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."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower