Court upholds 15-year sentence for former model ‘Yuyee’ who smuggled 251 mg cocaine

File photos of Chatchaya “Yuyee” Cuesta Ramos
File photos of Chatchaya “Yuyee” Cuesta Ramos

The Supreme Court upheld the 15-year sentence for former Thai model and wildlife activist Chatchaya “Yuyee” Cuesta Ramos this morning. She is serving time for smuggling 251 milligrams of cocaine through Don Mueang Airport in November 2012, Sanook reported.

Chatchaya, wife of Spanish wildlife documentary host Frank Cuesta Ramos, was sentenced to 15 years in prison and a fine of THB1.5 million in June 2014 for the crime.

Another three-month jail term for possession of endangered species was also added after the authorities searched her home in Bangkok in July 2012 and found a number of wild animals.

Chatchaya previously told local media that the animals were rescued, and she was only nursing them and planned to release them back to the wild eventually.

Weeks after authorities handed down the sentence, nearly one million signatures, many from Spain, were collected on online petitions named “freeyuyee” and “justice4yuyee.”

The campaign “justice4yuyee,” by Madrid resident Adrián Fernández, questioned the evidence used to obtain a conviction. It points to reports in Thai media from the time of her 2012 arrest saying she trafficked just five milligrams of cocaine, but that amount inexplicably increased to 251 milligrams at the trial in 2014.

Fernández wrote in his campaign that Chatchaya and her husband Frank have spent many years fighting for the protection of animals and presented the beauty of Thailand through their work. He believed the punishment for Yuyee was unfair.

Frank Cuesta Ramos gave an interview to Bangkok Post back in June 2015 regarding his wife’s drugs charge. He said that she was framed after the couple rescued a baby leopard — the action that had pissed off “a powerful person.” See story here.

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