There’s no question that cartel stories keep luring audiences, as proven by the success of several shows, such as “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” and “Queen of the South.” They provide a glimpse into the lives of crime kingpins and their families with tales of good and evil.

Produced by Big Fish Entertainment and VH1 Productions, “Cartel Crew” documents the lives of the children of the cartel bosses. This reality show explores the legacy of crime on these sons and daughters as they navigate adulthood. “Cartel Crew’s” main cast talks about family drama dynamics and confronting the ghosts of cartel upbringing.

This article gives you an idea of what the TV series is about, whether it’s real or scripted, season three highlights, and whether there will be a season four. You’ll also read about the show’s main cast and why you should count on BuddyTV for entertainment news.

What’s “Cartel Crew” About?

Premiered on VH1 on January 7, 2019, “Cartel Crew” looks at the impact of the cartel lifestyle on the kingpins’ descendants in Miami, Florida. The cast of this show talks about personal journeys as they battle to break away from their drug trafficking pasts. Everyone is keen to put away the past and become role models far away from the drug world. However, breaking free from the past comes with its fair share of challenges as the descendants grapple with life’s ups and downs.

The cartel children featured in the American reality television series include Michael Corleone Blanco, the youngest son of the notorious Griselda Blanco, otherwise known as the “Cocaine Godmother.” Kat “Tatu Baby” Flores is another cast member whose father was killed when she was four years old. Meanwhile, Dayana Castellanos shares a story about how she ended up in federal prison on a drug charge.

In season one (including the “Life After Narcos” episode), the children deal with life in Miami. They work tirelessly to get ahead without turning to crime like their parents. Blanco finds this particularly challenging after depending on criminal pursuits for 33 years.

In episodes eight and nine of season one, the cast confronted the evil committed by Pablo Escobar when they traveled to Colombia. They got to meet Escobar’s terror survivors on the trip. Upon their return to Miami, cast members still felt the effects of what they saw in South America, in addition to other personal struggles. While some came to grips with truths about their parents, others faced the consequences of family feuds or tried to unite broken families.

Is “Cartel Crew” Real?

As a viewer, it’s quite understandable to wonder whether “Cartel Crew” is real or not. Its premise has made some viewers wonder if it’s true. Let’s look at various aspects of the TV series’ premise.

Unlike other popular crime drama shows like Mob Wives, “Cartel Crew” isn’t about glorifying the bad guys. Instead, it highlights how the descendants of crime bosses strive to ditch the cartel life. The show portrays the dark side of criminal activities and a positive picture of living a clean life. Still, some people aren’t convinced since they feel the show still glorifies some aspects of crime, like Blanco’s clothing business, which uses crime-related branding elements, and features photos of his drug dealer mom.

Sometimes, the cast seems to have a soft spot for the cartels. Some viewers questioned whether the production companies glossed over the premise to attract the audience.

The authenticity of the premise also comes under question, given some conflicts between cast members about lost loved ones and claims of drug cartel links. These scuffles often feel unrealistic.

Although some pundits feel that various things about the show are fake, the evidence is circumstantial. In the end, it’s safe to say that “Cartel Crew” is real. It’s just that it thrives on a degree of ambiguity over certain events.

What Happened in Season 3 of “Cartel Crew?”

Released on June 7, 2021, the third season follows the cartel descendants as they find their way. It focuses on major issues like gun reforms, mental health, fixing broken family relationships, and social justice.

As most cast members find a place in the world outside of the cartel business, they still end up at crossroads. For instance, Michael Blanco focuses on building a business empire but hits a brick wall when he approaches Marie Ramirez for a prenup.

Meanwhile, Salomé mourns the loss of her slain sister before fighting for justice. This unfortunate event forces Dayana Castellanos to work tirelessly to prevent her family members from getting shot and killed amid Miami’s gun violence crisis. On the upside, Dayana’s fortunes in business and love take a positive turn.

As the season progresses, Stephanie Acevedo finally puts her struggles behind her and feels ready to find love. Her family’s cartel activities took a toll on her, and she badly needed to ditch the negative energy to find balance. On the other hand, Nicole Zavala (the wife of Michael Zavala) experiences depression following two tragedies.

