Particle Theorist in Argentine Jail

Particle theorist Paul Frampton of the University of North Carolina was arrested in Buenos Aires January 23rd on charges of attempting to smuggle two kilos of cocaine out of the country. He denies the charges, but is in jail in Argentina, and UNC has suspended his pay since he could not return to teach his spring semester class. More about this here.

I don’t know Frampton personally, but he has commented on the blog here in the past, and is well-known in the particle theory community. He is the author of a standard textbook in the subject Gauge Field Theories.

Update: From reports with more information, like this one, it seems clear that Frampton was the victim of a scam. Hopefully friends and colleagues will be able to help him regain his freedom.

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58 Responses to Particle Theorist in Argentine Jail

  1. Rocketgal says:

    This may seem like an obvious question to some…


    Seems like an easy enough thing to do. If the Professor IS TELLING THE TRUTH (and I tend to believe he is), then I would think his family or friends would fly down to Argentina to give it to his personal lawyer immediately to get him out of there!

    Just sayin!

  2. MathPhys says:

    A man exercised a serious error of judgement (as many of us do on a regular basis) and will regret that for the rest of his life. Let’s leave it at that.

  3. mesolimbic reward pathway says:

    Completely off-topic, but a search for “cocaine” in arxiv revealed this… interesting “paper”:

  4. Jack B says:

    This is nuts. Good luck to him.

  5. King Ray says:

    As Heraclitus of Ephesus said, “Character determines destiny.”

  6. Bernhard says:

    I believe these are good news:

    The bad news is that he is likely wrong he will be freed by the summer…

  7. Trulo says:

    Interestingly, there’s a third case of a foreigner duped with the same trick, presumably by the same criminal gang in Argentina. Besides Sharon Armstrong and Paul Frampton, the nurse Catherine Blackhawk (that’s a cinematic name, isn’t it?), a US citizen, was caught on June 29 2011 in Buenos Aires airport (Ezeiza) trying to board a plane to London with eight pounds of cocaine. The story is more or less the same as in the other two cases. She met a supposedly English guy on the Internet, whom she was supposedly going to marry, and who asked her to meet him in London. But before that she was to make a stop in Argentina to pick up documents related to an inheritance he had received. Those documents were in a suitcase she was to take to London… the rest of the story is obvious.

  8. Trulo says:

    Both women, the New Zealander Armstrong and the Texan Blackhawk, traveled to Buenos Aires at the request of their supposed twin souls with all expenses paid. Both were lodged in the same hotel in the Once neighborhood of Buenos Aires, and both were contacted by a woman named Esperanza, apparently the same woman in both cases. The judge(s?) in those cases have already begun an investigation based on those leads.

    Blackhawk (I still think there might be a mistake in the name quoted by the Clarin newspaper) is still awaiting trial. Armstrong has been sentenced to four years and ten months, but apparently there’s the possibility that after serving one year she’ll be expelled from the country.

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