Cartel Crew, VH1’s new docu-series that follows the sons and daughters of members of drug cartels, premieres Monday, January 7 at 9/8c. The 10-episode series, produced by Big Fish Entertainment, will take a look at the lives of eight descendants of drug lords and parents with serious cartel connections who essentially grew up as “cartel kids.”
The series follows the cartel crew as they navigate a new life in Miami, Florida, away from the dangerous life many of their family members lived. The series will be led by Michael Blanco, the youngest son of the “Cocaine Godmother” Griselda Blanco, who left the drug life after 33 years when his mother was assassinated.
Here’s what we know about the cast of Cartel Crew:
Michael Blanco is the youngest son of Griselda Blanco, famously known as the “Cocaine Godmother.” Blanco initially followed his family into a life of crime, essentially taking over the family business at the age of 12 when his brothers and mother were all incarcerated. He carried on the business for 33 years, occasionally serving time himself, before his mother was murdered. “When my mother was assassinated, I realized I had to change my life,” he told VH1. He launched his own personal clothing brand, “Pure Blanco,” and is attempting to lead a clean, legal lifestyle with his girlfriend Maria.
Maria Ramirez De Arellano
Maria Ramirez De Arellano, Blanco’s girlfriend, led her own life of crime before she and Blanco decided to quit the cartel life. Her father generally kept his dealings private, and Arellano eventually lost touch with many of her family members after she met Blanco, but VH1 has hinted that some of Arellano’s family skeletons will come back to haunt her during the show. In the meantime, Arellano puts everything she has into her relationship with Blanco and helping him run his business.
Katherine “Tatu Baby” Flores
Katherine Flores, who often goes by “Tatu Baby” from her reputation in the tattoo industry, also features on the show and has a dark history connected to the drug world as well. Her father was a big time drug dealer in New York City and was murdered when she was just four years old. Flores and her mother fled New York, where she now resides in Miami and is focusing on raising her son.
Stephanie Acevedo’s father was “one of the biggest drug smugglers in Miami history,” according to VH1. He was eventually arrested for cocaine trafficking and sent to federal prison, which upended Acevedo’s life. As she tries to piece her life back together and leave behind the cartel life, she is focusing on making a name for herself in the music industry. Acevedo and Flores are close friends, and will both feature extensively on the show.
Nicole & Michael Zavala
Nicole and twin brother Michael Zavala grew up rich off the spoils of cartel life. None of their family were ever charged or linked to the cartel, nor did they ever have to experience a family member murdered due to cartel connections, so many of the other cast members are suspicious of the two, especially those who have been seriously affected by their links to the drug world (such as Flores and Blanco, who both had parents murdered because of their connections). The twins strive to be accepted by the rest of the cast throughout the season.
Carlos “Loz” Oliveros
Carlos “Loz” Oliveros, a loyal tattoo customer of Flores’, doesn’t delve into specifics about his cartel affiliation, although a member of his family was murdered by the cartel. After losing said family member, Oliveros stepped away from the cartel life and focused on building a career in the tattoo business while raising his daughter in a life as far from a life of crime as possible. His Instagram account is filled with pictures of his artwork, many of them involving black and grey portraits of celebrities, animals and children.
Dayana Castellanos, the final of the eight cartel crew members, spent two years in prison for her cartel involvement in a marijuana grow operation. Now that she is free, she is focusing on staying on the straight and narrow and making up for lost time with her children. She is also good friends with Flores, and her Instagram account says she loves “tattoos and tacos.”
Tune in tonight, January 7 at 9/8c to watch the season premiere of Cartel Crew.
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