Fallen 'Idol:' TV show winner held in Dominican
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — A winner of the TV talent show "Latin American Idol" was charged with drug smuggling after police found heroin stuffed in the heels of her platform shoes, authorities said Thursday.
Martha Heredia was arrested late Wednesday as she was about to board a plane to New York, said Frank Duran, the National Drug Control Agency's director for the city of Santiago.
He said police found 2.9 pounds (1.3 kilograms) of heroin in the heels of three pairs of shoes in her suitcase. Police also ordered Heredia to undergo X-ray tests to determine whether she had any drugs hidden inside her body, but none were found.
Duran said police are interrogating her to determine whether she was working as a mule for a drug-trafficking organization.
Prosecutor Luisa Liranzo said Heredia does not yet have an attorney. If found guilty, she could face more than 10 years in prison.
The 22-year-old became a star in her native Dominican Republic after she won the final "Latin American Idol" contest in 2009, with the government giving her the National Youth Award in February 2010. The show, which ran for three years, was a Spanish-language version of the popular British "Idols" franchise.
In December 2010, Heredia hit and killed a teenage boy with her car as he tried to cross a highway by foot. She was later ordered to pay his family some $275,000 as part of a lawsuit.
Last month, Heredia filed a domestic violence complaint against her husband, Manuel Varet Marte, a hip hop singer known as Vakero. He was ordered held in prison for three months as police investigate the case.