Mexican cartel ‘queen’ pleads guilty in US case

MIAMI (AP) — A Mexican woman known as a drug cartel queen has pleaded guilty in Miami to charges arising from a major cocaine trafficking case.

Court records show Sandra Avila Beltran pleaded guilty Tuesday to being an accessory after the fact in an organization that included Juan Diego Espinosa Ramirez. He was her boyfriend at the time.

Espinosa was a former liaison between Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel and Colombia’s Norte Valle 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.

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