Sandra Ávila Beltrán

Mexican drug cartel leader

Sandra Ávila Beltrán (born October 11, 1960) is a Mexican drog cairtel leader, dubbit "La Reina del Pacífico" (The Queen o the Paceefic) bi the media.[1][2][3] She wis arrestit on 28 September 2007, an chairgit wi organisit creeme an conspiracy tae trok drogs;[1] Some charges wur later dropped but she wis still held for possession o illegal wappens an money launderin, pendin her extradition tae the U.S.[4] On 10 August 2012, she wis extraditit tae the U.S. tae answer tae creeminal chairges bi the U.S. govrenment.

Sandra Ávila Beltrán
BornOctober 11, 1960
Baja California, Mexico
Ither namesLa Reina del Pacífico (Queen o the Paceefic)
Kent forPossession o illegal fireairms, money launderin
RelativesMiguel Ángel Félix Gallardo
Rafael Caro Quintero
This name uises Spaingie namin customs; the first or paternal faimily name is Ávila an the seicont or maternal faimily name is Beltrán.

Mexican an U.S. offeecials consider she wis an important link atween the Sinaloa Cairtel in Mexico an the Colombie Norte del Valle Cairtel.[5]


Ávila Beltrán wis born in Baja California, Mexico, the ochter o María Luisa Beltrán Félix an Alfonso Ávila Quintero, a faimily member o Rafael Caro Quintero, the umwhile leader o the Guadalajara Cairtel.[6] Faimily connections hae played a major role in her creeminal career, an Ávila Beltrán wis in fact a "third-generation" drog troker in her faimily.[7] Offeecials in Mexico say Ávila Beltrán is the niece o Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo,[8] the anetime godfaither o the Mexican drog tred who is servin a 40-year sentence for the 1984 murther o Enrique Camarena, a U.S. Drog Enforcement Admeenistration special agent. Her great uncle Juan José Quintero Payán wis extraditit tae the U.S. on drog trokin chairges. On her mither's side, the Beltráns got involvit in heroin smugglin in the 1970s an later diversifee'd intae cocaine. DEA offeecials state that Ávila Beltrán niver shrank frae employin the violence that comes wi the turf an that "she uised the typical intimidation tactics o Mexican organisations."

She reportedly haed affairs wi several well-kent drog barons in her youth.[8] She wis marriet twice; baith o her husbands wur ex-polis commanders who became drog trokers,[9] an baith o them war later killed bi hired assassins.[8] The polis attribute her rise tae pouer in the drog warld primarily tae her maist recent relationship wi Juan Diego Espinoza Ramírez, alias The Tiger, who is said tae be an important figur in the Colombie Norte del Valle Cairtel.[8] Ávila Beltrán livit in Guadalajara, Jalisco, an Hermosillo, Sonora, till the polis foond mair nor 9 tons o cocaine on a ship in the Paceefic port o Manzanillo, Colima, in 2001 an rackit the shipment tae her an her lover Espinoza Ramírez.[10]


Despite her heich-profile lifestyle, Beltrán lang avoided leaving police ony evidence. In 2002, houiver, she unexpectedly contactit authorities for help when her teenage son wis kidnapped for a $5 million USD ransom. She eventually got her son back, but no athoot raisin suspicions that launched an investigation. It teuk mair nor fower years an 30 federal agents tae close in an feenally arrest Ávila. She wis arrestit, alang wi Espinoza Ramírez, on 28 September 2007, in Mexico Ceety.[11] She wis chairgit wi an convictit o launderin money for billions o dollars wirth o drogs smuggled frae Colombie tae Mexico.[12]

In a tape o her polis interrogation, she describes hersel as a hoosewife who earns a little money on the side "sellin clothes an rentin hooses." When asked why she haed been arrestit, she responded, "Acause o an extradition order tae the Unitit States."[13] Her life ahint bars at the Santa Martha Acatitla weemen’s preeson in Mexico Ceety haes apparently no been tae her likin as she filed a complaint wi a Mexico Ceety human richts commission,[14] sayin her cell haed insects, which she referred tae as noxious fauna. She said the ban on bringin in fuid frae restaurants violatit her human richts an aw.

