ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — One of Mexico’s best-known reputed drug traffickers, Sandra Avila Beltran — the so-called “Queen of the Pacific” — was transferred Wednesday to the immigration detention center in El Paso for deportation to Mexico, officials told the El Paso Times.
Avila Beltran, 52, who has a reputation for a lavish life style and links with high-ranking members of the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico and the Norte del Valle cartel in Colombia, arrived at the El Paso Processing Center Wednesday morning from the South Louisiana Correctional Center and is expected to be deported to Mexico City, the Times said.
ICE spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa wouldn’t confirm or deny Avila Beltran’s whereabouts, but U.S. officials said Avila Beltran is expected to return to Mexico under a new deportation program that began July 11 in El Paso where immigrants from Mexico will be flown to Mexico City rather than be turned over to Mexican authorities at border crossings.
A U.S. federal judge on July 25 sentenced Avila Beltran to 70 months in prison, but she was released because of time already served in Mexico and the United States, the Times said.
She was arrested in Mexico on Sept. 28, 2007, on organized crime charges, and she was extradited to the United States on Aug. 10, 2012, to face cocaine smuggling charges, according to the Times.
Avila Beltran, the niece of Mexican drug lord Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, has said she is innocent of all drug charges against her and has described herself as a housewife who earned a living selling clothes and renting houses, the Times said.