Hold my thoughts on the use of the term "cartel": The Associated Press reports that Sandra Avila Beltran, aka The Queen of the Pacific, received Botox injections during her stay in Santa Marta Acatitla, a women's prison in Mexico City. ((link above in title of post.)
Christ, it only gets worse, doesn't it. Mexico's prisons are notoriously lax – part of this is justified by the fact that they are considered rehabilitation centers rather than just lock-ups – but this is a bit ridiculous. A doctor was improperly admitted to give the Botox injection, the authorities say.
I visited Santa Marta Acatitla several times during my time in Mexico. It was one of the few prisons which journalists were allowed to visit regularly; I also made some contacts inside who put me on their list of registered visitors, which allowed me more regular access while researching The Last Narco (one of the inmates who I visited several times had a brother in the army who had worked for Los Zetas and been arrested for it). The guards who were supposed to regulate contraband smuggling left much to be desired, to say the least. On one occasion, I brought my mobile phone, and the guard found it when searching me. He lifted a finger to his lips as if to say "It's between you and me."
Unsurprisingly, many of the inmates had cellphones. They had food smuggled in from outside, clothing, and allegedly, some even had weapons.
Ms Avila Beltran, when I saw her in the prison, was wearing what must have been a designer pantsuit (it was regulation beige, which is obligatory for inmates awaiting sentencing). She had popped into the courtyard to make a call at the payphone; I assume she was using said payphone because cellphones might be tapped. (My understanding is that the prison payphone can't be tapped because inmates have a right to privacy).
Anyway, Ms Avila Beltran apparently had a few quibbles with conditions in the prison. There were cockroaches in her cell, she complained to the human rights commission. In addition, she reputedly had complained about the noise in the cellblock, and behavior of the guards. (This is hearsay from other inmates; I couldn't verify any of it with officials.)
During his stay in Puente Grande, Chapo had women and booze smuggled in; the Queen of the Pacific had a doctor come in to make her a bit more beautiful.
You've got to be kidding me.
Incidentally, all charges against Ms Avila Beltran were dropped late last year; she's currently fighting extradition to the US. She denies all charges.