(above) This picture released by the Jalisco Goverment's press office of the members of a gang arrested on December 22, 2008

Organizers strip Mexican beauty queen of title after drug bust
December 27, 2008 - AFP

LA PAZ (AFP) — Laura Zuniga, the Mexican beauty queen jailed after she was picked up with an alleged drug cartel leader and heavily armed men, has been stripped of one of her titles, Bolivian organizers said Saturday.

Zuniga lost her title as Queen of Hispanic America, said Promociones Gloria, the Bolivian group that organizes the event.

(right) Laurra Zuniga

Vivian Noronha Cia of Brazil now takes the tiara "as consequence of the events known to the public in which Miss Laura Zuniga... was involved," Promociones Gloria said in a brief statement.

Zuniga "failed to follow the rules of the contest, which state that the winner must display correct behavior, stay away from scandals and bad habits, and be a good example to society," Tatiana Limpias de Tarabillo, who heads Promociones Gloria, told the Bolivian daily El Deber.

Zuniga, 23, was picked up late Monday at a military checkpoint in the western Mexican state of Jalisco while traveling with seven armed men in two vehicles carrying 100,000 dollars in cash. Authorities said they found two AR-15 rifles, three pistols, 633 cartridges and 16 mobile phones in the vehicles.

A judge on Friday ordered "the cautionary measure" of 40 days detention for Zuniga and the men "for probably committing crimes" relating to drug trafficking and transporting weapons, the office of Mexico's attorney general said.

Zuniga was picked up along with Angel Orlando Garcia Urquizar, "presumed to be one of the leaders of the Juarez Cartel," the statement read.

Police earlier identified Zuniga as Garcia Urquizar's girlfriend.

The group was "just coming to town. They came from different places and the young woman said that the money was for making purchases in Bolivia and Colombia," said Jalisco public security director Alejandro Solorio at the time of the arrest.

Zuniga is originally from Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state, birthplace of one of Mexico's most powerful cartels.

There has been no word on whether Zuniga will keep her title as "Miss Sinaloa," which she won in July.