Griselda Blanco's Son Michael Corleone Still Faces Cocaine Trafficking Charge in Miami
One can only imagine what is going through the mind of Michael Corleone Blanco. On Monday afternoon, his mother, Griselda Blanco -- the queen of Miami's Cocaine Cowboys era -- was slain by an assassin as she walked out of a butcher shop in Medellín. Meanwhile, Michael has been on house arrest since May 12 of last year, when he was busted on two felony counts of cocaine trafficking and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine. If he wants to attend his mom's funeral in Colombia, he will need permission from a judge.
According to his friend and business manager, Cristian Rios, Michael had not seen his mother since she was released from state prison and deported to Colombia in 2004, though he spoke to her regularly on the phone and sent her home videos of himself with his wife and two children.
Last year, I chronicled Michael's life, which reads like a Shakespearean tragedy involving the drug trade. His mom named him after Michael Corleone, the main character in the gangster epic The Godfather and its two sequels. But there was no romanticism in the violence that Blanco's scion witnessed firsthand.
For instance, when he was 5 years old, he saw his father, Dario Sepulveda, get killed by men dressed as police officers in Medellín one day in 1983. Two of Griselda's pals -- ex-smuggler Max Mermelstein and former hit man Jorge "Rivi" Ayala -- subsequently told law enforcement officials that she was the one who ordered the hit on her husband, who had left to Colombia with Michael and another woman. Rios, Michael's confidante, vehemently denies Griselda was involved in Sepulveda's murder.
A year later, after he had been reunited with his mother, Michael was present when DEA agents finally caught her in a house in Irvine, California. While his mom served time on her coke trafficking conviction, two of Michael's brothers were assassinated in Medellín.
For most of his childhood and teenage years, Michael bounced around, living with relatives or legal guardians, according to Rios. He lived in relative anonymity, steering clear of trouble and his family's original line of work. "Michael really likes his privacy," Rios noted.
After the documentary Cocaine Cowboys and its sequel, Hustlin' With the Godmother, turned Blanco into a hip-hop-culture icon and renewed interest in her, Michael and his mother sold the rights to their life stories to the production company First Born Films.
But according to DEA agents and Sunrise vice cops, Michael was following in mom's footsteps.
On May 12, he was charged with trying to buy five kilos from an undercover detective using $10,000 in cash, a motorcycle, and a diamond necklace and pendant inscribed with the phrase Kill All Rats. The arrest affidavit alleges Michael arranged for a business associate to make the exchange at a Sunrise warehouse while he and a confidential informant working with the cops waited for the transaction to be completed in a Miami Beach Dunkin' Donuts.
The DEA and Sunrise PD also claim to have audio recordings of Michael and the snitch discussing the transaction before it occurred.
Michael pleaded not guilty to both counts and is awaiting trial. A status conference on his case has been scheduled for October 11. At the time I wrote the article, Michael declined to comment under the advice of his lawyer Nathan Diamond, who represented his mother when she was charged with three homicides in Miami-Dade in 1994.
After Griselda's murder, I stopped by Michael's house to see if he wanted to talk. No one answered the door.
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