Did Griselda Blanco Really Kill All Of Her Husbands?

Griselda Blanco arrived in Colombia with vengeance on her mind. She'd slipped out of Queens, New York on the heels of America's biggest federal cocaine conspiracy indictment, which charged her and 30 of her underlings with a long list of crimes, according to Maxim magazine. It was 1975, and Blanco was earning her nickname "the Godmother" for her wide-ranging and ruthless cocaine empire that would only grow over the next decade. She was also about to earn her other appellation — "the Black Widow."

She arrived outside a Bogota nightclub with her contingent of killers to meet her husband Alberto Bravo, whom she believed had been siphoning off millions in cash from their drug profits, according to The Guardian. Blanco pulled a pistol from her boot and began blasting away at her better half. He responded in kind by returning fire with his Uzi. While Blanco was only injured by a bullet to the gut, her husband was less lucky. 

Bravo is part of an apparent pattern. Before Bravo, the Black Widow's first husband, a forger named Carlos Trujillo, was killed after she allegedly put a hit out on him. Her third and final husband, Dario Sepulveda, would also reportedly die on her orders (per A&E). Though her role in the deaths of Trujillo and Sepulveda is debated, many believe that she was behind the murder of all three of her husbands in some way or another.

Who was the Black Widow?

Griselda Blanco was born in 1943 and grew up poor in Medellin, Colombia, according to Vice. Her criminal career began with petty theft and sex work, but she soon moved on to much deadlier work. At 11, she and some other kids kidnapped the son of a wealthy family. She murdered the boy when his parents took too long to pay the ransom. By her teens, she was married to her first husband, Carlos Trujillo, and the pair eventually moved to New York and sold drugs and fake IDs. They had three sons together — Osvaldo, Uber, and Dixon. After they divorced she allegedly had him murdered in the early 1970s, per Maxim. According to "History vs Women: The Defiant Lives that They Don't Want You to Know," it was Trujillo who introduced Blanco to her second husband, Alberto Bravo — one of his two "crucial errors" during his marriage to the ruthless killer. The second, the book says, was his failure to "show his wife the respect she demanded" — which it speculates was the likely motivation behind the purported hit.

Blanco made a habit of killing, whether for business dealings or personal reasons, leaving a trail of as many as 200 victims in her wake, per The Guardian. "I don't think the fact that she was a female trying to prove something had anything to do with her violent behavior; I just think it was inherent to Griselda Blanco," former DEA agent Bob Palombo told Maxim. "This goes back to her life, the way she was brought up. She was just a violent person."

Husbands, rivals, strippers

By the early 1970s, Griselda Blanco and her second husband Alberto Bravo — before their deadly falling out in 1975 — were living in Queens, New York, where they laid the groundwork for their cocaine empire. After Bravo was murdered, Blanco moved to Miami, per Maxim. There, her violent tendencies helped fuel the Miami drug wars of the late 1970s, according to Max Mermelstein, who was involved in the Miami cocaine business (via the Lexington Herald-Leader). While married to her third husband, hitman Dario Sepulveda, she believed he'd cheated on her with eight strippers, so she ordered their execution, per Vice.

After Sepulveda fled to Colombia with their son Michael Corleone Sepulveda (named for the character in "The Godfather") in 1983, he was killed in front of the child, who was around 5 years old at the time. According to "Kings of Cocaine: Inside the Medellín Cartel — An Astonishing True Story of Murder, Money and International Corruption," he was killed by police — though Blanco was suspected of sending assassins to do the deed. Sepulveda's brother and his allies went to war against Blanco's organization, exacerbating the already volatile Miami drug scene. 

The authorities finally caught up with Blanco in 1985, and she ended up serving more than 20 years for her drug crimes and for the murders of two drug dealers and a 2-year-old boy who was shot in the head twice in a botched hit. After her prison stint, federal authorities deported her to Colombia where in 2012, two hitmen gunned her down in Medellin, per The Guardian.