Mexican federal judge orders immediate release of cartel 'Queen of the Pacific' after throwing out 5-year money-laundering sentence; Sandra Avila Beltran had been jailed for her alleged role as a liaison between Mexican and Colombian drug cartels - @AP
The Sinaloa Cartel (Spanish: Cártel de Sinaloa or CDS) is the world's most powerful drug trafficking, money laundering, and organized crime syndicate. The Sinaloa Cartel is based primarily in the city of Culiacán, Sinaloa, with operations in the Mexican states of Baja California, Durango, Sonora, and Chihuahua. The cartel is also known as the Guzmán-Loera Organization and the Pacific Cartel, the latter due to the coast of Mexico from which it originated. The cartel has also been called the Federation and the Blood Alliance. The 'Federation' was partially splintered when the Beltrán-Leyva brothers broke apart from the Sinaloa Cartel.
The United States Intelligence Community considers the Sinaloa Cartel "the most powerful drug trafficking organization in the world" and in 2011, the Los Angeles Times called it "Mexico's most powerful organized crime group." The Sinaloa Cartel is associated with the label "Golden Triangle", which refers to the states of Sinaloa, Durango, and Chihuahua. The region is a major producer of Mexican opium and marijuana. According to the U.S. Attorney General, the Sinaloa Cartel is responsible for importing into the United States and distributing nearly 200 tons of cocaine and large amounts of heroin between 1990 and 2008.