At Tuesday’s bond hearing, Avila’s attorney, Ralls, challenged a government witness about the integrity of the indictment against her, especially the alleged link between the Chicago deal and Manzanillo seizure.
“Both of those [incidents] go together in our investigation,” DEA Special Agent Stephen Kepper testified.
In Avila’s case, at least one convicted defendant has been cooperating with authorities. His name: Leyner Valencia Espinosa, the brother of her one-time Colombian boyfriend.
The 2004 federal indictment charged Espinosa, Avila and five others with the drug-trafficking conspiracies. Espinosa, who initially received a 22-year prison sentence, saw it cut by half for his cooperation. The other defendants, including Espinosa family members, also pleaded guilty. Avila, now in custody, and Julio Beltrán, a fugitive but no relation, remain as defendants in the case.
In the ruling on Avila’s bail, the magistrate judge said he did not believe she was a “danger to the community,” as the prosecutor argued, because she has been incarcerated for years. But White found she was a “risk of flight” because she has no ties to the South Florida community and faces a long prison sentence if convicted.
Mexicans, along with the press, have long been fascinated with Avila, following details of her taste for high fashion, gourmet food and beauty secrets. One rumor that made the rounds: A doctor visited her while she was jailed in Mexico to administer her Botox injections.
Much of the fascination with Avila is because of her sex. For decades, narco-trafficking has been dominated by macho men, but experts say women have always played a key role in Mexican drug organizations.