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Mexico: Federal Tribunal Approves Extradition of

(June 19, 2012) On June 7, 2012, a Mexican federal tribunal authorized the extradition to the United States of Sandra Ávila Beltrán, known as the “Queen of the Pacific,” to be tried for the delivery of 100 kilograms of cocaine in the city of Chicago in 2001, one of the charges on the basis of which she was claimed by the U.S. authorities. (María de Luz González, Extraditarán a EU a “La Reina del Pacífico,” EL UNIVERSAL (June 8, 2012).)

The new ruling, issued by the First Collegiate Tribunal in Criminal Matters of the First Circuit, was in response to a constitutional lawsuit (Amparo No. 46/2012) filed by Ávila Beltrán on the basis that a person cannot be tried twice for the same crime. It modified the decision that a federal court had handed down to the “Queen of the Pacific” a few months ago, which had said that she would not be extradited. (Id.) In that prior decision, the Third District Judge for Criminal Matters of the First Circuit had ruled that the two charges on the basis of which the U.S. authorities requested Ávila Beltrán's extradition had already been addressed in the trial she had faced in Mexico, and that she could not be tried again for the same crimes. (Id.)

However, the June 7 ruling stated that the charges related to the delivery of cocaine in Chicago were not included in the Mexican trial, so that her rights would not be violated by allowing her extradition for trial for those crimes. (Id.)

The ruling of the appellate court will allow Mexico's Secretary of Foreign Affairs to issue a resolution in the next few days, providing for the handing over of Ávila Beltrán to the United States. (Id.)