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Woman alleged to have sudden fortune arrested in Bolivia

LA PAZ, Bolivia — Authorities in Bolivia said Thursday they have arrested a woman with suspected links to drug traffickers who amassed an inexplicable fortune within just a few years.

Interior Minister Arturo Murillo told the Unitel television station that Dora Vallejos, 36, turned herself in the night before.

“She has to explain where she got $150 million in wealth that has now been identified,” he said, as well as clarify her connections.

Vallejos came under scrutiny after a man identified as one of her relatives was arrested in Mexico last month when authorities found seized a plane carrying a ton of cocaine.

Murillo also noted that her husband had been convicted of a drug offence, though he did not specify which.

Vallejos herself faces charges of illegal enrichment.

A handcuffed Vallejos declared her innocence when she was shown to the news media in the eastern city of Santa Cruz, where she was detained.

Justice Minister Álvaro Coimbra said Vallejos wasn’t wealthy before 2013, but has since come to own more than 40 properties, including cattle ranches and houses.

Officials have also suggested repeatedly she is linked to officials in the government of ousted leftist President Evo Morales, particularly former Interior Minister Carlos Romero. He is one of several officials of the former government who have been detained on corruption allegations by the interim administration that took over when Morales resigned and left the country in November.

Romero last week denied that, saying he did not know Vallejos.

“Vallejos is fearful. There are people who are afraid she could talk,” Murillo said. “We will givfe her security. She won’t go to a common jail.”

The Associated Press