BARRIO – Sandra Ávila Beltrán argues that the TV series Queen of the South is based on her life, says her lawyer. She says her story was used without her consent and is now demanding that she be paid 40% of the royalties.
Ávila Beltrán, 61, was infamous in Mexico even before the Netflix series. Known as Queen of the Pacific, her life story is a movie.
Her uncle is Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, one of the founders of the powerful Guadalajara drug cartel.
At 21, she married a policeman who allegedly became corrupt and did deals with the local drug lords. He was assassinated shortly after their son was born.
Her second husband, a counter-narcotics police officer, was killed by an armed commando who stormed the hospital room in which he was recovering after surgery. He, too, was thought to have had links to drug cartels.
But it was her relationship with Colombian drug lord Juan Diego Espinosa that got the widow into trouble with the law.
Espinosa and Ávila Beltrán were detained in Mexico City in 2007 but it was the footage of Ávila Beltrán’s arrest, showing her elegantly dressed and smiling defiantly into the camera, that made headlines.
Even while in prison, she still managed to make news and keep up her beauty routine, paying a doctor to come into her cell to give her Botox injections.
She was eventually extradited to the US where she pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of assisting Espinosa.
After a subsequent money laundering sentence was thrown out by a Mexican judge in 2015, Ávila Beltrán has been free and living in her home country.