"Queen of the Pacific" jailed on return to Mexico

Mexico City, Aug 20 (EFE).- A Mexican woman known as the "Queen of the Pacific" was arrested Tuesday on returning to her homeland from the United States, which deported Sandra Avila Beltran after a federal judge sentenced her to time served as an accessory after the fact to drug trafficking.

Avila will face prosecution for money laundering in a case that was suspended when she was extradited to the United States, the Mexican Attorney General's Office said.

Arriving in Mexico City from Texas aboard a biweekly deportee flight, Avila was immediately taken into custody and flown to a prison in the western city of Tepic, where she is to await trial, the AG's office said.

The 52-year-old Avila pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court to having assisted her then-boyfriend, Colombian national Juan Diego Espinosa, between June 2002 and March 2004 as he attempted to evade arrest for drug trafficking.

A judge in Miami sentenced her to 70 months, equal to the amount of time she had already spent behind bars since her September 2007 arrest in Mexico.

U.S. immigration authorities escorted Avila from the federal courthouse to a detention facility where she was held pending deportation.

She was acquitted in Mexico on drug and racketeering charges before her extradition to the United States.

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.

The first public mention of the Queen of the Pacific came in a 2004 "narcocorrido," or drug ballad, by Los Tucanes de Tijuana.

Mexican media have likened 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.