Sandra Avila Beltrán Queen of the Pacific pleads guilty in Drug-Trafficking In US
The 52-year-old, admitted Tuesday in federal court that she helped her former boyfriend, a Colombian cartel boss, evade prosecution for cocaine-smuggling charges in the United States. She pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to his trafficking crimes, for which the ex-, Juan Diego Espinosa Ramirez, was ultimately convicted.
The Mexican cartel queen, who stands for her good looks in addition to being a female in the male-dominated world of drug-trafficking, avoided a life sentencing by pleading guilty to the charges. Now, she faces up to 15 years in prison. Although the cartel that she was working for infected a huge number of communities, Sandra Avila Beltran is expected to get off relatively easy. She’s already spent six years in a Mexican prison before being extradited to Miami in August.
She made headlines two years ago when Mexican authorities said they were investigating a tip that she had received Botox treatments in prison. This week Avila — one of the most well-known women accused of ties with Mexico’s drug trade — pleaded guilty in a Florida court to a charge connected to a cocaine trafficking case. Mexicans, along with the news media, have long been fascinated with Avila, who was arrested in her country in 2007. They constantly followed details of her taste for high fashion, gourmet food and beauty secrets.
“Both sides felt the charge of accessory after the fact would be reflective of a fair and just result,” Avila’s attorney, Howard Schumacher, told The Miami Herald on Wednesday.
“It is a fair resolution in light of the actual circumstances. … she is happy with the results and hopes to be able to reunite with her family soon,” attorney Stephen Ralls told Mexico’s state-run Notimex news agency.
The Mexican cartel queen admitted to the crimes that she committed by signing a statement. The statement that she signed depicted her as being an integral part in her boyfriend’s drug-smuggling. “Between approximately 2002 and 2004, Avila-Beltran provided financial assistance for travel, lodging and other expenses to [Espinosa] with the intention of preventing or hindering his arrest for drug-trafficking crimes,” the statement said.
Avila chose to cut a plea deal after a federal magistrate judge last month rejected her lawyers’ motion to dismiss the indictment filed against her and others in 2004.
A Mexican judge convicted her on money laundering charges but ruled that Mexican prosecutors hadn’t provided enough evidence to convict her of drug trafficking. a Mexican court and foreign secretary granted Avila’s extradition on her U.S. narco-trafficking indictment, which has links to a cocaine deal in Chicago and a cocaine seizure in Manzanillo, In an interview with Anderson Cooper that aired on “60 Minutes” and CNN that year, Avila denied the charges against her and blamed Mexico’s government for allowing drug trafficking to flourish.
Mexico, more than a decade ago.
Sandra Avila Beltran is expected to get off relatively easy. She’s already spent six years in a Mexican prison before being extradited to Miami in August.