SANTIAGO, Dominican Republic – A Dominican court ruled that popular singer Martha Heredia, detained last week in possession of heroin, can be held for up to a year without charge as police and prosecutors investigate the case.
Heredia, who if found guilty could face a sentence of 20 years in jail, must serve the precautionary measure at a women’s detention center in Santiago, 155 kilometers (96 miles) north of Santo Domingo.
It was while preparing to board a New York-bound flight at Santiago’s Cibao International Airport that the 22-year-old singer was arrested after authorities found nearly 2 kilos of heroin hidden in the heels of her shoes.
Heredia’s attorney, Felix Portes, regretted that the court had complied with the prosecutors’ request and said his client was being denied her right to the presumption of innocence.
Though reporters were not allowed inside the courtroom, an eyewitness said that Martha Heredia looked “very sad” when she heard the decision against her.
The singer, who skyrocketed to fame after winning the 2009 season of the Argentine television talent contest Latin American Idol, recently accused her husband, hip-hop artist Vakero, of physical and psychological abuse.
Heredia, known for a fine voice and bubbling personality, saw her career stall just a few months after her triumph on the TV show.
In 2010, the singer was involved in a fatal traffic accident while driving from Santiago to Santo Domingo. The family of the teenager who died in the incident subsequently sued Heredia. EFE