Real-Life Chucho Castro: Did Griselda Blanco Kill Her Bodyguard’s Son?

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Griselda Blanco knew from the very beginning that it wouldn’t be easy to set foot in a male-dominated underworld, and therefore she had to be ruthless in her endeavors. She handpicked the most threatening men as her enforcers. These men had unshakable loyalty to their queen and were willing to go to any lengths to make her happy. But unfortunately, Jesus Chucho Castro wasn’t one of them. The Netflix series introduced the aforementioned real-life character at the very beginning, when Griselda met Chucho at a dinner and later hired him as her bodyguard. While the scene seemed interesting at first, none of it was actually true. There are multiple accounts of how Griselda met Chucho, the closest source being Jorge ‘Rivi’ Ayala, who had been Griselda’s hitman-cum-lover for the longest time. It is true that Griselda often visited cafes and nightclubs in Miami, the most famous one being the Mutiny Hotel, to meet with potential traffickers. It was from these public spots that she would hire or pick her enforcers, and it was the Jacaranda nightclub where she first came across Ayala, the man who would spill pools of blood for her.

Spoiler Alert


Why did Chucho leave Griselda?

Jesus Chucho Castro was never cut out for the job. Being an outsider, he did have a desire to rise up the ladder and fulfill his American dream, but he was never really sure about selling cocaine or killing people in cold blood. In the Netflix series, Chucho hesitated not once or twice but three times before killing a man, and the creators made it evident from the very beginning that the man was going to betray The Godmother sooner or later. It was said that anyone who wanted to get a full membership in Griselda’s gang, Los Pistoleros, had to first prove his loyalty by bringing back a finger or ear of her enemy as proof. For Chucho, on the other hand, it all came too easy, or at least it was how the Netflix series portrayed it.

At some point in the series, Ayala convinced Griselda that there was a mole in her gang, and therefore, the duo made a hit list of all the potential targets. In real life, it was Griselda who had created a hit list of all those people who wronged her or questioned her authority. When the killing streak began, it was Chucho who felt the most discomfort, and it was evident that the man wanted to leave the woman’s gang and start somewhere else. As Griselda grew delusional and paranoid, a sense of insecurity crept into her gang, who didn’t know when the woman would lose her mind and get them killed. Griselda killed out of intuition, not out of reason. Therefore, real-life Chucho, like many other loyal hitmen, including real-life Papo Mejia, decided to take their chance and walk out of the Godmother’s gang.


Why did Griselda want to kill Chucho?

There are two accounts revolving around Chucho’s reasons for parting ways with Griselda. The most famous one, which was even portrayed in the Netflix series, took place when Griselda’s most reckless son, Dixon, got himself into trouble and ended up at Chucho’s doorstep, seeking help and shelter from the police. At this point in time, Chucho was a married man with a 2-year-old boy. He didn’t want to invite authorities into his house, which was why he refused to help Dixon. When Griselda’s boy refused to leave, Chucho landed a punch on his face to send him away. Chucho already had mixed thoughts about leaving Griselda’s gang and even stopped attending her rave parties to spend time with his family. A paranoid Griselda took note of Chucho’s absence and lack of loyalty, and when the suspected mole raised a hand to her boy; she didn’t hold back any further. Griselda ordered Ayala to kill the man in the most ruthless manner possible.

Now Ayala, at the back of his head, knew the consequences of such an impulsive decision, and he tried to convey the same to Griselda, but the woman had already been blinded by power. In Cocaine Cowboys: Reloaded, Ayala narrated a different set of events and told the viewers that Chucho was his best friend who got arrested at New York Airport due to Ayala’s negligence. Griselda helped Ayala get out of prison, but she refused to do the same for Chucho, as he wasn’t officially a part of the crew. At that time, Chucho’s wife was staying with Ayala’s family at his house, and when she found out about Chucho’s arrest, she started making threats to go to the FBI and snitch on Griselda if she didn’t help her husband. When these threats fell on Griselda’s ears, she ordered the wife’s assassination without delay, and Ayala had to be the grim reaper for his best friend’s wife. Chucho saw the report on TV and knew that it was Ayala who shot his wife. He confronted Ayala about the same thing, but Griselda’s loyal hitman denied the allegations and never talked to his best friend again. It’s possible that Chucho left the gang soon after. Additionally, Henri Dauber’s book suggest that Chucho had impulsively hit Michael Corleone Blanco after getting infuriated by the whims of the child. In a fit of rage, Griselda ordered Ayala to kill Chucho for disrespecting her child and crossing the line.


How Did Johnny Die?

Whatever the case might be, Griselda had enough reasons to kill Chucho and end the chapter once and for all. She convinced Ayala to carry out the hit on a sunny afternoon. On February 7, 1982, Ayala followed Chucho’s Cadillac driving on South Dixie Highway and 168th Street and pulled out a Mac 10 machine pistol on him. The victim acted in fear, slid under the steering wheel, and hit the pedal to escape the storm of bullets. Because of that, the bullets pierced the car’s door and hit Chucho’s son, Johnny, sitting in the back, thereby killing the innocent soul on the spot. The police later recovered his body in front of a Catholic church two days after the incident. After his son’s death, Chucho disappeared from the scene for some time and vowed to take revenge against Johnny’s perpetrators.

In real life, Griselda never felt any remorse for her actions, contrary to what the Netflix series portrayed. Instead, the ruthless Godmother was happy after Johnny’s murder, as she believed that the tragedy caused a lot of pain to Chucho. She might have seen the entire incident as some sort of revenge for harming her kids.


What Finally Happened to Chucho?

Johnny’s death was a turning point in Griselda’s life. It marked the beginning of the fall of her evil regime, as many in the gang got a feeling of distrust. The homicidal maniac not only killed her rivals but also started killing their family members, which raised the alarm bell. The police, on the other hand, witnessed the death of a 2-year-old kid, which sent chills down the spines of everyone in the community. They swore to take down Griselda Blanco as quickly as possible.

After Griselda’s violent act, her own men turned against her and became state witnesses in order to shorten their sentences or avoid the death penalty. Some sources suggest that Chucho followed the lead and testified against Ayala and Griselda. It was most likely because of his statement that Ayala was charged with Johnny’s murder in August 1988, while Griselda faced conviction for the attempted murder of Chucho Castro on October 1, 1998. Most likely, Chucho has already been released and is living as a free man in some part of the world, if he is not already dead. Griselda’s real-life bodyguard might not have had a role to play in her downfall directly, but his tragedy became the spark that burned her whole drug empire down.


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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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