Latin American Idol Winner: Smuggling Arrest

Martha Heredia, winner of the Latin American Idol, was arrested Wednesday night in her native Dominican Republic for an attempt to smuggle heroin out of the country in her platform shoes. A report in the English language version of Diario Libre Movil said that she was caught with two kilograms of the dangerous drug. If true, the beautiful singer known as ‘La Baby’ faces a sentence of up to 20 years.

According to a CBS report, authorities from the Dominican Republic tested the substance stuffed into three pairs of platform shoes packed in her baggage.

Almost three pounds of heroin were located in the shoes, causing police to order an X-ray of her body to check for more. However, there were no drugs on her person. She was detained shortly before she boarding a flight to New York.

The sweetheart of a nation, Heredia’s 2009 win caused widespread celebration in the Dominican Republic. Diario Libre noted that even then-president Leonel Fernandez had asked people to vote for her on the popular talent show, which allows fans to pay to send as many texts as they can afford to vote for their favorite “idol.”

Despite being invited to visit Fernandez at the National Palace, Heredia couldn’t build on her fame. Radhames Gonzalez asked the burning question, “Where is Martha Heredia?” in his Dec. 2010 report for Hoy. The once-promising singer had dropped out of sight after hitting and killing a 16-year-old boy in an auto accident. Gonzalez even hinted at a possible hit-and-run, since the authorities didn’t seem to know where she was in the immediate aftermath.

Whatever the circumstances of the tragedy, the erstwhile Latin American Idol winner ended up paying $275,000 in damages to the victim’s family.

Wednesday’s arrest can only lead to more questions. Was Heredia on drugs at the time of the accident? Is she now addicted to heroin?

Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito offered no comfort to fans of the former Latin American Idol. “This arrest is a very regrettable case, the fact that young people with so much future” would commit a crime that might carry 10-20 years in prison.