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Colombian ex-model faces drug-smuggling charges in Argentina

June 3, 2010 |  1:07 pm

Model colombia argentina efe

A former model and beauty queen from Colombia is claiming her innocence of charges in Argentina that she led a ring of young female models who worked as "mules" smuggling cocaine on flights to Mexico and Europe. Authorities arrested Angela Sanclemente, 31, last week at a youth hostel in Buenos Aires' Palermo district, where she was staying under an assumed name and told other foreign guests she was from Mexico, where she previously lived, CNN reports.

"They are using my daughter," her mother, Jeannette Valencia, said outside the hostel. "My daughter is innocent."

The case involving the former "Queen of Coffee" titleholder is riveting her native country and Argentina. Sanclemente has been wanted by police since December, when her boyfriend, also a model, was arrested in Buenos Aires. Authorities believe the two led the smuggling ring together but it began to unravel after one of their models was caught at Buenos Aires' Ezeiza international airport attempting to board a flight with 55 kilos of cocaine.

Sanclemente went before a judge Tuesday in Buenos Aires and pleaded to be released. She denied being "Diamond," her alleged pseudonym in the smuggling ring. "For a few moments she cried," reports La Nacion.

She remains in custody.

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

Photo: Angela Sanclemente is led away from a courtroom in Argentina. Credit: EFE.