Dominican singer can be held for year in drug case

A judge in the Dominican Republic ruled Monday that the winner of a TV talent show can be held in jail for up to a year while authorities investigate her alleged involvement in drug smuggling.

Martha Heredia, a 22-year-old Dominican singer who was a winner of the show "Latin American Idol," was arrested at a Dominican airport on Wednesday as she was about to board a flight to New York. Police allege she had 2.9 pounds (1.3 kilograms) of heroin stuffed in the heels of three pairs of platform shoes.

On Monday, Judge Deyanira Vasquez ruled that Heredia can be held for a year in jail. No charges have been filed, but the Dominican legal systems allows for lengthy preventative detention.

Heredia's lawyer, Felix Portes, said there is "no evidence" that links the singer to the suitcase where the heroin was found.

Portes tried unsuccessfully to get the court to authorize Heredia's transfer from a lockup to a medical clinic, arguing she had underwent a liposuction procedure in recent weeks and was experiencing discomfort.

Heredia had become a local star after she won the final "Latin American Idol" contest in 2009. The show, which ran for three years, was a Spanish-language version of the popular "Idols" franchise. Her subsequent musical career failed to take off.

Enlargephoto

Dominican Republic's singer Martha Heredia, is escorted handcuffed into the prosecutor's office in Santiago, Dominican Republic, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013. Heredia, a winner of the TV talent show "Latin American Idol", was arrested late Wednesday and charged with drug smuggling after police found heroin stuffed in the heels of her platform shoes as she was about to board a plane to New York at the Cibao International airport in Santiago, according to National Drug Control Agency Director Frank Duran. (AP Photo)