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Drug boss' ex-girlfriend, 'the Queen-Pin' pleads guilty as accessory

April 24, 2013 at 7:31 PM

MIAMI, April 24 (UPI) -- The ex-girlfriend of a one-time Colombian drug cartel boss pleaded guilty in Florida to being an accessory in the crimes for which her friend was convicted.

Sandra Avila Beltran, 52, Tuesday admitted in federal court in Miami she helped Juan Diego Espinoza Ramirez evade prosecution for importing and distributing cocaine in the United States. Avila pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to his conspiracy crimes, The Miami Herald reported.

Avila had faced the possibility of life in prison if she had been convicted in a trial on the conspiracy charges. Instead, she faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, but is expected to get a lower sentence, including approximately six years for time already served for the crime in a Mexican prison, the Herald reported.

The U.S. attorney's office Tuesday filed a factual statement signed by Avila that accompanied her plea agreement, which depicted her in a supporting role in the former boyfriend's cocaine-smuggling syndicate.

"Between approximately 2002 and 2004, Avila-Beltran provided financial assistance for travel, lodging and other expenses to (Espinoza) with the intention of preventing or hindering his arrest for drug-trafficking crimes," said a statement of fact signed by Avila that accompanied her plea deal.

Avila chose to cut a plea bargain after a federal magistrate judge last month rejected her lawyers' motion to dismiss the indictment filed against her, Espinoza and others in 2004.

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