Meet the Cocaine Queen

Cocaine Cowboys sequel takes us to the web of the Black Widow.

In Hustlin', we learn Blanco was a slum rat in Medellín who committed murder for the first time at age 11 and who worked as a teenage prostitute. She's tough, violent, and ruthless. She's jealous too. When she suspects Cosby is involved with another woman, she sends a car full of young men to shoot up his Corvette with machine-gun rounds. Cosby escapes with a bullet wound in one arm.

The story of Charles and Griselda, though, is at its core a love story. The portrait we get of her in this Cocaine Cowboys installment is that of a gentler Godmother. In Cosby's recollections, she's no longer demanding an associate's head — just because — or requesting that henchmen dismember her enemies and slay their children. She's a nurturer who adores her kids and bestows favors on those who please her. She even forgives Cosby's sexual indiscretions, telling him those silly gunmen were merely instructed to fire warning shots.

They remain close, with Cosby crisscrossing the country to represent her in business deals. But Blanco's days as a crime boss are numbered. Law enforcers want to nail her for all of those murders, and they have the right person in custody: Blanco's favorite hit man, Jorge "Rivi" Ayala.

Griselda Blanco and her minions.
Griselda Blanco and her minions.

As described in the film, Ayala negotiates a deal to testify against his former boss. The Godmother faces murder charges, and she's freaking out. She decides in mid-1996 to order the kidnapping of John F. Kennedy Jr. with the intent of trading him to the U.S. government for her freedom. Cosby reluctantly assists her, but the kidnapping attempt flops. Then he receives a subpoena to appear in Miami.

Again, Blanco is gunning for Cosby, this time as a potential prosecution witness against her. But then the government flubs the murder case. Ayala, it turns out, is having phone sex with a secretary in the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office. Cosby, too, beds a secretary while he's in town giving a deposition. Prosecutors decide the credibility of their two key witnesses has been compromised.

Charles Cosby and Griselda Blanco haven't spoken to each other in more than a decade. It would seem the Black Widow spared one of her mates.

So shouldn't Cosby be lying low, counting his lucky stars to be alive, instead of running his trap about his former lover? "I'm not nervous at all," he says. "If she's upset about the movie, oh well. Get over it."

In fact, word on the street is that the Godmother is okay with the movies. Cosby says he recently reconnected with Blanco's youngest son, Michael Corleone (yes, Mafia buffs, Blanco loved The Godfather so much she christened a son after Al Pacino's character in that movie), who said both he and his mother had seen the movies.

"She sends her blessings," Cosby says.

Blanco's three other sons were all murdered, purportedly in retribution for carnage she herself caused. But Michael has reached the ripe old age of 30; he's now an aspiring hip-hop artist living in Miami and raising kids, including the 13-year-old son of one of his slain brothers. That nephew recently got a rude awakening when a classmate lent him a copy of Cocaine Cowboys. The teen apparently broke into tears while watching the tale. "He didn't know that part of his grandmother's life," Cosby says.

As for Blanco, Michael says she's now a born-again Christian. She's alive and well in Colombia and, like Cosby, has apparently abandoned the drug trade. Both, though, were able to squirrel away enough cash to retire, Cosby says.

"Hopefully I'll see Griselda again someday," he says wistfully.

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