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Glenis Zapata, an Indiana Beauty Queen, Has Been Charged With Trafficking in Connection With a Mexican Drug Gang


It was found that the winner of a beauty pageant in Indiana had ties to a big drug cartel.

She is 34 years old and was named Miss Indiana Latina in 2011. She is now being charged with trafficking after being named in an accusation by a federal grand jury in Chicago. She is accused of carrying drug money worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Recently, Zapata was working as a flight attendant, but federal officials say she was also helping drug cartels bring cash into Mexico on private jets, including one that was first reported by the ABC7 I-Team in 2022.

Twenty pounds of cocaine were in several bags on that plane when it arrived at the Gary, Indiana airport from Mexico.

People who worked for the cartel and were caught in the private jet have already been charged and jailed.

The new indictment says that Glenis Zapata and her sister Ilenis, 33, who is also from Lafayette and works at an Indiana bank, are both charged with helping to hide drug money by exchanging small bills for larger ones. A second bank worker, Georgian Banuelos, who is 39 years old, is also being charged.

The leader of the drug crime group is said to be 41-year-old criminal Oswaldo Espinosa, also known as “Scrambler.”

Espinosa is accused of bringing cocaine from Mexico to Chicago and other cities between 2018 and 2023. He is said to have used buildings, garages, and “stash houses” to store the drugs and cash.

When Glenis Zapata won a beauty pageant in 2011, she was the first Latina from Indiana to ever make it to the top 10 of a US contest. Her arrest is a sad end to her high point.

In Chicago federal court, bail reports for both of the Zapata sisters have been posted, which means they are now in police custody. The newly charged drug dealers have not yet been given a court date.

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