October 2015, Sandra Ávila Beltran, the revered “Queen of Cocaine” or “Queen of the Pacific” was released from prison.
She has spent the last seven years in confinement for money laundering, including two years in solitary confinement.
Avila, now in her early 50s, was arrested in 2007 in Mexico City with her Colombian boyfriend, Juan Diego Espinoza Ramirez, whom officials claimed was also a powerful drug-world figure.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, “Avila is believed to have been a rare figure — a powerful woman — in Latin America’s testosterone-saturated drug world, and her story has become a kind of genre to itself, particularly with the success of ‘La Reina del Sur,’ the wildly popular Telemundo telenovela to which Avila’s life is sometimes compared. (Fortune)
The former Cartel queen pin gave an exclusive interview, her first in nearly a decade, from her home near Guadalajara, Mexico. In that interview she lashed out at political corruption in Mexica, mocked the futility of drug prohibition and praised Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.
Ávila is the stuff legends are made of – one of the few women with access to the highest levels of cartel life. She has lived, worked and loved inside the upper echelons of the Mexican drug world since the late 1970s. At the height of her career, she showed a propensity to carry suitcases with millions of dollars in crisp $100 bills.
Check out the entire insightful interview with one of the notorious women of the underworld: Queen of Cartels: most famous female leader of Mexico’s underworld speaks out