About the Main Cast Members of “Cartel Crew”

Now, let’s take a look at who is who in “Cartel Crew.” The show comes with several main cast members. Here are some of them.

Michael Corleone Blanco

Michael Corleone Blanco

He’s the youngest son of Griselda Blanco, a notorious drug kingpin operating interstate networks from Miami. As a child of one of the most feared drug lords, Blanco participated in criminal activities for 33 years before calling it quits following his mother’s assassination. Outside cartel life, he runs a personal clothing brand known as Pure Blanco. To expand his business interests, he’s also pursuing a partnership with a cannabis dispensary outfit. On the family front, Michael is the father of a young daughter, whom he raises with his wife, Marie.

Marie Ramirez De Arellano

Marie Ramirez De Arellano

She stars in the show alongside her husband, Blanco. The couple first appeared in the TV series in 2019. Marie’s father was a Cuban cartel boss who kept his daughter out of criminal circles. Born on February 15, 1987, in Cuba, Mary admits that, from a young age, she knew what her father was doing. As a young girl, she helped her parents run a courier company. Meanwhile, she has lost links with her family after revealing that she was seeing Griselda Blanco’s son, Michael. As a result, Marie’s world revolves around her daughter and husband. 

Katherine “Tatu Baby” Flores

Katherine "Tatu Baby" Flores

Born October 28, 1987, Flores is a tattoo artist who previously appeared as a contestant in the tattoo art competition “Ink Master” (seasons two and three). Her ex-boyfriend is Eddie Soto. In 2017, she appeared in the reality television series “Black Ink Crew.” She’s the daughter of a New York drug kingpin who died when Katherine was four years old. Although she doesn’t reveal her father’s name on “Cartel Crew,” the Telegraph claimed that he was a close ally of Pablo Escobar. After his death, Katherine decided to get out of the drug business in fear for her family’s safety.

Stephanie Acevedo

Stephanie Acevedo

She has been on the show since it started in 2019. Stephanie tells a story about how she’s moving away from cartel life by starting a career in the music industry. Born on October 11, 1990, the reality TV star is a daughter of a notorious Miami drug lord. As a child, she remembers when her father went to prison, leaving her mother to fend for the family. Despite the financial challenges experienced by the family at the time and the effect of her father’s criminal activities, she refused to let these events and circumstances define her. Then again, Acevedo is still protective of her father despite his criminal history. In episode four (S1), titled “New York, Old Secrets,” the star demonstrated her protectiveness when she clashed with Zavala for saying something negative about her father.

Nicole Zavala

Nicole Zavala

Born on February 8, 1993, Nicole is an event host and model who grew up in Columbia. Her modeling career helped the star appear in several TV commercials and glossy magazines. In “Cartel Crew,” she announced that she didn’t know much about her family’s cartel activities, leading some cast members to question the legitimacy of her cartel link claims. When confronted, Nicole said she never asked questions.

Carlos “Loz” Oliveros

Carlos "Loz" Oliveros

Born in June 1987, this tattoo artist appeared in the first and second seasons. As a child, he saw the world through the Mexican cartel’s eyes. As a result, he became embroiled in the criminal business before getting involved in a bloody shootout that led to the loss of a family member. In “Cartel Crew,” he disclosed that the incident forced him to ditch the criminal pursuits for a cleaner life.

Dayana Castellanos

Dayana Castellanos

Before joining “Cartel Crew,” Dayana spent several years working in the drug business. At one point, she was responsible for several houses where the cartel grew marijuana. This stint ended in tears as she served time in a federal institution after getting arrested. In the end, she expressed gratitude that the experience helped turn her life around. In “Cartel Crew,” she talks about how she eventually managed to reunite her broken family and live a clean life.

Is “Cartel Crew” Season 4 Coming Out?

If you’re wondering whether VH1 will renew or cancel the riveting crime reality series, you need to keep your fingers crossed. The network hasn’t announced anything yet. Stay tuned to for regular updates on the show.

Where Can You Watch “Cartel Crew?”

There are lots of places to watch the show’s seasons one, two, and three. The streaming platforms include Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, and Vudu. New seasons air on the original network, VH1.

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Heather Reinblatt

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV