Latin America's Top Ten Lady Drug Smugglers: An Illustrated Guide
Police are after a former beauty queen who's accused of being the ringleader of a gang of pinups who also work as international drug smugglers. Angie San Clemente Valencia is a bosomy 30-year-old Colombian who's accused of paying her merry band of strumpets $5,000 for carrying pounds of blow from Mexico to Spain.
Sounds like the plot of a bad B movie, right? Or maybe a Shangri-Las song? For its story about Valencia, El Nuevo Herald went with the very Almodóvar headline, "High Heels and Mini-skirts: The New Face of Drug Trafficking." Only it's not exactly a new face. Women have been smuggling drugs for decades -- the Drug Enforcement Agency has at least six runty cholas on its list of most wanted fugitives. Here's our rundown of the most notorious:
1. Angie San Clemente Valencia. Our latest tarty gangster is originally from Colombia, where she won the International Queen of Coffee title in 2000. She's been living in Argentina since, where she's quietly acquired a gaggle of 'unsuspicious, beautiful angels'. Hobbies: collagen, silicone, drugs, and stilettos. She'd fit right in South Florida.
2. Griselda Blanco. Alternatively called the Ma Barker of Miami's Cocaine Cowboys, the Black Widow, or "The Most Bloodthirsty Female Criminal of Our Time," Blanco was one of the brains behind the rise of the drug wars in Miami in the '70s and '80s. She was called the Black Widow because she killed all three of her husbands. Asked why, she famously said, "You dis me and you don't get the funbags." Just kidding -- Snooki said that, but if the shoe fits... Blanco is now living in Colombia as a born-again Christian, and her son, named Michael after the Corleone, lives in Miami raising his kids. Netflix connection: She's the star of the sequel to Cocaine Cowboys, Hustlin' With the Godmother.
3 . Sandra Avila Beltran. Nicknamed the Queen of the Pacific, this Amazonian brunette is the niece of Mexico's original Tony Montana, Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, whose fall from power in 1989 triggered today's bloody drug wars. Beltran, age 48, inherited the family business and is now wanted in Miami for importing and distributing some nine tons of cocaine worth $80 million. Eva Mendes is said to be portraying her in an upcoming movie. Fun fact: She used to launder money through a small cartel of tanning salons.
4. Laura Elena Zuñiga Huizar. Twice named a beauty queen -- once in Mexico, where she was Miss Sinaloa, and then in Bolivia as Miss Hispanic -- this 24-year-old bad-ass was arrested last year traveling with a weapons arsenal to rival Zimbabwe's: two rifles, three revolvers, more than 600 cartridges, 16 cell phones, and $18,000 in cash. Asked where she was going, she simply said, "Shopping."
5. Gail Mathews. A 56-year-old Broward resident who was known in her neighborhood as a quiet gardener, she was caught with millions of dollars' worth of cocaine in her 60-foot yacht, Chazmania, according to the Miami Herald. Apparently, it took the feds six months to catch her.
6. Marcia Ludwig. When '80s Hialeah criminal kingpin Alberto San Pedro wanted a pardon from then-Gov. Bob Graham, he sent gal-pal Ludwig, a Miami Beach resident and Orange Bowl queen in 1957, to tape a note to the governor's bathroom mirror. According to the Herald, it read, "This is a note for Bob's mirror -- a good friend of mine has a case coming before Bob.. .I appreciate you calling my words to Bob's attention." Those are brass ones.
7. Janet Inés Contreras. This nifty American floozy is the original spidercunt, to take Sam Lipsyte's word. She's not a beauty queen or even a looker, but she deserves mentioning just for her chutzpah. Last year, she was arrested at a Dominican Republic airport for stashing a condom full of drugs inside her vagina, or Pikachu, or whatever Chelsea Handler is calling it these days.
from the defunct Miami News
8. Sharon Wright. The oldest case on our list, the former Miss Black America was arrested in 1982 at Miami International Airport after a three-day trip to Colombia. With her were the usual memorabilia: pictures, coffee, and two pounds of cocaine stashed inside a picture frame. Retail value: $15,000. She eventually beat the charges, never to be heard of again, or so Google tells us.
9. Maria Full of Grace. Our only Oscar nominee, Maria was a 17-year-old Colombian villager who got knocked up and needed cash real bad. Back in 2004, she decided to become a drug mule, swallow 62 heroin pellets, and star in her own indie. We understand she goes by the alias Catalina Sandino Moreno nowadays.
10. Blanca Margarita Cázares Salazar. The 54-year-old Mexican today looks like a latter-day Leona Helmsley, but in her day, she was known as "the Empress." The second lady from the province of Sinaloa, she began dealing opium and pot when she was 20 years old and now leads "a sophisticated money-laundering apparatus" that extends from Mexico to California, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. Fun fact: She's a devout Catholic. Nice company this Ratzinger keeps.
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