Entertainment

This Is The Real-Life Narco Queen Who Inspired “La Reina Del Sur”

Amidst the stories of El Chapo, La Barbie and other notorious drug cartel leaders, seldom do we hear of the women who also held the reins of North America’s illicit drug industry.

But they exist, and Sandra Ávila Beltrán, a.k.a. The Queen of the Pacific, is one of these jefas.

La Reina Del Pacifico♡ #SandraAvilaBeltran

A photo posted by Familia Sanchez (@el.pelavacas_) on

To fans of the Telemundo telenovela “La Reina del Sur,” Ávila’s story will sound oh so familiar.

CREDIT: Telemundo

That’s because the show’s main character, Teresa Mendoza is based on Beltrán. Mendoza is a simple young woman from Sinaloa whose world gets turned upside down when she meets El Güero, a drug trafficker who gets her involved in the industry. It’s Telemundo’s most popular novela, followed by “El Señor de los Cielos” and “Pablo Escobar.”

Kate del Castillo’s rendition of Ávila was so popular that USA Network released its own English-language version, “Queen of the South,” which debuted this June.

Credit: USA Network
Credit: USA Network

It features Brazilian actress Alice Braga in the role of Teresa Mendoza.

BTW, there are also some intense similarities between Ávila and Weeds’s cannabis-dealing mom, Nancy Botwin.


Like Botwin, Mendoza is cunning, sly and clever. They both use their sexuality to advance their career, and eventually both wind up in prison.

Ávila has lived a charmed yet highly dangerous life.


Growing up in a wealthy family with ties to the Guadalajara cartel, Ávila witnessed her first murder when she was 13. However, the road to her career as La Reina first began when she was kidnapped by a jealous boyfriend, who was associated with a drug cartel. Instead of pursuing a career as an investigative reporter, Ávila eventually entered the drug trade. By the age of 21, she was already holding meetings with Amado Carrillo Fuentes (a.k.a. El Señor de los Cielos). Soon, she was orchestrating the cocaine trade between Mexico and the U.S.

Ávila, who says she never did cocaine herself, was known to carry around suitcases filled with millions of dollars.

My #wcw goes to la reyna del pacifico #SandraAvilaBeltran#beautiful#pushingweight#like#a#g

A photo posted by Arnaldo Trejo (@young_kobe_skills) on


Ávila says she never consumed cocaine because drug traffickers looked at women who did cocaine as “weak.” As one of the rare women in the drug trade, Ávila says she fought hard to earn respect. Although she wanted respect, she also wanted money. She spoiled her teenage son with an allowance of $40,000 every few months. She wore a necklace with the emblem of Tutankhamun, adorned with 83 rubies, 228 diamonds and 189 sapphires.

However, her sensational life took a turn for the worse when Los Tucanes de Tijuana released their hit “Fiesta en la Sierra.”


The popular narcocorrido outed Ávila. In 2007, she was quickly arrested in a restaurant in Mexico City and thrown in prison. All 225 of her Jalisco-based properties were seized by authorities.

Being in prison didn’t stop La Reina from living her life, though.


While incarcerated, Ávila figured out a way to get a doctor to give her Botox injections. 

In 2012, La Reina was extradited to the U.S. and tried for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine across the border. But now, she’s free.

#SandraAvilaBeltran #LaReynaDelPacifico <3

A photo posted by ?Aydoo❤️ (@haidefragoso3) on


She pleaded guilty in the U.S., but the case was dropped, and Ávila returned to prison in Mexico. There, she successfully fought a second five-year sentence, and in 2015, was released.

In an exclusive interview with The Guardian, she announced that she feels no remorse over the 100,000 deaths during Mexico’s drug wars.


READ: Pablo Escobar’s Brother Sent Netflix A “Friendly” Letter Re: “Narcos”

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Queer People Are Shouting Their Gratitude For Naya Rivera’s Trailblazing Character Santana Lopez

Entertainment

Queer People Are Shouting Their Gratitude For Naya Rivera’s Trailblazing Character Santana Lopez

Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty Images

There are few queer characters the people can point to in the past as being someone that changed their lives. Santana Lopez, Naya Rivera’s character on “Glee,” is one of them. Even if you’ve never watched “Glee,” Rivera’s character touched you because of how that representation is so important and empowering.

Naya Rivera’s place in LGBTQ+ media representation will be her long-lasting legacy.

Rivera brought us Santana Lopez, a queer Latina navigating the world of high school in a small town. For many, this kind of representation was so rare and often poorly done that Rivera’s command of the role was impactful. You didn’t have to be an avid viewer of the show to understand and appreciate the magnitude of Santana Lopez.

Rivera brought our experience directly to the mainstream and forced our own classmates to think about the way they saw queer people.

