HomeNewsBriefMexico's 'Queen of the Pacific' Re-Arrested After US Release
BRIEF

Mexico's 'Queen of the Pacific' Re-Arrested After US Release

EXTRADITION / 21 AUG 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Drug trafficker Sandra Avila Beltran, better known as Mexico's "Queen of the Pacific," will now face money laundering charges in Mexico following her quick release from US prison, alleviating fears she would walk free having served only a minimal sentence.

Avila was deported back to Mexico City from a Texas prison on August 20, and was promptly placed in a federal prison in Nayarit state to await proceedings on charges of managing illicit funds, which were suspended when she was extradited to the United States, reported El Universal.

Avila, who was arrested in Mexico in 2007, was extradited to the US in 2012 after a number of legal setbacks. She was released on receiving a light 70-month sentence after cutting a deal with the authorities as the time she had already served in Mexico was counted in her favor.

The infamous trafficker faced charges during the previous administration for funneling illicit money into two life insurance funds, each worth over $300,000, reported El Diario.

InSight Crime Analysis

Avila's criminal connections started at birth -- her uncle, Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, alias "The Godfather," was one of Mexico's first major drug traffickers. Early in her criminal career, she served as a link between the Sinaloa Cartel and Colombia's Norte del Valle Cartel. She used romantic relationships to gain prominence in the Mexican underworld and, most famously, became involved with convicted Colombian trafficker Juan Diego Espinoza Ramirez, alias "El Tigre," with whom she was accused of conspiring to traffic nine tons of cocaine in 2007.

The US plea bargain agreed with Avila appeared to bring to a close a tortured and controversial legal process. She was acquitted of drug trafficking charges in 2010 -- a verdict upheld by a judge who was later investigated for organized crime ties -- and her extradition was initially blocked in 2011.

By reviving the old charges, it may be that the Mexican government is trying to challenge perceptions that the country's judicial system is incapable of processing leading underworld figures -- a perception which has fuelled the increasing reliance on extradtion, which in this case also only led to a lenient punishment.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

KIDNAPPING / 10 AUG 2011

The number of kidnappings and instances of violent crime reported in the first half of 2011 in Mexico has increased…

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 28 OCT 2020

Six months after a sophisticated robbery where gunmen hijacked gold and silver bars being loaded onto a plane in Mexico,…

JUDICIAL REFORM / 18 APR 2017

A new report by a US-based research group offers a rare look at how Mexico's judges, prosecutors and public defenders…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…

THE ORGANIZATION

Coverage of Fallen Paraguay Prosecutor Makes Headlines

20 MAY 2022

The murder of leading anti-crime prosecutor, Marcelo Pecci, while on honeymoon in Colombia, has drawn attention to the evolution of organized crime in Paraguay. While 17 people have been arrested…