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08/02/2011 | Mexico - Reputed drug 'queen' sentenced for arms possession

The Associated Press

A reputed Mexican drug cartel "queen" who once got Botox in prison has been sentenced to time already served on a weapons charge, authorities said Sunday.

 

Sandra Avila Beltran was sentenced to one year in prison for illegal arms possession, the federal Attorney General's Office said in a statement.

Avila Beltran has been in custody since 2007 on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic drugs, money laundering and organized crime, but a judge acquitted her of those charges in December. Prosecutors are appealing that ruling.

She remains in prison pending an extradition request from the United States in connection with the 2001 seizure of more than nine tons of U.S.-bound cocaine aboard a fishing vessel in the port of Manzanillo, on Mexico's west coast.

Prosecutors say Avila Beltran was a top decision-maker in the Sinaloa cartel, earning her the nickname "Queen of the Pacific."

She has denied the allegations and says she made her money selling clothes and renting houses.

Her story has enthralled Mexicans, particularly the latest news of her Botox procedure at the Santa Martha Acatitla women's prison.

Mexico City prison officials say a doctor was improperly admitted in January to perform what it called a "procedure not authorized for inmates." The prison authority said the facility's warden and medical director were fired.

At the time of her arrest, Avila Beltran's boyfriend was suspected Colombian trafficker Juan Diego Espinoza Ramirez.

Prosecutors said Avila Beltran spent more than a decade working her way to the top of Mexico's drug trade, seducing several notorious kingpins and uniting Colombian and Mexican gangs.

Police began tracking Avila Beltran closely in Mexico City, where she dined at a pricey Thai restaurant and had manicures in ritzy salons frequented by TV stars.

El Paso Times (Estados Unidos)

 


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