Miami – A Mexican woman known as a drug cartel queen pleaded guilty in Miami to charges arising from a major cocaine trafficking case.
Court records show that Sandra Avila Beltran pleaded guilty Tuesday to being an accessory after the fact in an organization once headed by Juan Diego Espinosa Ramirez. He was her boyfriend at the time.
Espinosa is the former leader of Mexico's Sinaloa cartel. He pleaded guilty in 2009 to cocaine trafficking charges.
A statement signed by Avila, who was known as the "Queen of the Pacific," says she provided money to Espinosa for travel and lodging so he could evade arrest by authorities between 2002 and 2004.
The 52-year-old Avila faces a maximum of 15 years in prison at a July 25 sentencing hearing.
According to The Miami Herald, however, she is expected to receive a much lesser sentence, including about six years for her time already served in a Mexican prison before her extradition to Miami last August.
“Both sides felt the charge of accessory after the fact would be reflective of a fair and just result,” Avila’s attorney, Howard Schumacher, told the Herald on Wednesday.
The dark-haired Mexican beauty stood out in a narco-trafficking world dominated by men and the news media have long been fascinated with her, ever since she was arrested in 2007 in southern Mexico City.
She reportedly played a dominant role in the powerful Sinaloa cartel and exerted great influence over ocean supply routes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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