"Reina del Pacifico" will be sentenced for drug trafficking

She is considered to be the inspiration for big T.V. hit and novel "La Reina del Sur"

Sandra Avila Beltran "Reina del Pacifico" /EFE

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Update (2:45 PST): Avila was sentenced to 70 months in prison, but will be credited for time served in Mexico since her arrest on Feberuary 28, 2007, right before her extradition to the United States.

She will now be transferred to an immigration detention center, where she will be processed and deported back to Mexico. The exact date for her release is still unknown.

Mexico's Sandra Avila Beltran, 52, known as the "Reina del Pacifico" (Queen of the Pacific), will be sentenced today (Thursday), in a Miami court on charges related to drug trafficking.

Avila was extradited to the United States in 2012 and faces a prison sentence of up to fifteen years, although she has already served six years in a Mexican prison and reached a plea agreement with the prosecution that could substantially reduce her sentence.

According to the letter of the original indictment, U.S. authorities had for years looked for her extradition, so that they could charge her for offenses relating to the importation of cocaine with the intent to distribute it.

However, Avila’s attorneys had tried to have the initial charges dismissed, on the grounds that there was no evidence against her for the charges of distribution of cocaine in the United States.

In 2004, The Federal Office for the Southern District of Florida indicted Avila and six others on charges related to drug trafficking in the United States. Five of the defendants have already pleaded guilty and have been sentenced, while another is still on the run as a fugitive.

Sandra Avila Beltran is the niece of Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, a drug dealer that is known as "The Godfather", and is considered to be the inspiration for the character of the novel "La Reina del Sur" (The Queen of the South), written by the Spanish writer Arturo Perez-Reverte.

Avila, who was born in the Mexican state of Baja California, was arrested in September 2007 and accused by Mexican authorities of introducing several tons of cocaine in 2002 along with Diego Espinosa.

Omar.Martinez@Sandiegored.com

Editorial@Sandiegored.com

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