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Colombian beauty queen spared death penalty, handed 15 year prison sentence by Chinese court for cocaine smuggling

July 28, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Colombian beauty queen spared death penalty, handed 15 year prison sentence by Chinese court for cocaine smuggling

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A Colombian beauty pageant winner has received a prison sentence from a Chinese court, eluding the death penalty, for drug smuggling.

Chinese officials said 22-year-old Juliana López Sarrazola, who is the former Miss Antioquia, was to face either death or a life sentence for smuggling over a pound and a half of cocaine into China, where she was to compete in the Miss World competition back in 2015.

According to the South China Morning Post, the People’s Intermediate Court of Guangzhou handed the Colombian model a 15-year prison sentence. When she finishes her term of incarceration, she will be expelled from the country.

Authorities arrested López Sarrazola at the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, near Hong Kong, on July 18th, 2015 with 610 grams of cocaine concealed within a laptop computer.

Earlier this week, López Sarrazola admitted to a court that she smuggled the cocaine, “I wanted to attend the Miss World beauty contest in [December] 2015, It takes quite some money to pay for the travel and hotels.”

The Colombian model was convicted in China for drug trafficking. (Twitter)

The Colombian model was convicted in China for drug trafficking. (Twitter)

López Sarrazola’s attorney said his client attempted to borrow money from a man identified only as Sergio, who promised to pay the Colombian beauty $2,500 for smuggling the cocaine into China.

López Sarrazola claimed that Sergio threatened to kill her family if she refused to cooperate.

Her lawyer read incriminating text messages that she received on her cell phone as evidence to prove the man had coerced his client into becoming a drug mule.

Friends and family members of López Sarrazola back in Medellín, Colombia, were relieved to find out she was spared from the death penalty and refused to believe the beauty queen would knowingly transport drugs.

Alejandro Duque, a friend of López Sarrazola, told the Medellín newspaper, El Colombiano.“We are ‘happy’ in quotation marks because we know that China is very radical, and we expected the worst, I think they considered her good behavior [in the judgment].”

“I am happy and have been assured Chinese authorities have given her 15 years which could be reduced to 7 or 8 years, depending on her behavior,” another friend, Daniela Henao Salgado, told the paper.

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