Narcotrafficking Beauty Queens

In the last three years, the number of women arrested in Mexico on drug trafficking-related charges has jumped 400%. At least six of them are beauty queens or models.

That's not a coincidence, of course. In most of these cases, they are or were romantically involved with drug kingpins, and according to Mexican press reports, their beauty was used as bait or distraction.

A McClatchy reports from Mexico City, a good chunk of them are from Andean countries, mostly Colombia, with one, former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, from Venezuela. Laura Zuniga, 2008 Miss Sinaloa in Mexico and Miss Hispanic America, was arrested after it was revealed her boyfriend was the head of the Juarez cartel, but when she said she had no idea what his job was, she was released. Her fellow Mexican, Eunice Ramirez Contreras, arrested in the state of Chihuahua as part of a band of kidnappers.

Update: Correction — Alicia Machado was never arrested. A secret witness claimed she was involved with a drug lord, who fathered her child; Machado said he was a respectable businessman.

Latest Andean Export: Beauty Queens For Mexican Narcos [McClatchy Via Newstaco]