Do you think violence and brutality are exclusive to men? While it is true that most famous gangsters are men, there are quite a few women who have made their way in this line of business and managed to be as feared as their male counterparts.
After all, you don’t need physical power to run a drug cartel; you need brains and cunning and total disrespect for human life.
The women on this list had plenty of those, and their ‘accomplishments’ are enough to put them up there among notorious criminals like Al Capone or Pablo Escobar.
10 Claudia Ochoa Felix
To watch Claudia Felix step out of an armored car, you’d have thought she was a movie star. Young, beautiful, and elegant, Claudia Felix was sometimes referred to as the ‘Kim Kardashian of crime.’
Her other nickname, the Empress of Los Antrax, was more telling as the hot Mexican was believed to be the leader of this gang of violent criminals working hand in hand with the infamous Sinaloa drug cartel.
She maintained an essential social media presence, where she posted images of her impressive gun collection.
In September 2019, she was found dead in her sumptuous Mexican residence of an apparent drug overdose, but many in the Sinaloa area believe she was assassinated. She was only 32 years old.
9 Angie Sanclemente Valencia
Dubbed the Narco Queen, Columbian-born Angie Sanclemente Valencia rose to fame as a lingerie model. With her spectacular curves, Angie soon became the girlfriend of a Mexican drug lord known as ‘The Monster.’
When they broke up, Angie had learned enough of the trade to set up her drug empire. She used fashion models to smuggle cocaine into Europe, paying the girls $5,000 per trip.
In 2009, one of her sexy drug mules was arrested in Buenos Aires with a suitcase full of drugs, while Angie herself was captured a few months later.
She received a six-year jail sentence but served only three. She was released in 2013 and is now back in her native Columbia.
8 Maria Licciardi
The Italian Mafia is known for its patriarchal system, with women relegated to the role of wives dutifully raising Don of the family.
Maria Licciardi was born in a powerful clan of the Camorra, the Naples Mafia, and married another Mafia member.
When her two brothers and husband were arrested, she took control of the family business and became known as La Madrina, The Godmother.
She was most interested in the lucrative domain of prostitution, buying young women from the Albanian Mafia. When the women got too old or showed signs of rebelliousness, she had them killed.
She was arrested in 2001 after a few years on the run, and although behind bars, she is thought to be still in charge of the Licciardi clan.
7 Phoolan Devi
The Bandit Queen of India does not precisely fit the description of the gangster as, to many, she was an activist for women’s rights.
As typical for many poor Indian women, she was forced to marry young and was repeatedly raped by her husband, which prompted her to run away and join a group of outlaws.
When the gang split into two rival factions, Phoolan Devi was captured by the other side and gang-raped over a few weeks.
Her revenge was terrible. A few years later, she conducted the execution of more than 20 of her captors.
Arrested in 1983, she spent 11 years in jail, staged a comeback, ran for Parliament, and won two mandates. The past caught up with her in 2001 when her old enemies gunned her down.