British scientist 'caught with 2kg of cocaine' held in Argentina
A distinguished British scientist has been arrested in Argentina after police allegedly found two kilograms of cocaine in his suitcase.
Oxford-educated Paul Frampton was seized by detectives at Buenos Aires airport and is being held in jail on suspicion of drugs trafficking.
The 68-year-old astrophysics professor is said to have claimed the drugs were planted in his bag during a honeytrap sting involving a "well-known model" he met on the internet.
Professor Frampton, who holds three degrees from Oxford University, reportedly told investigators the woman's agent persuaded him to carry a suitcase across the border.
He was seized as he boarded a plane to Peru on 23 January at Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires after police found the cocaine wrapped in gift paper inside the lining of his case.
Since his arrest, Professor Frampton has been held at Villa Devoto jail, scene of one of the worst prison riots in Argentina resulting in 62 deaths in 1978.
The Worcestershire-born scientist, who now lives and works in the United States, said: "I am innocent. I will not be convicted. It is just that the Argentinian justice system is very slow.
"There is easily enough evidence that I didn't know there were drugs in the bag, and that will come out."
Professor Frampton reportedly told investigators he was set up after flying to Argentina to meet a woman he had romanced over the internet. In a statement to investigating judge Juan Galvan Grenway, which was leaked to a local newspaper, he said: "The reason for my trip to South America was to meet a female friend, who is a well-known model, but I wasn't able to meet her. I believe my friend's representative, who was the one who gave me the flight tickets, is probably the person responsible for the drugs in the suitcase."
Argentine investigators do not believe him and have remanded him in custody. A spokesman said: "It is improbable and it wouldn't be likely that a 68-year-old man with a solid university education has come to the country to meet up with a female friend, and despite not having had contact with her, has agreed to carry a suitcase apparently belonging to her with him."
Friends of Professor Frampton, who is suspended without pay from the University of North Carolina, are fighting to free him from prison. Former colleague David Stallard said: "I knew Paul professionally and socially for 17 years.
"He never showed any interest in drugs and it is inconceivable to me that he intentionally smuggled cocaine. He must have been duped."
Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Rob Lowe hits out at White House decision not to meet Israeli leader
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign
Winston Churchill: From accusations of anti-Semitism to the blunt refusal that led to the deaths of millions
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 Syrian refugee child beaten by Istanbul Burger King manager for eating customer’s leftover food