Sandra Ávila Beltrán (born 16 October 1960), into a family of smugglers, is a Mexican drug cartel member, dubbed “La Reina del Pacífico” (The Queen of the Pacific) by general media.
Mexican and U.S. officials consider her as an important link between the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico and the Colombian Norte del Valle Cartel.
LatinTRENDS heard that Ávila Beltrán is the niece of Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, known as “El Padrino” (“The Godfather”), the boss of bosses of the Mexican drug trade and one the founders of the Guadalajara Cartel decades ago.
He is currently serving a 40 plus year sentence for his alleged involvement in the 1984 murder of Enrique Camarena, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) special agent.
In continuation with a laundry list of the family business, Ms. Avila Beltran also has an uncle, Juan José Quintero Payán, who was extradited to the United States on drug trafficking charges as well.
The Beltráns got involved in heroin smuggling in the 1970s and later diversified into cocaine. DEA officials state that Ávila Beltrán never shrank from employing the violence that comes with the turf and that “she used the typical intimidation tactics of the Mexican cartels.
Origins of The Queen of the Pacific
“The Queen of the Pacific” is the daughter of Maria Luisa Beltran Felix and Alfonso Avila Quintero, a relative of Rafael Caro Quintero, who is considered one of Mexico’s biggest drug lords in the 1980s, and who was recently released from prison.
She was married twice, her two husbands ironically both drug police commanders who went on to become traffickers. Both were eventually killed by hired assassins. Police attribute her rise to power in the drug world to her looks, business savvy and calm demeanor.
She has a son (her only son) with Juan Diego Espinosa Ramírez, known by the alias of ‘El Tigre’, at the time, the second most important man in Colombia’s Valle cartel.
In 2012 their son, José Luis Fuentes Ávila, who was kidnapped in Guadalajara Mexico, Avila Beltran quickly contacted authorities for help, but she ended up handling the kidnapping negotiations herself, its alleged that she paid $3 million for her son’s safe return. Her son’s whereabouts are unknown to date.
She eventually got her son back, but not without raising suspicions that launched an investigation. It took more than four years and 30 federal agents to close in and finally arrest Ávila.
Police found more than nine tons of cocaine on a ship in the Pacific port of Manzanillo, Colima She was arrested, along with Espinoza Ramírez, in 2007, in Mexico City, Ávila Beltrán was extradited to the U.S. in 2012 to face charges that she was a key link in a cocaine conspiracy.
After initially claiming innocence, she cut a deal with prosecutors and got a 70-month sentence in 2013 after pleading guilty to being “an accessory after the fact. ”She was deported to Mexico in August that year, where she was arrested again, this time on money laundering charges.
She received five years for that charge, then walked free in 2015, after that went on to live a low-profile life in Guadalajara, till this day.
LatinTRENDS did a little digging and found that the former Narco Queen is now on TikTok, check her out!
Pop Culture (Cultura Popular)
Sandra Ávila Beltrán’s story is the subject of a best-selling book and a popular “narco corrido” ballad and the sugject of various TV series and novelas.
Avila published a book, The Queen of the Pacific: Time to Talk, based on a series of prison interviews she gave to a Mexican journalist, Arturo Pérez-Reverte, author of the book La Reina del Sur (2002), stated that the story of Teresa Mendoza is partly based on Sandra Ávila Beltrán’s life.
Los Tucanes de Tijuana wrote a folk ballad that pays homage to Sandra Ávila as “a top lady who is a key part of the business.
Los Tigres del Norte wrote “corrido” called “La Reina del Sur”, based on the story of Teresa Mendoza, the fictional drug lord in La Reina del Sur by Arturo Pérez-Reverte.
In the TV Series El cartel, Ávila is portrayed by Mexican actress Patricia Manterola as the character of Andrea Negrette.
In Netflx’s Narcos: Mexico, Isabella Bautista, a character portrayed by Teresa Ruiz, is loosely based on Ávila’s life
The novela “La Reina del Sur” and the Netflix series, “Queen of the South” La reina del sur, are in part based on Sandra Ávila Beltran’s life