The real-life people behind the characters in Netflix's Griselda.

There's something about knowing that the characters in your favourite series or movies are based on real people, that makes watching them a little bit more alluring. 

Especially when that series is as wild as Griseldastarring Sofía Vergara. 

If you're anything like me, as soon as you've finished watching a true-crime show, you're doing a deep dive into the real-life version of the story.

Watch the trailer for Griselda. Post continues below.

Video via Netflix.

Griselda is currently trending on Netflix, and for good reason. The dramatised show follows the rise and fall of Griselda Blanco, who fled from Colombia to Miami to create one of the most profitable and ruthless cartels in history.

So, we bring you the truth behind the show's characters.

Griselda Blanco, played by Sofía Vergara.

The show's namesake, Griselda Blanco came to America from Colombia to give her sons a better life. Having been married to small-time criminal, Carlos Trujillo, Blanco used her knowledge of the drug industry to create her own cartel, which ultimately became one of the most powerful in history. 

Blanco was notorious for her use of violence to ensure dominance, murdering many people, including a two-year-old boy, and it's believed, her former husband.


According to the 2014 book Drugs in American Society, Blanco was responsible for most of South Florida's murders from 1979 to 1981.

Sofia Vergara as Griselda Blanco. Image: Netflix/Metro Dade Police Department.

She became known as the 'Cocaine Godmother', and even named her youngest son Michael Corleone after the star character in The Godfather movies. 


In 1985, Blanco was charged with conspiring to manufacture, import, and distribute cocaine, and sentenced to 15 years. 

In 1994, she was charged with three murders, including two-year-old Johnny Castro. She pleaded guilty and received three 20-year sentences, to be served concurrently. 

She was deported to Colombia in 2004, where she lived until she was reportedly shot and killed in a drive-by shooting as she left a butcher. She was 69 when she died. 

Jorge 'Rivi' Ayala, played by Martín Rodríguez. 

Martin Rodriguez as Jorge 'Rivi' Ayala. Image: Netflix. 


The real-life 'Rivi' Ayala was a lieutenant for one of Blanco's rivals, but ended up changing sides to become her right-hand man. 

Considered Blanco's most ruthless hitman, Ayala pleaded guilty to three murders in 1993, though it's believed he was responsible for dozens more. He was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole. He was denied release in 2013, and if were to be released, he would be deported to Colombia.

June Hawkins, played by Juliana Aidén Martinez.

Juliana Aiden Martinez as June Hawkins. Image: Instagram/@detectivejunehawkins


June Hawkins was one of the first female police officers in Miami, and played an instrumental role in building a case against Blanco. 

In a BBC podcast, she said there weren't many Spanish-speaking officers in the department, meaning she was able to act as an "intelligence analyst to filter through all the names of all the people and make out who they were".

She wrote a major report as a result, that found its way to Washington with about 40 cases connected to it. Hawkins previously described herself as a "tough old broad" with an iron stomach. She was heavily involved in the creation of Griselda, spending hours chatting with the actor who plays her, Juliana Aidén Martinez. Hawkins is now 73. 

Darío Sepúlveda, played by Alberto Guerra.

Alberto Guerra as Dario Sepulveda. Image: Netflix/Instagram


Like Ayala, Darío Sepúlveda also switched sides, having initially planned to kill Blanco. 

Sepúlveda took it a step further by eventually marrying Blanco, and fathering her youngest son, Michael Corleone Blanco - named after the main character of The Godfather

In 1983, he took off with the couple's son, but was later reportedly shot and killed while sitting in his car next to Michael in Colombia. It's believed Blanco was involved, earning her the nickname, The Black Widow - given this was the third husband to die in suspicious circumstances.  

Chucho Castro, played by Fredy Yate.

Fredy Yate plays Chucho Castro. Image: Netflix. 


Chucho Castro worked for Blanco for years, before an altercation with her son turned her against him. Blanco ordered Ayala to shoot Castro, however his two-year-old son, was shot and killed instead. 

It's believed Castro called the police after bathing, clothing and wrapping his deceased son and covering him in roses. He then went into hiding. 

It's a show filled with twists and turns - the real-life stories behind the series even more fascinating. 

Feature Image: Netflix/Metro Dade Police Department.

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