Mexico blocks extradition to US of accused drug trafficker 'Queen of Pacific'
With her flashy outfits, posh tastes, and extensive criminal ties, Sandra Avila Beltran has become a media darling in Mexico and the US.
A federal court in Mexico has ruled that Sandra Avila Beltran, also known as the “Queen of the Pacific,” cannot be extradited to the United States on drug trafficking charges, a decision that comes as a major victory to one of the most well known figures of Mexico’s criminal underworld.Skip to next paragraph
In surprise landslide, Jamaican opposition wins back power
Parading back to Rio de Janeiro: the bookish and brainy
After dramatic 2011 in Cuba, will US-Cuban policy shift in 2012?
Boom goes the churro: Chilean court upholds damages for exploding sweets
Why did Hugo Chavez spam Venezuelans on Christmas?
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
According to El Universal, the Mexico City-based First Circuit Court has ruled that Ms. Avila’s extradition, which had been authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is unlawful because it involves the same charges (drug trafficking) that she faces in Mexico. Under international law, it is customary for a person to be extradited to another country only if they face a different, and typically more serious, set of criminal charges.
Avila first gained attention from the media in September 2007 when she and her love interest, convicted Colombian drug trafficker Juan Diego Espinosa Ramírez, alias "El Tigre," were arrested by Mexican authorities for allegedly conspiring to smuggle nine tons of cocaine northward via a port in Colima in 2001.
Since then, Mexican and American media outlets have been fascinated by her, with Newsweek magazine calling her Mexico’s “Underworld Queenpin” and ABC news referring to her as Mexico’s “Glamorous Gangster.” As InSight Crime has noted, Avila raises interesting questions about gender roles in Mexico’s drug trade. Her flashy outfits and posh tastes are a rare sight in the world of drug trafficking, which is more often marked by images of scruffy, dangerous-looking men.
Even before earning the title “Queen of the Pacific” by becoming a key link between the Sinaloa Cartel and Colombia's Norte del Valle Cartel, Avila‘s life seemed destined to revolve around criminal activities. She was born into a family closely associated with drug trafficking, and her uncle was Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, alias “the Godfather,” who was one of Mexico’s first major drug traffickers.