Cocaine Cowboys Hitman Wants Out of Jail

By McCarton Ackerman 04/30/13

The '80s gangster who blew the whistle on Griselda Blanco wants his life sentence reduced.

Does Jorge Ayala deserve to go free?
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"Cocaine Cowboys" hitman Jorge Ayala, currently in prison for 3 murders, believes his "substantial" cooperation with law enforcement officials in the '80s is justification for his sentence to be reduced. Ayala, 48, was convicted of three drug slayings and suspected of 35 murders in total, and has been serving a life sentence since 1993. He was denied the opportunity for parole last year, with his next hearing set for 2019. "He feels after all these years, he deserves a chance at redemption,” said his attorney Jim Lewis. “I think he’s done a lot of good. He put a lot of people in jail, one of the few people who stood up to the Colombian Cartel.” Ayala is perhaps best known for assisting Griselda Blanco, the infamous Miami drug kingpin of the '70s and '80s known as "The Godmother," who was killed last year in Colombia. Ayala was the star witness in Blanco's trial, but the case was weakened when reports surfaced that he had offered bribes of money and phone sex to secretaries from the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. This dealt a crushing blow to the prosecution, and Blanco was ultimately convicted of three murders in 1998, despite being accused of 40, and served just seven years of a 20-year prison sentence. Ayala will now be moved from a Pensacola jail to one in Miami-Dade, with an “evidentiary” hearing likely to be scheduled in the next several months. If released, he would be deported to Colombia. “Hopefully, the State Attorney will forget about the foolishness with the phone calls and the secretaries and do the right thing and give him credit for what he’s done," said his attorney.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.