She inspired a best-selling novel, a hit telenovela, and Salma Hayek’s character in Oliver Stone’s star-studded film Savages.
Now, the mother of all Mexican drug lords, a former narco-beauty who dated some of the country's top cartel bosses, is free again. Sandra Avila, known as the "Queen of the Pacific," was released from prison Saturday after a Mexican judge overturned her sentence for money-laundering, arguing she had already served time for the same crime.
via AP, ICE
In the 1990s, Avila helped build a criminal empire by twinning the business operations of drug producers in Colombia and distributors in Mexico. Mexican authorities nabbed her in 2007 along with her Colombian boyfriend, drug kingpin Juan Diego Espinoza Ramirez.
Avila was extradited to the United States in 2012 to face drug-smuggling charges. But a judge in Miami sentenced her to only 70 months behind bars; she was released from jail early and deported back to Mexico where she was apprehended again.
Now, at age 54, she's free once more. The Attorney General's Office, unable to appeal her release order, watched powerlessly as a smiling Avila climbed into a BMW SUV and drove off as a free woman.
Avila's earlier exploits made her the stuff of pop legend in Mexico and abroad. It's unclear what the future holds for the Queen of the Pacific but here's a look at some of the TV and film characters she's inspired so far: