A recycled fake news account says that Miss Universe Guyana was busted in London for smuggling cocaine in bags of coffee.
"Miss Universe Guyana 2017 arrested at London Heathrow airport with 2kg of cocaine," states the Nov. 15 headline on States-news.com.
Facebook users flagged the post as being fabricated, as part of the social network’s efforts to combat fake news. This article about Rafieya Husain, the Miss Universe Guyana 2017, is bogus and recycles previous similar phony stories about other beauty queens.
One of the beauty queens, Miss Universe contestant Martha Fenech, told the Times of Malta that such a report can be harmful.
"People who know me immediately laughed it off, but several other contacted me to know if I'm okay," she said. "Other 'girls' apparently were only happy to share the fake news item. This is a very serious accusation. It taints my name, it taints Malta's name."
We searched Nexis for credible news accounts about Miss Universe and the Heathrow airport and cocaine and found an example of a real life pageant queen busted for cocaine -- but more than 30 years ago.
Heather Michelle Ross, who represented Bermuda in a Miss World contest, pleaded guilty in 1983 to smuggling cocaine the previous year. A customs officer told the court that about 2.2 pounds of cocaine was found concealed in her suitcase after she arrived at Heathrow airport. We found the information in articles by United Press International and the Miami Herald.
We found no contact information on the states-news.com website.
We were unsuccessful at reaching Husain, but a spokeswoman for the Miss Universe organization told PolitiFact, "This is a fake news site."
A headline states that "Miss Universe Guyana 2017 arrested at London Heathrow airport with 2kg of cocaine." We found no evidence that she was busted for cocaine. We rate this headline Pants on Fire.