Skip to main content

Mexico's 'Queen of the Pacific' deported from U.S.

By CNNMexico
August 21, 2013 -- Updated 0908 GMT (1708 HKT)
Sandra Avila Beltran was dubbed
Sandra Avila Beltran was dubbed "Queen of the Pacific" because she allegedly controlled drug-smuggling routes from Colombia to Mexico along the Pacific Coast.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sandra Avila Beltran had pleaded guilty in a drug case in the United States
  • The judge sentenced her to time served; she is now back in Mexican custody
  • She faces charges of money laundering in Mexico

(CNNMexico) -- Sandra Avila Beltran, known as the "Queen of the Pacific" for alleged drug dealings, was deported Tuesday from the United States to Mexico, where she will face money-laundering charges, the third set of criminal accusations against her.

Avila landed in Mexico City on a chartered plane from El Paso, Texas, along with other deportees, the Mexican attorney general's office said.

She was being held in a hangar belonging to the attorney general's office, where she will be served with an arrest warrant, the state-run Notimex news agency reported. She will undergo a medical exam before being transported to the state of Jalisco, where she faces charges of money laundering, according to Notimex.

Avila's name stands out on the list of accused leaders of Mexico's male-dominated drug trade. The 52-year-old's life is the subject of a best-selling book and a popular ballad. She was dubbed Queen of the Pacific because the smuggling routes she is alleged to have controlled brought drugs from Colombia to Mexico along the Pacific Coast.

Avila's lawyer, Stephen Ralls, told CNNMexico last week that Avila is "optimistic" about facing what will be her third judicial process, after being exonerated in her first trial in Mexico and having reach a plea deal in her second case in the United States.

Mexico arrests alleged leader of Gulf Cartel

A federal court in Miami in July sentenced Avila to 70 months in prison for helping a Colombian drug lord, but under the plea deal the judge ruled that her time served in Mexico and in the United States was enough to complete her sentence. The judge ordered her deportation.

Avila was first arrested in Mexico City on September 28, 2007, smiling before cameras as authorities trumpeted her detention. Mexico's case against her drew widespread attention as it made its way through the nation's courts.

After her acquittal, authorities extradited her last year to the United States, where she was accused of conspiring to smuggle cocaine along with Juan Diego Espinosa Ramirez, a Colombian national who was also known as "The Tiger."

Avila denied the charges. And despite the high-profile accusations against her, authorities have not convicted Avila of any direct drug-trafficking crimes. The U.S. conviction was for being an accessory after the fact.

CNN's Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1427 GMT (2227 HKT)
Hamas' tactics have changed -- now the group is using commando-like tactics, says CNN's Ben Wedeman.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1540 GMT (2340 HKT)
Some contend that larger weapons have come into Ukraine from Russia.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 2151 GMT (0551 HKT)
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 0021 GMT (0821 HKT)
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1136 GMT (1936 HKT)
Former President Bill Clinton acknowledges he got "very close" to helping achieve peace in the Middle East.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0621 GMT (1421 HKT)
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1127 GMT (1927 HKT)
Inspirational, creepy or just weird? CNN meets the 51-year-old man who dresses like a schoolgirl.
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 1100 GMT (1900 HKT)
A British nanotech company has created what it says is the world's darkest material.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 1112 GMT (1912 HKT)
Yoga, meditation and watching a snake eat a frog alive: these are some of the experiences to be had at this Himalayan yoga retreat.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1152 GMT (1952 HKT)
The world's largest flying aquatic insect, with huge, nightmarish pincers, has been discovered in China's Sichuan province, experts say.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT