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North Carolina professor arrested for alleged drug trafficking

There are many stories about people who unknowingly carry drugs between countries. Sometimes they are hidden in an item given as a gift, other times they are concealed in luggage. The situation is not uncommon, but defending charges of drug trafficking can be difficult. A professor at the University of North Carolina is finding this out now.

The man, who is a British-born astrophysics professor at UNC, was detained in Argentina after 2 kilograms of cocaine were found in his luggage. He was traveling back to the United States after a vacation to visit a woman he had been communicating with online. He is being held in an Argentina jail on charges of suspected drug trafficking.

Police searched the man's luggage and found the drugs wrapped in gift paper and placed inside the lining of the suitcase. The professor claims that he was completely unaware that the suitcase contained drugs. How often do people check the lining of their luggage?

His story is that upon his arrival to Argentina, he was supposed to meet with the woman he had befriended over the Internet. According to the man, the woman is a well-known model. When he arrived, however, he learned that she was not available. He briefly met with the woman's representative before flying home. That is the person he feels is responsible for stashing the drugs in the suitcase.

Locally in North Carolina, drug trafficking busts usually come after months or years of investigations. A person may also charged with trafficking drugs during a routine traffic stop if a search turns up substantial amounts of marijuana or other drugs. When faced with these serious charges, it can be very helpful to seek the help of an attorney. A conviction of drug trafficking can result in several years in prison and other penalties.

Source: The Independent, "British scientist 'caught with 2kg of cocaine' held in Argentina," Tom Harper, March 23, 2012

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