Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico's drug 'Queen of the Pacific' freed on appeal

Sandra Avila Beltran, pictured in 2013 Image copyright AP
Image caption Prosecutors believe Avila played a key role linking Mexican and Colombian drug cartels

A Mexican woman known as the "Queen of the Pacific" for her links to drug cartels has been released from prison after winning an appeal.

A judge ruled Sandra Avila Beltran's sentence was based on offences she had already served time for.

She was first arrested in Mexico City in 2007, along with her boyfriend Juan Diego Espinosa, a top drug trafficker.

Prosecutors say Avila played a key role liaising between Mexican and Colombian cartels.

She spent years in prison in Mexico and the US, before being extradited to Mexico in 2013 to face money-laundering charges.

Image copyright AP
Image caption In this archive image Avila, seen on the right, is pictured with Mexican drug trafficker Ismael Zambada

Her uncle Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, known as the Godfather, is serving a 40-year prison sentence in Mexico for drug crimes.

Avila maintains her innocence, saying she made her fortune selling clothes and renting property.

She has inspired several Mexican folk ballads as well as a popular television soap opera, the Queen of the Pacific.

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