She's gone by a number of different nicknames: "La Bonita," the pretty one; "La Chula," the beautiful one; and "La Reina del Crimen," the queen of crime.
And now, she's gone back to Mexico.
U.S. authorities arrested Anel Violeta Noriega Rios in El Monte, Calif., outside of Los Angeles, on June 27, the Associated Press reports. Mexican authorities say Noriega Rios, 27, is a top operative for Mexico's La Familia drug cartel in the U.S., and she stands accused of helping oversee the violent cartel's methamphetamine distribution in California and Washington State.
In a strange twist, the notorious drug runner suspect hid in one of the least likely places: in plain sight.
"It is the last place you’d expect to find someone who was supposed to have run so many drugs," a source familiar with the investigation told The LA Times when describing Noriega Rios' humble El Monte apartment. "It is not clear if she was just hiding or just had fallen on hard times."
According to CNN, "La Bonita" had a 5 million peso ($375,000) bounty on her by Mexican authorities, who tipped off U.S. officials about her identity. ICE officers and U.S. marshals arrested Noriega Rios on "administrative immigration violations," and she was subsequently turned over to Mexican authorities two days later at a border crossing in San Ysidro, Calif.
Noriega Rios was allegedly a contact between her Michoacan cartel and the notorious Sinaloa cartel's leaders, according to AP, including the "world's most powerful drug trafficker" Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.
Reports also suggest "La Bonita" used a gardening company to move drugs smuggled from Mexico into the U.S. by sea.The LA Times notes Noriega Rios had been arrested in the U.S. and deported to Mexico five times between 2004 and 2005, but had no criminal convictions in the U.S.