Former Drug Queen Alleges Life Story Used by ‘Queen of the South’ — & She’s Suing

Lead Photo: USA Network
USA Network
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Sandra Ávila Beltrán, a convicted drug trafficker from Mexico, has filed a lawsuit against Netflix and Telemundo. She alleges that the details of her life were used without her consent to create the Spanish-language TV series La Reina del Sur, starring Kate del Castillo, and its U.S. remake Queen of the South, starring Alice Braga.

Known as the “Queen of the Pacific” herself, Beltrán, 61, who was freed from prison in 2015, wants to be paid 40 percent of the royalties from the original series. “These companies…acted maliciously, with the intention of discrediting me and based on this, obtain economic profit,” a court filing reads.

According to the Mexican news outlet Milenio, both Netflix and Telemundo are defending themselves from the accusations calling them meritless.

“There is a public interest in talking about a person who is accused of a crime that causes serious violence and countless victims in our country, namely drug trafficking, and about the outcome of the respective judicial proceeding,” the networks responded in court filings. “Talking about it is not an invasion of the plaintiff’s privacy. It is justified to do journalism about the plaintiff since there is an interest in talking about the administration of justice.”

Arturo Pérez-Reverte, the Spanish writer of La Reina del Sur, has also spoken out. He said he’s never met Beltrán and that the characters in his book are fictional and “built through visits and conversations with much higher-ranking drug traffickers in Mexico, Morocco, and Spain.”

Recently, a premiere window of October 2022 was announced for the third season of La Reina del Sur. In an Instagram post, del Castillo reminded fans that “1,493 days have passed since we haven’t seen Teresa, but in October the wait ends.”

All seasons of Queen of the South are available on Netflix.