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Police detain Mexican beauty queen, seize weapons

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Mexican newcasts refer to arrested beauty queen as "Miss Pistols"
  • Mexican police: Laura Zuniga, seven men face arms charges, federal probe
  • Zuniga, men found in vehicles with weapons, $50,000, police say
  • Zuniga set to represent Mexico in next year's Miss International contest
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(CNN) -- A 23-year-old beauty queen and seven men arrested in vehicles loaded with weapons and cash near the central Mexico city of Guadalajara have been transferred to Mexico City, the state news agency said Wednesday.

The detainees' vehicles contained assault rifles, handguns, cartridges and $50,000 in cash, police say.

Laura Zuniga and seven men were found in vehicles with guns and $50,000, Mexican police say.

Laura Zuniga and the men were traveling Monday night in two vehicles that contained AR-15 assault rifles, 38-caliber specials, 9 mm handguns, cartridges and $50,000 in cash, said Luis Carlos Najera Gutierrez de Velazco, secretary of public security for the state of Jalisco.

Police, who had received a tip that armed men were in a home, detected the vehicles in the city of Zapopan as authorities were en route to investigate the call, Najera said Tuesday.

Inside one of the vehicles, authorities found Angel Orlando Garcia Urquiza, 29, who is Zuniga's boyfriend and the brother of "one of the greatest capos [bosses] of narcotraffic," Ricardo Garcia Urquiza, a member of the Juarez cartel already in police custody, Najera said.

All eight were filed before the news media Tuesday. Zuniga, wearing blue jeans and a gray sweater, raised her handcuffed wrists to cover her face in a police picture. Video Watch footage of the eight arrested and weapons seized »

They were transported in a heavily armed 30-vehicle convoy late Tuesday to Guadalajara International Airport and flown to Mexico City, the official Notimex news agency reported.

The federal organized crime team in Mexico City will investigate, and the suspects will face arms charges, Najera said.

Zuniga is from Culiacan in the state of Sinaloa, a center of drug activity.

In July, she won the title Our Sinaloa Beauty. That gave her the right to compete two months later in the national Our Mexico Beauty in Monterrey, where she won "The Election of the Queens," one of five special recognitions, and came in third overall.

In October, she won the title "Hispanoamerican Queen 2008" in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

Mexican newscasts referred to her Wednesday as "Miss Pistols" and likened her situation to "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

According to the Nuestra Belleza Mexico Web site, she is to represent Mexico in next year's Miss International contest.


A statement issued Wednesday by Lupita Jones, director of Our Mexico Beauty, said the organization will wait to see what happens in the legal system.

"In order to determine the situation with Miss Laura Zuniga, Our Mexico Beauty will be watching the case and will take appropriate action once the results of the authorities' investigation are known," said the statement, published on the Web site for CNN affiliate Televisa Mexico.

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