Rivera’s ability to capture the awkwardness and terror of being a closeted queer student in high school still resonates. It is a piece of nostalgia that is so deeply ingrained in queer people that it’s hard not to be emotional about Rivera’s sudden and tragic death.

Who can forget the moment Santana used “Landslide” to tell Brittany that she loved her.

The emotion of a love that is not easy to confess and live authentically is real. Ask any queer person you know about coming to terms with her sexuality in high school and you will hear about the fear and excitement. You will hear about the strategic allyships that epitomize the constant battle between being open and staying safe.

Rivera was more than an actress, she was an ally and advocate during her time on “Glee.”

Season 2, when Rivera’s feelings for Brittany (played by Heather Morris) grew, aired from 2010 to 2011. It was a time when marriage equality was not nationwide. Some states still barred same-sex couples from adopting children. Yet, queer high school and college students had a chance to see their experience mirrored because of Rivera’s insistence.

Rivera’s death is a major loss for the queer community that got our strength and courage from her.

Knowing that all of the “Glee” fans were rooting for and falling in love with Santana Lopez gave us a chance to breathe and feel accepted. Adding her Latina heritage was so important. Queer people of color, who have faced increased scrutiny from their own families, had someone representing them completely and sincerely.

Demi Lovato paid tribute by remembering the time she played Santana Lopez’s girlfriend.

The queer Latina love was not lost on fellow queer Latinos. Lovato herself was not out about her sexuality at the time and she admits in her post that Rivera inspired her. Rivera’s efforts to give the character an accurate and respectful storyline will forever be praised and admired as a fully realized manifestation of our experience.

Thank you for being someone we didn’t know we needed, Naya.

Our hearts are broken and our eyes are wet. We send love and hope to your loved ones. Rest in power, mija. We love you and will never forget what you did for our community.

READ: Naya Rivera’s Body Found In Lake Piru After Going Missing During Outing With Son

Naya Rivera’s Body Found In Lake Piru After Going Missing During Outing With Son

Fierce

Naya Rivera’s Body Found In Lake Piru After Going Missing During Outing With Son

Gregg Deguire / Getty Images

Update: Naya Rivera’s body has been found in Lake Piru after she went missing last week. Rivera’s disappearance has sent shockwaves of grief throughout the entertainment community as days passed and authorities combed the lake.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that Naya Rivera’s body has been pulled from Lake Piru.

Naya Rivera was last seen July 8 when she rented a boat for an outing with her young son. Later that day, men on another boat found the rented boat with her son asleep by himself on the boat. The search for Rivera was frantic as family, friends, and fans publicly grieved the sudden disappearance.

Last week, the sheriff’s department told the public that it was unlikely Rivera’s body would resurface because of debris.

At a press conference, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Kevin Donoghue said that the debris of trees and plants under the water could cause the body to be entangled under the surface. Coupled with the poor visibility underwater, Office Sgt. Donoghue was not optimistic about the department’s chances of finding the body.

“We’re putting our best foot forward to try and locate her. We’re using all the assets that are available to us. We’re using technology like sonar,” he said at the press conference. “We have experts who have dove this lake who know it inside and out, where debris pockets might be, we’re relying on their expertise to help us in that endeavor. We’re going to do everything we can to find her.”

Original: “Glee” star Naya Rivera is presumed dead after going missing in southern California. The actress was on a boat in Lake Piru with her 4-year-old son when she went missing July 8 in Ventura County.

Authorities are searching for Naya Rivera after going missing.

Naya Rivera is presumed dead after her young son was found alone in a boat in Lake Piru. The lake is in Los Padres National Forest in Ventura County. Rivera’s son was found asleep on the boat three hours after Rivera rented the boat for the mother-son outing. According to officials, the son said that he and Rivera went for a swim and that she didn’t get back on the boat. CNN reports that the child was wearing a life vest while an adult life vest was found on the boat.

The search was paused overnight between Wednesday and Thursday and resumed as a recovery mission.

Fans do not think that Ventura County Sheriff’s are doing enough in the search for the actress. Emotions are high as fans share their grief and shock at Rivera’s sudden disappearance. According to Deputy Chris Dyer, the water where the boat was found is about 40 feet deep and that wind is a big factor in that part of the lake.

Authorities have classified the search as a recovery in a signal that they believe Rivera to be dead.

A recovery mission means that authorities are looking to recover a body from the lake. The news has devastated Rivera’s friends and family who want her brought home safe. Her son is reportedly doing well and is with relatives as authorities search for his mother in the lake.

Celebrities are sending messages hoping for Rivera to be alive.

Rivera wrote a memoir titled “Sorry, Not Sorry,” which gives an intimate look into her life during and after “Glee.” The actress was open and honest in her memoir bringing up some of the darkest and toughest times she endured and how it shaped her in the years that followed.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Rivera’s loved ones.

This story is developing. mitú will report updates as they become available.

READ: Naya Rivera’s Memoir Talks About Abortion And Anorexia