A Mexican federal court ruled that a reputed drug trafficker known as the "Queen of the Pacific" can be extradited to the United States.

The judges overturned a January ruling blocking the handover of Sandra Avila Beltran on grounds that U.S. authorities were seeking to try her on the same charges as those she had already been acquitted of in Mexico.

While one of the two U.S. charges against Avila is related to the Mexican prosecution, the other is separate, the federal tribunal found.

The ruling means that Avila can be tried in the United States for the delivery of 100 kilos of cocaine to Chicago in 2001. The Mexican foreign ministry is expected to authorize her extradition in the coming days.

Avila has been in custody since September 2007.

In late 2010, Avila and Colombian Juan Diego Espinosa, who was extradited to the United States in December 2008, were acquitted of charges of conspiracy to smuggle several tons of cocaine into Mexico and other charges.

Last year, an appeals court upheld the acquittal of the pair on charges of organized crime, drug trafficking and money laundering, saying there was insufficient evidence to support allegations they acquired, transported or introduced the big haul of cocaine into Mexico by boat in 2001.

Avila is the niece of Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, alias "El Padrino" (The Godfather), who is serving a long prison sentence in Mexico; and grand-niece of Juan Jose Quintero Payan, a co-founder of the Juarez cartel who was sentenced in the United States to 18 years in prison on drug trafficking charges.

Said to have been a key intermediary between Colombian cocaine producers and Mexico's Sinaloa cartel, Avila is the most prominent woman in the hyper-macho world of the Mexican drug trade.

Mexican media have compared Avila to the main character in Spanish writer Arturo Perez-Reverte's novel "La Reina del Sur" (The Queen of the South), which was subsequently turned into a hit television miniseries. EFE