MIAMI — Griselda Blanco, the drug kingpin known for her blood-soaked style of street vengeance during Miami's "cocaine cowboys" era of the '70s and '80s, was shot to death in Medellin by motorcycle-riding assassins Monday, according to Colombian press reports.
Blanco, 69, spent nearly two decades behind bars in the United States for drug trafficking and three murders, including the fatal shooting of a 2-year-old boy in Miami in 1982.
Known as "The Godmother of Cocaine," she was deported to Colombia in 2004.
According to Radio Caracol and two newspapers, El Espectador and El Tiempo, two gunmen on motorcycles unleashed a fatal hail of gunfire as she walked out of a butcher shop in Medellin, her hometown.
"It's surprising to all of us that she had not been killed sooner because she made a lot of enemies," former Miami homicide detective Nelson Andreu, who investigated her, said late Monday. "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."
Blanco was arrested in 1985 in a cocaine trafficking case in New York, and she was released in 1998 to Florida authorities. She pleaded no contest in October 1998 to three counts of second-degree murder.
Police estimated she was involved in at least 40 homicides between Miami and New York. She is credited with importing to Miami the concept of the "motorcycle assassin" - killers on bikes who sprayed their victims with machine-gun bullets.
"This is classic live-by-the-sword, die-by-the-die-sword," said Miami filmmaker Billy Corben, whose "Cocaine Cowboys" documentaries chronicled her notoriety. "Or in this case, live-by-the-motorcycle-assassin, die-by-the-motorcycle assassin."