In Mairch 2009, jurnalist Anderson Cooper interviewed Sandra Ávila for the televeesion news magazine 60 Minutes.[15]

In Januar 2011 an investigation wis launched efter a doctor wis alloued tae enter the preeson tae gie Ávila Beltrán a Botox injection treatment, a therapy that is no authorisit for inmates.[16] The preeson's director an hospital chief wur relievit o thair duties.[17] Awtho aw o the drog chairges wur droppit in early 2011, she remains in jyle for possession o illegal wappens, an is unnergoin extradition proceedins tae the Unitit States for drog trokin.[2][18][19]


In Juin 2012 several Mexican judges ruled oot major obstacles tae extradite Ávila Beltrán tae the Unitit States on cocaine trokin chairges that date back tae 2001.[20] Oreeginally, previous request seekin tae extradite Ávila Beltrán haed been denied twice bi a panel an then bi a judge, but Ávila Beltrán haes tae answer tae the chairges imposed bi the Unitit States for several cocaine shipments seizit in Chicago.[21] On 10 August 2012, Ávila Beltrán wis extraditit tae the Unitit States an flewn tae Florida tae face cocaine possession an trokin chairges.[22]


Los Tucanes de Tijuana wrote a fowk ballad that pays homage tae Sandra Ávila as "a top lady who is a key pairt o the business."[14] She published a beuk an aw, The Queen of the Pacific: Time to Talk, based on a series o preeson interviews she did wi Mexican jurnalist Julio Scherer.[23]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Accused female drug lord ordered held over for trial in Mexico". Associated Press. 2007-10-05. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Underworld Queenpin". Newsweek. October 10, 2007. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
  3. "'La reina del Pacífico', una historia salpicada de fantasía y realidad" (in Spanish). Terra Networks. 2007-10-06. Archived frae the oreeginal on 2012-07-01. Retrieved 2007-10-23.CS1 maint: unrecognised leid (link)
  4. SRE no descarta entregar a Avila (in Spanish) 10 August 2011
  5. No procede extradición de La Reina del Pacífico
  6. "El nombre de una reina inspirado en la literatura". CNNMéxico (in Spanish). 15 May 2010. Retrieved 20 April 2012.CS1 maint: unrecognised leid (link)
  7. "La Reina del Pacífico, tercera generación de una familia de narcos". El Universal. 2 October 2007. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Tuckman, Jo (October 6, 2007). "Queen of the Pacific has Mexico hooked as she faces drug charges". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
  9. "'Queen of the Pacific' drug smuggler arrested". MSNBC News. Associated Press. 29 September 2007. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
  10. "Big-time female drug suspect seizes Mexico's imagination". Associated Press. 2007-10-05. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
  11. "Mexico's "Queen Of The Pacific"". CBS News. 2009-03-06. Archived frae the oreeginal on 2012-07-30.
  12. "Glamorous Gangster: Alleged Drug Lord Captured". ABC News. October 16, 2007. Retrieved 2010-10-08.
  13. McKinley Jr, James C. (2007-10-12). "In Mexico, a Fugitive's Arrest Captivates the Cameras". The New York Times.
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Arrested 'Drug Queen' enthralls Mexico". USA Today. Associated Press. 4 October 2007. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
  15. The War Next Door
  16. "'La Reina del Pacífico' tendrá que declarar por un tratamiento de botox". CNNMéxico (in Spanish). 2 February 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2012.CS1 maint: unrecognised leid (link)
  17. Inquiry after Mexico prison inmate gets Botox injection
  18. "Reputed drug 'queen' sentenced for arms possession". The Washington Post. Associated Press. 6 February 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
  19. María de la Luz González (7 February 2011). "Dictan año de prisión a "Reina del Pacífico"". El Universal (in Spanish). Retrieved 2011-02-07.CS1 maint: unrecognised leid (link)
  20. Looft, Christopher (8 June 2012). "Mexico Judges To Allow 'Queen of the Pacific' Extradition". InSight Crime. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  21. "Mexican judges agree to extradite alleged drug queen to US". Fox News. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  22. BBC News (10 August 2012). "Top Mexican 'drug queen' Sandra Avila extradited to the US". BBC News. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  23. "Book details life of alleged Mexican drug queen". Daily News. New York. 2008-09-04.