Lingerie Model Declares Innocence in Drug Smuggling Scheme

A former lingerie model accused of helping run a glitz-and-glamour drug smuggling operation declared her innocence in a Buenos Aires court Tuesday, saying if she did anything, she did it "for love," according to press reports.

Angie Sanclemente Valencia, 31, has been charged with recruiting beautiful young women to act as "mules" and carry drugs from South America into Mexico and eventually into Europe for $5,000 a trip, according to The Associated Press. The Colombian native picked the gorgeous women, investigators alleged, because she believed they were less likely to look suspicious going through customs.

Sanclemente told an Argentinian court she had come to Argentina to marry her boyfriend, not to get into any "dirty business."

"I am not a drug trafficker... I never thought [my boyfriend] would get involved in such things. I just made a few calls," Sanclemente said, referring to communications with others accused in the smuggling ring, according to a report by Argentina's La Nacion. She made the calls, she said, "for love."

Sanclemente, who was dubbed by the Latin American media "la modelo narco", was accused in the alleged smuggling operation last year but managed to elude an international manhunt for months before she was caught. The operation was first uncovered in 2009 after one of the alleged "mules" was caught in an airport in Argentina with 121 pounds of cocaine.

Sanclemente's boyfriend, who also worked as a model, reportedly admitted in court that he paid girls to carry drugs for him and said Sanclemente was not in the drug gang. Five other people are accused for their alleged roles in the smuggling ring.

German Delgado, a lawyer for Sanclemente, said there was no evidence against his client, Colombia's El Espectador reported. If convicted, Sanclemente faces up to 16 years in prison, according to the AP.

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