Scientist Seeking Love Falls for Cocaine Scam

By McCarton Ackerman 07/24/12

A distinguished physicist duped into chasing "Miss Bikini World" languishes in an Argentine jail.

Spoiler alert: this does not end well.
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This is not your typical "rom-com." A US-based British scientist who thought he was heading to Bolivia to meet the woman of his dreams—a renowned "Czech model" he met online—now faces a possible 16-year jail sentence after he was allegedly suckered into smuggling two kilograms of cocaine on a flight from Buenos Aires to Peru. Paul Frampton, a professor at North Carolina University, had been chatting online from last November with a woman he believed to be Czech-born glamour model and former Miss Bikini World Denise Milani. But it turns out "she" was a male criminal posing as a model. The pair arranged to meet in Bolivia, where Frampton thought he would meet Milani, only to be told by a hotel employee to look after a suitcase belonging to her. After waiting fruitlessly in Bolivia for 10 days, he was told to fly to Buenos Aires and wait three days for a ticket to Brussels, where they would finally meet. It was at this point that Frampton's colleagues convinced him to fly home—but he was busted by airport officials when they found the drugs hidden in the lining of the suitcase. “The day I arrived in Bolivia I found out she wasn’t coming and I should have returned to the US straight away," says Frampton. "But I always see my projects through, as I do with my physics papers. She was my project. Perhaps I should have realized there was something strange going on.” How on earth did the man who makes a living off his mind fall for such a scam? Frampton's ex-wife Anne Marie says he has "an emotional age of three. The only thing he understands is science." Frampton is still locked up in a Buenos Aires jail, but his fellow scientists have written to Cristina Kirchner, the Argentine president, asking her to intervene.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.