Frampton receives almost 5 years of house arrest

After more than nine months in a high-security Argentine prison and one month of house arrest, UNC physics professor Paul Frampton was sentenced Nov. 19 to four years and eight months of house arrest for drug smuggling charges.

Frampton was arrested at a Buenos Aires airport Jan. 23 for attempting to smuggle 2 kilograms of cocaine out of the country in a bag he checked.

In an earlier statement, Frampton said someone he trusted gave him the bag and he didn’t know it contained drugs.


UNC physics professor Paul Frampton has been sentenced to more than four years of house arrest in Argentina.

  • Jan. 23: Frampton was arrested at a Buenos Aires airport and sent to Villa Devoto Prison.
  • Feb. 17: Bruce Carney informs Frampton his salary will be frozen and that he will be placed on personal leave.
  • Oct. 31: Authorities release Frampton from Villa Devoto Prison and place him on house arrest following health concerns
  • Nov. 21: Frampton is sentenced to four years and eight months of house arrest.

According to his website — — Frampton’s supporters believe his almost five-year sentence will likely translate to two years and four months of actual time served. The website suggests he could be released by May 2014.

Frampton had already been released from the Villa Devoto prison and placed on house arrest late last month because prison conditions aggravated his respiratory condition.

A statement from the University said it has not received official confirmation about Frampton’s conviction.

“If the reports about a conviction are true, we are saddened by the prospect that Dr. Frampton would not be able to return to Chapel Hill for several years,” the statement said.

In March, the University froze Frampton’s salary and forced him to take a leave of absence.

Frampton filed a formal University grievance in response to his pay suspension and forced leave, which he claimed violated his tenure.

And in August, about 80 UNC faculty members and international academics signed a letter objecting to the University’s suspension of Frampton’s pay.

Pat Eberlein, a mathematics professor, said he was saddened by Frampton’s conviction and wishes him the best for the future.

“I still believe that he is innocent of drug smuggling and had no knowledge that he was carrying drugs in his suitcase,” Eberlein said.

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