Dominican singer can be held for year in drug case

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SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — 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.

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