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Mexico: Sandra Avila Beltran, 'Queen of the Pacific,' to face drug charges in US

Sandra Avila Beltran, known in Mexico as 'The Queen of the Pacific,' has been handed over to US authorities to face drug trafficking charges.

Mexico drug smuggling tunnelEnlarge
This is one way drugs enter the United States. Put drugs in one end in Tijuana, Mexico, and zoom through the tunnel to San Diego, California. Mexican authorities found this tunnel in November 2011. Dozens of others have popped up over the years. (Francisco Vega/AFP/Getty Images)

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Sandra Avila Beltran, known in Mexico as “The Queen of the Pacific,” has been handed to the United States where she will face charges of trafficking cocaine, Mexican news agency Notimex reported today.

Avila Beltran is well known for her suspected involvement in the Mexican drug trade.

She earned her nickname for allegedly carving out smuggling routes along Mexico’s Pacific Coast into California.

Avila Beltran was arrested in Mexico in 2007 and convicted on money laundering charges. The court told prosecutors they had not provided enough evidence to convict her of drug trafficking.

In June, Avila Beltran lost a more than two-year battle against a US extradition request. She had argued she would be tried for the same crimes twice, Reuters reported.

In a 2009 interview that aired on "60 Minutes" and CNN, Avila denied the charges against her, CNN reported.

She instead blamed Mexican authorities for allowing drug trafficking to flourish.

"In Mexico there's a lot of corruption, a lot. Large shipments of drugs can come into the Mexican ports or airports without the authorities knowing about it. It's obvious and logical. The government has to be involved in everything that is corrupt," she said.

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