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Women deal drugs, launder money and even work as assassins for Mexico's drug gangs.
A less bloody female celebrity connected to the crime world was beauty queen Laura Zuniga — winner of Miss Hispanic America — who was arrested in 2008 along with a wanted trafficker in a car full of money and guns.
Zuniga was later released without charges, but not before she had been paraded on the front page of the national press with headlines such as “Miss Hispanic America and the Seven Narcos.” She said she was the just the girlfriend of the trafficker but not involved in his business.
In Sinaloa state — the heartland of Mexican organized crime — girlfriends of traffickers have become an entire subculture known as "buchonas," identified by diamond-studded finger bling, fake breasts and expensive dresses by foreign designers.
A recent story on buchonas in the state’s best-selling Noroeste newspaper was followed by regretful comments on how so many women fall for the drug dollars.
“What a shame that there are ladies who get dazzled by the false shine of that money, who only aspire to be the girlfriends or loved ones of these vulgar thugs,” wrote a Sinaloan resident identified as Gonzo.
The shining wealth of drug dollars has also lured women further south to Colombia, where the Mexican gangsters buy their cocaine.
A Colombian book “Without Breasts There is No Paradise” chronicles girls who have breast implants to garner rich narco boyfriends.
It was made into one of the most successful soap operas in the history of Colombian television, sparking a recent sequel, “The Dolls of The Mafia.”
But even just being the girlfriend of a capo can be dangerous in the current bloodshed in Mexico.
Public enemy No. 1 Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman was documented as having a romance while in prison with inmate Zulema Hernandez, a tall blond armed robber.
However, after Hernandez was released in 2008, she was kidnapped and murdered, apparently by Guzman’s rivals, the Zetas. On her stomach, buttocks and chest, the killers carved the letter Z.
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