Mexican judges back extradition suspected drug queen to the US after previous attempts failed

June 8, 2012

The Washington Post on June 7, 2012 released the following:

“By Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — A panel of Mexican judges on Thursday agreed to the extradition of a suspected drug trafficker known as the “Queen of the Pacific,” who is wanted in the United States on cocaine-related charges.

The three federal appellate judges said Sandra Avila Beltran could be tried outside of Mexico, but only on one of the two charges prosecutors sought.

Avila cannot be tried for the seizure of more than nine tons of U.S.-bound cocaine off a vessel in Mexico’s western port of Manzanillo because a Mexican judge acquitted her in that case in December 2010. An appeals court upheld the verdict last August.

Previous requests to extradite the high-profile suspect have been denied twice by a panel and then by a judge, who argued that the confiscation of the nine tons of cocaine would inevitably be part of the foreign trial.

But the judges on Thursday ruled that Beltran has to answer to a charge stemming from several seizures in Chicago in 2001 that amounted to 100 kilograms of cocaine. The 2004 indictment in the Southern District of Florida does not specify Beltran’s role in the drug-dealing case.

Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department must re-file the extradition request to leave out the charge related to the Manzanillo seizure. The department did not respond on Thursday to a request by The Associated Press for comment.

Avila remains in a prison in the Mexican state of Nayarit, pending trial for a separate money-laundering charge. It was not immediately clear how Mexican prosecutors would proceed with that charge.

Avila, who was arrested in 2007 sipping coffee in a Mexico City diner, has said she is innocent. Her attorney could not be immediately reached for fresh comment.

Her case is widely known in Mexico because Avila is the niece of Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, “the godfather” of Mexican drug smuggling who is serving a 40-year sentence for trafficking and the murder of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena in 1985.

Prosecutors have alleged that Avila spent more than a decade working her way to the top of Mexico’s drug trade. They say her romance with Colombian Juan Diego Espinoza brought together Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa cartel with Colombia’s Norte del Valle.

The Sinaloa cartel led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been locked in a vicious fight with violent Los Zetas gang in several regions of the country.

In the northern state of Tamaulipas, 14 bodies were abandoned Thursday inside a bus near the city hall building of Ciudad Mante. Soldiers deployed in the area found a message in which a gang took responsibility for the killings, according to a Tamaulipas statement. It did not say which gang or give more details.

Drug cartels often leave messages in crime scenes as a threat to enemies.

The bodies of the three women and 11 men have not been identified.

Also Thursday, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that it is placing financial sanctions on a wife and son of Guzman, who is Mexico’s most-wanted man.

The department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said that it had designated Maria Alejandrina Salazar Hernandez and Jesus Alfredo Guzman Salazar, 26, under the U.S. Kingpin Act. That bars American citizens from making business transactions with them and allows authorities to freeze their assets in the U.S.

Guzman escaped prison in 2001 and has evaded authorities ever since, moving from hideout to hideout as he directs the operations of his powerful cartel. The U.S. and Mexican government have been intensifying their actions against Guzman’s family in recent months.

Authorities in the U.S. and Mexico have said they believe Guzman has children with several partners, including an 18-year-old woman whom he married in an elaborate public ceremony in 2007. The Treasury Department described Salazar Hernandez, 53, as a wife of Guzman, without providing details.

The department last month announced sanctions against Guzman’s sons Ivan Archivaldo “El Chapito” Guzman Salazar, 31, and Ovidio Guzman Lopez, 22.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Mexico here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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A Mexican Federal Judge Rejected a Second Attempt to Extradite an Alleged Drug Trafficker, Sandra Avila Beltran, to the U.S.

January 16, 2012

Boston.com on January 13, 2012 released the following:

“2nd try to extradite Mexican accused narco denied

Adriana Gomez Licon, Associated Press

A Mexican federal judge on Thursday rejected a second attempt to extradite an alleged drug trafficker to the U.S., nearly exhausting yearslong efforts by both nations to convict a woman known as the “Queen of the Pacific.’’

Judge Jesus Chavez ruled that Sandra Avila Beltran would face the same charges in Florida on which she was acquitted in Mexico.

Chavez said the core of a 2004 indictment against Avila in the Southern District of Florida is the seizure of more than nine tons of U.S.-bound cocaine on Mexico’s west coast.

A Mexican judge acquitted Avila in December 2010 of charges stemming from the same confiscation of drugs off a vessel nine years earlier in the port of Manzanillo. An appeals court upheld that verdict last August.

“It is impossible to say the actions related to the more than nine tons of cocaine discovered in the vessel would not be subject of the foreign trial for which U.S. officials seek the defendant,’’ Chavez said, according to a news statement.

In the U.S., Avila was indicted on two conspiracy charges to import and distribute cocaine and has been wanted since November 2007, two months after her arrest in Mexico.

The judge said Mexico’s constitution prohibits double jeopardy and thus prevents extraditing a citizen for trial in another country on charges they already faced at home.

Officials from the Foreign Relations Department and Mexican Attorney General’s office declined to comment, saying they were studying the decision. Both can contest it, but the next outcome by an appeals court would be final.

A Mexican appeals panel rejected a first U.S. extradition request on the same grounds.

Avila remains in a western Mexico prison in the state of Nayarit, pending trial for a separate money-laundering charge. Mexican officials did not reveal her lawyer’s identity.

Avila has claimed she is innocent and says she made her money selling clothes and renting houses.

When she was arrested in 2007 sipping coffee in a Mexico City diner, prosecutors alleged that Avila spent more than a decade working her way to the top of Mexico’s drug trade, seducing several notorious kingpins and uniting Colombian and Mexican gangs.

Avila’s romance with Colombian Juan Diego Espinoza Ramirez brought together Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa cartel with Colombia’s Norte del Valle, prosecutors said. Espinoza was extradited to Florida in December 2008, two years before he was found not guilty on charges in Mexico related to the cocaine shipment.

Avila is the niece of Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, “the godfather’’ of Mexican drug smuggling who is serving a 40-year sentence in Mexico for trafficking and the murder of DEA agent Enrique Camarena in Mexico’s western Jalisco state.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Mexico here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.