a heart attack due, in part, to her fondness for smoking. Her health deteriorated rapidly and in 2004, she was deported to Colombia, where she was released after serving her sentence. It is then that the reformed woman decided to leave her criminal life behind.

However, the various enemies she made throughout her career as a drug trafficker decide to do away with her and, in 2012, while accompanying her daughter-in-law to a butcher shop, a man shot her twice, leaving her dead at only 69 years old.

Netflix and Sofia Vergara sued by Griselda Blanco's family

Her story is told in "Griselda," the new show that Netflix premiered Thursday, Jan. 25. From the creators of "Narcos" and starring Sofía Vergara, this miniseries narrates the life of this Colombian criminal.

However, Griselda's family tried to keep the series from seeing the light of day. According to Entertainment Tonight, Michael Corleone Blanco and his brothers sued both Sofia Vergara, who also serves as executive producer of the show, and Netflix in an attempt to block the premiere of "Griselda," alleging that the family had not given their consent for their late mother's image to be used:

Michael Blanco was more than willing to share his hard work and the non-public details of his mother's life with Latin World Entertainment/Netflix if he wanted to receive fair compensation. Make no mistake, Michael Blanco is humble and is thrilled every time someone steps up to shed light on his mother and the Blanco family. However, in the case of Netflix/Latin World Entertainment, the defendants approached Michael Blanco for his work, perspective and knowledge only to turn around and act as if he didn't exist in an apparent attempt to make their own profits. It is disappointing that Latin World Entertainment/Netflix would pretend that it is acceptable to use Michael Blanco's commercial work without his permission.

Sofía Vergara, for the first time in Spanish

The Colombian actress reached several personal milestones with "Griselda." Her first drama, her first visual transformation, her first cigarettes (she promises she had never touched one in her 51 years). However, there is one that stands out above the rest: it is the first time in her more than 30 years of professional career that she acted in Spanish, her native language. Vergara was born and raised in Colombia, where she studied English at a private bilingual school.

Although in other roles she delivered lines in Spanish, she always performed primarily in English. Her Spanish identity was an essential ingredient of her most famous character, Gloria Pritchett, of "Modern Family." She often spoke single words or phrases in Spanish, and her pronunciation in English served as a running joke.

During a tour to promote the series, a well-known Spanish host, Pablo Motos, made fun of her way of pronouncing the sitcom she co-starred in for eleven seasons. The actress' response, comparing her nominations and trophies to those of Motos, went viral: