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'Queen of the Pacific' to be released from prison


A jailed Mexican drug smuggler known as the "Queen of the Pacific" is set to be released after partially completing a five-year sentence on money laundering charges, government sources said on Saturday.

A federal judge in Mexico's western Jalisco state accepted the appeal of Sandra Avila Beltran and ordered her early release.

Avila Beltran, the highest-profile woman linked to Mexico's drug trade, was expected to be set free later on Saturday, a federal security official said on condition of anonymity. The government had not formally announced her release.

Avila Beltran served a prison term of nearly six years in the United States before being extradited to Mexico in 2013 to face money laundering charges.

Her incarceration in a US prison stemmed from charges that she provided money to former Colombian drug lord Juan Diego Espinosa to help him avoid arrest.

In 2014, she was sentenced to a five-year prison term in Mexico for money laundering.

Avila Beltran was first detained in Mexico in 2007 and allegedly helped build the Sinaloa cartel in the 1990s with Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, Mexico's most-wanted drug boss until he was captured early last year.

Avila Beltran, niece of Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, known as the godfather of the Mexican drug trade, was extradited to the United States in August 2012.

She is known as "Queen of the Pacific" because of her success developing smuggling routes along Mexico's Pacific Coast into California.