Latin America & Caribbean

Colombia's 'queen of cocaine' Griselda Blanco killed

Package of cocaine, seized in Panama 30 July 2012, allegedly from Colombia
Blanco established smuggling routes from Colombia to the US

A Colombian drug trafficker, known as the "queen of cocaine", has been killed in the city of Medellin.

Griselda Blanco, 69, was shot dead by gunmen as she was leaving a butcher's.

Blanco was one of the first Colombians to smuggle cocaine from Colombia to the United States on a large scale in the 1970s and 80s.

She established many of the smuggling routes taken over by the Medellin cartel after she was sentenced to 20 years in prison for drug trafficking.

With a reputation for ruthlessness, Blanco is suspected of having ordered the killing of dozens of her rivals to get to the top of her business.

Sentenced by a US court for drug trafficking in 1985, she spent almost 20 years in an American jail before being deported to Colombia in 2004.

Her family said that upon her return to Colombia, Blanco had cut her ties to organised crime.

Police in Medellin say they are investigating the motive behind the killing.

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