Latin America & Caribbean

Argentina convicts drug beauty queen Angie Sanclemente

Angie Sanclemente in an undated picture
Image caption The Argentine press dubbed Ms Sanclemente the "Narco Queen"

A former Colombian beauty queen has been jailed for nearly seven years in Argentina for running an international drug trafficking ring.

Model Angie Sanclemente Valencia, 31, had denied helping her boyfriend recruit other young women to smuggle cocaine to Europe via Mexico.

She said she had come to Argentina to get married, not to smuggle drugs - her only crime was to fall in love.

Her Argentine boyfriend Nicolas Gualco was given the same sentence.

Several other accomplices were also jailed or given suspended sentences.

Throughout the trial Ms Sanclemente insisted she was innocent.

She said she had come to Argentina to marry Mr Gualco but did not realise he was involved in crime - a story he backed up.


But prosecutors maintained she had been the international nexus of the drug trafficking ring.

Ms Sanclemente was arrested in Buenos Aires in May last year after five months on the run.

She said she had gone into hiding after her boyfriend was arrested because she feared being raped in prison.

The investigation began after another accomplice was caught trying to board a flight to Cancun in Mexico with 55kg of cocaine in her suitcases.

In 2000 Ms Sanclemente won the popular Colombian title of Coffee Queen, but had to return it when it was discovered she was married, in breach of the beauty pageant's rules.

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